Saturday, July 26, 2008


rel-e-vant adj. related to matters at hand.

The word "relevant" gets tossed around a lot in today's churches, and it often gets assigned to things in a misleading manner. All things "new" are not necessarily relevant; and all "old" things/ways are not necessarily useless.

Bottom Line: The Word of the Living God is relevant.

The Gospel message of Jesus providing true salvation is relevant.

All of the rest is preferences and packaging. I believe very strongly that we have to reach people where they are. God desires (demands) our praise, and He is looking at our hearts. I really do not think for one second that God discounts our praise because there may be drums and guitars, for crying out loud! I love today's music. I love "loud"! Again, God looks at the heart of the worshipper.

While I love rock and metal, I also love old hymns. I bought Selah's "Greatest Hymns" album this week, and wept...wept as I listened to these beautiful songs. By the way, if you have the Family Perks punch card at Family Christian, you can purchase the cd at the Cary location for $5!

I think some churches are afraid of letting go of their pipe organs and hymnals because it's what they have "always done". Do we do what we do in church because it is what we like? Are we doing what we do for the Lord and to reach those who are far from Him? I also think some churches run away from singing hymns because they think that the hymns are no longer "relevant".

That is a mistake.

My favorite all-time hymn is "It Is Well With My Soul", written by Horatio Spafford. This dude experienced some tragedy in his life. Look it up.

Get these words:

"When peace, like a river, attendeth my way, When sorrows like sea billows roll; Whatever my lot, thou hast taught me to say, It is well, it is well with my soul.

Though Satan should buffet, tho trials should come, Let this blest assurance control, That Christ has regarded my helpless estate, And hath shed his own blood for my soul.

My sin -oh, the bliss of this glorious thought: My sin not in part, but the whole Is nailed to the cross and I bear it no more, Praise the Lord, praise the Lord, O my soul!

And, Lord, haste the day when the faith shall be sight, The clouds be rolled back as a scroll, The trump shall resound and the Lord shall descend, Even so, it is well with my soul."

Wanna talk about relevant words and relevant worship?

Monday, July 14, 2008

Out Of The Park

I am really not a big baseball fan at all. I enjoy going to a ballpark and experiencing a game live, but I really do not like watching it on tv. However, I did tune it to "The Home Run Derby" tonight to watch Josh Hamilton. What a story. Josh's in-laws attend Hope, and Josh and his wife were part of our services not too long ago.
Josh was the #1 MLB draft pick out of high school, but quickly became heavily involved with drugs. He was away from baseball for three years, but is back stronger than ever now with The Texas Rangers. At the All-Star break, Josh leads MLB in RBI's. He credits everything to God. Everything!
Josh didn't win the derby tonight, but he did break the record for the most HR's hit in one round. Hamilton hit 28 home runs in the first round alone! He hit so many that he automatically advanced to the final round. The announcers were talking about his he "had the cocaine habit, found God, and had a dream. Now he's here in Yankee Stadium living that dream. It's a lousy night to be an atheist!" Wow! You won't here a commentator say that a lot, but it's hard to avoid that with Josh's life story.
When Josh lost in the final round to Justin Morneau, ESPN interviewed him afterwards. Josh said, "I thank my Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ for this opportunity, and I want to glorify Him everywhere I go."
That's a home run.

Thursday, July 10, 2008


I went out to Historic Oakwood Cemetery today in Raleigh where Beth is buried. It really is a beautiful place, and I still take flowers out there for Beth's grave. It is some small way that I feel I can honor her and remember her...although I don't need flowers for that. I think of Beth literally EVERY day of my life, and I miss her so much. I do not believe that I could really ever express truly what a void her death has left in my life to this day. I am so thankful that God daily...daily provides His love, grace, patience, and peace for me in my life.

A lot of well-known people are buried at Oakwood: Coach Jim Valvano from NC State's 1983 National Championship basketball team, numerous governors of North Carolina, business leaders, etc. Wade Edwards, the son of Senator John Edwards and his wife, Elizabeth, is also buried near Beth.

This past Tuesday, Senator Jesse Helms was buried there. I never was a fan of Helms. Surprise! There has been enough said and written about Helms and his legacy that I don't need to add to it. Before all of this "growth and maturity" happened in my life, I would have loved to have had a forum like this to be able to spout off.
The point is that there are a lot of "notables" buried at Oakwood; but none more notable than Elizabeth Knight Williams. She may not have written laws, governed a state, or played basketball, but she lived a full life of love, honesty, integrity, faithfulness, compassion, fairness, and passion. She is one of the many life stories represented there, and oh how I would love to have known them all.

Monday, July 7, 2008


There's this routine that Colby, Cosmo, Marley, and I have. They have trained me so well, and I love to spoil them; so works out for everybody. When I go to the grocery store, I always get them a little something for a treat. I call it a "special" and boy, have they learned that word!

They always greet me at the front door when I come home, but they are also looking for the bag from the store to see if they are about to get "specials". That look of expectancy melts my heart every time. They don't get the "specials" every day, but they anticiapte that they may get something at any time. Plus, no matter how many "specials" they get in a week...well, it still is "special".

I am striving for that expectancy in my walk with God. "What do you have for me today, Father?" He so wants to reveal so many SPECIAL things to us. Am I waiting "at the door" or am I "asleep" on the sofa missing the whole shebang?

Colby always finishes his "special" first and then sets his sights on getting Marley's. Colby will finish and go to the door as if he was letting me know he needed to go use the "facilities". When I open the door, Marley runs outside and Colby ducks back in to grab Marley's "special" and take it upstairs. Marley falls for it every time. He will figure it out one day.

Nothing God-related really in that detour! It's just kind of amusing to watch it play out the same way each time.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

"Moore" Conviction

Preferences can sure get in the way of hearing from God sometimes. Because we are all unique, we "prefer" certain things a certain way. We like the music we like for a reason. We like the preachers we like fill in the blank. I'm the same way.

However, when we limit our intake to the point of religious snobbery, we effectively limit God and His revelation in our lives. Now I don't think we need to run off in the other direction and just "consume" every single thing that's out there with a "spiritual" label on it. God wants us to be discerning, but we must be able to strip away our preferences.

I have always considered myself to be exceptionally open-minded, but I have had my eyes opened lately in some areas. I listen to a lot of sermons (podcasts, cds,tv) every week. I have my favorite preachers, and I discovered (God pointed it out) that I flock to my favorites and dismiss anybody else.

Limiting God.

Each Wednesday on "Life Today" with James and Betty Robison, Beth Moore teaches. I know a lot of people LOVE Beth Moore, but I have never been a "fan". (Isn't it a shame that "fan" is the most appropriate word I could think of to describe it? Ouch!)

I watch Joyce Meyer every day, and "Life Today" comes on right before Joyce. So, I have been listening to Beth Moore for the past several Wednesdays, and God has used her to smack me in the face lately. She spoke on forgiveness today:

"We break the heart of Jesus when we do not belive what He did! We are forgiven! We mope around and dwell in the sins for which He has already forgiven us. We call it humility. Jesus does not call it humility. He calls it unbelief!"

Come on somebody! (shout out to Pastor Matt!)

I am venturing down a risky path when I limit God and limit the ones He wants to use to reach me and the people of this hurting world. We like what we like, but I don't want to miss out on anything that God has for me!

Beth Moore rocks!