What does GRADUATION mean…

30 04 2010

Well, you graduate from kindergarten, then elementary school, then middle school (or Junior High), then High School, then College, then what?’

It’s interesting that the graduation ceremony is referred to as a COMMENCEMENT ceremony.  Commencement means beginning.  So graduation is NOT the end of something as much as it is the start of something…hopefully something new, exciting and fresh.

It means there is an OPPORTUNITY for YOU to become something you dream about.  I’ve thought about this many times being on the School Board and participating in graduations yearly.  Young people have gone through 12 years of school not necessarily to complete something as much as setting the table for themselves to accomplish something great.

Nick Jones, Karen and Marcus Lattimore at D.R. Hill Middle School

Tonight, myself along with Marcus Lattimore and Dylan Thompson are going to Chesnee, S.C. to sign autographs for a fundraiser for a family whose house recently burnt down and they lost everything they had.  I thought about Marcus and Dylan, incoming football players to USC, who are graduating within a month and moving on to a  great opportunity.  They are doing something tonight which makes a difference in a families life.  They are graduating from high school but in the meantime, developing into young men that are learning that…

1) UNSELFISHNESS – is the key to real success.  So often people think only of themselves and at the cost of hurting others or neglecting others, actually in the long-term find themselves EMPTY because they were selfish.

2) SERVANTHOOD – is the 2nd key to real success.  Serving others is what enables a person to experience gratitude, appreciation and a sense of community.

3) LOVE – is the 3rd key to real success.   Listen, you don’t have to like everybody.  For that matter you can like just a few people.  But we’re commanded to love everyone.  Regardless of color, ethnicity, language, etc., everyone of us has been given the opportunity to be loved and it begins by us loving ourselves, others and Jesus.

I’m thankful for life, my family, my job, my friends and the opportunity to GIVE BACK. That’s what GRADUATION means, it’s TIME to GIVE BACK.   I hope this encourages you to get outside of your comfort zone and do something for someone else today.  It can and will make a difference.  The opportunities are out there – go look for them.

CAUSING GOD JOY!

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My Wifes BD and its significance…

28 04 2010

Karen’s significance starts with birth.  I praise God she was given life.  God knew when she was born that He brought her into this world for me.  To be my helper, my encourager, my assistant and my friend.

In Proverbs alone, a wife is mentioned 16 times.  A wife should eminate wisdom and Karen does that and more.  Proverbs 18:22 says, “He who finds a wife finds what is good and receives favor from the Lord.” Proverbs 12:4a says “A wife of noble character is her husband’s crown,”

Kara is home and she stayed up last night and baked Karen a Chocolate Ganosh cake.  She went all for her momma and to me, that is significant.  How many moms have their 22 year old daughter as a best friend and will go over the top for her on her Birthday.

Karen blowing out the candles on her cake that Kara baked her!

Karen’s significance is that she brings me great favor and she is my crown.  I don’t deserve her but neither do I deserve God’s grace.  I’ve always told young couples that a husband and a wife should be Jesus to one another.  Spouses should provide each other with love, encouragement, support, MERCY, GRACE, FORGIVENESS and all the other characteristics of God.  It’s a tough task and we’ll never be perfect at it, BUT, Karen epitomizes that more than anyone I have ever met.

After work I picked Karen and Kara up and surprised them with a pedicure (and Karen got a manicure as well) then on to Bergamo’s in Downtown Greenville.  We had SO much fun…

First, the pedicure!

Then the manicure...

Finally this! Dinner at Bergamo's. Thanks John Moore for recommending table #1.

Karen – I just wanted to thank you for being my wife, the mother of our children, my best friend and such a role model for so many other young women.  I am SO proud of you and hope and pray you have a great day today!

Karen enjoying her omellette and strawberries at breakfast this morning!

Proverbs 5:18

“May your fountain be blessed, and may you rejoice in the wife of your youth.”

I'm the most blessed man in the world!

CAUSING GOD JOY!





Is anybody out there?

27 04 2010

Do you ever feel like your alone, embattled, struggling, depressed, angry, hateful, mad, tired or just plain agitated?  These are negative emotions that try to rob us of our life and our joy.  And yes, they are real.  Very real!

I have experienced all of these emotions at some point in my life and frankly am experiencing one of them right now (which is why I’m blogging about it).  Won’t tell you which one though.  I don’t mind being transparent but I do feel guilty for feeling mad and agitated (Oops, I slipped – ha!).

What do you do?  What is your next step?  How do you deal with it?  No real easy answers but here is my solution.

1) PRAY.  Seriously.  Just start praying that God will intervene and remind  you of His Sovereignty and Greatness!  If you believe in the power of God and you believe in the power of prayer, why not apply it.  Wisdom by the way is the application of knowledge to your life.

2) TRUST.  That’s right, trust.  Trust God to…

a) Mold you – into what He wants you to become.

b) Protect you – from emotional, psychological and physical harm (Depends on your circumstance)

c) Teach you – what He wants you to learn through the trial.  Remember James 1:2 says, “consider it pure joy, brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds.” He means it!  And that “WHENEVER” is an important part of the verse.

3) MOVE. Keep moving forward with your personal vision of what you know God wants for you.  Hopefully you know what that is.  For all of us it includes…

a) Testifying of His love and grace

b) Pointing people to Jesus

c) Loving Him, yourself, the body of Christ and the lost

Pray, Trust and Move.  I know it seems simple but at some point we need to take God at His Word.  His Word will not return void.  His Word is Faithful.  His Word is alive and active.

Remember I love you but most importantly, God loves you today, tomorrow and forever!

CAUSING GOD JOY!





Two stories we can almost all relate to…NOT!

27 04 2010

Life has its way of throwing things at us that we don’t expect.  Those are usually the times that God shows off!  Seriously!  For those of you walking with the Lord, think about it.  When you are most stressed, drained and a sense of hopelessness creeps in, that is when He intervenes.  Unfortunately we have a tendency to not recognize it and continue trying to “fix” things ourselves or explain things away.  Here are 2 on-going real life stories where God has shown up – different results, but God’s will was and is being played out.  Please keep praying for these families.

GRACIE KNIGHT…

Got this note on Face Book today from Gracie’s mom today(or last night).  Gracie is the little 5 year old girl with Cerebral Palsy and is going through a relatively rare procedure which we are praying will provide some, a little or even a lot of healing for her body.

Hey Garry! Just wanted to let you know that we are doing great in Durham! Gracie did GREAT today at the hospital for her blood draw. Tomorrow we’ll be actually having the infusion around 1:30ish. Today the phlebotomist that drew her blood was a believer and we sang “When We All Get To Heaven” while we waited. :)) I explained our faith to her and she prayed fresh peace to fall over us. It was amazing!! We believe!!! Love you and Karen!

Is that cool or what.  Sitting in the hospital singing “When we all Get to Heaven” with a doctor.  Gracie is in no fear of going to heaven any time soon but WOW, the promise that “The Kingdom of God is in our midst.”  Yea, that’s what Jesus says about it.   A little bit of heaven right here and NOW!

AMY SPOTSWOOD…

Amy passed away this weekend.  She was a wife and mother of 3 precious girls fighting a terrible cancer.  We were planning on getting her to Baltimore for a treatment but God called her home.  The family is obviously grieving and hurting BUT they know where she is.

The cool thing about this is that the pilot that I was speaking with to take her to Baltimore, when I texted him to tell him of the turn of events, he was walking on a cloudy day.  When he got my text, he stopped, cried and prayed.  As he prayed the clouds opened up and a ray of sunshine came shining through.  Mike was overwhelmed with the peace he felt.  Listen, neither Mike nor I know this woman – but our hearts felt for her and her family as if we were family.  And we are!  We are brothers and sisters in Christ because of our FAITH in the ONE LORD and SAVIOR Jesus Christ.

Life stories are something that can’t be made up.  They are happening all around us and it is these life stories which validate my faith!  The Word of God is alive and Jesus is alive and His Spirit is moving.  Take time today to consider what He is doing in your life and what He WANTS to do in your life.  You trust HIM and HE’LL SHOW OFF! You don’t have to be anything other than “crucified with Christ.”  Experience the power of His resurrection and the abundant LIFE He has for you (John 10:10).  Its REAL folks!  I KNOW!

CAUSING GOD JOY!





In a negative world, its time for some UP TIME!!!

26 04 2010

If you see injustice, stand up

If something needs to be said, speak up.

If you make an appointment, show up

If you’re blind to your faults, wake up

If you make a mistake, fess up

If you’re overstepping, back up

If you get behind, catch up

If they knock you down, get up

If you’re out of line, straighten up

When your boss instructs, keep up

When your elders speak, listen up

When your teachers teach, sit up

When your preachers preach, wake up

When your country calls, man up

Ladies too – woman up!

When the fight is over, make up

If you’re being hard, ease up

If your heart is closed, open up

If you want to buy something, save up

Its not an entitlement, so shut up!

If you make a mess, clean it up

If you drop trash, pick it up

If a car is waiting for you to walk cross the street, Speed it up

If your cold busted, give it up

If people fall down, help them up

NOT the Government, YOU step up

If idiots start fighting, break it up

If the music is wholesome, turn it up

If the message is poisonous, throw it up

If your words are vulgar, clam it up

If your words encourage, keep it up

If your pants are baggy, pull them up!

If the belt is loose, cinch it up

If your fly is down, zip it up

If your dressed half naked, cover IT up!

If you’ve got to pawn stuff, pass it up

No bailout folks, pony up

If you made a promise, you back it up

And you can take your whining, and pack it up

Its called personal responsibility, So take it up

This country was founded on it, you can look it up

It’s the American way people, so turn it up

Because If life gets boring, you shake it up

If life is good, you soak it up

If life is unfair, you suck it up

If life is funny, you can yuck it up

If life is sad, just look straight up

And life’s too short people, so live it up

Am I right?   I know that I am very passionate about this topic of UPTIME.  But come on, if you don’t agree with all this stuff then you’re just messed up!





Gracie Knight – Incredible Happening!

20 04 2010

Karen and I have some incredible neighbors!  Seriously…not everyone can say that these days.  Eric and Melissa Knight are a precious young couple that live behind us and they have the most precious little daughter in the world.  Little Gracie is around 5 years old and has Cerebral Palsy.  Below is a picture of Gracie and the praise and prayer requests from her mom and dad!  Read the story and pray – would you?  Thanks!

Gracie the Cheerleader!

Gracie showing out!!

Gracie and her mom (Melisssa)

Here is their story…

Our “Duke” journey started in February when we decided, along with the Lord, to speak with Duke and the Cord Blood Registry about using Gracie’s cord blood. They have been doing studies over the last 2 years on children with Cerebral Palsy and the results have been AMAZING. One family in particular, The Levines, have a daughter named Chloe who has CP and also had a stroke before being born. She has had the cord blood infusion. She went snow skiing a month ago in Colorado. God is doing mighty things in the area of stem cell/cord blood research. After we applied to Duke, they said by the first of March, we would know if she was a good candidate. We knew by the end of February. We have stored 637 million stem cells! This is enough for the amount of damage in Gracie’s brain. I knew that there would be several different things that we would have to work with Duke on getting since we live in SC. The first thing is getting an HLA kit (having Gracie’s blood drawn into special tubes here and then sent back to Duke). I spoke with the nurse practioner yesterday and she told me that they had met with a group of people who were beginning the second phase of the study that would be one year long and would involve a placebo. I didn’t want this because we are ready now to move forward. She also said that since it wasn’t up and running yet, they wanted to offer us the opportunity to go ahead with the cord blood infusion. YAY! We agreed that we would do that. She said that within 30 days, she would be able to call me back with an infusion date. This could quite possibly be done by the end of May. What an awesome Mother’s Day that would be!!  (The DATE is next TUESDAY, April 27th!)

The process is that we will go on Sunday, April 25th and check in. On Monday the 26th, we will spend the day with the nurse doing a history/physical and other health forms. On Tuesday the 27th, we will spend the day at Duke actually having the procedure of the stem cell infusion which will take about 15 minutes and then some IV’s for about 4 hours after that. On Wednesday the 28th, we will go back to Duke for an evaluation. After Chloe’s infusion on Tuesday, she walked back into Duke to be evaluated!! If all is well, we will come home on Wednesday or Thursday. One awesome thing that has transpired with all of this is Dick Brooks Honda has been so gracious to loan us a brand new Honda Odyssey to drive to Duke. When God pours His blessings out, He really does it!!

We fully believe that God will show up in such a mighty and miraculous way and that our Gracie will be healed. We are praying that anyone that comes into contact with us will see Jesus and know that this is His handiwork. He created us in such a way that Gracie’s very own blood will heal her body. I can’t wait to do and see all the things that will come after the infusion. With that being said, Gracie asked me to let all of you know that she will be having a flip flop party and all of you are invited.

To God be all the Glory, great and mighty things He has done!

*******************************

Pretty awesome story.  On a side note, Eric and Melissa are incredible singers and they sing in a gospel quartet (family) regularly in churches in our area.  They are a special family with a special need. Thanks for taking time to pray for them.

CAUSING GOD JOY!





Thunder Over Louisville…

18 04 2010

Karen and I spent this weekend in Louisville, KY with Shane and Shannon and we had so much fun!  Friday night was Phase 10 night (I won) and then Saturday was Thunder over Louisville!

Karen and Shane at THUNDER!

It was SO windy and COLD there that by the time the fireworks started at about 9:45pm, it was FREEZING so we didn’t get pictures of them.  But we did get pictures of the airshow which lasted from 2:30 til dark…

Shannon had to work til 5pm on Saturday so our plan was to walk the 3.2 miles to the downtown area where the show was.  BUT, we were offered a ride by the guys in this truck..

The Dream Truck - an F650 fully loaded!

It was insane!  But it saved about 2.5 miles of walking which was nice.

Louisville, Ky is a town that well is out of place to us.  I think of the 700,000 estimated people that were there, we wondered how many of them knew Jesus.  I asked Karen that question and she just looked at me like a deer in headlights.  How can this be?  Seriously, I know it is just a bad judgement of people but I guess you had to be there to appreciate what we saw.  There was more drunkenness and appearance of poverty by most people there that it doesn’t surprise me that Baptist have a seminary located there that is passionate about sharing the gospel there.

My point is that wherever we live, we need to be sensitive to those around us and even though we can’t save the world, we can pray for it.  We need to pray!  Pray for the lost, pray for our country, pray for people’s souls.  Not everyone is going to walk into a church to hear the gospel.  What’s the answer?  I don’t know.  But do pray for your friends and family to be ambushed by God.  That He would send someone to them to share the truth of Jesus with them.

Have a great week and remember that YOU are loved!

CAUSE GOD JOY!