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.