All posts filed under: Stories

Fostering Christ-like Love in the Family

I recently heard Andy Stanley speak at a ministry conference I attended. He asked a question that spoke very deeply to me as a parent. Is there anything that brings you more joy than watching your kids love one another? For me, the answer is a resounding no. Especially after watching my boys accept and love their new foster siblings. Joe and I first began talking to the boys about becoming a foster family in February of last year.  We explained how some children need a family to love them and take care of them. We talked about how they might stay with us for a little while or a long time. We talked about sharing, taking turns, and setting a good example. At the time it was just talk and I worried how they would respond when the time came to put it into action. There were so many variables that we had (and still have) no control over. Were we going to end up scarring them for life? As we prayed and prepared to …

Just One Part of the Body of Christ, the Church

Sunday I had the honor of baptizing my two sons, Ethan and Eli. I spoke briefly during the baptism about how proud Kari and I were to be able to baptize our children into the church. I spoke of how I was aware that we as parents didn’t get to this point with our children completely by ourselves. We relied on the church family both at Southern Hills Christian Church and the greater church to help guide, teach,  and lead our boys to a personal relationship with Christ. The boys have had the fortune of growing up in the church, spending many summers at Woodland Christian Camp, going on several mission trips to Nicaragua, and spending years at Southern Hills in our All Stars, 456, and Fusion programs. All along the way, they have had caring adults pouring into them.  Ethan has experienced immeasurable growth during his time with his current small group. His leader Mike Jacquinot has connected with him in ways I never could, even as his father. I didn’t know when I was …

This Week For Sunday

Have you ever been in a situation where you felt like you didn’t have any control? After our last interview at Southern Hills, Corey and I were driving back to North Carolina to then drive on to Ohio.  We arrived in North Carolina late in the evening after a wicked snow storm.  We were just outside of the town we were living in when we hit a patch of ice.  The car began to slide and we both knew there was nothing we could do. “I love you,” Corey said quickly. “I love you too.” We braced as we prepared for the car to flip and roll down the road.  Luckily, our car simply slid down into the median, eventually catching traction in the grass.  In the snow, we could see that we weren’t the first car to make that journey.  With the help of a stranger, we pushed the car out of the way of whoever was next. That day I knew what it felt like to lack control. I had the same feeling when …

Are You Ready to be a Pastor?

“Are you ready to be a pastor?” That’s the question Corey asked me when I walked into his office 4 years ago to sign my contract. I was officially accepting the role of Preschool Pastor and stepping into the world of vocational ministry. I was so excited to be leading a ministry I had been serving in for the past 6 years. I love working with kids and was looking forward to the opportunity to use my education experience in a church environment. However, I wasn’t expecting that question from Corey and it threw me for a loop. I tried not to let it show on the outside, but those of you who know me know that my face doesn’t lie. “Ummm… no. A pastor? I didn’t graduate from Bible college. I don’t hold a degree from seminary. I don’t know what to say to people at funeral homes. I’m not even really good at memorizing scripture.” Some of that was internal monolog, but other parts I said out loud to him. I kind of …

Be Thankful for the Little Things

Jim was one of the most optimistic, joy-filled, inspiring friends I have ever had. Always smiling—even when he didn’t feel well. One of the highlights of my Sunday morning was to soak up the sunshine of his greeting.  Jim had his regular spot in the back of the church where Linda and I served. If he was not there, I counted it a pleasure to visit his house on Sunday evening and, after a lengthy conversation, serve him the Lord’s Supper. He was always grateful. And I was always a better man because Jim brushed up against me. The signature above was on a letter Jim sent me after we moved to Chattanooga, TN. I cherish it, because it is the last communication I had with him before he went to be with the Lord. Hard to read his handwriting, isn’t it? That’s because Jim couldn’t hold a pen in his hand. He signed his correspondence by holding a pen in his teeth while someone held the paper up to his face. Jim could’t scratch …

This Week For Sunday

What is the absolute lowest point that you have ever fallen? For me, it was nearly eight years ago. It seems like yesterday… and like a lifetime ago.  Through selfish, sinful decisions and actions, I lost everything; a marriage, a home, a job and virtually every person I considered a friend… all gone. I remember that morning, pulling out of the driveway of my home for the last time, not knowing where I was headed. I remember thinking, “How did I get here?”  I was totally lost, defeated, lonely and scared.  In desperation, I turned back to the faith of my childhood and early adult years.  And there, at the foot of the cross, God’s power began a work in my life. I brought brokenness and sin to the cross, and God brought grace and restoration.  God showed me that His mercy and love are FAR greater than His wrath.  I deserved nothing, but He offered me everything.  Through the hope I found at the cross, I learned that there is no depth that our sin can take us to that God’s …

Is This Really For My Good?

On July 13th, 2014, I got engaged to Kyndel. That was a great day. I can still remember popping the question and having a day full of smiles and laughter as we thought about our future together. It is unforgettable. I immediately began alerting my family members of the good news. They were so excited! Not only were they ready to kick me out of the house, but they loved Kyndel and knew how much she meant to me. I was especially excited to tell my grandfather. He would always joke around saying that he would “dance at my wedding,” and now that day was quickly approaching. However, when I told him the good news, he quickly congratulated me and then proceeded to tell me he was ready to be with the Lord. He finally had peace about his past and shared with me how God had been comforting him. I remember being confused, thinking things like “Isn’t he happy for me? Why does he have to talk about being ready to be with the Lord?” Looking back, …

In God’s Timing and With Your Support

A few months ago, Mark and Sherry Sullivan of Lime Biscuit, also SoHills family, approached me about becoming a business partner. I was a bit shocked and excited by the offer. The Sullivans have been our friends for a long time and I have worked with Mark in many ways over the years. I immediately started talking to Kelli about the possibility. The hardest part was the realization that to make it work, my role on the SoHills staff would have to change. My amazing wife said she was in full support of whatever decision I made. After much prayer, I decided to accept the offer, become a partner at Lime Biscuit, and go part-time at SoHills. Our God constantly blows me away; His timing is amazing. My plans coming out of high school were to go to Atlanta Christian College. I had several people I trust tell me I didn’t need to go to a Christian school to be in ministry. I listened, went to UWG, and majored in Business Administration. I ended up on staff at SoHills with …

Are You Ready For What God Has For You?

A few months ago, the Lord placed our family on a new journey. It was just a typical Sunday morning in September. So typical in fact, that I can’t really remember any other details about that day. Honestly, it was one fleeting moment out of the entire twenty-four hours when the Lord initiated His plan. Have you ever read the story of how the Lord appeared to the prophet Elijah in I Kings 19:11-12? “Go out and stand before me on the mountain,” the Lord told him. And as Elijah stood there, the Lord passed by, and a mighty windstorm hit the mountain. It was such a terrible blast that the rocks were torn loose, but the Lord was not in the wind. After the wind there was an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake. And after the earthquake there was a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire. And after the fire there was the sound of a gentle whisper. I was standing in the preschool building welcoming children to church just like I have done for …

Hope for Eternity

“Ever heard of Bo Davenport? Where is Edmonson County anyway? How big a town is Brownsville?” These were the questions being asked as a first year coach took an unlikely team to the Kentucky State Basketball Tournament. You see, basketball is “King” in the bluegrass state. It’s the state where babies teethe on basketballs and learn to dribble before they can walk.  Kentucky High School basketball does not divide the schools into classes like most other states or as they do in football; it’s the small school verse the big school, the David vs Goliath. It’s exciting and makes for an unpredictable “Sweet Sixteen” run during tournament time and the 1976 Tourney was no exception. Edmonson County is rural. Brownsville, the county seat, is a dot on a map, a city you go through on the way to Mammoth Cave National Park. Nobody gave them a chance of making it to the “big dance.” Nobody, that is, except a first year coach who taught solid fundamentals and team work. And yes, there was the community, …