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Friday Links Roundup: Is This September? Edition

We have had a fairly mild summer. We had a handful of hot days in late June, but even those weren't bad.

But THIS is amazing! For Nashville in mid-July, we are expecting temperatures in at least the 90s. But today's high? 85. Tomorrow? 79. Sunday? about 77! Wow, is this a great break in the middle of the summer. I'm hoping that this wonderful weather will help more folks get out on Sunday to worship God. There's no better way to enjoy beautiful weather than giving thanks to the One who provides it!

On to the links for this week:

1. Jonathan Jones at Evidence of Things Unseen addresses a problem in the way we describe preachers. This one is worth a careful read. Enjoy "A Church Full of Ministers."

2. Where is your Bible? Mike Benson uses a truly remarkable story of a lost Bible to teach us a valuable lesson.

3. Sam Rainer recently reported on some information from Outreach magazine about struggling congregations. Though the information is denominational in nature, it is still helpful. Read "Signs of a Struggling Local Church." You might be surprised by one of them!

4. If you, like me, have never been to the Sistine Chapel, you'll love this link. My Twitter friend Dave Clouse tweeted this recently. It's a panoramic view of the interior of the chapel. Enjoy playing with the controls and seeing what makes this building so amazing here.

5. Another amazing online discovery is that you can read sections of the Codex Sinaiticus online (with English translation, where available). This is a treat to see fragments of the oldest Bible we know of. Enjoy that here.

6. Finally, one fun link. The Art of Manliness (thanks, Joey, for showing me this blog) listed the 100 Manliest Movies. I don't agree with all the picks (isn't that the nature of a list?), but any list that contains Citizen Kane is cool with me! See all the selections here, Rosebud!

I hope you have a wonderful weekend. We are looking forward to a great weekend at Lebanon Road, and then we have a group leaving on a mission trip to Beech Island, South Carolina. Please keep them in your prayers.

No matter where you are, don't forget to worship the Lord on His day. If you're near us, stop by Lebanon Road at 9AM for worship!



For some time, "behind the scenes," I've been considering not blogging any more. It does take time, but I greatly enjoy it, and many have told me it is helpful. As we have continued to do more things (iPreach, Twitter, thismoment slideshows, etc.), though, it has obviously gone to the back burner.

So, we are making a few changes to the blog.

First, there will no longer be a Lebanon Road Report posted on Mondays. We are making an e-newsletter for our congregation that fills that role, and it is sent via email. We currently send it to 99 email addresses for free, but starting September 2, we can send it (and all other e-newsletters) to up to 500. If you'd like to be on that list, just let me know and we'll add you when we expand.

Second, we will continue to do the Friday Links Roundup. That, admittedly, is my favorite part of the blog. I read a lot of articles on many different sites (just check out the right-hand side under "In My Blog Reader"), and love sharing what has moved, informed, or helped me in the past week.

Finally, we are going to do far fewer "spiritual" articles and instead are going to limit to just stuff about our family and links to events at Lebanon Road. Again, I do quite a bit of writing each month (bulletin articles, THINK magazine, and other projects--one of which is consuming my time right now), so posting here is difficult. I want the content to be fresh, instead of just posting "because I have a blog." When I make a "thismoment" slideshow, I will link to that, so you can keep up with those as well! For example, here is the latest about Valley View camp.

I hope you find these changes for the better. We want this blog to be helpful to as many as possible, but it does not need to shroud our other work!


No Links Roundup this week. I'm having a wonderful time at camp!!!


Friday Links Roundup: 4th and 5th Edition

We're excited about the Fourth of July. Much of our family is coming for the weekend and we always enjoy time with family. It is also a great time to reflect on our nation and to thank God for what He has done for us in the past. He truly is good!

On the fifth, I'm excited to be preaching a sermon entitled "July 5: YOUR Independence Day." We are praying for someone to hear the truth and respond to the freedom that is only in Christ. Will you pray as well?

On to the links for this week:

1. Yes, it's shameless, but if you mention Lebanon Road, you're probably going to be in the roundup! My friend, Stuart Yancy, mentioned our congregation in a post about the airport in Paducah. Here it is.

2. Drew Kizer posts a great article about "locks" we have trouble "picking." This is a sermon just waiting to be preached!

3. We are always motivated by stories of those who overcome a troubled environment to achieve something noteworthy. How about overcoming nearly continual homelessness to attend an Ivy League school? The Los Angeles Times reported that story here.

4. Finally, one for the holiday. Just in case you need it, here is a transcript of the Declaration of Independence.

We hope you have a wonderful weekend. No matter where you find yourself, make sure you thank God for the blessings He provides and make sure you worship Him on His day. If you're near Nashville, we hope that'll be with us at Lebanon Road!


You Are Invited

Tomorrow night at Lebanon Road (July 1), we are going to have a very special Wednesday evening service. From 7:00-8:00, we are going to spend most of our time in prayer. After a brief devotional period, there will be a series of prayers for our nation. The class I am privileged to teach on Sunday mornings is in charge of this service.

Near the beginning of the year, we began watching the DVD series The Silencing of God from Apologetics Press. That series sparked the idea for a "follow-up" project to be led by the class, and this service is it. We were reminded through our study and discussions of how the influence of the Bible is slowly but (very) surely being removed from American culture. We were saddened to study this, but we also believe in prayer. We know that tomorrow night's service is going to be a night that can change things.

We hope many will come for the service. We will be praying

1. thanking God for His past blessings on our nation,
2. for our military,
3. for our President and Congress,
4. for our court system,
5. for our state and local leaders,
6. for our economy,
7. for our families, and
8. for our church family.

As you can see, these areas cover so much of what we love and the things we hold dear in this nation. Capable men are preparing their prayers so that the words are exactly as needed for the service.

Everyone is invited to come, and we truly think there will be several visitors since this is a subject on the hearts of many. We hope you will be among those visitors!


Lebanon Road Report: June 28


Friday Links Roundup: No Summer Swoon Edition

While activities remain high, many congregations experience a summer "swoon" in attendance. With families taking vacation and out-of-town with other family members, attendance often suffers.

Not at Lebanon Road! We had 386 last Sunday, and I just know we are going to have a good number assembled before God in worship this Sunday, too. We don't "push" for numbers just for the sake of a total. We see every single individual of our attendance as one more person who is worshiping his or her Creator and coming closer to the Savior.

Of course, our activities are in full swing. We're done with VBS, but we're not done for the summer! We are closing in on summer camp, a mission trip and other activities that are helping us come closer to the Lord and to each other. Why not come see what great things are happening at Lebanon Road!

On to the links for this week:

1. Trent Wheeler writes from a personal perspective in his post "Words." While simple, this is a very needed reminder. Teachers, there's some material here "that'll teach!"

2. Matthe Morine received what everyone would like to receive: a positive anonymous note! It's rare to hear of anything other than the scathing note that is left unsigned. Read Matthew's uplifting post here.

3. posted a very simple thing this week. It's simply a picture and Scripture, but it will lift your spirits. Check out "God Is the Best Artist."

4. Finally this week, a new site I'm checking out and enjoying. is a site dedicated to helping you organize your photos and videos of, well, moments. It is very simple to use and the final slideshows you make can be linked to your Facebook account, Twitter feed, or YouTube page if you have those. If not, you can still create mini-shows of the great moments of your life. Best of all, it's free! There is a small group who is working on the idea of using this site to "archive" some moments at Lebanon Road. Hopefully, we'll be able to share them with you soon! Here is the link to the homepage. Here is the first "moment" I created. Notice there are captions for nearly every picture or video:

We hope you have a wonderful weekend! If you are near Nashville, stop by and see us at 9AM for worship on Sunday and stay for one of our wonderful Bible classes. You'll be glad you did! No matter where you are, don't forget the Lord on His day.


When Someone Comes to Jesus

[NOTE: Thanks to my friend and co-host Dale Jenkins for giving me the idea for this post. Check out the post that led to this one by clicking here.]

The preacher has concluded with the famous words, "As we stand and sing." Everyone has put a Bible in the seat and has stood to sing "Just As I Am" or "I Am Resolved." The preacher (or some of the elders) are standing at the front while the congregation sings.

Then it happens.

A soul in need of a Savior steps out into the aisle, walks to the front and states that he/she needs to be baptized for the forgiveness of sins.

At other times, it happens, too. Many times, we baptize folks late at night or during the daytime. Folks come to Christ at all times of the week.

Here's the question for this post: what do we do to make it a truly special moment?

We talk of baptism as a special moment (in fact, the greatest moment) in an individual's life. Then, when someone is ready to put Christ on in baptism, we often act like we've never seen it happen before. We need to (1) be prepared, and (2) make this a moment that will never be forgotten.

Here are some suggestions:

1. Sing, sing, sing. If you are a song leader, have some songs that are appropriate for baptisms ready. Don't be fumbling around in the index if it takes a couple of extra minutes for the candidate to get ready. Sing many songs. Some I have used in the past include "Victory in Jesus," "I Am Crucified with Christ," "A New Creature (Buried with Christ)," "O Happy Day," "Jesus is Lord," and "Nothing but the Blood." There are many others. When the baptism is completed and the new Christian is back with everyone else, songs like "God's Family" are encouraging.

2. Pray for the person and for others who are lost. What a perfect opportunity for an elder to pray as a shepherd! Here is one of the greatest moments in the life of an elder. Let one of your shepherds lead a poignant prayer for this one becoming a Christian. Also pray that others may see this example and that it may help encourage another (or more) to be buried with Christ.

3. Don't be stiff! Far too often the new Christian comes back from being baptized and we just sit there and watch him or her walk in and sit down. Stand up! Go to him or her! Hug! Celebrate! This is not a moment to sit back and be stiff. This is one of the main reasons the church exists. Heaven is rejoicing, why aren't we?

4. Don't be in a hurry to leave. What a glorious time to sing together more or to have a prayer session. I've heard of congregations that had a baptism around midnight and never went home until the next morning! That's the right attitude. This is truly a time to bond as a church family.

There are four broad suggestions. What does your congregation do to make this a special moment?

A Series You Must Hear

Last week, Family Life Today ran a series that is "one for the ages." Out of the hundreds of podcasts to which I have listened, this series ranked up there as one I will never forget. It is one I hope to "re-download" and listen to again as time passes.

About one year ago, the daughter and son-in-law of one of the hosts gave birth to a baby girl, only to learn that she had a terrible problem and probably would not live. Baby Molly only lived seven days.

The broadcasts are a series of two things. First, there are interviews with the parents and grandparents on their memories of those days. Also, though, there are sections of audio from the family video tapes of those days. You hear Molly crying. You hear the prayers. You hear some of the conversations. And, yes, you hear the tears.

It is one of the most moving series of broadcasts I have ever heard, and one I will not soon forget. There are five broadcasts of approximately 24 minutes each.

You can find them on iTunes or by clicking here and listening to the five broadcasts under "A Symphony in the Dark." Have plenty of tissue ready.


Lebanon Road Report: June 21

Here's the report from a truly amazing day. Enjoy!


Friday Link Roundup: Dad's Day Edition

We have enjoyed a very busy week at Lebanon Road. Our VBS ran from Sunday night through Wednesday night and was a great success. We had many visitors, several of whom were from the community. We hope they learned about the Lord and were welcomed warmly by our members.

Then, on Thursday night, we hosted the area-wide Summer Youth Series. Well over 200 young people from all over the Nashville metro area attended. JD presented a powerful lesson on keeping our minds pure.

From Sunday morning through last night, about 1500 people have been in our auditorium!

I hope you will take time to tell your dad how much he means to you this Father's Day. My dad means so much to me, and he is truly a hero in my eyes.

On to the link for this week.

1. Since this is Father's Day weekend, my dad gets the one and only spot on this Dad's Day Edition of the FLR. He wrote a powerful article about his dad a couple of weeks ago that I've been saving for this roundup. Enjoy reading "I Wish I Could Ask My Dad."

I hope you have a wonderful weekend. Make sure you encourage and honor your dad in some way.

No matter what, though, make sure you honor your heavenly Father on His day.


Lebanon Road Report: June 14

Trust me, you want to read this one. What a wonderful weekend!!!


Friday Links Roundup: AD 33 Tours Edition

After an amazingly busy week (including a baptism yesterday afternoon!!!!!!!), the Lebanon Road church of Christ is ready to begin Vacation Bible School on Sunday evening. Our VBS is entitled "AD 33 Tours: Walking Where Jesus Walked." We will focus on the culture behind four accounts in the life of Christ.

Here is the list of topics and our adult speakers for each evening:

Sunday (6:30PM): "Where Was Worship?"
Jesus Cleanses the Temple (Dewayne Bryant)

Monday (6:30PM): "By the Shore"
Jesus Calls Four Disciples (John Dale)

Tuesday (6:30PM): "When a Friend Died"
Jesus Raises Lazarus (Jason Moon)

Wednesday (6:30PM) "A Special Meal"
The Last Supper (Marlin Connelly)

We hope you'll be here to learn more about the Bible from these great men and we hope you'll bring your children to learn from our amazing teachers. They have been working (and are as I type this) on their rooms and lessons. This is going to be a wonderful week, and we pray that many will learn about Christ and want to follow Him, or will want to be better servants in His Kingdom.

On to the links for this week:

1. Drew Kizer responds to the recent killing of abortion doctor George Tiller in a great article called "Can Hypocrisy Hurt the Pro-Life Cause?"

2. Trey Morgan gives a great list called "How to Keep Your Minister from Quitting."

3. The Beautiful Work blog has a touching post about hearing the news that your baby will be born with special needs. Get out a Kleenex and read "Remembering."

4. The Christian Chronicle has a poignant post this week called "Why Are Kids Leaving the Church? The Answer Lies in Parents."

We hope you have a wonderful weekend, and, if you have a chance, we hope you can come to at least one night of our VBS. It's going to be fantastic! [For the Lebanon Road folks who read this, thanks for all the help and prayers leading up to VBS. You are great!]

No matter where you are, don't forget the Lord on His day!