Friday, December 25, 2015

12 Days (Day 12)

Day 12

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas!

I hope everyone has a great day today!  It is the day most Christians celebrate the birth of our Savior!  We don't know the exact day that Jesus born and that is probably a good thing!  But, like Easter, it is a day that the Christian can use to remember what the Lord had done for us!  As for me, I am thankful for pecan pie, I think I will have one more piece with Blue Bell Ice Cream on top!

Pause this evening to remember the greatest gift ever given, "for God so loved the world that HE GAVE his only begotten son..."

God bless,
Bro. Michael

Thursday, December 24, 2015

12 Days (Day 11)

Day 11

Christmas Eve!

Yes, it is Christmas Eve and it should be a great day!  The sun is shining through the window here at my house this morning.  I have a hot cup of coffee and am looking forward to just relaxing and enjoying the family today.  I know that I have a lot to be thankful for and will always thank the Good Lord for my blessings.

Christmas Eve, to some, is about anxiety and waiting.  People are anxious about the last minute gifts or about some family situations.  Believe me, I know about those family situations!  But most of the time our anxiety level is self-inflicted.  Matthew 6 is a good read today if you are struggling with anxiety issues.  Philippians 4 is another good one to read also.

The waiting is just about being patient!  Waiting for Christmas Day is fun and awesome all at the same time!  Being patient is hard for some, but it is a necessary part of life.  While we are working on being patient, realize that you can help your kids learn patience by not always giving in when they are griping or complaining or fussing.  Of course, they might be learning some of those things from us!

I pray that your day will be stress free and your anxiety level will be low.  I pray that patience will rule the day and we will learn to pass these valuable lessons down to our kids.  It will be one of the best gifts you could ever give to them!

 But let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing.
 (James 1:3–4)

God Bless,
Bro. Michael

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

12 Days (Day 10)

DAY 10

Merry Christmas!

I have a great memory of the past, but I can't remember what I am supposed to do tomorrow!  Thank the Lord for my calendar!  It is that electronic one that can remind you of upcoming events!  I remember a lot of great Christmas mornings.  I remember the excitement of getting up finding some presents underneath our Christmas tree.  

We carried on the tradition with out kids, we tweaked some traditions and came up with some new ones for our kids.  It was always exciting to see their excitement as they got to open gifts!  One of the lessons Karen and I learned as kids, our parents saw to this, was the lesson of gratitude.  Taylor, Caleb and Alli may not have always received what they might have originally wanted, but we tried to teach them gratitude.

Life does not always give us what we want, but gratitude is an attitude.  It is our choice to be grateful.  I pray that you keep your excitement concerning Christmas and are grateful no matter what you receive or don't receive this time of the year!  We may be discouraged, we may be disappointed, but remember there are so many things to be grateful for this time of the year!

God Bless,
Bro. Michael

12 Days (Day 9)



We had a wonderful visit yesterday with our missionary and his family.  They are Greg Upperman and his wife Danni and their two wonderful kids, Abbie and Hayden and Abbie's friend Walker.  They were able to join us for supper and our Tuesday evening church service at Sharon.

Even though we have known them for several years, we are excited about getting to know them better and working with them as they labor in Starkville, MS.  They are doing a fantastic work and we are praying that God will continue to guide them along their journey.

As we think about Christmas time, there were some missionaries who didn't plan on being missionaries but God interrupted their plans and they went everywhere telling everyone about the birth of the Messiah!

And when they had seen it, they made known abroad the saying which was told them concerning this child. 18 And all they that heard it wondered at those things which were told them by the shepherds.
 (Luke 2:17–18)

May we remember that we are all missionaries this time of the year!  Don't forget to tell someone about the Christ-child today!

God Bless,
Bro. Michael

Monday, December 21, 2015

12 Days (Day 8)


Merry Christmas

Yesterday was an amazing day at Sharon!  We not only had a wonderful cantata, but we had two young ladies come forward to profess Jesus Christ as their Savior and desiring to follow the Lord in baptism.  This was a surprise to this pastor, guess my faith was small!  I love those kind of surprises!

Christmas is about surprises!  There are usually gifts that are given that surprise.  There are usually acts of kindness that surprise.  The acts of kindness are usually the best kind of all!  Sometimes God has a surprise for us.  We never know how He may be working in the background in someone's life.  It is my prayer that God has a great surprise waiting on you this Christmas season.  

If He doesn't do something by Christmas, don't worry, he doesn't operate by our time table, He operates by His own time table!  Isn't it great to know and to realize that it's all up to HIM!  We don't always get the things we want when we want and that also is what Christmas is about.   God sent His son, not to give us what we want, but what we need.  If you know HIM as your personal Savior, I guarantee you that he has a surprise waiting for you and it will be a surprise WHEN you get it too!

God Bless,
Bro. Michael 

Sunday, December 20, 2015

12 Days (Day 7)

Day 7

Merry Christmas

Today is Sunday and it is a very exciting day at Sharon MBC!  Today is our Christmas cantata and it should be a wonderful day!  My hope and prayer is that you are planning on worshiping your Lord and Savior today!  

I am looking forward to bringing a short message after the cantata and then tonight relaxing and enjoying hearing the Christmas story through the hearts and minds of our young people.  If your wondering how that is going to go, then come back tonight at 6 p.m.  It will be a pretty cool service, by the way, it will be in our fellowship hall tonight!

And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid. 10 And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. 11 For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord. 12 And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger. 13 And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying,
14  Glory to God in the highest,
And on earth peace,
Good will toward men.
 The Holy Bible: King James Version. (Luke 2:8–14)

Can you imagine what that cantata was like!  When the angels were praising God, the shepherds were in for a treat!  Even the sheep were in AWE!   But it won't be anything compared to the praising that will happen when all of God's saints get up there and we begin to shout and sing praise to the Lord!  We have a reason to sing the angels don't understand!  We will not be hindered by this "old flesh" anymore!   MY WHAT A CANTATA THAT WILL BE!

God Bless,
Bro. Michael

12 Days (Day 6)



Well this post is one day late, but I am excited about the post because I got to see the new Star Wars movie on Friday!!!  It was awesome!  Whether you are into Sci-Fi or not, the Star Wars movies are just a classic story of the struggle between good and evil.  It is a story of family and friends and redemption.  I remember, it seems forever ago, seeing my very first Star Wars movie in 1977.  It was unlike anything anyone had ever seen before!  And now here we are in 2015 seeing the 7th installment of the movies.  Wow!  What an adventure!

The story of the birth of Jesus was also a struggle between good and evil.  Satan has always tried to destroy God's design and God's plan and this time is no different!

13 And when they were departed, behold, the angel of the Lord appeareth to Joseph in a dream, saying, Arise, and take the young child and his mother, and flee into Egypt, and be thou there until I bring thee word: for Herod will seek the young child to destroy him.   Matthew 2:13
 The Holy Bible: King James Version

Even today, Satan wants us to forget the reason Christians celebrate Christmas.  I know all about the pagan tie-ins to Christmas, but that is not what I choose to celebrate.  Don't let Satan rob you of the joy of the real reason for the season!  There was a tree looming over the birth of the Messiah, but it was not decorated with lights or glitter.  The tree was still growing somewhere, but the tree would eventually be shaped into a cross and decorated with blood.  For on that tree hung the redemption and the hope of all mankind.  

From the birth to the grave, our Savior lived and died and rose again to give us a HOPE!  I pray that you KNOW HIM today!

God Bless,
Bro. Michael

Friday, December 18, 2015

Day 5

Merry Christmas

But thou, Bethlehem Ephratah, though thou be little among the thousands of Judah, yet out of thee shall he come forth unto me that is to be ruler in Israel; whose goings forth have been from of old, from everlasting.
Micah 5:2

I love to eat!!  This time of the year is great, unless you are trying to lose weight!  There is food everywhere and none of it is usually good for you.  It takes a lot of will power to keep moving or to cut back on your portion sizes with all of the great food and candy and pies that usually pop up at Christmas time.

The wonderful verse above is a prophesy telling which town the "messiah" would be born.  The name Bethlehem means "house of bread."  It is a reminder that the "bread of life" has come down to us.  Jesus is the giver and sustainer of life.  Without Him, there can be no life here or in the life to come.  

Jesus said, "10The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly."

It is my prayer that you will not eat too much, and that you are full on the "bread of life" that was born in Bethlehem!

Bro. Michael

Thursday, December 17, 2015

12 Days (Day 4)

Day 4

Merry Christmas!

1Now when Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judaea in the days of Herod the king, behold, there came wise men from the east to Jerusalem, 2Saying, Where is he that is born King of the Jews? for we have seen his star in the east, and are come to worship him.    Matthew 2:1-2

It is an often overused clique' and yet it is still true, "Wise Men Still Seek Him!"  It is my prayer that you as an individual are seeking Jesus today!  Even more than that, it is my prayer that our country will seek Jesus!  

The United States of 20 or 30 years ago will never be again.  The U.S.A. has changed so very much over the years and we are definitely not a Christian nation anymore.  We are very much a secular nation and ever inching closer to becoming a pagan nation.  

Should we just "throw in the towel?"  No!  I think about Daniel and the three hebrew children stuck over in Babylon.  Did they stop worshipping and praying?  No!  Did they "throw in the towel?"  No! You can still be a Christian and live for the Lord, even in a pagan nation!  No matter how bad things get in our nation, it is probably worse somewhere else.  No matter how bad things get in our nation, we can always take a stand and follow the example of so many others in God's Word and many more down through the years.

Take a stand for Jesus this Christmas Season!  Be sure and use the phrase "Merry Christmas!"  Many are even getting away from that.  It is true, "Wise Men Still Seek HIM!"

God Bless,
Bro. Michael 

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

12 Days of Christmas (Day 3)

Day 3

Merry Christmas

Yesterday I went out and bought Caleb's Christmas present, it was a ping pong table.  It was a surprise and he was really excited about it.  It is hard to hide something like that around the house or even to wrap something like that, so we went ahead and gave it to him yesterday.

One of the cool things about the gift is that it gave us a chance to work together on a project.  I am looking forward to each and every moment that we get to spend together on whatever God sends our way.  I don't know how much longer we will have together to work on projects or other things that God allows us to do.  I know that I need to take every advantage of every opportunity, because you only have so many moments together with your kids.

God knows exactly how we feel.  Without getting into the doctrine of the trinity too much, know this, God sent His son into the world and what was before he became flesh was no more.  Then the time Jesus was in the flesh was only so long and Jesus fulfilled and was obedient to everything his father sent Him to do.  It is mind blowing to think that the little baby Mary held in her arms was "the Son of God," the creator and sustainer of all things.  Jesus is now in a glorified body seated at the right hand of the Father and even that is temporary!  He will come again one day and there will be another new chapter, which is another cool thought all by itself!!!

What about us now?  We only have so long!  Make memories this Christmas with your family and loved ones!  Whether you are part of a big family or all alone, the choice is yours.  If you are alone, choose to be a blessing to someone and point them to the generosity found in a relationship with Jesus Christ.  If you are surrounded by family, remind them about the true "reason for the season!"

God Bless,
Bro. Michael

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

12 Days of Christmas (Day 2)


Been a hectic day, but a good day!  Thank you for your patience!  I have had some good feedback concerning these devotions.  Know this, that I am praying for you and your family during this Christmas time.  God knows who is reading this and I am lifting you and your family up in prayer at this very moment. 

I am so busy that it is hard just to slow down and pray!  Sure!   I can send "popcorn" prayers up through the day and that is good, but I love that "quiet time," when you can just pause and pray and read God's Word and wait for HIS Spirit to speak to my heart.

Today, I had to go to visit with my audiologist and get my hearing aids checked out.  Hearing loss is something that I have struggled with all of my life.  My left ear is worse than the right, but both ears, unfortunately are slowly on a downhill slide.  

My family usually rolls with laughter when I repeat what I think I heard!  Sometimes it is frustrating, sometimes it just plain silly.   When I try to carry on a conversation with someone with a lot of background noise, it can be extremely challenging!

One of the most awesome things heard, a little over 2000 years ago, was the amazing message from God's messengers.

 20 But while he thought on these things, behold, the angel of the Lord appeared unto him in a dream, saying, Joseph, thou son of David, fear not to take unto thee Mary thy wife: for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Ghost.
 21 And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name JESUS: for he shall save his people from their sins. 
(Matthew 1:20-21 KJV)

 8 And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night.
 9 And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid.
 10 And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people.
 11 For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord.
 12 And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger.
 13 And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying,
 14 Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men. 
(Luke 2:8-14 KJV)

I don't think Joseph or the shepherds had any trouble hearing from these angels.   I am sure God's message came through loud and clear!  Even though I am sure they were shaking in their boots!! (or sandals!!!)

Take time to listen to what God may be speaking to your heart this Christmas Season!  It may just be a reminder that Jesus is totally awesome, even still today!!

Bro. Michael

Monday, December 14, 2015

12 Days of Christmas

Day One

Merry Christmas!  

As some say, "It's the most wonderful time of the year!"  

Thank you for joining me on this short journey to another celebration of the birth of our Savior!
Think of the next 12 days as a gift given to us by God.  We begin today and we will end on Christmas Day. 
 Every day is a gift.  A gift that is unwrapped each morning and set on the shelf each evening.  You cannot bring yesterday into today.  Each day is a gift, only to be enjoyed for 24 hours.
I have a lot of memories concerning Christmas.  Some are glad and some are sad!  I cannot relive or do those days over.  I am thankful for a ton of great memories, but the thing I need to do is to enjoy TODAY!  I need to live for the Lord TODAY!  I need to unwrap TODAY!   I need to tell my family I love them TODAY!  
 Someone said, "You cannot choose how you will die, but you can choose how you will live."  What will you do with the rest of your day?  What will you do with tomorrow? 
 Treat each day as a gift from God, for that is truly what each day really is...

So teach us to number our days, that we may apply our hearts unto wisdom. (Psalm 90:12 KJV)

God Bless,
Bro. Michael

Thursday, July 30, 2015

What a Summer!

West Central Camp & NEXT Camp

I love going to Bogg Springs!  It is where I met my wife!  July 9th 1986 was the day I worked up enough courage to go up and speak to her.  It is where my oldest child, Taylor Reese Welchman met her future husband.  I had no idea that one of my CABBI seminary students, Shawn Welchman, would find out what a great daughter God gave to Karen and I.  I just happen to introduce them and BOOM!
The rest is history...

We had a blast at Bogg Springs this year!

In between Church Camp, we managed to squeeze in some babysitting, Vacation Bible School, ABA trips, leading young people to Christ and a World Archery Competition in Tennessee.  That was a blast to go and support Alli and the rest of the Hamburg Archery Team.

Tristan Gourley

There are a few more events my family and I were able to share.  Taylor had the bright idea for Caleb, myself and her to run a 5K in Little Rock called the Insane Inflatable Race.  That was CRAZY, but fun.  It was crazy because it was 95 degrees during the race!  It was a blast because I am still able to do things like this with them!  I know one day I will not be able to keep up anymore, but I figure 70 is still a ways away!!  So, until that day comes, I will keep on running and playing on inflatables with my kids!

Well Summer 2015 is almost over and there are still a few more memories to make.  I have enjoyed so many awesome summers and they always revolve around serving my Lord and Savior and with my family by my side.  God only gives us so many summers.  I am 48 years old, so I figure that I am over the halfway mark!  I have zero regrets, pedal to the metal, soak it all in, tell everyone about Jesus, get wet, get sweaty, take a nap, hug my kids, take a shower, kiss my wife!  Wow!  It's been another awesome summer!

And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him. (Col 3:17 ESV)

Saturday, June 20, 2015

The Great Adventure

Happy Father's Day 2015

It has been a GREAT ADVENTURE being a dad!  And it still is!  It is one of the most challenging things I have ever faced.  How can I be the dad and father and role model that my kids need?

I know one thing, it did not come naturally!  When Taylor came along, June 16, 1992, I had no idea what I was getting into.  Karen had a c-section, so guess who got to change the first poo-poo diaper?
All the while, under the watchful eye and supervision of my wonderful wife, I learned a lot about that first little kid.  I learned that they were not as fragile as I thought they were.  I learned how much sleep one can be deprived of and still function!  I learned that I didn't know ANYTHING!!!

The Power of Influence

My oldest was a girl, but that did not stop me from introducing her to the world of sports.  She is a bundle of energy and can-do spirit.  She has the determination to tackle anything and if she sets her mind to it, she will accomplish her goal!  I am super proud of all that she has done!

I am so thankful for Caleb. He has started his own adventure down the road of gospel music.  He is exploring what God has in store for his life and I know that Caleb will do great things as he follows the Lord!  

Alli has grown to be a beautiful young lady.  I am glad that I was able to be a "Mr. Mom" for her while Karen was working.  She loves smiling and having friends.  She has the most loving and forgiving spirit.  She is awesome!

The real power of influence is that I have had the awesome privilege to lead all three of my children to Jesus!  This is the best influence that I know to be.  I pray that my children always know how much I love them, but most of all I pray they know how much their Heavenly Father loves them.

Love always,

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Homecoming in Louisiana

The Picture above is from Easter 2003

June 7th I had the opportunity to preach at one of my former churches, Central MBC in Pineville, LA.  I was pastor at this fine church from 2000-2005.  It was a great five years.  I still keep in touch with several families and individuals from there.
It was great to see friends, even if they were a little more gray-headed!  I am praying for Nathan  Luellen and his fine family.  He is the current pastor and has been there for 10 years now and is doing a wonderful job!

Here are a few pics from our time there...
This azalea was huge!

Caitlin and Paige

Bill Stalnaker

George Morgan

Ken Gorham

Sis. Doris and Cara and Abigail
Lowell Humphries
Great Fellowship

At Mrs. Betty Cumpton's House

Bogg Springs 2003

Sis. Barbara Pierce

Me paying the price for a great VBS!
Sis. Stacy Caraway with a little energy!

Praying for this fine church!  Thanks for the memories!