Sunday, November 29, 2009


This has been a season of disappointment for any Georgia Bulldog fan. As most expected a building year, it still was hard to accept some of the losses and the fashion in which they were lost. Moreover it was hard to swallow that we lost to some of the teams we fell to. It was a year of inconsistent play, turnovers, penalties and a general lack of discipline and concentration. Most of all we lacked heart. As I mentioned in earlier posts, we have had problems coming back from a negative momentum change. That is a momentum change that favors the opposing team. However, something happened of November 28, 2009 in the last game of the regular season. The Bulldogs found heart and it was a beautiful thing.

Our offense played hard nosed football and ran the ball all night long, punching the highly favored Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets right in the mouth. When GT punched us back we kept on getting after them. I can't remember a Georgia offense that passed fewer times in a game, including when Herschel Walker was plowing through defenses. We had two running backs get over 100 yards rushing in what would be the most rushing yards in a game since Richt has been at the helm. They were running as if possessed. Possessed indeed by a heart bigger than we have carried all season.

The defense, although still not as physical as I have come to expect of a Georgia team, did what it took to hold off GT just enough for us to prevail. Not enough, I would say, to save Willie Martinez's job but enough to pull out our biggest win of the season, against a very good Georgia Tech.

This was also sweet vengeance for in 2008 GT beat a better Georgia team. Last year GT beat us with heart. This year our heart was bigger.

Work with heart, play with heart, love with heart, for through man's heart the Lord will do amazing things. Go Dawgs!

Monday, November 23, 2009

Thanksgiving: Recipe for a Sweet and Sour Heart.

The year is really flying by. Thanksgiving is upon us and my head is swimming in an emotional batter of salt and sugar. Let me get the salt out so I can get to the sweet stuff.

Normally I go "home" to Dublin, Georgia for Thanksgiving. I always look forward to eating with family and spending time with loved ones I simply don't get to see very often. I'm right in the middle of remodeling our kitchen. It's a Christmas gift my wife and I are giving each other. We want it done by Christmas and I have a lot to do. For that reason, I won't be making my yearly trek to Dublin for turkey. It saddens me on many levels but particularly because my family needs me there and in many ways I need them as well. Last Thanksgiving night 2008, my father was admitted to the hospital from which he would not return as he ended his battle with lung cancer. In some ways I feel relief that I don't have to face that but for the most part I feel guilt for not being there for my family in Dublin. My Mom, Sister, Step-father, Grandmother, Aunt, Cousins and more will be there with this heavy on their heart. It will be heavy on mine as well.

In addition to that I will miss out on the fellowship of hunting and/or fishing that I might have done while visiting. This will be the second year missing out on this because as my father was sick last year, there was certainly no opportunity for the things we loved to do together. I also don't look forward to back breaking labor to get the kitchen done. So there's the salt, bitter as it is.

Let us get on to the sweet stuff. Let me tell you of all I am thankful for:
  • First off, although I won't be in Dublin for my family, I am thankful they will all be together and have each other. I am thankful that with today's technology, I can call them throughout the holiday and tell them I love them.
  • I'm thankful that after years of suffering in a poorly designed kitchen that I have taken the steps to ending that misery.
  • I am thankful that I don't have to drive in holiday traffic through Atlanta.........twice.
  • I am thankful for our friends from church that are inviting us into their home for Thanksgiving dinner as our kitchen is in shambles. Cracker Barrel would have been fine but the family atmosphere is certainly welcomed this year.
  • I am thankful that my parents are who they are so that I became who I am.
  • I am thankful for the most awesome wife and kids a guy could have.
  • I'm thankful that this miserable Georgia Bulldog season is almost over.
  • I am thankful that my father is with my heavenly father.
  • I am thankful that one day I will be too.
No doubt it will be a bitter sweet holiday. I really look forward to Christmas so I can see everyone. It will be all sugar for sure.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Could we get a couple pounds of Pollack please?

I'm watching the Georgia/Kentucky game as I write this. Georgia looked like it could do whatever it wanted in the first half. I felt good about the potential future of the team. Then there was a little momentum change to start the second half and I realized that we don't know how to get that back.

We panic, we make stupid mistakes and we choke. What does it take to gain back momentum?  I'll tell you that it takes spirit, heart, and focus. All of this we lack on this Georgia team I love.....We are now fighting to prevent a loss as we are behind. Bobo calls predictable plays and Joe Cox has a crappy grin on his face when things don't work out. Three turnovers and more penalties. Two minutes are left and it doesn't look good.

We need heart. We need the likeness of Pollack on the defense. We need the focus and determination of David Green. Grinding it out and trying to get better isn't working. We stink.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Kool-Aid Part 2: Fire and Ice.

Ok, I'll try to make this short. It shouldn't be a problem because there isn't that much to say.

In Kool-Aid Part 1 I spoke of how I didn't really care for the production and fabrication of energy and excitement where it just didn't feel genuine. Be on fire for Jesus yes, but don't try to motivate or move me with something that isn't pouring out from your heart. This wasn't a problem at the second church we visited. In fact for a while there I wasn't sure if there was a pulse.

As we left the service from the second church we visited and piled into the van to depart, our pastor looked around the van as to say .....well?? What did you think?" I, as I am usually glad to give my opinion, stated that I learned a few things: " Ben Stein could probably give a sermon if that guy can." In addition, the best ideas or tips we took away from the visit was how not to make people feel welcomed, and on a positive note we learned that it is very important to get good casters (wheels) to put on the bottom of your carts, buggies and other equipment transporting devices used in a portable church set-up.

It was as if someone heard me say "turn that crap down" from the visit before and took that to mean turn everything down. This is a very successful church we visited. If they can have that kind of success with that kind of effort, then I am REAL exited about what we can do at Rockbridge Chatsworth when we launch.

So, We've sampled the porridge that's too hot. We've taken a sip from the bowl that's too cold. Now I'm ready for little bears' grub that's just right. I think little bear's going to eat in Chatsworth, Georgia and we're cooking dinner.

I never thought I would say this, but I am excited about being a portable church!
Afterthought: I should always be clear that as my BLOG is titled, these are my thoughts, and my feelings and they don't necessarily reflect the thoughts, vision and feelings of my church as a collective. In addition , although I speak negatively of these other churches, let me be clear in saying they are both doing an incredible job of sharing Jesus and saving souls. They are obviously doing a lot of things right. God Bless.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Deep Roots

The other day as I was reading the Bible I came across the following in Ephesians Chapter 6:

Slaves and Masters
Slaves, obey your earthly masters with deep respect and fear. Serve them sincerely as you would serve Christ. Try to please them all the time, not just when they are watching you. As Slaves of Christ, do the will of God with all your heart. Work with enthusiasm, as though you were working for the Lord rather than for people. Remember that the Lord will reward each one of us for the good we do, whether we are slave or free.

Masters, treat your slaves in the same way. Don't threaten them; remember you both have the same master in heaven, and he has no favorites.

There is so much In this passage that means so much on so many levels. First and formost it says we are all equal in Gods eyes. But what does it say about slavery. I found myself asking, "Does God condone slavery?" I had to find out more about what exactly this all means and the short answer is yes, and no. I will elaborate on what I discovered.

Slavery in the time of Jesus was much different than it is today. Slavery exist still in our modern world, masked by the evil of mankind. We in the U.S.A., are fortunate enough to say it is rare if not non-existent here. However, in third world countries across the globe it still happens and it isn't pretty. Millions of people in the world are in slavery through forced labor, sex trade, minions of drug lords, etc. Most of the time in America when we talk about slavery we think about the abduction and slavery of Africans as we founded this nation. It was wrong and we still suffer for those sins through racism and cultural segregation of our own doings. When I say "our own" I'm not talking about whites, I'm talking about people. However, that's another subject in itself. Slavery today is wrong, it's immoral, and it isn't Christ like because through the years mankind has made it something it used to not be.  The slavery of a race or a people is wrong now, just as it was when the Hebrews were enslaved in Egypt. This isn't the slavery Paul spoke of in his letters. And it isn't slavery as seen by God's plan.

Slavery at a time was a voluntary means of living a better life. Folks starving in debt, might sell themselves willingly to slavery to pay off debt and to ensure that they are taken care of, for their labor in return. It wasn't really any different that being employed if Gods plan and intent is followed. Let me repeat the above again "Masters, treat your slaves in the same way. Don't threaten them; remember you both have the same master in heaven, and he has no favorites."

Men, as we always have, took slavery as it was then and meant to be, and through greed and hatred made it something bad. It's hard for me to even write this because today slavery is such an ugly word of disgust. But it wasn't God's intent. Does God condone slavery?  As defined by God I would say yes. As defines by us I would say absolutely not. What do you think?

Monday, November 9, 2009

Who's Drinking the Kool-Aid?

This past weekend my wife and I visited a very large, very successful church in another state. We went with leadership from our own church and our purpose was to observe things they do well, that we might adopt as we move forward in launching a satellite church in our home town. The impressive aspect of what they did, was in the fact that they set up and break down church in a local high school auditorium with the help of MANY volunteers.

As I have mentioned in past BLOGS, I am extremely happy with my church, its philosophy, and the atmosphere we create. However we realize that to keep folks on fire for the Lord, you have to shake things up, you have to take advantages of opportunities to improve and you have to be willing to fail. The church we visited this past weekend ( I won't mention the name or location because they are doing wonderful things and I don't want to place ANY negative impression on what they are doing.) is very similar to our own church in many ways, non traditional with modern Christian music rather than hymns. The Pastor is very young, very energetic and without a doubt he is bringing people to the Lord. They have grown from nil to more than 4000 members in just over 3 years. WOW!!

Here is some of what they do well:
  • Technology - Incredible electronics for visual and sound systems.
  • With that technology, an incredibly talented group of musicians leading the worship.
  • Volunteers.Hundreds of them make it happen EVERY Sunday. The people ARE the church.
  • Production: They create a great experience for first timers with greeters everywhere. They put on a show for sure.
That brings me to what I think they either didn't do well or didn't feel good to me and understand I am talking about me which may not be that significant. Here's what I didn't love:

  • The music was AWESOME,  original and WAY TOO LOUD!!! I could feel the base from the drums vibrating my shirt. In case you thinking I'm just being an old fuddy duddy, I went to see KISS in concert a few weeks ago and they were not as loud as this church. My ears were hurting and I don't recall being offered ear plugs as I walked in. How could I take my 80 year old Grannie to this?
  • Energy overkill - When you watch infomercials you often see the pitch men get so exited that you know any second they are going to pee themselves. The excitement and the energy is fabricated because nobody goes ape crap for a juicer. There is a HUGE difference between Jesus and a juicer and I realize Jesus is certainly something to get exited about.  However, do I believe you are that excited? I kind of got that same feeling of fabricated excitement from the pastor and the guest speaker/preacher as well.  They were certainly not unlike Rock-star preachers and I was almost giggled at the stench of egos. I am all for some getting fired up for Jesus. I love it. However, I have a strong sense of genuine and I simply felt more ego than love.
  • There was also some methodology in which volunteers were obtained that seemed a bit militant. I won't go into any detail here but I got the feeling that if a fellow is strattlin the fence for too long that the leadership will just push them off the fence, outside the pasture and wish them well.
The one thing I can't deny here is that the formula from which they are using is working and the locals are certainly "drinking the kool-aid". I don't mean that in a bad way because after all we all end up drinking the kool-aid when we start serving Jesus. If I could sum my experience in a short thought, it would be this: It didn't seem to have something for everyone and it didn't feel sincerely genuine.

I like the flavor of the Kool-Aid at my Rockbridge Community Church. Less ego, fewer rock stars, more love for Jesus and each other. Thank you Jesus for placing me here. Cheers!

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Finding Time For My Savior.......and me!

I don't think I have ever been busier that I am right now in my life. With three kids ranging from two to fourteen and a reborn life in serving Christ I am a busy man and my lovely wife, a busy woman. Tired yes but probably not any more so than we have been in the past. Ironically, in serving Christ, I do have less "free time" and this has made it difficult to find time to spend praying, talking to Jesus, and reading the Bible. In addition I find myself never doing the things I love and need.

Let me tell you about what I love and miss and how it can fit perfectly if I let it, as well as tell you what I need in life.

I love to:
  • fish
  • hunt
  • golf
In my life I need to:
  • exercise
  • pray
  • relax
  • read the Bible
Let's see how well those marry up starting with fishing. I have the boat and all the gear and right now is the perfect time to go after some slab crappie. I haven't been going because I've been watching college football on the television (which I also enjoy) and looking after my two year old while my wife does various things with the girls (my two oldest children). I could however make plans on a couple Saturdays a month to do so or even a quick trip to the local lake after church on Sunday. Fishing is peaceful, relaxing, and is an awesome time to pray and talk to Jesus. That works well and addresses several needs.

Now for hunting, This one is difficult for me lately for several reasons. One is that I don't have a great place to hunt anymore other than public land. I am spoiled in growing up in middle Georgia and miss the easy access hunting there. I was on a hunting lease but as the economic downturn of the country is upon us, it is simply not affordable to go south often enough to justify the cost of a hunting lease. Fuel is simply too expensive. But I can hunt locally and it would be enjoyable. That activity would provide exercise. (walking up a mountain carrying a gun, a blind, a backpack and a chair is darn good exercise for a big boy like me.) It is also an incredible opportunity to not only relax but to talk to God in prayer and connect with nature. I don't know if there is anytime better to pray than sitting in the woods quietly. It is awesome. Once again a pretty good marriage for my wants and needs.

What about Golf?? I don't know that golf accomplished as much, other that some well needed exercise that I desperately need. Unless you play alone(which isn't likely) it doesn't offer much as far as the opportunity to pray and spend time with Jesus. Further, I'm a pretty bad golfer so there is an increased chance that unsavory words might flow freely from my lips. Then again, I haven't played golf since rededicating my life to Christ. Maybe golf is something I should do with my daughter who has shown interest. That way I spend quality time with her and Jesus. Now there is an awesome opportunity!

Let's try to summarize my true needs in exercise, prayer, relaxation and reading the Bible. I have covered them pretty well in the loves I have above in some very good activity combinations. However, these are one day a week solutions to my true needs at best. I need more of all of these in my life on a daily basis. My thoughts are that walking is my overall solution. It gives me my exercise, and opportunity to pray and the after effect would surely result in some true relaxation. The only thing keeping me from this seems to be energy and motivation. I'll start by praying for this. A regular walk with Jesus will be a life blessing in so many ways. Somehow this solution seems so simple yet so difficult. Sacrifices will have to be made but the payout is surely worth it. Last but least, I need to read the Bible. I think I have a solution to that as well. I'm going to get myself a nice compact Bible to keep in my office at work. I'm going to start eating self prepared healthier choices in my office and spend that time reading the Bible as I enjoy lunch. Can it really all be this simple? I think it may!! OK so I have a plan. Let's see how well I execute.