Watching Basketball Today
Fridays are my Sabbath day of rest. Today I will watch some basketball and pull for my favorite team – The North Carolina Tar Heels! I love this time of year and can’t wait until the NCAA tournament starts next week.
Random Thoughts | Ritchie Miller.orgRandom Thoughts | Ritchie Miller.org
Tomorrow I will run the Albany Marathon in Albany, GA. This will be my 2nd marathon this year and my 5th since 2010. I am not really sure why I do this. Anyway, if you think of it say a prayer for me tomorrow between 7:00 AM and Noon. Pray for me not to die.
All joking aside, I hope you will pray for Andy Pruitt. Andy is running the Albany Marathon and is also running the Comrades Ultra Marathon in Durban, South Africa to raise money for AIDS orphans. You can check out his website here. Pray for Andy and Amber. They will be going to South Africa with me in June to help the orphans and Bob and Joanna Graham at Indawo Yethemba.
Tomorrow, February 9th, is Kim’ birthday. This is the 20th straight year that she has been 29 years old. I don’t know ho she does it. Happy Birthday, Kim! I love you and I am glad you were born!
This is just in from the “have you lost your freaking mind” department; I am running a marathon tomorrow. I am running the Museum of Aviation Marathon in Warner Robins, Georgia. This will be my fourth official marathon. If you are wondering how a guy as fat as I am can run 26.2 miles I don’t have an answer for you. I just trick myself by pretending that they are giving out unlimited quantities of chocolate at the finish line. It has worked so far. If you see me limping Sunday at church you will know why. Oh well, you got to die of something, right?
I want to extend my personal congratulations to Jerry and Debby Walls of Southside Baptist Church in Warner Robins, GA. Jerry has been the pastor of Southside for 25 years! The church is celebrating what God has done through Jerry and his family. When he came to the church their attendance was around 100 each week. It has now grown to over 3000 people per week. Jerry is a personal friend to me and has been a great blessing to me over the years.
Southside was one of three churches that sponsored Avalon Church when we started in 2001. Although we had many churches and individuals donate to us financially, Southside, along with Marcus Pointe Baptist in Pensacola and The Gathering in Sevierville, TN stepped up to the plate big time. Each of these churches invested over $10,000 each in our start up. Thank you! We would not be here without you! Congratulations, Jerry. I pray that God will give you 25 more years at Southside. I think that will make you around 114 years old, right?
I first met Pete Thomas not long after his stint on NBC’s “The Biggest Loser.” As an outreach to our community we hosted a health fair called Healthy Body Healthy Soul with Dr. Benita Bonser, a member of our church. We invited Pete to come and speak and he did a fantastic job. I also used him to challenge our church on Sunday morning. He shared his incredible testimony of how Christ helped him overcome a difficult childhood and find meaning and purpose. If you would like to inquire about having Pete come and speak at your church go to www.petethomas.com. I highly recommend him and his story can be used as a great evangelistic tool.
I will never forget how Pete challenged me. At the time I was out of shape and overweight and I did not recognize how it was affecting my ministry. The concepts in his book will help you change your lifestyle and lengthen your ministry and your effectiveness. He helped me realize that I needed to make some lifestyle changes. After meeting Pete I have lost weight, walked across the state of Georgia as a mission’s fund-raiser, and run several marathons, including the Comrades Ultra-Marathon (54 miles) in South Africa.
Randy Bonser, a member of our church, helped Pete write the book ad I believe it will be a great help to you as well. You can buy the book for your personal benefit or even as a great resource for small groups.
September 11, 2001 was one of the darkest days in American history. I will never forget that day. Just two days before, on September 9th, I started Avalon Church. You can imagine how much work went into processing all that happened on the launch date. We saw 27 people receive Christ that Sunday. I was brimming with excitement and expectation about what God would do with our baby church. Just then, a friend called and told me to turn on the TV. I sat mesmerized for the next 24 hours. To steal a quote from Roosevelt, it was a day that would live in infamy.
To be honest, I have struggled to process the events of 9-11-2001. On the one hand I am a patriotic American. I believe in a strong national defense. I believe in small government. I believe the US government’s primary job is to keep American’s safe. I believe our soldiers, police officers, and fire fighters are heroes. I am politically conservative, though I find both major political parties to be seriously flawed. I don’t know if I am voting for the lesser of two evils or the evil of two lessers.
On the other hand I am a Christ-follower. I believe the Bible to be the very Word of God. I believe Christ’s mandate and grand narrative are about His Kingdom not the United States. I also believe the melding of politics and Christianity has damaged the cause of the gospel. God is neither Democrat nor Republican. Many evangelicals have confused the cause of moralism and political activism with the cause of the gospel. The world is changed, not through the legislation of morals – the Pharisees tried that – but through the spread of the gospel of Christ. As a citizen I have the right and responsibility to vote and be politically active. As the church our job is the gospel, not politics. It is my strong conviction that my job as a Christian is to see the world through God’s eyes, to be primarily concerned with His Kingdom and the gospel, and to have a worldview that encompasses Christ’s grand plan for the world – all of it. Simply put, the gospel trumps politics. I fear that many churches have allowed their loyalty to a political party to hinder their commitment to the gospel.
To be frank, many Christians have missed the message from 9-11. Some clowns used the event as a soapbox to divide the country with a message of hate. Others focused on the political message more than the real message. I am not suggesting that America should have done nothing. Not to respond with force and a plan to protect the American people would have been to fail. Government is ordained by God and has a purpose. When governments fail to fulfill that purpose it is sin. Just read the Old Testament to see how God feels about oppressive governments.
I believe the message that every Christian should take from 9-11 is this: we desperately need to spread the gospel to the Islamic world. It should not surprise us that they hate us. They see America as a Christian nation. Jesus said that they would hate us because they hate him. I am not suggesting that we actually are a Christian nation, mind you. I believe that we are far from it. That is, however, how we are perceived.
The answer lies in the gospel not in politics! No amount of money, weapons, war, or propaganda will change the world. If we want to win this war it will only be won through Jesus Christ. Is that particular mission field difficult to penetrate with the gospel? Yes it is, but not nearly as much as it was in the book of Acts. Paul wrote in Romans, “I am not ashamed of the gospel for it is the power of God…” The gospel has the power to change the world. If Christians would give more to missions we would not have to sacrifice our national treasure on endless wars. If more Christians would surrender to go to the difficult places in the world we would not have to sacrifice the lives of many of our soldiers.
I believe the message from 9-11 is loud and clear. God wants his people to take the message of the gospel to the world. We must give and we must go. It is the only hope for the world. It is the only hope for a solution. It is the only power that can truly change the world. Until more Christians get serious about this message we will continue to sacrifice our lives and our treasure. We will continue to miss the point completely.
Don’t fret or worry. Instead of worrying, pray. Let petitions and praises shape your worries into prayers, letting God know your concerns. Before you know it, a sense of God’s wholeness, everything coming together for good, will come and settle you down. It’s wonderful what happens when Christ displaces worry at the center of your life. Philippians 4:6-7 (MES)
I hope you get to relax today. You probably need a good day of rest. I also hope that you will remember the purpose of this holiday.
When I think of all that God has blessed me with it is easy to take for granted the great freedoms I have been afforded as an American. Having been to 21 different countries, I can honestly say that I have never been to a place with more freedom than the USA. I thank God for America and our freedoms.
This Memorial Day I hope that you will take a few moments and remember our fallen and wounded heroes. Tim Lee spoke for us at Avalon this Easter and it reminded me of how much sacrifice goes into making and defending a country. Bless you Tim Lee. Bless you soldiers who gave your life for our freedom. Bless you moms who gave up sons and daughters so that we could be free. May your sacrifices always be remembered. May you always be blessed. May you always be in our hearts and minds.
When I think of all that God has blessed me with it is easy to take for granted the great freedoms I have been afforded as an American. Having been to 21 different countries, I can honestly say that I have never been to a place with more freedom than the USA. While I am fully aware that the Kingdom of God is far greater than any earthly kingdom I can also read in the Scriptures that God admonishes Christians to “pray for the king”, “obey those who have the rule over you”, and to be a good citizen. I believe that even those Christians who hate capitalism (I happen to be a huge fan of it myself) and have been convinced by persons with a political agenda that America is the big, evil, mean brother of the world would have to admit that part of being a good citizen would mean to remember our brave soldiers and families who have suffered loss on Memorial Day. No matter what your political persuasion is we can agree that these families have paid a dear price for others.
This Memorial Day I hope that you will take a few moments and remember our fallen and wounded heroes. We had Tim Lee speak for us this Easter and it reminded me of how much sacrifice goes into making and defending a country. Bless you Tim Lee. Bless you soldiers who gave your life for our freedom. Bless you moms who gave up sons and daughters so that we could be free. May your sacrifices always be remembered. May you always be blessed. May you always be in our hearts and minds.
When you are not connected at Avalon Church you feel lonely. When you feel lonely you accept friend requests from people you do not know on Face Book. When you accept friend requests from people you don’t know on Face Book you agree to meet a pretty dental hygienist for coffee. When you agree to meet a pretty dental hygienist for coffee you are really meeting a 300-pound biker. When you meet a 300-pound biker he takes you for a ride on his Harley. When you ride a Harley with a 300-pound biker you get back hair in your eyes.
Don’t get back hair in your eyes. Come to The Connection, Sunday, May 20th at 9:30 or 11:00 and learn how to get connected at Avalon Church.
I am not sure what the food in Heaven will taste like but I am fairly certain that Krispy Kreme donuts will be served. Hot. With milk so cold that it hurts your teeth. If you have never tasted – nay, experienced – a hot Krispy Kreme donut with ice-cold milk then… I’m sorry… what was I saying? I was thinking about how awesome it would be to have one right now. One? Who am I kidding? It is impossible to eat just one. I have tried many times and failed wonderfully. Dunking one can almost stop wars, pay off the national debt, and even make a man willing to watch a Twilight movie. I said almost. Would somebody please explain to me why the werewolves run around with their shirts off in that movie? Kim and Brooke have tried repeatedly. Each time I come closer to a brain aneurism.
Anyway, speaking of things that are awesome when dunked, you need to plan on getting dunked at Avalon Church this Sunday. We will have baptism in each service. It is Mother’s Day and I can’t think of a better present for mom than your following Christ in believer’s baptism. See you Sunday. I think I will drive to Krispy Kreme now.
You have to admit that they do look funny. So do giraffes.
This Sunday we will begin a new series at Avalon Church entitled Identity Theft. We will study the book of Ecclesiastes, which was written by King Solomon. I love him. The dude was smart. Solomon has been hailed as the wisest man who ever lived. Under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit he gave us a book of rules (Proverbs), a book of romance (Song of Solomon), and a book of regrets (Ecclesiastes). In the wisdom of Proverbs he challenged our attitude with “a merry heart does us good like a medicine.” Imagine that. Holy Scripture not only allows for merriment, joy, happiness, and laughter but it actually encourages it. I will refrain from writing a treatise on what constitutes godly pleasure. We all know that Satan’s counterfeit pleasures never fulfill and they always leave you filled with regrets.
Take time to laugh today. Why is it that so many Christians are uptight all the time? Stop taking yourself so seriously. We have a lot to be thankful for and a lot to be happy about. Laughter will ease your stress and it will even make you feel better. So try to laugh today. Tell a funny story. Recollect those darn things that the kids said. Watch a funny movie. Tell a joke. Enjoy yourself. It will be an elixir for your soul. It is, after all, the best medicine.