Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Deeper than the Stain has Gone

At a recent worship meeting I heard a man quote the first verse of this hymn in his sermon. I’d never heard the words to this hymn before, but as he recited them I was deeply moved by the words of the hymnist.

We fully realize the corruption of man by the choice of Adam, a corruption that reaches to the deepest recesses of our heart, soul, mind and body. This corruption has affected us in divers ways from birth to death. Left to ourselves, our sin and depravity would send us straight to hell, but as this hymn proclaims, the “blood of God’s own Son purifies and reaches deeper than the stain has gone!” I’m thankful, beyond thankful for the perfect and pure sacrifice of Jesus Christ that more than elevated us from our depraved condition, but placed us firmly in the hands of His Father never to fall again!

Dark the stain that soiled man's nature,
Long the distance that he fell.
Far re-moved from hope and heav-en,
Into deep despair and hell.
But there was a fountain opened,
And the blood of God's own Son,
Purifies the soul and reaches
Deeper than the stain has gone!


Praise the Lord for full salvation,
God still reigns upon His throne.
And I know the blood still reaches
Deep-er than the stain has gone.

Conscious of the deep pollution,
Sinners wander in the night,
Tho' they hear the Shepherd calling,
They still fear to face the light.
This the blessed consolation,
That can melt the heart of stone,
That sweet Balm of Gilead reaches
Deep-er than the stain has gone!

All unworthy we who've wandered,
And our eyes are wet with tears;
As we think of love that sought us
Through the weary wasted years.
Yet we walk the holy highway,
Walking by God's grace alone
Knowing Calv'ry's fountain reaches
Deeper than the stain has gone!

When with holy choirs we're standing
In the presence of the King,
And our souls are lost in wonder,
While the white robed choirs sing;
Then we'll praise the name of Jesus,
With the millions round the throne;
Praise Him for the pow'r that reaches,
Deeper than the stain has gone!

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Goodbye, Mr. President, May God Bless You

During the election cycle I had the ominous feeling that Barack Obama would be our next president. As the returns came in that Tuesday night, I was braced for that outcome and thankfully felt peace knowing that the Lord is ultimately in control. Since that time I've prayed many times for the success of our new president, and truly hope he has an easier term(s) than President Bush has had.

Over the past few days though, I've become somewhat melancholy as the current president nears the end of his time of governing. I've realized that for the past eight years I've been able to cast most of my concerns regarding our nation aside knowing that the man at The White House was a godly man, full of integrity and honor. I felt confident while he has been at the helm.

That same feeling of security is quickly departing as 12:00 PM, January 20, 2009 approaches. I still trust solidly that the Lord is in control, and that a king's heart is in the Lord's hand, but as this new administration readies to take the helm, I know the man that will inhabit the Oval Office does not share the same values that I do. I'm not certain that he will do all that's necessary to protect our nation from aggression and attack. I know he will seek to unravel many of the gains that pro life conservatives have seen set in place during Mr. Bush's tenure. I suspect that many of his answers to our economic problems will have very long term costly consequences. I suspect that his term(s) will have a lasting impact on the social issues of our nation, and not for the better.

I realize that President George W. Bush has been a controversial and unpopular president. There have been a few items I've disagreed with him on, but I've consistently been thankful that our God allowed him to be in that place during these past eight years. I've been thankful to know that a man of principle, purpose and integrity was our leader for this time. As President Bush retires to Texas, I hope for a happy retirement for him. I pray that God will continually encourage him, and I hope his supporters will continually thank him for his faithful and unwavering service to our nation during some of the most tumultuous times we may ever see.

And I pray that President-elect Obama will prove to be a good leader, a faithful watchmen for our security. May God lead him through each issue and decision.

I truly hope for a continued future rich in the blessings of God for our beloved nation.

Monday, December 22, 2008


My favorite time of year has arrived! I've always enjoyed the time between Thanksgiving and Christmas. It's a warm time, full of good food, fun, friends, family and faith.

This, of course is our first Christmas together! And it's shaping up to be a really good one!

On Tuesday evening we're gathering with Lydia's family to enjoy Christmas with her siblings. Her oldest brother, Bryan and his wife Jen can't be here for Christmas Eve or Day, so we'll have a meal and gift exchange together Tuesday night with them. In addition, Lydia's grandparents will be there with us too, I am really looking forward to it.

On Christmas Eve we'll go to Lydia's parents to have Christmas with her parents, and Isaac and Tasha on Christmas morning!

Friday we'll head to Texas to see my family. We'll see my Dad, sister and two brothers on Saturday morning, then to my Grandma's for supper that evening and Christmas with my Mom's family.

Sunday we'll head to Fredericksburg for worship with the saints that I dearly love. Then back to Abilene to spend more time with the two sides of my family. Then we'll leave early Tuesday morning to head back home, and we'll bring Grandma back with us. She went home at Thanksgiving to see all her children, and I'll sure be glad to have her back home with us!

Wednesday (New Year's Eve) is Lydia's birthday, so we'll most likely do something with her folks for lunch (no plans yet made). Then that evening I'll take her out to a nice place for a birthday supper!

Then, the New Year will arrive!

I hope each of you has a wonderful time with your family and friends this next week. May God bless you all with peace, and a time of rejoicing in the year to come!

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

A Wonderful Weekend

This past weekend we headed to Georgia for a wonderful weekend of worship.

On Friday, Grandma and I headed to Atlanta to spend the night with Elder Marty Smith. Our 8 1/2 hour drive was uneventful and peaceful, and we arrived to a wonderful visit and supper at Elder Smith's home. Brother Marty has been a good friend for several years and I always enjoy the opportunity to spend time with him. Additionally, he and a dear sister in our church, Sister Sandy Bryant will soon be married!

After a restful night at Elder Smith's home we headed to Danville on Saturday morning for services at Cool Springs Church. We had a wonderful song service, and I felt good liberty preaching on the Syrophonecian woman in Matthew 15. Afterwards, several went to the home of Brother Mike & Sister Marilyn Sheppard and enjoyed a wonderful meal and several hours of fellowship.

That evening I drove to Macon to meet Lydia. She had to take a test on Saturday morning so wasn't able to drive down with us, so she flew to Atlanta Saturday afternoon, then took a shuttle to Macon. It was so good to see her and have her with me! We returned to the Sheppard's home and had a good visit, and then a restful night of sleep.

On Sunday, the Lord blessed us with good services again. I spoke on Mark 4, the calming of the seas and related that story to the storms that occur in our lives, and our faith in the promises of God bearing us through them. The church was very receptive, and I felt very good liberty and comfort there. We enjoyed a good lunch and visit with the brethren, then headed back to the Sheppard home for an afternoon of rest before the evening service. During the afternoon I had the opportunity to visit with a dear brother in his home, and enjoyed a good Bible discussion with him.

Later in the evening several from the church came over for homemade ice cream that Brother Mike made, and boy was the ice cream and the fellowship good!

We then headed back to the church house for evening services and it was good to see and meet the brethren again. I spoke from Psalm 56, "What time I am afraid, I will trust in thee." The meeting closed and it was sad to depart the place. I do very much enjoy being with the folks there.

We had a wonderful meal after services with the Sheppard's, then Brother Mike and I sat up till 1 visiting, and it was a great joy.

After a good rest, Grandma, Lydia and I hit the road for the 11 hour drive back home. We arrived home safely, and now have headed back to work and school. We're all thankful for such a wonderful weekend, and the blessings of the Lord upon us.

On another note - since my last post I have resigned from the pastorate of Little Flock Church. I have served this wonderful congregation for about five years and am thankful for the time I had among them. I know this church would very much appreciate your prayers as they seek a new pastor that would be a man of integrity, and a man of the Lord's choosing.

Pray for us also as we seek the Lord's will for us and the direction He would send us.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Rain, Rain, Go Away...

This morning, instead of going out the door at this moment to go to church, I am sitting here in my living room, feet up on the table, deep in the comfy couch watching the remainder of Hurricane Ike drop inches of rain just out our windows.

We're having flash flooding in our area, and most of our members have water in their basements, including us. Thankfully the rain is supposed to end at noon, and if all's well, we'll have church at 6 this evening instead.

Growing up in Texas we never called off church, but since I've been in Illinois I've realized the necessity a few times. Generally it's due to snow and ice, this is a first. And it's a bit depressing, and a bit relaxing. Obviously it is EXTREMELY rare for me to be on the couch, feet up, enjoying the sound of rain on a Sunday morning, but here I sit. I just hope we can go to worship tonight!

Never thought Ike would affect us this way, nor that it would arrive in our area so quickly, but he has. I try to be given to hospitality, but this is a friend that can go away and come again another day (just not Sunday!).

Monday, September 8, 2008

I know - it's been a while...

Hello Bloggers!

I'm sorry that I've been so long in writing, but as my last post said, I've been busy. Though I'm not as busy now as I was this spring. Thankfully little league is over, the wedding is past (things are going great, I LOVE married life!) and the slower time of fall/winter is approaching.

I have been traveling a lot, and enjoying my visits with the Lord's people throughout the country. I've been blessed this year to preach in Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Missouri, North Carolina, Texas, Virginia and perhaps a couple other states that are escaping me right now. It's been a good time for me, and I hope I've been able (by God's grace and assistance) to encourage the churches.

We've had some good meetings at home here at Little Flock, too. This past June we had Elders David and Tim Montgomery preach our annual meeting. We had Elder Adam Green with us the 5th Sunday in August and that was a real blessing for us all. This November, Elder Jeremy Sarber will be with us and we look forward to his visit.

I'm really looking forward to fall, and even winter. Usually the winter is a slower time for me and I'm able to get caught up on tons of reading, correspondence and rest. And perhaps I'll get caught up on a little blogging, too!

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Busy as a - no time to figure it out...

I know, I know – it has been over a month since my last post, but in my defense, I’ve been BUSY! Between work (long hours lately), church, caring for Grandma, studying for sermons, household chores, me time, and trying to spend every moment I can with Lydia – I haven’t had time, or inclination to add a post to the blog. It was either that, or pay bills – I like electricity, so the bills won over the blog.

There’s been a little to occur over this past month, and more to occur in the months to come. I was blessed to be able to attend Elder Jeremy Sarber’s ordination, which was a real joy. On Friday night Elder Garry Hall preached a good sermon on “Thanksgiving.” On Saturday AM, the ordination took place and went very well. It began with Jeremy preaching to us, then with his interrogation. He did a splendid job asking the MANY questions! I was thinking during the interrogation – wow, so glad I only had 5 questions! That afternoon I preached on the subject of “Considering,” and Elder Hall preached a masterpiece of a sermon on the healing of the leper in Mark 1. Absolutely one of the best sermons I’ve heard in quite some time.

On Sunday I had an appointment to preach at Fort Wayne Church. They are currently praying for and seeking a new pastor. They are a delightful congregation and I trust that God will soon grant their request.

The rest of this month is quite crazy – this Friday we have a church to view for the wedding, Saturday a church meeting a couple hours north, then church here Sunday. The next week is the 50th anniversary and vow renewal ceremony of the Ratliff’s here at our church. Then the following week I travel to Virginia for a meeting, then a weekend off, then to Texas for my sister’s wedding. Then it should calm down for a couple weeks until the Summer Rush!

The current task to overcome is a huge workload here at the office. We’ve been hit with a ton of unexpected problems, thus tons of unexpected work, thus tons of unexpected overtime coming up. Oh well, that will help to pay those unexpected bills that always seem to come at the most unexpected moment, when you never have extra unexpected funds!

Anyway, back to work…that was my morning break! Hope you’re all well!

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Engagement Pics

Being the wonderful, charming, sensitive, romantic, and thoughtful gent that I am (yeah right!), I had set up an appointment for engagement pictures before I asked Lydia to marry me. That was one of those easy things to cancel if she said no! ;-)

So, the Saturday after Valentine's Day, we went down to the local portrait studio and had a few shots made. It was quite the fun! Not really. For those who do know me, know that I don't care too much for having photos taken of me, and I really don't like some of the crazy poses they want you to do.

The poor lady was at a loss of what to do - determined that she needed 6 different poses. Me, being the guy I am, thought one was sufficient. But I gave in and she got the needed shots. Just not the crazy ones she wanted!

Lydia gently prodded me to be patient, and so the photos were taken, and came out great. Of course, Lydia is so beautiful that she compensates for my looks!

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Going to the Chapel and We're Gonna Get Married...;)

Dearly Beloved, we are gathered here this day in the presence of this blog, and all its readers to announce some really great news!!!

On this past Thursday night, I asked Miss Lydia Corn to make me the happiest man on earth by consenting to become my wife. And I am beyond thankful that she said yes!!!

The wedding is planned for July 5th of this year!

The planning has begun, and I'm sure Lydia will be posting to her blog about those things as time passes. Or maybe she'll make you wait until the big day, and let you be pleasantly and wonderfully surprised.

Her parents, Dale and Michele have been so gracious, and I am thankful for them. They are another set of parents for me and I've always been thankful for our closeness. I was, and am very thankful that they consented to our courtship, and then for us to be married. And now with all the planning and stress that is sure to come, I appreciate their willingness and help, leadership and guidance as we move forward to July 5th, and especially beyond.

"Whoso findeth a wife findeth a good thing, and obtaineth favour of the LORD" (Proverbs 18:22). I thank the Father above for His favour, and I look forward to many years of continual thanks for this, the greatest blessing of my life, save the eternal life and inheritance given me by Christ.

Lydia and I both ask for your prayers for us. We look forward to building a Christ-honoring life together, and we know we need the Lord's grace to accomplish that life long commitment and service to one another, and our God.