Taylor Ending On A Good Note

Donna and I had the privilege of attending Taylor York's last concert as a High School student.  The Hoggard Orchestra sounded great!  Also, Taylor was voted "Most Likely To Take Over The World" by his classmates. I couldn't agree more.  Taylor's faith in God and love for family and friends will place him right in the middle of God's will!. We love ya Taylor!

Phillip McLaurin Came To Support His Friend!


A Tool For Getting Help In Your Ministry

I have a default of doing everything myself.  Many times I justify it by saying, "I don't want to inconvenience someone", "I can do it faster", "I don't want to hear them say no", etc.  After 20 + years of ministry God continues to show me there is only one God and I am not Him. I need to trust Him with everything, especially with the administrative side of ministry.  He has placed some great parents and friends in my life that continually encourage, stretch and challenge me.  During a meeting with the Youth Committee we began talking about needs within the student ministry.  Too many times I will publish and article in a newsletter and think "I've done my part" but unfortunately people don't always read what we write (Gasp)! I have learned that one can post on facebook, twitter, email, text message, send smoke signals, Morse code (You get my point) to only receive minimal responses. There is no substitution for face to face, sign on the dotted line pleas for help.  This tool emerged from that discussion. The Big Ole' Sign Up Sheet

We picked one Sunday to have a Parent Pizza Luncheon with our families.  Members of our Youth Committee went from table to table in the meeting and Sunday School classes to recruit names. The end result was three sheets filled with names of people who wanted to help.  Some of the names were from people we did not even expect.  Next, we sent a follow up letter thanking and confirming them for their commitment. This was a great tool for us and I thought I'd share it with you.  Change it, modify it, and make it work for your organization.  Sometimes the most effective tools are the simple ones.

The Categories:

  • Wednesday Night Snacks - People who would provide a snack for our students on a Wednesday night.  Not a full meal, but something to tide them over.  Many don't eat until they get home after church.  Also, if you have food, students will come :)
  • Host Homes - People who will open their houses for Bible Studies, Small Groups, and Disciple Now Weekends.
  • $ Donations for Scholarship and Minister Needs - I never want money to stand in the way of a child going on a trip.  Many students come from single families and homes that have been hit The bonds and impact those trips have go a long way to integrating them with the group as well as affect them spiritually.  Some people just have the gift if giving.  We want to let them exercise that.  Also, there may be projects like meeting space renovation, tools etc that people may give for.  The budget still must be the main support for the ministry but this gives a leader people to go to at special times, not ever time.
  • Grab Bag: There may be people in your organization that have gifts like carpentry, canning, knitting, etc that could be used for ministry.  I like this because it opens the doors for ways to minister that I wouldn't normally think of.
  • First Call:  For those that want to be contacted first for anything.



In God's Grip

Today is a big day for my wife Donna.  She was diagnosed with Rhumatoid Arthritis in her early twenties, and yes it is hereditary.  God has been very good to her with great Dr.'s and medicine.  Over years her knuckle has deteriorated to the point it is out of joint due to RA.  (As seen in picture) Dr. Li and his team with Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center are fixing it as I write this.  EVERYONE at this hospital have been so nice, proffesional and prompt.  Yes when an appointment is scheduled for 1:30, they see you at 1:30. 

Anyway, I know we are always in God's hands but it becomes more real when you walk away from a loved one in a hospital bed and know that shortly they will be in surgery.  Our family, friends and church have been so supportive.  We both love and treasure each one.  Our hope is to get her in the truck after the surgery and make it home before the pain meds wear off.  If you have a chance, say a prayer and we will see you on the other side of this.


Biblical Heart Surgery

In case you did not know, YouVersion.com has a great Bible App for Iphone and Android.  While reading from the Life Application Reading Plan I came across this passage.

Psalm 139:23-24 NLT
Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. Point out anything in me that offends you, and lead me along the path of everlasting life.

What a bold prayer request of David.  He was giving God free reign to search the very depths of his heart, even the things he had tucked away.  He was totally vulnerable to God's probing.  The great thing here is that God was not exposing these things to be mean or put David on a guilt trip.  He was not being an accuser.  God was being a healer by taking those things which restricted David's heart for Him and removed them.  The end result was a heart that was "cleaner" and dependent on God.

Pointing out David's sin was not enough. When I go to the doctor and he gives me a diagnosis, it has to be followed up with treatment.  David trusted God enough for Him to expose his sin, give him the strength to deal with it and the grace/love to forgive it.  This was open heart surgery at its best.

Having our hearts in God's hands is a secure yet scary place.  I have tried to deal with my sins without God's help and failed miserably.  I join David in this prayer to say, "God you have free reign." Show me the good, bad and ugly and give me the strength to come clean.

Do you have the courage to do the same?


The Joy of Praying Before A Meal

Oh for us only to be this excited over giving thanks to God for our meals. Chris is an inspiration to me. Check out his singing videos on youtube. They will melt your heart!
Here's a great resources that explains why we say a prayer to God before our meal!

How about you? Does your family pray before meals?  How about when you eat out?