Monday, December 31, 2012


This morning in our family devotions we were challenged to reflect on the events of 2012 in our lives. There isn't enough time or space to record them all. I guess reading past blogs would give a detailed list of my life this year. We both have so much to be thankful for to God.

We counted a few of the things that are highlights:

For me:

1. Our marriage is stronger.
2. I read the Bible completely through four times in 2012.
3. We enjoyed so many wonderful times with our children, grandchildren, family, and friends.
4. The Lord added to our church family.
5. We had so many prayers answered.
6. We enjoyed several nice trips.
7. God blessed me with good health this year.
8. I lost some weight.
9. Wanda turned 60, and boy does she look great!
10. I preached many sermons and wrote scores of articles.

I haven't posted in a week on this blog, but I'm back. I'm preparing a "bucket list" for 2013. It will include spiritual goals along with things I would love to do this year.

Thank you Lord for your blessings on my home in 2012. I give you praise for what you will do this coming year!

Friday, December 21, 2012


My last post dwelt with the topic of pastoral visitation. I mentioned that Wanda and I had made several visits on Monday afternoon to people in need in our congregation. They all had need. One is under hospice care. Another has been in a comma for almost two months. A third had been deathly sick but was recovering.

Wednesday during lunch I received word that the one who was expected to recover had passed. It was shocking. We talked with Dorita, a 62 year old spina bifida survivor, and she looked forward to being back in church soon. We left some poinsettias and had a nice visit.

Now she is in heaven. She had been bound to a wheel chair all of her life, but now she is straight, tall, and walking. She is well, whole, and happy.

Dorita was an inspiration in our church and every where she went. She has an adult son who is a fine christian man. He is a miracle. I don't know how she could bear a child, but she did. That is just one of the many miracles of Dorita's life.

She served as one of our church greeters on Sundays. She had a radiant smile and made everyone feel welcome. Over and over through these years I have been blessed to see her each Sunday with a praise flowing from her lips to God. She was a huge inspiration.

It is hard to lose church members. I know she is in heaven, but we miss her. We had looked forward to her returning to church again. Now she is in heaven. Praise God, she is in heaven.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012


Pastors get to do lots of fun things. There are all kinds of celebrations and eating meetings and big days to enjoy. There are also sad moments and funny moments and shocking moments and spontaneous moments and detailed planned moments and waiting moments, and extemporaneous moments and many, many more moments.

I love what God has called me to do. I love preaching and planning and seeing people grow in the knowledge of the Lord. I love the variety of activities that are all part of a pastor's day.

There are few dull moments. Something is always happening or ending or starting or in transition.

People look to their pastor for prayer, comfort, advice, guidance, and leadership. They need a shepherd to lead them in the right way. These responsibilities are huge.

I still do some visitation of our flock. People do not expect as much of that has when I first started pastoring almost forty years ago, but the sick need visiting and prayer.

On Monday, Wanda and I visited several of our church family who are in hospitals or rehab centers or care centers. One is in a partial comma. One is confined to bed with several bed sores. Another is dying. My heart went out to them. We prayed and offered encouragement. We left some poinsettias. We  tried to make life better for them for a few moments.

At the end of the day, I felt good and that we had made a difference for a few moments. Pastoring has definite challenges, but with God's help we can help lighten a dark world and encourage the hurting.

Monday, December 17, 2012


The shootings in Connecticut are more than heartbreaking. I have no words to even begin to describe or comment. It is more than jolting, shocking, or grievous.

I have not been able to watch or follow the story. I could not stand it. It was more than I could bear.

I listened to the Presidents speech. I heard the cries of those in attendance. His attempt to console were appreciated but no one can smooth this over in a few moments.

What can we do?

We can pray.

We can do our best where we are to let a light shine to point people in the right way.

We can strengthen families and reach out to those who are outcasts and in need.

We can humble ourselves and pray more for our Nation.

No new gun laws will end these sad killings. No new legislation will change a deviate heart.

May God have mercy on our Nation, our children, our families.

One final thought: It seems to me that a Nation that will allow unborn babies to be ripped from their mother's wombs will become a Nation that will raise children who will have no problem killing those they can see face to face.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012


Wanda and I have been married a total of 72 years. That is 3 plus years together and 69 years total in our previous marriages. That gives us 72 plus years total. That is lots of opportunities to learn and grow and work at marriage. It is a daily commitment. No one is immune in marriage from the continual give and take of sharing, compromising, pleasing, and adjusting. It is inevitable for all of us.

I don't promote that I do counseling, but every pastor does some. It is Biblical to train, teach, and mentor. Older men should train the younger ones, and the older ladies should train the younger ones. That is the Biblical way. Of course the older ones doing the training need to be those with spiritual maturity and who live a godly example for others to follow.

Yet, I find myself doing pre and post martial counseling. Does counseling work? Sometimes it works, but certainly not all of the time. The primary issue is not always lack of skill or knowledge, but simply a lack of "want too". It is a lack of "want to" to do what you know to do.

Men need respect. Women need love.
Men need sex. Women need tenderness.

Well, I'll stop there. The list of needs go on, but again the real issue is "want to". Why don't men or women "want to"? Therein lies the great question. It is not easily answered.

Too often men "want to" after it is too late. Too often women don't feel compelled to "want to" because they don't feel their needs are being met. Of course that is vice versa.

Why do some couples poke each other in the eye and twist noses over and over? Why can't they learn that there is a better way? Why do they quit on their marriage only to go to another one and far to often face they same issues?  Why not stick it out and work it out without the pain, hardship, cost, and rancor of a divorce?

Marriage counseling only works when couples are willing to put effort into their marriages. They have to develop that "want to".  My greatest prayer in counseling is that God will help me to inspire couples who I counsel to "want to" do what they already know to do.

Monday, December 10, 2012


This has been a weekend of enjoying wonderful Christmas programs. It began Saturday evening in Lakeland, Fl., watching Paige and Cole perform, continued with our churches' children's presentation on Sunday morning at Southside, and then taking in the Christmas Orchestra and Piano musical at First Baptist on Sunday night. They were all great.

Paige had a acting part. Cole sang, and well, he also picked his nose. Ha!

At Southside, our children did an outstanding job sharing the Christmas story through song.

Then Sunday evening at First Baptist topped it all off with a super orchestra and 8 grand pianos.

I loved watching our two grandkids and our Southside kids. They were beautiful. We were blessed.

To be honest, my favorite presentation of the weekend was listening to Aaron, a boy in our kid's program. Wow! Did he do great! He put his heart into it. He sang with enthusiasm. I will be frank. I wiped a tear. He touched hearts Sunday morning.

What was so fantastic about Aaron?

Glad you asked.

Aaron has numerous challenges. I won't go into lots of details, but will just say that he has a very difficult time staying focused and staying still. We have chased him all over our church and then some. But we love him dearly.

I heard numerous comments about Aaron's part. He was a hit. I can't remember when I was blessed by a special as the song Aaron sang. I wish everyone sang with the passion he did.

Friday, December 7, 2012


Monday I received a call that one of our church vans had been stolen. We have two vans that we use for church ministry to bring people to church and many other church related activities. It was our best van with new tires no less.

How aggravating!

Why would anyone desire to steal and especially from a church.

But this isn't the first time we have had items stolen. We have had numerous air conditioners stolen the last couple of years. It has cost us thousands of dollars. We have secured them by fencing and alarm systems but they have repeated ripped the copper out. They get a few dollars from the copper and it costs us thousands to repair.

I guess it shows that our work helping share the love of God isn't completed. People desperately need the Lord.

We prayed that the Lord would return our van and Wednesday it was discovered by the police. It had been stolen by thieves to transport other stolen merchandize. The police got into a chase with the thieves and the van wrecked damaging the front right fender and ruining a tire. They had thrown the seats away to give room to haul their stolen goods.

Unbelievably, the stolen items left in the van were nothing but junk. Nothing of value. These thieves were going around stealing junk! How sad. They risked everything for junk.

I guess that is the deception of the devil. Why would you risk going to jail or getting shot for junk. Only the devil knows. He is really good at blinding people from the truth.

We prayed for them. They ran after the van wrecked and got away. I guess they could come back and do it again. God have mercy on them and save them Stop them from their sinning ways. Capture them so they want hurt others. Save them from their sins, the devil, and themselves. Amen!

Wednesday, December 5, 2012


All of us have stories to tell of God's grace and mercy. We call them testimonies in our church. When I grew up as a boy in church sometimes the pastors would call for people to share a testimony of God's goodness. Someone would stand up and share extemporaneously from their heart about an answered prayer or some other good thing the Lord had done. Sometimes we would rejoice or laugh or hold our breathe depending on what was being shared. The desire was to give God glory and encourage others in the faith.

Monday night Wanda and I went to a Christmas banquet for ministers. Part of the program was a testimony given by a pastor's wife who is a cancer survivor. She dwelt with cancer 26 years ago only to see it return twice again and even more severe. Yet, by God's grace, she is again cancer free.

Her words encouraged everyone as she shared how she had overcome stage 4 cancer. She gave glory to God. She encouraged everyone that no matter what they were facing that they could make it.

There were a few who wiped tears as she shared from her heart. It made me realize even more the importance of trusting God through all the bad times. God is faithful.

It is helpful to write our testimonies of answered prayer down to read and reread. They serve as reminders of God's faithfulness. Our memories are short and we fail to see the faithfulness of God.

So what is your testimony? Is it one of faith that will bless others? If yes, then share it. Bless others. Give God the glory. Let it build your faith today.

Monday, December 3, 2012


Alabama played Georgia for the SEC Football Championship this past Saturday. As you know, I am a longtime, life-long Alabama fan, but I do like the Georgia's football coach and have rooted for Georgia too. However, when it comes to playing Alabama there is only one team and that is Alabama for sure.

The game was as an exciting of a game as you could hope to see. The score went back and forth with huge momentum swings. To  be honest, I thought Georgia was going to win the game. They held a 10 point lead well into the third quarter of play, and then almost won in on the last play of the game after Alabama made a heroic comeback.

Whew! That was a nail biter.

Alabama won 32-28.

Now it is on to the National Championship game against Notre Dame which will be played after the New Year. It is a ways down the road, but will be here soon enough.

I think this would be Alabama's 15th National Championship if we're fortunate to win. It should be a great game.

Wanda and I went for  a walk Sunday evening just before dark, and I had my Alabama hat and shirt on. One of the neighbors yelled out that he had rooted for Georgia. He said that Alabama had been there and done that. He is right, but how sweet it is.

I wish there could have been two winners, but they don't do that. I hate it for Georgia but love it for Bama.

Roll Tide!