Monday, March 31, 2014

Save Money or Become Destitute

A wise man will store up choice food and oils in his house.  A foolish man devours all he has (Proverbs 21:20)

Saving money is not a matter of math.  You will not save money when you get a pay raise.  You will not save money when pay off your car.  You will not save money when you win the lottery.

You will save money only when it becomes an emotional priority.

Everyone knows we need to save, but the desire to spend money on new things is a higher priority for most people.  So we buy DVD players, computers, expensive phone plans, perfect-fitting shirts, collectible salt and pepper shakers, gourmet coffee makers, and all sorts of junk that consume our dollars away.  Even worse, many people go into debt for these things!

And that debt results in monthly payments that control our paychecks and makes us say things like, “I just don’t make enough money to save.”

Wrong.  We do make enough money to save; we just aren’t willing to stop spoiling ourselves with silly spending.

If a doctor told you that your child was dying and could only be saved by a $10,000 operation, could you save the money?  Sure.  You would sell things, you would stop all spending that wasn’t required to survive, and you would take on two extra jobs.  You would become a saving machine!  You would give up virtually anything to reach that savings goal.

The secret to saving is to make it a priority, and that happens when you get angry enough or fearful enough about your financial future to make better money decisions.

Sunday, March 30, 2014

Could We Be a Larger Church?

Yes, PCC could be larger than we are now.  There are certain things we could do to accelerate our growth and make us very large.

And I am glad that we have never resorted to any of them.

For example:

  • We’ve never done a helicopter egg drop
  • I’m glad we have never catered to transfer growth
  • I’m also glad that we do not promote talent over integrity
  • I’m glad that no one on our church staff has sacrificed their family for the sake of the church.  (That’s how I preach it from the pulpit, and I model it in my own life).
  • I’m also glad that the pulpit ministry of PCC (either by me or another) is solidly Biblical and orthodox.  We have never presented a “lite” gospel that reduced Jesus to a personal life coach.  We present Him as Lord and the Sovereign One to be obeyed.

If we had used these tactics I’m certain we would be much larger than we are right now.  There are some things we cannot do. 

I have dedicated myself to the depth of this ministry and simply allow the Lord to determine its breadth.  

The "Lord's Day" is about honoring THE LORD.  No one else.

Five Ways to Kill Your Church

1. Don’t Come.  One of the biggest killers of local churches is when its very own members don’t attend.  They find excuse after excuse as to why they can’t come to church on the Lord’s Day. 

Just miss church weeks at a time and then expect it to be there when you decide to come back – as if others are supposed to carry the load and keep it going. (See Hebrews 10:25 to see what God expects of you).

2.  Only Show Up When the Weather is Good.  You go to work on Monday when it’s raining. Right?  So, why do you skip worship services when it rains on Sunday?  And why do you miss when the sun is shining?  To go to the beach and work on your tan?  Try telling that to God at the Judgment Bar.

We have produced a culture of “fair weather” Christians who only show up when everything is going right in their lives.  The moment a storm hits their life, they get mad at God, the pastor, or the church.  They actually believe (and brazenly so) that church services are “about them” and what they can “get out of it” when they “need it” rather than what they can consistently give the Lord.

3.  Find Fault with Everyone and Everything.  Most homicide investigations begin by researching those who had something negative to say about the victim. Similarly, when a church dies, you can be sure that the fault-finders are prime suspects. These are the folks who sit “in the seat of the scornful” (Psalm 1:1).

Fault-finders can always SPOT a problem, but they never SOLVE a problem. They are definitely church killers.

4.  Hold Back on your Giving to the Lord.  It takes money to do ministry – especially to do mercy ministries to the unchurched and the undeserved in our community.

Don’t punish the Body of Christ (and the work it is able to accomplish) because of your own lack of financial support.

Some people say, “All the church wants is your money.”  Yea, so what?  The same could be said of WalMart or the movie theater (or any other place), yet you keep spending your money there.  You spend your money at the places that are important enough.  Plain and simple.

It boils down to a choice of priories.  Do you want to see your church survive or go under?  Do you want to lay up treasures in heaven for yourself, or spend your money on things that rust away?

5. Don’t Reach Out to Unchurched People.  The first half of the Great Commission is to reach those who are far from God.  The people in the pews must take ownership of that duty and become “mini-churches” that witness to the unchurched every day of the week and bring them to the Lord’s House to be discipled.

New people bring a new life and vibrancy.  They ensure the church doesn’t get stuck in the old way of doing things.  It helps keep a church alive and moving forward.

Sunday Mind Dump - March 31, 2014

Attendance today was way up.  Always glad to see this – it seems to add extra energy into the service.

I really enjoyed the music today.  The songs were God-centered and vertically focused, not to mention well-done by everyone.  I think we have some of the best musical & vocal talent in the area.  More importantly, our worship team is made up of some of the most selfless and servant-minded people around.

Gary Weiborg hit it out of the park today.  He handled the text skillfully and delivered a good message.  It was enjoyable to hear.  I was convicted in a few places.  I think the PCC family was edified too.  I’m certain God was honored.

I really, really appreciated some of the things he said.

The message series through the book of 2 Timothy has been one of the most productive series for us ever.

The Military Families Meet-and-Greet after service was a huge success too.  We appreciate our military personnel and their families, and are honored that God has seen fit to send so many good people to our church family.

Thank you to everyone who made it happen. 

BTW – We have some good cooks at PCC too.


I won’t be the lead pastor at PCC forever… and I don’t intend to hang on long after my time has passed.  With that in mind, I’ve been thinking about a succession plan (i.e., who will take my place and how to make it happen) that will be as seamless and non-disruptive as possible.  A best-case scenario will be to raise up someone from within our church family.  This would be a person who is well known, loved, and received by our congregation.  Home grown, if you will.

But don’t count me out just yet….

I want to last as long as I can.  But I don’t want to burn out before I get there.  That’s why I’m sharing the pulpit with others and developing a solid teaching team.  Not only do these people bring their gifts to the Body of Christ, but it helps me by extending my shelf life.

I think it honors God to think ahead about these things.

I figure I have about 9-10 more years (unless circumstances decide otherwise).  I’m 56 years old and this church will need a new pastor by the time I reach 65.   It just makes sense to have a younger pastor at some point.


I’m preaching this Sunday.  The message is entitled “The Agape Factor.”

The following Sunday (Palm Sunday) we’ll be receiving Communion together.

Easter Sunday comes the following week.

The Sunday after Easter begins a new series on The 10 Commandments.


PCC should have a culture of inviting guests to Sunday Services… not just on big days like Easter.

Ask God to give you a heart that longs for lost people… and to remember what it was like when you were hell-bound yourself.

The reason you are saved is because someone told you about Jesus Christ.

Jesus said, “Freely you received…. Freely you must give.”

Who are you going to invite (and bring) to PCC next Sunday.

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Homosexuality (Part 1) Cultural Acceptance

I can’t think of any other change in public opinion as swift as the one we’ve seen regarding homosexuality.  Its swiftness has been breathtaking.

  • Once it was in the closet.  Now it is in the open.
  • Once it was whispered about.  Now it is the focus of sitcoms.
  • Once it was publicly denounced.  Now it is deemed (by some) as essential to embrace.

Three things (I think) have led to this rapid cultural acceptance:

First, there is the favorable treatment of homosexuality in the media.

Second, there has been a organized movement to denounce and demonize anyone opposing homosexuality in the name of tolerance and civil rights.

Third, the issue has been successfully redefined (by proponents of homosexuality) to be about “love and commitment” rather than morality or a traditional view of marriage.

And it’s working.  Or should I say, “It has worked.”

Seventeen states have now legalized same-sex marriage.

So complete has this cultural-shift been that now many religious and church leaders are advocating acceptance of these legal unions in the name of unity.

As I mentioned earlier, this shift in our culture – in less than a single generation – is staggering.

Homosexuality (Part 2) – Gay Marriage

The most divisive issue of our day is no longer abortion.  It is gay marriage.

According to the Bible a homosexual union in any form is a contradiction to God’s original design in creation.  So even if you are in a “loving, monogamous relationship” with someone of the same sex, it’s still a violation of God’s Word.  God’s design for is for a man and woman in the context of marriage.

But some would say that regardless of where you might stand morally on this issue, that gay marriage should be endorsed as a fundamental civil right.  Even further, that any pledge of love and commitment between two people can only be a positive move, even if you do not support the lifestyle.

Barney Frank, a gay congressman, once said, “I don’t understand how it hurts anybody else if two people want to be legally responsible for each other.”

Here’s how it hurts:

1.  The legalization of homosexual marriage will quickly erode any sense of the traditional family in our culture.  The words “husband” and “wife” and “mother” and “father” will quickly lose their meaning. 

2.  It will open the floodgates to increased redefinitions.  Already there are lawsuits being written to justify polygamy and many other alternatives to one-man/one-woman unions.

This isn’t about civil rights.  And it’s not simply about a loving commitment.  It’s about morality and the decay of society.

Marriage is defined by God, and is not open to reinterpretation on the basis of our sexual desires.

All the more reason to stand firm on Biblical truth.

Homosexuality (Part 3) – Acceptance by Churches

The American branch of WORLD VISION, one of the world’s largest Christian charities, recently announced they will no longer require its employees to restrict their sexual activity to marriage between one man and one woman.  Abstinence outside of marriage will continue to be required, but a policy change announced this week will now permit gay “Christians” in legal same-sex marriages to be employed.

Running this logic to its inth degree:  They are saying no to adultery, but yes to homosexual practice.

World Vision president Richard Stearns explained the decision is not an act of compromise, but an act of unity.  Citing gay marriage as a divisive theological issue, World Vision will position itself with uniting Christians and serving the poor.

Wait, it gets worse.

Given the fact that 17 states now permit same-sex marriage, Stearns feels the issue should join other theological discussions such as differing modes of baptism.

“Changing the employee conduct policy to allow someone in a same-sex marriage who is a professed believer in Jesus Christ to work for us,” said Stearns, “makes our policy more consistent with our practice on other divisive issue.”


Wait, it gets even worse.

“It allows us to treat all our employees the same way: abstinence outside of marriage and fidelity within marriage.”  Stearns then added, “We’re not on some slippery slope.

Forgive me while I choke on those last words.

Where to begin?

First, it is a total disregard to the authority of the Bible for a any believer to say that gay marriage is merely a theological debate among Christians, along the lines of Presbyterians sprinkling and Baptists using the method of immersion.

The issue of homosexuality, including gay marriage, is antithetical to the very order of creation, family, and sexual morality.

Let’s be clear:  If you wish to make this a mere theological debate, then it’s between those who believe the authority of the Bible and those who don’t.  One view stands on historic orthodox Christianity, and one does not.

Second, for Stearns (or any Christian) to suggest that the legalization of gay marriage is reason enough to accept it, is to consider our culture as the “voice of authority” instead of God as the Authority.  Therefore, the Bible has no more hold on me than, say, the legalization of prostitution.  Legal or not, no woman should prostitute her body, and no man should avail himself to one who does.

To be clear, World Vision has done a lot of good in the earth, relieving human suffering, and I’m certain will continue to do so.  I have a book in my library authored by Richard Stearns – The Hole in Our Gospel – and it is one of the best books I’ve ever read. 

My concern, however, is that the leaders of Word Vision became misguided by public pressure and cultural trends.  This seems to be a growing trend among other Christians and churches.

All of us need a worldview that is not shaped by the world.

BREAKING:  Due to public pressure from Christian people, World Vision has reversed its decision (yesterday) to hire couples in same-sex marriages.  You can read the full text of their announcement (click here).

Garden Zapped by the Cold

Most of my spring garden was killed by the cold Tuesday night & Wednesday morning.  I lost 50 tomatoes, 40 squash, and 30 peppers.  

The biggest loss to me was the tomatoes because I had several unique varieties that I had collected over the last two months (such as Indigo Rose, Green Zebra, Red Brandywine, Garden Peach, Black Krim, etc).  I also had the more common varieties (Beefsteak, Better Boy, Big Boy, Roma, Cherry, etc).  It's all gone.

The squash and pepper will be easy to replace.  Not so with the tomatoes.

My red & white potatoes got hit by the frost but will survive.  The garlic and onion are still thriving.

Guess I will RE-plant next week.

Thanks Al Gore!


I've Resumed Intermittent Fasting

Last year in February I began intermittent fasting.  I did it for ten months.  I lost a lot of weight in all the right places (about 15-17) pounds.  My clothes started fitting a better, my energy level went up, I slept better at night, and my stomach stopped being ‘angry’ all the time.

Then in November I relaxed a bit to enjoy holiday foods.  With my appetite cravings under control, I was able to maintain good eating habits during the season.  Throughout the extremely cold months of January and February (when it’s so easy to eat a lot of fattening comfort foods) I ate a lot of soups and stews which helped a lot.  I experienced no significant weight gain – just a few pounds.

I’ve recently started intermittent fasting again and feel great.  It feels good to be in control of my cravings and have dominion over them.  I just get into the whole self-control, self-discipline thing.  I hate being a slave to anything; my appetites included.

Then there’s the health benefit of restricting my caloric intake.  A lot of good things happen in my body when I’m not consuming 3000-4000 unnecessary calories a day.  I’ve been able to increase strength, reduce body fat, and maintain good health.  What’s not to like about that?

If you’d like to know more about intermittent fasting, just do an online search. There’s plenty of info out there and it’s easy to find.

Monday, March 24, 2014

Food, Church Life, & Discipleship

“The Lord richly gives us all good things to enjoy” (I Timothy 6:17).

Dinner on the grounds.  Sunday pot luck.  Wednesday night dinner before service.  Sunday morning continental breakfast.  Notice a pattern here?

Food is (has become) an ingrained part of church life… and many of us enjoy it that way.

Not everyone agrees.  Many preachers will jump all over this with comments like:

“This is why revival tarries.”  “Their belly is their god.”  “Carnal people go to church for the food.” 

That over-the-top spirituality.

Let’s talk about FOOD and the KINGDOM of God.  Shall we?

 At PCC we serve food regularly.  There’s a continental breakfast on Sunday mornings.  On Wednesday nights an evening dinner is served to the teenagers and the adults who serve in that ministry.  On Friday mornings we serve breakfast to our clean-team (the group of volunteers who clean the building each Friday in preparation for Sunday services).   During the holidays we change things up and have holiday meals together.  Then there are the Sunday pot-lucks we do from time to time (i.e., had one a few weeks ago, and have another one coming up next Sunday).  During the warmer months we have church-wide picnics on the grounds on Wednesdays.  Chili cookoffs, Boston Butt BBQs, etc.  You get the idea.

Some might say, “They’re just coming for the food.”

Maybe so, but let me tell you what I observe during these times:
  • I see people hugging each other, having great conversations, and a few will be praying together
  • For some of these people, it is the only time of the week that they will be sharing a meal with Christian people
  • I see community taking place, and I see friends hanging out together.

So yea, it’s worth the effort of gathering together over a meal.  It represents ministry.

Let me offer some Biblical precedent…

The early church had a problem.  One morning the membership was 120 people.  By that evening it had exploded to over 3000 people!  This small group of believers had a problem on their hands and needed to find a way to disciple the larger group in a hurry.

What did they do?

“They devoted themselves to the apostles teaching, and to fellowship, to the BREAKING OF BREAD, and to prayer”  (Acts 2:42).

And then we read…

“Day by day continuing with one mind in the temple and BREAKING BREAD FROM HOUSE TO HOUSE, they were taking their MEALS together with gladness and sincerity of heart, praising God and having favor with all the people” (Acts 2:46-47).

Don’t miss this…

A huge aspect of the discipleship of the thousands of people saved on the Day of Pentecost was to share meals together!

Eating together can be a holy experience.  The disciples shared a last supper together with Christ, and in Luke 24 they shared a meal with Him after His resurrection and were forever changed.

It’s a false spirituality that disparages God’s people for coming together (in His house or in His presence) to share a meal.

A TRUE STORY.  In my last pastorate we had a once-a-month men’s breakfast on Saturday mornings.  One or two of the guys thought we needed to do something more – something worthwhile – to justify getting together.  So we took on a project to build a basket ball court.  Here’s how the morning would unfold: We would have breakfast, then the chairman would call the meeting to order.  We would then “conduct business” (having discussion, making motions, taking votes, calling for ‘points of order’, and other parliamentary procedure nonsense).  All of this just to build a basketball court!

I hated it. 

It was a waste of time, not to mention it killed the fellowship.  It felt like another day of work.

I happen to believe if men gather to just have a meal together, (with no agenda – no speaker – no business – no nothing), and sit around the table swapping stories over thick bacon, sausage, scramble eggs, coffee, and biscuits, it’s AS GOOD AS IT GETS.

It’s a false spirituality that insists fellowship has to produce something more.

A relaxed meal with godly friends can accomplish more than we realize.

To sum it up…

Food is good.

And I seem to remember something in Scripture about a marriage feast thrown in Heaven for believers.  (See Revelation 19:9, among other places).

Bottom line:  “Whether then you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all for the glory of God” (I Corinthians 10:31).

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Sunday Mind Dump - March 23, 2014

Thank you Gary Weiborg for a good word today, and a job well done.

Gary is solid and consistently so, which speaks volumes of his calling and gift.  He treats the Scriptures accurately.  When he shares the Word with us, the PCC family is edified and God is honored.

Plus, I get a welcome break (not only from a grueling schedule), but to simply enjoy church.

I woke up this morning thinking to myself how most people don’t realize how easy it is to go to church each Sunday – all they have to do is decide if they’re going or not. 

For me, I wake up each Sunday under pressure.  I’m thinking about the order of service, the sermon, the offering, the time-line, the transitions in the service, and whether or not it’s going to be a successful day or not.  I think to myself, “Within 2 or 3 hours I’m going to be standing on the platform speaking to hundreds of people.”  About 7:30 a.m. I begin looking over my sermon notes, re-reading the key thoughts to refresh my memory so that I will have a good delivery, (this takes an hour or so).  After I arrive at church I check in with the worship team, do a sound check, walk the hallways to thank the children’s ministry workers for being at their post of duty (etc), and generally interact with people.

Today, however, I was able to simply arrive at church as an attender.  It was pure bliss.

I was able to sit in the congregation and simply enjoy the service.  I lifted my hands during the music, then listened to someone else minister the Word.

Best part?  I got to hold my wife’s hand as we sat together in service.

In 30-something years of marriage and being in the ministry, most of that time has been spent with me and Renae NOT sitting together in church.

It’s always a joy to enjoy the basic things.

It was easy to go to church today… and I enjoyed it immensely.  Thank you, to everyone who made it possible for me.

All things considered, we have a great church family.  Don’t we?


I intend to plant my spring garden later this week.  There’s a cold front coming through.

Can’t wait to get all my vegetables in the ground. 

I will be planting tomatoes (about 10 varieties), yellow squash, zucchini squash, cucumber, peppers (about 8 varieties), and field peas (2 varieties).

My garlic and onion are thriving.  I planted them back in December (2013), so they should be ready for harvest about May.  Can’t wait.

My potatoes are coming up.  I planted them about six weeks ago, but the extreme cold weather in February had them semi-dormant and slow moving.  However, a couple weeks ago the weather warmed up enough to get them going and they have taken off.  Very glad to see this!

I have 400 feet of potatoes (4 rows at 100’ each).  Should the Lord  bless me with a good harvest this year, I will be sharing the goodness with others (giving it away).

In the very least, I will be stockpiling the church pantry with potatoes to ensure that our Friday clean-team has plenty of spuds for breakfast…. and that Ron Bryant – the best potato cook in the area – will continue cooking them for us.

I will post pictures soon.

House Plans….

Finally, we have house plans that we are content with. 

We have submitted them back to the draftsman for finalization.  After another tweak or two we will submit them to the County Permit Office for approval.

After that, we’re going to pull the trigger and start building.  This should happen within 2-3 months.

We are very excited.

Upcoming Church Stuff….

Easter is just four Sunday’s away.  Plan now to invite (and bring) a guest.  We are going to have a big day.

Of course, the message will be about Jesus Christ, His resurrection, and the implications it has for us today.

As always, the music will be exceptional.

People will be saved that day.  Christians will be drawn nearer to Christ.  And all of us will be edified by hearing doctrines affirmed that we know to be true.

There will be an Easter Egg Hunt for the kids too.

This Sunday…

MILITARY FAMILIES MEET-AND-GREET immediately after service.

The sermon series on 2 Timothy concludes.

Next Sermon Series…

“The 10 Commandments”

This series will begin the Sunday after Easter and is certain to be a home run.

Everyone believes in the 10 Commandments and will benefit from this series.


I’ve been fishing a lot lately (about once per week) when I get the time. 

It’s spring time, the water temperatures are warming up, the mullet are running, and the Sheepshead are schooling… and right now IS THE TIME TO GO.

I hope to go again this week (after the cold front moves through).  Will post pictures.

This Friday night I will be camping at Fort Pickens (with Renae) and the rest of the family.  Coming home Saturday afternoon.  Will post pictures of that too.

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Mutual Submission

Submitting yourselves one to another in the fear of God (Ephesians 5:21)

Submission is a word we don’t like in modern American society.   We love our individualism, self-reliance, and democratic notions.  “Nobody is going to tell me what to do!”

Mutual submission is even more foreign.  If everyone is submitting to each other, then who’s in charge?

The truth is, mutual submission makes a lot of sense.  It’s one of the things that makes long-term marriages possible.  It’s a part of the Christian life.  And it’s part of church life.

Submission is simply “getting under (sub)” the “mission.”

Submission isn’t about coerced behaviors or forced compliance; it’s about voluntarily getting yourself “under” the person or project you’re engaging… and giving it your best effort.

  • When someone is good at something, I pay attention to them
  • When someone knows something, I listen to them
  • When someone has demonstrated skills I don’t have, and they leverage those skills to advance the cause of Christ, I follow them

At PCC we have a lot of good people on our team.  Most are in a volunteer capacity.  I’m talking about those we consider to be technical engineers; people who have skills with audio and projection, recording and mixing, etc.  I could also mention the expert musicians and singers.  And let’s not overlook those who work with children and teens and understand the ins-and-outs of those ministries.  We have men who handle maintenance on our building and campus.  Church wide, we have department heads, ministry leaders, and dozens of workers.  I could go on and on, but you get the idea.

  • These are people who good at things I’m not
  • They know things I don’t
  • They possess a number of demonstrated skills I lack
  • They are humble, which makes them great leaders
….And it’s easy for me to submit to them. 

Monday, March 17, 2014

Life is Too Short

Life is too short…..

1.  To live an unhealthy lifestyle.  Two-thirds of America is overweight.  We consume mounds of poisoned foods and drink gallons of poisoned beverages. The typical American eats an average of 100 pounds of sugar each year!  Then there is all the stuff people inhale.  Heart disease and cigarette-related cancer are the two leading causes of death in this country and most of it is preventable.  Life is too short to end up with a body wracked by neglect and deliberate abuse.  The next time you’re in Wal-Mart and you see someone on a scooter pulling an oxygen bottle behind them, get a vision of your future and what you want it to look like.

2.  To live a life of inaction.  People often get stuck in a rut they can’t get out of because of fear, guilt, or paralysis.  Or laziness.  Or procrastination.  There are things I want to do with the second half of my life and it will not happen unless I take action.  Your second half of life will be shorter than your first half, so “times awasting.”

3.  To put up with negativity.  The workplace environment is often filled with so much negativity that it’s easy to turn negative and pessimistic yourself.  Fight back with a good sense of humor.  Distance yourself from negative people.  Don't put up with fools.  Eliminate toxic relationships.  Eliminate your own toxic behaviors.

4.  To be concerned about everyone’s opinion of you.  Oh, the time and emotional energy I have wasted worrying about what people thought about me. Was I wearing the right thing, did I say it the right way, could I have been a better pastor, could I have done more to keep them happy?  After I burned out, I decided to that my own emotional health was more important than other people’s opinions of me.  I decided to be the one who was in charge of my life.  Of course, the opinions of my loved ones, friends, and important colleagues still matter, but I am much more confident and determined in my own decisions nowadays.

5.  To be financially illiterate or undisciplined.  Get smart about the money you have.  Discipline yourself to save. Quit spending money like there is no tomorrow. Get out of debt as much as possible.  Cut up your credit cards if you're using them to maintain a lifestyle you really cannot afford.  Store up for your later years. Plan for retirement.  Your financial future is your responsibility.

Monday, March 10, 2014

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Fish Cooker Modification

I bought this fish couple a couple of months ago.  Works beautifully.  At this height it's perfect for a 10 gallon pot (like you'd use for a low country boil).

However, it's a little too low for frying fish (which uses a much smaller pot), so I've raised the cooking surface.