Thursday, June 30, 2011

Does your church have "it"?

Mike Lowery, pastor of Impact Community Church in Rock Hill, had a stirring message last Sunday.

Mike, who says the church ought to be in the business of serving and trying to get closer to God, noted that some houses of worship have all the makings or trappings of what they should be about--saving souls for eternity--but they fall short because they don't have "it".

You might wonder what "it" is.

It's tough to define this elusive, increasingly rare characteristic of churches. But we know, according to Lowery, that some churches have "it," and others don't.

The seven qualities of "it," he says, are:

•Vision. Churches with "it" know that their vision comes from God, not from man.

•Divine focus. A church with "it" does not try to do a million things. It only tries to accomplish a few things and ends up doing these very well.

•Unmistakable comraderie. Churches with "it" enjoy togetherness or connectedness with other churches or even with folks outside their congregations.

•Innovative minds. An "it" church is a creative church.

•Willingness to fall short. A church with "it" isn't afraid to make mistakes. It fails forward and learns from its errors.

•Focused outward instead of inward. (Nuff said!)

•Kingdom mindedness. In a a church with "it," it's not what the church can do for me; instead it's what can I do for my church?

Does your church or place of worship have "it"? Or is it "itless"?

Monday, June 13, 2011

Graduation at Winthrop University

Yes, I know May 8, 2011, was just another in countless graduations I've marched in or attended or otherwise participated in during my lifetime.

But graduation at Winthrop University is truly a special day.

Turn up your sound and click here to get a bit of the ambience and magic of the place where I'm honored to work.

(Thanks to Judy Longshaw for sending me this video.)

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Hats off to Marshal Dillon

His name was James Arness, but most of us baby boomers (and our parents) knew him as the larger-than-life Marshal Matt Dillon of the long-running TV western "Gunsmoke."

The 6-foot-7 inch Arness died a few days ago at the age of 88, but his legacy of no nonsense toughness will last for many years. Scan the channels and you'll probably find a re-run of "Gunsmoke."

The show had a strong following for 20 years (an eternity on TV), finally signing off in 1975.

Who can ever forget the towering Marshal Dillon? The marshal, with his trusted sidekick and stiff-legged deputy Chester Goode (played by Dennis Weaver), maintained peace and order in wild, wicked Dodge City, Kan. Other regulars on the show were Miss Kitty Russell (played by Amanda Blake), who managed the Long Branch Saloon (where the marshal hung out and sipped cool ones), and spunky, wise old Doc Adams (Milburn Stone).

In recent years, Marshal Dillon and Miss Kitty were memorialized in Toby Keith's hit song "I Should've Been A Cowboy."

Here are a few lyrics from that blockbuster tune:

I bet you've never heard ole Marshall Dillion say
Miss Kitty have you ever thought of running away
Settling down will you marry me
If I asked you twice and begged you pretty please
She'd of said Yes in a New York minute
They never tied the knot
His heart wasn't in it
Stole a kiss as he road away
He never hung his hat up at Kitty's place

Want to hear the song and re-live a bit of Marshal Dillon lore?

Turn your sound up and click here.