Category Archives: Greater Things Thursdays

“Greater Things” Thursday #52 : How to Kick off a New Year

“Greater Things” Thursday #52 : How to Kick off a New Year

Lebanon Road’s 2011 theme is “Greater Things.” For an introduction and video to this theme, click here. Each Thursday, we are highlighting a different area in which we are striving for greater things.


Before sharing this week’s “greater thing,” I want to say a quick “thank you.” This is the final post in this series that has run the entirety of 2011. Several of you have shared comments and have said that either this series or some specific posts have helped you and given you ideas. That was our intention and if we have accomplished that, to God be the glory.

There are many more good works that Lebanon Road does, but I hope the 52 (including today) that we have highlighted have shared just a small piece of what makes this a special place, and what has made this a very special year.

NOW, on to the final post in the series.

2012 begins on Sunday. What an opportunity, as we begin a new year on the first day of the week. As people are focused on resolutions, goals, and planning, we hope to capture some of that energy as we launch a new year with new ideas at Lebanon Road. While I can’t give away all the specifics (we’re big on unveiling things here), I can give you the run-down of what we have planned for the first Lord’s Day of 2012.

1. At 9AM, we will share our 2012 budget with the congregation. One of our deacons always presents the budget, and he does so with PowerPoint, facts, and some humor. (Yes, we actually laugh at times during this presentation.) I like having the budget shared with the congregation, because it shares a vision of some of what we would like to accomplish for the new year.

2. For my sermon at the morning worship assembly, we will be revealing our 2012 theme (no, I can’t tell you what it is yet!). Included with that will be the unveiling of our 2012 logo (which was designed by two of our young ladies at Lebanon Road), and a sermon that is based upon the basic idea of the theme for the year.

3. At 10AM, we will have a special presentation from our elders. They will share with us some reflections on our goals from 2011, and then will hand out and share our congregation-wide goals for 2012. These have already been revealed to our deacons so that some foundation work can be in place, but the goals (as a whole) are still secret. We hope these goals provide our members with great motivation for the year.

4. Throughout the day, there are other “normal” activities that we pray people will get involved in. Of course, Bible classes will meet at 10:20 as usual. Also, there will be a worship service with the residents at Sycamores Terrace at 2PM. Following our evening worship, our first visitation team will meet.

5. At our 6PM worship, we will be revealing a special way we are going to help people study their Bibles this year. I wish I could say more, but I can’t right now, except to say, you will want to check on our blog Sunday night, as more of this will be on there then. (Aren’t you loving all this drama???)

6. Following our services, we will have a special video presentation. One of our young men who has a true talent for making videos has worked very hard on this video, and we will enjoy it together. The video shares not only our 2012 theme, but also some of the plans that I have made for sermons to be presented throughout the year.


I put on Twitter earlier this week that I am having trouble containing my excitement for this Sunday, and that feeling just keeps building throughout the week. I am about to bust I am so excited about all these wonderful things to start a great year. For there to be “greater things,” we need all Lebanon Road folks to be present, excited, and ready to work as we begin 2012 together. And, as always, may God be glorified by anything we might do or accomplish in this new year.


QUESTION: Does your congregation have any special plans to kick off the year?

“Greater Things” Thursday #51: Lebanon Road

“Greater Things” Thursday #51: Lebanon Road

Lebanon Road’s theme for 2011 is “Greater Things.” For an introduction and video to this theme, click here. Each Thursday, we are highlighting a different area in which we are striving for Greater Things.


Okay, so this may seem like a cop-out. You may think I have run out of ideas for these posts right at the end of the year, but that is not true. This is a post that probably should have been right at the beginning, but I saved it until near the end (yes, there is one more to go next week, but I’ve had that one lined up for a long time).

Lebanon Road is a special place. If you have gotten nothing from the 50 previous posts in this series, I hope you have seen that. We are not perfect, but this congregation is made up of wonderful people who are just seeking to do God’s will in Middle Tennessee, and anywhere else we might  have some influence. What makes it so special? Here are just a few things.

Our elders are Biblically-sound, and are always open to new ideas of ways to reach people and encourage the members. Just this past week, one of our elders resigned due to poor health, and it was truly a difficult thing. Our elders are part of the congregation, instead of some “standoffish” group. These seven men truly lead, and we pray for them often.

Our deacons work, and work hard! The elders here expect a lot from them, and our deacons come through. They lead ministries, serve in various capacities, and make sure that many details are taken care of. We are blessed currently to have 21 men serving in that role, and we are thankful for each one.

Our outreach minister, Harry Middleton, is a man who loves the lost and wants to reach as many as possible. He visits constantly, and he leads both our visitation program as well as our correspondence courses. He has traveled to many places preaching, and we are thankful for his wisdom and input, not only in the congregation at large, but also around the offices.

Our youth minister, JD Buckner, does a great job of keeping the Bible at the center of the programs and activities he plans. He is in charge of many activities, but always get input from many folks to make sure each activity is well done. Though he is married and has two kids, JD continues to work hard with the young people, balancing work with family. We are blessed to have him with us.

What can I say about our secretary, Nancy Markwood? She juggles so many things that I’m not sure how she keeps it all straight. Nancy is truly our “go-to person” for information, and she makes sure that our office work runs smoothly, so that we who preach can have the time necessary to study and do our work. It would be hard to think of anyone who could do as well as Nancy does in the role she has.

Very early on in this series, I told you something about our Bible classes, but I want to make sure to thank our Bible class teachers. With two children in the program, being married to a teacher, and being a teacher myself, I can tell you how much work goes into classes for all ages. I am amazed at how much our children learn in their classes each week. I know the work that it takes to put together a lesson each week for adults, and I’m thankful for every person who is willing to stand before a group and teach. I am far more grateful that all of our teachers make sure the class is focused upon the Bible!

Worship at Lebanon Road is special. It is special because we are worshiping God, but our worship leaders deserve a lot of credit for the clear emphasis they put into leading us in every avenue of worship. Our song leaders are truly amazing. We have so many (all with slightly different “styles), but all do a great job. They select songs that are fitting to the lesson or the occasion, and help us praise God. Those who lead prayer take that task very seriously. The ones who read Scripture have obviously practiced, so that our thoughts are able to stay with the text. It is a joy to be able to preach in the midst of men who take their roles of leadership so seriously.

And, of course, we have dozens and dozens of members who work tirelessly in other areas that never seem to get recognition. They serve on visitation teams. They grade correspondence courses. They visit hospitals, and prepare food for the sick. They send cards and emails, and they make visits and phone calls. They lead by example. They teach their children at home. They host youth devotionals and help with VBS and camp. They share their wisdom in Bible classes. They greet people–members and visitors alike–at the doors and welcome them warmly. They plan retreats. They live for Christ every day in schools, colleges, universities, and places of employment. They spend serious time in prayer. For each one, I am thankful.

It shouldn’t be hard to see why Lebanon Road is a special place, and why we have been able to achieve some truly “great things” in 2011. To God be the glory for all that we might do here.

“Greater Things” Thursday #50: Six Holiday Activities

“Greater Things” Thursday #50: Six Holiday Activities

Lebanon Road’s theme for 2011 is “Greater Things.” For an introduction and video to the theme, click here. Each Thursday, we are highlighting a different area in which we are striving for greater things.


First off, let me thank you. Yesterday’s post on some churches moving their services off of Christmas Day is already the most-read post in the history of our blog! So many of you shared it on Facebook and Twitter that it has “made the rounds.” I don’t think it would quite qualify as “viral,” but I am still thankful for the nearly 300 people that read the post from when it was posted through midnight last night (and the number continues to grow).

Now, on to a compilation for this week’s greater things.

As most congregations do, Lebanon Road has all sorts of things going on this time of year. This post will share just a list of a few of them (and there are many others being done by Bible classes and other groups that I’m sure I do not know about).

1. Youth progressive dinner. Tomorrow night, our youth group will load up, and travel all over Nashville to different houses for a progressive dinner. Each year, the group gets together and enjoys this night of food and fellowship, that ends with a goofy gift exchange.

2. Children’s caroling. Each year, our preschool and elementary children go around caroling on a Sunday afternoon. This year, they will be going to the homes of some of our older members to spread a little Christmas cheer. It is always so much fun to watch them sing these songs and interact with some older members.

3. Ice skating. One of our members was able to get free tickets for 25 of our members to go ice skating, and our youth group will be doing that next week. (No, I’m not going. I enjoy my bones in one piece, thank you very much.)

4. Second Harvest Food Bank. Many from our congregation will going to help with this good work next Wednesday. They will be helping prepare food boxes for distribution all over the area to those in need. Last year was the first year we did this, and many came to help. It is a great service to our community.

5. Youth Encouragement Services. This has already been done, but I still wanted to mention it. Cards were placed in our foyer for members to take and buy a gift for this service to have to give away to children in our area. I don’t know how many gifts were bought, but I do know that it took four people several trips to load all the bags and boxes on the van when it came to pick them up!

6. Donations to Bordeaux Hospital. Each year, our congregation gives something to Hilltop Chapel there. This year, the gifts will be monetary donations to help with some specific needs the residents have. (By the way, we regularly help conduct services at this place on Sunday nights throughout the year. I have not mentioned it on our Greater Things Thursdays, simply due to a lack of weeks!)

I also know that several of our Bible classes are sending cards, and there are many other great works going on. Many families are opening their homes to guests, and others are just doing good works behinds the scenes. I just wanted to take the time to mention a few that are keeping us busy around here with both times of service as well as times of fun and fellowship.

“Greater Things” Thursday #49: Holiday Banquet

“Greater Things” Thursday #49: Holiday Banquet

Lebanon Road’s theme for 2011 is “Greater Things.” For an introduction and video to the theme, click here. Each Thursday, we are highlighting a different area in which we are striving for greater things.


Congregational fellowship is a huge part of any church family. Getting together to enjoy one another’s company is so important, and it promotes far more than just a “good time.” It helps build unity, and helps generations work together for the common good.

One event at Lebanon Road that is a night of fellowship is our annual Holiday Banquet. This is truly a special night! We enjoy a catered meal (that is absolutely amazing), as well as wonderful entertainment, all centered around a holiday theme. One of the blessings of this night is that it is only for adults, so some of our great teenagers from Lebanon Road take care of the children, so we adults can enjoy a relaxed, fun night together.

The fellowship committee truly goes all out for this night. The fellowship hall is decorated beautifully, from the tables to huge “back drop” decorations, and they always find entertainment that is lighthearted and fun. But I think the key is that every detail is taken care of. For a night like this to truly be memorable, they make sure that every aspect is done as well as possible, and those of us who attend reap the benefits of their hard work!

In 2010, our entertainment was a performance by the Nashville Singers, with our very own Tim Mullican as one of the members of that singing group. The meal is always done by some of our own members who are caterers, and it is second-to-none! I am thankful for every person who makes this a night that is both memorable and relaxing.

Here are some pictures from our 2010 Holiday Banquet.

“Greater Things” Thursday #48: Lebanon Road’s New Podcast

“Greater Things” Thursday #48: Lebanon Road’s New Podcast

Lebanon Road’s 2011 theme is “Greater Things.” For an introduction and video to this theme, click here. Each Thursday, we are highlighting a different area in which we are striving for greater things.


This week’s “greater things” post may seem like a repeat, but it is not. I wrote about this on a “regular” post when it happened, but I wanted to include it in this series of posts, too, so that as many people as could know about this, and be encouraged by it.

For some time now, Lebanon Road has had a page on our website where our sermons are available for people to listen to. [Here is the page for sermons preached in 2011.] However, we were not able to make those sermons available for podcatchers (like iTunes), and, thus, to have a podcast for Lebanon Road, so people can listen to our sermons whenever they like.

Well, that is now available!

I want this post to be helpful in two ways. First, if your congregation records your sermons but does not make them available via iTunes, let me show you how easy it is. Second, I want lot of folks to subscribe to our podcast feed (it’s free, of course).

Here is the “how-to” part.

STEP 1. Digitally record your sermons. As long as you can save an audio file to a computer, you can have your sermons as a podcast. Even if you record to CD, you can take that file and add it to a computer file, and it will work.

STEP 2. Go to and register. This is the site we use. It is a little unwieldy at first to use, but becomes very, very easy with time. There are both free and paid portions. If you are only going to upload a few sermons per month, you easily qualify for the free portion. That is what we use.

STEP 3. Create a podcast page on podbean. We named ours “Sermons in the Shadow of the Cross,” because that’s what I use on our handouts at worship. All you need is a name, and a few other information facts (email address, password, etc.). Again, this is all free.

STEP 4. Create your first “post.” You will upload the audio file you saved, add in information just like a blog post, and…. hit “publish.” Seriously…that’s it!

STEP 5. Go to the iTunes podcast page and click on “submit a podcast.” Once you give them the information, you’ll have to wait, but not long. We got approved in less than 24 hours.

STEP 6. Spread the word! Your podcast is now available both on a website, as well as in iTunes.


Now, if you don’t like the technical side of things, we still want you to listen to our podcast. There are two ways you can do that.

First, you can just go to the podcast site, which is located here. Each of the sermons is available there.

Second, you can go to iTunes. Either click this link (which will open iTunes), or search within iTunes for “Sermons in the Shadow of the Cross.”

One of my goals for this blog is to eventually have a player embedded where you can listen here, too. I’m just not sure where I want to put it yet.

All of this, of course, is free, and we want you to use it. So far, we have almost 20 people subscribed to our podcast (if I’m reading the stats correctly), and it is our prayer that what is taught through these sermons is Biblical and helpful. Also, please help us spread the word. This is a wonderful technology, and we hope many will learn about our wonderful God through this avenue!

“Greater Things” Thursday (sort of) #47 : Thanksgiving Service

“Greater Things” Thursday (sort of) #47 : Thanksgiving Service

Lebanon Road’s 2011 theme is “Greater Things.” For an introduction and video to this theme, click here. Each Thursday, we are highlighting a different area in which we are striving for greater things.


Or, maybe on Tuesdays every so often.

Since this Thursday is Thanksgiving Day, we have moved our “greater things” post to Tuesday (and our usual “end of the month” post will be tomorrow). But we have also moved it because it highlights an event that will happen before Thursday.

Our annual Thanksgiving service is this Wednesday night, and we do our best to make this service very special. Many congregations have a singing night, but we take it one step further, incorporating songs, prayers, Scripture readings, and short devotional lessons that focus on many areas of thanks. It is always a pleasure of mine to coordinate this service, and I am always blown away by the great job our men do in leading.

This year, two of our college students will be delivering short devotional lessons, and our youth minister will be extending the Lord’s invitation. Other men will be leading songs and prayers, and some will be reading from God’s Word. We hope you will be with us as we spend an hour of our time expressing thanks to God, and preparing our hearts for the great holiday that comes on Thursday. The service is at 7PM on Wednesday night, and we’d love to have you as our guest!

“Greater Things” Thursday #46: Harvest Banquet

“Greater Things” Thursday #46: Harvest Banquet

Lebanon Road’s 2011 theme is “Greater Things.” For an introduction and video to this theme, click here. Each Thursday, we are highlighting a different area in which we are striving for greater things.


November means Thanksgiving. Thanksgiving is a time for remembering and giving back. And Lebanon Road does that each year in a grand way.

This Friday night, we will have our annual Harvest Banquet, where we give back to our senior saints. Our members who are age 60 and older are invited to attend this great night, in which we provide a huge meal and some great entertainment. It is one of the real highlights of our year at Lebanon Road.

Each year, a delicious Thanksgiving meal is made for the 100 or so of our members who attend. Our fellowship hall is fully decorated to match the theme of the “show” for that year.

…and what a show it is!

After the meal, we provide a full hour-long program. In year’s past, we have done a Hee-Haw style show, a USO program, and (last year) The Ed Sullivan Show. I can’t tell you what the theme for this year is yet, because we do our best to keep it a secret until showtime!

The decorations are always amazing, and we have a lot of laughs. It is a joy to give back in this way to our members who continue to be faithful and provide a great example to us. Here is what the set looked like before our 2008 Hee-Haw program.















There is always room for one more helper, so for greater things to occur let us us know if you can help with this year’s Harvest Banquet!

“Greater Things” Thursday #44 and #45: Family Retreat and Veteran’s Day Slideshow

“Greater Things” Thursday #44 and #45: Family Retreat and Veteran’s Day Slideshow

Lebanon Road’s 2011 theme is “Greater Things.” For an introduction and video to this theme, click here. Each Thursday, we are highlighting a different area in which we are striving for greater things.


So, we have two things this week. With the calendar the way it is, there was no way to put these off, so I had to combine them into one post. But, since there will be no Greater Things Thursday on Thanksgiving day in a couple of weeks, this makes up for it.

#44: Family Retreat

For several years, our young adults have been taking a retreat each year. This year, it has expanded to be for all our families. The retreat is this weekend at Fall Creek Falls. I am grateful that Leah and I will be able to attend this year!

Each year, our families plan this retreat to be very relaxing, but also spiritually refreshing. A guest speaker is brought in to give the lessons throughout the weekend, and there is also great singing and spiritual discussion. As we get away for the weekend, we enjoy part of nature, and we get to spend a great deal of time connecting with our brothers and sisters in Christ.

It promises to be a great weekend, and we hope that you will pray for our safety and for our spiritual growth as we come together in this beautiful setting.


#45: Veteran’s Day Slideshow

Several months ago, our elders discussed a way in which we could honor our veterans. We have many here at Lebanon Road, and they wanted to do something that is simple, but that will show our appreciation. It was decided to make and show a slide presentation.

This Sunday night, following our evening worship, we will present this presentation. It is our prayer that it gives honor to whom honor is due, and that it expresses in some small way our gratitude to the many who have served (and some who continue to serve) our nation’s military. It has been a joy to put the PowerPoint presentation together, and our secretary has done a great job gathering all the pictures and information.

Maybe this idea will encourage the congregation where you attend to do something to show some honor to these who have served the country.

“Greater Things” Thursday #43: Youth Retreats

“Greater Things” Thursday #43: Youth Retreats

Lebanon Road’s 2011 theme is “Greater Things.” For an introduction and video to this theme, click here. Each Thursday, we are highlighting a different area in which we are seeking greater things.


Twice each year, our young people head out to a retreat center, state park, or church camp for a retreat. Each spring and each fall, they get away for a Friday night, all day Saturday, and Sunday morning time of worship, study, fellowship, fun, and very little sleep.

This weekend, our youth minister, JD Buckner, will be leading the young people on their fall retreat. It’s very encouraging that our own members help with all of the food and, most of the time, they also teach the lessons. The young people always return from these weekend retreats uplifted and ready to serve the Lord in an even greater way.

One of the aspects of these retreats that always encourages me is that there is a strong emphasis on the Bible. Yes, there is a lot of fun during the weekends, but JD does a great job of focusing the weekend around a particular Biblical topic or text, and our young people are led through some great studies and discussions about the Scripture.

Back in the spring, the theme for the retreat was “Unity.” Here are a couple of pictures from that retreat.

This weekend is the fall retreat. The young people will be looking at the book of James. One of the unique aspects of this retreat is that the lessons will be taught by some of the dads of those in our youth group.


Obviously, the planning is done and there is not much that can be done in that way. But for “greater things” to occur, we who are not attending the retreat need to spend some time in prayer for the weekend. I am praying that our young people not only have fun during the weekend, but that they truly grow closer to the Lord through the lessons and through the interaction with each other.

“Greater Things” Thursday #42: Trunk or Treat

“Greater Things” Thursday #42: Trunk or Treat

Lebanon Road’s 2011 theme is “Greater Things.” For an introduction and video to this theme, click here. Each Thursday, we are highlighting a different area in which we are striving for greater things.


A great idea for kids, Trunk and Treat is done by several congregations. As a dad to two small children, I’m thankful that Lebanon Road has this event. Sadly, Halloween has become unsafe in many places, but we make sure our Trunk and Treat is upbeat, fun, and very safe for our kids here.

The Trunk and Treat always follows a Sunday evening service near Halloween. We give the kids time to change into their costumes, and give folks who might have forgotten to park in a designated area time to move to that part of our parking lot. Then…we let the ghosts, goblins, superheroes, and princesses loose!

Cars are decorated, too, and we have a contest for the best decorated car as well as the best costumes. After the kids have filled their buckets and bags with candy, we all meet in the fellowship hall for a finger food dinner, and there is also an area designated for taking photos of the kids in their costumes.

By confining the cars that are participating to one area of our parking lot, and by having it be a well-lit area, we make the evening safe for the kids. Usually, we are blessed with guests on that night, too, which is great!

Our Trunk and Treat for 2011 will be Sunday night, and I hope many of our folks will participate. It is so much fun, and our kids always have a blast!

Here are some pictures from past year’s events.


For “greater things’ to occur, we need to spread the word about how great our Trunk and Treat is, so visitors will want to attend, and we need to have tons of folks ready to hand out candy and enjoy the fellowship of this fun evening!