Staff Devotions

 

Pastor’s Desk July16th

Scripture Passage:  “Woe be unto the pastors that destroy and scatter the sheep of my pasture! says the Lord.    Jeremiah 23:1

 

Dear Friends,

      This past April marked the beginning of my twentieth-eight year in pastoral ministry. I have served two churches as pastor.  I served Shepard’s Chapel from 1990-2004 and Fairview Baptist Tabernacle from 2004 to the present. Each church was uniquely different while still being functionally the same.  Both are conservative Southern Baptist churches known for their diverse age groups, mission emphasis, and multiple ministries.  One was bi-vocational, the other fully funds my salary.  Shepard’s Chapel was an annual call.  (They voted on me every year.) Fairview is a set call.  (I am here until the church or I feel it is time for me to move on.)  Fairview has multiple funded staff members, at Shepard’s Chapel I was the staff.  Each church has thrived and flourished because of a triune relationship between the Great Shepherd, the under shepherd, and the sheep.  You cannot have church if any one of the three are missing.


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Pastor’s Desk July 9th

Scripture Passage:  “And I sought for a man among them,  that should make up the hedge, and stand in the gap before me for the land, that I should not destroy it: but I found none.”  Ezekiel 22:30

Dear Friends,

     In ancient Israel every sheep fold had a small entrance way that led in to the compound of safety.  This entrance way was large enough for the sheep to pass through, but small enough for the shepherd to block it with his body.  Once the sheep had entered, the shepherd would lay down to sleep filling the gap.  If an animal or intruder tried to breach the gap the shepherd would stand,  and become a line of defense between the enemy and the helpless sheep.  The shepherd would fight until he could fight no more, willingly laying down his life for the sheep.  What would happen to the sheep if there was no one to stand in the gap?  A terrible slaughter would take place that could have been averted by the faithfulness of one person. So, who will stand in the gap? 


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Pastor’s Desk July 2nd

Scripture Passage: “Be not you afraid of them: remember the Lord, which is great and terrible, and fight for your brethren, your sons, and your daughters, your wives, and your houses.”  Nehemiah 4:14

 

     “Duty – Honor – Country.  Those three hallowed words reverently dictate what you ought to be, what you can be, what you will be.  They are your rallying points: to build courage when courage seems to fail; to regain faith when there seems to be little cause for faith; to create hope when hope becomes forlorn.


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Worship & The Word June 27th

From 1980 to 2001 the recruiting slogan for the United States Army was “Be All You Can Be.” 


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Pastor’s Desk June 25th

 

 

Scripture Passage: “Teach me your way, O Lord, and lead me in a plain path, because of my enemies.”  Psalms 27:11

Dear Friends,

     Have computers simplified or complicated life? Are we more in touch with our families and friends because of cell phones or are we less informed due to the lack of physical contact?  Does television entertain and relax or does it rob us of quality time with our family and friends?  Does the advancement of transportation serve as a catalyst to spend more time with family or does it make it easier to indulge in our selfish pleasures?  Does air-conditioning make life more comfortable or does it make being outside more uncomfortable?  Do video games actually enhance creativity and develop motor skills or are they artificial stimulus substituted for the “Real” thing?  Does pornography and immoral sexual activity satisfy a person’s sexual cravings or do they leave a person feeling empty, abused, mislead, and cheap? Is there really any substitute for a good book, or “The Good Book” for that matter? These are some of the questions I am contemplating as I observe life in the busy city of Nashville.


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Pastor’s Desk June 18th

Scripture Passage:  “And ye fathers, provoke not your children to wrath: but bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord.”  Ephesians 6:4

Dear Friends,

     The celebration of Father’s Day causes us to remember and appreciate our Dads and all they have done for us.  Some will remember in the past tense because their dad has passed away.  Some will remember in the present tense because their dad is still alive.  I hope we will all take time to appreciate their contribution and sacrifice in providing for us as well as helping to make us the person we are today.  Everyone has a biological dad and a physical dad.  We also have a spiritual dad.  Sometimes they are all the same – sometimes they are not.  Some of the greatest dads have not fathered the child they are raising.  Many dads are good at teaching their children to hunt, fish and whittle, but uncomfortable addressing spiritual issues.  There are no flawless dads, but a few come pretty close. 


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Pastor’s Desk June 11th

Scripture Passage: “This is the day which the Lord has made, we will rejoice and be glad in it.”  Psalms 118:24

Dear Friends,

     I had plans for today.  Those plans were dependent upon sunny skies. What I needed to do cannot be accomplished in the rain.  I need at least three days back to back with no rain – not even a shower.  I had one plan, the good Lord had another. I had good intentions, He had a sovereign will.  I was going to do something good, He said what He was going to do would be the best.  I told Him I was getting behind, He told me I was actually ahead according to His time table.  In the end, I realize He is always right.  The best thing I can do is to surrender my will to His.  Jesus did and He won the victory – by the way of the cross.  I do not know where the path is going to take me today, but as long as He is walking it with me I will rejoice and be glad in it.


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Pastor’s Desk June 4th

Scripture Passage: “For his letters, say they, are weighty and powerful; but his bodily presence is weak, and his speech contemptible.”  II Corinthians 10:10

Dear Friends,

      There is a huge difference in a leader and a boss.  A leader will get sown in the ditch with you, while a boss stands on the bank and barks orders.  Some people criticize a leader’s meekness and patience and often equate that with a lack of production.  Others praise a person with a dictator personality and equate that with, “A man who gets the job done.”  If you really want to know what kind of leader a person is, ask the man in the ditch.  He KNOWS!


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Pastor’s Desk May 28th

Scripture Passage:  “Be not wise in your own eyes: fear the Lord and depart from evil.  It shall be health to your navel, and marrow to your bones.  Honor the Lord with your substance, and with the first fruits of all your increase: So shall your barns be filled with plenty, and your presses shall burst out with new wine.”  Proverbs 3: 7-10   “In those days there was no king in Israel: every man did that which was right in their own eyes.”   Judges 21:25
 
Dear Friends,
 
      I wonder what it would be like if all sporting venues suspended the rules for a season.  There would be no rules, guidelines, or referees.  “Everything Goes,” would be the motto.  The goal would be for everyone to do what they want, to get what they want, any way that they want, without any penalties or consequences. There would be no protection for the audience either.  If the athletes get bored abusing one another, they can involve the audience without their consent.  The only option the spectators would have is to not show up, and to keep quiet away from the game also.  Eventually there would be so much carnage the teams would destroy themselves.  There would be no money to pay salaries because the spectators would stop coming and the value of a ticket would drop to nothing.  The only thing that keeps games going today are the rules.  Everyone must abide by the same rules regardless of their preferences, or not play the game at all.  You could say that rules are a necessary part of the game.  Without them the game would cease to be.  I do not know of anyone who would be in agreement to suspend the rules.  As a matter of fact, the rules are reviewed, adjusted, and more added to keep the integrity of the game intact.  I find it interesting that we will go to great lengths to make sure everyone plays by the rules of the game – but not life.

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