Thursday, December 31, 2009

My Brother, My Hero

I have enjoyed for over sixteen years being able to say that my brother was the Chief of Police in Wake Forest, North Carolina. So, let me say it brother is the Chief of Police in Wake Forest, North Carolina. I can keep saying that for about thirteen more hours as of this writing as he has retired effective at mid-night tonight, December 31st, 2009.

Tuesday night I attended his retirement dinner given by the town of Wake Forest. The venue was nice, the food was good (heavy hors d'oeuvres) and the crowd was impressive. A very, very cold night in the middle of a busy Holiday season could have meant a scarce crowd but the place (actually a large heated ... almost ... tent attached to a beautiful old home which is rented for social events) was packed.

One after one, officers, town management, state officials, town employees, organizational leaders and two family members (my oldest sister and I) shared stories and appreciation and many many plagues and gifts and items of recognition.

When Greg went to Wake Forest, they were a town of just over 6,000 people and 14 employees in the police department. Today the town is over 27,000 people and the police department has 64 employees which includes 54 officers. They have their own training department and the police department has been called one of the best in the state with highly trained personnel and state of the art equipment. The crime rate in Wake Forest is amoung the lowest in the state in spite of the rapid growth and close proximity to Raleigh.

Greg is a graduate of the F.B.I. Academy and has sent several of his officers through the academy as well. He was the first to receive the first police science degree offered at Elizabeth City State University where he was an Honor graduate.

He has served as preisdent of N.C. Police Chief's Association and the state board of Special Olympics and the State D.A.R.E. program.

Greg served on the Roanoke Rapids Police department for several years was Chief of Police in Weldon, NC prior to going to Wake Forest.

I said Tuesday night and I repeat here, Chief Greg Harrington is my hero! I am very proud of him. We came from very humble beginnings and Greg has truly been an example of success and all along doing it with strong Christian values.

I was greatly moved Tuesday night by the constant mention by his peers of his strong Christian convictions and lifestyle. That's not something you hear a lot about at that level and that blesses me deeply.

I love my family and am very proud of my brother and very grateful for all the influence he has had on me and my family.

Congratulations "Chief"!!

Friday, December 4, 2009


I wrote this poem for the Step of Faith 13th annual Christmas Concert today.


Remember when life was simplier and coke was something you drank.

Remember when it wasn't abuse to give your child a little spank.

Remember three channels, four if your attena was just right.

Remember leaving your doors unlocked when you went to bed at night.

Remember your first telephone and you probably had a party line.

Remember wearing a cross to work, and everything was just fine.

Remember playing after lunch, just be home when the street lights came on.

Remember turning on the radio and actually understanding the song.

Remember having to get out of the chair just to turn the channel.

Remember when modern technology was teaching the bible with a board and some flannel.

Remember when the whole family ate together at the table.

Remember when being a Christian was not a negative label.

Remember when respect was shown when the National Anthem was played.

Remember when marriage meant, no matter what, we both commit to stay.

Remember waking on Christmas morning full of excitement and glee,

And being overwhelmed with just one or two presents under the tree.

Remember when someone told you that we are in need of saving grace.

Well, please always remember the love found in Jesus' face.

For many things have changed and few have stayed the same,

but Christmas is about eternal life ... found only in Jesus Name!

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

The Issue of Traditional Marriage

Well, I'm probably writing this article for myself, seeing how I haven't written a blog in almost three months, no one will think to check by. But in case someone (you) did, here ya go.

Not exactly a HEADLINER in the paper or Network news today, but I noticed an interesting fact. As of yesterday, thirty one (31) states in this country of ours have put "Same-sex Marriages" to a popular vote. Thirty one states have come to the place where they asked the PEOPLE ( payers...civic contributors...etc.) to vote on this issue.
"Should Gay Marriages be recognized as legal and appropriate in this country/state?"

Out of thirty one states to vote on this issue so far, THIRTY ONE (31) have voted against the amendment. Thirty one states have said no to that idea. Yesterday's vote was in Maine and was defeated 53% - 47%.

The American people continue, election after election, to uphold the traditional, God-ordained institution of marriage between one man and one woman. Even, other major religions (other than Christianity) hold fast to this institution.

Does it resignate to this world that the continued existence of the population depends on procreation and that there is NO OTHER form of natural procreation than one man's contribution and one woman's contribution that creates life. I believe that is Almighty God's sacred design...HOWEVER, if you choose not to join me in that conviction, it does not change the fact that the statement is nonetheless, still true. We can "mess" around with ways to "take this and plant it here and manipulate there", but you still have to have the man's contribution and the woman's contribution to procreate, period.

I do not believe any homosexual (or other groups) should be mistreated and abused for their lifestyle. I will stand with anyone on the issue of protection and preservation of freedom of diversity without abuse or hate monging. But that does not put me in the category of believing it is okay or accepting the idea of Gay Marriage.

Some would call me a bigot or intolerant for my beliefs and convictions, but they(my convictions) are scripturally based.

Millions of people in thirty one states have held to the idea of traditional marriage existing between one man and one woman and that's the way God presented and intended it according to the scriptures.

I will love and welcome those who do not agree with me, but I will continue to defend my right and duty to preach the truth .

As I write this blog let me state my concern for the internal agony of all who struggle with this issue on either side. God Bless.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Staff Changes

Change is seldom easy.

We recently called a new staff member at Fellowship. Pastor Mark Brady brings many years of ministry experience with a mix of specialties that meet many of our needs as a church. With 25 years of music ministry experience and 14 years of Church administration experience and lots of computer and technological knowledge, Mark comes on board to help us as we move forward as a church. Mark's official title is Associate Pastor of FBC.

This change included replacing two of our current staff members. Pastor Jim Clark has been with us for almost 8 years and we are grateful for his many contributions and trust God will provide a place for Jim to continue to use his gifts and to follow God's call in his life. Jim has almost 30 years of ministry experience and he plans to continue serving the Lord in whatever opportunity God provides for him.

Darryl Stallings came on board in December of 2007 to move our music ministry forward as our interim Minister of music. Darryl and his family have won the hearts of our people and we are very appreciative of all he has done to help advance our ministry for over 20 months. We are confident that God will continue to use Darryl for many years to come and we hope to play a supportive roll in his ministry.

We truly appreciate these two men and thank God for their involvement in our ministry.

So, change is not always easy but we trust the Lord to provide each of us with the wsidom to follow Him and the heart to do it well.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

It is Well!

Sitting in a small room was the husband of 57 years of the dear woman laying just feet away being kept alive by artificial means. The man's daughter and her husband and myself joined by a doctor and a nurse who explained the horrible reality of a choice that must be made.

Not a choice any of us ever want to have to make. How do you choose to sever a part of yourself. A companion heartbeat that has been attached in every way for over half a century.
The body grows old and tired and unable to continue being the affective conduit for a precious life of a wife, mother, grandmother , mother-in-law, friend and so on.

Tears shed and then a funny story of days gone by, blank stares , another tear, a smile, another story, distant look and expressions of emptiness and sadness.

But somehow, there was the sense of joy and hope and yes, even victory. There was the absolute hope of glory because of a decision made so long ago ... a decision of surrender and acceptance.

The dear husband of so many years, burdened bythe guilt of making such a decision regarding the removal of artificial life support, in my way of thinking, offered the most wonderful of gifts when he agreed to allow his precious mate to slip peacefully into the arms of a waiting and loving Savior, Friend and Lord.

Oh Hallelujah, What a Savior.

Take a moment and express your love and enjoy the moment in which you live.

Friday, June 26, 2009

LIFE: A short gig!

There have been several public figures who have died this week that have been very familiar to many of the national and world population for a long time.

We remember "HHHEEERRRRREEEESSSSS JOHNNY!" from Ed McMahon and the hair and smile of "Charlie's Angels' " Farrah Fawsett and "I'll Be There" from Michael Jackson.

Many people are mourning the lost of these well known stars. They have in their own ways touched the lives of millions of people. Each of them have enjoyed their highs and have suffered their lows. Each of them have made some kind of contribution to society.

Much will be said in the press about their good and their bad moments, no doubt. In fact we will be inundated with their stories for a while.

The truth remains from the word of God "And inasmuch as it is appointed for men to die once and after this comes judgement." Hebrews 9:27.
Dying is something everyone has to do (except for those who go up in the rapture) and being judged is also something each of us has to experience.

That is why I appreciate the next verse "so Christ also, having been offered once to bear the sins of many, will appear a second time for salvation without reference to sin, to those who eagerly await Him." Those are the people who have accepted his free gift mentioned in Romans 6:23
"...the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord." How do we receive this gift? The answer is found in Romans 10:9 & 10 ... "that if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved; for with the heart a person believes, resulting in righteousness, and with the mouth he confesses, resulting in salvation."

The news of anyone dying, whether it be well known people like those listed above, or the local preacher, Rev. William Mayo, who will not get national headlines, should be a reminder to each of us. A reminder of our mortalilty, our responsibility and the short time we have left.

The book of James reminds us in chapter 4, verse 14 ... "Yet you do not know what your life will be like tomorrow. You are just a vapor that appears for a little while and then vanishes away."

Life is short... eternity is long... hope is found in Jesus Christ.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Tribute to my Best Friend

The first sermon I remember preaching was at the church I grew up in and I think I was around 18 or 19 years old. The sermon was titled "What's in a Name" and it was about Peter and his episode of walking on the water. Amazing that I remember that.

I worked in youth ministry for several years after that and preached on many occassions through the years, often filling in for preachers for various reasons.

Then in the summer of 1985, a new preacher came to our church. We immediately became friends and soon best friends. Though I was preaching a little before he was even saved, he was a big influence on my life. While he was a rising professional God saved him and immediately called him to ministry. He and his wife surrendered to seminary, unlike myself, and the church I attended at the time was his first pastorate.

Chip and Teresa Roberson moved here from Texas (they are originally from Georgia) and God used him to challenge me and prepare me for the next step in my ministry. We went through some challenges together in a church where some people thought they were supposed to be God (rather than serve God) and God grew us through those experiences.

A group of us started a new work and called Chip as our pastor. After a year of that ministry, God called me to Fellowship Baptist Church. Chip stepped out and ordained me to the gospel preaching ministry against the desires of some folks in our association.

God has used us both in exciting and remarkable ways.

Since coming here in 1988, I have preached on five continents and visited several countries. I have preached in many churches in several states as well as conferences and camps. All of those overseas trips and many of those preaching opportunities came as a result of Chip's influence and, or insistance.

Now after 25 years in the Pastoral ministry, Chip has retired and is returning to his previous vocation of being a pharmacist in his hometown in Georgia. Now, make no mistake, he has not retired from ministry as he will always be a preacher and proclaimer of the gospel of Christ.

I am so happy for Chip and Teresa as they return home to be where their hearts are and to have the opportunity to continue to serve the Lord in a less restricted venue.

Thank you Chip for being my best friend these many years and for pushing me to be who I am today. No other human outside of my family has ever encouraged me as you have. May God use you and your family mightily in the years to come.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Dad-Gum Cough

When we arrived in Argentina on Saturday morning, May 16th we were issued, on the plane, masks and rubber gloves to wear until we were out of the terminal. Of course we all assumed it was because of the Swine Flu but it was not. Argentina had recorded 46,000 cases of the Dengue Fever (pronounced Dangu) which is a virus spread by mosquitoes.
Well, I am home now and I did not get the Dengue Fever but I do have a DAD-GUM cough that is ripping my chest out. It starts somewhere just short of my big toe and works it's way up through my fat self and grabs hold of my aorta or something and tries to bring it out with it.
When I cough, boats move out of the way.

But honestly that is a small price to pay for the wonderful time we had doing ministry in Argentina.

It is still exciting when someone walks up to you and says "Hey, by the way, you will be preaching in the special service tonight" and you didn't even know there was a special service planned. I like to say that for fun, but the truth is, I love the opportunity to preach at anytime and I always expect to preach at a moments notice... it truly is one of the blesssings of going.

We had a productive week with 125 decisions for Christ and then on the last night at a soccer stadium we did the empty hearts drama and I had the awesome privilege of preaching one more time and God allowed us to witness 45 more souls come to him. AWESOME!

And regardless of what Eric says...I DID lose almost 6 pounds... granted, I don't know how, but I did...not a problem, I've managed to find of a couple of them already.

Dios es Bueno !!! God is good!

Monday, May 4, 2009

A Tribute to Scott C Calloway

I ran into Mr. Jolly yesterday. Mr. Jolly was my junior high school principal and also was one of my Sunday School teachers. My oldest daughter and my wife have also worked with him in the school system. He would be one the people on my "People who help shape my life" list. It was really nice running into him and his two daughters. He was celebrating his 70th birthday (which was the day before).
It is very hard to believe that Mr. Jolly is least until I remember how old I am.

Then when I got home I read on facebook that another man on my list, Scott C Calloway, had died. He was our high school band director in our city since the forties , I think or maybe the early fifties.Mr. Calloway had a major influence on my life and I will always be grateful for the character he helped to instill in me. He died on his birthday (93, I think) I remember when I was a senior he announced one day that he didn't expect to live much longer because all of his family died around the age that he was then. I guess he would have never expected to make it another 35 years...amazing.

"Take all you want, but eat all you take" he would say when the band was eating somewhere.

"Make sure we leave this place cleaner then it was when we got here" There's one I have tried to pass on to every group I have ever been with.

"If you want to be respected, rspect others and give them a reason to respect you"

I disappointed Mr. Calloway one time in a dumb decision I made and he let me know exactly how he felt and then he gave me another chance and things changed. In my adulthood I have had a number of opportunities to see Mr. Calloway and he would beam when he saw me and often mentioned how proud he was of how I turned out. I'm quite sure that at one point he didn't expect me to turn out very well at all.

But for any success I have enjoyed, I must attribute a part to him. A true hero to me.

Thank you Mr. C. for being who and what you were... we will likely never know the thousands of lives you touched on your journey here.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Miss California is a winner to me!

Perez Hilton is a homosexual blogger, a self proclaimed queen of gossip...his words, not mind. For whatever reason, he was one of the judges for the Miss U.S.A. pageant.
He asked Miss California if she thought all states should follow Vermont in allowing same sex marriages. She said she believed that marriage should be between a man and a woman.
She knew when she spoke those words that the likelihood of her becoming Miss U.S.A. flew right out the window. But she has no remorse and says she would say the same thing again if she had it all to do over again.

Now for those of us who feel that way are called intolerant. We are narrow minded. We are called haters and now even extremist.

So Hilton was so angry at Miss California's answer that he called her a stupid (word I will not repeat here) . He says she had no right injecting her politics and Christianity into the Miss USA pageant.

Unbelievable... where is the tolerance in this case and any case that has to do with people of faith.
What amazing hypocrisy!

Thank God for people like Carrie Prejean...what a brave young lady. God will bless her in ways she would have never known had she won the pageant.

I'm happy for Miss N.C. and I wonder if she would have taken such a stand.

Believers must take a stand... Carrie did... God is honored.

Monday, April 13, 2009

A great day on Easter

I am so thankful for our folks at Fellowship Baptist Church. As we were preparing for a record crowd on Sunday, I asked that people would volunteer to go to the earlier services to allow room for visitors at our eleven o'clock service and they readily complied.
We had almost identical numbers in all three services and fell just a small family short of 500 in total worship attendance for the morning.
Two young boys asked Jesus into their hearts after the first service and 11 adults responded to receive Jesus in the eleven o'clock service.
What a wonderful day God blessed us with.
The music was great in all services.

Let's pray that many of these people will return next week and the next and so on.

Hallelujah, What a Savior!

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Holy Week...Sunday...Resurrection Day!!

Just outside the city...a garden expressing it's beauty
Early in the morning...the song birds fulfilling there duty

Shadows running across the ground
As the light was coming around

Dew glimmered in the flowers and the grass
Earth's longest night ever, has passed

Ladies lift up their heads in surprise
They simply could not believe their eyes

The stone has been rolled out of place
Revealing what was now an empty space

Two angels stood shining with Glory
Shared with them the resurrection story

He is not here, He said He would rise
They're story was received as nothing but lies

But Peter and John to the tomb did race
There they found as stated, an empty place

Now one certain Mary returned to the grave
And asked the gardner for His body to save

Mary said He, Please do not cry
Go and tell the others that it is I

I told you I would suffer in Friday's shame
But now promised...SUNDAY CAME!

I have stood at the tomb...IN the tomb that many believe is THE actual tomb... as I stood there, I could not help but notice HE WASN'T THERE!!!
Actually that is not true...He was there, but this time He was there as a permanant resident in my heart, Praise the Lord.
To see that slab carved out of the hillside where the grave clothes were folded and laid that morning as Jesus no longer had a need for the tomb...the original owner could have it back as it was no longer occupied...

The darkness of Friday has passed...Saturdays cloud of despair was cast...Sunday is here at last... Hallelujah what a Savior!

Happy Easter!

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Holy Week...Saturday

In front of several churches on my way to the office today, I saw crosses with the black shrouds hanging over the cross beam. The imagery is that of the death of Christ. Taken down from the cross only after they were certain he died and wrapped in clothes and placed in a tomb...a borrowed tomb. A hole carved out of the side of a hill. A stone rolled in front of the opening. He is dead...He is buried. It's over.
Well, we know the rest of the story so we already know that it is in fact not over. Yes, Jesus said "It is finished" on the cross, speaking to the fact that He had done what He had come to do...take upon Himself the sins of the world. Now He must carry them to the grave and He must deal with the dead both good and evil.
As for the living, they did not know. What they knew was the Carpenter, teacher, preacher, healer, changer of life was dead and His body was now in that tomb.
The rock that He Himself had created now encased His body... Saturday...dark indeed.
A crowd of men and women with no idea what to do now...dark.
A mother, who watched her son brutally killed and saw the stone slam into it's place to conceal her son in a grave...dark.

Have I mentioned yet... Sunday's Coming! Shout it with me through the darkness...


Friday, April 10, 2009

Holy Week...Friday...part two

I know I've already posted today but I had another thought or two.

Imagine how defeated everybody must feel right now... in the context of Holy Week.

It's night...the beginning of Sabbath and Jesus is now in the tomb...

What went wrong? How could he have been so knowledgable and so powerful and it all end this way? What do we do now... all of the religious people are alienated and we have left everything to follow what?

They were after will they come after us?

How could this happen? How discouraging...

Wait, has anyone thought about the things he had said... the temple will be destroyed but will be rebuilt again in three days. He told them he had to die but he would rise again. Did they forget?

The enemy didn't forget...that's why they sealed the tomb and placed soldiers there.

I wonder sometimes if we, His people, forget His promises at the most crucial times.

He is in the grave...and I repeat from my earlier blog...It is Friday, but Sunday's coming!

Holy Week...Friday

Today is Friday...
Jesus has endured several trials during the night and morning, all of which were illegal and unfair.
He has been mercilessly treated by arrogant handlers throughout the ordial.
His power was demonstrated once again in the garden when all the soldiers fell to the ground, yet He submitted to the plan.
Beatings...spitting...and that horrible picture that we have all been reminded of by "The Passion of Christ" The sad truth is Jesus was likely unrecognizable by the time the beatings were over.
The long painful walk down the Via Dolorosa (Way of suffering) carrying that cross.
As if all that's not enough...the nails in the hands and feet...the thorns on His head and the spear in His side...
It's a dark moment... in fact it was dark for several hours as the Father was forced to turn His face from the Son. Wow! What sacrifice.

It's Friday......... But listen carefully.... SUNDAY IS COMING!!!

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Holy Week...Thursday

I have stood in a room that some believe is the upper room where Jesus celebrated the Passover meal with his disciples that Thursday night.
I have knelt in the garden of Gethsemene near a tree that very likely was there that night that Jesus prayed there. From that garden I could see the Eastern gate to the old city.
I slipped off my shoes and socks and walked bare foot up the stone stairs to Caiaphas' porch where Jesus walked that night.
I have stared at the stone floor of the place where some believe Jesus was condemned to death.

I closed my eyes at each place and tried desperately to imagine what it was like that night. Jesus had so very much to say on that last day with His disciples. The promise of the Holy Spirit...the Vine and the branches... that His joy may remain in us and that our joy might be made complete.

Maunday Thursday, as we call it, oh what a day... my life is enhanced because I have been in those places where Jesus was, but my life is enriched because the Jesus of those places is in me.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Holy Week...Wednesday

Wednesday was the day before celebrating Passover. If you study the week that Jesus was crucified you will find something recorded each day from Palm Sunday to Friday except for Wednesday. Nothing is shared with us about Jesus' activity on that day. I have always wondered about His activity on Wednesday.

I truly believe that most, if not all, of that day was spent in prayer. I believe Jesus was spending the day with His Father. Maybe He spent a little of personal time with each disciple. Maybe He spent some time with some children. Maybe He spent some of that time making arrangements for the passover supper on Thursday.

Well, I don't know but I feel pretty comfortable with the idea that much of the day was spent in prayer.

I spent some time in prayer this morning for a dentist... exactly at the time he was wrestling with the root system of one of my teeth.

The pain has been pretty intense today but once again nothing like what Jesus would experience in just a few hours.

My Jesus spent lots of time in prayer ... leaving us an example of how to face our every day.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Holy Week...Tuesday

Tomorrow morning I am having a tooth pulled. I hope pulled and not cut, yanked and jerked out of there. I have a feeling the roots will fight to stay put. But I genrally do not do well with teeth extractions and such. So, I have battled to not stress out, reminding myself of the scripture that says "Be anxious for nothing..." but I think my translation says "...except for tooth extractions"

Just a moment ago when I was silently whining to myself and then telling my oldest daughter Toni (I know that's gonna mess with some of you) about my appointment, something pretty heavy occurred to me.

It is Tuesday of Holy week and in a few hours I am having a tooth pulled which may produce some pain and discomfort. I cannot imagine how Jesus was feeling on Tuesday. Just a couple more days to really reach out to the world around Him.... then pain and suffering that has no measure... and why... for me! and for you!

The Bible says in the night he went into the Mount of Olives to pray.

It's Tuesday and the time is indeed short.

Monday, April 6, 2009

Holy week...Monday

The Monday after the Sunday of the triumphal entry into Jerusalem. What must Jesus be thinking today. Yesterday he declared the stones were capable of crying out praises to Him if men did not. Some times, I'm afraid I can almost hear stones clearing their throats.
The Lord inhabits the praise of His people. Oh, how we should praise Him!

Yesterday the temple was cleansed as Jesus turned over the money tables. Is there something in my heart your heart... that Jesus needs to turn over, to cleanse
He is teaching every day... can we learn from Him?

His disciples, what are they thinking, they seemed so dazed. His Father, anticipating the hours of turning His face from His Son.

It is Monday and just a few days left before the world is turned upside down.

For you & I, is it much the same? Only a few days left? How much longer, Lord Jesus? How many more days?
Work while it is yet day, for the night is coming!

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Happy Atheist Day

So, Just wanted to wish every body a Happy Atheist Day!!!

What, you didn't know atheist had their own national day? Well, it is today, April 1st.
Today is "April Fools' Day" right?
And Psalm 14:1 says "The fool has said in his heart, There is no God."

Hope you all have a great day!

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Say What?

I recently was shown a book that one of our "THIRD GRADERS" from church brought home from school that had language and subject matter that would require a movie to be rated at least PG-13.
I was truly surprised even though I don't know why anything surprises me any more. I will not even give you the first letters of the words used because I really don't need to. In fact you already know the words I am referring to.

Now remember, I said a third grader...not high school or middle school but ELEMENTARY school.

Then yesterday, I sat out at the ball field for five hours watching J.V. and Varsity baseball. I didn't hear one teenager or adult use any offensive language what soever, for which I am very grateful. HOWEVER, they play music between innings and between games on loudspeakers, one of which was right in front of where I was sitting (did I mention LOUD music). I do not know who chooses the music that is played but the only bad language I heard was from those songs. Most of the words used were words that we may not consider terribly offensive, though still unnecessary, there were a couple that made me cringe.

Of course if I say anything in public, I am simply the old, cranky, old fashion, fundamental, intolerant, extremist that wants to complain about everything.

Funny thing, I would have never dreamed as I was growing older that any of those words above would ever be used to describe me. Isn't life funny?

Well, garbage in garbage out... freely feeding that language to our kids even in a school atmosphere and school property... should we wonder what the verbal out come will be for many of them.

Okay, I'm going to take a swig of geritol and prune juice now and go lay down for a spell...before I HAVE one. (A spell that is)

Monday, March 23, 2009

Reasons to Pray (not what you are expecting)

Here is a partial list of some things that help increase my prayer life...

A group of three or more people walking abreast down a hall way... especially when I'm in a hurry.
Some one relentlessly clicking an ink pen.
An unhappy child who doesn't even want to be at that expensive restuarant.
That precious older person driving 6 miles under the speed limit where there is no passing opportunity.
That precious teenager who has never been taught how far to stay behind a car at night and who also doesn't know how to turn the high beam off.
That precious clerk at the fast food place (mind your own business Jamie) that forgot my fries or gave me a hot dog with relish when I clearly said chilli.
People who make me wait.
That precious person who is about to suck the enamel off their teeth after a meal.
When the receipt paper runs out with the customer just before me.
When cashiers enjoy a reunion and don't seem to notice me standing there ready to check out.

God is so good to supply me with so many things to improve my prayer life.
I hear a pen clicking, I need to go pray now.

Monday, March 9, 2009

One Giant leap

Remember July 20, 1969 when Neil Armstrong stepped off the Apollo 11 ladder onto the surface of the moon and said "One small step for man, one giant leap for mankind"?

Well, let me use part of his quote ... "a giant leap BACKWARDS for mankind."

George Bush by way of veto in 2007 restricted federal funding for embryonic stem cell research to existing cells only and only private funding would be acceptable for new embryonic stem cell research. (I am reasonably sure of my statement) I don't think there were any restrictions on adult stem cells.
Today, March 9, 2009, President Obama is reversing that decision. So now, our tax dollars (I didn't think there were many of those left) will be used to finance embryonic retrieval and storage and research from aborted babies. This action further "legitimizes" abortion...after all if we use those embryos then the abortion wont be a total waste right? Sorry to sound so synical but these days seem to draw that out in me.

Of course this should not surprise anyone seeing how one of his first official acts as president was to increase federal funding for abortions.

This is not the kind of "change" I would have liked.

But here's the good news...ready... the dog is being trained and will soon be delivered to the white house. So all is well.

Friday, March 6, 2009

Daylight Savings Time

Don't forget to set your clocks ahead an hour before going to bed Saturday night, march 8th...or you can set the alarm for 2:00a.m. if you wish and do it then, but either way don't be late for church Sunday!!

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Sunday chatter

I just finished writing a highly sarcastic blog dealing with our current national condition and our future hope or lack there of.
But after reading it, I simply hit delete on the whole page.

I choose to serve the Lord to the very best of my ability or at least attempting to give my best.

I choose to love Jesus and brag on Him any chance I get. I choose to let him stick out of me as much as possible.

I choose to be contagious and at times border line obnoxious...only in extreme circumstances.

I choose to trust Him...lean on Him and hold on tight. And if my grip fails, I choose to believe His will not!

I choose to pray for my country and my president and my church and my family and really, I just stopped here this moment and prayed for anybody who reads this. So if you are reading this, I have already prayed for you and will do so again.

I choose to sing...can you hear me? And laugh! And shout (I did and I think I scared a child walking past my office)

I choose to say to you... God is alive and relevant and available and loving and joyful and amazing.

I choose to invite you to Chose Him!!

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

I Hope the current Change doesn't leave us Hopeless

Well President Obama stated in his inaugural address that "we have chosen hope over fear". Sounds good to me because I believe in hope but frankly my Hope is in the Lord and not our political system. Nonetheless, his tone changed a little last Wednesday when he said "A failure to act, and act now, will turn crisis into a catastrophe." What happened to hope over fear.

Well, I've got a few fears of my own. The first is the fast action he took on expanding tax payer funding for abortions and as I understand it, not just here but in other places in the world. Another fear appeared when I heard that his very first television interview as president was not with an American network or news company but a Muslim television station where he reminded his listeners of his Muslim ties.

Then there was his emphatic stand on NO PORK in the stimulis package and then when presented it was full of pork wherein republicans called it a spending bill. Mr. Obama's response was an arrogant "What do you think stimulis is?" His statement drew laughter around the democratic chambers, but who is the laugh on?

I am a little fatigued at the continued bashing of President Bush. Has everyone forgotten that just as this president can't just do anything he wants without some house and senate support neither could the last president and he dealt much of his presidency with a democratic congress. Not all of the catastrophe that we face can be blamed on President Bush.

Go back and look at some of Barney Frank's comments about Fannie Mae and Freddie Mack when the republican whitehouse was trying to get some things done several years ago.

As I promised on election day, I will and do pray for my president and he is my president, and I do hope he will seek guidance from the same place I am.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Preach it, Brother!

I wonder how many people have to ask forgiveness for lying after they shake the preacher's hand after a sermon. "Great job Preacher" "Oh, brother that was awesome" "Good Word, Pastor" "Oh, my toes hurt this morning preacher"... well you get the idea.

One guy said one Sunday "Preacher, you sure used a lots of words today!"

I laugh sometimes (on the inside) when people's expressions and eyes and body language scream out something different from what they are saying.

Truth is not every sermon is going to move every person so a preacher can only pray hard, study long and think creatively... the real work comes from the Holy Spirit.

So, with all that said, it is really refreshing when people call or e-mail or show up a day or two or more after the sermon and say things like... "I couldn't shake what you said from my mind" or
"God really spoke to me Sunday and I want you to know that I have already ..." or, "Okay, preacher, here's what I have done since Sunday, can you give me some additional scripture or insight so that I can..."

When I get those kind of calls or comments the week following a sermon, I smile deep inside and thank God for allowing me to be a preacher. That has happened several times already this week and has blessed me greatly (no, it doesn't happen every week).

My sermon this past Sunday spoke to Doing your job, doing it now and doing it right. If God has laid an asignment on you (and he has) do it... do it now ... and do it right.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Ladies and Gentlemen, The President of the United States of America!

Today is a historic day of which no one can deny. Barak Obama will be sworn in office in just a few minutes from my typing this blog. What an amazing reality for our nation when you need look just a few decades back to a time when this day seemed highly unlikely.
We celebrated, yesterday, Martin Luther King's birthday and were once again reminded of his great dream for the equality of man in our country. No more appropriate time then today for this inauguration to take place.
President-elect, in just a few minutes to be called President Obama, was not my choice for president and was in fact probably my last choice of all the serious candidates offered a year ago.
I have even been called a racist because I didn't support him or vote for him. That's like calling me a vegetarian if I don't like steak. His race had absolutely nothing to do with my choice or non-choice of him as our president. In fact if race was an issue for any white person, they would need only to consider that he was birthed by a white woman and raised by her and his white grandparents. However, that was not and is not an issue for me.
My problem is his liberalism, having been labeled as THE most liberal senator in the U.S. Senate and the fact that he had and has so very little experience. He had barely begun serving as a senator when he was beginning an all out campaign for the presidency. He is pro abortion even to the extent of partial birth abortion which I cannot understand for the life of me is not a murderous act punishable by the same consequences as killing someone 30 seconds after they are born as opposed to before they were born. I could list many other reasons that I could not support him with my vote and will not (unless there are some drastic changes in 4 years in his platform) in four years from now.
HOWEVER, he is my president now and will be for at least four years and I will stand by him as an American and I will fervently pray for him regularly. I Peter 2:13-17 is God's command to me as a Christian to pray for and honor my leader and that I will do to the best of my ability.

For the first time since Truman, I think, the sitting president will not have the benefit of regular counsel from Billy Graham as his health and age have closed that chapter. I truly hope that President Obama will solicit the counsel of Rick Warren or someone of his strong convictions.

Obama received, overwhelmingly, the voice of our nation on election day and deserves this position based on the will of the people. It is a wonderful story of the American dream. Congratulations Mr. President! My prayers are with you and your family.
May God continue to Bless America!

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

No winners in the courtroom

I spent the most part of my day yesterday sitting in a courtroom in Virginia Beach. It was the sentencing hearing for the young man who killed one of our church members last May when driving while intoxicated.
This was a very diificult experience. It would have been easier if he had been an arrogant jerk who wanted to blame his upbringing or being bullied in grade school or abused by a co-worker or something. But that was not the case.
This young man was obviously a decent guy who was liked by every body who knows him. He had a great support system but not one witness excused what he did and in fact each of them seemed quite surprised that this could happen with him. It was testified that he was a faithful and gifted employee and trusted friend, a good son, a servant who even the day before the accident attended his friend's wedding and then stayed to help his friend's mother clean up after the reception.
Truly, any anger that one might have had with the guy, began to melt away...well at least it did for me. My heart was crushed with his brokeness and remorse and his unsoothed devastation for the family of the deceased.
Even the judge was moved with emotion as he handed down the sentence...not a slap on the wrist but a response to the law and it's intended purpose in that he gave him five years and a month.
Handcuffs clicked on the young man's wrist behind his back as he was led out of the room. No one one!
I boldly announced downstairs to the family of the deceased that they had no choice but to forgive this young man as he pleaded for that and believed that they did in fact forgive him. Some in the family had and some had not.
As I was driving back to Moyock the terrible thought flooded my mind..."Would I be able to forgive someone if this happened to my family?" I guess I can't really say that for sure...but after sitting in that courtroom yesterday, I believe by God's grace I could do that. I do hope and pray I will never have to know the answer to that question.
A couple or three beers problem... maybe not for some... but at least for one, it was exceeded speed, missed stop light, collision with an innocent person, death, heartache and five years...No, a lifetime in prison...or at least the equivalent.

Alcohol, is it ever a good idea? Ask Mr. Covington or Mr. or Mrs. Gardner.
I write this because I care!