A NEW ADDITION
Our family continues to grow this year with the birth of our granddaughter Isabella Jayne. She is the daughter of our daughter Jennifer and her husband Todd. Bella weighed in at 7 lbs. 1 oz.and 20 3/4 in long this past Saturday (Nov. 20) at 6:23 am.
Bella joined us 3 1/2 weeks earlier than expected. She is a sweet little girl who has features of both her mother and father.
Leslie and I feel most blessed with all three daughters now married and now two grandchildren. God seems to give us the true desire of our hearts. Leslie and I have prayed for the girls to find good Christian husbands and start their own families. We have been delighted with the choices the girls have made. Now we have the joy of our girls having children. Being a grandparent is indeed GRAND.
Each age of life has God’s blessings for us. I am enjoying this stage.
Thank you dear Lord for blessing us in each stage of life. — Ray
Here are just a few of the upcoming events at Second Baptist;
- Sunday morning, February 1 — observe the Lord’s Supper
- Sunday evening, February 1 — SOUPER BOWL PARTY
- Sunday evening, February 8 — New Mt. Zion Pastor Earl Hocker and the church choir, pot-luck fellowship
- Sunday evening, February 22 — 2BC Valentine Banquet
- March 8 — Second Baptist Church 60th Anniversary Celebration
- March 13, 14, 15 — Comedy Dinner Theater in MMC to support 2BC Drama Ministry
- March 21 — Beast Feast for men
Baptists are a very independent group of people. Our beliefs in the Priesthood of the Believer and the right of each church to decide church polity and direction make the local Baptist church one of the most independent entities in Christianity. How do churches get along? By making a conscious choice to “cooperate” through a local group of churches called an “association,” through a “state convention” — the Kentucky Baptist Convention, and through a “national convention” — the Southern Baptist Convention. A local church may choose which of these entities to belong to, all three or only one or two. It is a voluntary, not imposed, cooperation. For this reason the funding of Baptist ministries and missions is called the Cooperative Program. You may read the influence of Kentucky Baptists in the start of the Cooperative Program by clicking here.
Second Baptist Church currently gives 10% of all undesignated gifts through the Cooperative Program. I use the term “through” because the gifts do not go into one big pot that has to be decided how to divide. There are predetermined guidelines on how CP gifts will be used. Details of the Kentucky Baptist challenge for 2008 may be seen here.
I am proud to pastor Second Baptist, a church that desires to cooperate. A few years ago we received a plaque honoring our church for cumulative gifts of over a million dollar through the CP since its inception. Each year Second ranks in the top 100, often in the top 50, churches in total CP giving.
Cooperation is vital to our church as it is to our personal Christ-Walk. Let’s support what Baptists are doing in ministry and missions by keeping the Cooperative Program a part of our giving.
“Super Tuesday” has an entirely different meaning for many residents of Muhlenberg County and other localities in Kentucky and Tennessee. At 7:44 p.m. a tornado struck Muhlenberg County driving thoughts of political candicates from most minds. Three people were killed, numerous injured, and several homes completely destroyed.
Leslie and I had been out to eat and had gone home to relax in front of the TV. We were watching the progressing weather pattern when the electricity went out. Lighting candles we assumed we had a blackout from a bad storm. The weather radio we had on was still issuing tornado warnings. We had no idea what had happened. Neither our house phone or cell phones were working. Ben and Sharon Van Hooser and Gary and Doris Jones stopped by the house to get me to go check the church where alarms were going off. We got there to find Waymon Jones disabling the alarms set off by the power outage. None of us knew about the devastation. I went back home and my cell phone began to work. Two calls informed me of the damage at Nolen Trailer Park and the desire to use Second Baptist Church as a shelter. I went immediately to the church. The remainder of the week was filled with Second Baptist Church preparing food for the American Red Cross to deliver and the start of multiple ministries to victims and the community.I would like to preserve stories and pictures from the week. Would you add your stories to the blog? If you have pictures, please email me the pictures and tell what the picture is of. (firstname.lastname@example.org) In the midst of destruction God did some marvelous things through His people from many churches and backgrounds. Join me as we preserve a record of these efforts.
In the biblical account Abraham blessed Isaac, Isaac blessed Jacob (and even Esau), and so the story went on through generations. But let me ask, “Who blessed you?”
Each of us needs to feel blessed in life. Some of us are fortunate enough to feel blessed by our parents. Others have to seek that blessing from other family members, from surrogate parents, or from friends. We all need to feel blessed.
When we feel blessed, it is easier to pass a blessing on to others. We want the future generations to experience affirmation and encouragement. There is a spiritual nature to feeling blessed. We know that God blesses us, but is there some person who has blessed you?
But what if you feel like you have never been blessed? Be bold enough to ask someone close to you, or ask one of your staff pastors you are close to, to pray a prayer of blessing over you. I want everyone to feel that they have been blessed.
Let me ask you again, “Who blessed you?”
For many years I did not understand the spiritual power released through the process of “blessing.” I had always emphasized “knowing” and “understanding” in my Bible studies. I thought this was the way to preach and teach. I even taught my children in this way. At some point in my Christian journey I realized that this is not enough. People need “blessing” as much, if not more, than they need “knowing” and “understanding.”
The Bible story of Esau and Jacob illustrates this. Esau and Jacob were twin brothers, Esau barely the oldest. Isaac loved Esau, Rebekah loved Jacob. Esau did not seem to mind selling his birthright to Jacob for a bowl of soup and some bread (Genesis 25). But when Jacob and his mother tricked father Isaac into giving Jacob the parental blessing, Esau was angry, seeking to kill his brother Jacob, and desperately begged his father, “Bless me—me too, my father! … Haven’t you reserved any blessing for me?” (Genesis 27)
This story helped me understand a truth — most people desire blessing over inheritance.
It was then that I began a new way of talking to my daughters. In addition to telling them that I love them I would tell them that I am proud of them (words of blessing).
People need blessing in our speech and in our prayers.
Have you shared blessing with your family? With your friends? With your fellow church members? With your co-workers?
Thank you for sharing such wonderful stories about Christmas. Perhaps there are other stories you would like to share.
Let me prime the pump with a story of my own. Starting out as pastor and wife in a small country church while I was still in seminary, we knew the meaning of the term “poor as a church mouse.” Paying tuition out of our meager salary meant there was no money for gifts or anything extra after we paid our tithe and bills. Leslie has always loved having a lot of gifts under the tree. We had bought a couple of simple gifts for each other (clothes we HAD to have) and those were carefully wrapped. Imagine my surprise when I found bunches of wrapped presents for me under the tree. I opened one. There was a clipping of an item cut from a Sears catalogue with a note, “I would buy this for you if I could.” Each of the boxes contained other clippings with similar notes. I did not get the stash of things, but I received the full delivery of love.
Do you have other stories? Share them in the comments below.
This week I am with my mother as she recovers from hip surgery. Mom is doing well. It is a shame, but the only time I get to spend extended time with my parents is when they are ill. Living away from home as a pastor means that I don’t get home as often as I would like.
Since I am away, I would ask a favor of you who read this blog. In the comments section would you tell your favorte personal Christmas stories? I think it would be great to hear each other’s stories. I should be back to writing by the end of the week.