Tuesday, May 29, 2007


Tod and Lee Ann...

When I first met them, Tod and Lee Ann Brown were in school at ACU. I know both sets of parents and all of their siblings. I remember when they got married, I rejoiced at the birth of their four children, and we just recently received Bailey Brown's high school graduation announcement.

Tod and I have been down lots of ministry roads together. We have seen ups and downs and prayed for each other, our families, and our ministries. He is a gifted and committed servant of the Lord. I am thrilled that he found his home in ministry at his home congregation, Golf Course Road church of Christ in Midland. He serves there as the Executive Minister.

But today my heart is broken for Tod and Lee Ann and their family. Late last night, their family was in a car wreck. Their 13 year old son, Conner, was killed and Bailey had to undergo extensive surgery on her legs. I have prayed for them all day.

There are so many things I do not understand. I have no great words of wisdom. But I do know that God is still God. I know that Conner is home. I know we will all join him someday.

God, be with my friends the Browns. Let them know and feel your love and your peace.

Thursday, May 24, 2007


Random rants...

Why do we always say that building programs are acts of faith? We sure spend a lot of time and energy on raising money and budgeting for it to be an act of faith.

Being pro acappella music is not the same as being anti-instrumental.

When I hold a minority opinion, I am a courageous man of faith. When you hold a minority opinion, you are a stubborn contrarian.

Why do some people assume that the church of Christ really has nothing to offer the rest of the religious world.

It is trendy to make fun of people not as "enlightened" as you are. It doesn't mean it is right.

Of course it is easier to tell people how they ought to live rather than show them. Maybe that's one difference between a boss and a leader. Or a shepherd.

OK. Enough rants for today. But I feel better. Feel free to share your rants.

Monday, May 21, 2007


Senior Pastors...

One of the hot topics I hear today is the idea of Senior Pastors in our local congregations. Typically this refers to the pulpit minister and the idea is that the church of Christ tradition of having elders (pastors) separate from the preaching staff is outdated and wrong. After all, in most churches your preacher does do pastoral work. Therefore, he should be in on all pastoral meetings.

Sorry, but I don't buy that argument. I just don't think churches are led by one man. I know it happens in practice, and I know that sometimes elders have not functioned well as shepherds. But just because we have not done something well does not mean it is wrong. I believe Scripture outlines the kind of man who should lead churches as a pastor. Some of the best ministers I know do not qualify. This is one of those ideas we stole from the evangelical mega-church movement. And it is trendy today to assume anything done historically in churches of Christ is suspect.

There is Scripture for preaching elders, and there is Scripture for paying preachers and/or elders. But I cannot find Scripture for the idea that preachers are automatically pastors. Nor can I find evidence that preachers are to lead the church. We may have done this in practice, but I do not think it healthy or wise. Why not just make one of our elders the Senior Pastor and let him run the church?

Why not just let me be the Senior Pastor at Southern Hills? Because I am not always smart enough or wise enough. No one man is. And if one man "runs" a church, it is too easy to confuse him with the one who really is in charge. Sometimes we even enable our preachers to get caught up in this Messiah complex.

Maybe I'm wrong (so I guess I can't be a Senior Pastor), or maybe I'm mad no one will make me the Senior Pastor, or maybe I don't want to see anyone but me have the power.

Or maybe I'm right.

So what do you think?

Tuesday, May 15, 2007


God is good...

My mother in law called about 6:30 Monday morning and said Grandpa had passed out. We thought he was doing great after his triple bypass one month ago. When I got there he was sitting on the side of the bed but not looking too well so we decided to take him to the emergency room. He was afraid he was too weak to get up in the truck so I moved their car around to the front of the house. I put him a wheelchair and got him to the front steps. He got down the steps but passed out again. I caught him, put him in the car, and he revived again. After getting Granny situated, I turned the key...and nothing. Dead battery. I called 911 and they were there in five minutes. By this time Grandpa was not doing well. They put him on oxygen, gave him some kind of shot and took off to the hospital. They later told us if they had not given him attention in the driveway, he might not have made it. If I had driven him, we might have lost him.

So what's the point of this? I think God kept the car from starting. Yes, I know the battery really was bad, I replaced it this morning. But why go bad right then? Some would say luck, some would say coincidence, but I am a Christian. I am going to give God the credit. Some would say I cannot prove it was a God thing, and that is right. But I choose to give God the glory for what others credit to luck. If he can part the Red Sea, if he can raise the dead, if he can give healing... then a car battery is no big deal

So thanks God. And I am sorry if there were other times you worked in my life and I failed to give you credit. You are much better than luck, skill, or fate. You are God. Always have been, always will be.

Have you had those "lucky breaks" in your life? Did you give God the glory? Share those stories now and give credit where credit is due.

Friday, May 11, 2007



They sometimes talk as if they have discovered the greatest communication skill ever. And maybe in a way they have. The hot discussion topic today is communicating to post-moderns by means of storytelling. Logic is out. Reading is out. Systematic study is out. Rigid standards of authority...out. So tell stories. Relate by sharing stories. They are personal, they are real, they communicate today in authentic ways.

Of course these ideas are not new. They are old. For generations this is how our traditions and our truths were communicated. So maybe what is new is old, or what is old is new. I do know that is really how God communicated with us. The Bible is a collection of stories. The Old Testament is not just a book of rigid laws and a collection of dos and don'ts. It is mostly stories. For that matter, so are the gospels. They are mostly stories of Jesus and the people he connects with. In fact, the Bible is basically one long story of God's love for us.

Families need to tell their stories, their traditions, their legends. That is still the best way to do evangelism...tell your story. Learn to tell your story. Share what Jesus has done in your life. Our children need to hear what God has done in our lives. We need to learn to give testimonials. We need to be better at telling what we have witnessed. That is how our world will come to know that the Jesus story is real...and that it works.

So if sharing the stories of our faith really is the way to communicate with post-moderns then I am thrilled. God's story is ready to be shared. It is still being told in my life, and I want to continue sharing it.

Tuesday, May 08, 2007


Reflections on Pepperdine...

How can you not love the Pepperdine Lectures? Quality presentations, good classes, great praise, and lots of meet and greet. Oh yeah, the location is certainly adequate. And of course, Malibu Seafood and Dukes are must stops for the eats. Marsha got to go this year and we traveled out with Phil and Donna Ware (he's our preacher and they are really good friends). We saw lots of people we have known over the years, met with some Herald of Truth donors, and even managed to find an In and Out burger.

I always enjoy listening to the hot topics being discussed at these events (either in class or in visiting with different preachers). This year four themes stuck with me. There is still a lot of conversation about instrumental music in worship. I still hear discussion of the senior pastor, staff led model of church growth. The house church/missional church model is still being discussed. Finally, I keep hearing about the need to communicate by story: tell our story and the gospel message is the story of Jesus. Most of these issues were set in the larger context of reaching the next generation, or communicating in a post modern world.

I may react to some of these over my next few posts. It was interesting because these are the same kinds of discussions we have at Southern Hills. Men like Phil, Vann Conwell, and Gary Green are really sharp concerning the post modern mind set and so I have been in many other conversations like these.

One last thing concerning the various speakers. I did hear some people I don't usually get to listen to and two in particular struck me as really worth hearing again: Mitch Wilburn and Dan Rodriguez. If you get a chance to hear either of them, do it.

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