He Adores Her

Feeble and weak, he shuffled a bit wobbly toward the couch carrying a prized possession. In my 89 year old father-in-law’s hand was a photo mousepad. As he sat down on the couch next to me he said, “This is a picture of Mil (Mildred) and me after our first date.” He then proceeded to tell, with great delight, a bit of laughter, and a tear of joy how he got his sister to sit in the back seat of the car so the girl of his dreams would join him in the front seat. And as they say, “The rest is history.”

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Get Off the Interstate: Picnic for Two With a View

A hurry-up life-style results in a throwaway culture.

Chuck Swindoll

Indeed, many, many marriages are thrown away or put-on-the-back-burner because of the hurried pace and expectations of today’s society. There’s little time to develop attitudes, values, goals, and practices that characterize the culture of a good, godly marriage.

So, I offer a simple solution that can have positive “cultural” effects by way of two examples. If you don’t live in East Tennessee or travel these roads, just adapt to your neck-of-the-woods!

Continue reading “Get Off the Interstate: Picnic for Two With a View”

But We’ll Be Late! | The Pastor’s First Ministry

There she was, sleeping so soundly. After a very draining week emotionally, mentally, physically and spiritually, my wife was snuggled securely in bed in a deep slumber.

“What time is it? What day is it?” Those were her words when I awakened her.

Slowly she crawled out of bed and began to make herself ready for the day.

What day was it? Sunday.

What time was it? Suffice it to say, she had overslept!! Didn’t hear her alarm either.

We have pre-service prayer meeting on Sundays at 8:30. As I watched the clock and began to fix her a to-go breakfast, she came down the stairs. My wife was ready to go to church on the outside, but I could see that she was not on the inside. And based upon my ever present “I’ll fix this situation” manhood, I declared, “I’ll go on ahead, and you can come in your Jeep.”

Wait a minute! It’s raining, she’s fighting off a migraine, and she is definitely not crusin’ along on all eight cylinders.

It was then and there that my first ministry captured my attention. Serving my wife was more important than being at prayer meeting on time. She had no business driving by herself. She needed her husband. She needed her pastor. She needed her friend.

Pastors, Christian leaders, missionaries, we are so prone to put the ministry above our wives, leaving her in the dust with her brood as she carries seven diaper/book bags, Bibles, a purse, and wearing her “running shoes” to keep up with you. I mean, after all, you are the pastor and you must be there to open the door and lead in prayer! What will people think if you are late!!!

Men, you know the words of Matthew 22:37-39 quite well. May I encourage you to remember that your wife is your neighbor. She is to be loved more than your church congregation (Ephesians 5:25). Your ministry to your wife, and your church member, I might add, is an example to all the other believers. She is your first ministry.

Fighting the urge to drive a bit more aggressively and take some of the curves on two wheels, we had a nice, easy and enjoyable journey.

Interesting enough, folks gathered for prayer as always, and . . . we were the second ones in the parking lot. No harm done. Compassionate, caring love shown to my wife.

Thank You, Lord, for stopping me in my tracks and reminding me what is of greater value.

“C’mon, Hon. Take your time. I’ll wait. Let’s go together.”

Twitter and Humility

In today’s social media world, anyone can become a celebrity in a matter of seconds! Post a video or tweet or reel that grabs the attention of many in a short span of time, and you can have “rock start” status!

A word of caution, if I may . . . there is only one celebrity, one individual that is worthy of undivided attention, one person that is to be lauded, followed and worshipped. His name is the Lord Jesus Christ (Philippians 2:5-11).

There is only one celebrity!

If we are truly born again (John 3:1-18), a follower of Jesus Christ (Luke 14:26), then He lives in us to live His life out of us (John 14:20; Galatians 2:20; Colossians 1:27). This is the preeminent status for us in this life! This is who we really are.

Therefore, let’s be careful when and if our numbers begin to climb that our pride is not stroked by how many followers or commenters we have. Any influence in this world we have only comes through the power of the Holy Spirit as He exalts the Lord Jesus Christ for the glory and honor of God the Father!!

Remember the words of John the Baptist . . . He (Jesus) must increase, but I must decrease (John 3:30).

Faithfulness and loyalty to God is much more important than being a celebrity.

For the eyes of the Lord run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to show Himself strong on behalf of those whose heart is loyal to Him. (2 Chronicles 16:9)

Get Off the Interstate: Meals, Lodging & Strolls in Weaverville, NC

“So teach us to number our days” prays Moses as recorded in Psalm 90:13. Not years but days. So much is missed in our life if we do not live in the moment, the day, and enjoy the scenic route!!

So you’re travelling on Interstate 26 between Asheville, NC, and Johnson City, TN. Exchange the hustle and bustle of four-lane life for a slower change of pace. Here you go!

Well-Bred Bakery

Nestled on the corner of N. Main and Florida Street, you will enter a piece of bakery paradise!

For breakfast, how about the Quiche which comes in three flavors or the Chorizo Breakfast Burrito or . . . have mercy, the Pecan Streusel Roll!!!

Coffee? Yes . . . Jamaican Me Crazy!!

For lunch, I highly recommend their Turkey Pretzel Roll or Grilled Cheese and if available, the Tomato Soup!

Don’t leave without taking a Ginger Molasses Cookie or a Mountain Éclair to enjoy later.

There is limited outdoor seating on the front sidewalk and along Florida Street.

Many times over the years I have left the interstate for a coffee and cookie at Well Bred!!

You will want to stroll the couple of blocks on either side of Well-bred on Main Street of this cozy community.

Stoney Knob Cafe

Be ready for eclectic décor and excellent food! Their website says it well!

Begin with a trendy location just 10 minutes from Asheville, NC. Stir in a whimsical blend of artifacts and artful spaces. Season with provocative offerings of American, Greek and European cuisine. Add a dash of funk and a smidgen of comfy cool. Top it off with owners who bring tremendous heart and skill to the table, treating you more like family. Garnish with smiles all around.

Denise and I, and friends, have tried many of their menu offerings over the years and have never been disappointed. For lunch, I suggest the Jamaican Shrimp Wrap or Tacos Pescado. For supper, how about the Meatloaf or Salmon or Chicken Piccatta!!

I’m ready to stop typing and head on down the road to the Knob!!!

Sourwood Inn

You have to be going there on purpose to find it, but once you drive down the lane, you are surrounded by the stillness of it all! Yes, you are tucked away from busy life, yet you are minutes from the Blue Ridge Parkway and the uniqueness of Asheville, NC.

Our stay included the Trillium Room, which had a great view, plus playing ping pong and pool. Rest and enjoying each other’s company was enhanced by the sitting room and a walk around the property. This would be a great place for a birthday or anniversary celebration!

So, number your days. Live in the moment. Plan or be spontaneous!

Scenic Route Marriage Tip: Husbands, you may be wired to get from point A to point B in the quickest, shortest time possible. Unwire and surprise your wife with an intentional get-out-of-the-car-nofastfood meal or get a cookie and coffee and enjoy time seated on the sidewalk with your sweetheart! Live today!

It’s A Mad, Mad World!

That’s my impression from my stroll down the main drag of Gatlinburg, TN, recently.

  • Few people smiling or laughing.
  • Harsh words being spoken to others, especially to children and other family members.
  • One woman spewing out foul language because she has pulled into a blocked street and folks are not “parting the Red Sea” for her to back out onto Parkway.
  • Impatience on display.
  • Many store clerks looking like their job is a misery to their soul.
  • T-shirts declaring the woe-filled and proud hearts of so many.

All this and more in one of the vacation capitols of America!

This is supposed to be “the happy place!” Right?

Really????

But, this is the case almost everywhere you go today. Why?

1. Man tries to fill his empty, eternal soul with temporal, earthly things. There is nothing in the world that will ever completely satisfy mankind. There may be momentary satisfaction, but it leaves a desire for more or something else.

In the midst of all this unhappiness, I saw new attractions, new restaurants, a gazillion moonshine stores (Isn’t that what brings great joy, so we’re told????), new stores, new products on the shelves, etc. This should make people happy, full of joy, right?

2. Man without a personal relationship with Christ does not have the fruit of the Holy Spirit.

Now the works of the flesh are evident: sexual immorality, impurity, sensuality, 20 idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, fits of anger, rivalries, dissensions, divisions, 21 envy, drunkenness, orgies, and things like these. I warn you, as I warned you before, that those who do such things will not inherit the kingdom of God. 22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. 24 And those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. (Galatians 5:19-24)

As my wife and I strolled up and back down Parkway, our hearts were saddened and grieved by the thousands who are choosing to live this way without the Prince of Peace, The Joy of Jesus, the Savior of our souls.

May I encourage you to read the three links given in the last sentence above?

When the angel announced the birth of Jesus to shepherds in the field, his first words were “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people” (Luke 2:10). That “great joy” was the truth that the God who had seemed far off had come to them in human flesh. He was to be called “Immanuel,” which means “God with us” (Isaiah 9:6–7; Matthew 1:23). Those who saw Him saw the face of God (John 14:9). He had come to rescue, to save, to heal, and to make mankind right with God (Isaiah 61:1; Luke 4:17–21). That was cause for great joy! (gotquestions.org/joy-to-the-world)

The only cure for a mad, mad world is the Gospel! The Good News!!

(Photo from trekearth.com)

Get Off the Interstate: Meals & Lodging from Corbin to Lexington, KY

Travelling can become a very boring routine no matter your destination!

Do you take the interstate on all of your trips?

Do you only eat at fast-food chain restaurants?

Do you just stop for a quick restroom break and it’s back to beatin’ the pavement?

Suggestion: Slow down, get off the path everyone else is taking and enjoy the journey! Take the scenic route! Getting “there” is not the main goal. It’s living in the moment that God has given and making investments in the lives around you. That includes the people in your car and the many outside your vehicle!

So, let me give you some trip tips to make the journey more enjoyable.

I will begin in this post with the section of I-75 between Corbin and Lexington, Kentucky. Here’s a few neat spots to stop for a meal or overnight lodging.

MEALS

Local Honey, London, KY

  • Quaint downtown, delicious food, romantic atmosphere but kid-worthy, excellent service!
  • We had two of their appetizers for lunch recently! Wow!!
  • Four minutes from Exit 41, I-75

Boone Tavern Hotel, Berea, KY

  • Quiet dining for all meals in an elegant, historical setting!
  • Tavern Classic for breakfast, Kentucky Hot Brown for lunch, or deep fried deviled eggs for starters and shrimp and grits for supper!! Oh yes, the spoon bread, too!!
  • Six minute drive from Exit 76, I-75

LODGING

Boone Tavern Hotel, Berea, KY

  • Check out the website and see the prices. Add breakfast and you are set!
  • Friendly staff, very nice rooms, cozy and comfortable!!
  • Hope you get to meet the jolly, friendly bell hop, too!!
  • You’ll want to stroll around the block and step into the fudge shop, coffee & tea shop, sandwich shop and/or candle store.
  • Need some exercise? Good running or walking path on North Main Street!

There’s much more to see in America than Buc-ee’s!!!! So, check back with me in the days to come as I share other neat places on the scenic route . . . off the interstate!!

Scenic Route Marriage Tip: Side trips like these provide time to talk, listen, hold hands, share, kiss, slow down and enjoy the gift of marriage! Helps you get out of and stay out of the rut of mindless routine that traps many marriages.

Heart Transplant

Since the heart is perverse and desperately wicked (Jeremiah 17:9), can it be changed?

Can our deceitful heart be transformed into a truthful heart?

Can our our hypocritical heart be converted into a holy heart?

Can our idolatrous heart be changed into a worshipping heart for God?

Yes! The heart of change is having the heart of Christ.

The heart in scripture represents all that we are. As in water face reflects face, so the heart of man reflects the man (Proverbs 27:19). It’s our inner person (Proverbs 4:23; Ephesians 3:16-17). The functions of the biblical heart involve your will, emotions, spirit or soul and mind.

To have the heart of Christ is to first of all be born again (Read John 3:1-18; Regeneration).

Second, to have the heart of Christ is learn of His heart as you study His earthly life from (Matthew, Mark, Luke and John) and the Christ-life (Romans 6-8; Galatians, Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians) as the Holy Spirit reveals Him to you (John 16:12-15).

While sitting on my back porch meeting with the Lord as I read His Word, the Holy Spirit revealed Christ’s heart to me again. As I began to read Luke 15, a passage of three parables about lost things Jesus used to answer the accusations of the Pharisees, a statement from the Pharisees about Christ spoke to my heart. And the Pharisees and scribes complained, saying, “This Man receives/welcomes sinners and eats with them” (15:2).

Why does Jesus welcome sinners; those who are lost? Luke 19:10 says, For the Son of Man has come to seek and to save that which was lost.

At that moment the thought came to me, “The heart of Christ is to receive, to welcome sinners who are broken in their sin, hell-bound and without hope.”

Then I was reminded of Bill Pickel, a man who lived out the heart of Christ, and it could have been said of him, “He received sinners and ate with them.”

During my junior and senior years of college, I served as youth and music leader at a church in upstate South Carolina. Every weekend I would stay at the Pickel’s home. Often he was not home, sometimes arriving back home around 2-3:00 in the morning.

Why? He was out spending time at some local beer joint . . . loving, listening, caring, and sharing with sinners the Good News of Jesus Christ. Sometimes he brought these broken men into his home for a meal or a bed. Many of them he saw humble themselves before the Lord, repent of their sins, and receive Christ as their personal Lord and Savior.

Yes, Bill was criticized by the “religious Pharisees” because he had the audacity to found in a beer joint. Nevertheless, Bill chose to live out the Christ-life and “eat with sinners.”

What have you learned about the heart of Christ today as you gazed into His Word? But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as by the Spirit of the Lord (2 Corinthians 3:18).

What has the Holy Spirit revealed to you today of Christ? How has the Holy Spirit worked in your heart to bear the fruit of Christ through your life (Galatians 5:22-23)? He can do the same in your life as He did in Bill Pickel’s life.

The lyrics of a favorite song in our home when our girls were young said, “Change my heart, O God. Make it ever new. Change my heart, O God, make it more like you.”

What Is This World Coming To?

Several years ago, I heard that question posed and answered this way, “What is this world coming to? This world is coming to Jesus!”

Therefore, God also has highly exalted Him and given Him the name which is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those in heaven, and of those on earth, and of those under the earth, and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. (Philippians 2:9-11)

Indeed, the day in coming when the saints and angels in heaven, everyone on earth, and the devil, his hosts and those in hell below, will bow before Jesus Christ and acknowledge Him as Lord, as Savior, as King, as Sovereign over the universe and mankind.

The above stated question is also asked by many believers day-after-day. The answer is the same.

No matter the craziness, chaos, perplexities, or “jaw-dropping-moments” of life, the preeminent response is always “come to Jesus” (Matthew 11:28-30).

Open your Bible. Look into the face of Christ. He gives you saving and sanctifying rest as you learn from Him through meditation and memorization. This exchanges the human viewpoint of life with divine viewpoint that “sets you free” (John 8:31-32) and appropriates the peace of God which will rule in your heart (Colossians 3:15).

Now may the Lord of peace himself give you peace at all times in every way. (2 Thessalonians 3:16)

DADS

One of the greatest needs in our homes, churches, schools, sports teams, and nation today is DADS, . . .

Delivered by the gospel.

All of us dads were born spiritually dead, living under the control of Satan, self and the world and under God’s wrath (Ephesians 2:1-3). As much as we think as a man we can fix our sinful condition, work our way to heaven, fill the hole in our soul, we are forever lost. We cannot fix the greatest crisis in our lives.

Here’s the Good News! But God, being rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, 5 even when we were dead in our transgressions, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), 6 and raised us up with Him, and seated us with Him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, 7 so that in the ages to come He might show the surpassing riches of His grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. 8 For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; 9 not as a result of works, so that no one may boast. (Ephesians 2:4-9)

The most important aspect of being a dad is for Christ to live in us that He may live His life out of us so that our children see Christ and not us (Romans 6-8; Galatians 2:20; Philippians 3:4-10; Colossians 1:27).

Daily we surrender to Christ. Daily we come to Christ (Matthew 11:28-30). Daily we seek Christ (Matthew 6:24-34). Daily we look for Christ return (John 14:1-6; 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18). Christ is our life (John 10:10; Galatians 2:20).

Adores his wife

Merriman-Webster defines “adore” as “to regard with loving admiration and devotion.” According to Ephesians 2:7, the reason God saves us is to show the surpassing riches of His grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. Dads, just as God demonstrates His grace toward us through Christ every moment of each day, we can through Christ adore our children’s mom, our wife. God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us (Romans 5:5).

Dad, show your children how to love and respect their future spouse.

Demonstrate before them a grace-enabled, God-honored marriage (Ephesians 5:18-33)!!

Disciples his children

Dads spend hours teaching and coaching their children how to hit or field a baseball. Perhaps it’s how to drive a car. Maybe it’s training in construction.

The best training a dad can give his son or daughter is how to know Christ as personal Lord and Savior (Ephesians 2:1-9); to love, read, and study the Bible (Psalms 19:7-11; 119:1-176); to know how to share Jesus with others (1 Peter 3:15); to know how to pray (Study how Jesus prayed and the prayers of Paul, Ephesians 1:15-23; 3:14-21; Colossians 1:9-12); to know how to praise the Lord and enjoy life (Psalms 100, 150; Hebrews 13:15); to know how to live the Christ-life (Romans 6-8; Galatians 2:20) and to know how to laugh and have fun (Proverbs 17:22)!!

Seeks the eternal things

One day your children will depart from your home and your training. May that which they love above all things and seek after be the eternal things. Life here is so temporal as is power, prestige, position, possessions, and property. We will leave it all behind one day.

May you live in such a way that your children see you seeking first the kingdom of God and His righteousness (Matthew 6:33), having set your mind/affection on things above, not on things that are on earth (Colossians 3:2)., that in all things Christ has the preeminence (Colossians 1:18) because the passion of your life is to know Christ (Philippians 3:4-10).

Happy DADS Day!! Be encouraged!! Stay the course!! Grace is sufficient!!

So very grateful for my Christ-centered dad, for the blessing of being of dad, and for my sons-in-law who are and will be godly dads!!!