Dr. McKechnie is the Interim Pastor at Sardis Presbyterian Church. Dave reveals, "I wake up enthusiastic about each new day-anticipating new things happening in my life, in the lives of my family, and in the lives of other members of the Body of Christ." Join us at Sardis Presbyterian Church for worship at 9:00 a.m. and 11:00 a.m. each Sunday.
Executive Director of a large non-profit organization.I asked her “What are the tough things about
your job that keep you awake at night?”
hesitation, she said gossip.In order to
maintain a healthy environment in her organization, she declared, the
leadership will not tolerate gossip.Gossip devalues people.The
effects of gossip can be devastating.Before you repeat a story, ask yourself:
Is it true?
Is it harmless?
Is it necessary?
line is – if it isn’t verifiable, then don’t repeat it!
gossip for two reasons:First, fear of
losing one’s job, making a mistake or fear of looking unimportant.The second reason is pride, wanting
attention, wanting to belong or wanting people to think you have the inside track.The gossiper deserves confrontation.Gossipers hurt people.
20:19 calls a gossiper a babbler.Not
very flattering.Ephesians 4:29 reads,
“Let no evil talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for
building others up as there is need, so that your word may give grace to those
We were eyeball to eyeball when he said to me, “What do you
want to do with the rest of your life?" Tough question! My commitment to
the Lord and ministry has meant that I have short-changed family time,
vacations and sabbaticals. Yes, there is something of compulsion mixed
All of us deal with that tough question. Is more of
the same fulfilling? It is a faith question. To believe in God is basic
but more importantly, we are invited to surrender our wills to the Lord so that
the Holy Spirit can guide us in the use of our time, talent and resources.
The tough questions include – Do we have clarity regarding
our goals? Do our lives display joy? Do people welcome our
presence? Is our work fulfilling? Do we awaken to excitement for
the activities of the day ahead?
At 77, I am very cognizant that life is short. There
is still time for us to do the things the Lord has in mind for us. You
don’t want to miss that! James 4:14 says, “What is your life? For
you are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes.”
Once the sun rises and the wind blows, the mist
disappears. I want more for my life than that. “To glorify God and
enjoy him forever” is a worthy goal. I strongly believe that the Lord
never asks us to do more than his strength will provide. God does not
want us stressed out. “My grace is sufficient for you and my strength is
made perfect in weakness. “Success is doing what God asks us to
do. That’s liberation!
My Presbyterian friend, Lloyd Ogilvie, likes to say, “Tell
me what ticks you off and I will tell you what makes you tick.” Anger is
a powerful emotion, it will not be repressed. When we repress anger, it
emerges in some other destructive form, detrimental to the integration of body,
mind, and spirit. When our needs are not met, anger is never very
Happiness is one of our perceived needs. What is
creative, good and right for us? When our needs are blocked or detoured
in some way, anger begins to surge. Yes, we say, “It makes my blood
In the Psychology of Being, Dr. Abraham Maslow describes our
basic needs in life – safety and security, belonging and affection, respect and
self-respect, and self-actualization. Put a hold on any of these and up
springs anger. It generally emerges in destructive imaging and behavior.
Can we alter the intensity of our anger? Yes, our
greatest gift is freedom of choice. We do choose how we react to the
denial of our needs. The Biblical insight found in James 1:19-20 says,
“Let everyone be quick to listen, slow to speak, slow to anger; for your anger
does not produce God’s righteousness.”
Through James, the Holy Spirit suggests to us three things; be quick to
listen, slow to speak, and slow to anger.
Part of listening is prayer. Our candid prayers God
can handle. Part of prayer is listening for the counsel of the Holy
Spirit. What does the Lord want us to hear?
Slow to speak suggests we pause before responding and ask
ourselves, what is the redemptive thing to say? Blurting out a crippling
response is not therapeutic. There is a big difference between leveling
someone and leveling with someone.
Slow to anger is a reminder that we are responsible for what
we say and do. Are we respecting the other person as having been made in
the image of God? Sin is to miss the target, fall short of God’s good
intention for us and rely on our own ingenuity.
The expectation for the Christian is that we will be
I don’t think it is fair but somebody described the Body of Christ, the Church, as:
There is a major difference between going to church and being the church. Church leaders today are not concerned with institutional maintenance but with missional effectiveness. They want the focus not on ministry in the church, largely confined to the membership, but rather on ministry by the church to the community at large.
George Gallup reported, “Church attendance makes little difference in people’s ethical views and behavior with respect to lying, cheating, pilferage, and not reporting theft. It was only among those who were committed to their church and activities beyond the worship service that the statistically significant difference was found in terms of truth telling, the absence of racial prejudice, and the ability to see beyond materialism.”
Lapsed, loose and lost are not accurate labels for Sardis Presbyterian Church. As I write this, four camps are being held on the Sardis campus; the basketball camp for boys and girls with Christian coaches and a Christian witness, the Preschool Summer camp, the Charlotte Mission Adventure for middle school students that serve non-profits in Charlotte, and Camp Holiday for Downs Syndrome students.
We are an amazing mix of knowledge, will, and
emotions. The Lord knew that the unconscious mind needs
supervision! The stifling power of sin is real. Your brain is so
good it can handle 5-trillion chemical operations per second. Incredible!
The Apostle Paul respects our competence and says, “Put on
the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to gratify its
desires.” - Romans 13:14 We do have a choice to consider something other
than self-aggrandizement. It is possible to choose something “good
enough” and miss out on the best. To grow up spiritually means we must
confront the living temptations of money, sex, and power.
Dallas Willard says there are three dimensions to the human
The Impulsive Will. We know it as “I
want.” Remember Thomas in the Upper Room. He could not believe the
resurrection of Jesus without the tactile experience. “I want to touch
the wounds of Jesus.”
The Reflective Will. “I should.” We
have the option of focusing on what is acceptable versus focusing on what it
means to be Christ-like.
The Embodied Will. “I am.” The irony
of spiritual formation is that it involves body, mind and spirit – that’s where
we live! What sustains us? Not just the faith we share in God’s grace in
Jesus Christ but also behavior that is Christ-like.
Thank God for the amazing mix of knowledge, will, and
There is a huge chasm between going to church and being the
church. The church-going population is in decline. Nationally, only
about 38% attend worship. For Millennials, born between 1980 – 2000, only
17% are connected to a local church. I know that Charlotte’s church
attendance is higher at 52%.
Presbyterians suffer from analysis paralysis. However,
there are four disturbing trends pertinent to the North American church.
The mainline denominations have become the
sideline denominations. Non-denominational churches outnumber
denominational congregations in attendance.
Millennials have little interest in local
churches. We are losing this portion of America at an alarming rate.
Many churches are struggling with maintaining
their operations or are able to do so because of a foundation of some type.
It is a struggle to replace aging clergy. It is true for Protestants and Roman Catholics.
Seminary enrollment for all flavors of theological
discipline is down. Emerging leaders today are not concerned with institutional
maintenance but with missional effectiveness. This preference is a focus
on ministry by the church rather than ministry in the church that
is largely confined to existing members.
Mission is our non-negotiable task. The Great
Commission of Matthew 28 makes that very clear.