Directions 5.28.2015

All Wagged Out…

Moo, my son’s dog, lives with us while Abram is in graduate school.  Recently we decided that he needed to socialize with other dogs.  Okay, actually we decided we needed a break one day a week.  We signed him up with one of those places that will take care of your dog for the day.  Some people call it “Doggie Daycare.”  I prefer to call “sanity preservation.”

Moo has had a ball with the other dogs.  He plays hard all day and then collapses at home.  Moo worn out means a more restful evening for us.

Last Friday, Moo went off to play as usual.  He came home “plumb tuckered out,” as my Aunt Neta used to say.  We noticed his tail was down, and he wasn’t wagging it back and forth as usual.  By bedtime, we knew something more serious was up.  He wouldn’t lay down, wouldn’t sit, wouldn’t sleep.  He kept wondering through the house.

I thought eventually he would settle down and sleep.  Gina, with more empathy than me, stayed up to try to help him get comfortable.  I drifted off to sleep, and woke up at 3:00 AM, realizing Moo and Gina were still awake.  He was hurting so bad, he couldn’t sleep.  We gave him some aspirin and he finally settled down.

The next day, his tail still dropping, we took him to the vet, worried about what it could be.  The vet did a careful examination, turned to us with a smile, and said, “I think he has strained his muscles in his tail and his back legs.  Was he playing with other dogs yesterday?”  We said he was, and the vet replied, “We see this sometimes.  A dog will be so excited to be with other dogs, he will wag his tail so much he strains his muscles.  His drive to have a good time wears him out.”  We were given a bottle of pills and told to let him rest as much as possible.

On the way out, I paid the bill:  $70.  Seventy dollars to cure the dog that was so happy, he was all wagged out.

I was tempted to grump and grouse about a dog who didn’t know his limits.  On the other hand, I thought about living a life where you are so happy you hurt yourself.

Then I wondered, “Have I ever been so happy with Jesus I had to go to the doctor?  Has being happy with Jesus ever cost me $70?”

Maybe Moo could teach me something.




Tuesday Celebrations 5.26.2015

Good Morning Good People of Alice Drive!

I don’t often do this, but if you weren’t here this Sunday or Monday, check out the webcast here:

Big Idea:  Love your country, but worship your Lord Jesus.

This Sunday at 11 we will recognize our graduates.  Pray for those who are launching out into adulthood!


One good thing about graduation is that you get to wear a funny hat that makes your brain look larger than it actually is.

Directions 5.21.2015

The Streets of New York…

We were in New York City to see our son, Abram.  Naturally we were taking in some other things the city offered as well.  It was 1:45, just before the 2:00 matinee of the Broadway shows.  A long line stretched in front of Lunt-Fontaine Theater, where “Finding Neverland” was playing, starring Kelsey Grammer (star of the long running show “Frasier”).  The sidewalk was clogged and traffic choked the streets.   We stepped off the curb and made our way past through the crowd, weaving through stalled cars.

Striding with a purpose from the opposite direction was a man with a familiar face.  I struggled to place him, when the recognition light went on:  It was Kelsey Grammer, hurrying to make his show!  He walked right past Sarah, Abram, and Gina, and then brushed past me.

I exclaimed, “That was Kelsey Grammer!”  My children of another generation said, “Who?”  Another man, my age, said, “I know!  Can you believe it was him?”

I turned to watch Mr. Grammer weave his way through the crowd, cutting through the line, and entering a theater door.  No one asked for his autograph or shook his hand or even noticed him.  Some of the people in the line seemed perturbed that a stranger was cutting through the line.

That struck me as strange.  Here were people paying a lot of money to see a play with a big name star.  When the star wasn’t on stage, but right up next to them, they didn’t recognize him.

Let me tell you about two other encounters on the trip.  We were walking down 6th Avenue in search of a place to eat lunch, when I heard a voice call out, “Hey Clay!”  It was Jonathan Zimpleman, one of our deacons.  He was waiting for a cab to take him to the airport.  Of all the people on the street, imagine running into someone from ADBC.

The next day we were walking on 46th street when a cab stopped in the middle of the street, the windows rolled down, and Imogene and Don Mathis hollered out, “It’s the Smiths!”  The Mathis’

are long-time members of ADBC.  What are the odds of running into two Sumter folks who are part of the ADBC family?

I’ve thought about those three encounters.  People missed the star of the show because he wasn’t on stage, but was right there in their midst.  Twice I stopped my journey because someone called my name.

If you think Jesus needs to perform a miracle for you before you follow him, you probably won’t recognize the reality that he is already in the crowd around you.  If you listen, you will hear him call your name, and you will know that in the midst of journeys and tasks, he knows you.  That’s why Jesus is not a star to perform for us; he is a Savior who loves us and knows us and calls out our name.




Tuesday Celebrations 5.19.2015

Good Morning Good People of Alice Drive!

Thanks to Jock for a great Sunday while I was on vacation!  I’m also celebrating the election of our new servants, our Deacons!

Our New Worship Pastor, David Piedt, leads in worship Sunday May 24th and Monday the 25th.  Glad he is on the team.

Memorial Day is more than a Monday off.  It is a day to remember those who answered the call to serve our country and who paid the ultimate price.


It is for us the living, rather, to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who fought here have thus far so nobly advanced. It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us — that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion — that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain — that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom — and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth. –

Abraham Lincoln, The Gettysburg Address

Tuesday Celebrations 5.12.15

Good Morning Good People of Alice Drive!

What a great Mother’s Day at ADBC!  My thanks to the children who helped me in each service know and understand what it means to receive the Kingdom as a child.   Great attendance too – between 1500 and 1600 in all four services.  Plus we got to celebrate baptism of a young man we dedicated to the Lord nine years ago!

Interested in ADBC?  Come to Starting Point this Sunday at 5:00 PM.  You will have a chance to ask questions, learn about our Mission, Vision, and Values, and enjoy a great meal!

Our New Worship Pastor, David Piedt, leads in worship Sunday May 24th and Monday the 25th.  Glad he is on the team.


“I’ve never flown before, said the nervous old lady to the pilot. “You will bring me down safely, won’t you? “All I can say ma’am,” said the pilot, “is that I’ve never left anyone up there yet!”

Directions… 5.7.2015



The Perfect Mother?

Mothers face a lot of pressure.  Anything less than perfect feels like you are damaging your children for life.  To be honest, a lot of Mother’s Day sermons don’t help.  Preachers pick out one or two passages and hold them up as mirrors to women who already struggle with feeling inadequate.  Maybe preachers need to read the Bible, and do a quick survey of Biblical motherhood.

The first mother, Eve, did such a good job with her boys that one murdered the other.  Sarah, Abraham’s wife, loathed her step-son, and had to wait until she was on Medicare to give birth.  Leah and Rachel turned their children into bitter rivals, setting the stage for deceit, competition, and shame for decades.

Moses’ mother did save him from execution, but she put him a river full of crocodiles.  Someone call child protective services!  Hannah wanted a child so bad she promised him to God.  As soon as he was weaned (Probably 3 years old) she took him to the Tabernacle and left in the care of an old man who was blind.  Shouldn’t she be arrested for child abandonment?   Hosea’s wife, Gomer, kept having babies and running off.  In the end, he never really know which were his and which belonged to some other guy.  Talk about family issues.

Mary, the mother of Jesus started off pretty well.  She submitted to God and ponder all the wonders of his birth in her heart, but when he was an adult, she rounded up her other sons and said, “Let’s go get your older brother.  He’s lost his mind.”  Always a nice re-enforcement when your Mom thinks you are crazy.

The mother of James and John kept nagging Jesus to give her boys special treatment.  She wanted her boys to sit on the right hand and on the left hand of Jesus, which is like a Mom saying to a coach, “My boys will be your starting pitcher and first baseman.”

Aren’t there good moms in the Bible?  Sure.  Paul in Romans 16 talks about Rufus and then says, “Tell his Mom hello.  She has been like a mother to me.”  I makes me wonder if she told Paul to eat his vegetables.  There are other moms who never got recognition, but surely walked with their families through tough times.  Noah’s wife was stuck on a cruise with her sons and daughters-in-law, with a zoo on board.  She must have been remarkable; no one was murdered.  David’s mom raised eight boys; her laundry load must been incredible.

One of the reasons I trust the Bible is it never gives us fairy tales.  It gives us truth.  And the truth is there were no perfect mothers in the Bible, just as there are no perfect mothers on earth.  Your mom and my mom were sinners in need of grace.  If you are a mom, you need grace.  You also need to be delivered from ridiculous expectations of perfection.

On this Mother’s Day, I would like to convey to you the verse I think every mother should claim: “28 And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose (Romans 8:28).”  Here’s the good news:  You are not perfect, but the perfect one is working good in lives of those little rascals you gave birth to.  This Mother’s Day, give yourself the gift of His grace




Wednesday Update – 5.6.2015

Good Morning Good People of Alice Drive!

Sorry for the delay in getting this out – I’m still recovering from my illness issues.  Nothing major, thanks be to God.  Some antibiotics and the Doctor says I will be fully recovered.

My thanks to Jock for pinch hitting on short notice and for our whole team pulling together to respond to all the events of the Sunday and Monday.

Our Budget for 2015-2016 of $2.6 million passed with only one dissenting vote.  I’m grateful for you embracing the vision this budget represents.  Let’s be salt to this world!

This Sunday and Monday:

  • The Border Wars series continues!
  • It’s Mother’s Day!
  • We will have three families participating in Parent Child Dedication in the 11:00 AM service.


According to my wife’s diary, I have boundary issues…