One of the largest churches in Liberty County, First Baptist Church of Hinesville, recently underwent a change in leadership.
"For every time that You protected me when I did not know Your name, Lord, I say thank you. How You loved me and cared for me when I didn't return the same, I say thank you."
The Rev. Tommy Ray, pastor of Poplar Head Baptist Church in Long County, is following in his father's footsteps. His father was the pastor for more than 30 years at the same church Ray now leads.
I recently returned to my hometown of Pine Bluff, Ark., which is about 45 minutes south of Little Rock, Ark., and has a population of more than 55,000 people. I spent a whole week enjoying the old neighborhood, relaxing with family and gazing in amazement at how things have changed.
I am not a huge fan of the computer. Oh, I am well aware that they have made our lives better in many ways. I am grateful for the ways they make my life easier. I can send pictures to my dad at no cost. I can order stuff online. I can correct spelling and grammar mistakes easily and quickly.
This week a lot of people were glued to the TV screen or the internet or were listening to the radio awaiting the verdict of the Casey Anthony trial.
Some recent court cases have been decided in a way that many people thought was wrong. Right or wrong, I could not say because I do not have all the facts. Without all the facts, it is impossible to come to the right conclusion.
For Americans, the Fourth of July is a time to look back - and look up. On Independence Day, we take a break from our busy schedules to appreciate the blessings of freedom and liberty - the noble values upon which our nation was built. We look back with gratitude at our founding fathers' vision. We appreciate the courage of those who have protected our freedoms.
When God uses ordinary people beyond what is usual, ordinary or regular, He establishes the extraordinary. People do not usually think they are noteworthy, remarkable or exceptional in character. Outside of occasionally having a special, often temporary, task or responsibility, we may not address the possibility of being extraordinary. But there are "gifted" people among us. We celebrate their accomplishments with enthusiasm and amazement. What we may not consider is that God depends on ordinary people. The Bible shows us that ordinary people are chosen by God for phenomenal and special service.
When I was 16 years old, I had my dad drop me off at a lake to go fishing on his way to a church board meeting. This 30-acre private lake sat about a half of a mile off the road.
I have to admit that I love to sing. I sing along with the radio in the car. I sing in the shower. I sing as I work. (I'm not a good whistler, so I can't follow the advice of the Seven Dwarfs).
God made man a free moral agent: "And if it seem evil unto you to serve the Lord, choose you this day whom ye will serve; whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the flood, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land ye dwell: but as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord" (Joshua 24:15).
In the book of Psalms we are told that God has a purpose for each one of us.
I have a friend who is an author. Mark has published multiple books in the past decade. He served as a pastor for 15 years but has spent the past 10 years writing and submitting manuscripts.
In the preceding weeks, we have talked about pleasing God. Last week, we saw that if we really want to please God, we must understand that Christ is a part of God's plan and must be followed. As we think more about that, there are a few more things we need to know about Christ.
Walking is not necessarily one of my favorite things to do, but I realize it is good for me.