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Archive for September, 2012

Parkway Heights people: This blog post isn’t for you, but you may want to share it with a friend that goes to another church. You can “share” with the buttons at the bottom of the post.

Almost 90 days ago, I returned from my sabbatical. I’ve blogged and talked about it. I came back with several commitments that I’m trying to follow. I also returned with a driving conviction that has grown exponentially over the past 90 days because of different conversations I’ve had with pastors and articles I’ve read. Here it is:

Churches need to get rid of their pastors.

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Ya gotta eat, right? Every day requires a feeding. Or two. Or three. When we eat we have a choice to make about what we will eat. Will we eat what’s good for us (broiled chicken with a side of steamed vegetables and potatoes)? Or, will we go after a more taste-appealing yet drastically less nutritional choice–ramen noodles and Twinkies for lunch, anyone?

This is a critical question for our physical health. We are what we eat, after all. It’s just as important, though, for our mental, emotional, and spiritual health. What we take in has a lot to do with our attitude, our ability to creatively cope, and whether or not we’re able to pursue a new direction in life

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Let me start by saying that I have nothing against typewriters. Nothing. In fact, in 1986, I won the Ackerman High School Typing award for having the fastest fingers at AHS (95 wpm). If you want to see the award, let me know. I have it proudly stored in a shoebox somewhere in the house.

However, no matter how much click-clack/carriage-return/correction tape/QWERTY-fun we had with our IBM Selectric II, there came a time when you had to set it aside and move on. You had a moment when you finally realized that the typewriter was no longer a viable communications alternative. All of us did that, right? Well, maybe not all of us. . . .

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If you come by the church on any Tuesday, Wednesday, or Thursday morning, chances are you’ll run into Parkway Heights best unpaid employee. He’ll be scrubbing the walls in the children’s area, dusting the stairwells, watering plants, or cleaning fingerprints off the windows.

His name is Junior Freeman, known to most of Hattiesburg simply as “Junior.” Hopefully you know him, but if you don’t, stop by and introduce yourself sometime.

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Mr. Vaughn was my nemesis.

He taught me Biology, Biology II, and Chemistry in high school (and was also the faculty sponsor for the chess club). And, though I liked him, he drove me crazy–particularly in Chemistry.

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When the planes hit the towers on September 11, 2001, I was in a staff meeting. Jennifer Hart, on staff at the time, came into meeting late talking about radio reports of something strange happening in New York. After staff meeting, I went upstairs to lead a Disciple Bible Study. During the breaks I would go down the hall to watch the news. None of us understood the enormity of what was unfolding before us.

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“It seemed like a good idea at the time.”

Have you ever uttered those words? I have. All too often. Usually after a brutal miscalculation of cause and effect. Most of the time the outcomes are fairly laughable and have no long-term consequences. And then there was the time “a good idea” almost cost me and a couple of friends our lives.

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We’re taking a break today from our Pivot series so I can fulfill a promise I made in a moment of weakness. I promised Blair Wesley, our youth director at Parkway Heights and constant thorn in my flesh, that I would dedicate a blog post to her for her birthday. On Friday, September 7, Blair will turn 23. So, here’s her post.

I’ve known Blair Wesley since she was 7 years old.

That statement makes me feel very old. Because now, Blair is on staff with me at Parkway Heights.

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When I was 9 years old I thought Erin Gray was the most beautiful thing that graced television. She played Col. Wilma Deering on Buck Rogers in the 25th Century. The show was campy, silly, and all-around terribly written and produced (even to a 9-year-old’s sensibilities), but Col. Deering made the show worth watching. You can check it out on Netflix if you dare.

Until last Friday she was simply a random piece of memory floating around the gray matter between my ears.

Then, Friday afternoon, she called me.

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