1. My favorite Sundays are the ones where we observe baptism. They are the days where we have individuals who are desiring to make their commitment to Jesus Christ known publicly to the congregation and to the world before God.
I had the privilege to baptize Jared S. It was bittersweet though because Jared and his family are moving to Chicago in a few weeks. It made me think of the hymn we sung at Southern Seminary by Basil Manly, Jr., Soldiers of Christ, in Truth Arrayed. The last stanza reads:
We meet to part, but part to meet
When earthly labors are complete,
To join in yet more blest employ,
In an eternal world of joy.
2. My sermon text was Acts 14:21-23. I narrowed in on the fact that one of the first things Paul and Barnabas did to strengthen new churches was to appoint elders for them. This was the second occasion I preached on the one topic of elders since my coming to Middle Tennessee.
I know that this subject is both interesting and difficult in a baptist congregation. One older member mentioned to me today that my sermon was the first time he could ever recall hearing one solely on elders. But he agreed with the fact that elders are all over the New Testament.
One difficulty with the idea of elders is that we live in the center of Church of Christ territory. Church of Christ churches embrace elders. However, in many of their churches, the elders rule the church and make all decisions. And this does not come across positively to congregationalists. This is not the view I advocated.
As I stated at the outset of the sermon, we are only beginning a conversation on this subject. In other words, we will move slowly. And we will chart our church’s future together.
3. On a different subject. Why is it that many church members only attend one meeting a week, and yet they always seem to complain about the time they have to spend together? Is it okay to say to those who complain every week, “Just stay at home until you can enjoy being together with all of God’s people on the Lord’s Day”? You are not contributing to the joy of God’s people when the only words out of your mouth are complaints!