Thursday, July 31, 2008

Sunday scripture and breakfast cereals

It's Friday! Here's some quick thoughts for the weekend:

Be sure and read yesterday's post about the list of still needed school supplies for Back to School Bash.

The scripture we'll be covering this Sunday is 2 Samuel 6. This is a chapter that contains some pretty surprising stuff.

Yesterday Sherry went grocery shopping and brought home a box of Peanut Butter Cap'n Crunch. That is without question my all time favorite cereal. Here's a list of my five favorite cereals:

1. Peanut Butter Cap'n Crunch - There was a time in my life where I ate at least one bowl of this everyday. I've always wondered if Cap'n is an official title. If he were in the actual Navy would he be Captain, but in the world of cereal military it's just Cap'n? Who is the cereal Navy defending us against?

2. Reese's Puffs - The next best thing to PBCC. It has peanut butter and chocolate flavor puffs.

3. Frosted Flakes - Even with a tiger as the spokesperson I still like this cereal.

4. Honey Nut Cheerios - This one is actually good for you. That fact almost disqualified it from the list.

5. Apple Jacks - One of the best parts about eating Apple Jacks is the way the milk tastes when you're done.

There's the top five. In reality I like just about any cereal with the exception of frosted mini wheat. If I want something like that I'll sprinkle some sugar on pine straw and put it in a bowl. Also, I'd like to send out a long distance dedication (a la Casey Kasem) to King Vitamin. The King and I shared some good times in Middle School and High School.

I hope I have given you enough useless stuff to think about over the weekend. See you on Sunday!

School supplies needed

Yesterday at Six Flags was fun, hot and sticky, but fun. Grace rode her first roller coaster which was good practice for our trip to Disney World later this year. We have been trying to talk her into riding Space Mountain, and I think her experience yesterday will help.

This weekend all school supplies bought in South Carolina are tax-free. That's perfect timing because this Sunday is the last chance you have to turn in any school supplies you have purchased for Back to School Bash. Remember, we are packing 500 backpacks full of school supplies to be given away to families in need. Tamara gave me the following list of items we are still running a little short on at this time:

Wide Ruled notebooks
Wide Ruled Notebook paper
Pencil Boxes
Glue Sticks
Boxes of crayons
Colored Pencils

When you're out this weekend, pick-up some of these things and bring them with you on Sunday!

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Gone for the day

We're headed to Six Flags first thing tomorrow morning with the students from church. This will be the first trip I've taken to a theme park with teenagers where I'm not in charge. I'm looking forward to it. I'll update you tomorrow on how it went.

Quick thoughts on Tuesday morning

- It actually rained at our house last night. I was so excited I thought about getting up out of bed and walking out on the porch just to look at it. Of course I really just turned over and fell asleep again.

- I saw a bumper sticker this morning that said this: "If you were twice as smart, you'd still be stupid." That's an encouraging thought.

- I've been praying through and brainstorming ideas for September and October messages the last couple of days. I'm pretty excited about what God wants me to teach during those eight weeks. Please pray that God will make it very clear to me what needs to be said and how it needs to be said as well.

- We're less than 30 days from the start of football season. I am past ready for it to get started.

- The Braves are done. Making the playoffs every season for 14 years really spoiled me. I guess I need to accept the fact that the current team is like the Braves were when I was a kid, good enough to win some games, but not good enough to win the division.

Shine a light where you are today!

Monday, July 28, 2008

Blown away

The day after we do baptism it is always hard for me to describe how I feel about this church and what God is doing here. The best thing I can tell you is to come see for yourself. No matter how I describe yesterday's celebration the words won't do it justice. Nothing gets me more excited than seeing adults and kids make a public statement about how Jesus has changed their lives. If you couldn't be there last night, we will be scheduling another baptism for September that you will not want to miss!

At the risk of leaving some important people out, let me thank some folks for the hard work they put in to make last night's party a reality:

Springwell Church - for letting us borrow their portable baptistry. Springwell is a church that is only interested in building the Kingdom of God. They are not selfish with any of the resources God has blessed them with. I pray we will always have that same attitude.

Lisa Varn - for organizing all of the food. Lisa took care of the catering with Bucky's BBQ (which was awesome), getting people to bring desserts, and recruiting people to help set-up and serve. Lisa does this for every baptism celebration and I never have to worry if it will be taken care of. If you ate too much last night and loved every minute of it be sure to thank Lisa!

Chad Roddy and Mark Sears - for taking care of the sound. The best part about working with these two guys is their attitude. Both of them are concerned first and foremost with how they can help. Their positive outlook made the technical part of last night's party a breeze.

Blake Comer - for volunteering to try out the baptistry. Before everyone arrived Blake allowed us to "baptize" him so we could be sure the water level and temperature were right in the baptistry. Too bad Blake's parents couldn't be there to see it.

Various volunteers - for filling in the gaps. So many of you just pitched in and helped when you arrived. Whether it was taking trash to the dumpster, setting up tents, helping serve, keeping track of kids, or greeting people as they arrived here's a list of people I saw helping out in various ways: Mark Wilson, Trey Frick, Randy Price, Mark King, Phil Hannah, Lin Raffaldt, Phil Smith, Jason Collins, Steve & Debbie Bateman, Laura Beth Comer, Seth Kauffman, and many more.
If you helped out and I didn't list your name, please forgive me. I'm certain lots of you were serving in ways that I didn't even know about. That's one thing that makes Freedom such an amazing church to be a part of, people pitch in to get the job done without having to be asked or recognized.

As I said earlier we will have another baptism in September because we have four people who couldn't participate last night. Until then, take every opportunity to tell your friends about the true freedom they can only find in Jesus!

Friday, July 25, 2008

Sunday scripture and random goofiness

I'm looking forward to hearing Donny bring the message this Sunday. We will be resuming our series on the life of David called "God at Work". If you are reading ahead, you'll want to be sure and check out 1 Samuel 21-22.

Remember baptism this Sunday afternoon at Lake Cunningham. We will begin at 5:00, and be sure and stay afterwards for some awesome BBQ.

Other stuff for you to think about this weekend:

Yesterday Blake told me that when he plays miniature golf (or putt-putt as we used to call it) he always brings his own putter. I laughed at him. I know that people bring their own cue to play pool and their own ball for bowling, but there's something inexplicably funny to me about taking a Titleist putter to a putt-putt course. Of course my main man Mark Wilson agrees with Blake. Mark and Lisa used to take their own putters and their own golf balls with them. I told Blake that the only thing funnier than taking your own putter to play putt-putt would be to take one of those really long putters that guys hold with two fists up around their chests.

Dave has a funny video on his blog that you should check out. I'm thinking that dude's insurance is going up soon.

NCAA 08 update: Blake told me that I could change the settings on my game to junior varsity to make things easier. I did that, and last night I beat NC State 48-6. I don't care if changing the settings is like cheating. It's more fun when you win.

See you on Sunday!

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Baptism and prayer requests

I hope you are making plans to be at Lake Cunningham this Sunday afternoon for our baptism party. We will begin at 5:00, and following the baptism we'll eat some BBQ from Bucky's, and just enjoy hanging out together. If you are new to Freedom and want to know what we're all about you definitely need to be there. Helping people discover true freedom in Jesus and seeing them make that change public in baptism is why this church was started. If you have given your life to Christ and would like to be baptized this Sunday you can still be a part of the celebration. Just call the church office at: 877-3604 or send me or Donny an e-mail:

Until Sunday here are a couple of things I'd like to ask you to pray with me about:

Messages for Sept - Oct. - I am in the planning process this week for September and October messages. Frankly, discovering what God wants me to teach about for those months has been a struggle. Pray that God will make it very clear to me, and that He will help me think of creative ways to share His message.

My friend Jerry Chapman resigned from Capstone Church this past Sunday. I have asked you several times over the past few months to pray for Jerry and Yvonne. The issues they are dealing with haven't gotten any better, and they along with their church needs our prayers. You can read more about the situation here.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Grace makes the news

When I brought the paper in this morning, I was surprised to see a picture of Grace on the front of the Greer section. The picture was taken last week at basketball camp. Here's another one from the Greenville News website.

Weekend update

For those of you who get to the office early on Monday morning just to read my blog, sorry there was nothing for you to read yesterday. The girls are heading to Columbia on Wednesday to spend some time with my parents, so I took most of yesterday off. We went to Hendersonville for the morning and had fun eating lunch at Mike's soda shop, getting candy at Mast General Store, and just walking down Main Street. We headed back home before it got too hot.

Here's the regular Monday stuff along with other random thoughts:

Sunday was great...again. I know it seems like I say that every Monday (or Tuesday), but it's true. I really love getting to worship together as a church family every week. The band did a great job on "Song of the Redeemed", and watching video of people getting baptized always reminds me of why we started Freedom.

The new Batman movie is really good. If you like action, suspense, and a really evil villain, then "The Dark Knight" is the movie for you. I would consider seeing it again before it comes out on DVD. That's something I haven't done since "Return of the Jedi" came out when I was 12.

I bought a used copy of NCAA Football 08 for the PS2 last week. A used copy of 08 was $15 compared to the $50 that 09 costs. I can't justify spending $50 on a video game. I've only spent about an hour playing it, but I think I might be too old for such an intricate game. There's a lot of buttons to remember. Maybe I just need more practice.

More important news later this week...

Friday, July 18, 2008

Baptism update

This Sunday we'll take a break from the life of David to talk about baptism. If you're reading ahead (I know Alan W. is!) the scripture you need to look at before Sunday is: Matthew 3 and Acts 9:1-19.

Baptism update: Our baptism on 7/27 will be held at Lake Cunningham. Springwell church has let us borrow their portable baptistry, and the good folks at Lake Cunningham Fire Department have agreed to fill it for us. We'll have some great BBQ from Bucky's to celebrate after we're done. If you want to be baptized or have questions, please call the office at 877-3604 or send me an e-mail at:

Stuff in my brain today:

Emily will be home from World Changers tomorrow!

I watched the VH1 Rock Honors last night. The band being honored was The Who. They had current bands perform songs by The Who. The Foo Fighters were awesome, The Flaming Lips were pretty cool, and the singer for Incubus wore pants that we used to call "highwaters" in school. Is that the new style? I've never been accused of being in style, but if that's in, count me out.

I've been doing some personal training with a new employee at SSI, (how that came about is a story in itself) and I'm sore today. Especially my belly. I know the proper term is abs, but until mine get tighter the appropriate term is still belly. If it were bigger it would be a gut. The taxonomy of that part of the body from best to worst is as follows: six pack, abs, pooch, belly, gut, beer gut, overhanging gut. Now you know.

Bring a friend Sunday. I'm looking forward to seeing you there!

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Movies for men

I bought three DVD's yesterday to add to my small collection of movies that men should own. Yesterday's additions were, Braveheart, 300, and Anchorman. I have a list of movies (in my head, not written down) that I want to own one day so that at any moment I can see a manly movie. Here are a few that are on the list in my head:

Blazing Saddles
Rocky (just about any of them, except maybe Rocky V)
Any Clint Eastwood Western
Talledega Nights
any of the Rambo's (First Blood is still the best)
any of the Die Hard's
anything starring Bruce Lee
Cool Hand Luke

What movies do you think a real man should have at his house?

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

All-Star memories

I'm looking forward to watching the All-Star game tonight. Major League Baseball has been something that I have loved since I was about 11 years old, and I always look forward to the All-Star game. As I listen to sports radio, I've discovered that there a lot of haters out there when it comes to the All-Star game. Actually, there a lot of haters in general on sports radio, but I won't go into that now.

My message to the haters is this: If you don't like the fact that the outcome of the game determines home field advantage for the World Series don't watch. If you don't think it's a true game because pitchers only pitch one, possibly two, innings each, don't watch. If you think the fans shouldn't choose the starting line-up, don't watch.

If you want to see the greatest players in the world on the field together, playing the greatest game ever invented, tune in tonight. Here are three of my favorite All-Star game moments. These are moments that I watched on TV. I can't remember the years these events happened. If you want that much info you'll have to Google it.

- Torri Hunter robbing Barry Bonds of a home run. This happened in the last five years or so. I know I just called out all the All-Star game haters out there, but I'm guilty of being a hater when it comes to all things Barry Bonds. I didn't like him before he was on steroids. Needless to say, when Hunter made a leaping, over the wall catch to keep Barry from hitting an All-Star dinger I was thrilled.

- John Kruk bailing out against Randy Johnson. Kruk played for the Phillies, and he was one of my favorite guys because he didn't look like a ball player. He looked more like a dude you might see at the bowling alley on a Saturday night. When he stepped in the box against 6'10" Randy Johnson you could see he was scared. Johnson proceeded to throw the first pitch directly over his head. After getting up off the ground, Kruk swung at the next two pitches as he was stepping out of the batter's box. You could tell he just wanted to get back to the dugout without getting hurt.

- Fred Lynn hitting a grand slam. I'm not sure if this was the first or only grand slam in All -Star game history but I know it doesn't happen that often. I don't know why, but I can remember the name of the pitcher. He was a young guy playing in his first, and I think only All-Star game, named Atlee Hammaker. That's just one of the millions of pieces of useless information I have in my brain.

If your not a hater, enjoy the game tonight!

Monday, July 14, 2008

One thing teenagers need

Before I was a pastor I was a youth pastor. I had the opportunity to work with teenagers for 14 years and I loved it. In fact, I always said that I would never give it up to pastor a church, of course God had other ideas and here I am today!

A question people ask me from time to time is, "Do you miss youth ministry?" My answer is always the same, "Yes, especially in the summertime." Youth ministry is like anything else, there are certain things I don't miss about it at all, but there are few things in life as fun to me as loading up a bunch of teenagers and adults and heading off to camp or a mission project. I could write a book about all the reasons I love it so much. Since most of you wouldn't read that book, and since I probably wouldn't concentrate long enough to finish that book I'll just share one reason for now.

I loved going on summer trips with teenagers because God always would use those times to get the student's attention. I know that God is big enough to get the attention of a teenager anytime He wants, and I know that a summer trip is not the only way God works in the lives of teenagers, but something special happens when you take a teenager away from their regular environment and help them focus on Jesus. I can't explain why this is, but I have seen it happen time and time again.

This week, a group of teenagers and adults from Freedom have gone to the bustling metropolis of Walterboro, SC on a World Changers project. For a week they will sleep on the floor of a classroom in a high school, eat school cafeteria food, work hard on a house in the low-country heat and humidity, experience great times of worship each evening, make new friends, and God will use all of that to speak to them about how they should live and what plan He has for them.

What does that have to do with you?

- Pray for the students and their leaders this week.

- If you have a teenager that didn't go to World Changers this year, plan now for them to be there next year. You will not regret it.

- Give regularly. I'm talking about money here. Part of Freedom's budget is earmarked for World Changers and other summer trips for our teenagers. When next year's budget is put together, we will budget a large amount to these ministries so the trip's can be affordable for an average family. What you regularly give will make a difference in the lives of teenagers by allowing them to go on a trip.

By the way, I really had a great time yesterday teaching about David and Goliath. God is teaching me so much about Himself through the story of David's life.

Friday, July 11, 2008

Sunday scripture and VBS wrap-up

Last night was a blast! The rain came around 5:30 and threatened to ruin the evening, but tons of kids showed up, and our team moved everything under the big shelter until the rain passed. The kids still got to enjoy all the food and fun. I know for certain that one kid had four sno-cones after he finished his hot dogs, and I saw lots of blue lips after eating cotton candy. Jill Frick was the lead person for last night's event, and she did a great job of making sure everything was taken care of.

If you missed the fun at VBS, be sure you are at worship on Sunday to see the video featuring pictures from the week. If you helped with VBS this week, THANK YOU!!! The effort you put in each evening will have an eternal impact on the lives of kids.

I am excited about continuing the message series on David this Sunday. We will be talking about one of the most familiar stories in the Bible, David vs. Goliath. Before you come Sunday go ahead and read 1 Samuel 17.

That's all for now. After all the excitement of this week my plan is to do some serious relaxing this weekend. I'll let you know next week if it really happens.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

VBS: a little wet but still loads of fun, Favre, and beer

Last night we got some rain at VBS.
The night wasn't lost however, due to the fact that the rain came later in the evening when all of the groups had completed the teaching time. Some of the groups missed out on crafts and recreation, but all of the groups got to enjoy the two most important parts of any VBS, the Bible (that is what the "B" in VBS stands for after all) and snacks. I've got to say that the snacks our kids get to eat are better than the butter cookies and kool-aid we had at VBS when I was a kid.

Tonight we'll finish the week with a big celebration.
There will be hot dogs, snow cones, cotton candy, a non-scary clown, face painting, the Chik-Fil-A Cow, and lots of fun. I usually think it's kind of selfish to pray that it doesn't rain, but if you think about it pray that it won't rain at Lake Robinson between 6:00 and 8:00 tonight.

Here's my humble opinion on some other things going on in the world:

Brett Favre should stay retired.
There has been no other player in the history of the NFL who I have enjoyed watching more than Favre, and I think he could still be effective for another season. That being said, this going back and forth every off-season between retirement or playing is annoying. The guy I really feel sorry for is Aaron Rodgers who is Favre's back-up. He is in a no-win situation. The only thing he can do is lay low, and try to avoid reporters who would love to get a quote from him saying he's glad Favre's gone and hopes he stays in Mississippi.

Beer commercials are the best ads on television.
This has been true for a long time, but there's a Heineken commercial right now that I love. It's the one where people are passing a bottle of Heineken to one another. The bottle passes through all different cultures and areas of the world, and the slogan on the screen at the end is "Share the Good".

As soon as I saw it I thought, "that's what the church should be doing!", not sharing a bottle of beer with each other, but passing along the message of Jesus from one person to another across cultural, racial, political, and geographical lines. My friend Chip wrote a cool post on this same commercial last week. Maybe when Blake gets back from all of his trips I'll get him to help me post the video of the ad on here so, you can see it yourself.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

VBS update - No rain!

Two nights of VBS and all has gone very well. Shelley and her team have done an amazing job of creating an environment where kids can have fun as they learn the truth from God's word.

Having VBS outdoors at Lake Robinson is awesome when there is no rain, and so far that has been the case. The average attendance has been just over 100 kids and over 100 workers. I am very proud once again of how so many of our folks are volunteering to serve. Normally a church doing VBS wouldn't have a worker to student ratio of 1:1, but due to this being an outdoor event where everything is set-up and torn-down every night, a 1:1 ratio is needed.

All of the volunteers have done great, and the kids have had a ball. Keep praying for the last two nights!

Monday, July 7, 2008

Great Sunday and VBS

Wow! That's the best way to describe what yesterday was like for me. I was thrilled to be teaching at Freedom again yesterday morning. The band did an awesome job, (Count Me In was really cool), the lessons I'm learning about how God works in our lives by studying the life of David are really challenging me, and the crowd that was there yesterday was small (thanks to the long July 4th weekend) but vocal. It was just another great experience of worshipping with my friends at Freedom.

VBS starts tonight so I will give some daily updates this week about how it's going. In the meantime, pray for dry weather tonight over Lake Robinson for at least three or four hours. We haven't had any measurable rain for three months, and now the forecast for this week is for scattered thunderstorms every night! I hope the word scattered means scattered around other parts of Greer other than Lake Robinson! Oh well, that's part of the fun of planting a church and not having a building. I wouldn't want it any other way.

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Sunday scripture and other stuff

Here's some things you'll want to know about, along with some other things you probably don't really care about:

- I'm looking forward to teaching at Freedom this Sunday. Teaching at Springwell last week was great, but it will be good to be back home this week. We are starting a new series of messages called "God at Work". We'll look at the life of David for the next several weeks, and learn together how God works in our lives. For those of you who like to read ahead, this week's message will be from 1 Samuel 16:1-13.

- I'm really ready for Emily to get back from GO Camp. Since Grace was gone last week, our house has been a little out of whack for almost two weeks now. I'm just able to relax a little more when we're all under the same roof. I'm learning now why my Mom always wanted to know where I was and when I was coming home.

- Kung-Fu Panda was much better than I expected. Good story, cool martial arts scenes, and Jack Black is always funny to me. It wasn't as good as the best animated movie ever (Finding Nemo), but it was worth the ticket price.

- I know lots of folks make home-made ice cream on July 4th. If you make a churn tomorrow and can't figure out what to do with all of it, I'll be glad to take some off your hands! Have a great 4th!

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Drumroll please....

I know you've been waiting with baited breath (I don't even know what that means, but it sounds cool) to discover what the final total is on Sunday's offering.
Well the wait is over: $9607.06!

Thanks so much to all of you who asked God what you should give, and then followed through by giving it. The folks at Mid-Town and at GAIHN will be thrilled to receive the extra funds next week.

Now that the first part of the partnership with GAIHN and Springwell is over, you may be wondering, "what's next?" Donny and I will be talking to the guys at Springwell in the next couple of weeks about when we can begin work on the house we will be renovating. As soon as we know what the plan is, we will send it your way. There will be lots of opportunity for you to serve using your construction, cleaning, organizational, and administrative skills. Start praying now about how you might be involved.

GO Camp update: Emily called yesterday and said the teenagers had a great first day of work at GO Camp. Sarah Burkhalter gave Tracy and Paige a similar report. Pray for Blake, Laura Beth, and all the students who went on this trip.

Personal note of interest to almost no one but me: I exercised yesterday for the first time in two weeks. I don't know why I drop out of that routine every once in a while. While I was on the treadmill I felt more energetic than I have in...well, in about two weeks. Funny how that works out.