February Blog reviews

SIMPLY THE BEST Here are some of the better blog posts I have read over the past month.  I want to share these great articles that I hope will enhance your wisdom.

Rules for Biblical Dating  I thought these were really good.  I even spent time covering them with my son.

Why Singing is Essential  If you catch me singing in my vehicle you will understand why.

Godly Advice for Teenagers  This advice is good for teenagers as well as adults.  I will use these principals in my devotion with my son.  You might find a similar use for such sage words.

Seven Essential Elements of an Effective Shepherding Ministry  If you are a leader (shepherd) then these are wise words to follow.

Why and How Every Father Should Be Affirming His Young Son The affirmation of a father should not be underestimated, neither should the lack of one be ignored.

20 Scripture Verses that Define Mature Manhood  I shared my thoughts on what it means to be a man last year (read that blog here).

Manturity has now listed 20 Bible verses that define a man.

Difficult path for Christian florist  I have somewhat heard of this story for the past few years, and can’t believe it is still in the news.  But I think we should be praying for this florist who is making a bold stand against a government gone too far out of bounds.


Church links

The Top Ten Most Fiercely Defended Traditions in Churches  If your church is older than 3 years I’d say you could identify with at leas one of these tightly held traditions.

How to Make Announcements in Worship Services  As a church leader I find effectively communicating in the local church to be more difficult than I had ever imagined.  Thom gives some thoughtful ideas into how others are communicating church announcements.

10 Ways to read your Community  I agree and think we need to know our community so we can properly shine the light of Jesus into a dark world.

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My Leave Behind

It is said that some people light up a room when they enter it, and then there are some people who light up a room when they leave.  There are also those who will light it neither way, they come and go with no impact.

I think we each leave an influence on everyone we come in contact with.  Some of us will encourage, inspire or brighten the day of those we come in contact with.IMG_0556

Some of us will depress, repel or darken the day of those we come in contact with.

Then some of us will not effect others in any way.  We neither encourage or depress – we just sort of become part of the backdrop in their observation.

As a Christian my influence is also drawing people closer to God, further away from God, or I make no impact on their relationship with Jesus.  Now I don’t know about you, but I consider it shame if I do not bring those in my influence closer to Jesus as a result of the things I say and do.

I told my son that when he takes his girlfriend out on a date he will influence her in one of these three ways.  And she will also influence him in one of these three ways.  When he drops her off she will have become closer to God, the same with God or further away from Him.

Daily we have opportunities to influence others with our social media presence, by passing people in a hallway, phone conversations, eating meals together and intentional time we give the people we love.  I took time to consider this week how do I influence the people I come in contact with.  It made me want to change the way I greet people, and also in the relationship building I do with my family.

Jesus said in Matthew 5:13 “You are the salt of the earth; but if the salt has become tasteless, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled under foot by men.”

What do you think?  If we do not positively influence others toward Jesus then what good are we?

The woman to marry my son

What kind of woman would I want my son to marry?

My son is a teenager, and I have had cause recently to think hard about what kind of woman I would like for him to marry.  I know I cannot pick his wife for him, but I think I would do a pretty good job if asked to.   However, I can point out positive characteristics and hope that he would want to see those in his potential wife.

Marriage vows silhouette_womanI think part of my job in raising him and helping him transition his affection to a wife is to point out the positive characteristics in his mom.  He will see those characteristics on a regular basis in our home, and he will base what a wife looks like by how she relates to me.  A fault of my son’s dad is he sometimes points out the negative aspects of his mom.  Shame on me, and it is time to correct myself going forward for the sake of my son.

These are four characteristics I would like to see in the woman my son marries:

Love Jesus

First I want him to pursue a woman that loves Jesus.  I would hope she has a growing relationship with Jesus, and their union would only enhance the way each of them serve Him.

Inspire him

I want his wife to inspire him to be a better man.  Not nag him to change, but encourage him to be a better man for his God, family, church and work.  Part of inspiring someone is the willingness to try new things, to get out and explore God’s creation and to look for creative ways to enjoy being with each other.

Submit to his leadership

A man is the head of the household.  Not a dictator or ruler, but the head.  This means he has to lead the family with wisdom.  When a man does that the wife should submit to that leadership.  The Bible clearly teaches this model and puts the burden on him to be right with God in leading his family.

Love him unconditionally

Our marriage vows agree – till death do us part.  For richer or for poorer, in sickness or in health.  We don’t have to necessarily like our spouse all the time, but we do have to love them.  Love does not depend on what we get in return, it is only in a position to give.  The love I am talking about is a verb – not a feeling.

These are the thoughts that come to my mind when thinking of his potential wife.  Of course to see what real love should look like we need to see what the creator of love intended it to be.

In 1 Corinthians 13 the Bible says that love is patient, kind, does not envy, is not boastful, is not conceited, does not act improperly, is not selfish, is not provoked, and does not keep a record of wrongs.  Love finds no joy in unrighteousness but rejoices in the truth.  It bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.  Love never ends.

Where do you turn?

This week has been really tough for me for a sundry of different reasons.  My personal, professional, spiritual and family life have all been attacked by satan.

My wife knows my struggles and we talk, but sometimes I need to bounce ideas off other people.  As I have went through getting over the trials I have had the thought – where do I turn for help?  Who do I look to?  What helps me feel better and see clearer?IMG_5117

Through this week’s experiences I had a chance to step back and look at my situation and judge how I reacted.

So it all came together last night at church.  Our Wednesday night services are a help to me in a lot of ways, so I know I needed to be there – that was my first right turn.

While I was setting there by myself listening to the sermon I could not help my mind wondering back to my own situation.  What do I need to do to make things right?  Who can I talk to?  Should I get in my vehicle and drive till I have an answer?  What would I listen to – something to excite me or sooth me?

Then a question really stopped me.  When the service is over – do I bolt out the side door or talk with my church family?

To bolt out the side door I would avoid any questions, showing my current emotions or having to act like nothing was wrong.

If I chose to talk to friends I would surely show my emotions and have to answer questions.

Where do I turn?

Well, I chose to turn in and talk to my friends and church family.  And it was a wise decision.

I did put on my “happy” face and talk, but soon I was caught up in hearing about others that I forgot about my problems.  We made plans for the coming week and talked of blessings that God has showered us with.

I wound up practicing with the praise team and was blessed by my time there!

As the night wound down and the next morning came I realized that I was leaning into God’s word and worship music.  And you know what?  I was feeling better!

The problems didn’t go away, but the became less amplified because I chose to turn to God and His blessings instead of giving satan another battle win.

Psalms 121:1 says

I will lift up my eyes to the mountains;
From where shall my help come?
My help comes from the Lord,
Who made heaven and earth.
A good reminder to me – where do I turn – I turn to God!!

Merry Christmas

I wish you a Merry Christmas !

Merry Christmas wreathWe hear it this time of year, but what does wishing a merry Christmas mean?  What does it mean to you?

To me there are several things in mind when I wish you a Merry Christmas.

First and foremost I am wishing you well wishes at a time we celebrate the birth of our Savior Jesus the Christ, who came to earth as the perfect sacrifice for our sins.  Without His birth in the way and the manner in which it happened, then He would not be qualified as a perfect sacrifice.

John 3:16-17 says “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life. For God did not send the Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world might be saved through Him.” No other man do we celebrate this way, and no other man should we celebrate this way.

Secondly wishing your Christmas to be merry means I hope that the way you celebrate His arrival brings joy and peace in a festive way!  I hope you celebrate His gift by giving to those you love!  Sometimes that means we buy things they would like and present them as gifts, but it also means giving of your time and attention.  That is why I am glad we eat and play at Christmas parties and family gatherings – enjoy each other with lighthearted fun!

The Bible says in 2 Corinthians 9:6-7Now this I say, he who sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and he who sows bountifully will also reap bountifully. Each one must do just as he has purposed in his heart, not grudgingly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.”

Lastly I wish you a merry Christmas season.  Not just a day, but a time to celebrate, give thanks and share love.  To do that right it will take more than just a day – it will take a well orchestrated season.  A day can be built up and fall so anti-climatic, and you will have to stuff so much into one day.  But in a season you will have time to enjoy and share with more people – more time to spread the love as Jesus taught us!

So from me and my family of four – we wish you a Merry Christmas!

Pigeon Forge Fun Day

This past week my work allowed us to take a 1/2 day for team building exercises.  So, we spent the afternoon in Pigeon Forge, TN!

I am thankful to have been able to experience a few new adventures.  Below is a snapshot of our day.

Smoky Mountain Alpine Coaster

Our first stop was the Smoky Mountain Alpine Coaster on the way to Wears Valley.  I had heard of these kinds of coasters before, but never had an opportunity to ride one.  This was like a personal roller coaster – with brakes!  It wound up and through a mountain side.

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The only picture I took was really not what I wanted to show the coasters, but it gives you an idea of what they look like.

 

 

 

 

 

My buddy Greg Norton shot a video during his ride, and I thought I would share it: Greg’s alpine video

Wonders of Flight

The next destination was one that I have been wanting to do since I first saw it!  The Wonders of Flight is a hot air balloon lift that takes you up 400′ above Pigeon Forge!  I had so wanted to ride this, but once I stepped onto the platform I quickly considered whether this was a good idea or not.  My adrenaline kicked in so I decided to stay – plus the others were boarding so I couldn’t back out now!!

When the gate closed our “pilot” said we would be ascending to 400′ above the ground we just stepped off of.  A single cable was what held the balloon to the ground, and slowly released as we smoothly ascended.

From the top we had some awesome views!  The air was cool and the sun was warm.  Just a great day to be enjoying these views of creation!

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One cable holds the balloon to earth
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Getting ready to ride

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

View toward Pigeon Forge and the Smoky Mountains
View toward Pigeon Forge and the Smoky Mountains
View toward Knoxville and House Mountain
View toward Knoxville and House Mountain
Panoramic view !
Panoramic view !
View looking down
View looking down

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Go Carts then Supper

Our last adventure was to ride go carts.  Our team found this to be an opportunity for paybacks through bumping of carts!  Of course we were warned not to bump, but that was merely a good suggestion!

I will share a short video of this adventure: Go Cart Adventure

After all this adventure we settled in to eat at Jimmy Buffett’s Margaritaville.  The food was tasty and the atmosphere was really fun!

 

House Mountain Hike

This past Sunday I was able to hike a local treasure – House Mountain in east Knox County.  At 2100 ft House Mountain is the highest peak in Knox county, and you can see over 30 miles away on a clear day.

House Mountain is a 500-acre natural area located in Knox County approximately eight miles from Knoxville. It is cooperatively managed by the State by Knox County Parks and Recreation. The park has a small parking lot, but includes a restroom and covered picnic area.

From Knoxville, take I-40 East. Exit on U.S. Highway 11W (Rutledge Pike) and go north and east on Rutledge Pike. After about 10 miles, look for the “House Mountain State Park” sign on the right side of the highway and then turn left on Idumea Road. Turn left on Hogskin Road. The entrance  is less than a mile on the right.  More information on House Mountain can be found here.

IMG_6010IMG_6011We took the East Overlook trail which is a fairly steep trail at the top of the mountain.  The trail is well marked, but is narrow in places.

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The weather was excellent and cool.  The parking lot was full and we passed many folks on the trail.

Once at the top the clear day allowed us to see the Smoky’s to the south and east, and the Cumberland Plateau to the west.

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Eric and I at the top
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Looking toward the Smoky Mountains
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“Top of the World!”
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West view toward the Cumberland Mountains
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Panoramic view facing West
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Local farms in Corryton
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Looking toward the East

Blackberry Wisdom

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