Carolina


I was intrigued by this article on ESPN’s website about some of the basketball coaches in Conference USA.  I would not trade anything for having Roy Williams as Carolina’s basketball coach, but I still have a soft spot in my heart for Matt Doherty.  I think that Matt could have succeeded if he had moved a little slower in his changes and had a less toxic team to coach.  I cannot imagine the pain he endured as the Carolina family turned their backs on him and threw him to the dogs.  I felt the same way about Indiana’s Mike Davis, particularly after I learned all that he had overcome due to a speech impediment to become the Hoosier coach only to be cast aside as well.  It appears that Conference USA is the place where these coaches are getting their second chance and proving themselves once again.  I wish that more churches would act in the same manner.  We are to take the broken and bruised of our world and point them to Christ and redemption such that they can find their second chance.  Instead, we point to the bruises and only begrudgingly offer the necessary salve far too often.  I find it beyond amazing that churches are to be the gathered people of a God who forgets our iniquities and yet we continue to harbor memories of the sins of those around us.  Do we really think it necessary to drag up the past of someone who God forgave decades ago?   Secondly, I wish churches would be more nurturing to their pastors.  I have friends who have been beaten senseless by their churches and they move on to their next church with these open wounds that need healing only to find another church ready to shadow box.  Why aren’t we fighting sin with such abandon?  I do not know of many other professions or callings that beat their leaders the way churches do.  Did not our Lord command us to do unto others as we would have them do unto us?  How do we expect pastors to be nurturing if churches do not act in kind?  I heard recently that 5 years removed from their seminary studies, 50% of ministers quit the ministry entirely.   The percentage increases to 80, 10 years after completing their studies.  Only 5% of those graduating seminary right now will retire from the ministry.  I am so glad these coaches have found some healing and did not quit a profession they loved.  I think they have many life lessons to pour into these young men’s lives that they need to hear, because life will knock you down and you have to get back up.   I know a lot of pastors who have the same lessons to offer churches.  Maybe it’s time the Church started acting a little more like Conference USA.

Peace be with you.

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I do not normally post twice in a day, but in honor of tonight’s big game I thought I would post these two videos.  The first one is real grainy and does not include the conclusion.  I added the second link so that you could hear the conclusion, which still gets me every time.  Here’s hoping that we are able to beat the Blue Devils once again.

Go Heels!

A lot of the memories I have of my time at Chapel Hill are shaped by the friends I met through and my experiences in the Marching Tar Heels (MTH).  The MTH have provided me with a lifetime of sermon illustrations and anecdotes.  It has been 10 years since I last picked up my horn, but game day in Chapel Hill is still not complete unless we make our way to Tar Heel Town and listen to “Tubas and Trumpets” at Dey Hall and then watch Mr. Fuchs direct warmup, most notably “Chorale.”  I enjoyed reading the article in Sunday’s News and Observer about how Mr. Fuchs and the MTH made April Hansen’s wish come true.   There are a host of reasons why I loved being in the Marching Tar Heels, but one of the top reasons was that we spent so much time together that we became like family.  I have lifelong friends simply because of my time in the MTH.  I believe the reason so many churches are in decline today is that they do not facilitate a similar experience.  Our society is increasingly more fractured and people, especially young adults, are looking for a place where they can simply belong.  Our churches are the logical place for such seekers to find what they seek, but sadly we are not.  We are too often more concerned with what is going on inside the walls of the church than to extend a welcoming embrace to those who are running aimlessly with outstretched arms waiting for someone to grab them. I hear far too often, and have been guilty of occasionally repeating the mantra myself, that the church cannot compete with all of the glitz the outside world presents.  The lure of weekend sporting activities and trips to the beach are too great we think.  I say it is high time for us to repent of such shortsighted faith.   The Church must regain its sense of family and link that impression with a repudiation of weak preaching, such that once more a powerful, life transforming Gospel rings out from every pulpit.  We do not need glitz to attract folks to our pews, we simply need to see the family of God once more present in the world, a family bound by our love for one another, fed on the sweet honey of God’s Word, and transformed by its application.  Then we will become the net into which those aimless runners fall.  Our return to a familial Church is imperative to seeing the Church once more becoming a force in our world.

Peace be with you.

So, I ran across this recently and had a hard time deciding whether to feature DW or Greg Ellis.  My love of NASCAR is great, but it doesn’t compare to my thoughts for Chapel Hill.  So, here’s a fellow alum and powerful testimony. If you would like to see more of these powerful testimonies you can check it out at www.iamsecond.org.

Peace be with you.

Old Well My alma mater, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, celebrated its 216th birthday today.  It was on this day in 1793 that William R. Davie laid the cornerstone for Old East, which would become my dorm some 206 years later.   The four years I was privileged to be at Carolina were some of the most formative of my life and central to those years was the spiritual growth I experienced.  I was able to participate in Baptist Campus Ministry, which opened a door to other faith traditions with which I was inexperienced, and Music Makers Christian Fellowship, a gathering of Christians associated with the UNC Marching Tar Heels and with whom I led a small group Bible study.  These groups provided me not only a safe environment to work out my personal theology for the first time, but a place to meet with fellow believers for fellowship and encouragement in what sometimes seemed like hostile territory.  I firmly believe in the work of campus ministries to not only provide similar safe havens for young Christians, but to seize these formative years to capture questioning hearts with the Gospel.  One of the best organizations I know that accomplishes this task is Campus Crusade for Christ.  The Four Spiritual Laws have been used thousands of times to help bring another sinner to the foot of the Cross.  I can still recall hearing the praise music from Campus Crusade’s meeting resounding from Gerrard Hall as I returned from practice at Hill Hall and the encouragement it often provided.  Campus ministry is difficult work in a tough environment, but it insures that there is a Christian witness in the next generation.  I would encourage everyone to pray for those involved in campus ministry and if you know have a student from your church in college, drop them a note and let them know you are thinking about them.

Peace be with you.