Notes from Sunday – 07/29/12

Thanks, again, to all who served in our Vacation Bible School last week. You made it happen!

5th Sundays are Missions Emphasis Day at Shiloh. Today we highlighted the work of our own Outreach Center, under the leadership of Pastor Reginald Bryant.

As always, grateful for our guests in worship today.

I did not preach 8 AM. Was not physically up to it today. Pastor Al filled-in for me. At the last-minute, no less. I am glad to have ready and available help.

I pressed my way to preach and lead worship at 10:15.

It felt like I stood there giving announcements forever!

Our Men’s Chorus led the special music today. It is great to have men leading out in corporate worship.

I preached about “Expressing Your Devotion to Jesus” from mark 14:3-9.

I sought to challenge the church to do whatever they can for Jesus, while you can.

Sermon Outline:

I. The costs of devotion to Jesus (14:3)

II. The criticism of devotion to Jesus (14:4-5)

III. The confirmation of devotion to Jesus (14:6-9)

My sermon could have been much better. (Thank God for covering for my weaknesses.) Again. But, at least, as verse 8 says of Mary, I did what I could for Jesus today.

I tried to craft a simple outline that would allow me to retell the story. There is great drama in the text.

I find it challenging to preach of Gospel passage that are recorded in multiple Gospels. My text today is recorded in Mark 14, Matthew 26, and John 12. A similar story in Luke 7 is sometimes treated as another version of the same story. It is not.

I know I preached a long time. But I wish I would have had more time to preach it!

Next Lord’s Day, I plan to resume my exposition of 1 John. Yeah, I know. Long story. I looking forward to getting back to it. Next Sunday.

I plan to preach on “A Warning Against Spiritual Deception” from 1 John 2:18-27.

Praise the Lord for those who were saved and added to the church today! Several people who joined were from our Outreach Center.

NFL training camps (Oops!) opened this weekend. Are you ready for some football?!?!

Jaguars running back, Maurice Jones-Drew, is holding out of training camp for a larger contract. The team vows not to renegotiate. New owner. Same Jags?

Baseball season is still going on. Wake me up when the playoffs begin.

The Olympics are in full swing.

Michael Phelps has won no medals. I think this is big news.

Update: M. Phelps was his seventh medal last night/this morning.

Led by K. Durant’s 22 points, the 2012 “Dream Team” defeated France, 98-71.

Serena won her first-round match this weekend.

That’s all I know about the Olympics so far. What have you seen? What do you think?

Notes from 3rd Pastoral Celebration (11/13/11)

Yesterday we celebrated three years the Lord has blessed us to serve him together as pastor and people at the Shiloh Metropolitan Baptist Church.

What a church!!!

Either time flies by or I am getting older. Or both.

Wednesday evening, Pastor George Hurtt of the Mt. Sinai Baptist Church of Los Angeles was our guest speaker. He kicked off the celebration in a great way with a message from Psalm 23:2.

Yesterday, our guest was Pastor Romell Williams, who leads the Lilydale Baptist Church in Chicago. He preached from Matthew 20:1-16 and 1 Corinthians 2:1-5. They were both solid messages.

It was good to have a Sunday off from preaching. The bow that is always bent will inevitably break.

My daughter, Natalie, led a song with the children choir during our 10:15 service. If she would have sung another verse, I would have completely fallen apart .

Maurice Griffin was our guest soloist this weekend. He did an excellent job, as usual.

I was greatly encouraged by every expression of love, kindness and support the members of Shiloh showed my and my family. I am blessed to serve a great people. I am grateful for the privilege and thankful for the all the Lord is doing in us and through us.

In the afternoon, our choir was in full concert. It was a moving time of worship and praise.

I even sang a little with the choir!

I am scheduled to preach today at the Southern Baptist Convention of Texas that is meeting in Irving (Dallas) this week.

I missed my flight last night. And, of course, it was the last flight of the evening.

Crystal found me an early morning flight to Dallas, while I slept.

“You are my sunshine, my only sunshine…”

Please pray for me as I minister the word today.

Speaking of Dallas, the Cowboys put a whippin’ on the Buffalo Bills 44-7.

The Jags defeated the hapless Colts 17-3.

Saturday, the USC Trojans beat down the Washington Huskies 40-17.

I slept through the Pacquiao-Marquez fight Saturday night. From all reports, I did not miss anything.

Notes from Sunday – 10/24/10

CRYSTAL UPDATE: Thanks for your ongoing prayers for Crystal. She still cannot move around much. But there have been no complications from her surgery. And her recovery is coming along as scheduled. Praise God.

Good day of worship at Shiloh yesterday.

Our youth and young adults led the music yesterday. Good job.

Thankful for all of our guests yesterday.

God bless the families who participated in our parent-child dedication yesterday.

I began a new series on the Epistle of James yesterday. I preached from James 1:1-4 and called the message, “Taking Advantage of your Trials.”

I have been looking forward to preaching the book of James for many years now. I hope to learn a lot from it. And I pray that my labors will bear fruit in the pulpit.

I had been working on an introductory sermon on James. I decided Thursday evening that was not the best way to go. So I had to bunker down to do an exegesis of verses 1-4. It wiped me God. But I am glad I did.

I am really looking forward to the study of James and pray that it will mark a special time of growth and fruitfulness in the life of Shiloh.

Next week’s sermon: “Praying for Wisdom” (James 1:1-4).

Praise God for those who were saved and added to the church.

Sunday afternoon, I preached for my friend Brodes Perry at the Philippi Baptist Church here in Jacksonville. Brodes is a godly young pastor and a faithful preacher. I was glad to be there. I preached Romans 8:28. Thanks, Shiloh, for your presence. You’re the best.

I did not realize it until Brodes mentioned it to me, but yesterday was the third straight Sunday afternoon I have preached.

Congratulations to my friend, John Fils-Aime, on his pastoral installation yesterday in New York.

The San Francisco Giants and Texas Rangers are going to the World Series It should be absolutely boring without the New York Yankees.

It seems no one wants to be #1 in college football. But who cares, since the USC Trojans are nowhere near the top.

I am not a UFC fan. But I was absolutely shocked by the news that Brock Lesner was knocked-out in the first round of his match Saturday night.

The Jaguars were beat up pretty bad by the Chiefs.

My Dallas Cowboys MUST defeat the New York Giants tonight! Are you ready for some football!!!

Can you believe the movie “Back To the Future” is 25 years old?

How’s Lido! Lido, our family dog, got a haircut this weekend. He is feeling good and looking good.

Notes from Sunday – 10/10/10

Good day of worship and fellowship at Shiloh Metropolitan Baptist Church.

Grateful for all the guests who joined us in worship.

Our children’s choir led in song during our 10 AM service.

Our mass choir looks beautiful in their new robes.

Carlton Burgess led the song of preparation at 10 AM. His medley of old hymns was moving.

Praise God for those who were baptized.

I preached a message from Hebrews 10:24-25 that I entitled “Assembly required.”

I argued that Christian assembly is required for all Christians.

I am very passionate about this subject. I believe that growing Christians much be participant members of a local church.

“The gospel does not make sense without the gospel that does not make sense.” – William H. Willimon

Praise God for those who were saved and aded to the church.

In two weeks, I plan begin a verse-by-verse exposition of the Epistle of James. Please pray for my preparation.

Saturday afternoon we worshiped with the Abyssinia Baptist Church to celebrate the 13th pastoral celebration of Dr. Eugene Diamond.

I am a sucker for a church that loves its pastor!

I preached from one of my favorite verses, Galatians 6:9. I needed that message more than anyone else.

The Jaguars beat up the Bills 36-26. That’s two in a row for the Jags. 3-2 for the season.

My Dallas Cowboys lost to the Titans 34-27 to go 1-3 for the season. It seems like the only way my boys will make it to the Super Bowl is to get free passes. At Cowboy Stadium!!!

The USC Trojans lost to Stanford 37-35. Well, at least we do not have to worry about going to a bowl game this season.

Thanks for the concern and kindness you have shown for my wife Crystal. Please remember my family in your prayers this week.

Notes from Sunday – 08/08/10

We had a good day of worship and fellowship today at the Shiloh Church.

Praise God for those who were baptized in worship today.

Our children’s choir led in musical praise today. As always, it was encouraging to have the little ones participating in worship today.

It was really cool to meet some of the guests who were in worship today. It is great that the members are inviting their family and friends to church with them.

Our choir sung “But God” today from Ron Winans Family & Friends IV. I really love this song. And it was a great blessing to hear it today. I was tempted to get a piece of it when I stood up to preach, but my better judgment prevailed. I had work to do.

I continued my brief series on the book of Ruth today with a message on Ruth 2 that I entitled “Nothing Just Happens!”

I’ll let you in on a little secret: I needed that sermon that I preached today more than anyone else!

This is the second week in a row that I have struggled to organize the text for preaching. Late last night, I wrestled with two different ways to preach the text. I am glad the Lord led me to preach it the way I did.

I had a lot of text and a limited amount of time. It was a challenge. But I really enjoyed preaching this message today. What a mighty God we serve!

I read a statement years ago that has really stuck with it: “The Bible is filled with stories about people. Let them live.” The more time I spend studying the stories of the Bible, the more I am learning to appreciate the rich theology embedded within biblical narratives.

I cannot wait to get to chapter 3.

I am thinking about and praying for a family that suffered a tragedy this weekend.

Praise God for those who were added to the church today!

Crystal cooked dinner today. It is rare for her to cook on Sundays. It was a rare treat! We “fared sumptuously”!

The Dallas Cowboys are playing the Cincinnati Bengals in a pre-season game this evening. It is still in the first quarter as I write, but you already know my prediction. Cowboys win!!!

In the morning, I am scheduled to fly to London to participate in The Proclaimer’s Place preaching seminar under the leadership of Dr. Joel Gregory. Pray for my travels and that my skills as a student of the word and preacher will be sharpened.

Notes from Sunday – 07/18/10

It was a good day of worship and fellowship at Shiloh Church today.

We sang, “Here I am to Worship,” today. This song is really growing on me.

We had quite a few guests in worship today. Way cool.

I am thankful for all of our volunteers for their service. You make it happen!

Praise God for those who were baptized today. One of our pastors had the privilege of baptizing his two daughters today.

I really had a good time teaching our new members class today, so much so that I did not finish my lesson today.

I sat on the floor today. All was going well until a little girl named Hailey confronted me. Apparently, I look like her dad or something. She jumped on my lap and would not leave. Her mother finally had to come get her so that I could preach. Last I heard, security escorted the little girl from the auditorium.

I prefer to sit on the floor. Definitely.

Today I concluded my series on the Ten Commandments with a message on Exodus 20:17 entitled, “Overcoming Covetousness.”

I think I had a good understanding of the text. I wish, however, that my message had been better. I don’t think I was as clear I wanted to be. Praise God for blessing his Word in spite of the weakness of the messenger.

I really enjoyed preaching through the 10 Commandments. And I am really glad this series is over. It was hard work.

Praise God for those who were saved and added to our church family today.

I have a free Sunday next Sunday before I get to my next series. I need to determine what I will preach next week. Fast.

We ate soul food for lunch after church. I give you one guess where were ate.

This evening, a beloved deacon of Shiloh, Charles Brown, went home to be with the Lord. Please remember his wife, family, and our congregation, in your prayers.

Notes from Sunday – 07/11/10

Praise God for a blessed day of worship at the Shiloh Church today!

I am grateful for all of our guests in worship today.

I have been away from home preaching all week. It was great to be home to worship with and minister to my own congregation this morning.

The musical praise was exceptional today. I am grateful for our music team. Thanks for your service today.

I rejoice with all who were baptized today to express their faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. It is very encouraging to be a witness to this important step of faith today.

It was tough preaching today after being at a preaching conference all week long. I have been reminded this week of how far I have to go as a preacher. May the Lord help me to continue to grow as a Christian and pastor-teacher.

Today I continued my series on the Ten Commandments with a message on Exodus 20:16 entitled, “Tell The Truth.” I argued that God commands us to be people of truth who (1) tell the truth about God, (2) tell the truth about ourselves, and (3) tell the truth about God.

A little boy came up to me after church and told me what he learned from the message today, “Do not lie!” I think he was listening.

God willing, I will conclude this series with a message on Exodus 20:17 entitled, “Overcoming Covetousness.”

Praise God for all who were saved and added to the church in our services today.

A big “shout out” to our security team for the service today. Thanks guys!

I received the news this evening that Dr. WIllie Smith, pastor of Calvary Baptist Church in San Diego, went home to be with the Lord Saturday. Please remember his family and congregation in your prayers.

I also received news that Walter Hawkins passed away today. Please remember his family and congregation in your prayers.

Notes for Sunday – Independence Day Weekend 2010

Happy Independence Day weekend!

It is a great blessing to live in the United States of America, with all of the liberties we enjoy. Thank God for those who have given their lives and continue to stand in harms way for our freedom.

Because it was the 4th of July, we adjusted our worship schedule. All Bible Study Fellowship groups were cancelled. And we only held one worship service – at 9 AM.

For the record, attendance was much better than I thought it was going to be.

I am praying for all the members of Shiloh who are traveling over the holiday. May the Lord put a hedge of protection around you and grant you to come and go in safety.

I am grateful for all the guests who were present in worship with us yesterday.

It was our privilege to celebrate the Lord’s Table yesterday. This is always a special time of worship and fellowship for us as a congregation.

Thank you to our deacons and deaconess for your service in and for our celebration of Communion.

I was greatly encouraged by the musical praise yesterday.

I continued my series on the Ten Commandments (Exodus 20:1-17) with a message on the eighth commandment that I entitled, “How Did You Get That?” (Exodus 20:15)

Sermon Point: Do not take or keep anything that does not belong to you.

Outline:

I. Do not rob other people.

II. Do not rob yourself.

III. Do not rob God.

Next Sunday’s sermon: “Tell the Truth” (Exodus 20:16)

Praise God for those who were saved and added to the church in our worship service yesterday.

I am grateful to God for our Health Ministry and Security Team at Shiloh. When there is a medical emergency, these men and women are there to care for the sick and calm our members. Thank you for your service yesterday.

After church, I did absolutely nothing. It was wonderful!

What team do you think LeBron James will finally end up signing with? My guess is that he is going to remain with the Cleveland Cavaliers.

Congratulations to Serena Williams Rafael Nadal on their 2010 Wimbledon championships.

Please pray for me this week as I participate in the E.K. Bailey International Conference on Expository Preaching in Dallas.

Notes from Sunday – 2/28/10

Today was Ministry Emphasis Day 2010 at Shiloh Metropolitan Baptist Church.

Our worship services today were meant to challenge the church to get plugged into a place of Christian service. There was also a ministry fair to give our members an opportunity to learn more about our ministries and to get involved.

Our theme for today was “Get Plugged In.” I planned to say this to members I greeted today. However, many of the members I chatted with today were people I recognized to be already serving in some area of ministry. Praise God! And may their tribe increase!

Thanks to all our ministry leaders and teams for being on your post today. You make it happen. And I thank God for you.

I media team prepared a video that featured some of the members and ministries who are actively involved in the body life of the church. Thanks, guys, for your service.

As always, I was grateful and glad for all of the guests who were in worship with us this morning.

Our Youth Choir and Young Adult Ensemble led the musical praise today. They did a great job. I am greatly encouraged by their progress under the leadership of Reggie Bass.

The youth choir sung “I Belong to God” this morning. This is an “old school” gospel song that the youth choir used to sing when I was in it years ago. (I am getting old!)

I preached from 1 Peter 4:10-11 today. I labeled the message, “Serve One Another.’ My goal was simply to explain the priority of Christian service and challenge the membership to serve one another.

My sermon was actually the third message I selected for this morning. The first half of the week I worked on a passage from the Gospel of John. The second half of the week I worked on a message from Message. I finally landed on a message from 1 Peter. Go figure.

I was preoccupied with the clock today, for some reason.

Next Sunday’s Sermon: “The Cost of Discipleship” (Luke 9:57-62).

Praise the Lord for all of those who were saved and added to the church in our worship services today.

Many of the members were still rejoicing today from the ministry of the word this past Wednesday by Dr. John R. Adolph of the Antioch Baptist Church of Beaumont, TX. The entire Wednesdays in the Word series was a great blessing!

The kids had a late night last night, hanging out with the men of Shiloh at the Monster Truck Show. Apparently, Monster Trucks are a big theme here in Jacksonville. The football arena was sold out. Thanks P. Wesley for letting the kids tag along.

While I was typing these notes, George Hurtt sent me a text that he was having dinner with John Piper – Yes, that John Piper – who spoke to at Mt. Sinai this evening. I am officially a hater tonight!!!

Notes from the first Sunday in 2010

Happy New Year!

It was a beautiful day. But it was cold. No. It was cooooooold! The weather guy called it “deceptive sunshine.” He explained, “You will look outside and see the sunshine. But when you go outside, you will feel the cold.” He was right. I am glad the saints pressed on to worship anyway.

The Lord smiled on our first Lord’s Day worship services in 2010 at Shiloh yesterday.

I resumed teaching my New Members Class yesterday. It was good to be with our new members and to discuss with them the good news of Jesus Christ.

I thank the Lord for his protection of my flock over the holidays. It was good to see many who were traveling had made it home safely. And I pray God’s blessings on those who were visiting here and are on their way back home or to school.

I am grateful for all of the guests who were in worship with us this past Sunday.

I had the privilege of leading the congregation in our hymn for the morning. It is a joy to lead God’s people in musical praise.

For the first time, we celebrated the Lord’s Table in both of Sunday morning worship services. A big shout-out to our Deacons and Deaconess for their service to our congregation!

Likewise, we shifted our celebration of the Lord’s Supper to earlier in the service, rather than the end of it. I hope that this change will help us to put a greater emphasis on the significance of the Supper and not feel as pressured to rush through it at the end of the service.

The choir sang one of my favorite gospel hymns before the message: “Oh, To Be Kept By Jesus.” That’s my prayer.

I continued my series through Philippians. I preached, “Have Your Learned to be Content?” from Philippians 4:10-13.

It was one of the Sundays when I never felt that I really got in the rhythm in either one of the sermon presentations. Thank God for using me in spite of me.

Praise God for all those who were saved and added to the church yesterday.

It is my plan that January 10-17 will be Prayer Emphasis week at Shiloh. And it is my intention to begin this week of prayer emphasis with a message on Ephesians 1:15-19 – “Praying to Know God Better.”

The Dallas Cowboys stomped the Philadelphia Eagles 24-0 to win the Division Title.

The Jacksonville Jaguars lost to the Cleveland Browns and were eliminated from playoff contention. Maybe next year.

I cannot believe that Sunday was the last day of the NFL regular season. It went by so fast. At least we still have the playoffs. And we will have the privilege of watching the Cowboys in the Super Bowl!