DECEMBER 31

Yesterday, while attending another church for worship, a sweet couple who I had the honor of serving as their pastor years ago brought their teenage son up to me and said: “He doesn’t remember you coming to the hospital the day he was born.” The mother went on to say to her son: “He also came by the day we went home from the hospital.” That was about 16-17 years ago. Wow, how time flies.

I’ve been in the ministry for nearly 33 years and I can tell you, it’s special visiting a family that has experienced the miracle of birth. I can’t tell you how many babies I’ve held over the years, but each one of them were special gifts given from up above. I’m thankful that God has allowed me to share those special moments with so many young couples. The shocker for me now is how many of those babies are now adults and have children of their own. A sure sign that I’m getting old.

As we welcome in 2019 as a new baby year, I’m grateful for all the babies I’ve had an opportunity to welcome into this world. Never take for granted the miracle of new life. Godspeed my friends.

 

DECEMBER 30

I get to go to church today not as a pastor or preacher, but as a member of the congregation. However, that doesn’t mean my role is any less important or strategic. Worship is a verb which requires an action on my part. As the service starts, I have a responsibility to be prepared for worship. I need to pray for those who will be leading the service. As a participant, I need to be engaged and attentive to all aspects of that hour.

However, there is a selfish side of me that’s excited that I get to actually sit with one of my daughters. That’s one aspect a pastor misses is the ability to sit with your family. When I was growing up, I loved when we had a guest preacher because that meant I got to sit with my Dad. Don’t take for granted the ability to worship with your family. It’s one of the greatest experiences you can have on a regular basis.

Now if you will excuse me, I need to get dressed. I also don’t want to be late for the service. Godspeed my friends.

 

DECEMBER 29

There’s nothing more humbling and sacred than to stand next to someone who is dying and they know it and so do you. The words that come out of your mouth are probably some of the most important you’ll ever speak as eternity hangs in the balance. What do you say to someone who is about to cross over from this life into the next?

Yesterday, after finishing up a funeral service at the church, I got a text from a church member informing me that his father-in-law, who is not a member of our church, was in the final stages of his life. Of course when you receive such information, time is of the essence. I went to the ICU unit and made my way to this man’s room. I was greeted by his sweet daughter, who is a church member of mine. I asked her if he knew the severity of the situation and she said he did. Just then, her father opened his eyes and motioned me to come to him. I simply said: “I know you’ve had better days, and you’re about to have nothing but good days.” He told me he was at complete peace and that he was looking forward to seeing his wife who had passed away three years earlier. This man was courageous and uplifting. I went on to say: “This is going to end well for you, but not for your family.”

Listen closely, you will die just like you lived. If you have walked closely with your God, you will leave this world with grace, dignity, and courage. That’s what I saw yesterday. May that be true of us all. Godspeed my friends.

 

DECEMBER 28

My son-in-law asked me an interesting question the other night around the dinner table. His question was: “What advice would you give to a young pastor?” Of course my first answer was: “Run!!!” But after a little thought I came back with this response.

Every church has its own DNA. The faster you understand that as a pastor, the better off you’re going to be. The pastor’s job is not to make the church into a model of a megachurch in a metropolitan city. The job of the pastor is to love the people and minister to them where they are. Also, there is still no better way to grow a church other than by outreach. I still believe there’s no substitute to sitting down with someone in their home and talking about their faith in Jesus. If I told you the number of folks we’ve added to our congregation over the last two years, you wouldn’t believe it. That growth has come through outreach.

Finally, people are not so much looking for style as they are substance and authenticity in worship. I find it interesting, and this is my opinion so slow down on the stoning and flogging. We’ve asked the world or the pagan what they want in a church and thus the church looks more like the world than being an agent of change in the world. It’s becoming harder and harder to be in the ministry, that I know. So young pastors, love God and grow in your relationship with him, and love your people. It’s simple, but many miss it. Godspeed my friends.

 

DECEMBER 27

Last night around 9 o’clock, the girl cousins decided they wanted to work a jigsaw puzzle. So the task of putting a 500 piece puzzle began. If you’ve ever undertaken such a task, you know the drill. First, you find all the edge pieces and start building the border of the puzzle. Second, you set up the box in such a manner that you can see what the picture looks like. Third, you group the pieces in similar color patterns to make the work easier. Then you’re ready to start your work.

As you work as a team, the task becomes easier. However, it’s also frustrating when you can’t find that certain piece which completes an all important section. After a while, everything starts looking the same. But then, all of a sudden, one piece leads to two, then two to three. As the picture starts to come into focus and the pieces become fewer, the work gets faster. We completed the work in a little over an hour. At times it was fun, while other times it was slow and difficult.

That my friend is a parable of life. As we try to put the pieces of our lives together, the work becomes difficult and frustrating. It’s hard to see how certain pieces of our lives fit together. Why did this event take place and why did we suffer such heartache? However, God the master puzzle solver knows how every piece fits together. He doesn’t need to first find the edge pieces and he certainly doesn’t need to box. He sits down and without hesitation he says: “This piece goes here. That piece goes there.” And so forth and on, until the puzzle is complete.

Here’s the good news. One day, not today, but one day, you’ll sit in his presence and say: “Oh! Now I understand.” As we are reminded in the 13 chapter of I Corinthians: “Now we see but a poor reflection. Then we will see clearly. Now we know in part. Then we will know fully, just as we are fully known.” You understand how every piece of the puzzle fit together and how God was working in the background to bring about good. Godspeed my friends.

 

DECEMBER 26

Another Christmas has come and gone. So how would you describe your experience? For some, Christmas has become excessmas. The more we get the happier we are. As a matter of fact, many will hit the stores today in order to get what they didn’t receive yesterday.

For others, Christmas is about indulgence. I don’t know about you, but for some reason, I tend to eat just a little bit more during the holiday season. Maybe it’s the 15 parties I attend and the three family Christmas meals I enjoy. That’s why exercise is a must and not an option in December.

Still, for others Christmas is about grief and loss. Quite possibly this is the first Christmas you’ve had without that special person in your life. Maybe over the past year you lost a spouse, a parent, a grandparent, or Heaven forbid, even a child. The loss and the darkness at times has been overwhelming and uncontrollable. Due to the circumstances of life, the joy of the season has eluded you and your family.

Whatever Christmas has been to you, I hope it has been a time of reflection, worship, and thanksgiving. It’s fun to gather with friends and family and celebrate the season, but one has to remember the reason for the celebration itself. Here’s where we miss the mark sometimes. “For unto us a child is born. Unto us a son is given.” Whatever you are experiencing this day, just stop and thank God for his inexpressible gift through his Son, Jesus. Then you’ll experience the true meaning of Christmas. Godspeed my friends.

 

DECEMBER 25

I’m not sure if it was the drive to Clinton last night, or just the fact that Christmas and all the special programs and such were over. I had intended to get up early this morning and go for an easy run before the kids got here for breakfast. But unfortunately or fortunately, I slept. It wasn’t an ordinary sleep, but the kind of sleep you have as a child. I woke up around 8 am and wondered how this could have happened. Maybe it was God’s gift to me, my body, and my spirit.

In about 30 minutes, our children will join us for breakfast then it’s off to a movie together. Then we’ll cook steaks outside and open presents. But for a moment, I’ll sit by the lighted tree, with a cup of coffee and reflect on the blessings of life. Even though there are disappointments and things I wish could change, I will consider myself blessed beyond measure. This will be the last Christmas without the sound of a baby’s cry. And so it begins.

Merry Christmas my friends. You guys and gals have brought a lot of joy to me over the years. Godspeed and stay safe.

 

DECEMBER 23

The other day one of my church members asked me: “Are we having our Christmas Eve service on Sunday night?” I responded: “Why would we have our Christmas Eve service on the 23rd instead of the 24?” They replied: “Well we could get it over with and not have to come back on Monday.” Now, because I know this individual and they were kidding and trying to pull my chain just a little bit, but that thought: “We can get worship over with and get on with Christmas is a common thought today. We’ve basically taken the message of Christ out of Christmas and that includes good church folks today as well.

In all of your Christmas activities this season, how much time will you devote to the true meaning of Christmas? Too often all we give Jesus is just a wink and a tip of our cap. Maybe it would do us all well not to “get it over with”, but make him the central of everything we do and say not only at this time of the year, but every day. Then the true meaning of Christmas will be evident in our lives for others to see and desire. Godspeed my friends.

 

DECEMBER 22

The other day in a moment of reflection, I found my yearbook from my senior year in high school. As I thumbed through the pages the memories where so thick one had to brush them away with their hand. (Field of Dreams quote). The names and face of friends and classmates were a reminder to me of the influence, either good or bad that these individuals had on my life.

However, as I looked through our senior portraits, and the superlatives which followed, I have to say how proud I am to be associated with such outstanding individuals. I mean, real successful and high character folks. These individuals have graduated from the Air Force Academy, general managers of highly successful automobile dealerships, entrepreneurs, business men and women. These folks are also leaders in their churches and communities. People you never thought would make it, have really made it. One of my close buddies has retired already. Without sounding condescending, I’m so proud of all of you. The class of 1979 did turn out pretty good.

The story is still being written on most of us as individuals. Finish the work and the race strong. Oh, by the way, I don’t want to sound like a sore loser or anything, but Cliff Mitchell was voted best dressed over me. Come on man! That’s about the only one we didn’t get right. I love and appreciate you guys. Godspeed my friends.

 

DECEMBER 21

How can you lose one sock from the washing machine to the dryer? This is one of the great mysteries of the universe. Somehow, some way, one sock decides to make a break for it. Things on the outside must seem better than the comfort and warmth of home. I guess that’s why you see so many single socks on the side of the road. They’re dirty, wet, crumpled up, and alone. In reality they’re lost. All along they’re thinking: “I should have stayed at home. After all, things weren’t that bad.

The sad part about being away from home, it’s sometimes hard finding your way back. At Christmas, many folks will travel home, while others will long for a sense of belonging. However, when it comes to our relationship with God, the welcome sign is always turned in the on position. Through Christ, the welcome mat has been placed at the door with these words on it: “Ye who are weary come home.” All it takes is jus a little effort from you. Aren’t you ready to come home. I’m sure hoping that one sock is. I’ll rejoice when I find it. However God will rejoice and the angels will sing when you come home. Godspeed my friends.

 

DECEMBER 20

Last night I left straight from our Wednesday night service and drove to the Mississippi State men’s basketball game. Now you have to realize, I didn’t have time to change clothes so I had on my maroon sport coat and tie. I got to the game a little late and hooked up with my old friend Sam Pitts. At halftime we went to get something to drink and visit for a while. As we were talking, a couple of guys came up to me and said: “Hey coach, can we get a picture with you?” I told them: “You bet!” When they left, Sam asked: “What was that all about?” I told him they thought I was Joe Moorhead, head football coach a Mississippi State. It happens more than you think.

Later on, after the game, I saw Coach Moorhead and talked with him for a few moments. I told him I was tired of taking pictures in his place and being mistaken for him. I told him: “I dress better than you. I’m not as big as you. And I’m better looking than you.” He laughed and said: “I can’t argue with any of that. But my nose is straighter!” Then we took a picture together.

This season there will be a lot of mistaken identities when it comes to Christmas. We’ll assume Christmas is about decorating, eating, shopping, and gifts. Too many of us will miss the baby born in a manger. All because we’ve focused on what is not the real thing. Don’t miss the Christmas. Somewhere there are two guys showing their buddies today at work their picture with the pastor of PHBC. Oh well, at least I was dressed for the occasion. Godspeed my friends.


DECEMBER 19

The other day I dropped into Chick-fil-A for a quick bite to eat at lunchtime. As I got out of my car and took one step, my foot landed on a half filled plastic water bottle. The cap was probably half tight because what happened, I’ve never seen before. The pressure of my foot on that bottle caused an explosion of water that soaked the back of my pants, my shoes, and socks. Now if you know anything about me, I might be a little, just a little picky about my clothes. I happened to be wearing light grey slacks, so there was no hiding the mess.

The first thought that ran through my mind was: “What selfish, inconsiderate, half-wit, ill-mannered low life would liter a parking lot? There was

no need to go full blown Clark Griswold about the situation and then ask for the Tylenol. Then in a moment of clarity, a rational thought came to mind. “In the grand scheme of things, how big is this?” After all, it was just water and the pants could be washed.

Charles Swindoll once said: “Life is 10% what happens to us and 90% how react to it.” Far too often in my life I allow small things to have a big effect on my life. George Carlin, who was not so religious as Swindoll, reminded us: “Don’t sweat the petty things and don’t pet the sweaty things.” Now those are words to live by. Godspeed my friends. Watch out for half filled water bottles, they can make a mess.


DECEMBER 18

Are you trying to carry a load that’s entirely too large or heavy? In the midst of grief and sorrow, are you too busy trying to take care of everybody else that you’ve forgotten to take care of yourself? Now you find yourself in the midst of confusion and uncertainty. The task that once were so easy, now have become difficult. Life seems to speed up in the day time and slow down at night. You find yourself about to crash and you don’t know why. Where do you turn and what do you do? 

Have you ever been on a plane and really listened to the flight crew explain what to do in case of an emergency. If there’s a certain drop in altitude, the oxygen mask will fall down in front of you. In instructions are as follows: “Secure your mask first, then help others who need assistance.” In other words, you’re no good to anyone if you haven’t taken care of yourself. However, in life, we’re usually the last people we take care of during difficult days.

When the burden becomes too heavy, talk to someone you can trust. You’ll never know what a difference a sympathetic ear will do. Second, talk to God. Why? Well the answer lies in a song we use to sing. “Jesus loves me this I know, for the Bible tells me so. Little ones to him belong, they are weak but he is strong.” His strength can make all the difference. Godspeed my friends.


DECEMBER 17

Have you ever thought how quickly your life could change? In a flash, or the twinkling of an eye, your whole life could be turned upside down. Last night at church we had a wonderful time of music, laughter and fellowship as we had our annual Family Christmas on the Hill led by Allen Harris. After our time of worship, we had cookies, hot coco, coffee, and cider. Everyone was just enjoying a good time of relaxation and family fun.

After most of the crowd had cleared from our fellowship hall, one of our youth girls came inside and said there had been a bad wreck in front of our church. One of our visitors, who I had just spoken to, pulled out on the road and hit an on coming car. As I ran towards the accident, I dialed 911 informing them of what had just taken place. Fortunately, though both vehicles were probably totaled, no one was seriously hurt. But things could have been so much worse. In the back seat of the vehicle which was hit, there was a five year old boy strapped into his car seat. He actually didn’t even know what had just happened. Talk about God’s hand being with these individuals, it certainly was.

But are you ready for the unexpected? Let me tell you, it’s coming. It may not be today or tomorrow, but it’s coming. Because life is uncertain and always changing, make sure you trust the one who never changes. Our God is the same today as he was yesterday and he’ll be the same tomorrow. He’s ready for the unexpected. Godspeed my friends.

 

DECEMBER 16

Last night while attending a college basketball game, I ran into a couple of old friends of one my brother’s. As we were catching up, one of them asked me: “How’s your mother these days.” My response was: “She has never been better!” He went on to ask me where she was living and I simply said: “Heaven, along with my Dad”. I wasn’t trying to be cute or a wise guy, but I didn’t want him to feel bad about asking. In his college years he had spent a great deal of time in our house. My mom loved him and he loved my mom, but the years had separated them. He smiled at me and said: “I know she’s doing great.”

You do realize when a loved one dies in Christ, they experience a joy and happiness beyond our realm of understanding. As the Apostle Paul wrote: “For me to live is Christ, to die is gain.” A good translation of that passage is: “For me to live is Jesus, to die is more Jesus.” My parents are getting more Jesus than they ever experienced on this earth. Do I miss them? Of course I do, especially around the Christmas season. I feel like an orphan now that they’re gone. But I remember what I said to my mother just days before she died: “This is going to end well for you, but not for me.”

Today as I preach about “The Mystery of Bethlehem”, my parents fully understand it. While I’m talking about the Angels, they’re dancing with them. When I speak about Jesus, they’re seeing him face to face. Yeah, they’ve never been better. So I’m good with that. Godspeed my friends.


DECEMBER 15

This time of year, Jimmy Stewart’s classic, “It’s a Wonderful Life”, is a staple on various networks. It seems as though you can scan the channels each night and find it somewhere on the television. To be honest, it wasn’t until about five years ago that I actually watched the movie in its entirety. I know, but I’m more of a “Christmas Vacation” kind of guy

You know the basic premise of the movie. George Bailey, played by Stewart, has so many problems that he decides to end his life. An angel, by the name of Clarence shows George how different things would be in his town if he hadn’t done all his good deeds throughout his life. At the end, he discovers what’s really important in life and what actually makes a person rich.

However, things usually work out for the best in classic and Hallmark moves. But the truth of the matter is, there are many people who aren’t experiencing a so called “wonder life”. As a matter of fact, it’s anything but wonderful. Your life may be hard, dark, difficult, and uncertain. Your family’s a mess. You have more month than money. The good days have vanished and life seems hopeless. So what does one do to find hope?

I reminded of the angels message to the shepherds on that first Christmas. “Behold I bring you good tidings of great joy.” Life may not be wonderful right now, but it can have meaning and joy. Jesus came that you might actually have life and have it more abundantly. In this world things are going to be hard and messy, but our faith has been placed in the one who has overcome the world. Now that actually makes this a wonderful life. Godspeed my friends.

 

DECEMBER 14

I can remember back to my elementary school years, we would have our annual class Christmas party. (This was years before it became politically incorrect to have such insensitive events.) Part of the annual festivities was the exchanging of gifts. Each child was to bring a wrapped gift within the allotted price range. Somehow, some way, the gifts would distributed to the students and the unwrapping began. Each year, someone in our class would bring the Christmas Book of Lifesavers. To me, this was the Holy Grail of gifts. A whole box if you will of assorted Lifesavers. Never, I mean never did those candies ever make it to my desk. I’m still convinced the whole thing was rigged my third grade year. And this was long before we knew anything about Dirty Santa or those babies would have been mine. But that gift somehow always alluded me.

The same is true with so many of us each year at Christmas. The “main gift” will somehow be missed. We’ll fill our time with shopping, parties, family, and travel, but we’ll fail to remember the true meaning of the season. Not because we’re overtly evil, but because we’ve become immune to the magic and mystery of the Birth of Christ. It’s one thing to miss out on a gift, but it’s a tragedy to miss out on “THE GIFT”. Immanuel, God with us. Don’t be too busy that you miss his presence.

Oh, by the way, I usually ended up with the giant candy cane. It’s usually good for the first 5 minutes then it becomes a messy nightmare. Somehow it always disappeared after a day or so. Another mystery, for another day. Godspeed my friends.

 

DECEMBER 13

There are moments in my life when I have to remember the promise that God has made to me. He hasn’t promised me a life free from heartache and pain. He hasn’t promised me riches and prosperity. He hasn’t promised me the road of life will be smooth and straight. He hasn’t promised me a healthy life free from disease and sickness. He hasn’t promised me that individuals won’t forsake and turn their back on me. He hasn’t promised me that life will be a bed of roses. None of those things have even been suggested to me by my creator. But what he has promised is, he’ll never leave nor forsake me. Sometimes that’s good enough because often, that’s all I have. Godspeed my friends.


DECEMBER 12

Last night we had the task of putting our stage back to normal following our Christmas program. This included moving two pianos and a modesty rail that is so sturdy and heavy that it will be here when Jesus returns. Have you ever moved a baby grand piano? Let me tell you, it’s not easy either. Now you couple these things together on top of not wanting to mess up a hardwood stage floor and you got yourself a mighty task. How you do this task is extremely difficult, unless you call the right people.

We had around 8-10 men show up last night for this event. When it came time to move the piano, everyone got in place around the instrument and lifted it at the same time, then carefully walked it to the proper place. “Who says an ant can’t move a rubber tree plant? Whoops there goes another rubber tree plant.” All of this was accomplished in less than 30 minutes. How? Everyone shared the load and lightened the burden.

Are you tired of carrying a burden the size of a piano on your shoulders. Are you looking for some relief? Is the pain so real and the load too heavy that you feel like you can’t go on? Well, there is strength in numbers. As the church, we are to bear one another’s burdens. In other words, we’re to lighten someone’s load. It’s hard to trust people, I’ll be the first to admit that, but true friends can help. Also, scripture reminds us that we can cast our cares on God because he cares. You see, the burden in life can be lightened if you call the right people. Godspeed my friends.

 

DECEMBER 11

The greatest gifts we give during the Christmas season are always personal. It is the gift of our time and our presence. Years from now you won’t remember what you got for Christmas, but you’ll remember what you got from Christmas. You’ll remember the feeling of family and friends as you celebrate the true meaning of this season. You’ll remember how you put your differences aside and saw what you had in common with your neighbors. You’ll remember how the spirit of God enabled you to get through your first Christmas without that special loved one in your life. Yep, the best Christmas gifts are always personal.

That’s what God did when he sent his son into the world over 2000 years ago. He got personal with us. “The Word became flesh and dwelt among us.” In other words, God became like us so we could see what he’s like and he could know what we’re like. There’s no better gift you can give than the gift of your presence. The older I get, the more I understand this simple truth. Godspeed my friends.

 

DECEMBER 10

Each and every morning I strive to write something on Facebook that will encourage, challenge, or make you think about your relationship with God. However, after a long weekend, I gotta tell you, I’m not feeling it this morning. My mind at this moment is filled with mixed emotions. Last night our adult choir presented their Christmas musical: “Christ is Born.” There’s no way that I could adequately express my gratitude to Franklin Denham, our minister of music, and Allen Harris, our Minister of Senior Adults for the amount of time and effort they put in this production. Without question, it was our largest attended Christmas program since I’ve been pastor of PHBC. Hopefully congregations got a small glimpse of Heaven as they heard the Christmas story told by music and narration.
My heart is still overflowing from this experience. I’ve been involved in a lot of Christmas musicals over the years, but this one was different. Anointed mighty be the best way to describe it.

However, the ministry doesn’t pause long to enjoy things. There are still hurting people out there who need a word of hope. Too many folks will miss Christmas because they’ve focused on the wrong thing. Hopefully over the next few weeks, our hearts and minds can focus on those things which are the most important in life. Keep the main thing the main thing. Godspeed my friends.

 

DECEMBER 9

I don’t know if you’ve seen a post on Facebook that asks you if you can see a number hidden inside a series of lines. Another one may ask you if you can find a letter or a number hidden beside other letters. Supposedly if you can find these hidden gems in a certain period of time, your a genius. Well let me tell you, I’ve found them all and I can assure you, I’m no genius.

The same could be said about Christmas. As you navigate the stores shopping for gifts, will you find Christ in Christmas? As you address your seasonal cards, will you find Christ in Christmas? As you travel to be with friends and family, will you find Christ in Christmas? The problem with so many of us this time of year, we miss the main thing because we’ve substituted other things in its place.

Maybe, just maybe we need to journey back to Bethlehem and kneel before the manger. Quite possibly we need to be reminded that Christmas isn’t about us, but “God with us”. Don’t miss Christmas this year because your too busy looking for other things that you miss Christ. Godspeed my friends.

 

DECEMBER 8

When I was a child and something hurt my feelings or offended me, my parents taught me that everyone is entitled to their opinion. They also taught me that it’s necessary sometimes to put your big boy pants on and deal with it. However, they never taught me to be disrespectful nor obnoxious. As a matter of fact, my Dad always told me: “There are only so many hills you can die on in life. Die on the ones that matter”. In other words he was telling me that I’d cut my life short by exhausting my efforts on little things in life that don’t matter.

I’m constantly amazed today at what really offends some individuals. “Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer” is now offensive. “Baby it’s Cold Outside” is now offensive. But what’s not offensive is interrupting a political figures dinner or breakfast in a public place with vulgar and unnecessary hate. What’s not offensive is a high school band portraying the killing of policemen during a halftime program. What’s not offensive is degrading the highest office in the land each night on talk shows. What’s not offensive is the removal of everything that might suggest Jesus during the Christmas season.

Oh, but I know what some will say. We are guaranteed free speech. Well that applies to everyone, even the Christians of the world. This is a hill we must be willing to die upon. This season, speak a word for Christ. Remember, don’t chase crazy, you’ll never catch it. Godspeed my friends.



DECEMBER 7

Each year during the Christmas season our deacons host a widows/widowers banquet for those who have lost their spouses. It’s just a simple way for our church to communicate to these special people that we haven’t forgotten them. I’m sure no one wants to be invited to this particular event or included in the number. And by the way, the number grows each year.
This year it was suggested to us the we change the name of our banquet from “Widows/Widowers Banquet” to “Survivors Dinner”.

During the evening, our guests are served a wonderful meal, including a fabulous desert. We have entertainment each year and finally, our deacons present our guests with a special gift. It may seem like a small thing, but it’s a big deal to those who are invited.

This year as I was making my rounds from table to table, I was stopped in my tracks. There were three ladies, whose husbands have gone on to be with the Lord fairly recently. In reality, these were the young ladies of our group. My heart was in my throat, because I knew it was especially hard for these beautiful ladies to be there that night. Then it hit me. My love, my time, my concern, and my friendship was the greatest gift I could give these individuals. That’s part of Christmas, ministering to those who need to be remembered. It is a season of joy, but for some it’s a season of pain. Let’s share the pain and demonstrate the love of Christ. For that’s what we’ve been called to do. Godspeed my friends.


DECEMBER 6

I can remember Christmas as a child, we didn’t always get an abundance, but we got enough. I recall one particular year all I wanted was three NFL sweatshirts from Sears. You may be old enough to remember the old Wish Book Sears released each year around Thanksgiving. At that time there was no NFL merchandise sold in stores. About the only place one could purchase an article of clothing with an “official” team logo was either at the stadium of the team or from Sears. Since there were no NFL franchises in the Mississippi Delta, we had to depend on Sears.

I can still sense the joy of Christmas morning when those sweatshirts were spotted in my appointed area of the living room. It was about all I asked for and it was about all I got, but I was happy and content. These days Christmas has become about more. The sad part is, for some, the more they get, the less content they are. Maybe we need more of the most significant things rather than the material things. We could need more time with family. Possibly we need more understanding and forgiveness. Quite possibly, we need more time dedicated to Christ and less time to the masses. It could be that we need a little more peace and quiet times in our lives. Possibly, we just need to be still and know that He is God. Sometimes less is actually more. I know it was when I was a child. Godspeed my friends.

 

DECEMBER 5

Every so often I’ll scroll down my Facebook page before I write my blog just to check the pulse of my friends. As I did this morning, I noticed a variety of emotions. Some are mad while others are cynical. Some are happy, while others are dealing with heartbreak and sorrow. I wish there was something I could do to meet each and every need out there. Unfortunately, that’s not in my limited bag of talents. However, I will just take this moment to remind you we’re in the Christmas season. Yep, even in a time of darkness and despair, there is a call to a common good.

Maybe it would do us well if we closed our book of complaints on life and saw the good in life and others. Oh I realize one has to look hard for the good in some people. But have you ever considered you might be one of those folks. I know without a shadow of a doubt that I can be one of the hard ones to love. But even in my depraved condition, God loves me as I am. He therefore calls me to demonstrate that love to others as well. So just for a moment, think of how you can be a blessing to someone else today. It could come from an encouraging word or an embrace. Who knows, maybe just a smile can change another’s outlook on the day. Make this a day of hope for those you meet. After all, that’s the mandate we’ve been given. Godspeed my friends.

 

DECEMBER 4

There are times when pastors are accused of having their favorites. Well allow me to let you in on a little secret, they do. That’s just a simple fact of life. If you work at a business, I would imagine you are closer to some of your co-workers than others. If your children attend school, most likely they have a friend group. If you’re involved in a civic or social club, there people you’re closer to than others. And finally, if you attend church, you have a group of friends who share your common interest. The same is true with the pastor. However, why does it cause some people such great heartburn when the minister actually has friends?

Several years ago, I was berated by a lady in our church for spending too much time with certain people. (These individuals were my friends.) She went on to say that I had never been to her house or ever done anything with her family. I simply looked at her and said: “You’ve never once invited me or my family to your house. If you would like to, we’d gladly accept.” The reality is, she never did. What was her problem? Jealousy, pure and simple.

The ministry is without question, a lonely profession. Don’t deny your pastor a friend group. He’ll need them more than you will ever know. After all, remember, Jesus had his 12. At least let your minister have a few without feeling guilty. Godspeed my friends.

 

DECEMBER 3

I’ll be traveling to the Natchez area today in order to get my annual physical. It’s one of those necessary things that one has to do at my age. People have asked my I continue to travel so far to see my physician? It’s simple and reason is two fold. First, I know my doctor. For nearly 20 years he has been my doctor, but more importantly, he’s been my friend. Second, I trust him with my life. He’s one of those guys that if he told me to eat dirt, I wouldn’t go look it up on the internet, I’d just eat the dirt. For those two reasons, I don’t mind the drive in order to see Dr. Ed Daly.

The same reasons I trust my doctor are the same two reasons I trust and follow my Savior. I know my God, but furthermore he knows me. As a matter of fact, he knows everything about me and yet, he still loves me as I am. Second, I can trust him with every area of my life. I can also trust him to not only provide my salvation, but to keep my salvation. I trust and follow him because he did for me what I could never do for myself.

I’m blessed to have a great doctor who takes care of my physical needs. However, I’m blessed to serve the Great Physician who takes care of my every need. Godspeed my friends.

 

DECEMBER 2

Today is the first Sunday of the Advent Season as we prepare for the coming of the Christ child. Over 2000 years ago, God waited for the perfect time to send His son into the world. The problem was, so many people missed it. The religious folks didn’t realize it. The political people missed it. All the signs pointed to the coming of the Messiah into the world. However, only a few shepherds, who were watching their flocks actually experienced the birth of our Savior.

So as we enter into this season of hope, what are you doing to prepare for Christmas? Have you put up a tree? Have you hung a wreath? Have you shopped for those special gifts? Have you made your travel arrangements? You can do all those things and still not be ready for Christmas. The ancient Jewish people missed the first coming of Christ because they weren’t prepared. Hopefully we won’t do the same with his second coming. Oh, and by the way, he is coming again!

Start now by not only opening your house to Christmas, but also your heart to the true meaning of this season. Today, Christ has come that you might have hope. Hope for a future, but hope for today as well. Godspeed my friends.

 

DECEMBER 1

If you can change something, change it. If you can’t change it, don’t worry about it. Today is the day. I’ve trained and prepared for this race for months. Originally I thought it would be cold and clear. Perfect running conditions for me. However, that’s not the case. Furthermore, there’s not one thing I can do about the bad weather. All that’s left is to run the race the best I can.

That’s the same philosophy we need to use in life. There are certain things that happen which we have no control. So we can do one of two things. First we can gripe about our situation or second, make something of it. It’s race day, and it’s time to roll. This is the day the Lord has made, I will run and be glad in it. Godspeed my friends.

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