Showing posts from August, 2011

Getting Married

I had the loofah , now it was time to get the girl. Because we never took note of the actual date of our first date we adopted Feb. 1. We knew we began dating in February of ’95. Because I am male, 1 is much easier to remember than 18 or 22 (just ask my wife and my daughter). Therefore we agreed that forever and always our anniversary would be Feb. 1. Conveniently enough in 1997 Feb. 1 fell on a Saturday. So after I got her father’s permission and won her over with a John Cusack moment , we set the date of our wedding for Feb. 1, 1997. So for those of you keeping score, here is the box on our relationship. Shannon and I dated for two years before we were married. We only lived in the same town for two to three months of those two years; the first two or three months of our two years of official-ness. I graduated in April and stayed in Chattanooga, she moved back home to Charlotte. In the Fall she moved back to Chattanooga, I left for Louisville. In January of ’96 I moved to Cartersvi


Today is the final Sunday for Johnny Kilgore, our beloved minister of music and senior adults who has served Ridgecrest faithfully for 30 years.   When I came to interview with Ridgecrest I asked the two pastors on staff at the time, Jason Duckett and Johnny, “Where do you see yourself in 10 years?”   Duckett said that he saw himself as senior pastor of a church; and today he is.   Johnny’s answer was simple, “I’m going to retire”; and today he is. I am deeply honored to have worked with Johnny these nine years.   He is a loyal man of God with an insatiable appetite for quality.   He quickly wins the trust of others.   He covers criticism with praise.   Johnny always smiles.   He never counts his hours and leaves nothing undone.   I should add that he eats faster than anyone I have ever seen. I don’t know how many years the Lord will give me to serve His church.   However long that may be indeed I will always count working with Johnny as one of the major highlights.   Not many pastors

Lame Excuse

Sorry I haven't posted this week, but this is the beginning of what will hopefully be my final M.Div. semester.  I have been working on a post or two, including one about our wedding.  I should be back on schedule next week. For those of you from RBC, we will be ordaining new Deacons tonight.  Please join us for this important occasion, 6:30 p.m. in the main auditorium.  Have a blessed day, BB Gal. 2:20

The Widow's Mite

Phyllis Harold was a widow that lived in a single wide trailer beside one of the smaller lakes in the Lake Tansi community.  Her ministry was the nursery.  Her favorite group was The Kingdom Heirs.  Phyllis was well in her sixties when I met her and had season passes to Dollywood, not for the roller coasters, but for The Kingdom Heirs.  If there is such a thing in gospel music, Phyllis was a Kingdom Heirs groupie. I am about to share something that up until this time (as far as I know) is only known by me and one other person, but it is an episode in the life of Lantana Road Baptist Church that was a divine cause of why the church continues to exist and is a great witness for Christ today.  The ink was barely dry on The Long and Short Range Plans when the church voted to begin considering some upgrades to the building.  The business meeting that Wednesday night gave me an incredible amount of hope.  The vote may have centered on building plans, expenditures, and projects, but it w

Construction at RBC

We have begun construction on our new educational space.  Go to for daily (or almost daily) pic updates.

Introducing Jack

This morning I mentioned that I am a big fan of Jack Johnson.  Most people in the congregation had no idea who I was talking about.  Therefore, Ridgecrest, meet Jack.

The Talk

This blog began in 2007 with “ Tales of a First Grade Atheist .” My eldest daughter, who was affectionately nicknamed “The Mo” by her baby sister, was indeed the first grade atheist. Next week she begins Jr. High. What will she become? I need professional counseling. Some things never change. It never ceased to amaze me this past school year when “The Mo” would come home with some stupid saying, or a question about arm pit farts, or a joke that never left the fifth grade. Inevitably I would respond, “Holy cow, they still do that?” That’s what scares me about Jr. High. There are some things about it that I remember. I know the Jr. High monsters and I fear that they are still lurking in the halls. Yet what if the monsters have taken a few decades to grow larger, more intense, grotesque and tempting? What if they eat my daughter? I hated Jr. High in ’85 and I still hate it. So on Tuesday, the day after Jr. High orientation, I decided to take “The Mo” out for breakfast; daddy and daughte

Pastor's Study Group

If you are a man who desires to be challenged and changed, join me this Fall for a study group.  We will meet Sunday evenings @6:00 in my office (subject to change).  The cost is $20 for the first 8 men who sign up.  The fee includes two books we will be using for the group, J.I. Packer's Concise Theology and The Dictionary of Everyday Theology and Culture by Bruce Demarest and Keith Matthews.  We will hold an introductory meeting on Sunday, August 21 @ 6:00 p.m.  The final meeting will be November 13. You can sign up for the group by visiting the RBC website .


When Lantana Road Baptist called me to be their pastor on October 13, 1996 I was engaged to be married on February 1, 1997.  For those four months, as I have stated in previous posts, I watched Tombstone repeatedly and ate mystery groceries in a fairly non de-script duplex.  We had collected a small cache of furniture as we prepared for marriage.  I bought a washer and dryer while living in Cartersville.  The day Sears delivered it in one of their big Sears box trucks felt like some sort of rite of passage for me.  I was now a man.  Sears had delivered to me.  The only thing left to do was to tie the knot, marry the girl, go get the bride and her suitcase or two of clothes.  I felt like the nest was ready.  I was wrong. A few weekends before the wedding Shannon came to Crossville to “bring her stuff.”  I grossly underestimated what that meant.  Basically the arrangement was that she would come in on Friday.  I would be banished from the house to Uncle Roy’s.  She would be left alone

L.B. McClain

When I became pastor of Lantana Road I was 23 years old, L.B. McClain was 86. He was the oldest member of the congregation and its elder statesman. He was a small man with a large nose, white hair, and piercing eyes. He moved slowly but he was always up to something. He had been a successful business man in Knoxville who after 42 years sold his business and bought a large tract of land in Crossville that was full of natural gas wells. Many times he told me the story of how he had acquired the mineral rights. I never knew what he was talking about. He also told me often that he saved up plenty of money for retirement. The problem was that he lived too long. He had an unmistakable elderly laugh that shook his whole body. It came out of him every time he told me he outlived his money. L.B.’s day consisted of go somewhere and get something done, visit someone, grow something, and tinker around on some old piece of equipment he owned. I once borrowed his tiller. It was rusted out and hel


We are all characters. Surely someone thinks of us and chuckles. The tone of our voice, the shape of our body, the color of our hair, our mannerisms, our mistakes, the way we laugh, there is something about all of us that makes us memorable. When I write about the characters that made up the early cast of Lantana Road Baptist Church I do not mean to poke fun or demean. Trust me, as I write the paragraphs I smile, often chuckling about the way we were. I confess that in many ways I too am a character in the plot of many. I have been laughed at and am a big part of many exaggerated stories told. There are plenty of impersonations of me. I do not mean harm in any of this. I mean only to share the characters of my story, some of the people who have made it interesting. People who still make me laugh. The first minster of music I served with was still considered a young guy, but he was still several years older than I.  Not surprising since I was still young enough that insurance would not

Long and Short Range Plans

The traditional, but wholly unbiblical name for most church buildings is “God’s house.” God’s house is the only place on the planet where little boys are forbidden to run. Bringing food into “God’s house” is an only slightly more audacious sin. Wearing a hat and eating a burger while taking a jog in “God’s house” will send you straight to Hell. The church building is God’s house and all good Southern Baptists instill the fear of God in their children so that they may grow up respecting “God’s house.” Robert Schuller had the Crystal Cathedral. Spurgeon preached in the New Park Street Chapel. I started my ministry in a metal shed. To call the thing “God’s house” would have been a stretch. God’s lawnmower barn, maybe, but if it were God’s house the place had serious issues. In several places the seams in the sanctuary carpet were separating.  Someone remedied the problem with duct tape. Seems logical. So toward the rear of the main worship space the color scheme and pattern of the severe