Friday, December 19, 2014


As I’m writing this, there are people coming into the next room where there are toys displayed on a table for the visitors to see as they walk in. Refreshments are available for enjoyment. Our visitors are met with “Merry Christmas!” and numerous other greetings to make them feel welcome. It’s an inviting environment. These visitors have fallen on hard times. Circumstances have led them to a point of realizing the need to ask for assistance so they can see joy on the faces of their children Christmas morning. A single mother is there and instructed to “shop” through the mountain of toys to find what is appropriate for her child/children. As she shops, you can clearly see the flurry of emotions on her face; pride, needs vs wants, thankfulness, etc.  After a brief moment of silence, someone tugs on her shirt sleeve and says “We’re just kidding. IT’S ALL YOURS.” Suddenly, the tears began to flow as words are no longer needed or found. Gratitude is obvious. Hope has come in the form of someone caring/loving enough to take time out to invest in a family that most have never even met. Just a desire to do what’s right.

You can’t help but notice the diversity. Different ages, races, genders, lifestyles form an eclectic mix of society who are all invited to share in the festivities. Some live under bridges. Some drive up in nice cars/SUVs. Either extreme makes it difficult to not cast judgement. Why does someone sometimes choose to live as an “urban camper”? What does someone who drives a new Suburban know about being needy? Have we truly taken the time to know and have an understanding of current events that led them here? “Love thy neighbor.” isn’t exclusively for those you choose to surround yourself with or necessarily agree with. As we do this, we have learned that, sometimes, the urban camper actually has money but also has an intellectual deficiency that prevents him/her from making wise choices with that money. Sometimes, we meet individuals or people that have been hard workers all of their lives, only to be met with an injury or devastating setback that has left their bank account dry. Either way, the need is great.

In the grand scheme of things, we’re ALL invited to share in a celebration which is the birth of the Messiah Jesus Christ. Most of us come to the table expecting to receive only so much. “Much of what?” you might ask. GRACE. Ravi Zacharias once said “You can’t base your appetite for grace off of one taste. It’s not a plate of sushi to sample only to push back from the table to say “I’ve had enough.” after only one bite.” THERE’S SO MUCH MORE. Just when you think you have any sort of understanding of what it is to give grace, you’re still faced with the challenge of receiving it. You see, grace is defined as a gift freely given to those who are undeserving. Suddenly, we’re faced with the fact that no matter how good we try to be, there’s still junk in our lives that leave us flawed, defiled or just plain “boogered up”. It always eventually comes out. “BUT GOD, being rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in our transgressions, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved) and raised us up with Him, and seated us with Him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the ages to come He might show the surpassing riches of His grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus” (Ephesians 2: 4-7).

Some will come to the table to take then push back from the table discontent in what they receive. Others will come to the table, completely broken, to be filled then lifted up to learn that there are new levels of contrition that are often prompted by a relationship with Lord Jesus. God the Father invites you to the most joyous of celebrations in the birth of His son Jesus where His life is given freely to those who will receive it. It’s a lowly life of servanthood where, when we make a choice to be contrite/broken/lowly and don’t consider ourselves above someone else, that He lifts us up for His glory. It’s life changing and it’s life giving. I’ll leave you with a Christmas wish to ponder; PEACE ON EARTH AND GOODWILL TOWARD MEN.

Merry Christmas,

Tuesday, November 11, 2014


There I stood in the middle of the parking lot with the hood raised on my old blue Chevy while trying to look busy repairing something that I didn’t know how to fix. That pretty much sums up my week. You see the “funk” had crept in and brought everything to a screeching halt much like the engine I was staring at. I was broken. Frozen.

My son jokingly asked me, recently, if I was going through a mid-life crisis. My response was “If I was ever going to have one, it would be now.” I have the privilege of watching and helping my kids as they learn, practice and grow into who they want to become. The progressions are obvious and doors are starting to fly open for them to display their gifts. While I’m overwhelmed with pride, something lurks in the shadows. Me. The “me” that has never reached the level of success that I’ve always wanted to attain. I don’t see doors flying open for me. There were many mistakes and plenty of missed opportunities along the way but I never thought that I was that bad. I thought that someone would’ve recognized the talent and taken the time to promote me to stardom.

Right about now, you’re saying “You are so self centered!” and you’re right. Please, understand that I love my family and will support them in whatever they chose to do providing it’s not detrimental to them or anyone else. I understand well the role of responsibility in providing and nurturing. I was told once that a man without a dream is dead. I’m not dead. My dream is alive and well. So…. why?

Suddenly, it began to be clear. As I questioned “Why?”, I found myself singing, while the tears rolled down my face, a song I had sung almost a hundred times before:

Why? The question that is never far away.
But healing doesn’t come from the explained.
Jesus, please don’t let this go in vain.
You’re all I have, all that remains.
So here I am, what’s left of me
Where glory meets my suffering.

I’m alive even though a part of me has died.
You take this heart and breath it back to life.
I fall into your arms open wide.
When the hurt and the healer collide.

As I mentioned before, I was already broken. However, according to the Greek definition of the word, there’s two distinct degrees of contrition. I didn’t think I had anything else to offer, nothing left to sacrifice. I was wrong. See, what I had missed was, in the middle of my mess, God was waiting for me to take the pieces of my messed up life, my failed attempts, my desires and lay it at His feet as a sacrifice. He was waiting for that voluntary gesture so that He in turn could breathe life into these bones so I can truly live. If your worship doesn’t involve sacrifice, then you haven’t truly worshipped. It’s not easy. It hurts. It’s scary. (Mark 10:32) It involves removing self from the equation. If we are in the least bit self centered, then we’re not at all Christ centered.

God hasn’t taken away my ability to sing or play an instrument so I’m hoping He still wants me to use them. I’m gonna keep singing and recording as much as possible but with the understanding that it’s for the praise of God and not of men. (John 12:43) I’ve brought my requests humbly and boldly before the throne. He’s aware of them. Now it’s time for me to leave it there for Him to do with as He wishes. Keeping in mind the nature of a father, I believe He has nothing but the best planned for me. (Jer 29:11)

Sunday, June 22, 2014


I finally took the time to see "God's Not Dead" and heard something that I connected with. The student who is given the task of proving God's existence is faced with some "fall out" in the form of friends and family questioning (or just plain not supporting) his actions to walk by faith. I've been there. I'm still there.

A few years ago, at a time when I first realized God was calling me into something big, a friend gave me a copy of "The Dream Giver" by Bruce Wilkinson. Bruce explains that, when we set out in pursuit of our God given dream, friends and family with the best of intent will question our actions. Maybe, even, try and discourage us. Again, often times, those closest to us may not understand God's calling on our lives.

I responded to the call to ministry a few years ago when I was asked to serve as music minister at a small church on the south side of Newnan. This church offered nothing that attracted me in the way of music. There was no Brooklyn Tabernacle Choir, no contemporary worship music. Reluctantly, I accepted. Almost immediately, the comments and titles started. Friends that I grew up with started calling me "Preacher Kevin". To this day, it hurts. I hear the snickers. I know of the jokes, often, from the ones I've considered to be friends or family. People ask my wife "So, what does Kevin do for work? When is he going to get a "real job?" Trust me, there's not a day that goes by that I don't wonder, even worry about, if I'm doing enough for my family. I know, better than anyone else, the needs of my family. God know far better than I. That is why I have to do, act and say what I believe God is calling me to. "For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing to the glory that will be revealed to us." Rom 8:18 

Today, I heard the song lyrics "Break our hearts for what breaks yours.". God sometimes leads us into the "desert" where we can chose. We can chose to be disobedient and find ourselves stumbling around  in the desert of our consequences for forty years or we can chose to obey and be delivered in four days. Inside of two weeks, our income was reduced by 2/3. I say that to explain my belief that God has allowed that "tragedy" to happen. We were given that opportunity to react bitterly or respond by drawing closer and seeking God's plan. I believe God allowed this to happen so we would better understand the people that we serve who are facing similar situations. He allowed this so I could explain, by my own life experiences, that prosperity (Jer 29:11) isn't defined by monetary gain. Prosperity, in God's kingdom, is defined by our relationship with Him.

There are far more knowledgeable people who can argue scientific explanations and philosophy in an attempt to reason away God. NO ONE can debate the transformation that takes place when we heed scripture that promises "If my people who are called by my name will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and I will forgive their sin and heal their land." 2 Chron 7:14 That's the moment we surrender everything we think we know into the hand of a sovereign god. Whether that healing takes place in this life or the next makes no difference. It's for God's glory and it's His plan.

Trust me, God's not dead. The question is, are you?

Monday, April 28, 2014


My life, these days, seems to be all about perspective. My days swing 180 degrees from one day to the next whether in the places I go or the people I'm around. Either way, I get to go to my home, at the end of the day, with some sort of normalcy.

A couple of weeks ago, I was approached by a man needing food. I quickly gathered some food and before I could leave for my next appointment, he asked for clothes. I explained to him that I was on the way to pick up my kids from school but, if he would give me his sizes, I would have them for him the following day. Sure enough, he returned the following day. This time was more personal. Plenty of conversation, clean clothes, blankets and the opportunity for him to shower. He's been back regularly since then, often times, to cut the grass or pick up trash around the building. Mind you, it's been a challenge. He knows the system. He can be aggressive. There's also an issue of personal hygiene.

Today, with the promise of bad storms in the area, we were trying to make sure that some of our visitors had somewhere to seek refuge from the storm. I and another friend loaded up our friend's belongings and took him to his "home" that we had heard so much about. I thought I was prepared...

Suddenly, I was reminded of a passage from Max Lucado's book "God Came Near" entitled Mary's Prayer. Mary, holding baby Jesus, is telling Him that his tiny hands would feel no satin, hold no pen, wave from no palace balcony. No, His hands were reserved for much more precious works; to touch the open wound of a leper.

We walked down the railroad tracks to a bridge affectionately called "The Bat Cave". Ironically, I've seen more bats flying around the steeple of the church across the street. There were none to be seen at "The Bat Cave". The local residents were sleeping on trash heaps complete with the rotting corpses of rodents. The smell of urine was stifling.

It's easy to try and rationalize and maybe come to the conclusion that "Well, they put themselves in that situation." Some even prefer that way of life. No drama. No responsibility. No accountability.

I looked down at the tracks that I was walking on as we left him there on his trash heap, the same tracks that seem to go on endlessly in either direction with a different destination on either end, and I thought about how completely grotesque I must have looked, sounded or smelled when I first encountered Jesus. I was the leper who, according to customs, had to yell "UNCLEAN!" to warn the other passers by so as not to be infected by my disease. I had become so overcome by this disease that I had become numb. The numbness prevented me from feeling the damage being done when I habitually reopened old wounds where, eventually, infection would set in and, eventually, I would begin to fall apart. But God, filled with infinite love and compassion, touched me.

He touched me! Oh, He touched me!
And, Oh, the joy that floods my soul.
Something happened and now I know.
He touched me and made me whole.

I'm so grateful that God didn't leave me to die as a result of my choices but, by grace, brought me back to life. So, how can I, in good conscience, not extend the same hand of grace to a world that desperately needs it?

Friday, March 7, 2014

Listening, But You Ain't Hearing...

I remember countless nights, in my youth,  laying on the floor in my bedroom with headphones and listening to music. Often times, I would listen to the same song over and over again, not only memorizing words but, memorizing guitar solos, drum fills, harmonies, etc.. Obviously, the lyrics have a story. However, with the headphones on and being able to hear the emotion of the individual and the chemistry between multiple players striving for the same thing took it to another level. I was mind blown by how David Gilmour of Pink Floyd could hang on one note and make you cry or the way Steve “Machine Gun” Smith of Journey could play something on drums that sounded so simple to the untrained ear but, to the musically educated, it was so much more. These are a couple of guys who set the bar high in the music industry. Because of what they did and how they did it, many have “stolen” or borrowed their licks and applied it to what they do. A friend of mine used to valet park for private events in the Nashville area. One night he was working a party for none other than Vince Gill. He wound up shaking the hand of Vince and told him “Man, I’ve stolen every one of your licks!” Vince’s response? “Cool! I stole them from someone else!” It’s always humbling to pay an accolade to someone only to have them redirect the praise to someone else. They say that imitation is the highest form of flattery.

Towards the end of Matthew 4, scripture says that there was a multitude of people who were brought to Jesus to be healed or “entertained”. Jesus withdrew to the mountain top where his disciples came to him as He began the “Sermon On The Mount”. Notice the word “disciple”. “A follower or student of a teacher or leader.” See, these guys weren’t just there to see what Jesus could do for them. They were so impressed by the person of Jesus and convicted by His truth that they were compelled to follow, to imitate.

The converts in the book of Acts were called Christians because they looked, spoke and acted like Christ. Another example is the crippled beggar in Acts 3 that was healed and the people who knew him recognized him as “the guy who USED TO sit… to beg”. His life was changed because of the actions of another who happened to be changed by the actions of another who was changed by the Master. Disciples making disciples. When we encounter the excellence of love (1 Cor 13), we begin to understand that there’s a higher standard and we have to have it. When we don’t get it, we’re incomplete. So, with that in mind, there’s a shift in our lifestyle that causes us to be more intentional about being COMPLETE. Mediocrity is no longer an option. Jesus said that He didn’t come to abolish the law but to fulfill it. (Matt 5:17) It’s ironic that the entire law is fulfilled in one command. “Love thy neighbor as yourself.”(Gal 5:14)

When we draw near to Jesus and we intently hang on every word and the Word becomes music to our ears, the “business” fades away and what’s left is something beautiful. Something pure. It becomes something we won’t trade for less and there is nothing better.

Suddenly, I’m reminded of a couple of wiry haired guys screaming “We’re not worthy!” when invited to hang out with Alice Cooper. In our case, we’re invite into a relationship with the King of Kings and, though we’re not worthy, he promises to make us holy. It’s amazing what you hear when you listen closely.