Archive for May, 2014

The real world

May 30, 2014

It is the last day of the work week and today I am concluding my first week in the new Tennessee Baptist Convention offices at 330 Seven Springs  Way in Brentwood.

It’s been a week of transition as the Baptist and Reflector is working under a new production schedule and we have been unpacking boxes and getting our work space ready for use.

We could not ask for a better office facility than the LifePoint Building. But as I conclude my first week here, it suddenly dawned on me that for the first time in 32 years I am in the “real world” as it relates to the work place.

Since 1982 I have worked in a sheltered environment. When I joined the Education Commission in 1982 I worked in the Southern Baptist Convention building. Six years later I joined the TBC staff and have been here for the past 26 years. In both environments I entered buildings each day where everyone was  a professing Christian.

Now, each day I come to work I encounter people in the parking garage, the lobby, and the elevator who I do not know. If statistics hold true, it’s more than likely that one out of every two of those people do not know Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior.

I face a greater responsibility as I come to work each day. The employees in the LifePoint Building are aware that Tennessee Baptists/Christians now occupy the third floor of their facility. They no doubt will be watching me and my co-workers to see if we “practice what we preach.”

But, come to think of it, it really shouldn’t matter where I work. My lifestyle should reflect the love of Jesus Christ 24/7 regardless of where I am. My prayer is that I will do just that. After all, the “real world” is watching.

Double standard

May 12, 2014

If you honestly think we are not living in a society with a double standard when it comes to Christianity,  you may want to read this story that was posted by Baptist Press on May 9.

Today’s  television networks promote a homosexual lifestyle and that is deemed “okay” by societal standards. A major television talk show has a self-avowed lesbian host and that, too, is okay. I can accept that.

Yet, an entire show is being canceled simply because the two hosts are not afraid to take a Christian stand and hold to the biblical view of marriage. What a travesty. I have trouble accepting that.

David and Jason Benham were slated to star in a reality show entitled “Flip it Forward” in which they would find “fixer-upper” homes and remodel them for families with limited financial resources.

The Home and Garden Television Network recently informed them the series would not be produced. The decision was made after a liberal website quoted one of the brothers as opposing gay marriage and abortion and stating that Christianity is superior to Islam.

Give these brothers credit. They are not backing down. In a statement they released, the brothers made it clear that their faith and Christian beliefs are more important than a television show.

The statement noted: “The first and last thought on our minds as we begin and end each day is: have we shined Christ’s light today? Our faith is the fundamental calling in our lives, and the centerpiece of who we are. As Christians we are called to love our fellow man. Anyone who suggests that we hate homosexuals or people of other faiths is either misinformed or lying. Over the last decade, we’ve sold thousands of homes with the guiding principle of producing value and breathing life into each family that has crossed our path, and we do not, nor will we ever discriminate against people who do not share our views.”

Therein lies the double standard. Those with a homosexual agenda cannot tolerate those who dare speak against their lifestyle. It’s entirely okay for them to be public about their beliefs, but Christians cannot.

Sadly, Christians have only ourselves to blame for this predicament. We have kept our heads in the sand and have tried to be “politically correct” for so long that we are now unable to stop this freight train that is speeding out of control. I am grateful for people like David and Jason Benham who are willing to stand up for Christ regardless of the consequences.

Christians are being asked to let their feelings be known to officials of HGTV. I love the name of the website, FlipThisDecision.com.

As of late afternoon on May 12, more than 15,000 people had signed  the petition on the website, urging HGTV officials to reconsider their decision. I pray that this decision will be “flipped.” Christians have to start speaking up and out or we will continue to face persecution for our beliefs.

Christians, the ball is in our court. Are we up to the task? We need to be like the Benham brothers and shine our light for Christ.

 

Remember Mom!

May 8, 2014

Don’t forget to honor or remember your mothers in a special way on Sunday, May 11.

For those whose mothers are still living, and especially if she is a Christian, you could give her no better present than by being in church with her if at all possible on Sunday. If it’s not, give her a call and thank her for all she has done first thing that morning.

If your mother is deceased (as mine is), take time to thank God for her as you remember how special she was in your life.

God has blessed me by putting other women in my life who have been like mothers to me. First, and foremost, there was “Mom,” my maternal grandmother. I spent most of my childhood under her nurture. She probably had more influence on me than most anyone in my life. She was the first person who shared with me on how to become a Christian. We were very close and I still remember her vividly even though it has been almost 36 years since she went to be with the Lord.

Next in line is my Aunt Lynn. Other than Mom and my mother, she definitely has had the greatest influence on my life and still does today. I can’t remember a trip I have made to South Carolina in more than 30 years when I did not go to see her or my Uncle Bill (unless they were out of town). Most Christmas Eves are spent at their house.

There have been many other women God has used in my life. Two who are still living are Shirley Coggins and Marilyn Eells. Each of them have been an important part of my life. Shirley’s son was my best friend growing up and I spent as much time at her house as I did mine. I didn’t know Marilyn until we moved to Nashville in the early 1980s. She had recently moved to Nashville and we worked at the SBC building when it was still located on James Robertson Parkway. We “adopted” each other and my grown kids even today still call her “Granny Marilyn.”

I imagine most readers can relate and identify their own grandmothers or special ladies who invested in their life. If they are still living take a moment and let them know how special they are to you.

And, I would be remiss if I didn’t mention my wife Joyce, who has been a wonderful Mom to our two children, Joanna and Daniel, and Joanna, who is now learning the joys of motherhood with my grandson, Eli.

Mothers are truly a gift from God and so are those “extra” Moms in our lives. I know I have been blessed greatly.