Monday, December 29, 2008

Happy New Year

Happy New Year to all of you. You all are a blessing. I want to let you know that I will be taking my family on vacation for a few days and I will probably be away from my computer ----- so that means you won't be seeing any blog entries for a few days. I will plan on putting some pictures of me and the kids skiing. They can flat out ski!!! I think the closer you are to the ground the better you can ski. I hope that 2009 will be a terrific year for you and I pray that God will continue to bless you and your families.

Friday, December 26, 2008

The Best Christmas Pageant Ever

I used this story in part of my sermon on Christmas Eve. I thought you all would enjoy seeing part of the movie.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Doxology As A Result of God's Victory

This last Saturday the Courier=Times (our local paper in Roxboro, NC) published an article I wrote. I thought I would share it with all of you.

Every Christmas day for the past seven years my family and I will go to the nursing home and read from Luke 2, pray and sing. For many years we would do this at a little nursing home in a town called Hampstead, North Carolina. Every time we go, it is a very meaningful experience, but the most meaningful was a Christmas service four years ago. We gathered together all the people that wanted to come to a Christmas service, carefully asking everyone in the entire facility if they would like to come. We would get all the people that had been abandoned by their families, all the people that had been relegated by the system to spend their last days with strangers, all the people that loved Jesus—but sometimes their bodies would shake, their talking was slurred and their wheel chairs were bulky.
After gathering the troops (as I like to call the process) we began singing the regular Christmas hymns with the residents. Near the end of the singing there were two guys that wheeled in to the service in their chairs. I knew these two and knew that both of them had suffered strokes and could not talk or use certain parts of their bodies. Just then we started singing “Away in the Manger” and the two guys began belting out in their loudest voices, “Waa, waa, waa, waa, waa, waa.” They were singing with all that they had, songs that they known from their childhood. These songs that had influenced them and helped keep their hopes alive through the years. I felt as though God had taken the blinders off and I was able to sing with a great choir of angels, singing praises to God with everything that I was—singing of God's victory—even in a place of despair and abandonment.
I did not want to stop with these gentlemen—these gentlemen who could not use certain limbs of their bodies. They were grinning and patting each other on the back, while I was welling up with tears, continuing on with the song for the second time—and then even on to the third time—saying this line:

“Be near me Lord Jesus I ask thee to stay, close by me forever and love me I pray—Bless all the dear children in thy tender care and fit us for heaven to live with thee there.” (Third Verse of Away in the Manger)

We sing because that is all we know to do. While God makes us fit for heaven—we sing of God's praises. In the place of despair and abandonment God's victory is truly apparent in the voices of stroke victims. Mumbling voices that usher us into the very throne room of God. Where we sing with a great choir of angels—and some of those angels have wheelchairs.

Christmas Eve

I want to wish all of you a merry Christmas. I have so much enjoyed blogging through half of my year with all of you. Thank you for all that you have meant to me and my family ------ and thank you for being part of this ministry. I hope that all of you will have the opportunity to spend time around the manger this Christmas ---- as we all look at this scandalous event where God is made flesh. Blessings to all of you and your families.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Light Rail

I took the family down to Charlotte, NC for a couple days and we had the privilege to take Charlotte's new light rail train system. This is actually the second time we have gotten to do it and it is so much fun ----- and it is cheap. So if any of you are in Charlotte and have a chance you all should take your kids. Kindergarten thru 12th grade is $1.50 round trip and less than kindergarten is free.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008


Wow, I have felt this rushed in a number of years. I guess this is kind of a journal entry. For the most part my wife and I pride ourselves in not rushing around during the holiday season ----- but something is different this year. We really are rushing around an inordinate amount. So ya'll can pray for us ----- to slow it down some. It isn't that we are rushing to the mall all the time. Instead we are rushing to this party or that party or this house or that house. I hope all of you are finding time to not rush around. I'll keep you posted on how it is going.

Friday, December 12, 2008

1 Thessalonians 5.12-24

I first of all wanted to say thank you for all of your prayers during my exams. It was a tough last few days and one day I had to wake up at 2am in order to go to campus and finish a take home exam. But, now it is done and now to the fun stuff. This week I will be preaching on 1 Thessalonians 5.12-24. One thing in this that is very intriguing is verse 23, it says: "May the God of peace himself sanctify you entirely; and may your spirit and soul and body be kept sound and blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ." Notice that it says our spirit, soul and body are to be kept sound and blameless. I think I know how to keep our bodies sound. And I think I know how we are to keep our souls blameless.
But how do we keep our souls sound?
How do we keep our bodies blameless?
How do we keep our spirits sound and blameless?
Let me know what you think.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Last stretch

Hello all. I thought I would write to you because no one else is awake. It is 3:45am Eastern Standard Time. I just arrived on the Duke University campus to finish my last exam. It is a take home exam that is due at 9am this morning. It is in American Christianity with Dr. Grant Wacker. But, I thought I would let all of you know the status ----- especially in light of the fact that many of you will be getting up soon and turning on your computers ----- this way you can pray for me during the home stretch. I will let you know how it goes. But this is it for the semester.

Friday, December 5, 2008

Celebrating Christmas in a Hotel

I ran across this quote in preparation for a sermon I have to turn in for a class. I thought you all would enjoy it. It comes from a book called Christmas From the Back Side by J. Ellsworth Kalas. "But I tell you, I'm glad Christmas came to a hotel. Hotels, and all that they represent as temporary lodging, are part of life. If Christmas isn't inclusive enough to come to a hotel, it would seem that some of the most inevitable elements of our human experience are somehow beyond God's concern and redemption."

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Piedmont Community College

I have to give a shout out to all the wonderful students at Piedmont Community College. I have so much enjoyed coming out on Wednesdays and having pizza with you all. I have truly experienced the love of God in our conversations. We are heading to PCC again today and I am excited to hang out with all of you.

Monday, December 1, 2008


So, this is the week we start our Exams at Duke. So please pray for me. I am thankful that the Durham District Superintendent - Gray Southern - is going to preach for me on this Sunday. So that I can spend more time with these Exams. Please pray for me ----- I'll keep you posted.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Catch my breath

Okay, so it has been a mind bending pace for the last few days. Right after class on Tuesday we headed to my in-laws and visited there through Thanksgiving. And then on Friday we left and I went and saw Duke play Duquesne at Cameron Indoor Stadium ---- it was an awesome game and I think our Blue Devils are looking good this year. After the basketball game I then went and did a wedding ---- which was fabulous. And now I am sitting here in front of my computer preparing for tomorrow's sermon. I am tossing around a couple ideas ----- I will either go with Mark 13.24-37 or 1 Corinthians 1.3-9. One thing that is important for all of us to remember is that it is Advent. Honestly, I am just now coming into a full appreciation of what Advent is. As I have come to realize that Advent is about celebrating the coming of our Lord, not just in the manger, but also in the second coming ----- I have come to realize the richness of God being with us. Let us continue to run the race until Christ comes in all of his glory.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008


Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday ----- mostly this is because it is a wonderful time to remember what life is all about. Life is a gift and we have set aside a time to be thankful to the gift giver. God has truly blessed us as Christians ---- blessed us with life and love. Now let us do the radical thing and share that love with others as we thank God for the many blessings we have.
God bless all of you this thanksgiving and I pray that you find much to be thankful for.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Sheep and Goats

In Matthew 25.31-46 Jesus says the Son of Man will come with the angels and judge the sheep and the goats. Now you might want to quickly read this story because I noticed something interesting. Neither group knows that they have seen Jesus. The one group feeds, supplies drink, welcomes strangers, clothes, visits the sick and visits prisoners. While the other group does not feed, supply a drink, welcome strangers, clothe, visit the sick or visit the prisoner. The only difference is what the two groups do, but both of them are clueless. Are we clueless that Jesus is in our midst? That is an important question-----but the answer doesn't really matter. The important thing for us to do is to take care of the "least of these." Because Jesus has solidly positioned himself with the hungry, thirsty, naked, stranger, sick and prisoner.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Snow in November

For real!!!! It really did snow in November. I wasn't expecting it and when it was just starting to get light outside I could see from my office window a little bit of white. So I got close thinking that it was some heavy frost-----and it was the real thing. So I got out and took some pics. Enjoy.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Advent Conspiracy

Please watch this video in preparation for this Sunday's sermon. I look forward to what God has in store for us during the season of Advent.


I am excited to announce to all of you that my wife and I are expecting another child June 11th.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Testimony - Pilgrimage 2008

I wanted to share with you this testimony. It is from one of our youth at Warren's Grove. He shared this at Pilgrimage 2008. Pilgrimage is a huge youth rally that is put on by the North Carolina Annual Conference of the United Methodist Church. This year there were over 6,100 people at this rally. I pray that you are impacted by his testimony, for he surely points us to the one who has the power to free us from sin's oppression.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Methodist Pie - Gene Autry

Click Here for a link to this awesome song, the words are below. You are allowed to sing out loud from your desk.

I’ve down to camp meeting the other afternoon
For to hear 'em shout and sing;
For to tell each other how they love one another
And to make a hallelujah ring.
There’s old Uncle Daniel and Brother Ebenezer
Uncle Rufus with his lame gal, Sue,
Aunt Polly and Melinda and old Mother Bender
Oh, you never seen a happier crew

Well they all go there for to have a good time
And to eat that grub so sly
Have applesauce and butter, with sugar-in-the-gourd
And a great big Methodist pie

Oh, little chillen, I believe
Oh, little chillen, I believe
Oh, little chillen, I believe
I's a Methodist till I die
I's a Methodist, Methodist, in my belief
I's a Methodist till I die.
When the old grim death comes a-knocking at the door
I's a Methodist till I die

Well you ought to hear the ringing when they all get to singing
That good old “Bye and Bye”;
See Jimmy McGee in the top of a tree
Said, how is this for high.
Then they caught a hold of hands and march around a ring
Keep a-singing all the while
You'd think it was a cyclone a-coming through the air,
You could hear ’em shout a half a mile.
Then the bell rings loud and the great big crowd
Breaks ranks and up they fly,
While I took ahold of the sugar in the gourd,
And I cleaned up the Methodist Pie.


Thursday, November 13, 2008


So, what I have been getting at with the Spanish Inquisition is the idea of forcing people into Christianity. We all believe there are certain things that Christians are to be about, those are loving God and loving our neighbors. The theory behind the inquisition is if we can force people to do the "christian" thing then they will be saved. Should we ever force people to do the "christian" things? For instance, Carrie Underwood above was strolling along a Hollywood Boulevard and decided to give to someone that was begging. For the most part, giving to the needy is a Christian thing. Should we force people to do this Christian act? What do you all think?

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Spanish Inquisition Part II

I might not have been totally clear yesterday. So this blog post is for clarity. What the Inquisition was attempting to do was to have the people recant (repent) while they were being burned or any number of other tortures. The reason I bring up the burning example is that while burning they could recant and then a priest could absolve (forgive) them of their sins. This happened while the person was still being burnt to death. There was no hope for them to survive ----- but the Inquisition was hoping to save their souls ----- since they were heretics. With all of that said, I have to say that I disagree with their ends justifying the means. This makes the case that not all things are beneficial to lead someone to change their ways.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Spanish Inquisition

I have been learning a great deal about the Spanish Inquisition this semester. The interesting thing is that it was driven by religious zeal. What the inquisition was desperately wanting to do was save people's souls. And they were willing to do this anyway possible. They would attach "heretics" to stakes and then burn them. Their desire was for the heretic to recant and then there was a priest to absolve them of their sins. This way the heretics would be given a chance to make it to purgatory where they would eventually make it to heaven. Do you all think this works? Are we to try to do anything possible to get people to say the "sinner's prayer" so that their souls will be saved? I know I just asked some provocative questions ----- but I want to hear what you all think.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Knitting Graffiti

Okay, so I know this doesn't have anything to do with what I usually write ----- but I just had to share this with you. They call this the most inoffensive graffiti. WOW!!!

Friday, November 7, 2008


I am heading to Pilgrimage in Fayetteville, NC this weekend. This is an awesome youth rally where we have close to 6,000 people converge on Fayetteville for Jesus. The picture above is kind of wishful thinking. I have to drive the big 15 passenger van so I am hoping to have a police escort through Raleigh. Pray for all of us. Pray that we will experience the living God in Jesus Christ. Pray that our hearts will be changed as a result of the gospel. And pray that we will all be safe.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

I Voted

I voted ---- this is a picture that is just like the sticker that I received when I voted this morning, but this isn't my sticker because I don't have that cool of a shirt. But, I did vote. And you know what ----- all the media hype that there were going to be long lines was not true. I arrived at the voting site at 6:05am and there was no one there. For about 15 minutes I was the only one there. I went right in when the polls opened and was out of there at 6:35am. So, the moral of the story ----- don't always trust the media. But, please go and vote. And in my sermon the other day when I was talking about the Soil and Water Conservation District Supervisor, there is only one choice ---- unless of course you want to have a write-in candidate.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

The Yoke of Jesus

In Matthew 11.25-30 we read about Jesus saying to the crowd: "Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me; for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls." Right now, I don't completely understand what Jesus is saying. There doesn't seem to be any rest that comes from wearing a yoke. Now, from another perspective ----- Jesus is saying to the crowd that this is for the weary and those carrying heavy burdens. These people might have been servants or slaves, prostitutes or tax collectors, beggars or the lame. Now for this group of peoples, they might already be carrying a metaphorical yoke. So when Jesus offers them his yoke ----- which is easy and light ----- this could be very appealing immediately.
Now, here is the kicker, now imagine that it is a yoke that two oxen could fit into! And the other metaphorical ox is Jesus. He is yoked with us! Think about that for the next 24 hours and let us see what God has in store for us.

Friday, October 31, 2008

Carrying Heavy Burdens

This coming Sunday I will be preaching from Matthew 11.16-19 & 25-30. Hear these words that Jesus says: "Come to me, all you that are weary and are carrying heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me; for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light." So many of us carry around burdens ----- I know that I do ----- it is wrapped up in a book bag that is extremely heavy at times. What kind of burdens do you carry?
As I study for this sermon I am going to go on location and study. What I mean is that I am going to go to a place where people carry heavy burdens. I plan on going to the emergency room at Person Memorial and read this where it seems so many people carry heavy burdens. If you have never gone and sat at the emergency waiting room, then you are in for quite an experience. This is the place where hurting people go ---- and we are to weep with those who weep (Romans 12.15). Jesus wants to say to us today who are weary and carrying heavy burdens that we are to take his yoke and learn from him and in this we will find rest for our souls.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

That Whole Love Thy Neighbor Thing.....

I have truly been struggling this week with this passage from Matthew. I have noticed the news media spending a great deal of their time talking over and over again about this election. I want to ask the question if it is possible to love our neighbor through the elections? I hope so. As Christians we can't just turn our Christianity off, once we walk out the doors ---- for if we do we have ceased being Christians. So if we go into the voting booths ---- as Christians ---- then what does that look like? Loving our neighbor can be a very hard thing, especially when Jesus adds a whole lot of people to that neighbor thing when he talks about the good samaritan. We have a ton of neighbors. Elections and neighbors ----- what do you all think?

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Love God and Love Neighbor

I am planning on preaching from Matthew 23.34-46 this coming Sunday. This passage is when Jesus lays out the two greatest commandments ---- that we are to love God and love our neighbors. I thought the picture above is like the epitome of what it means not to love our neighbor. But, loving our neighbor is a tough thing to nail down at times. In light of our upcoming elections ---- how do you think we can love our neighbors through the elections?

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Thirsty Deer

Now that is a thirsty deer. That might be a better image of what we are talking about in Psalm 42.1. This deer is thirsty ----- it is in the city and is looking for something to drink. The key to this understanding is that the thirst is wrapped up in oppression. See this writer is struggling under the oppression of his enemies. And so the Psalm points us back to the source. God is our source so we cling to God in all that we say and do. Just like Psalm 42.11 says: "Hope in God; for I shall again praise him, my help and my God."

Monday, October 13, 2008

Psalm 42

This coming Sunday I will be preaching from Psalm 42. Now I know that I have a cute picture of a deer loving on her youngin', but I think that by the end of this study on Psalm 42 that is all going to be dashed. I have always thought of this Psalm as being a very contemplative prayer that rehearses a soul's longing desire to know God more. But, I think all of these preconceived notions are going to be dashed. Look at Psalm 42.3: "My tears have been my food day and night, while people say to me continually, 'Where is your God?'" Now this doesn't seem like a utopian time of contemplation. Tell me what you think. Read through it and you can respond by clicking the comment section below. This particular sermon will be submitted to my preaching class so I can use any help you can give me.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Wednesday, October 8th

We had our fourth night of our Heritage Revival services and the preacher was Rev. Dr. Bill Ritter, he is a retired Methodist minister from the Michigan Conference (Pictured Above). Dr. Ritter is also a Duke Divinity School professor of Preaching and Church Ministry. Rev. Ritter preached from Matthew 25.14-30. He preached a dynamic sermon --- taking us all on a wild ride of highs and lows --- and he did all of that after telling us that is what Matthew does to us in the book of Matthew. In the book of Matthew you oftentimes will find the writer ending a parable on a down note and that is why Rev. Ritter says it is his least favorite Gospel. In this passage that he read we are talking about the parable of the talents and it ends on a low note as well. It says in Matthew 25.30: "As for this worthless slave, throw him into the outer darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth." Rev. Ritter said that we are tricked into thinking that this parable is a success story. Instead it is revealing that this servant was focusing on his fear ---- rather than on the master. He was letting fear govern his life. We need to be reminded that the book of Matthew is written for the Church and we should not let our fear govern the decisions we make. We should put our trust in the master and not be content with where we are. He then said that some revivals are in the church and some revivals are of the Church. He asked for us as a church to be revived --- to commit ourselves to not be governed by fear. Instead to not be content with where we are, but to grow in faith and in our faithfulness to reaching out and making disciples.

I wanted to say thank you to Rev. Dr. Bill Ritter and the choir from Warren's Grove for coming and sharing the gifts that the great giver of all gifts has trusted them with. I am thoroughly impressed with what God did during this revival. May we as a Church continue to grow deeper in our commitment to God as we seek to live into the calling God has for our lives.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Tuesday, October 7th

We had our third night of our Heritage Revival services and the preacher was Rev. Dr. DuPre Sanders from Roxboro Baptist Church (pictured above). Rev. Sanders preached from 1 Peter 1.3-9. He started out by saying that we are to see ourselves as aliens in this world ---- as resident aliens. As Christians we are to know joy and happiness, but not happiness that is wrapped up in this world, instead a happiness that is otherworldly, that is heavenly. We find this through the new birth and this new birth is all through God's mercy. We have been caught in sin and so we must be born anew through the spirit. Now, this new life that is found in Jesus Christ places our hope in him. So much of our life we have a misplaced hope, now we can place our hope in Christ. In this world we will have trouble as Christians. But we are to rejoice in this uncertain future ---- because our future is found in Christ Jesus, our Lord and Savior.

I wanted to say thank you to Rev. Dr. DuPre Sanders, Rev. Mike Moose and the choir from Roxboro Baptist Church for coming and sharing the gifts that the great giver of all gifts has trusted them with. Below you will see a list of ways you can pray during the rest of the revival and I would encourage you to pray these daily.

Prayers for Revival

1)Pray for the Holy Spirit to come and renew your heart to seek after God in all that you say and all that you do.
2)Pray to God that during this time you will grow deeper in your commitment to be a disciple of Jesus Christ.
3)Pray for your neighbors. Pray that they will come to the saving knowledge that Jesus is their Lord and Savior.
4)Pray for the ministers that are coming to preach. Pray that God will put a word in their mouth that will help us grow in our faith.
5)Pray for unity at Warren's Grove as we strive to live into the vision that God has for us. Also, pray for God to open doors for us to build the building that God has called us to build, as we expand our ministries so we can share the good news of Jesus Christ with all people.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Monday, October 6th

We had the second night of our Heritage Revival services and the preacher was Don Johnson, Elder (pictured above). He is the Pastor at Prospect Hill Primitive Baptist Church and Philadelphia Primitive Baptist Church. He started out by preaching from Matthew 1.1 and talked about Jesus being the son of David and the son of Abraham. Referencing Genesis he then made the case that God had chosen Abraham to be a blessing. This is one main reason that Matthew says that Jesus is a son of Abraham ---- for he blesses. He blesses with salvation. Now this salvation is little by little (Deuteronomy 7.22) and it is a long and arduous process ---- just like the Israelites in the wilderness for 40 years. The way to eternal life is through battles and the greatest battle is against yourself ---- against your sin. Don Johnson said many times: "The low ground of sin and sorrow." This is where we battle. But our hope is found in Jesus being at the right hand of the Father in intercession for us. The comforter, the Holy Spirit, comes and leads us through condemnation to forgiveness that is found in the shed blood of Christ. We are to be covered by the blood ---- but all of this doesn't happen in one day. It is little by little. By taking a long time we have to continue to look to God as our hope --- to grow in grace.

I wanted to say thank you to Don Johnson, Elder and the people from Prospect Hill Primitive Baptist Church for coming and sharing the gifts that the great giver of all gifts has trusted them with. Below you will see a list of ways you can pray during the rest of the revival and I would encourage you to pray these daily.

Prayers for Revival

1)Pray for the Holy Spirit to come and renew your heart to seek after God in all that you say and all that you do.
2)Pray to God that during this time you will grow deeper in your commitment to be a disciple of Jesus Christ.
3)Pray for your neighbors. Pray that they will come to the saving knowledge that Jesus is their Lord and Savior.
4)Pray for the ministers that are coming to preach. Pray that God will put a word in their mouth that will help us grow in our faith.
5)Pray for unity at Warren's Grove as we strive to live into the vision that God has for us. Also, pray for God to open doors for us to build the building that God has called us to build, as we expand our ministries so we can share the good news of Jesus Christ with all people.

Monday, October 6, 2008

Sunday, October 5th

We started out our Heritage Revival last night and Rev. Dr. Ed Donnell (pictured above) from Roxboro Presbyterian Church preached the opening sermon. He preached from Deuteronomy 26.1-11. In this sermon he made the case that we must know who we are ---- and who we are is wrapped up in who God is. Many of us come to God with "baggage" and he urged us to leave that sin filled baggage and live into the call God has for us. A call that involves being a child of God. It was a wonderful time of revival and I felt a burden lifted off of me as I went to the altar and left my baggage. I wanted to say thank you to Rev. Donnell and the Roxboro Presbyterian choir for coming and sharing the gifts that the great giver of all gifts has trusted them with. Below you will see a list of ways you can pray during the rest of the revival and I would encourage you to pray these daily.

Prayers for Revival

1)Pray for the Holy Spirit to come and renew your heart to seek after God in all that you say and all that you do.
2)Pray to God that during this time you will grow deeper in your commitment to be a disciple of Jesus Christ.
3)Pray for your neighbors. Pray that they will come to the saving knowledge that Jesus is their Lord and Savior.
4)Pray for the ministers that are coming to preach. Pray that God will put a word in their mouth that will help us grow in our faith.
5)Pray for unity at Warren's Grove as we strive to live into the vision that God has for us. Also, pray for God to open doors for us to build the building that God has called us to build, as we expand our ministries so we can share the good news of Jesus Christ with all people.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Philippians 3.4-14

Philippians 3.4-14 says: If anyone else has reason to be confident in the flesh, I have more: circumcised on the eighth day, a member of the people of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew born of Hebrews; as to the law, a Pharisee; as to zeal, a persecutor of the church; as to righteousness under the law, blameless. Yet whatever gains I had, these I have come to regard as loss because of Christ. More than that, I regard everything as loss because of the surpassing value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things, and I regard them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but one that comes through faith in Christ, the righteousness from God based on faith. I want to know Christ and the power of his resurrection and the sharing of his sufferings by becoming like him in his death, if somehow I may attain the resurrection from the dead. Not that I have already obtained this or have already reached the goal; but I press on to make it my own, because Christ Jesus has made me his own. Beloved, I do not consider that I have made it my own; but this one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on towards the goal for the prize of the heavenly call of God in Christ Jesus.

The thing that sticks out to me in these verses is who is writing this. Saul, who is also called Paul ---- was a persecuter of the Church and he was really good at it. Now think about that for a day and let's see what God reveals to us about this passage.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Mowing the Lawn

Okay, this has to be one of the most awesome ideas I have ever seen.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Tough Passage

Mandy Leigh wrote this comment: "the thing that always sticks out in my head about this passage is Jesus' question, "Which is easier, to say to the paralytic, 'Your sins are forgiven'; or to say,' Arise, and take up your pallet and walk'?" He seems to be asking this as an easy rhetorical question to the scribes who he was addressing, like the answer is obvious as to which one of these options is easier. To's not obvious. Which is easier? And, does Jesus heal this man proving to the scribes that He can actually do both? That the fact the man walked out of the room will cause the scribes to think "his sins may be forgiven too." I have more thoughts about this passage as's a loaded passage! :)"
This is a great comment. And I think Mandy brings up a terrific point ---- I really don't know which is easier (that being forgiveness or healing). Neither seem to be easier. Now look at the end of verse 7: "...Who can forgive sins but God alone?" This is the question that is on the table in these 12 verses. And Jesus says it in this dialog between the scribes, when he says it in verse 10: "But so that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins." God forgives sins --- and Jesus shows the scribes, paralytic, friends of paralytic and the whole congregation who has the power to forgive sins. We might want to just breeze over this point ---- the point that Jesus is God ---- but let's not just jump over that. This has radical implications. C.S.Lewis, in Mere Christianity writes: "Then comes the real shock. Among these Jews there suddenly turns up a man who goes about talking as if He was God. He claims to forgive sins. He says He has always existed. He says He is coming to judge the world at the end of time ..... God, in their language, meant the Being outside the world Who had made it and was infinitely different from anything else. And when you have grasped that, you will see that what this man said was, quite simply, the most shocking thing that has even been uttered by human lips. One part of the claim tens to slip past us unnoticed because we have heard it so often that we no longer see what it amounts to. I mean the claim to forgive sins: and sins. Now unless the speaker is God, this is really so preposterous as to be comic ..... He told people that their sins were forgiven, and never waited to consult all the other people whom their sins had undoubtedly injured. He unhesitatingly behaved as if He was the party chiefly concerned, the person chiefly offended in all offenses. This makes sense only if He really was the God whose laws are broken and whose love is wounded in every sin ..... I am trying here to prevent anyone saying the really foolish thing that people often say about Him: 'I'm ready to accept Jesus as a great moral teacher, but I don't accept His claim to be God.' That is the one thing we must not say. A man who was merely a man and said the sort of things Jesus said would not a great moral teacher. He would either be a lunatic--on a level with the man who says he is a poached egg--or else he would be the Devil of Hell. You must make your choice. Either this man was, and is the Son of God: or else a madman or something worse. You can shut Him up for a fool, you can spit at Him and kill Him as a demon; or you can fall at His feet and call Him Lord and God. But let us not come with any patronising nonsense about His being a great human teacher. He has not left that open to us. He did not intend to."

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Heritage Revival

(Click on the picture above for it to be bigger so it can be easily read.) I wanted to fill you all in on the Revival that we have coming up October 5th through the 8th. I anticipate this being a tremendous time of devotion to our faithful walk as disciples of Jesus Christ. Come out expecting to grow deeper in your faith and if you have any questions please let me know.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

The Authority to Forgive Sins

This coming Sunday I am planning on preaching from Mark 2.1-12 and I could really use your help. So, what you can do is read it with me and then comment below what you think. The thing that sticks out to me right away is Mark 2.10-11, which says: "'But so that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins'--he said to the paralytic--'I say to you, stand up, take your mat and go to your home.'" Now, Jesus is speaking to the scribes at this point ---- but in many ways he is still saying this to us. Do we know that Jesus [the Son of Man] has authority to forgive sins? And if we do, then what does that mean for us that are still on the earth? Let's go over this together and see where God leads us. I look forward to hearing from you.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Beggar God?

I have often heard Jesus described as a beggar God. The reason people describe him as being a beggar God is that he describes himself that way in Matthew 25.31-46. So if that is the case ---- that we serve a beggar God ---- are we to be begging people? And I want to give an answer to that question ---- resoundingly, YES! We are to come before the throne of grace boldly, begging to God on behalf of others and ourselves. A great example of how we are to be begging people is found in Exodus 16. Here the Israelites come to Moses complaining and the Tremendous Lover pours out for them FREE FOOD. This seems to be a restructuring of the earth, where the curse of Adam is no longer relevant. And now God has become their savior and their provider.

Friday, September 19, 2008

What is it?

Now look at this verse ----- Exodus 16.14-15: "When the layer of dew lifted, there on the surface of the wilderness was a fine flaky substance, as fine as frost on the ground. When the Israelites saw it, they said to one another, 'What is it?' For they did not know what it was. Moses said to them, 'It is the bread that the Lord has given you to eat.'"

So what is it? I understand it is bread from heaven ---- but what does that mean? It is almost as if a bunch of flaky crackers are laying on the ground. So you go around and pick up some wheat thins to get you by for the day ---- amazing! But there is this important distinction, it says that it is bread from heaven [Ex 16.4] and not bread from the earth [or Egypt, the store, Wal-Mart]. So if it is from heaven and not from the earth, what is God trying to say to us? Does it go back to Genesis 3.17-19?

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Manna from Heaven

If you all haven't figured this out yet, my favorite book of the Bible is Exodus. The lectionary has come to Exodus in this year and I have been preaching from Exodus for two weeks now. This week the lectionary comes to a famous text ---- that being Bread from heaven ---- or Manna from heaven ---- you can find this in Exodus 16.1-15. You all read it over with me ---- and please share in the comment section what you think. I am preparing for a sermon on this passage and I love that we can be in conversation about this passage leading up to Sunday. I think this is a terrific way to keep the life of WikiWorship alive. Also, I think I am going to have exciting news to share with all of you about WikiWorship ---- but you all are going to have to hang onto your hats for that announcement. Also, check out the article about Warren's Grove in last week's Courier=Times. It talks about the beginnings of Warren's Grove as a school house and the revival that we have coming up in October. You can find out more information about the revival by going to the Church's website at Just scroll to the bottom and you will find a link.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Piedmont Community College

On Wednesday of this week I went with Brian McIntyre and Branden Mooney to Piedmont Community College. We went there to see if there was any interest in starting a ministry to that college. And you all would not believe it. We had 12 people sit down with us for an hour and talk about the things of God and the Church. It was awesome and we are very encouraged by this outing. Warren's Grove is going to continue this ministry to the college students at PCC and we would love for you all to send any students our way that you know of. Our next gathering will be on Wednesday, September 24th at noon in the cafeteria. We will provide the food and drinks and they can just come and talk about the things of God in an open and caring environment. There are many students in Roxboro and I see God doing big things in our midst. Let us be in prayer for this new ministry at Warren's Grove.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008


If any of you have not heard me talk about this word before, I should give a little back ground. There is a group of people from many different denominations that meets to figure out a 3 year cycle of scripture for the Church calendar. This is called the lectionary. If a person was to read each of the verses of the lectionary each week for three years you would read about three quarters of the entire bible. This might be a little slow going for some of you, but if any of you need to work at a slower pace through scripture just email me and I will show you how you can keep up with this. Well, during the school year I become more and more of a lectionary preacher. So I will follow the lectionary Sunday after Sunday rather than preaching on themes [ie. WikiWorship]. So this Sunday I am torn between two lectionary texts. How about you all read them and tell me what you think, or what insights you see in them. Here they are:

Matthew 18.21-35

Exodus 14.19-31

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

My Back

Hello everyone. I wanted to give you an update on my back. Like many of you know I had a severe back injury right about a week and a half ago. I have been to the Doctor twice and to a Chiropractor twice ----- and I am doing phenomenally better. I was actually able to drive myself to school today [I had been getting rides with a colleague of mine]. And yesterday, I was actually able to mow the grass!!!!! Thank you all for your prayers. I have gotten a temporary handicap sticker so I can park close to class and not have to navigate the traverse area of Duke campus. And someone from Church lent me one of those rolling backpack thing-a-mijigies, so I am able to not kill my back with my backpack.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Inviting People

One thing that I have noticed with this passage is that it doesn't matter who is in the house. Now God explicitly tells the people of Israel that they should get together with their families (Exodus 12.3), but that doesn't leave out others. Why I think this is important ---- is due to the fact that if there were Egyptians at the time who believed in the God of Israel they could have gone into the houses of the Israelites and been covered by that same blood. But, they had to enter into the house of a Jew. This actually very similar to us as Gentile Christians. By entering into the house of a Jew we are saved by the blood. We must always remember that Jesus was Jewish ---- and was born into a Jewish world. And because of this Jew's shed blood we are saved. I thought this was an interesting thing that I noticed in the passage. Jesus invites us into his house ---- those that had not been invited before ---- and in that house we will be saved because we are covered by the blood of the lamb.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008


Exodus 12.13 says this: "The blood shall be a sign for you on the houses where you live: when I see the blood, I will pass over you, and no plague shall destroy you when I strike the land of Egypt." Now remember we are talking about the passover ---- this is when the death angel passes over the houses that have the smeared blood on their door posts and lintel. Now when I read that, I immediately think of Jesus shed blood. And that we are to be covered by the blood. What do you all think? Also, in reading this section of Exodus 12 ---- do you see any other links to the life of Jesus?

Sunday, August 31, 2008

Exodus 12.1-14

I am going to try something new for the next few weeks and see how it goes. But, what this is going to take is some work on your part if this is going to work. We can still make WikiWorship, WikiWorship if you all help me. What I would like to do is show you the scripture that I am thinking about preaching from this coming up Sunday and we can open up a discussion about it. So here it is: Exodus 12.1-14. In this section of Exodus God implements the Passover Feast. Here the Israelites have a roasted lamb supper before the death angel comes over Egypt wiping out all the first born animals and humans. I love this verse: "This is how you shall eat it: your loins girded, your sandals on your feet, and your staff in your hand; and you shall eat it hurriedly." (Exodus 12.11) How about this, read over the verses and tell me what you think by commeting below. What I will do is comment throughout the week as I read it over and over again. Let's see what we come up with.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Thank You

I wanted to write a message to all of you that have been following WikiWorship and who attended the worship services. It was so touching to me to see all of you participating in this huge project. We ended up having over 60 people [some of them were children] stay for lunch with around 50 people that participated in a small group discussion. You all should be so proud of yourselves and thank you for letting us go really deep in our discussions. I know for a fact that many people got a lot out of WikiWorship, while at the same time it was very different for many of us. Thank you for being a Church that allows people to ask the hard questions. Thank you for being a Church that is a safe place to ask the hard questions. It is my sincere honor to be a part of this wonderful ministry at Warren's Grove.
As a result of this project I have noticed that many people like following the blog on a daily basis. I am going to try to continue the blog ---- and what I will do is bring up different aspects of the Warren's Grove ministry and tell details about what goes on in my daily life as the Pastor at Warren's Grove. I hope someday to be able to bring up a discussion on the blog about what I will be preaching on the next Sunday. But, I am not quite ready to put that in motion. Please be praying for me and again thank you for all that you do to make Warren's Grove a community where hearts are touched, families can grow and the world is changed.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

First Day of new semester

I wanted to let all of you know that the Fall Semester at Duke has started back up and is in full swing. Today we had opening convocation with all the bells and whistles ---- while at the same time there was a dedication of a new organ at Goodson Chapel (this is the Divinity School Chapel). This picture above is me in the Duke Chapel (which is the big chapel on campus) and below is a picture of the front stain glass window in the chapel. I have to say ---- if any of you have never seen the chapel make a point to come and check it out. And if you tell me in advance we can get together and have lunch on campus when you come.
Below is the picture of the Convocation continuing in Goodson Chapel. You can see the picture of the organ in the top right hand corner.
Please be praying for me as school starts back. I love school ---- while at the same time it can be a trying time of balancing a lot of different things.

Friday, August 22, 2008

Raise the Roof

I wanted you all to be FULLY aware of our Raise the Roof Gospel Sing that will be happening this weekend. On Saturday, August 23rd at 6:30pm at the Kirby Theatre we will be having a fund raiser for our building campaign that is called Raise the Roof. Tickets are now $10 but they will be $12 at the door. You can call me for tickets at 336-592-3400 or you can call 336-597-3498. I look forward to seeing you all there.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

God's Plan

This is the video introducing our theme for Sunday, August 24th at 11am. If for some reason you cannot see this video you can email me and I can burn a DVD for you. Also, if you are new to WikiWorship, then check out this blog post from a couple weeks ago called: What is the Wiki in WikiWorship? I look forward to seeing you all this Sunday as we discuss God's Plan.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008


I wanted to share with you all what we brought in for the Stuff-A-Bus campaign. During this campaign numerous people have been bringing school supplies to Warren's Grove to help children that need help with their school supplies. Above you will see a picture of what we brought in. Also, we raised close to $150 that we then went and got more supplies for the Stuff-A-Bus campaign. I wanted to say thank you, on behalf of the Outreach Committee, for helping with this wonderful mission project.
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