AUGUST 31

If you’re in a relationship which demands that you be something other than who you are, it might be time to step back and re-evaluate. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve seen this happen over the years. A young man and young lady start dating and all of a sudden, one of those individuals demands that the other must change to suit the other’s needs. Before too long, the one who conforms is no longer recognizable, even to their parents. Why? Because this individual has been told: “In order for you to be acceptable, you must be something other than who you are.”

When I came to my present church, one of the first questions I asked was: “Can I be accepted for who I am.” You see, I had just come out of a situation where I was constantly being told I had to be something or someone I wasn’t. My friends, that is a miserable existence. Do you remember: “To thine own self be true.” I prefer: “Be comfortable being the person God created you to be.”

The good news about the Christian faith is, God loves you just as you are and not as you ought to be. We come to Him in our brokenness and He loves and nurtures us. No one will ever love you more than Him. The good news is, what changes need to be done, they will all be for your good. Wow! What a novel approach. Godspeed my friends.

 

AUGUST 30

I’ve had to opportunity and honor of signing a lot of books over the last few weeks. A couple of weeks ago, someone who was sitting with me said: “You could do this a lot faster if you wouldn’t write a personal note in each one.” I responded: “If they take the time and effort to come see me and buy the book, then I have time to write something personal in it.” Sometimes the best touches are the personal ones. It’s what distinguishes that touch from all the others.

In a similar way, God got personal in Christ Jesus. As a matter of fact, John the Elder wrote: “The Word became flesh and dwelt among us.” God became like us so we could see what He’s like and also so He could see what we’re like. No one can say we serve and worship an impassive God. He knows and has experienced every emotion you and I will ever feel. In other words, He knows exactly how you feel.

But remember, God was never more personal than He was at Calvary. On the cross He was so personal that He bore in His body the sins of the world. Please understand, He did for us what we could never do for ourselves. That my friends is the ultimate personal touch. The question is: Have you felt it? If you’ve felt it, have you responded? I sure hope so. Godspeed my friends.

 

AUGUST 29

Yesterday I was talking to a friend of mine on the phone. Through a series of questions he was asking me about the process of writing and publishing a book. One of the questions was: “Would you do anything different?” You know the old expression: “Hindsight is 20/20.” Another one that I’ve used over the years: “After the ship has been sunk, everyone can tell you how it could have been saved.” As I thought about the question, of course you learn valuable lessons as you do any project and ways it could have been done better.

Then my buddy asked me a question that left me speechless. Those that know me realize how hard that is to do. He asked me: “What do you think your Dad would think about the book?” Whew! You talk about a flood of emotions. I literally had to compose myself to answer. I said: “I’ve thought about that a lot. I would hope that he would be pleased and proud.” You do realize that more than almost anything on this planet, a boy or man wants the approval of his Father. This goes back to Jacob and Esau. Each son wanted their Father’s blessing. As a Dad, make sure your children know how you feel about them. You’d be surprised at how many Dads have never said to their sons: “I love you.”

More important than my Dad’s blessings or affirmation, I want my Heavenly Father to say: “Well done.” After all, He is the reason I’m here today. I sure hope my meager effort has been enough. Will yours? Godspeed my friends.

 

AUGUST 28

It’s different when it happens to your child. A disappointment isn’t just a setback, it’s your child that has to deal with it. A failure isn’t just failing, it’s your child who has to deal with it. A heartbreak is just a crushing blow, but it your child that has to deal with it. And when your child is sick, it’s different from all the other illnesses you’ve dealt with personally, because your child has to suffer and deal with it.

Yesterday my daughter learned a valuable lesson that will be a constant reminder to her the rest of her life. She got a call from the daycare informing her that her son Miles was sick. That would be our 5 month old grandson and her firstborn. Unfortunately, he was coming down with the same thing we all had this past weekend. As a matter of fact, we think he could have been the carrier. But it was the first time she’d seen him ill. I was able to leave my meeting early and drive over to their house before they took him to the doctor. Of course she was upset as any mother would be. She said: “He’s not suppose to get sick.” I simply said: “Of course he is. And so did you. And it usually happens at the most inconvenient time.” But it’s hard to see our children suffer physically, isn’t it. It’s actually heartbreaking.

Imagine what it must have been like for God to watch his Son at Calvary. After all the beatings, the cross bearing, the nails, and now the execution. But it had to happen. Someone had to pay the price of our sins and the sins of the world. It’s not until we have a child do we understand the depth of God’s love. “God demonstrated His love to us that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.” (Rom. 5:8) He did that so we could become His children. And yes, He is concerned about us. What an amazing love. Godspeed my friends.

 

AUGUST 26

In 35 plus years of ministry, I had only missed one Sunday service due to an illness. In December 2005, I was hospitalized due to pneumonia. However, yesterday morning around 5:50 in the morning, after being sick all night, I had to text our youth pastor and inform him that the preaching was on him. I hate not being able to preach on Sunday morning. Yesterday especially because I had a pretty good idea what was going to happen. Two special people were going to make their public professions of faith and I wanted to be there. However, there was no way possible.

I’m thankful that I serve at a church that has capable staff members like David Honeycutt and Franklin Denham. I knew the service was in good hands. Sometimes we need to remember that the message is always more important than the messenger. I received so many text yesterday checking on us. You see, not only did I have this stomach bug, but so did Tommi Jo, her mother and sister. I found out this morning that my daughter, Laura has it.

The cemetery is full of indispensable people. We all need a little reminder of that when we start believing we’re a little more important than we really are. I’m feeling better, but need a day to get back to full strength. Never buy into the hype of self importance. It’s overrated. Godspeed my friends.

 

AUGUST 24

Today I get to journey back to one of my homes, Canton, Ms. Canton is not only a home of my adulthood, as we pastored there 10 years, but it’s also a place of my childhood. As a child, I spent many days in Canton during the summer time while we were on vacation. You see, while many of my friends were going to the mountains, Six Flags, (We actually did Six Flags while headed to Glorieta Baptist Conference Center) or to the beach, we were headed to Canton. I don’t know of a town that hold as big of a variety of life changing events as Canton. It’s one of my Bethels in life for sure.

You remember Bethel don’t you? That’s a place where Jacob, who later became Israel had his famous dream about Heaven. Later in his life he returned to that special place and worshipped God. Sometimes one has to go home in order to find themselves.

Do you feel as though God is removed or absent in your life? Do you feel lost, in need of finding your home? We’re not talking about a physical home, we’re talking about a belonging. You need to find the presence of God. Well friend, if you’re struggling to find Him, be of good cheer, He will find you. Regardless of what Thomas Wolfe said, you can go home again. Godspeed my friends.

 

AUGUST 23

Every now and then I like to dabble in eBay. I enjoy both buying and selling various items. This past month I listed a new pair underwear shorts I had bought on sale but never wore. As a matter of fact, they had never been taken out of the package. After a couple of weeks they eventually sold for about half of what they retail for in the stores. I shipped them to my customer and thought all was well with the world. I’ve never had one complaint in all the years I’ve been selling. Until now.

Yesterday I got a message from my customer telling me I had deliberately deceived him. He thought he was buying a pair of shorts and not a pair of boxers. It was a pretty stinging message. I went back to my listing and sure enough I left out the word “boxers.” However, it was in plain sight on the package itself in the picture listed. What does one do? I messaged him back and said he was absolutely right that I had left off the word “boxers.” I told him he could keep the shorts and I’d refund his money completely. I told him this was my mistake and I would take full ownership of it.

I’ve said this before: “Life is 10 percent what happens to you and 90 percent how you react. When you take ownership of your mistakes, most folks will understand. The funny part of this is, I haven’t heard back from him yet. But that doesn’t matter. Godspeed my friends.

 

AUGUST 22

Last night when I got in from prayer meeting I immediately took off my coat. (Yes, I still wear a coat and tie on Wednesday night. You don’t have to and it’s not a mandate, it’s just what I’m comfortable wearing.) Anyway, I noticed a spot on my coat and originally thought it was a water spot. Upon further inspection, this was no water spot, it was an ink stain. The top of my roller ball pen had come off and leaked through my pocket. This was no ordinary coat, it was one of my favorites.

Immediately I went to work on this stain. Man, that coat absorbed a lot of ink for such a small stain. The size of this pesky spot was a little smaller than a dime. After working on it for about an hour, it was better, but still there. I dimmed the lights in the room and it was unnoticeable. When I turned on the lights, there it was. When I looked at it from a distance, you couldn’t see it. When you came closer, yep, there it was. One of the reasons it was so notable to me was I knew where to look. In all honesty, you probably would never see it. But my OCD self knows exactly where it is. It’s going to the cleaners today to see if it can be salvaged. In my eyes of course.

Do you realize there are stains in your life? Everyone has them and no one is immune. There are mistakes we all make. However, we sometimes do nothing about them because they seem so small, almost unnoticeable to most people. But nevertheless, they are there. Some people say: “Well that’s just the way I am!” But is it how you have to be? Your mistakes and mine are called sin. It’s that simple. Stop ignoring them and settle them. The good news is, God’s love and grace cleans the stains of your life completely. Removed as if they never happened. That’s good news. Now if only my cleaners can do the same with my coat. Godspeed my friends.

 

AUGUST 21

What constitutes a hero? A hero is not always faster than a speeding bullet. A hero is not necessarily more powerful than a locomotive. A hero does have to leap tall buildings in a single bound. And to be honest, not all heroes dress up in costumes and fight crime. Sometimes a hero rises from the least likely individual of all. That’s the way it is with Diesel Pippert. If you want to know what a hero looks like, he stands about 5”2” and weights around 125 lbs. But remember, dynamite comes in small packages.

Diesel is a 7th grader who lives in Huron County, Ohio. This young man recently won $15,000.00 in livestock premiums at the Huron County Fair. What did he do with his winnings? Did he buy a new four wheeler? Nope. Did he buy a new gun for hunting season? No. Surely he used the money to set up a savings account for his college education. Wrong! Diesel did something that caught everyone by surprise, or at least those who didn’t really know his heart. He gave all of his money to the St. Jude Children’s Hospital to help find a cure for cancer. That my friends is a hero.

Where did a 7th grader learn such a selfless act? How can one so young be so generous? I’m not sure, but I can only guess he developed his character by watching his parents or grandparents. He has demonstrated through actions that it is “ more blessed to give than to receive.” He has given himself to something which will outlast him. What about you? Have you learned than valuable lesson?

I’m running in the St. Jude Half Marathon again this year. I’m what they call a hero because I’m fund raising for the children. I’m no hero. Never have been and never will be. But I’m about to donate to my own account again in honor of Diesel. He has inspired me. Maybe he inspired you will too. This is no plea for money, just the opportunity to learn a life lesson from a 7th grader. I’m about to post my St. Jude page again. Godspeed my friends.

 

AUGUST 20

Over the past few days I’ve had an opportunity to reconnect with a lot of friends from my past through the selling of my book. As I have written a personal note in those books, I’ve thought back to the impact those individuals have had on my life. These are folks who believed in me, encouraged me, and loved me. As a matter of fact, the word which kept coming back to me was “light.” These individuals where light in my life when I was lost or struggling in the darkness. In other words, they were literally being the hands and feet of Christ in my life.

Do you understand the huge impact you can have on another’s life through small acts of kindness? All you have to do is allow the love of God to work in you and flow through you. I can tell you, there are hurting people out there in the world and in the church. I know because I’ve been one of those individuals. Do you know what it’s like to feel like your whole world is falling apart at the seams? Have you ever felts like there’s no hope? Have you lost your joy in the past? If you have, understand there are friends of yours who feel the same way. All you have to do is bring a little light into someone’s life. It may come in the form of a kind word, an embrace, or just the light from your presence.

Seems to me that Jesus said: “You are the light of the world.” Maybe we need to shine it more often. Thank you to all those who were bright and shining lights in my life. You did more for me than you think. Godspeed my friends.

 

AUGUST 19

My team at church kept telling me we were going to be in for a big day yesterday. However, it surpassed all of my expectations. First of all, our morning worship service was off the chain from the opening video until the end of the hymn of invitation. God continues to bless our church family with new people every week. It’s up to us not to screw it up. Franklin Denham, Ashley Bartimus Bradberry, David Honeycutt, and Allen Harris all did an outstanding job leading us to the throne of grace through music and the spoken word. Since our revival services there has been a special anointing in our services. I don’t use that word lightly. All I can say is, come see and experience it.

Yesterday afternoon we debuted my new book, Start Here.  It was the first time we have publicly sold the book and did so with a book signing. The event was supposed to run from 2-4. I was still signing books at 5:40 that afternoon and signed 20 more after church. I was absolutely shocked at the amount of people who attended and to be honest, it was humbling and overwhelming. I want to thank Maxine Junkin, Melissa Long, Sherry Caves Kostka Feagans, Nita Clark, and Janet Anderson for an over the top reception. I love each of those ladies so much.

Our night was concluded with a sweet time of celebrating the Lord’s Supper. I’m not sure you could have scripted a better day. I even got to have lunch with my good friends James Norwood Bryan and Kathy Bryan. Just icing on the cake. It will be a day I won’t soon forget. Thank you to all who made it possible.

I told our church yesterday: “This day is as much about you as it is about me or anyone else. It’s a testimony as to what God can do out of brokenness. PHBC, I love all of you. Godspeed my friends.

 

AUGUST 18

“This is the day the Lord has made,” But will you rejoice and be glad in it? It’s hard to rejoice when you’re down in the dumps. It’s hard to rejoice when your health is in doubt. It’s hard to rejoice when you have relationships which are in the tank. It’s hard to rejoice when life has sucker punched you in the gut. You see so many people waltzing through life without a care in the world. There are moments in your life when you want to scream: “If your not going to work with me God, don’t work against me.” However, there are a couple of reasons why you ought to rejoice.

First, you do realize this is the only day promised to you, don’t you? There’s no assurance of tomorrow or next week. Because of the brevity and uncertainness of life, you better make the most out of this day. And in reality, what is the alternative? If you don’t bless God, will you curse Him? There’s usually only two choices.

Second, the reason we must rejoice in this day is because of God’s grace which He richly bestows on His children. In other words, He offers hope out of hopelessness, love out of hatred, direction out of lostness, and life out of death. If that’s not a reason to rejoice, you might want to check your spiritual tank and make sure you’re not running on empty.

“This is the day the Lord has made, I’ll rejoice and be glad in it.” Can you? I sure hope so. Godspeed my friends.

 

AUGUST 17

I’m super excited about the book signings we have coming up this month. I hope I get a chance to see a lot of you over the next few weeks. We have selected a few places which are near and dear to our hearts to hold our events. This Sunday, August 18, our first scheduled signing is at my current church, Pleasant Hill in Columbus, from 2-4 pm. The next week, Saturday August 24, we shall be in Canton, Ms at Sulm’s Gift shop from 11 am until 1 pm. Canton is such a special place for me because of our service there and the fact it is my Mom’s hometown. That afternoon we’ll be at one of my favorite stores in Mississippi, Great Scott in Jackson, Ms from 2-4 pm. On August 28 you can catch us in Cleveland, Ms, my hometown at the Warehouse from 11am until 1 pm. That afternoon we’ll be at Abraham’s Clothing from around 2-4 pm. Danny Abraham is such a special friend to me. We’re still working on a signing in Natchez, and that will happen in September or October.

The thought of writing a book never was on my radar. I guess I’ve been writing everyday for over 10 years, but never thought it was publish worthy. God used some very unlikely folks to get this project done and I’m so glad He did. I sure hope I see some of you soon. Let me know if you’re planning to attend any of these events. I’d hate to be the only one that shows up. This, to be honest, is my greatest fear. Godspeed my friends. Oh, if you can’t make it to any of the signings, you can still order. Also, please accept my invitation to my “Godspeed My Friends” Facebook page. Reviews are welcomed and encouraged.

 

AUGUST 16

If you have children in school, you might want to warn them that getting off to a good start is essential. The reason is quite simple. It will never be easier than it is in the beginning, it only gets harder as you go. The first foreign language I ever had was Hebrew during my seminary years. I had made it through high school and college and never taken Spanish, German, or French. I was however, fluent in Pig Latin. For some reason that was never taken in consideration on my admission form into seminary.

When I enrolled in Hebrew, I knew the formula. Get off to a good start and if you have to, limp on in at the conclusion of the semester. I also knew there was a vocabulary test every week which accounted for about 25% of our grade. My strategy was, ace all the vocabulary test and get off to a great start. Sure enough, I was right. I had a great teacher in Russell Cherry and with his help I end up with a “B.” But man, that course got hard quick.

The same is true in our Christian faith. It will never be easier than it is at the start. At the start of your journey there’s so much excitement. You can’t wait to get to church, read your Bible, pray and get to know God in a personal way. That good start is essential because it’s only going to get harder. Satan isn’t worried about a believer that’s doing nothing. Those individuals are his greatest assets. As you grow in your faith there are going to be seasons of doubt, testing, fear, and loneliness. The start or beginning point of your faith can make all the difference in the world. There’s an old expression: “If your faith fizzles at the finish, it was faulty at the start.” The start is so important, so make sure you get out of the blocks quickly and effectively. Godspeed my friends.

 

AUGUST 15

Don’t let someone else’s opinion of another person influence your attitude towards that individual. In doing so you will be guilty of prejudging another and you might rob yourself of a good friend and ally. Before you formulate an opinion on another, you might want to get to know that person. It may come as a surprise to you how much you have in common. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been given false information about another person, only to have that individual become a good friend of mine.

We hear the word “prejudice” a lot these days. Basically all that word means is to render judgment or formulate an opinion on another without adequate information. Several years ago, while still a very young pastor, I had one of my church members come to me and say: “Don’t get close to ole so and so. He’s nothing but trouble. He’ll turn on you in a second.” Well, I got close to ole so and so and he has remained a dear friend for over thirty years. Sometimes all it takes is a little effort and investigating to find the real truth.

The good news today is, God doesn’t have to do any research on you. He already has the adequate facts and figures on your life. He knows it all. The good news for you and me is, He loves us as we are, warts and all. That’s one relationship you want to get right because it will touch every other relationship you have. Godspeed my friends.

 

AUGUST 14

Have you noticed how we’ve become proficient in dodging responsibility? The plight we find ourselves in is always someone else’s fault. It’s our parent’s fault because they raised us this way. It’s our children’s fault because they have robbed us of our time. It’s our spouse’s fault because they don’t understand us. Or my personal favorite, it’s the church’s fault because I got my feelings hurt. The problem with this attitude is it’s quickly passed from one generation to the next. Before long, a B.A. degree stands for Builder of Alibis.

Of course this is no new phenomenon because it goes back to the creation story. Adam blamed Eve because he ate from the Tree of Knowledge. Eve quickly blamed the snake. However the individual most responsible for your life is the individual reading this post. It is you. So what can we do to change the status quo?

First, accept responsibility for your actions. In the 51 Psalm, King David simply said: “Against thee and thee only have I sinned and done what is evil in your sight. There comes a point when you have to accept responsibility for your actions. The same is true for your children as well. The sooner we learn this, the better our lives will be.

Finally, get on with it. Accept the forgiveness from God and move on. Don’t have a higher standard of forgiveness than God. Accept the fact that you are acceptable. When this occurs in your life, we actually have more joy and life takes on a new meaning. Sometimes you just have to say: “This one is one me.” Godspeed my friends.

 

AUGUST 13

There is a difference between praying about a situation and praying and turning it over to God. Too often we already have in mind the way the Lord Almighty ought to answer our requests. We pray and anxiously wait until the outcome turns out the way we want. However, when we pray and turn it over to God, we are saying: “God, I trust You with all my heart and I am leaving this request at Your throne. Help me to accept Your good and perfect will because I know You are working in all things to bring about good.” When we pray that prayer, the pressure is off of us. We’ve cast our cares upon the Lord knowing He cares for us.

Today as you navigate through the trials of life, pray and turn it over to God. If you are carrying a burden too heavy for your shoulders, pray and turn it over to God. If you’re facing a medical uncertainty, pray and turn it over to God. If you are struggling financially, pray and turn it over to God. If you are having family problems, pray and turn it over to God. There’s no problem too big or small that He can’t handle. In our weakness, we find that His strength is enough to face whatever comes our way.

Do you remember singing: “What a friend we have in Jesus?” There’s a line which reminds us: “What a privilege to carry, everything to God in prayer.” It is, and it will be enough to get through the troubled waters. Godspeed my friends.

 

AUGUST 12

If you’ve ever heard a press conference of a college football, basketball, or baseball coach who finds his team struggling, you’be heard the following words: “We just have to get back to the basics, the fundamentals of the game. We have to do the little things which have made us successful in the past.” What exactly does he mean by this? He’s reminding his team that in order to be successful, they must do the little things correctly. If they don’t do the little things, then the big aspects of the game will be impossible.

The same thing is true in our spiritual life. When you find yourself struggling to find God, much less follow Him, you might want to get back to the basics of your faith. I know it sounds silly, but it’s pretty simple. Make a conscious effort to attend church. Something happens when God’s people meet together. Read your Bible. God reveals himself to his children through the reading and studying of His word. Start praying again. When we talk about prayer, remember, it’s a dialogue and not a monologue. You might want to listen to what God has to say. Last, start serving God and others. You’ll be surprised at how ministering to others will help lift you out of the funk of dry spirituality.

Remember, being good, and doing good, doesn’t always feel good. However your faith isn’t based on how you feel, but rather who you know. Maybe it’s time to get back to the basics of our faith. There’s no better time than now. Godspeed my friends.

 

 

AUGUST 11

Life is about priorities. I’ve noticed over the years that we take time for the things which are important to us. If needs be, we’ll alter or adapt our schedule to do what we want to do. For instance, if we received a call at the last minute from a friend inviting us to attend a sporting event or concert, we’ll change our plans to make sure we didn’t miss out. Many of you have already planned your fall around your favorite college football team. We take the time for what is important to us. Remember that statement.

So, how important is worship? How important is fellowshipping with fellow believers? I’ve noticed in our current society that people are more selfish with their time than anything else. They don’t mind contributing financially to a cause, but their time is more important to them. So, how much time are you giving to the Lord? Hopefully, even now you’re getting ready to attend the church of your choice to worship the one true God. Remember, your schedule will always communicate with you what is really your God. Godspeed my friends.

 

AUGUST 10

I have a few good friends who have recently lost loved ones. The task of saying goodbye to a father, mother, son, daughter or another loved one is never easy. Depending on the closeness of the relationship, it can be overwhelming and almost impossible to face. In some cases it feels as though a part of you has been amputated. I know that’s how I felt when my father died. When he passed away I lost my Dad, my pastor, my mentor, and my best friend. I won’t lie to you, at times I felt like I was lost with no hope of being found. It’s easy to believe the promises of God when you don’t have to call upon them. It’s quite another to claim them and walk with Him in the darkness. I learned so many lessons during those days.

I learned that grief is personal. How we deal with the death of a loved one is personal. There is no “one size fits all.” Each individual has to walk and deal with the grief their own way. However, the comfort of God is personal. He ministers to us in unexpected ways and through the least likely sources at times. That’s what I love about our God. He’s always personal.

Second, I learned that grief waits its turn. You might push it away for a season, but sooner or later you have to deal with it. You have two choices. You deal with it in a healthy way or an unhealthy way. One will lead to restoration, the other to destruction. Don’t be afraid to ask for help when you need it.

Finally, you can’t lose something or someone if you know where it is or where they are. I didn’t lose my Dad or my Mother, I know exactly where they are. Do I miss them? You bet I do. But I’m comforted knowing our separation is only temporary through the resurrection of Jesus Christ. I hope you have that assurance today. It may seem dark, but you can never hold back the dawn. Godspeed my friends.

 

AUGUST 9

About a week ago, I saw young girl who normally attends our church. Before I could even get “hello” out of my mouth, she greeted me with these words: “My mom and dad said we are going to get back to church once school begins.” You see, whether we like it or not, our children are honest and they usually repeat what we as parents say word for word. Let me tell you, this child loves going to church. The problem is, she is not old enough to drive herself to church when Mom and Dad decide to do something different.

When you have children, your responsibility is significantly increased as far as spiritual matters are concerned. I watch parents and grandparents wear themselves out getting their children to dance, football, baseball, soccer (don’t get me started on this one), and all other kinds of activities and yet, they leave their spirituality up to osmosis. If you neglect this as a parent, prepare yourself for hard days because you’re hardening your child’s heart to the love of God. That my friends is dangerous ground. Do a little research and find out what the Bible says about such actions. (Luke 17:2)

You are responsible for giving your child every opportunity to succeed in life, including his/her spiritual life. Hear this, you don’t get a second chance to raise your children. Get it right the first and only time. Godspeed my friends.

AUGUST 9

 

 

AUGUST 8

Sometimes I wake up and wonder: “What in the world can I write this morning that will be of any benefit to my friends?” And all of a sudden, without warning, the words just come. I can’t type them fast enough to post. They’re not my words by any means. I know exactly where they come from and who delivered them to me. In those moments when I feel as though I have nothing to offer, that’s when God steps in and does some of his best work.

That may be true with you today. You might have reached a point in your life and you wonder how God can use you. Well my friends, all you have to do is be open and available and the Spirit of God will give you an assignment. You’ll be surprised at the people He’ll put in your path. It will amaze you all the opportunities you’ll have for ministry. In other words, when you allow God to work in and through you, get ready, because you’re about to get real busy. Are you ready? I know He is. Godspeed my friends.

 

AUGUST 7

There are so many young people who are starting school this week. For many of them a fresh start, a new start is what they’ve anticipated. For the last couple of months, the disappointment of last year has been removed with an excitement of new possibilities. But how long will it last? How long before they slip back into the old habits they once knew?

Football season is about the begin and for many players, coaches, and fans, hope springs eternal!!! This year is going to be different. The defeats from last year have been exchanged with the excitement of victories yet to come. However, the question remains: How long will it last? After the first week of competition, half the teams will have tasted victory and half will be dealt defeat.

The same is true in our relationship with God. We wake up one day and think: “I need to straighten out my life.” So you dress yourself up and go to church. You try dropping old habits and flying right. But it won’t last if all you want are high morals and religion. The only way to change a heart is to change a relationship. That’s the essence of the Christian Faith. It’s not cleaning one’s life up and following a moral code book. It’s experiencing a daily walk with the one who loved you enough to die for you. Change the relationship and your life will follow. It’s that simple. Godspeed my friends.

 

AUGUST 6

Several years ago, while pastoring in another town, I received a phone call from a lady in our church. As we were talking she asked if she could come by the house and speak to me about an urgent matter which concerned her son. I told her she was more than welcome to come right over. They didn’t live far from us so she arrived in just a few minutes.

As we sat in my living room, she began to cry. “I don’t know where to start.” In my mind I couldn’t help but wonder what serious offense her son could have committed. She composed herself and finally said: “Have you noticed the length of my son’s hair? Have you seen the sloppy t-shirts he wears? I think he can do much better than this!” Now I’m thinking: “She’s upset over the length of his hair and his t-shirts? That’s it?” I reminded her that her son was a straight “A” student, star athlete, and a leader in our youth program. He wasn’t on drugs nor running around at all hours of the night. I finally said: “This isn’t a hill to die on my friend.”

I believe in raising a child with rules and boundaries. However, don’t criticize nor badger you kids over small things which don’t matter. One of the things I appreciated about my parents is they let me be me. Remember these things. Know where your children are. Know who they’re with. Know what they’re doing. Have curfews and rules which you follow. Make church and school a priority. And finally, praise your child when they get it right. Don’t die on every hill or you’ll be dead before they reach kindergarten. “Train them in the way they should go.” Godspeed my friends.

 

AUGUST 5

There are many children and young people about to begin the journey of a new school year. Over the next few days Facebook will be filled with back to school pictures of our children and grandchildren. For some it’s an anxious time because they’re stepping into the great unknown. For others it’s an exciting time because they get to experience something new. Whatever the emotion, it’s real and makes the heart race a bit faster.

There are some students who see this as a new beginning. Things will be different this year because old habits have died and a new commitment to learning as been installed in the heart and mind. But will it last? Sometimes that old fire we thought was snuffed out is just smoldering. With any attention at all the fanning of the smoke can rekindle the fire of old habits. Before you know it, the renewed commitment is replaced with the same old song, but just the second verse.

The same is true in our lives. We want desperately to rid our lives of old habits and become the individuals God created us to be. Before long we become frustrated and revert back to our old ways. Christianity isn’t a list of rules to follow, but rather a personal relationship with the Living God. Get that right and the rest will fall right into place. Your life will have purpose and direction. Then things can get better. Godspeed my friends.

 

 

AUGUST 4

“Lord send a revival. Lord send a revival and let it begin in me.” I remember we’d sing that song during our fall or spring revival at my Dad’s church. However, most people, even fine church attenders will sing: “Lord send a revival and let it begin in someone else because I really don’t have the time.”

When we see the mess our countries in with its violence, hatred, and racism, we just shake our heads and cry out: “Lord why don’t you do something!” We need to remember that God’s not going to do something for us that we can do for ourselves. Revival or renewal starts in the hearts of God’s people. You can’t expect a pagan world to become moral at the drop of a hat. The last time I checked, we are to be the “light of the world.” But it’s hard to shine a light when your batteries are running low. It’s time for a revival. It’s time for God’s people to rise up.

We start our series of special services today and it’s my prayer God will use them in a mighty way. You start where you are. Let it begin in you. Godspeed my friends.

 

AUGUST 3

I once hated this time of year. The reason was quite simple, summer was about to come to a conclusion and school would begin. No more fun and games, we would soon be back to reading, writing, and arithmetic. (By the way, I still believe to this day that summer reading in unconstitutional. It’s called a summer vacation. That means you’re out of school.) However, now days I love heading into the fall and the excitement it brings. The change of seasons happen for a reason.

As the seasons change in our environment, so do the seasons of our life change. For some of you, you’ve been in a season of grief while others have been in one of celebration. Some of you are in a season of wandering, while others are in one of home. Still, there are individuals in a season of doubt, while others are living and walking by faith. Whatever the season you find yourself in, be prepared, it will change.

If you’re life could be defined by a calendar year, what season are you in? No one can defeat Father Time. If you’re in the summer of your life, enjoy because fall and winter will come. The best thing you can do to survive and make the most of your time is to walk with the One who created you. Enjoy the journey because in the long run, it’s unpredictable and it doesn’t last very long. The season will change, that you can believe. Godspeed my friends.

 

AUGUST 2

Mark was a pastor friend of mine in Kentucky. When I moved to Vine Grove, we quickly hit it off. Every now and then we’d have lunch and talk about church life, family, and life in general. I found him to be down to earth and a wonderful man of encouragement and character. During my time there I never heard anyone speak a negative word about him. (That’s more than you can say for me.)

Mark told me about an unusual phenomenon which took place in his church. Their congregation wasn’t large by any means. However, every now and then his sister and niece would show up and sing at his church. The people in the community would flock to their church. As a matter of fact, the rest of the churches in that rural community would basically be empty. On the other hand, people who never attended church would be in attendance. Baptist, Methodist, Presbyterian, Catholic, you name it, they all came to Mark’s church. Oh, I forgot to tell you Mark’s last name. It was Judd. His sister was Naomi and his niece was Wynnonna. That’s right, the people came because The Judds were singing. They got to hear someone famous.

You do realize that each and every Sunday, someone famous shows up at every church, regardless of size. Who would that be? The King of Kings and Lord of Lords. The creator of all things. The Alpha and Omega. He has said: “Where two or more are gathered, I’ll be there.” The question is: Will you be there? That’s one person you don’t want to miss. Godspeed my friends.

 

AUGUST 1

Today is an exciting day in our ministry. We launch the pre-order of my first book, “Start Here.” At 10 am this morning we will be live on Facebook to tell you how you can get your copy or copies. The pre-order will assure you that you will get what you want. I want to thank you for all the encouragement you’ve given us through the years and making this project a reality. See you at 10. Godspeed my friends

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