Aaron Summers

What Number Will We Wear?

In SBC on July 24, 2014 at 7:02 am

lebron-james-number-6-23

Everyone is talking about Lebron and what number he will wear as he returns to the Cavs.  Will he wear 23, which he wore last at Cleveland?  Will he wear 6, the number he chose as he went to Miami?  It seems there is even an online poll for the public to help him decide which number to choose.

What number will Southern Baptists choose?

In 1950, one person was baptized for every 19 members of SBC churches. In 1978, the baptismal ratio increased to 36 to 1, and by 2003 the number had climbed to 43 to 1. A lower ratio is desired. (1)  Each year about this time every SBC church puts together the annual reports and statistics for their church.

What number will the SBC pick this year?

Will we continue the decline?  Will they try to say we are at least better than if the CBF had remained after the conservative resurgence?  It would be more honorable to just own what the number is without concessions.  Each church makes a difference.  Well, actually, each member makes a difference.  Here are the 4 ways I see that the SBC can have a better number.

1.  Stop being like ACORN.  Actually remove all those who have died or moved away.  This would lower our membership records and create a better number.

2.  Start re-baptizing.  Bring in a good enough evangelist and they will talk all the people out of salvation so they can “really” get saved and then baptized again.  This would give a better number.

3.   Pay the pastor more.  This should really get his juices flowing and that should help win more to Jesus.

4.  You the reader…go share Jesus.

Which number should we pick this year?  Which number will you pick this year?

3 Benefits From Reading Scripture

In Chrisian Life, Faith on July 23, 2014 at 8:00 am

bible-reading

I grew up during a time that emphasized the “Quiet Time”.  We had retreats, seminars, classes, studies, and more sermons than you can count that were designed to teach us how to have a quiet time with God.  If we were really devoted to our devotions than we would get up earlier to have this elusive moment with God.  The tactics used were usually guilt and shame. If you really loved God you would do this.  If you were really committed you would read every day.  If you missed a day, then you must not really love God.

Living Life on a Checklist

We were being pushed in dutiful readers of the Word that simply became a checklist.  We would mark our envelopes, receive praise, and take the awards.  Of course we would lie.  It was almost as if we were driven to do it.  Who does not want praise vs. guilt?  Who does not want honor vs. shame?  When it all backfired, we could run down the aisle weeping and rededicate our lives only to do it again at camp, revival, new year, and more.  We found ourselves in an obscene pattern of guilt.  The very thing we were trying to avoid by doing the checklist we came into contact with anyway.

All a Twitter

In a current culture that does not read as we once did, there is a question as to whether we should spend our time reading the Bible.  Unless it is in 160 characters or less, how would we ever finish?  We live in a Biblically illiterate moment in history.  The Bible is the best-selling book every year, but the least read.

Is it outdated?  Is it irrelevant?  Is it useless?  Absolutely not!

The Word of God is living, powerful, and necessary in our lives as it contains the message God has for us.  As the people waited on the Plains of Moab, Moses began delivering the final messages of his life.  God knows the entire future of Israel.  He knows that they will demand a king.  He knows what will happen as a result.  Look at the words of Moses in Deuteronomy which were 400 years before it would happen.

18 When he is seated on his royal throne, he is to write a copy of this instruction for himself on a scroll in the presence of the Levitical priests. 19 It is to remain with him, and he is to read from it all the days of his life, so that he may learn to fear the Lord his God, to observe all the words of this instruction, and to do these statutes.

20 Then his heart will not be exalted above his countrymen, he will not turn from this command to the right or the left, and he and his sons will continue ruling many years over Israel.

Deuteronomy 17

When, not if, the demand a king to lead them, Moses instructs what the King is to do.  He is to acquire a copy of the scriptures and read them everyday.  He is to meditate on them, observe them, and learn them.  Moses is telling the people that the King is to have a “Quiet Time” all the time.  However, this was not some checklist.  Moses was not prescribing a duty simply to be mindlessly accomplished.  The king was to keep the word close and read it, but that was not all.  This is what we do.  We buy new translations with cool colors and funky covers.  We keep the word close through out computers and phones.  We breeze through a reading and then it ends.  Moses added that through the reading, the King would learn to fear God and to observe the instructions.  These are relational terms.  Moses instructs to not simply go through the routine of daily meditation, but to do so with purpose.  From Genesis 3 where everything went wrong, God has worked to redeem humanity.  Israel was to be the beacon of light to the nations of God power and personal attention, His love and affection.  Being close to the Word and reading it leads to a deeper love relationship with God because of the revelation found within the Scriptures.  We continually see God reaching out to the World through Israel to bring them to Himself. We read the Bible because it leads us toward God.  He teaches us how to live life.  Verse 20 reveals three benefits of this improved relationship:

Humility

A student of the Word recognizes that life is not about the fulfillment of our dreams, but those of God.  The scriptures reveal the importance of God’s plan that is to be fulfilled through us as much as it is for us.  We are an instrument and extension of God’s grace, mercy, and love.

Focus

A student of the Word hones a razor-sharp focus on personal purpose as it plays out in the Kingdom of God.  When our life purpose is viewed in a larger than life purpose such as that of God, we aspire to new heights.  We begin to let go of the entanglements and run free to finish the race for which we have been called to run.

Legacy

A student of the Word naturally lays the groundwork for the next generation.  The humility and focus lead to a life that is inspiring.  The atmosphere in the home of those who have firmly placed faith in Jesus and develop this relationship through communication and meditation is amazing!  Those homes see the proverb come true:  Train up a child in the way he should go and when he is old he will not depart from it.  This legacy is a the result of modeling as much as anything.  A legacy is built that will last generations.

Have you read the Bible today?

3 Reasons Why I Use the F Word and You Should Too

In Chrisian Life, Forgiveness on July 22, 2014 at 8:00 am

f-bomb-f-bomb-ball-fuse

Sometimes it just can’t be helped.  Usually it doesn’t just slip out.  However, in the heat of the moment it is the only real option.  The “F” word sometimes NEEDS to be used.  Of course, I don’t think it should be just thrown around.  It should be used tastefully and with purpose.  I am trying to teach my children how to use the word in the right moments.  You can’t just drop that bomb in any conversation.  It takes a certain diplomacy to use it just right.  I hear it all the time, but I am not sure we all are working on the same definition.  In fact, I think many people misunderstand the purpose and meaning of the “F” word.

7 I lavish unfailing love to a thousand generations.
I forgive iniquity, rebellion, and sin.
But I do not excuse the guilty.
I lay the sins of the parents upon their children and grandchildren;
the entire family is affected—
even children in the third and fourth generations.

Exodus 34:7

Forgiveness is critical to a society that functions properly.  However, so many people refuse to forgive because of a misunderstanding of its meaning and purpose.

Forgiveness is not…

  1. It is not a release from responsibility.  Just because you forgive does not mean that person is no longer liable for the actions or words which damaged you or the relationship.
  2. It is not an immediate end to the pain.  Forgiveness does not rid ourselves of the pain we might feel.  Forgiveness cannot bring back the child lost in the accident.  Forgiveness cannot remove the haunting memories of the battles, bruises, and scars.
  3. It is not giving in.  The perceived power I feel that I have over someone is just that…perceived.  I am not giving in to the person, or group.  What is happening is that I am actually taking back a personal power.

Forgiveness is…

  1. Being interested in moving forward more than staying in the past.
  2. Giving back to God the right to dispense justice.
  3. A process, not a one-time event.

We must learn how to forgive.  It is an art, not always a science.  I choose to forgive. I choose to give back to God the right to dispense justice as He sees fit.  I choose to let go of the event and move forward.

I forgive you is powerful.  Be powerful today.

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