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.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Understanding to Discern


“Give therefore thy servant an understanding heart to judge thy people, that I may discern between good and bad: for who is able to judge this thy so great a people? And the speech pleased the LORD, that Solomon had asked this thing” (1 Kings 3:9-10).

Any person with a reasonable mental grasp would agree that wisdom is essential. I have often heard and made jokes about those without “common sense.” Some have “book smarts,” but no ability to put that knowledge into any useable practice. Thus, such a person is devoid of common sense, or the Biblical term, wisdom.

Wisdom is simply how to use the knowledge we’ve acquired or have been given. It is most definitely useful, a practical tool to exist in the world. How often I’ve shaken my head at others, and even more at myself for foolish mistakes that were simply performed by not taking time to think through and reason the best approach during any given situation.

On the freeways or downtown traffic we see people that we wish would pray for more wisdom. We run into them on the factory floor or in the office hallway. We see parents that need wisdom to rightly bring up their children in an honorable way. We know of church members and pastors that could use wisdom. We all need wisdom that comes from God.

Solomon realized the need to understand, and also the need for the ability to discern between one thing and another. So, understanding his need to understand and discern, he went to the Source that was able to give him the knowledge and wisdom he needed.

Solomon wasn’t seeking this knowledge and wisdom for personal gain of wealth, power or long life – nor should we. Often when I shake my head at myself or others it isn’t because they, or I have failed to honor the Lord by discerning between good and bad, it is generally because they’ve been in my way in traffic, or I’ve made some foolish choice. Often I fail to consider that wisdom in the larger sense is needed; not to avoid some small, insignificant occurrences, but to avoid sinning against the Lord.

Solomon’s speech “pleased the LORD.” The Lord was so pleased with Solomon’s request that He granted it, saying, “I have given thee a wise and an understanding heart; so that there was none like thee before thee, neither after thee shall any arise like unto thee. And I have also given thee that which thou hast not asked, both riches, and honour: so that there shall not be any among the kings like unto thee all thy days.”

How blessed the day when all of the Lord’s saints would bow, as Solomon, and request the Almighty for understanding and wisdom to discern between right and wrong in the decisions we make each day, the responses we give in the face of trials, and the commitments we make in all aspects of our lives. Think of the prevented sins if we all sought the Lord more earnestly, fervently and continually for discernment between the good and the bad.

Monday, January 7, 2008

Blest Be The Tie That Binds


Words: John Faw­cett, Hymns Adapt­ed to the Cir­cum­stance of Pub­lic Wor­ship (Leeds, Eng­land: 1782).

"Dr. John Faw­cett was the pas­tor of a small church at Wains­gate, and was called from there to a larg­er church in Lon­don in 1772. He ac­cept­ed the call and preached his fare­well ser­mon. The wa­gons were load­ed with his books and fur­ni­ture, and all was rea­dy for the de­part­ure, when his pa­rish­ion­ers gath­ered around him, and with tears in their eyes begged of him to stay. His wife said, “Oh John, John, I can­not bear this.” “Neither can I,” ex­claimed the good pas­tor, “and we will not go. Un­load the wa­gons and put ev­ery­thing as it was be­fore.” His de­ci­sion was hailed with great joy by his peo­ple, and he wrote the words of this hymn in com­mem­o­ra­tion of the event. This song, and “God be with you un­til we meet again,” are the most use­ful fare­well hymns in the world." (

“I drew them with cords of a man, with bands of love...” Hosea 11:4

Blest be the tie that binds
Our hearts in Christian love;
The fellowship of kindred minds
Is like to that above.

In heaven above, surely there will be harmony sweet. Never will there be a discouraging word, a cross look, a prejudiced thought. All will be kindness, unity, grace and love. How sweet it is when in Christian fellowship we can now experience the same. In the Church of Jesus Christ this is to be our vision, our goal, the mark to which we march toward. It is a blessed tie, a band of love, a bond of perfectness, and picture of Christ Himself.

Before our Father’s throne
We pour our ardent prayers;
Our fears, our hopes, our aims are one
Our comforts and our cares.

It has often been my comfort to hear the prayers of the saints, and to pray with them. I love the singing, and I love the preaching, but the heavenward language of a heart’s prayer is edifying beyond imagination. Certainly it is more than a relief, it is an effectual pouring out of our soul’s desire, or our heart’s complaint. God from heaven hears, and relieves our struggles.

Together in prayer we’re blessed to pray in the presence of others so all know our trouble, our worry, our hope, our vision. Together we’re encouraged to hear such thoughts of the inward parts.

We share each other’s woes,
Our mutual burdens bear;
And often for each other flows
The sympathizing tear.

The scriptures tell us to rejoice with our brethren who rejoice, and we’re to weep with those that weep. I love to hear the requests of the saints for prayer, and more to hear them pour out their own prayers to God. In such times my heart pours forth to God for His help to them, during such moments my heart is drawn closer to them.

When we asunder part,
It gives us inward pain;
But we shall still be joined in heart,
And hope to meet again.

In times when the Spirit of God is attending us in the assembly, it is a grievous time to part with the saints. However, our consolation is to know that soon we’ll be gathered together again at the next Lord’s day, and if not then, in heaven itself.

This glorious hope revives
Our courage by the way;
While each in expectation lives,
And longs to see the day.

Each time I have to depart the Lord’s house, it truly is a revival to know that soon I’ll be gathered with His people again, and soon I’ll experience their encouragement. The day of the Lord’s service is a day of expectation for His faithful disciples, and is a favored time to their soul. How much more favored is the great day of anticipation where perfect love and harmony will be experienced at the end of time!

From sorrow, toil and pain,
And sin, we shall be free,
And perfect love and friendship reign
Through all eternity.

While the fellowship of the saints and their prayers are wonderful and helpful, it can never fully remove our pain, toil, sorrow and sin; however, the day approached that the Ascended Christ shall ensure the removal of all those things, and the addition of a day of perfect bliss. A day without end. What a hope the Christian has, what wonderful expectation. But also what a blessing is ours in the congregation of the Lord to bear and be bound together!