Monday, November 21, 2011

2 Oreo Desserts + 74 Cookies = Anniversary Meeting

This past weekend was my church's Anniversary Meeting.  We invited Elder Gary Harvey from Arkansas to preach to us.  It was an AMAZING weekend.  The Spirit of the Lord was with us, and I felt truly revived by Sunday afternoon.  The preaching was greatly blessed, and the fellowship...well, there are not words to describe it.  My soul is knit with these people, and I love each of them dearly.

Friday night my parents housed at least 10 people, myself included.  We stayed up laughing and talking, and then awoke early Saturday morning to be at the meeting house at 10:00.  The song service was rich, filled with praise to our Savior.  Elder Sam Bryant of Vestavia PBC in Birmingham, AL, preached first, instructing us to "awake, thou that sleepest."  He reminded us that the devil is a roaring lion seeking whom he may devour.  And, he's smart - he doesn't prey on the strong; he'll go after the weak and sleeping sheep.  He shared a story that goes like this:
A young Indian boy, before becoming a Brave, was required to solo climb a cold mountain.  When he finally reached the top, he found a rattlesnake.  The rattlesnake said, "Please, take me down to the bottom of this mountain.  It's cold up here!"  The young Indian boy replied, "You're a rattlesnake.  You'll bite me!"  The snake, in defense, said, "I promise, if you'll take me down this mountain, I will not bite you."  So, the young Indian boy picked up the snake and took him down the mountain.  As soon as he reached the bottom, the rattlesnake snapped, and bit him!  The young boy, in sorrow, cried, "You promised you wouldn't bite me!"  And the snake answered, "You Knew what I was when you picked me up."
Bro. Sam made the point that we often know exactly what troubles await us the moment we pick them up (drugs, porn, etc.), and choose to ignore them.  That is why Peter tells us to "be sober" and "be vigilant".  1 Peter 5:8

Elder Gary Harvey followed Bro. Sam, and preached the remainder of the morning service, as well as the afternoon service.  His subject matter was "Human Suffering".  He said there are a lot of CRAZY ideas in the world, one of them being that "a loving God would not allow all the suffering in this world".  Human suffering is NOT inconsistent with a loving God.  Much suffering is the result of our own sin.  Some suffering is for our own growth and maturity.  He gave at least 5 Biblical examples of this.  I'll give you two: sheep and oxen.  Sheep are dumb.  They like to wander from the fold and are easily led astray.  Guess who God's children are compared to in the Bible?  Yep, sheep.  Sometimes, a shepherd will actually break a stubborn sheep's leg, to keep it from continually wandering from the other sheep.  He does this to protect the sheep from wolves and lions.  (See the parallel?)  One more example...oxen.  An ox is actually just a male calf who was castrated at birth (suffering, no?), and whose sole purpose is to work.  He is trained to work by an older ox, and once he is completely trained, his sole joy is his work.  His natural drive is taken away, that he may fulfill another purpose to the utmost.  God's children are also compared to oxen.  Fascinating, huh?

Saturday night we enjoyed another sweet evening of fellowship with the saints.  And Sunday morning, Bro. Gary preached for us again, this time on the topic, "There is Still Much Land to Be Possessed".

Sermons have been uploaded to our church website:  I encourage each of you to download and listen when you time.  Below are a few pics from the weekend:

Oreo Dessert!  (In-Progress at time of photo) 

74 Chocolate-Chip Cookies (all devoured by Saturday night)

Group shot!

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Great Weekend

Please excuse me if this post seems scattered.  I have lots of things on my mind.  Friday I seemed to experience a variety of emotion.  I found myself thinking of all the veterans who have selflessly served our country and defended our freedoms - friends and family in their twenties and thirties, as well as the ninety-three year old deacon in our church who can remember vivid details of his World War II service in the Pacific.  I am so thankful for each and every one of them.  Happy Veterans Day.

Bro. Charles G. Kitchens and me

I also found myself overwhelmed by the Total Depravity of man.  Friends and I at work discussed the scandal at Penn State, and it is utterly despicable and disheartening.  We should all be in prayer for the victims and their families during this tough time.  I can only look to the Righteous God we serve during times as these.

Then, Friday night, my mom and I went to see October Baby at the movie theater.  I highly recommend this movie to everyone.  It is an amazing story of the gift of life and the power of forgiveness.  At 18, the protagonist, Hannah, discovers that she was adopted as a baby after a failed abortion attempt.  You will be moved as she makes her journey.  The showing in Birmingham was a limited release.  Hopefully, it will hit theaters everywhere in the spring.  Pray that funds are raised to distribute this film throughout the USA.  Many of the scenes were filmed in Birmingham and other locations in Alabama.  In fact, several friends are sitting in the scene at the theater.

Saturday was an absolutely beautiful fall day in Alabama.  I assisted my mother and brother-in-law to rid our yard of leaves.  The end result was a Great Wall of Leaves that resembled a fortress for the outer boundaries.  Where is a Four-Year Old to jump in the pile when you need him/her?

And today, I heard the beginning to an amazing series of sermons by my pastor.  It is titled "The Importance of Godly Parenting".  I was convicted, encouraged, and inspired.  I can't wait for the rest.  Check them out at  

Yes, it has been a wonderful weekend.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Thoughts from Isaiah

Yesterday I had the opportunity to do some reading in Isaiah.  I'm currently on September 17th in my One Year Bible (KJV), but sadly I'm not a month behind.  To be quite honest, I believe I'm on year 3 trying to work my way through.  Pitiful, I know.  But, maybe this will be the year to finish, and I can begin again next year.

I read Isaiah 25:1-28:13.  But, I was particularly struck by 25:4,8-9 and 26:3-4.  They are below:
25:4 - For thou hast been a strength to the poor, a strength to the needy in his distress, a refuge from the storm, a shadow from the heat, when the blast of the terrible ones is as a storm against the wall.
25:8 - He will swallow up death in victory; and the Lord God will wipe away tears from off all faces; and the rebuke of his people shall he take away from off all the earth: for the Lord hath spoken it.
25:9 - And it shall be said in that day, Lo, this is our God; we have waited for him, and he will save us: this is the Lord; we have waited for him, we will be glad and rejoice in his salvation. 
26:3 - Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee: because he trusteth in thee.
26:4 - Trust ye in the Lord for ever: for in the Lord JEHOVAH is everlasting strength.
 The last month has been trying.  I can think of at least 6 funerals that I have attended for friends, and friends of friends.  I have known of several others.  Many others I know are facing difficult circumstances, whether it be illness or something else.  Verses 4 and 8 provide such comfort and encouragement!  Even when we've heard it o're and 'ore, Christ told even John the Baptist's disciples, "go and tell John again."  We're a forgetful people.  We need reminding.  God said HE would be our strength.  HE would be our refuge.  And not only that, but death itself is swallowed up in victory.  Though we often say "So and so lost the fight", truthfully, they won a great victory, for their tears are forever wiped away now, and they are dwelling in joy with Christ their Savior.

Verses 3 and 4 in chapter 26 reiterate the point again.  When we trust in the Lord, He gives us peace.  It's so easy in this world to become distracted, but when we keep our focus on Him, and completely trust Him, He provides peace.  I can think of sweet moments when I have been frazzled, and prayed to the Lord, and before even saying "Amen," I could already feel a sense of peace.  It's one of His many promises to us.  And I'm so thankful.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

ALA | Banned Books Week

ALA | Banned Books Week

Hello friends. It has been a long time. I have no excuse, other than I really have not been on my computer much over the last several months. My iphone has proven quite helpful in that area. But, enough of that. I came across this article today, and I wanted to share it.

Did you know that it is Banned Books Week? Yes, yes it is.

I was curious to see - what books have made the list? Have I read any of them? Would I consider them controversial? Unfortunately, it was difficult to find an all-inclusive list of all books that have been challenged or banned. But I did come across a list of "classic" banned books. Books that many of us have read and/or were required to read in school. You may notice that some of the numbers skip. Originally this was a list of Radcliffe's Rival 100 Best Novels. If a number/book is missing, it hasn't been challenged or banned. So, to fill you with random knowledge, below is the list:

1. The Great Gatsby, by F. Scott Fitzgerald
2. The Catcher in the Rye, by J.D. Salinger
3. The Grapes of Wrath, by John Steinbeck - read in 12th grade
4. To Kill a Mockingbird, by Harper Lee - read in 9th grade

5. The Color Purple, by Alice Walker
6. Ulysses, by James Joyce
7. Beloved, by Toni Morrison
8. The Lord of the Flies, by William Golding - read in 9th(?) grade
9. 1984, by George Orwell
11. Lolita, by Vladmir Nabokov
12. Of Mice and Men, by John Steinbeck
15. Catch-22, by Joseph Heller
16. Brave New World, by Aldous Huxley
17. Animal Farm, by George Orwell - read in 9th grade
18. The Sun Also Rises, by Ernest Hemingway
19. As I Lay Dying, by William Faulkner
20. A Farewell to Arms, by Ernest Hemingway
23. Their Eyes Were Watching God, by Zora Neale Hurston
24. Invisible Man, by Ralph Ellison
25. Song of Solomon, by Toni Morrison
26. Gone with the Wind, by Margaret Mitchell
27. Native Son, by Richard Wright
28. One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest, by Ken Kesey
29. Slaughterhouse-Five, by Kurt Vonnegut
30. For Whom the Bell Tolls, by Ernest Hemingway
33. The Call of the Wild, by Jack London
36. Go Tell it on the Mountain, by James Baldwin
38. All the King's Men, by Robert Penn Warren
40. The Lord of the Rings, by J.R.R. Tolkien - read last year
45. The Jungle, by Upton Sinclair - read as a sophomore in college

48. Lady Chatterley's Lover, by D.H. Lawrence
49. A Clockwork Orange, by Anthony Burgess
50. The Awakening, by Kate Chopin
53. In Cold Blood, by Truman Capote
55. The Satanic Verses, by Salman Rushdie
57. Sophie's Choice, by William Styron
64. Sons and Lovers, by D.H. Lawrence
66. Cat's Cradle, by Kurt Vonnegut
67. A Separate Peace, by John Knowles
73. Naked Lunch, by William S. Burroughs
74. Brideshead Revisited, by Evelyn Waugh
75. Women in Love, by D.H. Lawrence
80. The Naked and the Dead, by Norman Mailer
84. Tropic of Cancer, by Henry Miller
88. An American Tragedy, by Theodore Dreiser
97. Rabbit, Run, by John Updike

Friday, March 25, 2011


A dear sister in our church and I have been going back and forth for a couple of weeks now describing our past week with "southernisms" as I'll call them.  Then, we try to describe what they mean.  We wind up just laughing and laughing.  Here's a few we've come up with:

  • Middlin' - this means to just be doing fair.  You don't feel great, but you don't feel poor either.  It's somewhere in the middle, thus you are middlin'.
  • Piddlin' - this means to be doing something with no particular purpose.  Twidlin' your thumbs is a perfect example.  Whitlin' is another example.  I'll cover both these next.
  • Twidlin' - twirling something, usually in reference to your thumbs.  But I suppose it could be any other object as well.
  • Whitlin' - this term is used most often in reference to wood and cutting away at it with a knife.  I think it probably originally comes from the word "whetting", which means to sharpen.  Most people are "whitlin" with no particular purpose, thus they are "piddlin' while they're whitlin".
  • Fiddlin' - this term has two meanings.  It could mean to play a musical instrument, namely the fiddle.  Or, it could mean to attempt to fix an object.  You may fiddle with a radio, a car, or anything else electronic or mechanical.
Which words have I forgotten?  Do you have a different definition for some of these?  Please do share!

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Shuttle Discovery Launches!

Latest Space Shuttle News

Space Shuttle Discovery Launches on Final Voyage

It was a bittersweet moment when I saw this article today.  The Shuttle Discovery has launched successfully for its 39th and last time.

I have always loved reading and learning about the space program.  I suppose I come by it naturally.  My dad loves looking up at the stars at night, as do I.  And since I was a young child, I have always dreamed of traveling to space.  How amazing must it be to look on our tiny earth and see the immensity of space.  I cannot imagine orbiting the earth and not thinking of our amazing Creator nonstop.  But, alas, science was not my best subject.

For my entire life I have only know the shuttle program.  I have seen its joys as we have built the International Space Station (ISS), and its sorrows when we lost the Challenger and the Columbia.  I know the technology it has brought the U.S., and the advances it has made in science.  Some of the most basic tech tools we have today are a result of the space program.

So, reading this article was bittersweet.  The Discovery will be retired when it returns, eventually making its way to the Smithsonian Museum, where it can long be treasured and admired.  And, after Atlantis and Endeavor make their journeys this year, they, too, will be retired.  And the shuttle program will end.  And since President Obama has cut back on funding for NASA and instead encouraged the private sector to take over, it may be a long time before we return to space.

It is my prayer and desire that this mindset be changed, and we return to the heavens soon.  Thank you, Discovery, for all you have done.  You and your crews have served your country well.  May God bless the current crew, and return you safely home.

**Thanks to for the use of the picture.  This is a picture of the lift-off this morning.  Below picture also from