Archive for August, 2008

To the One on the Throne! To the Lamb!
The blessing, the honor, the glory, the strength,
For age after age after age.
The Four Animals called out, “Oh, Yes!” The Elders fell to their knees and worshiped.

Revelation 5

Ever since I saw Janet Paschal sing on TV during one of Jimmy Swaggart’s programs, I have been captivated by her sweet voice and her testimony for the Lord. In 2005 she was told she had cancer. If you would like to hear an interview she had with Bill Gaither, you can copy this link and paste it in your browser and hear an unbelievable witness to the power of God to touch her life.

She has been so kind to let her friends in the ministry and others who have been following her life share in this journey. I was blown away by her commitment to Christ during this battle with cancer. Listen to her as she celebrates the One that is on the Throne. We celebrate the One who is on the throne. The slain Lamb of God is Worthy!


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19“The people I love, I call to account—prod and correct and guide so that they’ll live at their best. Up on your feet, then! About face! Run after God!  Revelation 3:19  The Message

What shape would we be in if God didn’t care or love us? We would be gone – out of here – finished – done with.

His love is constantly calling me back to him. I should not be surprised when he calls me to account for my life. His consistent patience and constant leading blows my mind. I would simply get tired of messing with me. However, my worship today is graced with the understanding that My Father in Heaven is at work in my life convincing and instructing me to live at my best.

Some times my failures linger. Sometimes the ghosts of the past who always tell me that I am less than what God says I am keeps me from jumpin’ up and goin’ after what God wants. He wants me to repent – to do an “about face” and get to living.

Today, I am going to get up on my feet and run after God.

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How can I begin to put into words what the 20th Anniversary Celebration meant to Nancy and me. Our family is blessed.

I have been speechless and surprised before but nothing like Sunday Morning when out of the blue (choir loft) steps my mother, Rosalind Crooks. Our dear friends and camping buddies, Jesse and Doris Bell, heard about this event and they insisted that they bring mom to Florence for this special day. Doris Bell was so kind to Nancy and me at our wedding by making our wedding cake and brought it from Georgia to Charleston on our wedding day. What friends they are to us. It would be hard to adequately share what her presence at this special day meant to me. My dad was so sick at our 10th Anniversary and she had to be there with him. To those of you who made this special part of that event happen thanks. Many thanks to choir who wore robes again just to allow mom to blend into the crowd and be able to surprise us. We were so glad to spend some time with mom and the Bell’s. What a surprise!

The Personnel Committee and Staff and the others who joined in on the planning of the evening service did a superb job. Thanks to computer technology, I was blown away to see Jason and Jenn (my son and his wife from Maryland) as they added their special touch to the evening and to be able to visit with Ken Smith in Wachula, Florida. I appreciate your allowing them to be there. Joe Poston was a great emcee and memories flooded my own heart as we remembered how it all started. Joe was the chairman of the search committee that called me to Southside. Ella Mae Gedding and R. B. Hodges (who are now enjoying the bliss of heaven) along with Carlton Pridgen and Bishop Bell (who were both present last evening) joined Joe as the members of the committee.

Elbert Smith, Barry Lord, W. L. Collins, Ken Sandifer and the honorable David Langston all made the evening. Elbert Smith and Fred Kosin (A life long friend of Elbert’s and presently in Spanish Wells, Bahamas on assignment preaching and ministering to the body of Christ there) are two men who enjoy the Word of God better than any people I know. I know W. L. Collins and Ken Sandifer better than I do anyone else. The two of us have been special friends. We have shared life and ministry here in Florence for over 17 years. My how my heart was full as they both shared. Barry Lord ministered with me as Minister of Music for 13 years. One of the finest forms of flattery is when someone loves you enough that they feel very comfortable poking fun at you. Early on he did a piece at the church where he dressed up like me and used my “special phrases”… they actually played an excerpt from that taped event. WOW. David, what can I say. My mom told me that if I did not have anything good to say about someone, I should keep my mouth shut. The moment of silence was a hoot. Thanks for singing my favorite “His Eye is on the Sparrow”.

Whether it was sitting by Nancy, Jeremy and Kimberly, Ken Smith in Florida, Jason and Jenn in Maryland, Jesse, Doris, My mother from Georgia, those dear friends that are a part of all my life (The Cribbs, George and Angie, Bobbie and Dana, or all of my friends from the Carolinian, Henry Simmons) of whether it is Don and Teri Bell from Columbia, my night was a blessed one. I was surrounded by all of my church family and we were all covered by the presence of God. Thank you to the Kitchen Crew who worked like soldiers and Thanks to the many of you who brought dessert. YOU all were the icing on my cake.

I am a blessed husband, a lucky father, a loved on son, a thankful pastor. To the crew that made the night a special one, Thanks!

Rick did a superb job of putting together a special video presentation. I wanted to share it with you.

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W. E. B. Du Bois reminded me: “The most important thing to remember is this: To be ready at any moment to give up what you are for what you might become”.

I am not certain that I remember all the details, but I am certain that I remember the phone call that opened the door for our current assignment. The phone was on the wall in the kitchen. You could stretch it over to the counter top and talk. It rang and Joe Poston asked me if I would be interested in considering becoming pastor of Southside Baptist Church in Florence, SC. Little did I know that my secretary in Smyrna, GA was working behind the scenes to get my name to Joe. She did her work. Nancy and I thought and prayed about it. We said, yes. From that moment on, things began to change.

Joe Poston and Nancy - August 7, 1988

I am now 52. 41 of those years I share in being a believer in Christ. 35 years of them have been in a formal ministry. 28 years Nancy and I have shared in marriage. I have spent well over half of my formal ministry right here in South Carolina. I was licensed and ordained right here in SC. Talk about change.

Nancy has spent more time in the ministry that me. She has been a pastor’s daughter and a pastor’s wife. Leaving the comforts of Summerville, SC and North Charleston to go to New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary was not the easiest thing either one of us has ever done. Things have to change when you leave home and Summerville was Nancy’s home.

We survived seminary, spent several years in the Atlanta area and watched change happen. Jeremy was born in the same hospital in which I was born in Marietta, GA.

Nancy and Jeremy - August 7, 1988

We came to Southside Baptist Church 20 years ago with 2 children: Jason in the first grade (6 years old) and Jeremy was one. We now have 3 children: Jason who is 26 years old, and married to our lovely daughter in law, Jenn, Jeremy who is 21 years old and is a Senior at Francis Marion University, and Kimberly who is a Junior at South Florence High School. We have had the joy of raising our family in one place. That is a rare thing in the ministry. I have had the joy of watching young children grow up, get married, and now are bringing their children to church. I used to have more hair than I have now and I believe it is Bobby Campbell’s fault that it is turning gray. It is always easier to blame the one that cuts it. I have seen many saved. I have witnessed young men and women become mature men and women in the faith. I have enjoyed a profitable time in the pulpit of our church teaching and preaching the Word of God. God has blessed us. Talk about change.

A lot of things have changed. Change is inevitable, except from vending machines. Being ready at any moment to give up what we are for what we will become is of the highest importance. We are different than the couple that climbed out of our cars August 1988. We are very different. Sometimes change is very difficult. Change has also been good for us. However, there is one thing that has never changed: God is the one constant in all of our lives. He has been so good to our family. Southside Baptist Church has been good to our family. We are thankful for 20 years and look forward to what God has in store for all of us.

Thank you all for being our friends.

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My bride, Nancy, is celebrating her birthday today. She is “none-of-your-business” years old today. Last night we did as we always do, gathered at George’s Drive In to celebrate her birthday. George and Angie have been celebrating birthdays with us for years. It is good to have them as part of our extended family. Debbie Cribb, Nancy’s best friend and cohort in crime, and her husband Randy are all part of this process. It was good to enjoy being together.

Nancy’s dad, Bill Joy, was a Baptist Preacher and part of ministries in SC and in AL. Bill is now in heaven along with my own father. Nancy has been in the ministry much longer than me. Her mother, Betty and her husband Doug still live in Summerville, SC. Nancy has three sisters and one brother.

She loves sports. She was involved in starting the women’s basketball program at North Greenville College

Seen here with her sister Linda

Seen here with her sister Linda

and finished up her college involvement in basketball at Charleston Southern University (formerly Baptist College at Charleston). Nancy and I met at Charleston Southern University. I heard stories how she and her brother, Billy, used to stomp the neighborhood want-a-bees as they gathered in their backyard for a little game of basketball. They were an unbelievable team.

She is a teacher at McLaurin Elementary School in Florence, SC. She has taught 3rd grade Sunday School for some 13 years. She loves Jesus. She has given her life in helping to educate children. I am proud of her.

She and I have been married for 28 years. She and I have shared in 30 of the 35 years I have been in the ministry.

Today, is her birthday. Thank God for Nancy Crooks.

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29“When that time comes you won’t hear the old proverb anymore,
Parents ate the green apples, their children got the stomachache.
30“No, each person will pay for his own sin. You eat green apples, you’re the one who gets sick. Jeremiah 31 The Message

It seems that blaming those who came before us is not a new phenomenon. That stinks! I guess it is as old as Adam who told God that the woman you gave me did it. Blaming others. WOW! Let it go.

In this context God’s people will no longer be judged for the sins of their parents and grandparents. There has been a generational deal going on where the sins of the fathers are visited upon the following generations so that future generations paid for the sins of the fathers. Now he clearly states like this, “OK son, you are on your own. You will now take responsibility for what you do. You will answer to me for what you have done.”

It is so easy sometimes to blame our fathers for what we experience today. Guess that has to stop. God holds you and me personally responsible for our lives.

If I choose to eat “green apples,” then I would expect to have my own stomach ache. I choose to eat them. I suffer the consequences. I can choose to sin. When I do, I can expect to deal with the price that comes along with all of that. Can’t pass the blame any more.

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Double rainbows at Glacier National Park Montana

Double rainbows at Glacier National Park Montana

17-18God is love. When we take up permanent residence in a life of love, we live in God and God lives in us. This way, love has the run of the house, becomes at home and mature in us, so that we’re free of worry on Judgment Day—our standing in the world is identical with Christ’s. There is no room in love for fear. Well-formed love banishes fear. Since fear is crippling, a fearful life—fear of death, fear of judgment—is one not yet fully formed in love. 1 John 4 The Message

It ain’t natural or fleshly. On a good day, I love me. I want what I want, and I want the world to rotate around my way. Now that’s normal. That is fleshly. However, that is not the way I am built. I am built to allow someone run my life. I was not created to do it on my own.

Adam and God walked in the Garden. He still wants to walk with me in my own garden. When I was 11 years old I made a commitment to be a believer in Christ. God placed IN ME his very presence. I now have the Holy Spirit of God to live in me and walk with me every moment of every day.

I am built to let God do something through me that I don’t want to do naturally. When he is in command and things are going along the way He created it to be, HE is love THROUGH ME. I allow his character and person to be expressed through me. Since God is love and He lives IN me then it only follows that I will allow love to have the run of the house. I am able to do this because he lives his life through me as I submit the control of my life to His wishes.

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