Friday, August 28, 2009


I've been taking a break this week from my usual postings on facebook and twitter. I am by calling and the design of God a communicator. I love to interact and connect with people. My posts on twitter are probably 95% relating to the Lord and encouraging. On facebook, they are probably 80% so, with the remaining portion various interacting. What a great format the Lord has provided that we can use these resources for kingdom advantage. As I said, I don't totally preach and teach on them. In addition to a passion for God, I love to cut up and tease, and just plain talk. I have found that even those times when I am just talking about the weather, sports, family, or something else that God can use it to help me connect with people who just want to talk. I'm going to take another day or so from the social networking. I do enjoy them and find them to be a great tool of ministry, and plan on continuing both.

This week has certainly been one of variety, thus the title, smorgasbord. My grandson started kindergarden this week. Those of you who know me know that he and I are glued to the hip. So the week has been one of a major struggle. Not sure about for Zach, but it has been for me.

Some good things are transpiring in the church. Sunday was an awesome day. Began with a great service, pretty good crowd- finally. The summer months have been down. A good number of people also went with us to Chimney Rock, a local mountain resort area, about 20 miles away. We had a wonderful evening of fun and fellowship. Wednesday was another awesome service, and again, the crowd was better than usual for the midweek service- this, even though it was affected somewhat by school starting back. Met some great people this week.

It hasn't been a perfect one, though. Just when you're flying high, the devil hits you. I've got to remember to keep my spiritual guard up. One of those things where I am not pleased with my response or actions.

Have spent the week praying. We started intercessory prayer back Monday night at the church. I believe this is the key. Praying for our area, our church. Financial problems are big here. Believing God for breakthrough. Also praying for others. Got some friends in ministry going through some things, lifting them up.

That's it. Pretty much sums my week up... How's yours?

Friday, August 21, 2009


Just the word captures our attention, doesn't it? We immediately kick into images we have seen, whether in real life or a movie, of people who had gone berserk. Not a pretty picture, is it?

The dictionary defines insanity as a deranged state of the mind; madness, craziness. Before we bring to mind all those we think either are insane or are on the border of being out of their mind, we need to explore from what perspective our opinion is based. After all, Jesus was labeled as being insane (John 10:20), and so was the Apostle Paul (Acts 26:24). I would say neither would fit our definition of insanity, but both were called that by the world who understood neither.

And that gets me to my thought today on insanity. The thought of "what if" regarding our walk, our relationship with Jesus. If we really sold out from the world and to God, would they label us? Probably. I remember a time when those of us in the church were thought of as being crazy by our family, our friends, classmates, and coworkers. When someone would get radically saved and on fire for God, they were ostracized as having "religion" and it was said that the church they were attending were doing mind control over them. No, they had just had a radical experience with the Lord that turned their life around, and affected everything about them. To the outside world, it was insanity, to the believer it was simply falling head over heels in love with Jesus.

Remember that? I'm talking to the church people, now. Remember when you were born again? Remember when God filled you with His Holy Spirit? You wanted to set the world on fire, to tell everyone about him. You prayed, read your bible, gave more than your tithes, and considered serving in the church and honor and not a burden. You were faithful.

Insanity? No. -- Sold out, on fire, committed-- Yes! That is what church was like, and the believers were like a few years ago. Seems to be a dying breed. Folks get mad if you challenge them to give, to attend church faithfully, to be committed to God. Jump ship, change churches.
Sounding a little preachy, I guess, but it is hard to hide what is inside of me.

Not to say I don't have my own shortcomings. I preached a message this past Wednesday. It was about commitment to God, and about MOVEMENT. I said that "insanity is doing the same thing over and over, and expecting different results." And yet, I feel like that's what we've been doing. Let me make it a little more personal.. that's what I'VE been doing. So insanity, by way of definition can be a plus or a minus to the believer. If it means we are sold out to God, so be it. However, if it means we have become stuck in our own level of commitment or lack thereof, it is time to do something about it.

Last night, I joined in on a part of the conversation struck up by a friend of mine on facebook. She was reflecting about how we existed before the computer and cell phone, and whether we could survive without either. Several different ones got involved in on the conversation, myself included. Then, this morning, one of the ones who had posted a comment came up with a brilliant, or not so brilliant idea. "Why don't we fast them for a couple of weeks?" Silence in heaven... er, ah, in facebook world. Nothing. Nada... Zero. No response.

I thought to myself, I should take him up on that. Then I started having the shakes. Go without the computer and cell phone for two weeks? Can I? Surely God wouldn't be in that. I started to hit him up and say, let's do the cell phone one week, and the computer, the next. Mind you, I am not against either. But something struck a nerve. I keep hearing what I preached the other night. "Insanity is doing the same thing over and over, and expecting different results."

Lately I've been crying out for breakthrough, for a real move of God. Want to see it more than anything. Whatever it is that will break me out of the stuck in the rut insanity and move me into the category of the radically on fire for God insanity, count me in.

Computers, cell phones, and all.. Like a chain smoker lighting up another cigarette, having withdrawals just thinking about it.


Tuesday, August 18, 2009


If you live, you know there are battles. Problems and adversities arise. Conflicts and struggles will come your way. It is not a question of IF, but a question of WHEN. Warfare IS coming your way. I know from experience. Those of us in ministry seem to constantly face one battle after another. We experience great victories only to face another battle whose enemy seems larger than the last.

Sometimes you may feel as if you are the only one facing the enemy's advance. Your marriage may be going through a crisis. Your church may be struggling. There may be financial problems, sickness and disease. At times it may be a combination of things.

I have had the Elijah complex before. Have you? Remember Elijah? He felt at one point in his life as if he was the only one standing for truth, the only one God had left. He was facing the battle, and he was isolated. Discouragement set in.

In the trench is where you go to retreat, hide, rest. It indicates a place to go for cover. The battle is raging, and you are still fighting. But you need a hole to hide in, if only temporarily. You may actually continue to fight from the trench. I don't want to be like Elijah. I don't want to be alone in the trenches of life.

I remember one time a number of years ago. I was facing deep discouragement. I had felt betrayed by a certain group of leaders in the church I was pastor of. I talked to a pastor friend of mine. He came to my home immediately to comfort and console me. I felt as if he was ready to take his spiritual weapons out and help me attack those who had attacked me. He got down in the trenches with me and strengthened me. After some wise counsel, we decided not to attack the unwise board. But it was good to know I wasn't in the trenches alone. There next to me was another soldier who understood warfare and pain. He was ready to guard my life to the point of laying his on the line.

I don't believe its by accident that you are reading this blog today. You may be experiencing some great pain at this moment. I want to encourage you. You are not in the trench alone. I am praying for you, and others are. I also want to send a challenge out for others. You are called to rescue those in need. Like the Good Samaritan, there are some wounded ones along life's hiway. They may not attend our church or be in our denomination. They may be of another culture or color. It matters not. Jesus died for them. They need someone to get down in the trench with them.

My life's aim is to get in the trenches. To reach out to the discouraged, hurting, lost, hungry. To be there for them. From one who knows pain, I can't pass by as if I didn't see.



We're having intercessory prayer this morning at New Harvest Church at 10 am. I am looking forward to it. It is an unannounced prayer meeting. One of the members of the church had been talking to another about getting together to pray. He texted me and asked if it would be ok to meet at the church and do it. Of course, I said yes.

Trish, my wife, had just been talking about calling for a time of prayer and intercession. A lot of needs exist in the community where we live and the church is located. This area is in the list of one of the 15 greatest areas of depression in the nation. High unemployment and low paying jobs are prevalent here.

But we'll not just be praying for the economy. We're going to be praying for spiritual breakthrough in lives. We want to see lives changed, people set free. We want to see increase and revival in the church.

If you're located within driving distance of Forest City, NC, we invite you to join us this morning. There will be no crowd, and there will be no format. Just prayer. If you can't physically join us, but want to join in at least a portion of the prayer time, we welcome it. Again, we'll begin at 10 am, and the prayer time will go somewhere between 30 minutes to an hour.

You can also send us your prayer requests. We will gladly include them in our prayer time.

Monday, August 17, 2009


Sounds confusing, doesn't it? How can you see it, but not see it? Let me explain. I am not crazy. But I am seeing some things I am not seeing.

There's some dreams inside that I don't yet see the fulfillment of. I am a visionary. I am an encourager. I talk about a BIG GOD. I speak of increase and favor. I believe the Lord is going to bring about a great move at the church I pastor. I see revival breaking out.

The fire is burning inside. I prophecy it in the church services, I tweet it on Twitter and post it on facebook. And yet at times it looks like what I am saying is totally wrong. You see, I am saying what I am seeing in my spirit. But what I am seeing inside me is not yet what is manifesting in the natural. Am I a liar? I guess it depends on who you ask. But I dare not go back on what I sense God is saying.

I see it, but I don't yet see it. But the spirit man declares it is coming. Like Elijah prophesying about the coming rain when there was not a cloud in the sky, it is not yet evident-- except to the man or woman who has heard from God.

The rain is coming, its on its way. Get ready for revival. Get ready for increase.
I see it-- just not yet.

Summer Slumps

If you have followed any of my blogs at all, you know that I like to keep it real. I am not on here to give you a false impression of my greatness or success. I am pastor of a small town church in small town USA. My perspective is from where I am. OK, here's today's blog about Summer Slumps...

I talked with a couple of friends in the last week who are pastors, as I. As usual, when we talk, the conversation eventually includes something about church life. Both mentioned how both the attendance and finances had been affected this summer. I definitely understood what they were saying.

Let me say up front that I encourage people to get away if they can do so. Take a few days or a week and get out of town. Some are fortunate enough to be able to do so several times a year. I am glad for those who are able to do so. I understand the importance of the vacation or retreat.

But at the same time I somewhat dread seeing them coming. On any given Sunday during the summer, several families are away. Add that with those who just decided to go to the lake or nearby mountains, and we have seen attendance drop dramatically. Sometimes a third of our congregation is not there. Sometimes it is worse. Yesterday was the case. I had a "grand" sermon, I was pumped. But in all honesty, when I stood before the congregation, it was like I had lost the sail out of my boat. I summoned faith and stirred my spirit. It was a good service, and the ones there were receptive.

But I'll be glad when the summer vacations are over. The thing now is, some of those with kids not in school wait until September to take their trips. Summer slump extended to October?

Feedback is welcome. Y'all be blessed!

Tuesday, August 11, 2009


They are located in about every mall in America, I suppose, and in some third world countries I have been in. This "women's store" features sexy lingerie, accessories, and clothing. I confess that I had to look the last two up. All I was certain of was the sexy lingerie.

I have never been into a Victoria's Secret store, and I have no plan on going. I would be about as uncomfortable in one as a Dallas cowboy at a Redskin's reunion. But I have been by many of these shops. It is difficult to walk through the mall without seeing one. And although I rarely go into a mall, during the Christmas holidays, I generally go with my wife on her shopping trips a couple of times. And each time I do, I turn my head.

NO! Not to look, indulge, stare, and lust. I turn my head the other way. I don't want to get the deer in the headlights look of turning to and not turning away. I don't want to see what I shouldn't see. Yes, I know it is all legal. Some would argue it is not dirty at all, this Victoria Secret. And in the right place, it isn't. To a married man and woman, the intimate revealings are pure. But outside of that context, it is out of bounds, so to speak.

Now that you have gotten this far, I want to tell you that I am not really talking about Victoria Secret and sexy lingerie. What I AM speaking of is when we publicly display what should be intimate or private. Those times we place our feelings and thoughts towards someone or something on public display for all to see. I think we forget sometimes that others are looking. Others who may be weak or tempted. Those who may be easily discouraged. For example, the social network sites- I am on facebook. It allows open communication. The advantages are that you can openly share your testimonies, life experiences, or what ever may be on your mind. The danger is that people sometimes abuse what should be a precious privilege. They publicly display their gripes and complaints. Things are said openly that should be said only in intimate conversations, or not at all.

Walking through the mall, I come up unaware on a Victoria Secret shop. With one glance, I have seen an image that sticks. Yes, I know there are far worse on Hardee's commercials. Nevertheless, like a country music song about trucks, mama, and booze, the image is lodged there for a while.

I saw it, but didn't want to see it. Here's a warning. There's some Victoria Secrets in the malls. Walk softly, you will see some things that are openly displayed. Same thing here. You're going to see some things. Some times I just have to look the other way... but the damage has already been done... Have to kick into warfare, lol!

Monday, August 10, 2009


I have never taken up the sport of which many of my fellow pastors participate, that is golf. They tell me that playing a round or two of helps them to unwind. To them it is an enjoyable hobby. I remember a number of years ago going to the nearby course with a member of the church. He was sure that if I just went one time, I would be hooked. Yeah, "hooked" is what I got, alright. I hooked to the right, and hooked to the left. Couldn't seem to get the thing to go in the direction I wanted. I haven't been back since, and don't really care to.

But I would like to have a mulligan. A mulligan, in golf terms, is a do over. Its not to count the bad play that you just played. I need a do over, a mulligan... but not in golf.

Its been a tough summer for me. My dad passed away in spring, and my son in law last month. People see me and ask how I'm doing. I assure them I am doing great, fine. I smile. They ask me about my mom, how is she? How is Tina, my daughter? Mom is moving on, and Tina is readjusting. Life goes on. Dad would not want mom to grieve her years away, and neither would Michael with Tina. But grief is hard to understand, and difficult to describe, isn't it?

I was riding down the road in my car the other day. I was thinking about a subject I would be preaching on, and it was dealing with generational curses. I haven't preached the message yet, but I was thinking on dealing with issues in our lives that are sometimes passed on to us. And, for whatever reason, daddy came to my mind.

I am not deep into the generational curse thing as some, but I do believe there is some truth. I know that strongholds, traits, and even physical diseases are sometimes passed on. Both my grandfather and dad passed away after battling with colon cancer. So, as I was thinking about this, I thought about the call from dad....

THE CALL- It was probably 6 weeks or so before he would pass away. Of course, I had no way of knowing his passing would be so soon afterward. We had felt the doctors were helping him, and the doctor had even said the cancer was in remission.-- I got this call from daddy. He wanted me to come over. I walked across the road and over to mom and dad's house. When I sat down, daddy wanted to talk about something. It was something I have never addressed in the pulpit, nor in any of my blogs. I would never uncover my dad. But daddy wanted to apologize for his temper with me.

I was the firstborn, and I had it rougher than the others. When I was growing up, dad's temper was pretty bad, and I was the recipient of some harsh punishment. I have put all that in the past, and honestly, have always been ashamed to even think about it. I only mention it now in the hope that my honesty will help someone else. With tears in his eyes, dad asked me to forgive him. He said that his dad had treated him the same way, and he carried it on to me. I told dad that he did not need to ask me to forgive him. I tried to brush it off, not really wanting to talk about it.

I wish I had a mulligan. I wish I had opened up more.

Then, tonight, Trish and I were sitting here in the living room. She opened up an old account of emails. It is addresses we do not use anymore, but we still occasionally get some messages there. I did not know what was going on, but saw my wife crying as she sat across from me. It was an email from Michael. He was so young. He had so much in him. I had the feeling one day Michael would be in the ministry.

I wish I could talk to him again. I wish I had a mulligan for Michael.

I really don't know why I am sharing this rambling of mine. I just want to encourage you while there is time. If there is someone you want to talk to, do so. Cry with someone, forgive. Fellowship. Enjoy. Give them flowers while they are alive.

Yeah, we're still fighting, still hanging in there. God is good. He brings us through. We have the victory. But honestly, sometimes I would love to have a do over, just one more talk.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009


I will say it up front. I want to act like a kid again. I know I will be scolded by some "super saints" who will quote the scripture about "putting away childish behavior" but so be it.

I prefer not to align myself with those who do not enjoy life. Jesus said that he came to give us the more abundant life. The kids have this thing figured out. Some of the adults I know seem to have lost it.

I have watched the children in our church daycare, for example. If they fight over a toy, they get over it. They don't carry grudges. They forgive and move on. Some adults I know, myself included, have carried things far longer than we ever should have. As a matter of fact we shouldn't carry them at all. People are going to hurt you. People are going to be hurt by you. Forgive. Release. Be merciful. These are Christian values. They are also the values of a child.

I'll say it again- the kids know how to enjoy life. Take, for instance, Zach- my grandson. That boy knows how to enjoy himself. And you know what? When I am around him, I am having fun, as well. As a matter of fact, get me around a room full of kids or teens, and I am enjoying myself far more than I do around people my own age. Life isn't over. Enjoy yourself. "Isn't it a pretty day? God has blessed us with this pool," Zachary was saying today as we relaxed in our backyard swimming pool. He was enjoying the blessings of the Lord on us. That's what I want. A child like heart of love, of faith, or enjoying life.

I am of the conviction that I can watch sports, go to the county fair, and ride the ocean waves and keep my spirituality. I am not into religion, I am into relationship. My relationship with Christ means I keep my conduct in line. But my Christian values do not take away the enjoyment of life. Contrary, they multiply them.

Yes, I am a pastor, a minister of the gospel. I blog, tweet, and post on facebook. I thank God for the venues provided to encourage and bless. I constantly put out inspirational thoughts. But sometimes I want to goof off, joke, talk about sports. Sometimes I want to be one of the boys, and act like a kid. No, I'm not going to cuss, fight, smoke, drink. I want to beat you in go cart races, I want my Jeff Gordon to beat your Tony Stewart. I want to laugh. I want to act like a kid at times.

Go ahead, judge me. But if growing old means I have to never laugh, never run, never play, never tease again, count me out. I want to look at the stars and be amazed, run into the ocean water and ride the waves. I want to throw snowballs, ride the roller coaster, eat ice cream while it rolls down my chin. I want to dance in the rain.

So, sign me up to Childish Behavior. I've been taking lessons in the church daycare, kid's church, and youth teams... and with Zach in the backyard pool.