Tuesday, October 10, 2017

It is finished....no, it has just begun!

I started a journey about 12 years ago. In 2001 the Lord opened the door for me to step into the role of Pastor of First Free Will Baptist of North Little Rock, AR. I realized after a few years in this role I needed more training and a better understanding of this role the Lord had placed me in. I had a wonderful education in the field of music from Welch College (1986 graduate) but the office of Pastor was completely different. I had served under some great mentors (Larry Clyatt, Randy Corn, Ben Scott, & Jackie Brown) during my years as Music and Youth Pastor in Tennessee, Georgia, and Arkansas. They had taught me many valuable lessons but I knew in some areas I needed more training. So at the age of 44 I started graduate school.

Pastoring full time, family, and completely rebuilding the church after a fire (2007-2008) slowed the process down some but in August of 2017 I finished my doctoral program. There are several things you realize after this goal is achieved:
1. God must stay at the center of everything you do in life.
2. You do not do this on your own. Family, friends, church, professors, and mentors are a must.
3. You do not know everything! You will/should be a lifetime student.
4. You can learn from anyone, even someone who has a different view from you.
5. Education is not the end it is the beginning.

Thank you to all those who help me reach this goal. I pray that I might use all that I have learned for the glory of God. I want to encourage everyone to become a life-long student of the the Word of God and the service of God.

Thursday, October 20, 2016

Plan Now!

Once again some time has passed since I last posted on this blog. We have been busy as a family. Debbie and I have had several additions to our family. Our second granddaughter was born in April, Meredith Jane has been a blessing to Jacob and Lynsey and big sister Caroline is adjusting well. We spent a wonderful week with our family in Florida late this summer which culminated in the marriage of Andrew and Erika. Matthew is in grad school and working at the hospital. The ministry Debbie serves with opened up more emergency shelter and long-term care homes for children, so she has been busy training staff. I have submitted the first manuscript of my dissertation and will be making revisions soon.

That is all the updates for now! I would like to offer a few words of encouragement to young couples who are trying to live for the Lord, have a godly marriage and raise your children in the nurture and admonition of the Lord. I know it is a battle! But is is worth the fight! Satan will use every weapon he can to stop, discourage you, or distract you. Stay in the Word, Worship and Prayer. If you do not plan to live a godly life, have a godly marriage and raise godly children it will not happen. We plan for everything else in our lives but to live for Christ. Most of us have a day planner on our desk or phones, we plan our vacations, and we plan for retirement but do we spend just as much time and resources planning to live for God. Remember James 4:13-17.

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

The Circle Gets Smaller

Not really sure if this is good or not, I would love you comments. As I get older I find that the circle of people around is getting smaller. Over the years I have lost family members and friends to death and there have been others that have moved away due to jobs or to get closer to family. Those events are just a part of this life and something that all of us must learn to accept. But as I get older I have found that I begun to cherish and seek out time to spend with fewer and fewer people. I know this sounds a little strange for a Pastor to say. Don't get me wrong, I love being with the people of our church and I love meeting new people and ministering in our community and denomination. Maybe I feel this way because my children are getting older and we do not get to spend a lot of time together. Maybe it is because my Mom, brother and his family live in another state. All I do know is that I have begun to cherish the time that Debbie and I get to spend with them. I believe this pattern was true in the life of Christ. As He neared His death on the Cross, He drew the disciples to Him in the Upper Room. As He went to the Garden to pray He called on the inner circle of Peter, James and John. Perhaps at the crucifixion it was only John and Christ's mother, Mary. We need to cherish the time we spend with anyone because things can change so quickly in this life. Who is your "inner circle"? Can you trust them? Are they good influences on your life? Maybe we need to be more careful who we spend our time with! Is Christ a part of your inner circle? Do you cherish your time with Him? As we face the end of this life, He is the only One that will be there. What a joy it is to know He will escort us from this world into eternity with Him!

Thursday, March 5, 2015

It is a snow day in Arkansas. It is still hard for a boy from South Georgia to get use to snow! I sit here reflecting back on 25 years of service here in North Little Rock and over 30 years in the ministry. If there is one word that would describe what I feel it is GRACE. The Lord has saved me and kept me by His grace. It was His grace that called me to salvation, that enables me to grow as a Christian, and it will be His grace that leads me into His presence. His grace placed me in a family that loved the Lord and brought me up in a Christian home and loving church. I was privileged to have great Pastors and Youth Pastors that taught me the Word and challenged me to serve the Lord. The Lord graced me with good friends that supported each other in our walk with the Lord. I made a lot of mistakes growing up and I am thankful for the grace of God that protected me from allowing those mistakes to define me or hurt others. It was His grace that led me Welch College and into full time Christian ministry. Perhaps His greatest act of grace, a part from my salvation, was giving me my wonderful wife Debbie. God then graciously gave us three children with wonderful hearts for service. By His grace we have served three wonderful churches in Nashville, Savannah, and North Little Rock. Many have asked me how we have stayed 25 years in one church-It is grace! The people of North Little Rock have been extremely gracious to our family and especially to me. It is all about His grace! Where would we be without the grace of God? I do not want to think about that!

Thursday, September 25, 2014

I know it has been awhile since I posted last. I have entered into a new chapter of my life. I am a grandfather now! WOW! My daughter and son-in-law who are serve at a church in Royal Oak, MI are the proud and grateful parents of a little girl. When she was born my mind quickly went back to the day that my daughter was born and I held her for the first time. I carried her from the delivery room to the nursery and walked past a hallway filled with our friends from college. I often think I wish I knew then what I know now. Why doesn't God give us children when we are wiser, more mature, and better prepared? I then realized because He wants us to trust Him! He wants us to lean upon Him for the guidance we need in raising our children! He wants us to trust Him to provided spiritually and financially for our families. We all want what is best for our children and grandchildren and isn't that exactly what God wants! Then why don't we trust Him? He can provide for them and protect them in ways we cannot even begin to do. Have you been blessed by God to be parents or grandparents? Will you trust God with those precious gifts?

Friday, April 18, 2014

This is the Friday before Easter Sunday. It has been referred to as Good Friday. There are many ways in which it can be considered good, perhaps the best is that our salvation was provided for on this day by the death of Jesus Christ. I was running this morning and thinking about the sacrifice of Christ. I have been blessed by a good life. I have not faced many health issues and have been supported by a great family, wife, and church all of my life. I have enjoyed some good years! Then I thought that Christ, in the prime of His physical ability and ministry potential, sacrificed it all for me. He gave the best of His life! Many people give the best years of their life to work, family or even to the church. Christ sacrificed all of that for me! What are you doing with the "best" years of your life? Doesn't Christ deserve them?

Friday, January 17, 2014

The last several years I have started to understand why Solomon asked God for wisdom when he began to lead the children of Israel. Early in my life and ministry I would always ask God for wisdom when it came to the "big" decision. I knew I needed God's direction when in came to marriage, where to go in ministry, my family, even buying a house or car. Those were things that I saw as having "long term impact" on my life and the lives of others. Over the last several years I have started to realize I need that same wisdom everyday of my life. One easy way to define wisdom is, "the ability to live a life pleasing to God." If that definition hold trues, and a Christian's goal is to please God with his life, then I need wisdom everyday! I need God's wisdom in every relationship, every task that I face, and every decision that I make. When you woke up this morning you probably asked God to protect your family, lead someone that you know that is lost to Him, or provision for a need you have in your life. Maybe we would be better off if we just asked God for wisdom. "Lord, how can I live my life to please you today? Please give me wisdom to do just that."