A Holly Jolly Christmas

December 23, 2015



“Do not be afraid, for behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy which will be to all people.”

~Luke 2:10, NKJV


“Oh by golly, have a holly jolly Christmas this year.”

~Burl Ives


In spite of all the sad things that have happened on and around Christmas, I still believe it is the best time of the year. My grandmother [Halbrooks] was promoted on Christmas Day 1972. Mama, as we called her, embodied the spirit of Christmas; thus Christmas has not been the same since. Then Daddy departed this world on July 5th 1995 and although he tried to play the role of Ebenezer Scrooge at Christmas: we discovered rather quickly that he was the glue that kept our family together. Then my brother in 2009 and Mother in 2010. In my time alone, I grieve their passing. I miss them more every year which I don’t understand: you would think it would get easier. In the presence of my children and grand children, I am jolly. I don’t want a single grandchild left with the memory that their Granddad was a wet blanket at Christmas.

This week has been a strange week. I have met at least one new family each day. With each new acquaintance, there is a story. I’m going to put yesterday’s story in parable form to protect the innocent.

A certain young man who came from a good family got married and began making a home and family. He was very particular; his goal was to be independent. He didn’t want to be indebted to anyone not even his parents. In took great pride in being debt free and saving money. When a caring family member questions his core values, he said, “I have enough money to get what I want, I don’t owe anyone and I don’t need anyone’s help.” Yet this young man was miserable and worked to make everyone around him miserable. Even on Christmas, he refused to let his children go visit their grandparents. No pictures, no cards, no parties and no family get to gathers. How would you like to be his child or wife?

Please, for the sake of your children and grandchildren, give your misery a break during the holidays. Don’t be guilty of imposing your misery upon a child. For Pete’s sake, let them enjoy their childhood.

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  • I was so tired when I got home last night, that there was no EXTRA but I want to wash some feet tonight. First of all, I commend you for all that you have done this Christmas to help children. I’m not sure, but I think you sponsored 13 children and they all got a whale of a Christmas. Jason’s class did more than one and so did Charles’ class. We had four women who did the others. THANK YOU FOLKS–YOU MAKE ME PROUD [in a good way].
  • LORD willing, Shohn and I work to noon today but this has been a crazy week. My back, for some strange reason is much better. The problem now, is not overdoing it. I don’t understand but it began getting better Saturday evening. I bet someone has been praying for me and so I am going to give the LORD the credit for my improvement.
  • Remember, no service tonight but we do have CHRISTMAS EVE COMMUNION tomorrow night at 6:00.
  • There were 4 different unspoken request on the prayer sheets this week and I can add a couple to the list. I don’t know what they are but I will guess: [1] Substance Abuse, [2] Domestic Conflict, [3]Ungrateful adult children, [4] Irresponsible Adults [folks who keep blaming others for everything that goes wrong in their life], [5]Family Conflict, [6] Financial Bondage and [7] Spiritual Indifference. So pick out a number and pray for that mountain to fall.
  • I am so thankful for Buford’s baptism on the 13th. Buford is tired; he has very little energy. I am fairly certain that Buford is packing, taking care on all details, in view of his promotion. I told him yesterday how much he has inspired me. I love Buford and his family. The entire family has the gift of hospitality.
  • Seth is home {PTL} but his is disabled for three months and he is not happy about it. On the other hand, we are very happy that they saved his toe and that it was not worse. He has a very good boss [which is good] and between him and his mama, a lot of friends. He had to go 9 hours without eating [before the surgery]. Dr. Gomez wrote on his post opt orders…”Feed the boy.” He said he had never written those orders before.
  • When the grand mother told me her story yesterday [about not getting to have all her grandchildren at Christmas], I got stirred up. I am an advocate for children. I don’t remember who it was or where, but some one told me in the last few days about a good divorce…he said concerning someone else, “She is happy now and he is happy now.” My knee jerk reaction, “How happy are the children?” [two children involved]. He said, “Your right, I hadn’t thought about from their perspective.” Neither have their parents! How can any parent be happy when their own selfishness has destroyed their child’s sense of security and threatened their peace of mind and happiness?

Gary, Keri and Kane


March 17, 2015

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Prophecy and speaking in unknown languages and special knowledge will become useless. But love {agape} will last forever!

1 Corinthians 13:8, NLT


Gravitation can not be held responsible for people falling in love.

~Albert Einstein

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One of the weaknesses of the English language is that we have only one word for love whereas the Greeks had four: eros is romantic or erotic love; philia is affectionate regard for a friend; Storge is the affection we have within the family–parent loving child or child loving parent but the word that Paul uses in I Corinthians 13 is agape. It is a divine love, a love from above. It is not natural, it is supernatural. It is an unconditional love. For the sake of time, I want to talk about the two loves in the scripture and quote. Einstein is talking about eros and Paul is talking about agape.

Not every marriage in our culture begins with eros but that is how the great majority get started. Daddy referred to courting as “sparking” and it was right on the money. Eros is the combustion caused by the sparks. Eros is like a roaring fire and it you are not careful, it can get out of control. But to keep any fire going, you have to kindle it and sometimes is it gets down to stirring the embers, putting dry kindling on it and fanning the flame. Erotic love is an emotional trip. It is exciting and rejuvenating. It can make old folks feel young.

THREE THINGS ABOUT EROS YOU MUST REMEMBER: [1] Eros is highly conditional; it is a need love and it must be nurtured or it will die. [2] Agape is eternal and eros is temporal. [3] Erotic love may meet a need but it will not meet all your needs. It is woefully insufficient when it comes suffering and hardship. Long story short, for any marriage to endure long term, we need to move from eros to agape.

There is no good news for the shallow minded who jump from one relationship to another looking for a new erotic high. If you are one of the many who exalts personal happiness over the happiness of your children let me tell you what your future holds. You will grow old and die lonely. You cannot get to the moon in a sports car. You can get to the moon, but you have to have the right vehicle which would be powered by a Saturn V. Eros cannot get you to the kind of happiness you desire because it lacks the power to do so. In the end you will fail miserably short and you will regret not doing the right thing.

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  • TODAY WE PRAY FOR TEACHERS who are excited about next week which  is SPRING BREAK.
  • Clarification: I do know that several members read the blog but your names are not revealed to me unless you are a follower. Jason or someone who knows more about it than I do can tell you how to be a follower. He does not look for the blog, it automatically comes to him. I think through his email but I am not sure. Most of you follow on Twitter or Facebook but there is another way. Unfortunately, I don’t know how to tell you to do it and you may not want to.
  • We are aware that some will be gone this Sunday but we did not have another date due to Easter and the things that surround it. Our VISITATION IS STILL ON…Mandy and I are working on assignments. It will be a cookie and brownie blitz and the visits will be ministry related. Everyone can go out, even the children. Report time at 6:00 and then Pizza.
  • The Wednesday night schedule is full…supper at 5:30, AWANA at 6:15 {they had 100 last week, Shohn found three more that were not counted} and the GATHERING AT 6:30. Next week {March 25} we do not meet.
  • MARCH 29th is the egg hunt at 5:00 and fellowship at 6:00. We may do burgers and dogs. We are going to wait until we get a weather forecast before we decide.
  • I think Kane is coming home for a few days and Keri as appointment in Huntsville today.

Keri and Kane

The Happy Man

November 19, 2014

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Happy are those who make the Lord their trust, who do not turn to the proud.

~Psalms 40:4, NRSV


Any faith in Him, however small, is better than any belief about Him, however great.

~George McDonald

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I like Eugene Peterson’s paraphrase of the above verse, “Blessed in the man who gives himself over to God and turns his back on the world’s ‘Sure Thing.'” When I read this, I thought of Moses. You talk about a sure thing, Moses was an adopted Prince. All he had to do to live a life of wealth and luxury was placate his Egyptians parents. He had been adopted into one of the richest families on the face of the planet but he gave it all up to serve a bunch of ungrateful slaves.

The writer of Hebrews says of Moses. “He chose rather to share ill-treatment with the people of God than to enjoy the fleeting pleasures of sin. He considered abuse suffered for the Christ to be greater wealth than the treasures of Egypt, for he was looking ahead to the reward.”

I can’t really identify with Moses. I was a 19 years old working my way through Junior College when I surrendered to the gospel ministry. I didn’t walk away from a sure thing. I dreamed of being a coach or a farmer and even then, poor folks didn’t have a chance in farming without some help. I do agree with David, you cannot go wrong by trusting the LORD. He definitely knows what is best and it is for certain, He is the only ONE who can make us happy.


  • Supper tonight at 5:30 with AWANA at 6:15 and the GATHERING at 6:30…. I do plan to be there and share a message. 
  • Today we pray for the WORLD.
  • Sunday is a big day with our offering of OCC Christmas Boxes. I am praying for 200 plus. Remember Holly will be in the Sanctuary from 9:00-9:15 in case you want a pic with your children or grands with a shoe box. June does one for all the grand kids and Mylee did one also which will give us 10. To cap the morning service off, we have a celebration of Baptism. The Children will be with us in the service and they will sing. No Deacon’s meeting this Sunday.
  • I walked for the second day but it was cold. I got started late and my thoughts as I came in before dark were: “I’m sure glad I am not homeless.” June and I love our land lord and the cottage he provides. It has been a blessing.
  • We clicked over the 100 thousand mark last night: thank you readers one and all. We average 115 hits per day which is up slightly from a year ago. A year ago it was around 75 per day. I love doing them and just glad there is someone to read them. By the grace of God we have posted 1,916 blogs in just over 5 years. I can’t remember what my life was like before the blog.


 Can A Muslim Be a Good American?

First: you need to read this from start to finish. Muslims, even those who profess to be peaceful never denounce the atrocities perpetrated by other Muslims upon Christian and Jews; have you ever wondered why? 

This question was forwarded to a friend of mine who worked in Saudi Arabia for 20 years. The following is his reply:

Theologically— they cannot speak out because of their allegiance is to Allah, The moon god of Arabia.

Religiously— they cannot speak out because no other religion other than Islam is acceptable. It is Islam, the sword or slavery; you take your choice. Freedom of religion does not exist in the world of Islam.v(Quran,2:256)(Koran)

Scripturally— they cannot speak against the Quran which encourages violence against Christians and Jews.

Socially— they do not speak out because their allegiance to Islam forbids them from making friends with Christians or Jews. 

Politically — they do not speak out because they must live in submission to their mullahs [spiritual leaders] who teach the annihilation of Israel and destruction of America, the great Satan.

Intellectually— they cannot speak about anything. Before you can speak intellectually, you have to have intellect. Trust me, no Muslim, peaceful or otherwise is going to uphold or honor the constitution of the United States of America. In this way, they are a kin to democrats.

Philosophically— they will not speak out because Islam does not allow freedom of expression for individual muslims. Again, like a loyal democrat, they have to hold to the party line whether they believe it or not. Freedom and Islam are antithetical, they cannot co-exist together. Every Muslim nation is under dictatorship. No exceptions!

Spiritually— they will not speak out because when we declare ourselves ‘one nation under God,’ and that is offensive to them. Their god allah is not a god of love and he is not a father. Yahweh is loving and kind, while Allah is NEVER referred to as father, nor is he ever called love in the Quran’s 99 excellent names.

Therefore, after much study and deliberation…Perhaps we should be very suspicious of ALL  MUSLIMS in this  country. They obviously cannot be both  ‘good’ Muslims  and ‘good’ Americans. Call it what you wish but in reality, Islam is a threat to freedom and peace. There are no good muslims or bad muslims, just muslims. No peaceful muslims or belligerent muslims, just muslims. The sooner we get this through our thick heads, the better off we will be. 

Editor’s note:

Our political correct politicians and media are dupes. Muslims operate like ancient Eastern Monarchs, the first thing they do when they get power is eliminate the opposition and they will not make a distinction between democrat or republican. Obama showed David Green and Hobby Lobby no mercy, yet he made exceptions for all Muslim owned companies. You see there are two things that Christians and Muslims agree on: Abortion and homosexuality are sins. Obama did not make the Muslim companies enforce the mandate for companies to provide the day after pill due to their religious beliefs but he showed Green no such mercy. Some people believe that he is Muslim Communist: one thing is certain, he sympathizes with Muslims more than he does Christians. I’m talking about real Christians.


MyHope coming November 2013

SCRIPTURE:  When life is good, enjoy it. {Ecclesiastes  7:14, ERV]

QUOTE: Worry never robs tomorrow of its sorrow, it only saps today of its joy. ~Leo Buscaglia

COMMENTARY: Life is like sailing across a big ocean, you are bound to encounter some storms. I agree with Solomon, when the skies are blue and the sailing smooth, enjoy it. Don’t allow anxiety about the next storm rob you of enjoying the moment. I should have carried a suit and tie on the trip. I don’t think the Guatemalans care but the Seminary Staff makes wearing a tie a standard. I honestly forgot the tie. I looked through my suit case and there was no tie nor white shirt. I had been instructed to have a jacket and tie. I was not in rebellion, I simply forgot. Saturday night as I lay down to rest a few hours before preaching three times on Sunday, I had a spirit of anxiety about the tie. Long story short, my anxiety was for nothing. The LORD worked it all out. Most of the things that we worry about never materialize. Enjoy the moment. If you sky is blue, be thankful but remember those that are in crisis.

EXTRA: There is a part B to the tie story but I will tell it later. It is entertaining now but there were some tense moments last Tuesday when Teko’s Father in law picked me up. I put this blog together last night at the Atlanta Airport where I had a three hour lay over. I got home about 10:30 pm. By the time I unpacked and took a shower it was close enough to mid-night to upload the blog. I had a good week and Jesus should be praised. I went down there with three physical problems and none of them were an issue. I had a headache on the flight down and didn’t have another. The hard physical labor relieves me of my stress I guess. I had no stomach problems either. Took a bottle of malox and never opened it. I can’t work like I once could but I contributed. We did bible studies with the entire group every morning at 7:00 and I loved every minute. Spoke in two different churches and shared the gospel at the city dump to about 25 people. I went to the village of Santa Cruz every single day. Preached there on Sunday and helped the Medical team on Tuesday. The other days I was helping with construction. We taped one of the house dedications and the only way I could share it was put it on YouTube.  Actually, I had some help. I watched it once and thought I was looking at my daddy. That shifting back and forth is bound to get on your nerves. Thanks for your patience and tolerance.

I almost tweaked the old proverb, “Be it ever so humble, there is no place like home,” but it made me feel guilty. June and I live in a mansion compared to the average Guatemalan. Most have either a dirt or concrete floor. I would guess that 70% do not have a cook stove and many of them still wash their clothes the same way they did hundreds of years ago. I thought the Mayans were extinct but the last village we visited has some Christian Mayans. I am glad to be home but it was a fruitful and enlightening trip. This blog may have some errors but I am too tired to proof it.