Friday, September 5, 2008

Waiting for Hannah

Thirteen minutes past midnight and all is calm. The National Hurricane Center is estimating Hannah to pass directly through here around 2:00 am or so. I've never figured out why these things tend to come though in the middle of the night. Fran in 1996 was the longest night I've ever experienced (outside of food poisoning on a camping trip in 1981). Hopefully, we'll not have too bad a time of it tonight, and come tomorrow morning we'll just have to clean up a bunch of branches and stuff. When I was given this appointment (to serve the Bethel-Lebanon charge in Columbus County) I was NOT happy about moving to hurricane alley. But... since this was where God sent me, this was I gladly agreed to go. And this is where I gladly serve.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

The Class Reunion

When I recently attended my 30th high school reunion, I ran into a guy I knew from 5th grade on. He and I probably had a few classes together, but we never really connected that much during our school days. We both hung with different crowds. But at the reunion when I told him I had become a preacher, he smiled and said, "Praise God! Let me tell you how Jesus turned my life around!" When I saw the excitement in his eyes over what Jesus has done for him, it was like God opened my eyes to a whole new level of understanding about "community" among believers. This casual acquaintence and I had both at one time traveled down a dark road of self-indulgence and worldly ways and yet God loved us enough to pull us back to Him, and He gave us new lives and a chance to start over. And that connects us in a way that is stronger than any social bond of love of friendship could ever do.

The next night, my best friend called to ask me about the reunion. I told him it was good, but that what had really impacted me was the conversation I had with the guy at the end of the evening. I told him that it had become clear to me that the whole purpose of me going to Raleigh that night was because God wanted me to connect with him and hear his testimony and see the fire this guy has for Him. Pastors are the ones doing the feeding of the flocks, and pastors don't get to be fed that much ourselves. Well, I got fed on Saturday night by my conversation with this guy. God spoke to me through someone I knew casually from long ago and He spoke very loudly about the joy people need to show others about Him. Yes, as a pastor I do see people excited about Christ, but mostly I see people who are comfortable about Christ (some of them are so comfortable they can even sleep in church!) It made me wonder, what do people see when they look at me? Do they see someone grateful for what Jesus has done? Someone overflowing with joy? Someone on fire for the Lord? Someone excited about Jesus Christ? Or just someone content with his faith? I mean, if I wear a label that says "saved," is that label sewn inside my collar, or is it emblazened in bold letters across my chest? For any true believer, what Jesus Chrst has done for them is the greatest thing that can ever happen to them, and they need to tell the world about it at every chance they get.

Sunday, August 3, 2008

Oh yeah... we had a baby!

It's pretty sad when you're so delinquent in keeping up with your blog that since your last entry you (a) had a kid, and (b) she's now 14 months old! But I guess that's what comes with being in the ministry: too many demands on your time too much of the time.

Amber Marie came into the world on May 30, 2007. The blessed event was not without its moments. Due to a problem with the spinal block we almost lost the baby and I almost lost my wife, but the folks at the hospital jumped right into action and did just what they needed to do. If it weren't 2 in the morning right now, I'd go into more detail about what happened that day, but the fact is I'm up with an ear infection and need to get back to bed so I can preach in the morning.