Friday, March 29, 2013


The recent hearings at our Supreme Court concerning the National Defense of Marriage Act has caught my attention. DOMA as it is called defines marriage as being between between one man and one woman. This has been the acceptable, normal definition for all of mankind. By the way, President Bill Clinton signed this law.

Jews, Muslims, Hindus, Buddhists as well as all races and nationalities have accepted and defined marriage as being between a man and a woman.

Oh, by the way, Christians believe this too.

Yet, it seems that Christians are the only ones being referred to in hateful, bullying ways for espousing, century old values.

Why are only Christians the brunt of such hate?

There is a huge difference between behavioral rights and civil rights.

While all people of all races, creeds, colors, languages, and nationalities should be given equal rights, that doesn't mean that those same people can act, behave, or conduct themselves in any manner that they choose.

This is where the issues is bing miscast by the homosexual, lesbian community. They are purposely mis-stating their behavioral desires as a civil right.

Civil rights do not give any person the right to behave in any manner they choose. Society has a duty to set moral boundaries of life so that we can live in peace and safety. For example, you cannot kill, steal, or publicly perform sexual acts. We have deemed this as improper behavior which is totally unacceptable.

Birth doesn't give a civil right to act in any manner one chooses.

There are many inborn desires that we have which should not be acted upon. Lust, adultery, covetousness, hate are all included.

Here are my values.

I choose to accept and believe Judeo/Christian values. To espouse these values and promote them doesn't mean that I hate people who break these values. I don't hate sinners. I hate what sin does to them.

There lies the problem for the homosexual/lesbian community. They don't want their behavior to be classified as unacceptable behavior or sin. They want to characterize anyone who marks such behavior as sin as bigoted, hateful, and mean spirited.

Not so.

While there are many behaviors including many sexual behaviors that I hate, I don't hate anyone. That doesn't mean that I don't hate the sin or behavior. The two can be separated.

They want to be classified as being born with inclinations and orientation toward homosexuality and lesbianism. While, there may be inborn inclination to such lifestyles, again, such inclinations as many other immoral inclinations should be denied and suppressed. There is no proof that homosexuality or lesbianism is anything more than a behavioral choice.

This sin along with all other sins should be covered by the blood of Jesus.

The homosexual/lesbian community would certainly deny any and all of what I have written, yet, they have value systems they espouse. They do have boundaries that they set forth. They make judgments and value determinations.

The problem is that they don't allow others the same privilege they demand.

As one Supreme Court Justice noted in their recent hearings, we are headed to uncharted waters.

This is why I choose to stand with the values of my Jewish friends and the peoples of the world who have always accepted that sexual relations between men with men and women with women are wrong.

Is this the only sin?

Certainly not.

Is is sin?

Certainly so.

It is sinful, unacceptable behavior like many other sinful unacceptable behaviors.

Civil rights do not include special behavioral rights for select groups.

I pray that God will help us to communicate His grace and truth in a manner that is forthright, caring, and faithful. I pray that God will have mercy on our Nation. I pray that righteousness will reign. I pray for God's mercy.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013


Life can be lived actively or passively. Someone said there are two classes of people. First, those who make things happen, and secondly, those who don't have a clue what is happening. I find myself in both of those groups. Ha!

God has created us with the power of choice. We are created in His likeness and have the privilege of choosing how we will live our lives. We can be active or passive. We can be intentional or unintentional. It is a daily choice.

That is the point. We have a choice.

Successful people learn the power of choice and discipline their lives to do the right thing even when they don't feel like it. If we go by feelings then few things would ever get done, but discipline over our emotions, feelings, and the flesh keeps us on track with more opportunities for the good.

I am learning this life lesson over and over. If we let the flesh rule, then we reap the rewards that come from the flesh. If we discipline the flesh and live according to His Spirit, then we reap the rewards of the Spirit.

His Spirit releases joy, peace, love, blessing, and prosperity.

The flesh always points to death. If we live according to the flesh then we will die.

So my choice is for intentional living. I want the blessings of God on my life, family, and dear ones. It is just that simple. Intentional living following after God releases life and blessings.

Today I choose life. I choose to live intentionally. I choose intentional living.

Monday, March 25, 2013


Sunday we had our annual All Church Family Easter Egg Hunt. All ages were present from kiddies to seniors. There was a bouncy house for the little ones. You don't think that the oldies would risk such a place do you? There was a balloon blower who twisted them into all sorts of things from crowns to swords to animals to flower arrangements. He was super.

The weather had been terrible for a day or so and it looked like the event might be cancelled. However, our team put it together in our youth and educational buildings. It turned out great. Everyone had a ball.

The balloon blower made a crown and sword for me. I wore the crown enthusiastically and wielded my sword too. All the kiddies enjoyed their balloons along with me. It was an interesting sight.

As the event continued, I stood next to one of the men of the church who commented that no balloons had exploded or popped.

I said, "They will."

Within a moment the balloon crown on my head exploded and popped and sounded like a canon went off on my head. I was stunned and tuned to the man and asked if he had popped my balloon. He promised he hadn't and we laughed. I told him I wasn't sure that I believed him.

Here is the point:

When I spoke it, it happened. When I said "They will", mine did.

We laughed together at how quick the words of my mouth turned into reality.

I thought more about how often the words of our mouths turn into reality. If we speak faith, then faith things happen. If we speak doom and gloom, then we set the table for doom and gloom to occur.

Our mouths do have creative force. What we say, we get.

Lord, help me to speak faith and talked faith and believer faith. Help me to trust in You and believe that you are the answer to life's challenges and needs.

Help me to speak, "For with God all things are possible."


Friday, March 22, 2013


I live 5.2 miles or so from the nearest railroad train tracks. There are tracks close to the church, but from my home they are just over 5 miles or maybe a little closer as the crow flies.

Why does that matter?

Glad you asked.

Often in the middle of the night I hear train horns blowing. When I first heard them at home, I thought I was dreaming. There were no trains close to my house, but then I realized I was really hearing train horns. It didn't seem possible, but true.

I don't know if they skip over the terrain between my home and the tracks or down the river and creek to my house, but the sounds definitely come from those tracks miles away which are blocked by all kinds of housing and buildings.

When I was a boy, we lived out in the country close to Montgomery, Alabama. There were train tracks that ran close by our house which we would play on and watch the trains goes by. Also, in Anniston, Al, where I grew up as a teenager, there were train tracks there. They have always caught my attention.

Don't know why that train tracks caught my attention this morning, but I guess I heard the train as I began to write. Funny how things grab your mind.

I try not to listen to the train whistle in the night, but sometimes I hear it and then pray and head back to sleep. Glad I don't live any closer to the tracks.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013


Success in life is not inevitable. Not everyone in life is successful. How do you measure a successful life? What is the formula? As a minister who is called upon to offer last words over people in ministering in funeral situations, I have had many, many opportunities to address the success or failure of people in life.

No one wants to live a life with no aim, purpose, or value. We all want to feel as though our lives have meaning and value.

The great physicist Dr. Albert Einstein offered this formula for success in life.

He noted that if "a" is success, then

a (success) = x (work) + y (play) + z (keeping your mouth shut)


That is a good equation, but sometimes very hard to work out, especially the part of keeping your mouth shut. We often open our mouths and say the most inopportune things to our own hurt and the hurt of others.

At the ripe old age of 63, I am learning over and over again the power of blessing or cursing with my tongue. I can encourage, comfort, bless or I can discourage, arm, or curse by what I say. Mouths and tongues are the most dangerous parts of our bodies. James noted that the tongue is extremely unruly.

Paul wrote that our speech should be with grace and seasoned with salt. We should speak to others in the manner that we would desire to be spoken too.

I am learning how to live successfully. I pray that my mouth will be involved in this great equation.

Monday, March 18, 2013


Wanda took 5 girls and 4 ladies from our church on a camping trip this past weekend. They went to the annual Powette for our girl's ministry. I was impressed that no guys were along to help set things up. They made it in good fashion and had a ball.

She said it was very cold at night but the days were beautiful. They packed everything in one van and headed south to Central Florida for their campout with around 800 other girls. Now that is a good round number and a lot of hormones going on. Ha!

I am very proud of all she does for our church, and family, and for me. She is something else.

We love to camp and camp in a tent. Can you imagine? Sleeping on the ground on air mattresses is a trip too. We both love the outdoors and nature. Sitting around a campfire and enjoying early morning coffee around a morning campfire is special.

God become more real in His outdoors. The heavens really do declare the glory of God. All you have to do is look at the stars at night and know that God is real.

She came home excited about the next trip. I guess that lets you know she loves it.

Friday, March 15, 2013


Running isn't all I do. I only do that 3-5 times a week, but living a full life includes that and much, much more. I am not the earliest riser in the world. I typically wake up around 6 AM or so and get up not long after awakening. Then it is to the coffee pot, my Bible, the news, a workout, breakfast, devotions with Wanda, and on to the office.

The day starts slowly but goes on an ever increasing pace. I write, prepare sermons, meet with staff, plan church activities, do funerals and weddings, preach several times a week, visit the sick, write letters and blogs and church bulletins, socialize, go to church meetings and services, go to appointments, counsel, oversee church properties including 6 rental properties, and the list goes on.

What do I love to do?

Good question.

I love to read, pray, and prepare to preach. I love to preach and encourage people. I love to share the way to heaven. I love helping people come to a knowledge of the Lord and grow in His grace.

Somewhere in all that I like to ride "Big Red", visit family, travel, and do fun stuff. I like to have people in our home. Wanda and I have a bed and breakfast going here, and we enjoy it.

Our lives are full with grandkids and children and dear loved one and friends. They all make life special and without them life would be dull and dark.

But most of all, I love to live to honor and glorify the Lord. I want to finish my life strong and one day hear His words, "Well done thou good and faithful servant."

That is my prayer.

We live fast paced, but it is good.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013


Someone said to find out what is priority in a person's life can be quickly found by looking at their checkbook. That shows where one is spending their money and notes where their heart really is. Another way is to view where one is spending their time. I suppose their are numerous other ways to determine what is important in one's life besides these two points, but they pretty much tell the tale of priorities.

People do what they want to do. We find a way to do what we love to do. If it is eating, there will be plenty of time for food. If it is sports like fishing, golfing, or motorcycling then we'll make time for those interests.

So who or what is first in your life?

Life begins and ends with God.

Ephesians 4:18a speaks of the "life of God". Life comes from God. He breathes life into our physical beings. He breathes life into our souls.

God is the beginning and end of our being. Life comes from God.

Then why wouldn't we make God our highest priority?

Why wouldn't He be first in our checkbooks?

Why wouldn't He be first in the time of our lives?

When we seek the Lord, everything else finds right order. Life isn't jumbled and crazy. Sin doesn't confuse and bind us. We live with fullness of joy and peace.

Dear Lord, I make you first again in my life. I give you my checkbook and my time. I know everything else will come into proper order. Amen!

Monday, March 11, 2013


My 2013 River Run started fast for me. I was in the reserved group of seated runners and they start their race fast. At least it was a fast start for me.

I felt great. It was a cool morning with no humidity. I had trained strong and done everything I wanted to prepare except I hadn't lost that last 7 pounds of weight I wanted to lose. But, everything being equal, I was excited about running the 2013 15K Gate River Run.

Wanda went with me Saturday morning. We rose early, and ate, prayed, and then headed off for the main event of the day which started at 8:30 AM.

There were some 17,000 plus runners in the race. Everyone was arriving trying to find their places, making one last potty break, and then stretching, and getting ready for the run.

I was in the first 5,000 in the seeded qualifiers which meant that we had run a sanctioned race and had fast enough times to get in the front of the pack. That was huge. It is so much more enjoyable to start closer to the front and not have to worry about slower runners.

My race started at a good pace. The first several miles were exhilarating. I was really enjoying the run and felt that I would best my goal of running in 1 hour and thirty minutes. I had done all the proper training and felt strong.

Then I got toward the 5 mile mark and then 6 mile mark and then 7 mile mark. My steam was running out. As I approached the 8 mile mark, there it stood.

The Green Monster.

The Heartbreak Bridge.

I thought I would die.

But I gritted my teeth, slowed my pace, and made it up that long, hard, mountain of a bridge. I made it to the top.

Going downhill was easy for me and I finally crossed the finish line. I had run my fastest River Run ever! I ran it in 1:36:00 by my time watch. It was slower than my goal, and I was a little disappointed. I was also thrilled at finishing at my best time.

Wanda waited for me that whole time at the finish line, but missed seeing me actually cross the line. There was hundreds passing her and she couldn't spot me. I really appreciate her encouragement and support. She is a winner.

Next year, Lord willing, I will run a faster race. I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.

I can make it up and over Hartbreak Bridge and not faint!

Friday, March 8, 2013


After weeks of training, dieting, exercising, and running, I am now as ready as I will ever be for the 2013 15K Gate River Run. I have run an average of 16-17 miles weekly for the last few weeks. I have done strength training several times each week. I have dropped almost 20 pounds. I have left off sweets and chosen a better diet. I have studied running books and gleaned the best ways to run efficiently.

So now it is on to the race.

The weather looks agreeable. It should be in the mid to upper 50's with low humidity. I am not sure how the wind will be, but the weather looks super for a great run.

Here is my strategy:

1. Hydrate and eat properly on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday morning.
2. Get proper rest the day or so before including good nights sleep.
3. Eat plenty of carbs the day before.
4. Get to the race early.
5. Run a moderately slow warmup 1st mile.
6. Increase my pace as I progress into the race..
7. Approach the last mile running up the Hart Bridge in a reduced pace.
8. Run a faster pace down both the Main St and Hart Bridges.
9. Really stretch the last half-mile of the race.
10. Finish strong!

I am grateful to the Lord for good health and and strong body. Thank you Lord for your blessings on me. I give God the glory for His help in taking better care of my body, His Temple. With His help I will run this race for His glory.

Wednesday, March 6, 2013


Little things add up to big things and some of the little things turn into big issues.  But, little things handled one at a time never add up. They go away because they are dwelt with in the moment. Thus, they pass into oblivion.

Little things like clutter can become big things like junk or junked up. But clutter picked up ends in a moment. Clutter goes away at the end of the day if you go through the day removing it. It never becomes big. It doesn't take hold. It doesn't become a huge mess.

I can't imagine living in a cluttered up world. I can't imagine the stress that comes when all that little stuff turns into boxes like they do with people that hoard. I have seen pictures of people's homes who live like that. What a mess.

I guess that all those little things get so big that it seems hopeless. They don't see a way out. So, they add to the mess by piling on more little things on top of all the big things they came from previous piles of little things. Life doesn't have to be that way.

Little things add up in the spiritual world too. Little foxes spoil the vines. It doesn't take an elephant to destroy a field. Little foxes can get in and make havoc.

Is there such a thing as a little sin? We see big sins in others, but excuses and justification in ourselves.

Someone said that we judge others by what they do, but we judge ourselves by what we intended to do. There is a significant difference in the judgement of ourselves and others.

So here is the take-a-way:

Lord help me to keep the "little things" swept out of my life. Don't let the spiritual clutter build up so that sadly one day I feel hopeless in all the tangled web of sin. Keep sin, period, out of my life so that I don't hurt you, myself, and those dear to me.


Monday, March 4, 2013


Jesus has a simple call to all of us. It is an individual call, and it is the most important call.

Jesus said, "Follow me."

This isn't always the easiest call, but it is the call to eternal life and significance.

Rick Warren, the author of the all-time best selling book next to the Bible, says that life is lived at three levels.

The first level is survival. This is merely getting by in life.

The second level is success. This is the life of material things.

The third level is significance. This is the life of fulfilled purpose and value.

Significance starts with following Jesus. It starts by believing upon Him. Trusting Him. Obeying His Word. Living a life putting the Kingdom of God first. Then everything falls into place. It is often a life of sacrifice and selfless living, but without losing one's life you cannot find it.

I chose the simple call. I can understand it. I will follow Jesus.

Friday, March 1, 2013


Thursday morning I awakened at 5:30 or so and decided to get up and complete my last long run before the 15K Gate River Run on March 9. They recommend doing your last long run a week before the 15K so I was interested in staying on course in my training routine. I will yet run a few more runs before the race but the longest will be 4 or 5 miles.

I ate pizza for dinner Wednesday night which is not the best racing fuel before a longer race. Neither did I hydrate as much as I typically should the day before a longer run. However, I felt good and it was cold and not humid so I decided to get her done.

Well, I did. I had a great run. My time was good and could have been faster if I had pushed more. I ran a 7 mile in 68 minutes and 50 seconds. Not bad.

I ate oatmeal and a couple of eggs and hour or so before I ran. That seemed to fuel me enough for a good run. As they say, "It is in the books."

Training for the River Run is stimulating. It helps motivate me to get in better shape. I feel good and function better all day by better exercise and better eating. All of that is paying off.

I plan on running three to four days a week even after the River Run. I will walk more with Wanda and we'll do some strength training together. I want her to be in good shape too.

So now I am on the down hill side toward the run. Not more long runs until "The Run". Yeah! I feel good!