Friday, January 30, 2015


I once went through a phase in my life when I wanted to escape. 

Here's what I mean.

I would sit at my desk and hear the train go by on the tracks that were real close to my office.  I would think to myself, "Man, I wish I was on that train and headed out of town.  I could just get away from all the hard things I'm dealing with.  I just want to get out of here."  I didn't really care too much where the train was going.  As long as it was far away, anywhere was fine with me.

See, I was dealing with difficult things, and I thought the best solution was to run away from my problems.  I figured that maybe if I got far enough away, I could just start over with life.  That was how I wanted to cope. 

Have you ever felt like that?

The writer of Psalm 55:6-8 did.  Check out what he wrote:  "Oh that I had wings like a dove!  For then I would fly away, and be at rest.  Lo, then I would wander off, and remain in the wilderness.  I would hasten my escape from the windy storm and tempest."

It's a tendency that some folks have.  There are people who cope with difficulty by wanting to drive, fly, or run away from it.  Maybe you know the feeling.

I've changed in this area.  God has taught me that running from problems is not how to respond to them.  Now, I react to challenges differently from how I used to.

See, one thing to remember is that we can't really ever run away from our issues.  Sure, we can change locations.  But the negative stuff in our hearts and minds will just move with us.  As someone wisely said, "Wherever you go, there you are."

Furthermore, I've learned it's far better to man up, look the tough issue right square in the eye, and deal with it.  It's more courageous and productive to have the tough conversations, make the necessary adjustments, and take the bold steps to fix the problem!  That's a far more admirable response than being a coward and fleeing the scene.

Now, when I hear a train, I don't wish I was on it!  Not at all.  Now, I think, "You know, it would take a big train to drag me away by force before I ever left my corner of the world!"  I'm a husband, father, pastor, son, brother, and friend.  I treasure the good life God has given me.  He's been better to me than I deserve.  And now, I appreciate my life way more than I have before.  So whenever little challenges pop up here and there, I just work through them rather than run from them. 

Escape is not the answer.  Not for you.  And not for me.  When adversity comes knocking on the door of life, let's just whisper a prayer and allow God to walk through the tough time with us.  He will stay by our side, equip us for the challenge, and see us through.  And, in the long run, we will become wiser, stronger, and better because we hung in there!

Thursday, January 29, 2015

An Explosive Reaction

Recently I helped my son do a science experiment for school.  We took Mentos and dropped them in two liters of diet cola.  As you can see in the picture above, this led to an explosive reaction.  And, I have to admit, I found the whole process really fun.  We had a great time doing this!

I can think of some other explosive reactions that are even more exciting than that...

When God pours His grace into our sinful lives, we are suddenly cleansed and purified.

When God pours His peace into our stressful lives, we are suddenly calmed and soothed.

When God pours His hope into our fearful lives, we are suddenly encouraged and inspired.

When God pours His power into our weak lives, we are suddenly strengthened and equipped.

When God pours His Spirit into our empty lives, we are suddenly fulfilled and satisfied.

It's true.  Awesome things happen when the Creator interacts with His creation.  His contact with us leads to explosive reactions on a spiritual level.  Things change.  We are transformed.  And life is no longer the same.

If you haven't already experienced this, just say "Yes" to Jesus.  Allow God to enter your heart like the Mentos entered the diet cola.   And when you do, get ready for your life to transformed.  I promise you, it's an experiment that is more than worth your time!

Monday, January 26, 2015


I was driving through Dalzell, SC the other day when I came across this old car.  It was just sitting off the side of the road, totally out of commission.  Rusted out.  And in an automotive way, it had perished.
After snapping a picture of it, I drove off and thought about how we Christians are the opposite of the car.  See, in Jesus Christ, we live forever.  We are guaranteed an eternal life in His presence.
Yes, the bodies you and I have will one day cease to function.  But our soul will depart and be with our Lord.  In addition to this, we will receive a new body.  1 Corinthians 15:53 describes this new body as "imperishable". 
The old car will not get a new body.  But we will!  And it will be one that is made to live forever.  Without end, Amen.
I'm sure glad that our Lord did not create us to exist for 75 years on this Earth before we vanish into nothingness.  An imperishable body and eternal life is what our Lord has in mind for us.  That means He wants to enjoy forever with us in warm, loving fellowship.  We will be blessed with the privilege of an eternal bond with Him.  I can't think of a better future than that!
These years we spend here on Earth do matter.  They are important!  And we would be wise to make to maximize and enjoy them.  But let's also remember there is a whole lot more living for us once we move on from here.  And, my friend, the good news is this:  it's only going to get better! 

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Odds And Ends - Edition 4

* I love the church I am allowed to serve, and I could not be happier than I am at New Calvary.  It's a Jesus-centered, grace-filled, people-loving church.

* Sidewalk Prophets is a really great band.  I enjoyed watching them last night at "Over The Top" here in Sumter.  You can visit their website HERE.

* So it's sounding like the New England Patriots cheated last week in a playoff game by deflating their footballs a little bit.  What came to my mind when I read about this was the idea that sooner or later our sins will find us out.  Eventually, things we do in private will come to the light.  That's true for all of us.

* I'm pulling for Seattle to win the Super Bowl.  

* College football is way more exciting than pro, in my opinion.  But I am a life-long Dallas Cowboys fan and I do enjoy the Super Bowl every year.

* Apparently people in Birmingham, Alabama love the Bible more than people in any other city.  And people in Providence, Rhode Island seem to love it the least.  To read about this, just click HERE.

* The Supreme Court will be deciding soon if gay marriage is to be a right nationwide here in the US.  Regardless of what they say or write, my stance will remain the same.  Marriage is for a man and a woman.  I base my stance on what Jesus said about marriage.  (To see for yourself, click HERE.)

* Big Time Congrats to Duke's Coach K on his 1,000th win.  He's the best in the business.

* I am on Twitter.  You can check in any time you want to see what's going on over there.  To visit my page, just click HERE.

* The Newsboys is a well known Christian band.  One of the guys who helped found the band is now an atheist and has very little good to say about them.  I was surprised to read this.  To check it out for yourself, click HERE.

* God is great, and He always will be.


Thursday, January 22, 2015

The Brokenhearted

Dr. Ergun Caner resigned from Brewton-Parker College this week.  He was the school's sixteenth president.  The main reason he stepped down is that he and his family are grieving and hurting over last year's suicide of his 15-year-old son.  When speaking to the trustee board, Caner said, "I can't get over his death.  My family and my heart need healing." 

That, my friends, is a hurting man.  His heart is broken.  And he is struggling.

Maybe some of you know what it means to be brokenhearted.  Something has gone wrong in your life.  It could be the death of a loved one, divorce, unemployment, betrayal, cancer, neglect, abuse, depression, addiction, or some other trauma.  And you know exactly what Dr. Caner is saying.  Your heart needs healing.

Psalm 147:3 says this about God:  "He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds."  Here we read that there indeed is One who can take our broken, hurting lives, and fix them.  When we need healing, He calms our minds and soothes our hearts.  God can bind our spiritual and emotional wounds and repair what is broken.  In doing this, He makes our aching lives better.

May you and I both look to God, the Heavenly Comforter, when our hearts need healing.  When we take this step, we will be dealing with One who loves us, understands us, and has all the resources necessary to fix us.  For some, this healing will be immediate.  For others, it will be gradual.  But all of us, sooner or later, will find comfort and rejoice once again.  Our formerly broken hearts will finally be well.

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

A Marriage Secret

I recently sat in the living room of an elderly couple that I respect greatly.  They are fine Christian people.  And they've been married a long, long time.  63 years, to be exact.

While visiting with them, I asked this question:  "So, what's the secret to staying married for so long?"  Without hesitation, the wife looked at me and said, "The Lord."  That was the secret.  The Lord.

Their marriage secret makes perfect sense, doesn't it?!  When a husband and wife both look Heavenward, it most certainly does help their relationship.  Let's think about this...

The Lord helps couples love each other.

The Lord helps couples forgive each other when they fail.

The Lord helps couples be patient with each other.

The Lord helps couples serve each other with humble hearts.

The Lord helps couples stay strong when life gets rocky and painful.

It's just the truth.  When a man and a woman invite The Lord into their marriage, the chances of success skyrocket to a much higher level.  If you ask me, that's an advantage we all would be wise to take advantage of.

Monday, January 19, 2015

Everyone Is A Little Quirky

Over the weekend, I bumped into one of my former bosses.  He was always a good guy, and I enjoyed working for him years ago.  As we stood there laughing and catching up on life,  I asked him if the same guys are still there that I used to work with.  He told me that some of them are, and then he added this:  "You know, some of them can get on my nerves at times, but that's ok.  I love 'em anyway.  After all, every one of us is a little quirky, you know?"

Wow.  That was awesome.  And so true!  He hit the nail right smack on the head.

Some folks spend their whole lives never getting close to anyone because they can't cope with the little weird things they see in others.  When oddities come to the surface in people they know, they decide to bolt and not interact with them anymore.  It's kind of like how those characters on "Seinfeld" years ago never could stay in any kind of relationship.  (Click HERE to see a funny, short video of some things they just could not overlook.)

I've learned this along the way:  We all are a little different.  None of us are exactly alike.  Even when it comes to family and friends, I see everyone has their own manner of communicating, relating, eating, dressing, working, and living.  And you know what?  That's perfectly ok!

I'm a little embarrassed to admit this, but here goes:  Years ago, I used to think "Why can't people just be normal like me?"  Be honest.  Have you ever wondered that?  Well, one day it occurred to me, "Wait a second.  How can I be so sure I'm normal?  Maybe I'm just as quirky as others."  And, of course, I realized I AM quirky. 

My former boss reminded me of this truth:  There is not a single person on planet Earth who will always act exactly like we want them to.  Nobody is perfect.  And nobody is "normal" either.  So let's just accept that, exercise some patience, learn to be ok with differences, and love folks anyway.  That frees us up to enjoy relationships and get along with people that God ushers into our lives.  And that makes our own lives a whole lot better!

Saturday, January 17, 2015

Odds and Ends - Edition 3

*  Things are going well for us Richardsons.  Lara, the kids, and I are enjoying church, school, and home life.  We are blessed and thankful beyond measure.

*  Hillsong's album Zion is simply amazing.  

*  So the Pope raised a few eyebrows this week.  He said he would punch someone if they insulted his mother.  Needless to say, some folks did not like this.  Say what you want about this Pope, but at least he is sincere and real.  And, just for the record, I hope all of us guys would stand up and defend our mothers.

*  I'm reading a great book by David Jeremiah called What Are You Afraid Of? and it's teaching me a lot.  When I finish, I'll post a review of it here on the blog.  In the mean time, click HERE to watch a quick, 50 second trailer, which promotes the book.  It will grab your attention!

*  Congrats to you Ohio State Buckeyes on becoming national champs.  You played well and deserved to win it.  I was pulling for the Oregon Ducks, but you Buckeyes were clearly the dominant team that night.  I tip my hat to you.

*  Recently I read that the abortion rate here in America is at the lowest rate it has been since 1973.  That's a good thing.  And yet, it still haunts people.  Not just women.  Men have regrets over it too.  Here is a powerful article and video about how men view abortion.

*  These are interesting times surrounding Newspring Church here in South Carolina.  At their big Christmas Eve services, Perry Noble preached that the 10 Commandments were not really commandments.  He has come out and apologized for it, but now the President of the South Carolina Baptist Convention has issued an online statement about Newspring in general.  Pretty interesting stuff.  Click HERE to read it for yourself.

*  I'm beginning a 6 week sermon series on Psalm 23 here at the church this weekend.  Really excited about preaching through this wonderful passage of scripture.  It's comforting to think of God as our Shepherd who looks after us.

*  My family and I finally watched "Into The Woods".  In my opinion, it started off really well and then got a little bizarre.  I know others liked it, but it seemed a little odd to me during the last hour.  If you don't know what movie I'm talking about, you can watch the trailer of it HERE.

*  I'm ending this on a serious note:  I have a concern and burden on my heart that we here in America may be flirting dangerously with the judgement of God.  We must take a deep look within at where we are headed spiritually and morally.  More to come on this in my next blog post...

Thursday, January 15, 2015


Swan Lake, here in Sumter, SC, is where you can find this statue called "Recovery".  I went out there and visited it for a few moments this morning.  Nobody else was around, so I had time to take it all in and reflect on it.
It's eighteen feet high and made of stainless steel.  Grainger McKoy created this.  The statue is actually of a pintail duck's wing.  He once said that this wing position "is considered the weakest in bird flight."  In other words, when the pintail duck flies, this is the least powerful and most vulnerable position his wing can be in.
Weak.  Vulnerable.  We all get like that at times, don't we?  And when we do, we are in need of recovery.
Have you ever been there?  Maybe you made a big mistake, had to pay for it, and still hurt because of it.  Maybe someone did you wrong and wounded you.  Maybe life dealt you a hard hand, and you have struggled to get back on your feet.  When these sorts of things happen, we can get weak and vulnerable.  And it's then time for recovery.
If you're hurting, remember this:  God is loving and sympathetic.  Also, He is fully aware of your pain.  The good news is, you will not hurt forever.  Better days are ahead.  Yes, you will smile again, and you will rejoice again.  In time, He will enable you to recover.  You'll bounce back.  And these hard times will be behind you.
In the mean time, lean on God.  Allow Him to comfort and soothe you.  And listen out for what He may be trying to teach you.  Painful seasons of life can also be tremendous growing opportunities when we mature spiritually and emotionally.
My friend, you will recover.  Sooner or later, you will get through this, with God's help.  And all will be well.
*** P.S.  If you would like to see the webpage dedicated to this statue and view a brief video about it, just click HERE.

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Getting Away From It All

(Pictured above is my son, Emerson, with me in the mountains of South Carolina on Friday, January 2, 2015.)
On New Year's Day of 2015, I enjoyed getting away from it all.
Dad, my middle brother, my nephew, my son, and I slipped off to Oconee State Park, South Carolina, for a camping trip.  We slept in a tent, sat and ate around a fire, and enjoyed taking in all of the sights.  The mountains looked spectacular, as always, and we enjoyed showing off God's beautiful creation to the kids who came along.  It truly was a wonderful time, and we look forward to doing it again some time in the not so distant future.
That trip reminded me of something...
It's good to get away from the many distractions of life and focus on what matters most.  And what is that?  Relationships.  Specifically, relationships with God and with people.
While we were up there, we didn't have technological devices beeping and buzzing.  And we didn't have college football bowl games blaring.  Obviously, there's nothing wrong with that stuff.  But too much of it can turn our hearts and minds away from the really important things of life.  While we were on our trip, we just talked, walked, ate, read, prayed, and slept.  That was it.  And you know what?  I absolutely loved it!
God reminded me that things like technology and sports are ok, as long as I keep them in perspective.  Those things can play a role in my life, but they should not dominate and control my life.  I guess you could say that God spoke to me during that trip about staying focused on what really matters.
So now I'm back home.  Yes, I do write on this blog and I enjoy a good ball game.  But I'm finding myself less dependent on those things.  I'm noticing that sitting alone at in a quiet place for prayer, reading, and writing, is time well spent.  Ultimately, I'm seeing that investing time and energy in my relationships with God, family, and friends is what matters most. 
I'm glad we got away from it all.  It was a great few days.  And it helped me get some of my priorities back in order. 
May we all remember to focus more on the essentials, and to keep the other things of life in proper perspective.

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

The Gift Of Duct Tape

So, here's the deal.

Over the holidays, one of my relatives gave several of us guys a roll of duct tape as a present.  Needless to say, we all had a good time with it.  The ideas were flowing all over the room about how we could use it.

Here we are a few weeks later, and I'm still thinking about the many wonderful things we can do with duct tape.

For instance...

It can help with child care.  At least we know the little one will stay put!  I don't know why I didn't think about that when I was put in charge of some kids years ago.

It can help with stacking luggage.  When the car is just too full for another suit case, there is now another option.  This would be helpful to remember for the next family vacation.

It can help with airline repair.  If duct tape can truly fix anything, why not use it before soaring several hundred miles per hour at thirty thousand feet?  Makes sense to me.

Ok, maybe I'm getting a little carried away.

But we all had fun with the duct tape gift.  It led to some great conversation and laughs.  And, in fairness, I should add that this relative also gave all us guys a little red envelope with money in it too.  So that made everything more than alright!

We all have been there.  We've given gifts, and we've received gifts.  Some of these gifts are a hit, and some are ... well ... a miss.  But it's fun regardless!

God, on the other hand, always knows exactly what to do when it comes to giving gifts.  He hits it out the park every time.  Whatever we receive from Him is top notch and perfect.

In James 1:17 we read, "Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the Heavenly lights."  Isn't that true?  When God dishes out gifts such as grace, forgiveness, love, peace, joy, hope, and strength, just to name a few, we're blessed beyond measure.  And we know we can never thank Him enough.

You know, folks, the best things in life come from God.  They really do!  And if you want to receive the best gifts known to man, just look to Him.  He will open the windows of Heaven and pour His blessings on you.  When this happens, you will never be the same.

Duct tape is pretty good!  There's no denying that.  Every house needs a roll or two.

But, man oh man, nothing beats the gifts that come from God.  They're simply the best.  And they last for all of eternity.

That's just one more reason why we say, "God is good!"

Saturday, January 10, 2015

Odds and Ends - Edition 2

Here are several different thoughts and items I'd like to share with you:

* Bill Cosby:  He's being accused left and right of assaulting women.  Maybe he did.  Maybe he didn't.  If he did, may God comfort and heal those who were hurt by him.  If he didn't, may Bill's name be cleared and redeemed.  Personally, I think he'd be smart to cancel any and all public speaking engagements that are on his calendar until this can be sorted out.  I do know this:  Anyone (including Mr. Cosby) is capable of doing evil, and everyone needs the Savior in this fallen, broken world.  

* Perry Noble:  I tip my hat to him for his online apology after some recent mistakes he made in his ministry.  It takes a mature person to own up to failure and seek to make things right.  Pastors are human too, and they make mistakes like everyone else on the planet.  Being humble and honest about falling short is a good step towards healing.  To read his apology, just click HERE. 

*  Freedom of Speech:  The terrorist attack in Paris this past week was terrible.  We all recoil at the idea of radicals killing people over a cartoon that was published in a magazine.  Americans have been reminding the world these past few days about the importance of free speech.  And I certainly agree with that!  The freedom to think for ourselves and express our ideas is a valuable thing.  But I do wonder this:  Is America consistent with this idea?  Do conservatives have the freedom to express their views on issues such as the sanctity of life and the definition of marriage without the threat of being fired or censored?  My point is, if we Americans really value freedom of speech like we say we do, then conservatives should have the same liberty as liberals.  In my opinion, this is currently not the case. 

* Oregon vs. Ohio State for the national championship on Monday night:  For me, it's "Go Ducks!"

* Hitting a girl:  Is it ok for guys to hit girls?  The best video I've seen in a while addressed this.  It's only 3 minutes long and it involves kids.  You really do want to watch this!  Just click HERE.

* O.S. Hawkins has written some great Christian books over the years.  I've read a few of them and use them in my ministry.  This week I learned several of his books can be downloaded for free on most devices.  I'd encourage you to check out his stuff and read some of it.  I give it two thumbs up!  To go to his website, just click HERE.

That's it for tonight.

Thanks for taking the time to swing by the blog.

Thursday, January 8, 2015

The Mark

I watched my daughter, Elizabeth, mark our home this week.  She hung a green "R" outside.  Obviously, that's for "Richardson".

I really like what she did!

Is there a mark for a Christian?  In other words, is there a sign in a person's life that indicates he or she belongs to Jesus?  Actually, yes, there is.

In John 13:35, Jesus states, "By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another."  Just as the "R" signifies this home is for Richardson's, love signifies our hearts are for Jesus.  Treating one another favorably proves our connection with Him.

This love that Jesus is talking about is a pure, unconditional, patient, kind, selfless, forgiving kind of love.  In other words, it's a special gift that only comes from above.  Jesus helps us love people in a way that we could never love on our own.

When people look at our lives, what do they see?  Hopefully they see love.  Us caring genuinely about one another.  When they witness this in you and me, they can know pretty confidently that we belong to Jesus.  And they may even want to experience a personal connection with Him too!

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

The Bag Full Of Forks

I went through the Golden Chick drive through tonight to get me some supper on the way home.  The lady at the window gave me my food and I gave her the money.  Then I headed home.

When I arrived here at the house, I looked in the bag and noticed she did not give me one fork, which was all I needed.  Instead, she gave me seven!  The Golden Chick was mighty generous tonight and gave me way more utensils than I asked for.

When I saw it, I had to laugh.  Then I thought about Ephesians 3:20, which states that God "is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think".  Isn't that awesome?!  God at times will bless us way more than we ask for.  Sort of like the Golden Chick giving me a lot more forks than I asked for.  But better!

Thanks to that chicken place, I got a good reminder tonight.  God is good.  He takes care of us.  And He blesses us way more than we deserve or ask.

Now if you'll excuse me, I need to go find a place in our kitchen to put all these forks.  :)

Tuesday, January 6, 2015


This morning I drove by a pond here in our town.  The temperature outside was very low.  And I thought to myself, "That water looks freezing cold!"

As I looked at the pond, I reflected on the fact that sometimes we human beings can be cold in our hearts.  And that really has a negative effect on others.  Just as nobody enjoys diving into cold water, nobody enjoys being around cold people.

Cold people are...

Arrogant.  They look down condescendingly on others.

Apathetic.  They come across as unconcerned about the needs and hurts of less fortunate people.

Angry.  They can be rude, abrupt, and harsh in their tone, demeanor, and actions.

Those kinds of people are not pleasant to deal with at all.

May God help us all be warm and loving instead of cold!  As we allow the shining light of His loving presence to fill us, we will warm up in our heart and be much more of a pleasure for others to be around.  What an awesome transformation that is.

So that's the choice we have:  Either we are cold and turn people away, or we are warm and draw people in.  That's it.  You and I ultimately have one effect or the other on those we meet.

May God warm our hearts so we can be warm towards our family, friends, neighbors, and world.

Monday, January 5, 2015

Max Lucado's "Before Amen"

I've enjoyed reading Max Lucado's books for years now.  They've always spoken directly to me.  And his recent volume, "Before Amen", moved me as well.

It's about prayer.  Specifically, it's about what Max calls "The Pocket Prayer".  In true-to-Lucado form, the prayer is simple, yet powerful.  Here it is:

you are good.
I need help.  Heal me and forgive me.
They need help.
Thank you.
In Jesus' name, amen.

What he does in this book is walk us through the prayer.  Along the way, Max talks about the goodness of God, healing, forgiveness, interceding for others, and praying in the name of Jesus.  He uses his creative style and fascinating stories to drive home his point with excellence.  In my opinion, it's one of the best books Max has written, and that's saying a lot.

I finished reading it over the weekend on a camping trip.  It was a pleasure for me to learn more from Max.  And it was time well spent by our campfire.  
Allow we to encourage you to do something:  Get "Before Amen" and read it.  I guarantee it will bless your soul and lift your spirit.  I know it meant the world to me!  

To learn more about this book, and to see how you can order it for yourself, just click HERE.

Thursday, January 1, 2015

Odds and Ends - Edition 1

* In addition to the regular devotionals I'll keep writing here, I'm now beginning to post a weekly "Odds And Ends" article with quick, random thoughts and observations.

* 2014 has come to an end.  My family and I agree it really was a great year.  The closeness my family enjoys, the church I pastor, the home where we now live, and life in general are all blessings for which I am deeply thankful.  God has been good to me.

* I'm more than ready to dive into 2015 with family and ministry.

* Looking ahead to 2015, it sure seems like the two biggest issues our nation's leaders will have to deal with are immigration and terrorism.  Those who have been elected will sure need our prayers for wisdom with these matters.

* It's a thrill to see gas prices getting close to $2 a gallon.  I never thought we'd see it that low again.  Keep on dropping!

* It's been sad to read about Mars Hill shutting down on the West Coast.  I'm sure there are a lot of people out there who are hurting over this.  Mark Driscoll is a bright fellow, and I do wish him well.  Everyone makes mistakes, so I can't see throwing rocks at him.  May God help him bounce back in the right way, at the right time.  May this make him better instead of bitter.

* Folks are already complaining about the 4 team college football playoff.  There's talk of expanding to 8 teams in a few years.  I hope they don't do that.  Keep it at 4.  If we get too many teams involved with playoffs, regular season games will mean a little less.  I think it would ultimately hurt college football.  Keep things the way we have it.

* The final Hobbit movie is really quite wonderful.  I thoroughly enjoyed it.  Peter Jackson has done a fantastic job with the Tolkien stories.

* "The Lord of the Rings" trilogy is by far the best fiction I've ever read.  If you haven't read it, I'd encourage you to do so.

* I've come across a powerful blog post you will enjoy reading.  It's by Perry Noble (a pastor in Anderson, SC) and it's called "Kicked Out".  His story is about being thankful.  You can read it by clicking HERE.

* May God bless you and yours with a Happy 2015!  I hope it's your best year yet.