Monday, August 31, 2009

Otter Creek Church of Christ: Neither a Conservative Nor a Liberal Church


Yesterday was just one of those days you kind of want to hold onto. It was one of those reasons that I still count myself a member of Otter Creek and am happy to.

Let me start with the end of the Sunday morning worship service. We had a member of our congregation there who hadn't been there in a while. Howard Justiss is turning 98 years old today and attended yesterday for the first time in a while. He's cared for in a nursing home these days, but he is one of those "lions" of our congregation that provided the foundation for who we are today. He was one of the original movers and shakers of AGAPE, an adoption and counseling agency in Nashville. With him there, another one of our lions, John Rucker, got up and with his prerogative as a former elder and being in his 90s as well, he took the mic and gave a wondrous tribute to his friend Howard, also inviting up Charlie Brandon, ANOTHER Lion of Otter Creek. Seeing those three men up there reminded me about the roots of Otter Creek and how deep they run and how blessed we are to still have men like them among us.

But honestly that wasn't the best part of the morning. The best part of the morning was the sermon. Lee Camp, who I count as a friend, gave an incredible sermon. My initial reaction is to call it the best one I think I've ever heard, but I know my tendency to overreact to things while I'm still in the halo of them. It was called Neither a Conservative Nor a Liberal Church. If you've read Mere Discipleship (and if you haven't, why not?), then you'll be familiar with some of the concepts, but Lee took it in some new directions that just really worked and he was passionate about, all with a focus on us looking like Jesus personally and corporately. I highly, highly recommend listening to it.

The day closed out with an ice cream social and a night of worship with the Sanctuary band which was really excellent as well.

Otter Creek is entering a new phase of life with Josh Graves and David Rubio starting their preaching and teaching ministry on September 1. And thankfully, it won't be a "new" work. It'll be the continuation of work and preaching and teaching done at Otter Creek for 80 years. There are great foundations to that congregation and my hope is God doing greater things through that congregation than we can imagine.

Addendum: Cory Martin has transcribed part of the last portion of the sermon.


Judy Thomas said...

Don't you love passion? I though Lee was going to jump off the stage a couple of times and run down the aisle. I too loved it--all of it.

livelaughlove95 said...

I'll willingly say that was the BEST sermon I've ever heard. And when he really got into the meat of neither conservative or liberal? I wanted to weep. He has a great knack for putting into eloquent and inspiring terms what I believe in.

And the John/Howard/Charlie thing was AWESOME!!!!! Love those men.


David said...

I know it was impromptu, but the fact that John Rucker got up there the week we are talking about a new chapter in the life of this congregation on top of Lee's epic sermon; I can't help but think this new chapter is *just* a continuation of a rich history of action caring for the marginalized while intellectually having an open floor where all are welcome to have the opportunity to be heard. It is as if OC is reacquainting itself with its true identity. It is great to see and humbling to think that we carry that torch now.

joel said...


My cousin ran across this posting and my sister passed it along to me. It's very gratifying to see that my Dad (Howard) is still known and honored by Otter Creek for his work with that congregation as well as with Agape. Thank you for telling about that part of his birthday. said...

Thank you for sharing this great post with us !!!

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