The Tenacity Test

It took Noah years, even decades,  to build the ark before the flood (we don’t know the exact timeline, but it was LONG!).   Preparing for what God has called us to do sometimes takes longer than anyone of us ever imagined.   During preparation, we need the tenacity that Noah demonstrated.  The “Tenacity Test” is Day #3 of The Next Level.   Tenacity is also recognized in the Bible with words like faithful, steadfast, firm or fixed.   When it comes to the spiritual journey, these characteristics are necessary.

There is a passage in the book of James that talks about the return of the Lord.  However, I pray this Scripture on a regular basis over my ministry and the church.  It kind of have a second meaning for me, especially when it comes to the tenacity I need to hold on to God’s dream for me:

“Be patient, then, brothers until the Lord’s coming.  See how the farmer waits for the land to yield its valuable crop and how patient he is for the autumn and spring rains.  You, too, be patient and stand firm, because the Lord’s coming is nea
r.”
– James 5:7-8

To hear more from Scott Wilson’s video blog, click here.

The Comparison Test

“Comparison Kills.”   This is one of the most profound statements of this chapter.  In Cain and Abel’s story, this is literally true.

Today is Day #2 (Monday, May 10) 0f our reading of The Next Level.  Today we look at “The Comparison Test (Cain and Abel).”

Let me tell you a secret about pastors:  we really struggle with this test.  Most pastors have a huge temptation to compare themselves to their colleagues.   This isn’t helpful, and it’s not the will of God.

You may have heard this phrase from someone else, but my pastor John McKinzie often reminds me, “Don’t compare what you know about yourself, with what you don’t know about somebody else.”   Comparison is so deceiving, yet we are lured by it’s whispers over and over.

When comparison rules our lives, we get joy from the wrong places: by beating others at the game instead of experiencing the pure delight of celebrating other’s accomplishments (p. 31).”

When we resist the urge to compare, than we are free to compliment.   In my life, I feel like I pass this test most of the time.  However, I must always examine my heart, because the danger of comparison will seep into my heart at any moment.

To hear more from Scott, the author of “The Next Level”, click here

The Next Level: Day #1 – The Ownership Test (Adam & Eve)

God owns it all!  When will we realize this?   Today (Sunday, May 9), we start reading through “The Next Level” by Scott Wilson.  This book has 31 short, but powerful readings that will give you God’s perspective about your tests.   Each day over the next 31 days, I intend to post my thoughts on the daily reading.  If you haven’t picked up a book yet, call the church (615-826-6222) and you can figure out a time to purchase one at the office before Wednesday’s service.

The concept of personal ownership for the average person is a fairly new concept in human history.  Ownership was only for the elite few for most of humanity’s history.  We are blessed in western culture to own much of our lives (home, property, vehicles, intellectual properties).  The problem with this as Christians is we forget that God still owns it all.

Sometimes I feel like Scott’s little brother in McDonald’s (I loved this story on p. 23-24).   I am holding onto my sole french fry, not remembering that God has the power to buy me as many bag of fries or none at all for the rest of my life.   It really is about perspective.   I must live as He is God, and I am not.

To hear more from Scott Wilson’s video blog, click here.

CIL Flood Response – Wednesday Update

I have received a lot of inquiries about Charles and Ann Watson, and it is obvious they are well loved by our congregation.  Here are some details about their situation:

– They are staying with Charles’ father in Madison (food is not an issue right now).
– Thought they have still not returned to their home, neighbors estimate up to 2 feet of water was in the home.
– They are waiting for the insurance adjustor to view the damage before clean up.  They are aware this may not always be necessary, but it is their desire to wait on clean up until the adjustor has viewed the damage.  We have an insurance adjustor from the church advising them.
– They only got a few clothing items, so they are hoping their clothes are still usable.
– As soon as I know the plan to physically help them, I will let you know.

As I looked for damage on Tuesday morning, I missed a very important street by our church – Southburn Drive.  This street was devastated by the flood.    It is located very close to Whitten Elementary School where two of my children attend, and it is the closest elementary school to our church.

By the time I discovered the street Tuesday afternoon, an army of volunteers had converged upon this very long street along the creek.   Mary Jackson (CIL attender) had initiated the Whitten PTO board in service, and Principal Adam Cripps of Whitten led his staff in the relief effort.  Principal Kenny Powell (CIL member) of Knox Doss Drakes Creek Middle School had some of his staff cleaning also.   I was amazed and the love and care of these parents and educators.

This morning, I met with Mr. Cripps and other PTO leaders at Whitten Elementary to strategize on how we can work together to help these victims on Southburn Dr. long-term.   I’ll be giving you more details as the needs become apparent and a plan is established.

Operation Blessing has some pre-prepared meals set aside for CIL to distribute to the flood victims in Hendersonville. If someone wants to volunteer to pick those meal up in a truck or cargo vehicle they have at the Living to Go Church in Rivergate tomorrow, please let me know.
Please know that any donations you make to the church that is designated for “Flood Relief” will go to help people in our church and nearby community.   We will take an offering for this cause on Sunday, or you can designate your gift in tonight’s offering.

I hope to see you at church tonight, as we have a great service scheduled!

Flood 2010 Report from CIL

The church staff and pastors are still trying to accumulate data on the effects of the floods on our church family.   Please call us at 615-826-6222 if we are not aware of your situation.   The church property sustained no damage.

Here is a summary of some of what I discovered:

–  As of Tuesday, the only major loss we have discovered happened to Charles and Ann Watson, who have lost both of their vehicles, and are not able to return to their home in Old Hickory until the water recedes.   According to Charles, he anticipates that up to a foot of water may have accumulated in their home.   Many others in the church have sustained less invasive water damage.  We will be sending a team to help the Watsons.  Please let me know if you want to help with that.

Hendersonville (picture or Hwy 386 & Center Point Road)

I drove the streets surrounding our church this morning, and did not see any active relief work taking place with our immediate neighbors.

I spoke with David Jenkins (First Assembly Hendersonville), president of the Hendersonville Community Pastors Association.   He met with the mayor this morning who reported:

40 to 50 homes under water in Hendersonville.

– Numerous homes with major water damage.

– Drakes Creek & Memorial Park have major damage, as they are in flood plains.  The city is targeting May 15th as a community clean up day in the parks.   We’ll keep you informed on how we can help in that effort.

–  A Red Cross shelter has been set up at First Baptist Church Hendersonville.   Most of those arriving are from other parts of the region, as most Sumner County residents seem to have found their own arrangements.

–  So far, there is no loss of life known about in Sumner County.

Gallatin

I spoke Steve Oldham (First Nazarene Gallatin) who is an officer with the Gallatin Ministerial Alliance.  Their church had sustained flood damage that had consumed his efforts.  There had been a shelter at the Gallatin Civic Center, but he was not sure of the status now.  I am waiting for return call from other sources of information in Gallatin.

Goodlettsville

The Convoy of Hope are setting up at Living To Go Church in the Rivergate area.   They are making evaluations today and have started a feeding program.  They expect the bulk of the feeding efforts to occur in coming days.

The Operation Blessing truck will be arriving at Living To Go tomorrow.   Volunteers will be needed tomorrow (Wednesday), but times are not available until we know when the truck arrives.  If you are available tomorrow morning to unload the truck, let me know, and I can contact you at the “last minute” to participate.

We are communicating with other churches and ministries to play our role in the immediate and long-term needs.