Showing posts from January, 2012

One Week After the Storm

There are only two seasons in Alabama; football season and tornado season.  Actually football season never really ends here.  The teams only play 11 games but the fans talk about them 365 days a year.  Tornado season usually takes up about 8 months of the year.  There will be tornadoes somewhere in Alabama every week of the Spring and Fall; you can count on it.  Kansas has nothing on Bama.  The Wizard of Oz was supposed to be based on Dorothy from Tuscaloosa, but everyone knows the wizard behind the curtain of Bama is The Bear.  No surprise there, so they moved the plot to Kansas just to keep the story interesting. A white Christmas in Birmingham is the unicorn of holidays.  In 2010 Bama had snow on Christmas day.  Last winter brought us lots of snow, another oddity in Alabama.  Then came Spring/tornado season part 1.  Tornado season is always dangerous in our state.  Last April it was devastating.  All of us have been weather paranoid since April.  We did not have snow this pa

Hypocrites and Tornadoes (Just Ask)

Question:  I am dealing with people in my family not wanting anything to do with church because of hypocrites. I need help in this area.  What can I do? The word hypocrite comes from a Greek word that means “an actor on a stage.”  It describes someone who is able to play a role in a certain context, but who lives a very different life “off stage.”  This is certainly true of many people in the church.  The Bible is honest about their existence.  We also know that Jesus did not shy away from using the word in His confrontation with the scribes and Pharisees (Matt. 23).  We certainly have warrant to use our common sense and discernment to recognize people who are hypocritical.  They are not difficult to spot. The existence of hypocrites in the church, however, does not give one warrant to reject the church.  Some would say that they can follow Christ without the church.  This concept is foreign to the New Testament.  Biblically it can be argued that one cannot follow Christ wi

An Open Letter to My Congregation

There is no easy way to say goodbye to a group of people whom you sincerely love.  With a great deal of sadness a meaningful chapter in my life closes and with a great deal of anticipation a new one begins.  Since October 27 of 2002 I have faithfully served as pastor for the people of Ridgecrest Baptist Church in Trussville, AL.  On February 22, 2012 I will begin a new assignment as pastor for the people of Liberty Baptist Church in Dalton, GA. In times like these we feel an array of emotions.  Shannon and I, from the time we realized this move was immanent, have experienced a range of feelings from anxiety to excitement, from sadness to joy.  Birmingham is very much home for us.  Until recently, even through some of our most difficult struggles, we never considered leaving Ridgecrest.  It took a great deal of convincing through prayer for us to accept this move.  We did not approach anyone at any time about going anywhere.  Yet the whole thing has been very providential and God’

Panorama from Pilgrim's Rest

I went out again this morning to help those impacted by the storm.  From the information we have gathered, there are 13 families at Ridgecrest who have suffered minor damage to total loss.  This morning I spent some time at the Hickman home, pictured here in a panorama I took with photosynth.


We have had reports of several families in our church whose homes have been destroyed or damaged.  At this time we know of only 1 family with injuries.  Mr. Wheat (Jane Hikman's father), Hope Hickman, and Hope's nurse were hurt in the storm.  Mr. Wheat suffered the most serious injuries (broken ribs) and will be recovering at UAB.  Hope will be at Children's Hospital as her medical equipment and medicine were a total loss.  At this time the area is blocked from Deerfoot to Chalkville Mountain Road.  As always we will be partnering with the Birmingham Baptist Association for cleanup and relief.  For updates, see our wall posts on the Ridgecrest Baptist page on Facebook.  Please pray for our families and we will share information as it becomes available. BB Gal. 2:20

Random Thoughts on Friday 1/20

Since this weekend is Sanctity of Human Life Sunday I have only one random thought, that is actually more purposeful than random.  Pastor John Piper at is offering a free e-book Exposing the Dark World of Abortion .  Dr. Piper and the folks at Desiring God are very generous in making several great books available for free download.  After you download Piper's book on Abortion, I would also recommend Grudem's Biblical Foundations for Manhood and Womanhood , also available as a free pdf download.

Work and Worship

When words are repeatedly misused or overused they quickly lose their meaning and in time come to describe something else all together.   I give you gay, awesome, and sick.   In times past a gay man could have an awesome day and the statement said nothing about his sexuality.   It meant only that a happy man witnessed something in the day that was truly awe inspiring.   Now awe inspiring things are sick.   Awesome things are merely above average.   “How was your cake?”   “Awesome.”   There was a time that no cake was worthy of awe and too much of it would make you sick.   “Worship” is another word that has been victimized by overuse and misuse.   In modern church culture when one hears the word “worship” he or she is given to think in terms of who (as in who is leading), where (as in where will worship be held), and when (as in what time will worship begin and end).   Ironically the same thing has happened to work.   We think of it more as a place where we are employed rather than

Bowling for Cancer

In a struggling economy it has become increasingly difficult for local business owners to make a profit.   Despite such challenging times a business in our area did something this past weekend that made an incalculable difference to two children in our church. As you may know the daughter of our Children’s Pastor, Julia Cobb, is at MD Anderson in Houston, TX undergoing chemo therapy for Ewing’s Sarcoma.   Julia was diagnosed the week before Christmas and since that moment life for the Cobbs has been truly turned upside down.   Jonathan and Jenifer have four children.   Jonathan is himself a cancer survivor so they are well acquainted with the road that lay ahead.   Until Julia is healed the family will be living 700 miles apart.   This will probably be the case for the Cobbs for most of 2012.   Though the family is concerned primarily for Julia there are other moments in a kid’s life that require celebration.   Cancer is no respecter of time or person and for the Cobbs it has alre

Stephen Greenblatt's The Swerve - A Book Response

Stephen Greenblatt is a professor of humanities at Harvard University, a New York Times bestselling author, and a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize.   While these are admirable accomplishments all but .0001% of us went to Harvard and even fewer of us will be invited to the Pulitzer gala.   Yet most all of us who struggled through English 101 in college share a kinship to Greenblatt.   If you remember the behemoth text The Norton Anthology of English Literature , Greenblatt is your man.   Greenblatt helped you realize that they do print big books and that some of history’s greatest literary works are manuscripts without pictures. Greenblatt’s latest work The Swerve tells the story of the recovery of an ancient poem that served to influence the great minds of the Renaissance.   The poem was Lucretius’ first century De Rerum Natura , or On The Nature of Things .   Lucretius used the cultural vehicle of the poem to propagate the idea that the world was not created by gods.   Instead

Welcome Home Marty

We were invited to a welcome home party for a man in our church who serves in the Air Force.  We could not attend so we had some family fun putting together this video to help welcome Marty home.

Random Thoughts on Friday 1/13

A lady in our church, Virginia Davidson, turned 100 today.  I always enjoy talking with Ms. Davidson and leave our conversations laughing about something she said.  I went to visit her today but she wasn’t home.  Walking to her apartment in the assisted living facility I wondered what it would be like to see a century.  Ironically today, the AJC posted an article about notable people born 100 years ago .   A person I have gotten to know over the last few months died suddenly this week.  He was 41.  These are the sorts of things that make you assess how you spend your time, speak to your family, show your love and appreciation for others.  The death of a friend reminds us of how awful the curse of sin really is and how desperately we should long for the return of Christ and the final redemption in the new heaven and the new earth.  Jesus will make all of the things that are very wrong with this world right

Just Ask from Ed

Question from Edvard in Montreal:   I have two questions: 1)   What podcasts would you recommend and why? 2)   If I only had to read 5 books, which ones would you recommend? 1)   Podcasts and Why? There are multitudes of great podcasts particularly in the Christian genre.   My subscriptions are limited to preaching and theological teaching.   I have yet to find a “conversational” or “show” type podcasts that keeps my interest.   I love to preach and love to hear others preach well. My other criteria would include variety and thought.   I tire easily to listening to the same three or four guys over and over.   I also enjoy great preachers and teachers who are great thinkers.   A lot of bad preaching is covered by pithy sayings and passionate presentations, so I do appreciate those who pay attention to faithful interpretation.   That said, here is my list: I subscribe to three seminary podcasts (this gives me great variety): Southern Seminary in Louisville, KY:   htt

?Just Ask?

I wanted to add a new feature to the FeelMyFaith this year that I hope will enhance the blog.   The new series is simply called, “Just Ask.”   Just Ask will provide a way in which you can help drive the content on FeelMyFaith.   If you have a question about the Bible, theology, Christianity, the church, current events, or my take on certain issues, you can enter your question in the side column form and I will receive it via email.   Each week I will select a few questions and respond.   You can follow Just Ask by clicking on the Just Ask label, also located in the side column.   I hope to hear from you soon and look forward to the conversation. BB, Gal. 2:20


Before I discuss the current media infatuation over Tim Tebow (which made this week's TIME magazine) a confession is in order.   I am a lifelong, biscuit eating, sweet tea loving, Georgia Bulldog fan.   In case anyone would doubt my dedication to the red and black I have the signatures of Vince Dooley and Mark Richt on a football as validation.   When Tim Tebow played QB for the Florida Gators I appreciated him as a brother in Christ, but only because I had to do so Biblically.   I will confess that when UGA beat Florida and it made Tebow cry, I laughed.   My confession may seem odd to some, but such is the nature of SEC football.   If you do not live in the South you cannot possibly appreciate the culture.   If you do, you know that it could be worse. When it comes to NFL playoff football, if the Falcons are not a factor (and they rarely are), I enjoy watching the traditional teams go deep.   This means that for the most part I would like to see the Bears or Packers and the S