BLESSED in Ministry

Summer has come and gone and it was a fun and exciting time with Shannon and the kids.  In the midst of just hanging out with the fam, we had a week at Lake Keowee, we had a couple summer camps to do. Shannon and Peyton were able to go on a mission trip, we were busy getting things together for Taylor to start college, we hit Tennessee a time or two, and Mary Elizabeth finished off her summer with band camp, just in time for Shannon and I to start back to work at school with students returning this week.  Needless to say we had a busy summer!

With all that going on, we also had the chance to reconnect with some former students and it got me to thinking about, from a ministry standpoint, just how blessed Shannon and I are.  We have students that are pastors, youth pastors, teachers, parents, adoptive parents, and the list goes on and on just from the ones we know about.  So many are changing lives by the way they live theirs.  I try to keep up as best as I can through social media, etc. but we've been at this for 23 years now and it's hard to stay connected to all of the amazing students we been privileged to be around.

All that said, we would love to hear from former students.  If you have a minute, PLEASE shoot us a message and let us know what you're up to.  We love hearing how our former students are changing lives and making the world a better place.  Looking forward to hearing from you!  Have a JESUS day!  T-Dub out!

T-Dub, Where You Been, Bro?

Well, it's been a LONG time since I've posted. Totally my bad!  But the busyness of life and new adventures along the way have made it way too easy to push off writing posts.  And while it's super easy to just say that I'm not gonna write anymore (most folks don't even read this stuff anyway, right?), I always find that when I write about what's going on in the world of Dub, it always helps me reflect of what God is doing in and around me.  And THAT always helps me to think on those things.  So here's a quick recap of what's going on with me these days.

God is good, as always, and things in the Dub fam are wide open---as always.  Still leading worship at Calvary Hill but God opened the door for me to take a job at Easley High School this last year and it proved to be fun and challenging all at the same time.  It's always a treat to have lunch with your beautiful wife everyday!  Taylor is now a high school graduate and headed to Anderson University this fall.  ME-Dub will be with us at the high school and Peyton will be rockin' it in 4th grade this fall.  Summer has been pretty chill thus far (a great change of pace from my EHS job!) with one camp under my belt and another one to come at the end of July.  Beach camps---I guess somebody has to "suffer" for the Lord, huh?  :)  

That's a nutshell version of all things Dub.  Just gonna post a current pic of the fam and head out for today.  But if you happen to follow this post thing of mine, I promise I'm gonna do better at posting.  I really feel like God's up to some cool things and I look forward to posting about them and getting you to pray along and pray through with us.  Have a JESUS day and, for now, T-Dub out!

P R A Y !

No matter who you are, the shooting in Oregon is such a tragedy., but if you're a Christ follower, this should serve notice that it's time to get serious about prayer.  Look at what the Bible says:

Be always on the watch, and pray that you may be able to escape all that is about to happen, and that you may be able to stand before the Son of Man.
— Luke 21:36 NIV

Look around---this world is a crazy place and I believe things will get worse UNLESS revival happens.  So often we as Christians just sit back and TALK ABOUT everything that's going on and going wrong in this world and in our nation.  I think it's past time that we quit talking ABOUT what's wrong and TALK TO the ONE who can bring revival and change to America and to the world!  But heed this warning, praying and BELIEVING for change in America and beyond has a starting point:  in EACH ONE OF US.

Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.
— Matthew 26:41 NIV

I truly believe this is why we're more content to talk about change instead of being the change---it requires something of us and our spirit might be willing but our flesh is weak.  We might be called on to give up some of our precious free time to invest in someone else.  We might be called to sacrifice some of our comfort in order to give to someone in need.  We might have to go somewhere that we're not really comfortable going.  We might have to do something we wouldn't normally do.  The bottom line is this:  we're afraid to pay the price for change.  But here's something to keep in mind---We don't need to pay the price for change, we need to PRAY THE PRICE for change.  So often we pray like we're gonna change God's mind about something.  When we really pray, it's not us changing God's mind, it's more that He changes our minds and changes our hearts.  God will never call us to something that He doesn't equip us to do.  But do we pray as if we trust God?  As if we BELIEVE God?  IF we trust God and IF we believe God, we can truly pray heaven down to this broken world.

Are you willing to TRUST GOD?

Are you willing to BELIEVE GOD?

Then let's pray for change and revival and let it begin in US!  T-Dub out.

It's Football Time in TENNESSEE!

Before you read the rest of this post, WATCH THIS CLIP!

Well, it's my favorite time of the year!  Fall is almost here, temperatures are cooling off some, and FOOTBALL is everywhere!  Around the Dub house and on our car and usually on at least one of us, you'll find The BIG ORANGE---The University of Tennessee!  While I will tell you that's my team and that my blood runs orange, etc., etc., etc., I came to a big realization a few years back.  As much as I love my VOLS, I need to love JESUS...MORE!  Because if I love the Volunteers or music or family or ANYTHING or ANYBODY more than JESUS, I'm putting whatever it is before God and that has become my IDOL.   Just think about that as you support your team this fall.  I'm gonna love my VOLS.  Go ahead and love your team.  Let's just LOVE JESUS MORE!  (That's a great hashtag... #LoveJesusMore.  Feel free to use it!)  T-Dub out!

Time for War

COMING SOON TO A THEATER NEAR YOU...

"The War Room" is an amazing movie about prayer that opens next week.  You will not want to miss it.  It's a movie by the same folks that made "Facing the Giants", "Fireproof", and "Courageous".  For more info or to watch the trailer, you can check out the website warroomthemovie.com .

If you're interested, our church is doing a special screening in Easley on September 6 for the 4:20pm showing.  Contact our church office at 864-859-5362 for more info or contact us through the church website at calvaryhill.org .

It's time to go to war on our knees!  T-Dub out!


Super Summer!

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It's hard to believe that summer has come and gone already!  Sorry for not posting more during the summer but my internet access was somewhat limited as I was the camp pastor at Asbury Hills for the summer.  It was a fantastic experience there for me and my whole family.  I got to work with an amazing staff in an incredibly beautiful place in the mountains and, most importantly, I was able to lead some students to Jesus this summer!  Man, that NEVER gets old to me!  Whether you're the one planting the Gospel seeds, or the one that waters it, or the one that gets to see the harvest, there's nothing like being a part of leading someone to Christ.  Which begs the question---have YOU ever been a part of that amazing experience?  If not, why not today?  Take your shot and share Jesus with someone around you.  You'll be glad you did!

Well, I just wanted to say that summer is amazing and let you know that now that I'm back on a "normal" (whatever that means) schedule, I'll be posting more frequently.  Have a JESUS day and share Him with others!  T-Dub out!

What Lights Your Fire?

This summer I'm having the great privilege to be the Camp Pastor at Asbury Hills Camp and Retreat Center.  We've got three weeks of camps behind us and so far it's been exciting and fun for me and the whole Dub family!  We've met lots of new people and made lots of new friends but, MOST IMPORTANTLY, there have been several students (ranging from elementary to high school) that met JESUS for the very first time!!  That NEVER gets old to me!  And seeing God begin to truly grab the hearts of students to the point where you see the "Jesus light bulb" come on thrills me to no end!  I love seeing people of all ages get to know Jesus or know Him better but seeing kids and teenagers begin to own their faith really lights my fire!

So the question of the day is this---what lights your fire?  But wait...before you just casually give me the "church" answer, take an honest look at your life.  The answer to the question lies in whatever it is that you're living for.  I hope and pray the answer is Jesus.  But if many of us are honest, while we may say "Jesus" with our lips, our lives say that we're living for something else.  Could it be money?  A job?  School?  Friends?  Fun?  Family?  Entertainment?  Church?  Your spouse or boy/girlfriend?  It could be one of these or maybe something else.  And while there's nothing wrong with having any of these things in your life, HEAR ME...if there's anything or anybody other than JESUS at the top of your "What I'm Living For" List, your priorities are out of order.  Take it from someone who's learned that lesson the hard way, get your priorities and your life in the RIGHT order or your life's gonna get way complicated. (HINT:  just to help you out a little, I'll give you what SHOULD BE the top two priorities for all of us, in the correct order---#1. JESUS  #2. Family  As long as you get those top two in the right place and order, the rest of them seem to work themselves out.)

Well, five more weeks of camps to go and I'm jacked about what God's gonna do.  Keep me in your prayers as I seek to make the Gospel and God's word clear to students and to stay out of God's way.  Have a JESUS day!  T-Dub out!

The Mountain Chapel at Asbury Hills Camp & Retreat Center

The Mountain Chapel at Asbury Hills Camp & Retreat Center


To My Beautiful Shannon

Today is one of those rare days where you not only get to be honored, but you get to be honored TWICE!  First of all, let me say HAPPY BIRTHDAY!  Today is your ??-something birthday and even if I told everyone how old you are, no one would believe it because you're even more beautiful now than your were when I met you 23 years ago.  I truly wish I could give you a present that is worthy of how amazing you really are but there is none.  You are not my "better half" but most definitely my BEST HALF!  I am so blessed to be married to my best friend.  I thank God for you daily and I pray that you have a fantastic birthday today!

And secondly, HAPPY MOTHER'S DAY!  Today is your 17th time to celebrate as a mother.  On your first one, Taylor was just a couple months old and now here we are, two more kids, and you are an amazing mom to all three of them.  How you do everything that you do mystifies me!  You are a godly woman who loves Jesus and you're always setting a fantastic example for them.  All the good stuff, they've gotten from you and maybe you'll fix all the ways I've messed them up before they have kids of their own one day.  :)  Sometimes I say it and you think I'm joking, but I do think you are SUPERWOMAN!  All the things that you do for your kids (all 4 of us) that often seemingly go unnoticed and unappreciated, let me just say they are noticed and they are most definitely appreciated by all of us.  Thanks for being an AMAZING MOM!

So there it is.  It might only be one journal post but you definitely deserve TWICE the recognition on this special day.  I hope we can make this day relaxing and wonderful for you today.   So kick back and enjoy yourself today.  And if you need something, don't hesitate to let me know...and I'll make the kids get it or do it for you!  :)  Happy Birthday and Happy Mother's Day to you!  I LOVE YOU, BEAUTIFUL!

Loving you ALWAYS!

ME

I Promise

So often, as parents, we miss out on wonderful opportunities to connect with our kids.  Sometimes it's due to circumstances beyond our control, but more often, it's because we don't choose to seize the opportunities that come along.  Yesterday was Peyton's 7th birthday (the little man is growing up!) and I was able to grab a great opportunity with him.

Last week, he had asked if I could come have lunch with him at school on his birthday.  My answer then was the typical parent answer when we're either not sure we can do it or we're hoping they'll forget (you know I'm only speaking the truth!).  I said, "We'll see."  He asked again over the weekend and I gave the same answer, although I was already working things out to be there.  But then on Monday, he and I were in the car and he said, "Dad, hold up your two promise fingers."  Curious to see what was up, I did as he asked.  He then said, "Repeat after me.  I promise...to come have lunch with you tomorrow...at 11:30...and bring Atami."  On the outside I was repeating what he said, but, on the inside, I was bursting with laughter.  I was already making plans to have lunch with him, but, at that point, how could I not say YES to my son who was clearly just wanting a little of my time.  So yesterday, of course, I swung by Atami Express and picked up some Japanese food and went and had a wonderful lunch just talking with my favorite 7-year-old!

Just a couple things for all of us as parents to remember:

  1. Our kids really want and NEED some of our time.  I realize that after a long day of work or maybe we just don't feel well or there's a million other things on our to-do-lists.  However, just remember our kids are on loan to us from God and they grow up way too fast.  Once they do, our opportunities to spend time with them get less and less.
  2. We should try to say YES more than we say NO.  Now I'm not saying that we cave in to their every want.  That would be ridiculous!  But what I mean is that there are always times when our kids asking for something like lunch at school or to go to a movie or a ballgame or shopping or whatever.  When they ask for those things, realize it's a possible opportunity you have to spend some precious time with your kids.  Is your schedule so set in stone that you can't push something back or reschedule something in order to spend time with your kids?  If so, you should better check yourself before you wreck yourself!

Our kids are only little once.  So hold up your two promise fingers and repeat after me...

I PROMISE...TO TAKE ADVANTAGE...OF THE OPPORTUNITIES I HAVE...TO SPEND TIME...WITH MY PRECIOUS CHILDREN...BEFORE THOSE OPPORTUNITIES ARE GONE.

Have a JESUS day! T-Dub out!

To Mary Elizabeth

My Beautiful Mary Elizabeth,

Twelve years ago today, your mom and I were so excited.  We prayed for a healthy baby girl and, as a dad, I was also praying that our second child would be a girl so that our daughter would have an older brother (aka hitman) to help keep watch over our precious girl.  God answered our prayers and blessed us with beautiful YOU!  And it wasn't long before you had me wrapped around that cute little finger of yours.

You are growing into an amazing young lady.  God has created you to be beautiful, unique, funny, smart, talented, dependable, trustworthy, honest, creative, and so many more things that make you YOU.  I'm so proud to be your dad.  You're a daddy's girl like many girls but I am so very thankful that above that, you are your heavenly Daddy's girl!  You love the Lord and it's very evident that you are trying your best to live for Him and that couldn't make your mom and me any prouder and we can't wait to see how God is going to use you.  Just keep following His lead and you will do amazing things with the gifts He's given you.

Your mom and I love you so much and even though they might not ever tell you, I think your brothers do, too!  I hope you have a fantastic birthday today and I'm glad you want steak for your birthday cause that sounds good to me, too!

Love you, Baby Girl!

Dad

Real Joy

I'm on Spring Break with the fam and yesterday we (and THOUSANDS of other folks) went to Dollywood.  The day was gorgeous and the east Tennessee mountains were beautiful!  But when we were pulling in and waiting in the long line of traffic, I was already thinking that the day could be a bust at Dollywood because of the number of people on their way into the park.

The kids and I actually hit a couple of our favorite coasters---Mystery Mine and Wild Eagle---and then we headed to a show where Shannon and my parents already were but Taylor also wanted to check out.  It was an interactive drum circle.  When we got there, the folks leading the drum circle had loads of djembe drums and Shannon and mom had already been recruited to join the circle along with a bunch of other folks.  As I was watching the drum circle and the smiles on their faces, I noticed that there were several special needs folks sitting in the circle, some with wheel chairs and some without.  My attention was drawn to them.  They were beating those drums and smiling so big, I just loved watching them.  But then, something happened that put the day (and life) in perspective for me.

The lady that was leading the drum circle told the folks to play their drums or to sing with her and she also called for whoever wanted to get up and dance.  There were a couple of the special needs folks that got up and began to dance.  One of them, in particular, drew my attention and the attention of everyone in the theater.  He got up and began to dance with all his heart and the joy that beamed off his face was PRICELESS!  And if I was a betting man, I'd bet that all of us in the theater were wishing that we could let be like him---just letting go and living life joyfully and unashamedly.

What if we all lived our lives with that much joy?  We would be contagious to everyone we came in contact with. And as CHRISTians, we should already be living our lives that way because we have the ultimate reason to be joyful!  JESUS, the ONE who lived his life, died on a cross for our sins, was put in a borrowed tomb, and then three days later rose again, is ALIVE and living IN US!

So let's live our lives and let the joy of JESUS come out in the way we live.  Smile, work, sing, dance, play, laugh, cry, live, love and do it ALL for the glory of God and let the joy of JESUS in your life invade the lives of everyone you meet today!  Have a JESUS day!  T-Dub out!

What Are You Looking At?

I LOVE this time of the year because I love to watch a good college basketball game and March Madness is in full swing.  My brackets are already pretty busted but it's made for some very exciting games to watch.  Many of the opening games could've went either way and were five of the opening games were decided by a single point which is the most EVER in the opening round. WOW!  That makes it hard to take your eyes off the game when it's that close!  But as I watch those games, you can very easily tell why the winning team gets the job done.  Most of the time it's because of their focus.  It doesn't matter what rank the team is, the one that stays focused on their game plan and the basics of the game---dribbling, passing, shooting, and defense---wins the game.  

So what about us in the "game" of life---what are we focused on?  We can look around us or maybe even look in the mirror and see evidence of people losing focus on what really matters.  Many eyes have wandered to pornography or to someone else.  Then it's eyes to thoughts to actions and marriages and families are in ruins.  Or we stay so focused on our jobs or school or hobbies that we miss having relationships with the people around us.  Living in an "It's all about ME" culture where we spend too much time with our eyes on ourselves has left us blind to a world full of hurting people and needs we could do something about if we'd only take the time to LOOK.  Even ministers, churches, and other ministries at times take their eyes off Jesus and move from making a kingdom impact to just taking care of facilities and paying bills.  I could keep going and I'm sure you could too.

So what are we setting our eyes on?  I love Psalm 25:15 which says that if we ALWAYS keep our eyes on the Lord, He will keep us from the devil's traps.  The Bible does call us sheep and sheep are not the smartest of animals!  We have trouble sometimes getting caught in the devil's traps of lust and envy and indifference and so many more.  But do you know what I think might be one of the greatest traps of the devil that is tearing lives and families apart?  Busyness.  In this fast-paced, microwave, I-want-it-now world that we live in, we can get so busy with "stuff" that we can miss out on the things that are important.  Just ask Martha from the Bible.  We need to realize that the devil doesn't have to make us bad to get us to lose focus on God and fall into his traps.  All he has to do is make us busy and we will run and run and run trying to keep all the moving parts moving until one day we look around and wonder how our lives got so messed up.  It's because of our focus.  If you can't say AMEN then you've got to say OUCH.  So here's mine...OUCH!!

Let's cling to God's Word from Psalm 25 and let's keep our eyes on HIM and let HIM protect and rescue us from the schemes of the enemy, even busyness.  And I don't know about you, but I like the sound of that!  Have a JESUS day!   T-Dub out

Do You Believe?

Just wanted to take a minute to tell you about an AMAZING movie that opens this week in theaters.  The whole theme for the movie centers around a question...Do you believe in the cross of Christ?  The storyline is woven around 12 people and how their lives intersect with the cross of Christ.  Their lives will never be the same and your life will be touched by this movie.

  Our church has bought out the Sunday afternoon showing here in Easley and we're praying that this movie blows away people with its message but also in the way people turn out to go see it.  It's a movie that EVERYONE needs to see.  So call some friends, spread the word, and let's turn this movie into the start of a movement!  Let's go to the movies!

You can check out more about the movie at doyoubelieve.com

To Taylor

Dear T, 

Sixteen years ago today, your mother and I drove through snow in the VERY early hours of the morning to get to the hospital.  After several more hours of waiting, God gave us our first child---a strong and healthy baby boy---YOU!  Words can't express how happy we were that day.   The moment I first saw you was amazing.  The first time I held you, it was a flood of feelings and emotions---excitement, fear, happiness, joy, and tears.  Being a dad for the first time excited me and also terrified me.  But it was awesome!  I was so proud to be your dad!

Fast forward till today...you're a 16 years old and I'm still so very proud to be your dad.  You've grown into a strong, handsome, talented, funny, adventurous, athletic, caring, humble, kind, loving, smart, helpful, dependable, trustworthy, musical, honestly amazing young man.  And the thing that I'm most proud of you for?  You love Jesus and you're trying hard to follow Him.  When I see you plugged in at church playing drums or being a leader in the youth group, I am so proud to be a part of your life.  When I see you getting lost in full on worship to God, it moves me to the point of tears.  Basically, I LOVE seeing you love on HIM! Just keep doing that for the rest of your life and God will take you on the most amazing journey you could ever imagine.  He's gonna do incredible things in and through you.  Just know that while you're on this journey of life, I'm here for you and I'm your biggest fan!

HAPPY BIRTHDAY, TAYLOR!  I'm so proud to be your dad and so proud to call you "son."  Have a fantastic day! 

I LOVE YOU, T!

Dad


The THRILL on the HILL

Just wanted to take a minute to invite you to one of the warmest churches you will EVER find---Calvary Hill Baptist Church.  I'm not just saying that because that's where we attend or it's where I lead worship.  I'm saying that because it's true.  From my family's experience, before we came back to be on staff, we attended Calvary Hill just to go to church.  We had been wounded previously by "church" and, honestly, at that time, Shannon and I really didn't even like "church."  But we knew the pastor, Dave Shorter, and thought we'd give it a shot.  Long story short, Calvary Hill didn't become church to us but became family.  They loved us back to being healthy in ministry again and God began to use us again and eventually brought us back to Calvary Hill for me to become the Worship Leader.

So basically, I just want to say that if we're honest, we've all probably had a bad church experience at one time or another.  If that's where you find yourself right now, don't use that as an excuse to not attend church.  Find a church family to belong to and if you're looking and haven't found one yet, I know a great one.  It's a little church that sits on the hill behind the hospital in Easley.  Calvary Hill is just a warm and loving church family that loves Jesus and it's where you can be loved on and find a place to belong.  Biblically based and family-focused---come experience the THRILL on the HILL!