Ten Reasons this was a good weekend

1.  The Men’s Fellowship Breakfast was a great success!  About 30 guys came to a 7:00 a.m. Saturday meeting.
2.  My daughter Abbey sang at the Merrol Hyde Talent Show.  She was incredible!  Quite a talent at age 10!
3.  My mother-in-law Peggy visited from eastern Kentucky.  Unlike cultural stereo-types, I love spending time with my mother-in-law.
4.  Sandeep, a friend of mine who converted from Hinduism to Christianity, was baptized Sunday morning.
5.  Six people were baptized on Sunday
6.  The energy in our services were high.  Lots of new faces and lots of enthusiasm.
7. Being at my 242 Group was like hanging out with a bunch of close friends.  So fun!  So inspiring.
8. The “Italian” theme for food at 242 was delicious.  In two weeks we will have Irish food to commemorate St. Patrick’s Day.  Suggestions for Irish food?
9. Both Vanderbilt and Kentucky got wins on Saturday.
10.  The temperature hit 70 degrees.

Pastor’s Roundtable a Success

It was a rich couple of days of teaching with Pastor John McKinzie.

Wednesday night, John taught on the “Cycle of a American Church-Goer.”   In this teaching, he identified a negative cycle that Christian get into when we keep changing church for arbitrary reasons.

Today, John taught pastors around the area for the Pastor’s Roundtable.   It was so good to see my fellow pastors gather to network and learn.  There are some great pastors in our area, and I was inspired and honored to be with them.

 

I was so proud of the volunteers from CIL who served the refreshments and lunch to the pastors who attended the Pastor’s Roundtable .   It was great to see the “servant’s heart” in the volunteer from CIL.

We will do another Pastor’s Roundtable on Thursday, March 24 featuring Kent Henry from 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.   We’re encouraging pastors to bring their worship leaders with them for this gathering.

Kent will also be minstering at CIL for our regularly scheduled Wednesday night service (March 24th) and a specially called worship night on Thursday (March 24th).

John McKinzie at CIL Tonight

My long-time mentor and best friend John McKinzie is in town, and he’ll be speaking at tonight’s service at CIL.  John and I have been great friends for 24 years, and he currently serves as an Overseer for CIL.   If you don’t usually attend Wednesday night service, make a special effort to attend tonight.

On Thursday, we have pastors from around the area coming to CIL for a Pastor’s Roundtable.   John McKinzie will be sharing and we will have plenty of time for Q&A and discussion.  The purpose of this gathering is to let pastors network and encourage one another.   I know a lot of ministers look forward to attending this, so I am really happy are church is providing this ministry.

I was very proud of our Compassion Ministries for their work with the homeless last night.  We support monthly The Bridge Ministry, which is lead by Kent and Candy Christmas.  I have preached several times for this ministry.   I am so glad that our Compassion Team was able to put some volunteer hours behind this great ministry.  Thank you Pastor Kim Driver for your leadership on this!

 

Don’t Delay Being Baptized in Water

This picture is when I baptized Lincoln, my 7 year old son last year.

One of the most powerful statements about water baptism, is when Jesus had his water baptism, and He revealed to John that water baptism was necessary to “fulfill all righteousness (Mt. 3:15).”  This doesn’t mean water baptism saves us, but if we refuse to be baptized in water their is something incomplete in our walk with Christ.

Water baptism is an act that God requires of every believer.   You never read of an un-baptized Christian anywhere in the Bible. In fact, baptism immediately followed a person’s salvation. They didn’t see it as something to be delayed or put off.

A wedding ring is an outward sign that a person is married.

A military uniform is an outward sign that a person is involved in that particular branch of service.

Similarly, water baptism is a symbol designed by God to identify a person as a disciple of Jesus Christ.

Ultimately, it all goes back to Jesus’ statement in John 14:15. “If you love me, keep my commandments.”

If you want to be baptized this Sunday at CIL click here.

 

United: Water Baptism Defined

The Greek word for baptize is “baptizo” – which “means “to cause something to be dipped.”   This is one of the reasons we immerse, or “dunk”, when we baptize.  Also, this is the clear Biblical pattern for water baptism.

Baptism in itself has no saving power. There is no magic in the water that we use. It is the same kind of water that we drink and the same kind that we bathe in. The purpose of water baptism is that it identifies us openly and publicly with the death, burial, and resurrection of our Lord (Romans 6:1-5).   Our story ends, and the story of Jesus within us begins.

So, baptism is an outward expression of what God has already done on the inside.

Weekend Review at CIL

What great services we had on Sunday!  I thank God for our incredible worship team.  Jonathan Lee did an amazing  job leading worship, and Beth Allison picked the perfect song at the end of the sermon as usual.   Penny Cowart Simms was supposed to have a rare Sunday off, but she was leading worship for our 4.6 Experience (4th – 6th Grade).   I so appreciate Penny’s passion for our pre-teens to grow in worship.

I enjoyed teaching on Water Baptism in a message called United, as it is important we don’t let this value drift.  Water Baptism is so important to God!

As good as the two services were, the greatness of a church is in what happens outside the service.  As usual we had some significant activities this weekend.  They include:

4.6 Activity (Progressive Dinner): We continue to target this group of kids, as they are at a great age for faith development and relational bonding.  This group of pre-teens will develop an incredible youth group over the next seven years.

Lifetime (Age 50+) Valentines Dinner: This important “affinity group” comprises of some of the greatest people I know.  Thank you Harold and Phyllis for your leadership!

Men’s Weekly Bible Study, Sunday at 8:00 a.m.:  I am so impressed with this small group of men who meet early to go deeper spiritually.

The Vows of Marriage

On Wednesday we continued our message Marathon Marriage with a teaching by me,  concluded with many couples renewing their vows.

The vows we make are actually what marries us.   It’s not the government.  It’s not sex.  It’s not a ring.  It’s not the pronouncement by the preacher.  These aspects are very crucial parts of a marriage, but the vows before God, family and friends are what unite a man and woman in marriage.

The problem is, most people don’t even remember the vows they made at their wedding.   The wedding is an unique experience.  The bride and groom are dressed in unusual clothes, and most people have never been the center of attention before a group of people.  Therefore, many people I have married comment later something like this: “I was so nervous, I don’t even remember the ceremony.”   As a result of this common experience, most people don’t even know the words of  the most defining statement of their life.

That’s why I propose that renewing our vows shouldn’t be something so unique and different that we relegate it to rare occasions.   In fact, at one time I prayed through my vows as part of my prayer list.

Here are the vows that we used on Wednesday:

Exchange of Vows

I, ____________ take you ________________
to be my wedded wife (husband),
and I do promise and covenant
before God and these witnesses
to be your loving and faithful husband
in plenty and in want, in joy and in sorrow,
in sickness and in health,
as long as we both shall live.