Friday, December 30, 2011

NEW YEARS PLANS

The New Year is just a day away. I can't believe 2011 is spent. Time just flies when you're having fun. We had a full and enjoyable year. So many good things happened in our church. Sadly, we lost some wonderful church members who are in heaven now. The good news is that they are in heaven. There is another alternative, you know.

Wanda and I traveled a good bit this year. We made a motorcycle trip to the mountains and traveled to Arizona. Of course, there were many trips to see family.

Now what is in store for 2012?

Sunday I am preaching a sermon entitled, "Five Things To Do So That You Can Enjoy All God Has for You in 2012."

What are they?

1. Connect with God.
2. Throw Out the Trash.
3. Read Something Good.
4. Take Care of Your Temple.
5. Do What You Know To Do.


Of course I will elaborate some, but that is it. We all need to pay attention to each of these points. I believe they are the secret to having a great New Year!

Happy New Year Everyone!

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

SHOW GRACE

Grace is unmerited favor. It is kindness shown for the undeserving. It is the manifestation of God's love. It is clemency. It covers failures and shortcomings. It forgives, forgets, and forbears.

All of us need it. We all fall short. No one is perfecK.

Grace should not be taken for-granted or abused. Grace received should be with thanksgiving and gratitude.

Once I had to go before a judge due to not having a properly registered car tag. I had registered the car, but unknowing to me the metal tag wasn't current. A officer stopped me and gave me a citation. As I stood before the judge I could show that the car sticker was current, but I didn't know what happened with the tag. It could have cost several hundred dollars.

But, the judge was gracious. The state prosecutor wanted a harsher sentence, but the judge accepted my answer and let me go.

Whew!

Was I ever grateful. I deserved a fine, but grace was given.

I was thankful beyond my few words here. What is the point? All of us need grace at one time or another. It behooves us to show grace.

Grace is good.

Monday, December 26, 2011

A GIFT TO REMEMBER

I told Wanda that I had bought her a gift for Christmas this year that she would never forget. That perked her curiosity. We both bought each other five gifts for Christmas. It wasn't planned, but that is what happened.

So on Christmas Eve she opened three gifts and I opened three gifts. We saved two each to open on Christmas morning. I picked the ones she was to open and she picked the ones I was to open.

You guessed it. The gift that she will never forget was saved to open until Christmas morning. She got more curious.

Now all the giving and receiving is over, except for Julie and the boys. There is one Christmas celebration to share. They are excited.

But probably not any more curious than Wanda was about her gift to remember. I kept telling her that she would never forget this one. So Sunday morning came and two more gifts were opened by each of us.

One of her gifts was gold earrings. She loved them, but they were not to the gift to remember. That was yet to come. What do you think?

A ring?

Perfume?

A car?

A purse?

Diamonds?

No, this was to be a gift never to be forgotten. We've gotten into camping some, and when you camp in a tent there is one convenience that they don't add in any tent I have ever seen. Wanda has had to slip out into the night and into the bushes because of this forgotten convenience. So have you guessed the gift to remember yet? I gave her a camping, portable potty! She laughed and loved it. Now that is a gift to remember on a cold, dark night in a tent!

Friday, December 23, 2011

BUSY, BUSY, BUSY!

My post is brief. I'm busy.

What do pastors do?

Shepherd the flock. Pray. Preach the Word. Reach the lost. Disciple converts. Equip saints. Administrate. Vision cast. Plan. Organize. Implement. Help the fallen. Marry. Bury. Dedicate. Fellowship. Eat. Visit. Counsel......

Start all over and do it again, and again, and again, and again.

There is never a boring moment. Some moments are challenging, but never boring.

I love being a pastor. I serve a wonderful church. They are the best.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

A SPECIAL GIFT FOR WANDA

I will admit it that shopping isn't my most favorite thing. I do love to buy gifts, that is if I know what the person would like. Wanda has been asking me what I want for Christmas. I've asked her too. We both want to see each other blessed, and our children and families blessed, and our church blessed. So how do we do it?

Wanda has asked over and over what I would like beyond seeing others blessed. I have had a difficult time coming up with much. See bought me and Ipad2 for my birthday, and I have bought the needed apps to make it do what I want.

She has told me a couple of things she would like and has been nice enough to pick them out. That makes my job much easier. I will pick something out also for her. She is such a wonderful, beautiful wife. I love her. I want to see a smile when she opens my gift. I still have some shopping and gift buying to do.

A couple years back we didn't have gifts under our tree for each other due to other things we were doing and enjoying that we counted as Christmas. It wasn't quite the same. There wasn't a package to shake or tear into. We missed the fun and joy of opening gifts. We won't do that again.

I can't wait to see the grands open their gifts. I see smiles already. That are so cute and loving.

But the most special gift of Christmas is Christ. All the busyiness must never cloud or distract from the meaning of it all. Our Lord gave us the gift of life by His coming into this world. We have peace and joy because He so loved us.

Gift exchanging is fun, but the first gift of Christmas was the highest.

Monday, December 19, 2011

SMILE POWER

Smiles change lives, the mood of a room, the despair of a fallen heart. What is a smile worth? First it is a very inexpensive gift, but it has priceless value. I have had people make faces at me, wrinkle their noses, and turn their heads. Nothing good comes from that, but a smile is a different thing. Smiles perk the attitude and atmosphere.

As kids we sang, "Smile awhile and give your face a rest, raise your hand to the one you love the best. Then shake hands with those near by...." My mind cannot come up with the rest of the words, but I know the value of a cheerful, warm, look.

I've read that people who smile more make more. I know that their smile shows a intentional effort to have a positive view and a positive perspective. Smiles are outer reflections of a cheerful, thankful heart.

I read a story about a man who thought all was lost. He didn't have hope. He didn't think he had a reason to smile so he didn't. He went to a counselor and told his plight. The wise counselor asked the man to take a sheet of paper and write "assets" at the top of the sheet on one side and "liabilities" on the other side.

The man said he didn't have any assets and couldn't see the reason of making such a list.

So the counselor asked the discouraged man to put deceased wife on the liability side.

"My wife isn't deceased," the man responded.

The counselor said, "Then put that on the asset side. Now, put house burned down on the liability side."

"My house hasn't burned down," the frowning man said.

"Then put your house on the asset side, and put fired from job on the liability side," the counselor continued.

"I haven't been fired either. I have a job," the man shot back.

"Then put that on the asset side," the counselor directed.

The assets were beginning to far exceed his liabilites. The point is that too often we have a very poor perspective of how things really are. So I guess we need to count our blessings for God has been so good to all of us.

Now, smile!

Friday, December 16, 2011

I'VE GOT SNIFFLES

Ugh!

I don't feel so hot. I have caught the sniffles or whatever is gong around. One moment I have chills and then the next I am hot. Don't think I have had a fever. And boy can I sneeze. Just ask Wanda. I think I have sneezed to loud that she has nearly fainted.

My cure is lots of liquids, rest, soup, and cold medicines. More than that I have prayed and asked the Lord to touch my body.

Someone asked me recently if God heals. My answer is yes, I believe God heals today. Is everyone healed? The obvious answer is no. I don't have all the answers on divine healing, but I know that if we pray then God hears. I would rather believe in a prayer answering God who doesn't limit how He answers or what prayers He answers. If He answers any prayers, and He does, then I believe He can answer all prayers.

So I am expecting to get better soon. He cares about colds too!

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

TEBOWISM'S

What is a Tebowism?

It comes from the current phenomena of Tim Tebow and his football prowess and faith. Tim Tebow became the starting quarterback for the Denver Broncos this season after their team had a very poor start. They ware 1-4 before Tebow, and now the Broncos are 8-5 after Tebow. He has lead them to 7 wins and many of them in overtime. He has become a national phenomena because of his faith and grit on the football field.

Now a Tebowism is a term being used to explain the unexplainable turn of events that lead to success. It often includes miracle-like events. Tebowisms occur when people don't quit in spite of insurmountable odds.

Tim Tebow often kneels on the football field in prayerful thanks after a miraculous win. He gives glory to His Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. He is not ashamed of his faith nor His Lord.

Tim is clean-cut, apple pie, and a generally good guy. He is also a leader, a determined football player, and strong-willed in his convictions. He doesn't compromise.

Those are head turning qualities. His sincerely, purity, and bold faith are unflappable. He is real.

Real faith is good.

He has beat all oddsmakers who said he couldn't play quarterback in the NFL. I am sincerely praying that God will help Tim to be one of the ones He uses to speak faith back into a faithless Nation.

***

Lord, please make Tim bold, courageous, and even more passionate. Help him bring glory to your name in winning or losing. Use Tim to speak faith to a faithless generation. Protect him and keep him.

In Jesus Name, Amen!

Monday, December 12, 2011

VISION LIKE A SNAIL

The snail was climbing up the tree when a worm peeked out a woodpecker hole and asked where the snail was going?

The snail replied, "I am climbing the tree to get some apples."

The worms smirked, "There are no apples in the tree."

"There will be when I get up there," the snail responded.

Sometimes slow, determined perseverance is the only way to achieve the desired goal. It would be nice if everything moved at the pace we want, but that just isn't life. Most of the great victories of life come from hard work and lots of sweat.

Here is the point. Keep climbing up the tree like the snail. You'll get there at the right time, and the apples will taste even better than you can imagine.


Friday, December 9, 2011

GRANDS ARE GREAT!

Wanda and I are on the run. We left Jacksonville on Thursday afternoon headed to Tampa. We left Tampa that evening driving back up to Leesburg. Friday morning we’re headed to Orlando, and then later Friday afternoon we return back to Jacksonville.


Why make such a trip?


The answer is simple.


Grandchildren!


One grandson had a track meet. One grandson had a music concert. One grandson had a football game. Proud grandparents want to see it all.


We can’t do everything or go to everything they do, but it is a joy to share in their lives and watch them grow up. It is happening so quickly. They are good grands. We are proud of them all.


We also celebrated Julie’s birthday which is next Tuesday. We made every moment count. Julie is such a beautiful young woman. We are so proud and thankful to the Lord for her.


Between going to Tampa and Orlando we stopped overnight and saw mom and dad. Our visits were too quick, but very enjoyable. We love our family.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

COMMUNICATION SPEED

I am amazed at how fast news travels. The speed and amount of communication in today's world is totally incredible. What must the world been like before telegraphs, trans-Atlantic cable, phones, or television.

And now we are in the age of hyper-communication with twitter, texting, social networks, Internet news, and YouTube. I can talk with folks and see them on my phone. I get pictures of grandchildren's events at long distances away. Wow!

But no modern communication comes close to the manner which God communicates. He needs no server, wires, cables, buttons, or tech savvy to share or connect to me. He is there. He is everywhere with no limits, boundaries, or barriers. He is God.

I am amazed that He would talk or spend time with me. I thank you Lord for reaching out to me, for loving me, for caring for me. I am amazed that you would patiently wait for me to talk to you. Please forgive me when I fail to take time with you. Thank you for caring for me and listening to me.

And all that with no connection costs.

Monday, December 5, 2011

WHAT ARE YOU SAYING?

What we say moves us toward what we'll eventually have. Positive words help us enjoy positive results. Spoken words have value and consequence.

I recently read these words from a devotional book. Maybe they will encourage you as they did me.

"Instead of saying, ‘We’ve never done it before,’ say, ‘We have the opportunity to be first.’

Instead of saying, ‘We don’t have the resources,’ say, ‘Necessity fuels invention.’

Instead of saying, ‘There’s not enough time,’ say, ‘We’ll change how we work.’

Instead of saying, ‘We’ve already tried that,’ say, ‘We learned from experience.’

Instead of saying, ‘We don’t have the expertise,’ say, ‘Let’s network with those who do.’

Instead of saying, ‘Our vendors and customers won’t go for it,’ say, ‘Let’s show them the opportunities.’

Instead of saying, ‘We don’t have enough money,’ say, ‘Maybe there’s something we can cut.’

Instead of saying, ‘We’re understaffed,’ say, ‘We’re a lean, hungry team.’

Instead of saying, ‘It’ll never get any better,’ say, ‘We’ll try one more time.’

Instead of saying, ‘Let somebody else deal with it,’ say, ‘I’m ready to learn something new.’

Instead of saying, ‘It’s not my job,’ say, ‘I’ll be glad to take the responsibility.’

Instead of saying, ‘I can’t,’ say, ‘By God’s grace I can!’”

(From Daily Devotionals: A Word for you Today: Word For You Today -- Online Devotionals)

So, what are you saying?

***

By the way, Alabama will play LSU for the National College Football Championship!

Roll Tide!

Friday, December 2, 2011

DECORATING TIME AGAIN

I love Christmas lights, and Christmas trees, and lots of Christmas packages. It is that time of year again. I have already climbed into the attic to pull down decorations for Wanda, and now it is time to head to the attic again to get the outdoor lights and decorations and put them up.

This has been my tradition for years and years going back to when I first owned a home in Bartow, Fl. Each year I have changed or added or left off or replaced stuff, but I like the look outdoors with Christmas lights glowing.

Our neighborhood does a good job displaying the Christmas spirit. On Christmas eve we line our streets with candles burning. People come from all over Southside to see the beauty.

I know that lots of people struggle with hurt and loss during this time especially if they have recently lost a dear one. I certainly understand that, but I also know that the Lord can shine His Light and love into our hearts to help comfort and soothe the broken heart.

His joy and peace cannot be taken away. His love brightens the way. He is, after all, The Light of the world.

So, I'll get the lights down again. I want lights, lights, and more lights to shine in a dark world.


Wednesday, November 30, 2011

MORE JAG CHANGES

In my last post I wrote about missed opportunities and referenced the missed opportunity of the Jacksonville Jaguar team in not drafting Tim Tebow. I noted that the team he is quarterback for is winning, and our Jag team is losing. I think not drafting Tim Tebow was a terrible mistake.

Today the Jacksonville Jaguars fired the head coach, Jack Del Rio. He is considered the goat for our losing team, but I think the root problem is deeper than just with the coach.

Now the team is being sold too. They say the team will stay in Jacksonville, but time will tell on that one. For now change is in the wind.

The coach will still be paid several million dollars so only is pride is really hurt. Millions of dollars will heal his wound and make him good as new.

What will the future hold for the Jags?

A new head coach.

More promises and hope.

More uncertainty for now.

Sooner or later, players have to make plays regardless of who the coach is. Sooner or later, the game is won or lost on the field.

For now the is change in the air. We will see where it takes us.

Monday, November 28, 2011

MISSED OPPORTUNTIES

The Jacksonville Jaguars lost yesterday. The Denver Broncos won. Why?

Could it be that Tim Tebow is the quarterback in Denver and not the quarterback in Jacksonville?

Our quarterback is a rookie and not playing very good. Hopefully he will do better and soon, but now we are losing. We could have had Tim Tebow in Jacksonville, but we passed him in the draft. Our team lost a great opportunity.

Sad, very sad.

I don't think that drafting Tim Tebow would have be a cure all for our team, but he is doing good. The Jags are not so hot right now. We are lacking leadership and determination. Tim has both of those in high quantity.

I wonder how many opportunities I have lost? I suspect more than I would like to know. I can think of a few. All of us have made poor choices and missed more good opportunities than we know. Maybe today we can all do better.

Look around. Make God-centered choices. Honor Him. Do good for others. Don't think of self so much. Give sacrificially. Live in the light of eternity. That will lead to less missed opportunities.

Friday, November 25, 2011

TURKY, TURKEY, TURKEY!

Well now, I have eaten enough turkey for the week. Can't someone pass another turkey sandwitch? How about another helping of turkey dressing?

YUM!

Pecan pie, pound cake, pumkin pie, all in my belly.

Now it is time to jog, walk, run, do sittups and pushupss, and leg lifts.

The best part is being with family. This year we are in Tallahassee with Wanda's family. They are a great bunch. It has been super!

Maybe one day Wanda and I can get all of our kids and grands together for a Thanksgiving celebration. That would be fun.

Now, Roll Tide!

Beat Auburn.

And then, go for the National Championship!

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

FAITHFULNESS

Love is very weak or even none existent when faithfulness is absent. How can one say that they love when there is no dependability, consistency, or commitment? Can one say that they love their children when they have no care or provision to feed or clothe them? Can one say to their spouse that they love them when they really are sneaking around and having an affair?

How can we say we love God when there is little or no evidence of following His Word or making time for Him?

People do what they love. If we love sports, then sports will occupy our time. Shopping? Then off we go to the malls. Or fishing? Get the boat ready, here I come. Or golfing, or motorcycling, or cooking, or traveling, or reading, or hunting, or any thousand other love?

Here is the deal. Love, I mean true love leads to faithfulness. It leads to consistent, passionate involvement. Love for God turns into faithful acts of discipleship.

The Word say, "If you love me....? then you will keep my commandments."

It is just that simple. We all do what we want to do.

Loving God turns into real action steps of faithful, following the One we love.

Monday, November 21, 2011

GIVING THANKS

This week is Thanksgiving week. We'll be gathering with family and sharing Thanksgiving with Wanda's family in Tallahassee. I have already enjoyed one Thanksgiving meal with the seniors of our church. There is more turkey in my future.

In my Thanksgiving sermon on Sunday, I shared the comic cartoon of Snoopy having dog food set before him for Thanksgiving dinner. He complained why do I only get dog food. Then he paused and said, "Well it could be worse. I could be a turkey."

Ha!

We can all find something to be thankful for. No matter how tough things may be, God is good. We can still be thankful.

If for nothing else, be thankful you are not a turkey.

So don't act like one.

Friday, November 18, 2011

TELL THE TRUTH

The story is told about a father who went to his sons and asked which one of the had thrown the outhouse in the river.

None of them would own up to it. So the father decided to make this a teaching moment. He reminded them of George Washington's father who asked his son, George, if he had cut the cherry tree down. George said that he could not tell a lie and said that he had cut the tree down. His father forgive him because he told the truth.

Finally one of the boys fessed up, "I did it. I can't tell a lie either. I am sorry."

The father quickly grabbed the boy up and took him to the woodshed and gave it to him.

After his whipping, the son asked, "Why did you whip me. George's father forgave him."

The father said, "I understand, but George's father wasn't in the cherry tree when he cut it down."

Ha!

What is the point?

Truth is the best policy. Doing what it right always pays even if you have to take the punishment. So many today are taking shortcuts to a bad end. Truth eventually surfaces. No one is getting by with anything.

The worse thing that can happen with sin is for it to stay covered and not be found out until it is dwelt with when one stands before God. Then it will be too late.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

MY PLEA

When I began this blog, I had numerous thoughts about the direction I should take. My initial blog writing began due to my first wife's illness and death which eventually led to my own blog. Plea became the vehicle to express my thoughts.

Why the title Plea?

I feel a desire to write to appeal, inspire, and encourage readers by sharing my thoughts, dreams, and feeling through personal experiences and observations. I am a preacher, and preachers preach. They proclaim. They exhort. They encourage, convict, and inspire.

Lamentations 3 reads:

55 I called on your name, LORD,
from the depths of the pit.
56 You heard my plea: “Do not close your ears
to my cry for relief.”
57 You came near when I called you,
and you said, “Do not fear.”

The Lord hears our pleas. He does not close His ears. He soothes and calms our fears. We do not have to be afraid.

My plea is for the higher good, to encourage a better future, destiny, and end.

God will hear that plea. I pray others do too.

Monday, November 14, 2011

HOT! HOT! HOT!

I am in New Iberia, LA, with Wanda and her family. One of her favorite uncles died, and the family asked if I would help with the funeral. It has been a quick trip, and we are headed home today.

We did have a few moments to tour the factory on Avery Island where they make Tabasco Pepper Sauce. When we drove into their parking lot you could smell the hot sauce and it slightly burned your eyes. It takes over 3 years for them to make the sauce as they age it 3 years before they mixed it and bottle it.

Their plant bottles over 700,000 bottles a day and ship around the whole. This process has been going on for almost 150 years back into the 1800's.

I love food. I mean I love any kind of food. But I don't enjoy hot stuff. I can take just a tiny bit of spicy stuff, but not much. They gave each of us four small bottles of the hot sauce. Don't know if I'll try any. No, I know I want try any.

Thy make ice cream with it too. Cool but hot, hot, hot.

Interesting. I tried less than half of a spoon full. That was enough for me. I can still taste it.

Hot! Hot! Hot!

Friday, November 11, 2011

WHAT IS IMPORTANT?

My last post was about Penn State University and Head Football Joe Paterno and the scandal they are dealing with concerning an assistant football coach abusing little boys. It is a very sad story. For years there was a coverup at worse or negligence at least to deal with the assistant coach. Now it is all coming to light and heads are rolling. Only God knows how many innocents were abused.

The President, Head Football Coach, Athletic Director, and a Vice-President have all been fired. Their failure to properly report and protect little boys have brought them all down.

Why did they fail to report the abuses? How could this happen?

Those and other questions are still to be answered, but one thing is certain, priority is being brought into focus. The Board of Trustees are having to deal with one of the worst scandals imaginable. It is so very sad.

Some are wanting the Head Coach to continue. Lots of attention is being placed on JoePa as they call him. They worry about his legacy.

So what!

Here is the issue. Football is not king. No one is above the law. Little ones should be protected. It doesn't matter if they ever play another football game or not there. What matters is that there is a return to sanity and a real world.

How can you really feel so sorry for a few coaches when little boys have been abused and violated. That is where the attention and sorrow should be.

May God have mercy on those little ones. That is what is important.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

WHAT ABOUT JOE PATERNO?

Who is Joe Paterno?

He is the long time head football coach for Penn State University. He is the all-time winningness football coach ever. He has over 400 wins beating all other head football coaches. He is 84 years old and has been known to be respected and well thought of as a "good guy".

Now he is under fire because he fell to report an assistant football coach who was reported to him of abusing little boys. This happened years ago and no one did anything to find or help the little boys or other little boys.

Now Penn State Athletic Director and other administrative heads are rightfully under fire for not reporting this to the police. Coach Paterno is being called into question over this also. Legal and moral obligations were not properly met or exercised. How so very, very sad for all these little boys.

What is the point here?

The point is that we do have moral responsibilities. We cannot turn our backs on innocents. There are acceptable and non-acceptable laws of behavior. Mankind does have a moral obligation.

I don't know the truth or details of all this. Coach Joe Paterno may not have done anything wrong, but it strongly appears that a cover-up was in the works. It appears their sacred program was held in higher esteem than the care of innocent little boys. It appears something was terribly, morally wrong at Penn State. As of this writing, Coach Paterno has been unwilling to talk to reporters or anyone about his actions. He has had hundreds and hundreds of press conferences about football, but now he cannot meet and answer what happened to innocent little boys.

No one gets by with anything. They may or may not be found out in this life, but God sees all and knows all. He has a total observation of every detail and misdeed. Before Him, we will all give account.

Monday, November 7, 2011

MISSED OPPORTUNITIES

Well by now you know it, at least if you know anything about college football. Alabama lost to LSU 9-6 on Saturday night. It was billed at the game of the decade, or even the game of the century. LSU was ranked no. 1 and Alabama was no. 2 of all Division 1 colleges. It was a defensive battle from start to finish. I don't remember a football score in recent years of being tied 6-6 at the end of regulation playing time. LSU won in overtime with a field goal 9-6.

Sad!

More than sad!

You should have seen the looks of all those Alabama fans. Tears were welling up in all their eyes.

Yet we should have, could have won the game. We missed four field goals. We had a pass take-a-way interception on the one yard line that surely would have produced a winning score.

There were too many missed opportunities. Sad. More than sad.

Yet, I wonder how many missed opportunities we all have that have greater consequence than a football game.

A missed opportunity to say a kind word.
A missed opportunity to make a life moment special.
A missed opportunity to make special times like birthdays, anniversaries, or other such events really big.

Alabama lost a shot to win a National Championship which can never be realized. The opportunity is gone. Forever. They had chances, but they let their opportunities slip through their fingers.

Here is the point. Don't waste or miss your opportunities today. Make it a point to make a phone call. Send a card. Go see a friend. Give a nice gift. Forgive. Forget. Go do it. Do it now. Otherwise you may forever miss your opportunity for blessing and goodness.

Friday, November 4, 2011

TECH ADDICTION?

I recently read an article that dwelt with tech addiction to smart phone, iPads, iPods, and computers. It listed many marks of possible addiction and I think I had one or two of them. I thought the only thing I was addicted to was coffee and Wanda and not in that order.

How do you know if you're addicted?

1. Waking up in the night to check computers, iPhones, or iPads.
2. Paying more attention to tech stuff than people in the room with you.
3. Thinking that an event hasn't happened until it is posted on the Internet.
4. Feeling that your missing something unless you're online.
5. Always grabbing for your phone when hearing a ring in a crowded room.

So, should I turn the iPhone and iPad off?

For me it is a work tool, but admittedly it has to be kept in proper place. People are more important than an email from a national campaign group or other spam. Tech stuff has not life or love or care. It is just mind occupying, time consuming geek tools. Am I a geek? Don't think so.

So the issue is balance and keeping life in order. It is doing work in a smart fashion, but not losing people in the background. I don't foresee getting rid of my tech stuff, but I do see reigning it is some.

Wanda will be glad to read this, and she will be gladder if I follow through. Have I moved from couch potato to computer potato?

Oh, one other thought.

Roll Tide! Beat LSU!

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

ONE ANOTHER

Encouragement is a difference maker. A good work spoken can lift the spirit, release new hope, strengthen, and propel to a better future. Everyone needs encouragement. Kinds words shared at critical times can foil failure and compel the discouraged to become more than a conquerer.


How can we encourage? I am glad you asked. Here are a few ways.


1. Say thanks to someone doing a new or hard task.

2. Say thank you for jobs well done.

3. Smile.

4. Smooth over a failure of a friend or stranger.

5. Offer a cup of cool water to the heavy laden.

6. Be a peace maker.

7. Speak truth in love. Make that lots of love.


Paul wrote that we should encourage one another. He shared:


Serve one another-Gal. 5:13

Bear with one another-Eph 4:2

Forgive one another: Eph 4:32

Submit to one another: Eph 5:21

Comfort one another: I Thess 4:18

Edify one another: I Thess 5:11


We are further told to greet one another, be hospitable to one another, to consider one another, and to encourage one another. Over and over we are told to love one another.


The truth is we need one another. No one does well on an island alone. Everyone is important in God's KIngdom.

Monday, October 31, 2011

TRUNK OR TREAT






Sunday night we had our first Trunk or Treat at church which takes the place of our annual Harvest Festival. It was a great night of candy, candy, candy!

What is Trunk or Treat?

Glad you asked.

It is a fun night of games, bouncy house, music, painted faces, hot dogs, and candy, candy, candy. Trunks of cars, vans, and motorcycles were decorated and kids got to Trick or Treat in trunks. I was amazed at the creativity and unusual presentation.


Everyone had a super time. I guess the kiddies will need stomach medication for all the candy, and moms and dads needed nerve medication from all the hyper kids.

See those three little kiddies? Those are triplets and their big sister. They are the only triplets I have ever had in a church where I was pastor. They are cut-ties!



Wanda and I decorated "Big Red". She wanted to make it a lady bug, but that was too female sounding for "Big Red". We need a little more masculinity happening. "Big Red" would not have wanted to be dressed in lady bug garb.

Trunk or Treat is a unique way to present an alternative to Halloween. I love it! Fun!

Can somebody say, "Candy, candy, candy!"


Friday, October 28, 2011

WELCOME HOME!





Here are pictures from the landing of the Ocala Veteran’s Honor Flight to Washington D. C. Dad was one of over 100 veterans who made the day long flight to Washington and back to see the World War II Memorial. The landing ceremony was quite impressive as hundreds turned out to salute the veterans. I was proud of dad and all of the vets. It was a touching time to see men and women who served our Nation with such honor.

Salute Again!




I left late Thursday afternoon and rode "Big Red" to the Ocala Fl Airport and waited with all the other thankful families and friends and Americans for the Honor Flight. They landed to great celebration and fanfare. It made you proud to be an American.




They call World War II veterans "the greatest generation". I think there is something to that. We have so much to learn from this group, but not much time to capture their spirit and heart.


So, thanks again Dad, and welcome home!




Wednesday, October 26, 2011

THREE CHEERS FOR DAD!


My father, Oscar Milton Dykes, served in the Navy in WWII. He served at the end of the war in Pensacola, Fl. Through the years I have heard his stories of Navy service and have been thankful and proud of him. He gave his time and service in an admirable manner.

Now he is planning a trip to Washington D.C., to visit the WWII Memorial. On Thursday, dad will be going with some 100+ other WWII veterans provided for them free as a honor for their service by the Ocala Veterans Honor Flight. They pay all the expenses for the veterans and give them a great day.

Salute!

I admire and appreciate Dad and all of our veterans for the sacrifices they made. We enjoy freedom because they gave. We all owe them a deep heart felt thanks for their efforts.

Some gave their lives and died on foreign soil. Some received war injuries. To all we say again, "Thank You" for a job well done.

I wish I could go with dad on this trip. It isn't possible, but I do want him and all of our servicemen and serviceladies to know that I am grateful to live in the greatest nation in the world. They helped make it the land of the free and the home of the brave.

Thanks, Dad. I love you and am very proud of you.

Monday, October 24, 2011

PASTORAL HOSPITAL VISITS

Good pastors truly shepherd and care for the flocks. Pastors can't be everywhere doing everything for everyone, but good pastors watch over the sheep. Someone said that good pastors smell like sheep. I think there is some truth to that.

This morning I am making a couple of hospital calls. One member is having a heart cath with stints. Another member is old and losing health. Both members need prayer.

How does a pastor make a successful hospital visit?

1. Show up.
2. Show care.
2. Pray
3. Assist with needs.
4. Leave

Praying and leaving quickly generally make the visit go better especially when someone is very ill. Sick people need prayer and rest. They don't need to entertain the preacher or anyone else for that matter.

Jesus cared for the flock. He sought out the lost sheep. He gave His life for us. Can we do any less?

Oh, pastors don't know someone is sick and in the hospital if they aren't told. Catch the drift?

Friday, October 21, 2011

MORE ABOUT IPAD 2

So, can you tell I am enjoying my new Ipad2?

It is amazing. I carry less books around. Don't need paper to write on anymore. Read the newspaper and can read magazines on it. It is a reminder. My banker. Weather report system. It is my camera, video, and photo system. It has all of my music.

it is my dictionary, thesaurus, map, and reference books holder.

I carry all my Bibles and sermon notes in it.

I used it to preach my last funeral sermon and Wed. night message.

I even read my blog on it.

All of its info is stored in my computer and Iphone too.

Just Amazing!

Wish I had gotten one before now.

No, I still haven't played any games with it yet.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

THE TAIL OF THE DRAGON


Wanda and I rode "The Tail of the Dragon" in Deals Gap, NC. We rode it in the rain. That is 11 miles with 318 curves. Now before you say we are crazy, let me tell you that I had a certified trainer coaching us through the drive.

People ride from all over America to ride Dragon's Tail. Personally I don't think it is the toughest ride in the Smokies, but it is extremely challenging.




What is the point of riding Dragon's Tail?

For a biker, it is the challenge.
It is fun.
It is beautiful.
It gives bragging rites.
It is an amazing ride.




They have a "Tree of Shame" at the bottom where motorcycle parts are hung from fallen motorcycles. We didn't do it with thrill expectations riding at fast speeds. It was more a fun ride just enjoying the curves. I will admit the first part in hard rain wasn't the best, but we rode through that in a moment and then the ride was pleasant.


Riding in the Smokies is so different than in Florida. Here it is straight and boring. I love Florida, but I love riding in the Smokies more.

Isn't Wanda a trooper. She said she actually enjoyed riding Dragon's Tail. Now that is some wife

Monday, October 17, 2011

THREE CHEERS FOR EDNA


Faithful church members are jewels in my book. I am talking about those who are there when the doors are open. I mean those who remain faithful to their church for years and do not leave. These kind love their pastors and don't shun any. They carry the load of church work. They are givers and not takers. Faithful church members are not fair weather folks. They don't merely ride on the band wagon. They love the Lord, their church, and the lost. They stick through thick and thin.

Here is on of those church members.

I am talking about Edna Smart in Elba, Alabama.

Wanda and I preached there at First Assembly a couple of weeks back. Edna was there when I was pastor in 1975. There are other wonderful church members that I could write about in that church.

Edna Smart has taught Sunday School for 50+ years and was chosen as the Sunday School Teacher of the Year in Alabama for the Assemblies of God. That is special. She is a shining light and a model to follow. She is not perfect. No one is perfect, but she has been faithful and loved the Lord, her church, and the lost.

There have been many times she could have quit or gone somewhere else to church. She could have quit attending period, but she didn't.

Thank God for God for faithful church members. Edna Smart has a great reward in heaven. I am sure.

Friday, October 14, 2011

MAKE FRIENDS

Friendship keeps life from being lonely and boring. Friends stick with you, at least true friends do, through thick and thin. They don't run away when you aren't your best. They don't care if you're riding high or sinking low. They accept you regardless. That is a true friend.

Friendship is the result of being friendly. It happens when no records are kept.

I have been fortunate to enjoy having many friends and some for years. I wouldn't attempt to name them because I would surely leave someone off the list. Not good!

What do good friendships require?

Time. Trust. Truth. Tact.

Friendships that are genuine can be picked up even after long lapes of involvement. They don't fade or wash out.

What make for friendship?

A smile. A kind word. A few compliments. A thoughtful deed.

What makes for friendship?

Reaching out again. Being hard to be offended. Accepting the good, the bad, the ugly.

Jesus is my friend.

Wanda is my friend.

My family are all friends.

The list goes from there. I hope I can be a good friend. So many have been kind to me.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

SAFE DRIVING

Riding a motorcycle in the rain is challenging. No, sometimes it can be nerve racking. I ride for pleasure not for thrill, but sometimes you get caught in the rain. So what do you do? Slow down. Use caution. Pay attention to potential slick spots. No quick stops, turns, or sudden changes. Ride through curves at a constant speed. Give lots of room for cars, trucks, or any other vehicle. Pay attention. Or, just park it.

Safe riding isn't automatic. It requires focus.

Safe journeying in life also demands more attention. My heart breaks when I see personal life crashes. I have ministered to so many fallen individuals. It hurts when you see people hurt.

I have ridden "Big Red" in the rain some this week. God has kept me safe. I thank Him.

Now, may God help me to complete my life journey safely too.

That is all that matters.

Maybe I need to slow down. That is a key in safe riding. Maybe I should wait more on the Lord. He will guide if I will listen.

Wait on the Lord.

Monday, October 10, 2011

JUST JUICY FRUIT

Love and faithfulness are fruits of the Spirit. Gal. 5:22 tells us that.

Solomon wrote that love and faithfulness should never depart from us. They bring favor with men and God.

Sunday I preached a message entitled "Juicy Fruit". We all need them. They bless and add joy. At the end of my message I gave everyone a pack of Juicy Fruit chewing gum. Now chew on this message. Let the sweetness of love and faithfulness bless you.

Just Juicy Fruit.

Blessings!

Friday, October 7, 2011

USING MY IPAD2

I am having fun with my new IPad2. In fact, I am typing this post on my IPad. I have a wireless keypad that lets me do it rather easy. Man, am I cool or what?

In the early '80's I bought one of the first Apple computers. It had a floppy disk, but it was cool for the day. Not many folks had one back then. It basically was a word processor. It couldn't do much more.

Now with a MacBook, IPhone, IPad2, I am cooking with gas, as my father would say. What am I doing with it?

Research, reading, writing, journaling, bill paying, calendaring, and the list goes on.

I love reading with it. I don't have to carry a handful of books around everywhere. It is something!

It is interesting to learning how to use it. I check an IPad2 book for Dummies out of the library. That's me. I am a dummy, but I am learning.

What does John Maxwell say about leaders?

Leaders must be learners. So, I am a dummy, but everyday I am learning a little more.

I wonder what will be coming down the road? When I was in college, it was an old typewriter. Now, I am cool. I'm hip. Like man, I am with it.

Just a dummy having fun!

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

NEW TOYS?

It isn't Christmas is it? I guess that is still three months away, but I feel like it is Christmas. Wanda bought me an Ipad for my birthday. Can you believe it. She said that I had bought her lots of nice jewelry and she wanted to do something nice for me.

She is quite a lady and is an incredible blessing to me.

So I am learning the new toy, err, I mean work tool. Actually I don't have any games on it or any of my computers. I think I should add some. Maybe it would keep me from being so dull. I could turn into a really hip guy.

Maybe this Ipad will help with that. My secretary came into my office and saw me working on my Ipad. She accused me of playing with my toy. Well, it is fun, but I wasn't playing I was working.

What will my Ipad do?

Too much for me to write here. It has a camera, Ipod, calender, contact list, GPS, internet and email, photos, movies, library, and the list goes on and on.

There are many changes in this world that I haven't enjoyed and personally just don't like. Computer technology is huge to me.

Thanks Wanda. You are a blessing to me. Love you!

Monday, October 3, 2011

GOOD CHURCH FOLKS

I love church folks. "Folks" is a Southern term for people. I love people, but I really love church folks. They are the salt of the earth. They are light in a dark world. They are healers and helpers. They pick people up when they are down.

Church folks are not perfect, but they have God's love in their hearts. That love is what makes church folks incredibly special.

I see that love in action over and over. I have felt that love and have been blessed by it. Yes, church folks are difference makers. They help smooth over the rough spots in life, and give second, third, and infinitum chances.

Now maybe you have been hurt by a church "folk." That can happen too. I have been hurt by a few, but the greatest majority by far can be counted on the help you when your down.

After being in The Church all these years, I have decided I will stay in the Ship of Zion until I get to the others side. Jesus loved The Church. He died for it. The Church is close to the heart of God, and He wants us to treat it with love and proper care. My commitment is to love and care for The Church as a good shepherd.

An by the way, Church folks are good cooks. They make great banana puddings.

Don't get down on church folks. Let God's love fill your heart again for them if there is a hurt spot or disappointment.

I love good church folks. Hope you do too!

Be Blessed!

Friday, September 30, 2011

HOMECOMING!

Wanda and I are headed to Elba, Al, to preach their annual homecoming service. I was their pastor in the mid-'70's. That was a special time in my life. My second child, Jennifer, was born while we were there, and I led the Elba First congregation into a church relocation and building program. I have many fond memories there.

Coffee County is famous for peanuts. I love peanut butter, peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, and peanut butter pie. Delicious! Oh man, hope somebody makes a peanut butter pie for Sunday lunch. I know they will have banana pudding. Yum!

Seeing old friends and wonderful church people will be most special. They loved us and cared for us. I can't understand why they let a 26 year old kid be their pastor. Can you believe it?

While I was their pastor, God spoke into my heart that He would use me in writing. I developed a love and vision for sharing my thoughts on the printed page. Amazingly, beyond what I could imagine, God turned those dreams into reality. Vision and dreams propel us to a better end, if they are from the Lord.

I am looking forward to a great time in Elba.


Wednesday, September 28, 2011

ANOTHER BIRTHDAY COMING

This Thursday, Sept. 29, I can officially file for Social Security. That doesn't seem possible. How did I get that old so quick? I won't be filing because I love what I do as a pastor and I am not ready to retire. I am re-fired and ready to preach the Word. I love what I do so filing for Social Security is not in the plan.

But I am getting older.

You may have heard another rumor. It is true.

Norma is as old as I am.

That's right. My little sister is my age.

I rib her a lot about that each year from the first part of August until the end of September. She just can't bear the fact that we're the same age for a month and a half, or at least the same numerical age. Teasing her is fun. Of course, she give it back to me when my birthday rolls around.

Birthdays are coming around faster every year for me. Whew! Here comes another one.

Monday, September 26, 2011

CHURCH TRANSITIONS

Change can be hard when it comes to losing precious people you work with. Sunday I sadly had to announce the upcoming loss and transition of our wonderful music director, Carlos Santiago. He grew up in our church and graduated from Southeastern University in Lakeland, Fl, my alma mater.

Carlos came back home from college to work in our church and help his pastor. I will always be grateful for his faithful, gifted ministry. He is an extremely talented soloist. My can that young man sing! Close your eyes and open your ears and you can not tell if Carlos or Steve Green is singing. What a voice!

Now, it is time for Carlos to go and find his own way in another setting. We don't want to see him go, but I guess it is time. It is so sad for us, but at the same time there is a sense of pride, no, not pride but of thankfulness, for Carlos. He is one of us. He is from our DNA. He is a spiritual son.

Carlos will be with us a few weeks, and then change will come. God has new things for Carlos, and there are new things for our fellowship. I pray God's highest blessings on Carlos and our precious church family.

God does all things well. Our tomorrows are promised to be exciting, rewarding, and fruitful.

Friday, September 23, 2011

GOD CREATED FLOWERS



Bright, alive colors get my attention. I love reds and yellows and oranges, and greens and blues and all of the rainbow's hew. Colors capture my eyes view. They stimulate and inspire. They decorate and make for better connection.

Nature's colors really get my attention. I love the colors of Spring and Fall. The deep greens of Summer catch my attention too. Even the grays of Winter make for an interesting change, though not as glorious.

I suppose that is why I love flowers in our back yard. When I read the Word and pray and meditate, the beauty of God's glory shines. They proclaim His radiant life. The flowers show His handiwork. He is alive. He is real. He is active in my world.

That is why I love what Wanda does in making our backyard glow. Her mother is here now and they have added new flowers and plants and colors. The reds and yellows, and oranges and whites beam. They inspire and motivate.

I love it.

God created flowers, but loving hands place them in prominent places.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

ARE YOU THANKFUL?

I know it is not Thanksgiving yet, but thanksgiving is not merely an annual event. It should be a moment by moment expression of our hearts. Thankfulness is the nutriment of positive living. It is soul food for the faithful.

In our staff meeting at church this week I took time for each staff member to go around the room and express in one sentence what they were thankful for in the lives of their fellow workers. When the time ended, there were smiles and a few tears of gratitude around the room. It was a faith building, love bonding moment. We all grew.

Some said to me, pastor I am thankful for you because:

1. you are steadfast.
2. you are my spiritual mentor.
3. you are here for us.
4. you are a good letter writer.

There were other comments, but I will tell you I felt better after that staff meeting. They all felt better too.

Don't wait to express to others why you are thankful to the Lord for them. Why not build them up today. Think on the positive values of others. Let God focus on their weaknesses. You help build up their strengths.

Monday, September 19, 2011

ENCOURAGING WORDS

Good words spoken in due season have power to change lives. Encouraging words are like rain on dry plants. They water the soul and give life to the dry heart. The give courage to the weary traveler.

Once when I was a young teenager, I missed the last question of a Bible state quiz championship playoff game that cost our team. We lost because my mind went blank. It was in front of hundreds of people. I was deflated and defeated.

After the quiz was over, I went to my seat in the audience. I was embarrassed and wanted to hide.

But an old minister, leaned over to me and spoke encouraging words and helped my wounded feelings and spirit.

I have never forgotten that moment of encouragement. It helped me try again. I got over my defeat and discouragement.

That is the power of an encouraging word.

Friday, September 16, 2011

EARLY RISER?

Getting up before the crack of dawn has never been my forte. I don't get up at the crack of noon either, but times are changing. Is it my age? Or body chemistry? Or a late change of life? Whatever the reason, I find myself late in late wanting to go to bed earlier and rise earlier.

For preachers, so much of our life ministry is in the evenings, and because of that, we need to be our best in the evening. That makes sense doesn't it. Also, does it really matter if work and life is done early or late?

Jesus rose early to pray. Of course He is the perfect model to follow, but He also prayed at night. Sometimes He prayed all night. I wonder if our Lord ever took an afternoon power nap?

Nevertheless, I am rising earlier and spending more time with the Lord and preparing for the events of the day. Yes, I am struggling some in the evening, but that's life.

Meeting the Lord early does make the day go better. Just a few moments with Him changes everything.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

STEPS TO A GREAT DAY!

Life should be lived intentionally, with purpose, with a sense of direction. Aimless living leads to aimless lives. If you don't know what your shooting for, then you are sure to miss it every time. That is not a good way to get anywhere fast.

Here are five points on how to have a great day:

1. Invite God to walk with you.

2. Begin with a thankfulness and choose to be positive.

3. Eat the frog first. Do the worst task or thing you must do first, everything after that is downhill.

4. Be flexible. Interruptions are bound to happen. Just know adjustments are certain.

5. Good choices lead to good days.

6. At the end of the day, give the good, the bad, the ugly to God. God will take it all and work it together for good, if we love Him and are doing His will.


I once read a quote that goes, "There is nothing that can happen today, that with God's help, I can't handle."

Good days and bad days are bound to occur. I choose to be proactive and believe for a great day!


Monday, September 12, 2011

ARE YOU LISTENING?

How can God hear all of us at the same time? He must have really good hearing. The greater question is why would he care to listen? It is amazing!

Wanda has to pull me back into focus too often because of my getting distracted. There are so many things that vie for my attention and admittedly I struggle. That's not good.

Why don't we listen better to one another or more importantly to God? Again, we get distracted. We fail to realize the importance. We think what we are doing is more important than God or others. Not good again.

This past week I have made it a point to shut down distractions. Turn the TV off. I have made it a point to listen to God. Oh, I am making it a point to listen to Wanda too.

Listening to God and Wanda and those dear are all vitally important. I must give full attention. Good things happen when I do.

Friday, September 9, 2011

REMEMBERING 9/11



I remember 9/11/01 as if it were yesterday. We will all remember where we were and what we were doing on 9/11 for the rest of our lives. I was at home and turned the TV on just as the first attack had occurred and was being reported. I never turn the TV on in the mornings, but I did that day. I thought I was watching a promo for a movie. It was surreal. It took a few moments to realize this was real, not a movie.


It is an unforgettable date. It is like Dec 7, Pearl Harbor Day or Nov 22, the day President Kennedy was shot. Those dates are indelible.


Once I ate dinner on the 109th floor of the World Trade Center. It was expensive and very high up in the air. I have flown on airplanes that didn’t get that high. I remember thinking that if terrorists were ever to knock down on of those buildings that it would be a world changing event, and it truly was.


But what do these unusual dates mean to us? What should our responses be? What should good Americans or good Christians do?


We can remember. Pay respects. Show honor. Give thanks. Reflect. Move to right action.


But our greatest need and greatest response or action should be prayer. America needs prayer. We are in a battle for our survival. It is a war against terrorist and a war against spiritual attacks against the very fabric of society. Neither war will be won without prayer.


This weekend, join with me in renewing efforts in prayer for our Nation. Let’s humble ourselves and pray. Let’s turn from sinful ways. God will hear and answer.



Wednesday, September 7, 2011

HELPING HANDS

There is a difference between a handout and a helping hand. Handouts don't mean much and that don't change much. They often are appreciated, and they are quickly forgotten.

Helping hands pull desperate people out of impossible situations. They reach out with love and compassion because of previous mercy shown them. They see need and do something good. They cannot ignore. Refuse to forget and resist self-pity.

I have been a recipient of helping hands. I know that I would not be here unless they had been extended. They reached out sharing God's love, picked me up, comforted my soul, and gently pointed me in the right way.

Many hands make for light work. Now that is a true statement. Here is another one. Free is better than cheap, but that has nothing to do with this article.

There are many who are hurting and need a helping hand, or maybe an encouraging word, or another chance, or an extra bonus, or just a helping hand.

Offer a kind word to someone unsuspecting. It could make the total difference in their destiny.

Monday, September 5, 2011

PRAYER RETREAT

I am spending this week in a prayer retreat. Wanda and I have focused on prayer and waiting on God. Prayer is vital in our spiritual walk. Not everything is shut down, but there isn't much happening this week but prayer.

Now tell me, what could be more important than talking to God?

Just think of it, God is willing to spend time with me?

Amazing!

Beyond incredible!

Too much to comprehend.

He cares to talk to me.

Try calling the Queen of England and see how long you can get her on the phone, but God is waiting to talk to me.

I need time alone with God.

Friday, September 2, 2011

ANOTHER MEETING

It seems I spend most of my life in meetings of some kind. I love church meetings because I love to go to church. It is all those other meetings that get me.

Sometimes it is denominational preacher meetings that get tiring. Sometimes it is necessary staff or church ministry meetings that are trying. Sometimes is is counseling meetings, or even more impacting, meetings with families over the loss of a loved one.

Meetings! Meetings! Meetings!

Now don't get me wrong. I love my calling. It is filled with so many varied and wonderful opportunities. It is just getting ready over and over again for another meeting. It is the boring ones that really get me.

I once heard a preacher say that he wasn't too interested in going in the rapture. He heard that "there was going to be a meeting in the air" and he had been to enough meetings.

Now that is one meeting that I don't plan on missing. I am ready for that meeting. It will be the best!

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

ANOTHER QUICK TRIP

Wanda and I headed South on Sunday afternoon for Steve Lambert"s Memorial Service. It was another quick trip that was shrouded with grief and pain. Losing a life-long dear friend and watching his precious wife, children, family, and loved ones mourn is hard and impacting.

Steve was too young to die. His parents wept unashamedly over their son's passing. Parents are not supposed to outlive their children. That is not the natural way.

His memorial service was a celebration of life. It did have lots of tears, and rightfully so, but it also had humor, laughter, and praise to God.

Steve lived with priority, passion, and purpose. He lived his life with a view of eternity in mind. His life choices reflected a believe system that honored God. His passions were lived in agreement with eternal purpose.

We had many commonalities, but one of the most important was and is our common commitment to our football team, The University of Alabama Football Team. That's what I'm talking about.

It was humorous to me that one of Steve's dear church members in quiet serious tones led us to repeat one of Steve's most important statements.

He said, "Roll Tide!"

Farewell dear friend. I will see you in heaven!

And one more thing:

ROLL TIDE ROLL!

Monday, August 29, 2011

STEVE IS IN HEAVEN!

Steve Lambert has been my friend since I was a little boy in Montgomery, Alabama. We were in the same Sunday School , attended the same college, did a summer ministerial internship together, and served in the same denomination all of our ministry careers. That is a long time as friends.

Once he came home with me after church when we were little boys, we got into a BB gun fight with a neighbor boy. Oops!

Once when we were college buddies, we arrived late into the night at his parent's house. His mother called out into the night as we quietly walked down the hall to his bedroom, "Is that you, Steve?"

Steve responded, "No, it is the devil."

Once when I was discouraged and felt alone, he came and sat be me in a preacher's meeting. It lifted me.

We traveled in the college choir together. We preached for each other. We shared minister stories. He was a good friend. He will be missed.

He died from the same type brain tumor that Kristy died from, a GBM. But he is well now, and we will see him again.

Thanks, Steve, for being such a great friend to me. I am grateful.

Pray for his precious wife Ruth and their family. They all need God's grace and comfort.


Friday, August 26, 2011

FOOTBALL IS BACK!

I love football. Does it show?

Last night I went to my first high school game of the year. I try to attend one or two games each season.

But football is changing. Injuries to players that are life threatening are making for rule changes. Head injuries and spine injuries and knee and joint injuries can last a life time.

A couple of years back I was at a high school game and watched as a player's leg was broken and turned totally backwards. It was awful.

So why do I enjoy these games? Well, it is a game. I like the competition. I like the hitting. I am a man, and this is a man's game.

So let the games begin.

And, Roll Tide!

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

JOLTED

The phone rang in our office Tuesday morning as our staff was weekly in our meeting. My secretary went out of our meeting and answered as we continued, but I could hear what was clearly not good news. Someone had died. In a moment she returned and shared that a lady who had just started attending had passed in the night.

I had heard my secretary as she took the call answer over the phone, "But she was just here Sunday."

The lady had come to the altar for prayer and Wanda and I had prayed with her. She made a profession of faith and had just asked Jesus into her heart.

We sat there somewhat jolted and very saddened.

But that is part of church life. It is carrying for the needs, hurts, and losses of others. Certainly there are many wonderful times of joy and celebration, but there is loss too.

We were jolted. When the staff meeting ended I went to see the family and offered our condolences and prayer. May God give them all comfort and peace.