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.