Thursday, November 27, 2008

Thanksgiving Slideshow

Thanksgiving in "The Country"

I can only remember one year in my entire life of not being in "The Country" for Thanksgiving...two years ago when I broke my arm the day before, but that's a story for another day. My family on my mom's side gathers at my grandmother's childhood home in Walthourville, GA, just a few minutes outside of Hinesville and Fort Stewart. The house was built around the turn of the 20th century complete with high ceilings, tin roof, and a wrap-around porch. Over the years the house has been vandalized so now it is boarded up and used really only for Thanksgiving.

It's always an eclectic bunch that gathers in that old house on 119 just over the railroad tracks. Cousins, aunts, uncles, 2nd cousins, 3rd cousins, anyone remotely related to our extended family. This year we had 30-35 which is really a smaller crowd than normal. Every year someone new and different shows up to join in the fun and the food. There have been many years when I have asked my mom and aunts who so and so was and they had no idea. I am convinced that the only person who really knows everyone each year is my grandmother. She loves having everyone together. I have one cousin who is pregnant but on bed-rest who made the trip this year. Another cousin is pregnant and was due last Friday, but she is using a birthing center so we would have been ready had she gone into labor today. We had 4 children under the age of 3 not counting the two in the womb. Like I said, it is always a hoot, then some for Thanksgiving. Claire said the blessing this year, which was the best memory of the day for me, possible one of the best ever in that old drafty house. Did I mention there is no heat, just two fire places? We do have indoor plumbing, but the old outhouse is still standing and every child that has ever been there has to use it and usually has his or her picture made in the process.

Rustic doesn't quite begin to convey the environment. No TV or phone. Needless to say, I have never seen the Macy's Parade or a football game on Thanksgiving Day, but you don't really need it because we always have a pick-up game in the field behind the house but you have to navigate the trees, bushes and barbed wire fence when running your routes. All in all, today was a fantastic day of food, family, and fond memories. I hope to post some pictures soon. Hope your Thanksgiving was wonderful too!

Wednesday, November 26, 2008


I know it sounds cliche to offer a list of things I am thankful for during Thanksgiving, but a sermon I heard this week mentioned telling people around you that you are thankful for them. Well some of those people won't read this, but I don't really write this for people to read...writing is therapeutic for me and a lot cheaper than seeing a counselor or playing golf or fishing or hunting.

Family has always been very important for me, even more so now that I have a family of my own with two spit-fire little girls! So I am truly grateful for my family. I have been blessed with parents who love me, grandparents who nurtured me, aunts and uncles and cousins who bless my heart in so many ways. I have the best set of in-laws ever, I mean they let us move in with them for 3 months while we renovated our house and I was incapacitated with a broken arm. My mind also recalls the people who have shaped my worldview in ways that they could never have known. Teachers like Ronda Johnson, David DeWitt, Tim Blackston, Donna Thaggard, Buddy Shurden, Fisher Humphreys, Calvin Miller, Sarah Gardner, Tom Scott, Rick Wilson, Scott Nash, and the list could go on. Mentors like Paul Bankson, Eric Ashley, Jason Mobley, Jeff Parrish, Sonny Stroud, David Maginnis, and of course others. Friends too many to name like Matt, Josh, Jay, Sarah, Tammy, Allison, Jason, Paul, Todd, Renee, Jimbo T., Jimbo B., and many, many others. I am blessed to serve the Lord and his church with the wonderful ministers and staff at FBC Statesboro! My "big kids" as Claire calls them are always a blessing to me...the ones past and present have taught me about God's love and grace in ways that you can't learn by reading about it or hearing others talk about it, only by experiencing it, thank you all for that!

The one person who has most shaped my heart other than Christ is my beautiful wife, Cyd. She knows me better than I know myself sometimes...Darlin', thank you for everything you are to me!

As you think about the things or the people that you are thankful for this week, don't miss the opportunity to say thanks somehow, someway.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Halloween Party

Here are few pics from Claire's Halloween Party at school. We have been blessed with wonderful teachers like Wendy Rice, Judy Downs, and Liz Bland at FBC Preschool. As you can see Charlotte even enjoyed the festivities! Judy and Wendy look a little tired don't they!!
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Bill Mallonee Article for Christianity Today

Bill Mallonee's band Vigilantes of Love has reformed and kicked it off by performing at the 40watt Club in Athens, GA last Thursday night. Over the weekend I received an email with a link to a great article about Bill and his music, plus a really cool slideshow. Check it out when you get a chance.

This is copied from the email from Bill.
Christianity Today did a fine interview last month on my life and work.(At least up to this point! I'm not quitting anytime soon. I love this too much!) The interview was well done by Nate Anderson; The whole interview PLUS an extended interview with slideshow is now up online at:

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Keep on Rockin in the Free World

I have continued to be amazed at the reactions to president-elect Obama over the last several days. In the middle of the election season I thought about including the lyrics from a Neil Young song on my blog that seemed to fit the day, but never got around to it. The song is entitled "Rockin in the Free World" off of Young's 1989 album, Freedom. This is my favorite Neil Young song because it just absolutely rocks your face off! This was also my first Neil Young album so it holds a special place in my heart. The song is definitely politically charged, much of it directed to discontent with President George Bush. I am not endorsing the political messages in the song, but the song has always challenged me to think about the state of affairs of other people around me, especially those in less fortunate situations (see the 2nd verse). A local Christian band from Savannah, Fishermen, introduced me to this song in their concerts. I ended up going to seminary with one of the members of the band, Jimbo Bass. So for me, the song is as much a memory of Jimbo, Chip, Mike, and Jim's influence on my life as young teenager as it is anything else. The song still always moves me when I hear it. I thought about including a clip from YouTube featuring the song, but none of them where all that great. My favorite two however, are Neil Young with Pearl Jam at an MTV award show (back when MTV still played music) and a version with Bruce Springsteen circa 2004. I think for me the message I gather from this song is that despite the darkness there is hope, ultimately in Christ, but in the meantime, let's ROCK!

There's colors on the street
Red, white and blue
People shufflin' their feet
People sleepin' in their shoes
But there's a warnin' sign on the road ahead
There's alot of people sayin' we'd be better off dead
Don't feel like Satan, but I am to them
So I try to forget it, any way I can

Keep on rockin' in the free world
Keep on rockin' in the free world
Keep on rockin' in the free world
Keep on rockin' in the free world

I see a woman in the night
With a baby in her hand
Under an old street light
Near a garbage can
Now she puts the kid away, and she's gone to get a hit
She hates her life, and what she's done to it
There's one more kid that will never go to school
Never get to fall in love, never get to be cool.

Keep on rockin' in the free world
Keep on rockin' in the free world
Keep on rockin' in the free world
Keep on rockin' in the free world

We got a thousand points of light
For the homeless man
We got a kinder, gentler,
Machine gun hand
We got department stores and toilet paper
Got styrofoam boxes for the ozone layer
Got a man of the people, says keep hope alive
Got fuel to burn, got roads to drive

Keep on rockin' in the free world
Keep on rockin' in the free world
Keep on rockin' in the free world
Keep on rockin' in the free world

Monday, November 3, 2008

Jesus Rally 2008

Last night was the Jesus Rally 2008. This was a political rally without the politics as we focused on listening to Jesus. It was a wonderful time of fellowship, worship, and hearing from God. Lots of energy and effort when into this event from many different people, which is one of the things about it that made it a success. We had youth and adults working together to make it happen. The band consisted of students from different churches. The crowd had churches from at least 3 different denominations, not just different churches getting excited about Jesus and what he wants to do in and through us. One of my passions is seeing denominational lines crossed as churches work together to spread the Gospel, so for me last night proves that it can be done.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

The Practice of the Presence of God

Brother Lawrence's classic entitled The Practice of the Presence of God has impacted Christians throughout several centuries. The book is a short, powerful glimpse into the nature of prayer. Brother Lawrence was 17th century monk of humble circumstances whose thirst for God made all the difference. His job in the monastery was to wash the pots and pans and dishes in the kitchen. It was through his service that he developed the spiritual discipline of being aware of God's presence in our lives in good times and bad times and all the in between times. As I read I was challenged to make my heart aware of God's presence no matter the situation.

Here are a couple of selections that grabbed my attention like all those Florida defensive backs grabbing Stafford's passes today...

"The time of business," said he, "does not with me differ from the time of prayer; and in the noise and clatter of my kitchen, while several persons are at the same time calling for different things, I possess God in as great tranquility as if I were upon my knees at the blessed sacrament." p. 30

"Let all our employment be to know God; the more one knows Him, the more one desires to know Him. And as knowledge is commonly the measure of love, the deeper and more extensive our knowledge shall be, the greater will be our love; and if our love of God were great, we should love Him equally in pains and pleasures." p. 59-60