December 28, 2012

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As you get ready for 2013 I want to recommend a book to you. You can read it in 90 minutes. The author is Robert Smith and the title is 20,000 Days and Counting. The subtitle reads, “The Crash Course for Mastering Your Life Right Now.” At the conclusion of the small book the author gives you 7 questions to ask yourself daily. Here they are. These will help you in the New Year.
  1. Whose life am I going to brighten today?
  2. What 3 things am I most grateful for today?
  3. What memories am I going to create today?
  4. What challenge am I going to overcome today?
  5. What value am I going to create today?
  6. How much joy can I create for others and myself today?
  7. What life-changing decision(s) am I going to make today?
As you can see his focus is on TODAY. Order the book TODAY. Ask the questions TODAY. Live TODAY!

December 21, 2012

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For many years the Traylor family met at the home of my grandparents on Christmas day. We had a feast. A few presents were exchanged. Seems grandmother received a new night gown every year! The grandkids played some kind of ball in the yard. The house was small. It had 4 rooms and a small kitchen. A small indoor bath was added when I was a kid. That was a GREAT year! I remember the year our grandfather became a follower of Jesus. The prayer time before the meal was different. John Traylor prayed and you knew he meant it. He was living Mark 5:19. He was coming home to report what God had done. As you gather for Christmas family meal time this year remember that text. Don’t preach (I will take care of that) – just truthfully and humbly share what Jesus has done in you. Make it a Christmas about Jesus. Some kid is listening. He may write about you one day. I miss Grand Daddy Traylor. Oh to feel the rub of his whiskers one more time as he hugged me and told me he loved me.

December 17, 2012

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America changed on December 14 in Newtown CT. The faces of children who were murdered have left a deep impression on America’s soul. Many are looking for action to take and answers to give. What had brought us to this kind of culture in America? I see a culture of death that has developed among us. It did not happen overnight. It is not the fault of one group or one person. We all own this. For this is our nation. The culture of death is one that has dismissed God and moral authority from our ranks. We are the captain of our own ship. Without moral authority greater than ourselves, we need not be surprised when all hell breaks loose among us. We have problems in several places:
  • Homes:  Abuse, divorce, and a lack of teaching right and wrong all have a part.
  • Churches:  Liberal churches that doubt the Word of God and conservative churches that care more for rules than grace both have a part.
  • Schools:  God has been expelled. Teaching is man- centered. Teach a child he comes from a monkey and he will act like an animal.
  • Hollywood:  Movies and television targeted at young people and celebrate violence, vampires, and sexual immorality is part of the problem.
All of this involves people. We have choices to make. The world view we develop is at the heart of the issue. A world view that says no to God and moral authority dominates America. Tolerance is the rule of the day. Only when our nation returns to God will we see the culture turn. Until then Newtown will only be news until the next terror. We are reaping what we have sown.

December 14, 2012

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Today is my 59th birthday. It began and is ending in much different ways. Early this morning I received a phone call from my mother wishing me a happy birthday. Next, I jotted down some lines in my journal, giving thanks for my family.  As I checked my phone, I found many Facebook greetings, emails, and texts. My heart was encouraged. Then the news broke. Twenty-eight people, including twenty children, killed in a senseless act of violence in the Connecticut school shooting.  How could such a heinous act of evil happen? Our Olive staff prayed this afternoon for the grieving families and the community changed forever. I also called Escambia County School Superintendent Malcolm Thomas to check on him on such a difficult day. Hold your family tightly tonight.  Then pray God will bring comfort to those who are facing indescribable heartbreak.

December 11, 2012

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This morning was our annual OBC staff Christmas breakfast. Love our great team. As we spent time together several thoughts went through my mind:

  • This was Jeremy Lloyd’s last breakfast on our staff. He leaves this month to serve as worship leader for a church in Columbia, South Carolina. I reminded him to always leave the pastor enough time to preach. When in doubt, cut the song and tell him to preach it hot!
  • Mrs. Audrey Rousseau was visiting Olive last Sunday from Texas.  She and her husband served Olive for 17 years from 1955-1971. It is always good to see those who have invested their lives at Olive. She looks great at 90!
  • This is my 22nd Christmas at Olive. I have been privileged to work with some of the finest people in the Kingdom. They give and serve faithfully. Thanks team!
  • This year Olive has added an executive pastor. I am delighted to have Dr. Stan Lewis back with us. He is away this week and missing the Christmas party. Well, that’s what staff members do sometimes!
  • If you are an Olive member, sent a thank you to an Olive staff member this Christmas. If you read this and worship at another church, give your pastor a special thank you this season.

December 7, 2012

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A few days ago I sat and looked back through a preseason football magazine highlighting Alabama. I took time to read the article on Texas A&M. There was not one word about quarterback Johnny Manziel. He is the red shirt freshman known as Johnny Football. And tomorrow night he will be in New York as one of three finalists for the Heisman Trophy. What a ride this young man has enjoyed. Going from not being mentioned in the preseason scouting report to the Heisman Award dinner in NYC.  What can we learn from this?
  •  Never let others tell you what you can or cannot do.
  •  Remain positive and work hard.
  •  Take change in stride. He got a new coach at the beginning of the  year.
  •  Remain humble.
  •  Be a team player.
  •  If Manti te’o wins-give a big congrats to him. Your best days are  ahead.

December 4, 2012

In my message Sunday morning I shared of my conviction that we need to pray more together at Olive. So I have set a time for us to do so. On the first Wednesday of each month at noon I plan to be in the OBC Chapel to pray with anyone who will join me. This is community wide. Invite your friends to join us. We are praying for revival in America and in our churches and in our lives. Some cannot join us because they are out of town or just cannot get to the Chapel. Pray where you are. Take time to call out to the Lord. Get a couple of Christian friends together and pray. One man told me he would not be at Olive because on the first Wednesday of the month for a long time believers at his office have been praying together at noon. AMEN! That is what I am talking about. JUST DO IT! Join me Wednesday at noon on your knees!