Sunday Sermon: Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff • Doug Dortch

 |  Sunday Sermon  |  Dr. Doug Dortch

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Pastor's Blog: Optics Matter

 |  Pastor's Blog  |  Dr. Doug Dortch

A couple of weeks ago, I mentioned a Robert Frost poem in this column. Today, I’ll share the one other poem I remember having to memorize back in high school, a poem by Joyce Kilmer, titled “Trees” You probably remember how the poem begins as well. “I think that I shall never see a poem as lovely as a tree.” That vivid line has been coopted in countless ways by numerous groups. But perhaps the best job of revising Kilmer’s poem for other purposes I’ve seen was what one church published in its weekly bulletin, which they titled, “The Perfect Church.”

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Pastor's Blog: Holy Land Update 5 | On This Rock

 |  Pastor's Blog  |  Dr. Doug Dortch

One thing you see virtually everywhere you go in the Holy Land are the ruins of an old church. The vast majority of these churches date back to the Byzantine period in the fifth and sixth centuries when the Roman emperor Constantine converted to Christianity and Christian churches, no longer scorned and persecuted, began to be constructed everywhere. In virtually all of these churches there is some type of mosaic design on the church floor that displayed the Gospel in some artistic way. Archeologists have uncovered portions of many of these mosaics and they reveal an era when Christianity ruled the world. The most impressive mosaic piece in this region is the famous Mosaic Map in the St. George Church in Madaba, which contains the oldest surviving cartological description of the Holy Land.

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Pastor's Blog: Look Here is Water | Holy Land Update 4

 |  Pastor's Blog  |  Dr. Doug Dortch

Water is a luxury in the Middle East. So precious is this essential commodity that experts here say that the next wars will be fought over water, not oil. Today in our journey through Jordan we have visited two places that have water in common, though the quality of the two sources are light years apart.

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Pastor's Blog: I Can See Clearly Now | Holy Land Update 3

 |  Pastor's Blog  |  Dr. Doug Dortch

I don’t know of another story in the Bible, save the crucifixion, that reads as painfully to me as does the story of Moses and Nebo. His story is recounted in Deuteronomy 34, where Moses climbs to the top of Mount Pisgah to the peak of Nebo, where God reveals to him the entirety of the Promised Land, a land that unfortunately Moses will see, but never enter.

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Pastor's Blog: The Importance of Context | Holy Land Update 2

 |  Pastor's Blog  |  Dr. Doug Dortch

Theological education is near and dear to me. Not a day goes by that I don’t feel a debt of gratitude for the training I received at the “old” Southern Seminary. I use that terminology because of how my studies at Southern reflected a time in Baptist life when prospective ministers were formed to think critically about matters of faith and practice as opposed to the present-day model in SBC life that presumes theological education to be more about right content than right process. In other words, it’s not enough for students to think rightly; they must also know how to think about the right view of things. While I’m certainly understanding of the need to be orthodox in belief, an excessive orthodoxy can totally ignore the realities of one’s context and devolve into dead dogma. Perhaps that’s why when I have the opportunity to cross paths with people who get the value of connecting belief with background, my heart skips a beat or two.

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Pastor's Blog: Doing Unto the Least of These | Holy Land Update 1

 |  Pastor's Blog  |  Dr. Doug Dortch

One of Jesus’ clearest teachings was on the importance of ministering to the marginalized and dispossessed. Yet most of his followers tend to gravitate toward those who are just as they are. That’s just human nature. However, when we read the book of Genesis, we see that human nature is what caused Adam and Eve to move contrary to God’s perfect will, which resulted in their banishment from Eden and a lifetime of toil and struggle.

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Pastor's Blog: Revisiting Generosity

 |  Pastor's Blog  |  Dr. Doug Dortch

Every now and then it’s a good thing to look back and take a second look at past practices that served us well, particularly those practices that helped form us into the people we are. That’s also a good practice for a church to pursue from time to time. Indeed, in this 75th Anniversary year we have done so in various ways in order both to celebrate our heritage and to use it as a springboard for the good future we believe God has for us to know. I’m especially excited about our church’s Stewardship Team’s decision to take this approach with our annual Generosity Sunday, which this year will be on April 7.

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Ash Wednesday Service, March 6, 2019 at 6 p.m.

 |  Worship  |  Dr. Kely Hatley

Our annual Ash Wednesday service will take place in the Sanctuary on March 6 at 6 p.m. This service marks the beginning of the season of Lent, a time in which Christians prepare their hearts to celebrate the hope that is ours because of the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. While we do not impose ashes as a part of our service, we do join with the larger Christian Church in considering our own mortality and our need to repent of our sins, while looking to the salvation that is ours through faith in Jesus Christ. To learn more about Ash Wednesday, read Dr. Kely Hatley's post about Ash Wednesday and the Baptist tradition. ​

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Pastor's Blog: A Promise Fulfilled

 |  Pastor's Blog  |  Dr. Doug Dortch

How did the poet Robert Frost phrase it in his most famous poem, “Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening?” “The woods are lovely, dark and deep. But I have promises to keep, and miles to go before I sleep.” Frost’s line reminds us of the importance of showing how seriously we take our relationships by following through with the commitments we make to others.

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Pastor's Blog: Our Missional Heritage

 |  Pastor's Blog  |  Dr. Doug Dortch

DNA is a term that in recent years has moved from the lab or biology classroom to the marketplace as scores of people long to know the secrets locked in their genetic makeup that cause them to act as they do. If you want to know why certain situations set you off or why you gravitate toward particular stimuli, what the experts tell us is that it’s all because of our biological hard-wiring. That’s not to say that we can’t change course and rise above our innate urges from time to time; it’s only to say that we have these “default settings” that we do well to acknowledge, even leveraging them to our advantage when possible.

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Pastor's Blog: What Did I Miss?

 |  Pastor's Blog  |  Dr. Doug Dortch

I don’t know of anything worse than to be on the “missing end” of some experience that left everyone on the “receiving end” talking non-stop about its significance. It doesn’t matter whether it was something on the news or something in the skies, the failure to experience its impact leaves you feeling small in soul, much smaller in fact.

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Sunday Sermon: Choosing Jesus’ Joy

 |  Sunday Sermon  |  Dr. Doug Dortch

If there’s anything that we Americans like, it’s the ability to have a plethora of choices at our disposal in any given situation. None of us wants to be in a position where we find ourselves limited in terms of options. When it comes time for us to make a decision about anything in life, our mantra is: “The more choices we have, the merrier we will be.”

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Pastor's Blog: Theological Exuberance

 |  Pastor's Blog  |  Dr. Doug Dortch

I received an email recently, inviting me to endorse Dr. Paul Baxley, pastor of the First Baptist Church of Athens, Georgia, as the next Executive Coordinator of the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship. I was more than happy to do so, having worked with Paul so very closely as a member of the Governing Board in general and the Board’s Illumination Project committee in particular.

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Pastor's Blog: An Exemplary Church

 |  Pastor's Blog  |  Dr. Doug Dortch

This past Wednesday our church came together at our Semi-Annual Church Conference to receive the final report and recommendation of our Vision 2020 Building Committee. The recommendation also came to the congregation with the unanimous support of the Deacons and Trustees. After hearing the presentation and following a time of discussion, the members in attendance voted overwhelmingly to approve the recommendation to proceed with the proposal as presented and to prepare for a Capital Campaign, which will help us to gauge how much of the proposal we feel God leading us to undertake.

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Sunday Sermon: We're Not Alone

 |  Sunday Sermon  |  Dr. Doug Dortch

Malcolm Gladwell is a Canadian journalist, author, and public speaker who burst on the public scene some twenty years ago with his astute observations of how so much of the social sciences – in particular, psychology, sociology, and economic theory – play out in everyday life. All of his books manage to make their way to the top of the best seller lists and for good reason. Gladwell simply has this knack for holding up a mirror to our souls so that we can see aspects of our lives that we knew about in our hearts by never bothered to bring to the surface for further examination.

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Pastor's Blog: Semi-Annual Church Conference

 |  Pastor's Blog  |  Dr. Doug Dortch

The first of our semi-annual Church Conferences will be held this Wednesday, January 30, at 6:00 PM in Heritage Hall. Along with key committee and ministry team reports, the church will receive two important recommendations for congregational action.

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Pastor's Blog: Your Serve

 |  Pastor's Blog  |  Dr. Doug Dortch

Back in “the day,” a good part of my recreation involved doing something with sending some kind of ball across some kind of net, as in tennis or volleyball. What I quickly learned from those activities was that the person in charge of the serve most definitely had the advantage. It would be a lesson that I would come to see as having remarkable significance for Christian practice as well.

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Project 119: Revelation 19:11-16

 |  Project 119  |  Hayden Walker

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Pastor's Blog: Under Construction

 |  Pastor's Blog  |  Dr. Doug Dortch

Everywhere I have gone in recent days it seems that all around me everything has been under some form of construction. Some of it has been new construction, others more a renovation. But regardless, the work being done has complicated my life by requiring detours, new routes, and in some cases a reversal of course. Needless to say, my level of exasperation has at times threatened to register off the charts.

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Project 119: 1 Corinthians 15:12-58

 |  Project 119  |  Hayden Walker

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Project 119: Philippians 2:1-11

 |  Project 119  |  Hayden Walker

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Project 119: John 18:33-40

 |  Project 119  |  Tim Sanderlin

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Project 119: Luke 1:26-38

 |  Project 119  |  Tim Sanderlin

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Project 119: Zephaniah 3:14-20

 |  Project 119  |  Ben Winder

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Pastor's Blog: Preventive Piety

 |  Pastor's Blog  |  Dr. Doug Dortch

Under the category of “New Year/New You,” I’d like to recommend a simple discipline that can hold remarkable promise for you in the coming days. I developed this discipline some years ago, and it has blessed me immensely. So, I offer it to you so that you too might know the benefits of practicing it in the New Year.

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Project 119: Ezekiel 34:1-24

 |  Project 119  |  Ben Winder

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Project 119: Psalm 110

 |  Project 119  |  Ben Winder

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Project 119: Isaiah 9:1-7

 |  Project 119  |  Mary Splawn

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