Sunday, October 27, 2013

The Comeback

Last night, I, along with a gazillion other people, watched with amazement as South Carolina pulled off a stunning comeback on a football field in Missouri.

The Gamecocks were losing 17-0 and nothing was going right.  Mistakes were made and opportunities were blown.  But then, in the 4th quarter, something happened.  Something I'll never forget.  Quarterback Connor Shaw led Carolina to 17 unanswered points to tie the game.  Then, in dramatic fashion, the Gamecocks won the game 27-24 in double overtime.

My 8 year old son, who was sitting by me on the couch in his pajamas, went NUTS with me when it happened.  We jumped around the living room, shouted "yeah!", and celebrated.  We tried not to scare my wife and daughters, who were in other rooms.  But we could not stop or contain our celebration!

This has me thinking....

Sometimes in life, we get behind.  We make mistakes.  We blow opportunities.  We just royally make a mess of things.

I've done that.  Big time.  How about you?  My guess is, we ALL have.

When that happens, it's comeback time!

If we are losing in the game of life, let's whisper a prayer to Him above, shake off the disappointment of our mistakes, start over, and press forward.  Some people may think we're done and our cause is lost.  But that doesn't matter.  Let's think positive, dig in our heels, and get to work.  Let's start doing the little things right, one by one.  When that happens, the chances are good that positive results await us!

Maybe you've messed up and blown it.  I know the feeling.  Just remember this:  your life is not over.  Things can change.  So keep your chin up and hang in there.  Your comeback could be right around the corner, and you can still celebrate like a champ!

Oh yeah, I almost forgot.  When we experience a comeback, let's be mindful of those looking at us from above.  They're probably rejoicing for us and celebrating with us.  And my guess is that's quite a party!  :)

** If you want to see a short highlight video (minute and a half) of last night's amazing comeback, just click here .

Friday, October 25, 2013

Two Links And One Invitation

I want to quickly share a couple of links with you ...

[1]  "God's Not Dead" is a film coming out next spring, and it looks like it will be worth watching.  A friend pointed me to the trailer yesterday.  To see the film's trailer for yourself, just click here .

[2]  I have decided to join the world of Twitter.  I figured I could have some fun with this.  To visit my Twitter page, just click here .

Here is an invitation ...

Feel free to leave comments any time on this blog when you read a post.  I'd love to hear from you.  And I'll respond too.  Whether you agree or disagree with what you read, it's ok.  So you're invited to comment and interact with me anytime!

Thank for checking out my online home.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

The Disappointment Of Sin

What is the wrong thing you are tempted to do right now?

The lure of sin is calling out to you.  It looks harmless.  It seems fun.  It feels justifiable.  But deep down, you know it's wrong.

Before you take the plunge and go for it with sin, remember this: it will be a massive disappointment to you in the end.

The Bible says...

Sin will not satisfy you :  You may get a little happiness for a short while, but you will ultimately find yourself unfulfilled.  It will be a colossal letdown and leave you with an empty feeling inside. Proverbs 13:25 says "the stomach of the wicked goes hungry."

Sin will not calm you :  You may feel relaxed for a little bit, but you will inevitably deal with regret, fear, and pain.  You will wish you had not done it, you will be paranoid over getting caught, and you will hurt when you have to suffer the consequences.  Isaiah 48:22 says "There is no peace...for the wicked."

So, what are you temped to do right now that you know is wrong?  Whatever it is, please don't do it.  Just walk away and turn to God instead.

God can satisfy you.  God can calm you.  God can bless you in ways that sin never, ever will.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

The Flat Tire

"give thanks in all circumstances..." 1 Thessalonians 5:18

Yesterday I was sitting in my living room and reading a great book.

My phone rang.  It was my oldest daughter.  She had a flat tire and she needed me to come help her.  I told her I will be right there.  So I got up, told my wife I had to go help our child, and I left.

I must make a confession.  While I am always ready and willing to help my kids, for a moment I had some less-than-positive thoughts running through my head.  Things like this: "Oh great, I just got cleaned up and now I'm going to get dirty all over again.  And I was really enjoying that book."  I was not upset with my daughter at all.  It was not her fault.  And I love that girl!  I was just thinking about the not-so-favorable circumstances.

I found her, gave her my car so she could leave, and changed her tire.  Then I drove it up the road to get a new tire because the old one was shot.  Then, shortly after that, I was back home and on the couch relaxing.

You know what?  As I sit here this morning, I am thankful.  Here is why...

(1) My child was not hurt.

(2) The tire went out only a quarter of a mile from our house.

(3) She had a flat on a slow road in a neighborhood with a bunch of houses around instead of on a lonely highway with nobody around.

(4) She was able to stop the car under a shade tree that kept the hot sun off me while I changed her tire.

(5) A buddy was driving by, saw me, and gave me a hand while I was changing her tire.

(6) I was able to get the car fixed up with two new tires on the front.

(7) When she needed help, my daughter called me instead of calling someone else. 

Now I can smile about the whole experience.  I am thankful for several things as I reflect on the flat tire adventure.  Gratitude fills my heart this morning.

The Apostle Paul wrote centuries ago to "give thanks in all circumstances".  He was telling us to slow down and look for the good in things.  And he was so right!

There is always something to thank God for.  Always.  Regardless of what is going on.

May we see the positive and lift up our gratitude to Him on this day.

Saturday, October 19, 2013

The Kitchen

Last night was a fun Friday night with my youngest daughter, Rachel.  Everybody else in the family was doing things, so it was just her and me.  We decided to get in the kitchen and have fun together.

I fried up some bacon and eggs.  She fixed tasty biscuits.  While all this was going on, I pulled out my IPad and turned on music.  To make it fun for her, I let her pick out the tunes.  We sang along to music that she likes and danced.  We also talked and laughed a lot.  It was a really special time.  Then when our meal was ready, I took her by the hand and prayed with her.  I thanked God for giving us a fun night together and asked God to bless our meal.

You know, it reminded me of the importance of one-on-one dad-kid time.  Each child needs to feel special and loved.  It's a big deal to them, and it's really good for us!

It also reminded me of the importance of getting into the world of our kids.  I listened to her music.  I listened to her stories.  In a cool kind of way, I got to know my Rachel a little better last night.  We need to listen to our kids and get to know them.  That's so vital!

Goodness knows, I'm not a perfect parent.  Far from it.  But I'm learning.  And I do love the four that God gave me.  

Being in the kitchen with Rachel reminded me of what a great privilege it is to be a Dad.  And with the help of God, I seek to get better at it.  After all, there are not many more important things than loving and raising the kids who have been sent our way.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

The Secret

In Philippians 4:12, Paul writes, "I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation".  He then talks about going through times when he had a lot, and times when he had very little.  In other words, Paul had seasons of comfort and seasons of poverty.  And during both seasons he was ok.  He was satisfied.  What was the secret Paul found to being content, regardless of his circumstances?  Well, he gives the answer in verse 13:  "through him who gives me strength".  This "Him" is Jesus Christ, who is the Son of God and Savior of the world.

Paul learned that in a relationship with Jesus, he found everything he needed.  That was the secret to his being satisfied.  Man, what an awesome discovery!

This has me thinking.  I've had times when I've had some extra money in my pocket, and I've had times when my wallet and bank account have been empty.  I've spent some nights having a blast at Disney World, and I've spent some nights at home, on my couch, watching a dollar rental movie on tv while eating a bag of microwave popcorn.  Through it all, I've realized I can be happy either way.  See, God has been teaching me that all I really need ... is Jesus.  In Him, I find joy, peace, strength, hope, forgiveness, purpose, and everything else required to satisfy my heart.

Paul was so right.  The secret to being content is closeness with Jesus.  When it's all said and done, that's all that really matters.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013


Today is my birthday.

I was born October 16, 1970 in Columbia, South Carolina.

Wow.  43 years ago.

So this morning I'm thinking about time.

Time flies by.  It seems like every year goes by a little faster.  And older folks tell me it feels like that more and more with each birthday.  That's because life is short.  The Bible says our life is like a vapor.  Here today, and gone tomorrow.

Time is unpredictable.  We never know what will happen tomorrow or next week.  Nothing is guaranteed.  One of the few certainties of life is that it is ... uncertain.  I have no clue what the next year of my life will be like.  And neither do you.

So, life flies by and is unpredictable.  What do we do about that?  Well, what comes to my mind is this:  Make each day count.  Maximize each moment.  Live each day to the fullest.

That's what I'm going to do this year.

My guess is we all should do that.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013


One thing the world needs is fewer negative nellies.

You know what I'm talking about, don't you?  Pessimistic, doom and gloom, defeated kind of people.  Folks who think the glass is half empty and this is never going to work out.  Individuals who whine, complain, moan, and groan.

I used to be like that at times.  If I couldn't sleep good one night, I'd say in the morning, "Well this day is already ruined."  If I tried to accomplish something and I ran into a problem, I'd throw up my hands and walk away saying, "What's the use?  It can't be done.  I quit."  If I ran into a couple of setbacks at the same time, I'd say, "I just can't get anything to go my way."

I'm not like that anymore.  Not at all.  Now I'm a positive person.  And what a difference it has made!

Now when I get up in the morning, I tell my wife, my kids, and myself "It's going to be a great day!"

Now when I run into a problem while working on a project, I say to others and myself, "This won't beat me.  I can do this!"

Now when I go through a couple of setbacks at the same time, I tell my family, friends, and myself, "This is just for a season.  Things are going to get better!"

You know what I've noticed since my change?  Being positive encourages others and myself.  It gets us all in the right frame of mind and helps us all move forward.

It is really important to say this:  my being positive is based on my faith in God.  I believe He is here and He does care.  I believe He can do all things and He will see us through the dark days.  I believe He is big, wise, and perfect.  And I believe that in Him, I will be just fine.  So that's why I'm positive.  Not because of me.  I'm positive because the awesome God of the universe is more than capable of doing anything and He wants what is best for me.

So if you don't already do this, give it a try.  Keep your chin up.  Smile.  And be positive.

Thursday, October 10, 2013

What I've Been Thinking Lately

My name is David.

I'm a 42 year old guy.  Married for twenty years.  And a father of four.

My life has had some ups and downs.

Here is what I've been thinking lately...

Family is the most important group of people I know.  Lately, my wife, kids, parents, brothers, and their families have come to mean more to me than ever before.  I've met a lot of people over the years, and I'm sure I'll meet plenty more.  Also, I have some awesome friends that really do mean a lot to me.  But at the end of the day, it's family that matters most.  I'm understanding and appreciating that more and more.

God's forgiveness is an amazing thing.  I've come to appreciate on a deep level how God takes all my sin away, cleans me up, and makes me whole.  I am not perfect.  But I am forgiven.  And for that, I am thankful more than words can express.

What matters is where I'm headed.  Not where I've been.  Sometimes I reflect on my past.  The good things and the not-so-good things.  It's becoming increasingly clear to me that none of that matters now.  Yesterday is over and done.  Finished.  What matters is where I'm headed today and tomorrow.  So I choose to look forward way more than I look backward.

God must be the center of my life.  Everything and everyone needs to revolve around Him.  He is the reason we are here.  He is the One who saved us.  He is bigger, strong, wiser, and better than we will ever dream of being.  He is what life is all about.  I'm thinking if He is the center of my life, then my life makes sense.  And if He is the center, He holds everything together.  So I'm seeing the high value of enjoying His presence, following His lead, and doing His work.  My point is, I'm seeing on a deeper level that life is not about me; instead, it's about God.

So that's what I've been thinking lately.

God is good.  I am blessed.  And my life is moving forward in a positive, healthy direction.


Beginnings - A Look In Genesis. Part 3

"So God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them."  Genesis 1:27

Isaiah Thomas, a former professional basketball player for the Detroit Pistons, once talked in an interview about the rough neighborhood he grew up in as a child.  Gang violence was a huge problem in his community.  One of the things he mentioned is that gang members would leave a nickel on the foreheads of people they killed.  Leaving that nickel meant the victim's life was worth five cents. 

Life is not viewed as sacred or special by many in today's world.  Not at all.  It's viewed as cheap and expendable.  However, when I read the Bible, I see that life is actually the exact opposite of that.  In reality, every human life has immense value and is sacred. 

In the first chapter of Genesis, God creates the heavens and the earth.  Then He fills the heavens and the earth with all sorts of spectacular sights, plants, and animals.  Finally, it is time for something extra special : human life.

God makes a man.  Then, He makes a woman.  And He brings them together.

Let's just reflect for a moment on this scripture...

[1]  Human life is sacred because it is a creation of God.  The value of men, women, boys, and girls is sky high because we all are the result of God's workmanship. He made us and put us here; therefore, we are valuable.  Contrary to the gang members I mentioned earlier, we are worth much, much more than a nickel.  (Wow, THAT may be the understatement of the millennium.  Ha!  Ha!)  We are worth a great deal because we were fashioned by an amazing Creator.

[2]  Human life is sacred because it is fashioned with a resemblance to God.  God made us "in His own image."  In other words, we were made in some ways that are a reflection of Him.  On a much smaller scale than God, we were equipped with the capacity to be creative, show love, extend forgiveness, and lead others.  Don't get me wrong.  We are not gods.  And we are not equal to God.  Not at all.  But we are wired by Him in some neat ways to resemble Him. 

[3]  Human life is sacred, regardless of gender.  Notice that God made man in His own image, and woman in His own image.  That's pretty cool, if you ask me!  There are certain things about men that resemble God, and there are certain things about women that resemble God.  Both genders are valuable and unique because both genders highlight certain qualities of God's greatness.  Neither gender is superior to the other.  Men matter and women matter. 

[4]  Human life is sacred because it is given purpose by God.  When He fashioned the man and the woman, He did not throw them into the garden without anything to do.  He did not tell them, "Ok, y'all just need to entertain yourselves and look for ways to stay busy!"  (I know God doesn't say "y'all", but it just sounded good to me!)  The Creator gave the creation purpose.  In Genesis 1:26, He assigned the duty or ruling over the animals.  In Genesis 1:28, He assigned the duty of reproducing and filling the planet with more people.  Right from the beginning, God gave men and women things to do.  He gave them (and us today) purpose.  A reason to get up every morning and to live every day. 

That's just four reasons human life is worth a great deal!  And that's another reason why the creation story of Genesis is so special.  Our worth as human beings is found in knowing that we are here because God put us here.

God views life is sacred.  So should we.  May we look at people today and realize that all of them are precious because they are the handiwork of the one, true, living God!!   

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Beginnings - A Look In Genesis. Part 2

After I mow our lawn at home, I like to step back and check out how everything looks.  When I do this, I'm making sure I did the job right.  It may sound weird to you, but I even check to see if the lines left from the lawnmower are straight and neat. 

On a far greater scale, God stood back and saw all of his creative work in Genesis 1.  According to the scripture, God reflected on what He accomplished in forming the heavens and the earth, and He "saw that it was good."  Actually, He did this several times along the way.  (Check out verses 4, 10, 12, 18, 21, 25, and 31 of Genesis chapter 1 to see for yourself.)

He had every right to feel good about His work.  God's creative labor was executed with perfection.  Everything He fashioned was done so brilliantly. 

What do you do on a normal day?  Maybe it's work at an office, plow a field, teach a class, mop a floor, wash a pile of dishes, look after a baby, pay bills, or fold piles of laundry.  Regardless of who you are and what you do, work in such a way that you can end every day seeing "it was good."  God could honestly feel good about the accomplishments of His days.  Can you?  Can I?

We want to be able to say at the end of every day that "it was good".  So let's just give our absolute, very best at whatever we do.  When we pour our heart and soul into our work, we can know we will feel good about what we have accomplished.

I've always liked these words of Martin Luther King, Jr.:  "If a man is called to be a street sweeper, he should sweep streets even as Michelangelo painted, or Beethoven composed music, or Shakespeare wrote poetry.  He should sweep streets so well that all the hosts of heaven and earth will pause to say, 'Here lived a great street sweeper who did his job well.'"

Thanks be to God for His creative work being good.  We get to enjoy the benefits of His handy work.  Because He did so well, we get to live in a beautiful, breathtaking creation.  His labor ended up being a blessing to us.

Let's follow His example.  Let's find inspiration in His excellence.  Let's work diligently and passionately so that we can stand back at the end of the day and be able to honestly say this about what we accomplished:  "it was good."

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Beginnings - A Look In Genesis. Part 1

"In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth."  Genesis 1:1

If you're a "Bible rookie", that's the first verse in the book.  It kicks off the whole story.  And what a verse it is!

Before there was anything or anyone, there was only God.  Just Him.  I know people like to ask, "Who created God?"  Nobody created God.  He has always existed.  His nature is eternal, with no beginning and no end.  Yeah, that's kind of hard for us to wrap our finite brains around.  Difficult to figure out.  (Even tougher to figure out than how the last person off the school bus closes that funky front door!  You ever wondered about that?)

Notice this:  the central character in the first verse of the Bible is ... God.  And that sets the tone for the rest of the book.  The story of the Bible is about God.  Who He is.  What He does.  How He operates.  It's a book that is inspired by Him and is all about Him. 

So, when we look at the start of our story, what do we see?  Well, we see God creating.  He is at work.  The Divine Artist is making something spectacular.  The heavens and the earth are brought into existence by His perfect craftsmanship.

Here's what makes this extra cool.  He created all of this ... out of nothing.  There was not a stack of supplies sitting off to the side, waiting to be used, when God created the heavens and the earth.  He made something ... out of nothing.  If you ask me, I think that is mind-boggling.

God is flat-out, 100% amazing!  He has always been here.  And He created this planet we live on, along with everything we see up in the sky.  Can I give you a suggestion?  Say a prayer today, and compliment God on a job well done.  Tell Him how awesome you think He is.  He more than deserves some praise, doesn't He?!  So let's give Him some today.  If we can applaud some college kid, who we don't personally know, for scoring a touchdown on Saturday, then surely we can praise God, who we DO know, for making this beautiful universe we get to call "home". 

Finally, remember that God still creates!  His nature never changes.  If God created in the beginning, He can still create today.  He can take struggling, dysfunctional families, and create happy homes of love and peace.  He can take addicts of any kind, and create new lives of freedom and joy.  He can take stuffy, weak, hurting, divided, dying churches, and create vibrant, healthy, passionate congregations that are powerfully turning their communities upside down with the gospel.  You see my point?  If something is not right with you, your family, or your church, there is still hope.  God creates!  Best of all, God creates a new us, when we let Him.  He takes out the old, brings in the new, and makes us right.  This is what David meant when he wrote in Psalm 51:10, "Create in me a pure heart, O God..."   

Wow!  What a God He is.  Let's praise Him for what He has created.  And let's trust Him if we need Him to create something new today.

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Don't You Dare Quit

The following poem has been hanging on a mirror in my home.  I see it every day, and I read it to myself.

"Don't Quit"

"When things go wrong as they sometimes will,
When the road you're trudging seems all uphill.
When the funds are low and the debts are high,
And you want to smile but you have to sigh.
When care is pressing you down a bit -
Rest if you must, but don't you quit.

Success is failure turned inside out,
The silver tint of the clouds of doubt.
And you never can tell how close you are,
It may be near when it seems afar.
So stick to the fight when you're hardest hit -
It's when things go wrong that you mustn't quit."

That poem says it all.

What challenge are you facing right now?  I know it's tough.  I know it weighs on your mind.  And I know it may be tempting to throw in the towel and walk away.

Don't you dare quit.

Stand strong.  Persevere.  Keep doing the right thing.  Sooner or later, you will see it is worth it.

So just whisper a prayer, look to the Lord, pull up your bootstraps, and keep at it.

With help from above, you CAN do it!

Saturday, October 5, 2013

What Made Grandaddy So Great

Grandaddy Richardson was one of my heroes growing up in South Carolina.

He was old school.  He liked Wingtip shoes, cowboy movies, the Grand Ole Opry, the mountains, and the great outdoors.

Also, he was in the monument business.  That business still is running today.  He could sell tombstones and grave markers with the best of them.

Grandaddy was also a preacher.  He wore a suit, carried around a King James Bible, and preached at little churches.  Though uneducated, he studied his Bible extensively and he knew how to preach it with amazing skill.

He loved us grandkids.  When he preached on the local AM radio station in Sumter on Sunday mornings, he would address us by name.  We got a kick out of that.  And he always gave us a dollar bill or took us to the store for some Coke and candy whenever he saw us.

I remember the day he died.  I cried because I missed him.  But I knew he was headed to Heaven.  And that is where he wanted to go.

Shortly after his death, I was looking through one of his books that he had given me.  Inside the front cover was something he wrote.  This is what it was:

"Leon Richardson : An old sinner saved by grace."

See, my Grandaddy got it.  As good of a guy as he was, he realized he was still a sinner that needed a savior.  He understood that salvation was a gift he received from God, not a prize he earned by himself.

The older I get, the more grace means to me.  I too am a sinner.  And I certainly do not deserve much at all from God on this earth or beyond the grave.  But the cool thing about grace is God gives me things that are better than what I deserve.  He gives me forgiveness rather than condemnation.  He gives me blessings rather than emptiness.  He gives me Heaven rather than Hell.  And it is for these things that I am so grateful!

Grace should make us humble.  Remember we are not saved because of what we do.  Not at all.  We are saved by what God does.

Grace should make us thankful.  Remember that God has been more than generous to His children.  If He never does anything else for us, we still can spend all of eternity exclaiming "Thank you, Lord!" for how He has already saved us.

What made Grandaddy so great?  The grace of God.  That's what made all the difference in his life.

And grace is what still changes lives today.  Through faith in Jesus Christ, we receive it and are transformed by it.  It makes all the difference in the world.

Grace really is an amazing thing, isn't it?

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Lessons At The Funeral Home

For five months in 2013, I worked part-time at a funeral home.  You know what?  I loved that job.  It was a total pleasure for me to be there.  I got to learn first-hand what goes on with that kind of work as I helped out in a few different roles.

Here are some lessons I learned at the funeral home...

(1).  Treat people with respect.  Obviously, we were working with the remains of those who had passed away.  We made sure to handle them with care.  We knew that the person being prepared for burial was somebody's child, sibling, spouse, parent, or friend.  And we knew the surviving family wanted their deceased one to be treated right.  So that is what we did.  Privately and publically, we were respectful in what we said and how we acted towards those who had passed away.  That's an important part of the job, and they modeled that for me perfectly.

It got me thinking this:  If we treated the deceased that way, shouldn't we also treat the living with respect?  Everyone is valuable and unique because they are created and loved by God.  That is reason enough to be careful with how we speak and act towards others.  The awesome God of the universe wants His living children to be treated with care and handled the right way.  So let's make sure we do that.  The behavior of people is not always respectable; however, what should be respected is the worth of every life and soul we encounter.

(2).  Allow people to grieve in their own way.  I was around families who had recently lost loved ones.  They were going through one of the worst days (if not THE worst day) of their lives.  Some people were quiet, while others were talkative.  Some cried, others smiled, and a few showed no emotion.  I saw one individual cuss and hit a wall.  I watched a son and daughter lovingly and quietly place meaningful objects in a casket with their deceased father.  Throughout all of this, we stood back and patiently let people work through their feelings in their own way.  We did not judge or criticize them at all.  We understand there was (and still is) no textbook way to grieve.

The point is this:  Everyone is wired a little different.  And they should be allowed to express their grief in their own unique way.  Be patient with someone who is hurting.  Give them some time and space to work through it.  Maybe they don't respond to emotional pain the same way you or I do, but that does not mean they are wrong.  It just means each individual has his or her own way of handling grief.

(3).  Live in the present how you want to be remembered in the future.  I watched ministers give sermons and loved ones give eulogies at funeral services.  All of them took the time to reflect on the life of the one we were burying.  The overall character and special qualities of the deceased were lifted up and acknowledged in churches and cemeteries.  More than once, it made me think that one day at my funeral, my life will be reflected upon and summarized.

The deal is this:  The choices we make during our life will determine how people think of us when our time ends on this Earth.  How do we want to be remembered at our funeral services?  When the minister or loved one stands behind that pulpit and talks about us, what will they say?  Let's live good lives now, so that others will have good memories of us later.

Thanks to Bobby and the rest of the crew for letting me join their team for a few brief months.  I really enjoyed working there.  It was one of the most satisfying things I've ever been a part of in my life.  And I'm glad to make some new friendships that really are a blessing.

I'll always be thankful for the lessons I learned at the funeral home.