Showing posts from 2005

What if Jesus was born in 2005?

One of my mom's friends sent this to her. I thought it was a hoot. Enjoy!
By the way its a satire in case you didn't know.

Nazareth Carpenter Being Held On Charges Involving Underage Mother
Bethlehem, Judea - Authorities were today alerted by a concerned citizen who noticed a family living in a barn. Upon arrival, Family Protective Service personnel, accompanied by police, took into protective care an infant child named Jesus, who had been wrapped in strips of cloth and placed in a feeding trough by his 14-year old mother, Mary of Nazareth. During the confrontation, a man identified as Joseph, also of Nazareth, attempted to stop the social workers. Joseph, aided by several local shepherds and some unidentified foreigners, tried to forestall efforts to take the child, but were restrained by the police. Also being held for questioning are three foreigners who allege to be wise men from an eastern country. The INS and …

Delusions of Grand Fear!

I found this movie poster on the web and it brought back lots of memories!
Summer nights in NC where I lived were filled with humidity, catching lightning bugs, BB gun wars, eating fresh watermelon and trying to get away with as much as we could without getting caught. I grew up in a neighborhood filled with little boys. All of us were athletes and all dreamed of strapping on uniforms of Carolina Blue and Redskin Red. We dreamed that we were the fastest and baddest around. We listened to AM radio, 1400 WSIC that had a play list of about 20 songs. We also went to the movies. It cost .75 cents to go to the Playhouse Theater in 1974 for nine a year old. We saw movies like Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, Bed knobs and Broomsticks and Herbie the Love Bug. There was also a movie out called The Legend of Boggy Creek. This had to be one of the worst movies of all time. I mean this movie was bad, terrible camera work, acting and script. It made the Blair Witch project look like Gone with t…

More soldiers sent!

We have a four point mission statement at our chapel service. Its very simple and Biblical. I kind of took it from the Campus Crusade's mission statement. If its good use it!
This picture is of Echo CO. They have some fine young men and women. Our mission statement is as follows:
We are here to:
Exalt God through Christ
Win soldiers to Christ
Build soldiers in Christ
Send soldiers for Christ

Echo graduates this week and many of them have come to Christ this cycle. Hopefully we have built them in Christ and now we send them…For Christ!

To all my friends in Echo Company, do not be afraid or dismayed for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go!
Well Logan you finally made it here. Your first task in life accomplished with flying colors. You were probably God’s reason your daddy didn’t have to go to Afghanistan. He was on his way there when some kind of crazy Army glitch sent us home. He and I wondered why we were not allowed to be a part of the mission that we thought we were called to do. But we found out one reason and that was you! Because God’s plan is bigger than ours, your dad was there with your mom when you made your grand appearance and judging from your pictures you are fine looking young fellow. I’m not sure what you’ll do in life. That kind of thing is so far off. We can ponder about what kind of little boy you’ll be. Maybe you’ll be athletic and win a state championship in football, maybe you’ll devour books, and maybe you’ll love the outdoors…who knows? The possibilities are wide open for your life. Who knows what kind of man you’ll be. You might be soldier like your daddy or ride bulls in the rodeo to make mom…

Finishing well! Congrats to Delta and Charlie

A smile says it all. Accomplishment! What a great feeling it is to finish. Completing something difficult is even more satisfying. I continue to stand amazed at the young soldiers that we get here. They just keep coming. In this picture is a group of soldiers that have just completed their 7 day field exercise known as “Victory Forge”. It’s the culmination of all of basic training. They march out to their training area, usually about 10 miles, spend seven days putting into practice all they have learned and then they march back in usually about 6 miles. They are tired and cold, but as you can see the enthusiasm is hard to keep a lid on. In the middle is the core of training, the drill sergeant. These volunteers work ridiculous hours and put up with more than you can imagine. The only job harder than being a basic training soldier, is being a drill sergeant. It’s a thankless life, so here is my thank you to all of you who get up early and stay up late. Here is my thank you for your exp…

Being like John Coffey

One of my greatest fears as a child was drowning. I hated rough housing in the swimming pool with my friends. Inevitably someone would always try to hold you under the water. The feeling of panic and helplessness is overwhelming when you are being held under the water by a 14 year old when you are just 10. As an adult and a Chaplain that feeling of being overwhelmed still happens. Instead of being held underwater, now the problems of ministry can rise up in life just like that swimming pool water. Lots of times I feel like I’m trapped in the bowels of the Titanic as the waters rise with nowhere to go. As a Chaplain one of my jobs is to listen. Most of the time I listen to people as they are experiencing life’s most difficult times. People die, get sick, and have relationship issues and addictions. People are not happy with their jobs and not happy with life and some days it seems like all these people rain in on me at once. Today just happened to be one of those days. In the Bible I r…

Bombs Away

I'm not sure but I think that the liability payments for this job would be more than I could afford.

A world in need of repair

I'm not sure but I believe that little boys ought to play with guns. That may stun you as you read this, but I'm quite sure that when I was little no one had to teach me about warfare. I remember defending the woods behind my house against all enemies foreign and domestic. We trained in those 150 acres of hardwoods for war. Why? Why is it that war is such a systemic part of our lives. I'm in the Army and that’s what we do. We train and we fight. But we can't be so myopic and think that we are the only ones ever to do this. And as a Christian how does war fit in to my belief system? Or does it fit at all? It’s clear to me as I look at the world that it is broken, in need of repair. I also believe that it is broken beyond mankind's ability to restore it completely. The Bible says that even creation groans for the revealing of the sons of God (read Romans). Our creation is broken as well and it is ultimately man's fault. Yep, I said it. We did it. We broke the wor…
(The picture shown is a bronzed memorial display that was present at the Purpose Driven Chaplain’s Conference at Saddleback church last week)

I’ve been away from FT Jackson for the last week at a Military Chaplain’s conference at Saddleback Church in southern California. If you are not familiar with that church, their pastor, Rick Warren, wrote the book “Purpose Driven Life”. Over the last few years that book has been the best selling book in the world. As with any really popular book I’m always a bit hesitant. Popularity as we all know is not a determining factor in the truth of anything. I had read the book and since I saw it at Wal-Mart came to the conclusion that it was shallow and devoid of any real value, even though when I read it I was blessed. I thought it was a book that just made people feel good about themselves. I in turn projected that in my mind on what they were doing out at Saddleback. I assumed that it was a shallow church. I also assumed they were just popular becaus…


Tomorrow I’ll be the pall bearer for Hannah Chambers. The reason I am the pall bearer is that Hannah died when she was four months old and only one is needed. Her mom and dad are two of my best friends on this planet. Nate and Angie called me back in June with news that their baby had been born, but there was a problem. She was born with an extra chromosome. Most children with this condition never make it to term but Hannah did. She showed her strength by making it here with us. Its not surprising, her dad is a very strong man. Not only that he’s a good man too. Her mom is probably the sweetest person I’ve met. Hannah from the beginning had difficulty. Nate and Angie knew that this day was coming. We all prayed for Hannah. She lived a life much longer than anyone expected. In spite of all that it’s a hard time. We all ask why. I’m not sure there’s areal answer for that… at least I don’t have one. So I won’t try to guess why with some existential patronizing platitude. I will say this.…
In my job I get to meet some outstanding folks and a few characters. Some of the characters are also outstanding folks. The one I speak of today is pictured here(right). His name is Drill SGT Settles. I first met him in Florida at our orientation weekend for the 2/485th back in May. Since then we have had many opportunities to talk and get to know each other. He is the son of Christian missionaries (automatic cool points for me). He has also spent time on active duty with the “Old Guard” up in DC. Those are the guys that take care of all the funerals at Arlington. It’s a special job. He’s also a hard Drill SGT. He is the loudest Drill SGT as well. He can run way faster than me so I stay out of his group in the morning runs. He’s rough on our soldiers, not in a bad way. The young soldiers that come to us need it, desperately. He makes me laugh a lot too. This blog is not an attempt to build him unnecessarily, but an attempt for all that read to get to know the people that work the 18 h…

Happy Birthday Little Jack

Saturday is my little boy’s birthday. He’ll be 7 years old. Its hard to believe that. The day of his birth is so fresh in my mind. I remember doing a Bible study with my friend Will on my back porch at the time. I remember him looking through the sliding glass door of my house and saying, “Hey dude, I think there is something wrong with your wife!” Sure enough, something was definitely up…it was labor. Tammy was gripping the cushion on our couch so hard that I was sure the fabric would tear. Now my wife is a baby producing machine. Some women have labors that last hours into days, not Tammy. She was just ready to be that little boy’s mom. We jumped in the car and sped down I-40 to Iredell Memorial Hospital and about 90 minutes after Will’s statement of the obvious, Jack appeared in the world. We didn’t know whether he was boy or a girl prior to his birth and what a surprise. I remember that day wondering what he would be like. I remember looking at him and trying to figure out how was…
Its official, I’m part of this new generation. For my birthday my brother bought me an ipod. Now I never saw what all the fuss was about. My buddy Carl Cartee raved about these little gismos. My buddy Jared McAdams says they’ll change your life. I wasn’t sure about any of it till I logged on i-tunes. That’s the place where you can download songs and other audio formats. I wasn’t all that impressed until I realized that you could also download these groovy things called pod casts. Now, some of you are saying “Wow, what a geezer!” Some of you are amazed at my technical savvy. Either way, these pod cast things are too cool for high school. I found one that reads through the bible. Every day you get a chapter or two downloaded automatically to your computer. I was blown away. Also you can get great speakers and authors in these pod casts. I’ve subscribed to my favorite egghead theologian, “Ravi Zacharais”. He’s brilliant and witty and he l…

Emergency Family Bonding

There's nothing like an emergency to put things in perspective. When life is smooth and all is good and everything is right with the world, priorities get a little out of whack. I'm sure the victims of the last hurricane can atest to that. In our little world we had a physical emergency this week. Jack, my youngest (pictured here) came down with a nasty case of pneumonia. It was so bad that his oxygen saturation levels dropped dangerously low. Since last Saturday he has been on O2 to stabalize his breathing while we waited patiently, sometimes not so patiently for the anti-biotics to kick in. I have been overwhelmed at the outpouring of support both from my church family and from my Army family. I am convinced that prayer is effective, if only to bring us to the feet of Jesus for a time. Its been six months since I've been home this long (4 days now) and I blessed to have been able to spend some time with my daughter, my wife and my son. Hopefully he'll go home today o…

Lost Boy found

This is a picture of a friend of mine, Elijah, from Sudan. 15 years ago when he was 7 years old he and about 10,000 other children, most less that 10 years old, walked out of Sudan to escape persecution. All of their families had been murdered. They walked 1000 miles through deserts and mountains. They crossed rivers. They were stalked by wild animals, many of the children were killed by crocodiles. But my friend made it out. Now, he serves in the Army. He is a translator. He told me today that God did a miracle in his life by allowing him to complete that journey. I imagine basic training is very easy for him. He and I lead music in the field today as we took communion. We sang "Amazing Grace". How appropriate to sing "Amazing Grace" with this man. God showed His grace on both of us. He saved me from myself and my friend Elijah from a civil war. The grace of God knows no continental boundries!

Drill SGT Kelley and the Chaplain


Road Marching

Road Marching is what soldiers do. I guess its what makes us soldiers. Its not the long hours shifting your pack, picking the next point to walk to, and wishing the miles would click off a little faster that makes road marching so special. Its the people you endure it with. Suffering together builds something that can't be bought. In our training world these people happen to be brand new soldiers. Most of them have never walked more than a mile, much less walked ten in full "battle rattle". Its hot where we are too. The humidity coats you like oil in the morning. You can't get away from it. The most interesting fact is that these kids that I walk with have all volunteered to be here. They've agreed to put themsleves through this stuff, knowing that in about six months they'll get on a plane for Iraq or Afghanistan. They read the headlines. They know the risk, yet they continue to come. There's alot of talk about recruiting shortfalls. That shouldn't …
This is my little girl who isn't so little anymore! It was taken by my mom on a visit to my brother's place up in Michigan. It looks suspiciously like she's picking her nose, but I thhink its probably just a scratch!
This my friend Chris from texas. He's "over there" right now. He keeps a fabulous journal online and I encourage all of you to check it out. As you read and hear about all the protests and other demotivating stuff try checking out his online journal. I think you'll be pleased to know what just one soldier is doing to make a difference. He's giving shoes away to children. Imagine that! A soldier giving away shoes. Sounds like there's more to being a soldier than conquest doesn't it? In Micah 6:8 we get sort of a picture of what I beleive a soldier ought to be. Read this and I'll try to explain. "He has shown you, O man, what is good; And what does the LORD require of you But to do justly, To love mercy, And to walk humbly with your God?"
There's three things there that I see my friend Chris doing.
He's doing justly. He's righting wrongs. I hope that is not too idealistic for you, but if you had lived under the Taliban, you'd kn…
Tomorrow I'll be officating a gravesite service for a veteran of WWII. What an honorable tradition the military has for its fallen comrads no matter the age. This week all over our country old and young alike are being laid to rest. Some have lived full lives after having served this country, some have been cut down in their prime. No matter the circumstnace the service is always the same. The volleys will be fired, taps will be played and a flag will be given. It happens the same way every time. Its all done for a reason. It can be summed up in one word. Honor. My prayer is that we will not forget that word in these confusing days. Honor remains. It remains because honor origionates in our Creator. He is the author of all that is honorable. He showed the menaing of that word by His honorable actions. His self-less service to mankind is the most honorable of all. As you go about your day remeber that. Remember that men and women have died for this country. Remeber too that your S…
This is me working! I know there are alot of people who go to work every day and make sure products are made, sold and delivered. Some people get to make tons of money at what they do. Some people are looking for that next great job, the greener pastures. I think I've found a piece of the back 40 that I want to stay in for a while. I love my job. I get to get up real early (by the way, I hate mornings). I get to run and do push-ups with kids half my age. I also get to throw on a big heavy ruck sack and step off on road marches. We sweat. We hurt. But thats just fine with me. There's just something irreplacable about knowing you are exactly where God wants you to be. Contentment in each day can really be priceless. So this is a picture of me being content at what I do
This fine looking fellow is my Chaplain Assistant. He's a hard charger!He's SFC (newly promoted) Dan Roberts. He makes my job so easy. He's gifted with computers and creates all kinds of cool stuff for me to use on my machine. He also keeps the Chaplain in line. He's got 13 years experience in the Army. He's got a great wife named Patty and they have a son on the way. His name is Logan. He'll be joining us to breathe air in November. They also have their niece Chelsea living with them.

Where have I been?

It has been months since I've written. I am now at FT Jackson SC working as a BTN Chaplain for basic training soldiers. I work between 12 and 15 hours every day. We have over 960 soldiers and they'll be graduating to go on to their next training environmet very soon. They come from all over the world to train with us. Their stories are amazing. We have small town kids from Tennesee to kids from the inner city of New York and Detroit. They hail from farms in the midwest, to the Nappa valley in CA. The come here from Egpty, Puerto Rico, Africa and other countries from all over the world. They come to train. They come to challenge themselves. They come fully aware that they'll be in harms way very soon. They all voluteer willingly. Its amazing to watch. I am proud to serve with them and minister to them. In the last 6 months over 60 soldiers have come to faith in Christ here in our chapel services. God is indeed moving and working in our midst. This generation is so spiritual…

Life Change!

This blog will be a good place to keep up with me as I travel from beautiful NC to my new home in south Asia. I'll place here the day-to-day goings on of an Army Chaplain. Hopefully I'll be able to upload some good pictures for you and keep the info fresh and current as the next year unfolds. In the mean time I'm off to beautiful FT Hood for a couple of months of training for our mission. Please pray for my family as this next year will be difficult for them. Daddy is leaving home for a long time. When I return life will have changed. Tori and Jack will be taller and older. They won't look the same or sound the same. They'll have nights where they cry. Tammy will be lonely as well. Lift them up to the Lord as you pray.
I'll miss birthdays, Thanksgivng, Christmas and Easter. I'll have a year of family memories absent from my thoughts. But as I dwell on these things I am reminded of God's calling. I am also reminded of what my wife said to me tonight. In …
Winter on Stone Mountain
Barbed wire crawling

FT Jackson

I've spent the last week at FT Jackson at the US Army Chaplain Center and School helping the cadre there train new Chaplains is basic military skills. It has been quite an experience. Last summer I took the course myself and it was interesting being on the other side of that training. Most of the new chaplains have had little or no military experience and many are long in the tooth. They are not used to road marching, wearing heavy equipment and the structure of the Army. One thing I have noticed is that they all have a deep desire to serve their country and a deep desire to serve God. There are all shapes and sizes there. Some are Catholic priests in their 50's and some are still in seminary. I've put some pictures here so you'll have an idea of the stuff they get to do. Hope you enjoy them.

Gatlinburg separation anxiety

Tammy and I spent the past weekend in Gatlinburg Tenn at a conference for Middle/High school students. We had an unbelievable time. No we didn't hike Mt Leconte or fly fish or ride bikes. We were just plain lazy most of the time. I taught a seminar on personal evangelism once each day and the rest of the time we took naps and enjoyed each other's company. I met some great kids from Jacksonville and from Smith's Corner Alabama. It was a blessed time. The conference is put on by Crossroads ministries and I serve as a speaker and as a board member for them. You can check them out at Clayton is one of my best friends and has been a traveling evangelist for about 17 years now and he's only 32 years old. Derwin Gray, former NFL player and good friend also spoke and brought the house down. Carl and Heather Cartee lead worship and I'm pleased to say that Carl and Heather have done so well since moving to Nash-Vegas!. Carls' song-writing continues t…

New Year, New Hope

As I write this its 2005. I'll be 40 this year. Playing in my backyard in rural NC I never thought I'd be 40. 40 year old people were just one step from the grave when you are 10. All in all I sense that being 40 is just the beginning of new adventures for me and my family. In the coming months I'll be teaching on evangelism, the persecuted church and doing a seminar on Islam with a group from SC. I'll also be going to FT Jackson to work at the US Army Chaplain School for a few weeks. At my church I'm leading a couple of Bible studies one in the Gospel of John and one in the book of James. The in May I'll be mobilized and head to FT Jackson for a year deployment. I could be heading to Iraq, but as it turns out not this year.
The last few weeks have been trying, work has been slow and I've been tested to trust God where I see very little. Its a bit like driving in the fog, you know the road is there, but everything is obscured. You just have to slow down and…