Saturday, November 28, 2015

Tree Farm Day



It was decorating day for the Wilson household.
Dawson, Anna, and I opted for the tree farm
to get a Leland Cyprus and some
Blackberry and Strawberry cider!





Friday, November 27, 2015

Thanksgiving Sunday



Enjoyed sharing with some children at church about 
the voyage of The Pilgrims, Psalm 100, and the 
first Thanksgiving.

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

15 Favorite Ideas to Create a Meaningful Thanksgiving


Here are some great ideas from FamilyLife:

1. Start Thanksgiving Day by spending some time with God. Read through Psalms that talk about giving thanks to God: Psalm 50:14; 69:30; 95:2; 100:4; 147:7. And then focus on Psalm 9:1, which tells us, "I will give thanks to the Lord with my whole heart; I will recount all of your wonderful deeds." Write down some of the ways that God has worked in your life and your family.

2. List God's blessings. As you approach Thanksgiving, here's one way to cultivate a thankful heart: Spend time listing God's blessings in your life. And don't stop until you've listed at least 10-15. The exercise will force you to think creatively about God's care and provision—even in small things.

Listing God's blessings in your life forces you to focus on Him, and in the process you catch a glimpse of His love, care, and compassion.

Read the entire article here.

Monday, November 23, 2015

Remembering Thanksgiving


My article "Remembering Thanksgiving" is featured on the family website Just 18 Summers.  Read it here.

When Families Pray


God has given us the real responsibility of discipling our children in prayer.  Home is the perfect place for children to learn to talk with and listen to God and to see such conversation modeled as a natural, daily habit.  - Cheri Fuller

Praying families release the life and blessings of the Lord.  I want my prayers to invite the presence of the Lord into the life of our family, influencing my children long after they mature and leave home.

George Barna said, "85 % of parents with children under thirteen believe they have primary responsibility for teaching their children about religious beliefs and spiritual matters.  However, a majority of parents don't spend any time during a typical week discussing religious matters or studying religious materials with their children.  Parents generally rely upon their church to do all of the religious training their children will receive."

Dads and Moms, Grandpas and Grandmas, here are ten tips for praying as a family:


Ten Tips for Praying as a Family

1.  Make praying on the go natural.  A great time to do this is when you drive your children to   school or other events.

2.  Pray over children as they sleep.  Kneel by their beds.  Lay your hand on their foreheads.  Pray for an outpouring of the Spirit on your children.

3.  Use table blessings to teach prayers.  Take turns in the family praying.  Sing songs or hymns as blessings.

4.  Use meal times for discipleship times.  Mealtimes may be the best time for engaging and teaching truth.

5.  Pray briefly before going to bed.  Keep it simple but consistent.

6.  Make a family prayer plan.  Monday - pray for a missionary, Tuesday - two friends, Wednesday - a people group, Thursday - thanksgiving, Friday - family members

7.  Teach them to pray Scripture.  Read a Bible verse and then pray it together.

8.  Use Christmas cards as prayer reminders.  Keep them in a basket and pick ones out during the year.

9.  Use a Christmas prayer garland during December.  Make a 24-link garland out of red and green construction paper.  Write on each one a different family, person, or ministry.  Tear off one a day and pray!

10.  Keep a prayer journal for your family.  Keep an ongoing, written record of God's activity in your life and family.  Write down specific things, character qualities, and Bible verses you are praying for your children and family.

Sunday, November 22, 2015

More Christmas Moments



Just released: More Christmas Moments from Grace Publishers

Want a good Christmas book for you or someone else for December?  Includes 55 inspirational stories of Christmas. I have one story in it called "Come Dance with Me."

I believe it will also be available from Amazon and Barnes and Noble online.

Check out More Christmas Moments here.

Saturday, November 21, 2015

Quote of the Day


If your comprehension of the situation is causing you to doubt the Lord, then your own understanding has become an idol.  You are choosing your ability to understand over the Father.  So when everything appears to contradict what the Father has promised you, remember that your perspective is incomplete and that your trust in Him is more essential than ever.  Say, “I don’t understand this, but God does.  The Lord is working on my behalf in the unseen.”  Exhibit faith in His unfailing character.  – Charles Stanley

Is Paris Burning?


Christian apologist Ravi Zacharias shares an excellent commentary on the recent Paris attacks and what it says about the state of our world.

The layers that obscure the truth are burying humanity in large numbers. Yes, Paris was burning again and those flames and the dead bodies may well be a grim foreshadowing of what the future holds. I was in neighboring England the night the massacre scattered across Paris took place, as people going out to enjoy a dinner or concert or a football game were the targets of hate-filled and ruthless killers. The newspapers the next day had similar words: “Carnage”; “massacre”; “assassination”; “murder”; “blood”; “death”; “screams”; “terror,” and so on. Television programming was preempted and viewers were cautioned that some of the scenes of the slaughter were graphic. It was real. A few hours later, names and pictures of the dead were shown. It was like we had heard this before. But it was new and real: the victims’ lives cut short in the peak of their careers. Children who weren’t going to come home. People looking for their loved ones. Marriages suddenly broken by death. A young graduate with life ahead of her. And so on. One doesn’t have to know the individuals to feel helplessness and pain. This is twenty-first century murderous man. War in small increments can be deadlier than large scale war because it doesn’t just desensitize the killers; it desensitizes all of humanity.

Read the entire article at RZIM here.

Friday, November 20, 2015

Quote of the Day


Politics is a contact sport, but if America is to be saved, men and women of faith must return to the public square, and pastors must re-establish prayer in the churches of America. - David Lane

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Thankful


I found this picture going through some old files last night.  It is one of my favorites with my youngest son taken the day I baptized him at the lake.  Today I am thankful for three children who profess to believe in Jesus Christ.


Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Thanksgiving - The Forgotten Holiday


Candy Arrington shares some great ideas for how to remember the Thanksgiving holiday during the month of November . . .

"Sandwiched somewhere between Halloween and Christmas is a Thursday holiday that is slowly becoming more miniscule in the minds of millions of Americans Thanksgiving. If you search hard, you might find one small section of Thanksgiving cards, autumn decorations, and a turkey platter amid the aisles and miles of Halloween costumes, Christmas decorations, and toys.

For some, Thanksgiving is a day to get a list together prior to a day of marathon Christmas shopping. Somehow our perception of Thanksgiving Day has gone askew. We've forgotten the reason for celebration that first Thanksgiving. Gratitude for survival!"

Read the entire article by Candy Arrington here.

Updating Spring Website


We are updating our church's website these days and will be adding some more pictures soon.  Check us out at The Spring Church of Laurens, South Carolina.

Father and Son Battle



We had a great time last weekend at my oldest son's father-son
airsoft battle birthday party.  We were ready to rumble!

Monday, November 16, 2015

Five Ways to Encourage Your Pastor (Without Exalting Him)


Studies show that pastors greatly need encouragement.  The word encourage literally means "to fill with courage."

Here are five practical ways to do just that for the pastor who serves your church.

Read the article by Gavin Ortlund here.

Thursday, November 12, 2015

Preparing for Thanksgiving


The following article appeared in the November 11th edition of The Clinton Chronicle in my column, Faith, Family, and Freedom:



I love the beauty of the leaves as October turns to November, reminding us that autumn is passing and winter approaching.  And it aggravates me every year when the stores try to sell Christmas to us way-too-early.  The pursuit of the dollar tempts us to overlook one of the year’s most important observations: Thanksgiving.

Here is one holiday that avoids commercialism, brings people together, offers fantastic food, and calls us to forsake our selfishness and instead practice gratitude.  Don’t lose the spirit of Thanksgiving.  Claim it, prepare for it, and practice the art of that holiday.

As we plan for Thanksgiving this month, here are a few ways to intentionally lead your family to be thankful.


1. Create a Thanksgiving tree.


The weekend before Thanksgiving, I tell my family, “Get out the construction paper. It is time to make our Thanksgiving tree.” Don’t worry. It is a simple project. We cut out a brown trunk, making several tree limbs. Then each child cuts leaves out of various colors. The goal is for every person present at our house on Thanksgiving to have five leaves. 


Following the Thanksgiving meal, we pass out the leaves and pens. Each person writes one thing for which they are thankful on each leaf. After a few moments, we go around the table and read our leaves. They don’t have to all be spiritual or serious things. A typical year includes gratitude for health, salvation, and our church as well as action figures, the treehouse, and tickets to Dollywood.

We tape the tree and leaves onto a prominent wall in our house, leaving it up for several months.  It serves as a regular reminder of God’s blessings.



2.  Remember some spiritual heroes.


Take time the month of November to teach your children about some of the great spiritual heroes - and also to take time to remember some of our own heroes in our lives. Don't just let these days float by as missed opportunities while the culture is already trying to make money off of Christmas.  Redeem this time and use it as a stepping stone into the holiday season. Spend the month of November leading up to Thanksgiving learning some new spiritual heroes - and being thankful for some familiar ones.


Talk around the supper table about a godly person from history.  Or, share some stories from your own pilgrimage about heroes in your life.  The website Christian History Institute is a great resource for learning about people who have gone before us.  For several years I have used Barbara Rainey’s book Thanksgiving: A Time to Remember to teach our children about the spiritual heritage we have as Americans from the Pilgrims and the First Thanksgiving.



3.  Engage in some meaningful conversation.


One educator said that we live in a day of hurried loneliness.  We have hundreds of facebook friends but not two with whom we think and share deeply.  Families rush from one activity to another.  To some people, the idea of a family sitting down together and leisurely sharing a meal is an idea from a Norman Rockwell painting.


Dads and Moms, we must plan to make meaningful conversation happen.  Dennis Rainey, President of Family Life Today, says that once he asked his children to give one word that summed up their dad.  They replied, “intentionality.”  


Without intentionality, family devotions, meaningful conversation, and disciplines of thanksgiving won’t happen.  We will just stay busy.  


As Thanksgiving approaches, stop for a few moments and make a plan.  Ask, “How will I intentionally help my family practice gratitude the next two weeks and have some meaningful conversations?


That will produce beauty greater than the autumn leaves.

Thursday, November 5, 2015

Quote of the Day


You will not live a godly life without an open Bible. – Charles Stanley

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

How to Deal with Discouragement


Here's a good, practical article about dealing with discouragement. It's written to pastors but applicable to anyone!

"When you attempt anything significant, you will face times of discouragement. It always comes with the territory. Since you’ll probably have many periods of discouragement, if you’re observant, you will probably notice patterns about how to best handle them. I’m still learning, but here is what I’ve learned so far and the steps I now take when I’m discouraged.

Go to sleep. Discouragement and sleep deprivation seem to go hand in hand. When I’m discouraged, one of the first things I do is commit to go to bed early. When you’re tired, problems seem to be magnified. When you’re well-rested, you can see them in their proper place. Like Elijah, if I can just get some sleep, I often wake up ready to go, rather than being paralyzed by discouragement.

Remember God is in control. Scripture is full of stories of people who faced dire circumstances during the journey and later found out that God was in control the entire time. When I’m discouraged, I remember people like Joseph who faced some discouraging circumstances but later found out that God was ordaining his steps and had been in control the whole time. I’ve found that when I repeatedly affirm God’s sovereignty, my circumstances don’t always change, but my ability to continue on through them does. Pick your favorite leader in Scripture and remember that just as God was with them and in control of their circumstances, He is with you."

Read the entire article by John McGee here at Focus on the Family's Thriving Pastor.

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Spoken Moments



If you or your church receives HomeLife magazine, check out my article "Spoken Moments" about my grandparents in the November edition.