Notes From The Hill


Random thoughts from a busy mind. You may want to take it in small bites…

Light bulbHello…hello….hello…is there anybody out there? Just nod if you can hear me…is there anyone home? Sometimes we feel like no one is listening to us, but are we listening to others? That’s what we talked about last Sunday: listening. Really listening. I wonder if anybody was listening to the sermon…

Light bulbI occasionally field questions regarding my use of social media; I’ve addressed this before, but recently a fellow pastor shared his thoughts regarding this very issue. You can find his post here. Yeah, what HE said.

Light bulbBecause I care about you, I offer the following as a public service announcement:


Know your markers, people.

Light bulbI shared during the services on Sunday that our staff was asked to clearly, simply, and briefly ‘define the win’ for their particular position. The goal is to be able to ‘know’ when we’re being successful, if you will. What does that look like? What is the win?

I proceeded to share what I felt a ‘win’ was for me; creating and cultivating a considerate conversation (said Captain Alliteration). My goal in my teaching and leading is to foster a culture of conversation. I don’t want anyone to think that they don’t have a voice in this community. We are a community of believers, not an audience of believers. We’re all in this together; let’s learn from each other, encourage each other, love each other, and help lead each other to restoration. Silence is deadly. So join the conversation!

Light bulbRajon Rondo, the young point guard and catalyst of the aging Boston Celtics, tore his ACL and is out for the season. On the surface this looks tragic for the Celtics, but the reaction of the veterans on the team was telling; to a man, the chorus went like this: ‘We have a lot of experience on this team, we all have the same goal, so we’ll make it work, with or without Rondo.’

Interesting. Even in the midst of tragedy (losing your all-star guard is tragic in the NBA), these men kept it in perspective, realizing that one man does not a championship make. A group of men galvanized by a common purpose, realizing that their success does not hinge on one individual…I have to think there’s a lesson for the church in there somewhere…

SchoolOff the Bookshelf: What I’m reading this week…


Good stuff! Myers is a White House and business veteran, and Caldicott is the great-grandniece of Edison. Both deal with collaborative leadership and teamwork.

I’m also working through Michael Horton’s Christless Christianity. Yikes, that one is convicting, to say the least. And it’s on my Kindle, so sorry, no pic. Horton is my go-to guy when it comes to balanced, biblical theology. You can check him out (with his friends) at The White Horse Inn.

Light bulbSpeaking of theologians…I’m compiling a list of preachers/theologians that I follow or read; some of them I’ve been studying for decades, some for a brief time. I’ll share that list of thinkers in the near future, with their websites, blog sites, and podcasts included so you can check them out, too. You’re never too young or too old to learn!

Light bulbStill in the works is a short study on the leadership lessons learned from Vaclav Havel, the Czech playwright/president. I’m waiting for my copy of To The Castle and Back to arrive (Amazon: $1.50. Is this a great country or what?). This book is his memoir of his time as president, and I wanted to include this in my notes. I know the anticipation is killing you. Hang in there, my friends.

Light bulbMusical interlude:

The Lumineers

You just looked like you needed a break.

Light bulbOn a related note, I think the mandolin is the most beautiful instrument in the world, and before I die (Lord willin’) I will learn how to play one. We have some really good local players, and I so enjoy watching (and hearing) them play. You just don’t hear good mandolin playin’ in the church anymore…Smile

Light bulbBack to listening

It always amazes me how God speaks to me in the midst of my sermon prep and presentation. As I spent the week studying the concept of listening (and how it relates to prayer), I was continually brought back to one of my favorite images/stories in all of Scripture.

In the Gospel of Mark, chapter 6, we read the familiar story of Jesus feeding the five thousand. But before he does, we read what are, to me, the most beautiful lines in God’s Word:

When Jesus landed and saw a large crowd, he had compassion on them, because they were like sheep without a shepherd. So he began teaching them many things (v.34).

Oh man, that gets me every time. Jesus knew what they needed before they said a word. He was listening with every fiber of his being. As we pray and listen, may this image of Jesus drive our thoughts. May we be a compassionate people.

Light bulbContinue to keep the ministries of the church in your prayers. As we continue to seek our role in this community, pray that God continues to move in our hearts. God is already at work in the world; let us boldly and confidently get busy with the King.

Light bulbOne final public service announcement, because I love you:


Know when to use your you’re people.


About pastoroftheprez

Pastor of First Presbyterian Church in Kings Mountain, NC.
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