Monday, October 29, 2007

Fenway Memories

Some people would say that Fenway Park is the greatest baseball stadium in America. I would have to vigorously agree. Watching the Red Sox sweep the 2007 World Series this week reminded me of my trip to Fenway many years ago. I would imagine the intensity of games 1 and 2 was absolutely incredible, but I think my trip to Fenway was even better. I got to see the Red Sox play the Yankees at Fenway. I remember it like it was yesterday even though over 20 years have passed. I was there with my family for my great aunt and uncle's 50th wedding anniversary. At the time my cousin was playing 3rd base for the Yankees so we were there to see him, but the awe of being in Fenway and seeing the Green Monster was breath-taking. We were sitting about 10 rows up behind the dugout on the 3rd base side as we watched two giants of baseball history battle each other. The magnitude of that game and that stadium weren't lost on young starry-eyed kid who was just hoping to catch a foul ball. I dare say, that game was better to be at than ones in recent days at Fenway, but that's simply my biased opinion.

Sunday, October 28, 2007


I couldn't pass up the opportunity to cheer on UGA after they beat Florida yesterday. It was a great game to watch. Cyd and I went to a UGA game/Halloween party/30th birthday party to enjoy most of the game. We had a great time seeing some old friends and meeting some new people as well. The afternoon reminded me of how thankful I am for how God has blessed me in life with a beautiful wife, an energetic little girl, two cars, a home, a job I love, the list could go on forever. I was also remind of how good it is to reconnect with friends from years ago. Life keeps us all too busy to see each other much, but those brief times are enough to bring a smile to my face thinking about all the fun times we had over the years. So here's to whatever triggers fond memories in your own life and to the blessings that we forget to count because we are to busy enjoying them. Oh, yeah, and GO DAWGS! SICK 'EM!

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Bumper Sticker Christianity

I read a book review in The Christian Century Magazine this week about preaching. Will Willimon states that Christian Preaching: A Trinitarian Theology of Proclamation criticizes much of modern preaching as being reductionist. "Everything is reduced to 'the message'-the gospel diminished to a slogan that fits on a bumper sticker." I used to say that I was going to write a book one day about bumper sticker theology, because bumper stickers try to reduce the mystery of a relationship with Jesus Christ to a catch phrase or pithy slogan. I use to work in a Christian bookstore and I would literally laugh at how cheesy some of the stickers were when we didn't have many customers. The gospel, although so simple a child can understand it, takes a lifetime of faith to explore. It cannot be reduced to a 6 word sticker on the back of your car. I wonder if we have learned to much from bumper stickers and not enough from God's Word. Alistair Begg, a Scottish Baptist preacher, once said, "American Christianity is sloganeering at its worst."

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Baptist Women

Perhaps you have heard about the new concentration of courses being offered by Southwestern Seminary in Texas. The concentration is for women only and focuses on homemaking in an effort to establish family and gender roles. Seminary leaders have stated that these courses are for women who are or will be minister's wives so that they will be prepared to cook, clean, and tend to their home.

I was fortunate enough to attend a seminary (Beeson Divinity School, Samford University) that not only affirmed a woman's calling to ministry but encouraged and nurtured that calling. I was especially blessed to have a wife, who is called to ministry on her own, to go through seminary with me. We both chose the Master of Divinity track rather than the Master of Theology track, although for different reasons. I of course wanted the preaching courses that were required for the M.Div. degree and Cyd wanted the counseling courses required for the M.Div. Beeson didn't allow women the opportunity to substitute the preaching courses for other courses, and I am so thankful they didn't. Truth be told my wife is the better preacher out of the two of us, but she knows that is not her calling in ministry. Still, I am thankful that she took preaching instead of cooking because she is my toughest critic when I preach. She has the knowledge and insight to offer me, so that my sermons and ultimately my ministry is strengthened. I would not be half the minister I am without her wisdom and insight that she has gained in her own ministry and through her own education. What a tragedy to think that we would have missed out on that if we had attended a different seminary.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Family of Faith

This morning I preached a sermon entitled "Family of Faith." I talked about the crucial role that families play in developing future generations that love the Lord and serve Him. I also talked about the responsibility of the family of faith to nurture one another and model a life of faith for others. As I prepared the sermon this week, I was reminded how my biological family and my family of faith has always been a driving force in shaping me and influencing my life. I am thankful for everyone who has invested in my life over the years. I have recently reconnected with some friends from college that helped form and shape my theology and faith in unique ways...I think I am most thankful for friends, family, and fellow believers who afford me the opportunity to always grow in my knowledge and pursuit of God. The Christian church has many faults and flaws, but there is no other place on earth where you can find the grace and the freedom to follow Christ.

Friday, October 5, 2007

Look into your sad eyes and tell me what you see What is left of the child who is hiding behind them? Who longs to be laughing in places of light Who knows that the morning will follow the night? Look into your sad eyes and tell me what you see
lyrics taken from Look Over Your Shoulder by Mark Heard

My CD player in my car goes on the fritz sometimes. Well, it hasn't been working for about a month now. Unfortunately my tape collection has dwindled over the years. I do have a dubbed tape of The Allman Brothers' Greatest Hits and a copy of Mark Heard's High Noon. I was listening to Mark Heard today as I drove back from hospital visitation and the song quoted above was on. The phrase "Who knows that the morning will follow the night?" stuck in my mind. Isn't it wonderful to know that no matter how dark the night seems to be in our lives, the morning will soon follow? The simply rhythm of night and day, dark and light, reminds us that now matter what we are facing in life, God's grace will shine through the morning light.

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Another Year Wiser

Papa Larry holding Claire in the hospital (right).

Graduation Day at Beeson Divinity School!
My Dad and I have always had a unique relationship. Part of that has been dictated by my parents relationship, but the thing I have learned in recent years is how important my Dad has been in my life over my 28 short years. Dad turned 60 on Sunday. As we talked on the phone, I asked him, "Do you feel older?" He replied, "No, not really. Life is good. Sometimes are hard, sad, and depressing at times, but ultimately life is good." The truth is, my Dad's 60th birthday made ME feel older. It made me realize how precious life is and how short it can be and often is.
In many ways, my Dad is a hero. I look up to him as an encourager and a supporter throughout my life. I think an important thing about heroes, is what you learn from their successes and their mistakes. I use to think that a hero is only someone you admired for their triumphs and conquests...I dare say I have learned as much from my Dad's mistakes and talked about those over the last few years. God's grace has been constantly at work in my Dad's life and in any one's life to redeem our faults and failures and use them for HIS glory. We don't get to see each other often because of our respective schedules and vocations, but my Dad has always been very influential in shaping me and my life.