Monthly Archives: May 2010

My Babies Are Graduating

I can’t believe that it’s here, but might as well accept it. Our twins, Brandon and Britney, are graduating tonight. They are still supposed to be just little things. Where has the time gone?

Pray for Ellen and me as we watch this event tonight. Lots of tears. We are so proud of them and the people they have become. They are not perfect, but they are so close, it don’t matter.  HA!

Thank you Father for the time you’ve given to me with you children. As they launch out into a hopeful future, please guide their every step. In Jesus name! Amen!


Do-Overs

As kids we used to play backyard football. We played lots of backyard football. We had a rule that if the kick-off went out of bounds, the kicker would get a do-over. It was kind of a mercy rule for the kicker.

Wouldn’t it be nice to get that kind of option in life? It would really be cool if when we made a mistake, someone might say, “That’s OK, you get a do-over.”

Today I worked on my youngest kids’ pictures for graduation. That’s right. My youngest, who are twins, are finishing their last year of high school. It seems unbelievable.

As I looked through pictures, I was once again flooded with memories. Basketball, baseball, softball, birthday parties, playing in the park, and on and on.

Those times in our life were so happy, yet I remember times when we struggled too. I would see pictures that caused me to feel regret at some of my actions and many that would make me laugh.

While I was in this picture process, Danielle, our middle daughter came by and we watched some old videos. I made the statement, “If I could go back, I’d sure do some things different.”

The tough thing is, we don’t get do-overs in life. We can, however, do better for the rest of the time we have left. Learning from our mistakes and the mistakes of others, is extremely valuable.

One thing I’d do different is the pressure I put on my kids to achieve in sports. I was really hard on them and pushed them a little too much. I especially did that to Brandon. I expected him to be the best. That’s OK to a point, but I might have gone overboard. To this day, he is super competitive.

What about you? What might you change if you could get a do-over?


Community Brotherhood

Today I sat with three of my brothers in Christ to plan an event that is to happen soon in the Shoals area.  Last year we held this event in the park and we finished the day baptizing people in the Tennessee River.  There were 13 total who were baptized.  Our goal this year is to double the number of people giving their lives to Jesus.

The wonderful thing about this kind of event to me is the unity amongst people of like faith.  That speaks volumes in our area.  In this area one can hardly turn onto a street without passing a church building.  This would seem like a blessing to see so many who are believers, yet I cannot help myself to think of all the division represented by these churches.    Though there are many good people in those churches, the reason for most of their existence is one person or a group of people became angry at others and left to start their own.  Sad, but true, that we tend toward division rather than multiplication.

There is something, however, stirring in the hearts of the people of God in this area.  There is a spirit that is attempting to bring together the people of God who are sick of the whole “religion” thing and are ready to step outside their traditions and heritages into a whole new world of unity and love.  I hear it everywhere I go.  People are saying things like, “If the church is ever going to be heard in the name of Jesus, she is going to have to get outside the walls of the buildings.”  No longer are people coming into our meeting houses in search of anything.  In fact, the meeting houses are part of the problem.  Millions are spent on buildings and salaries in order to maintain the people we have meeting in our fortresses.  And we have made them just that–fortresses protecting us from “the world.”

It’s time for the church to step outside and notice the world around it.  We must take the message of Christ into the places where Christ would go and to the kind of people who will listen to His message.  People who’s marriages are falling apart and need healing.  People who are addicted to God knows what and need to be set free.  The sick, poor, lame, blind, deaf, abused, and neglected.  The church needs to experience first hand in order to appreciate where these people are in their walks of life.

I am so proud to have met my new brother and friend Tim Weakly from Faith Church who has a vision for the community that is bursting from within himself.  Today I sat with a new-found friend Bill Williams from the Florence Methodist Church who has such a heart for worship and for the God we serve.  I sat with my Brother Mark Maybrey at Macedonia with a not so dry set of eyes and prayed with these men as we plan Fam-Fest, an event to reach out into our community and just love on people.  I wept because of the years I’ve missed these kind of relationships.  I wept because of the freedom I felt in that room.  I wept as I felt open to the leading of God and not stuck in some kind of church system of rules and regulations.

Let us all look deep into our hearts and find a place of love where we can open our hearts to all people, get into their mess with them, get our hands dirty working for and serving our community and watch our God get glorified like never before and see how strong the people of God can become in a community.  Now that’s KINGDOM living!!  That is a community of brotherhood!!


Church Inside Out!

It is said in Acts 6:17 that Jason and some other disciples had “turned the world upside down.” (KJV)  I believe that in our culture that it’s time to turn the church inside out.  It’s time for the church to tear down the walls we’ve built of jealousy, envy, strife, and discord and begin to build back the outward focus on the world.

For too long we’ve hidden behind Bible verses like, “avoid all appearances of evil” and “bad company corrupts good morals.” We sing songs that have words like “make friends of God’s children.”  We teach our kids concepts like, stay away from “those people” because they are bad news.  Now, where I agree there are times we need to be smart, I think we have just gone too far in the sense that we forget that “those people” have a soul that needs saving.

We’ve forgotten that Jesus rubbed elbows with the “sinners” of his day.  He went to their houses and ate supper with them.  He sat down and spoke to them.  He touched their physical as well as their spiritual lives.  Jesus told us that we cannot be of the world, but that we need to be in the world.  His prayer was that in the world God would keep us from the evil one, but that is not reason to hide in our safe houses we call church.

It is time to outwardly focus.  I have a new dream and vision.  It is to get more involved with those outside of Jesus.  Those people who on Sunday morning would never darken the door of our cathedrals.  They are confused by the double talk that we love them, but in order for them to find out how, they’ve got to come to church.  In order for them to be saved, they have to jump through our hoops and look like us.  Shame on us.

People need one thing and one thing only in order to find salvation–JESUS.  He said that he was the “way, the truth, and the life.”  That’s enough for me.

“Jesus is the answer for the world today.”  We sing those words, but do we believe them enough to step out of our dogmas, traditions, and our church culture long enough to spend time with not yet Christian people.  Instead of compelling people to “not forsake the assembly,” we need to go and discover what these people’s lives are like and while there tell them about the wonderful news that their lives don’t have to be filled with sorrow, shame, disgrace, and pain.  They can come to know the healer just like we did.  That’s inside out thinking.

So, the next time you feel the urge to go and talk to that person, try building a relationship with them.  Let them know how much you care.  Before long we would all be enjoying our Christian walk as it is focused inside out.

How can you an I do this more?  how can we get more outwardly focused?