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December 2008
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February 2009

January 2009 entries

How Do You Evaluate A Church?

I have grappling with a thought as of late. How important is it to make worship palatable for the worshipper. How does the current vogue of church shopping match the Biblical model of "Christ- centered" as opposed to the "me-centered" philosophy of many of today's pampered believers. Is it possible to evalutae a church and its effectiveness based upon how well it meets the member's needs? I ran across an article in Winter 2009 edition of "Leadership" magazine that does an excellent job of expressing my thoughts. It reads as follows:

"I wondered how Jesus' invitation to die daily to self changes the way we handle the inevitable dissatisfactions of life.

As we mature in Christ, might the goal be to develop a gut-level instinct to give less attention to what we aren't getting from our church? Perhaps a step on the way to growing more Christ-centered is to accept our dissatisfactions instead of assuming they have to be resolved. Churches that spend too much time alleviating their people's dissatisfactions may be nurturing a self-absorbed attitude of the heart that needs to be nailed to the cross.

The church, on this side of eternity, is an unfinished symphony. She needs our energy, our passion, our love, and our unwavering commitment regardless of whether she always looks and acts the way we want. "Follow Me" (a book relating recent statistics about the commitment of church goers) can help bring structure and focus to our spiritual formation efforts. But to authentically lead people into deeper apprenticeship with Jesus, we must graciously and rigorously confront the raging selfishness that is alive and well in all of us."

I would like to know what you think. How important is it that the church fits your needs? Do you choose where you worship because the church "is the kind I like" or will just any old place do? Do you attend because it is close to your home or because that is where your friends attend? Do you choose not to attend church at all because of style or substance? Leave a comment on your thoughts and if this is something you would like to discuss further.

Pastor Ken 

  


How to Make Hummus

Nothing thought provoking here. Since I talked about my eating habits a couple of entries ago I have been asked a couple of times about hummus. You can either find it on the right side of Publix as you enter the store or follow this simple recipe I sent to someone on staff. I thought some of you might like to try it.

Simple Hummus Recipe

1/3 cup of water

1 12 oz. can of chick peas

1/3 cup of olive oil

2 tbsp’s of tahini (ground sesame seeds)

3 or 4 cloves of garlic (to taste)

1 or 2 tsp’s of ground cumin

Salt to taste

Peel and rough chop garlic and place in blender with chick peas and water. Add olive oil and blend by pulsing and scraping sides. Add cumin and salt and pulse again. Once you achieve a smooth consistency pour into serving bowl. Top with more cumin, garlic or even cayenne pepper if you like it spicy. You can use fresh veggie sticks, party crackers, pita chips or even melba toast as dippers. Eat as much as you like because there is hardly any bad fat in it at all.


My Thoughts on this Historic Day

Bloggers, both Christian and secular, will be blogging about what a historic day this is. As much as I like to be different, I must succumb to commenting on the events of this day as well. This is an historic day in America. A black man is becoming president and will reside in a house built by slaves. Millions are pouring into Washington D.C. to be present at this big day. While I abhor crowds, unless I happen to be preaching to them, I would disregardmy disdain for being just one in the mass of humanity to witness this day in person myself. Please don't misunderstand, like many who read this weekly insight into the life of a baptist pastor, I am not Barak Obama's biggest fan. I am a fan of the American system. I am a great advocate of a country where a person is not eliminated as a candidate for the most important political position in the world by their race, gender or religious beliefs. I applaud that a Baptist pastor is going to lead the invocation for the inauguration. Sadly, many are already trying to dissect his prayer. It will be too poignantly evangelistic for some and too vague for others. Brother Warren, I feel your pain. 

I call on everyone to rejoice in this day. We are free. We are free to worship God. We are free to travel and explore. We are free to preach and teach the Word of God. We are free to share our faith on the street. So many in the world would die for such freedom. I have prayed for our new president today and intend to do so throughout his term. Let us be thankful for all God has blessed America to enjoy. Let us be thankful for the beauty of our country and her people. Let us be thankful for the cultural diversity that makes up our populace. An finally, let us be thankful only a few months ago the political pundits were expecting an entirely different person to be sworn in today. Enough said.

Pastor Ken     


Are They Out There?

For about nine months several of us at DBBC have been holding a Saturday night worship service called "Refuge". It is intended to be an edgy and casual worship experience intended to reach a group of people who may find Sunday church unattractive. While the message is the same delivered the Sunday before in "big church", the music is much more contemporary and the dress is very casual. We have worked and prayed very hard for this to succeed. Now, after many months, the crowds are smaller than they were when we first began. The people who attend are great people. They are very committed and are there come rain or shine and it seems it has been raining more often than shining lately. But it isn't the group I anticipated reaching. Those who are coming are coming because this is a convenient time for them to come. Sunday mornings, for various reasons, are difficult for them. They are not necessarily young. For the most part they are as old as me or older. I still believe I felt a very strong appeal by the Spirit of God to reach out to another group as well. We are losing a great number of the upcoming generation to a society who doesn't give God a second thought. Is it possible to really reach them at all? Does any kind of worship experience really draw them to a place where they can connect with God and with others who are attempting to do the same? Are these people out there at all?

The subject of these non-committed members of the new generation was the topic my worship leader and I hashed out in our last meeting together. I was sharing some churches on the internet that were having services the way I think would reach this group. After watching and discussing the posibilities briefly Rick hit me with a statement I have been thinking about ever since. Are they here? Are we trying to reach a group of people who don't exist in Chattanooga? Maybe it's like fishing in a lake with no fish. No matter how many lures you try and how precise your cast, you will not catch fish that do not exist. He went on to tell me that he has been observing the culture in Chattanooga. Whether we like it or not it's not hip! It is very family oriented and that's a good thing. I'm certainly not complaining. It's a great place to raise kids, but it's still not very edgy. He has looked downtown, at the coffee shops, in the clothing stores and on the street and he believes they just aren't in Chattanooga. We had a great discussion because I value his opinion on this matter. He really is in touch with what's happening. Could it be my longing to reach this group is more a result of my own rebellious nature? Could I be one of the few around who is more relaxed in jeans in church or who likes the worship led by a guitar more than an organ? Am I just wanting to create a worship experience for myself or are there others out there that we just haven't been able to find or lure out of their hiding place? I would like your opinion. Many of you are just as committed as I am to reach as many as possible with the life changing message of the gospel. Many of you know the radical difference Christ can make in your life. What do you think? I look forward to hearing from you.

Pastor Ken       


I Finally Agree With Oprah

My wife and I watched yesterday as Oprah admitted the one thing she has not been able to get a handle on is her weight. Now 40 pounds heavier than she was at her most svelt she is coming clean about her problem. It seems the key to happiness is not the amount of money you make. (On a side-note I just heard on the radio the wealthiest man in Germany just committed suicide by jumping in front of a train.) Happiness is not a result of things or even fame. Oprah declared that to be happy you must learn to love yourself. This is exactly what I've ben preaching for years, but it is not original with myself or Oprah.

Leviticus 19:18 (GW)
18 Never get revenge. Never hold a grudge against any of your people. Instead, love your neighbor as you love yourself. I am the Lord.

So Oprah has a weight problem, who knew? It never seemed to bother her while on TV, but she admitted that there were times she did not want to be seen. Now she has a new attitude. It's not about the weight. It is all about being healthy and happy. 

Many of you know last year I had a similar epiphany. At the time of my birthday I saw myself on video I said, "Who is that man with a tire for a belly?" I felt tired and miserable, so I decided to take matters in my own hands. I had balooned to a size 38 waist. (Oprah said she went from a 12 to a 14 to a 16 then to elastic.) I was wearing extra large shirts and 17 inch necks. Or was that 17 1/2? Now one year later and one year older I wear a medium shirt, 33 waist pants and I am 16 inches in the neck. Notice I did not mention my weight. I know what I weigh and how much I lost, but I perceive the scales as an enemy. The goal is not weight loss but healthiness. So after one year of being healthier and staying a 33 I want to once again share with you how I changed my lifestyle. 

I do not fuss much about breakfast. I think a hearty breakfast gets the metabolism started and you feel better and begin burning calories early in the day and that process continues all while your active. 

I love bread. I eat mostly whole grain breads. We don't even buy "white" bread anymore. Hummus, (ground chick peas and olive oil that I discovered in Israel) is my spread of choice over butter. If I do want butter on my sweet potato (not Idaho) I use it in moderation.

I dropped the sweet tea and soft drinks for Coke Zeros and tea sweetened with Splenda. 

Three out of four times I eat meat it is chicken or fish. Hamburgers are a rare treat. Even then I omit the french fries. I do however like the low-fat chips and salsa. If I have a steak, and I do about once a week, it is lean and grilled. 

When I get hungry between meals I eat low fat yogurt or sugar free chocolate pudding. If I want something crunchy I go for some sort of roasted nut. I even keep popcorn around. I just don't smother it in butter. For desert I have no suger added ice cream with a banana and lite whipped cream. 

At least one meal a week I get a Blue Coast burrito. Made with chicken, lettuce, pintos, salsa, onions, and rice on a spinach tortilla it is a great low fat lunch. I have to be careful about the fried chips they serve. I eat them in moderation. 

Then I eat whatever I want about once or twice a week. The great thing is once you have learned to like things that aren't loaded with butter or oil you really don't want to eat things that are unduly unhealthy. 

I am not suggesting everyone should eat like I do, but several have tried and found it a very satisfying way to stay healthy and even lose a few pounds. My next big hurdle is exercise. I'm in the process of working on a plan, but like my eating habits it will be in moderation.

  Philippians 4:4-5 (KJV)
4 Rejoice in the Lord alway: and again I say, Rejoice.
5 Let your moderation be known unto all men. The Lord is at hand.

I hope you will learn to love yourself. For all of you who aren't happy with who you are or how you feel let me say I can sympathize. I also know how much better you will feel if you just make the effort to love yourself and begin to take even baby steps to get healthier. Be thankful that this old body, even though you may have abused the tar out of it, hasn't let you down yet. Thank God for it and now take some steps to treat it better. Remember the scales are not as important as your BIBLE. Most of us would be a lot healthier if we made a b-line to God's Word in the morning as quickly as we do he bathroom scales. 

Pastor Ken  

 


I'm Back Although the Deer Wanted Me to Stay

It's my birthday!!! Thank you Lord for another year by your grace!

I just got back from a holiday hunting for four days in LA. (lower Alabama) Marty and I went to a trophy deer camp. That means that nothing smaller than a big buck can be shot during your hunt. I saw a lot of deer, probably three or four dozen total, but none of them were trophy bucks. So I have decided to become a  professional hunter sponsored by P.E.T.A. They are impressed with my ethical treatment of animals. 

I just wanted everyone to know I'm back and myself nor any deer were harmed while I was away. I'll talk to you soon. Happy New Year!

Pastor Ken