Saturday, July 31, 2010

Finishing Well

While at Hillsboro Family Camp I had the privilege of hearing five men who have been in the ministry for 50 years or more (George Faull, Glenn Bourne, Ray Bennett, Harvey Bream, and Olan Hicks). Some of these brothers have been my ministry heroes (Ed Bousman, at 91 years of age, spoke on Thursday, but I didn’t get to hear him). It was encouraging to hear these brothers talk about the joys of ministry, and yes, even the disappointments; because through it all, God is faithful. If the Lord tarries, I pray that I will follow in the footsteps of these men who are finishing well.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Hillsboro Family Camp

I was able to enjoy a couple of days at the Hillsboro Family Camp. It’s always like coming home; there are so many friends there. I have a lot of fond memories of Family Camp. When I was a newbie preacher, Hillsboro had a huge impact on me. I appreciate those who prayed for me as I preached on Tuesday night. And the folks were very encouraging afterwards. It was great to hear some of my friends preach also.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010


Recently my daughter graduated from High School. Her younger brother will follow in her footsteps in a few years. As I reflected on their young lives and contemplated the fact that they will soon be living on their own, I wondered where their faith journey would take them. They have attended Restoration Movement churches their entire lives, but lately I have been asking myself what I want to pass along to them regarding their spiritual heritage.

I want my children to know that we are a people of the book. When we use the Bible as our primary source for teaching and preaching, we are following the example of the early pioneers of our movement. Alexander Campbell (and others) emphasized the return to the Bible, apart from the teachings, traditions and doctrines of men, as the guide and rule of a believer’s life. Many times my children and congregation have heard me echo that old phrase, “The Bible only makes Christians only.” Our goal is to speak where the Bible speaks and be silent where the Bible is silent. I must admit that it is easier said than done. However, the Scriptures must be the place where we turn to find God’s will for our lives and for His church.

Even so, I want them to realize that we do not have a monopoly on truth. Nearly all of our early leaders came from denominational backgrounds. Much of what they learned about God and His Word came from their experiences in those churches. Truth is truth regardless of the pedigree of the person speaking it. We should be grateful for the diligent work of Bible translators and missionaries; teachers and preachers and writers. The Reformers paved the way for those who would come along after them, those we now recognize as the “Restoration Forefathers.” Today we still benefit from the insight of people who are not from “our tribe.” We must never come to believe that our movement has a correct understanding of every point of doctrine, and by implication everyone else is wrong.

I want my daughter and son to understand that our movement is just that, a movement. The restoration of New Testament Christianity is something that we long for; something that we move towards as we continue to study the Bible and witness to a world that needs Christ. There is no new truth – God is not giving additional revelation. However, perhaps we have more to restore. Maybe there are some issues that we need to restudy and rethink. Are there practices that Scripture commends that we have neglected? Are there actions that we need to cease? Are there attitudes that we need to adjust?

I want my children to have their own faith and be independent thinkers and students of the Scriptures. Of course, my desire is that they remain in this movement. But I want them to do so because they really believe in its principles and pleas, not simply because it is our family tradition. However, our children will not know these things unless we take the time and make the effort to teach them. What are you teaching your kids these days?

Sunday, July 04, 2010

Happy Independence Day!

I just love July 4th in our little community. It is the most Mayberry-esque day of the year. It seems like the entire community comes out to enjoy the festivities. Cedar Creek has a very visible presence at this event. Our Praise Band had the privilege of playing worship songs for about an hour in the park pavilion. The youth group sold pop and water. Several of us were wearing red "Celebrate Christ at the Creek" t-shirts. It’s like a family reunion. The weather was perfect and the fireworks show was spectacular.