Martin Luther King’s life should motivate us to serve others

We celebrated Martin Luther King Day Monday on his actual birthday.  His life, although flawed like the rest of ours, showed that He loved God and wanted to exhibit the fruit of His spirit noted in Galatians 5  For those of you who didn’t read my last blog post, I share that this verse will be a focus for me as I try to live out my One Word for 2024 prayer. Here is what I wrote a couple of years ago on how we can be motivated to live better lives with a heart of service.  
On this day do you remember? There is a reason that Dion’s song, “Does anyone here” remains one of my favorites. When we fret about where our world is today, look back. I was 11 when JFK was killed and 16 when Bobby Kennedy and Martin Luther King were also assassinated. It was a very divisive and scary time. My question on this MLK Day is not do we remember these men, but in our remembrance, how does it motivate us to be better men and women?In preparation for the MLK King Day in 2022, I had the privilege of helping our local newspaper find people to share their thoughts on what Martin Luther King’s life meant to them. Here is the link should be interested in what was written Dr. King lived a life that left a legacy for all to follow. It causes us as Jeff Burton writes, to “ask ourselves, how is it today that I can act; what can I do to leave this place better than I found it; to do our small part to inspire others for good” Nathan Walton, in the publication noted above, asks, “What story are we telling?…..This day gives us an opportunity to tell a new story for our own moment” As we look back this MLK quote should help to move us forward.  “We have come a long, long way but we still have a long, long way to go.”Former City of Promise ED, Mary Coleman writes that our story needs to be one where we have learned from the past so we can be exhorted to help make a brighter future. She asks, “Where do we go from here? Will we choose chaos or community in a unified manner that King describes as persevering togetherness.” Yes! There is my 2022 Word. Unity. Uncompromised Never-ending Intensity Toward YES! We can be motivated by others to make our story one that sets an example for those around us. It can be a story line that causes Breakthrough by lifting up others and like MLK, motivating them to pursue peace while making a positive difference in the world versus creating divisiveness and selfishly ignoring those who need our help. Dr King was in no way a perfect man. But he was a man who believed he was redeemed by His Creator and called into a work that would ultimately cost him his life. This gives me hope as I hope it will you. It teaches nothing is impossible for those who love God. Luke 1:37 promises us “that we have the privilege of serving a God who can literally do anything, and there is nothing that is impossible for him.Therefore let us strive to live out the beatitudes noted in Matthew 5:1-12Blessed are the poor in spirit,
for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Blessed are those who mourn,
    for they will be comforted.
Blessed are the meek,
    for they will inherit the earth.
Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness,
    for they will be filled.
Blessed are the merciful,
    for they will be shown mercy.
Blessed are the pure in heart,
    for they will see God.
Blessed are the peacemakers,
    for they will be called children of God.
Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness,
    for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
“Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. 
Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you..Like Dr King, When we live our life this way, we will leave our personal legacy that others will continue because of the way you motivated them.Please subscribe to this blog so you can receive an email notification when new content is posted. I can be reached by email at [email protected]

To be a great Father, one needs to have great Friends

I had the opportunity to preach at Belmont Baptist here in Charlottesville. I so appreciated my friend Jim Carpenter asking me to share a Father’s Day message with his church.

 I was asked to do 2 things. 1) Provide a little bit about my story and 2) Share my thoughts about Father’s Day. I tried to do it in a concise manner as I knew I was between the Fathers enjoying their day at brunch, Bar B Que or getting out to fish or play golf. 

The story Jim asked me to share was about my Guillain Barre Syndrome health challenge I experienced in 2019. It left me paralyzed from the neck down for 17 days. Before I explain what I learned, I need to share with you the process that God used to prepare me for that adversity. As Oswald Chambers writes, “no man is born either naturally or supernaturally with character he has to make character. Nor are we born with habits we have to form habits on the basis of the new life God has put into us so that we may face whatever adversity comes our way.  As I look back on my life the, the significant moments have occurred absolutely formed the character that helped me face and persevere through GBS. Those times helped me trust that God would get me through what, without question, was the toughest time in my life

For over 50 years, I have lived my life striving to love the Lord with all my heart, Love others as God loves me, and then trust Him with the outcome. Seeing God’s presence in each previous challenge solidified my faith so that I would be ready for the adversity I would face.

For those who read my weekly blog., I recently wrote about how Psalms 23 outlines this sanctification process I am talking about so well. Look how One verse leads us into the next. Each one prepares us for what is to come. First, we are to acknowledge that the Lord is our Shepherd who will provide all that we need. Secondly, He does not ask us to lie down in green pastures, He make us do it. He knows we need rest even when we might not think it is necessary. Once we have rested, he gives us the opportunity to experience the peace that comes from being led to still quiet, waters. There is nothing more peaceful for me than being at the ocean when there are no waves and the sun is yet to rise. It does indeed “restoreth my soul” He has created us. He leads us. He calls us to rest so that we can be restored. Why? So that when adversity comes our way as it does each and every day, we will not fear because He promises to be with us. May this thought process cause you to “go out knowing that goodness and love will follow you all the days of your life, knowing you will dwell in the house of the LORD forever.” Psalm 23:6

There are many things I learned as I recovered from GBS. First and foremost was the fact that when everything was stripped away, God was there to comfort me and lift me up. Right up there though was the realization that Dottie and couldn’t have made it through the way we did without the encouragement of so many. Paul writes in 1 Thessalonians 5:11. “Therefore encourage one another and build one another up, just as you are doing. This verse commands Christians to continue to encourage and lift up those around us. So many people came to Dottie and my aid while I was sick and in my recovery.  

So what does this have to do with being a Father? There are so many things to master as a parent but one of the highest is the duty of encouragement. … If we aren’t careful, we can laugh and make fun of our children’s ideals and dreams. Without meaning to we can pour cold water on their enthusiasm. We can discourage vs uplift them. We have a Christian and a fatherly duty to encourage one another. Many a time a word of praise or thanks or appreciation or cheer can keep our children moving forward providing a bit of wind beneath their wings. 

Let me share three examples from scripture to make my point. 

Mark 2:1-12 Paralyzed man

The key verse is “When Jesus saw THEIR faith, he said to the paralyzed man, “Son, your sins are forgiven.”

John 11: 1-44 Lazarus

V43 The dead man came out, his hands and feet wrapped with strips of linen, and a cloth around his face. Jesus said to THEM Take off the grave clothes and let him go.” and finally, 

Mark 6:7 Calling the Twelve to him, he began to send them out two by two and gave them authority over impure spirits.

Parenthood is such an honor but as we all know, it can be hard.  

  1. Like the paralyzed man, Lazarus and me, learn that You cannot do it on your own. 
  2. To do it right, We need to be dependent on God understanding we were not meant or were created to do parenting or for that matter life alone. 
  3. Be willing to experience humility. Allow yourself to be dependent on others.  There was a reason Jesus sent the disciples out in twos. We need someone to have our backs and lift us up when we are down.  as 1 Thessalonians exhorts, whether it is a child, family member, or friend be an encourager of one another. 

In closing, let me encourage you by saying, “In the darkest of times God met me in that place. It is not the valley I would have chosen to walk through but I am a better man with a deeper faith because of it.” If you are in the midst of challenging circumstances or should they come your way in the future, be assured He promises to do the same for you. 

Today is a day, that’s not so bad. We celebrate being a Dad 

We look at them and are filled with joy, it doesn’t matter whether a girl or boy.

Let them love you today and say you’re the best

Always be there for them knowing you’re blessed.  

Hug and encourage them make them feel great

Cheer them on in whatever they participate.

I’ve had some success, yup not so bad; But nothing compares to the title of Dad. 

Thanks be to God. 

I hope you enjoyed the blog this week. If so, please share it with others who you think it might encourage. If you haven’t already, please subscribe so you can receive notifications when new content is posted. I can be reached by email at [email protected]