One of my earliest and continuous memories is watching my parents do things. It seemed as if my mom was so busy with all she did for my brothers and me. She fixed our breakfast, washed our clothes and kept us dressed with them. She sorted out our disagreements, made our school lunches, and seemed to be able to stay on top of everything. As I recollect, my dad was gone more, but I always knew when he was away that he was working. I recall thinking that it was a shamed he could not be with us kids while we are at play. Many were the times I remember him sitting on the edge of the couch working with a shoebox in his hands. He seemed to always be looking at a checkbook. I bet your dad did some of that too! When I was a teenager, there were some things that scared me about being grown up. The idea of going through an airport on my own was scary. The idea of filling out government forms to file income tax returns was scary too. Come to think of it, filling those forms out is still a bit scary! It just seemed as a kid that my dad and mom really had it together, maybe, because it made me somewhat fearful of the day when I would be called upon to do the same.
Christian education has certainly come a long way. Through the last few generations, the investment toward a deeper knowledge of the Scriptures have come from admonitions from the pulpit, bulletin articles, and certainly our Sunday and Wednesday Bible School programs.
Some have chosen to commit to attending Christian Colleges, spending thousands of dollars in order to advance their knowledge of the Scriptures. Several years ago, the elders here introduced a way that education could be more easily accessed through the Georgia School of Preaching and Biblical Studies program. This has been a highly successful approach to deeper Bible study and understanding. It has been my pleasure to teach some of these classes. Others, like Gene Cloer, Jim Whitmire, Lyle Owens, Mike Gifford, Billy Simmons, and perhaps others have taken time out of their personal lives to teach these classes. The leadership of this congregation believe strongly in this work, and plan to continue these classes. Incidentally, Billy Simmons is now scheduled to start a course on World Religions beginning the 21st of September. All should plan to attend this class. Go to bufordcoc.com now to register.
School has officially begun, and there are a few things that I’d like to say to our teens and parents during this challenging time.
1.Young people, God has plans to use you as His “instrument of righteousness” (Rom. 6:13) during school this year. This means that He would like to give you some opportunities to serve Him and to live out the message of the Gospel in front of some people who are lost in sin. This might mean that you will have an opportunity to influence a teammate, or maybe the person who sits across from you at the lunch table. This might mean that you have an opportunity to talk to one of your teachers or coaches about why you are so “different.” But here is the bottom line: you will not get these opportunities if you don’t “present yourself” to God to be used by Him. If you’re unavailable, too busy, or too concerned about getting what you might want from your school year, those opportunities will pass you by. You will become the 1-talent man in many ways, burying the opportunities that God has entrusted you with. I want to encourage you to pray about these opportunities, and then begin looking for God’s will in your life this year!
Recently, I came across some notes that had been taken from a class taught by Gus Nichols over 40 years ago. The class was on the subject of Rules of Bible Interpreting. At one point in the discussion, Nichols gave one of the best rules of thumb in how to interpret the Bible this writer has ever heard. He said, “If you do not know how to handle the Bible, you will mishandle it.” Profound!
Where are you going this summer? Got your vacation plans set? It may be that you are intending to go on a mission trip, or a vacation to the mountains or near the water. Perhaps, you have no real plans to go out of town, but you may be thinking of an outing here or there close-by. For certain, there is enough to do right here at home that you would never get around to doing it all. One thing is for sure; whether you have plans to go out of town or just stay around home you are planning to do something!
I will not get to see my dad on Father’s Day. Yes, he is still very much alive, and reasonably close in proximity. No guarantees, but the chances are great that we will not get to see each other today. You see, my dad does what I do on Sundays—we preach.
Have you ever thought about the amount of people you know whose sons have followed their dads in their choice of careers? Firemen often have sons who follow them into firefighting. Policemen, doctors, butchers, lumberjacks, and dogcatchers often see their sons and their daughters follow in their footsteps. Why do you suppose kids decide to follow their parents into their chosen fields of expertise? Perhaps there are several different reasons, but one thing they would all have in common is the power of influence.
The phrase “playing church” is making the rounds in the religious community. The phrase indicates that the Lord’s Church simply isn’t “real” for many so-called “Christians.” What does this really mean? How can we tell when someone is “playing church?” Better yet, why don’t we start with ourselves; how can we tell when we’re “playing church?” Let’s go back to the days of our youth (well, MY youth anyway; you can go back to your youth on your own time) and try to understand some basic elements involved in this idea.
“That fellow cannot see the forest for the trees!” Have you ever heard those or similar sentiments? The meaning? Well, for some reason people at times can get so focused on the things they see, that they fail to realize how the things they see are intended to fit into a bigger picture. It is as if they get lost in the particulars of a certain thing, and miss its place within the greater purpose.
I will not get to go home today.
It is 5:29 PM on Wednesday afternoon, and I am still working at the office; I’m trying to wrap up a few things for tonight’s bible class, and I’m trying to finish a few things that I would typically do on a Thursday (this article, for example). I am doing these things today because tomorrow is going to be a very busy, emotional, and challenging day for our Buford church family.
Tomorrow at 5:00 PM, we will gather here at the church building to honor and remember our dear brother, Nicholas Smith. Nicholas was tragically killed this past Saturday morning in an automobile accident on his way to New York. Nicholas - along with his girlfriend, Abby, and several other friends from Harding University - was on his way to do mission work during his spring break. It was not his first mission trip, and it probably wouldn’t have been his last. After hearing the horrible news about Nicholas’ accident, his family left in the middle of the night to drive to Louisville KY, and spent 3 very difficult days attending to Nicholas’ affairs.
This past Sunday, you may have noticed that several of our pews in the auditorium had been slashed, sliced, cut, or otherwise vandalized; there were nearly a dozen pews affected, and so far, no one knows anything about how it happened. No one has come forward to confess, and no one has any suspicions or theories about who might be responsible.
When it comes to who may have damaged the pews, it is currently a mystery; and it may remain a mystery, indefinitely. We may never know.