Stuff and Such 21.8


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Pondering Hebrews 13 – I love the benediction that is found at the end of the Book of Hebrews…

Now may the God of peace who brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus, the great shepherd of the sheep, by the blood of the eternal covenant,  equip you with everything good that you may do his will, working in us that which is pleasing in his sight, through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory forever and ever. Amen.

I have been teaching Hebrews for the last 3+ months to college students. It has been an awesome book to ponder and to be reminded of the great truth that “Jesus is better” than anything this world has to offer.

Cabelands Trail to Eno Quarry Hike – We had a great hike with friends down to the Eno Quarry and then along the Eno River. Such a gorgeous day to be outside. We have loved our weekend hikes and it has been a great time to get to know people better.

The Zoo and Ezra’s Birthday – We spent last Tuesday at the Ashboro Zoo with Ezra who was celebrating her 2nd birthday. It had probably been 25 years since i had been to the zoo. It has changed a bunch. Lots of fun animals to look at but, alas, they do not have any hippos – my faves. Then Saturday we gathered at Moreene Park for a big birthday celebration with friends and family.

The Boys – When we left the Zoo, the boys (Grayson, Bowen, and Miller) came back to Durham with us and stayed until Saturday. Christy and Chad had their annual Friend’s Retreat in the mountains so Nona and Pop Pop got to have some grandparent time. We had lots of fun that included a hike on Eagle Trail that started at West point on the Eno and also a lot of bouncy bouncy fun. We had recently invested in a trampoline and the boys spent hours enjoying it. And from time to time Pop Pop joined in the fun as well.

A Cartoon – I am very aware that I am a much better communicator using the written word rather than the spoken word. I have a tendency to make assumptions and not seek clarity which sometimes results in unintended results. This cartoon well illustrates this.


Stuff and Such 21.7


Disaster Relief – Last weekend I spent two days down in New Bern with 8 friends working on a house that was ruined from Hurricane Florence a few years ago. Baptist on Mission has a great Disaster Relief presence in the area and lots of houses that still need work. If anyone wants a great service experience I can hook you up for 1 day, 1 week, 1 month or anywhere in between. No experience needed.

Lots of great hikes – Linda and I took 3 awesome hikes with grandkids to some of our favorite trails and then hiked with some good friends to a place that we had not explored before. The weather has been perfect for hiking and the Eno River is still running swift from all the rain which makes it fun to watch.


Facebook Live Pondering – On Wednesday nights our church is doing a Facebook Live Study and pondering our way through great books in the New Testament one chapter at a time. Currently we are in the Book of Hebrews. I was not scheduled to teach Wednesday but got called on that afternoon because of an illness. I am still getting used to speaking to a computer but little by little I am getting better at it. I muchly enjoyed pondering Hebrews 10 and looking at a bunch of the “LET US” passages in the book. If interested you can checkout the post HERE and click on Hebrews 10.


Stuff and Such 21.6



Birthday Parties – Christy and Chad and the boys stayed with us Friday night and we celebrated her 35th birthday with her favorite (and my favorite) cake. And then on Saturday we were at Scott and Mary’s house in Raleigh to celebrate Haddon’s first birthday with all the grandkids.

The Honeysuckle at Lakewood – Linda and I tried a new restaurant that we really enjoyed. The Honeysuckle had great food. We got a burger and a brisket sandwich that were both fabulous. But what I really like is that they opened in an area of town that is NOT economically vibrant. Their presence will hopefully attract other businesses and stimulate the economy of the Lakewood area.

A Downtown Walk – On Sunday afternoon, 12 of our friends plus us (I wish I had remembered to take a picture) met up at The Farmer’s Market parking lot and spent 2 hours walking around downtown. It was a great way to get some steps in as we trekked to Duke’s East campus. Went by Brightleaf. Down Main St. Over to American Tobacco. Past the Durham Bulls Ballpark and DPAC. Up to The Parlour for ice cream and then back down to The Farmer’s Market area. It has been awesome to watch how downtown Durham has been transformed since we moved to town 27 years ago. Lots of great restaurants, hotels, and family fun destinations.




Stuff and Such 21.5


Linda and I traveled to Charlotte last week for a quick visit with Christy, Chad, Grayson, Bowen, and Miller. I had a great time playing baseball with the kids and some of their cul-de-sac friends. I was reminded of how much I miss playing the game. I was also reminded of how careful a 62 year old has to be to keep from hurting himself when trying to keep up with a bunch of youngsters.

We also had a chance to go visit my brother who has just moved to the Charlotte area. He works for American Airlines and was relocated from St Louis. A lot of people think we look alike. Personally, I don’t see the resemblance. What thinkest thou?

Every year for Valentine’s Day our staff at Ridgecrest Baptist Church hosts a Valentine’ Banquet. This year was very different – we usually have about 250 people in our Gym but this year we did it virtually. One of the traditions is for our staff to do something goofy and funny. This year The Staff Infection (that is what we call ourselves) did a Sync or Swim skit. If interested you can find it at the 18:15 mark on the video below.






Stuff and Such 21.4

A Book: The Dynasty  by Jeff Benedict – This book was recently recommended to me and I must say I have not been disappointed. It details the backstory of how the New England Patriots dynasty came about. One reviewer said this: “The Dynasty is Jeff Benedict’s latest masterpiece. . . . It’s a relationship book, it’s a football book, it’s a business book. . . . I was surprised at the level of detail in Robert Kraft’s quotes and his willingness to allow [the book] to go to some pretty painful places. . . . If you love football the way I do, you’ll just eat up these stories.”  It is a good time to be reading it with the Super Bowl coming up and Tom Brady making yet another appearance.

An Encouragement and A Story: My friend Wayne Alford sent me an email last week that encouraged my soul. Our pastor is currently preaching through the book of Colossians. When Wayne turned to Colossians in his Bible he came across some notes from a sermon that I preached at Ridgecrest in July of 1993. It was the very first sermon I preached at Ridgecrest and did so in view of a call to be the student pastor. He reminded me of the outline of the message and of a story I told called “Remember the Duck.” I went back and read it and it was good enough to re-share here:

Remember the Duck

A little boy visiting his grandparents was given his first slingshot. He practiced in the woods, but he could never hit his target. As he came back to Grandma’s back yard, he spied her pet duck. On an impulse he took aim and let fly. The stone hit, and the duck fell dead. The boy panicked.

Desperately he hid the dead duck in the woodpile, only to look up and see his sister watching. Sally had seen it all, but she said nothing. After lunch that day, Grandma said, “Sally, let’s wash the dishes.”

But Sally said, “Johnny told me he wanted to help in the kitchen today. Didn’t you, Johnny?” And she whispered to him, “Remember the duck!” So Johnny did the dishes.

Later Grandpa asked if the children wanted to go fishing. Grandma said, “I’m sorry, but I need Sally to help make supper.” Sally smiled and said, “That’s all taken care of. Johnny wants to do it.” Again she whispered, “Remember the duck.” Johnny stayed while Sally went fishing.

After several days of doing both his chores and Sally’s, finally he couldn’t stand it. He confessed to Grandma that he’d killed the duck.

“I know, Johnny,” she said, giving him a hug. “I was standing at the window and saw the whole thing. Because I love you, I forgave you. I wondered how long you would let Sally make a slave of you.”


A Memory and a Quote: I wrote a blog post on Saturday about Zermatt Switzerland – one of my most favorite places in the world. In the post I talked about our “Rocks of Remembrance” story and a day worth re-living. It was fun to hike down that mountain again in my mind and it reminded me of a favorite quote…

Don’t collect possessions. Collect experiences!

Here are two questions that I will just leave sitting here: 1) What is a day that you would like to re-live? 2) What are some of your favorite experiences that you have collected over the years?


A Song: Behold Our God by Sovereign Grace Music








Stuff and Such 21.3

Several Blogs/Podcasts – Sam Thomas, who leads a Connect Group at our church, wrote THIS on “Putting Jesus First in 2021.”

And if you are not familiar with “The Briefing” by Albert Mohler it is worth checking out. It is a a daily analysis of news and events from a Christian worldview. It is a podcast but HERE is a transcript of today’s analysis on “How Did Abortion Become Thinkable in American Culture?”

A Book Excerpt – “The problem with deception is that you don’t know you are being deceived. It simply feels as if you’re right. Deception feels incredibly rational. Idols function like spiritual forgeries, imitating God’s character but distorting it. That’s why theology is not merely for people in seminary. It’s important for all God’s people to know who God is so we can spot counterfeit gods when they approach our lives.

Idols give promises and warnings, and both the promises and the warnings are lies. Giving in to these promises will disillusion you, and heeding the warnings will harm you. False gods create false law, false definitions of success and failure, false definitions of value and stigma. Idols define good and evil contrary to God’s definition. They deceive us.” ( Beautiful Resistance by Jon Tyson)

Two Questions – At the end of my pastor’s message yesterday he asked two questions that are worth pondering:

  1. What impact has the gospel had on your life?
  2. What impact has God made in others through you because of the gospel?

Bernie Memes – When I first started seeing them pop up last week, my first thought was that “people have too much time on their hands.” Then I became one of those people.. Here are two that I created:

Two Verses From Hebrews 3 – Many of you know that I am currently pondering my way through the Book of Hebrews. These verses cut to the heart and have great application: 12Take care, brothers, lest there be in any of you an evil, unbelieving heart, leading you to fall away from the living God. 13 But exhort one another every day, as long as it is called “today,” that none of you may be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin. 

Another Hike: Yesterday our Sunday hike started in downtown Hillsborough at the Weaver Street Market and took us via the Riverwalk to the Occoneechee Speedway loop and back. It was almost 4 miles. Lots of history at the Speedway. My friend Tony Fernandez who hiked with us told me about this special on PeacockTV  that features Dale Earnhardt Jr and Richard Petty that recount some of the history of the track.








Stuff and Such 21.2

A Podcast – I’m listening to a podcast by Mark Driscoll. He is doing a sermon series called Pray Like Jesus. In the first message of the series he talked a lot about how our “father wounds” often contribute to an anemic prayer life. Worth listening to.

A Quote – As I pondered Hebrews 2 this past week I came across this quote from William Barclay that is spot on:

There are few people who deliberately and in a moment turn their backs on God; there are many who day by day drift farther and farther away from him. There are not many who in one moment of time commit some disastrous sin; there are many who almost imperceptibly involve themselves in some situation and suddenly awake to find that they have ruined life for themselves and broken someone else’s heart. We must be continually on the alert against the peril of the drifting life.


Time With Family – Our kids and grandkids were at at our house for the weekend. We played and picnicked at Duke Park which has some super duper slides on which I was part of a cousin train. Christy and Chad and Linda and I had our first Escape Room experience. It was really fun but WE DID NOT ESCAPE. In our defense, we chose a really hard challenge that only about 10% of groups escape from – and we were only a few clues away when our time ran out. And then on Saturday we celebrated Bowen’s 6th birthday. He is an awesome young man who loves to play and have boy fun but also has a very tender heart that looks out for and cares for other people – which he does fabulously with his younger cousins.

A Hike – We have gotten in the habit of taking a Sunday afternoon hike on most Sundays and exploring some of the great trails in and around Durham. This past Sunday we went to Occoneechee State Park and hiked the trail around Occoneechee Mountain.







Stuff and Such 21.1

A Podcast – I’ve recently been listening to a podcast by Mark Batterson from National Community Church. Here are a few choice quotes from his message on January 3, 2021.

“You are a unique expression of God’s imagination.”

“When you have a setback you do not take a step back because God is already preparing you for a comeback.”

A Book – I’ve been reading a book by J. T. English called Deep Discipleship. He says this on p.9: “I believe it is time for the church to ask some serious questions about our shared disease and how we can begin to create depth that might lead to breadth.Perhaps the church should start thinking about what it means to go deeper with fewer instead of going wider with many. What if our cultural moment is inviting the church to embody the depth and substance of the Christian faith, not a shallow spirituality that appeals to the masses.” 

A Restaurant – Linda and I had our first take out dining experience at Spanglish in downtown Durham on Saturday. Very yummy. We got the Old Havana Ropa Vieja and 3 Empanadas. We will go back.

A Netflix TV Show – If you have not yet seen The Chosen it is very much worth watching. It is a show about the life of Jesus as seen through the eyes of those who knew Him. Very well done. It takes some license with some of the things left unsaid in the gospels but creates a narrative that invites you to want to know Jesus better.

A Cartoon







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