Pruning—Not a Pleasant Experience!

It is that time of year….pruning trees, pulling winter weeds and cleaning out flower beds in preparation for springs awakening call. Last weekend, I joined that merry band of gardeners as I worked on one troublesome Crepe Myrtle Tree in our back yard. The tree bordering our rear fence has not been pruned for the past couple of years. As a result, our neighbors wild honey suckle vine and our crepe myrtle decided to entwine themselves into a mangled monstrosity that vexed my wife most especially … [Read more...]

Trusting God

This past Saturday I traveled through rural Alabama to a small community in North West Florida for a family reunion. Our reunion is held at the church where my Great Grandfather worshiped as he was raising his family of 13 children in the early 1900’s. This place is in the middle of nowhere. I have traveled to this place every year for many years. As I always do, I used technology as I traveled. I had the route in my GPS as I have done many times. When I reached the north side of Elba, Alabama … [Read more...]

Discipleship

“All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you.”– Matthew 28:19–20 “But, everything we do is discipleship.” I’ll never forget these words of a dear elderly brother when I tried explaining to him the need for intentional, reproducible discipleship at my first church in Athens, GA. His sentiments … [Read more...]

Bring All The Tithes Into The Storehouse

The Tonawanda Indian Reservation is in upstate New York. It is about 45 minutes from Niagara Falls. I lived there for a year on the reservation working with Seneca Indian children. It really was an amazing experience! Our reservation was unique in that it had a long house where Medicine men still practiced their magic and healing. The little Baptist church I worked at was older than our country. Originally, it met in a log cabin during the days of George Washington. We had a bi-vocational pastor … [Read more...]

Joy… Even in Pain!

Sunday Pastor Josh preached an outstanding and challenging sermon about how to maintain Joy in all circumstances. Philippians 4:4. Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! (NIV) Joy in all circumstances is difficult! We all undergo trials, heartaches, disappointments and even tragedies that have the capacity to diminish our joy, especially IF our joy is dependent upon our circumstances. Pastor Josh reminded us that our joy is not dependent upon our situation or condition, but … [Read more...]

The Gift of Christ

“and thus I make it my ambition to preach the gospel, not where Christ has already been named, lest I build on someone else's foundation, but as it is written, ‘Those who have never been told of him will see, and those who have never heard will understand.’”– Romans 15:20-21 The Apostle Paul spoke clearly about the mission on which God had set him, to “preach the gospel, not where Christ has already been named.” Churches often make a grave mistake in ignoring Paul’s heart here. “Church … [Read more...]

Good Tidings of Great Joy!

For behold I bring you good tidings of great joy which shall be for all people. One of the greatest most profound statements made in the Bible was told to the shepherds. “The Messiah is for ALL people”. I love Christmas at Eastern Hills! It is festive beyond belief. There is singing, caroling, musicals, parties, worship services. All of them proclaiming the good news that the Messiah has come…but mostly for us.   I don’t think that is intentional. I think we get so busy planning … [Read more...]

The Light Has Come!

As I reflect over the happenings of the past few days, and especially the presentation of The Light Has Come, I am awed at God’s gracious goodness! In planning any worship service or music event I am never completely satisfied with the product. I usually think things like: “If I only had another week, it could be so much better.” “Did I choose the right music?” “Did I include too much music?” “Was the message clear? Did things flow and point to the central theme?” However, this year I am … [Read more...]

Christmas!

I love the Christmas Season! All of the excitement in the air, the decorations and of course the parties make this one of my favorite times of the year. To keep all of these in proper perspective we must remember that the reason for all of this is the celebration of the birth of Jesus. In the midst of all of the activities, we must not ever forget to keep Christ the central point in all we do. This Sunday is a great time to kick off the season as our choirs, orchestra and drama teams will … [Read more...]

Make Thanking an Action

“And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.” – Colossians 3:17 This past week we celebrated the Thanksgiving holiday and now we can finally start looking forward to the Christmas season(!)— but our thankfulness should never stop. While we Christians know we should always have a thankful spirit, we may not realize that in the Bible thankfulness is accompanied by action. In other words, we don’t … [Read more...]