Wednesday, December 31, 2008


Sometimes 3rd sounds bad, sometimes it sounds good. If you finished 3rd out of 500 runners in a race, that would sound good. If you finished 3rd out of three, that would be bad.

Well, today the boys and I went to see NC State play basketball in Raleigh with a guy from church and his two kids. We got to the game early, picked up our tickets from Will Call, and headed inside. We were in section 306, row L. We knew that we would be high, but when we climbed the steps - we were 3 rows from the top. We had to look down to see the banners hanging from the rafters.

We sat there, catching our breath. It was about 50 minutes before tip-off. My friends were all State fans, so they had on State shirts. Even though we're UNC fans, we wore red to pull for the Pack. Kaleb bought a State shirt yesterday to wear to the game. I wore a red polo. Kendall had on a red t-shirt.

We were displaying our red (except Kendall, who still had his sweatshirt on) when a State student with a red wig climbed up to where we were and asked if "he (Kendall) had a red shirt on under that."

Kendall showed his red shirt and the guy gave us 6 tickets for lower down. We were excited! How low? Section 120, Row C.

3rd Row. Behind the State bench. Can you say awesome!

We went from 3rd row from the top to 3rd row from the court. What a huge difference. Some of us even made it on the huge jumbo tron screen!

What a great time! Memories for a lifetime. What a way to end the year!

Oh yeah - State won by 20.

Monday, December 29, 2008

Christmas Roundup!

Our crowd made it back home on Sunday evening, after leaving out on Christmas morning. We had a great time visiting with family. As with most families, we had some new ones to meet and some to miss. We had a great time and enjoyed some great food.

It was nice to get home. We feel like we have been living out of our van. We had places to stay - that wasn't problem - it was a different place each night. We also had seven different stops to make - so it was quite amazing that the gifts for the last stop were found, not crushed, and still wrapped.

I know this Christmas has just passed, but I'm already looking forward to next Christmas. As of now, we are planning to stay at home on Christmas Day, and travel afterward. We also look forward to the Wesleyan Youth Convention that takes place in Charlotte. We've attended these since 1990 and look forward to each one.

Since we made seven stops, that means that we ate at least seven large meals. Be looking for a post in the near future about Goals for 2009.
Note: In case you were wondering - that's not us in that photo - it just felt like it.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Christmas Eve

I love Christmas Eve traditions. We have a candlelight service at the church that is always special. The boys and I usually watch the The Christmas Story, you know the one with the boy wanting a Red Rider BB gun.

We usually prepare our breakfast casserole so all we have to do is put it in the oven Christmas morning. We try to get to bed before too late so we can get up early!

I hope you have a great Eve!

Great Times!

Last night we had a wonderful time with some pastor friends and their families. One of the couples had lived in Kansas City, so they knew how to make ribs. These were the best ribs I've ever eaten. I'm probably ruined. What a great time of food, fun and fellowship.

We had to travel about three hours (each way) to get to the event. On the way back, I needed to get some gas. There was a particular place I wanted to stop, fill up and get a few snacks, but it was further down the road than I had thought. They kids got rather quiet when they realized that we were well below the E on the ol' fuel gage and no gas stations in sight.

Well . . . we made it to the gas station on fumes. I think the experience enhanced the family's prayer life.

BTW, I did set a new record for the most miles driven on a tank of fuel for our van! :) I think I am prohibited from going for a new record during our Christmas travels.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Happy Birthday!

Yesterday was my bride's birthday! Yeah! I wish I could say that I took her to some exotic place or really awesome restaurant, but I didn't. As she would say, it was a "regular" day.

She went to work, came home, and then we headed to a Christmas party. The folks there knew it was her birthday, so a hearty "Happy Birthday" was sung. We had a great time at the party, and were real glad we went. (I had given her the option, go to this party or go out for her birthday). We'll go out for her birthday later.

The kids and I presented her with gifts and a cake when we got home. The kids enjoyed the cake, Amy and I were stuffed from the party!

The funniest thing happened with her cake that I had never seen before. I had gotten some candles that spelled out Happy Birthday. Kendall had the candles lit and was walking into the living room - we were singing Happy Birthday - and he was about to hand the cake to Amy when all of the candles went out at the same time! The look on Kendall's face was awesome!

Needless to say, it doesn't work well to carry a lit birthday cake underneath a ceiling fan!

Happy Birthday HB!

Friday, December 12, 2008

Christmas Lights

The other night the kids and I did some "exterior illumination" to the house - the icicle lights. This is the third year that we have put them on the house. In years past I climbed all over the roof like Clark W. Griswold, Jr. - feeling like I'm going to fall off. One portion of the roof has a particularly steep pitch, and last year I did a little sliding.

Well, I'm older and wiser now, so we borrowed a ladder and hung the lights without getting on the roof. It wasn't as thrilling for the kids - I didn't have any Griswold moments this year!

Wednesday, December 10, 2008


I’ve had more people ask me about UNC football lately. You see, I’m a UNC grad and a sports fan, so I tend to keep up with college football and basketball. Over the last several years, UNC football hasn’t been doing too well. They haven’t had a winning season since 2004 and hadn’t won a bowl game since 2001.

So, why were people asking me about UNC football? Expectations were higher this year. In fact, they were predicted to finish near or at the top of their division. When UNC lost to State this year, just about every State fan made sure that I knew about it. Last year when State won no one said much. So, what’s the big deal about State winning this year? Expectations. UNC was predicted to win. They lost 41-10. In fact, a lot of people (including State fans) thought that might be the score with UNC winning.

Expectations are exactly what you think they are – what you expect to happen. Sometimes our expectations are too high, or not high enough. We do this in all aspects of life. For example, you expect to pay too much for very average food at Busch Gardens or Kings Dominion amusement parks. You expect to pay more for gasoline in Hertford that in Elizabeth City. Unfortunately, when calling customer service we have come to expect to talk to a computer rather than a human.

However, when our losing team wins - we get good food cheap – gas is cheaper close to home – and we get to talk to a human – we are pleasantly surprised and we take notice.

As Christians, what are the world’s expectations of us? Hypocrite . . . judgmental . . . exclusive . . . think they’re better . . . etc. What would happen if the world found us to be different (better) than that? What would happen if the world found us to be like . . . Jesus?

What are the world’s expectations about church? Boring . . . irrelevant . . . out for your money . . . etc. I know I don’t want to be about those things. Let’s be innovative and exceed expectations so people will be drawn to Jesus!

May we connect people with God . . . and each other.

Monday, December 8, 2008

The First Saturday!

The first Saturday of December has been one of my favorite days each year for the past several years. It's the day of the Annual Christmas Parade in our town of Hertford. For years our church has built a float for the parade and had a bunch of folks to ride on it. This year was no different. We had a whole team of people spend a lot of time working on the float this year. We even won first place in the "Church Float" division at the parade. That's cool!

Along with the float, we have a table set up downtown - along the parade route - to give away hot chocolate and coffee to those waiting for the parade. The thing I like the best, is the look a lot of people give when they are told "It's Free!" Yesterday we got several of those looks. Even some "don't you take donations?" Nope.

Now that's fun!

Sunday, December 7, 2008

The Wave!

Yesterday was the Hertford Christmas Parade. Since Amy is on the School Board, a car was provided for Board members to ride. Here you see Amy doing her Miss America wave!

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Thanksgiving Week Update

Our family had a great time over Thanksgiving. Amy and I were able to spend time with our parents and go to several family gatherings where we saw extended family. Several memories were made, especially in the tree cutting. Let's just say that they tree didn't fall where I intended, and it was a miracle that it only brushed Mom and Dad's house.

It was a good time away, but we were glad to be back in Bagley Swamp on Saturday evening. Since we've been back, it's been quite busy!

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Thanksgiving Week

We are headed to the Winston-Salem area this evening to spend some time with family. Since the kids are out of school on Wednesday, we have found that we can get down the road and miss some traffic. Amy can work via Internet from most anywhere and I can find some time to get some things done.

We plan to do some yard work at my parents. Plan to cut down a tree and get up some leaves. Sounds like drudgery to some, but I'm looking forward to it. I haven't cut any wood since our last hurricane several years ago, and we never have leaves to get up since the winds keep out yard clean. We'll be able to work hard knowing that we don't have to do that type of work all the time. It also pays off to have two teenage boys that are almost as big as I am.

We will do some traveling and get to see family that we haven't seen in several months. I've been real busy lately, so I'm looking forward to a different change of pace.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Awesome Weekend!

This past weekend was pretty awesome!

Saturday started dark, early and cold at 3am. I went with 3 others to pick up our Angel Food in Portsmouth. We unloaded an 18-wheeler and divided our food out from other churches that were there. We got back to Bagley Swamp around 8:30. A large crowd of Bagley Swampers showed up at 9 to unload and folks began to pick up food around 11. It's pretty cool to be a part of something new and the potential that it has to impact our community.

Saturday was also Kendall's 16th birthday. We went to IHOP and 'loaded the wagon'. It was good. I was ready to hit the sack when we got home.

Sunday's services were good - we had large crowds at both services and God is definitely working in people's lives.

Sunday evening we had our annual Bagley Swamp Thanksgiving Dinner. For the last couple of years we have rented the local elementary school multi-purpose room to have enough room. We needed it. I think our folks fixed something like 10 turkeys and 10 hams. Everyone brought their favorite side dishes and desserts. Can you say Feast? Needless to say - huge crowd.

Went to the YMCA this morning. Need I say more? Feel better now.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Sweet 16!

Our son, Kendall, turns 16 today! We are quite excited and proud of the man that he is becoming. Happy birthday, son!

Unfortunately, 16 isn't as sweet as it once was. No drivers license until he completes one year with a permit (NC Law). So, for Kendall it will be sweet 16, 4 months and 11 days when he gets his license. I know he is taking the wait better than I would have.

Friday, November 21, 2008


Well, the snow left faster than it came. Not long after my 10 am post, the snow stopped. When I went out around noon to get some lunch, the snow was gone!

It reminds me that most of the things of this life - pleasures, stuff and the like - are temporary. Our true identity, security and fulfillment need to be based on something that is not lose-able. When those things (identity, security, fulfillment) are wrapped up in pleasures and stuff, we are sunk when the pleasures and stuff are lost, take a nose dive or evaporate like the snow.

I am glad that my identity, security and fulfillment are based on something much bigger and eternal than myself or this world. It is based on the God of the bible, who loves me and you no matter what. That's awesome!

This Counts!

Earlier this week we had a few snow flurries. You know, snow flakes that fell from heaven for about five minutes. In the south, we say it snowed. Some laugh and scoff.

Well, today it has been snowing since daylight and hasn't stopped as of this posting. We have between one and two inches on the ground. For the northeast corner of NC that hardly ever sees snow - this definitely counts. If I remember correctly, we didn't have this much snow all of last winter.

On a down note, the kids had to go to school. Where we are - usually we can count on being out of school when it snows like it has today!
We are excited - the snow possibilities for the winter hold great promise since it snowed here before Thanksgiving!

Friday, November 14, 2008

Spectator - or - Player

I thought that I would share this from the backpage of our November newsletter . . .

Sports have always been a part of my life. Growing up, we (the neighborhood kids) were always playing baseball, basketball, football or some made-up game. We had a blast. I’ve also followed my favorite sports teams over the years. So, it’s no wonder that my kids have been involved in sports.

The funny thing is that all three kids have played for years a sport that I never played – soccer. I remember playing soccer in PE for about a week when I was in 6th grade. I have been watching my kids play soccer for over 12 years. I even coached the boys when they were real small.

A few weeks ago, Kendall and I went down to the soccer field. I had noticed in the games a few areas that he could improve on - so we were going to work on those. As we were on the field, I realized that a lot of things are harder than they look. And, some things hurt more than what you might think.

That got me to thinking. There is a lot of difference between being a spectator and being a player. A lot of times we think that as a spectator that we’re “in the game”, but we’re not. As spectators, we are good observers but we are not involved in the game, we just watch others. Spectators are good at complaining but we can’t do anything about it. We say things like… that coach made the wrong call, those players are not playing hard enough or those uniforms are ugly. The truth is that most spectators couldn’t get into the game because we are out shape and usually haven’t played the game.

The church – the Christian life – can be the same. Sometimes we sit on the sidelines and watch other Christians (or the church) and think that “such and such” should be done. Well, guess what? The Christian life – the church – is not a spectator sport. All of us are in the game – and – on the same team. So – get in the game!

I’m excited about our team. In fact, I know our team wins. I just want to get as many on our team as we can. Because life is about connecting people with God . . . and each other.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Drink Coffee. Do Good.

Last month Pastor Todd and I went to Catalyst in Atlanta and had a blast. Some of the best things about Catalyst are the connections that are made, the information that is learned, and the ministries that we learn about.

One of those ministries is Land of a Thousand Hills Coffee. In a nutshell (or should I say, coffee bean), this is a company that invests some of it's profits back into Rwanda, where they get their coffee. You can read about that here.

We drink coffee in our Sunday School class, so this week we are making the switch. The coffee that we will be drinking will be helping people in Rwanda. If the folks are interested, we can place orders every so often where for the folks to have the coffee at home (or even work).

I just think that we need to have a missional mindset. I know this is a small thing, but I just like the idea that the coffee that we drink can make a direct impact in lives on the ground where the coffee was harvested. That's awesome!

Our shipment just arrived - I'm pretty pumped! Now there's a little something extra to look forward to this Sunday!

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

We Made It!

Amy returned last night from two different retreats. The kids and I survived her being gone for 5 days. Believe it or not, I did cook, the house was clean, and the laundry was caught up when she arrived at the ol' homestead. It did help that yesterday was Veteran's Day and the kids were out of school.

One of the retreats was a pastor's wife retreat that she goes to every two years near Atlanta. She has attended that conference since 1996. In past years, when the kids were quite young, I did real good to keep everyone fed. I remember taking our daughter to church and asking someone to help with her hair. Needless to say, the kids pretty much can fend for themselves these days.

It's kinda crazy, but the next time she attends that pastor's wife retreat, our oldest will be in college. Wow! I imagine that Amy may start leaving instructions for the kids on 'how to take of dad' before too long.

We're glad to have her back!

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Big News!

About a year ago our family got serious about getting in good financial shape. We began reading The Total Money Makeover by Dave Ramsey and decided to get on his plan for financial freedom. He has a series of 7 steps to financial freedom, you can check it out here.

Well, last week we completed step 2, we're debt free! We owe nothing to no one! No credit card payment, no car payment, nothing! How freeing! We are now on to step 3, which is to have an emergency fund of 3-6 months of expenses. We're going for the 6 months of expenses.

Our boys are going though Generation Change right now with a group of teens from the church. Our hope is that they are never in debt!

Huge props go out to Amy and the kids! We all had to be very intentional to make this happen! Also, a shout out to Chuck, Amy's friend and coworker who introduced us to Dave Ramsey and showed us it could be done. Thanks, Chuck!

Monday, October 20, 2008

The Shack

At Catalyst, Ernie Johnson (of TNT basketball coverage) interviewed William Paul Young, the author of the Christian novel, The Shack. I had never heard of Mr. Young nor his book. And to be honest, not having read the book, I couldn't follow the interview too well.

In fact, after the interview was over, I really had no clue to what the book was about, other than it was a Christian novel that Mr. Young had written for his soon-to-be-adult children. What got me, though, was how Ernie Johnson was so moved by the book. Having seen Ernie on TV a lot, this surprised me. So, I got the book.

With Amy and the kids out of town this past weekend, I read The Shack. It is best book that I have ever read that describes God's love for us (all of us) besides the bible. Now I understand why Ernie had a hard time describing it. It is a book that you experience. I highly recommend it.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Angel Food

When I first heard of Angel Food, my first thought was cake, as in angel food cake. Then I learned that Angel Food is a ministry that allow people to buy great food - like you get at your grocery store - for a fraction of the cost.

We (Bagley Swamp Church) are now a distribution site for Angel Food. We applied and were approved to be a site. Before we even received out packet explaining what we were to do, we began receiving calls. I believe that we can have a real impact in people's lives for Christ through acts of Compassion.

BTW, at Bagley Swamp, we define compassion ministries as those tangible things that we do for others with no strings attached.

We will begin taking orders for Angel Food on October 26 for the November 22 delivery date. Check out the Angel Food website for more information. Order deadline and the such will be on the Bagley Swamp Website by the end of next week.

Back to Richwood in February

Just got off the phone with Dave from Impact Missions. We are scheduled to go back to Richwood, West Virginia on a mission trip the first of February. The date that we set was February 1 -7. Now that date isn't firm yet, some checking has to be done with the Richwood folks. For now, that's the date. I can't wait.

Great Memory!

Yesterday evening my daughter and I had one of those memory-maker kind of evenings. It's one of those events that was six years in the making. Let me explain.

In 2002 Elizabeth Dole came to our area campaigning for the US Senate. She came to a campaign breakfast at our local restaurant. At the time we were homeschooling, so I took the kids to the breakfast to meet Mrs. Dole. While we were there, our picture was taken and we were on the front page of our local newspaper. You can see me holding my daughter.

Well, last night Senator Dole was in our area, so my daughter and I decided to go and see her again. Amy and the boys were busy, so it was just to two of us. We got there early, hoping that it wouldn't be a big problem to meet her. We stood out of the way of the front door, but Senator Dole entered from the side, right beside of us. She went to the podium and gave her speech. During the speech, I asked her assistant if it was possible for Senator Dole to autograph the newspaper photo we brought. He said to stand right there, and Mrs. Dole would walk right to us.

Well, Mrs. Dole decided to walk out the front door instead. Her assistant told us to follow him, and we did. We ended up meeting Mrs. Dole at her car, with no one else around. I showed her the newspaper photo from six years before, and she seemed excited to sign it for us. I asked her if she knew one of my pastor friends, and she did. Then she asked if I would keep her and her husband in my prayers. That was pretty cool!
Needless to say, my daughter and I were pretty excited about our private encounter with the Senator. We celebrated by going to a local burger joint!

Thursday, October 16, 2008


One of the Lab Sessions that I went to at Catalyst was taught by Mark Batterson. He talked about one of the cages that we find ourselves in from time to time - the cage of fear. Often times we are like King Saul in that we are sitting underneath the pomegranate tree when we should be taking action (1 Samuel 14).

Often that fear paralyzes us from taking the action that God has called us to take. It is interesting to see Saul's son, Jonathan, has the same scenario before him as his dad, but rather than being paralyzed by fear, he is propelled by faith.

I was with a group of pastors on Tuesday and we talked about this very situation in scripture. Here are a couple of thoughts that I wrote down:

Live like there is nothing to lose.

To live is Christ - to die is gain. (Philippians 1:21) So . . . God gives us eternal life so we can live risky lives.

We have to recognize that most scary situations are actually opportunities that we are afraid to take action.

So, the question for you and me - are you propelled by faith (living risky for God) OR paralyzed by fear (living safe for you)?

Wednesday, October 15, 2008


For several years I have heard about Catalyst, read about Catalyst, and wanted to go to Catalyst. Well, this year I went.

Catalyst is conference for church leaders where the speakers are those who are great leaders in the church and in the business world. The worship was awesome. It was a tremdous experience that had my group fired up shortly after we got there. Check Catalyst out here.

It will take me a while to process all of the information that went into my brain and in my heart. Someone said this, and I agree: It was like trying to drink from a fire hydrant. So much to take in. We're planning to go next year. Love to have you go with us. I will probably be posting bits and pieces of Catalyst for quite a while now.

Pastors Gathering

For more that a decade, I have attended the Carolina Pastors Gathering. It is a retreat of sorts for Wesleyan pastors in NC. We alternate our meeting location between the mountains and the beach during the second week of September. This year we were at the beach, Oak Island, NC, just south of Wilmington.

I like the beach and the mountains. Probably the beach a little better. However, for me it's not the location. In fact, it's not really the speaker. Don't get me wrong, I've enjoyed the speakers. In fact, Kerry Willis was with us this year, and he was great. He is the real deal, a great leader and has passion.

For me, it is being with other pastors. Laughing. Learning. Listening. I have some great friends that have have invested greatly in me. Thanks guys!

I will say that the view at the beach (and the mountains) makes it easy to connect with God.

I'm Back

Over the last six weeks, I've been out of town for a good portion of three of those weeks. Since I don't travel a lot, I haven't learned how to how to keep "my head above water" while I am gone. So, when I have returned, I've found myself scrambling to keep up. However, I am getting better.

Needless to say, my busyness has led to my neglect to post here. So, just wanted to let you know that I'm back. Look for updates on a more regular basis.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008


Amy and I finally joined the YMCA in Elizabeth City. We have thought about it for years, but finally decided to do it. We knew that we needed to shake up our exercise routine, so we decided to join the Y.

Over the years I have enjoyed working out at a gym. It started in junior high when our PE teacher introduced us to the Universal Gym. I really got serious about lifting weights when I was in high school getting ready for football. I continued some in college and seminary. However, since moving to Bagley Swamp nine years ago, I haven't joined a gym and worked out regularly with weights.

We joined a few weeks ago, and I'd forgotton how much I enjoy lifting weights. Here is the crazy thing - I'm getting up and working out at the Y and getting home before the kids even leave for school. I can't believe that I'm getting up that early - it's not easy, but it feels great to start my day that way.

So far, I have more energy and feel great. In my life, I have found that when I am in better physical shape, I tend to do spiritually. When I become more disciplined physically, I am more disciplined spiritually.

One of my favorite verses is on the wall at the Y where I see it every morning: For physical training is of some value, but godliness has value for all things, holding promise for both the present life and the life to come (1 Timothy 4:8)

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Turning 40

Last Friday I finally hit the big 4-0. With my birthday being in August, I was one of the youngest in my grade. It was a real pain when I was 15 and waiting all summer to get my driver's license while my friends were driving around and having a great time. I thought it was so unfair!

Well, the thought of turning 40 has sunk in over the past year when a lot of my friends hit that monumental mark. I haven't thought much about it. No deep ponderings about the meaning of life. Or seeing if I'm measuring up. Or wondering if life has passed me by.

However - it seemed that my turning 40 was a big deal to several other folks. The crowd at church threw me a surprise party Sunday afternoon. It was pretty cool how they did it. I had a meeting at the fellowship hall, and everyone showed up at the end of it. They brought in all kinds of snacks, a huge cake - with my 7th grade football picture on it, balloons and the like. I was like - wow! It did seem that most of those that organized the party were over 40, so it could have been a 'welcome to the club' kind of thing :)

The funniest thing was the shirt that they gave me. They congratulated me for being named pastor of the year for our church district. Then gave me a shirt with the letters POTY large on the front and small letters underneath saying 'pastor of the year'. That was cool! Several call me 'poty' now.
My sister got involved and made a slideshow of all kinds of pictures of me from age 1 to 40. Most of them were not very flattering. Most people were laughing pretty good. I imagine she worked real hard on it, and probably had a few laughs putting it together. It's a shame that she wasn't there to see everyone enjoying it. Maybe I'll post it sometime. (She needs to remember that she is older and reaches any BIG number before I do.)

To top it off - when I got home from the surprise party - a big 40 was painted on the grass in our front yard. Unless the grass really begins to grow, it may be there until spring.
It was great time - thanks to all who made it special!

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Wild Goose Chase

Here's a great book that comes out today - Wild Goose Chase by Mark Batterson. The subtitle really sums up the book - Reclaim the Adventure of Pursing God.

Here's some from the introduction -

“Celtic Christians had a name for the Holy Spirit–An Geadh-Glas, or ‘the Wild Goose.’ The name hints at mystery. Much like a wild goose, the Spirit of God cannot be tracked or tamed. An element of danger, an air of unpredictability surround Him. And while the name may sound a little sacrilegious, I cannot think of a better description of what it’s like to follow the Spirit through life. I think the Celtic Christians were on to something….Most of us will have no idea where we are going most of the time. And I know that is unsettling. But circumstantial uncertainty also goes by another name: Adventure.”
Mark wrote the best-selling book In the Pit with a Lion on a Snowy Day. Our Sunday School class read that book together and we plan on reading through this one as well. Mark is the lead pastor of Washington, DC’s National Community Church, widely recognized as one of America’s most innovative churches. NCC meets in movie theaters at metro stops throughout the city, as well as in a church-owned coffee house near Union Station. Amy and I (and the family) went to the coffee shop when we were in DC a while back. It's really neat!

You can read excerpts from the book at I have a copy of the book for the first two to email me at
Let me know what you think.

Monday, August 18, 2008

This Is Awesome!

I found this out yesterday after church. One of our 90 year-old members leaned over and told her son as she was leaving church that her car wouldn't start that morning and that she had walked to church. He promptly told her that he would give her a ride home. Awesome!

The next time some one gives some lame excuse why they couldn't make it to church . . .

Way to go Miss Teressa! You're my hero!

A Great Day!

Yesterday was great! Our teens and kids did great sharing from Youth Week and VBS. Both services had large numbers, especially the second where we had several folks standing in the back and in the foyer. We had a lot of guests, so hopefully some connections were made. If they do not have a church home, we'll pray that they find one (I'd like for it to be us!) It was a fun time.

A cool thing that we did at the end of the second service, we handed out ice cream sandwiches and nutty buddies to everyone. That was really fun. It was fun to see our guests relax and enjoy it. I heard "I've never been to a church that did anything like that". Cool!

Our baptismal celebration was awesome! We had 15 to get baptized! Wow! The weather was perfect. It was a great time. We stayed around at Dan and Ann's till dark, talking, laughing, eating and having a great time. What a great day!

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Can't Wait Until Tomorrow!

I'm pumped up about tomorrow! This past week we had Vacation Bible School and Youth Week at Bagley Swamp. It was great! Tomorrow our teens will share about what God has been doing in their lives during our 8:30 am service. I know several teens that have had their lives changed this week, so I can't wait to hear what they say!

Our kids will be sharing during our 11am service. Last night as they were singing, I was talking to Ed, our sound guy. I thought that the voices were coming from the CD, but it was our kids. Wow! It's fun to hear the song, scripture, and biblical principles that these kids learn during the week. I know God is working in their lives as well. We also have something real cool that we are going to do at the end of the service that will probably "wow" some folks.

I'm most excited about our Baptismal Celebration that is happening tomorrow afternoon. We have over ten that will be baptized, declaring their faith publicly that Jesus Christ is Lord! Incredible! In usual Bagley Swamp style, this just won't be a baptismal service, it'll be an event. I can't wait.

Hopefully I'll be able to sleep tonight. I'll probably blow up tomorrow evening.

Last Week This Time, part 4

For the first time, I'm glad it's not last week. Last week at this time we were sitting in traffic trying to get over the Chesapeake Bay. We sat for over an hour waiting to get through a toll booth. Traffic went from four lanes, to 12 lanes, back to two lanes. What a pain! Luckily we stopped and grabbed lunch before getting tangled up in that mess.

I will say that it was a tremendous sight riding over Bay up in Maryland and in Virginia. It was incredible. Especially when you are riding on the bridge and can't see land . . . that's a long bridge.

Last Week This Time, Part 3

After we finished up at the White House, we knew that it was time to leave Washington. We decided at the last minute to walk to the World War II Memorial. The last time we were in that part of Washington, the memorial wasn't complete, so this was our first chance. It was a little bit of a walk, but well worth it.

Everyone was tired of walking, so I decided to be nice and walk back and get the van and pick everyone up. While I was one the van roundup, the rest of the family stayed and looked around at the memorial. I was glad they stayed back, they got some rest . . . and got to see Senator Bob Dole. What a nice treat!

Last Week This Time, part 2

Amy had done some checking, she's good with that, and we were going to be in Washington one of the two days of the year that they allow tours of the White House Garden. So . . . we got up early on Saturday, stood in line to get tickets at 8am, and then got on the White House lawn at 10 am. It was really cool. All of the familar sights, we were right there. A definate memory maker. The top picture is of 3/5 of us in front of the Rose Garden. The bottom picture lets you know how close we were.

Friday, August 15, 2008

Last Week This Time

Last week this time, we were in Baltimore, getting ready to go to the Orioles game at Camden Yards. Camden Yards is a great place to see a game! The weather was perfect - it was a great chance to get away and experience something new together as a a family. I have learned that one of my greatest reponsibilities as a dad is to help create memories for my family. I don't mean doing fake stuff, but rather doing different things so that my kids' only memories of their childhood is sitting in front of the TV. I'll share more of our memories from this trip later in another post.

Monday, July 28, 2008

It's Official!

Amy took the oath of office this evening and is officially installed as a member of the Perquimans County School Board. So . . . the fourth Monday of every month for the next four years - we know where she will be - at the school board meeting. She was quite excited since she has already been to two days of training in Raleigh and several evening workshops.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

It Runs In The Family

This week our family was on our annual vacation to Lake Gaston. My family, my sister’s and my parents all spend most of a week at a lake house. We've done this since 1999. We have a lot of fun, catching up, skiing, tubing and other water sports.

This year we added something new, although it wasn’t that fun. Sunday evening after a sunset boat ride (very nice) my sister stepped off the dock and fell in the water. She had a fairly large bruise and several scrapes. Not to be out-done, my dad stepped off the dock on Tuesday evening, also after dusk (you’d think we’d learn). Unfortunately, dad ended up breaking two bones in his foot.

I think sunset boat rides are out unless we have a major flashlight. Hopefully that is the last of falling off the dock.
Despite the our tendancy to fall in the lake, we had fun. Most of all, it had little to do with what we did, but more of who we were with. Isn't that the way it's supposed to be?

Wednesday, July 23, 2008


I heard about Corn-Hole from others and decided to try it. The kids and I built the corn-hole boards and ordered the corn-filled bags online. We took them on our family vacation this week and had loads of fun. For the record, my dad made the first Hole-In. We played several evenings past dusk and fed several mosquitoes.

Friday, July 18, 2008


I came across this article written last July by Josh Hamilton, the guy who hit 28 home runs in the Home Run Derby on Monday. Be sure to read this article, it's more about a changed life than baseball. "I'm proof that hope is never lost"

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

"What a Waste!"

This evening as I was carrying our tray of fast food to our table, I noticed that we had one extra sandwich. After we prayed, I began to disperse the food and figure out which one was the extra. About the time I was down to the last two sandwiches, the employee who handed me the tray of food at the counter came to the table and asked if she had given me an extra sandwich. I responded by saying "yes", then grabbed the extra sandwich and handed it to her. She took the sandwich and threw it in the trash.

Amy and I looked at each other, dumbfounded. Then Amy said, "What a waste!"

Contrast that experience to the one we had a few weeks ago at a different restaurant. We called ahead and ordered some milkshakes "to go". When we got to the drive-thru, the employee apologized and explained that they hadn't started the milkshakes (real milkshakes, hand dipped). A few minutes later she returned with the milkshakes, apologizing again, then telling me that the milkshakes were free due to our having to wait. Cool!

Restaurant 1 made me feel bad, like I stole something. Restaurant 2 made me feel great, like they cared and that I am important. Here's the thing: both restaurants had food that was not paid for. The unpaid sandwich made me feel bad and the unpaid milkshakes made me feel good. Guess which restaurant I'm frequenting more?

Here is a question for us: If we are Christians, which restaurant are we portraying? As you interact with others, are you making sure no one gets away with anything (Restaurant 1)? Or are you are willing dispenser of God's grace (Restaurant 2)? Which is more attractive? Which one do you want to hang out with?

Hopefully we're not Restaurant 1. "What a waste!"

Monday, June 30, 2008

Eagle Scout

This past Saturday we celebrated as our son, Kaleb, was awared his Eagle Scout badge. His is officaially an Eagle Scout now. It is quite a significant accomplishment and one that we are quite proud of. Kaleb started as a Tiger in Cub Scouts way back when he was in kindergarden. He's come a long way. Here are the requirements to become an Eagle Scout.

I've learned through watching both of my sons earn the rank of Eagle Scout that this award is a lot like life. There are rewards when you stick to something for the long haul, if you know what I mean. There were sacrifices that had to be made. There were times that they had to do what they were "required" to do rather than what they "wanted" to do. One of the main things was that each boy had to be determined to keep their eye on the goal and pursure it. There are always many things in life that can distract you away from your goal.

Way to go, Big K!

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Worship & Evangelism Defined!

I came across this great definition of worship and evangelism on Mark Batterson's blog:

For what it's worth, here are my personal definitions of worship and evangelism. Worship is bragging about God to God. Evangelism is bragging about God to others. I think evangelism is a simple extension of worship. Let's not stop bragging about God when we walk out of church!

Batterson goes on to give a dream of his - I've had the same dream:

I've always dreamed of being part of a church that was experiencing the reality of Acts 2:47. It says people were added daily. Don't you want to be part of a church that is experiencing life changing transformation on a daily basis?

What do you think?

Just wait until . . .

This morning my two boys went to their first summer soccer workouts. I guess it just hit me, but I now have two boys at the high school, a junior and a freshman. My high school days don't seem that long ago, and I certainly don't feel that old.

I remember when my wife was pregnant with our oldest. I remember someone saying "enjoy your sleep now, just wait until he's born." Then after he was born, "just wait until he walks." The big one was always "wait until he's a teenager." As if the next stage in parenting was something to dread, and wish away.

Amy and I made a decision when we first heard the "just wait until . . . " nay-sayers. We decided that we were going to enjoy each and every stage that our children would go through. And we have. This doesn't mean that we've done everything perfect or it's been all rosy. But, we made the decision that we would enjoy our kids.

And we look forward to having two in high school and one in fourth grade. Are you "just wait until" or are you "looking forward to . . ."?

FYI - I'm not looking forward to the smell of sweaty teenage boys in the van when I pick them up!

Wednesday, June 11, 2008


For the past few days, simple things that I have tried to accomplish have turned into - to put it mildly - big irritations.

Our refrigerator began to die about a month ago. I did the "thaw-out and restart" thing several times after it had frozen up. It would work for about a week, then freeze up again. Last week it kept turning on and off, becoming very unpredictable. Finally, after talking to several others, we headed to Lowe's and picked out a new fridge. It was to be delivered on Monday around noon and the old one hauled off.

Not so quick. We get a message to call back to the store. They're closed, so we call in the morning. They didn't put the fridge on the truck because it had a dent in it. So, I go look at the dent and pulled a Dave Ramsey and asked how much they would take off for the dent. $150. Cool. But no fridge until Tuesday.

As it would happen, they show up to deliver in the evening while I'm at a meeting. They refuse to hook up the ice maker due to the copper tubing that was used by the old fridge. So I have to go to the store and get new parts for that. Needless to say, I finally got that fixed tonight, so I've been dealing with that fridge for the past three days when I thought I wouldn't have to touch it and it would be finished on Monday.

I've had a similar deal with the church van. The A/C hasn't been working right, so we need to get it fixed before kids go to camp this coming Sunday. We take it to the shop last Friday and get word that it is ready on Monday. We pick it up, the A/C works but the vents aren't working properly. So we take it back on Tuesday. We pick it up today and now A/C not working. The compressor I guess has gone out. So it's still there. . .

I remember reading (I think it was in the Purpose Driven Life by Rick Warren) that if I need to grow in a certain area, God will allow you to experience the exact opposite situation. For example, if I need to grow in patience, I will not learn patience if all the traffic lights are green. But I will learn patience at the red ones.

As I look at these two "irritations" - I believe I'm learning patience and the fact that I'm not in control. I believe that if you are not learning, that you are not growing. If you are not growing, you are not becoming more like Jesus.

So, I have to look at it like this: I am grateful for these irritations. Without them, I most likely wouldn't be learning. What are you learning through your irritations?

Friday, May 30, 2008

Da Bulls!

This afternoon our family is headed to Durham to see the Durham Bulls play the Pawtucket Red Sox. The Bulls are the Triple A team of the Tampa Bay Rays. In other words, the Bulls are in the league just below the major leagues.

Amy and I went to see the Bulls play a lot while we were in college in Chapel Hill. Later when our boys came along, we went quite often.

We will be meeting my sister and her family, my mom and dad, as well as my uncle at the game. The last time we saw a game with my parents and my sister's family was 10 years ago when we went to Atlanta to see the Braves. We had a blast! It wore out Amy and my sister since they were both pregnant. They should fare better this time.

I am also anticipating some great food! Nothing beats food at the ball park. Yes, it cost a little much, but man is it good.

I almost forgot, we get the fireworks show after the game. That should be great! One time my dad, uncle and I went to Atlanta to see the Braves over July 4. They had a fireworks show after the game, but our seats were so high that we couldn't see the display due to being beneath the overhang of the stadium. As my uncle said, "All we saw was the ashes." We've joked my dad for years about those Bob "I must be on the front row" Uecker seats.

On Saturday I hope to stop by and check on the progress of newhope church in Durham. This church is really doing great things and is building a tremendous facility just down the road from Southpoint in Durham. If you are ever in Durham, check this church out!

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Not Your Ordinary Book!

Last week I went to The Whiteboard Sessions in Reston, VA. One of the speakers was Vince Antonucci from Virginia Beach, VA. I was able to talk with him and his wife, and they are quite a couple. Their church is Forefront Church, and they meet in three locations. The most intertesting to me is the one that meets in a bar in Pembroke Mall on Tueday nights. The next Tuesday evening I have free, I plan to go see Vince.

After hearing Vince speak, I decided to pick up his book, I Became a Christian and All I Got was this Lousy T-Shirt. I started reading it last night and before I knew it, I was halfway through the book. It is great! This guy makes you laugh out loud, but also gets in your face about living a mundane Christian life. You need to get this book.

Also, let me know if you want to make a road trip one Tuesday evening.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Great Day!

Monday was a top 10 day! The weather was great and our family was off from work and out of school. I started the day bright and early with my oldest (Kendall) and youngest (Katherine) on a fishing excursion in our boat on the Perquimans River. It has been a while since I've been on the water that early. We had a great time! The person who caught the most fish is pictured to the left!

We came home in time for hot dogs and hamburgers for lunch. Kaleb turned 14 on Sunday and had some friends over for lunch. We all went to the 1:30 showing of Indiana Jones. I've always enjoyed the Indiana movies, and I liked this one as well. It was a fun time together.

Since it was so nice outside, we decided to head out in the boat after the movie. Kaleb and I skied for the first time this year. Katherine knee-boarded. The water was definitely cold! Amy wanted to ski, but chickened out when she saw Kaleb and I turn blue.

What a great day to be with the fam!

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Off to DC

OK, it's not exactly DC, but Pastor Todd and I are headed to Reston, VA, just south of DC for a conference called The Whiteboard Sessions. The conference is all day on Thursday. I'm excited because there will be 8 speakers who will have 30 minutes each to present the most innovative or important aspect to the ministry of which they are involved. I'm sure that this will stretch my thinking and hopefully help me see some new avenues for ministry. It'll be good for PT and me to get away and dream a little. Pray for us!

Monday, May 19, 2008

Memory Lane

This past weekend my boys spent the weekend camping and fishing with their Uncle Chad. I was a little jealous that I didn't get to go, but I know that they had a blast. I know part of the fun is doing cool stuff with others in your life. Chad had gone fishing with his grandpa as a kid, and relived some of that this past weekend with my boys. I fished with my grandpa growing up and have to say that those memories are some of my best.

Sometimes as parents we get caught up in getting things for our kids, but we forget that one of the most important things that we can give our kids is memories. Perhaps a few things outside of the ordinary. Nothing spectacular, just thoughtful.

Thanks, Chad. The weekend you've given my boys will last a lifetime. How do I know? Let me tell you about the time my friend, Paul, and I went fishing with my grandpa when we were 11 . . .

What are you doing intentionally that will take folks down memory lane (with positive thoughts)?

Friday, May 9, 2008

Spring Fest Reflections

This past Sunday had our annual spring community outreach event called Spring Fest. It was really neat to see God's fingerprints all over this event, and how He blessed us. The weather forecast didn't look too good for last Sunday. Last Friday evening, the forecast called for 60% chance of rain.

You see, rain is a big deal because this was an outside event. We had 5 inflatable rides from Ragland Productions coming from Clayton, NC. They can't get wet, and they cost $$. We prayed. I even emailed the weather forecasters at two TV stations and both said they "wouldn't have it."

Well, Sunday was sunny and warm here in downtown Bagley Swamp. The weather was great. In fact, several got a little red from the sun. We also had a great turnout. A lot of folks brought their friends, we had over 300 folks enjoying themselves. A lot of laughter, a lot of fun!

Our purpose was to have a fun event where we could invite families that don't have a church home to come and have a good time. As I looked around on Sunday, there were a bunch of people here that I didn't know. So, it worked!

Our people were great! A lot of coordination happened to have hotdogs/hamburgers, drinks popcorn, snow cones, and cotton candy for everyone. It was terrific. We had plenty for folks to do: from horse rides, petting zoo, volley ball, rock climbing wall, 2 bounce houses, bungee run, giant slide and basketball among other games. Thanks to all who made it happen.
BTW, that's my oldest son and I on the bungee run. I think he beat me. I do have a big strawberry on my elbow from my experience.

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Late Night Thoughts

A couple of thoughts running through my mind this evening:
  • Amy and I dropped off our oldest son (15) at NC State today for a math, science and technology camp. That felt weird.
  • I gave my son the names of two of my high school classmates who are professors at State in case he came across them. That felt weird, and old.
  • On the way home, Amy and I noticed that we looked younger than most of the other parents dropping off their 10th graders. That felt good.
  • Until she reminded me that we'd probably look kinda old when our 9 year old gets to that age. I guess it doesn't matter since I don't have much choice about it.
  • I am now being introduced as "the husband of . . . " which is kind of a new twist for us. Being a pastor, most people we meet around here will have heard of our church or me. So, I would then say "this is my wife, Amy." Well, that changed somewhat last night when Amy was elected to our county school board. So it is now . . . "and this is my husband, James." That's cool. I think I like that.
  • Time to go to bed . . .

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Gas Prices

It seems that gas prices keep getting higher, and it seems no end is in sight. I read a great post on a friend's blog that puts it all in perspective. Be sure to check out the Little Man Syndrome and let me know what you think.

Thursday, May 1, 2008


I noticed yesterday that we received our "Rebate" from the government directly deposited into our checking account. Cool! What should we spend all of that money on? Maybe a cool new plasma TV? Or . . . maybe a gadget that Apple makes? Or . . .?

Na! We've decided that we are going to get out of debt and owe no one! So . . . as quick as the money went into our checking account - it left. We sent it onward to pay off some debt. It is what Dave Ramsey calls the debt snowball. We've been learning about how to handle our money in a responsible way through a class at our church called Financial Peace University.

It's basically a common sense approach to money (and it's biblical). Stuff that we heard our grandparents say. "Save up and pay cash for it." "Live on less that you make." "Live on a budget." We've decided that we are going to get out of debt and not get back in unless we buy a house.

So, thanks Uncle Sam for the help with the debt snowball. We're getting closer to the day where we will scream "We're Debt FREE!"

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Simple Things

Life has been rather hectic lately. My last post indicates that I suffered a computer crash several weeks ago. As you might imagine, the crash itself made life hectic. It took me quite a while just where I could function with the work computer. You know, to be able to print something because I had the right print driver installed, stuff like that. Just to do something simple, like print or get email, wasn't so simple anymore.

Things have been busy at the church as well. Due to schedules, I realized yesterday that I saw my kids thirty minutes this weekend. That's not good.

This evening was the first evening that we weren't on the run for a while. A game was rained out and we spent the evening just hanging out. Nothing special. Watched the Braves. John Smoltz got his 3000th strikeout. The Braves lost. But, we got to be together. Laugh. Joke around. Enjoying the simple things.

Simple. Keep it simple.

Thursday, April 3, 2008

The Big Crash

Yesterday the laptop I use for the church started making some weird sounds. It didn't take too long to realize that the hard drive crashed. Needless to say, being a big dufus, I don't have many of the files saved anywhere else.

Dell was real good when I chat-ed online with them. A new hard drive is on the way. They also said my only hope for my files is to take the computer to one of those computer repair places that does file recovery. That's where it is now. They may be able to get some of the files - or nothing.

I'm surprised that I haven't freaked out over this. I mean, I've probably lost years of stuff. Maybe I will get good news later in the day. But if the new isn't good, I guess I just keep moving on. It will mean recreating some things that I've already done, but that's part of life.

By the way, I've already purchased an external hard drive, so this kind of thing won't be so devastating if it happens again. I dropped it by the computer place in hopes that they would be putting my old files on it.

I hope your day is better!

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

We Made It!

I know that it has been a while since I've posted - no real excuses - just busy. I did have a great weekend. I ran in the Shamrock 8K in Virginia Beach on Saturday with two friends from church. We went up on Friday and ate at Olive Garden (Amy and the kids, along with their spouses, went with us). OG has to be one of my favorite places to eat, probably because we don't eat there much. We loaded up on carbs for our big run on Saturday.

The 8K on Saturday went a lot better than I thought. It was very crowded, with thousands running in this 5 mile race. I spend the first several miles dodging the walkers as I was trying to jog. I hadn't trained like I had wanted. I ended up getting a mild form of the crud a few weeks before. The crud didn't put me out of work, but just made it where I didn't do much other than go to work.

I was surprised at how good I felt when I ran on Saturday. I think being among all of the other runners really helped me. I ran the whole 5 miles, only stopping to try get a swig of water twice (it's hard to drink water when you're breathing hard!). In my training before the race, I could only run 3 miles before I had stop and walk a while. Having other folks running made a huge difference for me!

I think life is like that as well. I notice when others are eating right, it is easier for me to eat right. I need to remember to be around folks that encourage me - but also be the type of guy that is encouraging - that helps other folks be better. How about you?

Friday, February 29, 2008

Leap Day - Some Thoughts

As you know, today is Leap Day, the February 29 that comes along every four years. If you want to know about the what, why and how of Leap Year, you can check it out here.

The last time it was February 29, in 2004, it was on a Sunday. I got to thinking, how often does February 29 come along on a Sunday? How often do we worship on February 29? Well, a quick Internet search told me that Sunday, February 29 happens every 28 years. Prior to 2004 was 1976, and the next time will be in 2032. I'll be 63 then, I hope. The next after that will be when I am 91. Wow!

It doesn't seem that long ago to the last Leap Day. However, it has been four years. I don't feel that life has changed all that much for me, but when I look at my kids, they have really changed in the last four years.

Imagine the next Leap Day. My kids will be 19, 17 and 13. Three teenagers. I remember being a kid and couldn't wait to grow up and be older. I remember my grandfather telling me that there will be a time that I would look back and wonder where the time went. I think that I am realizing that now.

I don't look back, or ahead, with regrets. I think sometimes we need to pause and reflect on the past and look ahead to the future so we can have a proper perspective about the moment in which we live. In the Bible, Paul writes "be very careful, then, how you live—not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity."

I don't want life to slip by, I want to make the most of it!

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Fun at the Dentist?

Today, the kids and I went to the dentist for our six month checkup and cleaning. Earlier this week, our daughter, Katherine, was sick and was quite concerned that she would not be able to go to the dentist. She's nine, and loves going to the dentist. In fact, all of our kids actually enjoy going to the dentist.

Man, things have changed. I didn't like going to the dentist at all when I was a kid. In fact, when I was their age, I'd rather go to the doctor for a shot than to the dentist for a cleaning. It seemed like it took forever, and all that scraping, poking and rinsing. If you had a cavity, that was tough. The sounds, smells and tastes that one only experienced at the dentist.

You know, I've noticed that they do things a bit differently at our dentist than the one I went to growing up. For one, at our dentist, there is a TV in each room. So when you go to your room to sit in the "chair", the hygienist asks you what you want to watch on TV. Cool. Today I watched Regis and Kelly. (It was already on.)

Next, they took x-rays of my teeth. No big deal, just bite down on a piece of plastic that's connected to the computer while the hygienist pushes the button. As fast as it took to position the plastic in my mouth four times, the x-rays of my teeth were now on the computer screen.

Now, the cleaning. No more scraping. They now use a miniature power washer to get the plaque off. It's painless and takes little time. A quick polish, floss, rinse and I'm done. No wonder my kids don't mind going to the dentist.

Well, they haven't had to get a cavity filled, you might say. In fact, Kaleb had a cavity filled a while back. Since it was in a permanent tooth, I decided to get the composite (white) filling so it wouldn't be noticeable - like all the silver in my mouth. Afterwards we went out to eat, I told Kaleb he would have to wait a few extra minutes since he just got a filling. He said he didn't get a filling. I had to go to the car and get the receipt to show him that he had gotten a filling. When I was a kid, you knew when you got a filling. In fact, it was such an experience, I still remember getting a filling to this day.

Why write about this? You see, the mission of the dentist has not changed over time. His/her mission is to help you keep your teeth so you can still use them when you get older. In fact, they are pretty much doing the same things today as when I was a kid. However, they have done well to make the experience more pleasant for the patient. In fact, going to the dentist has gone from being a dreaded event when I was a kid, to a pleasant event that my kids anticipate.

I think church should be that way, too! I want to make church - a relationship with God - so fun that kids can't wait to get to church. I don't think that the mission has to change, just maybe some of the ways we do things. In fact, this isn't just for kids. I think church should be so great that adults can't wait to be there! That's what we're trying to do a Bagley Swamp. What do you think?

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Crooked Teeth

Here is the Back Page to our latest newsletter at the church:

On the day I write this, Kaleb has another orthodontist appointment. Apparently, they do things a little differently these days with braces than when I had them.

When I got my braces, I got both the top and bottom braces at the same time. Kaleb first got braces on his top teeth, then he got an expander. The expander is a plate that is placed in the roof of his mouth and we were to ‘turn the key’ in the expander each night for seven nights. I never had an expander. Apparently the expander widens the palette. According to Kaleb, when this widening takes place, it is quite painful. I noticed that he didn’t eat as much that week.

I was surprised when it took so long to put the braces on his bottom teeth. Those teeth were so crooked that I thought they would want to work on them first. I mean, they were as crooked as Bagley Swamp Road. However, when he did get braces on those teeth, they seemed to straighten up over night. But it was painful. The poor guy didn’t eat much of anything for several days.

Even though Kaleb’s palette has been widened and his bottom teeth are straight, he still has those things in his mouth. The expander has been in there for months. The work of the expander was done in seven days. However, the orthodontist said the expander had to stay in for a while so the palette wouldn’t move back to the way it was. The same is for those bottom braces. If they were taken off now, the teeth would shift back. I’ve had friends to get their braces off and not wear their retainers, and their teeth go from straight to crooked.

In life there will be a time when we see that our lives are really messed up, or crooked. It may be painful, because we see how far we have moved from God. However, if we allow God, He will straighten out our relationship with Him. That happens in an instant when we are saved, but that is not where it stops. If we get saved and then go on with life like before, it’s like putting braces on for one week. We need others to help us stay ‘straight’. That’s what we’re about at Bagley Swamp. Connecting people with God . . . and each other.

Saturday, February 16, 2008

I Finally Did It!

I did something today that I haven't done for 20 years. It's not that I haven't had the opportunity. I've been chicken. I've been scared. I've wimped out. I've avoided it. Made excuses.

Today I gave blood. Amy (my wife) has given blood for years. But, I always chickened out. I gave once back in high school. It wasn't the best experience. I remember that I got real woosy and almost passed out.

Well, I decided that it was time to stop chickening out. A neighboring church, Up River Friends, was hosting a blood drive with the American Red Cross today. I had plenty to do today, so I had an excuse. But today I felt that I needed to do the right thing. I needed to give blood, the gift of life.

Amy and I went and gave. As you can imagine, I was a little nervous about it. The folks there were great, both from the church and the ARC. How did I do? Uhh . . . a little better that my first experience, but not a ton.

Next time I'm going to eat well before I go, maybe I won't get that woosy feeling. Who knows, I may just be one of those people that gets woosy each time. The thing is, I believe the only way for there to be blood at the hospital when it's needed, is for it to be donated. I don't think scientists can make blood.

Soooooo . . . I'll be there next time, woosy or not. Maybe you ought to be there too!

Monday, February 11, 2008

Home from Richwood

We all made it safely back home to Bagley Swamp. The crew riding the van arrived around 4:30 pm and the crew that finished up at Ms. Spencer's home arrived just before 8:30 pm. They were able to get everything finished on the outside of the house. Their work on Saturday sealed up the house from wind and rain. Great job guys!

Yesterday our mission crew shared in both services at church. They shared from their hearts. We went to Richwood to make an impact for God, but listening to our stories, you could tell that we were impacted as well. Our God is awesome. He allowed us to do something for someone else, have fun at it, be successful, have fulfillment, and change us in the process. How awesome is that?!

We also recognize the sacrifice that all made to go on the trip - not only those who went - but also those left behind to do all the things that we weren't here to do. Thanks!