Monday, February 28, 2011

Back in town

I'm back in my office this morning, following a quick trip to New Orleans / Baton Rouge for a conference and some R & R. It's not often I'll take a Sunday out in the middle of a series, but this conference was too good to pass up.
The Greer-Heard Conference, held at New Orleans Baptist Seminary, was entitled "Can we trust the Bible on the Historical Jesus?" Styled in a point-counterpoint format, this conversation was headlined by two eminent scholars: Dr. Craig Evans and Dr. Bart Ehrman. While you may not recognize their names, in our little scholarly world, they are straight-up ROCK STARS! One of them - Dr. Evans - believes the answer of the question to be yes. The other, Dr. Ehrman, believes the answer to be no. So why discuss it if we know their answers before we begin? Because this is a key question many are asking today. To understand the answer, however, we've first got to understand the question.
Can we "trust"? To trust means to rely on fully. While many will answer "yes" to the question as asked above, many of those same people fail to spend anytime reading the Bible. So my question then becomes do they really, REALLY trust it? If they really relied on it fully, it would be a much more integrated part of life.
"Historical Jesus" - The search for the "historical Jesus" is not the same as the search for the Jesus of faith or even the Jesus of the Gospels. What most scholars mean when they use that phrase is that they want a Jesus who meets modern historical standards of historical skepticism and science. They want hard-proof to affirm Jesus' claims. But the Bible isn't a book developed for historical science nor is it intended to be treated as such. While the Bible has no fear of such an investigation, the Gospels were written from a faith point of view and reflect that concept. Rather than demand that the Gospels measure up to my pre-ordained standards, I'm much more content to let the Gospels speak for themselves. Regardless of my opinions, the Gospels stand as a testament to the words of Jesus, his actions, his miracles, his passion, his death and resurrection. So can the Bible be trusted to tell me that? You BET!

Friday, February 25, 2011

Dining with Heretics

As you may have heard, I'm out of town this weekend. We've taken a weekend out to travel to southeastern Louisiana for two purposes. (1) To see Julie's side of the family who live in Baton Rouge. Her parents, her sister and her family - we're the only odd-balls who live somewhere else. (2) To dine with heretics - at least one of them. I'll be leaving Julie in Baton Rouge in just a little while to head down to New Orleans for the Greer-Heard Conference at New Orleans Seminary. The title for this year's conference is "Can we trust the Bible on the Historical Jesus?" You already know my answer - a resounding YES! But there will be at least one person at the conference who will say "no." I LOVE these conferences as they provide an opportunity to engage my brain in a different way than I normally do. It should be a fascinating discussion. Check back with me later in the weekend for a run-down on it.

In the meantime, for my CBC family, you'll be led this weekend by Rev. Kurt Powell, a longtime friend of mine. Kurt is currently service as a coach in the Frankston School system.

Please know of my deep love for serving this church!

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Sunday night reflections

Just home from church tonight but I'm far from tired even though I feel awful! (I hate sinus stuff! They've been draining all day!) I live for Sundays, but there are some that are bigger than others! This one counts as one of those!

- I was all set to close out the service this morning, when Anna Jacobson came down to tell us she had invited Christ to be her Lord! Nothing gives a pastor more joy than to see someone proclaim Christ as their Lord! That NEVER gets old! Rock on Anna! We'll baptize her soon!

- After worship this morning, Julie and I had lunch with Randall and Suzanne Cooper at Jalapeno Tree - once I found them! I had a couple of meetings after church so they told me to catch up with them there. The only problem was they didn't tell me where "there" was! Makes a body feel unwelcome! I finally did find them after I went to Chilis and then to Posados!

- Tonight's service was our vote on our Vision 33. Our Long Range Plan Committee has worked long and hard to prepare and present this plan. Our vote was 122-3 in favor of the plan! Some days are bigger than others and this one is among them!

- So now, our attention turns to the next step - we'll be back with you soon on the next step soon!

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Sunday night reflections

It's a few minutes after 8 PM on Sunday night. We just got home from church. Wow! What a day!

- Welcome Ray and Holly Rawlinson, CBC's newest members! Coming to us by bapism, Ray and Holly are awesome! They and their two small kids are joining us in our crazy and passionate pursuit of Christ!

- The second in our "Toxic" series - Toxic Words - was the message this AM. It's been surprising to me how strongly people have responded to this series! I've had people ask me several times this week about this series! Awesome! That means God is working in spite of my shortcomings. This next week will get people talking - Toxic Relationships.

- We ended the day with a round-table discussion of our Vision 33 proposal from our Long Range Planning Committee. It was an outstanding time of fellowship, questions and answers among our family! I opened our Q & A time with 1 John 3:1 - "Behold what manner of love the Father has given unto us that we might be called the children of God - and that's what we ARE!" - That which unites us is far greater than that which divides us! Pray for us as we take the next step!

- The Lord and I were talking yesterday as I got ready for this morning's service. As I prayed, I prayed for each of our CBC family with gratitude and passion. What an amazing church we have!

- So here's your assignment this week - in case you missed it this AM - write out a list of 100 positives about yourself. It's not anti-humble. Think of it as taking inventory of all that God has blessed you with!

- Thanks for letting us serve here with you! I've never had more fun doing anything else in my life!

Wednesday, February 09, 2011

The Bad Weather Blues

I'm sitting at home now - at 2 PM on Wednesday afternoon - when I normally would be finishing my preparations for Wednesday night and Sunday. For the second week in a row, we've been forced to cancel our Wednesday night services due to inclement weather. Bummer. I hate canceling! It makes feel like I'm giving up. But with all the moving parts of a CBC Wednesday, we were convinced it was the right call.

The best example I can offer to that end is this. When I walked out to my truck to go to my regular Wednesday lunch meeting, there was ice on every side of my pickup! The side mirrors were coated in ice and I had to YANK the door open to get in! The springs groaned under the cold load as I sat down! I'm not THAT heavy!

So for now, I'm sitting at home, with a fire in the fireplace, Julie seated just a few feet away and our dog sitting contentedly between us.