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A fantastic weekend

Memorial day for me involved work and in a few minutes, mowing the grass.  I’m sure many other people will be having much more entertaining days than me but I did however just finish with a fantastic week with some great people.
Everything started with seeing Neon Trees Saturday in Knoxville Tn with the girl that I love.  They put on a great show and I believe we both had a fantastic time!  Afterwards we took the (way too long) drive to Florida to spend the week with my family.  We both had a blast there as well, spending hours in the ocean, swimming in the pool, driving with the top down, playing with my nieces and eating way too much seafood.  I guess I should correct that and say we ate a lot of seafood.  One can never have too much fresh seafood🙂
For the last two days of the week we spent time with her family camping.  It was nice to get away from everyone and just take it easy.  We went fishing, riding four wheelers, played cornhole, badmitton, ate smores around a campfire and shot some guns.  The only sad thing about it was that I had to cut it short and leave really early on Monday morning to get back in time for work.
Overall I had one of the best weeks I’ve had in a long long time.  Even though I had a blast seeing my family and visiting hers it was the simple fact that I got to spend time with my girlfriend that made it such a special trip.  I feel truly blessed and hope everyone that reads this had a great Memorial Day Weekend!

So we got that big snow that was predicted.  A little later than everyone thought but we did receive it.  Even though the road conditions were bad I ventured out to the beautiful Guest River Gorge in Coeburn Va.  Hope you enjoy the pics!

That’s what is on the mind of one individual from Kentucky Avenue in the smallest city in Virginia, Norton.  See you soon!

I have decided to begin a new project for my blog and my life.  In addition to attending services at my local church (Norton Presbyterian Church) I will visit churches across our great nation.  I will start out visiting other churches in my immediate area then as time allows, visit those further away.

What I hope to achieve by doing this.

  •  To fellowship, unite and connect with believers from diverse backgrounds, denominations, social standings and ways of life.
  •  To encourage others and receive encouragement so that our faith may grow.

The apostles traveled to teach and provide guidance during the infancy of our religion.  I would emulate that same attitude but for the purposes identified above.

It is always a wonderful experience to meet new and exciting people.

I would love to visit your church and eagerly await an invitation. 🙂

That’s what is on the mind of one individual from Kentucky Avenue in the smallest city in Virginia, Norton.  See you soon!

Christians on the Defensive

Doesn’t it seem like there is a lot of negativity towards Christians today in the world?  Negativity is certainly directed towards us but what should we do about it?  The automatic response is to get defensive and engage those who are perpetrating the negativity on their own turf and play by their rules.  Our blood pressure gets up, heated conversations begin, maybe name calling but in the end nothing is rarely accomplished.

We should know this is going to happen.  It’s certainly nothing new for Christians.

18 “If the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated me first. 19 If you belonged to the world, it would love you as its own. As it is, you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world. That is why the world hates you. 20 Remember what I told you: ‘A servant is not greater than his master.’[b] If they persecuted me, they will persecute you also. If they obeyed my teaching, they will obey yours also. 21 They will treat you this way because of my name, for they do not know the one who sent me. – John 15:18-21 NIV

This pertains to the disciples but it is very relevant to us too.  We should expect it to happen as long as we are on this Earth but what should we do about it?

I say we do what Timothy suggests.

No one serving as a soldier gets entangled in civilian affairs, but rather tries to please his commanding officer. -2 Timothy 2:4 NIV

Do not get bogged down in what the world says about you, your faith or how you express it.  Leave the world be and do not fall into its trap.  Focus on what our Savior wants us to do.  Strengthen the faith of fellow Christians, love your neighbor, spread the gospel and give all glory to God in the highest.  You’ll never change their opinions being on the defensive.  The best defense is a good offense.  Put your energy and effort to where its going to have the most impact.

That’s what is on the mind of one individual from Kentucky Avenue in the smallest city in Virginia, Norton.  See you soon!

Something came to me today just as I walked in the door from Karate.  A pretty crazy idea I might say and I guess I’ve decided to find out what everyone else thinks about it.  Please post your comments here and/or on facebook.  Can’t wait to hear em.

Scenario #1  The Tornado

A tornado rips through a community causing massive damage.

Question 1:  Should the Federal and/or State Government aid the people devestated by the tornado in any way?

Question 2:  Should the percentage of people who have insurance affect the government from providing aid to the people?

 

Scenario #2  Cancer

Instead of a tornado, suppose the same people were all afflicted with cancer but over a course of years.

Question #1  Should the Federal and/or State Government provide aid to these people?

Question 2:  Should the percentage of people who have insurance affect the government from providing aid to the people?

 

I don’t believe there is a right or wrong answer to any of these questions.  They’re just your answers (unless they are blatantly stupid answers).  The reason I ask this question is because of a revelation I had as I stepped through the door coming back from karate.  Our country is a patchwork of people and ideas.  Our government is also a patchwork, made up of ideas from these diverse people.  In our society it is completely accepted that when a natural disaster happens, our government is obligated to help the victims out in a very significant way.  However if those exact same people were afflicted with some type of ailment over a period of time  I can guarantee you that the government would give a minimal amount of aid at best.  Do you see a contrast here?  It might as well be, if you’re on the right side of the line and something happens to you that is out of your control then we’re not helping you.  However if you were on the left side of the line then of course we’ll help you out🙂

Ultimately the question is what role the government should play in peoples’ lives.  I don’t believe there is a right or wrong answer to the question.  It’s just a matter of opinion.  My biggest problem is the inconsistency people show in the belief of how our government should run.  Don’t say one thing in one situation then something completely different in another.

The last word:  I can guarantee you that a lot more people suffer financial or fiscal hardships each year due to health reasons than natural disasters.

That’s what is on the mind of one individual from Kentucky Avenue in the smallest city in Virginia, Norton.  See you soon!

Belize it or not Part 1

Sunday Devotional at Body & Soul Ministries

I was blessed with doing the devotional Sunday night after evening service.  I had worried the entire flight down because I didn’t know what I was going to speak about.  Once I stopped worrying about it God helped me find the right passages in the Bible to speak about.

The Great Commission
16 Then the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain where Jesus had told them to go. 17 When they saw him, they worshiped him; but some doubted. 18 Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19 Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”
-Matthew 28: 16-20

This is exactly what the good people of Body & Soul Ministries and those on the UVA Wise Mission Team were doing.  They were following the words of jesus, following the Great Commission.

The Sheep and the Goats
31 “When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, he will sit on his glorious throne. 32 All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate the people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. 33 He will put the sheep on his right and the goats on his left.

34 “Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. 35 For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, 36 I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’

37 “Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? 38 When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? 39 When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’

40 “The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’

41 “Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. 42 For I was hungry and you gave me nothing to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink, 43 I was a stranger and you did not invite me in, I needed clothes and you did not clothe me, I was sick and in prison and you did not look after me.’

44 “They also will answer, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or needing clothes or sick or in prison, and did not help you?’

45 “He will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.’

46 “Then they will go away to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life.”
-Matthew 25: 31-46

This is further justification of the work the medical team was performing.  None of the members gave medical help to Jesus, or distributed food to him, or gave him water under the blistering sun of Belize.  Yet the power of this verse rings true, 40 “The King will reply, “Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.”

The Vine and the Branches
1 “I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener. 2 He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes[a] so that it will be even more fruitful. 3 You are already clean because of the word I have spoken to you. 4 Remain in me, as I also remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me.

5 “I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing. 6 If you do not remain in me, you are like a branch that is thrown away and withers; such branches are picked up, thrown into the fire and burned. 7 If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. 8 This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples.

9 “As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Now remain in my love. 10 If you keep my commands, you will remain in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commands and remain in his love. 11 I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete. 12 My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you. 13 Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. 14 You are my friends if you do what I command. 15 I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master’s business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you. 16 You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you so that you might go and bear fruit—fruit that will last—and so that whatever you ask in my name the Father will give you. 17 This is my command: Love each other.
-John 15:1-17

In order to be as fruitful in their endeavors as possible they had to have Jesus with them always.  Verse 4 says that no branch can bear fruit by itself.  It is with the power of God that they were able to achieve the miracles that occurred later in the week.

I could tell looking over those assembled that:
they held Jesus near to their hearts and would be fruitful
that they understood that helping the people of Belize was the same as helping Jesus himself
and that they were fulfilling the command of Jesus to go out and make disciples of all nations.

That’s what is on the mind of one individual from Kentucky Avenue in the smallest city in Virginia, Norton.  See you soon!

Choice

What we have today is the choice
to shed the mundane wrappings
of an average life
and live according to our true desires, our heart of hearts
to pursue righteousness and give aid to those in need
whatever that need may be
rising above our former selves, stepping beyond self erected barriers
for our own betterment and the betterment of others

or to slip into quiet obscurity
never daring the chance to make a difference in this world
no matter how small that difference may seem

no good deed is ever fruitless nor is it insignificant

 

That’s what is on the mind of one individual from Kentucky Avenue in the smallest city in Virginia, Norton.  See you soon!

Roan Mtn Winter 2010/2011

Well I braved terrible road conditions and freezing weather to reach the mile high summit of Roan Mountain.  The road had been scraped at some point in time so instead of 2 feet of snow on the road there was about a foot instead.  Driving up the side of the mountain (very slowly in 4WD) I kept wondering…”Are there guard rails buried under the snow?”.  It was seriously that bad (easily the worst road conditions I had ever driven on).  Luckily it was also a ton of fun driving up too.
I passed one vehicle going down and the dude raised his hand in recognition.  It was a salute of mutual respect.  He knew what I was going through to get to the top of the mountain and what I was soon to find.

The beauty of frozen nature and icy cold winds sculpting two feet of snow one mile high in the air.

Thank goodness for that underarmor!!!

 

Very very deep snow!

This will be the first of several posts I do on politics.

Wait for it….wait…..”Oooh…he didn’t just say politics did he?  I’m sure he’ll step on some toes with that subject”.

That’s right perceptive readers, I will be blogging about one of most divisive topics in America today.  For this post I’d like to focus on political parties.

3 KINDS OF VOTERS

I believe every voter can be lumped into one of three categories.  Here they are:

1.  Zealot:  Believes whatever their political party says is true.  Always votes along party lines.

2.  Loyalist:  Almost exclusively votes along party lines.  Does not agree 100% with the party on every issue but is unwilling to publicly announce this.

3.  Individual:  Votes based on the particulars of the situation irregardless of which party the candidate belongs to.

From my experience most people in America today would fall under the loyalist classification which is why there is so much division in our government. I know some people extremely dedicated to one party who on occasion will let slip an opinion that is clearly being voiced by the opposing party.  Don’t try to point it out to them because they wont believe it.  I have more admiration for the Zealot who blindly follows their party but does it faithfully then I do the Loyalist.  Personally I think the Individual deserves the most respect because they vote based on how well the individual will do.

THE STATE SAYS I’M A REPUBLICAN/DEMOCRAT

What do I like best about being a citizen of Virginia?  That’s easy.  The state doesn’t care if I belong to a particular political party or none at all.  Most people in my state don’t appreciate the magnitude of this freedom given to us.  So many states force citizens to declare which party they belong to, meaning they can only vote in that particular primary.  If you decide to be an independent then you usually can’t vote in any primary.  Not so in Virginia, you get to choose which primary you may vote in.  Besides that, it’s none of the state’s business whether I belong to a particular party or not.

2 SIDES OF THE SAME COIN

I like to think of politics as a coin.  Let’s use the quarter since our first president is on it.  On one side you have the Democrats, the other side Republicans and the side is all of the other parties.  Whatever one party wants, the other party (other side of the coin) resists letting them have.  It’s yes and no, right vs. wrong, heads and tails.  Spin the quarter on the table and I can easily picture the Democrats and Republicans arguing.  What’s best for the American Citizen rarely comes into play (and the voters fuel this mentality).  Too many people think “I’m a Democrat/Republican first, American second”.

CLOSING ARGUMENTS

If we held our elected officials accountable, kept true to our own beliefs and voted based on the individuals merits then I think we would have a more robust democracy and get far more achieved for the greater good.  Place the good of the country and it’s citizens first, the interests of the political parties 2nd, 3rd or maybe further than that🙂

That’s what is on the mind of one non-affiliated voter from Kentucky Avenue in the smallest city in Virginia, Norton.  See you soon!

Don’t attend church on a regular basis or not at all?  What could you possibly be missing.  Hmmm….let’s look at the book of Luke and see what two particular people would have missed had they not been at the Temple that day.

Jesus Presented in the Temple

22 When the time came for the purification rites required by the Law of Moses, Joseph and Mary took him to Jerusalem to present him to the Lord 23 (as it is written in the Law of the Lord, “Every firstborn male is to be consecrated to the Lord”), 24 and to offer a sacrifice in keeping with what is said in the Law of the Lord: “a pair of doves or two young pigeons.”

25 Now there was a man in Jerusalem called Simeon, who was righteous and devout. He was waiting for the consolation of Israel, and the Holy Spirit was on him. 26 It had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not die before he had seen the Lord’s Messiah. 27 Moved by the Spirit, he went into the temple courts. When the parents brought in the child Jesus to do for him what the custom of the Law required, 28 Simeon took him in his arms and praised God, saying:

29 “Sovereign Lord, as you have promised,
you may now dismiss your servant in peace.
30 For my eyes have seen your salvation,
31 which you have prepared in the sight of all nations:
32 a light for revelation to the Gentiles,
and the glory of your people Israel.”

33 The child’s father and mother marveled at what was said about him. 34 Then Simeon blessed them and said to Mary, his mother: “This child is destined to cause the falling and rising of many in Israel, and to be a sign that will be spoken against, 35 so that the thoughts of many hearts will be revealed. And a sword will pierce your own soul too.”

36 There was also a prophet, Anna, the daughter of Penuel, of the tribe of Asher. She was very old; she had lived with her husband seven years after her marriage, 37 and then was a widow until she was eighty-four.  She never left the temple but worshiped night and day, fasting and praying. 38 Coming up to them at that very moment, she gave thanks to God and spoke about the child to all who were looking forward to the redemption of Jerusalem.

39 When Joseph and Mary had done everything required by the Law of the Lord, they returned to Galilee to their own town of Nazareth. 40 And the child grew and became strong; he was filled with wisdom, and the grace of God was on him. -New International Version

Simeon and Anna, look at what you would have missed if you had chosen to have stayed at home.  You would have been among the first people to behold the Christ.  I can’t think of missing out on anything more important but that’s what happens when we habitually miss church or not attend at all.  You are missing the opportunity to be with Christ through the fellowship of other Christians, singing hymns of praise and growing in your faith.

Furthermore, verse 39 says, “When Joseph and Mary had done everything required by the Law of the Lord, they returned to Galilee to their own town of Nazareth. And the child grew and became strong; he was filled with wisdom, and the grace of God was on him.”. Do what God wants us to do, attend church, fellowship with your Christian brothers and sisters and you will grow as a Christian, become stronger in your faith and gain wisdom

I don’t believe Luke’s intention was to show what you miss when you don’t attend Church but it is a fun way of looking at these verses.

That’s what is on the mind of one individual from Kentucky Avenue in the smallest city in Virginia, Norton.  See you soon!

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