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Passion

A few days ago a group of people from our church made a trip to Charlotte to volunteer at the shoebox processing center for OperationChristmas Child. Every day the center preps over 100,000 boxes for shipments around the world to children just in time for Christmas. People who volunteer at this site are passionate! One of our newest church members was on the trip, and she told me on the way back that we needed to double our goal for shoeboxes next year. And, we should get started on next year’s shoeboxes right away.

I like passionate people. One of my favorite aspects of being a pastor is regularly working alongside of people who are passionate about what they do. Passionate people are driven by causes greater than themselves. Passionate people change the world. We have people at Oakland who work year round for wonderful causes that make a difference in eternity.

But, passionate people don’t always play well with others. Sometimes passionate people can’t understand why everyone doesn’t …
As a child the Oreo cookie presented a unique challenge to me. I was never really sure if I was eating it correctly. There are at least four different ways to eat an Oreo cookie. The simplest way to eat a cookie is to take small bites of the cookie without disturbing the basic, original form. You can also dunk it in milk. You can separate it into two halves with the cream filling attached to one half leaving the other half bare. (The debate still rages about which half one should eat first.) And lastly, you can place the whole cookie in your mouth at once, which is quite convenient when in danger of being caught with a cookie in hand.

Today, I am inclined to say that there really is no one correct way to eat an Oreo. As my sign language teacher used to say in response to different ways of signing the same group of words, “that sign isn’t wrong, it is just different.”

As an adult I wrestle with how far to take my judgments. I am naturally analytical and critical. I like to take things ap…

God and Hell

A fellow minister and I were having a conversation one day about the nature of God and what God does. We discussed a number of topics, which somehow led us to a discussion about hell. The other minister was my senior by more than 30 years, and I initially attempted to be as modest as possible in our discussion.

At one point she turned to me and stated bluntly, “my God doesn’t send people to hell.”
I replied, “I agree.”
She looked at me with a puzzled look and said almost in a question, “You do.”
I said, “Yes.”
She said, “But, I don’t understand. I thought that you said earlier that God sends people to hell?”
I said, “He does.”
After a long pause she said, “Are you saying my God and your God are different?”
I replied, “It certainly appears that way.”
She then spent several minutes saying some comments to me that I would rather not repeat. But her comments did indicate that she might not be regenerate. She even accused me of believing the Bible. Oh, the humanity!

After she calmed down, her intell…

O Glorious Day

Music has never been my strongest subject. My greatest musical achievement to date was learning to bang large wood dowels together when our music minister waved his hand in a quick, upward motion, and I wasn’t even very good at that. My worship pastor tells me now that my music minister was attempting to teach me rhythm. Fail.

When I entered college at Florida Baptist Theological College, I discovered that I would be required to take a music class in order to graduate. I dreaded taking this class more than any class in all of my academic career – including middle school gym and calculus based physics at the University of South Alabama. I cleverly decided to take the class in a compressed summer term to minimize the length of my suffering through a music class.

In the summer of ’97 I enrolled in a music class with Dr. Don Odom. On the first day of class, my fears were quickly placated by the opening lecture by Dr. Odom. He began the class by saying that he knew that most of us …