“Why Stay in the Tomb?” John 11:33-44

What a great week of revival we had! The music, sermons, and togetherness made for a wonderful time of worship and fellowship. At some time after selecting the revival date, it dawned on me that All Saints Day would follow the Revival. I questioned my choice of the Revival week, knowing that we perhaps could ride the euphoric revival wave a little longer. While many of us found ourselves on a spiritual mountain-top during the revival services, today’s service has a different feel to it. I am grateful for high-energy peaks, but I also realize that walking through the valleys becomes part of life. All of us have to go through the valleys, and we don’t walk alone.
What happens to others affects us; most of us are not like rocks in the sense that what is happening to those around us affects us. For eleven families in our church, today becomes another marker. The first Thanksgiving, Christmas, birthday, anniversary, and for some, the first Valentines Day, Mothers or Fathers Day brings back a myriad of emotions. No two people feel exactly the same. I never tell someone “I know exactly how you feel,” or “I feel exactly the way you do,” because the relationships I have are unique, just as the relationships you have are unique.


“Recipe for Revival” Nehemiah 1:1-11

In my first year as pastor of Madison Baptist Church, I asked our Church Council if we could plan a church-wide hospitality event on even-numbered years and have a church-wide revival on odd-numbered years. These emphases allow us to spend concentrated time focusing on serving others and then the following year to spend concentrated time focusing on our own spiritual growth. Our hospitality events have included adopting the City of Madison employees in 2012 and the Morgan County Fire Departments in 2014. We enjoyed the revival in 2013 with my friend Paul Baxley from First Baptist Athens preaching, and I am very excited about beginning our revival next week with my friend Jonathan Barlow preaching. While the choice of a revival preacher becomes critical, I also believe that the services should also include great music. Elsie Monk, as our Interim Minister of Music, continues to work the hours of a full-time Minister of Music. She has enlisted great choirs for the evening services, and I am hopeful that others from Calvary Baptist and Madison Presbyterian will attend on the nights when their choirs sing. I also hope to have many families to accompany the MCHS Chorus.
Some would say that the recipe for revival would be engaging preaching and meaningful music. I think there is more to that recipe.