Wednesday, December 17, 2014

As Life Gets Busy This Holiday Season

We all have regrets. Things with our job we would love to redo, or words we wish were never said. Things get busy during this time of year and it is very easy for all of us to miss the important things - the things that really matter. Just a quick reminder for you and me as we move through this holiday season…

Hope this blesses you as it did me.

After writing yesterday’s post on God’s “regret” and then reading R.C. Sproul Jr. write poignantly about how he regrets not holding his wife’s hand more, I got to thinking about all the things we are likely not to regret when we get to the end of our days.

We won’t regret playing hide and seek with our children.
We won’t regret turning off the t.v. and putting the phone away.

We won’t regret that one night (or week, or even season of life) we let the kids get happy meals just so they would be happy and we could survive.

We won’t regret singing the same hymns over and over until they became familiar enough to sing with the saints around a hospital bed.

We won’t regret the time we spent hiding the word in our hearts.
We won’t regret jumping in a pile of leaves every fall.

We won’t regret overlooking a lot of little things that bother us about our spouses.

We won’t regret kissing our spouse in front of the kids.

We won’t regret going to bed with a messy house if that meant we had time to chase the kids around in the backyard.

We won’t regret all the wasted time with friends.

We won’t regret laughing often and laughing loudly.

We won’t regret hugging our kids whenever they’ll let us.

We won’t regret the times the kids slept in our beds and the times in the middle of the night we had to carry them softly back to theirs.

We won’t regret being a little bit goofy.

We won’t regret asking for forgiveness, and we won’t regret forgiving those who ask.

We won’t regret dancing at weddings–fast and silly with our kids, slow and sweet with our spouse.

We won’t regret giving most people the benefit of the doubt.

We won’t regret commiting to a good church and sticking around.

We won’t regret learning to play the piano, read music, or sing in parts.

We won’t regret reading to our children.

We won’t regret time spent in prayer.

We won’t regret going on long road trips filled with frustrations, but full with memories.
We won’t regret letting our kids be kids.

We won’t regret walking with people through suffering.

We won’t regret trusting Jesus.

Tuesday, December 9, 2014


The week of Thanksgiving is always a great time for us as a family... It is about the only time we are able to take an extended trip home throughout the year and we get to just enjoy family during this time. It is also about this time that things slow down enough for me to just think through the ways God has worked in my life and in the life of our church body.  Having said that, the blog that probably should have gone up during the week of Thanksgiving, was delayed as my wife (who edits and posts my blogs for me) was taking a much needed break as well!  So, let me just stop for a moment and use this time to share a very short list of the things I have been thanking our Lord for this year:

• The salvation of my family and myself: When Paul says in Romans that he would wish himself cursed and cut off from Christ for the sake of his fellow Jews, I must say I struggle to have that heart beat, as I am far less than Paul. I can’t think of anyone I would suffer in hell for in order that they would be saved,  other than my boys and wife. However, my being cursed would not and could not help them in any way.   But, I thank God that Christ became sin for us, and drank the wrath of God. I am thankful that I see evidence of God’s grace in the life of my family.
• I am thankful our church family has a Kingdom tool: This isn’t simply a building:   buildings are everywhere.  What we have is a tool that our church body can use to reach people with the Gospel of Jesus Christ. This is an exciting time and as we watch this building changing - may God continue to change us to conform to His image and make an impact on a lost world.
• Our Church staff: Almost six years ago when I arrived, I had never seen a more toxic environment within a staff and church. Today, I can say without any hesitation that I serve with incredible people and unified staff. From our Ministry Assistants to our men who lead out in serving - they have been in situations this past year from being moved out of offices, to not having offices, to making copies in a garage and so many more things that it would have been very easy to get frustrated. At least the outward frustration didn’t show, and one of the greatest joys I have is the honor of serving side by side with these men and women. I love you guys.
• A Tough Church: The past six years we have gone through more than many churches go through in their entire lives. From people serving as we move our entire facility,  changing our schedule, sharing space with two churches, purchasing an existing facility and worshipping there while it is being renovated, having no an array of other things that I won’t even mention on this blog, God has used those things to create something that few American churches have - resiliency and toughness. This is not a knock on other churches, the fact is being a church is pretty easy in America. We don’t meet in secret and we call it a trial when the air conditiorning goes out in the summer. But, we have had to endure some real tough times, and we have had to persevere.  I believe God shaped us during this process to better use us in this new location. This was not fun, but I am reminded that our Lord never left us.
• Perseverance: I am glad I didn’t leave and, I am glad you didn’t either!  It would have been easier at times, and there have been some people that this move was just too much for. But, the fact is we endured and were conformed to be right where our Lord wants us to be. To know you are where He wants you, and you see God is using you...that is a glorious thing for a church.
• A passion for the lost: Trinity is beginning to see people as lost or saved. I am not saying we have not done that previously, but the difference is what we believe and what we behave are finally going hand in hand. We see people that are lost, we have a record number sharing Christ faithfully, and an amazing number who have gone through Way Of The Master. 2015 could be an amazing harvest time! 
• I am thankful for my bride and boys: It has been a blessing to see a portion of what God’s plan has been for Trinity all along. But, our staff and our church body have been working at what seems to be light speed. With my schedule, I could not calendar and meet with every contractor and company involved in this project. Michele has kept up with my schedule, taken stuff off of me and kept things running in ways that only a wife could. The time this has taken has, at times made things very difficult on us, but she has exceeded a Proverbs 31 woman. I know at times this year she has not had a very good husband, nor my boys a very good Dad, but they have delivered great grace to me. This year and where we are - we could not have come through without you guys... I love you.  
• I am thankful for the future: I have never had more anticipation in almost 25 years of ministry and 20 years a Pastor than at this very moment. What God has done and what He is doing in our fellowship, family and staff is nothing short of amazing. So, thank you to our staff, church, and my family for loving, praying and serving beside me this year.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

What a Great Day!

Let me say that I am glad we opted for the chairs! Our first Sunday in the new building and we were about 90% full - but we can add additional chairs when we have to!   Honestly, right now it is so nice to be all together in a place of our own where we can be the church, that a little "family togetherness" is not a bad thing. 

The number of people that have helped us even get to this point starts with our faith family, but it moves even beyond that to other individuals and churches that God has used to simply show favor to us. For that, I am forever grateful!  We are obviously in the renovation stage and people are working all around us and will be for some time.  We are hoping for carpet in the auditorium before Christmas but until then, and even well after that time, there is a considerable amount of work to be done. There have been so many people in our fellowship that have made it crystal clear that they are more than willing to help - and that makes us a very good team because we are very much in need of help.  As I stated Sunday, we need people on our Parking Team, Greeters and individuals who will be willing to help on Saturdays at 10 am to set up chairs. Until the carpet is put down we are going to have to take up chairs as a fellowship every Sunday (that took about 10 minutes since everyone helped).   Each of the next 4-5 Saturdays we will need teams of volunteers to give about an hour of time to set out chairs and make sure the auditorium is ready to go for Sunday.   The chairs will be in the Worship Center all we will need to do is set them up. You can sign up on Michele’s facebook page or email anyone on our staff and we will get it to the right person. Below, you will find the dates and the staff member heading them up. You DO NOT have to contact the staff member that is over that particular week, but we do need you to contact someone so that we know every weekend is covered. So, look at these dates and your calendar and see if you would be willing to help one or more of these Saturdays please. All Teams meet at 10 am.
11/22    I am over this team

11/29    John Miller

12/6     Bruce Roberts

12/13   Jeff Summers

12/20   Bubba Crowder (we are hoping carpet is down by this time)

Again, the more we have volunteer, the quicker the set up is... but if you will plan for just over an hour, that should be enough. We had a wonderful first Sunday and many more to come, but let’s finish out this year faithfully and pray our Lord will use Trinity in a great way. Please contact us as soon as you can if you can help on any of these upcoming Saturdays.  

See you Sunday!

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

The Day Has Come!

I have used this blog primarily for our church, but also for believers in general. However, over the last 8-10 months my focus has been intensified for our faith family. This week as I am writing,  I am ecstatic because Sunday morning at 9 am we will celebrate a new day at Trinity. I think of where we were as a church body, almost 6 years ago. I think of those who God has brought us - those with a passionate vision of reaching our world with the gospel, as well as those who have been here from the very beginning of my ministry at Trinity.  We have hired staff, we have written by-laws, we have met at different times for worship, Bible Fellowship Groups and in different places. We have clarified our mission and priorities. All of us have gone through times where it would have been easier to move elsewhere, but something in us just knew there was something more, that God was really up to something. We struggled to find an new building, then all of a sudden God placed us in the midst of the largest neighborhood in North Mississippi. We have covenanted together to walk this life side by side with grace and truth, to honor our God. To say the least it has been an amazing ride. I can say with total honesty that I am honored and excited to be Pastor of Trinity! You have been faithful and have developed a true hunger and expectation for the Word. I will write about several things regarding our new home in the days ahead, but the purpose of this blog is to simply give some logistical direction.

Below you will find a map, our Parking Team will be in place to direct and our Greeter Team will help you find your way to our auditorium and temporary nursery area.  We will have our nursery open from infant-4 yrs old. We will begin Children’s Church once again in 2015. There will only be three-four entrances ready for Sunday, but this will still allow traffic flow to run smoothly. Please pray for these services and don’t forget our prayer walk Saturday at 10 am. I am so looking forward to seeing what God does with us in this new phase of life.

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

No Longer Homeless:

As of this past Tuesday October 28th Trinity is no longer homeless!! You have seen the news articles in the paper, on the internet and even on TV… and it is finally done. Now, the real work begins. We will meet for our last Sunday at Grace Bible Church this Sunday, November 9th.  Grace has lived up to their name - they have been so good to us as a sister church!  The frustrating thing to me about being in the Bible belt has always been the competitive nature of churches in general. It is not consistent with the gospel message, and it leaves the world somewhat confused as to what it is we really do. So, a big thank you to the Grace Bible family!  You have been a wonderful picture of grace in action. 

We now have nothing more than a nice tool; a building was never our goal but it is a tool.   Now we must choose to use that tool to give us security and fellowship within our walls, or we can use it to reach an area with the Gospel of Christ. I honestly believe those who are at Trinity don’t just want a building to come hear preaching, or a building with white columns with our church name on it… God has done such a work in our fellowship that our focus is no longer inward but outward, looking at the fields. While this vision will continue to take shape as we go, there is certainly something big going on in our Trinity family. Some of these moves will involve doing things we have never done, and frankly things that go against our grain in general.  The exciting thing is, we are doing something that isn’t about us, it is about HIM! To see the lost come to Christ is a very exciting thing, and I am honored to be a part of this journey. I can blog, talk, journal and text about this move all day, but I want to use the remainder of this time to just give you some important dates and even an explanation of the “why?”

Our first official Sunday in our building will be Sunday, November 16th.  The only thing that will be ready will be the Worship Center and very nice temporary nursery.  This “temporary nursery” (probably until January) is located in what will eventually be our office area (probably appropriate knowing our staff!) as it is already in good shape with clean carpeting and fresh paint.  This will be while the children’s area is being renovated.  Once the children’s wing is in better shape, the nursery will move there and the offices will be renovated for office use.   We believe the children’s area will be ready for us to use by January although the decoration will be done by World Of Wow in the April-May time frame.   If you have not seen their work, check out their website. They will be working in our student and all of our children’s areas.

We will continue to worship at 9 am simply to keep things somewhat sane during the holiday time. November 16th will simply be a “soft opening” so we can get our feet under us. AWANA will continue to take place at Hope Sullivan until January. Our current plans are that the first Sunday in January we will move back to regular service times: 9am-BFG, 10:30—Worship Service and 5:30- AWANA.    On Wednesday, 4:45-6 Mid-Week supper (we may not be able to begin this in January – it will depend on the construction schedule) and 6:15 we will begin a full midweek (Sunday evening style) service.  

On January 25th  we will have our full Grand Opening. We should have all our Greeter Teams, Parking Teams and everyone else set and running smoothly, and we will be able to receive and minister to a much larger group. Obviously, this doesn’t mean we don’t reach out and invite right now! It has been amazing that during this crazy transition we have had visitors and people join. I have never been more excited to be a Pastor, and never had anything in my life that I was filled with more anticipation for. Make these dates a priority on your schedule and in your prayer life. God is really at work in our fellowship and I am so thankful to be a part of this!