I Am A Sinner … And I’m Loved By God

I came down to Dallas this weekend with Chad to attend a Dallas Cowboy game.  Now before you start bashing my Cowboys, keep in mind you cut me I bleed blue and silver.  I love my Cowboys and I love my Sooners. Both of whom lost this weekend, so I’m experiencing “football depression.”  I’m not sure that’s an illness or if there is medication for it.  But, if it is an illness, and there is medication, I might take advantage of it.  Just being honest.

There was, however, a highlight of the trip. Chad suggested we attend @mattchandler74 church called @thevillagechurchtx in Flower Mound, Tx.  It seemed like a good idea, so we went to his church this morning.  They had a service called a “Celebration Service.”  Matt didn’t preach a message per se. There was a time of prayer/dedication of several new babies in the church. Followed by a good time of worship. Then there was 4 people who were baptized. That was followed by a video of several families/singles from The Village Church that had been led by God to serve overseas. The video gave us an update of how they were doing and how we could pray for them.  After the service was over, there was a number of families/singles out in the lobby talking about what area(s) God was leading them to serve as missionaries.

As the service progressed, the same theme seemed to be repeated in my mind. I’ll start with what struck me during the baptisms:

There was 4 different people baptized. Matt had each of them share their story of salvation with the church.  4 different ages. 4 different upbringings.  4 different life experiences. 4 different cultures. 4 different times of salvation. Out of these 4 different people, not a single one was perfect.  Not a single one had earned their salvation.  Not a single one was honored for what they had done, but rather for what God had done and still was doing in their life.

What struck me with the missionary videos was related to the baptisms. As each person(s) told us via video how God was working in their lives and their ministry, I realized that they too came from different cultures, different upbringings, different parents, etc.  Not a single one mentioned how great they were at being missionaries.  Not a single one mentioned what they could offer God.  They all humbly mentioned how they were thrilled to be able to serve God in this manner.

So … what was my takeaway from all of that?  I’m glad you asked!

First of all, I’m so glad that God NEVER gave up on me. Yesterday it has been 5 years since I accepted Christ as my Saviour.  It still overwhelms me that God kept giving me chance after chance after chance.  I still don’t understand why He never gave up on me, but I’m so thankful He didn’t.  Second of all, there is no certain “type” that God uses. There is not a certain “type” that God saves.  He speaks to all the same message of truth and salvation. Think of those he used in the Bible:

~ Noah was a drunk

~ Abraham was too old

~ Isaac was a daydreamer

~ Jacob was a liar

~ Joseph was abused

~ Moses had a stuttering problem and was a murderer

~ Gideon was afraid

~ Samson had long hair and was a womanizer

~ Rahab was a prostitute

~ Jeremiah and Timothy were too young

~ David was an adulterer and a murderer

~ Elijah was suicidal

~ Jonah ran from God

~ Naomi was a widow

~ Job went bankrupt

~ John the Baptist ate bugs

~ Peter denied Christ

~ The disciples fell asleep while praying

~ Martha worried about everything

~ The Samaritan woman was divorced (more than once)

~ Zacchaeus was too small

~ Paul was too religious

~ Lazarus was dead!

If you’re waiting until you’re “perfect” to accept Christ as your saviour, you’ll never make it. God accepts you JUST AS YOU ARE … God accepts you WHERE YOU ARE … God saves you AS YOU ARE … changes come AFTER salvation as God begins to mold you into His image.

If you’re waiting until you’ve achieved a certain “level of Christianity” to serve God as a missionary; church worker; Overseas Lay Worker; work witness; etc. you will never serve God … period.  He wants us to serve Him Today … Now … when He directs us.  Our growth comes as we serve Him. We grow because we serve.

Yes … I am a sinner … AND God loves me … no “buts” here … Before time began, God loved me so much that He developed a plan for His son Jesus Christ.  That plan involved unmerited love for me that overwhelms me and makes me thankful.

God did the same for you … If you have never accepted Him as your Saviour, He loves you and will save you AS YOU ARE and WHERE YOU ARE …

If you are wanting to serve God in some capacity, know He loves you and wants to USE YOU NOW and will draw you closer to Him as you serve Him.

The last thing that struck me is God used today’s service to speak to me and who knows how many of the 1,000+ that attended the service.  Matt didn’t even preach a single message.  But the message from the time of prayer, worship, testimonies, etc. was very CLEAR … God wants to save the unsaved AND God wants to use us if we’re willing.

Turn to Him today for salvation and/or to serve Him in some capacity…

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My Real Name Is Martha

 Now don’t get too worried.  Hopefully you’ll read past the heading.  It got your attention didn’t it?  That’s all I wanted.  

Here’s the story of Martha:

“Now as they went on their way, Jesus entered a village.  And a woman named Martha welcomed him into her house.  And she had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet and listened to his teaching.  But Martha was distracted with much serving.  And she went up to him and said, “Lord, do you not care that my sister has left me to serve alone?  Tell her then to help me.”  But the Lord answered her, “Martha, Martha, you are anxious and troubled about many things, but one thing is necessary.  Mary has chosen the good portion, which will not be taken away from her.””

‭‭Luke‬ ‭10:38-42‬ ‭ESV‬‬


In the biblical account above?  I’m Martha.  My “spiritual gift” is serving.  I’m the doer not the talker.  I’m the guy who moves chairs; sweeps floors; cleans the kitchen; throws away the trash; etc. 

If I’m not careful that consumes me.  I come home and I’m only focused on tasks.  What needs to be done.  What isn’t done because I’m behind.  What am I doing tomorrow.  What am I doing the rest of the week, etc. 

What’s wrong with that?  It becomes how I value who I am.  Instead of walking with Christ I’m working for Christ.  It can become more about legalism and less about relationship.  My family can be neglected.  My walk with God can be neglected.  My relationship with other Christians can be neglected.  Because I’m focused on the next thing I have to do. 

What’s the remedy?  Proper balance.  The work is necessary.  The serving is necessary.  But there must be worship.  There must be prayer time.  There must be a time of Bible Study.   

Where do you stand?  Do you focus primarily on tasks in the Christian life?  Do you believe that shows how “strong of a Christian” you are?  

Do you focus primarily on worship?  Do you believe that shows how “strong of a Christian” you are?  I’m in the first category, but neither one is true. The Bible clearly says “by your fruits you shall know them.” 

“Thus you will recognize them by their fruits.”

‭‭Matthew‬ ‭7:20‬ ‭ESV‬‬


I don’t know about you.  I can only speak for myself but I have a LONG way to go in that category.  I’m not the servant I should be and I’m not the worshipper I should be. As the children’s church song goes; “He’s Still Working On Me.”

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Lessons from Bike Riding

It’s that time of year again. As the weather warms, I love the fact I get to pull out my bike and enjoy the beautiful afternoons. To me there’s not much more exhilarating than going down a hill on your bike with the wind at your face. I like being able to coast if I want … go slower if I want … go faster if I want …

Every time before on my long rides, I have always gone by myself. Yesterday, a friend of mine(shout out to Jerry) came with me.  The longest he had gone was 11 miles. I told him I normally try to do close to 20. He said he was game and would hang with me the entire time. You know how us guys are … we’re competitive about everything with every one and don’t like to lose.

Several things happened yesterday on our bike ride:

  1.  We rode for 20 miles

  2.  We went a direction I had never gone before

  3.  I almost lost control going down a hill too fast

  4. I got sunburned. Yes, I didn’t put on sunscreen. Yes, I’m not smart

  5.  We pushed each other(passing each other) on the tough hills

  6.  We talked and communicated along the ride

    1. We talked about the different equipment on our bike
    2. We talked about plans for the summer
    3. We talked about our families
  7. We went through construction areas

  8. We went by fields, rivers, ponds, streams, across bridges and along streets

Now you know what’s coming next. It’s time for an application for me. It doesn’t matter what I do in life, I always think of how it applies to my spiritual walk. My problem is that I can develop illustrations for living for God, but it’s always harder to do the actual living. “God, help me to live a life that is pleasing to you … every single day.”

So, how does bike riding apply to our Christian walk?

  1. Life is a journey. It’s not a sprint; it’s not even a marathon; it’s not a 20 mile bike ride. It’s eternal life. The question we must face is what will we do with Jesus in that journey? Will we accept Him as Savior and live for Him daily? Or will we reject Him and spend eternity separated from Him and the blessing of Heaven.

  2. In life there will be times that we walk down paths we’ve never been before. Those paths may be unsure; those paths may be scary; those paths may be uneven; those paths may be dark; no one but us may even go down those paths. However, God promises to always walk beside us down that path. It doesn’t matter how dark, unsure, scary or traveled those paths are. God will always walk with us in our journey.

  3. Sometimes in life, we get so confident we don’t think we need God. We start flying through life with no controls at all. We lose control of our thoughts, emotions, etc. When we take control away from God we have no way to slow down the consequences of sin. It doesn’t matter how good things are currently in our life. We must always follow His guidance; in His timing.

  4. We need to be in God’s Word daily. If we aren’t familiar with His Word, we won’t be protected from the schemes of Satan. We will fall victim to temptation. Don’t ever underestimate the power of knowing scripture and having a consistent prayer life.

  5. We need each other to walk this journey. We(I) can’t walk this Christian life alone. We need other Christians to push us up those tough hills. We need other Christians to pray for us as we go through Valleys. We need other Christians to challenge us to live lives pleasing to God. God instructs us throughout His Word that we need each other to live for Him.

  6. We also need each other for fellowship. God created us to be relational. As Christians we need to be relational to each other. We shouldn’t bicker, fight, argue, etc. We are all walking the same Christian walk for Christ. The more we communicate with each other, the easier that Christian life will be.

  7. There will be times in our life that God uses circumstances to shape us; mold us; and grow us. Peter spoke of us being tried and coming forth as gold. We must be willing to be molded through different avenues in order for us to draw closer to God and live a better life for Him.

  8. When we live for Him, there will be beautiful stages in our life. We will go through struggles, but along the way He gives us moments to rejoice; moments to be thankful; moments to remember and moments to cherish for a lifetime.

It’s in those moments that I remember how thankful I am that God never gave up on me; that He convicted me of my sin and lack of salvation; that He saved me almost 5 years ago. My life is like a bike ride. Up and down …. up and down …. up and down … but, even still, God walks beside me convicting, encouraging, loving, etc.

I’m thankful for Him …

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Easter Reflections

John 20:1,11-18

Now on the first day of the week Mary Magdalene came to the tomb early, while it was still dark, and saw that the stone had been taken away from the tomb. 

11 But Mary stood weeping outside the tomb, and as she wept she stooped to look into the tomb. 12 And she saw two angels in white, sitting where the body of Jesus had lain, one at the head and one at the feet. 13 They said to her,“Woman, why are you weeping?” She said to them, “They have taken away my Lord, and I do not know where they have laid him.” 14 Having said this, she turned around and saw Jesus standing, but she did not know that it was Jesus.15 Jesus said to her, “Woman, why are you weeping? Whom are you seeking?”Supposing him to be the gardener, she said to him, “Sir, if you have carried him away, tell me where you have laid him, and I will take him away.” 16 Jesus said to her, “Mary.” She turned and said to him in Aramaic,[b] “Rabboni!” (which means Teacher). 17 Jesus said to her, “Do not cling to me, for I have not yet ascended to the Father; but go to my brothers and say to them, ‘I am ascending to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.’” 18 Mary Magdalene went and announced to the disciples, “I have seen the Lord”—and that he had said these things to her.

In this mornings Easter Service, our Pastor, Bro. Stuart started out by reading the above passage from the Bible. As he read, two things struck me that I hadn’t thought of before:

#1. She didn’t remember what Jesus had promised them. She was shocked to find the tomb empty. She thought someone had done something to His body. She never gave thought to the fact that Jesus had told them exactly what would happen and that he would rise again. All she could see is the circumstances in front of her. All she knew is there was an empty tomb, the body of Jesus was gone, she couldn’t anoint His body, she couldn’t follow through on her plan, and now she had no idea what to do next.

Sounds familiar doesn’t it? Jesus promises us throughout His Word that:

He will never leave us nor forsake us

He will comfort us

He will provide for us

He will protect us

He will strengthen us

He will give us victory over death

His Grace is sufficient

The list of promises continues throughout scripture. Yet, in spite of those promises, we still struggle believing when we are in the middle of something we don’t understand or can’t comprehend. We automatically look for every answer but God. We look at each angle except one that involves putting our trust in Him. We do just like Mary. We agonize over what we’ve lost; where we are; what’s going to happen; etc. All we see is our circumstances. We don’t see God at work.

#2. At that exact moment of hopelessness; helplessness; confusion; sorrow and tears flowing; Jesus showed up. Jesus could have been out having a celebration proving his resurrection; He could have been leading a parade to show God’s power; He could have been going from house to house saying “I told you so”; etc. However, He recognized that in that moment, Mary needed His presence; she needed His reassurance that His Word was true; and that He had not left her. He was right behind her and she didn’t even know it.

I’m so thankful that in those times of despair, frustration, anger, sorrow, etc. that God chooses THOSE times to show up in our lives. A friend of mine from Little Rock(Jason H.), always says, “God we need you to show up big in this situation.” or “God showed up in a big way in that occurrence.” That’s exactly what God does. In spite of our unbelief; in spite of our refusal to trust; in spite of our pride in trying to “fix” things ourselves; in spite of our thinking God has failed us; God shows up EXACTLY when we need Him too and He always knows exactly what to say to calm our fears and reassure us that He’s still in control. When we least expect it, God will be right beside us; behind us; lifting us up; holding our hand; sharing our burdens, sorrows, etc.

This Easter Sunday, I’m so thankful that the tomb is empty! That we serve a RISEN Savior! That He saved me in spite of my running from Him over many years. That He provides for me grace, hope, encouragement, protection and yes, even chastisement when needed. He is truly sufficient for EACH and EVERY part of our lives.

If you haven’t stopped to thank Him for all He’s done … do it today …

If you haven’t accepted Him as your Lord and Savior … do it today …

Happy Easter Everyone!

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Prayer Does Work

The hard truth to the matter is I’m not much of a prayer warrior. I grew up around a mom who prayed every single morning and throughout the day. However, I never picked up that habit and quality trait unfortunately. Prayer to me has the tendency to be a second choice. I try to manipulate things myself. Then if that doesn’t work … after I have exhausted all means … then I choose prayer. Why is that? Why don’t I go to God first in prayer and follow His lead? If I were to be honest, I would say it’s a pride thing. If you’ve read any of my blogs previous to this one, you know pride is something I have mentioned before. It is a continual weakness that I have yet to overcome.

Now, I didn’t say I didn’t pray and haven’t prayed. I just don’t do it as consistently as I should. Thankfully(as with many things), God hasn’t held that against me.

For the past 14 years, I have had a singular prayer request. Those of you who know me well know the request and have been praying with me. You can never underestimate the power of prayer. Prayer of yourself to God and prayer of others to God on behalf of you.

A few weeks ago, God partially answered this prayer. It overwhelmed me that He gave me an opportunity that I have been praying for for a long time. It was such a joy to see Him at work! My regret is I tried too many times to manipulate that answer myself and didn’t just let Him lead the situation.

Now I said He “partially answered this prayer.” That means I continue to pray for Him to open doors. But, I had to take the time to thank Him for bringing me this far and answering my prayer in a way I had hoped He would.

Of course, you’ve heard the old adage(which I believe) before that God ALWAYS answers prayer.

Sometimes the answer is YES

Sometimes the answer is NO

Sometimes the answer is WAIT

It’s the waiting part I don’t particularly like. That’s where I like to “help God out” and move things along.

However, that’s not my place in my Christian life. My place is to:

1. Do my best to live a life that is pleasing to Him.

2. Spend time in prayer for those around me that need Him in their lives

3. Be a witness to those around me that need Him in their lives

4. Request for God’s will to be accomplished in the areas of my life I need His power and involvement

5. Accept either YES, NO, or WAIT as His Will and continue to serve Him.

How’s your prayer life?

daniel-was-a-man-of-prayer-with-an-excellent-spirit PowerOfPrayer

I KNOW God always answers prayer

I KNOW God wants us to be content and happy in Him

I KNOW God wants us to serve Him

I KNOW I must accept His will no matter what that may entail

Need God to work in a miraculous way in your life? I know He will answer your prayer. As a matter of fact, He already has … it could be the answer to WAIT and see what He will do.

Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you.

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Are You A Samaritan or a Pharisee?

Simple question with a complicated answer. Who really wants to admit they’re a Pharisee? I know with my pride I have no desire to admit that I am a Pharisee. Of course, just saying that I am prideful puts me in the company of the Pharisees. Let’s look at the two separate people from Scripture:


Luke 10:33

“But a Samaritan, as he journeyed, came to where he was, and when he saw him, he had compassion.”

Here you have a Jewish guy(most likely) that has been attacked and left for dead. You have a Priest and a Levite who ignore this man; going to the point of crossing the other side of the street. But, a man who is a Samaritan stops, washes his wounds, and pays out of his own pocket for the man to rest in an inn until he recovers from his wounds.  A man who according to tradition should have nothing to do with a Jew is the ONLY one who stops and cares for him.

Luke 17:15-16

“Then one of them, when he saw that he was healed, turned back, praising God with a loud voice; and he fell on his face at Jesus’ feet, giving him thanks. Now he was a Samaritan.”

Here you have a group of ten lepers that Jesus miraculously healed. ONLY one returned to give thanks. The Word mentions that this one thankful man was a Samaritan. The fact that Luke felt it necessary for us to know he was a Samaritan leads me to believe that some of the other lepers were Jews. So, once again, a Samaritan is the ONLY one to offer thanksgiving for what Jesus did in his life.

John 4:39

“Many Samaritans from that town believed in him because of the woman’s testimony, “He told me all that I ever did.”

Read the story of the Samaritan woman in John 4. She was shocked that Jesus would even talk to her. Jews weren’t supposed to talk to Samaritans. Not only did Jesus change this woman’s life but the minute she accepted Him as her Savior, she went and told others about Him. Because of her testimony and because Jesus was willing to speak to them, “many” were saved. Based on the humility of ONE Samaritan women.

Those are just a few of the passages that mention Samaritans. Notice that in each instance you see humility, thanksgiving, love, willingness to listen, forgiveness, no prejudice, etc. In each case they exhibit the traits God wants us to exhibit.


John 15:2

“And the Pharisees and the scribes grumbled, saying, “This man receives sinners and eats with them.”

They were angry … angry that Jesus spent time with the needy; the down trodden; the brokenhearted; etc. Their ONLY focus was how dare He spend time with those who can’t repay Him back or make him(or them) look better in everyone’s eyes.

Luke 16:14

“The Pharisees, who were lovers of money, heard all these things, and they ridiculed him.”

Jesus had just finished teaching that money can’t take the place of God. The Pharisees immediately mocked Him. Why? Because they desired fame and fortune more than anything. Their only focus was “filling their pockets” and getting recognition from those around them.

Luke 18:11-12

“The Pharisee,standing by himself, prayed thus: ‘God, I thank you that I am not like other men, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even like this tax collector. I fast twice a week; I give tithes of all that I get.”

This is one of the more popular passages about the Pharisees. Here you see a man who cares ONLY about himself and how much he follows all that he’s supposed to follow and do all that he’s supposed to do. Doesn’t care about others … ONLY cares about his image and his popularity.


Those are just a few of the passages that mention Pharisees. Notice that in each instance you see pride, hatred, boasting, mocking, prejudice, etc.  In each case they exhibit the traits God wants us to avoid.

In conclusion, I ask the title question again … Are You A Samaritan or a Pharisee?

I’ll tell you my answer. I want to be the Samaritan 24/7 … but that doesn’t always happen. There are times that I am Pharisaical. There are times that I am prideful, hateful, boastful, etc. There are times I think I’m better than those around me. In those times, God once again convicts me of my sin and sets me right again.

My prayer is that I am always the Samaritan when dealing with those God brings into my life. It’s an overused saying but still holds true … “I may be the ONLY Jesus some may ever meet”. I want them to have a hunger for knowing Christ after they have met me … I’m not there yet … but I’m trying … so please be patient because God’s still working on me …

How about you … Pharisee or Samaritan?

Choose wisely … 

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Yes … I’m Unstable … I Admit it

James 1:8

“A double minded man is unstable in all of his ways.”

images (1)

I have recently been listening to podcasts of James MacDonald. One of the verses he used in the most recent message I listened to was James 1:8. It convicted me immediately.

I admit fully that based on this verse, I am at times unstable. God is a jealous God. He wants our full attention. He deserves our full attention and more. However, when things in my life become more important than God, then my mind dwells more on those things and less on God. When God becomes less in my mind, that is the definition of a “double minded man”. i.e. a man who focuses on more than just God. That man becomes unstable. Why? because he is focusing on more than he can handle.

Just being transparent, here are things that can overcome God in my mind:


I have found that the more I bury myself in these categories, the less I spend time with God. When I spend less time with God, my walk with Him suffers.

Sounds so easy, right? Stay focused on God … He takes care of everything in your life … and you’re not unstable anymore.

How’s your walk with God? How stable are you? How balanced are you? What’s coming in between you and Christ? Whatever it may be for you will cause you to struggle in your walk? You will become “unstable.” You will find yourself farther and farther from God.

What’s the solution? For me it’s several things:

Daily time with God and His Word
Weekly devotional time with my wife
Nightly prayer time with my wife
My wife and I holding each other accountable in our walk with Christ
Being a part of a men’s group that meets weekly and holds each other accountable
Being a part of a good, gospel preaching church

It’s not rocket science … It’s not some magic formula … It’s just simply following these steps. When I do these things regularly, my walk with God is better.

I don’t know what hinders you from serving God the way you should. But, whatever it is, get it out of your life. I don’t think any of us want to be classified as “unstable.” The only way to keep that from happening is to stay focused on Christ and His Word.

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I Never Counted On A Flat Tire

Tuesday’s are normally my half days. Now that the weather is starting to warm up, I’m going to try(I said try) and ride my bike in the afternoon. I tried running, but my heart just wasn’t in it. I enjoy bike riding though and if you ride long enough, it is good exercise. I was unable to take my half day Tuesday, so I took it today. I got home a little before 4 p.m. and decided to still go ahead and bike for about an hour. These are the items I had with me:

Helmet … water … house key … iphone … ear buds … sleeve for my iphone to attach around my arm … driver’s license in case I ever get hit and they need to know where I love(I know … OCD … what can I say)

I had ridden bout a 1/3 of my trip and was about 5 miles from home when … yep … you guessed it … I heard an unusual sound from the back of my bike. I looked back and it was flat as a pancake …




Hand tire pump? … nope

Money to get to the closest gas station and use their air pump? … nope

Debit card to get to the closest gas station and use their pump? … nope

Repair Kit? … nope

My only option? Call my wife and have her come get me. Unfortunately for me, she was 30 minutes away at an appt. So … I started the long trek of walking my bike back towards our home. Needless to say, I had a long time to think on my walk back … don’t worry, my wife made it after her appt. I was only walking with my bike for about 45 minutes.

As I was walking my bike back towards our home, I made the decision that from now on, I will have some cash or a debit card with me; I will buy a hand pump that attaches to my bike. Next time that happens to me; I will be better prepared.

It’s kind of that way in our Christian life. We go through life and depend on everything else for our success. As long as we have a nice house; two cars; in-ground pool; good paying jobs; the right social connections and the “perfect family” then we don’t really need God, right? That is what we count on … that is what we trust in … until some(or all) of that changes. Then when things happen and our life goes “flat” we realize then that the things that are most important; that the things that we need close to us to help us endure life’s struggles aren’t immediately at our disposal.  Then we call out to God to come deliver us. He does … and things are great again.

I couldn’t help but think of Ephesians 6:10-17

The Armor of God

10 Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. 11 Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. 12 For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.13 Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. 14 Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist,with the breastplate of righteousness in place, 15 and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. 16 In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. 17 Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.

1. Be strong in the Lord … Rest in Him … Trust in Him

2. Recognize that we aren’t to attack people when things don’t go our way … Let God fight for us

3. Trust in God’s truth … If we aren’t studying His Word; attending a good Bible teaching church; we won’t know the truth

4. Live a life of “rightness” before God. The closer we are to God, the better life we’ll live

5. Be ready to serve wherever/whenever God requests you to serve

6. Live a life of peace before God … When we walk close to God, we’ll be at peace during the struggles

7. Shield of faith … Trust in God … that’s really the key through all of this(and why it’s mentioned so many times throughout scripture); we must have complete trust in God

8. Know the Word of God … without it, we will have no tools to overcome temptation and sin

So, as you walk through your Christian life, keep in mind that we can’t keep our faith, trust and hope in material possessions, social status, etc. Those will fail us when our life goes “flat.” We must keep our faith, trust and hope in Christ alone and we must keep a close walk with Him. We can’t live this life without Him. “I Need Thee Every Hour.”

By the way … I’m glad our phones didn’t die … my % was at 13% and hers died just as I sent her my location …



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I Hate Church Shopping

So, from the beginning, let me get a couple disclaimers out there:

#1 – I didn’t say I hate church. I said I hate “Church Shopping”. Both of those things are completely different. I love Church! I need Church. I don’t understand those who say they don’t need church; that they can live their lives without attending a church; that they can have a close relationship with God without attending a church. If I don’t stay involved in a church; if I don’t get plugged into a life group; then my Christian walk suffers.

#2 – I don’t mean to be sacrilegious by comparing finding a church with the retail world I work in daily. If that offends you, then I’m sorry. However, you have to admit that shopping for something at the store has comparisions to finding a church home. You look for a certain “checklist of items” you expect to be there; you hope to see friendly faces; you hope things are just as you like them and “just your size.”

I had the great blessing of attending Geyer Springs First Baptist Church in Little Rock, AR over the last 5 years. I can honestly say it is the best church I have ever attended. Largely because that is the church where I finally quit fighting God and accepted Him as my Saviour. It’s also the place where I met my amazing wife, Arlyn.

However, it is more than that. GSFBC was filled with friendly, caring, non-judging people. God blessed us so much by allowing us to be involved with a class full of couples that struggled with the same things we struggle with. A class of men and women that we could call friends no matter what; that we could call on in a moment when we needed prayer; counseling; etc. There was so much love in that class, it would always overwhelm me(and still does) when I would think of the strength of God in that class.

But, it’s even more than that. God has blessed that church with a man of God who humbly proclaims God’s Word without apology. Bro. Jeff Williams is a Pastor who is transparent with his flock; he doesn’t back down from what the Word says and what the Word requires. However, he is also very quick to show and preach love and grace. I have never been around a Pastor of whom I had so much love and respect.

Then God moved us to NWA. There was no doubt(and still isn’t) that this move was of God. It still humbles me when I think of the many ways he has blessed me and blessed us. But, when we moved here, we had to find a place to serve God. As I said before, I must be involved in a church to keep my relationship with Christ strong.

Over the past 4 months, we visited 5 different churches. We looked at another 5 or more online listening to some of their Pastor’s sermons, reading about “what they had to offer”(real spiritual I know), etc. I can’t tell begin to tell you the frustration we experienced.

If you know me at all, you know that I have a pride problem and I have a judgmental spirit at times. Those two combined make it difficult for me(and especially my wife having to live with me) when it comes to finding a church. We go to one church and the people aren’t friendly and the Pastor seems arrogant(funny coming from me, right?) We go to another church and the people in the service are extremely friendly in the main service. The sermon is okay; but the 2 different life groups we attend, there is no attempt to reach out and connect with us.

Now, part of that responsibility lies on me to be someone who is “reachable”(still working on that pride problem again); but it is also nice to have someone walk up to you, introduce themselves and find out a little bit about you. We go to another church and fill out a card requesting how to join; never hear back; there is no mention at invitation time on what to do to join the church. We continue to go and a few weeks later ask someone how to join. They don’t know but they get our phone number and tell us someone will call us this week to tell us what we need to do to join their church. We never hear back. We finally determine that must mean God doesn’t want us there.

So, we continue to look for where God has a place for us. We joined a church this morning. The people are extremely friendly; the Pastor preaches the Word without apology and seems to have a close walk with God.

So, what’s the point of this blog? I really have no idea. I guess to tell you that I still struggle with Pride and having judgmental attitudes. It could be to tell you what an amazing blessing GSFBC has been and continues to be to me and Arlyn. It could also be to tell you what an amazing blessing Bro. Jeff was to us. I’m so thankful we can listen to his podcasts. And it could also be to help remind you(and especially remind me) how important it is that we reach out to those around us that visit our churches; that visit our life groups; that live next door to us; that work right beside us; that God brings into our lives; etc. As the very familiar phrase goes, “we may be the only Jesus some will ever see.”

No pictures this time … no scripture passages … no impactful testimony …

Just to let you know that God has led us to a church home. Now, we have to find where God would have us serve in this church. Plus, I need to heed all of my words listed above and make sure that each AND every time, we have a visitor or God leads someone into my path that I reach out and show them God’s love.

My WALK TALKS a whole lot louder than my TALK TALKS ..

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Things I Learned from #guyswknd


A little over a year ago, I attended a Men’s Conference at Geyer Springs First Baptist Church(my church). After the conference, I was part of a Men’s Bible Study that was to last 6 wks. We have now been meeting every Saturday at 6:30 a.m. for the past 14 months. About 8 months ago, Paul suggested we do a guys wknd get away. It would involve Sports, Food and a little Bible thrown in. Yep … I’m in! You mention Sports and Food and I’m there! Seven of us agreed to get together of this weekend.

This was/is the wknd Paul picked. Needless to say, since it has involved Sports and food, we have had a great time! However, there are several things I have learned this weekend:

*If there is a a wreck on I-40 between Little Rock and Conway Friday evening at 6:30, you will have no where to go, so you better be full of food, not need to go to the bathroom and have a full tank of gas. What was supposed to be a 90 minute drive at the most ended up being a 210 minute journey. When we finally reached an exit to get some dinner(most important thing), there was a long line of people at KFC/Taco Bell doing the same thing. A 10 minute in and out meal turned into a 30 minute dinner.

*Paul is good at any sport he plays. He beat us in Ping Pong, Pool, Golf, Cards, Tennis, etc. You name it … he embarrassed us. He is no longer allowed to do anything like this again. He either doesn’t come or doesn’t participate. We lost a little bit of Ego this weekend thanks to Paul.

*I’m extremely rusty at Ping Pong. It’s been 2 yrs since I played at all and that time was with Arlyn for about 30 minutes. Other than that, it has been about 10 yrs since I’ve played. I don’t see Ping Pong playing competitively in my future any time soon.

*I’m even worse at golf. I haven’t played in 15 yrs and it showed in a big way! Of course, I was never any good, but it was even worse yesterday.

*What you like/don’t like is all about perspective. We ate lunch halfway through 18 holes yesterday and the water was horrible. It tasted like dirty dishwater. When I asked the waitress to bring me some unsweet tea instead, she told me that their water was delicicious! Said it’s local water everyone loves. Her perspective was limited to her experience.

*I hope you didn’t start reading this looking for some type of wisdom. It won’t be in this blog … sorry …

*I learned that I want a large 4 door, Red Pick up truck, with large knobby tires and a loud engine. Please Alan, let me drive it for a week. That’s all I ask …

*I learned that guys from any background can get along. Brant mentioned this last night. He stated that it dawned on him while golfing that each of us came from different backgrounds and we were all having a great time. Each one of us was raised differently and have different life experiences. However, we have several things in common. We love God and try daily to serve Him. We love our wives and try daily to be a good husband. We love our children and try daily to be a good father. We always are drawn to hang around people we have everything in common with. Maybe we would learn more if we just connect with the people God brings into our lives and not worry about whether our income level, clothing styles, sports teams, attitudes, etc. match with our approval.

*I learned that guys can talk … non stop … for 3 days … There was never a quiet moment in our house. Until it was time for bed. Guys are way more “chatty” than we care to admit …

*I learned that I can’t do the life of a Christian on my own. For the longest time, I have been extremely independent. I don’t allow people in my “bubble”. I keep my life private. I don’t need friends. Acquaintances are good, but friends are unnecessary. The past year of my life has been completely different than any other year I have had. I have men that I can call true friends. I can text/call/email/etc about a prayer request, praise, etc and they will pray with me; rejoice with me; etc. They share with me wisdom, experiences, etc. that have helped me in so many ways.

*I learned that in order to have Godly men in your life, you have to take a chance and be vulnerable. We spent over 2 hrs discussing our backgrounds, experiences, struggles, etc. last night. It was such a blessing to know that God has used every one of them in an amazing way. It was also a blessing to know that we all have different backgrounds but the same struggles. We always think a man who shares his heart is a weak man and is throwing away his man card when he opens up. Maybe it’s time we realized our families would benefit more if we admitted our weaknesses and showed them our vulnerabilities.

*I learned that God has blessed me far more than I deserve. I got choked up last night thinking of how much God has given me when I deserve so little. I’m so thankful that He loves me unconditionally. I’m so thankful He doesn’t hold grudges. I’m so thankful He forgives AND forgets and NEVER gives up. I’m so thankful for the amazing wife He has given me. I’m so thankful for the circle of men He has placed in my life that I can call FRIENDS.

So, Paul, Brant, Jason B., Matt, Eric, Alan, Jason H., Bryan, and Luke … thank you for praying for me; praying with me; challenging me; listening to me; and being willing to be used by God … and to Paul, Brant, Jason B., Eric, Matt & Alan, thank you for a fun weekend that started out being sports, food and a little bit of spiritual and ended up being a lot about God and a little about sports and food. Each of you are a blessing to me and a help to my walk in Christ. I love each of you as Christian brothers …

If you’re doing life alone … DON’T … men need men in their lives … women need women in their lives

It means you have to be vulnerable some and trust God a lot! When you do that, you might be surprised what God does in your life!

I found this “compiled Proverb” last night online under Proverbs 32 Man … it was a blessing to me:

Portrait of the man of integrity
32 Who can find a man of integrity? The just [man] walketh in his integrity: his children [are] blessed after him. (20:7 )
2 He is wise and will hear and will increase learning; and as a man of understanding shall attain unto wise counsels. (1:5)
3 He walks in the way of good [men], and keeps the paths of the righteous. (2:20)
4 Therefore, he finds favour and good understanding in the sight of God and man. (3:4)
5 His children hear his instruction and attend to know understanding. (4:1)
6 He avoids the strange woman (5:8) and rejoices with the wife of his youth. (5:18)
7 For he keeps the commandment of his father and forsakes not the law of his mother: (6:20)
8 Blessed is he for he heareth me[wisdom], watching daily at my gates, waiting at the posts of my doors. (8:34)
9 He receives [instruction] and becomes yet wiser: Because he is a righteous man, he will receive teaching and increase in learning. (9:9)
10 As a wise son; he gathereth in summer.(10:5)
11 His strength enables him to obtain riches. (11:16)
12 And his worthy wife is a crown to his life. (12:4)
13 For he even shows tender mercies to the life of his beast. (12:10)
14 Because he tilleth his land, he has stored up plenty of bread. (12:11)
15 Because he is diligent, his hand bears rule. (12:24)
16 Because he walks with wise men, he is wise. Fools are not his companions. (13:20)
17 He is good and leaves an inheritance to his children’s children. (13:22)
18 For he hath so loved his son; that he hath chasteneth him. (13:24)
19 And his ways please Jehovah, so that the Lord maketh even his enemies to be at peace with him. (16:7)
20 Slow to anger , he ruleth his spirit as a victorious commander. (16:32)
21 In old age his children’s children are a crown to him; and the glory of his children are his glory. (17:6)
22 His words are [as] deep waters; a wellspring of wisdom like a flowing brook. (18:4)
23 He knoweth his wife is a good thing because the Lord has favored him to have found her, a prudent wife. (18:22, 19:14)
24 Because he shows himself friendly, he has
friends, for he is a friend that sticketh closer than a brother. (18:24)
25 Diligent in his business, he stands before kings and not before mean men. (22:29)
26 He holds not correction from his child; (23:13)
27 Neither is he found among winebibbers, nor gluttonous eaters of flesh. (23:20)
28 Yet, he hearkens unto his father that begat him despising not his mother when she is old. (23:22)
29 As iron sharpeneth iron; so he sharpeneth the countenance of his friend. (27:17)
30 Because he hideth not his eyes from the poor, he does not lack. (28:27)
31 As a husband, he is known in the gates, where he sitteth among the elders of the land. (31:23)

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From Grand Canyon to Branson

I get two weeks of vacation each year.  One week we usually do a “staycation.”  Then one week we do a “travel vacation.”   We try and do the “travel vacation” in the Fall when it is cooler and an easier drive in the car.  Last week was our “travel vacation.”  Here was the plan:

Dallas Cowboys v. Denver Broncos game

Drive to the Grand Canyon for 3 days

Yep … you know where this Blog is headed

We received word that the Govt would be shutting down the Parks a few days before we were to leave for Dallas.  We waited as long as we could hoping things would change and we could still go.  Finally, when we could wait no longer, we canceled the trip.  Thankfully all of our reservations were refunded.  The next dilemma was to find somewhere else to go on such short notice.  We discussed going to one of the Beaches in Florida, Georgia, or the Carolinas.  However, there was a potential hurricane coming close to the beaches during that time frame plus there was a heavy chance of rain at all of the beaches even if the hurricane didn’t come to shore.  

We looked at several different options and there was always a roadblock that kept us from going to those locations.   So, we ended up just going to Branson, MO.  Both of us have been to Branson before(first dating day trip).  We drove from Dallas Monday and spent the night at the Fleshman Hotel.   Tuesday morning we slept in(first time in a long time I can remember sleeping in) and drove to Branson.  We had a great dinner at the Keeter Center located on the campus of the College of the Ozarks.   If you have a child approaching college age, I would suggest you look into the College of the Ozarks.  Very unique and intriguing program.  

Wednesday we visited the Shepherd of the Hills Center.  I went down a zipline off of Inspiration Point(tried to convince Arlyn to go with me to no avail).  We also drove go carts on a 4 level track and played putt-putt.  Thursday we spent the day at Silver Dollar City. While there we went down into Marvel Cave, rode some rides, attended some shows and visited the craft booths.   Friday we spent the morning shopping at the Outlet Mall and then headed to NWA to spend the afternoon and evening with my parents.  We got up Saturday morning and came back home.  




I have to tell you that we thoroughly enjoyed the week of vacation we had.  I forgot all about being disappointed in not going to the Grand Canyon.  I was extrememly frustrated the day I cancelled our reservations.  However, by the end of that day, God had convicted me of my bad attitude.  How dare I get upset because my vacation plans had to change.  We had friends who had been furloughed by the Govt and wouldn’t be receiving a paycheck for an indefinite period of time.  Our little “vacation plans” having to be canceled just didn’t seem as important as other real trials that people were going through.  

At the end of the day, we were glad for how it turned out.  We drove less miles, got more sleep and had a lot of fun.  Interesting how that worked out ….

I say interesting because isn’t that how we behave in life?

We have our own plans for our life … we make the arrangements … we dictate it out … we tell everyone what we’re going to do … we manipulate people and situations to complete the plan we have for ourselves…

Then God comes along and completely “rocks our boat” …

He changes our plan … leads us down a different path … takes away a promotion or a job … takes away “a chance of a lifetime” … purchases of items fall through … etc.

Then, when all is said and done and we look back on what God took us through we see how we grew … we see how we were a testimony to Him and to others … we see the positive impact on our friends and our families … we see that God’s plan was the right plan and much better than our plan.

Of course, that doesn’t happen until all is said and done.  I couldn’t see halfway through our vacation that I was getting more sleep and having a great time.  I didn’t realize it until we got home Saturday and realized just how thankful I was that we didn’t go to the Grand Canyon.  Was Branson as beautiful as the Grand Canyon?  Absolutely not!  Was it as awe inspiring?  Not even close!  However, the Grand Canyon isn’t going anywhere anytime soon.  There will be other opportunities for us to go visit there.  For this time in our life, Branson was where we needed to spend our vacation.   

The next time God changes your plans … remember … He knows what you need … let Him take you through it … and after all is said and done, you will see how God used you and how He brought you through.  Then you will be able to say like Paul, “I have run the race, I have stayed the course, I have finished the job” …

Stay faithful in your Branson even though you want the Grand Canyon …

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I Hate Running

image I hate running.   There is no way around it.   I just don’t like it.  I would much rather bike ride.  However, I ran for the first time in about 10 months this past Sunday morning.  Why you ask?  For a couple of reasons.  First of all, my church hosts a 5K every year in August.  Not sure why we choose the hottest time of the year to host this 5K, but that’s when it is.  I have ran it 2 years in a row. So, I started something I have to continue(if you are a OCD person or know someone who is OCD you know what I mean) on an annual basis.  Plus, I find myself gaining back some of the weight I fought hard to get off.  In order to help ensure I keep that weight off, I thought running would help.

Sunday morning was the first morning I started training for the Run With The Son 5K at GSFBC.  I started out doing real well.  I convinced myself I would go the entire 3.1 miles without stopping.  I was DETERMINED.  After the first mile, I was proud of myself.  So, I went into justification mode.  Since I was doing so well, I could walk for a minute and then pick it back up again.  That wasn’t smart.  Over the next 25 minutes, I justified walking a couple of times.

As I started back up to our house, I saw Arlyn walking.  She walked while I ran.  So of course, I caught up with her; walked with her for a minute and then went back to jogging so I could impress her with my great shape.  As I was running I couldn’t help but think about the correlations to the Christian walk.  It’s no wonder Paul used running as an example.


  Do you ever think of yourself as a runner as you go through the Christian life?  We start out at the beginning of our Christian walk on fire for Him.  We’re excited …. we want to tell people how He saved us … we attend church on a regular basis … we ask a lot of questions of other Christians … it’s new, exciting, fresh and fun.  Or, think of our life right after a major blessing or answer to pray from God.  We experience the same  emotions …. excitement, confidence, determination, etc. But then, we get tired.  When we get tired, we justify being “lazy for God” with all kinds of reasons.   The road is too steep …. I’m tired of being the only one …. surely, God understands and doesn’t want me to go to the extremes … insert your excuse here …

I didn’t pass out from my run Sunday morning.  I’m a little stiff … a little sore … but I can still function and still get around.  I’ll continue to train over the coming weeks and as time progresses, I’ll get in better shape; the runs will get a LITTLE easier and I’ll survive the 5K Run with the Son in August.  Then, I’ll look back at the time period and be glad I participated in the event.  I’ll see the good it did for me and I’ll be satisfied.

We can’t see the end result of living for God faithfully.  We can’t see the plans He has for us and how our lives will play out.  But, at the end of a trial or at the end of a struggle, we can always look back and see that God made us better and stronger because of what He took us through.  Then we can be glad He took us through the way He did because it made us stronger Christians; gave us stronger testimonies, and drew us closer to God. Plus, when we walk through this life living close to God, we lead our families for Him and leave a legacy for our children.  It helped me run better when I saw my wife and knew I had to impress her.  If we remember the legacy we are leaving our families, it will help us walk through difficulties.  We make them stronger and more apt to follow God when we serve Him faithfully.

Next time life gets difficult, remember, you are in a race.  God is on your side and He will carry you through.  Plus, He will use you to grow His Gospel.

Stay in the race …

I Corinthians 9:24-27

Hebrews 12:1

Philippians 3:13-14

Isaiah 40:31

I still think we need a Bike for the Son instead of a Run with the Son …

Anybody … Anybody???

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“I Go A Fishing”



For some reason, I’ve had this saying in my head the past couple of days.  Probably because of the time of year.  Tomorrow is SUNDAY!  EASTER SUNDAY!  The day we celebrate the resurrection and ascension of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

Simon Peter and ALL of the Disciples “forsook Him and fled” when the chips were laid out on the table.  When things didn’t go as planned, they ran.  They assumed Jesus would set up His Kingdom then and there.  They assumed Jesus would make them rulers in His new Kingdom then and there.  They had a different agenda than Jesus did.  When things didn’t go as planned, they ran.  

Just as Jesus promised, He ROSE AGAIN!  However, to the disciples confusion, He still didn’t set up His Kingdom.  He still didn’t nominate them as rulers in His new Kingdom.  Confused and frustrated Simon Peter says “I go a fishing”.  You can read about it in John 21.  I love the King James Version of that phrase.  You can just hear the frustration in his voice.  He’s tired of not being the first to know what’s going on.  He’s tired of not being included in the plan of Christ.  He expected to be ruling by now.  Well, that apparently is not going to happen.  So he goes back to the only thing he knows … fishing.  He’s done living for Jesus.  He’s going back to his lifestyle before he found Christ.

He goes out fishing and unfortunately, he has no luck.  He is a skilled fisherman and he can’t catch a single fish.  All the human experience; all the human strength; all the human knowledge; and yet, nothing helps him in this moment to catch fish.

Jesus shows up while they are fishing.  A very familiar scene to Peter begins to unfold.  He has a “deja vu” moment.  Jesus tells them to fish on the other side.  This time, instead of arguing with Jesus, Peter does what Jesus says.  You know the result.  The nets become full, overflowing and begin to break.  Peter doesn’t waste anytime.  He jumps in the water and heads to the shore.  

There Jesus and Peter have a very intimate conversation about where Peter is in his walk.  Jesus shares with him that His love and compassion for Him are still real.  Peter sees himself as Jesus sees him.  Peter sees his plan isn’t important.  Peter sees all that matters is Christ.

It is so awesome to see how Peter is used of Christ throughout the Book of Acts.  Peter becomes all Christ wants him to be.  Peter is responsible for thousands upon thousands coming to know Christ as their Savior   Peter is responsible for a young man named Saul eventually becoming the one who leads thousands of Gentiles to Christ.  

All this happened because Peter finally realized that although he didn’t understand the plan of Christ; although the plan didn’t follow the same time frame he preferred; although the plan didn’t provide all the human glory he expected; God still used him in a powerful way to spread the Gospel.  I wonder if he knew that 2,000 yrs later we would still be using him as an example of how God can use a man to lead others to Christ.  He is an amazing example of a proud man who became a humble servant for Christ.

There are so many things in our life that frustrate us.  There are so many things in our life that don’t go as planned.  There are so many of us that get angry when we don’t get the honor, glory and recognition we feel deserve.  There are so many times that our plan doesn’t match God’s plan.  There are so many times we just want to “quit on God” and go back to living how we used to live before we found Christ.

Can I just encourage you that God has a plan?  Can I tell you that He will use you if you allow it? Can I tell you that you can be “successful” in the Christian life?  It just takes us recognizing that God is in control; that God has a plan; that God’s plan is all that matters; and that God’s direction is the only one I should follow.

He is Risen!

He is Risen!


He is Risen Indeed!

Happy Easter!


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Put Out the Fire

This past weekend, I had the opportunity to go to Oklahoma City for work.  Arlyn and I spent the weekend there.  We arrived at a restaurant Saturday evening(Zio’s Italian(delicious by the way)). When we got out of the car to enter the restaurant we noticed a fire in a dumpster across the street by a business.  


Like all good citizens, we went to get as close as we could.  It was a large fire.  As we got closer, we could hear the sirens of the firefighters arriving to put out the blaze.  We stood there and watched them work together to put it out.  Several other people arrived to watch with us.  Several cars stopped in the parking lot as well.  Then as you can see from the video, one of the engines finally blocked our view.  Since the show was over for us, we went inside to eat.

In the last several months, a lot of things have happened to cause us to ask the question why:

Shooting in a Theater in Aurora, CO

Shooting at a school in Newtown, CT

Superstorm Sandy wreaks havoc on East Coast

NYC Nanny stabs a 1 yr old and a 6 yr old 

Benghazi attack

37 Hostages killed in Alegeria

The list could go on and on.  In 2012, I found myself asking “why?” more than any other time.  Why has our country and our world gone so far off the deep end?  How did we get this far gone? I can only come up with one answer.  Because we as Christians have chosen to run from and water down the truth.  We have lowered our principles until there is no difference between the way we live and the way the unsaved world lives.  This past weekend, we ate lunch with some friends of ours.  The wife is volunteering to work with teenage girls who are pregnant and in difficult home situations.  She said most of them are raised in family situations where “abortion is the norm.”  She said it’s hard to teach them about abortion when their whole life, they’ve been taught something entirely different.  They don’t see abortion as taking a life.  They see it as what you do when you get pregnant.  We as Christians have tolerated sin and hid our heads in the sand for entirely way too long.  Now, the world we live in is crumbling around us morally and spiritually.  Sin is on a rampage like the fire in this dumpster.  

ImageThe only way this fire was put out was because a lot of firefighters from all over the city arrived on the scene and worked together as a team to put it out.  Plus, when it became a spectacle, they hid the fire from view so the team could continue to work together.  They didn’t allow “gawking, gossip”, etc.  

The only way we can see this world come to know Christ as their Savior is if we as Christians work together to be a witness to all those around us.  Instead of asking why this world is crumbling, I need to be asking, “Why aren’t I doing more?; Why aren’t I being a better witness?; Why aren’t I serving God to the best of my ability? and Why aren’t I avoiding gossip and slander and focusing on witnessing for Him?”

Who can you be a witness to this week?  Start praying for them today.  Start asking the Holy Spirit to open the door for you to witness.  When He opens the door; walk through.  It’s the only way this world will change.  When we decide to focus on God and God Alone.

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From Nothing To Everything


Being raised in church, I have read the Creation Story hundreds of times.  However, about a week and a half ago, it was part of our SS lesson, so it was time to read it again:

The Beginning

1 In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. Now the earth was formless and empty,darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters.

And God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light. God saw that the light was good, and he separated the light from the darkness. God called the light “day,” and the darkness he called “night.”And there was evening, and there was morning—the first day.


And God said, “Let there be a vault between the waters to separate water from water.” So God made the vault and separated the water under the vault from the water above it. And it was so. God calledthe vault “sky.” And there was evening, and there was morning—the second day.

And God said, “Let the water under the sky be gathered to one place, and let dry ground appear.” And it was so. 10 God called the dry ground “land,” and the gathered waters he called “seas.” And God saw that it was good.

11 Then God said, “Let the land produce vegetation: seed-bearing plants and trees on the land that bear fruit with seed in it, according to their various kinds.” And it was so. 12 The land produced vegetation: plants bearing seed according to their kinds and trees bearing fruit with seed in it according to their kinds. And God saw that it was good. 13 And there was evening, and there was morning—the third day.

14 And God said, “Let there be lights in the vault of the sky to separate the day from the night, and let them serve as signs to mark sacred times, and days and years, 15 and let them be lights in the vault of the sky to give light on the earth.” And it was so. 16 God made two great lights—the greater lightto govern the day and the lesser light to govern the night. He also made the stars. 17 God set them in the vault of the sky to give light on the earth, 18 to govern the day and the night, and to separate light from darkness. And God saw that it was good. 19 And there was evening, and there was morning—the fourth day.


20 And God said, “Let the water teem with living creatures, and let birds fly above the earth across the vault of the sky.” 21 So God created the great creatures of the sea and every living thing with which the water teems and that moves about in it, according to their kinds, and every winged bird according to its kind. And God saw that it was good. 22 God blessed them and said, “Be fruitful and increase in number and fill the water in the seas, and let the birds increase on the earth.” 23 And there was evening, and there was morning—the fifth day.

24 And God said, “Let the land produce living creatures according to their kinds: the livestock, the creatures that move along the ground, and the wild animals, each according to its kind.” And it was so. 25 God made the wild animals according to their kinds, the livestock according to their kinds, and all the creatures that move along the ground according to their kinds. And God saw that it was good.

26 Then God said, “Let us make mankind in our image, in our likeness, so that they may rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky, over the livestock and all the wild animals,[a] and over all the creatures that move along the ground.”

27 So God created mankind in his own image,
    in the image of God he created them;
    male and female he created them.

28 God blessed them and said to them, “Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it. Rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky and over every living creature that moves on the ground.”

29 Then God said, “I give you every seed-bearing plant on the face of the whole earth and every tree that has fruit with seed in it. They will be yours for food. 30 And to all the beasts of the earth and all the birds in the sky and all the creatures that move along the ground—everything that has the breath of life in it—I give every green plant for food.” And it was so.

31 God saw all that he had made, and it was very good. And there was evening, and there was morning—the sixth day.


This time as I read it, something jumped out of me.  Did you catch it?  What did the earth start with before God was involved?  NOTHING  What did the earth end up with once God was done with His involvement?  EVERYTHING  

That got me to thinking … What was I before Christ came into my life?  NOTHING  What did I have going for me before Christ came into my life?  NOTHING  What direction was I heading before Christ came into my life?  NOTHING  Get the idea?  I lived for 42 years as a human being; lived for 37 yrs trying to convince myself and everyone else around me I was a Christian and yet;  I was NOTHING

When Christ saved me though, things changed.  My life that meant NOTHING now means EVERYTHING.  My direction that was going NOWHERE now POINTS TO CHRIST(that’s my goal anyway).  My life that had NOTHING going for me now has EVERYTHING going for me because Christ is in control.

I’m so thankful that I serve a God who never gave up.  I’m so thankful that I serve a God who gives me EVERYTHING when I had NOTHING.  What an amazing picture of salvation we see in the Creation Story.  Christ gives us EVERYTHING we need.  God rescued us from a life of NOTHING and saved us to a life of EVERYTHING.

Thank you God for saving me …


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Is Having A Quiet Time Really Necessary?

About 6 months ago, I decided I was tired of having a tire around my waist.  So, I started using the “myfitnesspal.com” app as a tool to help me lose weight.  It worked.  I ate smaller portions(notice I didn’t say healthier) and started exercising on a regular basis.  Over time I was able to lose 21 pounds.  For the most part I’ve been able to keep the weight off.  Every now and then I’ll gain a pound or two and then lose it again a day later.  


I did well until about two weeks ago.  Around that time, I quit entering all the stuff I ate on my app.  I started eating dessert for EVERY evening meal.  I also quit exercising as regularly as I had been.  Needless to say, I gained some of that weight back.  Just a couple of pounds, but for the first time since I lost the weight, I didn’t lose it the day after.  I started noticing when I got dressed on a daily basis that the clothes were tighter than they were a few months ago.  It caught me off guard.  I hadn’t really noticed the effect being lazy had on the progress I had achieved.

Over the last several weeks, work has been real busy.  Church has kept me real busy.  Sunday School; Worship Service; Sunday Night; Saturday Morning Bible Study; etc.  

Over the past several weeks, the routine of having a personal quiet time with God each morning; a personal prayer time on Sunday mornings; devotions with my wife several times a week was “explained away” with legitimate reasons.  Tired; busy; need to study; no time; etc. were all reasons I knew God “understood” not taking the time to spend with Him.  As long as I was “busy” doing some work for Him, that was all I needed.  You would think by now, I would have learned this lesson.  Apparently not.


I found myself with a shorter temper with my wife; a shorter temper at work; constant exhaustion; less time preparing for SS; less time preparing for Men’s Bible Study and becoming an all around backsliding Christian.  I woke up one day and realized that I had become lazy in time spent with Him.  I realized I wasn’t living a life pleasing to Christ.  This didn’t happen overnight.  It happened because over time I began to be undisciplined.  I began to “gain weight” and live an unhealthy spiritual lifestyle.  

I realized I can’t control my attitude; temper;  etc. with my own strength.   I have to have God’s direction.  I have to follow His leadership.  I have to make Him first in ALL areas of my life.  That means I HAVE to spend time with Him.  I need a quiet time; I need a time of prayer; I need a time of devotions with my wife.  

Is having a quiet time really necessary for you?  I can’t answer that for you.  I would challenge you to ask God and see what He says.  For me?  It most definitely is necessary!  I can’t live this life on my own.  I need His strength; guidance; wisdom and love.  I only find that when I seek Him on a regular basis.

So, I’m back on the Spiritual Exercise Trail.  And on the Physical Exercise Trail.  After all; “For physical training is of some value, but godliness has value for all things, holding promise for both the present life and the life to come.”  

I Timothy 4:8


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Why Don’t We Witness

Tonight I went to dinner with my wife.  We went to Dixie Cafe.  Yes, give me a hard time.  What can I say.  We had a coupon and we love home cooked food.  The food was pretty good.  Too much food, but pretty good.  The “light dish” is still too much.


But, that’s not the topic tonight.  If you know me, you know I’m a people watcher.  You can learn a lot from watching people.  Some things you are sorry you saw and sorry you learned, but not tonight.  There was 3 couples sitting across the room from us.  They caught my attention because one of the men had that kind of voice that carries across the room.  He was making jokes and everyone was laughing.  You could tell they were just enjoying themselves.  The waitress was enjoying talking to them as well.


When the waitress brought them their check, the man handed her a small booklet, and asked her to read it when she got the chance.  He asked her if she had ever seen the end zone of a football game when someone raises a sign with “John 3:16” on the sign.  She stated she had.  He then told her that John 3:16 was a verse about someone’s love for us and she could read it in the booklet he had just given her.  She told him she knew about the verse, and that she was a Christian.  They had another two minute conversation that I couldn’t hear, and she kept the booklet and told him she’d read it.  

During this time, a man in military uniform came in with his daughter to sit down.  As the man who had witnessed was leaving, his wife handed a booklet to the young man cleaning their table and asked him to read it when he got the chance.  The man went over to the serviceman; patted him on the back and then thanked him for his service.  Then as the group was leaving, the man went to the waitress and asked her if the serviceman had ordered yet.  The waitress stated “no”.  The man waited until he had ordered and then told the waitress to give him the check.  The waitress rang the meal up.  The man didn’t tell the serviceman.


As Arlyn and I were leaving, I walked up to the man and thanked him for being a challenge to me and witnessing to the waitress and the guy cleaning their table and for being a blessing to someone serving our country.  He introduced himself as George Anderson.  

As I watched this whole scene unfold before us, I was convicted.  Why don’t I do that?  Why aren’t I a better witness?  Why do we sit idly by and not share the gospel?  Why aren’t we willing to bless someone anonymously.  Aren’t all those things pleasing to God?  Isn’t that what God requires of us?  Aren’t we supposed to be Ambassadors for Christ?

Sometimes we’re too scared; sometimes we’re too busy; sometimes we don’t care; sometimes we don’t know what to say; sometimes we’re lazy; sometimes we’re afraid of offending; etc.  The list could continue.  You could add to the list of why you or others don’t witness. 

So, thank you George Anderson, for reminding me to do a better job of being a witness to those around me.  I wonder if the waitress at IHOP that we have had 3 weeks in a row now for Men’s Bible Study knows Christ?  Maybe it’s time I asked her and invited her to church.   Maybe it’s time for me to be a blessing to someone in uniform or just someone who needs a blessing.   It shouldn’t be about making a statement; or making sure someone knows what I did.  It’s just about being Christlike and being an Ambassador for Him.

I know I rambled a lot ; but ask yourself this question:

Why don’t you witness?  Consider starting … it’s what a Christian should do …

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You Only Have To Be Nice To Christians


Last night on the way home, I needed to stop by Mardel or Lifeway to get “Humility” by CJ Mahoney for our Men’s Bible Study.  Mardel was closer so I whipped into there.   The guy was very friendly(Mardel and Lifeway always are) and asked if he could help me.  I told him the book I was looking for and he called someone to the “Book Table” to help me. As I walked away from the front of the store to the “Book Table” I saw a lady with a shopping cart FULL of mdse headed to the cash register.  You can see the writing on the wall can’t you?  I should have left right then and there.

However, I walked back to the “Book Table” in spite of my misgivings.  The guy in the Book Section was also very friendly and helpful.  He looked up my book.  They only had one left.  Thank goodness it was on the shelf.  By this time I had forgotten about Shopping Cart Lady.  Once I got up to the Cash Register though; THERE SHE WAS.  The salesperson was PAINSTAKINGLY ringing item by item up for her.  Of course, they were all clearance items so he had to press extra keys to price override each individual little piece.  

Throughout the transaction, he kept making mistakes; ringing the wrong price; counting wrong the qty of each item; etc.  At one time he rang something for $400 which they both got a laugh out of and it took some time for him to correct the mistake.  Then at the end the total was $112.49.  The customer automatically doubted that was correct.  Surely not.  He agreed.  So they went over item by item on the receipt and sure enough … it was correct!  It’s just amazing I guess when you buy so many little things, that it still adds up … ha ha ha ….

You know me so you know what I’m thinking the whole time.  I work in retail.  You don’t do this to your clients.  You apologize to the people that are waiting on you; you are polite but you hurry with the current customer you have; you call someone to help you!  What a concept … Call Someone To Help Take Care Of The Other Customers!  As my frustration mounts a variety of emotions/thoughts run through my head:  “Put the book down and leave”  “Ask the guy to call someone else”  “Tell the guy to call someone else”  “Go find someone else to ring me up”  “Ask for the mgr”

Just about the time I get ready to do any of those I just listed, this nagging thought comes into play:  You’re at a Christian Book Store; the lady in front of you is probably a Christian and the guy ringing her up is a Christian.  You don’t want to make a scene in front of a bunch of Christians.  You’re a Christian … just be patient.  So, I stay there and seethe the whole time because I’m around Christians.


It got me to thinking.  We’re always like that.  We always act our best around Christians.  We never let anyone see us lose our temper; we’re always politically correct(Christian Style); we don’t yell at someone; etc.  If a Christian is in the car with us; we don’t yell at the man who just cut us off; we just smile and say: “don’t you love Arkansas Drivers?”

Yet, when it comes to being around Non-Christians, we act however we want; whenever we want; we say what we want; etc.  We don’t have to put up a front for them.  They don’t know we’re Christians, so we can say; do; think; act however we want.  

Don’t we have it backwards?  Shouldn’t I be more concerned about the impression I leave with the unsaved instead of just the saved?  Doesn’t God have me here to be a witness to the unsaved world around me?  How can I be a witness to them if all I ever do is act like them; sound like them; etc?  Shouldn’t I stand out from them?  Shouldn’t they “take note that I’ve been with Jesus?”

So, the next time I get frustrated with someone at the store; gas station; work; neighborhood; etc, and I get frustrated a lot … remember … I work in retail.  I need to remember I represent Christ.  I am His Ambassador.  I need to act like His Ambassador.  Leave the petty stuff out of my life.  There’s no need for it and no room for it; if I let Christ fill my life and my heart.

Be Nice To More Than Just Christians …



P.S.  When I told my wife this story, she said it’s ironic that I was buying a book on Humility at the time …

Irony, huh?  Whatever …

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Why Are You Here?

This past Sunday I was sitting in my normal section(like a good Baptist) waiting for the service to begin.  As I sat there waiting, Kristie Hawkins entered along with their two sons Caleb and Will.  They all said hi to me and took there seats.  After a few minutes Will turned around and started with this question:  “Why are you here?”  I looked at him, smiled and said:  “Well, I’m here to sing and worship God and listen to God’s message from Bro. Jeff.”  Then I asked him: “Why are you here?”  He thought for a moment and then said:  “the same.”  With that he turned around.

That thought permeated my mind that morning and has continued ever since.  Why do we go to church?  Here are some reasons I have thought of the past several days in no particular order:

-We’re desperate and looking for answers

-We’re supposed to

-We always have

-Our parents go

-Our friends go

-To find a spouse

-To find a girlfriend/boyfriend

-To find answers

-To find out the latest gossip

-To tell the latest gossip

-To sing in front of others

-To teach/preach in front of others

-So our children get good teaching and will turn out ok, because it’s too late for us

-To keep friends/family from breathing down our neck about being in church

-To worship God

-To get things right with God

-To learn about God

-To gain a better understanding of God’s will for my life and draw closer to Him

These are just a few of the reasons I thought of the past several days.  It is by no means an exhaustive list.  If we were to take a poll in churches across America about why they are in church, we would get a massive amount of different answers.  I wonder how many of those answers would be pleasing to God?

I can’t help but remember the song “Heart of Worship”.    I wonder if every Sunday, God’s Angels don’t gather around the throne excited about seeing God’s people come to God’s House and worship, glorify and honor Him along with them.  Only to be disappointed when they see how many of us sit in church and go through routine after routine of worshipping, singing, praying, taking notes, etc.

I don’t want to be the Christian that comes to church out of routine.  I don’t want to be the Christian that worships out of routine.  I don’t want to be the Christian who sings out of routine.  I want to be the Christian who meets with God every single time he walks into the House of God.  I want to have a heart that hungers for a close relationship with Him.  I want to be in church to Know Him more.

The next time you are in church, ask yourself:  “Why Am I Here?”  And be honest with your answer …

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Where Is God?

This past week, I’ve had to be at the airport a little earlier than normal.  This has allowed me the opportunity to see some beautiful sunrises.  God is such an amazing Artist!  To see the beauty He creates in sunsets and sunrises; in animals; in plants; in trees; etc, sometimes just overwhelms me.



In our Sunday School class, we have started a series called The Gospel Project.  The first 2 weeks, we have discussed how God can be seen in every aspect of creation.  His presence can be seen; His power can be seen; His Love for mankind can be seen.  Everything about the universe we live in Screams THERE IS A GOD!

However, the world doesn’t really seem to believe God exists.  They may have some “idea” of who He is.  They may think He makes a great story; was a great man; is just like any other god or that He is a fairy tale.  Either way; the view of God is almost non-existent today.  The world wants God pulled out of the government completely.  The world wants any mention of God completely erased.  The world doesn’t want anyone educated about the things of God.  The world would just as soon ignore His existence.  The world defies us to show proof God exists.  

When tragedies happen like 9/11; or like what is going on in the U.S. Embassy’s around the world; or just daily heartaches people go through; the existence of God comes into question.  The world asks; “why would a loving God allow that to happen?”  It’s a valid question.  They don’t know God, so they have yet to learn of His love as David explains in Psalm 19:

Psalm 19

For the choir director: A psalm of David.

The heavens proclaim the glory of God.
    The skies display his craftsmanship.
Day after day they continue to speak;
    night after night they make him known.
They speak without a sound or word;
    their voice is never heard.[a]
Yet their message has gone throughout the earth,
    and their words to all the world.

God has made a home in the heavens for the sun.
It bursts forth like a radiant bridegroom after his wedding.
    It rejoices like a great athlete eager to run the race.
The sun rises at one end of the heavens
    and follows its course to the other end.
    Nothing can hide from its heat.

The instructions of the Lord are perfect,
    reviving the soul.
The decrees of the Lord are trustworthy,
    making wise the simple.
The commandments of the Lord are right,
    bringing joy to the heart.
The commands of the Lord are clear,
    giving insight for living.
Reverence for the Lord is pure,
    lasting forever.
The laws of the Lord are true;
    each one is fair.
10 They are more desirable than gold,
    even the finest gold.
They are sweeter than honey,
    even honey dripping from the comb.
11 They are a warning to your servant,
    a great reward for those who obey them.

12 How can I know all the sins lurking in my heart?
    Cleanse me from these hidden faults.
13 Keep your servant from deliberate sins!
    Don’t let them control me.
Then I will be free of guilt
    and innocent of great sin.

14 May the words of my mouth
    and the meditation of my heart
be pleasing to you,
    O Lord, my rock and my redeemer.

I think the real question is not “Where is God?’ but “Where are we as Christians?”  We know God exists.  Not only do we see Him in creation around us; but we have a personal relationship with Him.  He walks with us and talks with us.  He tells us we are His own.  Yet, we choose to go through life without being a witness; without speaking of the things of Him; without living a life to His glory; without honoring Him in ALL we do.  We may attend church occasionally just for appearances sake, but we don’t really “take up our cross and follow Him.”  

While it is true the world can see God in all aspects of creation; it is also true that we still have a responsibility to live our lives for God both publicly and privately.  The world won’t question the existence of a God as much if they see Christ living in us.  When they see God manifested through us; they will believe.

Don’t ask: “Where is God?”

Ask yourself: “Where Am I?”




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