Wind in your sails

August 11, 2021

Our family took the last of our summer vacation time last weekend. My sister Loretta and her best friend Kim put in the legwork and booked a stellar weekend rental for us in Higdon. The cabin had a large front porch with a swing, a couple of rocking chairs, and even a hot tub. The porch was latticed in and even had sliding gates, which meant the puppies could be outside with us and enjoy the sun and their people. Best of all, no mosquitoes. At all. The entire weekend.

Saturday, we rented a party barge for the day. The kiddos had a blast. We cruised the lake, swam, jumped off of the upper deck, slid down the slide, and rode the tube. Outside of Samantha protesting the lifejacket rule, we had no incidents of a negative nature.

We ate well, slept well, and caught up on life. We shared stories, plans for the future and helped one another grieve losses. Mostly we were present with each other. This weekend was about carrying on a family tradition, making memories, and sharing life together.

Greers Ferry Lake is one of our happy places. We have enjoyed that cold, clean water much of our married life. When we were raising our son Jared, we often spent a week at Choctaw Campground. We would cook out, paddle our canoe over to Sugarloaf Mountain, and hike to the top. We spent our evenings staring into the light of a campfire while recounting the adventures of the day and making plans for the next.

I cannot think of a time in my life when time off was not a good thing. Every one of us needs to take the time to reconnect with the family. It is even more critical when circumstances cause us to feel isolated, and the world seems to be spinning out of control. Family helps us to understand where we’ve come from and set a course for the future.

This weekend was a time of new beginnings for me. It seemed like July had more than its fair share of challenges to face. Taking the weekend off allowed me to get some perspective and some much-needed rest. Today I feel stronger, lighter, and better equipped to meet whatever comes my way.

Donovan enjoyed seeing his friends and his cousin. Sam relished the time with her Anoretta, as she is affectionately known. The sunshine, fresh air, and cold lake water did us all a world of good. Sam slept twelve hours last night. I had to wake her up to feed her breakfast before going to work.

Psalm 51 is attributed to David following his illicit liaison with Bathsheba. In these words of scripture, David does not make excuses for his indiscretion. His words give voice to a recurring theme in the human condition, alienation from God and the need for a fresh start. King David owns his mistakes and appeals to God’s unfailing love and compassion as his only hope.

I found the closing scripture excerpt in Eugene Peterson’s Message interpretation. Like David, I prayed that God gives me a renewed lease on life and ministry. Today the wind is at my back, and God is at the helm. I’m ready for what the coming weeks and months will bring. Come. What. May.

God, make a fresh start in me, shape a Genesis week from the chaos of my life. Don’t throw me out with the trash, or fail to breathe holiness in me. Bring me back from gray exile, put a fresh wind in my sails! Psalm 51:10-12 The Message


Time for a change

July 8, 2021

During most of my adult life, one of my mantras has been, "Work hard, play hard." Growing up poor meant learning to work at a young age. It became necessary that I grew up fast and matured in ways many of my peers didn't need to at that stage of their development. Like many of you, the Protestant work ethic is an integral part of my self-understanding and ingrained in my very being.

2020 created a great deal of opportunity for pastors to grow and learn new ways to minister. I am grateful for...

Continue reading...

With a little help from our friends

June 23, 2021
This June is turning into one of the busiest months I’ve had in some time. Annual Conference was a welcome part of that and a chance to reconnect with some old friends and spend time with our delegation. I thoroughly enjoyed having lunches and dinner with Bill and Winston.

During our time in Hot Springs, we had dinner with three of my dearest friends, Paul Seay, Ed Seay, and John Fleming. Paul retired this year, and we wanted to celebrate with him. Ed arranged for a reservation at Bones Chop...

Continue reading...

You have the power

June 15, 2021

I don’t know about you, but I need a different summer season than last year’s. We all tried to stay safe and limit our contact with others hoping to minimize any potential exposure. In the process, it quickly became apparent that human beings are also social beings. Interpersonal relationships are essential to our emotional equilibrium and core humanity.

All of the stay-at-home instructions and the laundry list of best practices served to ratchet up our collective caution. At its height...

Continue reading...

Revive, refresh, renew

June 9, 2021

Annual Conference 2021 is in the books. The first-ever hybrid format that anyone has attempted to date. My hats off to our conference staff for their fantastic ability to manage and merge all of the moving pieces of technology required to host the event. This needed a ground-breaking level of expertise to pull off. The first afternoon’s meeting had to be rescheduled due to an unforeseen glitch in the technology.

While the conference staff, organizers, volunteers, and the Bishop tried to pr...

Continue reading...

Catalyst for Change

May 18, 2021

Over the last month, we have made some definitive moves toward change. For example, at Easter, we had one service instead of two. Our Relaunch Team and Trustees helped us navigate a complex set of stressors. The result of that work was a new plan to welcome our community into worship and fellowship.

Yesterday we enjoyed a fellowship meal and celebrated with a group of four high school seniors and one college graduate. Ms. Barbie used a children’s book to remember their growing up, celebra...

Continue reading...

Big Decisions

May 10, 2021

Since moving to Marvell, we have been embarking on a concerted campaign to improve the yard at the parsonage. My friends at Superior Lawn Service have been a big part of that. Periodically they spray fertilizer or post-emergent to keep weeds and undesirable grasses to a minimum.

When the tree was trimmed last year, a good deal of canopy got removed, allowing sun on previously bare places. In addition, every year, I fertilize the backyard and try to relocate the trampoline often enough to pre...

Continue reading...

Entering into change

May 7, 2021
Since the governor lifted the mask mandate in March, we have continued to monitor cases statewide. Thankfully, with more people receiving the vaccine, our most vulnerable members are now in a much better position. Our Reopening Team and Trustees Committee met last week and unanimously voted to allow attendees to make personal decisions regarding the wearing of masks. Beginning Sunday, May 9 masks are discretionary. We support your right to make your own decisions. Please remember that this re...
Continue reading...

Vaccine Information

April 7, 2021
Good afternoon friends,
I hope you are all enjoying the beautiful spring weather. There is a lot of information out there regarding the safety and effectiveness of the new vaccines. We all want to be as informed as possible. The following short videos are produced for just this purpose. This is a denominational effort to help you get good information with which to assist you in making decisions for yourselves and your family's needs. These informative short interviews tackle some of the most c...

Continue reading...

Pastor Kenny Lee

Minister of the Gospel Loving God, and loving people