Wednesday, June 30, 2010


No, I didn't have a motorcycle accident, but a dear friend and my mentor did.

Jim and Judy were off to a great vacation in Hawaii where they rented a Harley on one of the beautiful islands. Now riding a Harley, that's not good for a staunch Goldwinger. While making a left turn on a very rough road, Jim said the back brake stuck as they passed over sand and rough gravel and that pulled he and Judy into the pavement.

They are OK and are now home. Wanda and I took some food over Tuesday evening for them as they had gotten home just minutes before our arrival. They had to cut their vacation short and didn't get to take their cruise.

Judy broke a bone in her right hand, but Jim was the worse injured. He broke his neck. There is no paralysis which is a miracle. He is in a neck and back brace, and it will take some time for total recovery. He is sore, stiff, and achy.

Thankfully God spared them from even worse injury. It was bad, but it could have been worse. Jim is an outstanding motorcyclist. He is a safety instructor and has been an incredible mentor for me. Judy has also given Wanda invaluable tips on how to be a great motorcycle passenger.

We took a  trip together up the Smokey Mountains a few weeks back. Jim is semi-retired, and can pick and choose what to do with his time and work so they were off again. We had prayed with them at a lunch we shared just before their trip. God protected them from even greater tragedy.

Judy shared that God sent angels all along this recent journey to help her and Jim. They have grown closer to the Lord through this too. Now we are praying for totally healing a recovery for both of them.

So.....I know what your thinking. What will I learn from this? Will I continue to ride?

Here is the answer. I will ride as long as I have a peace in my heart about riding. I will learn from this accident what I can to prevent a similar mishap.

Wanda and I got into this motorcycling venture after a lot of thought and mucy prayer, and one day we'll get out of it after similar prayer. Isn't that what we're supposed to do?

Monday, June 28, 2010


Sunday morning while prayerfully preparing for the day, I received a phone call from a life-long friend. I have known him since I was six or so. We used to go home with each other after church on Sunday afternoons. We went to college together. We spent a summer ministry internship together. We have preached for each other through the years. His father and my father ministered for each other in their earlier years and are friends.

Steve is a great friend, and even more, he is a great man of God.

Steve is in a fight for his life as he was diagnosed with a very serious brain tumor just a few weeks back. Brain surgery left him paralyzed on his left side. He is gaining some recovery from the paralysis, but it is slow. Now he is going through radiation and chemo treatments.

But Sunday morning, God spoke a word to Steve about me and the church I pastor, and he called me and shared in faith what God had told him. His words were to the point, and he spoke with faith. He said that this word would be life changing for those present in my church if I would be obedient, and he was right.

I obeyed God to the best of my ability and God moved in a powerful way. Lives were changed and needs were met. After our choir sung an anointed song about the name of Jesus, I ministered briefly from Acts 28 and spoke about unexpected adventures. We read in that chapter that Paul went through a severe trial with accusations and hardship, yet God turned this unexpected adventure into a life changing moment. Many were healed as God used Paul right in the middle of a difficult place.

By the way, you do know that between mountain peaks there will always be a valley?

Steve is going through an unexpected adventure and it is being used to change lives forever. Maybe you are going through something that you never had an idea you would face. I have good news for you. God will take it and break it and shape it and mold it and release it and mighty things will happen that will bless others and glorify God.

Sunday, God used Steve through a simple phone call to release faith into my heart, and God did something of life changing power. Are you willing to be obedient to the Lord like Steve? Even in your brokenness and unexpected adventure?

It might be a simple phone call. It might be a profound phone call.

Friday, June 25, 2010


The longer I live the more I am amazed at the awesome holiness of our God. Holiness is not a dirty, legalistic, outdated religious term bearing no value or meaning. Holiness speaks of purity, cleanliness, without corruption or corrosion. It is righteousness and truth displayed without failing or degeneration. It blesses and produces eternal endurance. It bears no shame, guilt, or remorse. Holiness is found in the perfecting of God's Laws and will. It releases eternal blessing.

How far will we allow the Church to drift before this becomes a prominent message of promised blessing?

How long will the curse of compromise live?

When will hearts turn again with passion to only please our Lord?

Will the lies of the enemy of our souls be exposed?

Who will be brave to live above the common? The modern normal? The majority appeal?

Who will stand alone when no one cheers? Even among the accepted religious?

Have we gone too far? Is it too late? Is the stain too deep?

No, a thousand times no. His blood washes and makes us clean. There is power in the blood to make us whole. We can be free to live without secret sin and sorrowful pain.

Jesus makes us free to live holy, pure, and clean before Him.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010


Several months back I hurt my left elbow while trying to exercise using stretch bands to do muscle toning. Wanda and I were using an exercise video walking in place for 30 minutes or so which included the use of the stretchy band at the end of the workout. Everything went fine until I tried the extreme exercise and stretched the stretchy band too far. It stretched the left tendon on my elbow. Ooch! Man, that hurts.

So what do you do to over tennis elbow, or in my case stretchy band elbow. I wish I had been playing tennis, but I haven't done much of that in recent years.

When I was in my thirty's and early forties, I played tons of tennis. My brother-in-law Rick got me into tennis and did we ever go at it. He was so much better than me, but we still went at it hard. I do everything with my right hand so my left tendon wasn't damaged by those earlier years of hard tennis playing.

I made the injury worse by pulling dead grass out of our front yard and by constantly pulling and putting strain on it. Now it is hurting so bad I can't ignore it. I have a brace and I am putting ice on it throughout the day. That helps, but I think it needs rest more than anything.

So, my precious wife is making sure that I don't do more to strain it. I told my youth pastor's wife my dilemma and she said that I just needed to rest it. She is a physical therapist. I said that I guess that meant that I couldn't vacuum the house for a while. She said that could be done with the right hand. Ha!

Getting old isn't fun if this is the way it will be. I getting ready to get my new body. Won't that be nice.

Monday, June 21, 2010


I thoroughly enjoyed Father's Day this year. My father and mother were here, and I got to talk to my daughters and received text messages from my step children. Wanda prepared a Sunday feast fit for a king and my brother brought a delicious dessert. It was great.

Dad joined me Saturday for a father/son breakfast at the church prepared by some of our church ladies. All the guys had a great time and were stirred by Coach Paul Peterson's talk. He totally inspired our guys to be real men and live committed, faithful lives. I will remember his words for a long time.

Father's Day messages are always wonderful opportunities to challenge, inspire, and encourage all the men to honor God and serve their families. The world needs men were are not afraid to show compassion, live consistent, cooperate, commit to sacrificial servant hood, and have courage. All of these are timely virtues that are sorely needed.

It means a lot to hear encouraging words that lift your spirits. I trust my words did that Sunday. I pray our men will live boldly for our Lord. That is all that matters.

Friday, June 18, 2010


My father will be visiting this weekend as we celebrate Father's Day. I am looking forward to sharing a few days with him and mother and my brother Max and his wife, Darlene, will be visiting for Sunday lunch. All of us are fathers and we have a lot in common. Max got dad's fix-it skills and I caught dad's preaching skills. I think both of them could fix anything, but that is just not in my DNA. Oh, I'm the really handsome and humble one on the far left.

Max and I share the same birthday with me being the oldest by 11 years. I well remember him being born on my birthday and how proud I was of my new baby brother. I helped teach him how to walk on a vacation trip we made across America and back in 1961. We rode from Montgomery, AL., to Los Angeles, CA., to Portland, OR., and back in about a month. Max learned to walk in Portland, Or.

I think my "little brother" has outgrown me, but I am still the "big brother". Or is it  the older brother?

What makes a great father? Well, I am still learning, but I know that children need stability, security, spiritual guidance, and strong commitment. I don't think they need a perfect father, but they need a father with an honest heart to lead and guide them in the right way. They need affirmation and encouragement. Most of all they need their father to truly love their mother.
Recently I read a list of ways to honor fathers. Here's the list:

Seek his wisdom. Honor his legacy. Explore his family tree. Show him respect. Express love. Celebrate Father’s Day. Remember his birthday. Honor his wife. Pray for him daily. Build a memory book. Respect his preference. Surprise him. Take him fishing.

My dad took me fishing lots of times and we caught boat loads. Don't know that we'll ever do fishing again, but we'll share in a lot of other fun things, like dominoes. Maybe I'll get him to tag team preach a little with me this Sunday at church.

Anyway, Happy Father's Day, Dad. I am so thankful and proud you're my father. Thanks for all you have done for me and my four siblings and all of our families. We are all very grateful for you and Mom.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010


Dependability is a wonderful thing. I like it when I can count on my computer to work. That's one reason I went over to the Mac world with computers. I like dependability, consistency, or some call it faithfulness.

Whether you like McDonalds or not, you know that their Big Mac is going to be a Big Mac. Their fries are going to be the same as the last time you were there and ate them. They have made a mint on consistency of service at a low price.

Proverbs mentions the importance of dependability using teeth or a foot as an example. Solomon wrote, "Like a bad tooth or a lame foot is reliance on the unfaithful in times of trouble." (Proverbs 25:19) Man, I have had terrible tooth aches. Ouch! And I have pulled muscles and have sprained my ankle. That hurt too.

To be consistently on time is good. To be consistent in attitude and mood is good. To be consistent in word and deed is good. To be consistent in work productivity is good. To be consistent in our walk and service to the Lord is good. The list goes on and on......

God is consistent. He is faithful. That has to be one of my most compelling reasons for serving and loving God. He is faithfully consistent.

Now, what about you and me? How consistent are we?

Monday, June 14, 2010


Worship styles have varied throughout history. David's worship style included harps, trumpets, strings, lutes, drums, flutes, timbrels, cymbals, and dance. Oh, and it was loud. In the Church age, we have seen styles come and go. Do you know what a lute is?

Today's church worship styles go from traditional to ultra-contemporary. The Apostle John foresaw that heaven's worship will be loud and songs we yet have not sung. Imagine that! They say that the "latest" worship style or new "rage" is country cowboy worship, even in large metropolitan areas.

Worship to God certainly does not begin or end at a Sunday church service. Our worship of our Lord should come from our hearts in spirit and truth whether we're singing or not. In other words, worship of God is the adoration and love from our hearts involving every moment of our lives in every act of our beings. It is not about mere times of singing love songs to God. It is far more than that.

Sometimes church worship includes hymns and at other times choruses and spiritual songs. I have been in church services that vary from "high church" to old time camp meeting singing. While traveling several years back for almost 12 years, I visited small and large churches with large orchestra's and choirs to tiny churches with no instruments present.

Here is what I learned. I learned that I can worship the Lord on His Day no matter the style. After all, it is all about Him.

Recently I heard a pastor friend tell a true story about worship in his church. A member shared that in a recent service that he didn't get much out of the worship. Someone who overheard the comment responded, "You weren't supposed to get anything out of it."

Think about it a moment. The worship goes to Him. We put everything into it to exalt Him. It is not what we get out of it.

Friday, June 11, 2010


Mentors are people lifters. They point people in the right direction, train them, steady them, advise and counsel them, correct them, encourage them, pick them up, push them, and celebrate with them. They can be invaluable in the journey of life. Today some prefer to call them life coaches. Either word is a good one if solid help is being offered.

I have numerous mentors that have impacted my life. Some are known up close and transparently personal. Others are at a distance, and some I have only met in a book.

Through the years as God has helped me, I too have served as a mentor or life coach. I've never charged a fee, but I have been rewarded over and over again as I have watched wings spread and dreams realized.

Sometimes hard, frank talk is required. More often the need is encouragement and kindness and faith expressed.

There are many ways that we can make a difference in life. One of the most fulfilling is helping others. That is a blessing.

Are you a mentor? No doubt you are touching far more lives than you could imagine. Those close and near and even those at a far distance are watching. Why not say or do something today that will bless them. Make a call. Send an email. Leave a Facebook note. Go see them.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010


I get goose bumps when I hear The Star-Spangle Banner sung. My favorite singer of the national anthem is Carlos Santiago, our new worship leader at Southside. Man, can he ever do it!

America is the greatest country in the world because God has blessed us. His Truth has set us free to enjoy blessings and prosperity. That is what truth does. Truth makes us free. It is The Land of the Free because of God and His truth.

Without a doubt we are under attack as a Nation. Our liberties are being challenged by immoral decisions and actions. My prayer daily is for God to have mercy on America and bless us again with righteous and godly leaders.

Tuesday was election day across our Land in which primary elections were held. May God favor us with new leaders, new godly leaders, who realize that life, liberty, and happiness are gifts from God.

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Listen to these two videos. The first is Carlos singing and the second video is self-explanatory. God bless America.

Monday, June 7, 2010


This is the season for graduation celebrations. Parents, friends, teachers, church mentors, and others are all involved in this growth process in life development. It isn't an easy road for all parties. To graduate requires passing grades which requires untold hours spent in preparation and study which requires sacrifice and effort which requires support and encouragement. 

I have "graduated" several times. From high school to college and then grad work, each phase has been challenging, interesting, and rewarding. 

This week we have celebrated with numerous graduates and salute each of them and their parents and friends who have made it happen. Thanks to all the moms and dads who have hung in there. 

Do I remember grad night?

Yes, I do.

I remember walking out of my high graduation and four years later driving off the college campus after having completed my studies there. Wow! That was a great feeling.

Now, the real life work begins as these new graduates find their places in a real world alive with incredible challenges. My God help them and keep them and bless them all. May they follow Him and let Him release dreams and visions that are of eternal value. 


So what is the answer to Friday's riddle?

The Law of the Lord.

Friday, June 4, 2010


Do you like riddles? Samson of the Old Testament was a he-man, but he liked riddles. I am not very good at them, but here is one.

What is more precious than gold;
Sweeter than honey;
And releases great rewards?

The answer will come on Monday's blog.

Did you know that it is Scriptural for men to make the coffee? You know, HEBREWS!

What about these riddels?

1. What gets wetter and wetter the more it dries?
2. What goes round the world but stays in a corner?
3. What is black and white and red all over?
4. What goes up and down the stairs without moving?

Some riddles cannot be read because reading them is a give-a-way.

My father has a couple of riddles that he has told all my life. One of them is about the guy who said to another guy while standing at a pond, "Can't fish here." The guy responded, "I don't know?" The obvious answer is that he thought he was asking if fish can "hear"?

Here are the answers to the above riddles. The first riddle's answer comes Monday, unless you think you know it.

1. A towel
2. A stamp
3. An embarrassed skunk, or a sunburned penguin, or a zebra painted red, or a newspaper.
4. A rug

Wednesday, June 2, 2010


Tuesday I had lunch with my two young, outstanding staff members. These guys, Eric and Carlos, are sharp, creative, committed, and funny. Their faith and vision are inspiring. and they're youthfulness offers a counter balance to me as their senior, lead pastor. We feed off each other's ideas and passion.

Each Tuesday I take them out to lunch after our staff meeting. We talk church, personal, and share stories. You cannot go long until funny stuff comes up.

Preachers say the funniest things and the funniest stories happen in church. I have a life of humorous happenings that have followed me all through my ministry. Laughter makes life lighter. It lifts the load. It releases joy. It smoothes the tough spots.

What is my funniest moment? That is a hard one.

Was it when my pant zipper busted moments before performing a wedding ceremony?

Was it stepping into the wrong dressing/changing room after a baptismal service?

Was it losing my way in the middle of a sermon and forgetting one of the great miracles of the Bible?

Was it finishing a beautiful wedding ceremony with the words, "What God hath put apart let no man put asunder?"

Oh, there are many more.

I have books in my office that share the most hilarious stories you can imagine. One of the books is entitled, "Let's Hold Sis. Smith's Leg up in Prayer."

A friend sent this church video that I have watched half a dozen times. It's too funny!