There are so many things to be grateful for!

One thing we should all be grateful for is our family. Even though each of us can agree that we all have plenty of dysfunction within our families! We all have our fair share of heartbreak and heartache.

God help us to be thankful!

II Timothy chapter 3:1 says "In the last days, people will become more unthankful."

Two thousand years ago, the Apostle Paul predicted a global problem of ungratefulness; being selfish and being lovers of ourselves. We have to give thanks and be grateful for more than just one day a year designated to do so.

We really do have so much to be thankful for each day!

Have you ever noticed when you concentrate on what you don’t have, what you do have is never enough? When you live to consume or when you live for yourself, you are never happy or satisfied. Selfish people really do not win in the long run.

We must give of ourselves and extend beyond our personal interests. We must be givers, not takers. We must be contributors, not consumers. Not only is it found in the Bible, it is one of those laws of the universe where sharing, caring, and giving trumps self – centered narcissism and selfishness every time.

Be a person who invests in others, not the one who always looks out for “number one.” We must live with an attitude of gratitude. It is impossible to be negative while we are giving thanks! Seeds of discontentment don’t grow in a grateful heart. Gratitude is not a feeling, it’s a muscle and it needs a workout every day.

I hope you and your family have a blessed holiday!


I Want a New Marriage


Every married couple has said “I want a new marriage!” All marriages have room to grow. I’m so excited about our new series that will encourage, challenge, instruct, & improve your marriage!

In our culture, everyone is searching for “Mr. / Mrs. Right.” Most ladies are daydreaming about her knight in shining armor and looking for her combination of Gerard Butler, Brad Pitt, and Will Smith. Most men are on the hunt for that sexy, gorgeous, funny girl with a killer smile.

Women want romance, sensitivity, and humor. Men dream of a woman with a beautiful body that he will marry and have sex with three times a day with… and yes, he is still dreaming!

Mr. and Mrs. Right get married and have a few children. They work on building their careers and paying the mortgage, car payments, cell phones, etc. You get the picture — life happens!

The problem is we dated perfect people. We had picture perfect expectations for a faultless marriage. Those expectations were far from realistic.

Most couples go into their marriage believing that if they can marry Mr. or Mrs. Right, that person will be the answer to all their problems. They believe that love will keep them together. Don’t get me wrong, I’m a hopeless romantic and I am a firm believer in love. You have to possess love!

I’m not only talking about silly, ooey-gooey, emotional type love.

I am talking about commitment; Honoring your vows and holding on when the road gets bumpy.

I am referring to a I Corinthians 13:4-7 kind of love. The kind of love that bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, and endures all things.

Too many couples today are throwing in the towel and giving up on their marriages. They become selfish and immature. They treat their marriage like a high school relationship. Grow up! This is your life. This is your marriage! Remember that you made a covenant to your spouse and to God.

I’m not saying that things will not be difficult. You will have to fight for your sanity more often than you ever expected! If you’re married, you will face disappointment and dissatisfaction. You will wonder at times, “Do I really love this person?”

Hell is trying to destroy your family.

Love your spouse. Call each other just to say hello.

Date once a week. Get away quarterly.

Communicate both openly and honestly. Fight to stay together.

Put Jesus first and keep Him first. Look in the mirror and not out the window.

Ask God to change you and not your spouse.





My Baby Said Yes…What?

The exciting times didn’t end with Jeremiah’s proposal…

This summer in Destin, Kirby’s boyfriend, Reid approached me while we were both in the ocean and asked for permission to propose to Kirby. I thought about drowning him but I decided against it!

A week ago on Saturday, we attended a surprise birthday party for Reid which was actually a surprise proposal/engagement party for Kirby! My little Kirby said yes…wow!

It is weird to say that my baby girl is engaged. In my mind, she is still a 15 year old soccer playing tomboy who doesn’t even like boys. Apparently she likes Reid!

I remember how overwhelmed Vickie and I were when we found out that she was pregnant with Kirby. Our twins were only 10 months old when we got the news. I will be honest and say that we were not jumping for joy in the very beginning. But then Kirby arrived and it was like God had sent our own personal little sunshine! She has always had such a great sense of humor and has always brought such laughter.

I could tell you about the time she shaved both eyebrows off just a week before her 5th grade graduation ceremony or another time when she wanted to look like a football player so she put her finger in warm candle wax and rubbed it under each eye, only to break out in big red whelps.

Kirby was never really a “girly” girl. She grew up playing basketball with four older brothers and she took their abuse while playing. It just made her scrappier and tougher! I will say she has quite a little temper while playing, I’m not sure where that came from!

Since she was a little girl, Kirby has been passionate about reaching people for Christ. She was always inviting her friends from school to church and as she grew up, she shared Jesus with others boldly. She went to El Salvador after graduation high school and lived there serving in ministry. She is now involved in FCA and is currently trying to raise support for her position. She is not ashamed, she loves Christ.

Kirby and Vickie are best friends and they are together most of the time. So we all need to pray for her Mom because she is going to have a time with this! But so is her Dad. This is my baby girl…my kirby shirby lirby…my little tomboy. I guess she grew up. She is such a beautiful woman.

Reid is a good man. He loves Christ and is active in serving in ministry. He loves my Kirby and she loves him. My little Kirby is getting married…

She Said Yes!

It has been an exciting time around our house.

My son Jeremiah proposed to his girlfriend Claire week before last and she said yes! In typical Jeremiah fashion, he arranged a creative, elaborate picnic in downtown Atlanta, complete with Coke bottles spelling out the words, “Will You Marry Me?” Thank God that afterwards, he was able to sit out additional Coke bottles on the blanket that spelled, “She Said Yes!”

It was such an eye catching event that people from the Coke factory took pictures and invited Jeremiah and Claire in to take pics with the polar bear and enjoy glasses of cold Coke where they were toasted and applauded!

I just want to share a moment about Jeremiah… I know he is my kid but I honestly have never met anyone who works any harder than he does. And he gives it his all, no matter what job he is doing. He has been this way since he was a little kid.

He is just a little OCD! If you walk in his room and look in his sock drawer, you will find them in perfect rows arranged by color. His shirts and pants are organized and neatly hung in the closet. You will never find piles of laundry or junk on Jeremiah’s floor because he is such a neat freak. To this day, when we have a big family dinner, Jeremiah is the first one up from the table clearing dishes and cleaning up. Claire is either going to be extremely blessed or driven insane! haha

Jeremiah is loyal. He is attentive to needs that his family may have and if he can, he tries to help. His Mom got caught at Sam’s recently and realized at the register that she had no cash. BY talking to Kirby, Jeremiah learned of the situation and he showed up, credit card in hand to take care of his Mom.

I had the awesome opportunity to start New Season with Jeremiah by my side. He was our Children’s Pastor for a while and I still have families talk about how much they love him. He then moved into our Service Programming role and brought incredible creativity to the table. We may have had a few rough patches (Vickie says it is because we are so much alike) but all in all, it really was a great experience and I have some awesome memories of that time serving with my son.

And Claire…she is a beautiful young woman who adores Jeremiah. They are enjoying life and having fun. She is involved at Mosaic Church with Jeremiah so she is getting a good taste of ministry life. We are excited about welcoming her into the family!

Be A Part of the Miracle!

This Sunday is a very important day at New Season in Hiram and South Paulding (Memphis will be on Dec 6 ). It is the day that we will have our annual Kingdom Come offering. We are asking every active member and attender to take part and show generosity by contributing as we seek to raise a miracle offering. It will take generosity and it will take EVERYONE being involved!

Our Kingdom Come offering will be used for A, B, and C…

All about children – over the years, we have used a “band aid” approach in our Children’s Area. We would love to put $20, 000 to $30 000 in to our Children’s Ministry; to change the look of their area and purchase the equipment that they need.

Bless our missionaries and church plants – New Season Church is involved in ministry all over the world. We are actively involved in missions in Africa, El Salvador, Costa Rica, Argentina, Peru, Mexico and Thailand. We have church plants up the street in in Woodstock, in Tennessee, and Los Angeles. We have helped start other churches in Chattanooga and Florida. We understand that it is all about the kingdom and we want to share Jesus across the street and around the world. Your gift makes that possible!

Create irresistible environments – we would like to pave our parking lot and take care of much needed repairs inside and outside of our building. When you accommodate a large group of people week in and week out, there is going to be much wear and tear. We are at that point and we need a make over.

There are ministries that we want to invest in, projects we want to be involved in, needs we need to meet, etc… and this special offering will put us in a position to do these things.

It is proven that giving decreases in most churches during the holidays. Isn’t it sad to think that because we rush out to buy gifts that we fall short on being obedient to Jesus with our tithes and offerings? I want to challenge you to put Kingdom Come offering at the top of your list. Be involved in something that has an eternal impact in THOUSANDS of lives! Don’t miss out on the opportunity to invest in people…that’s what it’s all about!

I am excited about Sunday’s offering. I am excited that we get to “give back” and honor God in our giving. I am expecting a miracle offering…be part of the miracle!

4 Kinds of People

Negative people are everywhere.

Have you noticed that they have a sixth sense? They will sniff you out and find you to complain about something. Surely you know what I am talking about…have you ever been around a really negative person? You know the ones I am talking about – they whine and complain about everything! If you give them just two minutes of your time, they will manage to tell you what is wrong with their job, their family, their kids, their neighbors, their church, etc. Everything in their lives is negative.

I find myself wondering what happened to those people to make them so mean and critical. Why do they look at everything with a dark cloud? Why is their entire life colored gray? Their glass is always half empty and if you give them a chance, they will even pour water out of your glass!

I do know that some people have had a difficult past, a rough childhood or a really negative situation that has left them bitter. That is the root of their dark cloud. I understand that there are things in life that we cannot control. But your critical, complaining, grumbling attitude is not one of them!

Do you complain too much?

Do people avoid you because you are so negative?

Do you avoid certain people because you know their critical spirit and negative attitude will pull you down? I do! Really, I do! Life is too short to be consumed by those kind of people.

There are four kinds of people in everyone’s life. Those who add, those who multiply, those who subtract and those who divide.

I try to surround myself with fun, positive, “let’s go change the world” kind of people. Stay away from those people who take away from you or pollute you. Jesus said a house divided cannot stand. Get away from these kind of people. If you are around that type of negative influence, you will soon become one of those negative people yourself!

Stay positive and be the kind of person that people love to see coming their way.

Your Greatest Asset

There is an invisible enemy that can trip you up every time and cause you to make really bad decisions…I’m talking about the battle in the mind.

98% of the battles you fight will be won or lost in your mind first.

II Corinthians 11:3 says, “But I am afraid that as the serpent deceived Eve by his cunning, your thoughts will be led astray from a sincere and pure devotion to Christ.”

Philippians 4:23 – “The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit.”

II Timothy 1:7 – “for God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control.”

The battle for your mind,  is vicious. It is intense. It is unrelenting, and it is unfair because Satan never plays fair. And the reason why it is so intense is that your greatest asset is your mind.

And you know whatever gets your mind gets you. So one of the most important things we need to learn is how to guard, strengthen, and renew our minds, because the battle for sin always starts in the mind.

If you don’t think right, you won’t act right. Wrong thinking leads to negative emotions and negative emotions leads to bad decisions.Its a battle for your mind.

The Bible talks about:

Romans 12:1 tells us to renew our minds. The battle for the mind is worth the fight.Your mind is your greatest asset.

Visionaries, Cheerleaders and Warrors

Defining leadership in a specific sense is really difficult. We all know it when we see it. We could all give 10 different definitions of leadership, and we would all be right.

Leadership is something every organization has to have.                                                              Leadership is the most important aspect of any team, any organization or any church.

There really isn’t a hard, fast way that you have to lead. Some people have charismatic personalities. Others are quiet and reserved. Some leaders are extroverts, while others are introverts.

True leadership gets things done. Leadership makes thing happen! They excite and motivate people around the cause and equip people to make a difference.

Warren Bennis and Bert Nanus interviewed 90 leaders from a variety of professions. They were trying to see some underlining principles that could be identified from people who were extremely successful and had a huge impact. The study became a book called “Leaders”. They nailed it down to 4 distinct qualities that every leader must possess:

  • Leaders bring attention to their vision.
  • Leaders communicate in clear, creative ways.
  • Leaders trust people. They give others power to get the job done.
  • Leaders believe in themselves to reach their goals.

In my years of leading, I have discovered that all leaders must be visionaries, cheerleaders, and warriors. And most of the time, a leader must be all of these at the same time.

Go Public!

Every person has an opinion about baptism, especially if you grew up in church. Unfortunately most of our opinions are not based on the Bible but on the tradition in which we grew up. Specifically, what denomination or tradition or influence we had.

Some groups baptize for salvation. They believe that in order to go to heaven, you must be baptized. Some groups baptize babies.

Matthew 28:19 says, “Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit” This verse gives us a glimpse of just how important baptism is.

The word “baptism” comes from the Greek word “baptize” which is pronounced “boptizo.” Boptizo means to dip, to soak, to plunge or to immerse; to wash.

I think we are all familiar with the account of Jesus being baptized. He comes to John and says, “Baptize me.” John said “No. ” John hesitated. Matthew 3:14 says, “But John tried to deter him, saying, “I need to be baptized by you, and do you come to me?”

Why did Jesus get baptized? To confirm John’s message, to identify with the message, to agree with the message. By the way, the message was about Him…His death, His burial, His resurrection.

I Peter 3:21 – “and this water symbolizes baptism that now saves you also—not the removal of dirt from the body but the pledge of a clear conscience toward God. It saves you by the resurrection of Jesus Christ.” Peter uses the word ‘symbol.’ This is the only time this word is used in the New Testament.

Water baptism represents your salvation. Peter says baptism is not the removal of dirt and sin but a pledge (business transaction). It provides a clear conscience. Christ washed you in his blood. You symbolize that by being baptized. When you follow through in baptism, your conscience is clear!

Many of you were sprinkled or had water poured on you. Your baptism was not an action that you voluntarily took to publicly declare that you received Christ. Remember, baptism is a symbol, a picture of Christ’s death, burial and resurrection.

There are 4 categories of people here this morning:

I. You know that you’ve received Christ and you were baptized after your salvation experience. You got it right, you’re ok.

II. You have never received Christ, you don’t have a relationship with Jesus so you have not been baptized. Today, you need to accept Jesus and follow through in baptism.

III. You know that you’ve received Christ. There is no doubt in your mind. But for whatever reason, you have never gotten baptized. You have never “gone public.”

IV. You were baptized before you actually received Christ. Maybe you were sprinkled as a kid or “got dunked” (your baptism didn’t mean anything because you were not a believer).

Baptism doesn’t save you, it’s only a symbol. But it matters to God and it is a big deal to Him. Don’t make light of what is important to God. Don’t minimize what God has maximized!

Have you followed through in baptism? If not, you need to go public!

Continuing In His Presence

Today we will pick up on where we left off on Monday,as I discussed Intimacy With God and being in his presence.

I want to share with you the process that I use. It is not a formula or a ritualistic act that I follow. It is a delight and a joy because spending time with God is the most important thing that we can do as Christians…it is vital to us.

I love to read so I begin by reading the Word of God first. I read a chapter each day in the book of Proverbs. I have been reading the Proverbs for over 25 years, they are full of wisdom and direction. Then I read another chapter from a book in either the Old or New Testament. I ask God to speak to me about two or three things out of those scriptures… is there a promise to claim, is there a sin I am being warned to avoid, is there a command to obey? I meditate on God’s word and most of the time, I read everything twice. I read slowly and I read it out loud.  I do this because I really want to get God’s word into me.

Next, I enter my prayer time. I begin with what I call, “Confess Up.” I quote I John 1:9, I John 1:7, and Romans 8:1. Romans 5:2. I confess my sin to God, agree with Him about my sin and name anything in my life that has grieved God or caused Him hurt. I don’t want anything to hinder my relationship with God.  Psalm 66:18 is a strong reminder “not to regard iniquity in my heart.”

After this time of confession, I get “Filled Up” with the Spirit of God. Ephesians 5:18b tells us to “be filled with the Spirit.” Galatians 5:16 tells us to, “walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh.” The Spirit of God is not an ‘it’ and not an energy force. He is a person and that person is power.

I have already confessed anything in my life that would grieve or hinder the Spirit of God, so now I am asking to be filled afresh and anew that I might walk with Him in power as I face life, and that I will bear the fruits of the Spirit as shared in Galatians, Chapter 5 and verses 22 and 23.

Next, I get “Dressed Up” as we read about the spiritual battle and the armor of God we are to wear in Ephesians 6, verses 10-18. I get dressed in every piece of the armor – I pray each piece over me in place to protect me as I prepare to fight the battle of that day. As soldiers gear up for their physical battles, we as Christians must be armed and ready for the spiritual battles that will come each day. Be ready!

I then move into a time of “Intercession” where I intercede (pray on behalf of other people). I pray for my wife, each of my six children, my two daughter-in-law my son-in-law  and my 5 beautiful grandchildren. I pray for other family members, friends and other needs that I am aware of.

From there, I have a time of “Worship” where I just praise God and tell Him how awesome and wonderful He is. Take time to adore Him and bless Him. He is worthy, let’s make time to tell Him so!

I end with a time of “Thanksgiving” where I focus on just giving Him thanks. Reflect on all of His blessings, His love, provision and protection. We are so guilty of asking for everything in the world and neglecting to share our thanks with God. I thank Him for everything I can think of, including the time that He allowed me to have with Him and the intimacy that I was privileged to share.

I want to encourage you to make your quiet time, your devotional life the priority in your life.  It is not only the most important thing that you do, but it is vital for your spiritual growth and health as a Christian. I challenge you to be intimate with God. It will change your life! Nothing compares to His presence.