Tag Archive for Church

Only One Thing Left for McComas To Do: Pray

At the Wayne County Republican Party’s Lincoln Day Dinner, I ran into Jim McComas, former pastor of the Canaan Free Will Baptist Church, who is now director of Home Missions for the National Association of Free Will Baptists. McComas has served as the GOP’s chaplain.

McComas and Kasich

When I saw McComas, he joked about this blog, where my last post about him exploded with page views. In less than a day, the post about him transitioning into the new position became the fourth-most popular one on The Z Section. You can read that post (and watch my interview with him) here. It is amazing how many people have visited the site to see the post about McComas.

As chaplain of the Wayne County Republican Party, McComas was asked to open the event with a word of prayer and to close out the night by giving a benediction. In doing so, one of the people he was praying for was Ohio Gov. John Kasich, a deeply religious man who is not afraid to speak about his faith, as well as other elected officials and leaders.

I was not around for McComas’ opening prayer because I joined fellow journalists in an ante-room for a question-and-answer session with Kasich. I was there for McComas’ closing prayer, and it was powerful.

How powerful was it? See for yourself. Watch the video below:

Jim McComas leaving “Thrill on the Hill” for national position with Free Will Baptists

Pastor Jim McComas, who has been part of the Canaan Free Will Baptist Church (aka the Thrill on the Hill) for the past 25 years, will step down as senior minister at the end of February as he transitions into his new role as director of church revitalization for the National Association of Free Will Baptists in Nashville.

JimMcComas

I had the opportunity to sit down and talk with him for a story that appeared on The Daily Record’s Religion page Feb. 21, 2014 (read the story here). I shot video of our conversation and much of what McComas had to say appears in the story.

Some of the things that did not make it into the story concern his calling to the ministry and his favorite themes on which to preach.

McComas accepted the Lord as his savior when he was six years old during Vacation Bible School at Grace Brethren Church. By the time he was in third grade, he knew God was calling him into the ministry. He said he would preach into a tape recorder because “who wanted to hear a nine-year-old preach.”

When I asked McComas about what themes he liked to preach on, he said he could come up with a list of a hundred sins and start preaching on them. However, “If I can get them to fall in love with Jesus,” that will take care of a lot of stuff, he said.

When Doug Hunter was doing his Wayne County 365 project, McComas was one of his subjects. In Hunter’s piece, which you can read here, McComas talked about how he wanted to be known as more than just a guy in a suit to the students in the Norwayne school district. McComas touches upon that and more in our video conversation.

Check it out:

Gettysburg Address was 272 Words, So are These 2 Sermons

Today, I had the honor and privilege of preaching at Parkview Christian Church, Wooster, Ohio. I wanted to do something totally different, and with the help of my friend, Ron Maxwell, we did.

Sermon

Some time ago, I heard the Gettysburg Address was only 272 words. Some consider it the most important speech in American history (see here). President Abraham Lincoln shared his remarks at the dedication of the Soldier’s National Cemetery in Gettysburg, Pa. His remarks lasted three minutes, and they still resonate today.

Given what Lincoln accomplished in 272 words, I always wondered what it would be like to write and deliver a 272–word sermon. In my mind, I thought about creating something called The 272 Project. I envisioned it as a preaching festival where all of the preachers would deliver messages of 272 words: No more, no less.

Well, this morning I had the opportunity to preach not only one, but two 272–word sermons. I appreciate Parkview’s senior minister, Brian White, giving me the opportunity to preach. He had no idea what I was going to do, and he wanted to be surprised. So, we surprised him.

After the worship team opened the service, we had communion and we took up the offering. I explained to the congregation this idea I had about The 272 Project, then Ron Maxwell came up to present the Gettysburg Address. Interestingly, a woman came up after the sermon and told me she did not realize how relevant the address was even to this day. The praise team played Awake My Soul, and then I preached. Here is the video:

The Parkview Address

A True Classic from the Halls of Atheism, You Won’t Believe This

In a piece on RawStory.com, David Edwards writes this: Professor Peter Higgs said recently that there is no God and so people should stop referring to the theoretical particle that bears his name as the “God particle.”

Theoretical

This is classic. I say print it out and frame it. This is one for the ages.

Let me see if I understand this correctly: A scientist with a theoretical particle named after him claims there is no God, therefore, do not call his theoretical particle, that I assume does not exist, after a God he believes does not exist.

File this under the heading: You can’t make this stuff up.

I might need to break open one of those big city dictionary’s, but am I right in thinking “theoretical” does not mean “actual.” Wait a second, let me check the interwebs.

The truth of the matter, even though I have faith that God exists, and even though I believe there is strong evidence that points to a transcendent Creator, both Prof. Higgs and I are two sides of the same coin: We both accept our views in faith.

Even Richard Dawkins, a staunch atheist who vigorously attacks Christianity and world religions, holds out the remotest possibility, though, admittedly not much, there might be a God.

Look, I am not a scientist, and I don’t play one on television (though I did play Doc Burton in a high school production of “Cheaper by the Dozen”), but there are questions science has yet to answer for me, and most likely others.

How did sexual reproduction start? How in the world did an organism who never engaged in sexual reproduction and had absolutely no history with it realize it could happen?

If the odds were astronomical that nonlife could become life, how is it that it happened repeatedly and how was it that there ended up being a male and a female organism in the same proximity that this type of union could happen?

Then, there is always the fact no one was around to observe how the universe or life began, so that makes us all speculators at best.

Then, there is this: The fool says in his heart, “There is no God” (Psalm 14:1, NIV).

It’s Friday, But Sunday’s Coming

May you all have a blessed Resurrection Sunday. It’s Friday, but Sunday’s coming.

How Does a Blogger Discover One’s Voice?

When I knew I wanted to be a writer back in the ’80s, I read a Writer’s Digest article that offered a simple path: Get an apartment in New York City, place a typewriter on your kitchen table, sit down and start writing. When you get up in 10 years, you will be a writer.

Microphone.jpg

Well, I did not get an apartment in New York and opted for a dedicated word processor (I believe it was an Amstrad sold by Sears) in 1986 and a few years later an IBM-clone. Wouldn’t you know, in about 10 years I finally got the sense that maybe I could write.

Another way of looking at this is that it took 10 years for me to find my voice in writing.

Since December 2012, I have been blogging regularly, and it is mildly discouraging that I have found neither a voice for my blogging nor my blog.

The Z Section is supposed to be about anything. I fought the urge to “specialize” and focus on a niche to give me the freedom to write about whatever caught my attention. What I have discovered is anything can be anything and sometimes anything can be too daunting so anything becomes nothing.

Will I specialize? Will I focus on a niche? Truthfully, I am not sure.

But, here is what I know:

  • I have varied interests.
  • These interests include my Christian faith,
  • Reading the Bible,
  • Family,
  • Technology,
  • Smartphones,
  • Tablets,
  • Computers,
  • Social media,
  • Leadership principles,
  • Journalism,
  • Blogging,
  • Writing,
  • Pets, and
  • so much more.

The thing is, down the road I want to write books, and I want them to focus on potential material for Sunday school classes. However, as I look over this blog, admittedly about anything, I find very little that point toward that direction.

So, you can expect more regarding faith and how it intersects with all of those things above. Perhaps there I will find my voice.

I hope it doesn’t take 10 years.

Is Your Faith Like the ‘Groundhog Day’ Movie?

Note: Check out free book offer at end of post.

In talking with Daniel Bautz, your host of the Grand Dark Conspiracy Internet radio show, I discovered my faith was something like out of the Bill Murray movie “Groundhog Day.”

Groundhog Day Movie

Daniel and I work together at a newspaper in Northeast Ohio when he is not serving as host of his show and I am not blogging. He fashions his show, which runs from 10 p.m.-midnight Mondays and Tuesdays on the Shark Radio Network, after the old Art Bell shows and delves into a variety of areas, including the paranormal and the spiritual.

During our conversation, Daniel said he did not understand how if someone believed he discovered Sasquatch existed, then why was there a need to continually prove the existence.

I thought about what he said and responded, “That’s how I am with my faith. It’s as if I get up everyday and have to prove it all over again. I guess it’s sort of like that ‘Groundhog Day’ movie.”

Daniel assured me I was dealing with something totally different, and he understood why I did that, because my faith went to the core of who I am.

Philosophically, I recognize I could be wrong about my belief that God created the universe, Jesus came to save us from our sins, the Holy Spirit gives us direction and the Bible is God’s message to us that has been preserved for us. I don’t live my life that way, and I am pretty confident I have chosen the correct path. However, I hold out the slightest possibility I might be wrong.

It boils down to this: I do not take my faith for granted. I do not believe blindly. I did not check my brain at the door. I have examined the claims of the Bible, and I have found them to be credible. I have explored the possibility of life with a creator and life by accident, and I believe a creator makes more sense.

How I approach my faith might seem unorthodox to some, but it has kept me firmly grounded for nearly 25 years.

What is your faith like? Do you have any questions about mine or why I believe as I do? Feel free to offer your comments or ask your questions below.

p.s. Amazon is offering for free today (Feb. 28, 2013) the Kindle version of Warren Wiersbe’s book, “Jesus in the Present Tense.” Get your copy when you click here.

What does God’s Presence Mean to You?

This Sunday, March 3, I will be preaching about God’s presence at Parkview Christian Church. It is one thing to ponder God’s presence and quite another to practice it.

God's presence

I am excited about the opportunity to share God’s word. I preached from 1994-2003 at Mount Washington Church of Christ in Hillsboro, Ohio, so I am no stranger to the pulpit. I have, on occasion, preached at Parkview.

Did I tell you I was excited about preaching? But, then, as you start to think and read and study about this subject, it gets a little daunting. The topic is massive. Where do I start? What do I include? What do I exclude?

When you think about God’s presence, what goes through your mind? How he walked with Adam and Eve in the garden in the cool of day? How he was with the Hebrews during their 40 years of wandering in the desert? How he was a pillar of smoke during the day and a pillar of fire at night in the tabernacle? How his glory filled the temple?

As you can see in the above photo, a picture of a page in one of my notebooks, I am thinking about the general theme, how life is better in God’s presence. As I thought about this, we want to be in God’s presence. When do we want to be there? All of the time, right?

If that is indeed the case, then we want to live in God’s presence, and we want to die there, too.

Hell is sometimes referred to as separation from God, so, in a sense, it is separation from God’s presence. However, we must toss in a caveat. God is everywhere, so this separation is a spiritual separation, and the Bible does not describe it as a particularly enchanting state to be in.

There are a lot of things to consider as I put this sermon together, and if you are in Wooster on March 3, I would love to worship with you. Our worship service begins at 10 a.m. Parkivew Christian Church is at 1912 Burbank Road, Wooster.

Spend a Day in These Kids’ Shoes, If You Can

The headline is just a tad misleading. I say spend a day in these kids’ shoes if you can, but in some cases you can’t because some have had a leg amputated and others have had both.

Wayne County Wildcats Adaptive Sports Program of Ohio
The team pictured above is the Wayne County Wildcats, a sled hockey team. Each of the players has some type of mobility issue. Many are in wheelchairs. Some have their legs, but not the use of them. One young teen had both legs amputated at the knee when he was 18 months old.

On Saturday, Feb. 23, the Adaptive Sports Program of Ohio, established by Wooster-area resident Lisa Followay, held charity sled hockey games. The Wooster Oilers, a Tier III junior hockey team, played against The College of Wooster Scots hockey team, which is a Div. III club team.

The Oilers dispatched of the Scots, and when it came time to play the Wildcats, let’s just say, the Oilers did not hit pay dirt.

It was incredible to see how able-bodied young men were taken to school on the ice by a team full of kids, teens and adults who are dealing with spina bifida, cerebral palsy or have had legs amputated.

In the church, we are fond of saying the ground is level at the foot of the cross. Well, the ice was level on the bottom of a hockey sled, and the Wildcats proved it.

The amazing thing was the smiles on the faces of the Wildcats. They were not only able to compete with the Oilers, but they beat them late in the third period.

I have no idea what it is like to deal with something like cerebral palsy, spina bifida or have my legs amputated because of bacterial meningitis. I have no clue how difficult it is to have to depend on a wheelchair for mobility. I cannot comprehend what it must be like to be dependent upon another human for everything, including going to the bathroom.

No matter what those kids were going through, for a brief time in the rink at the Alice Noble Ice Arena, the Wildcats stood tall and proud, and they beat a team of strong, rugged young men on the Oilers’ home ice. But the Wildcats won on their terms.

Perhaps tomorrow I will cry, “Woe is me.” But not today. I have no excuses as to why I cannot accomplish something. Not today. Not after the Wildcats took me to school, anyway.

Spend a Day in My Shoes, Sort Of

Lately, when people have asked how I have been doing, instead of falling into a familiar rut and answering mindlessly, “OK” or “fine,” I have been finding myself pausing, reflecting for a moment and telling them, “I am doing great. I have a blessed life.”

Bobby Warren Wendi Warren Mary Taylor Josh Krajcik

Some of the components that make up Bobby Warren’s life, from the top, left: Being a member of Parkview Christian Church; getting to interview people like Ohio Lt. Gov. Mary Taylor as a reporter at The Daily Record; shooting video for newspaper website; being the husband of Wendi Warren; enjoying wonderful pets like Madison; playing in Parkview’s praise band with people like Steve Hanna; and hanging out with Josh Krajcik before a concert with The Daily Record’s Lydia Gehring.

And, I do have a wonderful life. If you look at the collage above, you will see just a small sample of the things that make up my life, like church, getting to interview people like Ohio Lt. Gov. Mary Taylor or shoot video for a Josh Krajcik interview; spend my life with my wonderful wife, Wendi Warren; enjoy our pets like Madison; and play in Parkview’s praise band with the likes of Steve Hanna.

Here is a typical day for me:

  1. Wake up and ease into my day. I might check to see who’s beating me on Words with Friends; log into Google+, Facebook, Twitter; check out my previous day’s stats on this blog; look to see if me or my wife, Wendi, sold any more books (see here and here); and see if there have been any sales through my Amazon affiliate links.
  2. Once awake, talk with Wendi before she leaves for work. This, of course, happens if I actually get out of bed before she heads to work.
  3. Read the Bible and pray. I have been reading Ezra, Nehemiah, Esther, Haggai and Zechariah because I teach a Sunday School class, and we have been focusing on this period in Israel’s history.
  4. Get ready and head to work. My full-time job is working as a reporter for The Daily Record in Wooster, Ohio. I get to meet a lot of interesting people, and I really enjoy what I do.
  5. Come home and eat. Self-explanatory.
  6. Engage in various activities. Depending upon the day of the week or month, I might be covering a night event or meeting for the newspaper; I might be in a men’s ministry meeting; I might be watching TV, performing magic somewhere or practicing with the praise team (I play bass); I might be writing, editing or laying out a book; checking and rechecking my social networks and Words with Friends; hanging out with Wendi; reading a book; working on a Sunday School lesson; or writing a blog.

My life is hectic, but not really stressful. I hope you have enjoyed a day in my shoes, sort of. I have a great wife who makes me better and supports my endeavors. I am truly blessed. What about you?