Tuesday, January 25, 2011

The War On Respect . . .

Today as I sit up on Limestone Ridge it is raining and has been all morning long. It has been light and kind of steady. Growing up I can remember loving to stay with my grandmother and hearing the rain hit the tin roof as we drifted off to sleep at night. The RV is similar but not the same. Outside my window are eleven does feeding around and squirrels all over the place. It would seem most of their time is spent in play today as they continuously chase each other up and down trees and all over the hillside. Where do you go for a vacation when you live in a place like this?! We are truly blessed.

This morning’s study was on meditating and I have been doing some of that today along with a little wandering as well – with my thoughts that is. There is a meeting tomorrow that may have an effect on the direction of our ministry in the near future…we will see. Later this week there is a conference (Alabama Religious Educators Association) I will be attending with a friend of mine in the ministry and who will be coming on the board this year. You have heard the expression before that someone is “on top of their game”? Well he certainly is. My intention is to spend our time riding down and back getting to know him better.

There is a possibility that the hard economic times may be affecting my family in the near future and I don’t feel as prepared as I should be, which may lead to some hard decisions. If the house was sold it would sure help matters. Denise picks up her special ankle brace today and the special drugs I ordered came in as well. Hopefully this will help her ankle and we can avoid ankle fusion surgery and starting this whole recovery process all over again.

Yesterday I posted a quote on facebook from my study concerning respect and what God had put on my heart about this subject. This is one of those things where the world teaches us one thing but scripture teaches something else and the war within ourselves takes place. Like many others I was taught that respect is earned and it can be lost. We were taught to respect our elders, our teachers and the law enforcement officers. There was a certain amount of respect given to everyone. Now if someone was dishonest very often they began to lose our respect. If people were mean to us or did not show us respect, we began to hold back ours toward them as well. This has just about become the normal attitude nowadays. As a believer we are called to a higher standard and this is one of those areas where it sometimes becomes difficult.

Can you respect someone you don’t agree with or even like? The answer is yes; we can certainly show them respect. What makes a person respectable or easy to respect? Well let’s look at Respect’s two cousins named Dependability and Consistency. I can give my respect to someone who has a belief or characteristic about themselves, even if I don’t agree with, if they are consistent. Let me use an example from the workplace. Let’s say that you have someone who is always lazy and does the minimum in their job and really has to be made to conform to the rules. Somehow, sometime down the road, this person gets promoted and they become a stickler for the rules or maybe even become a slave driver. Get the picture here? Or say management tries to enforce rules that don’t apply to themselves. Now if someone has always been a hard worker or go-getter and then gets promoted why would anyone expect this character trait to not still be present? No doubt about it Consistency is related to Respect and he has other relatives as well which we won’t get into until another day. What about Dependability? If this younger cousin fails to show up enough times he will not only become lost but people will stop looking for him. You may hear statements like “can’t count on him,” or “they are never on time”. This is a shame too, because it is so easy to have Dependability move in with you and stay. I once read that a person who is always late is subconsciously saying, “My time is more important than yours.” It’s all a matter of Will, who by the way is a dominator and is constantly trying to be king of our life.

De-programming, or changing our thoughts and lifelong behaviors, takes much effort. When we can give our respect to those who have not earned it or we feel do not deserve it we are pleasing the Lord. We are called to be a different people, one set apart, and this is an area where we need all the help we can get sometimes. The Lord has sent us a helper for situations such as these, called the Holy Spirit. When we give our respect to those folks, it has the possibility of opening a door someday to share the reason why we follow a different drummer. I go back in my mind to Luke 6:32-33, which covers so many things, “If you love only those who love you, what credit is that to you? Even sinners love those who love them. If you do good to only those who do good to you what credit is that to you, for even sinners do the same.”

Sunday, January 23, 2011

The Beginning....

When pondering over a title for this blog it did not take very long to come up with "The Quiet Place". We are living in our RV fulltime up at Camp MACOBA now and during the winter months it is definitely a quiet place...well if you don't count the critters of course.

Currently I have two other blogs (
Restoring the Church Ministries and Camp MACOBA) which I will continue but I want to try and do this one at least weekly, maybe even more frequently. I am kind of thinking a good time would be on Sunday afternoons...we will see. This one may include some of the things I talk about on the other ones but will have much more personal thoughts and observations.

This winter has been an unusual one here in North Alabama with the ground being wet from either snow or rain almost every day since Christmas. This has delayed some outside projects I had planned up at the camp. The New Year looks to be our busiest one yet as many things are on the horizon. It seems that God is bringing the three areas of ministry I am involved in together and hopefully I will be able to see how these three pieces of the puzzle all fit together to honor Him in a mighty way. He knows what He is doing I pray for the wisdom to see it as well. The pieces I am referring to are Restoring The Church Ministries, Camp MACOBA Hosts, the North American Mission Board and the Madison Baptist Association where I am serving currently as the Associational Sunday School Director.

The first piece is Restoring The Church Ministries. This month we begin our fourth year and our mission is becoming clearer all the time. Simply put, "we help churches." Out target group is typically those who run 150 or less in attendance, which is pretty much most of them. I say typically because we certainly try to follow the Lord's leading in all we do and if He leads us to a larger church we would go. Now while we are open and certainly will be glad to offer the type of help other ministries out there offer, conferences, counseling, marriage seminars, Leadership Training, and those type of things, we feel success best occurs when we can come and be part of the church we are assisting. In one church we spent a year with them where I served as Minister of Education/Associate. During that time we started two new Sunday School classes, led a $70,000. 00 Children/Preschool area renovation project, (which came in under budget), installed and successfully updated a church record keeping system, and assisted in raising up two leaders in the church and another in training (which was the Pastor's main purpose for us being there). In another church I served as administrator and aided the Pastor in leading the church to go to dual Sunday Schools...efforts the two previous times in the past had failed. While our ministry is tailor-made to the church's greatest need, my background and heart is in Education/Sunday School.

The second piece is
Camp MACOBA Hosts. A little over a year ago we entered into a mutually beneficial agreement with the Madison Baptist Association to serve as Camp Hosts. Church Camps are going out of business every year all over the country and the same thing almost happened here a few years ago. A group of dedicated men, many which are now on the Camp Committee, came forward at the annual meeting when the camp was being considered to be sold and said they could not stand to see that happen and mobilized much time and effort to clean the place up. We too fell in love with the camp our first time up here and have given our time and money to help move it in a positive direction. The economy is down and we have sought out other ways to help raise money and have formed some partnerships over the past year. The MBA Office tells us that in 2010 more people used the camp than any year they can remember. We have many ideas, which all take money, but are confident that God wants to use this place in a mighty way in the future and we'll feel honored if we can even be a small part of this.

Piece three is the
North American Mission Board. Last year we went through the long process of applying to be missionaries through the NAMB. Late in the fall we were notified that we had been approved! We will be serving in this area at least until I retire from the Fire department in about three years and then who knows. There are two type of missionaries that come under the NAMB one that receives funding and one that does not which is called Mission Service Corps (which is what we are). At some point I will have to look into the ins and outs of this issue but if you know someone out there who wants to adopt some missionaries.... :)

Finally the last piece is with
MBA as Associational Sunday School Director. I am so honored to serve on the Leadership team in this area. I have scheduled several conferences for the Association this year along with our annual Sunday School Banquet. My goal is to really focus on serving in this area in 2011. My wife Denise serves selflessly as well. She led the women's ministry just a few years ago in a church with 600+ in attendance.

We are expecting our second grandchild in March (first for my daughter). My daughter and her husband are currently serving in a new church start which is exciting. My son is on staff at Flint River, where he takes care of any publications and graphics, and his wife joins him in serving in the youth ministry. How could a man be more blessed than knowing his whole family is serving the Lord!

One project within the ministry is a book I am working on. The goal is to interview 100 Pastors and use this information to help others who are new or considering coming into the ministry. So far I have met with ten and already learned a lot. Criteria is that the Pastor has to have been in the ministry at least 15 years. A couple of questions in the interview involve what they did not learn at Seminary that would have been helpful to know and ways they have dealt with crisis.