- One must be of legal age and licensed to operate; and, when under a certain age with a probational license, may only operate with a licensed adult present. Licenses must be renewed periodically.
- One must undergo thorough instruction and pass both written and live action examinations to operate.
- Safe operation violations are subject to fines and imprisonment. When sufficient violations occur, licenses may be restricted, suspended, or revoked until such time as further training is completed.
- One is required to register every vehicle owned, and renew that registration annually.
- One is required to carry insurance on every vehicle owned.
March 1, 2018
December 24, 2017
After eleven wonderful years as pastor of Cairo First Church of the Nazarene, it's with a heart full of gratitude that I announce my resignation, effective January 28.
Eleven years is lengthy tenure for a Nazarene pastor--nearly three times the average. But, the great people at Cairo First have made it more than worthwhile. I've formed wonderful relationships over these years that will be treasured. While there's always a touch of sadness that comes with saying goodbye, however, there's also the excitement of a brand new hello.
There’s nothing more fulfilling in life than doing the will of the One Who calls and sends us. When the Lord called me to the pastorate in 1996, He took me to Mark 6, where He sent His Disciples to proclaim the Kingdom of God. Now, two decades later, He’s brought me to Mark 6 once again, where He also told His disciples, “Let’s go off by ourselves to a quiet place and rest awhile.”
The Lord has opened the door of opportunity for me to rest awhile from the pastorate, to be fed and nurtured spiritually, and to answer His call for the second half of my life, whatever that may bring. I’ve followed His lead faithfully through sixteen years in the pastorate and over twenty years of preaching the Word. As He leads in a different direction for a season, I'll continue to follow Him wholeheartedly, believing that He knows what's best, and will never lead where He doesn't provide.
As for where I go from here, I'll be spending a few months in Savannah to reconnect with my family there and be present for Mikaela and Ethan's wedding, then make my new home in Minneapolis, MN, where more family is waiting.
I would greatly appreciate your prayers as I transition into the next phase of my life. I look forward with anticipation to discovering what His ongoing plan for me holds, and trust Him with all of the details.
Wishing you and yours a very Merry Christmas!
May 20, 2017
So, I went to their place that afternoon, sat on their couch, and kept a wary eye on this puppy.
They say that dogs have a way of sensing fear, and that this sense of fear can often produce nervousness and even a backlash from the dog.
I have no doubt in my mind that you sensed my fear that day, Jodie. But, you didn't react with nervousness or with a backlash. No, you did the complete opposite. You decided that me being afraid of you didn't work for you. And so, you did the one thing you knew how to do to alleviate that fear: you loved me. Truly. Fully. Relentlessly.
For the last year or so, though, you really weren't Jodie anymore. Not quite, anyway. Your attitude was different. You would usually stiff-arm me when I went to pet you. You were moodier. You were more aggressive. The experts say it's the usual pattern as your breed ages. Still, though, you always found a way to show me that you loved me, and I never doubted it.
When I left your house on Thursday, I never once imagined that I'd seen you for the last time.
Don't get me wrong. I knew you were getting close to the end of your lifespan, and that we had more days together behind us than we had ahead of us. But, I thought that, when your time came, I'd know it, and I'd have the opportunity to spend one last afternoon with you, to hand-feed you one more time, and to say goodbye to you.
I really should've known better, as much as I've faced loss in my life already. But, in my defense, I've never lost a pet before today. And yes, your daddy and mommy and brother, my best friends in the world, were your favorite people, and that's exactly the way it should've been. They were there from day one, after all. But, I was there from day two, and you always made me feel like you were a little bit my dog, too.
When your family called this morning to tell me that you were gone, I was stunned and heartbroken. Ten years ago, I never would've imagined shedding tears over the passing of an animal. But today, at a point in my life when I feel all but emotionally spent, my tears have fallen all day. It was only when my cat, Chester, came along that I began to understand the kind of bond that can form between human and pet. When you came along, Jodie, I understood it even more deeply.
It struck me just this evening that it was a dog named Jodie who started my fear of dogs. How wonderfully redemptive that it was a dog named Jodie who ended it.
So, here are my final words to you, my friend: Thank you so much. I owe you more than I could ever hope to repay. I've always known that the Lord sends special people into our lives. Now, I know that sometimes, those special people may be dogs. Thanks to you, I'm sure I'll love more dogs in my lifetime, like I already do now. But, you'll always be the first.
February 19, 2017
- If you're currently in the pastorate, as a senior pastor, an associate pastor, a music pastor, a youth pastor, an executive pastor, or any other type of classification, full-time or part-time, this message is for you.
- If you're a chaplain in the armed forces, the medical field, the various fields of public safety, a grade school or college campus, a sports club, team, or organization, or any other field, this message is for you.
- If you're an evangelist, music evangelist, or any other classification, full-time or part-time, this message is for you.
- If you're a missionary of any classification, serving domestically or overseas, full-time or part-time, this message is for you.
- If you're retired from any of the above fields, this message is for you.
- If you're currently in the process of education for any classification of ministry, this message is for you.
- Whether you've been a paid minister or you've never made a dime in your life from fulfilling the call, this message is for you.
- If you're no longer in any of these fields due to various and sundry circumstances, this message is for you.
- If you fall into a category that I've failed to mention, this message is for you (and I'd love for you to leave a comment here and let me know where you fit).
Then, I answered the call myself, I went through the course of study, and I joined your ranks. Men and women I looked up to are now my colleagues. And, as I've walked this path alongside you for these nearly twenty-one years now, I've realized something important: you haven't received nearly as many expressions of gratitude and praise as you deserve.
I understand that, being a minister myself, this could seem like a self-serving train of thought. I don't know exactly how to express the fact that I mean it as anything but. I serve the single greatest congregation in the world. I'm loved by them beyond my imagination--more than I deserve, in fact.
But, I understand now much better than I ever have before, that what you do, what you've done, has come at a price of some kind.
- There have been family struggles, financial struggles, cultural struggles, personal struggles, or professional struggles, and those are just a few categories to consider. Many of you have, by God's grace, overcome these struggles. Some have been victimized by them.
- There have been Sunday nights when you just know that someone has served up roast preacher for afternoon dinner, Monday mornings when you've thought about hanging it up, and Tuesday board meetings where the ones who were supposed to be your staunchest allies have either turned on you or condoned it with their silence. Many of you have overcome these circumstances. Some of you paid with a forced resignation, some with a forced retirement, some with a forced exit from the ministry. Some of you were fully supported by leadership. Some of you were partially supported, but soon forgotten. Some of you were all but abandoned.
- There have been frustrations that come with the territory of rightly dividing God's Word among our fellow finite, flawed humans with various opinions and worldviews. Many of you have overcome these situations. Some of you have been compelled to other pastorates or other fields of service and profession as a result of these things. Some have even felt compelled to other faiths or worldviews. I believe that God's Word is true, and I pray that you'll embrace this, as well. But, regardless of where you are now, you've walked this road with us, just the same. You understand both its roughness and its blessings, and I won't ignore your contributions or pretend that they didn't happen. I can't.
- There have been times when you may have stumbled badly. Most of you, I hope, were met with grace when you humbled yourself before your people and sought restoration. Some of you, I know, were met with condemnation.
- There have been the instances particular to fields that some of you are in that I have little familiarity with. But, you know what they are, you understand them, and you've lived them.
Regardless of scenarios or outcomes, regardless of the forms that it's taken, you've paid a high price to fulfill God's calling on your life. But, you've paid it willingly; and, the vast majority of you would say without hesitation that you'd pay it all over again.
I can't declare that people across the nation and around the world offer you the gratitude you so richly deserve. But, I can say that whether you're active or retired, younger or older than me, have logged more or fewer years in the ministry than I have, I owe you a debt of gratitude. I am what I am as a pastor, in great part, because you've walked this road, too--either before me or beside me. Your contributions have helped to shape me.
So, if you haven't heard it for a while, hear it now: I love you. I appreciate you. You've made a difference in my life. I owe you more than I'll ever be able to fully express or fully comprehend.
February 14, 2017
Sorry, but that's proper primary response to the question, "What is love," just like this is the proper primary response to the question, "What/Who are you?" (note: headbutt optional).
Oh, you've heard it before. In fact, you may have seen it today on social media.
"Single on Valentine's Day? Not overflowing with happiness over that? Just let Jesus be your Valentine! He's all you need, anyway!"
"Well, isn't it true that Jesus is all we need?" you ask. Actually, no; at least, not the way it's intended in that phrase.
Now, don't label me a heretic just yet. It's certainly true that:
- the crucified, risen Christ is all that's necessary for our salvation.
- the written Word reveals God's will to us concerning all things that are necessary for our salvation (that specification of "for our salvation" is a finer point at which the Church of the Nazarene parts company with many of our protestant sister denominations).
- God, in His grace and goodness, as the Sovereign Creator & Sustainer Of The Universe and the Owner of the cattle on a thousand hills, provides certain of His blessings to all of humanity,
- the Lord promises to provide all things to His followers.
But, that's just the point: He will give us "all things," as in all of the things we need. It's a plural direct object, meaning that there are multiple things we need, graciously provided by the hand of one God.
"Jesus is all we need" is no more the complete answer for humanity's longing for companionship than it is for humanity's need for food.
In the perfect, sinless environment of Eden, Adam still had to eat, and he still needed human companionship. Consider the fact that in Genesis 2:18, Adam's lack in this respect is the one thing in all of a pre-sin creation that God says is "not good." Thus, God created Eve as an equal possessor of His image, an equal servant in His Kingdom, and an equal companion to Adam.
Jesus will provide all of our needs; and He, personally, is absolutely our deepest, greatest need. It's only when we have Him that all of the other things we need can be everything they're meant to be. But, that doesn't make Him our only need. In fact, the fact that we need so many things, and that He is willing and able to provide them, highlights God's greatness all the more.
I realize that those are overly-exaggerated points. But, hyperbole can help to get a point across; and, my point is this: we've got to be more careful with our words and phrases, especially when imparting them to others.
January 12, 2017
- You need to let it out.
- He/She wouldn’t want you to cry.
- The Lord never gives us more than we can handle (an absolute butcher job of Scripture that we’ve let slip into our Christian vernacular).
- Everything happens for a reason.
- Time heals all wounds.
- You can probably think of others, too.
- The parent whose child has just left for college sometimes grieves.
- The employee who’s lost his/her job sometimes grieves.
- The person who’s seen a cherished relationship end grieves, too.
- In the end, this is a good thing.
- It wasn’t meant to be.
- Just get over it and move on.
- Put yourself out there.
January 1, 2017
I know that sounds like heresy coming from a pastor, but hear me out.
That’s not to say that nothing I put here will be focused on my faith, though. Quite the contrary—the Lord is at the core of my life, and that’s the basis of my worldview--though, to be clear, I don't talk very much about politics these days unless I'm asked. So, if you’re looking for something designed to supplement your devotions, a political opinion page, or a doctrinal or theological treatise, I'm afraid you may be disappointed by the frequency and content of the posts most of the time. Again, I highly recommend my Mom's blogs for that purpose, especially to you ladies.
That's why social media is such a wonderful innovation to me. It lends itself to that style of writing. But, even then, I often hold back—more than I probably should, in fact. I can’t tell you the number of times I’ve put fingers to keyboard to express thoughts that weighed heavily on my mind, only to either delete the writing or, in rare cases, save them to my hard drive. I’ve done so because I’ve suspected that my words wouldn’t be well received, especially not on a shared community like Facebook.
They are, however, always real.
But, that can rub people the wrong way, especially coming from someone in my vocation (a subject that I may explore more deeply down the line). Sometimes, though, serious thoughts need to be expressed. Expressing these serious thoughts, whether verbally or on social media, usually results in someone getting upset for one reason or another—and, since I hate upsetting people, I usually just keep my mouth shut.
Sure, there’s a comment section, and you're welcome to use it—encouraged to, even—but it’s moderated, and it’s going to stay that way. This is my cyber-territory, and this is where I’m going to attempt to express those not always rose colored, but always genuine thoughts.
So, that’s what you can expect here.
This is my Digital Front Porch.
If you want to, you can feel free to pull up a rocker and sit awhile. Yeah, it's just me expressing my thoughts and opinions; but, that's what a front porch is for. Besides, what good is expression if you're expressing yourself to no one? Nobody talks just to hear themselves talk. So, I'd love for you to join me, friend. I do like good company.