The Only Thing I Fear More Than Dogs …

… is people not getting any of my books.

So my Good Shepherd friends Eric & Angie Matras batted .500 last night in their new home in Lake Wylie, SC.

Top Five Tuesday — Top Five Coldest Times In My Life

Coldest?  Coldest?

Well, yeah. Coldest.  With 90 plus degrees in the Carolinas and no relief in sight, how about some blog relief?  Here they are: the five most heat-resistant, coldest times in my life.

5. That November snowstorm in Dallas in 1978.  All I know is that there was snow on the ground right around my birthday (Nov. 14).  To this day, my mother has a picture of me standing by my Plymouth Arrow automobile with snow all around us.  It probably wasn’t all that cold, but since it was November IN DALLAS, it felt much colder. read more

“Famous Last Words,” Week 4 — The “What God Breathed” Sermon Rewind

Yesterday’s message …

  • Began with a string of negative analogies (check it out);
  • Explained the vast — and liberating — difference between “God-breathed” and “God-dictated”;
  • In the PREACHED version, included a spontaneous shout out to Asbury Seminary’s Dr. David Thompson, the man most responsible for teaching me that HOW that bible says what it says is a key element of WHAT it says.  He died last week at 80;
  • Led to this bottom line:  “The bible is less interested in making you comfortable than in making you useful.”

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Maybe you’ve heard of that couple who decided to do something different together to strengthen their marriage. Make it a Beautiful Marriage, no doubt! Anyway, they decided to go duck hunting. Yes! Always a marriage winner! Anyway, they got their equipment, their gear, their duck hunting clothes, their duck caller thing, and even a hunting dog and off they went! But at the end of their first day hunting, no luck ducks. They went Zero For Ducks. So the husband says, “I wonder if we’ve been doing something wrong & that’s why we haven’t caught any ducks yet.” And his wife says, “Maybe next time if we throw the dog up a little higher, THEN he’ll catch some ducks up for us!” read more

#TBT — Team Texas, USTA Intersectionals, July 1980

Last week, I showed Team Texas at the USTA Intersectional Championship for Boys’ 18-and-under from 1979.  I was the youngest, shortest, and skinniest on that team.

Today it’s Team Texas from 1980.  None of those adjectives describe me this time!  The “older” guys on that 79 team had graduated out of 18-and-under tennis and were replaced by guys my age or a year younger. The event was again played in Fort Worth, Texas, on the campus of TCU. read more

“Are You Going To Go Practice Your Sermon, Daddy?”

During our South Carolina vacation last week, our 30-year-old daughter asked me early one evening, “Are you going to go practice your sermon, Daddy?”

On the one hand, the question is 100% understandable, as she grew up waking up to the sounds of early morning sermon practice in an adjacent room.  And, if an early morning practice was not possible, she also grew accustomed to me disappearing for 45 minutes (usually just before dinner) for that day’s rehearsal. read more

Top Five Tuesday — Top Five (Or Six) Reflections On Memory, Tradition, And Vacation

Julie and I spent last week in Hilton Head Island, SC.  We had a couple of days alone and then were joined by our children and their spouses for the bulk of the week.  Here we are:

From left there you’ll see Talbot, Julie, Nate Underwood, Taylor Underwood, Riley Davis, and Natalie Davis. read more

Monday Sermon Rewind — Guest Blogger Devin Tharp

Yesterday’s message …

  • Came from my friend and colleague Devin Tharp, our Family Ministries Pastor and Team Leader of the Beautiful Marriage Movement;
  • Interrupted the “Famous Last Words” series so that Devin could share freely and personally;
  • Was delivered while my family and I (Julie, kids, and spouses) were returning from a week vacation (you might hear about that tomorrow);
  • Led to this refreshing bit of news:  You don’t have to be a finished produce to be used by God.

Bottom Line: YOU DON’T HAVE TO BE A FINISHED PRODUCT TO BE USED BY GOD.

ME:
I grew up in a small town in eastern Ohio and it was there where I first developed my relationship with God. When I was in high school, I joined a bible study with some friends. And as a part of that group, I had to memorize lots of verses of scripture. When I had completed all 3 of the Bible studies, I had memorized over 60 verses of the Bible. Now, I have to tell you that those verses served me extremely well over the years and, while I didn’t love memorizing them at the time, I now know that those verses provided—in so many ways—guard rails for my life growing up. read more

#TBT — USTA Intersectionals, July 1979

This is “Team Texas” from the National Intersectional Championships held on the campus of TCU in Fort Worth, Texas, in July of 1979

There I am on the far left, looking younger and skinnier and shorter than all the others.  Because I was.  Nevertheless, after some miraculous early summer results, I actually played #1 on this team.  The format of the tournament involved teams from different regions (we called them “sections) of the country playing against each other — so I know we played the Western Section and the Middle Atlantic Section among others. read more

We Welcome Andrea Rouse

Welcome Andrea Rouse
We are pleased to announce that Andrea Rouse has joined the GS staff as a Student Ministry Coordinator, where she will be working with Mathew Hargett as they invite all students into a living relationship with Jesus Christ.  Her first day will be Monday, July 6.

Andrea is a Master’s student at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary and an ECU graduate. She’s a North Carolina native and brings a unique background of campus/student ministry and local missions experience to our team. We’re excited to have her aboard! read more

Top Five Tuesday — Top Five “American” Rock Songs

In honor of the upcoming Fourth Of July holiday, here are my five favorite songs with an “American” theme.

Rock songs are rarely “pro-American” — we’ve got Toby Keith for that — but more often convey an ambiguity about the distance between American ideals and American reality. read more