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Spent a week worshiping with young people at IMPACT camp.   I am grateful to have been a part of it.  I am proud of the fact that our Tennessee Baptist Convention cares enough to invest in camp ministry.  I am prayerful that the “Declarations” that have been made at camp will, by faith, turn into deeds.   

Some characteristics of the Students I encountered this week:

They are Hungry for truth.

They respond to the satisfaction that comes from the bread of life.

They are uninhibited by our traditions.

They are unrestrained by our religion.

They are unimpressed by our buildings and programs.

They are unmotivated by our words but are stirred to action by His. 

They are untested.  The tests will come.  They will pass some and they will fail some.  Don’t write them off when they fail.  They need your experience to guide them along their journey of faith.  They need your encouragement.   They will need your admonishment at times.  They need you to answer theological questions that are beyond their understanding.  They need you to prod them by your godly EXAMPLE.  You will be tempted to guide them back into the trap of religiosity. . . . Don’t!  You will be tempted to temper their radicalization for Christ. . .  Don’t!  You will be tempted to mold them into your image or the image of your denomination. . . Don’t!   

Oh, wouldn’t it be great if the worship I witnessed in these young hearts translated into the revival we adults have been praying for?


Growing a church sometimes feels like hauling water uphill using a leaky bucket.  You know people need Jesus.  You know they need to connect to a church somewhere.  You know that Jesus would make a HUGE difference in their lives.  They seem interested but never come to church.  So what do you do? 

You visit with people in their homes and write them nice cards and they just won’t darken the door of the church.  You connect with people on Facebook, Twitter, email, snail mail, telephone, telegraph, morse code, and with smoke signals and they still don’t come.  You even trained your fat fingers to manipulate those freakishly small keys on your cell phone so that you can connect through texting.  Your church spends money on outreach events so that connections can be made with the community and they do not come.  Sunday morning rolls around and you find yourself hoping and praying that young couple you talked to at Wal-Mart, who promised they would come, walks through the door. . . . and they don’t.  FRUSTRATING scenario that plays itself out Sunday after Sunday.  

Then one glorious Sunday that contact you made during the week strolls through the door, shakes your hand, and has no trouble finding a seat b/c many of your church members decided to go to the lake, take in a ball game,  sleep in, plant a crop, take a trip, get a pedicure, stubbed their pinky toe (making it very hard to sit in a pew), or pick their belly button lint.  Whatever the excuse it is EXTREMELY FRUSTRATING!  So, what do you do?  

Sometimes growing a church feels like hauling water uphill in a leaky bucket.    

Do you quit?  Do you stop connecting?  Do you become cynical of God’s ability to save and the church’s ability to disciple? Do you just ignore Acts 1:8 and Matthew 28 because the water keeps pouring out of you leaky bucket?  You know you can’t quit.  The work is hard but the pay off is awesome so you persist.  

My advice is simple.  Keep hauling the water, keep trudging up the hill, and plug those pesky holes in your bucket.

You get all the people in your church to lie to the pianist and sneak around in a highly covert operation! 

This woman is super sneaky.

This is Sue’s (church pianist) sister.  She is quite possibly the best covert operative that we have.

You can’t pull something like this off without the help of your music minister who has stealth ability like a CIA agent. 

I didn’t want to be left out of all this debauchery as the Pastor. . . . I felt I should lead the way.

I even got other local pastors to come be apart of our collective deception. . . take this guy for example.

Former music ministers have nothing to lose as they help spin our web of deceit.

This woman used fraudulent information to further our plot. 

Local politician. . . . need I say more?

Kasey and Matthew (if that is their real names) were superb in bestowing great honor on Sue. 

All of this so that we could present our pianist with a commissioned piece of music written by her favorite pianist (Mary McDonald).

I’m glad all this secretive, covert, spy stuff is over.  I am now going to spend some much-needed time at the altar.

She, the little one with the pink “A” (roll tide) on her face is my youngest daughter, Becca.  She loves, and I do mean adores, her big sister (who she calls Whaa Whaa). . .. the one pictured below with the Crimson Tide SEC champion shirt on.  If imitation is the sincerest form of flattery then Whaa Whaa should be ridding high in the saddle atop her ego horse.  Now, Becca doesn’t know what the “A” on her face stands for and couldn’t tell a BAMA fan from an Auburn fan.  All she knows is that she loves her Whaa Whaa.  If BAMA  is good enough for her big sis then Becca is a sold out rabid Crimson Tide fan too.  She wants to be where her sister is, act the way she acts, and talk the way she talks.  Becca’s adoration of her sister is the driving force behind that “A” on that sweet little cheek.  Kinda reminds me of how we should love God.

We were not created to simply flatter our God through imitation.  God is after more than flattery.  We WORSHIP God by becoming more and more like Him daily.  We want to be where he is, love what He loves, speak His words, and do what he desires.  Why?  Because we love Him.  We love other people because God loves people.  We carry the Gospel to the ends of the Earth because God commissioned it.   Our adoration of God is the driving force behind our imitation of Him.   

P.S.  If He were a Bama fan we would all wear crimson.                

1.  Ten

2.  2 x 5

3.  12345678910

4. greater  than 9  but  less than 11

5.  * * * * * * * * * *

6.  X

7.  Diez

8.  11 – 1

9.  Dime

10.  10

Same number. . . different expression.  There are at least 10 biblical ways to express our Love for Christ.  It is unfortunate that most churches seem to have that one person who thinks his/her way is the only way.


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