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!

Help for Haiti!

22 01 2010

Haitian people reach out for help!

It’s been a little over a week since the massive series of earthquakes hit the nation of Haiti. What initially looked — got worse with each aftershock and seismic tremor. This very poor nation of people were brought to their knees in a matter of moments. I am so proud to see the United States of America and all of our resources responding to the needs of the people of Haiti. While many nations are watching – we are responding. And it’s not just our nation, but it’s also the church who is responding. Never have I been so proud to be a part of the body of Christ as I have been the last few days. Even our (small) local congregation was quick to do something about the needs of the Haitians. With just a simple request for funds, our folks gave $2000 to the relief organization CONVOY OF HOPE. Together with people from all over the world — we are making a difference!

At this time of loss, the Haitian people need us to stand in the gap for them. Rather than judge them for their past or the present mistakes and sin, we will stand with them and share the love of Christ. Rather than condemn them — we must serve them. Let’s be the love of Christ to those with great need during this great hour!

Kindle Time!

12 01 2010

Just a brief post today…

I recently received a Kindle Reader from my folks. It was my high-tech Christmas gift this year. Now, I have to admit — I’ve always been a “techy” and love anything that needs to be powered. (Notice I said TECHY not TREKY — although both would probably apply).

I remember when I was a boy, if I received a gift that was electric or battery powered — if wouldn’t take long for me to have a screw-driver in hand and the back off of the device. I just loved things that were “high tech” and wanted to know how they worked.

Well, some things have changed – I rarely take my new devices apart…but I still love gadgets and gear!

As for this new Kindle Reader, well I think it’s amazing! I can carry in my hand a library of 1500 books (if I had the money to purchase that many).

It has a wonderful screen and very good graphic ability. The text can be increased or decreased very simply. The purchase of new books for it can happen in a flash — literally about 60 seconds. I have discovered that I am reading more now then ever before (and I have always been an avid reader).

My most recent downloads (books I am reading) have been Jesus Nation – by Joe Stowell and Uncommon – by Tony Dungy. Both are really good. I recommend by the Kindle and the books. You can’t go wrong with either one!

The Kindle, get one!

It’s Mac Tonight!

29 09 2009

Well, it’s official…I have crossed over into the world of Mac! I know, there are many of you celebrating my new found freedoms (and power) – while at the same time, there are those of you who don’t understand the inticement of the Mac World. Well, let me try and explain.

For me the shift to Mac had to do with some of the frustrations I was experiencing with the PC. Over the last year or so I have been creating videos to correspond with my messages (preaching) and felt very limited by the PC. It would freeze up, shut the programs down or just be so slow at rendering and finalizing the project. With Mac, everything is seamless and quick. There has been a bit of a learning curve – but very little! All in all it has been a good move for me. In fact, the quality of the media I’m able to produce now far exceeds the things I’ve done before with a PC. So in short..I’m sold!

Now I know it’s been awhile since my last post…I will try to do better!

Here’s a closing thought for. I heard this from one of the men I deeply respect in Pastoral leadership. He said when it comes to technology and media (as the church), “…we ought to be on the cutting edge and not the lagging edge!” I heartily agree! Let’s do everything we can to culturally connect and speak the language our culture and world are speaking. And in all we do, lets do it as unto the Lord…and for His glory!

A value I am continually embracing is – irrelavance is irreverence! Strive to make a difference for the Kingdom of God.

World Changers

30 07 2009

It’s fascinating to me to think about the role of the church in relationto this world. Some people see ‘church’as a location. Others see it as a meeting that takes place on a weekly basis. Still others think of it as a man made institution or community group. Those who are heavily religious look at the church astheee power tool for manipulation or self-righteous bigotry. But there church is nome of these things. The church has been beat described a ‘the hope of the world!’ It is quite literally the ‘ekklesia’ (in Greek), or’the called out ones’ in our modern day English. Butcalled out of what? According to the apostle Peter, the church is that group of people who have been called out of darkness and into the liht of Christ. There church is a living, loving, culturally relevant organism built of people who have put their faith in Jesus. And our primary roles to play are to honor God and change our world with the love of Christ. If church isore about YOU than it is OTHERS than your understanding of the church is off base. I encourage you to rethink your definition of this great movement that Jeaus created…and see if you are living out your calling of being a world changer and voice of hope! And if you’re not – then begin today!

A Dangerous Prayer!

8 07 2009

Here’s a prayer I am asking my congregation to consider praying on a daily basis to help us discover better opportunities to share of faith in Christ with others. It’s simple but powerful. I adapted this prayer from a recent blog I found from Mark Batterson (pastor of National Community Church). Maybe you should join us in praying this prayer as well!

“Lord, I pray for an opportunity to share my faith with someone in some way. It’s not up to me to decide who or when or where. But I know why. Because you love them and want a relationship with them. So Lord, surprise me with opportunities to share my faith.

Forgive me for trying to do your job for you. You are the one who convicts of sin. You are the one who draws people to yourself, but help me do my part as I become salt and light.

Help me see those opportunities to react compassionately and listen patiently and even to speak kindly to others. And, through my words and my actions, help me plant seeds of love in the lives of others. Give me boldness when it’s time to speak. Give me restraint when it’s time to listen. Give me words to say. But more importantly, give me ears to hear.

Lord, help me be sensitive to the prompting of your Holy Spirit so I can see the divine appointments you send my way. Help me not to be afraid of questions I cannot answer. Help me not to be afraid of people’s reactions or rejections.

Lord, help me preach the gospel every day, when necessary, with words. In Jesus name, amen!”