Saturday, August 29, 2015

Too Easily Offended

It seems to me that our society is becoming hyper-sensitive and too easily offended.  Everywhere we look, someone's feelings are hurt by the words or actions of another person.  And it's reaching the point now where it's almost laughable.  People are getting offended at insignificant, petty things.

Are you that way?  Are your feelings always getting hurt by someome else?  Or do you know someone like this?  Then consider these quick thoughts...

(1). You'll stay miserable if you're too easily offended.  There's not going to be much happiness for you or for the people who are connected to you if you are always allowing your feelings to be hurt.  Do you really want to live that way?

(2). Take personal responsibility for your own emotional and mental well-being.  If you're too easily offended, you give others control over how you feel and what you think.  Don't live at the mercy of other people.  Figure out who you are, grow strong spiritually, emotionally, and mentally, and be secure with yourself.  Choose to be at peace with who and what you are.  Then the words and actions of others won't rattle you so much.

(3). Learn to laugh at yourself!  In other words, don't take yourself too seriously.  When someone points out a quirk, oddity, or goof-up in your life, it's not the end of the world.  It's just a reminder that you're an imperfect human like everyone else.  Be secure enough with yourself to admit that you have some flaws and accept that there just might be some humor in it.  Confident people are ok with laughing at themselves.

Listen, you can choose to accept yourself and be happy!  Don't waste your years being overly-sensitive and upset by what others say and do.  Just figure out who you are, accept it, and live your life in peace and joy.  And don't allow the words and actions of others to drag you down.

Come on America!  Don't be so easily offended.  That's no way to live.

Wednesday, August 26, 2015


Here are some of my favorites...

Favorite color:  Navy blue
Favorite college sports team:  South Carolina Gamecocks
Favorite clothes to wear:  Old jeans and t-shirt
Favorite kind of music:  Country
Favorite sleep position:  On my right side
Favorite food:  Pizza
Favorite NASCAR driver:  Dale Earnhardt Jr.
Favorite actor:  Harrison Ford
Favorite place to live:  Sumter, SC
Favorite book (besides Bible):  Crime And Punishment, Fyodor Dostoyevsky
Favorite place to visit:  The mountains
Favorite time of year:  Fall
Favorite drink:  Water
Favorite dessert:  My Mom's lemon meringue pie
Favorite child:  All four of mine  :)

See, when it comes to my kids, I don't have a favorite.  I love all four of them.  Each one means the world to me. 

And it's the same with God when He looks at all of us.  He has no favorites.  He loves each of us.  Nobody gets preferential treatment over the others.  We know this is true because in Romans 2:11, we read "God does not show favoritism."  And in Acts 10:34, Peter says, "I now realize how true it is that God does not show favoritism."

Regardless of whether you're male, female, white, black, brown, yellow, young, old, tall, short, skinny, thick around the middle, rich, poor, educated, uneducated, Republican,  Democrat, Libertarian, sophisticated, rough around the edges, or anything else, you are important to God.  He loves you deeply and does not prefer anyone else over you.  In His eyes, you matter just as much as every other individual on the planet.   

We humans have favorites.  That's just how we roll.  But that's not the case with God.  He is impartial.  He cares about all people and offers His amazing grace to everyone.  That, my friends, is a mighty good deal for you and me.

Let us be thankful to God that He does not play favorites.

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Raising Kids And Letting Go

I spoke on the phone this afternoon with a wonderful lady who is a member here at New Calvary.  We were talking about raising kids and letting go.  She gave me a valuable reminder when she said this:  "You know, I once heard a Sunday School teacher say that God loans us His children to raise for Him.  Then we have to let go so they can go out into the world and do what they were sent here to do."  Then she said, "Don't get me wrong, David.  We're supposed to love our children and have those feelings for them.  But we can't hold on too tight.  They belong to the Lord, and we don't want to hold them back from why they were put on this Earth."
Wow!  Those were some powerful, true, wise words that I needed to hear.  I thanked her for reminding me of that.  And I was convinced the good Lord was speaking to me through my dear friend.
Kids are a blessing and a joy.  You love yours, and I love mine.  Thank God for the sons and daughters He allows us to cherish and raise.
But they are not ours.  Ultimately, they are the Lord's.  And our job is to teach them to love, trust, honor, worship, and serve the Lord.  Once they reach a mature age, they need to launch out into the world and fulfill His purpose for their lives.
I'll always love my kids.  And I'll always treasure my relationship with them.  That's a precious thing.  But I also know that God needs to be number one in their lives.  God needs to be who matters most to them.
That's also true for your kids.  Enjoy your bond with them.  But keep in mind that ultimately, they are children of the Lord.
May God help all of us parents raise our kids right.  And may God enable us to let go at the appropriate time.  When this happens, we are setting them free to spread their wings and fulfill their purpose. 

Saturday, August 15, 2015

Where I Stand : On Marriage

Marriage.  It's a big deal.  Let's think on this for a moment.

In the book of Genesis, we see where God created a man out of the dust of the ground.  But there was a problem.  The man was lonely.  He did not have a companion.

So God caused the man to fall asleep, took out one of his ribs, and made a new creature.  A beautiful being that was quite different from the man.  Then, when he woke up, God brought to him this amazing, new creation.

These are the words of the man when he was united with this new person:  "This is now bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called 'woman,' for she was taken out of man."  Then, in the next verse, we read "That is why a man leaves his father and mother and is united to his wife, and they become one flesh."  There we see the beginning of marital love between a man and a woman.  (This scripture is found in Genesis 2:23-24)

Over in the New Testament, Jesus upheld this as the model for what marriage should be.  In Matthew 19:4, He said that God "Who made them in the first place made them man and woman".  In verse 5, He quotes Genesis 2:24 (the verse I quoted in the previous paragraph).  Finally, in verse 6, Jesus says "Let no man divide what God has put together."  Here, in these three verses, Jesus drives home with clarity what marriage is.

In a nutshell, here is a definition of marriage:  A loving relationship between a man and a woman where they stay together faithfully.

God (as always) did a brilliant job in the way He set this up.  Women and men are different from one another; however, they complement each other in a wonderful way.  Physically and emotionally, something great happens when they unite as one in marriage.

More and more these days, some want to redefine marriage.  They advocate men marrying men, and women marrying women.  And currently they may legally do so here in the United States.  While some see this as a good thing, I do not.  As I read the scriptures, this goes against what God wants for marriage; therefore, I oppose same-sex marriage. 

Times are changing.  And so are laws.  That's just how things play out.  But God's Word stays the same today, tomorrow, and forever more.

As long as I am a pastor, I will preach that marriage is for a man and a woman.  This will not change.

As long as I am a pastor, I will do weddings for couples that consist of one man and one woman.  This will not change. 

And as long as I am a pastor, I will do my best, with God's help, to encourage and minister to married couples through the ups and downs of life.  This will not change.

That is where I stand on marriage.

Friday, August 14, 2015

A Surprising Sight

Not too along ago, I was driving down Broad Street here in Sumter.  While passing our mall, I was surprised to see someone standing on the sidewalk and waving at cars.  It was Mickey Mouse!

We don't ever see him here in our town.  Florida and California are where he normally hangs out.  So it was certainly a surprising sight.

One day, Someone else will make a visit.  And He is a much bigger deal than a Disney character on a small town sidewalk.  The difference is, we already know He is coming, and we need not be surprised.

Jesus Christ, the Son of God, will one day come back to this world.

He's been here before.  Born to Mary and Joseph, He walked on this Earth for about 33 years.  He taught truth and worked miracles.  He died on a cross and came back from the dead.  Then He ascended back up to Heaven.

But while He was here, He told us He would one day return.  In John 14:3 He said, "I will come back and take you to be with me."  And in Luke 12:40 He said "You must be ready, because the Son of Man will come at an hour when you do not expect Him." 

I do not know when this is going to happen.

But I do know this:  He is coming.  It will happen.  He has made this abundantly clear.

May we all prepare for His return with an expectant heart instead of getting caught off guard!  We can do this by asking Him now to forgive our sins and save our souls.  Then we can love, worship, obey and follow Him.  This will motivate us to do His work around the world.   And when this happens, His future return will be a welcome sight rather than a startling surprise.     

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Check The Manual

I was asked to use the leaf blower at work the other day.  So I grabbed it, walked outside, and tried turning it on.  But it wouldn't cooperate.  After a few failed attempts, I pulled out my iPhone and found the manual online for the blower.  I read a few lines, got the information I needed, made the adjustments, and immediately got it working.  

All because I checked the manual.

I'm also glad that we have a manual to show us how to make our lives work correctly.  It's the perfect "how to" guide for things we deal with all the time.  And the author is more than qualified to write it!  After all, He created you and me.

I'm sure you've figured out by now that I'm talking about the Bible.  God's perfect word.  The greatest book ever written.

In what area do you need guidance?  Marriage?  Money?  Parenthood?  Work?  Emotions?  Morality?  Whatever it is, just check The Manual.  God's Book has all the answers you need, and it will forever lead you in the right direction.

I'm glad I found those directions online for the leaf blower!  But I'm more glad that I found the The Manual for every day living.  It's been a blessing.  And I'll forever be thankful to have it.

Pick up your copy today.  Learn how to make life work best.  And do what it says.  I guarantee you it will be worth your time!

Monday, August 10, 2015

What I'm Learning About Preaching

A friend of our family took this picture of me preaching here at New Calvary Baptist Church yesterday.  I did not know it was being taken.  But I was glad to see it when it was texted to me last night.  It's a quick glimpse of me doing one of the things I love most.

I've been preaching since 1989.  And I love doing it.  Sharing from God's word is a thrill.

Here are five things I'm learning about preaching...

(1). Keep it biblical.  The people in the pews will benefit from scripture more than anything else.  There is power in the Bible.  Helping folks get more comfortable and familiar with God's word on Sunday can empower them for the rest of the week. 

(2). Keep it focused.  Decide ahead of time what you want them to learn and then aim your sermon at that alone.  I remember my friend Calvin Miller advocated preaching one point sermons.  Chasing rabbits during the sermon is counterproductive, but staying on task and focusing in one direction is good for everyone involved.

(3). Keep it practical.  After you explain what the scripture meant in its original context, show the congregation how to apply it to their lives today.  My uncle, Dr. Phillip Reynolds, told me this years ago:  "Every sermon shouĊ‚d answer this question:  So what?  What difference should this scripture make in my life today?"  That's so true!  The sermon on Sunday should give people something to live out on Monday.  

(4). Keep it encouraging.  People need to walk out of that church building with hope in their hearts.  The preacher needs to remind them God offers forgiveness for their sins, strength for their battles, direction for their decisions, comfort for their aches, and paradise for their future.  The world can beat folks down with negativity; however, the preacher can lift them up with The Lord.

(5). Keep it God-centered.  He is to be the star and the center of attention from start to finish.  The sermon time is not about the preacher strutting his stuff and showcasing his wit, charm, and knowledge.  Not at all!  It's about putting the spotlight on the one, true, living God of the universe, who is the hope for every man, woman, boy, and girl.  He should be the object of attention because He is who everyone in those pews needs most of all.

There is plenty more to say about preaching.  I've just hit a few points here.  But I'm convinced that if we preachers practice these five disciplines, we'll accomplish the mission and bless the congregation on Sunday morning.

May God help us preach His word with power, focus, clarity, grace, and love every Sunday.

Saturday, August 8, 2015


I swung by an office the other day here in Sumter to pay a bill.  There was a lady sitting behind the counter, and she seemed to be really down.  I had seen her several times before and it seemed like this day she was hurting more than usual.  After I handed her a check, she gave me a receipt.  Then I said, "Hey, I appreciate you."  She looked at me with tired eyes and responded, "Well, thanks.  I haven't heard anyone say that in years."  That was pretty much the end of our conversation.

Wow!  That's pretty sad.  I hurt for her.

I wonder how many people we see every day feel just like that lady?  It's possible we rub shoulders with folks on a regular basis who feel like they are not appreciated.  And maybe more people feel like that than we realize.

I've learned gratitude is a good thing to have and demonstrate.  People are blessed and uplifted when we express to them how much we appreciate them.  It means the world to them.

Let's show our spouse, children, friends, neighbors, co-workers, volunteers, and leaders know how much they mean to us.  And while we're at it, let's tell God how much we appreciate Him as well.  The creation and the Creator alike receive a blessing when we tell them "Thank you" for what they do.

May each of us do our part in letting others know they are indeed appreciated.

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Where I Stand : On The Unborn

In the beginning was God.  He created human life.  First He made a man.  Then He made a woman.

God gave the man and the woman a mission.  It was simple but important:  "Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it." (Genesis 1:28)  This human life that God created was to begin reproducing.  He wanted the woman to have babies, and He wanted human life to cover the world that He had created.

From the very beginning, we see that God is about life.  Human life.  Yours and mine.

Let's think for a moment about the unborn.

When a baby is conceived, God is working an incredible, mind-boggling miracle.  A tiny egg is fertilized, and the result is a little life right there in the womb of the mother.  It is hard for us to fathom how God works all this out.  But He does it amazingly well!

Just consider these two verses that describe what happens with the unborn during a pregnancy:  "For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother's womb.  I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made..."  (Psalm 139:13-14)  Here we see God "knitting" a little one together.  And we see that He is doing a "wonderful" job of it.  When that baby is born a few months later, God's fingerprints are all over it.

Human life is sacred.  It has immense value because God created it.  This is true with men, women, boys, and girls that you see every day.  And this is true for the unborn.

Because of this, I believe human life is to be protected and celebrated.  Little unborn babies that are in the wombs of their mothers should be defended as well.  Though they are tiny and dependent upon those who carry them, they are still human lives. 

This is why I am diametrically opposed to abortion.  Murdering babies in the wombs of their mothers has nothing to do with "choice" or "reproductive rights".  It is evil.  It is wrong.  And it directly goes against what God is for, which is life.

I am pro-life.  This means that I believe life, including life of the unborn, is precious.  Why?  Because God created it, and He calls us to reproduce it. 

This is where I stand on the unborn.

Monday, August 3, 2015

That Time We Went Roller Skating

Emerson was bored last Friday.  I could see it all over his face.  And I sort of felt sorry for the little fellow. 
"Em, what would you like to do this afternoon?", I asked.
He thought for a minute and responded, "Can we go roller skating?"
"Sure," I replied.  "Go get ready and see if your sisters want to come along too."
Twenty minutes later, two of my daughters, Emerson, and I were on our way to Skate Station, which is a neat place here in our town of Sumter.  Everyone was excited and looking forward to a fun time.  We pulled into the parking lot, paid our way, put on our skates, and jumped into the thick of the action. 
For an hour and twenty minutes we skated laps.  The lights were cool and the music was fun, top-40 tunes that we knew really well.  Each of us had a ball!
Finally, we all got tired.  So we slid off our skates, got back our regular shoes, and headed on out the door.  Smiles were on every face, and it was obvious a good time was had by all.
I was tempted to go and just sit while they skated.  My reason for that was I had not skated in over 30 years, and I really didn't want to fall and break a bone.  Furthermore, I was thinking I may look a little ridiculous as a 44 year old man out there on roller skates.
But then this thought went through my mind:  "I need to relax and have more fun with my kids.  Even if I'm not that good at skating, and even if it's a bit of a risk, they're worth it."
I guess we dads at times can get so wrapped up in things like paying bills, completing projects, and trying to relax quietly by ourselves, that we may not spend enough fun time with our sons and daughters.  When I think about this, I realize it's important for us to make memories with our kids that will stick in their minds for the rest of their lives.  They need to see us smile, hear us laugh, and sense us having a good time with them.
Going to Skate Station was good for the kids and me.  We bonded a little closer.  I got to hold hands with both of my daughters at different times as we skated laps.  That was special to me!  And I got to laugh and cut up with Emerson some too.  But the best part of it all was that I got to reinforce in their minds that I truly do love them.  And that made it all worth while!
May we dads and moms make time to show our kids that they mean the world to us.  We don't have to go skating to do that.  There are many different ways we can bond with them.  But the important thing is we invest time in their young lives and have a little fun with them.  That'll go a long, long way with them, and they will always remember it.