Thursday, December 30, 2010

Thy mercy, my God, as I draw breath upon this day.  Help me to forget yesterday with its defeats and its triumphs.  Take it away, LORD.  Help me to forget tomorrow with trials and victories.  Help me to be ever-present in the now.  Help me to be here whether or not here seems desirable to be.  Help me to grow here and bloom even in the depths of winter.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Weeping into Laughter

Tears are a response to how we contain the world.  Having always been a tear-filled guy, I don't find it unusual to cry at movies, weddings, funerals or beautiful songs. 

One place I didn't expect to find tears was helping my grandmother write a brief family history for a community memory book.  As my grandmother began to talk about her upbringing and her love for her father, she begin to weep.  I, as the scribe, tried to keep it together, but soon I was crying along with her.

Who can forget the tender moments in a childhood of such hardship?  Who would want to?

When I wept with my grandmother, I realize fully she wasn't weeping for herself.  She was weeping for the memory.  She was weeping for the sound of an old Gospel song in a country church.  She was weeping for a laugh at the fireside.  She was weeping for what cannot be again in this life.

"...and He will wipe ever tear from their eyes..."

Perhaps the sweetest part of heaven next to seeing our Savior will be seeing those whose memory we have wept for.  Those for who our very hearts tear up to see.  Reunion and homecoming.  And all tears wiped away...
O, LORD, grant me tenderness in carrying Your message to those who have not heard.  Help me to have a heart that agonizes in prayer for lost souls.  Help me to know that in the praying the work is done.  Help me to comfort, lift up and bind up the wounds of the broken-hearted for Your glory.

Monday, December 27, 2010

O, LORD, help me as I travel to have Your word in my heart and Your song on my lips.  Help me to be a comfort to the cold, a friend to the lonely.  Help me to see Jesus in every set of eyes.  Help me to hear His voice in every whisper and laugh.  Grant me traveling mercies, not only to arrive safely, but arrive having grown from the journey.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Returns

On a day when lots of people are returning Christmas gifts to the mall or Wal-Mart, let's stop and remember some returns that really matter...
  • The return of a disobedient young person to his parents' arms.
  • The return of a wayward husband to the loving embrace of his wife.
  • The return of a nation to the godly principles that made it great.
  • The return of a lost soul to the Kingdom of God.
  • Christ's ultimate return to save His own.
It's about more than sweaters that don't fit or getting three exact same copies of Pirates of the Caribbean, it's about looking for a day of return, a day of restoration.

God bless,
-Will

Saturday, December 25, 2010

“...the people living in darkness, have seen a great light and on those living in the shadow of death, a light has dawned.”

-Matthew 4:16

Friday, December 24, 2010

The Spirit of the Season

Today, lots of family came from far and wide to celebrate Christmas at my parents' home.

My great-grandmother was there, sickly, but still strong for someone whose 90th birthday is a past memory.
My cousins were there: one celebrating her new engagement with her fiance in tow and the other clowning around as he always does when family is together.
My grandparents were there with their lives together now spanning six decades.
My sister was there; home from graduate school and enjoying just being on a break for a few days.
My uncle and aunt where there, running late but bringing good food and warm smiles.
My dad was there being present in his quiet way; picking up our discarded wrapping paper almost before it hit the floor.
My mom was there: cooking, cleaning, wanting everything to be perfect...not quite realizing that when we are together it already is.

An He was there.  There in more than just the before the food blessing.  There in the hugs and in the laughter.  There in the little things and helping us realize that the little things really are the big things after all.  There when we looked at all pictures of those who aren't with us anymore, but we have hope of seeing them again.  There when we tear up at the memories of old movies.

I'm so glad He didn't stay in a stable for long.  I know that He is still alive, still molding, still shaping.  May Christ be in your heart this Christmas and all year long.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Fullness

O, LORD, tonight I am experiencing fullness.  My stomach is full from good Christmas feasting.  My heart is full from visiting with family members and dear friends.  My mind is full from thinking about how to best serve where You have placed me.  Even the moon is full tonight.  Truly the Earth is full of the LORD's goodness.  Help me, LORD, to be confident in what you would have me to do.  Help me not to rest on past experiences and accomplishments.  Help me to be full but never satisfied until all that I am rests in You.
O, LORD, may You help us to never lose our sense of wonder of You.  The wonder of Your power, the wonder of Your creative presence, and ultimately, the wonder of the cross and what happened there for each of us.  Help us, LORD, to remember, to know and to wonder.

How Great Thou Art



AMEN.
O, LORD, You alone can heal the loneliness we all feel.  Take away the feeling of emptiness and replace the void with the warmth that only devotion to You can bring.  Help us to know that we cannot go where You are not.  You proceed us to every place our heart would find and You are there even when we do not feel Your presence.  Bless by giving and taking away.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

"When you talk, do not say harmful things, but say what people need--words that help others become stronger."

-Ephesians 4:29 (NCV)

Almost time

Christmas time is almost here.

Ever since I was young, my family and I have enjoyed a large Christmas celebration.  We would all assemble at the homes of relatives for a festive event last 3 or 4 days.  Officially for my family our Christmas began a couple of weeks ago when we all rode a cousin's float in two different Christmas parades.  Tomorrow night we return to that cousin's home for the first of several Christmas meals.  Then we will spend the next day, Christmas Eve, at my parents then grandparents.  Then Christmas Day will be spent at the home of my great-grandmother.  Although above 90, she is looking forward to seeing a new baby cousin and showering us with food and gifts.  I'll probably even sneak in a trip to see my other grandmother late Christmas Day.

With all the presents, joy, food and family, it might be easy to lose sight of the real meaning of Christmas. 

As Dr. Seuss so wisely said,
"Christmas doesn't come from a store..."

Christmas is about giving and sharing because of what God has done for us.  Not only in the sending of Jesus, but in His providential care by which He sustains our lives.  God is showing, now and always, just how much He cares for us.

May you have a wonderful Christmas!
"For great is your love, higher than the heavens;
your faithfulness reaches to the skies.
Be exalted, O God, above the heavens,
and let your glory be over all the earth."
-Psalm 108:4-5

Saturday, December 18, 2010

The life Christ lived qualified Him for the death He died—and the death He died qualifies us for the life we live.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Journey through the hymnbook

At the Lebanon church where I preach on Sunday, we are performing an exercise of looking at the teaching of hymns and how what we sing shapes what we think and how we feel about God and ourselves.  Last week we looked at the great camp meeting hymn, The Old, Rugged Cross.  This week I have chosen for us to look at More Love to Thee, O Christ.

I like the song and several of the phrases leap off the page at me.

Earnest plea.
Craved.
Latest breath. 

How do I plead with God? 
What do I plead for? 
What am I craving in my life? 
What should I be craving? 
What will I say with my last breath? 
My next breath? 
How far apart are the two?

More love, more love, more love.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Walking in corridors that bustle with the time
People moving left and right ever forward
Buying and selling, desiring and coveting
Reduced, limited-time, gift wrap available
Batteries included with purchase price
‘Silent Night’ plays in the distant background of sounds
How near the Babe of Bethlehem, but oh, how few do hear.

In this moment...

"Progress means not just changing, but changing for the better." -C.S. Lewis

What progress have I made lately in the realm of the spiritual?  True, I may have outwardly left off some vices and be displaying a more steady religion, but what about the inward person?  I feel often times that I draw near to God with my lips, my actions and my deeds but my heart is far from Him.

O, LORD
Give me a purer heart I pray,
A greater willingness to be still
and in that stillness, find Thee.

Monday, December 13, 2010

"Today Jesus Christ is being dispatched as the Figurehead of a Religion, a mere example. He is that, but he is infinitely more; He is salvation itself, He is the Gospel of God."
-Oswald Chambers

Christmas Gifts to Christmas Women

In the night last night I was hit with the idea that I really should do something for some of the widows and older ladies who constantly check-in on me and send me cards.  These women are from several different churches in town, and while church members should be visiting them according to Scripture, they take it upon themselves to visit and send cards to each person in their circle of friends and church members.  These are the ladies that make great soup when you are sick, send a meaningful card when you are discouraged and listen when you just need to talk.  These women have faced their share of problems.  Almost all have lost husbands, several have lost children, still other are praying for wayward children and grandchildren.  So, this morning as it feels cold enough to snow, I decided to write each a card, take a small gift, and do the Christmas thing: visit and share.  I am bound to get fed a half-dozen times, but that is what "Christmas people" do: feed each other, nurture each other, share with each other.

Merry Christmas!

Sunday, December 12, 2010

An ole feelin'...

Talking with a friend about changes we need to make in our lives and we both agreed that we both need to develop a fuller, deeper spiritual existence.  It is hard sometimes in a world that demands instant gratification to learn to wait patiently for each gift in its season.  Following my recent season of physical and spiritual sickness, I feel the need for renewal and refurbishing.  My weekly sojourn with the church in Dresden is helping me remember why I first started preaching.  I first ascended a pulpit because I believed I had something to say that was new and fresh and could speak things about life and God and the God-life in a way that no one I knew was speaking.  I felt connection with the congregations I spoke to and I felt they connected with me and, through me, to God.  I am beginning to feel those same emotions again.   In my study to help communicate eternal truth to them, I am finding truths again and again for myself.  I am feeling less lonely, less isolated.  God is meeting me in the pages of His Word, in the lyrics of hymns and praise songs, in the conversations with family and friends.  It feels good to be friends with God again.  I believe He is glad too.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

"Come Spring"

For the last few evenings, my dad and I have been enjoying some of the Gaither Homecoming DVDs courtesy of the local library.  On the DVD Journey to the Sky, I particularly enjoyed Jessica King's version of the Southern Gospel song Come Spring.  The song recounts a tale of an older lady who finds herself bed-ridden in the midst on winter.  Realizing her end is near, she comforts her visitor with the chorus which says she will be gathering flowers in Heaven come springtime.

While the song may seem morbid at a first listen, I believe it is true that the child of God should be confident in his or her salvation.  The women in the song does not have a traditional 'death wish,' only a desire to go and see something better.

May we all hope and pray to see that glorious springtime in the sweet by and by.

Friday, December 10, 2010

A Very Special Gift

About a year and a half ago, I made a pledge to sponsor a child through Compassion International.  I took the money I had been spending on Starbucks each month and dedicated it to help a child in need.  Honestly, I didn't know what to expect, but after all this time has passed I am so glad I chose to sponsor a child.  Oswaldo and I have gotten to be great friends through exchanging letters.  Perhaps you don't think child sponsorship is for you or perhaps you don't feel you can make a long commitment.  Then why not give a one time gift and help change a life this Christmas?  You can purchase things as small as soccer balls and household items, or you can change a life dramatically through paying to start a business or cover the cost of a surgery.  Whatever you do remember: you do make a difference.

http://gifts.compassion.com/?utm_source=blogger-network&utm_medium=social-media&utm_campaign=blogger-network_giftCat

Thursday, December 9, 2010

New Technique

Often in my preparing to preach I have focused more on what I wanted to say to the assembly than what God wanted to say through me.  The result has been some preaching on pet topics and petty, personal concerns and not delving deep into the message that God is graciously providing in His Word. 

Starting a few weeks ago, I started reading the Bible in a new way.  Instead of picking out my favorite passages and re-reading them with the same, predictable cadence, I started reading long sections of parts of the Bible which I had previously only skimmed over.  When I reached a profound or interesting section, I read it over again and again, looking at it from ever angle I could conceive.  I also began to think about specific members of the congregation and how these thoughts I was drawing from the Word would touch them.  After reading long sections of the Old Testament, I switched to the Gospels, which were of course more familiar.  I tried to read with new eyes, savoring the words and meanings and trying not to get caught up in conceptions I have long held about the purpose and plan God had with each account.

While I have only preached once after using this method, I can already tell I am going to have a new fire and focus in my ministry.  I am seeing new things in familiar places and I love it.  May God grant the wisdom to use this new method to His service.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Who I Am

I often wonder who I am in the world, but I know to many people, I am a preacher. 

A gentleman who works at the quick stop I frequent for breakfast stopped me at the counter last week and asked, "Aren't you a pastor?"  When I responded that I did in fact preach for a small, country church a couple of counties away, he asked me to pray for his 21-year-old daughter who had been sick for many years and was near death.  I asked her name and he told me.  I prayed for her the last few mornings. She died yesterday.  Death of one so young is always hard but especially so at the holiday time.  I wonder what it was that caused that man to ask me about my profession and for my prayers.  He probably had heard someone else in the store ask me about the church and thought it couldn't hurt to ask for one more set of praying hands.  I feel I have always been kind and fair in my dealings with him in the store, and so he likely felt comfortable in asking.  I know that my prayers don't get any higher than any other's just because I am a paid minister, but people often feel comforted it seems to know a preacher is praying for them. 

And so we keep praying and trusting that ultimately He will make it all come right.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Great day!

Yesterday was my first Sunday preaching in over 10 weeks.  It was great to be back in the pulpit and to once again feel like I was able to deliver a positive, thoughtful message.  I have missed being able to convey the thoughts I have been gleaning in private study to an audience.  Everyone seemed encouraged by the three messages.  Now to prepare for next week!

Friday, December 3, 2010

Trip to South Dakota

I posted a couple of times back in October during mine and Vickie's trip to South Dakota.  While I made a post about the final numbers of those we helped on the church website, I thought some of you who read only this blog might want to hear the stats on the trip.

310 families were helped with 810 children being clothed.



26 individuals requested Bible Correspondence courses.


15 people requested personal Bible studies in their homes.


14 folks requested a visit from a member of the church.


44 souls requested more information on the church.
 
While a lot of this trip was focused on meeting physical needs of people, the clothes and food provide a gateway and way to get to know new faces in the community.  All in all, it was a great trip.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

The Love of God

One of my favorite songs is The Love of God by Frederick Lehman.

He wrote this song in 1917 in Pas­a­de­na, Cal­i­fornia, and it was pub­lished in Songs That Are Dif­fer­ent, Vol­ume 2, 1919. The lyr­ics are based on the Jew­ish poem Had­da­mut, writ­ten in Ara­ma­ic in 1050 by Meir Ben Isaac Ne­hor­ai, a can­tor in Worms, Ger­ma­ny; they have been trans­lat­ed in­to at least 18 lang­uages.


Lehman recounted how he wrote his version of the song:
"One day, dur­ing short in­ter­vals of in­at­ten­tion to our work, we picked up a scrap of pa­per and, seat­ed up­on an emp­ty le­mon box pushed against the wall, with a stub pen­cil, add­ed the (first) two stan­zas and chor­us of the song…Since the lines (3rd stan­za from the Jew­ish po­em) had been found pen­ciled on the wall of a pa­tient’s room in an in­sane asy­lum af­ter he had been car­ried to his grave, the gen­er­al opin­ion was that this in­mate had writ­ten the epic in mo­ments of san­ity."

Here are the lyrics:

The love of God is greater far

Than tongue or pen can ever tell;
It goes beyond the highest star,
And reaches to the lowest hell;
The guilty pair, bowed down with care,
God gave His Son to win;
His erring child He reconciled,
And pardoned from his sin.
Refrain
O love of God, how rich and pure!
How measureless and strong!
It shall forevermore endure
The saints’ and angels’ song.

When years of time shall pass away,
And earthly thrones and kingdoms fall,
When men, who here refuse to pray,
On rocks and hills and mountains call,
God’s love so sure, shall still endure,
All measureless and strong;
Redeeming grace to Adam’s race—
The saints’ and angels’ song.
Refrain

Could we with ink the ocean fill,
And were the skies of parchment made,
Were every stalk on earth a quill,
And every man a scribe by trade,
To write the love of God above,
Would drain the ocean dry.
Nor could the scroll contain the whole,
Though stretched from sky to sky.

Refrain

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Spending time...

"It is in the quiet crucible of your personal, private sufferings that your noblest dreams are born and God's greatest gifts are given in compensation for what you have been through."

-Witley Phipps

Monday, November 29, 2010

Journeys

Taking trips has long been a pastime of mine.  I love nothing more than to get in the car and travel to some out of the way state park, a bustling metropolis or a quaint college town.  I like to get lost in the trip and see new or familiar things.  Some trips I take alone and on others I indulge the company of a friend or family member.

Traveling helps me cope.  Bon voyage!

Saturday, November 27, 2010

One of my favorite songs and favorite t-shirts...

Radical Acceptance

A concept I am learning about in my new course of therapy is radical acceptance.  This concept is changing the way not only I look at my mental illness, but the way I look at many aspects of my life.  I don't have to accept that things are good the way they are, but I do need to accept that things are simply that: the way they are.  I can only make concrete efforts to change things when I realize that they currently exist and are a certain way. 

Pretty neat...

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Back home

I am doing much better after my recent hospital stay and reworking of my medicine regime.  I have been feel poorly for several months and my time at Vanderbilt has been a great (if at the time, unwelcome) blessing.  Feel free to follow me on Twitter (micah_6_8) to see the lastest with me.  God bless!

-Will

Saturday, October 16, 2010

"Life is short. Be swift to love! Make haste to be kind!"
-Henri Amiel

just me...

I have had an exciting week...

Went with grandparents and mom to see Wicked at the Orpheum in Memphis.  Having seen the show in NYC I didn't know what to expect from the touring cast, but the show was great and it is an enjoyable experience to spend time with family.

I also was able to spend some time earlier this week in Memphis connecting old ties with my younger sister.  Since she moved to Memphis for graduate studies I don't see her often and I enjoyed this time a lot.  Seeing Sarah Beth grow up has been one of the joys of my life.  Spending time in her home early in the week and then having her home in mine later in the week were great experiences in the last few days.

Today I had intended to visit some friends at a wedding.  When I arrived to bless the union on Union, I was, in fact, 30 minutes too late.  The wedding was at 1:00 PM and not 2:00 PM.  Oh, well.  I dropped of my gift at the reception, gave my regrets and regards and made it back to the place I plan to stay the evening quickly enough to be out of the embarrassing eye of onlookers.  Chalk it up to bad communication skills I suppose.

Good sporting events on all day and tonight I am told...to all my friends enjoy!

God bless and via vida!

-Will

Sunday, October 10, 2010

thanks all

So many of you have been concerned about my recent health challenges...so here is a brief update.

  • Still in limbo healthwise.  Physical and mental health (as opposite...sort of) sides of a coin are linked and at this point; poorly linked. 
  • Sleep is limited in both quanity and quality and so I am forgetful, irritable and no fun.  I apologize for such.
  • Side effects from medications are sometimes worse than the cures.  Dealing with such has been difficult.

Thanks for all the cards, prayers and all such things.  I don't feel well and I appreciate those of you who can understand and appreciate that and not expect too much, but also still include me in some activities.  My doctors (all like 5 of them) are great folks and I appreciate their efforts as well.

Love you guys,
-Will

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Life in the Ole West




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A new day...

A new day has just started in South Dakota...

I realize what a poor, pitiful sinful person I am and it is only by the grace, love and mercy of God that I am not consumed by my own arrogance, evil, passions and pride each day.  I walked a little prayer trail today behind a Lutheran church that is made to look like a 900-year-old stave church in Norway.  I caught myself critiquing the statues on a prayer trail!  I realized it was time to pray...reflect...and then of course, blog.

In the sanctuary of the church was a small (about 18 inches square).  I had assumed (always dangerous) that this was the confessional booth.  My companion assumed the same.  When we heard the audio guide, however, we were shocked and humbled.  It was the window for lepers to come and receive Holy Communion in the days just following the Christian displacement of Nordic paganism in the Scandinavian nations.

Lepers?  Yes, lepers.  Just like in the times of the Scripture.  Just like there are today in India and other parts of the world.  Just like there are other groups of people that we treat as "unclean" in the good ole United States. 

The social outcasts. 
The poor. 
The different. 
The curious. 
The boring. 
The smart. 
The dumb. 
The strange. 
The queer.
The straight. 
The colorful. 
The colorless.
The anyone who isn't exactly like me and mine.
Me.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Tomorrow, Friday, September 24, 2010...

Vickie and I (Will) are leaving to take almost 800 large clothing items donated by the Lebanon congregation and our friends to Timmy Walker and his family (phyiscal and spiritual) in Huron, South Dakota.  We could not make this journey without your kind support whether it was financial, spiritual, prayful, thoughtful or provided in a myriad of other ways to numerous to name.

Join us as we plan to travel to the world's largest (and most tacky) drugstore, the Rosebud, the Chapel in the Hills, Rushmore, Crazy Horse Memorial, to see outlaws and Christian family, to take and join in communion, to see the home of the Royals and Chiefs, the Cardinals and the Monarchs, to hear the songs of the Cheyenne and the Lakota and the stories of old women and older men...

We are going west, to grow up with the country.

We will be updating you peridoically throughout our "mission of mercy" and we plan to have some fun along the way as well.  So, as Timmy would say, sit back, grab a Mason jar of sweet tea (or cup of coffee if you prefer) and enjoy your mission journey with us!

-Vickie and Will (Peter & Paul)

Monday, September 20, 2010

Good movies...

I have enjoyed the last few days catching up on some great cinema from my childhood and teen years and present...

  • Good Will Hunting
  • Lonesome Dove
  • First Knight
  • RENT (stage show not Hollywood version)
  • Milk
  • Perfect Storm
I know...random...that's me though, remember?  Have a great start to your week!

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Thanks

Thanks so much for your continued prayers on my behalf and the behalf of my family.  It seems that last Sunday's reaction witnessed during Bible class was a lack of sleep, poor medication combination and a general tiredness...mixed with years of continuous preaching.  I realize many of you were not present to see my collapse, recovery and collapse, but if you were, thanks for bearing with me.  Special thanks to:
  • Roe N. Hughes, Jr. - It is always a blessing to have an uncle to rescue you.  Last Sunday, I was Lot and he was indeed my righteous Abram.  Thanks again, Roe.
  • The members of the church at Lebanon - This "Sabbath" leave until November may be, in fact, just the prescription for my aliments, mental and physical.  I have preached continuously since my teen years and I plan on listening to others preach and teach for the next couple of months and "getting recharged."  In continuing my salary, you are also allowing me to pay my bills and not beg bread.  Thank you.
  • My physical family - They have been such a blessing in helping me through the long years of sickness: physical, spiritual, mental and emotional.  I need them and lean upon them and they on me.  Truly, a part of God's family.
  • The faithful "senders" - Already I have begun to receive cards from many of you and I appreciate them more than you know.  You are my dearest friends on the earth and this side of heaven.  If we do know each other there someday, I hope we are all in the same neighborhood...:)

God bless you all and each,
-Will

Thursday, September 9, 2010

"Leave no one behind..."

"Only the dead have seen the end of war." -Plato

Thanks to the men and women who fight for their country's around the world and to do what in their hearts they believe is right each day they suit up and go out.

God bless the people of the world and the USA.

Saturday, September 4, 2010

“You can safely assume you’ve created God in your own image when it turns out
that God hates all the same people you do.”
-Tom

Thursday, September 2, 2010

From or For?

In Deuteronomy 6:23, God tells the children of Israel to remember that He brought the children of Israel out of Egypt to lead them into the land He had sworn to their fathers.

I think for many of us who are "raised in the church" are saved, but we don't really feel saved from anything. We were often received Christ and were baptized as young teens and perhaps felt we had very little sin in our lives, and were baptized to fulfill an intellectual process that we knew we needed to complete because a Bible class teacher, preacher, youth worker, pastor or our parents had taught us the “sinner’s prayer, plan of salvation, how to receive Christ.”
Israel (though they oft forgot) was instructed time and time again to remember that they were saved FROM something FOR something (see Deuteronomy 6).
In the case of the Jewish nation, they were saved from the land of bondage for the land of promise. I think we need to come to a better realization that as Christians we are saved from something for something as well (Eph. 2-10).

From hell for heaven.

From darkness for light.

From death to life.

From addictions to disciplines.

From possessions to principles.

From physical wealth to spiritual health.

From hate for love.

From self for Savior.


Thursday, August 26, 2010

today was...

Good music.  Good friends.  Out of Crockett for awhile. 
Less drama.  Two good meetings today.  Talked with good friends. 
Made a few new ones.  Was rebuked by a true friend I didn't know. 
Scolded by a busybody.  Had unity without Unity. 
Just for Today. 
Just for Today. 
Just for Today.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Hosea 4:4-6

5 You stumble day and night,

and the prophets stumble with you.

So I will destroy your mother-

6 my people are destroyed from lack of knowledge.

"Because you have rejected knowledge,

I also reject you as my priests;

because you have ignored the law of your God,

I also will ignore your children.

7 The more the priests increased,

the more they sinned against me;

they exchanged (alternate rendering (I will exchange) their Glory for something disgraceful.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Rachel's Challenge at CCHS



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Thanks!  We just hit 5,000 hits!  You guys are great!

Rachel's Challenge


Originally posted on "Love at Lebanon" blog...

From http://www.loveatlebanon.com/...

As was announced this morning, we are launching in a new Sunday morning worship series called "Sermons in Song: Preaching through the Hymnal." This idea comes about through a recent personal study I have been doing about the importance of church music and hymns and praise songs and how they tie together the Christian community. As I said today, many people who cannot quote a verse or name an apostle can remember every lyric of a old hymn or a childhood VBS song. Much of the Scriptures as we have them today in our Bibles are actually hymns and praise songs (Psalms, Song of Songs, much of the Prophets, much of Revelation, etc.).

http://www.learnwhatthismeans.com/ starts here...


What are some of your favorite hymns, VBS songs, praise choruses?  Feedback appreciated!


Thanks and God bless you,
-Will
"The great use of life is to spend it for something that outlasts it."
-William James

Friday, August 20, 2010

"To laugh often and much, to win the respect of intelligent people and the affection of children, to earn the appreciation of honest critics and endure the betrayal of false friends, to appreciate beauty, to find the best in others, to leave the world a bit better, whether by a healthy child, a garden patch, or a redeemed social condition, to know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived, THIS is to have succeeded."
- Ralph Waldo Emerson
Transcendentalist essayist and Unitarian minister

Thursday, August 19, 2010

"The mission of the church is missions." 
-Oswald J. Smith
"'Not called!' Did you say?"
'Not heard the call,' I think you should say.'

"Put your ear down to the Bible, and hear Him bid you go and pull sinners out of the fire of sin. Put your ear down to the burdened, agonized heart of humanity, and listen to its pitiful wail for help. Go stand by the gates of hell, and hear the damned entreat you to go to their father's house and bid their brothers and sisters and servants and masters not to come there. Then look Christ in the face — whose mercy you have professed to obey — and tell Him whether you will join heart and soul and body and circumstances in the march to publish His mercy to the world."

 — William Booth, founder of the Salvation Army

Monday, August 16, 2010

"God never hurries.  There are no deadlines against which He must work.  To know this is to quiet our spirits and relax our nerves."
-A.W. Tozer

Thursday, August 12, 2010

"I would far rather feel remorse than know how to define it."
-Thomas A’Kempis

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

"If the Great Commission is true,
our plans are not too big; they are too small." 
- Pat Morley

Monday, August 9, 2010

Lebanon church Mission Night

"Someone asked will the heathen who have never heard the Gospel be saved? It is more a question with me whether we — who have the Gospel and fail to give it to those who have not — can be saved." — Charles H. Spurgeon


Next Sunday evening, August 15, 2010 at 5:00 PM those of us who worship with the Lebanon church in Dresden will be hearing a special report about the mission effort recently supported by our congregation and sister churches. 
Betsy and Melinda will show photos and relate stories of their recent trip to Central America while Bro. MccAdams of McKenzie will give our devotional thought. 
We want people to know Jesus Christ.  Let's start telling people about this event and opportunity to serve.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

"I expect to pass through life but once. If therefore, there be any kindness I can show, or any good thing I can do to any fellow being, let me do it now, and not defer or neglect it, as I shall not pass this way again."
-William Penn

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

"The great use of life is to spend it for something that outlasts it."
-William James

Monday, August 2, 2010

"If you want to spend eternity with Christ perhaps you ought to start spending some time with Him now."
-Todd Sanderson

"Give your idols up..." sometimes is a hard lyric...

Giving up an idol is always difficult especially if it is an old one... 

I have loved politics all my life.  I can remember vividly sitting at my grandparents' kitchen table as a elementary-aged child watching Crossfire with Roe Nell and debating.  My best friend all my growing up years was in the opposite party and we fake debated all the issues.  As I got older, I stuffed envelopes, put up yard signs, made phone calls, gave money, wore t-shirts, put on bumper stickers...all in the name of my "civic" duty.  I was class president.  I was voted most likely to succeed.  I was asked to be on a U.S. Congressional candidate's faith committee.  I have written for state-wide races...it was consuming my life in 2008 especially.

About two weeks ago, I slowly started to realize I needed to get it out of my life.  Now, I not going to become a hermit, quit voting and hide in the Great Smokies, but I am going to start being "apolitical."

According...
  • I took down my collection of posters and political pictures.
  • All the pins and buttons are put away.
  • Political books are gone.
  • No more mailing lists.
  • No more arguing and getting mad over the temporary
  • Focusing on souls and the Bible, not on trending topics on ballots
I am not going to lie...this was a hard one.  I have followed it so long and I will miss it.  But I will love the freedom to say that no man or woman owns my vote or allegiance save the One who died for me.

We were saved from sin, but what were you saved for? Ephesians 2:10.

Stay cool,
blessings,
-Will

Saturday, July 31, 2010

"Lord, teach us to pray..."
  • For humility
  • For unity
  • For mercy
  • For a change in priorities if need
  • To look around as well as up
  • To put You above everything, everyone and every other distraction
  • To remember it is not about what we think, feel or believe, but rather what You desire of us
  • For the knowledge that You are the Essence and Author of Love
  • For grace for this moment...no more for that would be selfish and no less for that would be not enough.
Feel free to add what you need to better learn to pray for...Comments welcome...love you guys!
blessings,
-Will

Friday, July 30, 2010

Thanks to everyone who made the Henderson Arts Commission's "Arts in the Alley" program a success last night.  Special thanks to those who supported Richard and Jenni in their long road to adoption.  You were able to receive a gift for a child in your life, so that they may receive a child to be a gift in their own.  That is what it is all about: caring and sharing the love of God, person to person, stanger to stragner, friend to friend.  I know, most of all, Richard and Jenni desire your prayers in this time of waiting on God's response to their prayer to receive just the right child they have wanted for so long.

See all you Chester County folks again on August 26, 2010, LORD willing, for another great "Arts in the Alley."

In Him,
-Will

P.S.  Jenni takes custom orders and SEC football is just around the corner...think about and contact me for more information on how to get that favorite fan a great gift...:)

P.P.S.  Be thinking about returning FHU students...these dolls make great social club gifts, mission trip outreach (lightweight, can be culturally diverse, etc.), can be themed to a particular major (biology, drama, etc.)...possibilities are endless and all monies go to save a child!

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

so true...

During a sermon, the young, country preacher said to his congregation,

"Now let the church walk." Deacon Jones said, "Amen, let it walk."

"Let the church run," said the enthused preacher. Yes, let it run," echoed Deacon Jones.

Let it fly," cried the preacher. "Amen, brother, let the church fly," said Deacon Jones.

"Now it's going to take money to let it fly, brothers and sisters," shouted the preacher.
"Let it walk, brother," said Deacon Jones, "Let it walk."

Thanks, Keith Green, for a little perspective...

Keith Green took the words of an Old Testament prophet (Samuel) to a king and spoke them to his generation. We need more Christian artists and ministers doing the same.  Taking a Biblical concept and applying it (correctly) to our times.  Keith has gone on, just has another old soul in Rich Mullins, but their ministry of hymns lives on.  To God be the glory in the church now and forevermore.


"To obey is better than sacrifice
I don't need your money
I want your life
And I hear you say that I'm coming back soon
But you act like I'll never return

Well you speak of grace and my love so sweet
How you thrive on milk, but reject My meat
And I can't help weeping of how it will be
If you keep on ignoring My words
Well you pray to prosper and succeed
But your flesh is something I just can't feed

To obey is better than sacrifice
I want more than Sunday and Wednesday nights
Cause if you can't come to Me every day
Then don't bother coming at all

To obey is better than sacrifice
I want hearts of fire
Not your prayers of ice
And I'm coming quickly
To give back to you
According to what you have done
According to what you have done
According to what you have done"

Monday, July 26, 2010

"The world has lost the power to blush over its vice; the Church has lost her power to weep over it."
-Leonard Ravenhill

4000!

Hey friends!  We struck "4000" hits this morning on this blog...not bad for a site with no advertising a no links on any other pages except those of a couple of fellow bloggers.  This blog was started as an effort to provide a pointer to the Source of hope to people without it and a light in the midst of darkness.  Maybe in some small way that is being accomplished.  People all over the word on all six inhabited continents in over 20 countries have visited here in the last few months and, it is my prayer, left encouraged.

If we never meet here, in this o-so-fleeting of lives, may we by our love and obedience to Him meet up there by and by,

blessed to bless,
-Will

Friday, July 23, 2010

"God never takes away anything that He doesn’t replace with Himself."
-Jacquelyn K. Heasley

Thursday, July 22, 2010

A little humor for your day...

A local minister was pulled over to the roadside by a traffic cop for speeding.

As the cop was about to write the ticket, the minister whispered to him,

"Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy."

The cop handed the minister the ticket and said,

"Go thou and sin no more."
"The seeker as he passed on the way came by the crippled and the beggar and the beaten and seeing them...he cried,
"Great God, how is it that a loving Creator can see such things and yet do nothing about them?"
God said, "I did do something. I made you."

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

"Bread for myself is a material question. Bread for my neighbor is a spiritual one."
-Nicholas Berdyaev
"God has not called us to see through each other, but to see each other through."

Saturday, July 17, 2010

When we are sick...

I have spent a great deal of the last few years dealing with sickness in my life.  I have personally been affected by kidney stones, bipolar disorder, digestive problems and other maladies.  Perhaps more disheartening, I have seen loved ones affected by the horrors of disease.  Four years ago, I lost a dear great-grandmother to Alzheimer's Disease.  My former college roommate is currently locked in a battle with a severe central nervous system disorder that has taken away his ability to drive and walk without assistance.  I have watched another grandparent be confined to a nursing home and face close calls with death.  My dad was in the hospital for surgery just this week.  I have preached ten funerals in the last few years ranging from cancer deaths to suicides.  Sickness is everywhere around us.

Some people look around and blame God for the ills and illnesses of the world.  After all, they surmise, if God is all powerful, could He not prevent such horrible things from happening in our world?  I have no doubt that God could in fact step in and save us from sickness, disease, depression and death.  In fact, dear reader, I know that one day He will.  If we faced not trials here, what would the promises of Revelation 21:1-4 mean to us?  The promise of no sickness, no pain, no death?  If we had not been forged in this crucible of suffering for this briefest of moments in eternity, how could we ever hope to appreciate the lack of pain in the hereafter?  God is faithful and knows why each trial and trouble is brought into our lives.  I may not know, you may not know, but He does.  Ultimately, He will make all things right and good in His time and in accordance with His ultimate will.

Praising Him in the storms of life,
-Will

Friday, July 16, 2010

Where would we be if not for storms?

As May dawned this year, Mother Nature collided in tornadoes, violent rains and flooding across West Tennessee and the rest of the Southern United States. Thanks to the efforts of rescue workers and emergency response personnel the storms terrible effects were not as devastating as they would have been without the workers’ tireless efforts.
While physical storms destroy property, landscapes and even sometimes take life, it is often the personal storms we battle that are the most difficult to overcome. One individual may struggle with an unfaithful or abusive spouse. Another may face the struggle of raising children or grandchildren alone. Yet another may struggle against sickness whether it is of a physical, mental, emotional or spiritual nature. These “storms” often sway and bend us to the breaking point: the limit of our endurance. Our personal strength, our inner levee, is no match for the troubles and trials of this life. It is in these moments that we must choose to give our lives and will over to One that is higher than ourselves. God is the same now as He always has been and always will be. Malachi 3:6 puts it in these words, “I am the LORD; I change not.”
Scripture is a great comfort when we feel that all around us is falling
to pieces. Those of us who know the joy of a relationship with Christ know that no matter how difficult our present circumstances we have a hope for a better, brighter future. We are reminded that it is in the midst of our brokenness that Christ is at His best. We are reminded to “cast all our cares upon Him,” because He cares for us and can bear our burden when we often do not even know where to begin. If we never faced adversity we would not know the satisfaction of passing through that difficult and trying time. When we consider the smallness of ourselves against the background of the magnitude of God, we are humbled and can then realize that we have a God more powerful than any storm of life.
Christianity is not just some “pie in the sky” dream of one day spending eternity with the LORD. The faith of the Christian is the knowledge that God is here now in this present moment helping His people to live and thrive. We are put on Earth but for a little while, and yet how we choose to respond to the storms we face in this briefest of times will in fact determine our immortal destiny. If we trust in our own merit, works or strength, we will find ourselves drown in the misery of life. If we, on the other hand, allow Christ to fill our lives with His joy, peace and understanding, we can face this life free from fear.
Blessings as you face the storms of your life and always remember Christ suffered that we might be justified, sanctified, and ultimately, glorified in Him.
"Some wish to live within the sound of a chapel bell; I wish to run a rescue mission within a yard of hell."
— C.T. Studd

Thursday, July 15, 2010

"I am a little pencil in the hand of a writing God who is sending a love letter to the world."
-Mother Teresa

Thank you

Thank you for all the prayers you have offered on behalf of my family during the last several days.  With my sickness and then Dad's sudden illness, I know your prayers have made an invaluable difference in our recoveries.  Again, thank you from all the Hughes/Norrid family for your love and kindness.

blessings,
-Will
"I value all things only by the price they shall gain in eternity."
-John Wesley

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Update

Dad is doing fair after surgery to remove the abscess from his abdomen.  It was basically a balloon of infection pressing against his colon.  Fortunately, it was not a mass in the colon itself which is good.  Some of the infection did seep into his body, so he is on powerful antibiotics for the next few days.  He is in the hospital in Jackson, but if you know my dad, he doesn't really want company or a fuss.  If you want to send a card, send it to Jack Norrid, 617 East Park Street, Alamo, TN 38001, as he should be home by Friday.

My health issues continue as well.  I am still vomiting daily and no one seems to understand why.  This is, of course, affecting my medications and my medications are affecting the vomiting.  Kinda a chicken or the egg thing.

We appreciate your prayers and thank you all for your acts of kindness.

Hoping for a easier next couple of days,
-Will

P.S.  Thanks to Roe Nell, Sr. for the ride to Nashville and for cleaning up after I got sick all in the car...

Good morning...update

Hey guys...what a BIG week for my family.  I needed a procedure yesterday to correct some bleeding in my stomach, my dad has gone into the hospital today, Sarah Beth moved to Memphis to start pharmacy school, I am traveling to Nashville today for another doctor's visit...it has been a full week.

Despite our setbacks this week, my family knows how blessed we truly are.  I am so blessed to have a loving, close family that helps each other in times of need.  I realize not everyone is blessed in the same way.

It gives me great comfort that even if my physical family should crumble or pass away, I am a member of an immortal family of God-fearing saints stretching back to the beginning (Hebrews 11).  God's family isn't perfect, but the Father of it is.  That gives me great hope and courage.

I know you all will pray for me as I pray for you,
God bless,
-Will