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.