KOH2RVA: Day 221

This was the blog post I had scheduled to go up on Tuesday, Day 219, but I was on staff retreat at Graves Mountain Lodge with a spotty Internet connection and it didn’t work.  So, I’m posting it today, instead, with gratitude for those people who understand technology, who make the most of media, and who find creative ways to get the Gospel to the people.  Thanks, TV crew!


I’m on staff retreat today, and it seems only fitting that I share with you some of the good work our staff and volunteers do every week to help bring the Kingdom of Heaven to Richmond and and the surrounding region.

I can’t tell you how many times people approach me in public to tell me what a gift our television ministry is to those who can’t make it to church. In hospitals, prisons, nursing homes, and even some retirement communities, the weekly broadcast at 11:00 Sunday morning on Channel 8 is a window into a world some people miss terribly.  They love it that the broadcast is a full hour, and that it includes the hymns and prayers.

Of course, for those of you who can make it to church, and who live in the area, I hope you will turn off the television and come!

There’s nothing quite like being there.

KOH2RVA: Day 106

advent-wreath-4-candles-5It’s Sunday, everybody! And I’m pretty sure the Kingdom of Heaven is going to touch down at Richmond’s First Baptist Church today. If you can’t join us in person, please join us for the live webcast online at http://www.fbcrichmond.org/webcast or for the live telecast on WRIC, channel 8, Richmond, both airing at 11:00 a.m.

We’ll light the fourth Advent candle today, the last one before Christmas. Lacey McRoberts will sing “How Far Is It to Bethlehem.” The children’s choir will sing “Wrapped in Light, Wrapped in Love.” And we’ll all join in on “Hark! The Herald Angels Sing.” Eventually I will preach a sermon called “Oops!” (which you might have to hear just to figure out where the title came from).

It’s going to be a great morning and then, this afternoon, several of us are going over to Essex Village Apartments to bring a little heaven to earth there. Steve Blanchard says:

Festivities will begin at 3pm at Building 117 with refreshments, the 25 cent Christmas Yard Sale, and One Accord singing. The afternoon will be very informal but help is needed to set up items, monitor and collect during yard sale, help set out food, mingle with guests, pack and clean up, etc… If you can be there, it would be appreciated. I know it is a busy time and most of you volunteer a hundred other places but if you can, or know of someone else who can, volunteer, I look forward to seeing you there.

If you’ve been looking for a chance to experience heaven on earth, or to help bring the KOH2RVA, this could be it. Hope to see you in both places—first at church, and then at Essex Village!

KOH2RVA: Day 78

It’s Christ the King Sunday.

One of the ways we can bring the Kingdom of Heaven to Richmond, Virginia, today is to go to church (or tune in to the webcast at 8:30 or 11:00) and crown Christ king. We can remember, as I plan to say in today’s sermon, that he didn’t have to be elected to his office (thank God). The world didn’t give him his kingdom and the world can’t take it away. And, as the choir will sing this morning, “He shall reign forever and ever. Hallelujah! Hallelujah!”

Coming to church on Christ the King Sunday is a good reminder that this year-long, every-member mission trip we’re on is not, ultimately, up to us. We can’t bring heaven to earth without help–without Christ’s help. When he taught his disciples to pray he taught them to pray that God’s kingdom would come and God’s will would be done on earth as it is in heaven, but right there at the end of the prayer, just in case they began to have some success, he teaches them to pray: “Thine (not ours) is the kingdom, the power, and the glory forever.”

So, let’s get up, get dressed, and go to church this morning. Let’s praise God for the great things he is doing in Richmond and beyond. Let’s remember that the kingdom, the power, and the glory belong to him…

…not us.

Worshiping by Webcast


It’s my daughter Catherine’s fall break, and the rest of the family is using it as an excuse to spend a long weekend at the beach.  It’s a little cool here, but the breezes blowing in off the water are the kind that make you close your eyes and inhale deeply, and then let it all out in a rush of relaxation.  It was in that frame of mind, and with a fresh mug of hot coffee, that I logged onto the First Baptist website on Sunday morning for the live webcast of our 8:30 worship service.

I was impressed by the quality of the feed: full screen video and sound that came in loud and clear through my earbuds (thank you David Powers and the rest of the Communication Team!).  I heard Ralph Starling welcome us to worship, Eunice Kim play the prelude, Millie Flinn read the Bible.  I heard the Men’s Chorus sing, watched Bob Higgins dedicate the offering, listened to the choir sing the anthem.  And then I heard Lynn Turner preach, and even though I wasn’t there in the room I felt the full impact of her sermon.  At one point I laughed out loud.  At another point I felt a lump rise in my throat. 

All of this was happening in the sanctuary of Richmond’s First Baptist Church while I was more than a hundred miles away, participating in worship through an open laptop computer, with earbuds in my ears.  And I was doing it while sitting at the kitchen table, in my jammies, with a cup of hot coffee.  I can see how some people might decide to worship that way all the time.  It beats getting up and getting dressed, doesn’t it?  Looking for a parking place and sitting on an uncomfortable pew?  Plus, no one passes an offering plate when you’re sitting at home alone.  But there is something missing, and that something is the human touch.

I never read it, but I remember a book called Megatrends by John Naisbitt, published some thirty years ago.  One of the chapters was “High Tech/High Touch” which I understood to mean that as our society becomes more and more high tech, we will crave the human touch more than ever.  All those hours sitting in a cubicle at work, entering data on a Microsoft spreadsheet; all those hours in an empty apartment, watching what you TIVO’d the week before; all those hours playing “Farmville” on Facebook, while you wait for status updates from your Facebook Friends.  I can see how that kind of life would make you so lonely you would rush into the arms of the church on Sunday morning, and how important it would be that—when you got there—someone offered you the love of Jesus, a bone-breaking hug, and a cup of hot coffee (a reminder to all of us to give in the same way we would like to receive).

So, as good as this time at the beach with my family has been, I’m looking forward to being back at church next Sunday.  Worshiping by webcast is a wonderful option, but it’s no substitute for the real thing.