Friday, December 31, 2010

THE YEAR ENDS. WHAT HAPPENED?

Just one day left and 2010 is history.

What happened this past year that I liked?

What happened that was disappointing?

What would I have liked to have happened that didn't?

That would take a book and more. I have learned that when I commit my way to the Lord that He takes all things and works them for my good. Somehow I believe that has happened this year in the good and the bad and the difficult and even in things that didn't happen.

My goal was to make every day count in 2010. Did that happen? In many ways yes, but there certainly was more that I would have loved to have seen done. I commit all that to the Lord. He knows my heart and desire. He will yet work things together in a way that is good. I trust His Word and that is what His Word says.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

ENJOYING THE CARIBBEAN AGAIN

Wanda and I drove to Ft. Lauderdale on Monday to catch a flight to San Juan, Puerto Rico, to see Jennifer, Javier, Claudia, and Lorenzo. When Wanda and I married, we both doubled the number of children and grandchildren. That makes seeing everyone during the holidays and for birthdays and special occasions challenging. We are blessed and enjoy every moment with every child and grandchild.

The weather is rainy but warm. We left the cold of Florida for the warmth and beauty of PR. I am looking out the window of the condo we are staying and soaking up the view. It is so relaxing here. We need it.

Jennifer has lived here over 12 years now. She has learned Spanish and the kids are bilingual too. I am so proud of Jennifer for the way she has adapted to life in another culture and with another language. She is a true pioneer.

This is a short trip and the goal is to relax with a capital R. That's the plan. I plan to make that happen.

Monday, December 27, 2010

WHERE IS BABY JESUS?

I recently read this little story in my devotional book. It goes:

A mother was taking down the Christmas decorations including the tree, lights, and the nativity. She couldn't find baby Jesus anywhere.

Finally, she asked her little four year old if he had seen the baby Jesus.

"Yes," he said.

"Where is He," the mother asked.

"I won't tell you. He doesn't want anyone to know where He is," the little guy continued.

"Why," the mother asked.

The little boy said, "Because He doesn't want to be put away with all the decorations."

***

Now there is a parable there. Let the joy of Christmas continue. Don't put Jesus up with the decorations. Keep the Christ of Christmas alive in your heart all through the year.

Friday, December 24, 2010

CHRISTMAS EVE

It is Christmas Eve. Little ones are excited. Mommies are busy. Last minute shopping is being completed. Roadways are filled with family travel. Some hearts are heavy. Some loved ones are in distant places. It is the night before Christmas.

Yet, in a lowly manager hundreds of years earlier, a miracle was to take place. A prophecy was to unfold. Heaven would release the glory of eternity. A Savior would be born.

Today trees and lights and presents and gatherings and worshippers and holy remembrances mark the moment. It is eve before the mystery of mankind would be revealed. Immanuel would come.

For me it is an awareness that He came to live and to live within me. He is in my heart. That can only be because our Lord came in lowly humility to break the impossible barrier between God and man.

Tonight we watch with wonder. Tomorrow we celebrate His glory.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

WRAPPING THE STUFF

Christmas presents need some wrapping. They need a pretty bow. They need a name to and and name from. They need to be put under the tree. They need someone to shake them and wonder.

Some of our grands are coming and some we are meeting in far places. Some we have already shared Christmas with. All of them got presents that were wrapped. Does that make the gifts more special and fun to receive? I think the answer is yes.

I actually helped wrap some of our gifts. That is why this is on my mind. My wrapping wasn't the best, but it helped Wanda. You should see my wrapping style. Cute. Really cute.

Whether they are wrapped or not, if they are given with love from the heart, that is all that counts. It is about love and giving and sharing and showing care.

Giving and receiving makes Christmas special.

God gave His best. That is the model. That is what He wants from us. That is what we should share with others. It is not how expensive but it must mean something.

So wrap them with love. Share from the heart. Give your gifts with a hug and a kind word.

Make Christmas special.

Monday, December 20, 2010

WHAT TO BUY?

The exchanging of Christmas gifts has already begun. I love giving to others, and I will admit that there is still enough child in me to look forward and enjoy receiving gifts too. Christmas is a story of giving gifts. It all began with God's gracious gift of love in giving us a Savior.

So what will I give Wanda for Christmas? What should we give all the children and grandchildren? And then what shall we give to our parents? Love and thought go into each present. Actually, I think money is always a good gifts to give and receive, but I will admit that to open a package and enjoy a ready bought gift is nice too.

Children's eyes light up when it is time to open Christmas presents. They get all excited and can't contain themselves. They just can't wait for Christmas to come. Our grands are all hyped up. It is going to be fun.

Wanda has been doing all of our Christmas shopping up to this point. I have to get into the game. Time is running out. Christmas is less than one week away.

So here I come Town Center and maybe a mall or two. While shopping sends pains up my spine, I better get into this quickly. I love to give and that takes thought, time, and attention. I better get with it.

Friday, December 17, 2010

SHUT YOUR MOUTH!


I wonder how many times I have stuck my foot into my mouth and said the wrong thing? Preachers can be as bad at that as any, though I try hard not to do it. Shoe leather doesn't have a very good taste, not even with salt!

Mark Gungor says, "If you are feeling something mean and nasty, it's best to keep your mouth shut."

Good quote!

Life goes better when we let our words bless others rather than hurt them. Yes, I know there are times when frank, serious discussions have to take place, but even then, or maybe especially then, we should use care that the wrong stuff doesn't come out of our mouths.

So, here is the word for today.

SHUT YOUR MOUTH!

Don't let hurt and harm come from your lips. Take a moment and re-calibrate. Get that tongue sanctified and holy. Somebody's future may be at stake. It might even be your own future.


Wednesday, December 15, 2010

IT IS ALL GOOD

I recently heard a story that helps keeps life in perspective, especially for those who love the Lord. It goes like this:

There was once a king who had a faithful servant who was close to the king and did everything for the king. The servant had a saying that he repeated over and over no matter how good or bad things were. He would say,' It is all good. Everything is good. It is all good."

One day the servant handed the king his rifle to shoot skeet. As the king pulled the trigger, the rifle misfired and exploded, which resulted in the king losing his thumb. Blood flew everywhere, but the servant said, "It is all good. Everything is good. It is all good."

Well that infuriated the king and he threw his faithful servant in prison. The king was angry that the servant were dare think that losing his thumb could be good.

Some time passed and the king was captured by cannibals who were about to barbeque him until they noticed his missing thumb. They let him go because they said they did not eat anything that had a flaw. The king was elated and grateful.

Then he realized the servant was correct. It was all good. So the king rushed to the prison to released the servant who had now been there for some time. The king begged forgiveness, but the servant simply repeated that "it is all good, everything is good, it is all good."

The king couldn't believe his ears. "How could this be good, you being in prison all this time?"

The servant said that if he hadn't been in prison then he would have been with the king when he was captured by the cannibals. The servant held up his two hands and said, "See I still have my two thumbs."

So, you see it is all good. Everything is good. It is all good.

***

That is God's promise to those who love Him.

Monday, December 13, 2010

LET'S GO TO CHURCH

I am writing this Sunday evening after just getting home from a church gathering. Sundays are super days filled with worship and preaching God's Word. I love it.

Church on Sunday is the place to be. Why stay home, or go fishing, or cut the grass, or go golfing? Going to God's house feeds the soul, renews the spirit, refocuses life. It is the holy day, the Sabbath. It is set apart for the Lord.

Someone asked if it was possible to be a Christian and not go to church? My response is that why wouldn't a real Christian not want to go to church? After all, it is not like this is a bad or boring thing to do. We get to go to the house of the Lord. It is our Lord's house. Wouldn't a follower of Christ want to go to His house?

Church is filled with life. It is a place of worship, prayer, and healing. It is a place to find our Lord. It is a place to bless the Lord. It is a place to bless others. It is a place of miracles and wonder. It is a place to get answers. It is a place to prepare for eternity.

It is Sunday night as I write this and my soul is full. My spirit is lifted. My heart is hopeful. I have been to the Lord's house. It was good. Soon I will return.

Friday, December 10, 2010

LISTEN TO THE MUSIC


Heavenly music is comfort to the worn and weary soul. It is a balm of peace. It is the sound of joy. It is the soothing of the frayed nerves and strained body. It is uplifting, bringing renewal for eternal glory.


Christmas music is some of heaven’s best sounds. It is the revelation of heaven’s gift. It is the presentation of heaven’s purpose. It is the release of unending hope. It adds light to the darkened soul. It is announced with angelic worship and praise from the common and the elite.


The Season of Christmas is filled with sights and sounds. It is filled with glorious words and wonderful rhythm. Listen closely to the Scriptures and songs that are shared. They will uplift you and bless you. The worship flowing from the singers will lead you into the fullness of God’s message and truth you need to hear today.


Don’t miss the moment.


Listen intently with open ears and open hearts. God is speaking . He is speaking through heavenly music. Listen closely. You may hear angels singing in the background. They are singing of the joy that has come into the world for our Savior is born. He is Christ the Lord, Immanuel, the Holy Child promised from above. He is our deliverer and mighty healer, the restorer of mankind.


Listen closely.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

CHRISTMAS PLANS

It is the season to be jolly and busy, really busy. Food, parties, gifts, programs, and music are all swirling around and around. Wow! What to do? Where to go? What to buy? What to give? What to want?

And it is all about Christmas and the Christ of Christmas. It is about His miraculous love and marvelous light. It is about salvation and eternal life. It is about joy. Joy that never ends.

So what is the plan?

It is to make every day count. It is to enjoy the season. It is to share His love and make Him known.

It is to be with family and friends.

It is busy with hustle and bustle.

It is Christmas time. It is the most wonderful time of the year.

Monday, December 6, 2010

ENCOURAGEMENT

We can all be encouragers if we choose to be. Not everyone can sing beautiful solos, go to the ends of the earth to preach the Gospel, or pastor the largest church in America. But, we can all get involved in lifting the spirits of others.

I read somewhere that the best way for a church member to get good exercise is by bending to lift the hand of the fallen one. Yes, I like that.

So encourage someone close to you. Tell them thanks for a simple, common task they perform. Let them know that their efforts are loved and appreciated. We all need it.

Even crabby folks need love and a kind word. They have allowed harsh wounds to turn into deep hurts that have dried their souls. Soft words, kind words, positive words can break through all of that and help them toward a better future.

"Your words have upheld him who was stumbling, and you have strengthened the feeble knees." - Job 4:4


Friday, December 3, 2010

JUST ONE DAY

Living multiple days at a time is impossible, but sometimes we try. Some live in the past and let bad memories condemn the present. Some carry the burden of worrying over the future and freeze the moment they live.

Jesus said that today is the day we should give attention. I don't believe our Lord was against planning and preparation, but He knew that it is too difficult to carry the burdens of unreal time. The past is the past, and the future is uncertain.

Years ago I heard someone ask what was it that I worried about 10 years ago? I couldn't remember. The point is that our worries of tomorrow are futile and will pass.

So, here is my admonition for the day.

Live today. Tomorrow will take care of tomorrow. Most of what we fear will not come to pass, and regardless of what the morrow brings, our Lord will be there.

So, it is just one day at a time for me. I can't change the past, and I cannot let tomorrow ruin today.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

WHAT IS YOUR STORY?

Every believer has a testimony. If God has saved you and if Jesus is real and alive in your heart, then there is a story to tell. My testimony is long, real long. I accepted Christ into my life around the age of 5-6. That goes way back.

It was a life changing moment that I still remember very vividly. I know children can be saved because I got saved. I had not committed major, news making sin, but I did need to be saved. Jesus came into my heart and He has lived in me ever since that moment.

From that first moment of conversion until today, Jesus has walked with me and lived in me. He is a friend, a helper, a deliver, and all I need. My testimonies of His faithfulness could fill several blogs.

In my Tuesday morning staff meeting at church, I asked each of the staff to share a personal testimony of a time when God had done a remarkable miracle for them. Each one shared wonderful stories, but the consensus was that we too often fail to remember what God has done. Our memories fade and we lose sight of past victories.

So today I challenge you to remember, reflect, and renew your faith. Let God arise as you give Him glory for what He has done. Trials turn into testimonies if we let God arise. Remember what He has done for you and then look forward to a new victory and a new testimony.

What is your story?

Monday, November 29, 2010

OVERCONFIDENT?

How do you explain having a 24-0 lead and losing the game? Alabama led Auburn by 24 and did it. That just doesn't make sense, does it? You are supposed to win games that you are spotted 24 points.

How did it happen?

Auburn put more points on the score board. They won the second half of the game. They didn't quit. They played with passion. They believed.

What did Alabama do?

Well, they did get up by 24, but after that it was all down hill. There were too many bad plays, too many dropped balls, too many missed tackles, too many wasted moments.

Was Alabama overconfident? I don't really think so, but they might have been. I think that they just didn't play the whole game. It has 60 minutes. The only score is that matters is the score when the game is over, not the one when the first quarter ends.

There is a lesson in life in how Alabama got beat by Auburn. It is not how you start the game, but how you finish. That is one of life's greatest lessons.

Friday, November 26, 2010

FOR SALE!

Everything has a price, they say. The day after Thanksgiving everything is on sale. The lines are long. The shoppers are eager. Christmas is around the corner. Lots of shopping is ahead.

But I won't be in those long lines. It will take more than saving $20 for me to get into that rush the day after Thanksgiving. Some people were waiting in lines of up to 1500 people or more to get into Kmart and Toys R Us. Not me. I'll just pay the extra.

What do I want for Christmas?

Peace on earth.
Good will.
Health.
Good times with family and friends.
Not much else.

You can't buy that. It isn't for sale. Not at Kmart anyway.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

LET'S COMMUNICATE

Communication capabilities today are astounding. Twitter, Facebook, emails, texts, snailmail, Iphones, telephone, TV, and on the lists goes. I get all kinds of communications from everywhere. It keeps one up-t0-date in the moment. It is real life.

Tuesday night I did face to face on an 4G Iphone. Amazing, as I talked with Julie, Alex, and Nic from Tampa. We could see each other on handheld Iphones as we talked. Too much!

I wonder what the next five to ten years will bring?

Thursday we'll celebrate Thanksgiving and will do face to face on an Iphone with Jennifer in Puerto Rico. Can't wait. I wish she could be here, but this will make it better.

We're traveling today to see family. Everyone be safe. Eat smart. Be thankful.

Monday, November 22, 2010

$35 FOR A $184 TICKET

Mark, Wanda's son, and I went to the Jags game yesterday after church. We had a wonderful service of worship, thanksgiving, praise, and testimonies. Several were baptized and the music was outstanding. I spoke briefly, but the primary part of the service was thanksgiving testimonies.

After church, Mark and I headed down to the Kings Ave. parking garage and caught the bus to Everbank Stadium. I didn't have tickets, but with a little wheeling and dealing, I bought tickets that put us on the 20 yard line.

The weather was gorgeous and the game went back and forth. It looked as though the Jags were destined to lose. The Jags had six turnovers and were behind with less than three minutes to go. But our running back caught a short pass and ran it 75 yards to the half-foot yard line. Two plays later we scored and won 24-20.

Mark and I had a great time at a great game.

Oh, Mark shared a few moments in church. He did a super job.

When we arrived at the stadium, I found a seller who wanted $60 bucks for a $84 dollar ticket and I got him down to $50. That wasn't as good as a ticket I bought two years ago for a Dallas Cowboy game. I went to the stadium hoping to get a ticket, but there were no tickets to be had.

As I was leaving, I overheard a guy walking behind me mention to his buddy that they should sell their extra ticket. I turned around and asked him how much he wanted for it. He said that it was a ticket on the 45 with a face price of $184. He said that he would take $50 for it. I asked if he would take $35. He said yes.

It pays to ask. You have not because you ask not.

Friday, November 19, 2010

ACTIVE AND BUSY


One of our grandchildren came for a visit some time back and could not get over all the things that we do as pastors. I guess people just really don't know all that goes into serving as a minister. I love my work and enjoy it for many reason. First, I know it is what God has called my to do. It has eternal purpose. I can see the change God makes in peoples lives and that is rewarding. The day of a minister is filled with so many varied and amazing things.

What have I done this week?

Prayed and spent time with God.
Visited the jail and hospitals.
Counseled and prayed with hurting people.
Studied and prepared sermons.
Baptized believers.
Overseen numerous planning sessions.
Written articles.
Preached.
Taught.
Attended a senior's dinner and spoke.
Took all kinds of telephone calls.
Helped host a preacher's meeting at our church.
Prepared to preach a funeral.
Studied and prayed some more.
And the list goes on.

Wednesday night just as church began, one of the little boys of the church came running up to me with a gleam in his eye and a note in his hand. I have something for you he shouted out. Everyone around was watching him. He had a special appreciation note for his pastor that he had personally made. Now I have been blessed by untold notes of kindness through the years, but this one was special.

That makes it worth it all. It was homemade and
from the heart. Special.

I think I'll try harder to be a good pastor.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

14 JOKES AND 14 COMPLIMENTS

For the last two weeks Wanda and I have shared one joke and one compliment each day with each other. Right after our morning devotions and prayer we have taken another few moments to make each other laugh and feel better. That is 14 jokes and 14 compliments.

Laughter is like medicine and compliments makes one glow. We have decided that we will continue doing this regularly.

We have so much to be thankful for and we both desire to do everything we can to bless each other. That is the best way to live. Loving, laughing, lifting each other up. 14 jokes and 14 compliments help do that.

Wanda said that she had too many compliments to choose from to share with me. Now that is a very good feeling. Wow! I feel that way too. We're blessed!

And the jokes were really funny too!

***

One of our wonderful church members, Roger Brooks, passed and went to heaven this past Sunday. Roger was 85. His wife told me that she was going to see a neighbor and told her husband that she would be gone for a few minutes. He sked her to come and sit in his lap, and she did. They kissed, and then she left. Later when she returned home, he had gone home to glory. Their last moment was a sweet kiss and hug. What a wonderful way to remember your last moment with your spouse - a kiss and a hug and then gone to heaven.

Monday, November 15, 2010

HAIL MARY

The last play of Sunday's Jacksonville Jaguars game was the best play. Tied with just seconds to go, the Jaguars threw a fifty yard pass hoping for a miracle. Yes, miracles happen. The other team's defensive player leaped high and slammed the ball toward the ground, but a Jaguar play caught the ball and walked one yard to score as the time ran out.

Talk about a fantastic finish, this game had one whale of a finish.

That goes to prove that one should not give up until the game is totally, completely over because the last play could produce a miracle.

They call such plays a Hail Mary play. It is one long pass hoping for a miracle. It is a play with a prayer.

Sunday it worked.

Friday, November 12, 2010

SHOW ME YOUR PASSION

What is it that you are most enthusiastic about? What do you love? What lights your fire? What is it that you just can't live without?

Those are pointed questions that I can answer for you. All I need is to look at your daily planner, or calender, or at least have you write down what you do with your time.

We gravitate to what we love, have passion for, and simply cannot live without.

Show me what you do with your time and I will tell you what you love. It is just that simple. We do what we want to do. We lean toward what we love. It is heard in the talk of our day, the view of our eyes, the actions of our hands and feet.

Like to eat?
Like to read?
Like to hunt, fish, gold?
Like to sew?
Like to travel?
Like to motorcycle?
Like to be with family?
Like to do God?
Like sleep?
Like to couch potato?
Like to work?
Like to goof off?
Like to computer?
Like to football, basketball, or baseball?
Like to Facebook?
Like to zoom the Internet?
Like to talk?
Like to pray?

Well, you get it. Show me what you do with your time and I will show you your passion.

So what is the take-a-way today?

Answer this question, what's first in your life?

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

I WON!

Getting exercise is tough for preachers. Have you ever noticed how many preachers are overweight and in poor physical shape? Our jobs are too sedentary, too mental, and so lacking physical exertion. Now preaching admittedly does put some physical demands on the body, but not much.

Through the years I have done all kinds of things to try to keep in shape. With all those chicken dinners and banana puddings, it is never easy. So what do you do?

I have ridden bicycles, jogged, ran, walked, jumped rope, done yard work, gone to exercise centers, played tennis and basketball and golf and softball and football and calisthenics and pushups and workout videos and on and on the list goes.

Now I am walking and jogging and playing basketball and working in my yard.

Guess what?

I have beaten my music pastor and youth pastor the last two weeks in basketball. They won the first week, but I have made a comeback and have won the last two weeks. I am 61 and the music pastor is 21 and the youth pastor is early 30 something.

That is 40 years and 30 years difference. Not bad. Not bad.

I shall toot my own horn for now.

You know the verse: "Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that tooteth not his own horn, verily it shall not be tooted!"

Monday, November 8, 2010

ONE EXTRA HOUR

Wow, wouldn't it be nice to have an extra hour every day. I really love the time change each November when we gain one hour. It makes the few days following easier for me. I am not really a morning person, though that is changing more and more. This extra hour is helpful.

What did I do with the extra hour?

Well, it comes a mid-night on Saturday night. That gives an extra hour to prepare on Sunday for church. It makes the day for better and not as stressed getting out of the house to church. It is nice.

What would I do if I had an extra hour each day? Or one extra hour each Saturday? I know that isn't going to happen, but that would be great.

Time is a huge commodity. We all have the same number of hours and minutes in each day. The issue is what will we do with our time, and how will be use the time we have?

The next few mornings will be a little easier for me. I love this time change. I just desire to use the time I have in the best possible manner.

Friday, November 5, 2010

MORE LAUGHTER AND LOVE

Is laughter better when it happens spontaneously or intentionally? Can you plan to laugh? Is planned laughter lessor laughter?

Why would I ask that, you might wonder?

Wanda and I have made a commitment to love and laugh with each other more. We are on a two week journey of telling each other a joke and compliment daily. It is planned, programed, and happening. And it is special.

Yes, laughter can be programed. Just look at your television, movies, and comedy clubs. It is all programed and planned. They even have piped in laughter to accentuate the mood. It helps to have a few people in the crowd who laugh and therefore encourage others to laugh with them. Laughter promotes laughter.

Watch the kiddies. They have a giggle box that is always turned on. Everything is funny. They just laugh and their little buddies and friends laugh with them. And life goes better for them.

Adults need that. Couples need that. Marriages need that. Everyone shouldn't take life so harshly seriously. Yes, there is a time to cry, be sad, and mourn, but there is time enough in life for all of that. God's Word teaches us to laugh.

So, Wanda and I are laughing together even more.

In fact, her compliment to me on Thursday was that I had a good sense of humor.

Thank you Wanda.

How is your sense of humor? Is it broke? Is your face in an upside down smile?

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

TWO COMPLIMENTS


Wanda and I are on a two week journey to build each other up. Isn't that what we are supposed to do in marriage? Build each other up?

As I write this post beginning on Monday, we have told two jokes each and shared two compliments to each other. I don't have time to write the jokes, but they were funny and we laughed hard. That makes for a nice beginning to a day. Of course, we have our morning devotion and prayer together. That is the best.

So what did I compliment her on?

Day One: I told her how much it meant to me that she diligently worked on finding unique ways to please me. She is a wonderful wife.

Day Two: I told her that I loved the fact that she liked things to be clean. I have a clean house to live in and she is a clean, sweet smelling lady.

What did she compliment me on?

Day One: She said that I was a very kind person. She loved the kindness I show her and others.

Day Two: She said that she appreciated that I cared about changing and doing things uniquely to please her. She said that it touched her that I cared enough about her to do things differently if that is what she desired.

We have twelve more days to go. I think we'll just laugh and love and love and laugh. Doesn't that make life go better.

Everyone needs a compliment all along. I know I do.

Monday, November 1, 2010

LOVE AND LAUGH

Wanda and I are embarked on a two week commitment of love and laughter. We have agreed to two weeks of sharing each day one joke with each other and one specific compliment to the other. I have stacks of joke books and files of funnies, but I will not use any of them. This has to be new material.

We compliment each other daily, but during these next two weeks we will be even more specific in encouraging each other and writing the compliments down. It isn't my role to straighten her or anyone else out. We don't have issues, but we do want to make our marriage even better. More compliments can only help.

Saturday, I woke up with the idea of cooking an egg omelet for breakfast. Believe it or not I cook breakfast every so often, but I have never cooked an omelet. But, if you google omelets, you will find a number of short videos to tell you how to fix delicious ones. So that is just what I did. Did you know the secret to cooking a great omelet, is to cook the bottom side and then stick it in the broiler to cook the top. That way you don't burn the bottom while trying to get the top done. At least that is what the video says.

Well, I did it, and it works.

Wanda loved it. She told me later that she woke up wanting an omelet. She was really surprised when I told her I was cooking an omelet for her. Then she bragged all day how good my omelet was.

Yeah, I said. I know what you're doing. You're bragging on how good I did it so I'll keep on cooking them. You know what. She is smart. A little bragging makes anyone want to do more. That is just the nature of life.

So, the two week experiment begins.

Loving compliments and then sharing a laugh together. It should be a great two weeks. I'll write how it goes and share the best jokes. The may be better than Reader Digest jokes.

Friday, October 29, 2010

GOT PUMPKIN?


Candy, Candy, Candy.

That is all the kiddies are thinking about this weekend. Candy and more candy. Halloween is approaching and the kiddies are excited. Well, I enjoy candy too.

I prefer to focus more on a harvest theme than halloween. Somewhere in all the ghosts and witches and skeletons, I lose it.

Angels are better than witches any day. I would rather focus on the goodness of the Lord than celebrate evil spirits and bad thinking.

So, my vote goes for a higher view, a holier outlook, a more positive take.



Witches and evils spirits are real so I would rather not give them any place. Years ago I will admit that we put too much time into the halloween scene, but not today.

Harvest-time fits me better. What about these pictures?

Neat

The carved pumpkin was done by Jerry Callison. He brought it to our harvest festival at our church, and you know who is in the other picture.

She is a beauty! I am so blessed.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

CLOSE TO THE END

Here is a comment made by my daughter, Jennifer, from my blog from yesterday. I thought her words were telling, particularly coming from the younger generation.

Jennifer wrote:


It's very scary to see where
our society is headed. I don't understand what this generation is thinking, without morals that come from God our society will break down. If everyone gets to make up their own morals then who gets to draw the line in the end? Who is to stop the pedophile? Don't people see where this is headed?? Sadly I only think it's going to get much worse. I believe we are witnessing the beginning of the fall of The United States. It's freaky that we are possibly witnessing the last days!

Another thing that keeps startling me is how what used to be wrong is now right and what was right is now wrong. In fact just having the opinion that homosexuality is wrong is dangerous and labels you as being wrong, unfair and the taker of others civil rights! It's going to be getting even scarier! Now is the time to be hiding God's word in our hearts before they take away our right to have a Bible! Some people won't think that's possible but I believe it's coming and it's going to happen sooner than we think!

***

Milton here again:

Society has always made moral choices. Actually they have to be made for the well being of mankind. It is a total fallacy to say that no one has the "right" to make moral judgements. To make no moral judgment is to make a moral judgement.

So here is the bottom line. Judgements and moral decisions are going to be made. The question is who is going to make the moral judgements and what morality will they chose? Someone's morals will prevail. It is just a matter of whose.

I choose to follow the Judeo/Christian model. It works. It is true. It brings blessings!

Imagine driving in a city with no red lights where everyone drives at breakneck speed giving no thought to intersections. One could only guess how many wrecks and deaths would occur.

Today's society wants no red lights, but that is suicide and will not work.

Yes, Jennifer, Jesus is coming. We are close to the end.

Monday, October 25, 2010

FOUNDATIONS OF TRUTH

Our world is turning morality upside down. The truth of generations past is being forgotten. It is implausible.

If we cannot take The Word of God at face value, can we at least accept how generations past have lived? Has all mankind been wrong and this generation all of a sudden become the enlightened generation of all generations?

Is marriage, as all past generations defined it, truly between a man and a woman? Or has this generation discovered truth missed by centuries of life?

Morality has always been dumbed-down. People have always wanted to sin, so regrettably to their own hurt. But todays' generation seem to think they are smarter. They think they are the enlightened ones. No one knows better than they know.

I don't think so. Time has a way of sifting truth out. God's Word hasn't changed. Mankind hasn't been wrong. Centuries of foundational truth lived out are higher than these "so called" enlightened ones.

When will we learn?

Friday, October 22, 2010

CONSISTENCY

Life without consistency can become tragic. When there is not consistency in how we live, act, and behave, then things begin to fall apart.

Leave flour out of a cake recipe and see what happens. You won't have much of a cake. Leave honor out of our marriage vows, and you won't have much of a marriage. If we fail to walk with integrity, then respect becomes tarnished.

On and off again functioning just doesn't get it done. A car that cranks and then won't crank cannot be depended upon. It loses its dependability. You just don't know if you can trust it to take you on a long trip or to work or even to the grocery store. It is not dependable. It is inconsistent.

Great relationships are made when you know you can totally trust the consistency of the both parties' lives. That is a winning combination.

By the way, that is God's way.

I once heard that the single greatest requirement for effective preaching is that people must believe that the preacher believes what he is preaching. That believability is determined first by the consistency of what the preacher lives. If the people see it in the life of the preacher, then they will believe that preacher truly believes what he is preaching.

It goes back to the consistency issue. It seems to me that we need a revival of consistency about as much as anything thing else.

Solomon put it this way. He wrote:

Confidence in an unfaithful man in time of trouble Is like a bad tooth and a foot out of joint.

How about praying today that God will help you be more consistent. That is my prayer today.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

HOW LONG?

Faith cannot be separated from patience. Faith often finds release and answer immediately and that is wonderful.

But what if you had to wait 24 years for your answer to come? Would that still be faith? Or what if you didn't see what God had promised turn into reality for 400 years? Would that be faith too? Abraham and Noah knew that faith required patience. Some in the Bible waited even longer.

Hebrews clearly notes that it is through both faith and patience that we inherit the promises.

"..but to imitate those who through faith and patience inherit what has been promised."

The writers notes that we should be"

1. Diligent
2. Not sluggish
3. Imitate

That makes for a good formula. How long before the answer comes you have been seeking from God? Be diligent. Don't be sluggish. Imitate those who have inherited. The answer will come in His perfect time.

Have faith and be patience. You will inherit.


Monday, October 18, 2010

CONNECTING

Meeting new people and making new friends adds to life. This should be a daily venture for all of us, especially for Christians. Christ in us reaches out toward others. Usually, all it takes is a smile and a brief kind gesture. Most people respond.

Last week I connected with numerous new people and made new friendships. I have found that motorcycling is one of the easiest ways to connect with people. They don't know that I am a preacher. They just don't expect preachers to ride. It removes their preconceived notions.

I have had people pull up next to me at a red light, or store, or restaurant and start up conversations over Big Red. They each have a comment or question to offer. Many times I have used this conversation starter to get a word in about the Lord.

People need to know the Lord. They need to know God is love and that He sent His son to die for us. They need to know that they can spend eternity in heaven.

May God help us to connect and graciously share His love.

Friday, October 15, 2010

458 MILES ON BIG RED



Thursday I left Switzerland, NC, headed toward home. I have spent this week riding the mountains in NC, with several guys from Jax and Alabama. It was a man trip while Wanda was with her sisters and Mom on a ladies trip.

Traveling with the guys makes for all kinds of manly stories, you know just like the girls but opposite. Guys are ok, but don't come close to riding with Wanda. Sorry guys, that is just the way it is. We did have a super time stopping here and there, looking at Parkway views, sipping coffee, and tailgating from the back of Big Red. We actually stopped at a couple of antique shops and a furniture outlet. One of the guys was a girly man.

We had a christian gang going there. We prayed before every ride for safety and for our families back home, and we all gave thanks for a safe ride.

I saw turkeys, deer, and dead animals all up close. The turkey flew right over my head, and the deer were thirty yards or so in front of us crossing the Blue Ridge. Believe me, they get the right-of-way.

When we left Switzerland, our intent was to stop in Columbia, SC, overnight, but we arrived there sooner than we anticipated and just kept riding, and riding, and riding. We finally stopped here in Jax.

That makes for about 458 miles in one day on Big Red. There were numerous stops along the way, but we were ready to get home. So home we headed.

The Autumn leaves were just glorious. The beauty of God's creation is beyond words. That what makes riding in the open so enjoyable. You are just out there in all of it.


Oh, one final thought. Thank God for a safe trip with only one issue, a dead battery on Big Red. That was minor and replaced quickly. I can't wait for the next trip. Life is good.

The pic above was taken in Switzerland, NC, at the inn we stayed.

Wow!

What color! What fun!

And God made it all!

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

A REAL HIGH POINT



Traveling the Smokies is fantastic in the Autumn. The leaves are glorious and the weather is perfect. This is a guy trip, but Wanda is in the mountains too with her family. We are just not riding together. I miss her.

Riding the Goldwing is the best way to see the colors. I am right in the middle of all the smells and sights. It is man and God.

We rode to the the highest point in the Blue Ridge Parkway. Up, up, up and then a little higher. Then down, down, down and down some more. It doesn't get any better than this in enjoying this gorgeous country.


We had a little rain at the end of the day, and I had to replace the battery on my Goldwing. Little bumps in the road, but worth it all.

Each ride begins with prayer and ends with thanksgiving.

Isn't this a great picture of Wanda. She is such a beautiful lady. I am blessed!

Monday, October 11, 2010

RIDE SAFE

Motorcycle riding is exhilarating, but comes with a price. The issue is safety. Ride hard, but ride safe. It is a pleasure sport for me that has come late in life. I never, ever expected to take up this sport. I have always thought I was smarter than this, but it is fun far beyond my expectations.

I am on another quick ride up to the mountains with a group of guys who have been after me for years to ride with them. Never thought I would, but here I am.

It is a guy trip so Wanda is off with her sisters and mother. They are actually headed North too so I bet I find her in the mountains before I head back home.

Motorcycling riding has actually pushed me to be a safer driver all the way around. I pay more attention to safety issues now that I motorcycle than ever before.

What is the secret? Ride the speed limit. Don't take risks. Watch for the other guy. Keep your mind on the road.

Life has no guarantees. I will ride safe and enjoy the journey. I pray and ask for the Lord's protection and angels to keep guard.

What fun! Pics are on the way,

Friday, October 8, 2010

CAGED IS COMING AGAIN!


This Sunday I will tag team preach with Eric Dalaney. It will be another illustrated sermon entitled "Caged" and we both will speak. I look forward to sharing The Word.

What puts you into a cage?

Disobedience?

Fear?

Insecurity?

Past failures?

Condemnation?

Sin?

You might be surprised when you look closer at what entraps people and how long they stay in their traps. Cages can become permanent houses that some never get out of. We were not created to live in cages. We were created to soar on wings of eagles.

Jesus sets people free. Come to Southside this Sunday and get our of your cage.
You can be free!


Wednesday, October 6, 2010

MORE REPAIRS

Mending and repairing and maintaining things takes lots of time. The more stuff you have the more time it requires. I guess that makes for voting for a more simplified life. All those "Things" have to be fixed.

I am not the best handyman at all. My brother Max inherited those genes from our father. I didn't get one of those genes from what I can tell. They both can repair anything from clocks to cars.Max repairs and maintains major, heavey equipment where he works. I repair very, very little.

Maintenance minimizes repairs and mending. Keeping the oil changed, and filters clean, and tires with proper air pressure are all easy items to do. Yet, they all take time.

My major emphasis is on soul maintenance. This demands attention too.

Here is an interesting text.

Isaiah 48:

17 This is what the LORD says—
your Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel:
"I am the LORD your God,
who teaches you what is best for you,
who directs you in the way you should go.

18 If only you had paid attention to my commands,
your peace would have been like a river,
your righteousness like the waves of the sea.

Those words in bold stand out. "If you had only paid attention...."

Soul restoration, repair, or maintenance are dependent on paying attention to His commands. When we do that, then there is peace and righteousness. That is a blessing beyond expression.

Monday, October 4, 2010

IT'S COOL

How hot has it been?

Maybe the hottest I can remember in my life, but it is cooler now. You can enjoy the feel of Autumn temps. They call it hog killing weather in Alabama. Now it is not that cool here in Jax, at least not yet, but it does feel good.

It makes motorcycle riding sweet. It makes football more comfortable to enjoy. It gives release to new colors and leads toward the Holiday seasons just weeks away.

Florida is the place to be these next months. The roads will crowded with all those folks up North heading down I-95. They will fill up South Florida and Central Florida and a few will even stop on the First Coast.

Long sleeves are coming off the closet racks. Air conditioners will run less. Yards won't have to be cut so much. Sweet. Nice. Cool.

It is Florida and it is cool. Yahoo!

Friday, October 1, 2010

CAGED IS COMING!


This Sunday I will begin a new illustrated sermon series entitled "Caged." Throughout the month of October I will be speaking on the issues of life that sadly often imprisons and cages people. My heart breaks when I hear the horrible lies that satan tells people and see how he leads them to a caged existence.


Here is a photo of one of the cages that represents how people are prisoned as a result of their foolish choices. There is that word "choices" again. Choices lead to life or death, freedom or bondage, blessings or curses.

Samson of the Old Testament is a prime example of a man with incredible gifts and talents and who was powerfully used by God. Yet, He wound up caged, blind, and the brunt of cruel jokes. How terribly sad.

Are you caged, bound, or limited by circumstances of your making?

Are you caged by issues beyond your control?

Are you caged and bound from fulfilling God's destiny and plan for your life?

Maybe this sermon series is something you need to see and hear.

Caged is coming this Sunday to Southside. Join us and bring a friend.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO ME!

Today is my 61st birthday.

Happy Birthday to me
Happy Birthday to me
Happy Birthday dear me
Happy Birthday to me.

And many more.

And yes, Norma, I am now older than you, but you will catch up to me again.

Oh, and Happy Birthday to Max, my little brother! He was born on my 11th birthday. 

So tonight at church on my birthday I plan on preaching a sermon entitled, "Happy Birthday to Me!" Now that may sound like a vain topic, but it is my birthday. And it is a happy birthday. God has been so good to me.

Why is it a happy birthday?

Well, I am still here.

I am blessed beyond measure.

I have been born again and have an even greater birthday to celebrate, the date of my second birth when I got saved. My second birth happened when I was around 5-6 years of age. I remember it like yesterday. I don't know the date, but I know it happened. Jesus forgave me of my sins, and I was born again. Since I don't know the date, I celebrate my second birth on the date of my first birth.

I used to think that anyone over 40 was ancient. Now I know that life on earth is just the beginning as we will live forever. That's right. We will live forever. What a thought. Amazing!

So, how will I celebrate my birthday? I plan on preaching and letting people know that to be born again makes every birthday a happy one.

Happy Birthday to me!

Monday, September 27, 2010

INCREDIBLE FAITH

Simple faith, childlike faith is pleasing to God. Children believe what you tell them. They have such incredible faith that trusts, expects and obeys. That is why our Lord admonished us to have faith like a child.

Adults have a way of making things too complex, too difficult, too impossible. That isn't pleasing to the Lord at all. He wants us to trust Him, believe Him, and obey Him.

There is a pureness in childlike faith that touches God's heart. Children come to God accepting Him for who He is and what He has said.

Oh, that God would make me know Him, trust Him, believe Him as a child again. Just to know He is and He will do what He says.

I believe. I know. I accept Him. He is real.

Friday, September 24, 2010

PREPARATION

It seems I spend over half of my time with preparation. It takes hours. I don't mean just getting dressed and ready for the day, but that does take loads of time too. Admittedly, it is easier as a man to dress for the day than it is for a woman, but it still takes time. Shave, bathe, throw on some clothes, and out the door I go.

But I prepare to teach, preach, lead church services, minister at sickness and death situations, mentor and train leaders, perform weddings, dedicate babies, counsel, and lead all kinds of church activities.

And writing, takes preparation.

And motorcycling takes preparation.

And yard work and house maintenance and cleaning takes preparation.

And taking trips takes preparation.

And doing menial tasks requires preparation.

And I prepare to be as good of a husband, father, and citizen as I can be.

You can't even go to Walmart without preparing a list.

Whew!

That is the nature of life. We have to prepare to live.

But, here is the most vital preparation. It is the soul preparation. It is getting ready to meet God face to face. One day, I will see Jesus face to face. I have served Him all of my life and never visibly seen Him. When I do, I want to be prepared.

I am preparing. I am covered by His blood. I am saved by His grace. I am preaching His Gospel and getting as many as I can to go with me. I am preparing. I am getting ready.

Preparing to see Him is a passion.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

NO MOBILEME

For over two years I have enjoyed my MacBook and Iphone being connected to transfer vital info over the Internet through what is called MobileMe. It is a system where information is transferred to and from my computers and Iphones and stored in the Internet in what Apple calls a "cloud".

It is really neat to have all of this information (phone numbers, names and addresses, emails, notes, and other stuff) transferred without connecting a wire or doing anything. It just happens. All this information goes to the other computers regardless of which computer or Iphone I enter it. Wow! That is neat, easy, and effortless.

At least, while it works. The good news is that it has always worked until just recently. I am getting that repaired and it will work again. I love it.

But here is the point!

Connections with God never go lacking, that is unless I break the connection. He never fails. He always gets info right. He transfers what I need. It always works.

MobileMe is a great invention.

MobileGod is better!

Monday, September 20, 2010

SIT ROCKY

Wanda and I visited Julie and the boys in Tampa on Friday and celebrated Alex's 11th birthday. It was a fast trip and went too quickly. I cannot believe that Alex is 11. He is such a fine little boy. I love him and all our grands so much.

While visiting Julie, we met her friend, Debra, and also met Debra's dog, Rocky. He is a friendly black lab. You can see his smile radiating as his big tail wags at you. The dog kinda captivated me. He just was a friendly, happy dog.

You know what I liked most about Rocky?

He would sit, lay, shake hands, and do what he was asked to do with a smile.

Now that is my kinda dog.

Don't have a pic, but here is to Rocky! I don't have a dog, and I don't have any plans to get one. But, Rocky is special. He had a warm smile.

Friday, September 17, 2010

DON'T TALK, JUST LISTEN

Last week as Wanda and I spent time to wait on the Lord and prayer, I relearned a valuable lesson. I know that I knew this, but the Lord brought it to my attention again in a very specific way.

Here is the lesson:

Don't talk, just listen.

Most prayer is talking on our part and the Lord does a lot of listening. Thank God that He does listen, but I wonder how often He would just like for us to be quiet, quit talking, finish with rabbit trail praying, and listen.

That is not as easy as it made appear.

When was the last time you prayed, and didn't say a word. Is that really praying, well it is if you truly believe prayer is a two way communication.

So, I quit talking. He knew everything about me anyhow. I just stopped talking and begin to listen. At first, I will admit it was awkward, but my mind got still and I begin to hear His voice.
He spoke. I listened. I am going to do more of that kind of praying. Oh, I will talk to Him and expressed my love and share my needs.

But I plan on listening more.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

TWO CHOICES

An airline flight attendant asked a passenger if he would like dinner on his flight.

The flyers responded, "What are my choices?'

The attendant said "Yes or no."

HA! Yes or no. Very simple.

***

It would be nice if every choice in life was just that simple, but that is not the way life works. But, life in its most basic issue boils down to just yes or no.

Yes, I choose to serve the Lord.

Or

No, I don't need the Lord or have time for Him.

Here is my choice. As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.

The answer is "YES!"

Monday, September 13, 2010

ONE WEEK OF PRAYER

I have prayed to God all of my life. My first prayer that I ever remember praying was when I was around 5 or 6 and I prayed to ask Jesus to come into my heart. He did, and I have been talking with Him ever since then.

Prayer is more than part of a minister's job description. It is more than a plea to get what I want. It is far deeper and far more meaningful than that. Prayer is connection with the Great I AM. It is friendship. It is a walk of love, peace, instruction, guidance, and fulfillment. It is the doorway to heaven.

So this past week was spent with one point of focus: prayer. It was one week of prayer.

It was a week of waiting, listening, sharing, and growing closer to Him.

What happened?

I met God again. He talked with me. He spoke loving truth and revealed clearer purpose and plans. It was beyond my expectations.

There is too much and too sacred for me to write. I can just tell you that I met God again. That is all that matters.

Friday, September 10, 2010

WANDA AND ME

This blog is dedicated to appealing to the higher good in life. I wrote for well over a year on Kristy's blog and then created this blog as a means of sharing from my heart and life. It is a different blog than Kristy's, but it is what I am to share.

I haven't written much recently about Wanda and me. My ramblings have been varied and zoomed through all kinds of topics. Some were personal and informative, but most posts have been more about what I felt inclined to write to appeal to inspire a higher good in others.

Yet, some have expressed a desire for a more personal approach in my writing sharing about my new life and new wife.

Second marriages are unique, especially at this time in our lives. We are older and hopefully know more than we did as we began our first marriages. Children are grown and gone, and now there are grandkids. Careers and calling are established and full. We are not broke and wondering if we can ever have our own home. Goals and dreams are still motivating, and there is much to do.

So, how is the second marriage doing?

Incredibly well and amazingly blessed.

Only God could be two people together as He did Wanda and me. She has stepped to the plate and hit a home run as a wife and partner in ministry.

Wanda and I have so much in common but there are enough differences to make it interesting and to complete each other. After all, men and women are different, and thank God for the differences as my Dad always says.

Yes this marriage is different and we're on a learning curve, but we are having a ball. There are moments of reflection and times of question as it relates to our individual losses of mates. But, we have chosen to remember, give thanks, accept God's providence, and go forward. That is a choice, and with His help that is exactly what we are doing.

God spoke to me not too long after Kristy passed and told me early one morning as I awakened that Wanda is the one that He had for me. He said that she would bless me and bless my children and that I would bless her and bless her children.

God is good and God is right. He is faithful too.

How are Wanda and I doing?

We're blessed.

***

My blog posts this week were written before this week began as I took this week off in a prayer retreat with God. I am determined to know Him more and do His will.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

LET'S PRAY

Prayer is the connection between God and man. Prayer is communication. It is listening as well as talking. Prayer is the personal line that each of us has which helps us know God more intimately.

So, this week is a special week of prayer.

I have chosen to set aside special time this week to wait, listen, share, and receive what God has for me. TV is turned off. Phones and computers and emails are limited. No running to and fro doing this and that. It is a week of quiet time waiting before God.

What are my expectations?

When we wait before God, anything can happen. In fact, nothing much happens of consequence until we do wait before Him.

I really do feel that God has something unique to say to me this week. I do have some things I want to say to Him. There are some goals, dreams, and ideas that I plan on sharing with Him, but most of all I want to hear from Him.

Waiting on the Lord takes patience and sometimes great determination to discipline our lives and schedules.

So this week, the calender is shut down. No preaching, no visiting, no office work, no interruptions. I am waiting on the Lord.

Pray for me.

Thanks!

Monday, September 6, 2010

IT'S LABOR DAY

I like holidays. They are acceptable times to take a break and celebrate. Christmas is my favorite. Then comes Easter. I love July 4. And Thanksgiving is great. I love turkey and dressing and pumpkin pie!

Today is another National Holiday when we move past summer vacations, start school, and get into another work year. It is kinda funny that on Labor Day we all take off from work, but that is what a holiday offers--a break!

Work with purpose leaves a feeling of accomplishment. Some of the most boring, burdened people I have ever been around are lazy folks who are sluggards or bums. They don't have purpose and they don't have a plan. Not good.

Work is good. Fulfilling labor adds to life.

But my favorite work is the work of the Lord. It has eternal purpose. I love preaching, teaching, praying, celebrating victories and blessings, comforting the broken, and planning major attacks on the devil, the enemy of our souls.

This coming year will be forty years of working fulltime for our Lord for me. Here is my plan. I plan on working for Him until He comes or I go to be with Him.

Why?

Because working for Him is all that matters. His retirment plan is incredible. The joy is endless. The reward is beyond comprehension.

Today, I celebrate Labor Day. Oh, I will do some work for Him today. He pays double time when we sacrifice for Him and others. Every day is labor day for Him.

Friday, September 3, 2010

FIRST CHOICES

I can't get past this word, choice.

How many choices do we make in a day? Some choices are so subtle and totally unnoticeable that we do even realize a choice was made. I didn't think of about half of what I did this morning to get ready for the day. I just did it, but choices were made nevertheless. Choices were made on what to wear, drive, and do. Some of them I obviously gave attention to and thought about, but so many choices subconsciously just happen.

Subconscious choices are potentially dangerous especially when it comes to eternal consequences. People just pass right over them and make unfortunate decisions.

Here is a great idea.

When choices are made, think God first. What would honor God about this choice. How can I put Him first.

Impossible?

I don't think so because this is exactly what Jesus told us to do. Do you remember His words in Matt 6:33? "Seek first the Kingdom of God, and all these things will be added to you."

God is first. He must be first in our choice list.

Believe me. Everything will then fall into right order.

Give Him the first day of the week.
Give Him the first part of your money.
Give Him the first part of each day.
Give Him first consideration in life choices.
Give Him first choice.

You won't regret it.


Wednesday, September 1, 2010

CHOICES

Our choices determine the quality of our lives. What we chose to think, say, do, go, eat, and repeat are all part of determining our destinies. Every day is a series of choices. Do we chose to begin the day with or without God? Do we chose to have a good attitude or not? Do we chose to get some exercise or not? What will we eat? What will we do? Will we bless or curse others? Will we forgive?

Imagine living in a dark, I mean, totally dark world with no light. Imagine traps and danger points are around with no one to warn or steer in the right direction. Imagine no end to such an existence.

That would not be a very good way to live, but apart from the light of Jesus and His truth that is exactly how people live. Sadly so many are getting beat up and abused as a result.

I cannot tell you the number of people I have counseled through these many years that their choices had brutalized them. Yet, sadly so many continue to make the same type of choices. Amazing!

There is a better way found in Christ. He is The Light of the world. His truth sets us free to live and enjoy life abundantly. I have never found one person who was a true, serious follower of Christ who lived a life of regret, shame, or brokenness. Jesus is The Life Giver.

It is a matter of choice. Choosing Christ is the best choice I have ever made. Oh, He has been so good to me.

Monday, August 30, 2010

WIN EVERYDAY

Champions know the value of striving to be you best all the time, especially during practice. How an athlete practices determines how great a player they will become.

Sunday afternoon I caught a few minutes of a TV program that feature Alabama University football training camp. There were several quotes that stood out during the programs. One was, "Win everyday." Another was, "Winning is why I am here. That is what it is all about."

Now life is far more important that Alabama football. I love football, and I love UA football. But, believe it or not there is more to life than UA football. Here is the take-a-way. Win everyday. Nothing matters but winning.

Really winning everyday means winning Christ. It means living everyday for Him. It means putting Him first. At the end of the day, at the end of life, that is all that matters.

I watched with interest and intrigue the few minutes of the TV program on UA football Spring training. They were passionate, determined, and focused on one goal: winning. All of their efforts with much sweat and blood to win a few football games and hopefully another National Championship. So, at the end of the day does any of that really matter? Well, I hope they do win another National Championship, but that pales in comparison to winning Christ.

I think I need to take winning Christ to another level. After all, that is all that matters.

Win Christ everyday.

Everybody, on the count of three, "Win Christ!"

Friday, August 27, 2010

ONE FUNNY FUNERAL


Funerals aren't supposed to be funny. I mean--after all somebody died. That is why there is a funeral. Right? True. I have been to my share of funerals, and I have preached countless funerals in almost 40 years of ministry.

But I went to the most amazing and interesting funeral this week. It was a hoot. A real celebration. I don't think there was a Scripture verse read. Not one, but oh the impact was powerful.

The funeral was for Gladys Zink, one of the former pastor's wives of Southside Assembly where I now serve as lead pastor. She was 92 and her children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren were the speakers. She and her deceased husband, Rev. Dale Zink, were the pastors of Southside Assembly some 33 years ago.

Dale and Gladys didn't have much money, but they left a huge legacy. Just look at the picture above. That is their family. They all love the Lord and are serving Him, many of them as ministers and minister's wives.

Her family told story after story about Gladys that would make you roll with laughter. This lady loved the Lord, her family, The Church, and everyone for that matter. I knew her, and I knew she was funny. But, she passed all of my expectations and previous impressions as the family shared grand, funny story after story about her.

She taught her youngest son how to skip school. She would say during hard times that it was time to cuss and pray. Now that is a great preacher's wife. She would pull the pants of her grandchildren down as they walked through the house. She was really into making life alive.

There were sweet tears, and learning moments, and legacy leaving thoughts that flowed from her family as they talked about her. I am so glad I went. This is a great family that I have had the privilege of knowing for years. They all love the Lord and love one another. What a family.

Gladys Zink preached her whole life. Not with great sermons on Sunday. But she spoke as she lived life. She was a hoot.

The Lord willing, I hope to live a long time, but when I die this is the kind of funeral I would like to have.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

THE BEST RULE

Life has lots of rules, regulations, and demands. It is difficult to remember all of them. There are rules for driving, tax regulations, and city and national laws, and on and on it goes. Just how many laws are there? There are rules for schools, rules for jobs, and rules at home. The list is endless.

But here is the best rule. You only have to remember one. Here it is.

Do to others as you would have them do to you.

That sums it up. That isn't so hard to remember. Treat others the way you would desire to be treated.

I can't help what others do, but I can help what I do. This rule applies to life over and over. This rule works everywhere, for everyone, for every situation.

Now I haven't mastered this rule, but I have determined to work harder at it. I want forgiveness so I will forgive. I like for people to be courteous on the highway so I will strive to drive in a safe and courteous manner. I want to be loved and respected so I will work harder at loving and respecting others.

The easiest thing in the world to do is smile. It doesn't cost much to smile, but a smile can be priceless. Guess what? When I smile, people smile back. That is a great way to live in life. Smiling at others and getting a smile in return.

I love to receive the favor and blessings of others so I will be more generous in encouraging and blessings others.

The Golden Rule works. Wouldn't the world be much better if that was the law of the land? It is the best rule.

Monday, August 23, 2010

LITTLE PRAYERS?

My daughter Jennifer asked me recently about praying for her little dog that had been sick. She wondered if God cared about little doggies? Sure He cares about doggies. He watches over the lilies of the fields and sees the little sparrows that fall. He cares about you and everything you care about. That is what friends are for. They care about you.

Jennifer and family lost a much loved dog not too long back which was killed by being run over by a car. That was heart breaking for all of her family. They had that dog for some 8 years or more. Now, their new dog was sick.

We did pray. The dog got some better and then worse. She finally got a vet to see it and now the dog is improving. Prayer and good attention both are appropriate actions to take, but prayer works about little things too.

Wanda's son and daughter-in-law and family just had a loss of a much loved pet that got hit by a car too. Chloe had been in their family for years and now is suddenly gone. They all needed some comfort too.

Yes, God cares about lilies, sparrows, and precious pets. He is our friend. He hears the little prayers of our hearts.

Friday, August 20, 2010

IMPACT

To impact means to influence or make an effect on something or someone. It has other definitions too, but today I am thinking about impact from the standpoint of changing or influencing for the good. This is really to bottom line of why I continue to write and share this blog three days each week. It is a desire to impact others for the good.

Writing is one of the most powerful tools known to man. It gives incredible ability to impact lives for the good or bad. Literally thousands into the millions or more can read something from someone they have never met and have their lives forever changed.

Facebook, Twitter, Blogs, and Texting are all easy, quick ways to touch multiplied numbers of people. It amazes me the number of people who have read this blog from places all over the world. Just a few simple lines read over and over.

Incredible!

I pray that you are being impacted for the good by these few musings.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

SELF CONTROL

Self control is not always easy, but it releases incredible opportunity and blessing. Self control in our appetites helps us with health issues. Self control with our tongue keeps us from hurting others and ourselves. Self control in our meditations keeps us emotional and mentally fit. Self control with our finances keeps us from going broke. Self control in what we watch keeps our inner thoughts pure and clean.

Moderation is the key. Allowing the Holy Spirit to flow is the source.

I was told in college that what I feed grows, and what I starve dies. That is part of control too.

Self control can be hard, but allowing the Holy Spirit to control is much easier. The Holy Spirit of God gives us wisdom, strength, and power to overcome the habits that rob, steal, and kill.

Discipline frees while a lack of discipline leads to bondage. I counsel people regularly who have been sorely deceived and blinded to their ill choices and are controlled by flesh, desires, and the carnal. Not much good comes from those sources. They usually are living with huge regrets and have to bend their wills to the better good.

I choose God, His Laws and precepts, and His ways. That all lead to a higher wisdom of life that blesses. Choosing God is the first step.

Monday, August 16, 2010

LA, LA, LA, LA, LA


Little Claudia held my hand skipping as we walked together. What a joy it was to share time with Lorenzo, their parents, and Claudia. We have just returned from a week's visit with them in the Caribbean.

That afternoon as we were leaving church, I wasn't tuned in to Claudia as we walked with her little hand in my big hand. But, finally I tuned back in to this precious free spirit.

Claudia was skipping along by her Papa singing, "La, la, la, la, la," over and over again.

What peace!

What joy!

What trust and rest!

With not a care in the world she sang, "La, la, la, la, la," skipping with delight along her way.

I began to sing with her, "La, la, la, la, la, la, la....."

I felt peace, joy, rest, trust. We laughed and I even giggled with her. She loved her Papa skipping and laughing with her.

There has to be a sermon in there somewhere, or at least and illustration.

LA, LA , LA, LA, LA, LA, LA.....over and over again, skipping and giggling and laughing as we walked down life's journey.

After all, God is in control. We should trust in Him with the faith of a child.

LA, LA, LA, LA, LA, LA, LA