Hillary Did It!

You will never believe what Hillary did! It is unprecedented and well shocking.

There are obstacles to be conquered and mountains to climb and someone has to be the first to do it no matter the cost.

Hillary is self described as a “small and rather lonely child.”

But I am not writing about Hillary Clinton. This is about Sir Edmund Hillary.  I will come back to him, but first I wanted to ask you a question.  Why are we so quick to click on posts about Clinton, Trump, or other celebrities? Why do we fall for clickbait (I am glad you did this time)?

Could we be looking for the latest gossip? Gossip is still gossip even in written form. There are too many false stories on the web from false news sources. Please, please, please be careful with what you open and even more so with what you spread. Paul would remind us to speak,  ” . . .  only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear.” (Eph 4:29).

Back to Sir Edmund Hillary:

Shy and studious Hillary buried himself in books but grew to be quite the athlete.  His love of mountains and snow lead him to the sport of mountain climbing and at age 34, Hillary, along with Tenzing Norgay became the first to reach the summit of Mount Everest.

The Sherpa people of Himalayan’s became important in Hillary’s life. Through the Hillary Trust, he built schools, hospitals, and transportation hubs in Nepal. Because of his philanthropy[y and accomplishments, Hillary was named an honorary citizen of Nepal in 2003, 50 years after reaching the summit and 5 years before his death.


Biography taken from – http://www.biography.com/people/edmund-hillary-9339111

What Are We Going to Do?

Work in progress

Have you ever said or acted in a way contrary to your stated convictions?

Have you ever, at any time in the past or maybe even in the present, behaved in a way that was or is contrary to godliness or living Christ-like?

Have you ever become caught up in a group conversation and spoke what you should not have?

Have you ever tried to cover-up your mistakes, sins, or crimes against God or man?

Welcome to the club! Get in line right behind me. Just save a place for the rest of the sinners like me including those running for President.

If you watch American political news, are around other people in the US for more than five minutes, or have any type of social media account, then you know how sinfully terrible (maybe that should read “terribly sinful”) the other party’s candidate is – even those candidates from the parties that the media seems to ignore. How could you vote for ____________?! Don’t you know what they have done?! Did you see the video?! Did you hear the recording?! How can you support someone like that?! NOTE: I am not proud of any of our nominees.  I did not cast my vote for any of them. I am not even proud of the way the one I voted for in the primaries has handled himself since then.

Believe me when I say that the reason quality people do not run is that they are painfully aware of the skeletons in their closet that they want to keep there. If they do not have skeletons, well . . .  never-mind, we all have skeletons. There was only one perfect individual and even He had people accuse Him of all sorts of criminal and nationally subversive activities. He was, after all, a leader of splinter cell group of 12 other tight nit followers and multitudes of others who hung on His every word. He was dangerous! Let Him live and He would have changed the world. (Oh, yeah, they put Him to death and He changed the world anyway.)

Back to you and me and our  – ummmm – problem. “You may think you can condemn such people, but you are just as bad, and you have no excuse! When you say they are wicked and should be punished, you are condemning yourself, for you who judge others do these very same things.” (Rom 2:1 NLT). I am not perfect. I am a sinner with a past.

Do Hillary Clinton, Donald Trump, Gary Johnson, Jill Stein, and Darrell Castle have sinful behaviors in their past and present? YES! Am I highly disappointed and disillusioned by what they all have done or said? Definitely. Can these things be a hindrance to their performance as the President of the United States? Likely. Can we get a do-over on the nomination process? I wish! But who would we get?  Whomever those nominees might be would probably be more of the same; they would be sinners with a past and a present.

What are we to do?

I will answer that indefinite question with a few answers because I am not sure what you are asking.

  1. What am I to do about my sin (what are you to do about your sin)? Find forgiveness at the cross and the shed blood of the Savior Jesus the Christ.  He came into the world not to condemn, but to save. (John 3:17). Clothe yourself with Christ (Gal 3:26-27),  give up the guilt, and let God’s Grace teach you how to live godly lives (Titus 2:11-14).
  2. What are we do to about the sins of our potential President? Lead them to forgiveness in Christ, if we have the opportunity. Pray that someone does. Pray for them to humble themselves before and submit themselves to God. (1 Timothy 2:1-2).
  3. What are we to do about our choice in the voting booth? Remember that ourgovernment-of-the-people-by-the-people-for-the-people-shall-not-perish-from-the-earth government is not a one man or one woman show. We have three branches of government: 1. Executive (President), 2. Legislative (Congress), and 3. Judicial (Supreme Court) that work in a system of checks and balances with the goal of keeping our nation on track. Remember that they each answer to the true government – the people of this nation (Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed – Declaration of Independence). We must hold them accountable.
  4. What are we to do about the juxtaposition we are in? We as a nation created the mess we are in over time. We will have to take time to correct what our apathy created. Before and on November 8, 2016 look deeper than the individual and look to the party platform (core beliefs) then vote the one that best aligns with your values. Look at the fact that the next President will appoint and the next legislators will approve at least one if not more Supreme Court Justices. Vote according to whom they will likely seat.

Personally speaking, I am ready for this election to be over and the dust settled. Then we can begin picking who will run in 2020. Maybe by then we can have a renewed and restored vision for our nation.




We Need to Talk

Anytime I hear these words I panic a little.  My heart rate increases, my blood pressure 2016-04-25 07-15-44.941elevates, my forehead and palms start perspiring some, I have to loosen my collar, and take a deep breathe then release a sigh.

The words, “we need to talk” almost always mean bad news. Am I in trouble? Have I done something wrong? Have I hurt someone’s feelings? Is someone about to hurt my feelings? Am I about to get bad news about a friend or a loved one?

So when I title this post, “We Need to Talk,” I think I know what you are feeling.

Before we talk, let me offer my credentials. I am not sharing them to be braggadocios, but so that you know where I am coming from and why I think I have the right to say, “we need to talk.”

My experience in ministry spans approximately 30 years. That includes two internships in the first 3 years and starting fulltime in ministry in May of 1989. My internships were in NW Georgia and South Alabama. The last twenty-seven (27) years I spent serving in fulltime in three (3) congregations. I served ten years in NW Florida (5 as a youth minster and 5 as preaching minister in the same congregation). Following that I served in NW Alabama for fifteen years, and in May 2014 I moved to Central Alabama where I am now. In all of this time I have noticed some things, some tendencies we have as Christians.

We need to talk.

Brothers and sisters, we need to shift our focus. We are becoming increasingly worldly.  I see it in the what we choose to fill our time. We allow concerts, spectator sports, recreational sports, youth sports, and physical fitness temples gyms to overtake our schedules.  We are making time for these events while neglecting others. No one can create more time in our day. We have twenty-four hours and that is all.  We either take time for these events away from work, school, sleep, family, or God.  Many of us are taking that time away from God.

Time away from God.  I am not talking about missing assemblies or small groups. Although some do skip, others are not skipping out but are neglecting God in their lives. We are using worship assemblies, small groups, and special events to soothe our guilt for not spending time with God in private (family) study and prayer. We are not taking up our cross daily and living each moment for God.

Now is the time to change!

We need to talk – no! We need to get busy living daily for God.

Please allow me to offer some suggestions, advice I am taking to heart to improve my daily walk with God.

  • Start each day with prayer.  My prayer includes a promise that I will live this day for Christ and not for self. I ask God for help to keep this promise.
  • Take time in the morning to read a short passage or two and maybe a good spiritual blog post.
  • Take time at lunch (or if you are an overachiever and go to the gym instead of eating lunch – take time in the locker room) to pray again. Not just for the food or for an injury free workout, but over the way the morning unfolded, for the afternoon ahead, for family and Christians in your life, and for government and our leaders.
  • If your job provides a break, take time to read another passage or article and pray some more.
  • Keep your eyes open for opportunities to serve in the name of Christ. It maybe praying with someone who needs a friend. It may just be listening to someone who is hurting or excited. You may discover a small need you can meet or a larger need you can bring to other’s attention so they can help.
  • Think about the influence you have for Christ. Let that thought affect the things you talk about. Let that knowledge impact the way you respond or react when things do not go your way. Consider how your choice of clothing impacts those around you, in other words do not dress to draw attention to your self, but dress modestly and appropriately. (Recently, I had a couple of events one day. The second event later in the day required a suit. I attended an early breakfast in that suit and I stood out. To other’s it looked like I was trying to impress the hosts. In reality, I was too lazy to change, but my suit gave off a wrong impression. My point is that dressing to be seen can be too much or too little clothing.)

I think the words of the apostle Paul have application, “Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things” (Phi 4:8).

Not everything is bad in Christianity.  I see more and more people focusing on reaching out to others and into the community at large. I read more and more from Christians who are increasingly spiritually focused. I am having more conversations away from the “church building” about spiritual things than I have in the past. The current generation of young adults are and want to be spiritual. They want Christianity to impact their daily lives.  I am glad. Christian living is, was, and as long as life lasts will always be essential to our daily lives. But only if we let Christ be our daily life.

Thank you for listening.




That was Close

“That was close, a little too close.” Those were my thoughts that afternoon. What if theypersecution had chosen me?

The summers of my teen years a number of congregations in the Pensacola area helped sponsor the annual Southeastern Soul Saving Workshop on the campus of the University of West Florida.  The part of the workshop specifically for teens travelled to Gateway Church of Christ for special speakers and classes.  Three hundred plus teens assembled and learned from like “Cool Joe” Beam, Larry Sawyer, and Dick Webber.  These men and others would challenge us to live up to what we began in Christ.  We would sing “new” youth songs which are now the “old” classics, and we would attend “break-out” classes.  One of those classes at Gateway stands out in my mind.

I do not remember the year.  I think it was 1983, because I vaguely remember driving there.  When we arrived, the registrars directed us to choose a colored sticker to go on our name tags,  these stickers would determine what classes we would attend and when.  One of the classes I chose was a class that promised an experience of 1st Century worship.  This class choice came with instructions for finding the classroom.  We were told to look for certain colored marks (stickers) on the walls, doorways, and posts.  These marks would direct us to a secret location where our class would meet.  We were told to tell no one where we were going and to be sure we avoided the men wearing read bandannas on their sleeves making did not follow us.  This class was already fun and we were not even there yet.

When my friend(s) and I finally made it to the class room, we quickly realized we were in a large storage closet along with about twenty other teens and adults.  The lights in the room were battery powered lanterns.  The teacher spoke in soft tones so that those outside the room could not hear what he was saying.  The teacher welcomed us, made sure we were not followed, and then he told us the history of the struggles of early Christians meeting in secret locations, such as private homes or catacombs for fear of death.  Then we began a worship assembly beginning with singing.  At first we all sang softly, but as we continued to sing (our voices blending in harmonies) our volume became louder.  Soon we forgot we were hiding.  That was when the door burst open and three men came in with red bandannas on their sleeves and carrying plastic (toy) machine guns.

The three “soldiers” were yelling threats, making accusations that we were violating the law by assembling here.  One of them pointed his toy gun at the girl sitting next to me, as he did he asked her in threatening tones, “Are you a Christian?”

Tears, streaming down her cheeks, she replied, “No! I just came with a friend.”  The room became deathly silent, she had spoken up earlier about her love for Jesus. Now she denied Him. As she did, we all began asking ourselves the same question, “Would I have said, ‘Yes’?”

It was just pretend or was it?


What Happened to Peace

This post is cathartic. Who am I kidding? Much of what I write is to help me think through

and work through my emotions and to improve my walk with God.

Sometimes, life hits hard. My brother’s diagnosis of cancer and his passing last week are a major blow. I know he has relief from cancer’s pain and the problems of earth now. That is comforting. But the gut-punch still hurts.

Then yesterday, a young man who was friends with many at Parrish Church of Christ – where I was minister for 15 years – died defending his home and trying to identify those whom he caught robbing him. Lyle was a teenager when I moved to Parrish. He often worshipped with the Church at Parrish. I loved seeing him, Beth and their baby – small child now. His affectionate nickname was Big Guy. He was big; at least 6’4″ and strong. He used that nickname in his business as owner of Big Guy’s Tires. He worked hard to provide for his young family. Now he is gone.

A violent death. The alleged thieves, shot into his truck as he tried to at the very least identify them to law enforcement. The alleged thieves crashed their own truck not far from where Lyle was shot. Within minutes Sheriff Deputies found one of them still in their truck and a K-9 Unit found the other hiding in the woods not far from the scene.

Life hits hard!

What happened to peace? What happened to the brotherhood of mankind? Where has the sanctity of life gone? Did we every really have it?

I know where to find it. It being “peace that passes understanding.” Peace is in the “Prince of peace.” Peace with man starts with peace with God. Peace started with God and now peace on earth begins with me. Will you pledge to join me?


Alone, Lonely, or Choice

IMG_1173I met him one fall day. I sat watching him more than the game on the field. He came in alone with two soft drinks and two small popcorns. He sat one drink on the seat beside him and began eating and drinking the other. I watched as the other popcorn and drink sat through the first quarter. No one sat with him.

He was dressed nicer than most around him this early fall day. Yet, he seemed lonely.  I wondered about the empty seat; Did it belong to him? Was it for a friend who was meeting him? What was the story of the seat?

Curiosity got the best of me, I had to know. During a long network timeout, I made my way to this gentleman. I asked if he was saving the seat for a friend. “No, it is my wife’s seat. We have been to every home game since we were students and started dating in 1952.” He breathed a deep sigh, “She passed recently, so I am here alone. We always bought two cokes and two popcorns.”

I wanted to communicate my sympathy.  I was touched by his tradition and love. I chocked on the words, and he continued.  He told me about all the wonderful people they had met. The stars they had seen play. He talked about her favorite players and how much she loved The Million Dollar Band. He talked about the good years and the not so good years of their beloved Crimson Tide. He talked about hopes for the season that was unfolding. sixty-four years of history, sixty-four years of love of a team and a love as a couple.

Tears came to my eyes. “I am sorry you are hear all alone. I am sure you had friends or family that could have come with you today.”

“I do,” he said, “but they are all at her funeral.”

OKAY, Okay, I made that story up. It did not happen. 

I live in Tuscaloosa, Alabama and I know enough fans to think it could happen. Football is a priority. Many plan their fall schedule around their favorite team including away games and neutral site games. They put a lot of time and money into “their team.” I am not too far from this myself. I may not go to many games or travel, but I am always watching or listening to the games, and I watch the rebroadcasts during the week.


There is an observation I have made about people. We have time for the things we want to do. I may not have time to mow the yard, but I have time to watch a three hour football game. I may not have time to study and pray, but I have time to go to the beach, lake, hunting club. I don’t have time to prepare to teach a class, but I have time to go to the gym. I don’t have time to visit the sick, hospitals, or homebound, but I have time to read novels and magazines.

I am taking inventory.

I am looking at me.

I am asking myself,

“What do I consider as priority?”

Paul teaches that Christ is not looking to be first simply be first in our life, but that as a child of God, Christ is TO BE our life (Colo 3:4).  All we do is for Him. Are you and I living that way?



Morning Motivation


The question of the day on the radio this morning was, “What motivates you?’

Thinking this through and listening to some of the callers answers, this is a wide open question. I almost want to take a camera and microphone around campus and around town and ask random people. I wonder, “what answers would I get?”

  • Graduation
  • Grades
  • Scholarships
  • Employment opportunities
  • A Paycheck
  • Spouse
  • Parents
  • Children
  • Political issues
  • Environmental issues
  • Honesty
  • Morality
  • Love

The list could potentially be endless.

What motivates me?

The apostle Paul gives a couple of answers:

  1. Heaven – I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. – Phi 3:14
  2. Christ’s love – For the love of Christ controls us, because we have concluded this: that one has died for all, therefore all have died; and he died for all, that those who live might no longer live for themselves but for him who for their sake died and was raised. 2 Cor 5:14-15

As I look back on my life, from the time when I recall first beginning to have more responsibility for my actions and when I began consciously making choices for future, I see one overarching motivation. There seems to me one thematic unit that guides what I chose then and what I choose now.

I see this motivating factor in my choice of friends and activities in Junior High and High School.

This motivation played a role in who a tried to date and who I continued to date.

I see this same motivation in my choice of college and career.

I see how this thematic unit influenced who I asked to be my life-long partner in life – my wife.

This motivating factor played a role in the way we raised our son.

It moved me from ministry position to ministry position.

It is what drives the Morning Drive.

I can sum my motivation up in a few simple words that are not original with me, I have heard them from many others in my nearly 50 years of life.

What is my motivation?

“But for the grace of God, go I”

Grace. God’s amazing grace. In all fairness, I think that is what Paul was saying as well.

What motivates you?


Prove It!

Do you recall the “prove it” challenge from your childhood. I variation of “I dare you!” Your group of friends would start boasting about what you could do, how fast you could run, how far you could jump, how high you could climb in the tree. Then someone would call your bluff, “prove it!”

You were done for. You had opened you mouth and now you had a choice: 1) suffer the consequences of backing out and offer the “I was kidding” or “what time is it, My mom wanted me home by (whatever time it happened to be). I will prove it later, or 2) die trying to do what you said you could do.

During my college years, I heard an account of a certain event from the 13th Century that told of Crusaders entering villages and towns looking for heretics. If accused of heresy, you had an opportunity to defend yourself and to prove your allegiance to Christianity or be put to death.

As a side point, allow me a disclaimer. I do not condone what these men did, supposedly in the name of Christ. God and Christ had little to do with the actions of these men. History shows that men seeking power and fortune used and abuse Christianity (or a form of it) for their own advantage and not to spread the gospel of peace that scripture records. Now back to my original intent.

According to some accounts, when the Inquisitors came to Toulouse, France, they came upon a certain individual who lived just outside the city. He was a laborer by trade and would walk through the streets crying out to the crowds these words, “Listen to me, citizens! I am no heretic: I have a wife, and sleep with her, and she has borne me sons. I eat meat, I tell lies and swear, and I am a good Christian. So do not believe it when they say I am an atheist.”

For the record, I understand that this man died at the stake persistently insisting he was a good Christian and Catholic.

Remembering this story started my wheels turning this morning.

  • How would one prove they were a Christian today?
  • If asked for the reason for the hope you have, what would you say?
  • If asked to prove you are a Christian, what evidence would you submit?

You say you are a Christian?

Prove it!


One Thing


Only one thing.

If you were told you had to vacate your house and other than the clothes you wear you can only take one thing, what would that one thing be?

I have thought long and hard about that question. The noble part of me wants to answer a Bible. The nostalgic side of me wants to answer a photo album. The adventurer in me would want a camera. The practical side says to take a 72 hour bag with toiletries, clothes, a blanket, phone charger, extra cash, and a Bible tucked inside. The protector in me would like a gun.

One thing is not very much. . . . But one thing is a lot.

The rich youth that asked Jesus about inheriting eternal life only lacked one thing. But that one thing was too much for him to deal with. (Luke 18:18-23).

Let’s change directions. What if you could ask for one thing from God. What if God promised to grant you one request, dream or wish; what would that one thing be?

Fame? Wealth? Wisdom? Health? Long life? A good family? Courage?

One thing?

The psalmist considered this question and answered this way,

“One thing have I asked of the Lord,
that will I seek after:
that I may dwell in the house of the Lord
all the days of my life,
to gaze upon the beauty of the Lord
and to inquire in his temple” Psalm 27:4

That is a great answer!  One thing is important. The one thing I want in life and in life eternal is to be with God.

What about you?


When Wrong Makes Right

WhenIn today’s political environment; in this day of violence and unrest; in this time of economic struggle for nations, states, counties, cities, and towns; in times like this I begin to think about how I can help.

What can I do?

What can we do as individuals and as groups to bring relief to the suffering, the oppressed, the mistrusted, and the uneducated? What can we do as a society?

Some say we can go to any length to help.

Local banks and big businesses have lots of cash and we have the right to carry weapons, so could we legalize armed robbery as long as the robbers give some of what they take to homeless shelters and pay taxes on what they keep to support law enforcement?

As population grows we are putting a strain on the resources the earth provides. Is it time to set an age limit and euthanize those who reach that age so that we protect our resources and make room for the next generation? Just think, this will save Social Security, Medicare, and we can set a birth tax to help pay for the costs of euthanizing seniors.

With population growth, we need more housing and places for our cars, should we “They take all the trees and put them in a tree museum and charge the people a dollar and a half to seem them?” Should we “pave paradise and put up a parking lot?” (Big Yellow Taxi – Joni Mitchell)

NOTE: I do not believe that any of the above are appropriate – even though cutting down trees to build more building instead of renovating what we already have is legal in most areas.

Yet I see many Christians acquiescing on other, yet similar, issues that politicians propose. I know Christians in dry communities who voted for alcohol sales under the guise of raising community revenue. I know Christians who are for legalizing certain narcotics to raise taxes.  There are other issues that we are giving in on.  It is not too late to stand up for what is moral and right.

Wrong is NEVER right!

I leave you with the words of the prophet Isaiah,

“Woe to those who call evil good
and good evil,
 who put darkness for light
and light for darkness,
who put bitter for sweet
and sweet for bitter!
Woe to those who are wise in their own eyes,
and shrewd in their own sight!” Isaiah 5:20-21