Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Time "Marches" On

Where did March go?

Wasn't it only yesterday we were celebrating all of our family's January and February birthdays, and shoveling snow? Suddenly, basketball is all but over, health care reform has been signed into law, and my grass is ready for it's second mowing! Reds opening day is next week for Pete's sake, and college football spring practice begins tomorrow! How did all of this happen so soon?

Time is something that we cannot stop.

In fact, we can't even slow it down.

Spring has sprung, and I hardly knew it until I looked up yesterday and realized that April was only a day away. March may have been one of the busiest months of my adult life. Important projects around the house have had to stay on the back burner, while I took care of pastoral business. Besides the preaching and teaching duties, there have been many other activities requiring my attention. There is the usual study and sermon prep, and preparation for Easter activities. Upward Basketball and Cheer leading concluded with 66 boys and girls being recognized for their efforts, and the Award Celebration saw over 250 people in attendance. Now we have concluded Upward Soccer registration and evaluations and 86 kids have signed up for that sports ministry. The "Find it Here" activities, and various committee meetings and doctors appointments consumed a tremendous amount of time. I have spent an inordinate amount of time this month in hospitals and funeral homes. There have been family responsibilities, taxes, and bills to pay. Numerous meetings, counselling sessions, several funerals, and a wedding were also sprinkled across the March calendar.

And the time passes ever more quickly. Days turn into weeks, turn into months, turn into years...

Yesterday, while driving through south Ashland, I was reminded anew about how quickly the years go by. On a vacant lot at a busy intersection I saw one of those new generation of birthday greetings. Large yellow letters, (individually stuck into the ground on small metal rods) spelled out a birthday message regarding a long time friend. Seems she was celebrating "20 x 3 birthdays".

"That is impossible", I thought. "She can't be that old."

Then it hit me. I'll be 60 myself in only 7 months!

The Psalmist summed it up like this: " The days of our lives are seventy years; And if by reason of strength they are eighty years, Yet their boast is only labor and sorrow; For it is soon cut off, and we fly away... So teach us to number our days, That we may gain a heart of wisdom."

Life is what happens, while we are too busy to notice.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Go Cats!

Whether football or basketball, my two favorite teams are Marshall University, and WHOEVER is playing West Virginia University.

Perhaps that sounds harsh coming from a native West Virginian, but it is what it is.

I am blessed to have numerous friends in the Mountain State, who bleed Blue and Gold, and I love each of you dearly. However, I just can't bring myself to root for the evil empire from Morgantown. I will grudgingly give them their props. Their football and basketball successes this year are impressive, and well deserved. There is no doubt that the Big East is one of the finest athletic conferences in all of college basketball, and WVU is obviously in the upper echelon of the league. Please note that I did not say "class of the league" and there is good reason for that. Class is something sadly lacking in Morgantown - from "Coach Thuggins'" and his like natured hoopsters, to the couch burning idiots who fill the streets after every football victory. In my humble opinion, there hasn't been any real class in that program since Bobby Bowden paced the sidelines years ago. There have been glimmers of class from time to time. Bill Stewart and Don Nehlen come to mind. At times I could almost find myself pulling for their teams - ALMOST! Sadly for each Nehlen and Stewart, there is also a Gale Catlett, Rich Rodriquez and Bob Huggins. And for now, Ed Pastilong is still the AD.

Now, my bitterness comes, I suppose, from the years of rooting for the green clad stepchildren of the state - the Thundering Herd. This type of attitude is not limited to the borders of the Mountain State. You won't have to look far to see the same type situation. Just look at Louisville, Mississippi State, Auburn, Kansas State, Oklahoma State, and Florida State for example - each of them playing second fiddle to their in state big brothers. We're the Rodney Dangerfields of collegiate sports. No respect. A steady diet of leftovers and hand me downs.

So, now WVU has advanced to the Elite Eight of the NCAA Tournament in the East Regional at Syracuse. Congratulations are in order. Personalities aside, they have earned it. Now, who will theMountaineers face in the Regional Finals on Saturday? None other than the number 1 seeded Wildcats of the University of Kentucky (which includes Huntington's own Patrick Patterson).

Here is the question. Do I root for the representatives of the state where I was born and raised, and where I serve in ministry today? Or do I cheer for the blue and white clad heroes of the Bluegrass State, where I have made my home for the past 30 years?

What do you think?

I'm with Ashley Judd on this one.

Go Cats!

Sunday, March 14, 2010

The Real Deal

Rev. Caudle Adkins, Jr was born in 1927. He always said that to celebrate his birth, Charles Lindbergh made the first solo flight across the Atlantic, and Babe Ruth hit 60 home runs.

Like many young men of “The Greatest Generation” he felt the call to join the military in World War II. So he lied about his age, and quit school to join the Navy. When being processed into boot camp he was asked the standard question on his religion. His reply was, “I don’t have any religion.” The clerk said you must have some kind of religion, and Dad replied that his mother was a Baptist, so BANG, he was listed as a protestant.

After the War, he came back to Logan County where he drove a Pepsi truck and eventually went to work in the coal mines where is father worked. He was saved in a revival meeting in the basement of an old store building in Rossmore, WV and soon thereafter yielded to a call from God to preach the Gospel that had changed his life. He was ordained into the ministry in 1949, the same year he married my mother. They have been together ever since and celebrated their 60th Wedding Anniversary.

Over the past 61 years in the ministry he has served 7 churches in WV and Ohio as pastor, and has held more than 500 revival meetings from Michigan to Florida. He has preached in all types of Baptist churches (Free Will, United, Missionary, Independent, American and Southern). Other churches he has preached in include Methodist, Evangelical United Brethren, Nazarene, Churches of God, and non denominational community churches. For 32 years he has hosted “The Lighthouse” radio ministry on Saturday afternoons, on WEMM FM.

By a conservative estimate, Dad has preached more than 10,000 sermons, and has been used by God to help win hundreds and hundreds of people into the Kingdom. One of his lasting legacies is that his oldest son and oldest Grandson are also Baptist pastors.

Tonight, we will have a big rally in the East End of Huntington, where several churches from our Association will join together to be challenged by Dr. Frank Page to focus more on evangelism. I thought it would be appropriate this morning to have as our speaker at Westmoreland Baptist Church, a man who has done just that for more than 6 decades.

Friday, March 12, 2010

"I'm Just Sayin'..."

A Federal Appeals Court has upheld the phrases, "Under God" in the pledge of allegiance, and "In God we trust" on our money. I am glad for that. The lawsuit was foolish. We Christians got all up in arms about it. Now that we have the ruling from the appeals court, the beloved phrases stay in the pledge and on the money. We're all very happy. Now, my question is this, "What has this done to reduce the lostness in America?" (I'm just sayin'...)


I spent most of the day yesterday visiting sick folks in two hospitals. It is part of what I do as a Pastor. I made TWO trips to the same hospital to visit five different people. The reason for the two trips was an important appointment I had on the other side of town, and I didn't get every one visited on the same trip. One was having surgery yesterday, one today, one in ICU, two with other ailments. Then, after visiting two other patients at a different hospital I made a brief stop at the church to gather some work to take home for the night. Now probably only a Pastor can appreciate this, but I started home at 7:30 PM, then, three blocks from my home, I got a phone call telling me about one of our elderly members who is in the SAME HOSPITAL I had already visited twice...
Apparently she had been there several days, and I never got the word. (I'm just sayin')


News outlets are reporting that Tiger Woods has completed his rehab, and is now ready to return to the PGA Tour. Reports this morning are that he has hired Ari Fleischer (former Press Secretary for President George W. Bush) to "manage his return to the tour". The world's greatest golfer needs Ari Fleischer to get him back in the game??? (I'm just sayin'...)


The Great Commission Resurgence Task Force, appointed last summer by SBC President Johnny Hunt, has made it's interim report to the SBC Executive Committee. The report points out some glaring problems in a convention that has grown in the number of churches, but declined rapidly in the number of baptisms. It shines a bright light on the fact that we are tremendously ineffective in reaching young people with the Gospel. It shows that there are deficiencies in our efforts to reach several large metropolitan areas of our nation. While the task force's report makes some pretty good suggestions on the surface, one has to read between the lines to decipher the real intent of some of its major points. The GCR task force is now in full spin mode, with many of the high profile members of the task force putting out articles, bragging on what a great job they have done. As it stands right now, the actions recommended would emaciate a number of our State Conventions, blur the lines between International and North American Mission efforts, and advance the "cult of personality" of some high profile mega church pastors. Perhaps I am too cynical, but it appears that some of the report - especially the part on "Great Commission Giving" is akin to rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic, instead of dealing with the hole in the hull! (I'm just sayin'...)


After the 2008 election, House Speaker, Nancy Pelosi, promised the most transparent and ethical Congress ever. Well? The ethical part has been a monumental failure, but you CAN see right through them, can't you? (I'm just sayin'...)


Daniel Savage had his first opportunity to lead worship yesterday in the chapel service at New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary. He did a great job! It's hard for me to understand how he could have been overlooked for so long as a potential worship leader in Leavell Chapel. Daniel may have been the best kept secret on campus, but not at FBC Westwego, where he has done a tremendous job of leading worship for a number of years now. (I'm just sayin'...)

Thursday, March 4, 2010

A Special Time Each Week

I have always enjoyed the company of fellow pastors. Coming together for fellowship, sharing a meal, swapping stories, and encouraging one other has a therapeutic effect. Even though we are individually different in personality, gifts and style, we share the common bond of being the under shepherd of a local flock of believers.

For the past several years, a number of pastors from our local association of Baptist churches have gotten together for a monthly lunch. It is usually a time of good food, funny stories, good natured ribbing, and general R & R. I look forward to it each month.

However, over the past 5 or 6 weeks, a new dimension has been added to our relationship.

A couple of months ago, one of our younger pastors privately shared with me a great burden for the spiritual strength of our brethren. He was looking for something more than "just a time of lunch and fellowship". I agreed that I needed that, myself, and we decided to invite our fellow Baptist pastors to come together for a time of serious prayer and sharing. We determined that it should not be a "programmed" kind of thing, nor that is should be a publicized "event". The word went out through our association office, inviting any interested pastor to attend, and a new fellowship was born, meeting at 1:00 on Thursday afternoons.

To date, eight pastors have regularly been in attendance. Now, some of our pastors are bi- vocational, and are simply not able to attend a daytime prayer meeting. A couple of them serve churches that are an hour or two away, and it is very difficult for them to come to Huntington for a sixty minute get together. Perhaps they may be so inclined to schedule a prayer time for pastors in their geographical areas, or those who are on the same work schedule, but that would be their own choice. Those of us who have chosen to attend these Thursday prayer meetings have been blessed and encouraged through our time together, being united in prayer.

By the very nature of our jobs, other ministry responsibilities might keep one or two of us away from time to time, but the eight of us who have been attending are building a stronger bond between us, than we have ever had before. The ones who are taking part have consciously chosen to be there, and no one is "in charge". We share scripture, we do a little singing, and we pray - a lot. It has become one of the most important hours of the week to me. I am experiencing true refreshing, and these moments of corporate prayer with my brothers have helped strengthen me in some of my own personal struggles.

I pray that this sense of revival and awakening will spread from the pulpit to the pews of our respective churches. I would love to see more of our evangelical pastors (not necessarily just Baptists) join this fellowship. It would be great to see the number grow to the point where we would have to find a larger place to meet. But no matter what the number of participants may be, the purpose will remain the same, and God will continue to meet with us as long as that is our desire.