Sunday, September 27, 2009

Jello Jigglers

If you were in either of our morning worship services today, you heard the illustration about Jonah and the Jello Jigglers. I am linking the blog post from that day. Click HERE to go there.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Friday, August 28, 2009


On Sunday, August 28th, 2005, First Baptist Church had a normal church service. It would be the last normal church service we would have for a while. As a matter of fact, I would say that our church was NEVER the same.

On that night, one of our members was at the church when a couple came to the door of the gym and knocked seeking shelter for their family from traveling. They were from New Orleans, and Hurricane Katrina was making a beeline for that part of the Louisiana coast. The church member called me at home and said that she was going to allow the couple to spend the night in the gym. I went up and met with the couple and told them that we would be happy for them to rest in our facility, but that we weren't equipped as a shelter. You see, there were several Red Cross shelters in our area and LOTS more north of Vidalia in places like Monroe and Shreveport. We were able to secure a couple of air mattresses for the family and some bed linens. We were happy to do our part to make this evacuee family comfortable for the night. But the job was not over...

While we were getting that family situated, another car pulled into the parking lot. Another family got out and wanted a place to stay. I didn't know if we could find another bed, but they were insistent. I remember what they said (in a pretty strong cajun accent)... "We're so tired, we don't need a bed. If you'll just let us lay on the floor and sleep, we'll be SO appreciative." We couldn't do that, so we called around and found another couple of air mattresses for the couple to sleep. They WERE appreciative! Another couple...another car...another family... Before morning, we were housing over 110 people in our gym. To this day, I don't know where they all came from. I don't know how they found our church. All I know is that it was our privilege to serve these hurting people.

Before long, there were about 25 church members at the gym bringing mattresses (like real ones...not the blow-up kind), extra clothes, food, drinks, supplies.... Basically anything that could be needed. I was amazed as I saw FBCV come together in a way that it never had before to help these people. The next morning, as people began to awake, we realized that they needed something to eat. I think that morning, somebody went and got LOTS of donuts to feed people. That would be the worst meal our "friends" would eat in the time they were with us. By lunchtime, we had a FULL-ON SOUTHERN BAPTIST POTLUCK going on! It was amazing! By the looks on their faces, I think some of those people had NEVER seen food like that. (If there's one thing a Baptist church can's throw an "eatin' meetin'.")

For three weeks, it was our privilege to serve those wonderful people. They thought we were doing them a favor, but it was us who received the blessing. They thought we were serving them, but in many ways, they were serving us.

Some stories from that time...

One couple was made up of an un-believing husband, daughter, and son-in-law--and a believing wife and son. The wife told us later that all the way out of St. Bernard Parish, the husband kept asking his wife, "Where's your God now? Why won't some of these churches open their doors and help us? Where's all of those people that you say are so good?" She said that she had come to a point of thinking some of the same questions and looked up to ask God and that's when she saw our church! We saw that son-in-law and daughter make decisions to follow Christ in the time they were here. We also saw the hard exterior of that husband start to crack as we just continued to serve that family (don't know if he ever made a decision for Jesus, but I know he was closer when he left than when he came). They stayed with us for quite some time. We threw a baby shower for the daughter. We ended up putting them in a house right down the road from the street where they stayed until they could return to their home.

One lady was there with her daughter. You could tell by one look at the lady that she had a rough life. A conversation would only confirm that suspicion. She had dabbled in wicca, voodoo, occult, and just about anything else you could imagine. She also had a rough background with drugs and alcohol. She dressed very inappropriately. Her daughter was really messed up. It was a tough situation. I remember something she said after she started attending church services AND Sunday School. She said, "I've never had a group of people treat me like you all have treated me." You see, some of our ladies adopted this young lady. They took her shopping for some appropriate clothes. They tried to help her get a job. Most of all they just prayed for her. I saw her the other day in Wal-Mart. I would love to tell you that she's still in church. I can't say that (she may be, but not in our church,) but what I can say is that the evil that lurked in her eyes is gone! It's been replaced by love because she felt the power of that love in her life.

I remember our first Wednesday night after our shelter opened. We announced to everyone that we were going to have a service and they were welcome to come. We didn't force anyone to come, but we certainly welcomed them. I was kind of disappointed when we started the service and only one of our evacuees was in the Sanctuary. However, about ten minutes later, the doors opened and another couple filed in and sat on the back row. Several minutes later, the doors opened again and an entire family sat on the back row. Before the end of the service, about 15 of our evacuees had joined us for worship and prayer. Compare that to the last Sunday that we had our shelter. Not only were almost ALL of our evacuees in our church, but they weren't sitting on the back row anymore. No, they were sitting among our church members....the ones that they had learned to call their "family."

It was a sad day when we had to close our shelter. We announced on week two that we would be closing on week three. Several of the local Red Cross shelters had emptied out, so there was room for the people in our shelter. Even our evacuees had dwindled by some of them going home and some of them seeking a more permanent solution. I remember telling them that we would not allow them to go unless they had a place to go to. That meant that we had to work with them individually to find either another shelter or (for many of them) a home. One by one, we would pray for each evacuee and then send them off to what would be their more permanent dwelling.

Some would think that the FBCV shelter was for the evacuees. I would disagree. I think our shelter was for us. I think God allowed us to host those wonderful people in our church to show us how to love show us how to reach out show us how much HE loved US!

You see, we were serving those people because they had no one else to serve them. In the same way, Jesus came to serve us because He knew that there was no other way for us to get to Him. He provided us shelter from the storms of this life. (Not that we don't get rained on...but we always have a refuge.) He provided us sustenance for our souls. He provided us rest for our weary backs. He provided for us what we couldn't provide for ourselves. And when there are those times that the world begins to ask us difficult questions about our God and we begin to ask those questions ourselves...let us look up to heaven and see the's the Cross! That's the answer! The simple fact that Jesus came to live on this earth to redeem us from ourselves and our sin...that's the answer. And THAT is worth remembering...

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Sunday, August 23, 2009

We're moving...

If you haven't heard, the Glenn family is moving to Florida. This is a bittersweet moment for us. We're VERY excited about the new possibilities at Stetson Baptist Church. God is moving there in a mighty way and we're so excited about be a part of that movement. However, this also means that we're going to be leaving some REALLY great people at FBC Vidalia. This church is special. God has done some miraculous things here in the last 7 years. We've seen so many barriers overcome. We've seen people come and make life-changing decisions here that 7 years ago would have never darkened the doors of our church. We've seen God do more than we could have ever asked or imagined. And, this morning, I had to say goodbye to the people of this church. That was not easy! I didn't shed tears this morning, but that does not mean that I haven't shed some tears over this decision. This has been tough. However, following God's will always requires a step of faith, and that's what we're taking.

However, we've been confirmed over and over in this decision. So it's a step of faith with a whole lot of promises to back it up. Stetson Baptist Church has so much promise. I believe that God is going to do a WONDERFUL work in that place. And I, just like here, will be able to stand on the sideline and cheer the work of our GREAT GOD on. What a job!!!!!

Anyway, there's something interesting that's been happening today on mine and Nicki's Facebook page. FBCV members have been sending open letters to the members of Stetson and Stetson members have been sending open letters to the members of FBCV. It's been so cool to see these two churches that had never heard of each other get together. Kind of reminds me of what the CHURCH is all about. It's not about Stetson Baptist Church or First Baptist of Vidalia or any other church for that matter. It's about THE CHURCH. The one that Jesus established. The one that Jesus gave His life for. The one that Jesus loves and will one day return to take home. Let's rejoice in the furthering of THE CHURCH. Let's do everything we can to grow THE CHURCH. Let's support THE CHURCH. Let's love THE CHURCH.

Come to think of it, we're not moving (churches) we're just moving addresses. Such a cool thought!

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Sanctuary Pictures and Visitors

Back in May, Nicki posted the before and after pictures of our Sanctuary Renovation Project on our family blog. If you have not seen the transformation, you need to check it out. Click HERE to see that post.

For the past several years, we have been blessed to have many visitors on a given Sunday. If you were present last Sunday, then you realized what a great responsibility we have as a church. When I dismissed all visitors so we could move into a business session, I was amazed to see the people that moved. There had to be 100+ people there that are not part of our FBC family.

What are you doing to reach those people? What are you doing to make them feel loved and cared for? What are you doing to show the love of Jesus to them? They are coming now. If their only encounter at FBC was with you, would they come back?

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Sunday, July 26, 2009


That's how old my little boy will be in 32 minutes! How can that even be true?? How can my little boy be that old? Ok....enough for sounding like an old-man dad...

Here's the thing. I LOVE my little boy. More than I ever thought I could. What do I love about him, well let me give you a list. The other night I put Jonah down for the night and he wanted me to sing him a song. I asked him what song and he chose the classic lullaby, "The A-B-C's" here's my list.

Asking--Jonah loves to ask questions and I love that he's inquisitive.

Beginning--I love the new things that he does. It seems like something new every week if not every day!

Chutes and Ladders--Jonah recently discovered this game. He doesn't really get the concept, but he loves to go up and down the ladders and slides, and he loves to fold and unfold the gameboard.

Dog--My little boy has fallen in love with our little dog Max. I love that the one that took most attention away from Max has become Max's primary source of attention. It's so fun to see them together.

Eggs--Pancakes and scrambled eggs (we have this for at least one meal probably three times a week)

Funder--That's "Thunder" for all of you who don't speak Three-year-old. Jonah yells "Funder" everytime he hears thunder (or a car door closing, or a loud truck, or...)!

Grace--We don't call it "Grace" around here, but "B" for blessing is already taken. We get Jonah to say the blessing everytime he will because it reminds us of just how lucky we are to have him!!! Oh...and no "God is Great" prayers around Jonah. Oh no...he's a full on Thank you for....In Jesus Name, AMEN!! (The "amen" is always the loudest part.)

Hospital--Everytime we pass the hospital in Natchez, Jonah tells the story about when he was spinning around and fell and hurt his eye on the coffee table. Then we had to go to the hospital to see Dr. Farmer and get his eye fixed. It's a classic Jonah story! He has an unbelievable memory.

Inclusion--Ok...he definitely doesn't know this word, but it's what he does! Nobody is left out with Jonah. He loves EVERYBODY! I love that about him.

Jonah Daniel Gwen--That's how he introduces himself.

Ketchup--Oh my goodness. EVERYTHING needs ketchup. He put ketchup on pancakes and syrup!! Ugh!!

Lammy--That's his favorite stuffed animal. AND HE LOVES HIM!!! We've got three identical lammies just in case.

Movies--Jonah loves movies and he has quite a collection. You should see him flip through deciding which movie he wants to watch next.

Neck--We play a game where I pick him up and tell him to look up at the sky. He looks up and I give him kisses right where your neck meets your body. He giggles hysterically! It makes my heart smile!

Ocean--Jonah's never seen the ocean, but that just reminds me of all of the experiences that I still get to have with my little boy.

Please--We're working on getting Jonah to ask rather than tell. Please is the key word.

Quiet--If you've ever heard Jonah say, "We have to be very...very quiet..." You'll understand why this makes my heart swell.

Radiant--Have you seen his smile? Nuff said...

Swimming--Jonah's learning to swim and I'm so proud of him.

Tickling--I love that little boy's laughter when we tickle to the point that he is almost out of breath. It makes me smile just thinking about it.

Understand--Sometimes I have to be away. Jonah is so understanding and he's always glad when I get back home.

Vitamin--Jonah gets a Flintstone vitamin every night and if you don't remind him to chew it up, you'll notice 30 minutes later that he still has it in his mouth. Just one of those quirky things that is SO Jonah...

Whiner's Mat--We've just started this, but everytime Jonah whines, he has to sit on the whiner's mat. The other day, he was a little fussy and put himself on the whiner's mat! What a great kid!

X-tra hugs and kisses (need I say more??)

Years--looking forward to what my little boy will accomplish in the years to come. My love has grown for him exponentially over the last three years. How can that increase? I'm so glad I've got years to find out.

Zebra--Ok...this is only slightly about Jonah, because it was one of the first animals that I really remember him KNOWING what it was. But I think he really likes zebras. I know I do...I mean, what is it a black horse with white stripes or a white horse with black stripes. Who knows? Oh well...

Next time won't you sing with me...Happy Birthday, Buddy!!!

Saturday, July 25, 2009

My little boy!

Jonah turns three Monday. I love being his dad!

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

God of this City

Someone asked me today to put the "GOD OF THIS CITY" video on the blog. This video was used for "GRACE DAY" last year. Steve Wilson and I went around Vidalia and took all of these pictures then I edited a video to be shown using a video I had seen on the Passion website.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

7/12/09 Video of Service

Our service last Sunday was so powerful as we talked about the power of a changed life. The sermon is broken down into three segments on YouTube with the final being the cardboard testimonies.

Friday, July 3, 2009


Ok...68 YEARS! That number has resonated with me over the last few days. Let me share with you why...

It's pretty common for me to go into hospital rooms. I usually am in one at least twice each week (sometimes many more.) But, this week was a little different. You see...Saturday, I got a call that a church member, Colmetta Myers, was not doing well. She has been battling leukemia for several months. The last few times that I had seen Ms. Colmetta, I could tell that she was really having some difficulties. Something about the call last Saturday made me think that this hospital stay may not be the same as the ones in the past.

I went to see Ms. Colmetta when we got back in town, and my suspicions were confirmed. She was not doing well. She was having a great deal of difficulty. I could tell that she was getting much weaker. I went back every day last week. And on Thursday night, I got the call about 10:45 p.m. Ms. Colmetta had breathed her very last strained breath.

I went over to the hospital to meet with the family and try to comfort them. When I arrived, most of the family hadn't gotten there yet, but not long after, Mr. Jimmy Myers, Colmetta's husband of 68 years, walked in. He stood straight and proud and handled this situation like only he could. I'm just so glad that he could.

You see, three years ago, Mr. Jimmy Myers at the young age of 85 made a profession of faith! Most people would tell you that if someone doesn't make a decision to follow Jesus by the time they turn 18 then the chances are pretty slim that they ever will. When a person turns 25, the chances are even smaller. Even smaller at 40...55...65...etc. But I'll never forget the day Ms. Colmetta called me and told me that her husband, whom she never thought would make that decision, was asking questions about what it meant to accept Jesus into his heart. I made a bee-line over to their house and found a very strong, hard-working...humbled man waiting to accept Jesus into his heart. I hardly said a word. He basically explained to me what it meant to become a Christian. I've heard that the greatest distance in the world is the distance between the head and the heart. On that day, I literally saw that distance disappear before my very eyes, while the knowledge that Mr. Jimmy had in his head exploded into his heart! He and I prayed right then and there, and I witnessed the entrance of Jesus into an 85 year old heart. And just a few weeks later, I had the opportunity to baptize him! What an experience!!!

On Thursday night, Mr. Jimmy said goodbye to his wife of 68 years. Let that sink in for a minute...........

But because of a decision that Jimmy Myers made three years ago...there will come a day when he'll say hello again! WOW!

Tuesday, June 9, 2009


I'm a terrible blogger! It's not that I don't have thoughts, it's that I don't write them down! However, I've been challenged to do better. (By the way, I also hate bloggers who start every post with an explanation of why they haven't been blogging I'm one of them!)

Anyway, what has been going on in my life? The Sanctuary has opened! That's a great new beginning in the life of FBC Vidalia. The moment that we've been waiting for has finally happened! First service was a little awkward. Second service was pretty formal because it was our "Grand Opening." Third service (this past Sunday) finally felt natural. I'm so glad to be back in our sanctuary. I'm so glad to be out of our gym. I'm so glad the project turned out as well as it did. If you want to see pictures, go over to our family blog and check it out here. We are so proud. Our committee did a wonderful job of moving us through this project.

Another thing...we've got a new worship pastor. If you know us and if you know First Vidalia, then you know that Joshua Roberts left us back in November to continue ministry at a church in Pearl, MS. Because of the turmoil that our church was in (sanctuary renovation project underway, meeting in the gym, etc...), I made the difficult decision to carry the church through by filling the interim worship pastor position. Yep...that meant that I was both leading the singing portion of our worship service as well as preaching. Can you say, TIRED?!? Every Sunday afternoon I would just go home and crash (if that was an option due to meetings and such). I had a D.Min class back in December and a fellow student told me that singing and speaking use different vocal muscles. He said that preaching usually puts quite a strain on your "speaking muscles" and singing usually puts a strain on your "singing muscles." However, as long as you're not tiring both sets of muscles out, you should be ok...well, I pushed both sets to their limit. Enter...Stephen Powell!! Stephen and his wife, Meghan, have been with us since May 24th and boy am I glad!! As a matter of fact, I think my body reacted too. I made it through the 6 month gruel of having to both sing and preach, but as soon as Stephen got here, I got a severe sore throat. One that I still haven't quite kicked. Anyway, I'm glad to have Stephen here. He came in under enormous pressure! We were moving into the sanctuary on his first week. His first Sunday was our first Sunday in the new sanctuary. He has had to deal with a lot of upheaval in his first few weeks at FBCV, but I'm very proud of the way he's handled the pressure! Welcome...Stephen and Meghan!

Another thing (a BIG thing!!). I've been married for 10 years! On May 15 of this year, Nicki and I "celebrated" our 10th wedding anniversary. I say celebrated in quotes because we went to Monroe for our celebration. What fun!!! Well, at least we were together! It was great getting away and reflecting on the last 10 years. God has brought us through so much! Seminary...Erlanger...Vidalia (Worship Pastor)...Vidalia (Pastor).... Who knows what God has in store for the next 10 years!!! I can't wait. I'm just so glad I have such a loving and supportive person standing by my side!

Finally (or the last thing I can think about right now)...Jonah is potty trained!!! Wow! I never thought I would say that. Nicki and I had talked about how important it was for him to accomplish this feat before school next year, but I never thought it would be so easy. How did we do it? We've found a great method. Ready for it? Listen carefully...Drive to Meadville (that's right, Meadville, MS), Get out of the car at the gas station (you know the one), put your child in Mimi's car, drive away... That's it! Nicki's mom accomplished the whole thing in ONE DAY!!! We dropped Jonah off on Sunday and he was potty trained on Monday! He had one accident on that Monday and hasn't had one since (Monday was two weeks!!!) He's even sleeping in "big boy unnerwears." (A couple of days ago, he called them "panties." I put a stop to that pretty quickly!!!) I'm so proud. Now, we just need to teach him to make his own food, drive, and work for a living...our job will be OVER!!! Ha! I love being a part of these milestones in his life!

Anyway, that's it for now. I'll try to be more consistent with this blogging thing!

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

It's great to be a Daddy...

My little boy is 2 1/2 years old today! (That's 30 months for all of you month counters!!) It's hard to believe that two and a half years ago they put this little bundled up child in my arms and said, "Here you go, Daddy." I never knew a feeling like that!

I'm so glad that God has given me an opportunity to be Daddy to this little boy. I asked Nicki the other day..."When do the 'terrible two's' kick in?" She said I should be very quiet when I ask that question. Well...I don't know anything about the "terrible two's" so I thought we may be already in the thick of it and I was convinced that it wasn't that bad! Honestly, I think our child is an angel from heaven! (Or maybe we're just that good of parents! HA!)

All that to say, I'm so blessed to be this little boy's dad. What a joy to know that God has allowed me to raise this child. God, give me the strength and wisdom to do a job with this responsibility that will make You, my Heavenly Father, proud of me! I want to be a Daddy to Jonah the way God has been a Father to me!

I love you, my little Jonah-Bug!

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Been a while's been a while!  I know.  This is not really my giftedness, but I do want to share with the people of "Blog-World" some of the things that are on my heart.  AND, Nicki and I made goals for each other for 2009 and one of her is for me to post something on my blog at least twice a month. (So what you're seeing now is the competitive side of me trying to live up to expectations!!)

Read something recently that talked about hospitality in church.  The idea was from the perspective of a worship leader, but it could be applied to the church as a whole.  The thought was that someone who is leading in worship should be very hospitable in their leadership.  That means that worship will become less about the leader and more about those he or she is leading. That's for example.....If someone has an unbelievable voice and is singing to his heart's content on stage...that may not constitute worship leadership.  Instead, that person may have to mask his singing ability to keep the congregation engaged in the worship experience.  Think about it...most of the best worship leaders in our world today are not the most talented individuals.  You can mostly see this when some contemporary artist decides to step into the worship world (probably to catch the wave of the current movement)...usually a very awkward album. does this apply to a pastor?  I have to be sure that my ministry is to the people, for the people, and with the people.  Sometimes I can get so theological that I go right over people's heads.  I have to be sure that I'm communicating to the individuals that God has brought to our worship service rather than just amusing myself with what I've learned from a particular passage or subject. does this apply to our church?  It means that we exist for the outsider.  One of the travesty's of church is that sometimes we get so wrapped up in our own pleasure that we forget that we have guests that we're trying to reach.  And even more than that, we have people who haven't darkened the doors of our church that we're trying to reach.  How are we going to reach them?  By doing what makes the longtime church member happy?  By making the pastors happy?  I think not. Outsiders are going to be reached by being engaged with the gospel.  We must show people how much God loves them and how much he wants a relationship with them.  What better way to do that than to allow God to engage their lives through worship and stand back to see what happens after that.

This Sunday, I pray that the people that come to our church will think more about others than about themselves.  Who are the most important people in the room?  They're probably the people that have been there the least amount of time.  May we put all of our effort into reaching them with the Love of God.