Wednesday, January 27, 2010

A Guest Blog

Lamar and Brie Long have long been two of my favorite people. Top-drawer all the way. Here's the latest reason why.


Friday, January 22, 2010

Baptists and Booze

The subject of Baptists and alcohol has been a recent subject of conversation in our home and among my preacher friends.

Perhaps it's because I occasionally get asked about my service on the 2006 SBC Resolutions Committee and about my support the now-infamous Resolution #5. www.sbc.net/resolutions/amResolution.asp?ID=1156

Perhaps it's because last week I ran into a wayward church member in the local Rite Aid as they were purchasing a huge 24-pack of Bud Light. By the way, why is it that when the pastor sees church members publicly buying booze, the PASTOR is the one to feel embarassment? But I digress.

Perhaps it's because of the fact that hardly a week goes by that I am not involved in ministering in some tragic situation where liquor was a major contributing factor to someone's spiritual, physical, and moral demise.

Perhaps it's because of the seemingly-growing number of churches and church leaders who claim an abstinence position...so long as no one actually mentions it. At least if you do mention it, don't actually act like you mean it.

I have preached on the subject several times. There is no doubt in my mind I could go toe-to-toe with anyone wanting to argue the typical libertine approach to liquor use. The wedding at Cana, the Lord's Supper, Paul's instruction to Timothy, etc. But I won't argue those here because it's far beyond the scope of this post. Besides, most people who bring those things up really don't want a theological or moral discussion. They just want to justify their desire to drink alcohol...or their desire to go-along-to-get-along, please-don't-rock-the-boat.

I really just have a couple of simple questions. They are born out of a satirical conversation between me and my dearest pastor friend, Dr. Don Hattaway, who of course is in complete and total agreement with a 100% abstinence position. Here they are:

If marijuana and other addictive drugs were legalized, thus removing the whole "submit to governmental authorities" argument, upon what basis would pastors and church leaders remove staff members, deacons, committee leaders, and teachers who regularly smoked pot, sniffed glue, or snorted cocaine?

Would a youth pastor candidate be told, "We are personally opposed to casual drug use by our youth workers, but we'd rather you not make a strong statement against it in your youth workers' meeting. After all, it's not illegal. And if it's not at a full-blown, abusively-addictive level then their pot smoking, pill popping, glue sniffing, and coke snorting is really a matter of Christian liberty."

Sunday, January 17, 2010

The Most Dangerous Place in America

On this Sanctity of Human Life Sunday I was thinking about the most dangerous place to live in America.

According to information received from the US Centers for Disease Control, the #1 killer in America takes more lives than heart disease and cancer combined.

The top US killer takes more lives than strokes, lung disease, accidents, pneumonia, suicide, diabetes, kidney failure, liver disease, and HIV/AIDS combined.

The #1 killer in America snuffs out the lives of 88x more people than "homicide" as defined by the government.

According to numbers from the Alan Guttmacher Institute, this #1 killer ends the lives of about 1.3 million Americans each year...that's about 1 life every 26 seconds on average.

I decided to get some information from the Federal Bureau of Investigations. It seems that in Fresno, CA and in Buffalo, NY there is 1 murder per week. There are about 2 murders per week in Boston, MA and Cincinatti, OH. More than 4 people are murdered each week in Dallas, TX while Houston, TX and Detroit, MI loose 6 citizens per week to homicide. Atlanta, GA and Miami, FLA make the infamous list with 1 murder occurring every single day.

But by far the most dangerous city to live in (as far as murder rates) is Los Angeles, CA. In the Greater-LA area there are about 3 murders every single day.

That's 1 murder for every 11,364 residents of Los Angeles. Hold that thought.

Back to our #1 killer...

If it takes the lives of 1.3 million Americans each year, then based on a national population of roughly 300 million, that means this top killer takes 1 life for about every 230 people.

Let's get this straight...The murder-capital of America sees 1 death annually for every 11,364 residents. But the #1 killer in the USA takes the life of 1 person for every 230 citizens. That means the #1 killer in America is 49X more deadly than the gang-infested streets of LA.

It is painfully obvious and statistically irrefutable that the most dangerous place to live in America is...in the womb of your own mother.

To listen to one of the most sobering messages I have ever preached, check out our web site at http://www.ebchurch.net/. Link over to the sermon, "What Happened to the Ammonites?"

Friday, January 15, 2010

Relief for Haiti

In addition to our prayers and upcoming trips to assist the people of Haiti, I am asking all members of EBC to bring your best offering this Sunday for "Haiti Disaster Relief." We will be bypassing the various agencies and sending money directly to the field.

I have located a trustworthy missions agency in Brantley County that has strong ties to Haiti. In fact, several members of our own church have already ministered in Haiti along with this team.

Some of the immediate needs include food, clothing, and medical care. Your gift this Sunday will literally be on the mission field within a few days.

Please bring a separate check made payable to "Emmanuel Baptist Church" and note "Haiti" in the memo section. Your counting committee and stewardship leaders will make sure your money is on the field ministering to "the least of these" within days.