To the Class of 2020

To the Class of 2020…

It’s that time of year that I have traditionally written something for those that are graduating. 

So here we go…

I could write about the negative…you know the negatives, you are tired of hearing about them.

I could write about the disappointments… You have and are living through them.

I could write about those words you now despise…unprecedented, pause, quarantine, isolation. 

Okay, I will quit, even these things make me uneasy…..

Let’s talk about the positives….

I along with many others are extremely proud of you!  I would ask you to define your greatest accomplishments of your high school and college careers. 

You are a serving generation. You have a genuine concern for others around you. You have provided meals, collected clothing, help to provide shelter. I have heard people say, “oh these kids are selfish,” but that’s not what I see, (and I see a lot of kids!) I guess I see you in a different light.

You are intelligent!  Now wait a minute, Mr. Jerry, I’m not graduating with honors, I’m not that smart! Don’t sell yourself short! Intelligence is not always defined by the grade on the paper but can also be define by the will and knowledge of the inner person. Some of the most intelligent people I have ever known never had a high-school or college degree. For those that have the academic intelligence, wow, you are amazing! Please keep on! 

You are difference makers! I am so glad we are not all alike. That we all have our own character, personality, talents. It’s what helps us live with each other. To build each other up! To make changes in lives and in society. 

You are encouragers! You have lifted up those that are discouraged and you have praised those that have succeeded! You have helped little children and become friends with the elderly. You have give hope to the homeless and embraced those that have struggled. 

So…. 

Keep doing what you are doing…and then some!

Keep serving…and then some!

Keep growing in knowledge…and then some!

Keep making a difference…and then some!

Keep encouraging…and then some!

Finally, remember this! You are loved! God loves you, your family loves you, your friends love you and finally I love you…and then some!

The Road to Sixty – Days 235-236-237

The Road to Sixty – Day 235-236-237

Roadtrip…

So Dale call and asked If I wanted to go with him to Alabama…

Of course I do!  

Where?

He explained, about a few things that he needed to do and it would require an overnight!

I had some business I needed to take care of so I said let’s go!

So Friday morning it was Columbia – Talladega – Munford, while there we checked on the family graves. After a check on the home place, it was up to another cemetery tp see some graves of family. 

We went to The Shack BBQ, My cousins place and they had some Boston Butts that were sent to the relief efforts in Nashville, She has always been so good in helping the community. 

We had some time to kill before our next meeting so it was “let’s take the backroads” time! We did and we got lost…sort of…

We ended up in Odenville, Alabama…

I know you just said….where?

It may be a bit off the road but it has one of the best hidden secrets. 

The Mustang Museum of America!!!!

104 of the most beautiful cars you will ever see, one from every model year with the exception of 4 years.  2 hours later and listening to some great stories it was time to go!

We visited a Caleb Sampson and his family that evening after hearing him preach in a meeting. It was good to be with Paul Spurlin and his daughter for a late dinner with all of us. 

Saturday Morning was with the North Alabama Children’s Home annual Coats Ride. They loaded us down with BBQ chicken and pork to take to Mt. Juliet. 

We made it to Mt. Juliet in time to drop off the meals enough to feed many people. As we drove to the building we caught just a glimpse of the damage in the community. 

My heart relived Tuesday morning. 

Sunday was the day to worship – we gathered together to pray and sing. We sang what is being called #Sawyerssong “Holy, Holy, Holy” a song a little 2 year old dearly loved. At this writing, hundreds if not thousands of churches sang this song today. 

It was great to be with my friend Travis Creasy tonight at the Area-wide at Catheys Creek! It was a joy to be with our church families from all over! 

What a beautiful 3 days!

The Road to Sixty – Day 235

The Road to Sixty – Day 235

I love my Wednesdays

I didn’t rest much last night…too much on my mind. So I prayed and reflected a lot.  I had the opportunity to speak at Columbia Academy Elementary in Spring Hill. I love getting the opportunity to do this occasionally. 

It was wacky Wednesday for all of them as they are going through Dr. Suess week. The were a whole bunch of THINGS and Who’s. 

After speaking to them with a cousin Russell story and about the greatest hero in the world (Jesus), a young lad Adam came to lead the closing prayer. He thanked God for the school and the teachers and the things that they have.  And then…

He thanked God for Mr. Jerry coming and bringing the “powerful stuff!”

I thought to myself, how proud I am of this young man! Of course I know his Mom and Dad! (She was in my youth group) They have trained him very well! 

I have had the privilege of speaking a lot to children…each time I think what is it I can give them to remember. A funny story? A deep philosophical thought?

The only thing I can think of that works for me is to let them know 2 things…

Thing 1 – Jesus loves them!

Thing 2 – Mr. Jerry loves them too

Adam touched my heart today, he makes me want to go and teach some more “Powerful Stuff”

Till tomorrow…

The Road to Sixty -Day 234

The Road to Sixty – Day 234

Today is hard.

If you are reading this and you have watched the news for Middle Tennessee you know about the tragic news with the early Tuesday morning tornadoes. 

I was sitting with a group of older men this morning when my phone went off and a message saying, “Have you heard about?” Listing a name of a dear friend. 

My heart sank… I brought this up to these older men drinking their coffee and talking the politics and whatever is happening in the world. Immediately they stopped, there were tears in their eyes (they did not know who I was speaking of) and one of them said, “Time to pray”. So in the midst of McDonalds in this circle prayers were lifted up. 

I left to go and make phone calls, then my phone goes off again. It’s our CARE team leader, there is an older man that has passed away (not tornado related) and they need assistance with the family. I travel to the location to assist the local police. There was the family heartbroken about their loss…

My heart hurts again.

After leaving I came back home and most of this day has been spent praying, talking with people and grieving.

There are many that will not sleep tonight. 

So when you cannot sleep….pray. Be diligent with purpose.

When you are hurting, talk. To someone. I’m here.

Don’t think you have to have all the answers. 

Be careful how you post (if you must) 

Help in the way you can. 

Tonight my heart hurts for many people, young and old.

“Oh, yes He cares, I know He cares, His heart is touched with my grief.”

Till tomorrow…

The Road to Sixty – Day 233

The Road to Sixty – Day 233

Moving Monday

After CYC, coming home and rest… I had the opportunity to take my Mother-in-law back to Louisville. I thoroughly enjoyed our travel together. We will miss her being with us! 

On the road home it was just me… I didn’t listen to music, podcast, other than a phone call, my journey was quiet.

A time to reflect. 

A time to pray.

A time to give thanks.

A time to look ahead.

The Garage Bible Study was a great night! (the facebook broadcast kept kicking off, but that was okay) I love a good Bible Study.

God is good…

Till tomorrow.

The Road to Sixty – Day 229-232

The Road to Sixty – Day 229 – 232 

POWER

CYC is one of the most powerful times of our year. Other than Maury Christian Camp it is the largest gathering of our youth group. So allow me to reflect a bit over the last 4 days. 

This does not happen by chance…It’s a year long process for us. 

We have one member that reserves our Chalets and orders our tickets. (Our Chalets are reserved for 2021 already) 

We have a deacon that takes care of ALL our transportation, acquiring drivers, renting vehicles and making sure we get from point A to B. 

Then we have our chaperones…amazing Moms and Dads and others that look after every child making sure they are secure, where they need to be. A listening ear when needed. 

We cannot forget our loved ones that prepare our meals for us, When we arrive Friday to unload, a meal is ready, dessert late that night. Saturday Breakfast and Lunch prepared, then a late night brownie and ice creme tops off a great day.

There are others…A mom who made 72 LARGE cinnamon rolls, members that paid for young people to go on this trip and of course the people who prayed, fervently. 

So Jerry…what do you do? 

I get to minister, to stay up to 2-3-4 am to pray  with young people to see young people immersed into Christ, added to the church. 

I get to hear their hearts pour out for two hour on how much they love each other, care for each other, want others to be a part of this family. 

I get to set on the steps of the chalet and listen to my young men start an impromptu Bible study with ALL the boys of the youth group. (they didn’t know I was there) 

I get to laugh and love the parents of our family. Even cry with them. 

I get to hang out in the COLD and feel totally warm inside.

I get to tell people how much I love them. 

I get to see friends from the past and make new ones!

I get to serve before 14000+ in helping the Lord’s church to grow! 

I get to listen to my friends, Reed, Ralph, Craig, Lonnie, to sing with Jon and Jason.

I get to serve with my friends Larry and Dale!

I get to share Gods love!

I get to be me!

Thank you God, for your church, thank you God for your son, thank you God for allowing me to do your work!

Tonight I rest…can’t wait to see what tomorrow brings…

Let your will be done!

Till tomorrow

The Road to Sixty – Day 227

The Road to Sixty – Day 227

After the day of celebration of Danaes birthday, I woke up this morning to beautiful sunrise. 

Coffee ready, Bible open, emails checked….

Prayed for this day…

Met with our staff for lunch where we work and dream about the works at Spring Meadows. I love our team and how we work together. Preparing for the next event and discussing what will make the church stronger. 

A blessing of the day, was coming home to see a new door place in the Garage, One that was there had rusted and was wore out. Thanks Zach!

Another blessing was having the all the girls run to me….

Now let me explain who the girls are..

Paisley – 4 year old granddaughter

Mila Dean – 1 year old granddaughter

Mali – 8 year old German Shepherd

Lucy – 7 year old ball of hair!

Seriously, when I walked in the house I was bombarded by them!

The dogs didn’t want to, but they gave up their space for the other girls!

I am blessed!

Till tomorrow!

The Road to Sixty – Day 226


The Road to Sixty – Day 226
So what can I say…
Today my baby girl Danae has a birthday. It has been a joy to have she and Zachary and the girls here at the house. 
The house is a wreck with toys and clothes but oh there is so much joy…
Every year I share this video from the day of her birth. Tonight we will watch it as a family ( a longer version) we will see so many people that have touched our lives.
My heart aches a little knowing that Mom and Kenny (father in law) are not here …it is another one of those first.
We will sing Happy Birthday and blow out candle and have some cake and Ice Cream. 
It will be good to share this day Pam and her Mom Joyce Phelps
Happy Birthday Danae! Love you more than ever and I’m glad you are home!

The Road to Sixty – Day 220

The Road to Sixty – Day 220

Tuesday is a day that I love to study, generally starts very early in the morning. I look forward to the time that is quiet. The time to pray, open the scriptures and to look forward to teaching my classes coming this week. 

Lunch came today with Dale and another great friend.

Van Vansandt. 

Van and I have been friends for 40 years and a trusted friend. Van is one of my favorite speakers. I say that because of his passion for people and love for the Lord. 

We have spent some time together. When we were younger we ventured off to a Braves game with our families. we have worked with Horizons for many year and even played some music together.

We have shared some joyous times together, but we have also shared sorrow and pains. 

I am thankful I a have friend like him, I am thankful I have a brother like him. 

The old song says “Sometimes we laugh together, sometimes we cry.” 

I am thankful that we share the common bond of faith, and the the common bond of love. 

Thanks for lunch today and the laughter!

Till tomorrow…

The Road to Sixty – Day 219

The Road to Sixty – Day 219

A Roller Coaster Day

Mondays are good days…Prep for the The Garage Bible Study – Study for future classes and planning.

Being a holiday the kids were out of school and we enjoyed a good lunch at Buffalo Wild Wings. We laughed and had a great time together.

Afterwards, I went to the funeral of Betty Bender. Betty and I worked at West 7th together. Her story is amazing. She has influenced so many people throughout her life. She was a great friend and sister. I always enjoyed seeing her each week at The Bridge Assistant Living for Bible study. While there she still had the opportunity to be an influence as she had a concern for others more than self.

While I know that she has received what she has longed for several years, my heart is saddened that I and others have lost a dear friend. 

I thank God for her influence.

The Garage Bible Study was really good tonight! The internet was off and on so it didn’t broadcast well tonight. But that was okay, our discussion was really good and I appreciate these young people so much with their Hunger and Thirst for Jesus. 

Tonight, I received a photo that made my heart skip a bit…

MIla Dean with pig-tails. Yes, our little one is getting out of the baby stage and moving up. Can’t wait to see them all again!

Thank you God for this day!

Till tomorrow…