Sunday, July 27, 2014


This week I am taking a moment to thank our people for the attitude of serving God and being the mission of God in Abbeville.  Just this week we had a mission team serving in Belize, a mission team serving in the Henry County jail, a mission team serving in the Nursing Home, a mission team at Celebrate Recovery on Thursday night, a mission team serving in Men's Ministry (Motley Men on Wednesday) and a mission team witnessing for Jesus at the softball fields as we shared fellowship with other congregations in the Abbeville area.  It is truly an honor for me to be part of this church that placed almost 100 different people in ministry just this week (this includes our children's ministry, the Thrift store, the praise team, Boys and Girls Club team, the choir, our Bible Study teachers on Wednesday and Sunday, the ICU Team, and anyone I might have missed).  Think of this in these terms.  We have about 100 people in attendance each Sunday.  While the 100 people out in the world and our community might have been different people (in fact some of the people serving in the ministries above were not even AUMC attendees) it is pretty impressive that we are sending out a number equal to the attendees on Sunday morning.  And I think we can get to the point we are sending over that number.  John Riley calls God the great multiplier.  I think that is manifested in you and your work for Jesus.  Two comments ... keep up the great work ... thank you for being the hands and feet of our Savior!  I am honored to be your pastor!  Randy

Monday, July 21, 2014


Ok ... this is so wrong.  I catch a few fish and, earlier this year, a blue heron tried to steal my fish.  Now the reptiles are on board when a giant snapping turtle swims off with a stringer of fish just last week.  Something is wrong with this picture!

It isn't the first time I have felt like I was wronged.  My first boss on my very first job wasn't the most ethical person ever and did some pretty shady things, some of which visited misery on me.  Another boss had ambitions and plans that didn't include my best interest.  Sometimes we feel like the world hates us and is out to get us.  Jesus addresses this problem specifically.

Jesus said the world would hate the things we do that look like Him.  If we love in the way that Jesus did people will call us "do-gooders" and wonder about our hidden agenda.  If we live righteously people think we are trying to be better than them and they are jealous.  If we turn the other cheek we are called pacifists and cowards.  If we pray in private and avoid showy acts of faith we are viewed as "not religious enough."  You see that if we apply the Sermon on the Mount, lots of people will find a reason to criticize.  So, what do we do?  We apply Jesus' plan anyway.

We go to Celebrate Recovery and love people who are hurting, because even if everyone outside that group thinks we are spinning our wheels, we know that God works when we love those who are in distress (the least of these).  We go to Belize, Navajo Nation, Appalachia, and Abbeville and we work on missional projects, giving our energy and self to problems way bigger than us, and we let God multiply our efforts and modify our hearts.  And we come to God's house and worship, faithfully and frequently, not to be holy but to tell God and our fellow worshipers that God is the only reason for any good thing accomplished by our efforts.

John 15 says we will be wronged for looking like Jesus.  But if we do look a little like Jesus, we will be in very good company on this earth and in saintly company in the world to come.  Randy

Monday, July 14, 2014


Sometimes I wonder about the solidity of our beliefs and the hold we have on our faith.  I have seen people who will seem solid and passionate about being in church, interacting with God's people and worshiping "in Spirit and truth."  In a few months they will cease being faithful and will be clearly drifting away.  I wonder about the change.  Maybe a sermon didn't strike them the right way.  Maybe someone said something that they took in a negative way.  Maybe they found something better to do with their time.  People often remind me of our cat.  She can seem shy and stand-offish but that dissolves in an instant when someone scratches her behind the ears.  Cats, and people, are fickle.

Paul was talking to Timothy and he observed this trait of people and made a prediction.  He said, "the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine, but wanting to have their ears tickled, they will accumulate for themselves teachers in accordance to their own desires (2 Timothy 4:2-4)."  Michael Card writes that we have a tendency to create god in our image ... forgetting that God is God.  To Moses God says,  "I am the God that is real." When we create a God we can fit into our little package, we end up with a plastic god ... an idol that is arguably worse than the idols of the Old Testament.  Because we supplant the real God with "our god" and claim they are the same.  This is taking God's name in vain in the very worst way.

Our world gives us a plastic god and a plastic Jesus.  The real Jesus is assuredly not amused and not altered by our false beliefs.  People want a god that meets their standards.  The real God does not bow to the standards of any man, any denomination and any nation.  Isaiah calls God, "He who sits above the circle of the earth, and its inhabitants are like grasshoppers, (He) who stretches out the heavens like a curtain, and spreads them out like a tent to dwell in."  I don't know about you, but I need a God who is greater, stronger, higher than even my imagination.  Not a plastic god that I can carry around in my pocket.


Monday, July 7, 2014


There are two perspectives on running.  In the story of Moses he was running.  Moses was running from lots of things.  He ran from Egypt because he killed an Egyptian guard.  He was a wanted man.  He became comfortable in his flight and even notched out a credible life with a wife (Zipporah) and Jethro, his father-in-law.  Sometimes we stop in the process of running and settle in.

There is another perspective of running.  It is running to something.  Hebrews tells us to run toward the goal.  Paul says to run toward the prize.  Moses hears from God and heads toward Egypt.  He was tentative, reluctant, scared and full of excuses ... but he was headed in the right direction.

I have to reflect on where I fit into this story.  What I want to think is that I am that reluctant, tentative and scared guy who is running toward God's plan and purpose in spite of my doubts.  But I hope I am not the stopped, comfortable Moses, settling down in the wilderness of Midian, keeping myself busy but not busy in service to the Lord. 

I guess what I have to decide is whether I am running to or running from.  For we humans are runners by nature, going one direction or the other.  And even when we think we are stopped, we are either going in God's direction or going in some other direction.  There is no fence-sitting or middle ground.

Twila Paris writes a song about running that has the lyrics, "Runner, though the road is long, feel like giving up, but you're hanging on, runner, when the race is run, may you run into His arms."  That is my prayer for you and me!  Randy