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Showing posts from June, 2016

Changing of the Guard

It is only with humility that I announce, as of yesterday, that I am President of the Rotary Club of Canton.

Yes, I am excited. Yes, I am humbled. Yes, I am grateful. And yes, I understand that this comes with tremendous responsibility. But, no risk, no reward.

I am wholeheartedly committed to the ideals of Rotary and I am looking forward to serving in this capacity.

It is primed to be a wonderful year as the Rotary Club of Canton will celebrate 80 years and the Rotary International Convention will be held in Atlanta. Adding to that excitement is the prospect of polio being completely eradicated from the face of the earth this Rotary year.

The Rotary International theme is "Rotary Serving Humanity" and I am excited to roll up my sleeves with my Rotary family and help others in need. Both, in the community and around the world.




The Consuming Fire

I preached Saturday. Here is a quick summary of the message.

God is a consuming fire (Deuteronomy 4:24). We do not hear this much in our churches today. We hear that God is loving, patient, kind, and merciful. It is true that God is all of these incredible attributes, but He is also a consuming fire. This makes people uncomfortable.

Fire burns, illuminates, purifies, and heats up everything around it. The same is true about God. Any encounter with Him never leaves the heart nor the mind the same.

The moment we accept Christ as our Lord and Savior, we get the consuming fire. The reception is made possible by Jesus. Jesus, in his death, burial, and resurrection, qualifies us for God's righteousness, love, forgiveness, peace, grace, and fire.

Not hell fire, but pure fire.

The consuming fire of God for those who are in Christ is not a tragic fire of condemnation. The Fire of God is that of purification, a holy zeal, and passion for righteousness. The Fire of God ignites us to do right…

Brexit

Great Britain voted to break away from the European Union today in a historic referendum. As a result, Prime Minister David Cameron announced his resignation as the nation's leader.

Over 17.4 million Britons voted to exit the European Union, while 16.1 million voted to remain.

Part of the impetus of the succession vote was the fact that the European Union's (EU) decision-making authority rests in Brussels, not London. Another reason for leaving was the high number of immigrants moving into the UK from poorer EU nations.

The vote to leave the EU sent global financial markets into a tizzy.

Many of the longer-term impacts of the decision will be felt in trade and commerce. Britain will lose automatic access to European markets. Additionally, Britain is no longer obligated to let any EU citizen live and work in its borders.

New trade agreements will have to made. Britain relies heavily on the European common market.

Britain's Treasury and Central Bank believes the exit from ac…

Disciplined Freedom

Jazz is both about freedom and discipline in musical expression. It is very much disciplined freedom.

The freedom is in the interpretation of any singer, musician, and composer who brings their own touch to a piece.

The discipline is in the technique employed to yield the sound expressing mood, emotion, and interpretation.

I believe both of these elements are overlooked in church.

Freedom and discipline are replaced with noise and volume to cover musical deficiencies. Please take this as an observatory note. I am not discrediting or criticizing any one singer or musician. We who sing and play gospel or contemporary music are all guilty.

But, when you step out of your comfort zone by trying something different, you inevitably grow. That is exactly what happened at choir rehearsal yesterday.

In yesterday's rehearsal, we took the first 15 minutes to do nothing but breathing exercises and vocal warm-ups. 7 total. These were minutes we would have typically used to work on a new song, w…

Empower Others

An effective leader develops those around them. Secure leaders give power to others. Good bosses develop their employees.
Successful leaders empower other people.
"The best executive is the one who has sense enough to pick good men to do what he wants done, and self-restraint enough to keep from meddling with them while they do it." - President Theodore Roosevelt
Empowered people reach their potential.
Just as someone taught you to walk, someone taught you to drive, and someone taught you to read- you have tremendous gratitude for them. They shared what they knew with you and you are better because of it.
When a superior or organizational leader does not empower others, it is oftentimes because of insecurity. Not wanting to share information, contacts, best practices, or give others a chance stems from the fear of becoming obsolete or unnecessary. 
That is a lie. Here is a paradigm-shifting thought that I am learning daily: Just as the Way up is Down, Great Leaders Gain Auth…

History and Biblical Interpretation

Last week my family and I took an excursion to Indiana to research our history and visit family landmarks.

We made stops at the two Indiana churches that my Grandfather, the late Rev. Willie R. Thomas, pastored.

My grandfather moved to Indiana sometime in the 1950's after serving in combat in World War II. Unfortunately, he passed nearly a decade before I was born.

Rev. Thomas first served as an Assistant Pastor at Shiloh Baptist Church in Richmond, IN in the late 1950's.

Following job loss on the railroad and having to provide for a growing family, he and my Grandmother, the late Mrs. Ida Marie Hassler Thomas and their three small children, moved to Muncie, IN where he accepted the job as Senior Pastor of Greater Pilgrim Rest Missionary Baptist Church.

It is well-understood within my family that the late Rev. C.L. Franklin, Aretha Franklin's father, helped my Grandfather get hired at Greater Pilgrim Rest.

My dad was born on the top floor of Greater Pilgrim Rest, as it was…

Listen to This!

Struggling with your faith? Questioning God? Confused?

I encourage you to listen to this album. 

I have been a fan of Da' T.R.U.T.H. since I was in high school.

I grew up in church. But, it wasn't preaching, prayer meetings, musicals, nor some mysterious epiphany that drew me to know the Lord. It was rap.

The Word in hip-hop form, or lyrical theology, is what truly kindled my relationship with Christ.

That is why I am an unwavering supporter of the genre and movement that is Christian Hip Hop.

Da' T.R.U.T.H. has always been a leader and trailblazer in the industry since his early days on Cross Movement Records.

"It's Complicated" is his newest album. It's weighty, it's authentic, it's relevant, it's timely, and it's the uncompromised truth.

He features Christian apologist Dr. Ravi Zacharias throughout the project.

Not much more I can share other than, listen to the album in its entirety. If you know someone who struggles with their faith in…

What is Praise?

This year our church Praise and Worship Team is taking a deep dive into the study of praise and worship. Beyond the music, why is praise and worship important? What about it causes God to operate our lives? What does it look like?
Below is a letter I sent to our Praise and Worship Team last week. Just like "What is Worship"?, I hope this enriches and deepens your understanding of praise as we make triumphant and joyful noise to the Lord. 

"And when he had consulted with the people, he appointed those who should sing to the LORD, and who should praise the beauty of holiness, as they went out before the army and were saying: 'Praise the LORD, For His mercy endures forever.' Now when they began to sing and to praise, the LORD set ambushes against the people of Ammon, Moab, and Mount Seir to utterly kill and destroy them. And when they had made an end of the inhabitants of Seir, they helped to destroy one another... And the fear of God was on all kingdoms of those cou…