Saturday, December 24, 2011
For more info, check out: http://www.adventconspiracy.org/
By the way, for $99.00/year, you can legally download all clips from Hyper Pixels Media! Not a bad deal: http://www.hyperpixelsmedia.com/?zenid=837147898fac4ad4d49b23f2011ff23e
Wednesday, December 21, 2011
Thursday, December 08, 2011
So here, with the help of Linus and Snoopy, is my Christmas wish for you all!!!
Wednesday, November 30, 2011
Saturday, September 10, 2011
If you really, really want to see some more shots from the dam, you'll find them here:
Wednesday, August 03, 2011
I have faith in Christ that through His Spirit He is with us; that heaven waits for those who've trusted Him, that He'll provide whatever I need to minister and witness to others. Still, I am SO glad that the Holy Spirit inspired Paul to write in Romans 12:15: Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn. I'm glad that most of the psalms are songs of consolation or grief. I'm glad the Scriptures tell us that being sad is appropriate at times. I am just a bit weary of the intensity of sadness over the past many months (sleeping in a church with 300 World Changers on a mission project last week didn't help.).
Father has been faithful, however, to sustain me during this season of grief. He does that in a variety of ways. One way has been through three guys who continue to encourage me as they have since I've known them, usually in ways that they are completely unaware of. I'm talking about the three sons of my friends, Randy and Kittie Trail, Ben, Patrick and Thomas. Randy, Kittie and I were in seminary together long ago. I was best man at their wedding. My friendship with them and their boys is one of the most important gifts Father has ever given me.
Randy and Kittie have spent their lives as career missionaries. Their boys love Christ...I mean they really love Christ in a way that is obvious to anyone who knows them. They love Christ in a way that is so well-integrated into their lives. I have to get to work on my funeral message, so I can't write all I'd want right now about how Christ in them "looks," but as an example, read Thomas' (the youngest son, a rising junior at the University of Richmond) last blog post from Malawi, Africa where he has spent the summer on a physical therapy (his major) internship. He was brought up primarily in Mauritius and Botswana. I think his folks were serving in Rwanda when he was born. He and his brothers have an expanded world view when compared with a lot of American kids.
He has been reporting about his work in Africa this summer, and his reports have encouraged me in many ways. What has encouraged me a lot is his passion and love for the people of Malawi and Africa and his faith in Christ. I could write similar stories about his brothers, but am running out of time. Thomas returns home today and I look forward to seeing him soon to hear of his journey. Click here to read his last post. How I wish we all had such a passion for the things that matter...and the "things" that matter the most aren't things at all, but Christ and people.
Last week I was encouraged as I heard other stories of believers at World Changers, probably more than I ever had been before. Have you shared your story lately? It might be more encouraging than you know! Here's the link to Thomas' blog post:
Tuesday, August 02, 2011
Tuesday, July 12, 2011
I was reminded of the dangers (and sadness) of absolute freedom this past week. A couple of weeks ago, a church member called with "a problem," and it was definitely a problem. She had just brought her husband home from the hospital that afternoon. He had had a major battle with pneumonia, so he was not well by a long shot. (Note: He's better now.) They had arrived to find a dead stray dog about 20 ft. from their backdoor. (Please note this picture is of a SLEEPING dog, but you get the idea!) They had been in the hospital for several days, the daily highs were in the 99-101 range, so you can imagine the condition of the dog.
No "official" dog removal city worker was available on a Sunday afternoon, so I assured her I would take care of it. Technically, I guess I should have said, "I'll find someone to take care of it" because that's what I did by asking two of my deacons to remove the offending corpse after our monthly deacons' meeting that night. I went to "supervise," or rather, to check on the couple while the dog was removed. Yes, it was nauseating,I mean REALLY nauseating, but my great deacons prevailed, and the problem was "removed."
Unlike the stray, Deacon lived a confined life. He was taken on daily walks on a leash, and spent most of his time in the house with his family. The stray had no such restraints; he was absolutely free. I couldn't help but notice the differences in the deaths of these two dogs. One was a nuisance, and had to be removed and discarded as garbage. The other had become a member of a family, lovingly allowed a peaceful passing to avoid additional pain due to old age. He was named, he will be remembered; he is still being grieved over. His owners are grateful they had him, loved him and was loved by him.
Our Father's commands are not meant to damage us, or to hurt us, but to enable us to experience His love so that we can better love others. As the scriptures says, “My son, do not make light of the Lord’s discipline, and do not lose heart when he rebukes you, because the Lord disciplines those he loves, and he punishes everyone he accepts as a son.” (Hebrews 12:5,6 quoting Prov. 3:11,12) I'll choose discipline by a Father Who truly loves me over absolute freedom anytime! I hope you do, too!
Monday, July 11, 2011
Wednesday, June 22, 2011
Oh, and use this as an opportunity to worry less! Remember what Christ says in Matthew 6:27-34: Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life? And why do you worry about clothes? See how the flowers of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you—you of little faith? So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.
How often do we ignore the accumulation of little sins in our lives, rationalizing them at first because everyone is doing it, or it's so small, or no one knows anyway. Still, seeds will eventually grow. You've heard or read the saying:
We sow a thought and reap an act;
We sow an act and reap a habit;
We sow a habit and reap a character;
We sow a character and reap a destiny.
Christ saved us to be transformed into the "new self" which reflects His love and light to a world so desperately in need of it. Ephesians 4:22-24 puts it this way: You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; to be made new in the attitude of your minds; and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.
We are to pay attention to our own sin (instead of being preoccupied with the sin of others), if we are to grow in Christ. Don't let the small sins accumulate in your life; eventually, they will do their damage!
Here is one final Biblical reminder from Hebrews 12:1-3: Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.
If you are growing weary and losing heart, you may want to "get out on deck" and check your "gear" to see if something dangerous is accumulating!
Monday, June 20, 2011
Thanks go out to all the workers who made "Backstage" happen! This also marks the first VBS for me that was 100% Mac. I did this using iPhoto on my Macbook Pro. Click on the video to go "backstage" at Denmark First Baptist's Vacation Bible School!
Saturday, June 18, 2011
- Some will not have ever had the experience of a good father, but perhaps an abusive one.
- Others may have never had a father.
- Others will be having the first Father's Day without their dad, either through death or the breakup of a marriage.
- Others will be dads, but maybe they realize they haven't done a great job; some will be right, and some will be wrong.
I saw this video tonight, and it made me think of just how powerful a person a dad is (for good or evil). It also reminded me of how we should pray for the dads we know (whether our own or not) often, for the power they exert over their children's lives can have eternal implications.
If you are an adult, but not a parent, children you know are watching you, too! Let's help our dads by being positive influences on their kids. This video will help us all realize how important it is that we realize our place in the lives of our children. Our dads, no matter how good they are, would probably appreciate all the help they can get in raising their kids!
Monday, May 30, 2011
Wednesday, May 25, 2011
An excellent movie for kids (and adults willing to be encouraged by something animated) that illustrates this point is Disney's Dinosaur.
Here's the clip:
So don't go it alone! It's just plain dumb...uh, and dangerous!
Wednesday, May 18, 2011
As a friend of mine said, "It looked like a happy wedding." I was there...and it was! Congratulations Rob and Kristin! Enjoy the rest of your life and thanks for letting me be a part of tying the knot! The original is much clearer. Had to reduce quality to get it to upload in a reasonable time. Click for the video! Links to photo albums follow:
Buck Ridge Plantation - A Great Place for a Wedding:
Cakes and details: http://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.1683325332984.2079080.1533128561&l=d3cd6a7979
Friday, April 29, 2011
It is not William and Catherine's fault the media is so insane about covering every possible "angle" (including imagined angles!) of the event. I admit that the coverage since their announced engagement has left me longing for the thing to be over with so we could talk about something else. The ceremony, however, held several unexpected (I admit my "expectations" are my own fault.) surprises including:
1. At least the ABC news people kept quiet during the actual ceremony.
2. The content of the wedding homily (sermon for all my Baptist brothers and sisters!) was, well, amazing. The message starts at time marker 3:40 in this clip. Be patient if you click it on the day of the wedding as I'm sure lots of people are trying to view it...it was slow.)
The text of the message can be found here: http://cathleenfalsani.com/2011/04/29/the-royal-wedding-homily-by-dr-richard-chartres-anglican-bishop-of-london/
Having done my share of weddings, I was VERY impressed with the content of this message.
3. The reading of Romans 12 by Kate's brother. You can read it here:
What a great passage to be read at a wedding. This Romans passage does not just describe the kind of life our Father wants to give married couples in Christ, but this is His desire for all His children. Can you imagine a world in which people lived this way?
4. The simple prayer composed by William and Catherine read by the Archbishop of London, Dr. Richard Chartres:
God our Father, we thank you for our families; for the love that we share and for the joy of our marriage.
In the busyness of each day keep our eyes fixed on what is real and important in life and help us to be generous with our time and love and energy.
An estimated two BILLION people watched this wedding, so I hope at least some of them really listened to the homily and the scripture reading. It will be interesting to see all the dissecting of today's events, and specifically the extent to which commentators go on and on about Kate's wedding dress, yet completely ignore the content of the service. Ouch! There I go being cynical again!
May we all pray a great marriage for William and Catherine, and they will have such a marriage if they trust Christ to make a continuing reality of what they heard throughout their ceremony. May each of us be so committed to Christ to see it happen in our lives, too!
Monday, April 25, 2011
And an example of augmented reality...
So what does this have to do with Jesus? Here is last week's church newsletter article I wrote attempting to show this connection:
I Got a New Dog! A couple of weeks ago I bought a new Golden Retriever puppy named Cooper! He’s smart and can already sit on command. He loves to play fetch with a tennis ball, and he walks well on a leash. He’s pretty good at taking a bath, too. The only downside is HE IS NOT REAL!
I’m sure that when the game breaks or I lose the game cartridge, I won’t shed a tear over losing Cooper. How could I? He is really nothing more than a bunch of 1’s and 0’s in a computer chip! I remember when Dave, my real dog died, how amazed I was that it hurt so much to lose him.
What does all this have to do with Christ as we approach Resurrection Sunday? I was just thinking about how easy it is to treat Jesus like I treat Cooper…turning him on for a diversion (or paying attention to him when I’m in real trouble), but then turning him off again for the majority of my life. Like my virtual puppy, the Jesus of some people appears to be trapped not in a handheld gadget, but in a church building, where He’s paid attention to for an hour or two a week. As we leave a worship service, it’s so easy to leave Jesus there and not think about Him much in the coming week. Then we end up acting and reacting to the week’s circumstances just like everyone else does, Christian or not.
Jesus didn’t die a horrible death and rise from the grave merely to give us all a bunch of things to believe so we’ll get into heaven one day. He died so we could be adopted into God’s family NOW and forever, and He rose so He could be our REAL living Lord in daily relationship with us. How sad it would be for an adopted child who knew the facts of his/her adoption, but never connected with, or was transformed by the love of his/her parents…a love that sacrificed so much to make him/her a part of their family.
Paul makes this clear in Romans 8:15,16: "The Spirit you received does not make you slaves, so that you live in fear again; rather, the Spirit you received brought about your adoption to sonship. And by him we cry, 'Abba, Father.' The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children."
My prayer is that you will celebrate our Living Savior and Lord both when you are with a community of faith, and when you are alone. May we celebrate every day for the rest of our lives, that we have opportunity after opportunity to know the Creator of the Universe as our own “Abba Father.”
Sure, a virtual, computerized, once-a-week, electronic savior would be easier to deal with in some ways, but you can’t be saved, transformed, or loved by something that’s not real. Jesus is Risen! Jesus is Lord! Jesus is Real!!!!
Tuesday, April 19, 2011
If you want to see the 30 minute movie in its entirety, go to:
You can purchase this video from http://www.ignitermedia.com/mini-movies/1923/Follow
Tuesday, March 22, 2011
I have been told by married pastor friends that I may have ruined the church for the "next" pastor just because my time availability will be hard to provide by a married man with a family. I guess I can live with that risk.
I am also thankful that my Abba Father has graciously allowed me the privilege to serve here despite that I might be defying "the logic of Scripture and the centrality of marriage in society,” which some (see quote by Dr. Albert Mohler, President of the SBC's second largest seminary, in the article) say justify “the strong inclination of congregations to hire a man who is not only married but faithfully married.”
This isn't to pick an argument with anyone, but just a note of thanksgiving for my ministry. I hope you are equally thankful for yours, no matter what your marital status!
Note: To see what Paul thinks about single Christians, check out 1 Corinthians 7....pretty interesting stuff!
Wednesday, March 09, 2011
Freight trains are not kind. They aren't usually loving, or joyful, or peaceful, or gentle, etc. (You know, the fruit of the Spirit in Galatians 5:22,23.) Finally, just because a person is "right" on a particular subject, does it give him or her the right to be mean? Didn't Paul (under the Spirit's inspiration) write in 1 Cor. 13 that being right (i.e. "can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge") without love still leaves you with nothing? Pretty powerful words!
Do we give into sin? Of course not, but we better make sure we're not being freight trains on the warpath for sawdust in other people's eyes while we've neglected to see the planks of our own sin in our eyes. Love people! That's why we're here! Our Father (Who is really good at it) will show you how!
Want to know more about Mary Margaret? Here is a news story on her:
Thursday, March 03, 2011
If you are not a technogeek, you might not be impressed, but if you are, or if you own an Ipad, you know that it is a pretty versatile "gadget." I could write several, uh, many, posts on how I've used mine in the past nine months. But that's not the point. Oh, wait, click on this video clip...
So if you had an Apple IIc now...well, you couldn't do anything with it. Apple, like any successful company, continues to improve it's products. Well, Christian can never improve on the "product" of salvation, but are we improving in the depth of our experience with Christ AND with our ability to communicate His message to the world? We demand improvement in whatever we buy, but how often are we quick to accept stagnant relationships with Christ, and communication techniques that no longer work?
Paul wrote to the Philippians, "And this is my prayer: that your love may abound more and more in knowledge and depth of insight, so that you may be able to discern what is best and may be pure and blameless for the day of Christ, filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ—to the glory and praise of God." (1:9-11)
Hmmm, doesn't sound like you get saved, and remain the same, does it? Throughout the New Testament, believers are called to be disciples, and disciples by their very definition, are students who are expected to GROW and LEARN and ADD to what they already have learned and/or experienced in Christ. God never intended for Ipads to share His Gospel, He expects (and equips) his children to, but I think He's okay with his children using Ipads to share Christ with the lost and encourage believers. Why wouldn't He?
No, you don't need to rush out and get an Ipad, but you do, if you consider yourself obedient to the Lord, need to grow in your faith and in your willingness and ability to communicate it. We are commanded to grow and improve by following Christ, and becoming more and more (get that...progressive, additive, exponential transformatino) like Him as we are empowered by His Spirit, guided by His word, and connected to and encouraged by His church. This is God's will for all believers.
The gospel never changes, but if we are never willing to change, to grow, or to improve in communicating that gospel, what excuse will we have when we finally see Christ face to face. "Sorry, Lord, but I was too busy researching the best TV (or substitute computer, washing machine, etc.) to buy. Oh, and it took a lot of time reading and practicing how to improve my golf game, too. And watching the Food Channel to learn new ways to cook, that took up time; you didn't want my family to get bored at mealtime did you? I just didn't have time to learn and improve on how I could communicate your love to a lost and dying world in a way they could relate to."
So pray for improvements in your walk with Christ and in the ways you communicate His love and salvation to those who need it.
Tuesday, March 01, 2011
Duke University confirms biblical teaching! Christ said, "Don't worry about anything." (Matt. 6:25-34) Paul said, "Focus on thinking about good and great things." (Phil. 4:8) The researchers at Duke University says doing that makes you live longer. Here is the link: http://well.blogs.nytimes.com/2011/02/28/optimistic-heart-patients-live-longer/?partner=rss&emc=rss
Trusting Christ as Savior makes you live forever! So go be optimistic (which is just another word for saying you really, really do trust our Father and what He says about life and you)! You may be facing difficult circumstances that I can't imagine, and you may think this is a bunch of garbage because you've either had to or are enduring a lot of pain and suffering. No, I can't understand your situation, but neither can I understand how the famous psychiatrist Viktor Frankl endured the horrors of being in Nazi concentration camps for three years, losing all of his family to torture and the gas chambers (except his sister who escaped), and still emerging with hope. A few favorite quotes:
- "We who lived in concentration camps can remember the men who walked through the huts comforting others, giving away their last piece of bread. They may have been few in number, but they offer sufficient proof that everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of the human freedoms—to choose one's attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one's own way."
- "When we are no longer able to change a situation – just think of an incurable disease such as inoperable cancer – we are challenged to change ourselves."
- "Fundamentally, therefore, any man can, even under such circumstances, decide what shall become of him – mentally and spiritually. He may retain his human dignity even in a concentration camp."
I pray that we all would find our meaning in life in Christ, and then allow Him to change the way we think about Him, ourselves, others, our purpose...well, you get the idea!
Thursday, February 24, 2011
Many, LORD my God,
are the wonders you have done,
the things you planned for us.
None can compare with you;
were I to speak and tell of your deeds,
they would be too many to declare.
Monday, February 21, 2011
"Now listen, you who say, 'Today or tomorrow we will go to this or that city, spend a year there, carry on business and make money.' Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes. Instead, you ought to say, 'If it is the Lord’s will, we will live and do this or that.'” James 4:13-15
So slow down and enjoy the view (and thank the One Who provides it!).
Monday, February 14, 2011
Mary and Elwood Bunton are long time members (and dear friends of mine!) of my church. Their love story is so cool and wonderful that the Orangeburg (SC) Times and Democrat did a story on them that took up the front page of the features section in this past Sunday's edition. Here is the article: http://www.thetandd.com/lifestyles/magazine/article_1952a06e-3640-11e0-98d0-001cc4c03286.html
They are true WWII heroes in my book (and in a lot of other people's books,too!)...and above that, both are devoted Christ followers and pastor encouragers! Their love for each other and for their Savior is obvious to anyone who knows them! They have been consistent, active, loving members of my church family, and I thank God for their continuing ministry at The Oaks, and also for all the encouragement, prayers, support and love they have so generously given (and continue to give) me and so very many others! Way to go Mary and Elwood...you two love birds, you!