Being on the Ground Floor


Today at my church, there were few–if any– empty chairs. That might not sound like much until you consider that this church has only officially been in existence since July of last year (with the official launch in September).

I’ve always said that I wanted to be on the ground floor of a church plant and here I am.

My role may not be a big one, but I am playing a small part. I am a greeter on most Sunday mornings and once every month or so I run the graphics, which includes song lyrics and other slides related to the Sunday morning service.

I enjoy it. I really love the fact that we as the local body of Christ are making an impact on the neighborhood in which God has placed us. People driving by can’t help but notice the sign that reads “The Church at Avenue South– a regional campus of Brentwood Baptist Church.” Jesus has moved into the neighborhood and we are His visible body here on earth.

I can’t wait to see what happens in the year ahead. I pray that we won’t be content to maintain status quo but instead seek ways to think outside that proverbial box and truly become all things to all people, just as Paul talked about in 1 Corinthians 9:22.

In fact, my prayer is for all the churches in Nashville to do the same. I really do hope that we can get away from the competitive spirit and learn to work together as the Church. After all, Jesus prayed that we would be one as He and His Father are one.

More than that, I pray the churches in Nashville will stick to the Gospel that Paul preached, no matter what. That’s what saves people and that’s what people are dying to hear, both figuratively and literally.


Some not-so-original thoughts on prayer

“To pray, I think, does not mean to think about God in contrast to thinking about other things, or to spend time with God instead of spending time with other people. Rather, it means to think and live in the presence of God. As soon as we begin to divide our thoughts about God and thoughts about people and events, we remove God from our daily life and put him into a pious little niche where we can think pious thoughts and experience pious feelings. … Although it is important and even indispensable for the spiritual life to set apart time for God and God alone, prayer can only become unceasing prayer when all our thoughts — beautiful or ugly, high or low, proud or shameful, sorrowful or joyful — can be thought in the presence of God. … Thus, converting our unceasing thinking into unceasing prayer moves us from a self-centred monologue to a God-centred dialogue” (Henri Nouwen).

Prayer is not about me letting God in on information He was unaware of, or getting Him to do or change things for me. Prayer is about getting to know the heart and mind of God. It’s about seeing my problems and issues with His eyes. It’s about me being conformed into His image, which is ultimately God’s will for all of us.

Prayer is not just about me alone with God. It’s about me and other believers coming together in one accord before God, praying as one. It’s about seeing and seeking God in every waking moment.

All that to say that I am not really that good at prayer. I can pray in emergencies or crisis, but I forget to pray when I feel I am in status quo normal mode. Sometimes, I even forget about God and all He’s done for me. But I’m learning not to come at God all the time asking for things and not sticking around for His responses. I’m learning to come to God and be open to whatever He has for me. I’m learning to be still and listen. I’m learning to quiet my mind and be still. I’m learning to pray not my will, but Thine.

I am a student in the school of prayer who has a very patient Master who won’t ever flunk me or get frustrated with me or give up on me. He is pleased with my weak efforts and my directionless monologues out of a mind that is so easily distracted by anything and everything else. I have an Interpreter who will take the groans and sighs of mine that can’t find words and turn them into perfect prayers.

As always, I believe. Help my unbelief.

Thoughts on Authenticity and the New Testament Church


I’ve been reading over Acts 2:42-47 lately and I am struck by how radically different the Early Church was from my own experience of Church. For one thing, we in the South (me included) talk about “going to church,” while the early believers talked about “being the church” and being the hands and feet of Jesus. Church for them was not a place or an event, but a shared way of life.

Where is the sense of awe? Where are the signs and wonders? By that I don’t mean crazy gibberish, but the genuine miraculous moving of God among His people. I think part of the answer is that the early believers spent so much time together. They fellowshipped and broke bread together DAILY. We do good if we see each other twice a week. They shared everything. They were willing to sacrifice of themselves to help fellow believers. They were of one mind, one purpose and had one goal– to lift up Jesus in such a way that He would draw all people to Himself.

They faced a level of persecution that we know nothing about. There was no room for casual Christianity, because to proclaim “Jesus is Lord” was to risk torture and death. I have never faced that in my life.

How do we change course? I know for me, that if I am comfortable and satisfied with the way things are, the staus quo, I will never change. Only with a holy discontent can I seek the face of God to bring the change in my life. When we are willing to take off our masks and be real, to stop talking Christianese and Sunday School answers and be brutally honest about ourselves, then we see change. Only God can initiated that in His people, but we have to want it.

Who’s with me? Who’s tired of just going to church? I see the main problem with the American Church everytime I look in the mirror.  I am the main problem. If I want to see change, I have to be the change. I must desperately want God to change me, to transform me, to live through me in the Person of His Son, Jesus, and through His Holy Spirit.

It’s time to break up our shallow ground and seek the Lord. Who’s with me?