Thursday, November 26, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving!

As I sit on my comfy couch watching the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade, my heart is overflowing with gratitude to my Heavenly Father for His blessings. The inevitable question will most likely come your way today from some distant relative, "So what are you thankful for?" That question always seems to come my way when I am elbow deep into some turkey and dressing. I figured I might go ahead and answer the question in blog form so that I will not have to keep my mouth from the more important duties it has today.

A Few Things Tiger Is Thankful For:

  • God who created me and loved me enough to send His Son, Jesus, to redeem me
  • A gorgeous, talented, God-fearing, loving wife and mother to my daughter
  • A beautiful, healthy daughter
  • Parents that love me and raised me right
  • A sister who, I remain convinced, hung the moon, and her amazing family
  • A mother-in-law (downstairs) with whom I have a great relationship
  • An unbelievable, loving extended family of aunts, uncles, cousins, etc. 
  • MANY great friends
  • A fantastic church family
  • An amazing job with a marvelous staff (ISBC AND WCQR)
  • Wonderful students to disciple and do ministry with
  • Great adults who help make it happen
  • A warm, dry house
  • More than sufficient clothing
  • Vehicles that easily remain operable
  • Plentiful, good food
  • I am thankful for Kingsport, THE best place to be raised and to live!
  • Believe it or not, I am thankful for clean water that flows right into my house
  • The men and women who make up our armed forces and who have always stood in the gap protecting the freedoms that we all enjoy.
If you care enough to read these meanderings, I am thankful for you too. I pray God's blessings on you and your family.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Another Tiger's Tried and True: Eggnog

This one goes out to all eggnog lovers! If you are a hater, turn back now.
It is finally eggnog season. I love nuzzling a good nog! While I must limit my intake in my present state of health consciousness (Bwahahahaha), I still splurge on occasion. So if you like the nog, here we go. If you find yourself in or around Knoxville, TN or know someone who is traveling to and from there, make tracks to one of the many Weigel’s convenience stores. Their store brand eggnog is the best store-bought eggnog I have ever tried. My mom, as usual, makes some good stuff when I can get her to, but Weigel’s is fantastic.
You Weight Watcher’s folks be prepared to pony up a few exchanges for it, but it is definitely “Tiger Tried” and “Tiger Approved!”

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

The Power of Disciple-making Made Manifest

Okay, so that was a pretty grandiose title for a post that will not be great in length, but makes up for it in gravitas.

Nearly five months ago, God gave me a vision for tweaking our Wednesday night program known as RE:generation. After much prayer and vision casting, I began to seek out students to be a part of this process. For the past three months, I targeted a group of students to form a disciple team. This team of students, varying in age from 13 to 18, meets with me regularly for prayer and training. Exactly one week ago, they led their first small group discussions during RE:generation.

This past Sunday, I met with them to prepare for tonight’s session. It was vital that we meet then because later Sunday afternoon I headed to Jackson, TN for the Tennessee Baptist Convention and was not going to be able to be at RE:generation tonight.  Even though I left the main teaching session in the capable hands of one of my adult volunteers (many thanks, Mr. Bill), the bulk of the substantive discussion would be in the hands of my disciple team.

At the time things were getting started at RE:generation tonight, I was breezing through Cookeville and decided to try to call in and check on things. Paige “just happened” to be there and she put me on speaker phone at a microphone and I was able to address all my kids. I reminded them I loved them and had been praying for them and that I was excited that they were getting ready to get started without me.  When I hung up I went to the the throne, even as I was bearing down on Crossville, and prayed.

After a pit stop at a west Knoxville Starbucks for a grande skinny café mocha and a trickle of petrol (in the car, not the coffee), the texts started hitting my phone. A young man named Bobby, whose first visit was just last week, had prayed to receive Christ with one of my students.

Here is the moral of the story. For the minister, ministry volunteer, teacher and anyone else striving to be obedient to the command and commission of our Lord— I am about to free you up! It is not about you.  It is all about Jesus. It is about letting Him be all that he can be in your life and in the lives of others. Let go of the thought or the felt-need that you have to be the one that makes things happen. Create opportunities to invest in others so that they may be prepared to make a Kingdom impact.  Make disciples! I have had the honor of being present when God knocked on the heart of hundreds of people and the feeling from that is overwhelming indeed. But when you get word that someone you have discipled has shared the Gospel and has seen another come to know Jesus as their Lord and Savior, well... let me just say that I could have saved money on the coffee because I was higher than caffeine would ever take me.

Blessed be the name of the Lord!

“Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to men by which we must be saved." Acts 4:12

Posted via email from Tiger's (Pre)Posterous Ponderings

Thursday, November 5, 2009

What's In A Name?

I have debated whether or not to write this blog post for two weeks. I guess you can figure out which side I finally came down on. Two weeks ago the annual meeting of the Sullivan Baptist Association (SBA) was held at First Baptist Church in Kingsport. For the most part the meeting was very good, albeit, wholly uneventful. Then came the time for new business.  A long time pastor of one of our associational churches rose to present a motion for consideration.

At this point, allow me to interject some information that will make this more understandable. Over the past few years, a number of our churches have either split and/or started a new work at a different location. Several of the new churches sought affiliation with the association even though they did not "overtly" identify themselves as Baptist churches by having "Baptist" in their name. They were led, for the most part, by men who had been trained at Baptist seminaries and who had been raised in Baptist churches. Theologically and ecclesiologically the churches were Southern Baptist. Perhaps you have already guessed where this is going.

Among the uneventful business dealings handled earlier in the meeting was voting to accept two more churches "under watch care" of the SBA.  "Watch care" is like a probation period which will be followed by full, voting membership if all progresses well. Neither of these churches identify themselves as "Baptist" churches in their names.  Which brings us to the motion that is now on the floor (along with my jaw.)

In short, the motion was to amend the constitution of the SBA to require that all churches desiring membership in the SBA identify themselves as Southern Baptist in their corporate documents and have "Baptist" in their name.  This motion was seconded by several and was endorsed by people I love and respect.  However, I am absolutely opposed to this action.

For those of you of who require a bit of a church primer on Baptist denominations, here we go. There are all kinds of "Baptist" churches- Freewill, Primitive, Regular, and Independent just to name a few. There are wide and varied differences in Baptist churches with respect to beliefs and church polity. I am a member of a Southern Baptist church, the largest protestant denomination in the United States with somewhere around 16 million members.  One of the cornerstones of the Southern Baptist church is the recognition of the autonomy of the local church.  You see, our churches agree to associate with one another and with the Southern Baptist Convention, but when it comes right down to it, the local church is an autonomous body that is not beholden to any outside entity. Another pillar of Southern Baptist belief is the "priesthood of the believer." Basically, that means each person has full and complete access to God and does not require an intercessor or priest (ecclesiastical hierarchy like pope, bishops, etc.) In short, my church can't tell you or your church what to do and vice versa.

The Southern Baptist Church (SBC), by virtue of its size and power, does not go unnoticed. Many will remember the boycott of Disney, the highly public disagreements between the conservative, moderate and liberal factions of the denomination and a few "fires" that blew up after things were taken out of context. In other words, when the stink rises in the SBC, the media pounces like a hungry preacher on a chicken leg.  The thing that is lost in all the verbosity is the fact that, in my humble opinion, the SBC does a very good job of reaching a lost world with the Gospel of Jesus Christ. We do missions WELL. There is a lot we do WELL, but listening to the national media would not give you that opinion.  For this reason, many Baptist churches have dropped the use of the Baptist name. You would be surprised to know that many churches that appear to be "nondenominational" are really just churches that don't want to confuse people with names. They don't want to turn people away before they get in the door.  After all, its not about the name on the door as much as it is THE NAME that is written on our heart, Jesus Christ.

I am a proud Southern Baptist. I was raised in an SBC church and after much schooling, prayer and spiritual discernment, I have stayed an "SBCer."  Why? Because I believe we have an effective plan and it allows me to live out my faith in Christ in the way that most closely resembles what I read in my Bible. I don't mean this as an indictment of any other denomination, this is merely how I see it.  With all of that said, it is unconscionable for me to think of requiring another church to hang "Baptist" on their sign before I will "come out to play" with them.

The representatives of the aforementioned churches who were accepted under watch care of the association were in attendance listening to my "brothers" talk about how these people in these "no-Baptist-in-the-name churches" were "scared" to identify themselves as Baptists. How ironic. If they were scared, they would not have come with hat in hand wanting to be a part of our association so that "TOGETHER" we might be able to make a larger impact for the Kingdom. I never cease to be amazed at how easily we take our eyes off of the goal and slide into derision and conflict.

The SBC has a document called the "Baptist Faith and Message."  This document spells out the basic tenets of orthodox Southern Baptist belief. While I don't believe in any creed other than the Holy Bible, any church that accepts the basic beliefs as spelled out in the BF&M is a church I can hang with. I don't care if they meet in a polka dotted skating rink or have "Bubba" in the church name. Quite frankly, I was embarrassed that our friends from these "unorthodox" churches had to hear what went on.

Now back to the meeting. After nearly on hour of back and forth, pros and cons, the motion carried by 3% of the vote. Fortunately, all that means is that it goes to the constitution committee for review and inclusion in the vote in next year's meeting. There it will have to get a 2/3 majority to pass. Come to think of it, that is another (unwritten) pillar of the SBC--- THE COMMITTEE. We have nothing to worry about. One thing is for sure, committees can kill anything!

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Small Victory For Those Who Oppose Planned Parenthood

The video below details why a director of a Planned Parenthood resigned. Pay particular attention to the quote from Planned Parenthood regarding the declining revenue due to economic conditions and the need to "get more abortions in the door."

Praise the Lord that He still transforms (and saves) lives.