Friday, March 30, 2012


More and more I am convinced that we live far below what God intends because we fail to pray. Prayer is communication. It is listening and it is talking. Too often we fail to pray. Too often we pray and only talk and not listen. When we talk to God and then take to listen to God, then we can get somewhere.

Have you ever talked with someone and never got to say anything?




That is not communication. It is a one-sided discussion. Even the word discussion is not the right word to describe times when only one person does all the talking.

If we talk to God and then listen, then we truly begin praying. I believe in talking to God, but I am ever learning what I have to say, even though He truly desires to hear from me, is not all that important. What He has to say is what counts.

God cares about big things and little things. He cares about simple and large issues. I can't begin to tell you how I have found that when I truly call on God that He answers and helps.

Wanda lost a small charm not too long ago that I had given her. She didn't know where to look. She looked everywhere she could think that it might be. It was not to be found. We prayed about it asking God to help her find it. Several weeks went by and then one day she spotted something glowing on the floor of the garage. She looked down and there was her little charm.

It was lost, but now it was found!

Would it have turned up anyhow? I don't think so because we had looked and looked in the garage and house. We prayed. She found it.

Over and over I have found that prayer works. Certainly I pray for bigger things and issues than a little charm. The good news is that God cares about little charms and big things.

James said it best, "You have not because you ask not." (James 4:2)

I have seen the hand of God. It points to lost charms and big things.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012


I love going to the ball park and enjoying a good ole baseball game. Wanda and I did that last night and watched Florida State University play the Florida Gators at the city baseball stadium downtown. It was a gorgeous evening, and of course we sat on Wanda's Seminoles side. We are definitely not Gator fans, though Tim Tebow almost persuaded me. Not really, though I am a huge Tebow fan.

There is something relaxing to me about baseball more than football or other sports. It is a slower pace. The action is more focused. There are not as many distractions. It just seems more peaceful.

Several weeks back Wanda saw a TV commercial promoting the FSU vs. UF game and mentioned she would like to go. I went down to the stadium to buy tickets and got the last two on the FSU side. I actually told her that we were going to have to sit on the Gator side. I lied with a straight face. She wanted to know why?

I said the tickets were not as much on the Gator side.

She responded, "Cheap tickets for a cheap team!"


We enjoy doing lots of different kinds of stuff together. Lots of it is church stuff. Lots of it is family stuff. Some is motorcycle stuff. Some is work stuff. Some is movie stuff. Some is reading stuff. Some is traveling stuff. The "stuff" list goes on and one.

Life is funner when you have a good partner to enjoy it with. I am blessed to have a beautiful, wonderful wife.

"Take me out to the ball game,
Take me out with the crowd.
Buy me some peanuts and cracker jack,
I don't care if I never get back,
Let me root, root, root for the home team,
If they don't win it's a shame.
For it's one, two, three strikes, you're out,
At the old ball game."

It was date night at the old ball game.

Sadly, Wanda's 'Noles lost 4-1. It was still a good night!

Monday, March 26, 2012


Don't worry. I am not homeless and never have been. Thank the Lord!

But there are many who face homelessness. Some by their own choice. Others due to issues and circumstances of life. Homelessness is a real issue across America. We see it regularly here in Jacksonville.

Ronald Mathis has been homeless for several years. He came to our church back in 2010. He left to live in Tallahassee, FL, for a period of time and then returned to Jacksonville in the middle of 2011. He lived in city parks and different parts of our city not far from our church. We tried to get him to go to shelters that we help sponsor that take in the homeless, but he would not go.

He had been a worker in West Palm Beach, Fl, for a company for over 23 years and was laid off. That threw him, and even though he had family there he couldn't over it.

He never missed church. Always worshipped God. Had a great, loving smile. He was always pleasant. But he was homeless.

Now I believe that we need to live in a personally responsible way. We should work so we can eat. If we don't work, then we don't eat. Work is good. Work gives value, purpose, and meaning. I believe in a hand up not a handout. I don't believe in enabling wrong living or bad choices. That doesn't help anyone.

Having said that, God does instruct us to help the poor and show kindness. That is always proper. I believe God blesses cups of cold water giving in His name. Those cups of water come in all kinds of expressions of love.

In our church that love and cups of cold water was demonstrated in helping Ron Mathis out of his homeless condition. Our people have helped love him back into life. It is a long story, but Sunday I prayed with Ron and blessed him as he is now returning to loving family in West Palm Beach to start again in life. We helped pull him out of a dark place with no love, no shelter, no warm bed, no food, and no hope.

From a personal standpoint, I really love spending my time on the proactive, preventive side of teaching, training, and blessing families to live in a God honoring, faithful way. I love teaching God's Word and all of its truth to point people to a better life that keeps them from ever straying into brokenness. I love pointing people in a direction far from the pig's pen of sin and its destructive powers. I love working to keep them from ever straying to the pig's pen. That's my personal goal.

But sometimes we help the fallen brother. We extend our hand to the one down and out.

I asked Ron as we began a process of helping him to better life if he wanted to get of of where he was. He said yes. He wanted to return home to his family which consisted of his mother, sister, and extended family members.

You see, the father of the prodigal son did not go get the prodigal out of the pig pen. But once the son wanted out, the father took him back and blessed him and gave him a new start.

That is what we did with Ron on Sunday. He wanted out of the pig pen. We gave him a helping hand. One special lady, Annette Campbell and her husband Gary, led the way. They and so many others blessed him and helped him up. It has been an incredible journey of love. We had a lunch with many who had helped him. It was a great celebration. Ron was new man. He smelled new. He looked new. He was happy.

Ron is on his way. Princess, his niece, from West Palm Beach came up and was in church Sunday. They headed South after the lunch and prayer. Ron is no longer homeless. He is loved and He is on his way to a better life. Praise God!

Friday, March 23, 2012


Thursday I made several phone calls to talk with church members who had needs. As each conversation began, I shared that they had been on my mind and heart and that I just had to hear their voice and find out how they were doing. I could sense on the end of the line their deep appreciation for a simple, caring phone call. I could tell that those few moments help lifted spirits and help make for a better day.

As I talked with each person, something happened in each call. As I had shown love and care for them, they in turn responded with love and encouragement for me. After I had completed the calls, I assure you that I felt much better and encouraged.

Encouraging others doesn't take lots of money, time, or effort. It does take a thoughtful heart. It requires getting one's mind off of self. It takes looking beyond their shortcomings and faults. It takes looking deeper and with more specific detail.

I have been encouraged by a simple compliment that blessed me for months due to its encouragement.

When Wanda and I were dating, I felt the Lord impress on me to call her Beautiful. I have done that every day. She is beautiful. I can tell she loves it. It makes her feel special. It encourages her.

Now, I am smarter than the average bear. Ha!

It is to my advantage to help make her feel love, cherished, and the most important person in the world to me. When I do, guess who reaps the rewards?

Got it?

Those phone calls I made on Thursday were to encourage others, but guess what happened?

They encouraged and blessed me more.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012


Our back yard is green again!

The flowers are blooming.

Butterflies have returned. Birds are chirping. Squirrels are scurrying back and forth. Grass is greening up. Everything is looking alive.

Spring has sprung!

I love it!

Wanda has been working hard to bring our yard out again. I've helped, but she loves it. I love having done it. Get it? I love it being done. She loves doing it. There is a difference.

Just days ago the back yard was bleak, dark, and brown. Now the greens, and reds, and whites, and purples, and yellows are all glowing. It is a sign of life. It is a sign of new beginnings. It is a sign of hope and new things.

It is a sign of God. When I see the glory of creation, I see and believe in the reality of God. I see His handiwork, His beauty, His incredible, awesome power.

It is Springtime, and God is alive!

Monday, March 19, 2012


Sunday church was different yesterday. We had Sunday church, but it was different. We had an order of worship planned. I prepared a message. Everyone was in their proper place. But, Sunday it was different.

It was different in that it was primarily a prayer service. After morning worship with singing, I called the people to the altars for a time of waiting before God. We always have prayer in our services, but not nearly long enough on Sunday mornings. This Sunday was different.

People filled the front of our sanctuary in prayerful surrender. The musicians played quietly, and the people prayed. There were totally silent moments. There were times when you could hear heart-felt cries to God. There were times when a prophetic word came.

God was in the house. I mean God was really in the house.

Yes, God is always present. I have felt His presence every Sunday.

But this Sunday we took more time to wait before Him. I saw people wipe tears. I saw people surrender to God. I saw needs being met. I saw God in the house. No, I did not see Him in the real physical sense, but I saw His work in the lives of His people.

Jesus said that God's house was to be a house of prayer. I have always strived to make it a house of prayer, but Sunday I felt even more passion for prayer, for waiting upon Him, for connecting with Him.

This Sunday was a Sunday of prayer. God talked to His people. I hope we listened.

Friday, March 16, 2012


Wanda and I have seven grandchildren. They are all special in their individual ways. Someone said that children are your reward for not killing your own children. I never wanted to kill my kids, but I'll admit that they did aggravate me at times. Well, maybe more than aggravate. But they have given us beautiful grandchildren.

We have two Alex's, one Nic, once Cole, one Lorenzo, a Claudia, and a Paige. They are quite a group. They're growing up and it is happening too fast.

Today Nic called just to say hi. He said on the phone message that he just wanted to talk to his Papa. That made me feel great. He made my day!

Wanda is a wonderful grandmother. She goes far out of her way to do for them and make each one of them feel special. All you have to do is look out our back yard to see the grandkid's bird houses to know what Wanda thinks about each of them.

I wonder what they will grow up to be? I wonder if they will follow the Lord? I wonder who they will marry and where they will live? I wonder if they will always have a special place in their hearts for me? For Wanda?

Time will tell on all of those questions. I will continue to call their names in prayer each day. I will invest in them as I much as I can. They are ours. I want them to do well and go to heaven.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012


The older I get the more I realize that you only get one body. Just one. No more. No less. The older I get the more wrinkles, aches, and pains set in. What is one to do?

I don't think it will get better. The fall of man is hitting me. Yet, I know all isn't lost.

In this life, I know that what I have is what will be, but I can take care of it. Proper dieting, adequate rest, good thinking, and moderate exercise all have a part in how I will fair. One key to better health and feeling good is stretching.

I am not into yoga, but meditation is Biblical. Stretching is Biblical too. I don't know where one would find it in the Bible, but I will look.

Since slowly getting into stretching, I can touch my toes while standing up with relative ease. My muscles feel stronger. Aches and pains are not as bad.

On Friday before the recent 15K Gate River Run, I get a massage at one of the booths at the pickup station for running numbers. Man, did that ever feel good. It was provided by one of the local rehab centers who were there promoting their business. Wow! I enjoyed that. My muscles felt great. I know it helped my run the next day.

They confirmed again the importance of simple stretching. Stretching is painless but really effective. It increases balance, muscle tone, and endurance. I feel better.

I have only one body. What I do with it counts for life.

Monday, March 12, 2012


Saturday was a windy day for a 15K run. It was cool with strong winds blowing westerly. The cool temperature was fine. It was in the mid 6o's and could have been much cooler in fact. But the wind was another story.

I got in line with 21,000 other runners around 8 AM for a 8:30 start. They play Chariots of Fire to begin the race and a cannon shot is the official start.

When the shot was fired, I moved forward with a big stop. No one moves at the beginning except those right at the front of the starting line. Those are the elite runners. They can run the 9.3 miles at about 42-43 minutes. That is a 4.5 minute mile average for 9.3 miles. Now that is moving fast.

My pace is around 10 minutes per mile, but actually I run the 9.3 a little slower than that. I had hoped to run the 15K in 90 minutes or so, but it was just too windy.

Our church manned a water station at the 4 mile mark giving water to thousands of runners. I was thrilled and proud to see so many willing people offering water. That was the most special part of the race for me. I needed the water to run and all the other runners did too. What does the Bible say about offering a cup of water in His Name?

Another part of the event was the joy of having family and friends run too. Mark, my stepson, ran as well as Caleb, a friend of Mark's from Lakeland. Two of our grandchildren ran in the kid's run which is a 1 mile run. I was so proud of Cole and Paige. They ran great races too!

I changed into a dry shirt for this last picture. I was cold and wet!

I ran on past them mile after mile. Actually I felt strong until the last mile. That is the mile over the Hart Bridge. That is huge and tough. The winner of the men's division said that the wind was brutal. He was right. The conditions going up and over that bridge were tough.

As I ran up the bridge my strength drained from me. The wind kept pushing me. Once the wind nearly blew me over. Other runners were struggling more than me. In fact, one lady fell at the top of the bridge and had to be helped down by paramedics.

Several times as I struggled up the bridge I wanted to quit. I didn't think I could make it, but I kept running. I envisioned the end. I envisioned the finish line. I rememberd a sign someone was holding up just before I started the bridge incline. It read, "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me." I kept running step by step and finally reached the top. I made it.

Now, it was downhill all the way to the finish.

As I approached the finish line, I scanned the sidelines of the street for Wanda. Finally, I saw her. I began to wave. I waved giving glory to God. I had finished the race.

At the end as you cross the finish line, they give medals to hang around your neck. To get one, you had to show them your running bib with your name on it. It proved you had signed up. They had your name written down. It showed that you had registered to run. Now, as you crossed the finish line you could receive your medal.

Isn't that like heaven?

Don't you have to register with God?
Doesn't God have to have your name written down in the Lamb's Book of Life?
Don't you have to finish the race of life?
Then, as you complete the race for eternal life, can you receive the reward of heaven.

That is my plan. I plan on finishing the race of life. I have believed on the Lord Jesus Christ. He has written my name down. I plan on finishing the race.

Friday, March 9, 2012


Actually I'm ready to run. All my training is done. I completed my last 2 mile run early Thursday morning. Now it is time to rest and relax. The hard work comes Saturday morning.

The race starts with around 21,000 other runners at EverBank Stadium where the Jaguars play. It should be cool but not cool enough when we start at 8:30 AM. They start with a cannon shot and the race is on. After several moments where the crowd ahead slowly begins to move, then finally I will begin to move too. I am not a seeded runner so I'm back a little in the crowd.

Hopefully the walkers will be back a little farther so I won't have to weave through them like I did last year. That isn't fun.

We will run a almost a mile and cross the Main Street Bridge. It is a draw bridge and has metal grates which are somewhat dangerous especially if you slip. That isn't good. It seems every year someone ahead or behind me falls on this bridge. Ouch!

Then it is on toward San Marco and we run back by the St. John's River again and through the old historic houses. Some of them are huge mansions. It is a beautiful part of the run.

Then it is back towards Atlantic Blvd. towards St. Nicholas with a turn back towards the river again. Could it be that is why it is called The River Run? After running through historic St. Nicholas, we head back toward Atlantic Blvd and on to the Hart Bridge. It is one of the largest and longest of the seven bridges of Jacksonville. On the day of the River Run they call it the "Heartbreak Bridge". Oh, does it ever feel that way. Many people are not able to make the long, upward pull to the top. It is rough!

The Hart Bridge is the last mile of the 9.3 mile run. By the time you pull yourself up the Hart Bridge, you're almost spent, but then it is all downhill. That really helps.

I am excited about this year's run. I'm hoping to beat last year's time. I'm hoping to run it in just over 90 minutes. We'll see how it goes on Saturday.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012


This is the last week of training for the 15K Gate River Run. I am on the down side and headed for the home stretch. I ran 4 miles yesterday over the Acosta and Main St. bridges. The good news is that I felt great and was ready to run more.

This has been a 3 month training process for me. I have actually run for a number of years, and I ran the River Run last year. This is my 6th run.

For a 62 year old, I feel like I have done fairly well. I haven't lost the weight that I was hoping to lose, but I can say that I have lost weight and turned fat into muscle. The bad news is that I still have too much fat to lose.

I hope to keep this schedule going, and lose the other 15 pounds. That is my goal.

What have I gained?

I feel better. I am stronger. I have lost weight.

We only have one body. We don't get another until we get to heaven. So, my thought is to try to take as good of care of the one body that I have. Running helps.

Do I love to run?


Then why do I run?

I run because it is the fastest way I know to get exercise.

I have two more short runs before the 15K. I am on the down side. Yea!

Monday, March 5, 2012


U.S. 1 runs through Jacksonville, Fl, going North and South. I saw where it begins and ends on our resent motorcycle trip to Key West.

We were walking toward the downtown after parking our motorcycles. After walking a few blocks I saw a sign where U.S. 1 ends. I stopped to take a picture.

After enjoying downtown Key West, we headed back toward our motorcycles. Then I saw another sign. This one read, "Beginning of U.S. 1. It was right across the street from the sign that said end of U.S 1.

The signs were across the street from each other. U.S 1 began and ended at the same spot. Well, I know that the highway ended hundreds of miles from there, but you could see the beginning and end on the same block.

Here is the point: God really is the beginning and the end. It all starts and stops with Him.

He is Alpa and Omega, The Beginning and The End. He is the start and the finish.

Friday, March 2, 2012


Wanda and I took a few days off this week to ride "Big Red" to the Florida Keys with several friends. We rode about 1300 miles and had a fabulous time. There is just something about motorcycle riding that helps me get things off my mind. It is exhilarating!

We drove to Seffner, Fl, with our friends Jim and Judy Woodford and stayed with our good friends Terry and Nadine Wallace. Terry and Nadine are the best hosts. They have a beautiful B&B. Their friends, Dan and Janet, joined us for the ride from there to Key West. Now that is the Southernmost tip of Florida and I believe the U.S. The water was spectacular and the weather was beautiful. We rode in the rain on our ride to Seffner, but from there the weather was perfect!

What is there to see in Key West?

What about gorgeous sunsets?

What about beautiful water?

What about delicious key lime pie?

The Southern most point of the USA?

Yes! Yes! Yes!

And the best part is enjoying friends. We laughed and had a ball. We took a trip on a glass bottom boat and saw a corral reef with beautiful colored fish and all kinds of underwater sights.

My, God created an incredible world that shows His glory!

Does your bottom get sore riding that many miles?


Is it worth it?


Will we do it again?

Yes, but the next ride will be North.

Riding "Big Red" is a fun way to see the USA!