Happy Birthday Jamie

It’s hard to believe this little girl is eleven years old today. I’ve missed her for the last three weeks and cannot wait to see her tonight.




It’s Getting Close

Eleven years ago tonight we were sitting around, anxiously awaiting the arrival of Jamie. We were anxious because Robin had been in an automobile accident earlier in the pregnancy. We also had her previous two pregnancies and the trouble she had with the deliveries to think about. If I’m honest I will also say that I was somewhat nervous because the boys were right about the same age Stacy and I were when our sister Katherine was stillborn. All of those different things were swirling around upstairs and it made for a really long night.

To top it off we were also in the process of moving to Elizabeth City so we could go back to Bible college. I had a couple of weeks of summer camp to work as well. Waiting for the arrival of a child is nerve wrecking enough without all that other stuff piling on top of it. We got through it though and now we’re here in 2016, wondering how eleven years could just vanish like that.

It’s just been Robin and me this week and we’ve tried to take full advantage but I can promise you, we’re both ready to see the kids. That really long drive tomorrow will be worth it. I can’t wait to give my birthday girl  big hug.

This is the last photo taken of us before Jamie was born. It was taken eleven years ago tonight while we were sitting on Julie’s front porch.


Grace and peace.

Give A Little Bit

35 “Love your enemies! Do good to them. Lend to them without expecting to be repaid. Then your reward from heaven will be very great, and you will truly be acting as children of the Most High, for he is kind to those who are unthankful and wicked. 36 You must be compassionate, just as your Father is compassionate.

37 “Do not judge others, and you will not be judged. Do not condemn others, or it will all come back against you. Forgive others, and you will be forgiven. 38 Give, and you will receive. Your gift will return to you in full—pressed down, shaken together to make room for more, running over, and poured into your lap. The amount you give will determine the amount you get back.”

Luke 6:35-38 (NLT)


Give a little bit
Give a little bit of your love to me
I’ll give a little bit
I’ll give a little bit of my love to you
There’s so much that we need to share
So send a smile, and show you care
I’ll give a little bit
I’ll give a little bit of my life for you
So give a little bit
Give a little bit of your time to me
See the man with the lonely eyes
Oh, take his hand, you’ll be surprised
Roger Hodgson (Supertramp)
One of the things Jesus makes very clear in his teaching is that we are expected to show love, grace, mercy, and forgiveness because we have been shown it. The way we treat others is the way we should expect to be treated by God. That is incredibly comforting AND frightening at the same time. I haven’t always done a very good job of being merciful. There are still times when I slip up even now but I am doing my very best to love others because Jesus loves me. I can’t be a Christian and NOT love others. It’s that simple.
I have seen too many preachers take verse 38 up there and rip it right out of context. I have seen it used by prosperity preachers to claim that we should give them money and expect abundant riches in return. If we sow our seed (it’s always money) in faith then God will pour it right back out in our lap. That’s what they say Jesus is saying. The verse is in the context of loving our enemies and showing grace to others even if we don’t think they deserve it. After all, that’s what God does for us.
Even Sammy Hagar got it when he wrote Give To Live.
If you want love
You’ve got to give a little
If you want faith,
You just believe a little
If you want peace,
Turn your cheek a little ohhh,
You’ve got to give
You’ve got to give
You’ve got to give… to live.
Seriously though, I don’t know why we make it so hard. Jesus says that we HAVE to love others. It’s non-negotiable. We can’t hate people and have the love of Christ in us. We just can’t.
Grace and peace

Now To Rectify A Grievous Error

After sharing and rereading my post from yesterday I released that I had done something unthinkable when presenting my list of ten favorite songs. I admitted that the list does change from time to time and that it was not easy narrowing it down to just ten songs. However, in my attempts to make sure certain songs were included I unintentionally left off one of my favorite songs of all time from my favorite band of all time. How in the world could I even consider putting out a list with no song from the Electric Light Orchestra? It’s inconceivable. So I am here to fix things. Once again, making a list of songs is not easy for me. Once I get it to where I think I’m finished I will remember another song and have to rethink it. That’s how I blew yesterday’s list. I thought too much. This list is going to come right off the top of my head without a lot of thought. That’s usually the best way to put one of these things together and if I had done it yesterday I probably wouldn’t have overlooked E.L.O.

Without further ado, I give you my top five songs from the Electric Light Orchestra.

Sweet Talkin’ Woman

Livin’ Thing

Don’t Bring Me Down




Grace and peace


Something Fun

Today, in an effort to be lighthearted and fun, I’m going to share my ten favorite pop/rock songs. It is difficult enough to narrow my list down to ten so don’t expect me to rank them. Any one of these could be my favorite song on any given day. There are no hymns or straight worship songs here (that will be another list) in case you wonder why some songs that I repeatedly talk about are not up here. This list is not set in stone either. I am always hearing new songs and sometimes one of them will jump into the list. I hope you enjoy.

Don’t Dream It’s Over – Crowded House

Goldilox – King’s X

Wouldn’t It Be Nice – The Beach Boys

Yahweh – U2

Near Wild Heaven – R.E.M.

We Can Work It Out – The Beatles

Take A Chance On Me – ABBA

I’m So Lonesome I Could Cry – Hank Williams

Never Going Back Again – Fleetwood Mac

Mama Tried – Merle Haggard


Grace and peace



Happy Father’s Day

Dad and usThe Modlins

I don’t have much to say. Imagine that. I just wanted to share two photos for Father’s Day. The top one is of Dad, Stacy, Beth Ann, and myself. The bottom one is all of “my crew” taken the day Marcus was born.

If your Dad and/or Granddad is still around, call him or go see him. If he’s not, stop and think about how special he was. Happy Father’s Day.

Grace and peace.

Random Thoughts On A Friday Afternoon

In one week my baby girl will turn eleven years old. That’s hard to believe. I’m excited because we (Robin, Chris, and I) will be heading down to North Carolina that day as well. Jamie has been down there for two weeks now and seems to be having a good time. We will be picking Chris up from camp and leaving from there so it will be late Friday night getting there. We’ll celebrate Jamie’s big day on Saturday.

I was reading from James earlier and have really been thinking about a couple things from the first chapter. In the ESV verses 5 through 8 read like this:

If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him. But let him ask in faith,with no doubting, for the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea that is driven and tossed by the wind. For that person must not suppose that he will receive anything from the Lord; he is a double-minded man,unstable in all his ways.

When it comes to certain things don’t we all lack wisdom?  Aren’t there questions that we just don’t have the answers to? I sure don’t know everything. Sometimes I forget that instead of banging my head against the wall trying to figure out on my own, I should ask God. If I really do believe that God has the answers (I do) then I should ask Him and believe that He will reveal the things I need to know.

A few verses later, beginning with verse 19, we read:

19 Know this, my beloved brothers: let every person be quick to hear,slow to speak, slow to anger; 20 for the anger of man does not produce the righteousness of God. 21 Therefore put away all filthiness and rampant wickedness and receive with meekness the implanted word,which is able to save your souls.

How much more peace would there be in the world if we all took that to heart? What would happen if we honestly listened to what people had to say without blurting the first thing that came to mind? What if we carefully chose our words so that we didn’t deliberately offend or hurt others? What if we surrendered our personal anger and let God’s righteousness lead us? The next verse says to do what the word says and don’t just hear it. I think there are too many people (and I have been guilty as well) who don’t bother listening. They just want to shout over everyone else and prove themselves right. They want to have the last word as if that makes them right.

Proverbs 17:27-28 (ESV) is one of my favorite passages of Scripture.

27 Whoever restrains his words has knowledge,
    and he who has a cool spirit is a man of understanding.
28 Even a fool who keeps silent is considered wise;
    when he closes his lips, he is deemed intelligent.

I haven’t always restrained my words and I sure haven’t had a cool spirit all of the time. Too many times I have opened my mouth at the wrong time and proven just how little I knew or understood. You know, there is a lot of stuff going in our world today. There is a lot of hate, pain, misunderstanding, and overall nastiness. There are people on both sides of every issue who are too busy running their mouths and making things worse. As I said in an earlier post, I do my very best to stay out of those types of conversations. I don’t want to say something stupid and let that be an excuse for others to think less of Jesus.

I know that I won’t be 100% consistent. I think that’s why I’ve decided to say less and less. I really am trying to be  quick to hear, slow to speak, and slow to anger. Before I chime in on anything I want to make sure that the words I say or write are going to show the love of Christ. If they don’t, well, I just don’t need to share them at all.

Grace and peace


Can You Hear Me?

If You Want To Lead Me To Jesus by Grover Levy has been one of my favorite songs ever since I first I heard it. There are a couple of reasons. The first is that it is an extremely catchy song that is incredibly hummable. It sounds a lot like The Rembrandts or one of Phil Keaggy’s poppier tunes. One could even say that it is Beatlesque in places. I would probably be one of those people. It’s just a good pop song. The lyrics, however, are the biggest reason it’s up at the top of my list.

It’s written from the viewpoint of someone addressing a Christian who isn’t living a life that matches the things he says. The lyrics are thought provoking and really make me stop and look at myself. It’s just a pop song but it makes me seriously consider my own life. Do people see me as someone who is authentic and genuine or am I another one of those hypocrites who speak loudly about what they believe without living like it.

Jesus says that we’re supposed to live lives that show his love, grace, and mercy. Am I doing that? Do I really care about others or am I just paying lip service to the Gospel? My prayer is that God’s Spirit will continue mold me and make me more like Jesus. I hope that when I talk about Jesus that people will know that he loves them and wants them to know him as well.

Grace and peace

Gathering My Thoughts

I could probably use that title for just about every post I make up here. However, it is accurate and fits.

This Sunday is Father’s Day and I’m feeling a little melancholy. I will only have one of the kids with me this year. Jamie is down in North Carolina and I won’t be able to see her until the end of the month. Geo is in North Carolina as well. At least Chris is here but he leaves for camp right after church. I’m not totally bummed out though. This will be the first Father’s Day I am a grandfather. That’s pretty cool. This will be Geo’s very first Father’s Day so I hope he has a great day.

I forgot to include The Confessions Of Saint Augustine in my current reading list yesterday. I don’t know why I didn’t remember it. I haven’t been reading it every day though.

I have deliberately avoided political topics up here (and on Facebook) and I will continue to do so. I just don’t know what I have to offer when it comes to most of those discussions. People tend to be passionate (and often irrational) when it comes to their opinions. I do have my own personal views but I just can’t see what good can come from me splashing them all over Facebook and Twitter.

My biggest concern when posting here (or anywhere) is being consistent with my faith. If I can’t speak encouraging words that are grounded in the love of Christ, then I really don’t need to say anything. I find that I am posting less on Facebook these days and that’s fine. I don’t know that I will ever completely abandon it because it is the only way I can keep up with some long-distance family and friends.

Vacation Bible School and camp will be here soon. I need to finish up the camper booklets for camp. I’m ready for Junior Week but I always worry a little bit. I don’t want to mess things up. We’ve got some good volunteers (we still need a few more) this year and I’m sure we’ll have a great time. As far as VBS goes, Robin has done a good job planning it and I think we’re going to have a lot of fun there as well.

We leave for North Carolina in nine days. I don’t look forward to the drive but I do look forward to seeing family and friends. We should have a good time. As long as I get to the beach at least one day I will be fine. I’m not sure how Robin and I will celebrate our anniversary while we’re down there but I’m sure we’ll think of something.

That’s about it for now. Bible study is less than thirty minutes.

Grace and peace

The Summer Of Reading

I did have a post for yesterday. I wrote it at home and somehow it vanished as I was trying to save it to a USB stick. Oh well. I will share what I wrote.

Chris and I went to the library out on US 6. The branch in Troy was closed but it worked out fine. I checked out Bury My Heart At Wounded Knee and Out Of The Silent Planet. I also checked out the first season of Heroes on DVD. I have been wanting to read BMHAWK for years so I started with it. I’m about halfway through it right now. I read OOTSP years ago (and one of its sequels) but I want to read the entire trilogy from the beginning.

I have set a goal for this summer. I want to read at least 50 books. I would like to read 100 but I wanted to set a reasonable goal to begin with. We don’t have internet or cable TV at the house so I have the time to devote to reading. I’m trying to really mix up the types of books I’m reading as well. One of my choices is The Lord Of The Rings. I have never sat down and read the entire thing from start to finish. I confess, I struggle trying to read Tolkien. I have The Hobbit at home so I’m going to read it first. Then I’ll tackle the big one.

Summer technically starts next week on June 20th and ends on September 22nd. That gives me approximately 93 days to read. To hit 100 books I would have to read at least one a day and I realize that’s nearly impossible even though I have read shorter novels in less than 24 hours. I think 50 books is much more realistic especially when you consider that I usually read two to three books at the same time. Yes, I really do that. I typically read a novel, a non-fiction book, and something theological simultaneously. Robin says that she doesn’t know how I read so many books. I just like to read. That’s all.

What books are you reading or do you plan to read this summer? Let me know what your suggestions are.

Grace and peaceReading Choices 6.14