Tuesday, December 10, 2013


     I must have gotten my love for Christmas from my grandmother.  She loved Christmas and she loved having her family there.  In my childhood we spent Christmas Eve and Christmas morning at her house.  The family gatherings, the food, the gifts, the decorations, all these things embedded a love for the holidays in my life.
     After my siblings and I grew up and had families of our own, it of course affected her holiday gatherings. In her later years, because she loved family so much, she began studying her genealogy.  On the one or two occasions a year I would get to see her, she would update me on what she had found that year.  There was always an interesting character she would talk about and you could just see the twinkle in her eyes as she would tell story after story from the history of her family.
     My grandmother passed away years ago and I’ll see her one day in heaven.  But when I do I have a question for her.  You see, since she passed away, I have learned about some family secrets that I didn’t know.  I want to ask my grandmother why she didn’t mention certain people in the family tree.  I’m also curious as to why my grandfather’s first brief marriage was never mentioned.  When my cousins get together every once in awhile, sometimes there is a new “Did you know about …” that surfaces. 
     Secrets.  We all have them - chapters in our lives we hope nobody finds out about.  You went into marriage with a few chapters in your life you hope your spouse never discovers.  You took your current job with some things in your past you hope your employer never finds out.  There is an event, a night, a financial dealing, perhaps a spring break that you just as soon would stay buried in your past and have no one find out about.
     I have good news for you.  Christmas is for you.  Christmas is for people who have a secret.  In the lineage of Jesus was a secret keeper.  Judah was one of the 12 sons of Jacob who God chose to be in the lineage of Jesus.  For 22 years he kept his secret of selling his brother Joseph into slavery from his father.  For 22 of Joseph’s birthdays when his father relived it all over again, Judah never said a thing.  He never confessed and never gave in.  For 22 years he never broke. 
     Because of his secret, Judah lived his life wondering when God was going to get back at him.  When destiny brings him face to face with his brother Joseph again, he thought for sure God was bringing the hammer down.  But instead, Judah finds himself in front of a brother he had wronged, totally forgiven.  And God decided to use Judah, not Joseph, to bring the message of salvation into the world.  It’s because those are the kinds of people it’s for.
     You may feel alienated from God because of your secret.  But God does not feel alienated from you.  Do you know why?  Because it’s Christmas, and at Christmas He sent a Savior to remove everything that alienated mankind from Him.  When Jesus died, He died for your secret.   And God used a secret keeper to be in the ancestry of Jesus the Messiah in order to let you know your secrets don’t have to keep you from God.  Do you have a secret?  Then Christmas is for you.

Tuesday, December 3, 2013


     As a kid I remember going to a lot of extended family Christmas gatherings.  Relatives I rarely saw would be there.  Of course, there were the cheek pinchers and the hair messer uppers, which as a kid I hated but I tolerated.  But we also had relatives show up that caused whispers and stares.  And even as a kid you knew there was a feeling that it would have been fine if that branch of the family tree hadn’t shown up.

     You know what I mean, don’t you?  Are you having family at your house this Christmas?  Is there anyone in your family you wish wouldn’t come?  Or you hope they don’t stay very long?  Maybe you’re traveling to see family at Christmas and I know what you talk about on the way.  I hope Uncle so and so isn’t there or I hope Cousin what’s her name doesn’t show up.  Of course, they’re probably saying the same thing about you.  But we all have some bad apples in our family tree, don’t we?  Well, Jesus was no different. 

     When we think about Christmas, our tendency is to think about a baby, a manger, a star, and Bethlehem, and shepherds, etc.  There is a tendency to jump right into the night of Jesus’ birth because for most of us that’s the imagery of Christmas, and it should be as we think about Jesus being born in a manger.  But as I began to think about Christmas this year, I was reading all the accounts in the Gospels.  As I was reading Matthew, something really stuck out to me.  There is more to Christmas than just the birth of Jesus.  Matthew begins his story of Jesus and Christmas with a genealogy.  He wrote his Gospel targeting the Jewish people.  And in order to show them that Jesus was the Messiah, he would have to prove that Jesus came from the lineage of King David because the Bible said that’s where the Messiah would come from.  So he didn’t start at the manger, he went all the way back to Abraham.

     Matthew goes out of his way to make sure we don’t miss the fact that Jesus comes from a long line of people, many of whom are an embarrassment to the Old Testament and the Jewish race.  He must have reveled in the fact that in Jesus’ ancestry there were all these people who were just like him, a tax collector, who couldn’t come to God based on their own righteousness.  Men and women like him who knew if they were ever going to get to God it would take more than work and good deeds.

     There is more to Christmas than just the birth of Jesus.  It means we can have access to God, not based on our goodness, but because we know we’re not good.  We know our past is questionable.  And Jesus never condemned anyone and He doesn’t condemn you.  To condemn you and me for our sin would be like condemning the sun for being hot and condemning the water for being wet.  It’s just what we are.  And it’s because of what we are that God sent Who He did – a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.

Monday, October 28, 2013


When Jesus came on the scene he came into a world of religion.  The law God had given Moses had been the measuring stick for a relationship with God for years.  You couldn’t know God or have a relationship with God unless you kept the rules, and there were a lot of them. 

Jesus comes along and challenges all that.  He first challenges it by asking some common fishermen to simply follow Him.  He doesn’t ask them to follow any rules.  They are not asked to change anything, give anything, or be anything.  He simply asked them to follow. 

Religion says, “Change and you can join us.”  Jesus says, “Join me and you will change.”  Our relationship with God begins with a simple invitation to follow Jesus.  He doesn’t ask us to change so we can join Him.  That should be good news if you are a sinner.  In fact, Jesus only invited sinners to follow Him.  You don’t have to change to join Him.   But if you follow Him your life will change.

Thursday, June 20, 2013


While waiting on my car to be repaired some months ago, I struck up a conversation with a local business owner who was waiting on her car.  I noticed she was reading an eBook on her iPad so I turned the conversation to books, which eventually led to revealing me being an author.  She immediately bought one of my books online as we were sitting there.  I shared with her my next book idea on golf devotionals and she told me an interesting story about her great uncle.  I put the story in the book (with her permission) because it proves an important truth.  Here is an excerpt…

     “On a warm summer day in 1991, on a pristine golf course in North Carolina, James Yeaman was lining up his putt.  He was playing in a benefit tournament that he had assisted in establishing.  As any devout Presbyterian, James was constantly thinking of others and how he could help them.  While serving in the Army during World War II, he would take clothing and other items and just show up on his family’s doorstep in Scotland, giving or sending items they might need.  This day was no different.  Although he dearly loved playing golf, this was not just for his pleasure.  This round was for those in need.
     Standing on the 18th green, James checked for any undulations in the path of his ball.  Was it fast or slow?  Would it leak a little to the left at the hole?  After taking one final look, he bent over his putter, took a peaceful breath, tapped the ball and watched as it fell into the center of the cup.  It was the last breath James Yeaman would ever take.  No sooner had the putt been sunk when James fell to the green and died.  He had played his last round, made his last putt, and his time on earth was done.
     One of the interesting things we have in common because of watches, cell phones, and clocks on the wall is that we are constantly aware of what time it is.  Many times a day you check to see what time it is.  A common question people ask is, “What time is it?”  Every once in a while we immerse ourselves in a book or a hobby and lose track of time.  But very quickly we recover and figure out what time it is.  Always checking to see the time is a constant reminder of the thing that is most depressing about us.  Our time is running out.  We have calendars to tell us how fast the months go by and how fast the years go by.  Watches show how fast the hours go by and how fast the minutes go by.  Instead of asking what time it is, perhaps we should ask a better question:  What am I doing with my time?” – From Morning Round, Day17, “Pace Of Play”

Morning Round will be out in print later this year but it is available now as an eBook on AMAZON KINDLE and soon on iBooks, Nook, and other digital retailers.  If you are ever in “Bouncin’ Bears” here in our area, make sure you thank the owner for sharing her story.  It reminds us to live as if our days are numbered, because they are.

Thursday, May 23, 2013


Our thoughts and prayers go out to the people in Oklahoma as they deal with the aftermath of tornadoes and loss of life and property. We can understand why natural disasters occur (laws of nature, etc.). What we do not understand is why God allows them to occur. Why did God allow a tsunami to kill over 225,000 people in Asia? Why did God allow Hurricanes Katrina, Ike, and Sandy to destroy the homes of thousands of people? For one thing, such events shake our confidence in this life and force us to think about eternity. Churches are usually filled after disasters as people realize how fragile their lives really are and how life can be taken away in an instant. What we do know is this: God is good! Many amazing miracles occur during the course of natural disasters that prevent even greater loss of life. Natural disasters cause millions of people to reevaluate their priorities in life. Hundreds of millions of dollars in aid is sent to help the people who are suffering. Christian ministries have the opportunity to help, minister, counsel, pray, and lead people to saving faith in Christ. God can, and does, bring great good out of terrible tragedies.

If you would like to help the victims of Oklahoma, visit this site DISASTER RELIEF IN OKLAHOMA and you will find some information on how you can help.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013


In the midst of the Boston tragedy this week, and now the West, Texas catastrophe, almost unnoticed are the deaths of two great Americans and two of my heroes.  Pat Summerall, NFL player and Sports Broadcaster, died at the age of 82.  A recovering alcoholic, Summerall had a liver transplant in April 2004. The lifesaving surgery was necessary even after 12 years of sobriety.  After a family intervention in 1992, Summerall began weeping tears of regret and reluctantly agreed to enter rehab at the Betty Ford Clinic. It was a decision that changed his life. At the clinic, he not only found freedom from alcohol. He also encountered the grace of God.  "My thirst for alcohol was being replaced by a thirst for knowledge about faith and God," Summerall wrote. "I began reading the Bible regularly at the treatment center, and it became a part of my daily routine. The more I read, the more I felt a void in my life that needed to be filled."  Summerall often shared his testimony with Christian groups and told his story when speaking before other organizations.

My other hero, George Beverly Shea, died at the ripe old age of 104.  He escaped a life of toil in an insurance office to become a Grammy-winning gospel singer and a longtime associate of Billy Graham, appearing before an estimated 200 million people at Graham revival meetings worldwide.  His resonant baritone voice was most identified with the song “How Great Thou Art”.  He was a great man that many Christian musicians looked up to and whose lifestyle they emulated.  I only wish I could become half the man these two godly men were.  They impacted millions of people all over the world for Christ.