Survey Says…

  |   Words of Grace

It’s been a while….a long while….too long….since I wrote a ‘Words of Grace’.  To be honest, I just haven’t been inspired.  The last thing I want to do is write something weekly just for the sake of writing something, because it’ll probably end up being some sappy drivel that doesn’t encourage anybody, and it’ll end up me just wasting our time and using up electrons with every cyberspace keystroke.   Now, of course, since I wasn’t inspired before, but NOW I’m feeling ‘inspired’ to write something, this means I’m setting myself up for possible defeat by somehow implying that THIS Words of...

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The Painful But Productive Practice Of Pruning

  |   Words of Grace

In my last Words of Grace (Be Like a Tree and Let the Dead Leaves Drop) I wrote about my giant sycamore tree – the thorn in the side of my neighbors. My stately tree is viewed (I believe half-heartedly) as a nuisance to some because when the cooler and darker days of autumn arrive, the massive leaves of this tree flutter downwards, and more often than not, allow any gentle breeze to carry them into my neighbors’ yards. Actually, I don’t think it really bothers them – it just gives us something to talk and laugh about. Along with...

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Be Like A Tree And Let The Dead Leaves Drop

  |   Words of Grace

So, as most of my church knows – as well as my neighbors – I have a giant sycamore tree in my front yard that I planted about twenty-four years ago. When I planted the tree it was about five feet tall; now it stretches a good sixty-plus feet into the air. The reason this tree would be known to both the church and my neighbors is because over the years this beautiful shade-producing tree has become a much talked about albatross around my neck.   Why? Because the sycamore sprouts giant leaves – millions of them – and they all fall...

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The Puritans, Dorothy Gale, & Looking Forward To Going Home

  |   Words of Grace

A couple of weeks ago I shared a non-expository (although I used tons of Scripture!) sermon about Heaven in which I used the classic 1939 movie ‘The Wizard of Oz’ as a springboard.  The basic premise was that each character in the movie was trying to find their meaning, significance, purpose, and primarily peace in particular attributes, abilities, or personality traits that they felt were lacking in their life. The Scarecrow was under the false impression that education or intelligence would make him significant and give his life meaning. The Tin Man believed that if he had a heart, then he would...

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Really? No More Hardships Next Year?

  |   Words of Grace

A friend from up north posted this meme (Technically called an ‘image macros') on Facebook a week ago, and thus inspired me to write a Words of Grace about it. He was just reposting it from someone else, and I spoke with him to make sure he understood that if and when I wrote about this so-called ‘God promise’ I wasn’t insulting him, but actually would hope that it would encourage him since he’s gone through a tough time physically/medically these past few years. He told me to go for it . We’ve all seen posts such as this (if you’re on...

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Ain’t Nothing Like The Real Thing, Baby

  |   Words of Grace

I closed last Sunday’s sermon by talking about David Mullen’s song from 1989, “Heaven’s To Betsy”, but started the story by explaining how I went out into the garage and started digging through some boxes of older CD’s in order to find a particular CD (which I didn’t find!). That’s how I came across David’s wonderful CD called “Revival”, that ended up helping me close my sermon. Well, not only did I find David’s CD, but I brought into the house a few more treasures that I hadn’t heard in a while. One recording that I thought was a “treasure” was...

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Man Makes Plans – God Laughs…

  |   Words of Grace

This past November, just before Thanksgiving, one of my favorite Christian artists of the 1980’s-90’s – Steve Taylor – put out a new album, his first album in over twenty years!  I could go into the fascinating history of Steve Taylor regarding his music, lyrics, his influence, and even movie making (He’s directed two movies – Michael W. Smith in ‘Second Chance’; and ‘Blue Like Jazz’), but for now I’ll just go to one particular song – ‘Comedian’ – the closing song from his new album ‘Goliath’.  Actually, the lyrics are rather nebulous to me, but then, I’ve never been...

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Saved From The Fowler’s Snare

  |   Words of Grace

Believe it or not, Becky and I have become partial prisoners inside our own house for the past week and a half. You see, just outside our garage door, right next to Becky’s display of ornamental horticulture delights, a mockingbird family has decided to build a nest inside our four and a half foot tall bush, and raise their little family (see above photo). And for you collective noun fans, more than one mockingbird, or a group of mockingbirds, is known by a number of different terms: an impression (Oh, they’ve left an impression all right - on top of...

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Bloom Where You Are Planted

Bloom Where You Are Planted

  |   Words of Grace

  Becky is the ornamental horticulturalist in our neighborhood, so we have by far the prettiest front yard (and back yard!) around (the proud husband said humbly….). It’s not gaudy and overdone - it’s just right - full of color and variety - and I often see neighbors walking by smiling and talking about it. The other day as I pulled into the driveway, I noticed this lone vinca flower (see image above) that had taken root and was in full bloom “outside" of the garden - away from the other bunches of vinca that were nearby. I always find it...

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Speaking Of Prayer…

  |   Words of Grace

  One of the things I really enjoy participating in during our Sunday morning gathering is praying with folks during our praise and worship portion of the service. All sorts of folks come forward to pray with me, Pastor Lucas, one of the elders, or others that we have asked to be available. We pray with the elderly, young, longtime members, visitors, brand new Christians, little children, couples, the sick, the hurting, the grieving, the angry, the anxious, the happy - some with very serious needs, some with simple childlike requests, and some praising the Lord for answered prayer. All are acknowledging...

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