Close your eyes and listen to the whistling and you’ll be immediately taken back to a time that was simple and easy. A time where Sheriff Andy Taylor would sit on the front porch and talk with his son Opie and I think that we can all agree, that there is something to Mayberry that we all love.

Today at church, the message was entitled “Missing Mayberry” and I think that we can all relate. Our lives are crazy and busy and in someways, out of control. For those that grew up in at a time where The Andy Griffth show, we watched a town with a sheriff and a deputy, a jail that rarely anyone was locked up in and a time where life was simple. No cell phones. No easy access to information and things were just slower. As I was listening this morning to the sermon, I found myself thinking about watching the show, going to Mt. Airy, NC and walking around and reliving my childhood of watching the show.

There is something to be said about slowing down a little. My commute everyday is an hour each way. From 5:30 am Monday through Friday, my phone goes off and I get an evenings worth of emails to trickle through. I get the boys up and fed and 3 days a week, I take the boys to school and also pick them up. On my drive to and from work, I catch up with friends and family. Throughout the day, I’m answering emails, text messages, phone calls, etc. regarding work, when our servers go down, someone’s perceived emergency, etc. And today, while thinking about Mayberry, I longed for those quiet moments.

There is something that can be said for being able to see the stars at night when you walk outside. There is something about quiet times with family and friends. To commute to work in less than 20 minutes right now sounds like a miracle. To be able to let my children walk outside and play and be ok about their safety, is something that I’m missing.

Mayberry was a fictional town based off of Andy Griffth’s hometown of Mt. Airy, NC and being from North Carolina, I was fortunate to visit the town on a few occasions. But it was my last visit, that I took the time to sit down and rest and observe that I really made the connection to the town. And I understand completely whey Andy chose to model the town of Mayberry after Mt. Airy, because it has something that we all want as we grow older, a certain peace to it and a slower time. A friendly place where you felt safe. A place where people spoke to you and time almost stood still.

So as the sermon wrapped up today, I realized what I was longing for, Mayberry!

Read more

We normally think about New Beginnings with the ringing in of New Years Eve, but yesterday seemed to have that same feeling for my wife and I. A few weeks ago, I mentioned a post about titled “I Promise“. That day lead to conversations about church, life and everything that we needed for a new life, conversations that my wife and I had been having for a year, but they were just that, conversations.

Yesterday, March 8th, at 11:30 a.m. we as a family, started on our journey of new beginnings. Together, we put one font in front of another and within a few minutes, the weight of the world seemed to slowly life. Pain was being replaced by joy. Tears were happy tears and not filled with pain and sorrow. In a few minutes, our family had a different outlook, a different perspective, a new beginning.  After a lot of discussion, we decided to attend a church that was close to the house. Neither my wife nor myself had any idea what was going to happen when we walked through the doors, but what happened was nothing short of a miracle. Heck, the entire day was nothing short of a miracle.

As we walked through the doors of the church, we were immediately greeted and shown where to go to drop the boys off for children’s church. As we walked up, Baby A wanted nothing to do with going in, but Baby B was ready to go. He immediately introduced himself, his brother, my wife and myself and off he went to play. Within just a few minutes, they were both playing and having fun. As my wife and I made our way into the sanctuary, there was a feeling of calm and peace that I think that both my wife and I have been searching for, but had not found.  As we got situated in our seats, I looked over during the first song and my wife had tears in her eyes and for the first time in a long time, she had tears of joy and not sorrow. This was our first step on our journey of our families new beginnings.

After we picked up the boys from children’s church, they were so excited to have met new friends and played, that we took the boys for donuts, but who doesn’t love donuts?  We talked and we laughed over sprinkle donuts, as my wife and I held hands and laughed and enjoyed our coffee. Healing was beginning to take place over donuts. We were out and having fun together and we had just had a great experience at church and those new beginnings, started their at church.

We ran a few quick errands and then went home and opened the doors and started clearing out the kitchen and before we new it, we had completely thrown out all of the old stuff that we weren’t using. De-cluttering of the kitchen felt amazing!  My wife and I both felt that this was the start to our downsize and preparation for a future move. (It is easier to downsize when you don’t’ have to get out of a house quickly, than it is to be stressed and only have a few weeks.)  But we even got the boys to help get some of their toys in order too. As we worked through the kitchen, we planned our next weekend project and we are going to go room by room or section by section to really get things paired down in the house. We have a lot of stuff, things that we rarely even use.

As the day went on and we worked and we played, Baby A asked if we could go out and grill something, he is definitely my kid. So, off we went, just the two of us as his brother played inside with my wife. My son and I talked about life, listened to bluegrass and Texas Red Dirt music and we laughed. We really laughed a lot. I think that we laughed to the point that I cried, cried tears of joy though. And after we were finished and it was time for bed, it was just my wife and I. We sat on the sofa and talked about the new beginnings that we had experienced and how it was almost a perfect day. I asked what effected her the most about church and she did not want to talk about it, other than she was so happy that I had suggested that we go.

I don’t know what today will bring, let alone tomorrow, but today, right now, we celebrated the new beginnings and are looking forward to the future.

Read more

Growing up in the church, I always remember that people would refer to the church goers that would attend Christmas and Easter as “Those People”. And it hit me this morning, of late, we’ve become “Those People”. I was reading my devotional this morning and it hit me, the biggest part of going to church, was not always the message, but the fellowship with others. With other believers that shared a common belief and faith.

A lot of my earliest memories and closest friends, come from my time running up and down the halls at church. And as I grew and faced some challenges with my family, I took a break from the church. I couldn’t understand how God would allow two people that I knew, the pastor of our church and his son, to die with in the same week. So I quit going.

Two years later, I get a phone call from my mother and my sister’s best friend’s mom just died.  My mom asked me to goto the funeral, which I did and something happened while I was there, I found that fellowship again. I found that common belief and that faith that I had been missing, in the the funeral that day.  Then I moved.

Living in Texas, it is true, a lot of things are really bigger in Texas, including the churches.  I went to one of the two Methodist churches in town and went to grab a hymnal only to realize that I was the only one in the sanctuary not reading the words off the wall from the projector. I struggled to fit in, but was on this roll and didn’t want to be one of “Those People” again. Then one day, a friend in my small group suggested that a few of us check out the other Methodist church in town, because it was smaller. So I took a chance.

4 years later, I missed only a handful services and cried the day that I moved and left that church. I was a part of a church for the first and loved every minute. Even though I traveled a lot for work, I stopped by the church to pray before every flight in our open 24 hr chapel. I was very close to our associate pastor, who I met with once a week for coffee and was one of the greatest men that I have ever gotten to know. But a job came along, so I moved again.

I really struggled finding a new church when I got to the Northeast, the Methodist churches here just didn’t seem to have caught up with what we were doing in church, so I disengaged, I was frustrated. I became one of “Those People” again.

Then, a few months later, I met my now wife.  We were talking one day about church and I told her my background and how I’ve struggled to find a church, which was perfect because she was really involved with her Methodist church and wanted me to come with her to meet her friends and family.  Because we lived 45 miles from the church, we didn’t always go, but we went at least 3 of the 4 Sundays each month. Then we were forced to face the tragic and untimely death of her mom and we became more involved than ever.  Then we had kids.

For the first year, we did ok. Then I needed to make a change and go to a different church, due to some philosophical differences that I had with the local church. We found a church much closer to home and the boys enjoyed going. Then, the boys started getting sick and we didn’t want other kids to get sick, so we stayed home. Then my wife would be on call and taking the boys to church when they are 2, was a little more than I could handle, so we stayed home. We were tired, usually because Baby A wasn’t sleeping, so we stayed home. The weather would be icy/snowy, so we stayed home. Soon, it just became an excuse and we were “Those People”.

Today, as I was looking outside, it hit me, it hit me, I miss the fellowship. I miss the connection that I would feel when going to church. I miss those memories of being around others, that shared a like belief and faith. And I felt guilty that  I haven’t been more proactive with taking the boys to church. But no more. No more excuses. No more reasons that are not legit. I can’t and will not get back into that habit again. I will not deny my boys the opportunity to start a life of faith and build their beliefs. Starting today, we are no longer “THOSE PEOPLE”.

Read more

It is funny how as we go through life, our views change. I remember growing up and I think around the age of 13, it hit me that not everyone went to church on Sunday mornings. I actually remember where I was when I discovered this. I left church early to go to the lake to setup for my 13 birthday gathering with friends and family. I remember every Sunday morning, putting on a suit, even as a kid, grabbing my Bible and heading off with the family to church.

As the years passed by, my views of the church began to change, but not necessarily in a bad way. For starters, I switched from a Baptist church to a Methodist church, because I realized that as my views changed, I no longer fit the definition of the Baptist church member. I believed that the church was open to everyone, regardless of color of skin, the clothes on their back, economic status, etc. And, I also believed that it was acceptable to go to a restaurant and grab a beer or to the liquor store for a bottle of wine.

And that leads me to the Pub Church, that is right, a church service held in a pub where you can have a beer or two and listen to the Gospel.  Is it a crazy idea? Sure, but the reality is very simple and in 2 parts: 1) People are not going to church as they once did and especially the younger demographics and 2) Churches need to adapt and go where the people are.  Here is a great article on the Pub Church movement.

But this got me thinking about how the church has changed over the years and it is rather interesting. There are more people going to church now on Saturday nights (excluding Catholics) than ever before. More people are going to church in jeans and shorts and casual wear, than ever before. Contemporary services are often the most attended services for churches, I know that our contemporary service that my family attends even has a banjo player. Who doesn’t love a banjo? Churches use hymnals less now, instead the words are projected on the walls or a screen. Bibles are now on smart phones, I personally use the You Version app on my iPhone and read 2 devotionals every day and have read more of the Bible off of my phone, than ever holding the book itself.

So as I read the Pub Church article, it hit me and made a lot of sense. People can go to a pub, grab a beer and worship.  Matthew 18 – 20 says : “For where two or three have gathered together in My name, I am there in their midst.”  God went to the street, to the market and anywhere else the people were to preach, so why is it that far out of the realm to think about going to a Pub for Church?


Read more

Growing up in a Baptist Church, we attended ever Sunday morning, Sunday evening and Wednesday night, without fail. Somewhere along the way, my views on church started to change and my views longer aligned themselves with the Baptist church. So, instead of looking elsewhere, I just quit attending all together. Not the right approach, but when our minister and his son both died in the same week of very difficult cancers, I really had some serious questions for God and I needed some answers.

Over the course of 2 years, I searched for answers, not hard, but I searched. I talked with people/friends/etc to ask, why? Why would God allow a pastor and his little son to both die? No one had an answer. But, something happened one day Friday after work. I got a phone call from my sister and she said that her best friend’s mom had just died and the wanted me to attend the funeral the following week. I was close to my sister’s friend, so it wasn’t a strange request and it was easy enough to change my schedule to attend the funeral. But something happened that day. Something changed me while I was sitting in church. For some reason, I was at peace with all of those questions that I had about God and church before.

That day, after leaving the funeral, I was asked what I thought about the service and I just replied that, I would start attending that United Methodist Church going forward. And that is what happened. From that day forward, I have been a member of the Methodist Church.  I look back on my time in Texas and I was very active in the church. I was there for everything. I was always willing to give if a child could not afford to attend a camp.  The church was a huge part of my life there.

Then I moved to the east coast. And I searched and went to 10 different different Methodist Churches and I just couldn’t find a fit. My now wife and I attended a Methodist Church and it was ok. I was not blown away by any of the sermons. I never left better than I came into the sanctuary.   I often was more at peace after listening to the church sermon from my church out in Texas than I was at any of the churches that I have attended here. And then today. Today, on my Facebook wall, I saw a post about a United Methodist Minister, Jeffery Herships, holding church in Denver bars. And it hit me, man, this is awesome. Not because you could have a beer or a glass of wine with the sermon, though that is cool. But this guy is going where the unchurched are. He is going to meet the people in their environment. He says the exact same thing that I told friends just yesterday, Church can be anywhere.

I’ve often struggled with the idea that church has to be Sunday morning at 9:20 am or 11:00 am in a big building. Why can’t church be on a mountain top over looking a city? Why can’t church be out on the water and a group of 5 sail boats are all anchored out? How says that church as to be on Sunday morning? I have watched this video a few times now and have emailed it to friends that work with the United Methodist Church and we have all said the same thing, church is changing.  And for me, going to church is important and it is something that I want to instill in my sons, that there is a higher being and that it is ok to believe in God. But I also want them to understand too, that church does not mean that you have to wear a suit and tie on Sunday morning to a big building, because those people that are in the video that are getting a sandwich in the park, are not dressed up, but they are being ministered to. They are receiving a blessing from God.

So what does church look like for you? A big sanctuary on Sunday morning? Or spending time with others in the presence of God wherever you are?

Read more

This is the day the LORD has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it.
– View more here.

That is how we opened each worship service at church out in Texas and it still stays with me each and everyday. This is the day, is one of the first things that pops into my head each morning, because it is a reminder. It reminds me that today, is today that God made, and that no matter what happens, that I should enjoy it and be grateful.

So today, be grateful. Be Humble. Remember your faith. And remember that we are not promised tomorrow. So tomorrow, remember, that This is the day that the Lord has made, so rejoice and be glad in it.

Read more

My wife had attended the same church for almost 30 years, minus the years that she was away at college. And when we started dating, we went to the same church that she grew up in. But for the last 2 years, I had been struggling. I needed more. I wanted more. You see, when I lived in Texas, I went to an amazing church. I went to a church that I was a big part of and wanted to do even more. I was there all the time. But the church that my wife and I had been attending, I just could not get that attached to. And I don’t know why?

But something happened 2 weeks ago. My wife looked at me and said, I think that I am ready for us to look at a going to a new church. Man, I was floored, excited, relieved, and a little nervous. I wasn’t sure if my wife was just saying this or if she really wanted more? Would there be a falling out if we went to a new church?

Well, we went to a new church yesterday. Still a United Methodist church, which we both wanted. But a new church none the less. We walked in, we were greeted immediately. We walked the boys down to the nursery and they walk in and start playing. The service was good. We figured that since we were trying something new, why not try the contemporary service, which was really more of a blend of the traditional and contemporary services, the biggest difference being that they had a praise and worship band.  After church, the day kind of got away from us and after we put the boys down and my wife and I were eating dinner, she asked what I thought about the service that we went to? And we just talked.

We talked about not only the church and how we felt, but why it took my wife so long to get to the point of being ready to look at going to a new church. We lead into more of a conversation about how important the church is to both of us and yet, how we had allowed other things to prevent us from going over the last year. I think that our lives are getting ready to really shift and take on a new meaning and dynamics. And it started with the new church.


Read more

I think that I was 13 or 14 before I realized that not everyone went to church on Sunday mornings and Wednesday nights. My wife was born and raised in the Methodist church and I was raised in the Baptist church, but switched over to the Methodist church when I was about 20. So for my wife and I, church is not an option for our children. The church is an important part of our lives and we take it very seriously.

For my wife and I, we have decided to attend the Methodist church that she grew up in. That being said, there might come a time that we find another Methodist church closer to our house. But for us, it is important for us to worship (I am excluding the religious part here on purpose, as I believe that religious beliefs are an individual thing) in a place that is inviting to all, that promotes helping others – especially those in need, and that has a strong children’s program.

And calling to him a child, he put him in the midst of them and said, “Truly, I say to you, unless you turn and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. “Whoever receives one such child in my name receives me, but whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin, it would be better for him to have a great millstone fastened around his neck and to be drowned in the depth of the sea. – (Matthew 18:2-6 ESV)

We have already had our boys christened in the church as a profession of our faith that we will raise our sons in a Christian home, but also to begin their journey with God as well. I found this on the United Methodist Church website as it pertains to the need to baptize babies:

Why Baptize Babies?
From the earliest times, children and infants were baptized and included in the church. As scriptural authority for this ancient tradition, some scholars cite Jesus’ words, “Let the little children come to me…for it is to such as these that the kingdom of God belongs” (Mark 10:14). However, a more consistent argument is that baptism, as a means of grace, signifies God’s initiative in the process of salvation. John Wesley preached “prevenient grace,” the grace that works in our lives before we are aware of it, bringing us to faith. The baptism of children and their inclusion in the church before they can respond with their own confirmation of faith is a vivid and compelling witness to prevenient grace. – Read More on baptizing children.

We also have started getting the boys from the church nursery and taking them with us as we partake in communion. I want the boys to learn and make decisions on their own, but I also want to get them involved in the church as earlier as I can, to help mold and shape their views.


Read more