November 19

We are living in a world of ingratitude. To listen to some people talk, we have nothing in life for which to be thankful. Everything is wrong with the country, our state, our city, the schools, and our families. When you hear someone complain about everything in life, you need to recognize the common denominator. It’s those negative individuals who never see the glass half full. These folks were weaned on a sour pickle and they always find something to gripe about in life. To be honest, I can stand to be around a negative person about three seconds. So on this week of Thanksgiving, do you and I really have anything positive in our live for which we can be thankful?

You may recall the hymn we use to sing: “Count Your Blessings”. But if you really started counting all the blessings in life, your day would quickly go by and you’d accomplish nothing else. All of us, regardless of of situation in life, have been blessed. Stop majoring on the minor and take a little inventory of life and notice how many good things actually exist in your life. Stop for a moment and thank God that when you woke up this morning you saw the four corners of your room and not the four corners of your grave. Stop for a second and just say: “Thank you God for the air I breathe.” If you think real hard, I’m sure you can comprise a list of blessings in your life.

So it’s up to you this day. Are you ready to see the good, or are you consumed by the bad. The choice is yours. Don’t miss the joy that God can bring in your life. For to miss that is to miss everything. Godspeed my friends.

 

November 18

The other night while attending a funeral visitation in Canton, Ms., I had a young man approach me. The closer me got, I knew that our paths had crossed, but a couldn’t put a name with the face. Of course this is a sure sign of old age. He came up to me and identified himself. You see, his parents were members of our church while in Canton, but he wasn’t. He went on to say: “I’ll never forget the time I was hurt in a tractor accident and you came to the emergency room and stayed with me and prayed with me. I just wanted to tell you how much that meant at the time and to say ‘thank you’ for being there.” Now you need to realize this was about 20 years ago.

As this young, or middle-aged man walked away, I was blown away. Twenty years after the fact he remembered something I had done and to be quite honest, I vaguely remember the incident. However, it was still fresh on his mind. There are two quick lessons I want you to consider today.

First, so often in life it’s not the big things we do which have the greatest impact on others lives, but rather the small seemingly insignificant things. You’ll never know when an embrace, visit, or a word of encouragement will make a huge difference in someone’s life. That small gesture can often be the difference in a person making it or not.

Second, it’s never too late to tell someone “Thank you”. Karl Barth once said: “All sin is simply ingratitude”. Maybe you and I simply need to say “thanks” to someone who has had an impact on our lives. It could be a parent, teacher, minister, coach or a mentor that you need to express your gratitude to this day. You’ll never know what small deed will make a huge difference in another’s life. Godspeed my friends.


November 17

There are moments in the ministry when you feel like your tank is running on empty. The withdrawals in life have been much more than the deposits. That’s when you need to remember the importance of withdrawing and regrouping. If you look at the life of Jesus, there were moments when he had to be by himself. During that time he’d pray, rest, and regroup. Now if that’s the Son of God doing that, what does that say about you and me. It reminds us that rest is important to sustain a healthy and productive life.

 

Also, I believe if in this day and age, a little distraction from the pressures of life can be heathy. Early in my ministry, a round of golf was usually the ticket to clear my mind of the pressures of life. However, these days I find a nice run in the morning is a great way of clearing the mind and preparing one’s self for the day. While running I try to inhale the morning air and breath out the toxins of life.

 

There are no magical formulas in life to deal with pressure and darkness. However, I do know it’s impossible to face without the presence of God. Don’t forget prayer. Scripture reminds us to “cast our cares upon him because he cares for you. He really does. Godspeed my friends.

 

November 16

I’m always amazed at what people say, good or bad about their church. If believers would just get excited about their relationship with Christ and talk positive about their church, you’d be surprised at the difference it would make. Oh, I know what you’re thinking: “I can’t talk about my faith because it make offend someone.” That philosophy doesn’t stop you from talking about your grandchildren, sports team or political preference. I would worry less about what others think and be more concerned about what God thinks about our witness. After all, we’ve been given a commission to talk about Jesus until he comes again. And by the way, you do realize He’s coming again?

 

So, close your book of complaints on the church and organized religion and start representing Christ well in all you say and do. The Christian faith is not about you or me, quite the opposite. It’s all about dying to one’s self each day and living for the One who gave His life for us. Maybe it’s about time we understood that. Godspeed my friends.


November 15

 

Most of us can handle a lot of things in life, but being ignored isn’t one of them. It doesn’t matter if it’s the salesclerk, the teacher, our boss, a friend, or even a family member. To have another not respond to us can be one of the most frustrating and degrading things that can happen in life. We want and sometimes need to hear a response to our question, statement or even argument. I know it’s true in my life. If you really want to set me off, just ignore me.

 

As bad as it is when another individual stiffs us, or ignores us, it’s even worse when we feel as though God has turned a deaf ear towards our request. We pray and pray and Heaven seems to be made of brass. Our words seem to echo off the ceiling and come back to their original source. We wonder at times if God hears us or even cares about our situation. Remember this simple truth: A prayer which isn’t immediately answered doesn’t mean it hasn’t been heard. As a matter of fact, God knows what you need before you even ask. However, he doesn’t respond in our time nor answer our prayers according to our will. Can you even imagine what your life would be like is you got everything you prayed for over the years?

 

When you pray, be assured that you’re not being ignored. However, because God loves and cares for you, he answers your requests according to his time and his will. It’s hard to understand all of this right now, but one day you’ll see how every piece of the puzzle of your life fit together for good. (Romans 8:28). It’s called trusting God, and not your own understanding. Your not being ignored. He cares more than you’ll ever know on this earth. Godspeed my friends.

 

November 14

There are situations in life that can just be managed and not fixed. There are pains and hurts in one’s heart that simply won’t go away. When you know someone who is dealing with these issues, remember this simple lesson. You don’t have to provide an answer to the problem. All you have to do is lend a sympathetic and listening ear. Often the burden is lightened in another’s life if they know someone genuinely cares. The problem for many of us is, we want to help fix others. Remember, that’s not your job. When you come to grips with that, your role becomes so much easier.

 

Over the years I’ve had hurting individuals tell me: “I’m tired of others telling me what to do and how to feel. Can’t they just keep their opinions to themselves.” Now we need to hear these words and heed their advice. No matter if you’ve been through a similar situation, you don’t know how someone else feels because everyone is different. You’ll be surprised at how far an embrace and a loving shoulder will go in times of heartbreak and grief. You don’t have to provide the answers, just the love and understanding. Let God put the pieces back together. After all, that’s what he’s good at doing. Now, don’t you feel better about your job because it just got a lot simpler. Godspeed my friends.



November 13

One of the hardest aspects of the ministry is losing people who are close to you. These are individuals who are more than friends, they have become family over the years. You actually share life experiences with them. They make an investment in your life and in turn, you do the same with them. The older I get, the more often I experience the loss of these special people in my life. As a pastor, whether it’s good or bad, you only let so many people into your inner circle. In other words, you can be normal in their presence.

Every time we lose someone close to us, a little piece of our heart is chipped away. To be quite honest, there are moments in my life when I wish the investment in others wasn’t so deep. The reason is quite simple, it hurts to the core when these individuals go on to be with the Lord. There are actual parts of my heart which are spread from Kentucky, Canton, Natchez, Decatur, and Columbus. I fully understand the emotion of Jesus when he wept over the death of his friend Lazerus. To be quite honest, there are moments when I think: “I’m not so sure I can do this much longer.” Then a quiet voice comes to me and says: “Learn from me. I’ll show you how to do this.” The burden is then lightened, but not totally removed.

I learned a long time ago, this life is about loss. Loss of innocence, loss of trust, loss of direction. The next life is about gain. This world isn’t the destination, it’s a journey. Don’t fall in love with the journey. It’s what gets me through. If not I’d have grieved myself to death years ago. It sucks now, but not ultimately. Of this I’m sure. So strength is actually given to those who wait on the Lord. He and he alone makes the difference and gives us the power to live one day at a time. Sometimes that’s all we need. Godspeed my friends.



November 12

This past Saturday our family celebrated the gender reveal of our first grandchild. Things have changed over the years as far as baby announcements go. Gone are the days of a couple sayings: “We’re having a baby and it’s going to be a girl.” Most of these kind of things have become an event. We had a big crowd gathered at my daughter and son-in-law’s house to witness this exciting chapter in our lives. When the time came and the cannons were sounded, “It’s going to be a boy!”

Following the festivities several people came up to me and asked: “Did you want a boy? Now you’ll have someone to pal around with.” Well, to be quite honest, it really didn’t matter to me one way or the other. During this process I’ve prayed for three things. First, I want my daughter to be healthy during this pregnancy. She’s my heart and I always want her safe and sound. Second, I want a healthy grandchild. That’s it. I’ve seen too many things in my ministry. As long as he is healthy, I’m good. Finally, in due time I want him to trust Jesus Christ as his Lord and Savior. This means that his parents can’t leave religion up to osmosis. They’ll have to be intentional. Trust me, they’ll be reminded of this constantly.

Now many have said: “After having girls, you won’t know what to do with a boy.” Trust me, I’m a fast learner. My job is to love him unconditionally and spoil him completely. He’s already got an Augusta National outfit. I think I know what I’m doing. Godspeed my friends.

 

November 11

Do you realize that worship is a verb and not a noun?  It’s a call to action on your part. What’s sad is so many will gather in churches all over the world and they’ll wait for someone to make worship happen for them. What have you done to prepare yourself for this day. What action will you take to participate in your time of worship. God is seeking those who are wanting to worship Him in spirit and truth. Are you one of those individuals?  If so, make it happen today. Godspeed my friends.


November 10

Over the years I’ve had people ask me why I love running so much. Well let’s clarify something right from the start. I don’t actually love running even though I’ve been doing this for around 20 years. I love playing golf. I love riding bikes. I love eating a good steak. But running and I have a love/hate relationship. I hate getting started, but I love how I feel when I finish. I’ve always said: “I run so I can eat what I want, when I want. This includes ice cream which is at the top of the list.

 

However, there are aspects of running which really move me physically, emotionally, and sometimes even spiritually. There are moments during a run when my body is aching so much that I feel like I can’t take another step. Something miraculous happens. Not only do I take another step, but I take another and another and then another. The mind motivates and stimulates the body to do things it doesn’t believe it can. Before you know it, one mile becomes two and two becomes five. All this takes place while the body believes it can’t do it.

 

The same is true with a life. We all have to admit there are moments when we think we can’t face another minute or hour, much less another day. A quiet voice comes into our mind and simply says: “Take one step at a time. You can do this. I’m with you every step of the way.” Before you know it, one day becomes two, and two becomes a week, and a week becomes a month. All due to a power that goes beyond yourself. You see the presence of God in the race of life is the difference in making it, or quitting it. Don’t stop, keep moving. It’s not easy, but the joy at the end will be worth it. Godspeed my friends.


November 9

 

There was never a time in my life that I didn’t know you. I can’t remember meeting you because we were always together in school and church. If were to describe you, I’d say you were an “anchor girl”. In other words, you were one of the individuals who keep us grounded in the youth group and the classroom. In all of our years together, I never heard one single negative word spoken about you. Growing up in a small town in the the Mississippi Delta where everyone knows everything about everyone, that’s not easy.

 

If my memory serves me well, you had the lead part of “Martha” in our youth musical “Bright New Wings”. I can still hear you singing: “I’ve been having to dust a little, having to clean a lot.” I probably didn’t tell you, but you did a great job every time we performed that musical on tour our senior year. Actually, the more I think about it, that was your sister, Emily. Just one more example of your grace and humility. I also believe you had a part in our Senior Play, “If A Man Answers.” You were always involved in every aspect of church and school and though we didn’t tell you near enough, if any, we loved and admired you so much.

 

An obituary of a Hollywood actor read: “He never won an Oscar or an Academy Award, but he was invaluable in minor roles.” That was you. You were invaluable in everything you did.

 

The last time I saw you was at our 30th Class Reunion. You were absolutely stunning and I can still see you dancing with your husband and both of you looked so happy and content. I heard about your death yesterday morning, but I know your more alive today than ever. Our loss is Heaven’s gain. The Apostle Paul wrote: “For me to live is Christ, to die is gain.” In other words, to live is Jesus, to die is more Jesus. Today, you’re getting more Jesus than ever before. When I see you again, I’ll quickly know where you are, in the background, invaluable in major roles. Well done Stephanie Mothershed, enter now into the joy of your Master. Godspeed my friend. On behalf of the Class of 1979 at CHS, we love and will miss you.


November 8

Yesterday, we had the opportunity to go with our youngest daughter, Melanie, who is expecting our first grandchild, to her sonogram. Believe me, I’m not sure we would have wanted our parents to go with us, but it was one of my highest honors of all time.

 

As the technician was doing her magic, all of a sudden I saw LIFE. Not just any life, but the life of my grandchild. I saw both feet moving and often dancing. I saw little hands that will one day hold my hands. I saw a spine, from top to bottom. Finally, I saw a face, both eyes at the same time looking right at me. I saw the future, just for a moment and it looked pretty great. We were told that our baby weighs about 6 ounces at this moment and everything looks great. As for a gender, we’ll find that out tomorrow. You know these days you gotta have a reveal party and we’re no different.

 

I know there’s a big argument as to when life begins. Some say at birth while others say at conception. Others will say life begins when the dog dies and the kids move out. As for me, I’m pro-life. Always have been and always will be. Jeremiah 1:5, tells how he was set aside in his mother’s wound as a prophet of God. If that’s when my Lord believes life begins, that’s good enough for me. Godspeed my friends.

 

November 7

Early Tuesday morning, around two o’clock, I was awakened by the sound of sirens notifying us that we were under a tornado warning. I got out of the bed and went and laid down in the hallway until the storm had passed. The next day as I was driving to a meeting, one couldn’t help but notice how beautiful the the day was. The sky was crystal blue with the absence of any clouds. If one didn’t know better, it would have been impossible to know that less than ten hours earlier, people in our area were facing a serious, maybe even a life changing event. That’s how quickly the weather and life can change.

 

It has been said there are three types of people. Those in a storm, those coming out of a storm, and those about to go through a storm. Life, like the weather is often unpredictable. With the least amount of warning, our whole world as individuals can be changed. Before we know it a loved one of our’s dies unexpectedly. A doctor after running a series of tests informs us we have cancer. Without notice, a relationship changes for the worst. All of a sudden, the windows of our souls begin to shake, and these frail vessels which we live in takes a beating. Just at that moment when the storm seems unending, a voice quietly speaks: “Peace be still, I’m here.

 

The presence of God may not remove the storm all together, but he takes the helm of our ships and navigates us home. His light shines in the darkness and the darkness cannot comprehend it. In other words, no matter how dark the night, you can’t hold back the dawn. Take his hand and let him guide you safely home. Godspeed my friends.


November 6

This past Friday night we were headed to a local restaurant for dinner when all of a sudden we heard a gosh awful noise from under my car. It sounded like there was a chain or something dragging from underneath the vehicle. When we parked, I got down on all fours and looked for a limb from a tree, a dangling piece of metal or an actual chain. What a saw was a lot of nothing.

After we ate, a friend of mine got in the car and immediately said: “You have a small rock that has gotten between your brake pads and is rolling around making this noise.” He assured me that eventually it would work its way out. This thing had to be a boulder because by Monday, it was still there. My youth pastor, David Honeycutt took my car yesterday to his shop and within minutes, he found the culprit. It was a small pebble, no bigger than your fingernail on your pinky finger. Such a small object made a big noise.

 

That’s a parable about life. Sometimes the small things cause the biggest problems in our lives. They make the biggest noise which pulls our attention from the important things in life. The same is true in our spiritual life. Often it’s not the big sins that trip us up, but the small things, which over a period of time become bigger and louder. For many of us, if we’d just take care of the little things, the big things will fall right in place. What’s true with a small rock in the wheel of a car is true with a life. It’s a great relief when the noise finally ceases. Godspeed my friends.

 

November 5

I’m often amazed at how many people are influenced by others who have little regard for the truth. This past Saturday afternoon we were enjoying a wonderful time of food and fellowship at our tailgate prior to the Mississippi State game. One lady, who was a first time guest said: “I sure hope we play better than we did last week.” Quite perplexed I looked at her and said: “You do realize we won and beat a pretty good Texas A&M team quite handily, don’t you?” She replied: “Yes, but the people around me were so negative and said we didn’t play very well.” I just shook my head and said: “Well those folks don’t have a clue about last week’s game. I can assure you we played pretty well.” I loved her response. “That’s good to know. I feel better now.”

This isn’t only true in sports, but life itself. We are quick to believe a falsehood, lie, or half-truth about another individual. We allow other people’s biases to determine our own opinion about others with no evidence or investigation on our part. It’s just much easier to believe the worst in someone else.

I’m so glad and blessed that God looks beyond the opinions of others when He looks at me. He sees beyond my failures and shortcomings and loves me in spite of what others think. Don’t be so quick to believe others. After all, the Gettysburg Address was called a silly little speech that would soon be forgotten. Yeah they were right about that one too. Godspeed my friends.

 

November 4

Today On the Hill we’ll be having a service of remembrance. Our members have been encouraged to bring a framed picture of a loved one who has gone on to be with the Lord. At an appointed time, they’ll have an opportunity to honor those special people in their lives. We’ve never done a service quite like this, but we need to remember as children of God, we don’t grieve as those who have no hope. Our hope has been placed in the resurrection of Jesus Christ our Lord and Savior. Later on today, I hope to post some pictures from this morning’s time of worship.

Have you ever just stopped for and moment and thought about those people who have influenced your life for the better? Imagine where you’d be today if that special person didn’t say: “I love you and believe in you.” The best thing you can do is pass on the blessing to other people. There are plenty folks out there that need to know they matter. If you don’t tell them, who will? Eternity and life literally hangs in the balance for some of these individuals and they’re waiting to see if someone care. If not you, then who? Whenever you give love to others, it comes back to you 10 fold and you demonstrate the love of Christ.1

It’s time to be a giver and start changing the culture of our society one person at a time. Someone’s waiting, are you ready to take action? Godspeed my friends.

 

November 3

Taking the “high road” or “the road less traveled” is sometimes difficult to do. Especially when dealing with those who have hurt or betrayed you. Of all the things in the ministry, and life itself for that matter, this one is often down right difficult to put into practice. We are called to treat others with kindness and honor even when we feel they don’t deserve it. In other words, we have to demonstrate the love of Christ to people we don’t feel deserve it. The key thought there is: “people we don’t think deserve it.”

Several years ago, while pastoring another church, I had an individual who came to see me at my office. For over an hour I was told how sorry I was as a pastor and basically as an individual. After that confrontation, my heart was crushed and my spirit was broken. Several months later this same individual went through as crisis situation in their life. At the moment I heard about it, if I’m extremely honest, I thought: “Let them deal with this on their own. After all, they’ve made it abundantly clear how sorry I am.” Well, I went anyway. When I walked into the room where they were, I was surprised by their reaction. This person said: “After the way I treated and spoke to you, I can’t believe you’re here.” From that moment on, our relationship was different.

Are these things easy? Absolutely not, but they are Christ like. I’ve probably failed in this area more than succeeded over the years. But when you do it, as Robert Frost stated: “It has made all the difference.” Godspeed my friends.


November 1

Have you ever been guilty of prejudging another individual only to be proven wrong? The definition of “prejudice” is basically “rendering judgement on another without adequate information”. With that being said, most of us have been guilty of this action at one time or another in our lives. Sometimes you have to just say: “I was wrong about that person.”

Well let me tell you, I was wrong in my opinion about someone. Now, if I’m going to encourage you to do something, then I have to be at the front of the line doing that very act. So here we go. Over the past few years Robert Jeffress, pastor of First Baptist, Dallas, Texas has made quite a name for himself. He was the first big name minister to support President Trump when he was running for the Presidency of the United States. Jeffress was on every talk show from Bill Maher to Fox News. It wasn’t that I didn’t like Jeffress, I just found myself not agreeing with everything he said. I don’t know many preachers who have been criticized more than him. I’ve certainly been guilty of it.

This past week, Dr. Jeffress was the guest speaker at the Mississippi Baptist Convention. After one of our sessions, I went down to the front of the sanctuary to speak to a friend. Dr. Jeffress was standing to the side, pretty much alone. I approached him and we started a conversation. We found out we had several mutual friends. I found him engaging, warm, and friendly. And let me tell you, he can flat out preach.

I was wrong in prejudging Dr. Jeffress. How about you? The person you loathe today may turn out to be your friend when you get to know them. It’s happened to me on more than one occasion. You don’t have to agree on everything, but respect and get to know others before you judge them. Godspeed my friends.

 

November 2

This past Wednesday night we had a very successful Trunk or Treat. As the children were making their way from car to car I started reflecting on the Halloweens from my childhood. To be honest, a sadness came over me because what this generation of children will miss out on in their life. Things they’ll probably never know or experience that made my formidable days so special.

The children of today will probably neve

Taking the “high road” or “the road less traveled” is sometimes difficult to do. Especially when dealing with those who have hurt or betrayed you. Of all the things in the ministry, and life itself for that matter, this one is often down right difficult to put into practice. We are called to treat others with kindness and honor even when we feel they don’t deserve it. In other words, we have to demonstrate the love of Christ to people we don’t feel deserve it. The key thought there is: “people we don’t think deserve it.”

Several years ago, while pastoring another church, I had an individual who came to see me at my office. For over an hour I was told how sorry I was as a pastor and basically as an individual. After that confrontation, my heart was crushed and my spirit was broken. Several months later this same individual went through as crisis situation in their life. At the moment I heard about it, if I’m extremely honest, I thought: “Let them deal with this on their own. After all, they’ve made it abundantly clear how sorry I am.” Well, I went anyway. When I walked into the room where they were, I was surprised by their reaction. This person said: “After the way I treated and spoke to you, I can’t believe you’re here.” From that moment on, our relationship was different.

Are these things easy? Absolutely not, but they are Christ like. I’ve probably failed in this area more than succeeded over the years. But when you do it, as Robert Frost stated: “It has made all the difference.” Godspeed my friends.

know the fun of Trick or Treating through the neighborhood with no adult supervision, because it wasn’t necessary. They will never know the adventure of riding your bike to school. This generation of children will probably never experience a two week Vacation Bible School or a week long revival which included morning services before school.

Many of today’s children will never know that you actually play baseball in the summer, flag football in the fall, and basketball over the Christmas holidays. Playing one sport year round was never even an option. I’m not so sure it’s a good idea today.

Today’s children will never know what it’s like to say the Pledge of Allegiance to the flag and pray before they start class each day. The notion of a chocolate milk recess is foreign to them. Most will never know the excitement of a good game of break-up or steal the bacon. And I’m quite sure they’ll never know the spiritual high of running in the fog of the bug machine.

What’s sadder still, is most will never experience the fact that everything the family does centers around the church. Some of these things have changed with the times and culture. However, some have just become an afterthought to even the best of folks. I wouldn’t change the time in history when I grew up. I actually played outside and experienced life as it happened, not as it is portrayed on an iPad. Maybe we need to dummy down life just a little bit and return to a simpler life. Excluding the bug machine if we must. Godspeed my friends.

© 2018 Pleasant Hill Baptist Church
Connected Sound - Websites for the Barbershop Community