Nov 29, 2009

Advent: The Light is Coming

Starting this morning at Sixth Street, we are doing two emphases to celebrate the Christmas season. First of all, we will be lighting an advent wreath and observing Advent moments with families from Sixth Street in our worship service. "Advent" simply means coming and is the time liturgically when the church as recognized a time of expectant waiting in preparation for the coming of Jesus on Christmas. My hope and prayer is that we will create a holy sense of expectation about Christmas that will cut through the commercialism and consumerism that bombards us. I hope that we will be more expectant of the celebration of the Messiah as we are about Black Friday deals.

We will also be starting a new series called "Characters of Christmas" where we will look at 4 of the characters of the holiday season and what their lives teach us about God's plans and purposes for our lives. Today we will look at Simeon and "When You Finally See God's Promises". I hope it will be a special holiday time for us as a church.

Nov 23, 2009

Book Review - The Well-Behaved Child

Well, I am finally able to catch up some on my much neglected blog and get some things I have been trying to get to finally done. Several weeks ago, I received a copy of John Rosemond's book "The Well-Behaved Child: Discipline that Really Works" to review for my blog. I was especially interested in this book because I have three boys at my house that we affectionately call "Hurricane Haines". Since our move to our new home, we have seen more discipline challenges with our boys and many days we have wanted to pull our hair out. My 10-year old is quickly developing selective hearing and a pre-teen attitude. My 8-year old is quite the dramatic one. Even my 5-year old has begun to lie more than usual when he does something wrong.

Rosemond's book was a very easy and encouraging read. It's obvious that he has been working through his techniques for many years. By his own admission, this book is a compilation of his parenting seminars that he has been giving. It's called a "workshop in a book." Rosemond's advice is full of very practical, helpful advice. It's obvious from his stories and the opening chapter that we have an entire generation of parents that have no idea how to parent or discipline because they never had positive, corrective discipline modeled for them by their parents. One doesn't have to look far to see the disastrous situation that our children are growing up in today's society. Rosemond sets down the tone and direction of the book in the first chapter when he answers the question "Why do children misbehave?" Pulling no punches and trying not to be politically correct, Rosemond answers "Because children are bad." He convincingly shows us that it is our job as parents to take these bad children and teach them what is expected of them in life. Rosemond shows a great deal of understanding about sin and its nature in children. Without being too preachy, he shows how children are living out their sin nature and it's consequences. It's a refreshing voice that immediately put me on his side and ready to hear his answers.

Rosemond's book is divided into 5 sections, each offering seven topics. These include "Seven Fundamentals of Effective Discipline," "Seven Essential Tools," "Top Seven Behavior Problems of all Time...Solved," and "Seven Tales of the Strange and Unexpected." Rosemond's advice is biblically sound, honest, and drawn from real-life, pragmatic examples of families he has used these techniques in, including his own. His seven tools are very practical and doable. They also help put the authority back into the hands of the parents instead on in the children. I have tried to institute some of the techniques with my kids and seem some success. Alison and I will be going through this book together to put many of these plans in place.

I highly recommend "The Well-Behaved Child" to any and all parents in my church as well as my friends and family. Read it before it's too late!

This book was provided for review by Thomas Nelson Publishers

Monday Morning Clarity

After being out with a busy week at the Alabama Baptist Convention last week in Huntsville, it made for a short week. However, we had another great Sunday at Sixth Street yesterday. The crowd seemed a little smaller than the last few weeks. I wondered if the weather had something to do with that. I felt like there was a great spirit among everyone that was there. Here are some of my thoughts about the day and the upcoming holiday season.
  • We finished our series on "The Walk" yesterday by looking at Ephesians 5 and how to imitate God. Paul made "Walk this Way" cool long before Aerosmith when he said for us to walk in love, walk as children of light, and walk wisely. I heard several positive comments about the practical application of the message. That always means a lot.
  • Had a great lunch with our friends Byron and Christy Meadows and their family yesterday at Mama Ella's. This has become our most popular choice for Sunday lunch. Great food and lots of it.
  • Speaking of food, we had another great time at the SSBC Thanksgiving Meal last night in the gym. The turnout was awesome and the food was even better. It's always good to fellowship around the table with other Christians. One thing that Baptists do real well is eat. I was also encouraged to see such a great spirit among our people. It was difficult to interrupt them to do the devotional because everyone was so engaged with each other. That's the power of biblical community.
  • Speaking of community, I am hoping that one of our major areas of focus for 2010 is to develop a healthy, spiritually sound groups system that allows everyone in our church to have a place to live the Christian life in community with other Christians and not just attend a class to hear someone teach. People in the church today are starving for real, genuine, deep, and Spirit-filled relationships with other believers.
  • This is Thanksgiving week which means I am going to my Mama's house for the holidays. We are excited. Thankgiving is a special time for us, but it will be more so this year because this will be the first Thankgiving without the family matriarch - my grandmother Mama Alice. We are doing Thanksgiving at her house this year in honor of her. In addition, we are celebrating with both my mom and my dad's family and their spouses. I'm looking forward to a great day. I have a lot to be thankful for.
  • Sunday morning will start our Christmas series called "Characters of Christmas". We will be looking this week at Simeon and "When You Finally See God's Promise." Hope you will be there.

Nov 19, 2009

A Monday Morning Clarity on Thursday

Greetings everyone. I am sorry that I didn't get an update in the first of this week. I went to the Alabama Baptist State Convention in Huntsville and Pastor's Conference on Monday. Unfortunately, I packed up my computer and stuff and left it on the coffee table when I left, so I was "unplugged" for the week. It was a great time though and my first convention as a senior pastor. I had the privilege to sit with and speak some to Dr. Rick Lance, our State Board of Missions President. He is a godly man and great leader and we are blessed to have him leading the Baptist cause in Alabama.
  • It was another great day at Sixth Street. The music was inspiring and the seats were packed. I was especially moved by the response of our men during our prayer time. It was awesome to see men on their knees interceding for themselves and their families. I want out children to see our men as godly men of prayer and the word. Expect more of this in the future.
  • I had to suck up some pride and preach despite the tail-whooping that the Crimson Tide put on my Bulldogs last Saturday. However, I made my way through it. We looked at "The Walk" and Paul's command in Ephesians 4 to "put off" the old nature and "put on" the new nature. I have loved preaching this series.
  • Mrs. Anna Middlebrooks did a great job Sunday night leading our missions study of the Berber people of North Africa. I pray that we will be a church with a heart for the nations and especially for the unreached people groups around the world. Thanks Mrs. Anna for your hard work on this.
  • I have picked up and started reading this week Mark Driscoll's book "Death by Love". It's a great look at the substitutionary atonement of Jesus. Hope to finish it soon.
  • Look for a big push next Spring called "Across Alabama" that we will take part in. I am working with some of the other SBC churches in Alex City to go "Across Alex City" in prayer walking and gospel distribution next March. It should be an awesome time.
  • Take some time this week to begin to prepare your heart for the upcoming holiday season. We have much to be thankful for and a great Savior to celebrate.

Nov 12, 2009

Quick Update

It's been a couple of weeks since I was able to do a Monday Morning Clarity update. The days have been filled with moving trucks, packing boxes, unpacking boxes, "Where does this go", and the business of church. It's been a fast and furious couple of weeks.

  • First, we closed on our house here in Alex City and the moving truck delivered our things last Thursday, November 5th. We are so excited to be in our new house. As you probably know though, it is a little overwhelming. We've seen how much we accumulated that we really didn't need. I see a Yard Sale in our immediate future.
  • Two great weeks at Sixth Street. We closed out our series on "Amazed by Grace" on November 1 by looking at Titus 2 and Motivating Grace that helps us to live properly. It was probably one of the times I felt the most freedom of the Spirit to preach. This past Sunday we started a three week series called "The Walk" by looking at Galatians 5 and being led by the Spirit. I have received a lot of positive feedback from these messages. Praying God uses it to really help some people.
  • The crowds have appeared larger the last couple of weeks and a good energy has been circulating prior to worship. I hope this is a sign of greater things to come.
  • We have a lot of families that are having marriage difficulties lately in our church. The family is so critical to the culture and the church. I believe that this is a sign of the potential that is here at Sixth Street. We need men who will stand on the wall to fight and drop on their knees to pray for their families. Stay strong Sixth Street!
  • Steve Norris did a great job leading our series off with the Steven Curtis Chapman song "The Walk" this last week with accompaniment from Eric and Justin. What's more impressive is that they learned it and pulled it off in about 6 days. Great job guys!
  • We got a new addition to the Haines household last week. It's a Maltepoo named Papi. He's seven weeks old and is getting spoiled. We should be getting our lab Maggie back in a couple of weeks and we'll see how well they get along.
  • Nathan and Drew both had their names in the local paper recently for Honor Roll. Nathan made A/B honor roll and Drew made A honor roll. I like the fact that in small towns they still print those in the local paper. Made us proud!
  • I've been reading a lot more lately. I have 2 new book reviews to put up soon. I am also about to finish Tony Dungy's book "Quiet Strength". I have always like Coach Dungy and got to hear him speak at Catalyst.

Verse of the week: "Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children. And walk in love, as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us, a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God." Eph 5:1-2

Need some of this Saturday...

Let's go State! Maroon! White! Fight, Fight, Fight!

Nov 9, 2009

Sermons Online

I don't really know how many of you actually read and follow my blog outside of my mother (Hi Mom!). However, thanks to the incredibly gracious and hard work of the tech team at Sixth Street, especially Angela Mullins, you can now listen to my Sunday morning sermons online. That's right! I now at least online like many of the great communicators I enjoy listening to like John MacArthur, Matt Chandler, Mark Driscoll, Andy Stanley. While I don't pretend to hold a candle to the oratory abilities of those guys, it is at least cool to know that I can pretend to be important because we are accessible online.

If you would like to listen to my sermons, they are available on iTunes under "Sixth Street Baptist Church" as well as off the Sixth Street Baptist Church website here. Listen to them if you have a chance and let me know what you think.

Nov 1, 2009

Happy Anniversary Baby, I Got You On My Mind

Twelve years ago today I finally found a mate and took the plunge with my life-partner Alison. She was an answer to many years of prayer and searching. I knew from the moment I laid eyes on her that she was for me. She has been a faithful wife, partner in ministry, and keeps me grounded and balanced. She has been a major part of my new ministry in Alexander City and has seemed to have a lot more joy being a pastor's wife here. This last year has seen a major move for our family, a trip to Disneyworld, the loss of my grandmother, and our youngest son John David starting public school. We've also had Drew's Upward basketball and Nathan's great baseball season. It's been a good year though. Happy Anniversary Alison. I love you.

We celebrated our anniversary by closing on our new home in Alex City on Friday. We're having it painted and cleaned up this week and hope to move in Thursday.