Love Them, but Don’t Like Them

1 John 4:21 says, “And this commandment we have from him: whoever loves God must also love his brother.”

Hey God of the Holy Bible, can we negotiate that one a little?

No? OK

I’ve you’ve been hurt by people (and we all have) that command is HARD to do! But did you know that you can love people, even if you don’t like people? I John 4:7-21 gives us several reasons you can and SHOULD do this. I will discuss them this Sunday at Liberty’s HWY 76 campus at 10 AM. Please join us in person or via Facebook Live. For more information about Liberty, go to

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Random Thoughts on Friday 4/11/14

Now there’s an app – LBC Engage

If you haven’t downloaded the new app for my church family ( get it this weekend.  Three great things you can do with this app:

  1. You can stay current with what is going on at Liberty through social media and immediate access to announcements.
  2. You can keep the conversation going all week long.  At Liberty Engage you can listen to any sermon you might have missed or one you want to hear again.  Something I am really excited about, in a few weeks we will be posting 2 minute video clips from the weekend’s sermons that will help you continue to digest truths from God’s Word.  There is also a link to this blog where you can read articles and share stories, connecting sermon content and Biblical truth to culture.
  3. Get in the Word.  At LBC Engage you will find multiple versions of the Bible as well as a place to journal your thoughts.  LBC Engage also interacts, in real time, with Sunday’s sermon by cuing you to display Bible verses or content on the screens on your device.

Get LBC Engage for iPhone:
Get LBC Engage for Android:

The Selfie of God

This Sunday I will be continuing The Walk series (#TheWalk) by talking about Presence.  Did you know most of the time the Bible mentions God’s presence in the Old Testament the word is actually “face?”  For example, Psalm 16:11 says, “You make known to me the path of life; in your presence there is fullness of joy; at your right hand are pleasures forevermore.”

Here are some things I am working on for Sunday:

  • God has a selfie.
  • God’s image gives a whole new meaning to Selfie Sunday.
  • We need to be less self-interested and more God interested.
  • God knew the dangers of us becoming image driven (Ex. 20:4-6).   He knew we would recede into a plastic world full of color but lacking redemptive conversation.
  • In God’s face there is providential care, fullness of joy, convicting comparison, and everlasting pleasure.  We desire all of these things to be true of our selfies, but we can’t deliver.  This is why most of the motivations behind our “selfie” driven culture are the height of idolatry.
  • When we sinned against God we fled from His selfie and became more infatuated with our own.
  • God’s selfie is ultimately expressed in Scripture, His Son, and His Holy Spirit.

Here are a couple of great resources I am consulting while preparing this message:

When I Don’t Desire God – How to Fight for Joy by John Piper
 Selfies, Self-Deception, Self Worship by Josh Philpot
Parents, A Word About Instagram by Sarah Brooks


Moving back to Georgia gave my family and I a better opportunity to attend UGA’s annual spring football game, G-DAY.  We went for the first time last year and it was a blast.  We are going back this Saturday and it looks like the weather is going to be perfect.  I can’t wait to watch a glorified football practice again this Saturday.  Go Dawgs!

Easter Music

Our choir will be sharing this Sunday night at 6:00 p.m.  It is amazing how many great songs the resurrection has inspired.  I can’t wait to hear them.  (and the director is a hottie! aka, my wife!)

Eggstravaganza at North Murray

In case you’ve missed the announcement.  We will be having an incredible event, Good Friday at North Murray High School.  You could win a Harley!  No joke, no catch, requires no cash.  Just come and be ready to have a great time.  Here is the info.

Have a great weekend.  I hope to see you at Liberty this Sunday.

Is the Gospel Worth It? (Random Thoughts on Friday)


When Paul writes Ephesians 3 his life is not at peace.  He is suffering for the gospel.  The gospel is the story of God’s redemption of mankind for His glory.  Through His son God has not only paid the penalty of sin, but He is calling unto Himself a people who through repentance and faith, live for Christ in the final season of redemptive history.  After rehearsing the implications of the gospel story for his readers, Paul makes a simple request of them:

“So I ask you do not lose heart over what I am suffering for you, which is your glory (Eph. 3:13).”  In this simple request there are some deep considerations for us about the gospel.

  1. The gospel requires suffering.  Even though it is an amazing story, it is met with great resistance. This will require some degree of suffering from every person who receives the gospel.
  2. The suffering required by the gospel will cause some to lose heart.  Whether it seems unfair or unfitting that God would allow such difficulty, the reality of the suffering required by the gospel is something that we are not well prepared for, nor are we well equipped.   Why?  Perhaps it is a mixture of bad theology and American idealism, but if it does not require us to suffer we cannot rightly say it is the gospel.
  3. The suffering required by the gospel is for the benefit of others.  Paul said that not only is he suffering for his readers, but it is for their glory.  Initially, a thought like this makes us angry.  It makes us angry when we find out that those who pay taxes are funding the lifestyle of those who do not.  It makes us angry when we pay higher car insurance premiums because of those who do not.  It is making us angry now that we are finding out that those who are paying for health insurance are going to have to pay even more next year because of those who have not.  Yet the gospel requires us to suffer for the glory of others.  How do we reconcile this in our already angry American minds?
  4. The suffering required by the gospel is worth it?  What is it that Abraham, Paul, Jesus and countless sufferers have found in the gospel that makes it worth the suffering it requires?

I hope you can join us Sunday at Liberty Baptist Church  


This weekend my wife turns 29 again.  Next week my firstborn turns 13 for the first time.  This is MardiBranam weekend.  Party!

On Sunday night Caleb Waid will be at Liberty.  I am really looking forward to seeing Caleb, Brittany, and Finn.  Caleb was a Junior in High School when I went to Ridgecrest in 2002.  I have spent a lot of time with Caleb over the years both pouring into him and just enjoying serving Christ with him.  Caleb makes me laugh.  He keeps me humble.  He reminds me why I love what I do.  I can’t wait to hear him preach again and see the fruits of our labors together.


Crazy Love by Francis Chan
Practice Resurrection by Eugene Peterson
Listening to the Language of the Bible by Lois Tverberg and Bruce Okkema
Fusion: Turning First Time Guests into Fully-Engaged Members by Nelson Searcy and Jennifer Henson


Haggai 1:7, “Thus says the Lord of hosts: Consider your ways.”

Random Thoughts on Friday (2/10)

I am not a handyman, but when you are trying to sell a house you are motivated to fix things. For the past three weeks I have been repairing things I should have done 9 years ago. When you are not accustomed to stuff like this it is amazing how the little things can make you feel like a real man. I installed a new motion detector light over our garage. Our neighbor Ramone is an electrician, but I didn’t ask him to help because I’m a man. Yet after the whole thing was wired it wouldn’t come on. So I did an unmanly thing. I went down and asked Ramone why it wouldn’t work. “Well, its broad daylight right now. I bet if you cover the sensor the light will come on.” He was right. You the man Ramone!
This week is my final full week as pastor of Ridgecrest. I am not quite sure how to feel in this moment. There is a deep mixture of joy at what is next, but sadness that an important chapter of my life that is coming to a close. I know a large part of the memory of my ministry here will be associated with relocation. I hope it was about more than that. It was for me. These 9 years have been a spiritual relocation in my life. I am a much better man, pastor, and follower of Christ than I was when I came here in 2002. I will probably blog my thoughts throughout the coming week. Sometimes I can write much better than I can talk.
Ed Stetzer posted an insightful article about a decision made by officials in New York City to evict all churches that are renting space in public schools. It is amazing how quickly we are losing religious freedom in our country and the state is gaining freedom to discriminate against the Christian church. Last year people opposed a Muslim Mosque occupying a building in New York City. It was all over the news and the opponents were made to look like the devil, enemies of religious freedom. When the Christian Church gets the boot no one says a word. Read about it here:
Have a great weekend.

Random Thoughts on Friday 2/3

Shannon and I celebrated 15 years of marriage this week.  The official wedding anniversary gift almanac says that this is our crystal anniversary.  I did not buy Shannon crystal.  Instead I bought her tickets to Wicked.  This is our wicked anniversary.  Strange to hear a preacher say something like that.

I am continuing to trudge through the massive biography of Dietrich Bonhoeffer.  He was a gifted theologian with an amazing story.  There are plenty of books about his life that will help you get the jest of who he was without reading the most recent 500 + page edition.  I’m not saying the book is bad, it is just really, really, really detailed.  At this point I am too far in to put it down and I have too much pride to quit.  There is just something nerdy cool about saying you read a 500 page biography about a German theologian.  Another thing keeping me in the book is to see how many casual conversations I can drop the name Bonhoeffer into and share an obscure fact about his life.  If you are having a hard time finishing a book, make it a game to keep you in it.

Greg Garrison at the Birmingham News wrote up a nice article this week on the response of area churches in the cleanup effort.  You can read it on here:

Random Thoughts on Friday 1/20

Since this weekend is Sanctity of Human Life Sunday I have only one random thought, that is actually more purposeful than random.  Pastor John Piper at is offering a free e-book Exposing the Dark World of Abortion.  Dr. Piper and the folks at Desiring God are very generous in making several great books available for free download.  After you download Piper’s book on Abortion, I would also recommend Grudem’s Biblical Foundations for Manhood and Womanhood, also available as a free pdf download.

Random Thoughts on Friday 1/13

  • A lady in our church, Virginia Davidson, turned 100 today.  I always enjoy talking with Ms. Davidson and leave our conversations laughing about something she said.  I went to visit her today but she wasn’t home.  Walking to her apartment in the assisted living facility I wondered what it would be like to see a century.  Ironically today, the AJC posted an article about notable people born 100 years ago  
  • A person I have gotten to know over the last few months died suddenly this week.  He was 41.  These are the sorts of things that make you assess how you spend your time, speak to your family, show your love and appreciation for others.  The death of a friend reminds us of how awful the curse of sin really is and how desperately we should long for the return of Christ and the final redemption in the new heaven and the new earth.  Jesus will make all of the things that are very wrong with this world right again.  Until then we must remain faithful even in disappointment.
  • Tomorrow I am going to shoot a shotgun with Gene.  I have never pulled the trigger on anything more powerful than a Daisy air pump BB gun.  Gene is taking me to shoot at skeet.  He said that the skeet will be 30 yards away and traveling at 45 miles per hour.  Gene thinks I am going to actually hit one.  I love people who have great faith in their pastor.
  • Alabama won another national championship this week.  The entire state got new T-shirts.  
  • I started playing Words with Friends on my iPhone.  I think I have friends who cheat.
  • I have found a new favorite coffee formula.  1 medium McDonald’s coffee with 3 coffee mate vanilla creamers.
  • I started reading Bonhoeffer’s biography again this week.  The first 120 pages contain important background information but they are a tough read containing every tedious detail about Bonhoeffer’s formative years except the color of the shirts he wore on Tuesdays.  The book gets interesting on page 121 as Bonhoeffer experiences a “conversion” of sorts.  Though he was a Christian academic it seems that his experiences in America (both its hypocrisy and its preaching) helped him form a sense of true conviction about the teachings of Christ.  I go into the weekend reading about the rise of Hitler in Germany and Bonhoeffer’s early response.  I only have about 400 pages left and I will finish the book.  Since 2012 is the end of the world according to the Mayan calendar Bonhoeffer’s bio may be the last book I read before the planet blows up.