Returning to the Corner Ponds

I’ve wanted to snap this bike lean photo for a while now. Today, I made it happen. What appears as a bicycle in the bushes to others is a portrait of sacred space for me. To those raised in my hometown of West Green, they know this spot as Corner Ponds off Joe Ellis Road. It was where we skipped rocks, fished, and even swam as kids. But to me, it will always be holy ground. Because about fifteen feet behind where my bike is leaning is where I surrendered to the call to preach.

My anxious mind had a way of jumbling my words, twisting my sentences into verbal pretzels that didn’t make sense to me, and especially anyone else.

It was on the banks of Corner Ponds I relented to God’s persistent pursuit. I fought. I argued with Him. There was no way I could stand in front of people and talk, let alone preach. My anxious mind had a way of jumbling my words, twisting my sentences into verbal pretzels that didn’t make sense to me, and especially anyone else. Lord, I will write, but don’t make me speak in front of people. But here, kneeling in the red Georgia clay, I stopped fighting. I told God, I’ll go anywhere and do whatever you want me to, even preach, I’m yours.

Don’t tell me God can’t use you because I know He will if you surrender.

From this spot, God has taken a young high school dropout, allowed him to return to school, graduate college with honors, sent him to share the gospel on two continents, pastor multiple churches, become a Christian educator (even be voted Teacher of the Year), and write articles read around the world. Don’t tell me God can’t use you because I know He will if you surrender.

Please understand me. This is not a look-at-me-aren’t-I-wonderful post. Honestly, I still see myself as the nervous kid when I look in the mirror. I never want to forget where God has brought me from. That’s why I returned to the Corner Ponds today.

Liberty & Freedom!

It’s Independence Day Weekend. As I consider the benefits of living in the United States, the two words “liberty” and “freedom” come to mind. Both, like oxygen, are taken for granted until they’re gone. Recently, my family traveled to New York City and visited the Statue of Liberty. The tour guide explained the statue was created with one heal slightly lifted to symbolize the work of liberty moving forward. At that moment, I was grateful for the role the United States has played in history.

A snapshot from our recent trip.

Our beautiful country, despite her flaws, is a great place to live and raise a family. As we head to backyard barbeques, beaches, and firework shows, let us not forget our forefathers who risked their lives, fortunes, and sacred honor to secure liberty and freedom for us. Take time this weekend and be grateful. Happy Fourth of July!

A Good Friday Reflection

Over two thousand years ago, You faced the horrors of the cross. The cruel tortures of that wicked tree reveal the severity of sin, my sin. You cried out, “My God! My God! Why have You forsaken me!” It was through this forsakenness that we experience the embrace of Abba’s arms. Restored. Restless and rebellious subjects reconciled to a Regal King.

Wrecked with agonizing pain so that others could experience peace. By the crimson flow of Calvary, the filthy stains of sin wash away from our souls. Incarnate Deity dying removing sin’s strong hand. Worthy is the Lamb slain over two millennia ago! Praise ushers forth from grateful hearts on this most wondrous Good Friday for we know the rest of the story!


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