I Heard You Didn’t Believe In . . .

me guitar

Me on guitar in a jam session – Rockin’ (or destroying) the hits of the ’70’s

I heard you didn’t believe in instruments.

It was while I was an intern in Baldwin County, Alabama that I first heard it put that way. I had walked into a pawn shop and was looking at the guitars. I was playing a warm-up piece when the proprietor introduced himself and I told him I was the intern youth minister at the church of Christ around the corner.

Skip forward about twenty years and I am at a TV station about to record a religious TV program. I was talking with the producer and asked if that was his guitar in the production room. He asked if I played, then stopped himself, and said, “I thought you were from a church of Christ and I hear y’all don’t believe in instruments.”

“I believe in them,” I replied I’ve seen them, “I’ve even played on a harpsichord.” He got the joke. Then I simply said, “I just don’t use them in worship.”

Why? 

Why do we not use instruments in the churches I work with?

For me, and I am speaking for me, not using an instrument in worship comes down to two simple observations (make that three observations).

1When the New Testament mentions praise and specifically singing in the church (not in heaven and not in the temple) there is a conspicuous absence of musical instruments.  Consider the following verses:

  • Hebrews 2:12, “I will tell of your name to my brothers; in the midst of the congregation I will sing your praise.”
  • Colossians 3:16, “Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God.”
  • Ephesians 5:19, “addressing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody to the Lord with your heart,”

Notice the absence of instruments.  In my attempt to keep the church true to what Christ and the inspired writers teach, I believe it is best to not use instruments in our worship. I am not alone. John Price of Grace Baptist Church in Rochester, New York concludes a study on worship saying,

“We bring all of this together — the theological arguments from the Scripture concerning the regulative principle, the abundant historical evidence of the rejection of musical instruments by the church, and the testimony of their harmful effects upon gospel worship — and we ask the reader: what other conclusion can we come to that that musical instruments should have not place in Christian worship?”*

2. Mr. Price mentions historical evidence in his conclusion and historical evidence is my second reason for not using instruments in worship. Dan Chambers takes us through history starting the early leaders that theologians refer to as the Church Fathers. He refers us to James McKinnon’s statement about these leaders views on instruments in worship, “The antagonism which the Fathers of the early Church displayed toward instruments has tow outstanding characteristics: vehemence and uniformity.”**

Chambers then takes us through the Middle Ages and quotes, “the use of organs came into the church since the time of Thomas Aquinas, Anno (the year) 1250.” *** Before 1250 instruments were not accepted by church leaders and in most churches although some individual churches used them as early as the year 800).

Chambers then gives quotes from the Reformers Calvin and Zwingli and the Puritans demonstrating their opposition to musical instruments in worship. He continues to show that men like David Benedict (a Baptist preacher and historian in the nineteenth century), Charles Spurgeon of the Metropolitan Baptist Tabernacle in London opposed musical instruments in worship. ****

I think I should also note that Methodist commentator Adam Clarke made this observation about John Wesley, ” . .  John Wesley, who was a lover of music, and an eloquent poet, when asked his opinion of instruments of music being introduced into the chapels of the Methodists said, . . . ” I have not objections to instruments of music in our chapels, provided they are neither heard nor seen.”*****

History demonstrates that musical instruments were not common in Protestant churches until the mid 1800’s and then were opposed by their leaders when they were introduced. History is on the side of excluding musical instruments in the worship of the church.

There is a third reason I choose not to use instruments in worship.

3. They are completely unnecessary. Answer this question: If you were stranded with fellow Christians in an area where you did not have access to musical instruments or musical accompaniment tracks could you still worship God without them? YES!  Then why do we need them in our regular worship?

Please know that I am simply sharing what I understand scripture, history, and necessity to teach. I beg you to carefully consider these thoughts. You have the right to disagree with me. I will leave the final judgment to God. Our only hope is in the grace that saves through faith in the sacrifice of Christ.

-Scott

* Price, John, Old Light on New Worship, (Avinger, TX:Simpson Publishing), 2007, p. 229.

** Chambers, Dan, Churches in the Shape of Scripture, (Franklin, TN:Faithworks Press) 2012, p. 69.

*** Ibid, p 71.

**** Ibid, pp 72-78.

***** Clarke, Adam, Clarke’s Commentary, Vol. 4 (New York:Abngdon Press, n.d.) p. 684.

The Church Today

ChurchThe Church is in trouble.

At least that is what I am supposed to believe.  I hear / read reports every few weeks that talk about decline in attendance and membership. In nearly three decades of ministry I have heard from three generations as they complain about the Church and “organized religion.” Every generation, from the one before me (Baby Boomers), my generation (Gen X), and the Millennials all have similar and valid concerns. I have not conducted a formal survey, but these are the complaints (concerns) I hear:

  • Church is too inward focused.
  • Church is too political.
  • I want sermons (classes) that are practical, that meet me where I am in my life.
  • There are too many cliques at Church, I don’t fit in.
  • I want a place where I can be involved (feel needed and appreciated).
  • I am looking for a Bible-based Church.
  • Churches need to do more to reach those in need (in need of physical, emotional, and especially spiritual help).
  • Church needs to be more worshipful, a higher emphasis on praise.
  • There are too many hypocrites at Church.
  • Church leadership does not listen to my concerns.
  • Church is too focused on traditions.

I hear you.

I hear your concerns. I share many of the same concerns as a minister. These concerns are part of what motivates me to be who I am doing what I do. I want to make the Church what she should and can be. To be completely transparent, as a young person my reasoning for going to school to become a minister had two motivations. 1. I knew I wanted to serve God and the body of Christ – the Church to the best of my ability and I was not sure I could do that in any other profession. 2. I loved the Church (I still do) but I saw some things in the congregations of my youth that concerned me. I thought if I could be in leadership I could influence changes.

Now three decades later, I want to point you to the answer to everyone of the concerns I listed above. The answer is simple, but not simplistic. The answer is in the list – the middle of the list – “a Bible-based Church.”

The answer is to be a Bible-based Church.

  • We need to forego traditions and return to the Bible as our guide.
  • We must as Christians live our lives based on the morals taught in the Bible.
  • We must as the Church guide our worship on the Bible as we praise the Creator, Sustainer, and Savior.
  • We need to point people to the ways God’s Word applies to our daily lives – and it does.
  • We need to practice the fellowship and brotherhood the Bible teaches (When I read the letters Paul wrote concerning no longer being Jews or Gentiles but one people in Christ I cannot help but think of the application to modern ethnicities and nationalities and how we are one in Christ).
  • We need to learn to love our neighbor as Jesus both modeled and taught.

A Bible-based Church!

That is what I want to be a part of. That is what I work for at Central. This is who I want to be.

-Scott

 

 

What Distracts You?

here i amToday’s blog is an inquiry from my brother, Doug McCown, who serves as an elder in the congregation were he attends. I’ll add my answer(s) and his to below the question and let you add yours as comments.

Please think about your worship to God…what things distract you?

Please keep these comments focused on the actions and not on any particular person. (i.e. Don’t say, “Doug never buttons his top button when he wears a tie, so it gets crooked.” instead say, “crooked ties and unbuttoned top buttons really distract me from worship.)

Doug’s answer: One of the most distracting things to me is “bathroom calls or water breaks” during a short one-hour service. Obviously, I can easily dismiss these issues with children under 5 and elderly with incontinence – but others distract me. It is especially true when I can predict the exact time in worship that this will occur. What do I do to prevent this from being a distraction??? I try to avert my eyes, but I have already been distracted. I try not to think about it – and it often works and allows me to refocus.

Scott’s answer: 1. Internal distractions of my thoughts. These may concern things I think I need to get done or things I forgot to do. As a preaching minister, sometimes I am distracted toward what I am about to say when I should be focused on the song, prayer, sacrifice of Christ, etc. To get re-focused requires me to “pinch” myself internally and concentrate on what is going on at that moment in worship

2. External distractions for me tend to be adults and older children who should have better control, getting up too frequently to refresh or relieve themselves. Again as a preacher, this is not fair to me, I cannot leave for the restroom during my own sermon ;-).

Well what about you?

-Scott

Can I Be Sure?

CanI BeSure-I do not recall his real name and that embarrasses me. I can make an excuse that there were 2,000 people in my high school any given year and that if you count the out-going seniors incoming freshman each year from 1982-85, I went to high school with approximately 3,500 students. So forgetting or never knowing a name or two might be excusable, but I am still embarrassed, I know this former school mate as “Frog.” I don’t even know how he got that name, it is just what everyone called him.

It was just after school, when Frog approached me in the Commons and asked, “If you were to die tonight, would you know if you were going to heaven?”

“If you were to die tonight, would you know if you were going to heaven?”

I was stunned. No one at high school is supposed to ask such questions. That is a Sunday school question. One that I have never answered, and I am not sure was ever asked. I know I had never thought about it before. I was a Christian and tried to be moral, but was I sure? “I hope so, I think I will . . . . Maybe.” Was my unconvincing answer. It was unconvincing to me and to Frog, who began to go into a well rehearsed speech about going into my closest and asking the Lord into my heart.

Frog was the first peer that I recall having such confidence. I was in worship every time the doors were open, I went to Sunday School, youth devotionals, participated in Bible Bowl, and prayer meetings. I could quote the books of the Bible, the days of Creation, the twelve tribes of Israel, the Judges, the apostles (including Mathias and Paul), I had preached a sermon or two, helped lead VBS, lead singing, and public prayers. But I did not have Frog’s confidence.

Could I be sure?

Could I be sure? I had never considered eternal security. I would struggle with that idea for a few more years.  I wanted confidence, but I was not sure I could be certain. Then one day I ran across this passage, “I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God that you may know that you have eternal life.” (1 John 5:13). 

” . . . that you may know that you  have eternal life.”

There it was in black and white, in the pages of the New Covenant – I can know!

  • God is and will be faithful to His promise to His children. He will never leave me nor forsake me (Hebrews 13:5).
  • As a child of God I put away the practice of sinning (1 John 3:4-10).
  • How can I as one dead to sin, buried with Christ, and risen like Him, live in sin any longer? (Romans 5:20-6:6).

He will never leave me, but will He keep me against my will and hold me hostage? The short answer is “No.” He gives me the freedom to leave Him. We can choose to turn our backs on God and hold Him in contempt – (Hebrews 6:4-6). We can choose to return to a life of practicing sin – (Hebrews 10:26-31). Peter warns of those that escaped the wrath of God only to decide to return to their old life that their eternity will be miserable (2 Peter 2:20-22). But that is our choice.

So can we be sure?

YES!

I can know because I am a child of God (Galatians 3:26-27)

I can know my sins are washed away (Acts 22:16)

I can know I am walking by faith (2 Corintians 5:7)

I can know I have eternal life (1 John 5:13)

I may make mistakes but the blood of Christ keeps me clean (1 John 1:7-9). But there is a difference in the occasional misstep of a child and the rebellion and rejection of the Father.

There is a difference in the occasional misstep of a child and the rebellion and rejection of the Father.

Maybe you find yourself doubting your eternal security. Take a few moments to evaluate your life.

Are you struggling with sin? Are there things you know that you should not do, but find yourself drawn toward? Do you find yourself at war with yourself over this temptation. Stop and pray. Ask the Father to help you with your struggle. Find a friend who you can confide in who loves you enough to hold you accountable and hold your hand as you fight the good fight. Know that God forgives you. Now forgive yourself, tell the devil to bug off (he wants to steal your confidence) and live confidently in faith.

Have you turned your back on God, telling Him in so many words or actions that you no longer care what He thinks or says is good and right? If so, then you are rebelling. You are trampling underfoot the grace of God. I beg you please, please return home to God. Be like the prodigal that the father considered LOST and DEAD. Look up from the pig slop and return to the Father. He longs for your return. The robe, the ring, and the fatted calf are ready for your celebrated reconciliation with God. Return to Him and to confidence.

-Scott

 

 

Being a Dad

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Me, Amy, and Andrew who was home last weekend!

On July 25, 1997 my life changed! The change was immediate and long lasting. I am who I am today partly because of the events on that day. That day almost 20 years ago Andrew entered the world. A few days later we left the hospital to begin life as new parents in our own home. Enclosed in the assortment of material and supplies the hospital sent home was a pamphlet from The Family Source of Florida entitled, “10 Ways to Be a Better Dad.” I still have that pamphlet, in fact, I came across it the other day while looking for inspiration for this blog. I hope I have been and continue to be the Dad they describe.

Here are their suggestions along with my comments:

1. Respect your children’s mother! Amen and amen. Children need to know their parents love and respect each other. This will form the foundation of their own marriage in years to come.
2. Spend time with your children. That day almost 20 years ago seems like yesterday. Now that little bundle of joy wears shoes two sizes bigger than me and squats down to look me in the eye when we are standing. Now he is between his sophomore and junior years at Faulkner University.
3. Earn the right to be heard. Talk with them while they are young. Talk about difficult subjects that are age appropriate. Offer to help and help them with their struggles now and they will turn to you in trust later.
4. Discipline them with love. Children need limits to keep them safe and to help them grow. Set those limits and lovingly enforce them in appropriate ways.
5. Be a role model.. Your children will naturally look up to you when they are young. Be a GOOD role model of what a father and husband should be. They may not tell you so when they are teenagers, but they will still admire you in someway especially if you are consistent when they are young.
6. Be a Teacher. Parents, you are your child’s first and primary teacher. Do not rely on the school or church to be your children’s only teachers. Teach them about right and wrong and encourage them to always perform to their best ability.
7. Eat together as a family.. This gives your family the opportunity to debrief their day. You can talk about the good events and the emotional events; all the ups and downs of their daily activities. This gives you opportunity to listen to your children and therefore to know them. Which in turn gives you the right to offer guidance. They also hear about your day and how you cope with daily events.
8. Read to your children. Amy is an elementary school teacher. She teaches young children who are new to reading. She can tell which children have parents that read to them. These children are better prepared to read and want to read because they see a love of reading modeled in the lives of their parents. He is an avid reader who inspired me to become a more regular reader.
9. Show affection. This is not easy for some men, but we need to demonstrate love to our children. Hugs and kisses are great when they are little. As they mature, expressions of affection need to change. They will let you know how they want you to show love. Andrew still “half hugs” me goodnight, but that is about it. We show affection in other ways including doing things together, the occasional fist bump, and things like that.
10. Realize a father’s job is never done. I know my son will leave the nest long before I am ready for him too. Even though he is grown and as he begins his own life and eventually a family of his own, if he is anything like my dad’s second son, he will still look up to his dad and look to him for love love and advice.

BTW, thanks Dad for being a great example of all of these things.

-Scott

4 Things God Does for His People

Psalm 105-1

Many of the Psalms are poetic devices to help God’s people pass along the reason for their faith in God to both their children and to neighboring nations. For an example, turn with me to Psalm 105:1-6 and notice the charge to Israel to let others know about God and His wonderful works.

Oh give thanks to the LORD; call upon his name; make known his deeds among the peoples! Sing to him, sing praises to him; tell of all his wondrous works! Glory in his holy name; let the hearts of those who seek the LORD rejoice! Seek the LORD and his strength; seek his presence continually! Remember the wondrous works that he has done, his miracles, and the judgments he uttered, O offspring of Abraham, his servant, children of Jacob, his chosen ones!

The psalmist then list four things God did for his people.

God is Faithful to His People: He is the LORD our God; his judgments are in all the earth. He remembers his covenant forever, the word that he commanded, for a thousand generations, the covenant that he made with Abraham, his sworn promise to Isaac, which he confirmed to Jacob as a statute, to Israel as an everlasting covenant, saying, “To you I will give the land of Canaan as your portion for an inheritance.”  (Psalms 105:7-11)

God Does not Forsake His People: When they were few in number, of little account, and sojourners in it, wandering from nation to nation, from one kingdom to another people, he allowed no one to oppress them; he rebuked kings on their account, saying, “Touch not my anointed ones, do my prophets no harm!” (Psalms 105:12-15)

God Prepares Ahead for the Needs of His People: When he summoned a famine on the land and broke all supply of bread, he had sent a man ahead of them, Joseph, who was sold as a slave. His feet were hurt with fetters; his neck was put in a collar of iron; until what he had said came to pass, the word of the LORD tested him. The king sent and released him; the ruler of the peoples set him free; he made him lord of his house and ruler of all his possessions, to bind his princes at his pleasure and to teach his elders wisdom. (Psalms 105:16-22)

God Give His People Power to Accomplish His Work: Then Israel came to Egypt; Jacob sojourned in the land of Ham. And the LORD made his people very fruitful and made them stronger than their foes. He turned their hearts to hate his people, to deal craftily with his servants. He sent Moses, his servant, and Aaron, whom he had chosen. They performed his signs among them and miracles in the land of Ham. He sent darkness, and made the land dark; they did not rebel against his words. He turned their waters into blood and caused their fish to die. Their land swarmed with frogs, even in the chambers of their kings. He spoke, and there came swarms of flies, and gnats throughout their country. He gave them hail for rain, and fiery lightning bolts through their land. He struck down their vines and fig trees, and shattered the trees of their country. He spoke, and the locusts came, young locusts without number, which devoured all the vegetation in their land and ate up the fruit of their ground. He struck down all the firstborn in their land, the firstfruits of all their strength. Then he brought out Israel with silver and gold, and there was none among his tribes who stumbled. Egypt was glad when they departed, for dread of them had fallen upon it. He spread a cloud for a covering, and fire to give light by night. They asked, and he brought quail, and gave them bread from heaven in abundance. He opened the rock, and water gushed out; it flowed through the desert like a river. For he remembered his holy promise, and Abraham, his servant. So he brought his people out with joy, his chosen ones with singing. And he gave them the lands of the nations, and they took possession of the fruit of the peoples’ toil, that they might keep his statutes and observe his laws. Praise the LORD! (Psalms 105:23-45)

God is still God and He does the same for His people, the Church, the Kingdom of His dear Son today.

  1. God is FaithfulThe saying is trustworthy, for: If we have died with him, we will also live with him; if we endure, we will also reign with him; if we deny him, he also will deny us; if we are faithless, he remains faithful— for he cannot deny himself. (2 Timothy 2:11-13)
  2. God Does not ForsakeKeep your life free from love of money, and be content with what you have, for he has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.” So we can confidently say, “The Lord is my helper; I will not fear; what can man do to me?” (Hebrews 13:5-6)
  3. God Prepares for Our Future Needs“Let not your hearts be troubled. Believe in God; believe also in me. In my Father’s house are many rooms. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, that where I am you may be also. And you know the way to where I am going.” (John 14:1-4)
  4. God Empowers Us to Do His WillNow to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen. (Ephesians 3:20-21)

Sing praise to Him!

-Scott

Bonus Song:

 

Just One Church . . .

photoLast week I wrote a piece on The Only Ones that, for this blog, went viral.  The post had over 12,000 views. That is over half the annual average for The Morning Drive. Thank you. If you did not read it, you can find the post by clicking on the title or by clicking HERE.

That piece generated discussion in the comments, on Facebook, and I learned from a few people that it generated family discussions. Some of those discussions centered around the concepts of ecumenism, denominationalism, non-denominationalism, and un-denominationalism.

Before we dig too deeply, allow me to define my terms. I want to make certain you and I understand each other.

  1. Ecumenism – the whole inhabited world of Christianity. The ecumenical concept is that all churches of Christendom are part of the body of Christ. Every flavor of church is just one of many ways that one can be a child of God, worship God, and get to heaven. This often includes Catholicism, Russian and Greek Orthodox Churches, as well as all Protestant and Evangelical Churches.
  2. Denominational –  This ideology is very similar to ecumenism in that each individual sect of Christianity with differing doctrinal beliefs and practices are parts of the whole concept of the church. Just a $5 bill is one denomination of money, _____________ Church is one denomination of the Universal Church (Body of Christ). Many also distinguish denominations by their councils, synods, associations, such as The Southern Baptist Association. These councils elect presidents and leadership that define and redefine doctrinal stances and church creeds.
  3. Non-denominational – In current Christian culture this label often refers to a church that does not identify with any one particular main-line denomination. The congregation may be similar to other churches in the area, but they do not align themselves with any local, state, or national council, synod, or association. There may be two, three, or more churches in a larger geographical area that are satellite campuses or adhere to the leadership of the original group. Many of these would adhere to a concept of Ecumenism, although they do not adhere to one denomination, they think of themselves as part of the church universal.
  4. Un-denominational – These churches are independent, autonomous congregations. They have no national, state, or city leadership. The only governing body is the local congregational leaders. There is no individual or group outside of the local assembly that determines doctrine, practice, assembly times, educational material,  leadership, or ministry staff.

That should suffice in helping us lay down a framework for the rest of this article as we try to answer the question, “Is there just one Church?”

Is there just one Church?

Every concept above will say, “Yes.” but each defines the Church in slightly and sometimes significant ways. Ecumenism and Denominationalism says, “There is one universal truth. Non-denominational groups may or may not agree that all other churches are simply different ways to get to heaven. Un-denominational groups will sometimes be vehement in their opposition to ecumenism and denominationalism and some will demonstrate concern for only the local congregation and leave the determination of the faithful individuals and congregations to God.

But is there just one Church? What does the Bible teach?

After Peter confessed faith that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of the living God, Jesus stated to Peter and the other apostles, “on that rock I will build my church . . .” The rock is not Peter – that name means “chip off the rock.” The rock is the confession Peter made that Jesus is the Christ. The Christ is the Cornerstone – the foundation of the church (1 Peter 2:6-7). The Church, from a Greek word meaning the called out assembly, must find her foundation in the person and teaching of Christ and those inspired by the Holy Spirit to write down His teaching. Jesus lays out a promise for ONE CHURCH.

In 1 Thessalonians 1:1 Paul addresses the letter “To the church of the Thessalonians . . ” When Paul writes to the Christian Philemon concerning the run away slave, he addresses not only Philemon, but also Apphia, Archippus, “and the church in your house.” (Phm 1:1-2) These are simply two examples of Paul writing to individual congregations who followed the teachings he learned from Christ through the Holy Spirit.

In Acts 14:23 Paul and company appointed elders (plural) in every church. When Paul writes to the church in Philippi he addresses the letter to the saints (Christians) the elders (overseers), and deacons. These assemblies were self-governed having their own leadership.

Wait! Doesn’t Galatians 1:2 and Romans 16:16 use the plural “churches?” Yes, those passages do use “churches. ” Contextually, in both cases, Paul is referring to a individual assemblies of those who obeyed the gospel and worshiping according to Jesus’ teaching as taught by Paul and other inspired apostles and leaders. He writes to those assemblies in the geographical area of Galatia and in Romans he is sending greetings from assemblies in the many areas as he visited and worked with.

Just reading these passages I learn that God designed His Church to be autonomous congregations organized with leadership from within the congregation. Each independent assembly was comprised of those who obeyed the Gospel as they put on Christ. Each church was governed by her own leaders from within the congregation without the oversight of an outside synod or governing body other than Christ (Ephesians 1:16-23).

Is there just one Church?

YES!

That church is separate from any denomination. That church crosses political borders. There is no earthly headquarters, president, or leader that determines what that church believes. There is no authority above her, but Christ. She has members who the Lord added when they obeyed His commands to become His child (Acts 2:47). They devote “themselves to the apostles’ teaching and the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers.” (Acts 2:42). A plurality of elders look out for the spiritual well-being of the congregation (Acts 20:28) making certain to the best of their collective ability and maturity that their local congregation as a church of God (church of Christ, part of the Way) follows the faith delivered once for all (Jude 1:3).

Are you a member of the ONE Church whose head is Christ?

I challenge you to look to scripture and scripture alone to answer that question using the following as a guide:

  • Am I a child of God by faith as I put on Christ through immersion? (Gal 3:26-27) and therefore having my sins washed away as I call His name my own (Acts 22:16)?
  • Do the Christians I assemble with follow the pattern the inspired writers of the New Covenant in the way they organize the assembly and how they worship the Creator?

-Scott

 

 

When Preachers Get Together

Have you have wanted to be a fly on the wall when the minister (preacher) of your congregation gets together with other preachers?  Recently, I was able to catch up with a group of ministers (I showed up late) for an on camera talk.  Dale Jenkins (Spring Meadows Church of Christ, Spring Hill TN) invited Joey Sparks (Parrish Church of Christ, Parrish, AL), Chris Pressnell (Flint Church of Christ, Decatur, AL), Chuck Webster (Hoover Church of Christ, Hoover, AL), and me (Scott McCown, Central Church of Christ, Tuscaloosa, AL) to sit down with him and talk about ministry and life.

WARTNING: You will really get to know something about preachers if you watch this video.

Thanks to The Jenkins Institute for inviting me to be a part of this conversation:

-Scott

How Do I Get There from Here?

Finding the WayOne of my favorite things about my smart phone is the map (GPS) feature.  Well sometimes.  Amy will tell you that I sometimes argue with Siri and will also ignore the directions it gives.

But even iMaps or Google Maps is better than the directions others sometimes give.

“Excuse me I am looking for I’m-lost Road, can you tell me how to get there?”

“Sure, buddy, Turn left at the house with the fence that used to be white, there will be a mail box with the door falling off and weeds growing up around it. The mane on the box is faded, but it reads ‘Smitherman.’  If you see a rusty truck up on blocks in a field you’ve gone too far, turn around. Follow that road for a piece and when you get to the ‘Y’ in the road take the left . . .  of course you can take the right fork and go a few hundred yards and turn back to the left that’ll connect you to the road that will take you to I’m-lost Road.”

How do I get there from here?

Once I was driving through a small town and saw a church marquee that read, “Directions to Heaven: Turn right and go straight.”  There was a traffic light just past the sign, so I did. I ended up at the community college.

Directions to Heaven

  • Jesus said, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” (John 14:6). The first step in the direction is to be in Christ.  We are in Christ when we obey the gospel (Rom 6:3-6). The gospel is the good news of Christ’s death, burial and resurrection (1Co 15:1-4). Notice how we obey the gospel by faith when we spiritually and symbolically re-enact in in our death, burial, and resurrection like His.
  • Stay on course with Jesus’ will. “If anyone hears my words and does not keep them, I do not judge him; for I did not come to judge the world but to save the world. The one who rejects me and does not receive my words has a judge; the word that I have spoken will judge him on the last day. For I have not spoken on my own authority, but the Father who sent me has himself given me a commandment—what to say and what to speak. And I know that his commandment is eternal life. What I say, therefore, I say as the Father has told me.” (John 12:47-50). There is a standard we must follow. That standard that we will answer too is what we learn from Jesus and those He taught in person and by inspiration who then in turn wrote what pertains to life and godliness (2Pe 1:3).

That is how we get there from here.

-Scott