Monday, August 15, 2011


I noticed today that I am in a season of life where finding a rhythm to living has been illusive. A new baby came along in January. Our youngest was five, almost six at the time so adjustments had to be made. In May Rebekah had gall bladdar problems which led to the discovery that she had renal cell carcinoma. At the same time my parents moved from living 10 miles away to living four hours away. June and July brought a change in my work. I'm basically doing the same job but I went from being a solo pastor to being a campus pastor. We went from being a part of a church of 40 people to being on staff at a church of over 800 people. Rebekah had two surgeries in a months time and is recovery well but I've been busy helping her.

So we are the process of making adjustments. It has affected our rhythm as a family, our married life and ultimately spiritually. I find that I need to get into a rhythm in prayer and Bible reading and other spiritual disciplines. So I am adjusting to life's changes and seeking to keep in step with the Spirit. School will be starting soon and the transition at church will be smoothing out in the next several weeks. I know we will find a new rhythm as a family and I will find a new rhythm in other areas. In the mean time I am listening intently because I find that in times of disruption and hiccups and storms in life God often speaks new things into my spirit and into my life.

How do you keep rhythm in your life and family?

Sunday, July 31, 2011


I hadn’t heard that name since I left my hometown of Centralia after high school. I found out today that he had died and a lot of memories came flooding back. From what I have heard my friend died because his body gave out on him after some rough years and poor decisions. I never would have guessed that he would be the one out of my friends to take that path. He was a really nice kid and hysterically funny. I could see his face and hear his voice again. Then I started thinking of the person I was in high school.

When I say that I am thankful that God saved me out of the path I was on, I don’t mean that in a self-righteous way at all. I didn’t follow my faith or what I believed during that time. I was too concerned with having fun and doing what I wanted. I drank alcohol and did a lot of things of which I am not proud. Don’t get me wrong I had fun for a season. Things began to change after I vomited on a friend’s head. Yeah, that’s something to be proud of isn’t it?

That summer after I graduated I began to follow through on my faith in Christ. I ended up becoming a pastor. I have not always had a neat and tidy life. I still have things that God is changing in my heart but I am thankful that God changed my course. Several of my friends took different paths. I spent this evening thinking about how many opportunities that I missed to talk about my faith with my friends.

I am so glad that God saved me and has been changing me ever since. I wish God had saved my friend from the path that he took. I don’t feel that I am better than Mike at all. God’s grace led me out of what I am sure now would have been a path of self-destruction. I am truly grateful. I have made many terrible mistakes but Jesus paid for them on the cross and has set me free!

I will remember my friend. I hope he found peace before he died. I am thankful for the peace I have been given. I didn’t look for it. God in His grace came to me. I didn’t deserve it. Psalm 40:2 He drew me up from the pit of destruction, out of the miry bog, and set my feet upon a rock, making my steps secure.

The thing is we are all set to self-destruct. I read what Mike Wilkerson wrote about Amy Winehouse’s death this week:

Those of us whose sin has not yet consumed us should not be too quick to judge Amy.
The only true rescue from addiction and all of sin's other forms and effects is to be freed from the bonds of that slavery by the Redeemer, forgiven by the Creator for spoiling his good work, and to be re-created by his Spirit to live a new life. No vaguely defined higher power made in my own image can do all of this—it is through Jesus Christ alone.

Grace to you.

Friday, October 02, 2009


He said to them, "Therefore every teacher of the law who has been instructed about the kingdom of heaven is like the owner of a house who brings out of his storeroom new treasures as well as old." Matthew 13:52

Some weeks are harder than other to consistently preach and teach. But most times and especially lately I have been so excited to teach and preach the Bible. I have been honored by the Bethany Cumberland Presbyterian Church. While they are searching for a pastor they have invited me to come and share with them on Sunday nights. We are starting Luke's gospel on Sunday evening.

This is how everyone who gets to preach the gospel and teach the Scriptures should feel. Some weeks the Holy Spirit gives me an old treasure that I have cherished for a long time. Other weeks I am blown away by a fresh insight, a brand new treasure. Either way I am so excited that I can share it with you. What's in your storeroom? Is it filled with treasure or with junk?

Friday, January 23, 2009

The scoop

A couple of people have asked about my blogging. Probably the only two who read this but nevertheless. Life has changed in a lot of ways and time is a precious commodity that I don't seem to have enough of lately. I think that I may be crazy to take on everything on my plate but like all things in life different seasons have different rhythms. I'm still trying to feel the beat.

I started working a full time job as a customer service agent on December 1. I am still the pastor of Abundant Life Assembly in Bethany. High utility bills and lower offerings have hit our church finances pretty hard. Some might see this as a set back. I am choosing each day to see it as an incredible opportunity. More of our people are having to step up to do ministry. And I have made some new friends and have conversations with people about spiritual matters who I would not have meet otherwise.

I am continuing to work on my bachelor's degree through Southeastern University. Combined I feel overwhelmed much of the time. I took the opportunity for the full time job because I wanted Rebekah to be able to remain home with the kids and homeschool them. We needed to make some financial changes so that we could get control over our personal financial future and so that the church could have money freed up to invest in the community and in needed repairs to the parsonage and church building. The investment in the community is the most important thing!

I think we are starting a new series on Sunday entitled Prove It! One thing I am still struggling with is planning series in advance. There just doesn't seem to be enough time. Please also pray that new worship leaders will be discovered or step up as that would really help free me up quite a bit! So if you know any musicians who feel called to lead worship or want to explore their calling point 'em my way! Anyway thanks for being interested.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

What Happens in Vegas...

You know the rest of the line. What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas. And being the uncreative copycats that most people are you have probably seen this misguided advertisement ripped off and used on t-shirts all over the country. I have seen shirts for Sullivan, Illinois which read what happens in the corn field stays in the corn field (I don't even want to consider the possible meanings that could have). I have seen Cubs t-shirts what happens in Wrigley... And Cardinals what happens at Busch... All of which are lies, especially the last two examples since the ball games are on television for the world to see.

I do think that it would be an accurate advertising slogan for many of our churches. "What happens at Second Assembly of God stays at Second Assembly," because so much of what happens during our services is not reflected in our lives on a daily basis. And that is just as pathetic and even more inexcusable than someone believing the lie about Las Vegas.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Wild Goose Chase

I just finished reading Wild Goose Chase, Mark Batterson's newest book. It launches tomorrow. Mark is the pastor of National Community Church in Washington, D.C. I haven't read his first book, In a Pit with a Lion on a Snowy Day, but I have been a reader of his blog for more than two years. I have listened to many of his podcasts, received his evotional e-mails. The book is very much an extension of Mark's communication style from oral teaching and blogging to a full length book. If you had never heard him speak, and only read this book and then you heard him speak, he would sound just like you imagined he would sound while reading the book.

The book encourages us to allow the Holy Spirit to be active in our lives. His contention is that we tend to try and tame God bringing him down to our level. When our expectations are too small we can limit God by our lack of faith. The book is filled with Mark's trademark illustrations. He is one of the best I know at illustrating his points with stories, scientific theories and off the wall anecdotes. He has a unique voice and I think it is in full effect here.

You can feel the influence of Erwin McManus and others who talk about living life to the fullest and not allowing religion to inhibit our pursuit of God. Batterson fully acknowledges this in the book. It isn't the subject matter that is unique it is his voice. And truthfully as preachers and teachers of the Bible none of us has completely unique subject matter (if someone has a take on the Bible that no one else ever has it is usually called heresy) it is, to borrow a Batterson phrase, our job to present old truths in new ways. So the book is definitely worth your time. I definitely recommend it!

The book is availible on Amazon and through other outlets. Thanks to the publisher for my free copy!

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Skip Carey

During the 1980's I fell in love with baseball. I am a fan of the Atlanta Braves. During most of the '80s I lived in North and South Dakota. The options for baseball on television were the Twins and the Braves. My best friend and I loved the Braves. Both teams were mostly awful, but the Braves were on almost every day on WTBS. And the Braves had Dale Murphy my all time favorite player.

It was Skip's voice, along with Ernie Johnson and Pete VanWieren that told me play by play how awful the Braves were, and then how great they were becoming. His voice is the sound track to a lot of great memories of baseball for a young boy growing up. I haven't followed baseball quite as closely since TBS reduced its Braves telecasts. Now that they aren't exclusively covering the Braves I don't get to see many games. I like Skip's son Chip an awful lot and not just because we share a name, but it won't be the same without Skip.