Monthly Archives: November 2008

Incredible Black Friday Event

Those words “Black Friday” sound so terrible.  I really don’t know the origin of the phrase, but we all know to what it refers.  It’s the day after Thanksgiving when people stand in line for the opening of the department stores in order to get the best deals.  Some people camp out in front of the stores for two days in order to buy a laptop or video game.  It’s crazy.

What’s crazier is an idea that we learned about through the internet.  A church in Mobile, Alabama called “Deeper Life Fellowship”  gave away hot chocolate to those people standing in line.  We decided to try this ourselves.  I called the church and asked them how they did this.  They used a back pack with a hose that dispensed the hot chocolate into the cup.

When I inquired as to how much this apparatus cost, I was told $300.00. We could not afford to buy one of these right now and decided to do the project anyway and use Igloo coolers instead.  Two days after talking with Pastor Mark Wyatt from Deeper Life, he called me back and said that his church wanted to purchase one of the back packs for us.  How generous!  We received our pack about a week before Thanksgiving and the event went great.  We are so appreciative of Deeper Life Fellowship for their generosity.

We met at 2am Friday morning to begin the process of making the hot chocolate.  Around 3:30 about 24 of us hit the sidewalks to bless people.  We took marshmallows and candy canes.  We got the strangest looks from people with that back pack.  People thought we were selling the chocolate.  When we told them it was free they couldn’t believe it.  People wanted to know where we were from.  Not one person was rude or mean to us.  People even thanked us and cheered when we cried out, “Free Hot Chocolate!”

It is amazing how people are caught off guard when we do something kind for them–no strings attached.  People just can’t believe it sometimes.  That’s one of our main goals is to simply love people because we’ve been loved.  We want our community to have no reason to or excuse to say evil about the church.  Please pray for us that we can keep our focus on doing good for those around us.

Most of all, we want God to receive the honor and glory.  We are looking forward to seeing His kingdom spread abroad in the hearts of people in the Shoals area.  Paul said that we plant and water and God gives the increase.  The really cool thing about something like this is the fact that we don’t have to worry about “results” because we see them as the event is happening and we will see them as attitudes change about God’s church for the better.

The following is a video of the event that I hope you enjoy.  I hope I did this correctly. 


Happy Thanksgiving

Just a short blog to wish all of you a happy Thanksgiving season. I hope you have a great time with your families.turkey-moo

This is one of the funniest things I’ve seen this year.

Jon, the One-Armed Drummer

Saturday at 2:30pm I was honored to be asked to perform the funeral of a man I wrote about a few blogs ago.  That blog was titled “Death-Bed Confessions.” His name was Jon.

Jon lived a lot of life in his 65 years.  When he was just 16 years old, he suffered a heart attack.  I don’t know all the story surrounding that, but that has to be a devastating thing, especially given the medical field at that time.  Just a couple of years after getting through all of that, Jon was burned over much of his body in a work accident.  Not many years after that, he suffered the blow that really embittered him to much of life.  He was in a van pool going to work when there was a terrible accident.  His wife was told at the hospital that he was dead.  There was, however, a mix-up and it was actually one of his co-workers who was dead.  Jon was spared his life, but not the used of his right arm.  The doctors wanted to amputate, but Jon held out hope that one day he would be able to regain use of it.  People who knew him best said that he was never the same again.

Prior to this accident, Jon was a studio drummer.  He and Roger Hawkins (one of the premier drummers of that day and the one who went on the be a very famous studio drummer) were called on by Fame and Muscle Shoals Sound recording studios to do much of their work.  Jon played for Little Richard, Aretha Franklin, Johnny Cash, Clarence Carter, and many more not so famous people.  His wife Carol baby sat for Sonny and Cher.  One evening Jon called her and said, I’m bringing home the Allman Brothers for dinner and he did.  He called her up one day and asked if she would like to meet Michael Jackson.  The Jackson Five were recording at Muscle Shoals Sound that day.  She remembers him as a very foul-mouthed mean little boy.  She said, “But he sure could sing.”

It’s must be a terrible thing for anyone to lose an arm, but it somehow seems even worse when one makes such a living as Jon did.  Carol recalls that during that time, no one from the church came to see Jon.  This also made him turn away from the church and from God.  Jon believed that Christianity ought to be lived out and shown, especially in troubled times.  When that didn’t happen for him, he turned against it big time.

Jon’s life was music.  He continued to play drums with only one arm (his left arm at that.  There are many people I’ve talked to who called him the best one-armed drummer they ever knew.  There are not many of them out there who would continue to play in Jon’s condition, but he did.  It was his love for the music that drove him to continue.

Jon chose a lot of bad things in his life that I won’t go into, but in the end he knew one thing and only one thing.  He knew that he needed God through eternity.  I’ll leave all the details up to God, but this one thing I know, I am glad to have had the opportunity to pray with him.

I will always have one regret though.  I will always regret not having gone to him sooner.  I think I could have helped him.  I told the folks at the funeral Saturday that we should let Jon’s life be a lesson to us.  I hope that the next time I feel like giving up on a person simply based upon his past or other people’s feelings about that person that I will not listen to the negatives and at least try and reach out to them.  Who knows what we could have done for Jon a long time ago?

Aren’t you glad that God does not keep time scores or a notebook on the wrongs we’ve done.  When we cry out to Him, He simply hears, and loves and cares.  Praise Him!!

Welcome Potato Cakes

Just wanted to let all of you, our blog family, know that I am welcoming into our community a new name on my blog roll.  Her blog name is “Potato Cakes.”  Her real name is Staci.  She is our secretary at Creekside.  She is the mother of three wonderful kids and married to a great guy named Robin.  You guys be nice.  Especially you Greg.


11-18-08-brandon-packs-big-boyIt may be a little hard to see, but the picture has my son in the black uniform “packing” the kid about to shoot.  The kid shooting is about 6 feet 4 inches tall and Brandon is right at 6 feet tall.  It was a great moment.

I wish I could say we went on to win the game, but they beat us 65 to 61.  That’s not too bad for a 4A school playing a 6A.

Brandon scored 8 points.  Two of those buckets were threes.  He had one other three pointer rim out.

His coach was very positive about the whole outing for the team.  We weren’t really expecting to even hang with these guys, but by the end of the third period it was obvious that not only could we hang with them, we had a real chance of beating them.

This was Brandon’s first varsity basketball game.  He is a junior and the coach announced the starting team the day before the game.  Brandon was on that list.  He was so excited he called me on the way home to tell me.  We are very proud of him as a person.  Things like this are just icing on the cake.

Death Bed Confessions

Today was a tough day for one of our families at Creekside.  Please remember the Daniel family tonight in your prayers.  It began about a month or so ago with the father of this family beginning to turn for the worse in his health.  Today all of the worry and thoughts came to a head with the news of lung cancer.  Though all indications had led to something terribly wrong, no one wanted to believe that the worst news would come.  It came for them today.

John was placed on a respirator this morning and the family was told that his right lung was completely wrapped in cancer.  To make matters worse, he only has one half of his left lung.  The family was called together and was told that he would probably not make it off of the respirator.  It was tough hearing that news with them.

There’s just some things one can’t learn in college.  I don’t remember a class I ever took that can help very much with questions like I received today.  “How can I make this decision to turn this machine off?” People don’t want to ever have to make this decision, but they had to.

I don’t know if I said the right thing or not, God only knows, but I responded what I felt in this case.  To me, John made this decision long ago when he decided to do some things that would ruin his health.  He knew that if he continued his lifestyle that one day this day would come.  So, in a very real sense, he made this decision for them.  No matter what they decide, he has no life of quality left.

When I arrived at the hospital, I prayed that God would give me an opportunity to talk with John about his soul.  I did get that opportunity.  Having the ventilator in his mouth prevented verbal communication.  I could only get a response by asking John to squeeze my hand.  I asked if he could understand me to squeeze my hand and he did.  I asked if I could pray for him and he gave a squeeze.  I then told him that I wanted to pray that God would forgive him from all of his past sins.  I asked if that was something he wanted me to do.  He gave a squeeze.  I told him that God did not keep time when it comes to salvation and I wanted him to have the same peace that I had in God’s ability to save me.  We then prayed.  Upon finishing the prayer, John gave me a gentle squeeze of the hand as if to thank me.  He then acted as though he was going to go to sleep.

I’ve been taught so many things about death-bed confessions–everything from offering the sinners prayer to it’s too late when we reach this point.  On this day, I believe that God can an will save this man in spite of his sin, as long as he trusts Jesus to do that.

As tough as it was to go into that ICU (The same one where my dad was on his death bed) and be with these wonderful people in their sorrow, I considered it one of the most sacred things I been honored to be used by God in doing.  People never forget when you spend time with them n these situations and I certainly will never forget this day.

Please pray for this man and his family as they deal with a tremendous amount of emotions right now.  There’s so much to the story that I can’t write about here, but I know this–God is God and I am not.  His love endures forever and Jesus died to save people from their sins.  Time has nothing to do with it.  It’s awesome to serve a God with that kind of love.  Praise him!!

Operation Christmas Child

11-12-08-operation-christmas-child-with-noteLast night was our night as a church family to prepare shoe boxes for children all over the world to receive for Christmas.  It was an awesome experience.  Young and old gathered to wrap boxes, fill boxes, label them for shipment, and write notes to put in the boxes.  The picture you see here is the group that worked.  We will be placing one of these pictures in each box so that the children can see those who sent them their box.  We also put envelopes for them to write back if they chose.

If your church has not participated in this yet, you really ought to try it.  These kinds of events really bring out the good in our church.  There are no strings attached to these boxes.  We just pray that they bless the children who open them.  There will be hundreds of thousands of these distributed.  There’s no telling the good that will come from it.  Only God knows!  Just thought I’d share it.