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.