Saturday, March 26, 2011

Tilt Me Toward the Buckeyes

All my family was dialed into the UK/Ohio State game last night. I only wish my deceased father-in-law could have seen this game. An Ohio native (Bellefontaine), and WWII combat engineer, he graduated from Georgetown College in 1956 and was a lifelong b'ball fan. He was the scorekeeper for the Scott Co Cardinal basketball team back in the day when Bobby Barlow was the coach. As I recall, Barlow also coached Goose Givens at Bryan Station. It was during this era that my father-in-law adopted the Wildcats as his second team, but he never gave up his love for his Buckeyes.

He went on to teach high school english at Fairview H.S. in Dayton for nearly 30 years. One of his students was Bob McCowan, a classmate of my wife's, who went on to play for Rupp. McCowan's big cross-town rival in h.s. was Mike Pratt, another Wildcat. Another classmate of my wife was Mike Schmidt, a decent athlete in his own right. (intentional understatement)

All that to say that, had he been able to catch the game last night, he would have understood some of the ambivalence that others have expressed. But as his wife of 57 years noted, he would have "tilted" toward his Buckeyes, as did she yesterday, the day we celebrated her 90th birthday.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Chosen and commissioned

I had the delight of speaking to the Sunday School leaders of the North Point Baptist Church in Weaverville last night. This young church is excited about its fellowship Bible study ministry. Of the fifty or so individuals in attendance, there were leaders from every age group, preschool through adult.

Gray Little, the pastor, and I have been friends for a number of years, dating back to when he served the West Asheville Baptist Church as minister of education and I was associate pastor at First Baptist of Hendersonville. This is also the church where my friend Bryan Smith served as an associate before moving to east Tennessee. His successor, Brian Proctor, I have known for 15 years. He and his wife, Kathy, formerly served as IMB missionaries in Asia, and FBC of Hendersonville was their home church.

Gray had asked me to share an encouraging word for his leaders, which is not a difficult task. I love those who give of their time and effort every week to lead Bible study. Most are volunteers, so theirs is a labor of love.

I used John 15:6 as my text. In this passage Jesus tells his followers, "You did not choose me, but I chose you and commissioned you to bear fruit that will last." (slightly paraphrased) Here are the highlights.

1. You have been chosen: before the foundation of the world, by grace, and for all eternity.
2. You have been commissioned by Christ to bear fruit: the fruit of your lips, the fruit of your lives, and the fruit of your legacy.

I also shared this truth: When you teach God's Word, you make an eternal difference in the lives of your learners.