Friday, December 25, 2009

Merry Christmas and Happy Christ's Birthday!

The picture was made using a photo I took at last year's Christmas concert by our adult choir (i.e. the angels in the clouds!) Also, here is one of my favorite Christmas songs , Michael W. Smith's "Anthem for Christmas" (the words follow). The first minute and a half is instrumental, so if you're rushed, go to the 1:20 mark in video for the words! Have a great Christmas celebration of our Savior's birth!!

Anthem for Christmas

by Michael W. Smith

In the space of the beginning

Was the living Word of Light

When this Word was clearly spoken

All that came to be was right

All creation had a language

Words to say what must be said

All day long the heavens whispered

Signing words in scarlet red

Some have failed to understand it

So God spoke His final Word

On a silent night in Judah’s

Hills a baby’s cry was heard

“Glory!” sang the angel chorus

“Glory!” echoed back the night

Love has come to walk among us

Christ the Lord is born this night

All creation sing His praises

Earth and heaven praise His name

All who live come join the chorus

Find the words His love proclaim

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

For Unto Us A Savior is Born

It would be hard to improve on this reminder of what all Christ-followers need to be celebrating tomorrow (and every day of our lives!)!

Happy Christ's Birthday Everyone!!!

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

The True Essence of Secular Christmas Gift Giving - RECIPROCITY!!!

One of CBS's breakout hits is the situation comedy "The Big Bang Theory" about four super intelligent, super-nerdy, geeks trying to live in a non-geeky world. The centerpiece of the ensemble is Sheldon who is too smart for his own good, having 2 Ph.D's and a complete lack of empathy regardless of the subject. Here, he responds to his neighbor's (Penny: a non-brilliant waitress/actress want-to-be) announcement that she's gotten him a Christmas gift.

With my current emphasis on the Advent Conspiracy (, which focuses on spending less money on conventional gifts, while learning to give more meaningful "relational" gifts...Sheldon's comments are right on target for much of our cultures current practices of gift "exchanging" vs. true "giving." His quote:

"You bought me a present? Why would you do such a thing? I know you think you're being generous, but the foundation of gift giving is reciprocity. You haven't given me a gift, you've given me an obligation. The essence of the custom is that I now have to go out and purchase for you a gift of commensurate value and representing the same perceived level of friendship as that represented by the gift you've given me. Ah, it's no wonder suicide rates skyrocket this time of year."

I know the following clip is long, but the payoff is great, especially for those people who think they have to spend a lot of money to give a great gift. I can spiritualize further by noting that Sheldon, brilliant though he is in the world of theoretical physics, he completely underestimates the power of Penny's gift. The lesson: no matter how "smart" we think we are, our Father's gift of Himself through Christ at Christmas, is beyond all others and should send us reeling (as Sheldon reacts to his gift) with joy and wonder and amazement! May this happen to you on the morning of Dec. 25th (and every morning for that matter!). Enjoy the clip!

Sunday, December 06, 2009

Give Something Homemade For Christmas...Like This...

Part of the Advent Conspiracy (see is to spend less on gifts you buy (in order to save more to help the poor), and to give creative gifts to those you care about including gifts you make. Here's a "handmade" gift I wouldn't mind serves no real purpose except to showcase someone's creativity.

Tuesday, December 01, 2009

Give Jesus the Gift of "Shhhhhhh!" for Christmas!

The "shhhhhh" is FOR us to BE QUIET, NOT for Jesus!!!!

(Note: click on the picture to go to an online Advent devotional site to help you give the gift of silence/solitutde to Jesus this December!)

I know it's hard to believe, but there have been a couple of embarrassing times in my life where I was "shushed" by a librarian. My most embarrassing time of "shushing" came when I was a teen-ager at the practice rounds of the Masters golf tournament. Being "shushed" so someone could putt was most humiliating! (You'd think I would have learn my lesson by now!!!)

Sunday I challenged my congregation to give Jesus TEN MINUTES A DAY of silence/solitude every day in December as we approach Christmas. For those who already practice the much-needed discipline of silence/solitude, ten minutes may seem like a joke. My hope is that out of this baby step of faith, my congregation can have a fuller, more meaningful, more Christ-honoring, Christ-serving, Christ-sharing kind of Christmas.

As I had my silence this morning, I turned off my TV, house phone, church phone, and cell phone. The simple act of doing that reminded me that I am WAY TOO CONNECTED...with each connection being another huge pipeline of distraction feeding right into my head!

I told the church that they can read the Bible and pray before or after the ten minutes, but to set aside ten minutes of silence, of being open to our Father as He speaks to each of us. Even if He doesn't; to give up time each day to focus on Him by removing yourself from distractions is, of itself, an act of faith.

Christ died so that we could "become" something, not simply so we could "do" a lot of somethings. It seems that in the rush of life (especially at Christmas), we get so busy "doing," that we forget the importance of "being."

I hope you'll consider giving Christ at least ten minutes a day of your full attention. Turn off the TV, cell phone, computer, etc. so you can "be still and know that He is God!" (Psalm 46:10)

You may be surprised at what ten minutes of silence a day can do for your celebration of Christmas!!!

To help you on your Advent journey, don't forget to check out the "Following the Star" online Advent devotions at For the rest of Advent you can even set your home page to this website so you'll be reminded daily to BE QUIET for JESUS!!

Additional links about Advent and solitude:

Monday, November 30, 2009

For Everyone in a Monday Funk...

I just got off the phone with a good friend who was in a Monday funk. I thought this might make everyone feel a little better...unless of course, you are an extreme tree-hugger. Hey, I like trees...ask me about redwoods sometime, but this is...well, pretty sad. So no matter how bad your day is going, be thankful you're not grief-stricken over a conifer! OH, the really good parts begin around 25 seconds into it, so be patient!

Saturday, November 28, 2009

A Reminder NOT To Rush Through Advent!

YOU keep us waiting.
You, the God of all time,
Want us to wait
For the right time in which to discover
Who we are, where we are to go,
Who will be with us,
and what we must do.
So thank you … for the waiting time.

John Bell, quoted in The Westminster Collection of Christian Prayers, compiled by Dorothy M. Stewart

Want to Give Jesus a Great Gift this Christmas? How about some HUMILITY!

Just read a pretty good AND convicting article about "The Advent of Humility" at

I never like being convicted alone, so join me! What greater gift can we give to Christ this year than our worship, which really won't happen if we're focused on ourselves. Join the "conspiracy!" (

Tuesday, November 24, 2009


For Clemson fans, if you haven't already read it. This is an excellent article on Dabo Swinney's family life.

Regardless of what happens this Saturday against USC (though we are feeling pretty good going into the game), I am proud of our Clemson team, its coaching staff, and, of course of our head coach who is not only a great coach on the field, but also a man of great faith who is willing to let people know that whenever he can. GO TIGERS and DABO!

Monday, November 09, 2009

Vacation - Day One

Monday morning's headline in the Rock Hill Herald (I'm visiting friends in Clover, SC), gave me an indication of a great vacation! GO TIGERS!

Fantastic Veterans Day Service

Wednesday (the 11th) is Veterans Day! Don't forget to find a veteran and to thank him or her for his or her service to our country. We wouldn't be a country without the sacrifices made over the past 200 plus years to gain and maintain our freedom!

We had a great Veterans Day service at church yesterday. One of the highlights was a drama depicting a mom (and her sister) receiving the horrible news that her son had been killed on the fields of batter in World War II. Ret. Col. Charles Hallman, who had trained at Ft. Hood, TX, reminded us to pray for the families there. He served in the U.S. Army for 26 years, including two tours in Vietnam, and a tour in Kuwait under Operation Desert Storm, when he commanded a tank battalion.

Dr. Bob Tilley (who had been a member of our church family for over 18 years, brought the message. He enlisted in the U.S. Navy '51 and then in '65 as a Naval Chaplain.

We then ended the day as Baptists love to end a eating! It was a great day!

Friday, November 06, 2009

Join the Advent Conspiracy! Have the best Christmas EVER!

Just want to remind everyone, everywhere that you're invited to the Advent Conspiracy! Click on the video, but be warned, it may change how you "do" Christmas for the rest of your life!

For Christ-followers, the Christmas season can be filled with a lot of things besides, peace, joy, and good will toward man! I'm hoping to lead our church in December to "conspiring" to regain the focus of Advent on Christ by (taken from the website):


It starts with Jesus. It ends with Jesus. This is the holistic approach God had in mind for Christmas. It’s a season where we are called to put down our burdens and lift a song up to our God. It’s a season where love wins, peace reigns, and a king is celebrated with each breath. It’s the party of the year. Entering the story of advent means entering this season with an overwhelming passion to worship Jesus to the fullest.


Before you think we’re getting all Scrooge on you, let us explain what we mean. We like gifts. Our kids really like gifts. But consider this: America spends an average of $450 billion a year every Christmas. How often have you spent money on Christmas presents for no other reason than obligation? How many times have you received a gift out of that same obligation? Thanks, but no thanks, right? We’re asking people to consider buying ONE LESS GIFT this Christmas. Just one. Sounds insignificant, yet many who have taken this small sacrifice have experienced something nothing less than a miracle: They have been more available to celebrate Christ during the advent season. For ideas on how to give more creative (less expensive) gifts, go to:


God’s gift to us was a relationship built on love. So it’s no wonder why we’re drawn to the idea that Christmas should be a time to love our friends and family in the most memorable ways possible. Time is the real gift Christmas offers us, and no matter how hard we look, it can’t be found at the mall. Time to make a gift that turns into the next family heirloom. Time to write mom a letter. Time to take the kids sledding. Time to bake really good cookies and sing really bad Christmas carols. Time to make love visible through relational giving. Sounds a lot better than getting a sweater two sizes too big, right? Need a few ideas? Just click here( and see what others have done to give more during the advent season.

LOVING ALL (Including the poor)

When Jesus loved, He loved in ways never imagined. Though rich, he became poor to love the poor, the forgotten, the overlooked and the sick. He played to the margins. By spending less at Christmas we have the opportunity to join Him in giving resources to those who need help the most. When Advent Conspiracy first began four churches challenged this simple concept to its congregations. The result raised more than a half million dollars to aid those in need. One less gift. One unbelievable present in the name of Christ.

That's the focus of AC in a nutshell. For much more info and resources, go to:

As we enter the advent season, may each of us, who profess to follow Christ, ask ourselves, "What would Jesus want me to do with my Advent/Christmas celebration?" Then, just do it! Join the conspiracy!

Tuesday, November 03, 2009

I'm Trying Not to Read Too Much Into This....But...

Ok, you know I like science fiction, so I gave ABC's new series "V" a chance to grab my attention, and it did, though not like I anticipated. It's a remake of a series done in the early 80's about aliens showing up in big spaceships, proclaiming peace while having a much more sinister purpose. So this big, really big spaceship slowly makes its way over New York City, causing everything to shake. One of the shaking scenes is in a church where a homeless man in a wheelchair is sitting under a crucifix situated in the balcony. Here's the sequence:

I'm sure ABC was NOT inferring that Christianity is useless against the onslaught of alien invaders! Still, it was a bit disconcerting to see the priest having to rescue the homeless guy from the falling crucifix. So is their message that Christianity is pretty much useless in a crisis; or even dangerous in a crisis?

Sure, I'm offended, but how does Christ want me to respond to a world so quick to mock our beliefs? Peter lived in a culture that was mocking Christ and His followers long before America or ABC were even in someone's imagination. He lives in a culture that went so far as to murder and torture Christians as entertainment. Peter's Spirit-inspired response? He said, "14But even if you should suffer for what is right, you are blessed. "Do not fear what they fear; do not be frightened."15But in your hearts set apart Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect, 16keeping a clear conscience, so that those who speak maliciously against your good behavior in Christ may be ashamed of their slander." (1 Peter 3:14-16)

We will not have to answer for the sins of ABC or the writers of "V," but we will have to answer for whether or not each of us set apart Christ as Lord and followed Him; when our culture was kind to Him, and especially when our culture was not. So don't make it easier for someone to slander Christ and His church; set apart Christ as Lord!

Friday, October 30, 2009

An Up Side to the Economy

With money being tight these days, it gives you a good excuse to wait to go on that next cruise. If you can't wait till 2011, you can take the family on the first cruise ship with a "water coaster!" Those Disney people! I thought this animation was pretty cool anyway, and having Disney movies playing throughout the ship was a nice touch... never miss a chance to advertise! So save your pennies!

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Wonders All Around

Amazingly beautiful things are happening all the time around us; we just don't have eyes to see. Well, look at this...

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Great Geek Gift!

In case you're looking for a cool robot to give to your favorite geek, here's one you should check out!

Monday, October 26, 2009

Keep a Camera Handy

I went to see a church member after church yesterday, and when I was leaving, saw a couple of unexpected photo opps. Having my little Sony (a T77 for anyone who would care), I took these. Wonders are all around you if you'll just take a little time to look!
The grasshopper, well, he was very cooperative!

The dogs are obviously having a hard time understanding what else is new?

Friday, October 16, 2009

Help Me! It Ain't Fair!

I thought that buying (and eating) these tiny 100 calorie snack cakes would be the answer to my weight problem. Well, maybe not, but hang with me for the sake of this post!

Yesterday, my routine bloodwork showed that all of my blood levels were normal (Yay...blood glucose of 88!), except for my triglycerides (230). So I hit the stationary bike tonight, having moved it into my foyer so I could see my TV.

Well, it's got one of those displays that showed me how many calories I was "burning." Imagine my horror to find out how long it took to burn off two of those little snack cakes! Over 32 minutes!

And how long does it take for me to eat those same 200 calories? Well, I could do it quicker than this, but at a normal rate of consumption, I'd estimate about 16 seconds!

That "Little Debbie," may look innocent enough, but she's a monster! I guess I'm not going to let her and her friends in my house anymore!

The moral....the road to destruction (and obesity) is wide and easy, but that doesn't mean we need to keep going down it! By the way, it takes about 3 hours on this bike to get ride of the calories in one McDonald's milkshake! Ouch!

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Are You a "Rejoicer?"

Sure, this dance number is staged, but only the dancers knew about it. I enjoy seeing the reactions of bystanders to what seemed a spontaneous event. It was unexpected in what many probably thought would be another day of the same old routine. It reminded me how important it is that people see the joy in our lives. Not a shallow happiness based in circumstances, but an abiding joy in knowing we're never alone; in knowing that we belong to the Creator of the Universe, not as little creatures of His divine curiosity, but adopted children, beloved for an eternity.

Paul knew this joy, and knew it was vital to our witness when he was inspired to write: "Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you." Philippians 4:4-9

Paul makes it clear that "rejoicing" is a command, and that the quality of our lives need to be evident to all, so others may perceive the wonder of God's love and power and mercy and grace... when we're struggling with life, and when we feel like dancing! Notice the reactions of the onlookers. What do people see when they see you "doing" life? Something worth smiling about? Something worth investigating? Something that points them to Christ?

Enjoy the song and dance...and I hope today someone else enjoys the "song and dance" they see and hear in your life!

Amazing Grace - How Amazed Do You Look To Others?

I went a little ballistic yesterday on Facebook. My good friend of mine sent it to me. I'm glad he did. Here is the comment it prompted...

I'll tell you what's on my we who have been adopted by the Creator of the Universe so that we can call Him, "Abba Father," can live our lives unchanged, complaining, allowing the trivial to ruin our (and other's) ...days, talking about so many things with passion, except about the only One who has died so that you could live forever. If we can sing about a grace so amazing, why can't we talk about it (grace) and Him more (not just with unbelievers, but with each other). Sorry...this video got to me. Hope it gets to you, the's being performed where many first century Christians were martyred for their faith (The Coliseum). I wonder what they'd think of how we handle the Gospel?

Click on picture to see video...

Tuesday, October 06, 2009

Completely Worthless Video of Roomba Trek!

Okay, so every now and then I have to take a break from dealing with the infinite, and the eternal to be truly juvenile...this was one of those times...

So You Think God's Not Big Enough to Handle Your Life?

Just a little reminder...make that a HUGE, GIGANTIC reminder that God is big enough, and smart enough, and powerful enough, and loving enough to take care of you. If you forget that, then look up at the heavens which declare His glory!

Every Christian Needs to See This

My pastor/author/buddy Gene has been after me for weeks to watch this video clip. I thank God for his persistence. Just watch the first 30 seconds and see if you can stop! Powerful message, given in a simple way...

STOP HOLDING ON TO THAT BEAM! Remember that Albert Einstein once said “The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.” Christ didn't die so you could engage in the insanity of doing nothing new or risky for the rest of your life!

Monday, September 28, 2009

Not Your Typical Teenaged Driver

Click to view clip of this pretty amazing crash at Sundays NASCAR DOVER 400.

What's really amazing:

First, Joey Logano walked away from this crash unhurt. So much for those people who say they long for the good old days, before all this fancy technology. No injuries, no fire, we've come a long way from the days of exploding Pintos!(You younger folks won't get that last reference!)

Second, Logano is only nineteen! I didn't know they let kids drive these things! And you parents of teenagers worry about your teenagers speeding!

Friday, September 11, 2009

Coping with September 11th The Best Way - LOVE PEOPLE!


It is difficult to imagine the pain of those who lost loved ones in the horror of September 11, 2001. I am sure, however, that on this day, especially, there is the recurring pain of grief over lost parents, or spouse, or children, or friends in the destruction of the World Trade Centers, the attack on the Pentagon, and the crash of United Flight 93 in Pennsylvania (which saved many more lives which could have been lost if it had not been for the courage and sacrifice of regular, ordinary people who became extraordinary in their last minutes of life!).

That spirit of sacrifice and courage was also displayed in the heroic, selfless
decisions made by so many police and fireman (and others) who did not flee the World Trade Centers, but willingly went "up" in the towers, as people came "down," to save whoever they could. Their bravery and sacrifice remind us all about how we can best remember this day in history. Yes, memorials need to be built and visited, but is that the best way to remember those who died that day as the result of human hatred?

No! The best way to remember them is to never take life for granted, and to do whatever we can to love others in the Biblical way, with actions that help, and not hurt. I am amazed at how easily we overlook the power of kindness in day-to-day life to transform others for good. As anyone wh
o knows me has heard me say countless times, quoting a seminary professor I had, "Love is acting in the best interest of another PERIOD." This is driven home by one of my favorite Bible passages: 1 John 3:16-18: "This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers. If anyone has material possessions and sees his brother in need but has no pity on him, how can the love of God be in him? Dear children, let us not love with words or tongue but with actions and in truth."

Yes, we have to be strong against terrorism, to protect our great land, but to defeat it, we must defeat our own selfishness, too, and not allow those who hate to get us to focus on hate, too. Support our military in our fight against global terrorism, but wherever you are, I pray that you will allow the grace of God to empower you to sacrifice for a greater good; for the welfare of someone else. Christ is our ultimate example, those brave men and women who died on 9/11 trying to save others are our examples, too. Over 3,000 people died that day; 3,000 people who did not get to live these last eight years. What have you done with your last eight years? Have you made the world a better place? Your neighborhood? Your community? Have you loved the people (friends and strangers) who have crossed your path? Your opportunity to love others could be cut short on ANY day at ANY hour, so I hope you are looking for ways to impact someone else for good. One of my favorite remembrances of 9/11 was not known by the world at large till some time later, but in the midst of that dark, dark week following the attacks, something amazing was happening way up north in Gander, Newfoundland. Here is the video: (Oh, that we would learn the lesson of love from these ordinary people acting in an extraordinary way!)

Monday, September 07, 2009

Hope Labor Day Was Good For You...

I hope you all had a great Labor Day. I found this picture on the internet of some sailors being "refreshed" during their off duty hours. I hope that you are grateful for the "labor" our military puts forth to protect us and the labor God enables you to do.

I also hope that you are taking time to "refresh," not just by jumping into some water, but by drawing close to the Father who brings the ultimate refreshment...a relationship with Himself through Christ!

I will refresh the weary and satisfy the faint."
Jeremiah 31:25

Saturday, September 05, 2009

Prayer Request for Joel and Patty Jones

My church family has joined me over the past three weeks in praying for one of my very best friends and his wife, Joel and Patty Jones. Patty was diagnosed three weeks ago with lung cancer and begins chemo next week. Joel and Patty (and their three sons, Matthew, Robert, and Benjamin) are among the finest people I've ever met, and I, like anyone who has friends or family with cancer, wish I could wave a magic wand and make it all go away.

Joel and Patty have a strong, consistent faith in the Lord, and have served Him faithfully ever since I've known them, and are trusting Him now. This does not, however, make the journey easy. I'm just glad they're not on the journey alone as Our Father walks with us through life, even when we don't understand the mysteries that can scare us so much, and gives us each other to walk with, too.

I have no doubts He is walking with Joel and Patty. Here are some prayer requests Joel has shared with friends this weekend. Please join me as we lift them up in prayer. Joel's note:

Although anxious about what is to come, Patty is ready to begin the treatment phase. Although we hate this disease, and the fear and anxiety that we have experienced over the past 3 weeks, we know that we are blessed to be loved by a Heavenly Father and by His children. We have seen His grace. We are learning. We hate it, but we are learning.
If you will continue to pray for us, we will appreciate it. We ask specifically that you please:
  • Pray that the treatment plan we have is the correct one.
  • Pray that we will be attentive to signs of trouble that need immediate medical attention.
  • Pray that our sons will not falter in their actions or their faith
  • Pray that Patty's Mom and sister will remain strong
  • Pray that Patty and I will find much enjoyment - that food will taste good and jokes will be funny and music will sound beautiful. We've heard that is supposed to happen and we want it.
In Him,

Still Impressed and Thankful for Dabo Swinney

Well, Clemson's first game of the season is tonight, and I hope they win BIG. Then I hope they win big all season long, and not primarily because I'm a Clemson grad, but because I want Dabo Swinney to remain head coach at Clemson for a long, long time. One of the major highlights of the year was to meet him back in February when he so graciously agreed to meet with me so I could record a short retirement tribute for a friend and fellow minister.

I was SO impressed with him, and with his faith, and his love for his team. I got to pray with him concerning the "ministry" he has been given in impacting his team, his community and his fans for the glory of Christ. Talking with him, you get the idea that his faith is not some separate, "private" part of his life, but something integrated into his life in a seamless way (the way Christ wants, by the know, loving God "with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind."(Matt. 22:37)

Here is a sample of Dabo's view of his "platform" that goes far beyond merely winning football games:

So I'm hoping for a great start tonight at Clemson's season opener. Whether or not we have a winning season (though I'm counting on it), I know God is going to use Dabo and wife, Kathleen, to do some amazing things in the years ahead, and I thank God I got to meet him. Go TIGERS!

Friday, September 04, 2009

A Birthday Present for Kittie Trail

What better birthday present to give to a mom than a video of her three boys doing a birthday break dance for their mom...


Try JibJab Sendables® eCards today!

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Wise Advice from a Wise Lady

This picture was taken at a church-wide birthday party for Adeline Copelan (seated) on her 100th birthday in 2005. Today (August 30, 2009), I am officiating at her funeral. She turned 104 in March, when she, always concerned for my health, said, as she pointed from my stomach, and motioned to my head, "from here to here is okay, but that belly's got to go!"

This is one of my favorite pictures as two of our then teen-agers, Daniel and Ryan, were going to show Adeline something they had learned in their mission group, but they were interrupted by some wise counsel from a wise lady. She said (at the moment of the picture mind you!), "It's a crazy mixed up world out there, no don't go and get suck up in it!"

I am happy for her as she is finally at home with the Lord, something she's been looking forward to for a long, long time. And her advice about the world? Well, we'd all be better off if we were careful daily "not to go and get sucked up in it!"

Saturday, August 15, 2009

For All My OLD Friends Who MIGHT Remember...

Brown Bannister produced just one contemporary Christian album featuring his singing: Talk to One Another, back in 1984. For 30 years, however, Bannister has produced award-winning albums for some of the industry’s top Christian artists, including Michael W. Smith, Steven Curtis Chapman, Third Day, Mercy Me, Avalon, Point of Grace, CeCe Winans and Twila Paris. I was looking for lyrics to his album and came across this speech he gave this summer at his Alma Mater, Abilene Christian University. He is the person who basically discovered Amy Grant when she was part of his youth group! He also has won 13 Grammy Awards, 23 Dove Awards and been named Producer of the Year five times by the Gospel Music Association. Here's the speech:

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Questions of Conscience

Read an interesting article today by Dr. David Gushee on "Our Missing Moral Compass" and he shared an interesting, and convicting list of questions Catholics can ask themselves prior to going to confessions. Maybe these are questions we need to ask ourselves before we go to our High Priest in prayer. If we're not going to be honest with our Father, why bother praying?

The excerpt from the article: It's Friday night at the bookstore, and I'm leafing through a book of Catholic prayers. Here I find the "examination of conscience" questions to ask oneself prior to going to confession. These questions include the following:

Have I neglected my home or my family duties?
Have I been lazy, neglectful, or easily distracted during prayers?
Have I used God's name irreverently or taken false or needless oaths?
Have I missed church through my own fault?
Have I worked unnecessarily on Sundays?
Have I disobeyed, angered, or been disrespectful toward my parents or those in authority over me?
Have I quarreled with or willfully hurt anyone?
Have I caused another to sin?
Have I been sinfully angry? Greedy? Proud? Jealous?
Have I neglected to care for the poor and the needy?

And so on. It is a rich moral inventory.

Tough questions, but here's the good news: "If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness." 1 John 1:9

Friday, July 31, 2009

Do Not Grow Weary in Doing Good...

It is easy to grow tired in trying to make a positive impact when no visible results are forthcoming. Paul reminds us in Galations 6:9: "Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up." This important life perspective is illustrated in the film short entitled "Validation." Click to enjoy!

You could also add, as a biblical reminder: "Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen." (Ephesians 4:29) With so much sadness in the world, shouldn't we be more intentional about adding as much "good" as we can? Who knows? Maybe you'll give someone a reason to hear from you the best news of all....that of our Savior, Jesus Christ!

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Some Vacation Pics - B.S.U. Reunion '09

I'll have much to say soon about how wonderful this past weekend was, and what a gift from our Father it was, but for now, just some pics...

From the Reunion:

From my tour of the tiny Hunter Street Baptist Church:

Monday, July 20, 2009

Our Last World Changers Trip of the Year

Our church's college World Changers team left yesterday for a week in the North Charleston area. Here is part of our intrepid group. (Billy Self, Construction Coordinator for the entire project; and Wyman Abstance, crew chief (on his 34th WC project) went on ahead, and Jim Polasky had a delayed departure due to a stomach bug.) Click on picture for link to send group members an "E-couragram" email!
(Left to right) Eddie Creech, Cathy Self, Beth Polasky, Jason Chew, Courtney Smith, Daniel Eubanks, and Taylor Cornforth

40 Years Ago Today - History was Made - ON THE MOON!

That's one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind!

Today is the 40th anniversary of man's landing on the moon and Neil Armstrong's first words as he stepped off the landing pad of the Lunar Module onto the moon!

Show your kids this amazing piece of history!
I don't know what's more amazing: that we actually landed on the moon,
or that the past 40 years have flown by so quickly!

I thought this poster was pretty cool, too!

An Appropriate Psalm...

When I consider your heavens,
the work of your fingers,
the moon and the stars,
which you have set in place,
what is man that you are mindful of him,
the son of man that you care for him?
Psalm 8:3,4

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

World Changers in Brunswick, GA

Here's an article from the Brunswick newspaper on the World Changer crew led by Steve Cornforth (with another member, Eddie Creech, as crew encourager). They and the rest of the Denmark FBC World Changers are having a great week...keep praying for them! Oh, click on the arrow above picture to see picture of Eddie!

World Changers back on the housetops of Brunswick's needy homeowners |

Shared via AddThis

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

I Want Some of These

Okay, Christmas is around the corner and I am notoriously hard to buy for, so here's what I want... some Bucky Balls! Okay, not really...well..maybe...but they look pretty cool, and a spiritual illustration as a bonus! (WARNING: Don't buy these for a child...eating them could literally be fatal!)

The lesson? We can do more together than we can by ourselves. Paul reminds us in 1 Corinthians 12:24-27: "But God has combined the members of the body and has given greater honor to the parts that lacked it, so that there should be no division in the body, but that its parts should have equal concern for each other. If one part suffers, every part suffers with it; if one part is honored, every part rejoices with it. Now you are the body of Christ, and each one of you is a part of it."

And Ecclesiastes 4:9,10 reminds us: "Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their work: If one falls down, his friend can help him up. But pity the man who falls and has no one to help him up!"

So stay connected to other believers and be prepared for what our Father can do through the Body of Christ!

Monday, July 13, 2009

Tim and Mary Platts' Big Day!

Here is a link to a photo album of Tim and Mary Platts' wedding day! Forgive some of the "red eye," but I wanted to get these up, and the lighting at the reception caused mega-flash red eyes beyond the capabilities of my current photo-editing software. Click picture for more photos!

Sunday, July 12, 2009

The Newest Breland!

For folks clamoring to see the newest addition to the Breland family,
Charles Herman Breland, 4th (Chaz)...
Here he is! Click on picture for more!

Still Another Chance to Encourage a World Changer!

Our youth left this morning...ooops...technically, "yesterday" morning to journey to Brunswick, GA for a week of loving people for Christ as they scrape, paint and shingle! PLEASE take a moment to send an "E-COURAGRAM" as soon as you can! Our team...

From Left to Right:
Steve Cornforth, Walker Smith, Cory Dantzler, Beth Pruett
Jodi Eubanks, Katie Pruett, Jenna Pruett
Jim Polasky, Eddie Creech, Brent Cook

Here is the link to send an E-COURAGRAM!

Monday, July 06, 2009


Hey everybody....some of my church folks are participating in World Changers in Blackville, SC (though the WC site says it's Barnwell), so drop them an e-couragram if you can. Here is the link, and here are my members:
Note: this link will only be valid through Thursday evening of July 9th, 2009.

Cathy Self - First Aid Coordinator
Billy Self and Steve Cornforth - Crew Chiefs
Wyman Abstance - Crew Chief Supervisor

Saturday, July 04, 2009

Don't Take This Document for Granted!

When was the last time you read the Declaration of Independence? (You can read the text here:

Thomas Jefferson was only 33 when he wrote it. Though expressing the desire of the majority of the colonies, to the rest of the world, it was a radical, dangerous document.

It declared a nation's right to rise up against a government that did not govern with justice...not very popular with kings and queens who rule by what they considered divine right.

Though we celebrate July 4th, 1776 as a glorious, pivotal day in the history of our great nation, that year held little to celebrate for the colonies as England brought its powerful military machine to bear on these primitive colonists. No real victories were won by the colonies.

Still they persevered, and finally, slowly the tide was turned which eventually resulted in our victory. So let us never forget that those who signed the Declaration of Independence were not simply making a statement of belief, but were making a life-altering (for them and for those who would follow) decision to support their declaration with action. Let us never forget the last line of this great document: And for the support of this declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of Divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our lives, our fortunes and our sacred honor.

The freedom won by our forefathers, and given by Our Father in Heaven, was never meant to be used to indulge selfishness, but to give ourselves to purposes far greater than our own desires. Check out 1 Cor. 10:23,24:" Everything is permissible"—but not everything is beneficial. "Everything is permissible"—but not everything is constructive. Nobody should seek his own good, but the good of others."

Pursue Happiness If You Must, But Be Careful!

Happy Fourth of July Everyone! As we celebrate our freedom to "pursue happiness" (personally, I think we need to pursue loving God and loving others first), here's a great article and video on what happiness is. Though not a spiritual article, it does remind us that happiness is not in amassing a bunch of money.

Watch CBS Videos Online

For important reminders see Matt. 6:33; Ecclesiastes 5:8-20;1 Tim. 6:6; Philippians 4:11-13 plus many others! So pursue happiness if you will, but pursue God first and the happiness will take care of itself. The video cuts off about a minute before it's supposed to, but the article has the full text! Here's the link:

So enjoy your freedom, thank God for your freedom, and for those who gave their lives to secure it, and then use your freedom wisely, as our Father through Paul reminds us: " You, my brothers, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the sinful nature; rather, serve one another in love. The entire law is summed up in a single command: "Love your neighbor as yourself." Galatians 5:13,14