Wednesday, February 28, 2018

Open The Door!

Day 13 Doxology:  What are signs for?  The most obvious need for a sign is to communicate something.  And, what if that sign is illuminated?   Then there should be a greater opportunity to communicate because the light of the sign will get someone's attention.

Today, I had the pleasure of not removing a rat...(Sorry, wrong blog)!  Today, I had the pleasure of replacing/ installing a new exit sign over two full-length glass doors in our Fellowship Hall.  It's funny the things I thought about as I was nearing the end of my job... Now, people will know how to leave; Now, someone will know this full-length glass door is the way out; or Hey, where does that full-length glass door go?

The code states that it has to be illuminated just above the exit door and guessed it, "Exit"!  This will let people know that this door is a door that leads outside.  I have to say it's just in can't believe how many times I find people wondering around looking for the double full-length glass doors that will take them outside...Never!

However, that's all changed now!  We have an exit sign-Praise God.  But, wait!  Don't I need a sign that will tell people to "Open the Door" first!

Have you ever thought that we have become so open-minded that our brain is exposed?

Tuesday, February 27, 2018


Day 12 Doxology: I was not a part of today's doxology, but someone I love was.  That's the way it is...when someone you love is happy then you're happy!  I think that idea started the often-used quote, "When momma ain't happy, ain't nobody happy!"  Either way, in this case momma and the person I love are one in the same!

Shannon taught for 25 years with the same group of women before she left to take a job as an assistant principle here in North Alabama.  This group of women have become extensions of our family.  These women were also the same group that participated in their Wednesday morning prayer group.  They got up early every Wednesday putting family and their normal routine on hold to pray for their school, family, and friends when no one else would.  They lost family members together, they dealt with sickness and disappointment, praise and anger...all together!  The test of their friendship came when I moved Jones to Athens...they came to visit and take her out to eat.

It gets better!  Todays doxology (my praise to God) is bestowed upon these 5 ladies that once again set their family aside to remind my wife that she is a part of something bigger by meeting her for dinner.  Accountability groups do just that...hold each other accountable whether you are 3 miles or 77 miles apart.

Thank you for making my wife's day/night...I think the term is "Framily" -it's when friends become closer than close and know you more than family! And, because this framily was here for Shannon it makes it an even better doxology for my day!  Thank you ladies for taking the time!

Monday, February 26, 2018

"Yoooou Dirty Raaaat"

Day 11 Doxology: Today presented itself with several doxologies.  However, one stood alone, but probably not for the reason you would think!

Ministries within the church present many characteristics.  Not all of them are neat and clean as we would have the world to think, but most are necessary!  Things have to be done, even if they don't fit our schedule or if they are not the jobs we want to do.  In many ways the person that cleans the toilet becomes your director of first impressions...every job is important and to be done with excellence!

Today we had our first day of Face To Face Encounter at our church. As each speaker spoke on the front lines of ministry raising awareness of what it means to be a disciple, I couldn't help but to smell a distinct odor.  It was clear!  We have a rat!  Which brings me to another point of the ministries of the church!

They sometimes overlap and becomes even more complicated!  Not too long ago there was evidence that a mouse had tried to get into some of the supplies of our Upward Basketball Ministry.  A very competent and astute servant placed poison in a very out-of-the-way place.  You know, the kind that they eat then leave to find water and not return...I think they missed the step where they were supposed to leave.

So after carefully honed senses determined an approximate location, I waited for everyone to leave.  And ministry overlapped another and created an opportunity!  I became ordained as the Senior Rat Removal Minister-we all have our gifts!

My doxology is simple!  The moment I placed the dead rat in the dumpster I said...Praise God! And, that moment leaped ahead of all the other "praise God" moments of the day!

Today's picture is the scene of the crime, or opportunity?  How you perceive the ministries in church depends on you, and your heart! Remember, It's all for Jesus!

Can you remember the quote, "Yoooou dirty raaaat!" I think I said that a time or two today...

Saturday, February 24, 2018

God is Still Good!

Day 10 Doxology: I opened my computer this morning, and I had a preset alert to remind me of my mom's birthday!  If you are unaware, my mom just past away Jan 23rd of this year.  She had come to our parsonage home on Hospice and was here until her death.  It may sound weird to the ear, but our time was a blessing.

We had a great time together.  My daughters would come home and climb in bed with her until either mom or my daughters would doze off asleep.  We watched football and laughed about stories we haven't talked about in years.  We spent a lot of time commenting on the snow.  And, we also shed a few tears!  Through it all, it was The Congressional Medal of Honor of doxology moments for this year!

So, instead of talking about the days leading up to her passing, I wanted to raise the highest of Praise God Moments to our time together, my family, my church family, our friends, and everyone associated with Alacare Hospice that made sure we never felt alone!

So if your math is good, my mom passed away almost a month before her birthday, but through our conversations, and our time together, it's hard to be sad what she traded this life for!  One of the last things she asked was "Where is your daddy?" My answer, "Waiting on you!"

So, instead of Happy Birthday Momma, I'll say Happy Homecoming! Because, in good times and sad...God is still Good!

Friday, February 23, 2018


Day 9 Doxology: I was watching the Olympics this evening, and I had to laugh at today's doxology!  For you to join me with your own snicker, I'd need to give you some background!

My father-n-law, Bill Shelnutt...a.k.a. "The Great One" loved the Olympics!   The summer Olympics were his favorite by far!  Although he has passed away, his legacy continues.  He could watch hours of Olympic coverage as if watching the Olympics were its own medal event.  And, he typically watched event after event in only his underwear, or at best coaching shorts, with the top button undone!  It's so funny the things you remember-or maybe not?

My most vivid memory is "The Great One" shirtless and unbutton coaching shorts (folded down) watching the summer Olympics raising and dropping the T.V. remote on to his bare protruding belly...making this "smack" sound that filled the room!  He was so proud of the sound that he would look at you like he was expecting you to clap or at least cheer!  He always did it 3 times in a row before he said something outlandish -OCD anyone?

Tonight, I found myself channeling ol' Shelly.  I was sitting in my chair, watching the Olympics, and before I knew it I had raised and dropped the remote.  Although, it didn't make the same sound, and my belly wasn't as large (A doxology of its own)...I did feel really close to someone that I love and miss!

Maybe the largest reason it didn't "smack" had nothing to do with the size of my girth, but because I had on clothes...but after all, it is the winter Olympics!

Thursday, February 22, 2018

Thank You Lord!

Day 8 Doxology:  I would love to say that I have had a flood of God moments throughout my day that would give me ample of doxology moments to provide competition for today's doxology!  Yet, today's doxology comes before the day was very old!

Against my better judgment, I stayed up and watched  the USA Ladies Hockey Team pull together to fulfill their dreams as Olympic Champions, and I was not disappointed!!

My many of us fulfill our dreams?

We plan, and dream, our way through life without little inclining of God, but I believe this morning...God was rearing God's head!

To be doxology is not that I thought that God wanted the USA women to gain Gold, but that I paused and gave thanks for what I thought was amazing!  My doxology was more about a friend- Paul Irons and less about the Olympics!

The consistent theme in my relationship with my brother P.I. is that he gives thanks to God for all things -All things!  So when I stayed up way beyond my norm...and those that I've prayed for achieved "Gold"...I said what Paul taught me to say..."Thank you Lord!"

God doesn't care if our goal is Gold...except that God's love is beyond our greatest earthly element -Gold!

So, in closing!  I have become increasing close to the Iron's and above everything that we have experience....Paul -the credit to God!  Regardless of his experiences, he says "Thank you Lord!" As do I..."Thank You Lord!"

For Paul, and us, it is common sense! In Paul's words...he has a P.I. in C. S.  which translates to A Paul Irons in Common Sense!  In a world that craves more common sense how can we argue with Paul!

GO Team USA! And, congratulations!

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

One More Back Flip

Day 7 Doxology: As in previous years, I hit a stride in my Lenten Devotionals where my heart bends to the family.  Yesterday's doxology made me continue the thought of realizing just how blessed we are as a family.

There is a picture on the top shelf in my office that when I look at it I immediately become transported to a special time in my life.  Everyone has heard me say, "Those are my favorite ages for my girls!"

As you can see, Jackie loves her deddy!  Also, she was this little ball of muscle and had so much trust in her father that she would try anything.  I taught her to do back-flips off the diving-board of our pool so well that I knew she was headed to the Olympics. One Sunday evening at her cousin's pool she hit her back, and her backward flips and Olympic career ended.  She had the diving-board rash. I told her, "You don't have to do another back-flip the rest of your life, but you do have to do one more before the sun goes down."

Before you call DHR...there is a strong lesson to be learned.  I watched her for about 30 mins wrestle with her fears.  She had to confront what scared her the most and determine if she was going to let her fears own her.  I soon watched her walk to the end of the board and attempt the final back-flip of her life.

How many of us are willing to internally push ourselves to figure out what we are made of?  We talk often about the greatest generation.  If you sit down and think about what they went through just to have food on the table, or to live one more day...I believe it would embarrass us when we get so upset because there is no wifi, or someone wouldn't return our call, or my email won't work.

My favorite family picture is this black and white picture of my girls favorite age...Our nation's best generation is only captured by black and white pictures.  What if we could pause the super-advances for a bit...just to let our families catch up with each other? let us bring back the thing that made our greatest generation great!  It would be worth one more back-flip!

Tuesday, February 20, 2018

My Greatest Doxology Ever

Day 6 Doxology:  Most days my loudest doxology moment comes from the moment my eyes focus on my amazing wife.  It just dawned on me how often I forget to tell her.  If I have the blessing of getting home before she does my heart leaps the moment she walks through the door!

Did you know that every great thing that has happened in my life has her attached to it.  When I fell in love, it was with her.  When I felt true love offered by God, she was there.  When I felt the blessing of marriage (shocker) it was with her! When I experienced the miracle of childbirth 3 times, she was a huge part of that miracle. When I experienced a tangible feeling of forgiveness, that was not just talk, it was from her.

Early in our marriage, I realized she had a way of making me want to be a better person!  So, I have spent my life trying to give her something to be proud of.  She has never done anything but build me up and made me think I was alone on that pedestal.  And, all of this was just the first part of our life together!

Now we are moving toward a new phase of our life.  In fact, in our hot-tube time (usually later at night than either of us would hope) we plan and dream about the next part of our life together, but the truth is it doesn't matter.  God's promise is this, "For I know the plans I have for you..."!

At the end of the day I believe, God has greater plans for me than I could ever make for myself, and because of Jones..."the proof is in the puddin'!"  And, she will always be my greatest doxology moment of every day!

Monday, February 19, 2018

Great Garden Seed

Day 5 Doxology: "Great Garden Seed!" Those are the words of Coach Wimp Sanderson, the Alabama Basketball Coach at the University of Alabama from 1981 to 1992.  Believe it, or not, he was born in Florence, Alabama which lends him ties to North Alabama and the area of today's doxology!

In truth, today's doxology transcends geography!
Today was the first team meeting for Face to Face Encounter #2 held at Isom's Chapel-the church I have the pleasure of serving as pastor.  A Face to Face Encounter is specifically crafted to meet the needs of older adults-60 plus. This event is based on, or a spin-off of, the Walk To Emmaus.  I just shared a lot of info that doesn't add to my doxology except that this experience is important to a statistically proven aging denomination, and I've been wanting to learn more about how I can be a part of Face to Face Encounters for years!

More truth, I'm selfishly proud that my church is hosting this event!

My doxology is simple...I was asked to serve Holy Communion without the formality of The Great Thanksgiving close to the end of our team meeting's first day!  In the haste of the last minute prep, my FIRST thoughts were of those that have contributed to my life's commitment of service to God and God's Church.  

My thoughts were on those that stood in the gap to help shape me as a husband, father, Christian, and pastor.  My thoughts were on those that gave me praise over some of my first sermons that, in their words, "were enjoyable, but didn't really make sense." My thoughts were on musicians that played the songs that I asked even when they didn't fit.  My heart bends to the youth that read scripture in studies and sermons, that delve into deeper conversation, and gave me the gift of their union!  Additionally,  thoughts are often for a group of women that fettered their voices together to become the litmus test, or standard, for every song I hear and the gift they gave me of watching my wife become absorbed/consumed in worship to God because of their ability to transcend!  

In more truth...the Men's club!

Here's the back story...My home church is approximately 800-900 members, and of those 800-900 members is a group of men that have watched over, prayed for, invested in, and coached through my calling in ministry!  I could tell you stories of their love and affection for me and my family, but it might distract of their love for God!  These men made sure that my family didn't feel the brunt of my decision to enter into ministry-a husband/father's greatest fear!

So, today I served Holy Communion (Not Physically Pictured) with my Peeps!  That means, I served Communion with a "cloud of witnesses" that have loved me, tutored me, disciplined me, sung to me at every appointment and at every opportunity only to honor God with their love!  

Standing with me, there are so many I cannot dare name...all I can say is Great Garden Seed!

Saturday, February 17, 2018

If Only For An Evening

Day 4 Doxology:  Welcome to a Saturday evening in the Pacific Northwest...Just kidding!  However, you can't tell from today's weather -which sets up today's doxology!

It has been a busy week.  String together several late nights or several periods of wide-eyes, and you get a pretty fatigued pastor.  In fact, last night, I only logged in about 3.5 hours of sleep after cooking 2 Boston Butts for our Upward Basketball ministry at church-we've sold out every Saturday. Who's your Pork Daddy?

So, after several games including half-time devo's, and hanging out with "mini-me" doing some fat-face selfies, I was pretty spent!  Seattle weather or San Destin sunshine...I was crashing when I got home!

Before you say get to the point, and I say why use 10 words when 100 will work, my doxology is about Sabbath!  Why are we so reluctant to take the time to recharge or reset?  When God gave the 10 Commandments it included instructions to observe the Sabbath. By sharing, God's message was clear...If creation didn't crash when I rested, then it won't crash when you do it!  So, today's doxology is praising God for Seattle outside and Sabbath inside...if only for an evening!

Talk to you Monday...

Friday, February 16, 2018

The Hard Act of Love

Day 3 Doxology: I'm sorry but my greatest "doxology" moment today leaves me both picture-less and speechless.  In fact, 'm not sure I can put to words the way my heart was moved this evening after an intense Upward basketball game at the church I serve.  I'll try to explain my many thoughts!

It seems lately that everywhere you turn bad news is pounding the homes of the American family.  We have little or no unified leadership from public officials, our schools are bombarded with the constant threat of who's next, and every group wants to protest about every little thing with little consideration of anyone else.  We have become increasingly self-centered!

I read today that Washington is willing to do anything to eliminate the threat to our children through gun violence...and they should.  My thought is "will they, really?"  Will they bring prayer back to the schools?  Will they bring discipline back?  Will they encourage the family to be the family and not ask the our teachers to play mom or dad?  I digress...

Tonight, I was encourage and uplifted over a single moment in time that could possibly have the greatest impact in a young man's life than anything he learns in school.  A young man received a technical foul during the game-not the lesson.  I was told that he said something he shouldn't have.  Regardless, a technical was called and free-throws were attempted.  But, I'm getting ahead of myself.

You see..during Upward Basketball, the halftimes offer the opportunity for a small devotional.  I gave the devo for tonight's game. My devo was based on Titus 2:6-8.  It reads,  Similarly, encourage the young men to be self-controlled. In everything set them an example by doing what is good. In your teaching show integrity, seriousnessand soundness of speech that cannot be condemned, so that those who oppose you may be ashamed because they have nothing bad to say about us.

My point was simple..we are always teaching our children something...are we teaching them that we are only to be Christ-like on Sunday mornings between 9am-12noon; that winning is everything; or that when we are mad or hurt we retaliate with so much violence that lives are changed forever?  Like Titus instructs...In everything be an example to our kids.

My long and over-due doxology for today comes is a simple hard act of love!  After the game the mom of the young man accompanied him to offer an apology to the referee that called the technical.  I didn't dilute the moment by taking a picture.  So, I included an older picture of our Upward ministry that includes adults and children bowed in prayer...led by one of the young ladies!

Upward Ministry, making a difference at the heart of the family...a mom to son!

Praise be to God!

Thursday, February 15, 2018

Prepared As A Boy Scout!

Day 2 Doxology:  Hmmm!  God has really been speaking to me today through my awareness of this year's Lenten devotional!  I'm scared that my voice might be louder than God's...or at least, I am only in-tuned to my voice more than God's thunder...hence, Lent is super important!

I was contacted the other day by our "Scout Liaison."  A position that our church deems important to communicate the needs of the church to and from our "Scouts Ministry!"   A ministry that is booming!  Let me take the opportunity here to say that we have the best Scouting Ministry ever!   They are always doing everything that I wished I had done when I was their age!

Here is my "doxology"!

Our liaison was quick to contact me to notify that one of our "Scout Leader" had difficulty hooking up the trailer for their next scout-outing event.  Which translated as "they got stuck!"

We are a suburb of Huntsville...the land of engineers!  Anyone that has ever planned anything knows that "stuff" happens!  You can plan until the cows come home, but when it rains enough that it becomes a toad-strangler...the eco-system becomes out-of-whack!  That's right you get stuck!  And, in Limestone clay is the worse!

Here's the deal -somewhat delayed!

You can be as prepared as a "Boy Scout" and still "things" don't go as planned!

We have the blessing of storing the "Scout" tailer on our campus waiting to make a difference in someone's life!  When it came time to have a Scouting over-night...the rain dictated the plans.  Well prepared "Scout Leaders" did what they always do and realized there was a problem -no fault of their own!

The reality can prepare for everything in your life!  However, the greatest gift you might have is to adapt!   Life is proven to be crazy-difficult...can you deal with cancer, death, life, or not getting your way?

The second message of this doxology is that ministry is messy!

In my image, there are tracks left by those that tried to free the trailer, but as you can tell..they were unsuccessful!   At the end of the day....ministry is messy!  There will often be tracks of our work, however it they might be incomplete! There is going to be red mud that you cannot get rid of!  It cannot hide the fact that you didn't complete your goal, but... it will allow you to see just how far you've come!

My prayer for this coming Lenten Season is that we stop looking back...And, that we quit looking at the tracks, but give thanks for the rain as we look ahead toward the future and make sure that the tracts we leave behind align with God's future for our church!

At the end of the can be prepared as a Boy-Scout, but life still happens!  However, you deal with change makes all the difference in the world!

God is good...."all the time"!

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Be My Lenten Valentines

Day 1 Doxology:  Well, it's been a long time, and a lot has changed since our last Lenten season together.  We moved to another city, I serve a new church family, my mom has passed away, my daughters have wrecked and gotten new cars, and my insurance has increased -a lot has changed!  New must be in the air...did you know that this is the first time Valentine's Day and Ash Wednesday have been on the same day since 1945?  Go down the laundry list of things that have changed in the world since 1945!

The more things change it seems the more they stay the same -I am loved unconditionally by my Lord; the world tries to come between our relationship; Lent helps refocus that relationship; and Shannon is still my Valentine!  Yep!  For 26 years Shannon, and since the beginning of time God, have been faithful in their unconditional love for me.

So, tonight is a small start to 40 days of intense re-focus on the important things in my life -God, spouse, that order!  Let's don't wait another 72 years before we remind both God and spouse that we are thankful for their never-ending, unconditional love for us.

Oh yeah, Go Team USA!