Friday, April 28, 2017

Hear from God Today

Hearing is one of God's greatest gifts. It is such a social thing to be able to understand and interact in conversations. There is nothing worse for me than being in a restaurant with horrible acoustics (read "sound echoing off the walls like you're in a cavern underground"). I can't hear well in that situation, so I "smile and wave" as the conversation goes around around me. 

My concern is that's how it is with most people Christians. They have had one supernatural event, their salvation, and they have never experienced God since that time. God has so much more for them. So much more for us. So much more for you. 

We are continuing with Simple Faith as we move into another part of growing in our faith. Last time, we exhorted you to go to church. It's the easiest, but one of the most basic parts of the Simple Faith lifestyle. Find one you like, go there, and get involved. If you can't do this most basic of steps, everything else will be much harder if possible at all. So, don't skip it.

On a daily basis, God floods my heart with His voice daily. I experience His clear direction. He encourages me for the day. I find my daily purpose in Him. All that is really available? All that and more. How can you know His voice? Jesus told us that His sheep would hear His voice (See John 10:27).

Is His voice audible to you? Actually, it's a lot louder than that. I adore listening to God. It's why I get up early. And it's not even difficult. It's so simple children can do it. Are you ready to hear from God? I hope you will follow this simple way to hear from God on an everyday basis.

God speaks daily through His word. That means if you want to hear from Him daily, interact with His Word. We find His clear and resolute words in the Bible. 


My next blog entry will be a simple plan to get you started. I can't wait to share it. 

Monday, February 20, 2017

Simple Faith

It has always been my belief that Christians have made the Christian walk much too complicated. As much as I love them, go into any Christian bookstore and take a look at all the Christian self-help books. You would think that there is so much to know that no one could possibly master what it means to be a follower of Jesus. I am writing about what it means to be that kind of follower in the simplest of terms. It is what I like to call, "Simple Faith." So, if you are a little overwhelmed where to start, then this is for you.
Before listing the basic steps, I want to share a caviat, The Christian life is a glorious, wondrous ride that can never be defined by anyone. Your life can and should be more than this, but this is where you must start. That is to say, this is not a restrictive, legalistic type of list, but an open and free start to the most wonderful life you could ever dream of having. Don't skip over and do the complex until you start worth the basic. Otherwise, you crash and burn, and that's never a pretty sight. 
1. Go to Church
Yep, that's right... get out of bed, and get yourself to church. I don't mean watch a youtube video or a Christian TV show (even if there is preaching). Go to a church building this Sunday morning. This is the simplest, but usually the most argued point of all that I will say. Somehow, we tend to think that in and of ourselves, we are spiritual enough to make it on our own, but no one is able to go it alone. It has been my belief that if you can't do this easiest of steps in simple faith, you are going to have a tough time making forward motion in your faith walk.
So, get to church. Find a church. Ask your friends for suggestions. Make sure they believe the Bible and love people. Then, get in the car. Go sit in the church. Sing the songs. Listen to the preacher and take notes. It won't happen immediately, but soon you will experience growth and strength in your spiritual journey as never before. What we call "church" is actually a gathering of believers who come together to worship Jesus, hear the Bible preached, and encourage one another in our Christian lives.
As the Bible tells us, "Not staying away from our worship meetings, as some habitually do, but encouraging each other, and all the more" Hebrews 10:25 HCSB
Okay, that's your home work for the week. Find a church and get there. You'll be glad you took the first step in your life of simple faith. This can begin your wonderful life in Christ.

Sunday, March 20, 2016

Jesus in Jerusalem on a Donkey

As I reflected on Palm Sunday, I decided to reread the story of Jesus entering Jerusalem one week before Easter Sunday. Maybe you, like me, never put two and two together when it comes to Jesus entering the City on Palm Sunday. That day wasn't just about the "Hosannas"; it was about prophecy being fulfilled. We can't read about Palm Sunday without recognizing that this One entering this city was the Messiah.
With that in mind, I started looking for an explanation and understanding about this prophecy of the Messiah. This is a great explanation. It was written for children but spoke to me:
"The Bible accounts tell us Jesus went out of his way to procure the donkey. It was not his usual method of travel; he was making a point. John’s gospel says Jesus was enacting a passage from the prophet Zechariah, who described an all-conquering king who would remain humble enough to parade on a donkey. Jesus is that great-yet-humble King.
"Maybe you already knew that or maybe you didn’t. Whatever you do with that, however, don’t tuck it away as an informational tidbit about Jesus. Facts about Jesus are all through the Bible. You could amass thousands of them. But Zechariah’s prophecy isn’t just factual—it’s also poetry.
"Jesus didn’t ride a donkey to give us more facts about himself. He rode a donkey to point us to a poem about himself.
"Poetry has a depth that mere facts don’t. Poetry has rhythm and beauty. It wakes up the imagination and stirs the spirit. The Bible’s good news of Jesus touches that part of our being, too. It includes Jesus poems.
"You can find the king-on-a-donkey poem in Zechariah 9:9–17. It tells of a King who speaks peace and hope. He fights using lightning and roars in whirlwinds. He treats his people as jewels in his crown. He makes them heady with grain and wine.
"But don’t let me give you facts. Read the poem for yourself—as a poem. Let it soak into that corner of your soul that’s made to sing.
"John tells us Jesus’s disciples didn’t notice the connection to Zechariah until after Jesus died and arose. Still, perhaps some others in that Palm Sunday crowd saw the donkey and thought of the humble king. Maybe they started dreaming of the grain and wine he would provide for them.
"They didn’t know the half of it. Five days later, Jesus broke bread with his disciples and told them, "This is my body." He passed around wine and said, "This is my blood." Then our humble King gave his life for us, his precious jewels. (Read more here:
Have a wonder-filled Palm Sunday as you welcome the Living Savior into your life! P.T.

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Defending the Money Grubbers

Defense has always been one of my loves. As a football player, I relished penetrating the line, tackling the runner, and stopping all forward progress.

Now, as a father and grandfather, I will defend my home and my loved ones to the death. No longer is it relevant to the score of a game, but now it is the lives and welfare of those whom I hold most precious. That is why it matters that I defend them with every resource available.

I also enjoy defending something equally as precious to me, my faith. There is nothing better than standing up for your deepest held beliefs and, win or lose, give it your best effort in causing someone to think deeper about what they believe. The goal is to help draw someone into conversation as to who Jesus is and what He has done through His death on the Cross and His glorious resurrection three days later. That is something that can make a difference in eternity and it is something well worth defending. It could make all the difference in a life.

Now, defense is not always necessary for every situation we find ourselves. I know we are to defend our families, our faith, and the weakest and poorest of our world, but do we really have to defend a secular corporation that has nothing but money to make off of the sale of its product?

Yes, I am referring to a Seattle based coffee giant. I have no idea whether or not the red cup idea was somehow supposed to harm Christmas. To be honest, I don't really care whether it does or doesn't. What I do care about is spending time, effort, and resources on defending this multi-million dollar corporation who surely doesn't need or even want the evangelical world coming to their defense. Surely they can take care of themselves. If they don't sell as much coffee, they might change their ways. If they sell as much or more, they probably won't. Does it really matter in eternity? What matters most? No matter which side you fall on (notice that I said "fall"... falling almost always hurts someone), never feel like you have to defend a corporation. They don't need you.

Now, I think I'll go make me some coffee. Now, where did that cup go?



Friday, September 11, 2015

Never. Forget. 9/11 Thoughts 14 Years Later

This picture is the World Trade Center on 9/11 14 years ago.

It reminds me to... Never Forget. The cost of innocent American lives continues to overwhelm me. This horrifying picture shows the cost in human lives inflicted by those who hate us. I still hurt from that fateful day. Please, America, the reason we must never forget is because we are still on the cross hairs, and those we love may be next.

Freedom is worth defending. We must never bow to the tyranny of those who would enjoy nothing more than fundamentally transforming us, both foreign and domestic.

Finally, thank you to those men and women, young and old, who gave up family, time, health, limbs, and many, their lives to protect our country. We must not let them down now.

"O beautiful for glory-tale Of liberating strife,

When once or twice, for man's avail, MEN LAVISHED PRECIOUS LIFE!

America! America! God shed His grace on thee

Till selfish gain no longer stain, The banner of the free!"

-- from America the Beautiful, Katharine Lee Bates, July 4, 1895



Monday, August 31, 2015

War with Evil

There is a battle going on and as believers, we are on the front lines. Satan is a master tactician. He is relentless. He is always on the offense. He's coming after you. There's no way to avoid it. Let's be ready.

In this battle, there will be casualties. Whenever we willingly choose to follow the will of God, particularly when it comes to advancing God's kingdom, there will be opposition. Don't be surprised, for we have declared war on the prince of darkness, and he is not happy.

Listen to the warning Jesus gives us about Satan:

He said to them, "I watched Satan fall from heaven like a lightning flash." (Luke 10:18 HCSB).

Gives new meaning to "death from above," doesn't it?

So, how can we battle such a formidable foe? He is the "roaring lion" who seeks you out to make you his next meal (See 1 Peter 5:8). It's what he does. He's good at these things: stealing, killing, and destroying (John 10:10).

Here's what we can be good at, standing up against the "wiles of the devil." God gives us clear battle plans:

"This is why you must take up the full armor of God, so that you may be able to resist in the evil day, and having prepared everything, to take your stand. Stand, therefore, with truth like a belt around your waist, righteousness like armor on your chest, and your feet sandaled with readiness for the gospel of peace. In every situation take the shield of faith, and with it you will be able to extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is God’s word. Pray at all times in the Spirit with every prayer and request, and stay alert in this with all perseverance and intercession for all the saints." (Ephesians 6:13-18 HCSB)

If we are going to do battle, it is our duty to be prepared to not only do battle, but to win. Oh yeah, and do I need to remind you that we do have one more thing that we are guaranteed? Winning! When we go to battle, we know we will win! Read the end of the book... WE WIN!


The Devil who deceived them was thrown into the lake of fire and sulfur where the beast and the false prophet are, and they will be tormented day and night forever and ever.(Revelation 20:10 HCSB)

Here's the challenge for every one of us: don't let Satan steal your joy with his constant frustrations; don't let him kill your love for your family, friends, and fellow believers; and never let him destroy your excitement for telling others of the love of God you found in Christ Jesus. This where we must stand. We must never give ground. It here we must do battle as never before.

Child of God, don't be taken in by his trickery and traps. Be prepared to do battle so you can win! Put on your armor every day. It truly is your "Call of Duty."




Monday, August 17, 2015

Living on a Prayer

It's hard to believe, but 12 years ago today, I got a new life. And when I say that, I mean in a physical sense. The doctors had all but given up hope with me when Dr. Blue of Roper Hospital downtown had an idea. But I get ahead of myself...

How did I get to this point? It began on a Sunday morning like any other. I woke up, spoke to the Lord, read the Word, and left for church at Oceanside Baptist Fellowship. We were meeting at the Movies at Mount Pleasant, and I went early to help set up and get my heart and mind prepared for preaching that morning.

Just before the church service began, I began to feel really strange. I looked at my wife, Kelly, and said three simple words, "I need help." In moments, I was on the floor, eyes were blank, and I was gone. I was straining to breath and turning blue from the neck up. My son, Ivey, rather than panic began to give me mouth to mouth. While everyone was screaming for him to give me compressions, he refused saying I was breathing so it was unnecessary. That was the difference between life and death for my body that was hanging on a thread between life and death.

Moments later, the EMTs arrived and were given permission to transport me to Roper. Once there, the doctors were baffled. They couldn't find a pulse anywhere. They were ready to "call it" when one doctor, Dr. Blue, gripped my ankle, felt a slight pulse, and immediately pushed my gurney down to the CAT scan. There, he discovered a pool of blood around my heart because my aorta had ripped lengthwise for 2 1/2 inches. The term was an "ascending aortic dissection." It was the worse case scenario. Very few ever survived. And those that did were blind, crippled, dumb, and lived on breathing machines. The doctors told my wife that they could probably save my heart, but the prognosis was bad. And if my son had given me compressions I would have bled out instantaneously. Thank God for a son who used his knowledge to calmly do what he should instead of doing what everyone else was yelling for him to do. I am forever in his debt.

Then God's people began to pray. The Lord heard from heaven and at that very moment began to restore my body and my brain. Kelly's words to Dr. Blue were, "Save his heart, and we'll worry about the rest later."

Dr. Blue called one of the leading experts on heart surgery in the nation, Dr. David Peterseim. He had recently moved from the Mayo Clinic in Minnesota to Charleston, SC. He was in church on Sullivan's Island. Blue asked Peterseim, a cardio-thoracic surgeon, if he wanted to come and do his best to save my heart. His answer was, "Yes. And please keep him alive until I get there. I've never seen anyone alive before with an ascending aortic dissection."

By the time the operation began, some say that hundreds had gathered in the waiting room singing, praying, and asking God to save my life. Within hours, Dr. Peterseim had done all he could do to save my heart. In his own words "It's all up to God now."

Now, 12 years later here I am writing about it. God truly does answer prayer. He is still in the miracle business. I am forever grateful for all of you who chose to pray for me and help me and encourage me over these last years. I will always be grateful that you didn't give up on me.

What miracle do you need God to do in your life today? God can do it for you. Pray and trust. You'll never be the same.

And yes, I am "Living on a Prayer."