December 2017

You can’t please everyone

December 28 2017 by K. Allan Blume, BR Editor

I began delivering the afternoon newspaper in my rural Charlotte neighborhood as a 9-year-old boy. There were some hazards in that job. Dogs chased me almost every day, and I was the recipient of a few bites from our canine companions. 
The weather did not always cooperate with me. I had to deliver the newspapers, even if it was raining. When it was snowing or ice was on the road, I still had papers to get to each front porch. If it was so hot you could fry an egg on the pavement, I had to mount my bicycle and serve my customers. If I did not feel well, I still had to deliver the daily paper. 
As part of the job, I knocked on each customer’s door to collect money for the newspapers I provided them. Obviously, there was no online payment system in those days. Some were not able to pay, so I had to schedule a return visit. Sometimes the other spouse had the checkbook and sometimes the check bounced. 
Dealing with unhappy customers was not unusual. Sometimes their newspaper was wet, in the bushes or just missing.
So, a second trip to their home was added to my day, and I was dealt a scowl, occasionally accompanied by a few harsh words. I had special appreciation for those who were kind and understanding. 
I learned a lot about responsibility and dependability in those days. I also learned a few lessons about working with people: you can’t please everyone, some people are just having a bad day and some need a little extra grace at the moment. 
My parents taught me to do my best and be responsible, no matter the obstacles and challenges I faced.
Almost 60 years later, after one of the most unexpected turns in my life, I am now in my sixth year as the editor of a newspaper. I did not see that one coming! 
Between these two newspaper jobs, I spent 17 years getting a formal education – and still learning today – and 36 years serving local churches as a minister of evangelism, executive pastor and senior pastor. 
Although there have been many changes in my world, some things remain constant. One of those unchanging realities is this: you can’t please everyone. Some readers of the Biblical Recorder want us to say more; some wish we had said less. Some want us to tell their life story or publicize their new book. Some don’t want their story told or they want it sanitized. 
One person falsely accused us of being pro-abortion. Although she had no evidence, the woman insisted she was right and did not want to receive the Recorder any longer. On the contrary, we had just published a front-page story and many related articles promoting the biblical position on the sanctity of human life. I have a life-long record of firm pro-life convictions. I was completely dumbfounded by her accusations, but the discussion ended. You can’t please everybody, even when the facts are in your favor.
An amazing truth has sustained me along my journey. Although it is impossible to please imperfect people, it possible to please the perfect God of all creation. That is astounding!

King David said he wanted to please God in Psalm 19:41 – “May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be pleasing in your sight, O LORD, my Rock and my Redeemer.”
In the New Testament letter to the Hebrews, the Bible says Enoch’s testimony was simply, “he was pleasing to God” (Hebrews 11:5). The next verse explains how anyone can be pleasing to the eternal, perfect God of all creation. 
Hebrews 11:6 is clear. Without faith, it is “impossible” to please God.  In other words, pleasing God is not a performance. There are a thousand things we might to do in our attempts to please God – serve in the church, give money to missions, go on a mission trip or live a good life. But if the act of faith is not part of what we are doing, there is no way we can please God.
The Christian life is a life of faith. It is an ongoing series of faith decisions and faith actions. 

In 2018, your Biblical Recorder staff will do our best to provide news and information for our readers. It is not likely that we will please everyone, but we will try to please God. Our aim is that believers will grow and become reproducing disciples, that churches will be stronger and more effective in their communities, and that North Carolina Baptists will partner together to impact lostness everywhere. 
Thank you for reading the Biblical Recorder. Thank you for allowing us to encourage you and your fellow church members with news and information from a biblical worldview. Thank you for subscribing to the print and digital issues. And thank you for visiting our website. 
Speaking of the website, 2017 is the 20th anniversary of the Recorder’s website. In September 1997, this N.C. Baptist newspaper launched one of the first websites among Baptist newspapers worldwide. It is our goal to continue to lead the way with a strong online presence for Baptists around the world. Thank you for your support! 

Most read editorials 

The editor’s top five most read editorials on in 2017: 
1. Another church closes its doors
2. Highlights worth sharing
3. HB2: Here we go again
4. Who will perish?
5. SBC Pastor’s Conference sets ‘firsts,’ needs help

12/28/2017 10:19:33 AM by K. Allan Blume, BR Editor | with 0 comments

What’s cooking?

December 12 2017 by K. Allan Blume, BR Editor

In creation God designed mankind to have five senses. He generously gave us abilities to see, hear, touch, taste and smell.
Each of these gifts has an important role in our survival, but they also contribute to the pleasures of life.

The Christmas season has a way of highlighting the sensory capacities of human beings and the joys they give us. Looking at the decorations and lights of the season, we overdose on the ability to see. Christmas trees, candles, poinsettias, red sweaters and glitter – the sights are more than we can take in.
What would this holiday season be without the sounds of bells, music and laughter?
Opening our presents, we find pleasure in touching and feeling the uniqueness of each gift.
What would Christmas be like without the wide array of tasty food, seasonal desserts and sweet candies?

Christmas is also loaded with aromas. The scent of that freshly cut fir or spruce tree is unforgettable, and the fragrance of fresh brownies in the oven is almost heavenly.
I’m glad God’s masterful design of human beings included the five senses. We enjoy all of them more than we admit.
I invite you to walk with me through the scriptures for a moment of emphasis on the sense of smell.
God likes pleasant aromas. In Numbers 28:2, He gave this instruction, “Command the Israelites and say to them: ‘Be sure to present to me at its appointed time my offering and my food as my fire offering, a pleasing aroma to me.’
Throughout the book of Leviticus, you will read many instructions for presenting a proper aroma to God in worship through the sacrificial system.
The Gospel of John records Jesus’ return to Bethany to enjoy dinner with his friends, Mary, Martha and Lazarus – the one Jesus raised from the dead. This happened only days before Jesus faced His trial, suffering and crucifixion.
While Martha served Lazarus and Jesus, the Bible says, “Then Mary took a pound of perfume, pure and expensive nard, anointed Jesus’s feet, and wiped His feet with her hair. So the house was filled with the fragrance of the perfume” (John 12:3).
Overruling Judas Iscariot’s complaint that Mary’s act was a waste of money, Jesus said, “Leave her alone; she has kept it for the day of my burial” (John 12:7). The aroma that filled the house and Mary’s act of worship were important statements.
Decades later, the Apostle Paul reminded the Christians in the church at Corinth that the fragrance of their lives are part of their testimony to believers and unbelievers in their community: “Now thanks be to God who always leads us in triumph in Christ, and through us diffuses the fragrance of His knowledge in every place. For we are to God the fragrance of Christ among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing. To the one we are the aroma of death leading to death, and to the other the aroma of life leading to life” (2 Corinthians 2:14-16).
My wife and I live next to a cookie factory in Cary.
That’s right, those Austin cookies and crackers you buy in the store or out of a vending machine are baked a few hundred yards from our living room. Owned by Kellogg and Keebler, the facility consistently sends a fragrance across our neighborhood that is a pleasure to inhale. It takes my mind to those fictional Keebler elves that bake sweet, enjoyable treats.
It also reminds me of Paul’s words to the Corinthians. I’m prompted to ask, “Is the fragrance of Christ in my life as noticeable to non-believers as the cookie factory is to my neighbors?”
The cookie factory is hardly visible to those driving the roads around it. The trees and dense foliage hide the intense activity of workers who produce a large volume of tasty treats. But, a quick whiff of the air exposes the workers’ secrets. The fragrance makes a clear announcement to the community. Something good is cooking!
That factory is like many churches. Every day people drive by the entrance and do not notice the facility. They have no idea what happens in that place and really don’t care.
People drive from miles around every day to work at the factory, but others who drive down the same road are clueless, until they catch the aroma of cookies baking.
Again, I wonder if our churches are noticed.
If not, do we at least have a pleasant fragrance that causes the world around us to ask, “What’s cooking?”
As you enjoy celebrating the birth of Jesus this Christmas and the traditional fragrances of the season fill the air, remember who we are as redeemed followers of the Child that was born, Who died for our sins and resurrected from the grave to give us life.
Here’s a closing word from Paul, “And walk in love, as Christ also has loved us and given Himself for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweet-smelling aroma” (Ephesians 5:2).
Have a Merry Christmas!

12/12/2017 9:42:49 AM by K. Allan Blume, BR Editor | with 0 comments