Sounds a Pastor Hears on Sunday Morning

The following are actual phrases said to me over the past couple of Sundays. I love being a pastor. “Did you see the Kentucky Derby yesterday? Wasn’t that a crazy ending?” “Anything I can do for you today, pastor?” “I think we will close today with ‘Blessed Assurance, Jesus is Mine.’” “I am not recovering like I should be, pastor.” “My wife is at home this morning. She can’t walk from the couch to the kitchen without getting dizzy. I’m scared.” “My husband can’t be here. He’s worried. I’m worried. The surgery was a week ago and something just isn’t...

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Greeting Cards

My hand hurts and my bank account is dangerously low. I have purchased and written in 14 greeting cards this week. I’m not kidding. May is a killer for my family. My wife’s birthday is May 13th and Mother’s Day is the 12th. This means a card from me for each (2x) and a card from the kids for each (2x). Total of 4 cards. My mom’s birthday is May 17th and Mother’s Day is the 12th. This means a card from me for each (2x) and a card from the grandkids for each (2x). Total of 4 cards. Being that it’s Mother’s Day,...

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Pork Butts and Pastoring

Saturday. 5:30 am. My Big Green Egg is at the right temperature. I put the 10 lb pork butt I had prepared with seasoning the night before on the grill. Indirect heat. At least an hour per pound. Should be good to go around supper time. Thank you Jesus. Wednesday’s. 6:00 pm. Four former Catholics. A single young male. A married man whose wife attends choir practice during this time. A husband-wife team from out West. Book studies of their choice. A couple of weeks or months and they should be ready for baptism, membership, and perhaps a call into ministry. Thank...

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A Second Time

“And the Word of of the Lord came to Jonah a second time.” (Jonah 3:1) I wonder how many of you reading this need the Lord to do this for you? How many of you need the Lord to speak to you again, clearly, what He wants you to do? Maybe you have been through a season of rebellion, like Jonah, and find yourself on the edge of a beach with fish guts dripping off your slimy clothes. Maybe you have been doing life the best you can, but find yourself severely unsettled, completely unsure of what is next. Maybe...

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Go Make it Happen

“Everyone who knew her, loved her.” The first thing out of their mouths. “She never said a negative word about anyone.” The second thing out of their mouths. I was meeting with two daughters who had just unexpectedly lost their mom. I never had the opportunity to meet the one who had birthed them forty plus years earlier, but was tasked with the honor of giving her eulogy. We were meeting so I could adequately give a picture of their mom they so deeply loved. After we exchanged a couple of awkward pleasantries and offered a prayer for help, I said,...

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Good Friday: What We Owe the Disciples

“We owe it to those first Christian disciples to do our very best to understand the utter hopelessness of their situation after the Crucifixion. They had invested their whole lives in what appeared to be a diabolical joke. They had seen their beloved Master scourged almost most to death, dragged through the streets, nailed to a cross and abandoned to suffer public agony in the face of the obscene mockery of everybody in Jerusalem. Once they had basked in the reflected status of a celebrity who had been mobbed by large crowds; now he had been judged a nonperson, fit...

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Silent Wednesday

Wednesday of Holy Week is known as “Silent Wednesday.” The Gospel writers do not record any words or activities of Jesus on this day. Tonight, at the Church at West Franklin, we will have a Silent Prayer Service, meditating and contemplating the 7 sayings of Jesus from the cross. In the meantime, consider the importance of silence for the good of your own soul. Alan Noble, in his Disruptive Witness: Speaking Truth in a Distracted Age, offers this counsel: “With quiet reflection, our desires, fears, beliefs, doubts, and sins are given space to surface, but none of these define us....

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Tuesday of Holy Week

“Jesus replied, ‘Are you not in error because you do not know the Scriptures or the power of God?’” (Mark 12:24) Less than 100 hours from His arrest, crucifixion, and burial. His last public conversations are with the religious elite. Church people. Those who have committed their entire lives to learning the Scriptures and growing in their knowledge of God. His last hours on the earth, Jesus spent precious time revealing to these men the hypocrisy of their lives (see Mark 11:27-33; 12:1-44; 13:1-37). It’s possible to know much about the Bible but not know the Scriptures. It’s possible to...

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Death & Taxes

(This article was originally posted here for Brentwood Baptist Church.) 1 When the Sabbath was over, Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James, and Salome bought spices, so that they could go and anoint him. 2 Very early in the morning, on the first day of the week, they went to the tomb at sunrise. 3 They were saying to one another, “Who will roll away the stone from the entrance to the tomb for us?” 4 Looking up, they noticed that the stone—which was very large—had been rolled away. 5 When they entered the tomb, they saw a young man dressed in a white robe sitting on the right side; they were alarmed. 6 “Don’t be...

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You Just Never Know

The Bible is pretty clear about relationships. Don’t burn bridges. Be faithful. Make immediate amends for intentional and unintentional offenses (see Proverbs 6:1-5; Matthew 5:23-25; and Philemon). You just never know what the future holds. Less than 9 hours from the time I type this, Auburn University will play Virginia in a Final Four game in Minneapolis, Minnesota. You read that right. Auburn. Auburn University. The Auburn Tigers. War Eagle. That Auburn. The Bo Jackson, Pat Sullivan, Lawyer Tillman, Cam Newton, and Lionel James Auburn. They are playing basketball in April. I feel like I owe Auburn an apology. Less...

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