Thursday, February 24, 2011


More reasons not to confess my sins...

I heard from several of you by comments on the blog or in person. Here are four more reasons I heard for why people do not want to confess their sins to others.

My sin is not safe (or acceptable). In other words, confess the sin that you do not pray as much as you should, but not the sin of beating your wife.

I will not be taken seriously. Maybe this is the reverse of the one above. A sin may be serious to you and compromising your walk with God, but be trivialized by others.

They do not really want to help. Once I confess my sin, I am expecting and needing help. Do people really want to invest in other's lives that much?

If I confess my sin to someone, everyone will find out. Whether it is because I think people don't like me and are looking for a chance to hurt me... or I just think everyone gossips, this is a real fear.

I am sure there are more, but thanks for sharing these.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011


Confessing Sin...

I have been in several sessions lately with someone who has been caught up -- and caught -- in sin. In almost every case, a wife or a friend asked "why didn't you tell us you were in trouble?" So I have been thinking about why it is so hard to confess sins to each other.

Sometimes it is shame. It is hard to acknowledge something that you are deeply ashamed of. It is even harder when you are convinced in your mind that everyone that hears it will be ashamed of you.

It might be pride. This is really true for parents, preachers, elders, church leaders. We worry about loss of influence, about whether we will lose credibility as leaders.

Fear. Fear of rejection. Fear of hurting someone we love. Fear that no one will love us if they find out how bad we are.

Bad memories. Some have tried to confess sin before only to have it go badly. Condemnation, disgust, anger, lack of forgiveness. It may have happened to them, or they may have seen it happen to others.

Never thought they would get caught. I do think some people do not confess sin because they think it is over and no one will ever find out.

Because they are a multiple offender. Everyone forgave me once and here I am right back in sin. They will not forgive me again. Or again. Or again.

Next time I may explore how to help each other learn to confess sin.

till then... what are some other reasons we do not confess our sins to each other.

Friday, February 18, 2011


Mr. Deacon....

My cousin, Eppie Elmore, just resigned as a Deacon from the Winnsboro church of Christ after 35 years. Wow. I think that kind of service and dedication should be celebrated. Now I admit he is my cousin so I may be biased, but that is awesome. He is battling some health issues so cannot be as active as he wants so he is stepping down.

His wife Lou converted Eppie. And my Mom and Dad have been their spiritual role models so we have lots of connections. And I preached at their congregation when our kids were little and they were a great early influence in their life.

Eppie never wants the limelight, and he will think I shouldn't have written this. He and Lou just serve people. They have cooked, worked, evangelized, set up, drove vans, taken people to the hospital, and so much more than anyone will ever know.

And they still will. As long as they are able. Sometimes we wait until people have gone home before we celebrate them. I hope they have many more years. But this is fantastic.

So Eppie -- well done. 35 years of serving people and giving all the glory to God. You and Lou are two of my spiritual heros.

God, help me to be more like Eppie.

Monday, February 14, 2011


How old people celebrate Valentine's day...

Marsha and I have been married almost 38 years so we have spent a lot of Valentine weekends together. Here's what ours looked like this year. Saturday morning my son-in-law and I met over at Marsha's folks to do a couple of projects for them. Then I took Grandpa up to the farm and tackled some of the projects he can't get to any more. Got home in time to work in the yard on a couple of projects that don't get done when I'm preaching away most weekends.

Saturday night we kept Julie and Bobby's kids while they ate out with their small group from church. Ended up keeping the kids all night. Bobby had to take Julie to the emergency room with a horrific migrane (think she'll be OK. thanks God). I got to sleep on the floor with Jake --I probably thought that was fun too when I was 5, not so much at 59. Avery slept in my bed with Mimi.

Church Sunday morning involved lots of visiting, counseling, an annointing, and some praying. Of course, we were doing this in different orbits but it is what we enjoy. Decided to go to Jason's Deli for lunch. Saw 4 or 5 groups from Southern Hills so we got to do some more visiting and eldering.

Then it happened. We were eating -- her healthy sandwich and my loaded potatoe --when I looked up and saw her. I know this will sound wierd but even after all these years it still happens at those unexpected moments. She took my breath away. I realized again how really beautiful she is.

Maybe it's because she is such a great Mom and a Mimi. Maybe it's because I watch her with people and realize how good she is at being there and listening. Maybe it's because she loves me so much. But she still lights up the room for me. Still takes my breath away.

Now you're thinking ... what's next. Well... Sunday afternoon we cleaned the house because we hosted small group at our house. But tonight we'll finally celebrate Valentine's. As soon as she gets thru taking her Dad to the Doctor, checking on her Mom and helping with the grandkids after school. And as soon as I get back from running to the hospital to check on one of our neighbors.

And we'll sit down over cooked out steaks ... and I'll look up and she'll take my breath away and once again I'll thank God for her.

And that's a pretty good Valentine. For old folks. And maybe for young ones too.

Wednesday, February 09, 2011


Elders studying baptism

Our elders at Southern Hills are studying various topics together this year -- not with any agenda in mind but just because it is important for us to study Scripture both as an example to our flock and to be able to lead our flock. Our first topic was baptism and in our first session we primarily just looked at Scriptures dealing with baptism.

So let me share a few of my personal reflections after this study.

Baptism in Scripture is seen as the response to Jesus. It is variously seen as the way to die with him, to participate in the gospel, to believe in him, and to call on his name.

It is not so much a doctrine as it is a decision to follow Jesus. In Churches of Christ we have historically emphasized the fact that baptism is where sins are forgiven and the gift of the Holy Spirit is recieved (tho we did not give that near as much emphasis). While these facts are true, that emphasis does not adequately reflect how core baptism is in Scripture.

I am struck by how narrow our view of baptism has been when we reduced it to one of five steps that led to salvation. I am not sure at all that is a Biblical view.

Baptism is the response to Jesus. I just cannot see how even a casual reading of Scripture could lead anyone to think that one could become a follower of Jesus and not be baptized. You would never believe that based on a reading of Scripture.

The truest Biblical description of baptism is death. It is when we are crucified with Christ.

Those are my initial reflections. By the way, this month we are going to look at various ways these passages have been interpreted in our fellowship and by others. I suspect that will solidify some of the thoughts I have expressed here.

Feel free to react. I enjoy learning from you.

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