First Things First

December 30, 2015



Seeing their faith, Jesus said to the man, “Young man, your sins are forgiven.”

~Luke 5:20, NLT


Everything begins with the right priorities, and right priorities begins with a relationship to Christ.

~Woodrow Kroll


Jesus was in Capernaum teaching in one of the homes when a crowd gathered, jamming the entrance of the house so no one could get in or out. They brought a paraplegic to him, carried by four friends. When they weren’t able to get in because of the crowd, they removed part of the roof and lowered the paraplegic, on his stretcher, right in front of Jesus. Impressed by their faith, Jesus said to the paralyzed man, “My child, your sins are forgiven.”

The man was paralyzed and his friends brought him to Jesus to be healed of his physical infirmity. Jesus shocked everyone in the room by saying, “My child, your sins are forgiven.” Later, Jesus will say, “Stand up, pick up your mat, and go home!” Practically everyone in the building knew that Jesus was a Healer; what they didn’t realize was that Jesus was God and had the power to forgive sins.

Every one wants health and wealth. The masses love the free fish and hush puppies but spiritual things are not a priority, at least to us but to Jesus, forgiveness of sin comes before the healing of the body.


  • I have divided the extra: Church and sick folks are first, my personal thing that most of you will not want to read is at the bottom. I would read it if I were you.
  • SCHEDULE: We had some confusion about the schedule last Sunday and we would like to avoid that if possible this week. No deacons meeting or PM service January 3 but we do have LCBS at 9:15 and worship at 10:15 with donuts and biscuits. Actually, our donut store in Hartselle was closed last Sunday. I think we are getting a new Krispy Kreme in Decatur. We are taking the two Sunday nights off so that workers can have a break. Our AWANA Nursery workers [2 hours every Sunday night] will be going from January 10-March 20th without a break.
  • Joe David did hospital visitation yesterday; Lord willing, I will be going today. Gary Garner is better but keeps falling. Cory thinks he may come home today. Gary can have company.
  • I thing Patrick [Fuzz] Dobbins is doing better also but Ben Blankenship’s dad is in serious condition.

Happy New Year 2016

  • My off time is flying by: I can’t get a lot down for going to doctors. With June’s help, we did get some of our to do list completed yesterday. We ordered my office building [12X16] which will be delivered in the middle of January. I have to add the porch, wire, plumb and finish the inside which will take me months. My goal is to have it finished by August.
  • I met my new doctor {Harrison} yesterday. I walked in with my Alabama shirt on and the nurses starting staring: I said, “What?” They said, “Dr. Harrison is an Auburn graduate and fan.” I said, “I’m not a cow, I want to see a doctor who treats humans.” Everyone chuckled but June. Hey, I like the guy. He is not Joe David’s age, he is closer to Seth’s. He walked in and I said, “What are you, twenty-three?” He said, “I will be my next birthday.” I asked him about his medical degree. He went to med school in Philadelphia, not Mississippi. Big Mama really likes him. Come to find out, he is Larry Garner’s doctor.

Gary, Keri and Kane

The Mystery Of Prayer

September 13, 2015

Celebrate Jesus.crimsonjpg


“Lord, if only you had been here, my brother would not have died. But even now I know that God will give you whatever you ask.”

~John 11:21-22, NLT


God answers all true prayer, either in kind or in kindness.

~Adoniram Judson

my thoughts red

I love John 11: in verse 3 we have the sisters prayer request–So the two sisters sent a message to Jesus telling him, “Lord, your dear friend is very sick.” Then in verse 4 we have Jesus response “Lazarus’s sickness will not end in death. No, it happened for the glory of God so that the Son of God will receive glory from this.” Jesus delayed his coming for two days and when He gets to Bethany, Lazarus is physically dead and in a tomb. Then we have the sister’s response to Jesus not coming immediately or in time to heal Lazarus.

  1. They blame…“Lord, if only YOU had been here, my brother would not have died.” {Both said the same thing}
  2. They are disappointed.
  3. They are bewildered: they do not understand why Jesus was not there when they needed Him most.
  4. They are filled with grief.
  5. Mary may have been depressed: she did not leave the house to met Jesus.

Lesson from the story:

  1. Jesus answered their prayer but just not as they had imagined. God’s plans are much better than our expectations. Actually, His plans are better than our dreams.
  2. The sisters wanted a ‘healing’ but Jesus gave them a ‘resurrection.’ A resurrection trumps a healing.
  3. We all experience the same negative emotions when Christ does not respond to our prayer in the way that we had imagined–disappointment, grief, doubt, fear and despair.
  4. It all boils down to FAITH in CHRIST. Martha said to Jesus, “Lord, if only you had been here, my brother would not have died but even now I know that God will give you whatever you ask.” Jesus told her, Your brother will rise again.” “Yes,” Martha said, “he will rise when everyone else rises, at the last day.” Jesus told her, “I am the resurrection and the life. Anyone who believes in me will live, even after dying. Everyone who lives in me and believes in me will never ever die. Do you believe this, Martha?” “Yes, Lord, I have always believed you are the Messiah, the Son of God, the One who has come into the world from God.”
  5. Mary’s devotion was off the charts but it was Martha {the OCD pot banger} who had the greatest faith. Never underestimate the Martha’s.


  • Gary is making slow progress: he is extremely weak.
  • Kane Hogan: {from Michelle at 8:30 pm last night…9/12/15} The steroid is really playing with Kane’s blood suger. We are going on a week in the hospital. The insulin keeps getting increased but the blood suger still climbs in the evening. We will be in the hospital until they get the right combination. They tell us it is all medical. They have done this. Now we wait for the chemo to hit his system they say it is ruff stuff. He feels fine and we are thankful for that. He takes 3 to 6 shots of insulin a day right now.
  • Today’s schedule: Coffee, Biscuits and donuts at 9:00, LCBS at 9:15, Worship at 10:15 and 6:15. AWANA and VISITATION at 5:30.
  • LORD willing, we will be in REVIVAL at Belleview today through Wednesday night.
  • What about this weather. I went for a walk around 6:00 last night and came in at dark and my hands were cold.
  • I got home at 1:30 am Friday night and that is why there was no EXTRA.
  • I think you are going to love the PARKING LOT. One caution: do not park on the areas where you see the wheat straw; we have back filled those areas and reseeded them. Your not going to need a shade tree to park under today.

Gary, Keri and Kane

Pride And Repentance

July 10, 2015

Celebrate Jesus.crimsonjpg


Then Hezekiah humbled himself and repented of his pride, as did the people of Jerusalem. So the Lord’s anger did not fall on them during Hezekiah’s lifetime.

~2 Chronicles 32:26, NLT


Sorrow is our John the Baptist, clad in grim garments, with rough arms, a son of the wilderness, baptizing us with bitter tears, preaching repentance; and behind him comes the gracious, affectionate, healing Lord, speaking peace and joy to the soul.

~Fredric Huntington

my thoughts red

Hezekiah was one of Judah’s better Kings: matter of fact the writer of 2 Kings said, Hezekiah trusted in the LORD, the God of Israel. There was no one like him among all the kings of Judah, either before or after his time. The Jewish historian also said of Josiah, “Never before had there been a king like Josiah, who turned to the LORD with all his heart and soul and strength, obeying all the laws of Moses. And there has never been a king like him since.” I think Josiah was the purest but Hezekiah runs a close second. Hezekiah got sick and Isaiah told him to set his house in order because he would not recover. Hezekiah turned his face to the wall and wept. He also prayed and God heard his prayer and added 15 years to his life. Hezekiah did not respond in the appropriate way to the Lord’s goodness, he let his success and good fortune turn into pride and the Lord was displeased. Isaiah rebuked him for his pride and Hezekiah repented. The Lord would judge Judah but not in Hezekiah’s life time.

We all sin daily and we need to repent daily. Repentance is to be a state of mind, an attitude that we carry daily. America needs to repent and so do we. Our country needs prayer. I have always believed Obama hates white folks but now I am wondering if he does hate America and what it stands for. There are other places to make cuts other than the military.

extra 2

  • I thank God for the ability to work, it is a blessing but I am one tired old hound dog or G-Dog as the older grand’s refer to me. I am going to have to go back to work to get some rest.
  • The LORD is answering prayer left and right. June has worried her self to death over the corn. She was afraid it would come in while we were in Alaska but it is in. It is probably the best corn we have raised. She heard that red pepper will keep the predators out: we will let you know how that works out. I am meeting with the paving contractor today and I am pretty sure we have us a second van, Chevy, white with charcoal interior, 2014 with only 30,000 miles. God is raising up some givers at DBC and we praise His name.
  • One of my old brick laying buddies was promoted yesterday: James Knox but we all called him Rooster. He helped me lay the brick at the amphitheater. He did my fire place on Craze Road. One of sorriest things I have ever done was set Rooster up for a hen flogging. He was sweet on Hannah but older enough to be her granddaddy. As a father, I had to steer him in another direction so I told him that June was sweet on him. When he did his come on to her, she was on him like white on rice. She told him that she wouldn’t have him if he was the last man on earth. I finally had to send her back into the house.
  • There were three Baptist Preachers that graduated Athens College in 1971: Larry Bullard, Mickey Dalrymple and myself. Mickey was promoted this week, his service is in Columbus, Mississippi on Saturday. He preached a revival for us back in the late 90′ and he also spoke at a banquet in the FORTE. He was a native of Sand Mountain and a teller of funny stories. Mickey was 71 years old.
  • Mandy couldn’t stand being off so she’s been working on BLOCK PARTY T-shirts. I enter the pic of shirt separate from the blog.
  • The Memorial Service for Mike Hooper will be Tuesday in Kansas but then the ashes will be shipped here and a memorial service will be held grave side at Friendship.
  • June just told me that Kenny “The Snake” Stabler passed away.


The Healing Process

May 16, 2014

celebrate Jesus Son of God


Jesus replied with a story: “A Jewish man was traveling from Jerusalem down to Jericho, and he was attacked by bandits. They stripped him of his clothes, beat him up, and left him half dead beside the road.

~Luke 10:30, NLT


The consequences of unwise choices or actions of hurtful people can create burdens or wounds that endure for a lifetime.

~Bill Crowder

my thoughts red

When a subject comes up two days in a row, I assume God is trying to tell me something. I dealt with forgiveness in the message on Wednesday night and then it came up again Thursday morning. The LORD dealt with me before the sermon concerning my slowness to forgive. A part of forgiveness is letting go but I have struggled with letting go of some things that happened a long, long time ago. When I read Bill Crowder’s Our Daily Bread devotion yesterday, it stirred my mind and moved my heart. I decided to share some of my thoughts with you.

Jesus taught us in the story of the Good Samaritan that there are four kinds of people in the world: [1] Those who get hurt [man beaten by the robbers, Victims]. [2] Those who hurt others intentionally and without cause [robbers, the Vicious] [3] Those who are indifferent, those who could help but don’t care [Priest and Levite, the Vain] [4] Those who help and speed the process of healing [Good Samaritan, the Virtuous]. So whether your hurt involves divorce, abuse, drugs, abandonment, rejection, scorn or whatever: people do get hurt others, this is a fact of life. Sometimes the hurt is so bad that a Good Samaritan is needed. Had he not come along when he did, the man in the ditch would have died.

Sometimes this healing agent can be a spouse who loves unconditionally. Sometimes it can be a grandchild as in the case of Naomi. It could be a bible study group, a Sunday School class, a friend, a co-worker or a Christian counselor but pretending you’re not hurt is no solution and healing is a process that takes time.

EXTRA animated

I know you don’t like long blogs but this is for the hurting. If you are not hurting, do not read this section. If you are, let me give you some advice. It can be very embarrassing to admit that you have been hurt; especially if it happened during your childhood and by someone you trusted.  The rule of thumb is: [1] You’re healing depends on your honesty. The depth of your healing will go no deeper than the depth of your honesty. No, I do not recommend  you come to me or any preacher. I recommend a professional Christian counselor. I would be more than happy to help you find one. The number one reason for this is confidentially which you need for your protection. You may have a friend you can trust but be careful. Whether you were abused sexually, had an abortion, suffered a painful rejection or heartbreaking disappointment; you have to deal with what really happened or you will never recover. [2] There is no disgrace in being hurt or needing help. The man in the story [Luke 10] did nothing to deserve being robbed, stripped, and beaten. He was hurt so badly that he could not help himself. We all need help from time to time. If you want healing, don’t be afraid to get help. [3] Concentrate on your healing not justice for the robbers [brutal people who inflict hurt]. Turn the robbers over to the proper authorities. If someone robs me, I am not going to get my 12 gauge and go after them, this is not my job. I will allow he proper authorities to deal with them. Do not take the law into your own hands and try to make them pay. Most robbers [hurtful people] are never converted and they never change. They may never be sorry for what they did to you. The truth is: most offenders do not care that they hurt you. They don’t even think about you. You were just a bump in the road. Hurtful people move on to new relationships: they don’t pine over the human debris they leave behind. Forget them and focus on your healing. Healing involves honesty about the hurt and disengagement from those who did the hurting. You cannot forget the hurt but do your best to forget them. Turn them over to the proper authorities and walk away. Trust me, in the end, you will feel sorry for them. God’s mill rocks of justice turn exceeding slow but they grind exceeding fine.  The most liberating day of your life will be when you give HIM your hurts.

For the record, the above was written in the early hours of May 15th, long before the day unfolded.

ysam EXTRA

  • Seth graduates from lineman school this morning at 9:00 and Jeremy graduates PTA school tonight. It is a big day for the Bailey’s.
  • Chloe Bug is back home, her mother is to arrive [God willing] in the early hours of the morning. It has been a week. I pretty much let her do whatever and I have created a beast. She has exhausted me this week. She has the energy of a Turrentine. She is a little machine and she has learned to climb and is not afraid of heights. I know why God does not allow older women to get pregnant: we older men couldn’t take raising a little one. I don’t know how Sarah and Abraham did it, that is raise a child.
  • Visitation for the Maddox Family tonight at Peck 6:00-8:00: COLS tomorrow [Saturday] at Peck [11:00 am].
  • Full lineup for Sunday: Deacon’s meeting at 8:00, LCBS 9:00, Worship Celebration at 10:15, WEE Care Graduation at 2:00 and AWANA graduation at 6:00 followed by Pizza Fellowship.


Celebrate Jesus-forth1


 The blind and the lame came to him in the Temple, and He healed them.  The leading priests and the teachers of religious law saw these wonderful miracles and heard even the children in the Temple shouting, “Praise God for the Son of David.” But the leaders were indignant.

~Matthew 21:14-15


Joy is not the absence of trouble but the presence of Christ.

~William Van der Hoven

my thoughts red

Actually, the above scripture probably happened late Monday evening before Jesus retires to Bethany. Jesus spent only one night in Jerusalem, the night of his arrest. Jesus cleansed the Temple on Monday morning, set up shop and began using the Temple as a place of healing Monday evening. The miracles Jesus performed produced a chorus of praise lead by the children and this was very disturbing to the Jewish religious leaders. Jesus goes back to Bethany for the night and returns early on Tuesday morning. On His way in to the Temple, He curses the barren fig tree which some believe is a symbol of the spiritual impotence of the Jewish nation. When He enters the temple He begins to teach. So Monday was a healing day and Tuesday is a teaching day. The Jews did not like His teaching anymore than His healing so they question His authority. “By what authority are you doing all these things? Who gave you the right?” They asked.

Jesus was absorbed in ministry. He was focused on the needs of others. The Jewish religious leaders were concerned with their position and focused on authority. Jesus heart was to serve; the religious leaders had no heart for serving, they wanted to rule. In my 45 years of ministry, I cannot recall one person with a servant’s heart and deeply committed to helping others who got involved in authority issues. This is not a coincidence, people who are focused on ministry are never concerned with position or power.

They who have no heart to help have no right to question.

EXTRA animated

  • I may have mentioned this yesterday, don’t remember but we had 302 in the am service which makes two Sundays in a row that we’ve been over 300 and our offering was over $12,000.00 which makes two very good offering in a row. Speaking of offering, this Sunday is your last opportunity to give to the ANNIE ARMSTRONG EASTER offering. Beginning April 27, we will focus on the Guatemala Mission Trip and then the Block Party. The Mother’s Day offering will go to the Crisis Pregnancy Center.
  • I think more cold weather is on the way: I’m glad I did not set out any tomatoes. Teddy probably has corn up by now. It looks like it will be a late garden but it is just as well, we have not had time to work in the garden. It may be my age but we are having too many COLS.
  • Arvid Wakefield COLS is Wednesday April 16 at 6:00 at the Princess Theater.

God’s Psychiatry

November 5, 2013

Pray For MY HOPE

Pray For MY HOPE


He restores my soul.

~Psalm 23:3, NKJV


“My soul is restless until it finds rest in Thee, O God.”



The word psychiatry is a compound word. It comes from two Greek words–psyche which means ‘soul’ and  iatreia which means treatment, healing or restoration. David uses both words in Psalm 23:3 when he says, “The LORD restores my soul.”  David proclaims the LORD as the healer of the mind. Charles Allen said, “The mind that thinks error is a sick mind.” If Allen is correct, we have a lot of sick minds. If you think killing a baby is OK, you have a sick mind. If you think two men living together is OK, you have a sick mind. One thing is certain, only Jesus can heal the mind. He is the Restorer of the soul.

You may find an example on YouTube. Kirsten Powers is a Fox News analysis who was recently converted from atheism to Christianity. Christ has changed the way she thinks. 

revival banner


Great service last night and better attendance [211]. I’ve never heard Wade preach a bad sermon but last night was great. I loved it! I had a down day yesterday, a spirit of depression settled in on me like a dark cloud. I think we were all struggling in our pre-service prayer meeting and then the LORD lifted our spirits in the service. David and the guys are doing an outstanding job. That last song we did really put icing on the cake. David, Sloan and Brian will be singing tonight: I love it when they sing together. Tyler Beck said he would sing a special for us Sunday. The YOUTH will do their part tonight: adults, we are the ones who have our work cut out for us. We still have a lot of members that are not showing up. Keep praying and keep inviting. Prayer for MY HOPE. I got a chance to share with a good friend yesterday because of MY HOPE. I lack two chapters finishing Dr. Grahams latest book which is the only book of his that I have read. It is a great evangelistic tool. Chapter one will get them hooked: story after story and chapter five gets into apologetics.

neil gilliesA special thanks to Neil Gillies for fixing the Church Ice Machine. Neil is a genius. Tracey did well. I keep forgetting to mention that our steeple lights, the top of the sign lights are not working. We have a shortage in the steeple lights. I think it happened when they put the metal roof on. Also: Ken, Jason or Neil, we need a new timer on the parking lot lights. Remind me Sunday and I will show you were the timer is located. I pulled Ken aside on Sunday and then couldn’t remember what it was that I needed but it is the above electrical problems. If some one feels a burst of energy, we need new bulbs in the FORTE foyer and front porch. I replaced the ones on the cross walk yesterday.