Archives For Family

My 14 year old son plays in a bluegrass band called ShadowGrass. We were in Nashville last week for the SPBGMA bluegrass convention. It was a great experience and Luke’s band was able to do a lot of late night jamming. They also were able to play a showcase for the group Tomorrow’s Bluegrass Stars.

One of the attenders posted a video of one of their songs, and it has been crazy seeing how it is being shared. So far in two days, it has been viewed over 21,000 times and shared 600 times. It’s amazing how quickly videos can be shared through social media. I’m proud of these kids. They are all great musicians and great kids. Even if you are not a fan of bluegrass, I think you will enjoy these videos.

Help them out by liking their Facebook page and by subscribing to their Youtube Channel.

Here is a playlist of a bunch of their videos

2014-08-09 20.27.39I started a month long sabbatical this week (I’ll be posting thoughts on it here on the blog as well) This week I have been reading, relaxing, and enjoying a lot of old-time and bluegrass music. Our town hosts the oldest and largest fiddlers convention in the world each year. It’s a huge event, with people camping all week long and playing music long into the night. Here’s an aerial view of the convention.

The best part of the week is watching my kids play and compete. It’s been a great week to unwind.

My ten year old son has been playing fiddle for the last year and competed in youth old-time fiddle. My fourteen year old son placed fifth in youth mandolin and his band of youth all-stars finished fourth. Here are just a few clips of their music. It’s incredible to see the talent that the youth have.

The New City Catechism

September 30, 2013 — Leave a comment


Growing up Southern Baptist, I never really heard about or knew about catechisms. A friend shared The New City Catechism with me and I started reading more about it. First, what is a catechism. Here’s the dictionary definition.


For students of church history, New City Catechism is based on and adapted from Calvin’s Geneva Catechism, the Westminster Shorter and Larger Catechisms, and especially the Heidelberg Catechism. It consists of 52 questions and answer and it is a joint adult and children’s catechism. In other words, the same questions are asked of both children and adults, and the children’s answer is always part of the adult answer. It is developed and promoted by The Gospel Coalition and Redeemer Presbyterian Church and is available as a pdf, as an interactive iPad app, and online. Here is an example of the first question. Each day has the question (the highlighted text is the shorter children’s version), a commentary, a video explanation, the Bible reference, and a prayer.


After researching it, our family has decided to use this in our family devotions. I felt we needed to be more intentional is discussing how theology applies to real life. We are on week 5 and it has already created some great discussions in our family. The kids are memorizing the questions and answers each week, and we are discussing the commentary. If you want to find out more about it, check out this post by The Gospel Coalition.

Why a catechism? Here is more from their introduction.

At present, the practice of catechesis, particularly among adults, has been almost completely lost. Modern discipleship programs concentrate on practices such as Bible study, prayer, fellowship, and evangelism and can at times be superficial when it comes to doctrine. In contrast, the classic catechisms take students through the Apostles’ Creed, the Ten Commandments, and the Lord’s Prayer—a perfect balance of biblical theology, practical ethics, and spiritual experience. Also, the catechetical discipline of memorization drives concepts deeper into the heart and naturally holds students more accountable to master the material than do typical discipleship courses. Finally, the practice of question-answer recitation brings instructors and students into a naturally interactive, dialogical process of learning.

A Tough Eight Weeks

October 17, 2012 — 1 Comment

christian theology1I feel such a relief after finishing up another eight-week seminary class. I’ve been putting off taking Systematic Theology as long as I could, but I finally jumped in and finished it. I have to say, that it’s been the roughest 8-weeks of the last few years for me. The amount of reading and coursework were overwhelming, and it was a class that I simply didn’t enjoy. I’ve learned a lot in seminary, but this class really highlights some of the problems with the seminary experience for me.

As a practical, logical, left-brained thinker and former engineer, this class seemed to lack purpose and application. I’m sure it appeals to those who like philosophy, but for me it seems like a futile attempt to describe God in human terms. I am a little strange because I have always loved school and I even love the process of learning. I take 2 Timothy 2:15 seriously, and I think all pastors should be students of the Word. But this class was detached from real-life ministry. The goal of seminary is not to produce academic thinkers, but world changers who know how to understand, interpret, and share God’s Word.

Now, I can get back to blogging and serving God with energy and passion. I am blessed and thankful.

#EndOfRant  #BacktoRealLife  #3ClassesToGo


What a great weekend. We had a Cornerstone baptism service at Camp Dickenson on  the New River and we saw 17 people demonstrate their commitment to Christ through baptism. And the best part was that I had the opportunity to baptize my youngest son Drew. I’m thankful to be part of a church where lives are being changed!

I played backup for my son Luke at the Fiddler’s Convention this week while he played the mandolin on youth night. I was definitely a lot more nervous than he was. Here’s a little Foggy Mountain Breakdown. I enjoy making these special memories with the kids.

The Old Fiddler’s Convention in our hometown of Galax is the largest and oldest convention in the world. This is the 77th year and they estimate over 50,000 people come into our city each year for this week. Here’s an old post with some more info.


July 2, 2012 — 10 Comments


For the last ten days, our family took some time off. We went to the beach at Pawley’s Island, South Carolina and enjoyed just having fun. We played golf. We went fishing, We played in the ocean and in the pool. We ate way too much food. We laughed and we acted crazy. And we visited a church and worshipped together while on vacation. The last few years have gone by way too quickly, and this is the first time we have ever taken a vacation this long. We have been a little stretched financially  over the past few years and have only been able to take long weekend trips, so this trip was extra special.

I quickly realized that when I am under stress, I am not that fun to be around. I don’t laugh as much and I’m always thinking about problems and what needs to be done. Personal conflict especially bothers me, and as a pastor, there are always people who don’t like something you’ve said or done. It’s hard for me to not take it personally, so I’ve had to learn that I can’t please everyone and that I only need to focus on pleasing God. Getting away helps me to focus on what is really important in life. I love what Mark Batterson says: A Change of Place + A Change of Pace = A Change of Perspective.

I appreciate everyone stepping up at Cornerstone while we were gone. I really am recharged and ready to move forward. I can’t wait to share some of what I’ve read and learned.

It was also great to disconnect from email, the blog, Facebook, and twitter. I checked things a few times, but I didn’t worry about responding to everyone, and I didn’t worry about what everyone else was doing. Our society has become consumed with reading about everyone else’s activities, while neglecting their own families. I don’t want to make that mistake. I am blessed to have an incredible family. My wife and I have been married for 17 years, and our journey together just keeps getting better.

Here are a few more pics from the trip.

True Hokie

December 22, 2011 — Leave a comment

Our family spent the day in Blacksburg and Christiansburg finishing up our Christmas shopping and visiting Jennifer’s sister Sara and her family. I took the picture above while walking across the campus with our kids. Virginia Tech is really a special place for me. I spent four great years there, and I fell in love with the campus and the people.

Growing up I was a fan of the Hokies, so when I decided in 10th grade that I wanted to be an engineer, everything just started falling into place. Duke was the only other school that I applied to, but My heart wasn’t in it. I applied early and chose to attend Tech and I became a true Hokie. This great engineering school is just an hour away from my hometown where I now live. 

It was at Tech where I really started growing in my faith. I got involved with the local Baptist Student Union and was surrounded by some great friends who helped teach and encourage me. Many of my friends eventually found their way into full time ministry, so when we visit the campus it’s a constant reminder of what God has done in my life. God has always put the right people into my life at the right time. I would have never have guessed that I would end up as a pastor, but God was working out the plan every step of the way.

We still are able to visit the campus often, but it’s been over 16 years since I graduated. I’m troubled by the violence that has rocked the Hokie Nation and I still can’t understand why it has happened in Blacksburg of all places. This small, beautiful mountain town has a slower pace of life, one that is peaceful and quiet. But the people of Tech have pulled together. I love the mountains of Virginia and I’m so thankful that God has me here.

And finally, all I can say is Go Hokies!!! Let’s beat Michigan in the Sugar Bowl!

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