When does your vacation begin?
When does your vacation end?Continue reading “Vacation Trip Tip”
A look at life from a pastor's point of view
When does your vacation begin?
When does your vacation end?Continue reading “Vacation Trip Tip”
Bless the Lord, O my soul, and all that is within me, bless his holy name! Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits (Psalm 103:1-2).
Looking back over this year, these familiar words can be uttered from my heart as if I just heard them for the very first time. My, how good the Lord has been through all the ups and downs, triumphs and trials, laughter and lessons, provisions and pruning, and times of waiting and answers to prayer of 2022. He is the constant, faithful, grace-filled, mercy-bestowing, ever-loving, immutable One Who is worthy of all praise and thanksgiving!!Continue reading “Highlights of 2022”
Just go ahead and expect that your adult kids won’t be home for Christmas!Continue reading “Parents, Just Go Ahead and Do It! | Releasing Adult Children From Holiday Expectations”
“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!
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.
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!!!
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!
One of the greatest needs in our homes, churches, schools, sports teams, and nation today is DADS, . . .
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).
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)!!
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)!!
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!!!
Preacher, are you ready?
May I share three things to encourage you toward Sunday?
1. Prepare your heart
In this atomic age when forces are being released that stagger the thought and imagination of man it is well to remember that prayer transcends all other forces. (F. J. Huegel)
Men, Jesus said, Without me, you can do nothing (John 15:5)! Preparing your heart through prayer is more important than delivering your sermon. Passionate, dependent, scripture-filled prayer says, “Lord, You are able, I am not!”
2. Prepare your message
Men, we have been challenged to Preach the Word (2 Timothy 4:2) since the day we sensed God’s call to the ministry. Those folks who gather to hear you Sunday need hope and to see Christ. Therefore, preach the Word under the control of the Holy Spirit from a heart set on fire by God!
Give the sheep good grain, a message from God’s Word, not just a sermon.
3. Prepare your family
Saturday evening, gather your family together and share what the Lord has taught you and what you will deliver in the message on Sunday. Have them pray for you and with you.
Make your family a vital part of the ministry team!
Preacher, will you be ready?
To them God willed to make known what are the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles: which is Christ in you, the hope of glory. Him we preach, warning every man and teaching every man in all wisdom, that we may present every man perfect in Christ Jesus. To this end I also labor, striving according to His working which works in me mightily. (Colossians 1:27-29)
The oft-spoken adage and biblical advice for preachers is, “Practice what you preach!”
Well, since having completed an eleven blogpost series on overcoming discouragement in ministry, my wife and I put Post #7 to practice.
Last week we “got out of Dodge” and headed for a week of rest at Edisto Island, SC.
To make the week purposeful and full of memories, we took the word “READS” and used it as an acrostic for each day’s goal. After all, you usually spend time reading when you get away like this.
Here’s a sampling of our time with the hopes of encouraging you to “practice what you preach.”
R – REST
E – EXERCISE
A – ADVENTURE
D – DINNER
S – SPECIAL
Practicing can be fun when you have your best friend, wife, and sweetheart of 41 years alongside!
Now! That was a great way to stay away from or overcome discouragement!!
Do you need to practice what you preach?
Last evening I was sitting in our family room chatting with my wife. She shared some thoughts from her heart about an upcoming speaking opportunity to be addressed to pastors’ wives.
Almost every Sunday in the morning gathering in my introductory remarks, I introduce my wife as well as our assistant pastor and his wife. “I’m Pastor C and this is my wife, Denise.” More often than not, she is characterized as “the pastor’s wife” or perhaps in the minds of those who have known us here for almost 21 years, “our pastor’s wife.”
I love the sound of those descriptions. You see, I have had the privilege of being a lead pastor for 39 years, and my sweet wife has been by my side through it all . . . as my wife.
For every pastor, his most important ministry is his wife, then his children, and then his “neighbors” (next door, down the street, church, town, the world). For the wife, her first ministry is always to her husband and then her children and beyond.
A long and varied job description for “the pastor’s wife” has been created by thousands over the years, but the truth is, the pastor’s wife is his wife first and foremost. Her “job description”(as a woman, a wife, a follower of Jesus Christ) is found in Proverbs 31:10-31, Ephesians 5:1-33, Colossians 3:1-25; Titus 2:3-5, 1 Peter 3:1-12, as well as other passages. As to how she serves in ministry, that is between her, the Lord and the loving leadership and protection of her husband.
The pastor’s wife is a born-again believer, saved through the cross-work of Jesus Christ, and living out the Christ-life (John 15:1-11; Galatians 2:20; Colossians 1:27) through the power of the Holy Spirit within her (John 14:16-23). She is no different than the other ladies in the church who are under the same guidelines as the passages listed above.
She is not the “first lady the church.” or Mrs. Preacher or “the pastor’s wife.” She is a servant of the Lord as is every other born again lady in the local church. She does not have a position. Her identity is first of all in Christ, and then, as in the case of my wife, just that, my wife, my best friend, my sweetheart, as well as mom to our daughters, Gigi to our grandsons, and Denise to everyone else.
She needs prayer, friends, love, her family, compassion, prayer, grace, kindness, space to grow, not placed on a man-made pedestal, prayer, laughter, fellowship, encouragement, and prayer.
Ladies, if the pastor’s wife listens and prays with you after you have shared your burden with her, or confronts you about some habitual sin in your life because she cares, or wants to have lunch with you so she can disciple you and lead you further in your walk with Christ, it’s not because she’s “the pastor’s wife.” It has everything to do with her love for you, her obedience to the one another’s in Scripture, her love for God and her neighbor and her passion to disciple (Matthew 22:37-39; 28:18-20).
So, the next time you see your pastor’s wife, embrace her as your sister in Christ, your friend, and one who is growing and walking with Christ on your journey Home to Glory, not just “the pastor’s wife.”
From a pastor’s heart,
My wife is a planner, organizer, and a go-getter! I owe the warmth and coziness of our home, demonstrated in so many ways, all to her. And, she doesn’t just sit on her accomplishments, she maintains certain areas of our home with daily care. According to her, if she didn’t, “it would get away from her!”
This reminds me of marriage; it too requires daily maintenance. If not, “it’ll get away from you!”
What are some daily maintenance needs to keep your marriage moving forward in the early days and even after 40 plus years?
Touch one another. A warn embrace, a long kiss, an arm around her shoulder, holding hands, sitting close to each other at church, massaging her shoulders, etc. How easy it is to become mechanical and monotonous in your relationship. Furthermore, do not let your children and schedule drive you apart. Spend time daily in each other’s arms. If you don’t, your marriage will get away from you!
Listen to one another. Last night after supper, we sat at the dining room table and talked for 30 minutes or so. No one was in a hurry. We shared about the day and about a huge burden on our hearts. We connected and made an investment in our marriage. If you don’t, your marriage will get away from you!
Forgive one another. This is an ingredient that is so necessary to maintain your marriage on a daily basis. Because a marriage is made up of two sinners, grace and forgiveness are extreme necessities. Here’s great biblical counsel—Let all bitterness, wrath, anger, clamor, and evil speaking be put away from you, with all malice. And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God in Christ forgave you (Ephesians 4:31-32). This is an action that must be obeyed no matter the circumstances. If you doubt this is true, look at the cross. If you believe it is impossible, look in the empty tomb. If forgiveness is not a sweet (and sometimes hard, but always right) part of your marriage, it’ll get away from you!
What will you do today to maintain your relationship in a way that honors God and keeps your marriage from getting away from you?
If you’ve been reading my recent posts, you know that I have done a series on The Empty Nest, Part 2, Part 3—-words of encouragement, help and preparation for when your children leave home to launch out on their own.
Today, I’m sharing the testimony from a son whose parents are an example of handling the empty nest.
“Eighteen years ago, we moved [north]. I’ll never forget the firm words my dad had for me. It seemed out of his gentle character as he nearly made me promise to do what he requested. ‘Son, one of these days your mother and I will get old and sick. Don’t come home! The Lord has a work for you to do in [up north], and we don’t want to get in the way’.”
“My family has been so supportive for all these many years. Dad got cancer, had other health struggles then passed away. Mom has had health ups and downs over the years. She is currently at home having been recently released from the hospital due to many health issues.”
Denise and I met this son and his wife three years ago. They ministered to our hearts in a very special way and have continued to do so. Their love and sacrifice for the gospel, the ministry of Jesus Christ and his parents are quite evident. Even though they moved miles away from parents, what a blessing to serve the Lord knowing that family was “in their corner” praying and cheering them on!
Parents, don’t hold your kids so tight that they feel guilty serving where God has called them if they can’t get home as often as you think. If you are all born again believers, you will spend forever with them. Let them go! Trust the Lord for their well-being. God is always a better parent, refuge, and source of wisdom than we can be.
Release them, love them, remind them often of your support, and most of all, pray fervently for them!!
This son is currently visiting with his mom, and he wrote, “Even though Daddy said not to move back home, I’m pretty sure he’d be ok with a visit.”
From a pastor’s heart,