Sunday, December 31, 2006

Happy New Year

Can you believe it? 2006 is gone. Here comes 2007. It is incredible to look back and see what has taken place in the past year. All of us can do that in our own lives and marvel at the things that have occurred in a year's time. We discuss how "it doesn't seem like it's been 8 months ago that happened" or "has it been a year already?" But nonetheless, the year is gone and we stand at the threshold of a new one. So, what will we marvel at one year from now? When 2007 is gone, what events will stand out that will be the topic of discussion? Will you be able to say that the Lord found you faithful, or will you be in the same place in your relationship with Him that you are today?

The book of Luke talks about a man named Simeon who asked the Lord to bless him by allowing him to see God's salvation before he died. God granted that request by sending Simeon, guided by the Holy Spirit, to the temple on the day that Mary and Joseph brought the Christ child. So, why did God grant this request. Well, for several reasons. But one that stands out to me is that God found Simeon devout and righteous. This is a lesson we studied in Sunday School, and the truths that ring out through it are profound. If God were to write about me, would He describe me in that way? What words would He use to tell others about who I am? These questions are full of conviction, and cast instant humility into anyone who dares to be the recipient of such ponders. So, at the end of this year, my aim and my prize will be to have God say that He found me faithful, and as a devout and righteous man. I couldn't ask for more than that. How will He describe you?

We Did It!

It is after midnight here, and we just pulled in from our Christmas vacation. I've never been so happy to see home in all my life. I am so exhausted, BUT, I just had to post. My Georgia Dawgs did it! They upset the heavily favored VT Hokies (whatever a hokie is). I am so excited, and proud to be a fan. It's moments like these that you realize why you hang by them all season and wear the red and black, and decorate your office with memorabilia. Yes, they are the Chick-fila Bowl Champs for 2006...and they better end up ranked. They beat #5 ranked team in the country, Auburn, very handily....the very next week they upset then #16 ranked GT, and now have beaten the VT hokie pokies. Again....I'm so proud. And, by the way....sorry Todd about your Clemson Tigers. There's always next year.

Friday, December 29, 2006

Go Dawgs!

Georgia is playing Virginia Tech Saturday night in the Georgia Dome. My quandary? I will be traveling back to California during the game. I'm so upset. So, why did I schedule a trip during the game? Well, it was the only time we could get tickets back. It was insane trying to schedule a flight back to Cali before the new year. So, I decided to live vicariously through my father-in-law. Jody and I bought him tickets to the game. So, while I'm flying back, I will be represented well at the game. Man, I hope they win. They've gotta win. They must win. They will win! Go Dawgs!

Friday, December 22, 2006

One Empty Chair

Well, today was the day. My grandmother's funeral was today, and it was bittersweet. It was definitely hard to say goodbye, but it was a great celebration in my heart to know that she is with the King. I had prepared to share memories that stand out to me of who she was, and I had prayed that I would have complete control over my emotions. So, as I began, things seemed to be ok. But, that moment came when the flood of emotions could be held back no longer. It was more difficult than I had imagined.

It rained all day long. In fact, it rained so much that the funeral tents couldn't hold the water that had collected on top of them any longer. The rain began leaking through and there was nowhere to escape. In the end, I think my uncle put it best when he said, "I've dreaded this day my whole life, and now that it is here I don't want it to end." Our lives have to go back to normal. Our responsibilities have to be resumed. But our memories never have to fade. Though there will be one more empty chair at Christmas dinner, the place she held in our hearts will remain full. For I am confident that she has filled the seat that awaited her at the Master's table. This Christmas she is probably looking at my empty chair there and looking forward to my arrival. What a feast and celebration that is going to be.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Georgia on my Mind

In relation to my last post, we will be traveling to GA and will be there through Christmas. The funeral is Friday and my family has asked that I officiate the service. So, we're gonna do our best. The kids are excited about seeing family, so we are going to try to make it as fun as possible for them. We actually had Christmas here this morning, because we couldn't take all of their stuff on the plane and bring it back. So, Santa came early this year. The kids actually loved it, and it works out in their favor because they will get 2 more Christmases (how do you pluralize Christmas?) when we get to GA. Grandparents have a way of spoiling them...and that's OK by me! So, a very busy week is planned. Jody gave me a copy of the original "Godfather", so I'm pumped about that. She also bought me Season 2 of the series 24. It is one of my favorites on television...along with Prison Break, Survivor, American Idol, ER, CSI (LV), Heroes, LOST....well, you get the picture. She also bought me a pretty cool shirt. I got her a Microplane Grater (she loves kitchen appliances), Superstar DVD, Hurricane DVD, Chris Daughtry's new CD, a Creme Brulee kit, and a pretty pricey gift certificate to World Market. She was pretty happy. I can't begin to tell you what the kids list would be shorter if I told you what we didn't get them...but we really wanted to make this Christmas the best we could with all of the changes they have had to endure. They've been really good about everything. Thanks, again for all of your prayers and your friendship. We love each of you tremendously. And Crosspointe...we haven't forgotten you. While we absolutely love Immanuel, we miss you deeply. Post comments to me here as you get the opportunity, or you can email me direct at the following address:

Monday, December 18, 2006

Just a Word

It's hard to really understand emotions. Have you ever questioned your reaction to a certain situation, and wondered why you didn't react a certain way? I know that I have, from time to time. And tonight is another one of those times. I just received a phone call that my Grandma passed away...just moments ago. She was my last living mother's mom. And my emotions are unlike they have ever been when I've lost a loved one. I think it is probably because I am confident in where she is. God's word tells us that to be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord. Because I KNOW she was a believer, I am sure that she is at the feet of Jesus right this very moment. So, perhaps that's why I'm not overcome by emotion. I'm sure that as I get with my parents and family this week that the flood of emotions may overtake each of us....but I don't live as the world lives; without hope. I live as one with hope because of my Lord and Savior....and what an incredible gift he gave my grandmother at Christmas....He welcomed her home!

Saturday, December 16, 2006


Wow! We just had the most amazing dinner tonight. Tonight was our Christmas Worship Staff party that I throw for the worship staff here at Immanuel. Jody made the most amazing Italian dinner from scratch. She made this dish that taste just like Pasta Milano from Macaroni Grill, and a great Meatball Spaghetti. And for dessert.....oh, dessert....we had cheesecake from the Cheesecake Factory. It was amazing. I don't think I'll brush my teeth for a few days just so that I can savor the taste. Mmmmmm. Ok, maybe just a couple of hours of taste reflection, and then a good brushing.

Friday, December 15, 2006

Musical Evangelism

One event that a Music & Worship Ministry looks forward to each year is the Christmas Outreach Production. Many unchurched people will visit a musical production at Christmas, if at no other time during the year. It is one opportunity in which the lost actually come to us. So, we have to be ready and at our best. We don't want anything to distract from the message they need to hear. This year at Immanuel, we had incredible results in attendance, as well as salvations. We had 86 people say that they prayed to receive Christ at the Christmas musical. It truly was incredible. Great job, to each of you who were involved. Thank you so much for your commitment and sacrifice. It was truly worth it. Now, what will you do with all of your free time? Oh yeah...what free time? We start on Easter in 4 weeks.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Yo, Adrian!

The coolest thing happened. I have been noticing this guy at church, who seemed familiar to me. I kept thinking he looked like Tony Burton, the guy who plays Apollo Creed's trainer in the earlier Rocky films, and then later as Rocky's know, the bald guy. Anyway, I found out that it is him. Tony Burton actually teaches Sunday School at our church in the high school department. I got the opportunity to meet him and it was really cool. I had to "act" like it was no big deal, though. But, Rocky's trainer goes to my church! How cool is that? So, I've been talking with a couple of guys about us getting several of the high school students together and getting Tony, and all of us going to the movies to see Balboa together, with Tony Burton. Wow. That's too cool.

Monday, December 11, 2006

You Can't Catch Me, I'm the Gingerbread Man

Have you ever thought about what things that seem normal to us must seem like to children? Why are you asking that? Well, I'll tell you. I remember when I was a kid, thinking that my stuffed animals came to life when no one was looking. Those cotton filled furry little beasts gave me a lot of comfort when I was upset, or just wanted a friend to talk to. And that was just 2 years ago (just kidding). Now that I have kids of my own, it's funny to hear their take on things. Recently, our kids have discovered that when we eat chicken, there is a reason that there is an animal of the same name....chicken. Abby has just made that connection. "We are eating a real chicken?", she asked. Just yesterday she looked at me with a milk mustache and said "milk comes out of cows. They just have milk coming out of them all the time." That stuff is hilarious. Caleb is dying to see the movie "How to Eat Fried Worms". I wonder if he really thinks you can. I mean, why not? We eat chickens and cows with milk coming out of them. Why do we draw the line at worms? Well, you and I know the answer to that one. I just hope he gets it before we get a call from his school and go to pick up a muddy mouthed little boy with worm particles in his teeth.

Sunday, December 10, 2006

They Say It Never Rains in Southern California

The Mammas and the Pappas had a hit in the 60's entitled "It Never Rains in Southern California". After having spent a few weeks here, I had come to believe that was absolutely true. I had heard rumors of rain, I had even seen a cloud or two, but not one single drop had fallen that I could attest to.....until last night. I was upstairs setting up our new computer when I heard Jody yell from downstairs. "Jeff. Hurry. Come here. Hurry!" I thought something was wrong, so I quickly jumped up, rain down the stairs and into the living room. There Jody stood, at the back door, peering through a space in the blinds that she was creating with two fingers. "I think it's raining, " she said with a puzzled look on her face. "No. It can't be. It's probably just the sprinklers, " I responded. But her first inclination was correct. It was raining. And not just a little sprinkle. It was a downpour. It rained on and off all night. This morning, when I was driving in to church, I noticed the clouds had sat down on the mountain tops. It literally looked like heaven had met earth. It was beautiful. I've been told that when the clouds lift, we will probably see that some of the mountains are snowcapped. I hope that's true. I can't wait to see those snowcapped mountains.

Saturday, December 09, 2006

All in His Hands

You can prepare all you want to see people saved, but it will amaze you every time God allows you to witness it. Have you ever prayed for God to do something, but then were just amazed when He did? That's how I felt this week during our Christmas musical. I prayed that God would save souls, and I truly believed that He would. But, when I received word that 21 people had prayed to receive Christ on our opening night I was simply blown away. What a humbling experience. That is when you come to the realization that you have nothing to do with is all HIM! I was honored that God allowed me to be a part of something so incredible, but was thankful that I wasn't responsible for the results...just the faithfulness in service to Him. The rest is All in His Hands. I literally can't wait to start follow-up on all of these new brothers and sisters. We still have 3 more nights of this. Praise the Lord!

Thursday, December 07, 2006

It's the Most Wonderful Time of the Year

Like many people, Christmas has always been the most thrilling time of the year for me. It's not because of any one thing, but simply the culmination of lights, food, the music, the tree, food, the gifts, the gathering of family (for food), with the emphasis on the birth of Jesus being the central focus. However, this time of year is a struggle for many others. Because of the joy and celebration of the season, many are cast into deep depression at the realization that they are having family difficulties, or financial struggles, or perhaps health issues. Still others are mourning the loss of a loved one during the holidays. As I am writing this blog, I just received today's hospital list for our church. 2 families sit today in a hospital with babies and very little hope. One is 4 mo. old and is not gaining weight. No answers have been given to this family as to why their baby is getting weaker and weaker due to lack of nutrition. Another infant was born with a hole in his stomach, his intestines hanging out, and a bleed on his brain. Where is the hope in that? Many people ask during times like this "where is God in that situation?" Please let me encourage you that God is in the same place that He was when His own Son was dying on the cross for me, and for you. He is still on His throne and nothing in your life or anyone else's will ever shock or surprise Him. His word tells us that He has a plan to prosper and not to harm us. Trust in Him, and encourage others to do so. He is our hope, He is our strength, and salvation is found in no other but Jesus Christ.

Let's make an effort this Christmas to share the hope that came to us through the birth of a Savior. Share the gift of Jesus with someone, and make this Christmas live forever in the heart of a new believer.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

I'm Back

Thank you so much for continuing to check back on this blog. As I stated before, I've been transitioning to California, and without a, my blogs have been nonexistent. I'm excited to finally be in our home, and to have our things here, as well. The first night we arrived in California, I was hit by the flu....and hit hard. I can't remember the last time I was that sick. But, we were blessed with a great family who was taking care of us, from running to the drugstore to warming up chicken broth, they really treated us like family. God is good (all the time). We are gearing up this week for our Christmas production and are praying God does a mighty work in the hearts and lives of everyone in attendance. I can't wait to see it all come together this week.

Sunday, November 19, 2006

Been Away

Hey Guys. I know many have been wondering if I've given up on the blog...but let me assure you that is not the case. I've been in GA, away from my computer. I performed the marriage ceremony for my Sister in law, and my mother and grandmother drove 2 1/2 hours to the wedding to see us. I got to spend a little time with them, which was great. However, later that night my grandmother had a heart-attack. They had to do openheart surgery to save her, and her recovery has been hampered by kidney problems, congestive heart failure, pneumonia, and now both of her lungs have collapsed. She is not doing well at all. Please be in prayer for her and my mother...this is her only living parent, and my only living grandparent.

Have you ever gotten to a point in your life where you realized how much you loved someone because of the surrounding circumstances? I've always loved my grandma (MawMaw), but the extent to which that love goes has just been revealed to me in recent days. I've been humbled in a lesson to cherish every second we have, because God's plan is to bring us home with Him one day...and it's sooner than any of us ever plan for. We must have confidence in our relationship with Him, and then extend that relationship to others. How urgent, I've seen recently, our witness to others must be. Everyday sees numerous souls go to hell. Share Jesus! Our time is short.

Over the next 2 weeks I will be in the process of packing and traveling from Atoka, TN to Highland, CA. My posts will be sparse, however, please continue to check back often. I will post as I have access to a computer. Until then, give Him the glory, and worship as if it is your last day on earth. Thank you for your prayers.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Praise & Prayer

Praises - 1) We close on our house today in East Highland
2) Caleb got over a fever that he had this weekend. He's doing much better now
3) My family is safe from their trip to GA
4) I get to see Jody, Abby, and baby Ella this THURSDAY!
5) Ministry is going well at Immanuel
6) I'm making friends, and the staff has seemed to really take me in
7) Caleb loves his new school and is doing well there

Prayer - Please pray for the following:
1) Safe travel for me and Caleb this Thursday to GA, and on Sunday as we return to California
2) For our house in Atoka to sell. If you are interested, God could use you to bless us by buying it!!!! (hint, hint) So quit praying and go sign the contract
3) Safety for Jody and the girls as they travel back to Tennessee next week
4) That someone will buy our house
5) That God will give clarity to me for the vision He has for the ministry here at Immanuel
6) That God will send someone to buy our house because we will make them a great deal on it
7) That God will use me to impact lives for eternity and lead others to a relationship with Him on a daily basis

Thank you for joining me in prayer. If you are praying with me, I'd be encouraged to know that. Just post a comment on this blog....I just never know how many people are reading this thing. I love each of you, and I appreciate your concern for our ministry. God bless!

Monday, November 06, 2006


It just hit me today that I'm in California. California! I think it was when I was driving in to church this morning and saw a new fire at the base of the mountains. Where else do you see that sort of thing? I thought Smokey the Bear was something that had played out when I was 11, until I saw him standing along the roadside (in wooden signage form) throughout our drive in the mountains this weekend. All of this and I haven't even experienced the earthquakes, yet. There are so many things that I want to LA, Hollywood (though I'm told both are not areas I want to be in at night), San Diego, and more of the mountain towns. There are many other areas too, but again, these are just random thoughts. I think I'll wait on the rest of the family to get here, though. I'd hate to make them too jealous. Although, I wouldn't mind hitting a Lakers game with Caleb before the girls get out here. They would just sit at home while I went anyway....unless we get a babysitter and turn it into a romantic rendezvous.........well, anyway. I'd better stop there.

Friday, November 03, 2006

Fun on the Schedule

Today is going to be a great day. I can feel it already. It's Friday! And I'm off today. I've got plans to do the final walk-through on our new house at 10:00am, then I'm off to have lunch with Caleb at his school at 11:30am. This afternoon when I pick him up, we are going to head for the movies. Santa Claus 3, The Escape Claus, comes out today. So, we are going to go watch that. He is really excited. So, it's Father and Son time.

Tomorrow we are planning on driving up into the mountains to an old town that has train rides, apple orchards, restaurants, etc. We are going to spend the whole day together. I'm really excited about it. Although it is really hard being away from the rest of the family, we are enjoying being able to hang out...just the two of us.

Thursday, November 02, 2006

That's My Boy!

Let me just say that I have been extremely concerned for Caleb with his first week of school, and all of the adjustments that come with that. However, I am concerned no longer. He came home from school one day and said "there's this girl in my class that loves me." What? What do you mean "she loves you?" So, I very calmly asked him, "how do you know she loves you?" He answered, "because she lays her head on my arm and says 'I like you already'."

That's my boy! Although, if it were my girl it would be a totally different situation. But, for now, (praise God) it is not my girl. It's my son. And get this; he told me her name is Ashley. Now, would you believe this if I told you? When I was in first grade, I had a little girlfriend named Ashley, too. ............That's my Boy!

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

What's in a Mask?

Last night, many of us saw everything from power rangers to Frankenstein show up on our door step wanting a piece of candy. Perhaps some of you reading right now were one of those in costume wanting that quick sugar rush. My son and I were fortunate enough to attend our first ever Immanuel Baptist Harvest Festival. It was absolutely incredible. For those of you who have never had the experience, there was everything from pizza to mexican food, from pony rides to hayrides, from bounce houses to 40 foot tall rock climbing walls. Not to mention the 75 game booths that surrounded the lot. A live band was onstage throughout providing entertainment for those who were resting and/or eating on the numerous haybails that littered the lot infront of the stage. But as I looked, I saw many other things, as well.

I noticed many unchurced people in attendance. And with a crowd of over 10,000 people, I'm sure I only saw a small percentage of them. Many of them were in costume, and some were not. But what I noticed about most of them, was a sense of uncomfortableness just being on the grounds of the church. Now granted, some of them had no sense of where they were. But for most of them, I could tell that as I talked with them they were acting in extreme opposition to their normal life. Many would look away, or hang their head. One even put his mask back on and walked away. That's when it hit me. Even as Christians, we behave the same way. When God's conviction falls on us, or when we are face to face with the Savior (which happens simultaneously), we hang our heads and do all that we can to avoid the issue. Many of us avoid that meeting with Him as best we can because we know what our lives are really "littered" with. No matter what "mask" we wear we are stripped of it before the Father. He sees beyond our false identity and calls us to be honest with ourselves. That is where we have to make the decision. Will we hide our true identity even from ourselves? or will we allow God to make us into who He has created us to be? Many of us continue to wear mask far beyond October 31st. Are you one of those?

Monday, October 30, 2006

The First Day

Wow. My head is spinning. Today was my first day in the office. Need I say more? I think I've had about 23 make shift meetings. However, it was a great day. The staff here are going above and beyond to make this transition as smooth as possible for us. We have been blessed at every turn.

Today was also a first for Caleb. Although his first official day of school is tomorrow, we were able to get him registered today. When we walked into the office, the receptionist sat typing at her desk to our right. Chairs lined the wall on our left, and desks and offices were in the background. Caleb stepped right up to the receptionist and said "hello. my name is Caleb and I'm here to start school". I was so proud. As they got me all of the needed paperwork, we sat down at a table nearby to fill it out. Caleb got a book from a nearby end-table and began reading aloud. Soon, the secretary approached us with paper and crayons. "Would you like to draw a picture and color while dad fills out all of that paperwork?" she asked. In a very Caleb-like moment he responded, "no. I can learn a lot more from reading than drawing." I didn't know how to react, so I just said nothing. But in my mind I was leaping around and exclaiming "That's my boy!"

The cool thing about our time here in these early days is that Caleb and I are experiencing all of this together. We lay awake at night just talking about our day. We are both discussing things from a different perspective, yet each of our experiences are just as vital. Just think of the memories we will have from starting this new life together in California. I can't wait to get the 3 ladies of my life out here to experience all of this with us.

Sunday, October 29, 2006

There's A First Time for Everything

There IS a first time for everything. That first day of school. That first date. That first kiss. (Hopefully each of these fall in that order.) Well, today was my first official day at Immanuel Baptist. I was full of anticipation leading up to this morning. I was worried that I wouldn't be able to sleep well, but that took care of itself. The worship service went well, and I enjoyed every second of it. The choir seemed to be full, and I was excited to see everyone freely worshiping together. I am really looking forward to the rest of my family getting here. In theory, our things are supposed to arrive on December 4th. If everything goes smoothly, we will be moving in our new home then.

We'll try to get Caleb registered in his new school tomorrow, and get rolling with that. God has blessed us with a great family to stay with while we're in transition. Greg and Rayna Pfau have been wonderful. They already seem like "grandparent" types with Caleb. He is excited to see them each morning, and enjoys hanging out with them. As God continues to teach us and prepare us for His work, we are praying that we will be patient and teachable as we strive to stay close and clean.

Wednesday, October 25, 2006


Well, it is official. My last Sunday has come and gone at Crosspointe. As the title of this blog states, it really is "bittersweet". It is hard to say "goodbye" to so many people that we have come to know and love. But at the same time, the Lord has put a passion in our hearts for our new ministry, church, and staff. Though we don't even know most of their names, we already have a desire and excitement to partner with them for the Lord. I can't wait to get our feet on the ground there and get going.

Let me take this time to say that we absolutely love Crosspointe Baptist Church. We are going to be praying that God will do an incredible work there, and that He will bless that church with a new pastor and needed staff. Though we are gone physically, our hearts will always have a special place for Crosspointe.

For those of you who do not know, our new Pastor, Rob Zinn, and his wife need your prayers. Sue Zinn has cancer, and is currently going through chemo. Please pray for this family. They have been the perfect example of faithful servants even in the face of this illness. God has done some incredible things through this family, and Jody and I are very excited about partnering with them to see people saved, to see lives changed, and to see families restored.

As we make this HUGE transition in our lives and ministry, please pray for us. And please be a regular on this blog. We'd love to continue sharing with you what God is doing in our ministry, and to hear from you, as well. God bless!

Monday, October 23, 2006

You're Not Going to Believe This

As many of you know, my brother and his family came to visit us this past weekend. If you read my earlier blog, then you already know about the yardsale that we had on Saturday...this blog is a continuation of that. If you have not yet read that blog, then go read it now. I'll wait for you to get back..........................................................................Ok, ready? Here we go.

If you recall, I mentioned how I began piling all of the yardsale stuff we couldn't sell into our trash. Well, as I took the trash out last night, I noticed that there was a lot more room in our trashcan than I had remembered. Upon further investigation, I found out that my brother's wife went through our trash and pulled out items from the yardsale. How gross is that? I have to sanitize my hands just thinking about it (for those of you who don't know me well enough yet, I am a bit obsessive compulsive when it comes to germs). Wow. Someone wanted our old junk after all. As I said before, "One Man's Trash is another (wo)man's treasure."

Saturday, October 21, 2006

One Man's Junk...

As a child, I can remember my grandparents having a yardsale every weekend (ok, it wasn't literally every weekend, but as a kid it seemed that way). And it always seemed to be very cold, and extremely early. I recall my brother, Ron, and I trying our best to entertain ourselves. One year, we had buttons that we wore on the front of our jackets that said "Ask me". Where we got them I don't remember, but people began to ask us "what does the button mean?" That was just the response we were looking for. Our answer was short, but precise; "we are selling hot chocolate. Want a cup?" Why should the adults be the only ones to make a little cash. It was these early days of entrepreneur-like adventures that I drew from this morning.

My wife and I rose up early this morning, 5:00am, and added a couple of more nails to the already staple and nail ridden telephone poles around town as we hung signs urging people to come give us money for the same stuff they will probably be selling in a yard sale next month (I know that was a run-on sentence, but it sounded better in one breath). We put our junk on tables in our driveway, and were shocked and amazed as people actually began showing up. We could barely get stuff on the table before people were snatching it off. This lasted for about 15 minutes, and then the crowd of 8 people dissipated. We were relieved that we now had time to display the rest of our forgotten, dust-covered treasures. Finally, we were prepared for the crowds. So, we waited, and waited, and then waited some more. After an hour and a half, a car pulled up. Two ladies got out, made a few humorous remarks about our stuff, and then left with empty arms. I felt like screaming. "What? Why don't you want our trash. Wait. Come back. I'll pay you to take it from us."

I finally just started piling junk into our trash can...where it belonged. I'm not moving all of this to California, only to store it away in an attic somewhere just to pull it out again for this same early morning experience. 30 bucks. I don't see how that is worth the time and effort. In hindsight, perhaps I should have taken a page out of my early yardsale days and hustled some cups of hot chocolate.

Friday, October 20, 2006

Doctor, Doctor, Have Mercy On Me

I lead a crazy life. That one little statement pretty much sums up my life as a whole. With all that is going on right now, all I need is one more little thing to pop it did. My allergies have kicked into high gear. I know that it is from all of the packing up, attic dwelling, box stuffing, yard-sale getting ready dust that has taken up resident in my head. So, the whole headache, sore throat, yucky stuff has settled in. To top it all off, Caleb woke up this morning with a sore throat. So, he and I headed off to the doctor this morning.

Why is it that when you visit an "Urgent" Care facility that you seem to have to wait the longest? While in the waiting room I noticed family after family getting called back before us. And yes, we were there first. So, after an hour and 11 minutes (yes, I did time it) we were finally called back. Now, before I go any further, let me say that this is your typical urgent care facility. There were more office personnel than patients, yet there was no "urgency" in the care they were providing. So, we continued on back to the room they had for us where we would wait for another 32 minutes (you know you time your visits too).

While waiting, I had the opportunity to read every picture on the walls in the room, and then some. On one wall, there was a huge statement of service for the "urgent" care facility. It mapped out all of the services they provide their patients, and then concluded with the statement "so, your visit with us will be brief. That is what urgent care is all about." WOW! I am so glad that I came to the "urgent" care facility. Had I gone anywhere else it might have cost me my entire day...(wait a minute...I think it did, anyway). My only hope is that "fast" and "urgent" have somehow become opposites that Webster must have forgotten to tell us about, or my next meal at Burger King may take a while.

Thursday, October 19, 2006

The Weather Outside is Frightful

Want to hear something ironic. When I first moved to Millington I was blown away by how much it rained. It seemed like my entire first 3 months were pain-soakingly wet (that's a new phrase..I just made it up and plan on copyrighting don't use it). For all of you Millingtonians (that one's mine, too), you know what the weather has been like this week....Rain, Rain, Rain. So, for my entire last official week, I am being rained out in the same way that I was rained in. Isn't that crazy. For those of you with the minds warped enough to grasp that concept, I'm sure you'll appreciate the irony.

In an unrelated story, some of you have checked out my parents' store online at . Thanks for visiting the site. If you log-on to their online store you'll find tons of things that would make unique Christmas gifts. Go ahead - try it out. You'll be the hit at Christmas. And Mom and Dad, if you're reading this, there's no need to send me a portion of the proceeds for driving traffic to your site. I owe you.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Packing Up

Dan "The Man" Craddock has been a great friend to our family. God has blessed us with a friend for life. Another benefit that he brings to us other than his friendship is his professional style of marketing our home. Below you will find a link to a virtual tour of our home. Please pass this on to anyone that you feel may be interested in moving to Atoka. It is a great neighborhood, Williamsburg Estates, and literally runs into Blaydes Estates. If you or anyone you know is interested, please let us know. We'll work you out a great deal. Besides, the privilege of living in a home that my family occuppied should be a great deal in and of itself. (I kid, I kid!)

I'll also post this as a link on the right side of this blog under the link section for future viewing.

Mountain Views

Here is a shot of the mountains that I described in my earlier blog. But, I'm telling you. A picture is nothing in comparison with reality. These are not the exact mountains that we saw when we landed, but they're similar. These mountains surround the area that we'll be serving. Pretty cool, huh? I'm told that they're green and snowcapped in the winter. That will be nice to see.

Let's Get Spiritual

As you each probably know by know, God has called our family to serve Him at Immanuel Baptist Church in Highland, CA. We are very excited about the ministry opportunity, as well as the area we will now call home. Before visiting the church for the first time, Jody and I had never been to California...for any reason. As we got off the airplane and stepped into the airport, our breath was taken away. Right in front of us were huge windows looking outside of the airport. As we looked out, we were blown away by the most incredible mountain scene you could ever imagine. It was absolutely gorgeous! There were palm trees with huge mountains in the background.

As I looked on this scene, my mind began to wander. I thought to myself, "God, you are so awesome. The fact that you made these mountains, even just for this very moment (my enjoyment), is just a small glimpse of your awesome power." It wasn't until I was reading in my quiet time this morning that God spoke to me again about that moment. In Psalm 90, Moses is praying to God. In verse 2 he says, "Before the mountains were born, before You gave birth to the earth and the world, from eternity to eternity, You are God."

Before even the mountains were born. Wow. Before anything we can even begin to imagine, God was God. Beyond our ability to fathom or comprehend even the thought of Him, He is God. What then, gives us the right to question anything He chooses to do? How do we justify doubting His goodness, provisions, and plan for our lives when we can't even understand the fullness of the One we call Father? Moses goes on to say, "Our lives last seventy years or, if we are strong, eighty years. Even the best of them are struggle and sorrow; indeed, they pass quickly and we fly away....teach us to number our days carefully so that we may develop wisdom in our hearts."

Lord, grant me the wisdom today, to follow you completely. To allow you to work in and through me as YOU choose. Help me to open my arms to You, as You have always done for me, and take You in completely. Allow the very air I breathe today to be from You as my sustainer. And grant me the opportunity to bring You glory, even though I am unworthy to even mention Your name. Be glorified, Lord. Be magnified, Father. Those mountains, whose beauty takes my breath away, are nothing compared to You.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Take Time to Smell the Roses

I've come to the conclusion that my children know a lot more about life than me. Believe me, I will never let them know that little bit of blackmail information, but it's true. God seems to constantly be teaching me little lessons through my children. Let me explain what I mean.

I can't stand to be late. Yet my children have no concept of time. As a result, it seems that I am constantly requiring my family to be on my schedule. Whether or not we have plenty of time, I end up rushing everyone else to get ready as I feel they a timely manner. I know that this is what is best for them - to be on a schedule, to understand what it means to be punctual, to be well organized and responsible - but am I stealing away some of their innocence in the process?

On Monday, October 16th, my birthday (in case any of you missed it, I do accept late gifts), Jody and my girls, Abby and Ella, came by to take me out for lunch. As we were leaving Chili's, I turned, as usual, to find Abby because she was dragging behind. Not fully realizing what I was seeing, I found her stooped down in the flower bed, so I rushed her to get out of the dirt and into the car. It was her response that got me. In a little whiny voice she said, "But Daddy. I just wanted to see what these pretty flowers smelled like."

I'm such a jerk! Why can't I look at life like my 4 year old? God's word says to "wait on the Lord and He will renew your strength". He also tells us to "be still and know that HE is God". My 4 year old seems to understand a lesson that has apparently taken me 32 years to comprehend. Will I learn this time, or will this be another lesson that I allow to slip by? At least the blinders are off on this one, finally. It's just one more area in my life that God wants to clean up, dress up, and make more like Him.

Monday, October 16, 2006


Yes, it's true. It is that time of year, yet once again. Today is my 32nd birthday, and it started out great. First, I awoke at 7:10 this morning, just to realize that I had overslept. Secondly, it was pouring down rain when I left the house, so I was soaked when I finally got in the car that wouldn't unlock, no matter how many times I hit the button on my keyring. And finally, I had to rush to get Caleb to school...we just did make it. But, the staff here at church had a chocolate muffin with a candle on it and sang to me this morning, I was greeted with balloons in my office and a card from my ministry assistant, and I'm having lunch with 3 beautiful women wife, Jody, and my gorgeous little girls. So, life is good.

Isn't it funny that even when your day starts off as crazy as mine did today that the success or failure of your day isn't based on the events that you encounter, but instead on your outlook and approach of your circumstances? I've had the greatest day, and it is still very early. I can't wait to see what else God has for me today.

Friday, October 13, 2006


I have recently been told by Jerry McClemore and Theresa Balentine that they will not read my blogs and stay in contact with me unless I mention them in my blog at some point. So, Theresa, Jerry - read on.

Seriously, Jody and I have been blessed tremendously with close friends at Crosspointe. This is yet one more reason why it is so hard to say goodbye. We know God is going to bless us beyond our wildest imaginations with new friends, church family, and ministry partners at Immanuel...that goes without saying. In fact, God has already blessed us with those we have come to know from our new church family. However, it is sad to leave those you have been on the frontlines with, shoulder to shoulder, and in the battle with. Theresa has been a Godsend to this ministry. She has worked behind the scenes, making me look good...and now she owes me $20 for saying that. Jerry has been a friend who has tried at every turn to help me present a ministry with excellence, to our God. Again, these are just two of the many that God has blessed us with...and the most vocal. You know what they say, the squeaky wheel gets the grease.

All Through the Night

Well, we did it! We survived our first big sleepover. Both Caleb and Abby had a friend each spend the night last night, and things actually went pretty well. The kids all seemed to get along fine, and then went to sleep...after they ate pizza, baked and decorated cookies, ate them, watched Curious George and Scooby Doo, put up an indoor tent, went to the bathroom 83.7 times, and drank all of the Sprite and Milk. In hindsight, perhaps letting them drink all the Sprite and Milk is why they went to the bathroom 83.7 times, but hey - we're still new at this sleepover thing. But seriously, the kids really seemed to have a great time.

It's really cool to look at your kids and see yourself. That's what happened to me last night. I instantly remembered having friends over for the night, or going over to their house, and those memories have stuck with me all of these years. It's amazing to me how the simplest things can make the biggest impacts. I want to invest in the lives of my kids, even when it means that I have to sacrifice a night of peace and quiet. I saw the excitement in the eyes of my kids last night, and I want to see that spark more often. Yep....I think I'll make that investment as often as my sanity will allow.

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Show Me the Money

Do you remember what it is like to lose your teeth? Some of you may be experiencing that for the 2nd time in life, however, I'm referring to losing your baby teeth. Our son, Caleb, just lost his second big front tooth. Now, I remember the feeling of excitement in thinking that with each lost tooth I would be coming into some money. But, my payoff was usually in the form of quarters, dimes, and nickels. Not with my kid.

When he showed his mom and I that his tooth had indeed come out, he was filled with excitement as he exclaimed: "I'm going to get $40!" "What? $40?" Well, to his shock and dismay, he only made a measley $5, but that was a stretch to give him. With 3 kids, I'll be broke by the time Ella, our 7 month old, loses her last tooth. Where do you draw the line? I say the front teeth are the $5 ones, and the rest are quarters or something. What do you say?

I was on the phone yesterday with my new Pastor, Rob Zinn, and we were discussing my coming out to California (ie. the dates, the times, etc.). In the course of our conversation I was explaining that in order to begin our ministry there asap, I would have to miss some time during November, as well as December. We have some prior commitments that we must honor, coupled with moving arrangements and such. During that discussion, I became exhausted just thinking about my schedule over the next 2 months. See if you can follow this plan of travel:

Caleb and I will fly out of Memphis for Highland, CA on October 27th. This way, I can get him started in school and he will only miss a minimal amount of days. On November 9th, we will fly from CA to GA for Jody's sister's wedding. We will fly back to California on November 12th. On November 21st, we will fly back to Memphis for Thanksgiving. The week after Thanksgiving, we will have the moving company here to pack us, load us, and hit the road. We will drive to Dallas for a post-op consultation with Caleb's orthopedic surgeon, then head back on to 40. We will drive the rest of that week to California, hopefully seeing some sights along the way - but only briefly, because we will be on a tight schedule.

Phewww....I'm exhausted all over again. So, now you should have no problem understanding why we are so looking forward to the start of the new year. Hopefully by that time we will finally be settled.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006


I have some new things going on in my life that I thought I would share with those who may read this blog. First of all, my family and I are moving to Highland, California. How crazy is that? Why Highland? Well, that is where the church is that God is calling us to serve; Immanuel Baptist Church. I have listed a link to the church on the righthand side of this page. Check it out as you have time. We are excited about the call, and can't wait to get our feet on the ground. I'll be posting many more things about the church in future blogs.

Another thing that is new to me, but exciting, is I have also made a link to it. I can subscibe to as many other blogs as I want and read them all from that site. It lets me know when there are updates to the blogs, and I can check them all out from there. I love simplicity.

Finally, my parents own a store called "Lost in the 50s". It is a 50s and 60s memorablia store. They have a lot of really cool things in there. If you are looking for gifts and things that are not the norm and would have you be the "hit" of Christmas or birthdays, check them out online. Again, they are a link, as well. Check it out.
1 of Those Nights

Have you ever had one of those nights when you know you really need your rest, but the harder you try not to think about things, the more things you think about? Last night was one of those nights for me. It started off pretty normal. I sat up entirely too late watching tv, only to eventually crash on the couch. Abby woke me up and told me to go to bed at about 11:30 (which was a crazy identity crisis in my half-slumbering state). I got her back to bed, got my son out of my bed and into his, and finally laid down for what I would later realize would only be about 3 1/2 hours. I was awaken at 3am by my son's spewing of red strawberry/orange Sunny D on our bedroom carpet. Which brings me to my next point - why, when children throw up, does it have to be red, or blue, or green? Now, I'm not one who thinks that a child should become "rat-like" and never vomit. But, why can't they expel a clear liquid form, nicely and neatly into the toilet, or sink, or trashcan? How can a child hold it in all the way down the hall, but lose all control once they cross the threshold of your bedroom? Well, these riddles aren't meant to be understood at anytime, but especially at 3am. To make a long story even longer, once I finally got him to bed and settled down, I was wide-awake. So, I settled in for a night of UFC replays. About 5:40, I finally drifted back off to sleep (at least that's the last time I looked at the clock). Oh well, I guess it was just one of those nights.
Wow. My life has really taken a crazy turn in the past few months. It seems that as soon as I find my comfort-zone and begin to really settle in, God calls me to a new work. However, I do know that this is His will for us at this time. However, the sadness of leaving a church that we love is heartbreaking. We will be grieving over this one for some time.
So, right now, I feel like I'm in limbo. Hanging between two great works. I've done the preparations for my departure here, for others to take this ministry and be able to run with it. However, I'm not yet in California, so I can't really begin plans for that ministry. So, I'm spending my last few weeks here saying "goodbyes" and tying up loose ends...whatever that means. We're dreading the actual move, but we are excited about setting up camp in a new place.
We are going to be moving to Highland, California. Before we visited the church for the first time, I had never been further west than Weatherford, Texas. So, it has all been a very new experience for me, and our family. I can't believe that place is even on the same planet that I've lived on my whole life. It is nestled right up against the mountains, the beach is only 1 hour away, the desert is 40 minutes away, LA is an hour and a half, Anaheim is 1 hour away, and ski lodges are just a 20 minutes drive into the mountains. Isn't that crazy?! We were told that during the winter, people drive their kids up into the mountains, let them get out and play in the snow, and then come home and go swimming? Again, "what planet is this place on?" We are excited about the area, but even more excited about the church.
I will be blessed to work with a worship staff, composed of several full-time musicians and media/techs. As a result, God is blessing me with a broader platform from which to minister. There seems to be tremendous talent in the church, which would excite any incoming Worship Pastor. I'm praying that God will enable me to encourage the people, to teach about true worship, to facilitate worship throughout the church, and to take this ministry to new heights. They have been blessed in the past with great leadership, and I want to be remembered as such when my ministry comes to an end (which I hope is no time soon, because that may involved death or dismemberment, or something else really painful).
I'm also really excited about working with the Pastor, Rob Zinn. He appears to have his finger on the pulse of the community. And together, I'm praying we will see God save numerous souls, change lives, and restore countless families.