Archives For Gratias

Gratias 3 (Main Street)

November 17, 2011 — Leave a comment

I am thankful for Main Street for a lot of different reasons.  First, for believing in me 7 1/2 years ago and hiring a guy with no experience and only a college degree.  You took a chance on me (insert ABBA song here…) and I think we have grown from it.  I will always be indebted to your willingness to go by faith in your decision to hire me.  Secondly, I am thankful for the commitment you have to the church as your hours of service are unlike any I have ever seen.  I am also thankful for the parents in the youth group who seriously put up with me and my often unorganized ways.  You continue to believe in me and for that I am grateful.  I am also thankful for the friends we are close to at Main Street who have been there to support us in good times and even some really bad times.  I am thankful for Joe Rushing and his 20 years of service to Main Street and Linda Ballard (our secretary) for her almost 40 years of service.  You guys are amazing and I am grateful for your patience for being the guy who thinks differently at times.  Thank you.

Most of all, I am thankful for the youth group (past and present).  There have been times I have wanted to give up (any minister goes through these cycles) but you gave me energy, drive and vision to do things people thought we could never do.  You believed in me and my craziness and off-the-wall ideas and supported me even when some of those ideas were stupid (remember writing B.A.F. on the white-board?  Crazy!).  There have been difficult times as I have watched people make decisions God disapproves of and some of the youth have left God all-together.  It has been tough.  But, many of you have stuck with it and many of you are in love with Jesus in a way I could not have fathomed.  I am particularly thankful for the few of you whom I am really close to and have shared my heart with as you have shared yours with me.  Jesus had a ton of followers, twelve disciples and was really close to three.  Thank you for sharing your hearts with me as we figure out this thing called the “Christian journey.”

Thank you Main Street.


This may come as a surprise to most because I am not into politics nor am I extremely patriotic.  I believe strongly in Matthew 6:33 which says, “But seek FIRST the kingdom OF God.”  It doesn’t say second but it says, “first.”  Having said that, I have grown to love both the country of my birth (Canada) and the country I now reside (United States).  I grew up listening to World War I and World War II stories how my great-grandfathers served their country (Canada) and my grandmother always liked to point out that the Canadians went to war first before the Americans did. A book that has recently shed light on the sacrifice soldiers made in World War II was Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand which told the story of Louis Zamperini and how he was tortured in a prison camp in Japan for 2 1/2 years.  I am thankful for people who served in those awful wars.

I love how both Canada and the United States rank in the top 10 in foreign aid assistance to other countries.  I understand that we are not where we should be in these categories but a whole better than most nations.  I love how both Canada and the United States advocate the right to free speech and allows the freedom to elect our own officials.  This is huge as people can only grow where there are differences of opinion.  Now sometimes that can be frustrating because even though we have the right to our opinions does not mean that all opinions are valid.  It just means that you can voice them.

Again, I am not on the patriotic bandwagon completly because we have a lot to do when it comes to defense policies and our economy but I will say that I am thankful for the road that was paved before me.  Like most roads, sometimes it was rough at the beginning but with advances in technology and such the road becomes a little smoother.

Thanks U.S. and Canada.

Gratias 1 (Ministers)

November 15, 2011 — 10 Comments

I am not the best parent in the world and so many of the things my children say is usually an indication of how great of a parent my wife is and how great of a God we have. Enter last night’s comment from my oldest daughter Amelia.   I hate when my kids drink my water.  Why?  Backwash and my toddler son, Samuel, likes to stick his fingers in the glass to retrieve the ice-cubes.  If you have ever seen a toddler’s fingers you know what I am talking about.  Last night they were passing around my water and Amelia asked, “It’s OK that we drink your water?”  I put a question mark there because my children make a statement by wording it as a question.  I told her, “Yeah it’s OK to drink my water because we are supposed to share.”  Her next words made me smile.

“Yeah, we share because we are a family.”  That’s right!!!  I am starting a series of posts called Gratias which is the Latin word for “thanks.”  As we approach Thanksgiving I want to take time to be thankful for certain groups of people.

First off, ministers.

I am unashamedly thankful for the ministers that have paved the way for the church I now serve at but also for the ministers who have served faithfully in the Stone-Campbell Movement.  Men like Alexander and Thomas Campbell, Barton Stone, David Lipscomb, J.W. McGarvey, Robert Milligan, A.G. Freed, N.B. Hardeman, Guy N. Woods, Marshall Keeble, T.B. Larimore, R.N. Hogan, Robert Richardson, Gus Nichols, Tolbert Fanning and the late Jerry Jenkins (and many others).  For all the work you have done your legacy continues and for that I am thankful for you.

I am thankful for the many ministers and youth ministers who currently work for churches both here and abroad: Soldier’s Circle Guys, Dale Jenkins, Joe Rushing, Ralph Gilmore, Adam Faughn, Craig Evans, Stephen Rogers, Alan Bush, Gary Roeder, Matthew Morine, Rusty Pettus, Barry Throneberry, Jon Morris, Scott Bond, Jr., Chuck Morris, Jim Chamblee, Daniel Hope, Tim Alsup, Justin Gerhardt, Heath Pickard, John Mark Hicks, Philip Camp, Clyde Woods, Andy Walker, Lee Camp, David Lipe, Gary Holloway, Jarrod Bailey, Nick Fowler, Matt Cook, Barton Kizer and a host of others.

I am a youth minister now because of the years of dedication you have and currently served.  So thanks be to you for all of your work.

Every time you cross my mind, I break out in exclamations of thanks to God. Each exclamation is a trigger to prayer. I find myself praying for you with a glad heart. I am so pleased that you have continued on in this with us, believing and proclaiming God’s Message, from the day you heard it right up to the present. There has never been the slightest doubt in my mind that the God who started this great work in you would keep at it and bring it to a flourishing finish on the very day Christ Jesus appears. (Phil. 1:3-6; The Message)