Free At Last, Free At Last…

24 02 2010
As most of you know, February has been officially regarded as Black History Month. This week I have been thinking a lot about this and about the greatness of the men and women who make up the fabric of our nation. Never have I been more proud of our country for its embrace of all people (regardless of race or color). As a nation, we have  traversed a great distance. I realize we have not completed our journey…but we have made great progress thus far.

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. - as he waves to the people who showed up for the Civil Rights Movement's March on Washington at the Lincoln Memorial. It was from this spot that he delivered his famous 'I Have a Dream' speech on August 28, 1963.

As we recognize the many men and women who have paid price to establish the freedoms for all people (especially those of color), I want to publicly pay tribute to Dr. Martin Luther King and the leadership he offered during those very tumultuous years. Though he was not a man without error or mistake – he was a man who understood the power of standing up for what he believed. And beyond that, I believe he was also a man who embraced (if not embodied) the idea of grace and forgiveness. The more I read, the more I understand his driving passion to see this nation standing tall and standing together. Black beside white, rich beside poor, man beside woman.

Below is a video clip from the speech referenced above by Dr. Martin Luther King.

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Seeing Greenville On It’s Knees

22 02 2010

I have really connected to a very popular song lately. And I’m sure you’ve all heard it played on the radio…or maybe you’ve even downloaded it and have been listening to it on your iPod. Well, whatever the case, the words of this song depict the hunger and passion of a desperate heart; a heart which longs for the power and demonstration of the Holy Spirit to take place TODAY in their life and in that of their community.

Just yesterday I began leading our LIFE GROUP (a small group within our church) through a study by Francis Chan entitled “Forgotten God!” The premise is that it is very possible for the people of God to find contentment in living and operating without the presence of God in their lives. What a tragic moment! My prayer is that we would not settle for anything less than more of God’s power and presence in our lives…and that we would regain our passion, hunger and thirst for His work in us and our communities!

The song I mentioned earlier is“City On Our Knees”, by Toby Mac. I can’t think of anything more exciting than to see my city (Greenville, SC) submit to God’s leading in our lives and find our place of comfort on our knees before His presence. Well, here’s a version of that song and a video to accompany it done by the artists at Fellowship Church in Grapevine, TX. Enjoy!





Finding the Words to Speak!

21 02 2010

I have been teaching a series of messages to our church entitled: Love & Marriage! This morning I discussed the importance of never ending the pursuit of your spouse. Part of this process involves sharing those very needed words of affection (husbands to wives) and words of affirmation (wives to husbands). I thought you might enjoy video clip which gives a glimpse into process of trying to find just the right words to share!

Let me encourage you to try this week and share the BIG THREE (“I love you!”) with your spouse.

Well, check out this video. I think you will really enjoy it!





Frozen Roads and Blowing Snow!

16 02 2010

What an amazing and adventurous day! Took the family a few friends on a journey into the high peaks of North Carolina earlier today. We set out on what we thought we be a 4 or 5 hour trek…but it turned into nearly 12 intense hours on the road!

The objective was simple — find a place where the kids could sled and the parents could see some beautiful picturesque scenes of snowy mountains. What we experienced was a very exciting day, viewing some of the most breath-taking sites we’d ever seen…as well as one of the wildest adventures any of us had gone through in ages.

Let me just say this – the voice on my GPS lied to me! Rather than taking us to the ideal sledding spot on Sugar Mountain, it took us UP (that being a key word to this story) a very desolate old logging road (path really) called Arnett Road. This road climbed a very step grade (of which offered no stopping point or area to turn around). The bottom line was, once we began the climb – we were committed.

Now, since it is that time of year when we celebrate the Winter Olympics — I’ll use a term that I think may make sense to you. You’ve heard of Bob-sledding — well, what we experienced was more like Van-sledding! It was something much, much larger…much faster and not nearly as safe as viewing on TV from the comfort of your own home.

Well, before it was all over, we met 3 very kind US Marines (preparing for their fist deployment to Iraq) and a mountain woman named Jenny (who knew how to safely get us down the mountain without incident)!

To wrap this story up, we broke a rake, had an audience of old men watching from their porches, nearly lost one of my buddies in the DEEP snow, covered the other one with blasts of snow and ice from the spinning rear tires, learned how to properly use tire chains, grew to hate the GPS, listened to the very clear directions of Jenny, re-learned how to drive in snow and ice and remembered…no matter what, never — ever — hit your brakes when driving downhill on frozen snow (no matter how desperately you want to do so). That was a rookie snow driving lesson that I have officially re-learned!

Well, I thank God for this day — that it’s over, that we had a LOT of fun…and that no one got hurt! At least not more than my pride!

Banner Elk, NC — we will be back! 🙂





Something New…Video Blogging!

8 02 2010

I chosen today to prepare my thoughts and blog them via a video. I’d like for you to give me some feedback and let me know what you think. Do you like this medium better or would you prefer the written word (I really mean typed)! Enjoy!





I’m Gonna Love You Forever!

6 02 2010

I make no apologies…this post goes out to my wife, Lori!

Everyone else is welcome to listen in on this conversation to her — but this is clearly from my heart to hers!

Lori, I want to begin by saying: “I love you!” I know in our home (with 4 busy children) our lives sometimes seem to be spinning so fast and doing so much that those words can get lost in the chaos and the busyness. That being said, I never want to take for granted that you know the depth of my love. So, let me take a few moments and tell you how I feel about you.

It’s hard to believe, but it was 19 years ago that I first laid my eyes on you. Your beauty nearly took my breath away. The softness of your eyes, the beauty of your skin and the tenderness of your voice struck my heart like one of cupid’s arrows. I remember our long walks around Lake Hollingsworth, our dinner dates to the Panda Chinese restaurant, and I remember the evenings spent in the library together as you studied your books and I studied you!

You know, as wonderful as those early days were – none of them compare to the times I have with you today! I so enjoy every moment of our lives together. I still look forward to coming home every day and hearing your voice. I cherish the dinners around our table (with our 4 children) as I get to sit across from you and trade the stories from our day along with smiles that speak volumes of our love. I appreciate the way you care for our family and work to provide a safe place to call home. I am grateful for those few hours every night when our children are in bed and we get to cuddle together on the couch. Though we don’t have everything we wish for and our budget is tighter than we would like…there is nothing in this world that I would trade for my life with you today!

I love you. I love you. I love you!

Thanks for being my wife and my love!





Control Freaks!

4 02 2010

Simple truth: As much as we may try, we will never really have total control over anything in our lives!

I ran across a funny story about a woman who experienced a winter traffic accident. As the police filled out the report and her testimony of the account, this is what she said. And I quote,

“I hit a patch of ice, and then my car began to spin counterclockwise. I then hit the curb at which point my car began to spin clockwise. After that, I narrowly avoided hitting a house and then a telephone pole. And it was at that point that I lost control of my vehicle.”

What? Am I the only one who thinks she probably lost total control the first moment she hit the patch of ice? The truth is, she never had control.

You know, the more I think about it…neither do we. Oh, we try! But the reality of our lives is that we never really have control over anything. Think about, we can’t control our children or the decisions they make. We have very little control over our investments or our retirement portfolios. We can’t control the housing market or the value of our home. And we can’t even control our health. Oh, we might be able to eat right and exercise regularly…but even healthy people get sick and some times discover they are facing battles with cancer or some other major disease. These things simply reveal that we have very little control in this life. And yet, we spend the majority of our time striving to gain control over these things that we will never really master! It’s unfortunate to say the least.

That being said, I have discovered that I can trust the sovereignty of God, because even though I may be “out of control” — He never is! Let me sum up my thoughts today with this: Though I can’t control my future or those things around me — I can control my habits and my responses.

We can try to control all those elements within our lives regarding our relationships, our future, our finances and the rest — and end up facing the same cycles of disappointment, frustration, fear, anger and blame. Or we begin to trust God and His sovereignty and focus on the one thing that we can control…ourselves! I know this sounds like a paradox, but when we fully surrender our lives and the control of our lives to Jesus we are then able to really live at peace knowing that He has our best interest in mind!

Jeremiah 29:11 says, “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”

So here’s my suggestion – let’s trust His plans for our lives and live more peaceful and more productive lives…and let’s let loose of that endless pursuit of trying to “get control” of those things which will always be out of our reach!

Be encouraged today – God is still in control!