Friday, October 30, 2009


When I was a teenager, we had a Bible quiz team in my home church that entered our state denomination's quiz competitions, and we lost the final championship game on the last question. I failed to give the correct answer on the final question, and the other team won. I felt like a failure, defeated, and depressed.

But failure isn't final. We were being quizzed on the Book of Mark. and I had learned Mark from front to back. It was my first earnest study of God's Word. We lost the quiz championship, but I won in a far bigger sense. It was the beginning of a much deeper and fuller study of God's Word that has been life-long habit.

I love this quote: "Victory isn't final. failure isn't fatal. What counts is the courage to continue on." I don't know where I heard this quote or the source, but it has real truth.

Bill Walsh, the late great college and NFL football coach, wrote in his book The Score Takes Care of Itself, "I would never write anything that suggests the path to success is a continuum of positive, even euphoric experiences--that if you do the right things everything will work out. Frequently it doesn't; often you crash and burn. This is part and parcel of pursuing and achieving very ambitious goals.........Almost always, your road to victory goes through a place called 'failure'."

Bill Walsh probably would not be allowed to struggle threw failure in the NFL today as his first two seasons were terrible seasons. His teams only won a hand full of games those first two years. Yet, he failed his way into leading his team into one of the great football dynasties which led to 5 Super Bowl wins.

Many greats from the Bible miserably failed and rose up from failure to achieve greatness for God.

Moses failed and fled only to finally lead the children of Israel from Egypt.

Joseph failed and angered his brothers but yet was used to blessed them and provide for them.

David failed and sinned and found grace.

Simeon Peter failed and cursed our Lord but became empowered to help build the Church.

All of our roads go through the valley of failure sooner or later. That is where God takes our brokenness and turns our sorrow into joy. He is a big God and works for those who have courage to continue on and to trust Him.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009


I love to read.

My reading appetite is varied and begins with the Bible, devotional books, ministry resources, marital information, sports, motorcycle riding, and other topics found in books, magazines, blogs, Internet resources, using my personal library and city library and various others sources. I love to read the newspaper though I have left it off my reading list for a number of months. Now I look more to Internet to occasionally read the local paper and various other news sources.

Reading is more than a hobby to me. It is a source of insight, knowledge, growth, and blessing. It opens the world to me both in a spiritual sense and in a practical everyday manner. It is a quick way to glean from the knowledge of others and most of all from God and His Word.

What am I reading beyond the Bible and sermon resource books?

My current reading list includes:

You Were Born for This by Bruce Wilkinson
Devotions for Couples by Patrick Morley
Branding Yourself by Sherry Beck Paprocki and Ray Paprocki
The Score Takes Care of Itself by Bill Walsh
Organizing Your Day by Sandra Felton and Marsha Sims
Motorcycling Excellence by The Motorcycle Safety Foundation
Proficient Motorcycling by David L. Hough

I loved to read National Geographic and Reader's Digest and sports magazines and Southern Living and Traditional Home and motorcycle magazines. Whew, that is a lot of reading with lots of enjoyment.

I enjoy stopping by the local library once a week or so to browse for a while and read magazines and check out the new book shelf. It saves lots of money to use the library and not spend so much on purchasing books that once read will sit on the shelf.

There are many favorite books that I enjoy and I love biographies of great historical figures. Fiction is not at the top of my list but there are some great stories that inspire and add to life. Oh, I also enjoy good joke books. I have a large stack of them with thousands of jokes and humorous stories to find a great laugh. Reading is a wonderful way to open the world right into your family room and broaden one's view.

Now, which book shall I go read now?

Monday, October 26, 2009


Is it possible that the Creator of the Universe watches football?

He is a really big God and watches over all of us. His ways and understanding are so far beyond our puny minds to comprehend, and I know that. However, after watching Saturday's football game between Alabama and Tennessee, I just have to believe that He might have attended that game.

He had to be sitting on the Alabama side and helped that huge 6' 5" 365 lb. Alabama defensive lineman Mount Corey block two, yes I said two, field goals to win the game for Alabama. I don't ever remember watching a team block two field goals in one game, but it happened Saturday.

Probably "The Bear" suggested that God send an angel to give that big lineman an extra push. I am sure that is what happened. You know, God does use angels to work miracles.

Lest you think God plays favorites, maybe He will help the Vols next game, but I'm glad He was sitting on the Alabama sidelines this past Saturday.

Oh, maybe He'll attend an FSU game soon to help Brother Bobby over in Tallahassee. He seems to need a little help this year.

Friday, October 23, 2009


I have witnessed numerous car accidents through my many years of driving. For twelve years of my ministry I was in mobile ministries requiring driving all over the South. Once on I-75, I watched a car pass me going over 80 mph and then begin rolling over and over. Twice I saw the undercarriage of the vehicle as the car rolled in front of me.
I thought passengers would come flying out of the car as one of them literally had his legs hanging out the back window. Amazingly, I passed it to its left and watched it roll the third time. No one flew out of the car. It was wild.

Wednesday as we traveled, a car some 50 yards or so in front me flew off the interstate and crashed into a tree right in front of me. The driver had fallen asleep. As I screeched to a halt and ran to car, it was smoking and looked like it would explode into flames. It didn't, but a mother came screaming out of the vehicle saying her baby was in the back seat. We got it out and she had bumps and cuts and they were all in shock.

I prayed over the infant and calmed the mother. It was a scary few moments but thankfully turned out OK. It just shows that accidents can happen in a moment. They were tired and had struggled to stay awake. It almost cost their lives.

I pray often when driving and give thanks to God for a safe return home. Prayer helps on Goldwings too.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009


Family is the best history and family reunions are one great way to keep up to date. All of us, and I mean all, come from the same family tree. There is one initial tree from Adam and Eve, and we all go back to “The Garden”.

But the family has many branches and our family branch on the Dykes' side got together on Tuesday for a family update. It has been three years since I was at the last one and lots of changes have occurred.

It is fun to get the updates on who is where and what everyone is doing. My generation is producing more and more grandkids who are now finding their places as teachers, doctors, business people, and thankfully great Christians of faith. That last part is what matters the most.

I love the picture of five little boy cousins born the same year 60 years ago. Three are preachers. One is a businessman and one is a teacher. Can you tell which one is me? Look close. I am the last one on the far right.

We took the current picture of the five cousins at our reunion with Ky Adams in Newfoundland live on Skype in the picture above the four cousins present. We have all grown up and changed. We were four years old when this picture was taken. Now we’re all sixty. Wow! Where did the time go?

Max and Darlene along with Mom and Dad were present from our immediate family. I enjoyed introducing Wanda to many who had not met her. It was a great time getting updates on family history. What fun!

Only wish more could have come. Some have gone on to heaven and are waiting for us to cross to the other side. Life in this world passes quickly. Make every day count.

Monday, October 19, 2009


Did you ever have a fried twinkie?

Wanda and I rode our Goldwing to the Callahan County Fair on Saturday morning. You know. County fairs include rides, animals, crafts, cotton candy, candy apples, and this fair had fried twinkies. Now add that to a Philly beef and cheese and you have some mighty caloric eating. Can someone check my cholesterol?

It was fun and we got to enjoy all the sights, sounds, and smells of a county fair. You know, all the pigs, goats, rabbits, chickens, and cows and bulls that fairs offer. I haven't had eaten a twinkie in a long time, but I just couldn't resist a fried one.

After touring the fair, we headed over to Fernandina Beach and enjoyed a classic car show. The
area was blocked off where classic cars lined the streets. Fernandina is a quaint little town with antique shops. It is a ladies kind of place and they added classic cars for the guys. They had some beauties and some very proud owners.

Wanda and I are having a super time exploring Northeast Florida on our Goldwing. What fun!

Friday, October 16, 2009


Wanda and I were having lunch yesterday, and I got a text from Jennifer in Puerto Rico. She said that she was getting a pair of socks out of her sock drawer and found a pair of her mother's socks that Kristy had given her. It was another jolting moment of loss, and Jennifer again asked, "Why?"

I responded, "Trust Jesus. I don't have the answer, but your Mom trusted Him and we will too."

Today is Jim's, Wanda's first husband, birthday. It is still a tender time for her. He was a great man and is missed too.

But we have learned to trust and go forward. God is helping us and our families, but we still have some touching moments.

Sometimes the moment is just socks.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

A Great Scripture For Today

A verse in Isaiah really caught my attention. It reads:

Isa. 33

6 He will be the sure foundation for your times,
a rich store of salvation and wisdom and knowledge;
the fear of the LORD is the key to this treasure.

Uncertain times make people question, but there is a sure foundation for our times. When the economy, morality, government, and life in general are all being challenged, there is a place of surety that will not fail. That surety is found in the awe, reverence, and respect for the Lord.

Mark this verse, and put it in your heart.

I suspect we will need it more in these uncertain times.

Monday, October 12, 2009


Saturday, Wanda and I rode our Goldwing to Yulee, FL, and participated in a motorcycle ride sponsored by Celebration Assembly of God in Yulee. It is a small church that needs some renovation. There were some 15 motorcycles or so and we enjoyed a 71 mile ride from Yulee up to Kings Ferry, over to Hilliard, and looped around back to Callahan and back to Yulee. We took the back roads and saw lots of sights. God's creation is beautiful!

How many armadillos did I see?

Why did the chicken cross the road?

To show the armadillo how to do it.


Well, I saw more and smelled more armadillos than I wanted, but the ride was fun and we had a great time.

Jim and Judy, long distance Goldwing riders, went with us and we had a great time with them. They always have some good pointers for Wanda and me that sharpens our riding abilities.

This was our first group ride, but it went well. You have to space properly and keep good distance between riders while not letting the group get separated. It was fun getting to meet other riders, talk motorcycle talk, share about the Lord, enjoy good food, and help a small church.

Oh, by the way, I won a drawing for a gift certificate at Chili's. That made the day too.

Friday, October 9, 2009


I am enjoying riding my Goldwing immensely. It is a needed outlet that helps refresh my mind and is a hobby of sort. Yet, I know it comes with risk.

To be plainly honest about it, I never, ever, ever expected to ride a motorcycle. The thought of it scared me and I didn't plan on risking my neck to simply get a little "fresh air." But things change, and our attitudes and feelings about things change. So here I am riding a motorcycle in the "big" city. I even scoffed at those I knew who rode, and boy, have I eaten those words. There is a lesson on not ridiculing others in this short story too.

Here is the goal. I ride for enjoyment, within the speed limit, not pushing any threshold of thrill seeking danger, within my skill level, and giving continuous attention to caution. Prudence is the better part of wisdom and that carries over into motorcycling. I know some would say the to be prudent would mean staying off the bike, but that is no fun.

From the first when I purchased my Goldwing, I rode and rode in a church parking lot for several weeks to increase my skill level before I ventured out on the road. Then, I rode in my neighborhood for another period of weeks before getting out on the open rode. Then I took it slow and easy in short runs away from traffic.

Actually, I laid the Goldwing over the first day I rode in the church parking lot. I came to one of those wobbly stops that new motorcyclist do and the weight of it got away from me. It went over on its side, all 800 pounds of it. I almost cried because I thought I had ruined my just purchased Goldwing. I was such a novice that I didn't realize that it had pegs on each side that kept the motorcycle from getting damaged when it lays over. Whew! Was I ever thankful!

Accidents happen in life in many and various forms, but precaution before riding and continuous caution while riding minimizes the possibilities of having an accident. Oh, and lots of prayer helps too.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009


Wanda and my daughters gave me headsets for our new helmets for our Goldwing motorcycle. With the headsets, Wanda and I can talk easily while riding without having to holler at each other. Most of the time we cannot communicate at all so Wanda sits on the back praying. At least that is what she said she did.

The three primary problems in marriage boil down to sexual issues, communication issues, and financial issues. After years of counseling, I have come to the conclusion that communication is the biggest problem couples face. There have been times I have rated financial issues as the top issues and at other times I have placed sexual problems as the primary problem.

However, poor communication or no communication complicates sexual or financial problems and now, at least in mind mind, seems to be the biggest dilemma in marriage.

What causes poor communication?

There are many causes but it really boils down to talking and listening. I know that seems to be the obvious, but if no one talks or no one listens then there cannot be communication. Honest, kind, frank, and loving discussions are vital and necessary for good communication. Too many couples assume they are being understood or are understanding. Assumed communications can be dangerous communications.

Talking and listening are the beginning of great communication. Wanda and I now have a clear line of communication on our Goldwing. Thankfully, we have an even better line of communication in life. We have a established clear line where we talk and listen. Sometimes what we hear is not necessarily what is being said. We need to listen and ask questions if we are not sure what is being said. That makes everything go better.

Monday, October 5, 2009


When you feel the nudging of the Lord to pray, just pray.

Sunday I shared a sermon encouraging people to partner with God to see miracles. A miracle is a supernatural intervention of God into the daily affairs of humans. God works miracles today and He wants us to partner with Him. That was the main essence of my sermon.

After church, a family stood with tears and shared God's mercy this week in their lives. The grandmother had felt a strong impression to pray for her daughter and grandson before she left for the day. She prayed for their protection and God's covering over their lives. Later the little grandson, a good little guy, but a busy active little guy, got their extender saw and lifted it into the air in the back yard where a major power lines runs up in the air across the yard. It connected with the power line. Miraculously, amazingly he was not electrocuted or shocked even though sparks and smoke flew. The mother was spared trying to help.

What is the lesson? Just pray.

When you feel impressed and nudged by the Holy Spirit, just pray. The grandparents stood with tears and still shaking somewhat at this near fatal accident. God heard her prayer for protection for her grandson and daughter. The grandmother was so thankful that she had obeyed the prompting of God to intercede for her family.

Now what is the lesson?

Just pray.

Friday, October 2, 2009


Earlier this week I celebrated by 60 birthday. So many of you sent kind birthday greetings and blessings. Thank you for remembering me and blessing me.

So, what does 60 mean?

To me, it means a full life of serving the Lord and trying my best to honor Him. I accepted Christ into my life some time between the ages of 5-6. My mother led me to Jesus and I prayed and He came into my life. I have walked with Him all my days.

No, I haven't been perfect, but He has kept my from the major pits of sin and blessed me immensely. I cannot begin to comprehend all of His kindness to me.

All of my adult life from college on has been spent in His service. I was lead pastor of a church by the time I was 23 and other than overseeing church planting in Pen Fl for 9 years, I have been a pastor all these years. It is an interesting and rewarding calling.

Wanda made my 60 birthday special. She planned two parties in my honor. One was with my family and the other with church staff. It is nice when people fuss over you. Wanda went way above the call of duty to bless me.

Also, my daughters and grands made a blog for me to check to get pictures and writings from the grands. Now that was a neat idea. I love it.

I got lots of cards and nice gifts, but I am really excited about getting a intercom system for Wanda and I to use on the Goldwing motorcycle. It is built into the motorcycle but we needed the mic and earphones for the helmets. They are expensive, but Wanda got them for me. Now we won't have to holler at each other.

My wish, and more importantly my prayer, for my birthday is that the next years will be the most productive in my ministry for Jesus. I have asked the Lord to bless Wanda and me as we complete our life's journey and that our children and grands will be blessed.

I am not over the hill. I have found some new mountains to climb and plan on reaching the top.