One of my favorite musicals (and movies) is "The Music Man." In the opening number, one of the traveling salesmen boldly declares, "You gotta know the territory!" It's definitely true for the traveling salesman: if you don't know where you are -- if you don't know who those people are and what they want -- you're not going to manage to sell a lot of goods. Churches don't exactly sell stuff, but we could learn something from the salesman. We gotta know the territory. Who are the people of Russell County? Are they farmers, are they factory workers, are they elite lawyers and politicians, are they Ph.D. scientists? What about their families? Is family a priority here, or do people talk to a lon

No Excuses

On Saturday, church history was made, and most people don't even know it. For the first time since 1333, a "formal filial correction" was issued to the pope. (You can read the details here and the full text of the correction here.) A filial ("brotherly") correction is written and given to the pope when it becomes clear to Roman Catholic scholars and experts in church law that the pope, as earthly head of the church, has violated church law and made statements which run counter to the Bible and to official teaching. In this case, it mostly centers around divorced and remarried persons, something taken far more seriously by Catholics than Protestants, and a few things regarding homosexuality

A Day in the Life

Every so often, someone will ask me or another minister friend, "So what do you actually do during the week?" (The less-acceptable variant is, "Don't you only work one day a week?") So as just a little glimpse, here's a list of some of the things I'll do in a typical week (or month): Prepare (and preach) two sermons Prepare (and teach) a Bible study lesson Meet around twenty people per week in the office for conversations, counseling, or other needs Visit homes and hospitals Answer the telephone (a lot) Get material together for bulletins, flyers, sign-up sheets, etc. Plan church events with other members Update the website after writing blogs, announcements, and editing the recordings of Su

Coming & Going

We celebrated our homecoming yesterday, and it was a fantastic day. My thanks to Gary and all those who worked so hard to make it happen. Homecomings are good days, times to forget the miles and years that separate us from each other and just enjoy being together again. That's why we have family reunions, homecomings, and all other manner of "coming together and catching up" events. In some sense, I feel we have homecomings because we also expect to have homegoings. Those who move and leave us for other places will eventually pass away before we can come together once more. They will have gone home, entered into eternal rest and the joy of their Master. Never knowing when that will happen, w

The End of the World as We Know It

In the past several weeks, we've had more than our fair share of disasters on Planet Earth: hurricanes, earthquakes, wildfires, you name it. And the devastation isn't limited to our part of the northern/western hemisphere, either. Nations around the globe are being rocked by fire, flood, and famine. Things are getting so bad, in fact, many of you have asked me if we're coming up on the end of the world. Short answer: yes. Long answer: the answer to that question is always yes. Luke 21:25-36//Matthew 24:23-35//Mark 13:23-37 tell us many natural disasters and other negative events will happen in the last days. Texts throughout the writings of Paul (especially 1&2 Thessalonians and 1&2 Timothy)

Tis a Gift to be Used

Instead of our regular Bible study tonight and next Wednesday, we're providing times for our ministry teams to meet. Many of you filled out surveys for us listing your gifts and interests, so we want to give you a chance to make the connections you need to use those gifts here at RSCC. And believe me, everyone has a gift of some kind, a special spiritual blessing given by God for the advance of His kingdom on earth. And at the risk of sounding needy or desperate, you church needs you to use those gifts and graces. First Corinthians 12 explains it by using the analogy of a body. If God made you an eye, an ear or a foot, how can the body of Christ, the Church, see, hear, or walk without you? E

On Patriot Day

It's hard to believe the September 11 attacks happened sixteen years ago. I still remember sitting first in art history and then in sophomore social studies watching the news and waiting to see what would happen next. At the age of fifteen, I couldn't truly grasp what was going on, but it was a day that forever changed the world. Since 9/11, we've endured TSA body scanners, inherent distrust of Muslims, and seemingly endless wars in Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Iraq. I have multiple reasons to believe I'm on a few government watch lists, courtesy of the PATRIOT Act and subsequent executive orders and legislation. We have, as a world, sacrificed privacy for security -- security and fear, fear o

Tempus Fugit

"Tempus fugit" is the Latin phrase we commonly translate into English as "Time flies." And fly it does. We're already a week into September; what happened to August? We did have an August this year, didn't we? And the rest of the summer? I'm sure we did, but it went by so quickly most of us seem to have missed it entirely this year. But I guess that's what they mean when they say, "Time flies when you're having fun." To be fair, I'm pretty confident time flies even when you're not having fun. Anyone who has been with a loved one as they die can tell you that. Those final few seconds slip by far, far too rapidly. Yes, I'm convinced "tempus fugit" whether you want it to "fugit" or not. Clocks


Some call it "autumn," from the Latin name for the season. Others call it "fall," because, well, leaf fall down go boom. (I, who am nothing if not poetic, am in the latter camp.) Fall is my favorite season for many reasons, and I know many of you feel the same way. For my part, I love the colors, the cooler air, the smell of the dust burning as you fire up the heat for the first time, and pulling out the jackets and sweaters once more. I also see fall as the season of new beginnings (not spring -- undoubtedly the result of spending twenty falls starting a new school year). We're going to have a lot to do this fall at RSCC. Here's just a preview of what's ahead in the coming months: homecomin

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