Minister's Study

Ministering, writing, and wrestling in a land flowing with sweet tea and deep-fried food

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

New births

Hoo, boy. I've been meaning to duck in here and post this for a while. During the revival while my sister was here, we had a number of young people attend services for the first time. The speaker was very good at drawing children and keeping their attention. Many of them made the decision to trust Christ as their Savior. Several of them continue to come out to the church, and we're continuing to do follow-up work, getting ready for baptisms, and talking to parents.

During the week, a young couple in the church also had their first child. (The father is the same young man who has decided he is being led to preach.) We'll be having a dedication for the baby this Sunday. The grandparents are just popping with pride. It's always neat to see new births of both sorts.

Friday, March 07, 2008

Sibling Solidarity

If solidarity refers to togetherness, we've got an unprecedented level of it here for a bit, I think.

One of my sisters has come down from Virginia to spend the next week with us. Of course, one of my brothers is here already, helping in the church. This means that three children from our family will be in the same place at the same time for more than a week. I can't even remember when the last time was that happened -- it's certainly been years, probably since I was in grad school and some of my siblings were in the undergrad program at the same school. Of course, we've still got a brother in Georgia, a brother in Mississippi, and a sister in Florida, but we'll take what we can get for now!

The occasion for my sister's visit is the combination of my daughter's birthday this weekend (my daughter positively adores both this brother and this sister of mine) and a revival at the church with Barry Webb. Brother Webb is known for his impressive puppetry when he works with the children, and my sister has done enough of the same that she hopes to pick up some ideas from him. Regardless of whether she learns to be a puppet master this week, though, I'm looking forward both to having her around and to the revival itself.

Tuesday, March 04, 2008

Answering the call

We're, of course, staying busy down here as the weather warms up. We finished up revival last week, I had a Sunday of my own preaching, and then we head back into revival with the Barry Webb family next week, Sunday through Friday.

On Sunday, though, a young man in the church announced that he was answering God's call to preach. He's got a tough row to hoe for a lot of reasons, but it's really neat to see a really transformed life stepping up to do something for God. Possibly more on him later.

Saturday, February 23, 2008

They let me out again. Two of them.

Certain old friends of mine might say that it's tempting fate for me to be involved in jail or prison ministry. But I did both yesterday, and they both let me out again!

Both sorts of ministry are a surprising blessing, though I'm sure it's helping quite a bit that I'm building on foundations already established with those ministries, with the help and guidance of men who are very experienced in them. I tend to do a lot of discipleship-related work at the jail, answering questions and dealing with concrete issues one-on-one, or in a small group of interested men. It's such a pleasure to deal with people who are listening because they want to, because they've seen the difference Bible truth can make in their life.

At the prison, it's more of a formal preaching service when I go (they have an informal Bible study on Saturday). I've only been out there twice, but it's so much fun going to prison, I wish I could do it more often! The men out there are again in that service, not because their mom expects them to show, or because they won't look good in the community if they're not part of a respected church -- they're present because they want to hear what you have to say. They read and study their Bibles on their own, and they're enthusiastic in the services. They seem genuinely pleased that I'm there, and it's a genuine pleasure to be there. Especially since I can leave when I'm done.

Strangely, I fell a greater freedom in preaching while I'm there than I often do in my own pulpit. It's a narrower audience, most dealing with the same issues in life, rather than the broad range I face on a Sunday morning. Many of these men are also able to receive and benefit from things much meatier and deeper than many who casually attend church on a Sunday morning. Sure, there's the spectators there too, there's the first-time visitors -- but the bulk of the group knows their Bible, knows the hard side of life, and they want something real from the Bible to take back to their lives.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Lots more of the same

I'm just poking my head in here to call out that we're okay. There's lots going on and little time to talk about it. We're still in the thick of missions month, and things are going pretty well. We've heard exciting reports from some missionaries and about terrific burdens from others. I'm still working on the details of a missions trip to Las Cruces, NM, to help an old friend with a church he's planting. We're seeing far more interest in that trip than even I expected, which is producing those good sorts of logistical challenges that I'm working to address this month while I'm not doing as much sermon preparation.

We had planned a baptismal service for this past Sunday evening -- some seven people had made professions of faith and expressed an interest in baptism. But by the time the service came about, none of them worked out -- one wound up with a longer jail sentence than expected (he was converted from Islam while in jail), a few we decided didn't have a firm enough grasp on what we were doing and why, and the remaining pair's family wasn't all going to be able to make it, so we postponed the baptism. I'm guessing we'll do it piecemeal with the group, as each is able. Of course, hopefully we'll continue to add more to that number.

Tomorrow night, we have an old aquaintance of mine here to speak to us -- missionary David Gates, planning to go to Egypt. Sunday, we'll kick off a 4-day revival with Darrel Hayes to wrap up our missions conference.

Tuesday, February 05, 2008

So much happening, I don't write anything

That's the annoying thing about blogging, you know -- when there's things going on, there's no time to write about them! By the time the excitement has died down enough to get a post in edgewise, the news all feels dated, and a new wave of events is bearing down on us.

The last few weeks have certainly been eventful, though not with anything really life-transforming, I suppose. We've had one of our buses break down and get repaired. Two bus workers have been attacked by a dog (same dog, different places -- the animal control folk said they had taken care of the dog, but apparently it had refused to fall for their trap, so they left it to bite again). We have finally purchased a church van (much needed! The old one broke down for good in the last few weeks as well). My NY Giants won the Super Bowl, in an upset that would have been virtually unthinkable just a few weeks ago, and still is incomprehensible to many. I've had lots of neat political thoughts and some spiritual ones as well. We're planning a missions trip to Las Cruces, NM. And I've got no time to write about any of it -- in fact, I've got to go now, too!

Sunday, January 20, 2008

We're in

Last Saturday, with the help of a caravan of massive manly pickups manned by manly men from the church, we got moved into the new place. Everything there is functional now, though some of it needs some work. There's lots of boxes to be unpacked, lots of cosmetic work to be done on the place, and loads of projects to be completed. But we're in the first house we've ever owned even a part of.

Sadly, we can't get the cable internet out there that we've had for years. This probably means the loss of the Vonage phone line too. I hate to return to the dark ages of paying for a land-line phone and dial-up internet, but we may have to go that route if I can't get DSL. Another possibility is satellite, but it's still expensive, and it's not as reliable (which can be a problem if we're relying on that for phone service too).

So until I get things squared away there, we're using the church's computer for internet, and wrestling with the unpacking of boxes at home. Fortunately, the new place is much larger than the old, so there's mostly places to put things (though my wife still proclaims the need for more shelving and such, in order to organize all these things). The place daily looks more like a residence and less like a warehouse, though.

eXTReMe Tracker