Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Way to Go, Texas!

Governor Abbott Signs Pastor Protection Act Into Law

Governor Greg Abbott today signed Senate Bill 2065 (Estes, R-Wichita Falls; Sanford, R-McKinney), the Pastor Protection Act, which protects religious organizations and individuals from performing marriage ceremonies that violate sincerely-held religious beliefs. Governor Abbott hosted the signing ceremony at the Texas Governor’s Mansion and was joined by members of the legislature who were instrumental in the passage of this legislation, as well as members from the clergy across Texas.

Read the entire statement here.

Monday, June 29, 2015

Quote of the Day

Enjoyed this word this morning from the biography of George Mueller by A. T. Pierson:

 "The pavilion of God is the saint’s place of rest; the panoply of God is his coat of mail. Peter found that so long as his eye was on the Master he could walk on the water. There is always a tendency to sink, and a holy walk with God, that defies the tendency downward, is a divine art that can neither be learned nor practiced except so long as we keep ‘looking unto Jesus’; that look of faith counteracts the natural tendency to sink, so long as it holds the soul closely to Him. This man of God felt the risk, and, sore as this trial was to him, he prayed not so much for the removal as that he might be kept from any open dishonor to the name of the Lord."

Ending Tax Exemptions Means Ending Churches

It only took from Friday to Monday for the movement to begin in TIME magazine to cause churches to lose their tax-exempt status.

"The agenda is not tolerance for different beliefs and lifestyles. The agenda is a demand that everyone get on board with the moral revolution or be punished. That means if you or your church won’t get with the program, then the revolutionaries will endeavor to close you down. The real intent of removing tax-exempt status is to cripple the institutions that continue their dissent from the sexual revolution. "

Read the entire article, Ending Tax Exemptions Means Ending Churches, by Denny Burk  here.

Saturday, June 27, 2015

Ted Cruz Responds to on Out-of-Control Supreme Court

This week, we have twice seen Supreme Court justices violating their judicial oaths. Yesterday, the justices rewrote Obamacare, yet again, in order to force this failed law on the American people. Today, the Court doubled down with a 5–4 opinion that undermines not just the definition of marriage, but the very foundations of our representative form of government.

Both decisions were judicial activism, plain and simple. Both were lawless.

As Justice Scalia put it regarding Obamacare, “Words no longer have meaning if an Exchange that is not established by a State is ‘established by the State.’ . . . We should start calling this law SCOTUSCare.” And as he observed regarding marriage, “Today’s decree says that . . . the Ruler of 320 million Americans coast-to-coast is a majority of the nine lawyers on the Supreme Court.”

Read the entire article "Constitutional Remedies to a Lawless Supreme Court Read here."

Nothing to Do with the Constitution

An excerpt from Chief Justice Roberts' dissent:
"Those who founded our country would not recognize the majority’s conception of the judicial role. They after all risked their lives and fortunes for the precious right togovern themselves. They would never have imaginedyielding that right on a question of social policy to unac­countable and unelected judges. And they certainly wouldnot have been satisfied by a system empowering judges to override policy judgments so long as they do so after “a quite extensive discussion.

Who do we think we are? . . .  Today, however, the Court takes the extraordinary step of ordering every State to license and recognize same-sex marriage. Many people will rejoice at this decision, and I begrudge none their celebration. But for those who believe in a government of laws, not of men, the majority's approach is deeply disheartening. Supporters of same-sex marriage have achieved considerable success persuading their fellow citizens—through the democratic process—to adopt their view. That ends today. Five lawyers have closed the debate and enacted their own vision of marriage as a matter of constitutional law. Stealing this issue from the people will for many cast a cloud over same-sex marriage, making a dramatic social change that [is] much more difficult to accept. . . .
If you are among the many Americans—of whatever sexual orientation—who favor expanding same-sex marriage, by all means celebrate today's decision. . . .  But do not celebrate the Constitution. It had nothing to do with it."

Read the article "Here Are The 11 Most Devastating Quotes From John Roberts’ Gay Marriage Dissent" here.

Amazon Goes Orwellian

Ben Stein shares another excellent commentary on the state of affairs in our nation.  As Todd Starnes shared this week, Stalin and Lennin would be proud of Amazon.

"In the uber great masterpiece foretelling our time, the protagonist, Winston Smith, works at the Ministry of Truth. His job is to destroy all references to predictions by Big Brother that did not turn out right, statistics that are inconvenient, and mentions of persons that Big Brother has — through the Ministry of Love — murdered. He simply drops the reference in the one newspaper copy that exists into the Memory Hole and it’s burnt up instantly.

It’s part of the plan of IngSoc, English Socialism, to destroy anything inconvenient in the past that might even slightly upset its totalitarian rule. Their mottos: Who controls the past, controls the present. Who controls the present controls the future.

This comes to mind tonight as I rummaged through the Internet looking for Confederate flag memorabilia on Amazon, earth’s biggest store. It was there en masse a week ago. Dozens of different kinds of blankets and quilts. Now, it’s all gone. Poof. Down the Memory Hole because the psycho killer, Dylann Roof, waved the flag before his horrifying murders of nine innocent black men and women in a Charleston black church."

Read the entire article here at The American Spectator. 

Justice Scalia's Dissent

Justice Scalia's entire scathing dissent is excellent as he calls out the unconstitutional judicial tyranny of Friday's ruling. Here is just a portion -

"This is a naked judicial claim to legislative—indeed, super-legislative—power; a claim fundamentally at odds with our system of government. Except as limited by a constitutional prohibition agreed to by the People, the States are free to adopt whatever laws they like, even those that offend the esteemed Justices’ “reasoned ...judgment.” A system of government that makes the People subordinate to a committee of nine unelected lawyers does not deserve to be called a democracy. . . . The opinion is couched in a style that is as pretentious as its content is egotistic. It is one thing for separate concurring or dissenting opinions to contain extravagances, even silly extravagances, of thought and expression; it is something else for the official opinion of the Court to do so. Hubris is sometimes defined as o’erweening pride; and pride, we know, goeth before a fall. . . . With each decision of ours that takes from the People a question properly left to them—with each decision that is unabashedly based not on law, but on the “reasoned judgment” of a bare majority of this Court—we move one step closer to being reminded of our impotence."

Goldstein on the SCOTUS

"Kennedy’s ruling is rooted in convenience not in constitutionality, rooted in political expediency rather than principle. Given the rulings which have taken place over the past 48 hours, the Constitution might as well be relegated to a museum piece alongside the Confederate flag. It shouldn’t of course. The Constitution is simply too important to give up so easily. Yet it won’t be easy to restore it to its proper place in American jurisprudence." - Aaron Goldstein

Friday, June 26, 2015

South Carolina: A Brilliant Example of What America Can Be

Ben Stein shouts out high praise of South Carolina and my hometown of Greenville, which he calls "the hippest city in the nation."  Stein regularly visits the upstate of SC.

"A few humble thoughts on race, violence, and South Carolina.

The crimes of Dylann Roof were spectacularly horrible. To murder in cold blood nine men and women who were praising the Lord is unfathomably evil. There is simply no excuse for it. The moral power and restraint of the Charleston black community is historically magnificent. Nothing less than that. The love and forgiveness of the victims’ families is breathtaking, one of the great moments in human history.

And while I don’t think that the rebel battle flag flying over the statehouse in Columbia had anything to do with Dylann Roof’s horrible crimes, the flag has to go on government property. For black citizens, taxpayers, voters, soldiers, war widows to have the flag of an army that fought to maintain their ancestors in chains, as less than human, is painful and cruel. That flag has a place in museums and homes and restaurants but not on the statehouse lawn."

Read the entire article here.

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Focusing on the Right Things

Last night I worshiped in a black Presbyterian church in a very rural part of Laurens County South Carolina. My children and wife have participated in a youth camp all week that involves people from several races and denominations. This week the camp has gone all over our county doing service projects and mission work in nursing homes, churches, and schools. I sat at the back and enjoyed watching children lead the very mixed crowd of whites, blacks, and Hispanics. They shared songs about Christ, spoke life to us (the camp theme is "Speak Life"), performed a skit, and made the congregation smile. It was pleasant seeing the crowd so racially diverse (very evenly mixed). Black and white pastors led in prayer. We ended the service holding hands and praying. I was happy to grab the hand of a young black man. 

This is the spirit that kept our state together the past week. When great trials come, there is always a knee-jerk temptation to focus on the wrong things as quick solutions. Focusing on a flag, throwing out the model car of the General Lee my son and I worked on this winter, tossing my personal DVD copies of the Dukes of Hazzard or Gone with the Wind, renaming army bases, or desecrating or removing statues of Robert E Lee and Stonewall Jackson (or George Washington for that matter - a slave owner) will not solve societal problems. It will actually create more division and cause us to focus on the wrong things. 

The spirit that prevailed in Charleston - no riots, no buildings burned, no National Guard - and the spirit that I saw in that rural church last night were because people opened up their hearts to Jesus Christ, His power, His Word, and chose to show love to each other. 

Let's not allow the choices of one crazy person bent on wickedness define us - any more than Detroit should be characterized by the murder of 12 black Americans who were killed at a party last Saturday - the likely perpetrator being black gang members. 

The apostle Peter wrote, "Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers a multitude of sins" (1 Peter 4:8). At the end of the day, "the greatest of these is love" ( 1 Corinthians 13:13). The Bible says that Jesus Christ is the Prince of Peace. And without Him, His rule in our hearts, and His Word and Spirit, there is no peace - regardless of who is running Washington or whether or not we can still buy Bo and Luke's Dodge Charger.

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Living in Babylon part three

This is the third part of a series.  You can view Living in Babylon part two here.

Sometimes we find ourselves, like the Jewish exiles in Babylon, living in circumstances that feel more like exile than home.  Jeremiah's words to those exiles in Jeremiah chapter 29 encourage us today . . .

4.  Listen to the right voices (8-9, 15-23).

Soon after the exile began, false prophets arose among the Jews.  Their popularity soared because they told the people what they wanted to hear.  They declared, "Don't unpack your bags.  You won't be here long.  God loves you too much to keep you here.  We are going home soon."

Jeremiah sends a letter to the exiles (chapter twenty-nine) to encourage them but also to warn them to not listen to the false prophets among them.

God's people still love to listen to false voices today.  When life is difficult and we don't get what we want, opposing voices fight for our attention. 

Discouragement will come and whisper, "God has forgotten you.  You are not important to Him anymore.  He has given up on you, and you might as well give up on yourself.  " 

Friends may give poor counsel in attempts to make you feel better.  They may say, "I think God wants you to be happy.  I know you are not supposed to have sex outside of marriage, or participate in that type of entertainment, or cheat on your business, but you need a break.  It's always easier to ask forgiveness later."

As our culture becomes increasingly more pagan like Babylon, false prophets will claim to speak for God.  They may be in the form of a politician, a movie star, or a famous television preacher.  Today those voices may say . . .

"I know the church taught for hundreds of years that marriage is reserved for one man and one woman.  But we have evolved in our understanding, and polite society does not accept that belief anymore."

"We can't really believe that Jesus Christ is the only way to have eternal life.  There are many ways to God."

"God doesn't care what you believe.  What he wants is your sincerity."

"You can't tell someone else that you disagree with their lifestyle.  It is wrong to judge."

Today, the church in the United States needs to listen to the voice of God through Jeremiah: "They are prophesying lies to you in my name.  I have not sent them" (9).

Listen to the voices that resonate with the Word of God and the encouragement of the Spirit of God.

5.  God still has His eye on you - even though He may seem out of sight (10).

When we find ourselves in exile it is easy to feel like God has forgotten us.  When your spouse dies.  When the bills increase and the revenue doesn't.  When the wanted pregnancy never comes.  When the promotion or raise seem to pass you over.

These are strange times in America.  These are troublesome times in the world.  As Christians become more marginalized, I sometimes think, "My grandparents and great-grandparents would no longer recognize this country." 

In such times God may feel 1000 miles away.

But He isn't.  He still has those theological qualities I learned as a boy in church.  God is omnipresent.  He is everywhere.  God is omniscient.  He knows everything.

Ken Gaub shares an amazing testimony in his book God's Got Your Number: When you least expect it, He is there!

Feeling forgotten by the Lord, Gaub stopped his Silver Eagle bus at a Dayton, Ohio, exit for his family to get lunch.  Walking outside he heard the continual ringing of a payphone - yes, long before cell phones.  He finally answered it and heard, "Long distance call for Ken Gaub."

Wondering if he were on Candid Camera, Ken was dumbfounded.  Responding to a persistent operator, he accepted the call.  The caller, Millie from Pennsylvania, told him that she was about to commit suicide.  She remembered seeing Gaub on television and thought he could help her, but she did not know how to reach him.  Writing her suicide note, several numbers spontaneously popped into her head.

Picking up the phone and dialing the numbers, she thought that it would be a miracle if she were calling Ken Gaub's office in Washington state.  He explained to her that he was standing inside of a phone booth in Ohio. 

The woman gave her life to Christ over the phone and began mapping her life in a new direction.  Gaub writes, "I walked away from that telephone booth with an electrifying sense of our Heavenly Father's concern for each of His children."

God sees you.  He knows.  You trust Him and be faithful.

He's got your number.

Words for the Weary


My article "Words for the Weary" is up at the Almost an Author site.

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Pray for the United States

Here's a good reminder from Tony Perkins of our need to pray for America.

Saturday, June 20, 2015

10 Ways to Honor Your Dad

Michelle Cox offers some great, practical ways to show love and honor to your father on Father's Day.

Read her article 10 Ways to Make Father’s Day Special here.

Wilson Family Virginia and Washington, D.C. travels – May/June 2015

This unusually LONG blog post summarizes our recent family vacation.  If you are not interested in reading, feel free to ignore!

For several years, Tracey and I have talked about wanting to take our children to Washington, D.C.  Combining Tracey’s love for history and Rhett’s for law and politics, D.C. is one fantastic place!  We also both like Virginia and have talked for years about wanting to see more of that beautiful and historic state.  So, we grabbed Bojangles biscuits and headed on a 1368 mile journey.

Saturday-Sunday (Richmond, VA)

We headed out on Saturday morning listening to Randy Travis’ Happy Trails, The Muppets’ Together Again, and Willie Nelson’s On the Road Again.  Rhett prepared a mix on his IPod of some of his favorite music from the 1980s’s, so Tracey and Rhett crooned up the road to Chicago, Journey, Kenny Loggins, Huey Lewis and the News, and other ‘80’s stars. 
About mid-day we pulled into Henderson, North Carolina.  Rhett stopped and took a picture of Vance Memorial Hospital, the hospital where he was born in 1972.  We found Bellwood Drive and took pictures at the house where the Wilsons lived from 1971-1980. 

We drove into downtown Richmond about 5pm.  One of the ads of the local restaurants caught our eye on one of the Richmond booklets we had ordered, so we headed to Mama J’s soul-food restaurant on 1st Street.  We hung out for an hour waiting for our table.  Wandering down the street, we joined a block party sponsored by an African-American church in downtown Richmond.  They welcomed us in, and we enjoyed delving into some downtown Richmond culture.  Tracey and Rhett agreed that Mama J’s was the best food we ate all week hands-down.  If you are ever in Richmond, we highly recommend it!  It was the best catfish we have ever eaten.

That night we stayed at the Virginia Crossings Wyndham, a secluded hotel whose architecture and decorations convey a Colonial, historic theme.  We were sorry to not have more than one night to enjoy the spot.  The kids enjoyed a late-night swim at the pool. 

We gave most of Sunday to enjoying Richmond.  Rhett thinks that Richmond may now be his favorite Southern city!  It has almost the perfect combination of a riverfront, metropolitan, exciting city with lots of history.  Both Revolutionary and Civil War history converge in this amazing city on the James River. 
We attended St. John’s Episcopal Church to view a reenactment of the Second Virginia Convention of 1775, where Patrick Henry delivered his famous “Give me liberty, or give me death!” speech.  It was there that the voice (Henry), the pen (Thomas Paine) and the general (George Washington) of the American Revolution converged in this historic meeting.

Sunday afternoon we toured parts of Richmond.  Walking across the Robert E. Lee Bridge to Belle Island, we watched dozens of kayakers on the James River this lazy afternoon.   We quickly saw the Tredegar Iron Works, located right next to the American Civil War Center, which produced 50% of the cannons for the South used during the Civil War.  Richmond has a wonderful walking trail along the river as well as a canal system, first designed by George Washington.  Tracey and Rhett both left Richmond wanting to return for many days.  If you ever are looking for a fun city to visit with lots of history, we highly recommend Richmond!
Leaving the city, we drove down Monument Avenue.  Our jaws dropped to see the massive statues of J.E.B. Stuart, Robert E. Lee, Jefferson Davis, and Stonewall  
Jackson.  Finally, we hurried up the interstate in a lot of traffic to Alexandria, Virginia, our next stop.  Sunday evening was Hendrix’s choice of eatery – Subway.

Monday-Wednesday (Washington, D.C.)

We woke the kids up at 7:30 on Monday morning (yes on vacation) to get up and at ‘em.  We had tickets for Mount Vernon, George Washington’s home, at 9:15 and could not be late.  We spent about three hours touring his home and estate.  Washington D.C. is George’s city, and a visit to his estate explains why.  This amazing man and father of our country excelled in so many areas.  What impressed me most was how much character meant to this leader.  He believed that a great country must be built upon men of great character. 

We toured the house, enjoyed the magnificent view of the Potomac, saw the outside grounds, visited his tomb, and walked through the museum, watching various videos of his life and times.  Tracey says she enjoyed our visit to Mount Vernon more than anything else we did on vacation.
After enjoying a fantastic lunch at Famous Dave’s BBQ in Alexandria, we headed to D.C.  But first, we had to learn how to navigate the Metro.  By Tuesday, we felt like old pro’s on the D.C. Metro.  We each purchased our Safe Trip cards and thought we were cool taking the urban transportation into the big city.  We laughed all week at how many people blankly stare in front of them with their heads buried in their smart phones or Ipods.  Not the Wilsons!  We were looking out the windows for sites and making sure we weren’t gonna miss our stops like real tourists.
Our first D.C. stop on Monday was The Kennedy Center – the national center for performing arts.  Being a musical family, it was cool to be in that place where so many incredible folks have performed through the years.  On the roof of the center, you get a great aerial view of the city.  You can even peer over the Potomac River and spot a few of the crosses in the distance from Arlington Cemetery and see Robert E. Lee’s stately mansion overlooking the capital city.  And we checked out the cool bust of President Kennedy.

From there we headed to the Lincoln Memorial as an incredible storm floated over the water.  Lightning flashes moved closer and closer.  Thankfully, we made it into the Lincoln right as the heavens poured forth much water.  We stood at the Lincoln and watched over the Reflecting Pool as the Washington Monument completely disappear edfrom sight due to the clouds.  As with most of the grand buildings in the city, the Memorial is outstanding due to its enormity and craftsmanship.   And we wished we had 100 umbrellas to sell to the crowd hanging out waiting for the rain to stop.


Monday night was Dawson’s choice of supper – PaPa John’s.
On Tuesday we walked, walked, and walked until the children were thinking, “We should have gone to the beach!”  We hit the National Museum of American History that morning.  Our favorites were seeing a few icons like Dorothy’s ruby slippers, the original Stars and Stripes, a lot of cool paraphernalia from former Presidents, and former First Lady dresses like Nancy Reagan and Barbara Bush (who really cares what Hillary and Michelle wore?).  We saw an awesome display of American wars.  One of the negatives of D.C. is the high cost of food.  We ate lunch at the museum’s cafeteria for our most expensive meal of the week!  Yikes.
Tuesday afternoon included the Washington Monument, the White House, the monument for the 50 signers of the Declaration of Independence, the Vietnam Women’s Memorial, the incredibly impressive World War II Memorial, the Smithsonian Castle, and the Jefferson Memorial.  Hendrix, Anna-Frances, and I all agreed that the Jefferson was our favorite memorial.  By then we could have been crying out, “Give me some Ben Gay!”


You can see more of our D. C. photos by clicking here.

Supper Tuesday was the choice of Anna-Frances at Wendy’s with Krispy Kreme doughnuts and an early night at the hotel chilling out.

Wednesday morning we had a 9:30am appointment at Representative Jeff Duncan’s office at the Cannon House Office Building on Independence Avenue.  We were in for the treat of the week.  Two staff members took us on an almost three hour tour of The Capital.  We got to walk through the underground tunnels, see the awesome statues in the Crypt, and of course visit the wonderful Rotunda. 

 Here Anna-Frances is standing in the center spot of  The Capital building.


 We liked the statue of Ronald Reagan there.  Oh Dutch, how  we miss you!

http://rhettwilson.blogspot.com/2015/06/washington-dc.htmlJeff graciously met us in the middle of our tour and took us into the Members’ Chapel where there is a gorgeous stained-glass window showing George Washington kneeling in prayer.  We held hands and had prayer in the chapel, and then our Congressman took us through the security and out on the Speaker’s Balcony to show us a fantastic view of the city.  The Capital is an amazing place to visit and evokes awe and wonder for this great country and her political processes.
Leaving The Capital, we found a sandwich shop called Potbelly near 7th and Pennsylvania.  We thought it was very cool to be doing a Washington, D.C., sandwich shop and eating at a table next to the street with our brown bags.  Finally, we did a quick run through the National Air and Space Museum (you need about five hours, but we gave it about 1 ½).  Our highlights there were Charles Lindburgh’s The Spirit of St. Louis and Amelia Earhart’s plane.
Visiting D. C. gave us a renewed love and awe for our great country, its strong spiritual heritage, and a respect for the processes of law and politics as intended by or forefathers.  At Mount Vernon we saw quotation after quotation that emphasized how much General Washington knew that the only way to have a healthy country was to have leaders of character.  The monuments at D.C. cry out of the spiritual, biblical Christian heritage of the United States of America.  It was in the fabric of the thinking of most of our Founding Fathers.

Leaving D. C. – somewhat reluctantly – we resigned that we HAVE to plan to come back – and we challenged our children to consider trying to become U.S. Congressmen one day.   Then, we made the drive into Maryland, passing through Annapolis, and going into the rural farmland of Delaware.  We could mark our  journey by the types of gas stations.  You move from QT's in the Carolinas to Sheetz in Virginia and to Royal Farms in Delaware.  Finally, about time for dark we made it into the northern part of Virginia to our destination – Chincoteague Island.

Thursday (Chincoteague Island, VA)

This year we planned to have a couple of days of real rest and relaxation (after all the busy sight-seeing) at the end of our trip.  Hendrix and Dawson said that Chincoteague was their favorite part of the trip. 
For years, Tracey has talked about wanting to go to this island and the nearby Assateague Island, which are featured in the book and movie series Misty of Chincoteague.  Assateague Island is known for the nearly 100 wild horses that roam.  On Thursday, though it was a misty (ha, ha) day, we actually spotted three wild horses at Assateague.  The island has a beach and looks like a wonderful place for families to play – though it was too cool that day for us to take a swim.

The two islands are wonderful places to relax.  Chincoteague has somewhat of an Edisto Island (SC) feel to it though a tad more commercial.  If you are ever looking for a great place there to stay, we highly recommend the Comfort Suites right on the inlet.  After swimming and hanging out at the hotel most of Thursday, we prepared for the long thirteen-hour trip home on Friday (yes, we stop a lot).
I don’t know that I’ve met any healthy family that did not enjoy vacationing together.  So, though we wanted vacation to keep going, time and money called us home.

Friday (driving home)

One treat on the trip home was traveling on the Chesapeake Bay Bridge and Tunnel.  The ride was at least 14 miles long over the ocean!  An awesome sight. 

On long road trips, Rhett tries to plan some quality listening material to use not only to pass the time but hopefully to disciple our children in the process.  Those hours can have some precious quality moments of learning, talking, and growing.
Besides a lot of fun music, we had three listening choices to pass our time and provide fodder for good discussion.  We highly recommend all of them.
Adventures in Odyssey Volume 58: The Ties that Bind -  an excellent 14-episode series that explores the modern challenges to traditional marriage, including same-sex marriage, in a kid-friendly tone.  The CD series comes with a helpful discussion guide.  We spent almost two hours going through questions and talking about some deep issues about marriage, family, and tolerance.

A Man Called Norman by Focus on the Family – this classic FOF broadcast from 1984 has Mike Adkins telling the story of befriending his autistic neighbor.  God used “weird Norman” to teach Adkins how to “love his neighbor as himself.”
We highly recommend this one.  Later in the day, while shopping at a Clarks shoe outlet, Dawson asked Anna to help him locate shoes in his size.  She helped him find six pairs.  When he asked her to find some more and she refused, he asked, “Did you not learn anything from A Man Called Norman?”  We got a good laugh from that one.
Managing Technology’s Impact on Your Family by Focus on the FamilyJim Daly interviews Kathy Koch, author of the book Screens and Teens.  They discuss the positive and negative impacts of technology on teenagers and provide thoughtful advice for limiting electronics and “screen time.”  This provided us some great discussion as a family.
We had to admit that when we spun through Gaffney about 8pm on Friday, it was nice to see a South Carolina sunset.

We love spending time with our family, we love traveling to new places, and we love cool historical places.  That made for a good few days and memories for the Wilsons.

I will leave you with this shot.  Dawson was excited about learning how to do the following trick at the hotel pool in Chincoteague . . .

The Chesapeake Bay Bridge

Friday, June 19, 2015

Responding Biblically to Homosexuality and Same-sex Marriage

There are so many current articles on this subject that I could post.  The following one from Dennis Rainey and Family Life Today is an excellent resource on this timely subject.

"In recent years we’ve seen an astonishing shift in how our culture views homosexuality and same-sex marriage. In this confusing climate it’s important for followers of Christ to know what to think and how to respond.  What do the Scriptures say?  How should we respond when others challenge our convictions?  What should we teach our children?

Here at FamilyLife, we continue to affirm God’s design for marriage.  We stand for the truth of Scripture and teach the biblical blueprints for marriage and family.  Yet we also are committed to being winsome and compassionate to everyone--including those who disagree with us. We believe in respecting the dignity of every person created in God’s image.  All of us need God’s grace and forgiveness.

Now more than ever, Christians should know how to affirm the truth of Scripture while also 'speaking the truth in love' (Ephesians 4:15).  To help you learn more about responding biblically on this issue, we have gathered a number of our most helpful articles, books, and FamilyLife Today® broadcasts onto this page."

View the entire resource page here.

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Elisabeth Elliot - Trust God and Do the Next Thing

A great Christian woman died yesterday.  Elisabeth Elliot has been called one of the 20 most influential Christian women of the 20th century. 

Her life's story, her writings, and her Gateway to Joy radio broadcasts shaped at least two generations of Christians in our country.  I well remember hearing her broadcast come on WMIT when I was a college student.  Her broadcast always began with her saying, "You are loved with an everlasting love."  I heard her speak one time in person, when she came to the chapel at Southern Seminary.

Her no-nonsense, "Accept your lot as God's sovereignty, trust Him and do the next thing" teaching stood in direct contrast to the self-centered "make me happy" American culture that prevailed during much of her lifetime.

Ms. Elliot is one of the modern-day heroes we should tell our children about . . .

“Today is mine. Tomorrow is none of my business. If I peer anxiously into the fog of the future, I will strain my spiritual eyes so that I will not see clearly what is required of me now.”

“Where does your security lie? Is God your refuge, your hiding place, your stronghold, your shepherd, your counselor, your friend, your redeemer, your saviour, your guide? If He is, you don't need to search any further for security.”

“One reason we are so harried and hurried is that we make yesterday and tomorrow our business, when all that legitimately concerns us is today. If we really have too much to do, there are some items on the agenda which God did not put there. Let us submit the list to Him and ask Him to indicate which items we must delete. There is always time to do the will of God. If we are too busy to do that, we are too busy.”

Saturday, June 13, 2015

Thursday, June 11, 2015

Hope for the Hurting Pastor

Rick Ezell, my mother's pastor, offers some good perspective and advice for pastors and other church-leaders . . .

"The American church is suffering, and pastors are hurting with them.

If the statistics are true, 70-90 percent of churches in North America are either plateaued or declining. Many churches close their doors each year; others struggle to keep the church afloat.

The typical congregation is graying, and with that comes a greater demand for care and bereavement ministry at the expense of evangelistic and outreach efforts. Faithful members attend less frequently due to travel, sports, work and leisure. Monies once used for ministry are now expended for building upkeep and maintenance. Pastors are performing additional work because there are fewer staff members and volunteers. Because of financial shortfalls, many pastors are taking pay cuts and having benefits reduced or eliminated. All the while, the church continues to decline, with the prospects for improvement fading like the sunset."

Read the entire article at The Baptist Courier's site here.