Saturday, December 31, 2011

Preparing for Sunday Jan 1 2012

Tomorrow is January 1, 2012. As I have prepared for the worship experience at NRN I have felt a change on my message. I will still speak about No Fear in the New Year however, God has laid several passages of Scripture upon my heart to share. One thing unique is that all the Scriptures tomorrow will be from the Old Testament.

We will begin with a great time of worship in song before the Lord. Here is the worship set for the first Sunday of 2012:

One more thing about tomorrow. I have had the message for Sunday prepared for several weeks. When God spoke to my heart about a needed change it was following a visit to Duke Medical Center to sit with Al Taylor a few hours before his precious Mary escaped this world and went to her heavenly reward. I came home that night and totally changed my message. The next day, a response came via email from the person I wanted to sing before my message on Sunday. She had no idea of the change in my message but told me the song she plans to sing. It was the confirmation from God that I has made the right decision about my message. Here is the song she plans to sing:

The worship experience for Sunday January 1, 2012 will be at 10am at NRN!

Thursday, December 29, 2011

No Fear in the New Year

As I prepare the first Sunday of 2012, I am praying, and working on my message entitled
No Fear in the New Year. This is the final message in the teaching series - A Fearless Christmas.

I am really looking forward to a great time of worship and then to bring my message.

The New Year's Day Family Service at NRN will begin at 10am.

Since I have received several emails about my last posting - I thought I would share one more worship song - Chipmunk style. Enjoy....

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Chipmunk Style

Over the past few days Sharron and I have spent time with family and having a great time. Now home - Alyse and Breeley are with us. Today we stopped at a McDonalds for short break and I purchased some chocolate milk for the girls. The friendly person behind the counter also gave us two items from the "kid's meal" featuring the Chipmunks.

I could not help but think of one of my favorite songs from Alvin and the Chipmunks. You may be surprised...

What do you think?

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Daily Advent Devotional for Nov. 29 2011

Each year I begin my Advent Celebration with daily devotions for a trusted source. I want to share these with you to enhance your Christmas Season. I hope you will join me often during the next 27 days as we share our daily Advent devotionals:

Your Daily Advent Devotional
November 29, 2011

The Genealogy of Jesus

Matthew 1:1-17

An account of the genealogy of Jesus the Messiah, the son of David, the son of Abraham. Abraham was the father of Isaac, and Isaac the father of Jacob, and Jacob the father of Judah and his brothers, and Judah the father of Perez and Zerah by Tamar, and Perez the father of Hezron, and Hezron the father of Aram, and Aram the father of Aminadab, and Aminadab the father of Nahshon, and Nahshon the father of Salmon, and Salmon the father of Boaz by Rahab, and Boaz the father of Obed by Ruth, and Obed the father of Jesse, and Jesse the father of King David. And David was the father of Solomon by the wife of Uriah....

My Great Aunt, Celia Belle Yoder, keeps our family history. She's ninety-five years old but sharp as a tack and shows no signs of slowing down. I went to visit her a few weeks ago. We spent an hour together as she walked me through our family genealogy. She's a member of the Daughters of the American Revolution, and she can trace our family history back at least four hundred years. She tells me of well-known circuit-riding preachers who started churches a hundred fifty years ago, about Civil War soldiers, and about pioneers on the Oklahoma prairie. She wants me to know who I am and where I came from.

We begin this book of reflections about the stories surrounding the birth of Jesus precisely where Matthew begins the story--with the genealogy of Jesus. Scholars agree that Matthew does not give us a complete genealogy. He gives us just the highlights that he thinks are important. I've included only a portion of the genealogy above, but I would encourage you to read all seventeen verses. Most people just skim them when reading Matthew, but there are important things to notice.

Here are a few of them: First, Matthew's genealogy is a summary of nearly the entire Old Testament, from Genesis 11 to Malachi 4, capturing the stories of the patriarchs, the Israelites' slavery in Egypt, and the exodus from Egypt to the promised land; there is David and Solomon and the divided kingdom, the destruction of Israel and the exile of Judah, and finally the return from exile. Here's the point: Jesus' birth is the climax of this entire story of God's relationship with Israel. Jesus is the end to which the entire biblical story was moving.

It is also often rightly noted that Matthew's account of Jesus' genealogy is nearly unique in that it includes five women. Putting women in a genealogy was not unheard of in the first century, but it was unusual. Who are these women, and what do they tell us about Jesus?

Tamar, the mother of Perez, played the role of a prostitute in order to have children after her husband died. Rahab, listed as the mother of Boaz, was a prostitute when she first entered the biblical story. She was also a foreigner. Then there was Ruth, who, like Tamar, was a widow and, like Rahab, was a foreigner. Bathsheba is mentioned next. She was the wife of Uriah the Hittite, which means that she may have been a foreigner, and she was an adulteress (or the victim of rape) at the hands of King David, after which David had her husband killed. She too was a widow. The last of the women mentioned in the genealogy is Mary, a peasant girl whose life we will examine in greater detail in the next reflection.

When my Aunt Celia Belle tells me our family's history, she describes pioneers, soldiers, and preachers. When Matthew tells Jesus' genealogy he lists two prostitutes and an adulteress, women who were outsiders. Matthew is, in this genealogy, pointing us toward Jesus' identity and mission. Jesus would bring hope to the widow, mercy to the sinner, and good news not just for the Jews, but for all humankind.

Lord, thank you for your love of those whom others see as second class. Thank you for showing mercy to the sinner and compassion to the brokenhearted. As I begin this season of Advent, help me to see you more clearly in the stories surrounding your birth. Amen.

Excerpted from: The Journey: Walking the Road to Bethlehem - Devotional Book
by Adam Hamilton

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Trunk and Treat 2011 Revisisted

On Monday October 31 we held a revised version of Trunk and Treat at our church. Due to the bad weather we were able to move the event into our Worship Center. Special appreciation to Pastor Jordan and wife Alana for making this such a great event. They enjoyed "skating" around during the time with the children.

I also enjoyed watching Jacob Hartsell display his artistic abilities as he took request from children and then carved the pumpkins to their design.

Of course he needed some assistance from three great guys to "hallow" out the pumpkins and prepare them for carving.

I thought you would like to see some of the final work:

Not all of the work was a little "spooky" Someone made a special request. Can you guess what it represents?

You got it!! Pumpkin Pie!

I was amazed by the Mickey Mouse



What I did not get pictures of was the bounce house and the tables filled with candy and chips. In the foyer a great team of workers came to provide food for the parents. Dave Cogan made a great display of hot dogs with condiments. Mike Stroupe was there with the popcorn machine working overtime. Rodney Rhoades arrived early and the Connection Cafe' provided coffee, cider and other snacks. This event was blessed by many people giving their time and efforts - Thanks!

A man came up to me in the foyer and noticed his young daughter smiling and having a great time. The man commented how much he appreciated the fact that when other churches in the area cancelled their Halloween alternative events, he was so glad that we held such a great and fun event. I am so thankful for those in our church who consistently display a servant spirit.

Monday, October 31, 2011

Trunk N Treat 2011

Today is Halloween. I am looking forward to Trunk N Treat at NRN this evening.
Here is the info: Monday, Oct. 31, 2011 • 5pm-dark

This is an alternative family event for the Halloween evening. Your kids can get just as much candy right here at the church in a safe environment! People from North Raleigh Nazarene will make available the trunks of their cars to put gobs of wrapped candy. From 5–7:00pm, the kids will go from trunk to trunk gathering treats.

There will also be an inflatable bounce house and some carnival-type games for the children to enjoy. Refreshments and snacks will also be available for all. Free hog dogs and popcorn. Hot coffee for all!

You have seen the light shows for homes at Christmas. Enjoy this expression of Halloween 2011:

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Week 2 of the New Testament Challenge

Our reading and listening schedule this week for the New Testament Challenge takes us to the Gospel of Mark. To add to your time with God I thought you would like a few insights about the book of Mark:

Quick Facts about the Book of Mark:

- Mark is believed to be the earliest of the 4 Gospels. It was written within a few decades of the death of Jesus and in circulation among the early church. It is the earliest account of Jesus’ life that has survived.

- There are sections of Mark that appear almost word for word in both Matthew and Luke (written just a few years later). This leads scholars to believe that both Matthew (one of Jesus’ disciples) and Luke (a doctor who traveled with Paul on some of his missionary journeys) had the Gospel of Mark sitting in front of them and were using it as a reference as they wrote their own Gospels.

- It is believed that Mark is Peter’s account of Jesus’ life and that Mark wrote down the account from listening to Peter tell stories about Jesus (perhaps from Peter’s sermons).

- Mark was the nephew of Barnabas and traveled with Paul and Barnabas on Paul’s first missionary journey. But Mark abandoned the journey. Later when Paul and Barnabas were about to go on a 2nd missionary journey, Barnabas wanted to take Mark, but Paul didn’t. So, Barnabas and Mark went together and Paul and Silas went together. Later on Paul and Mark reconcile and Mark travels with Paul again.

- Mark is the shortest Gospel in length. In fact, there are only 24 verses in all of Mark that don’t also appear somewhere in Matthew or Luke.

- Notice that the Gospel of Mark is all about action. It has fewer of Jesus words, but tells story after story of Jesus in rapid fashion.

- Notice that in Mark the disciples seem to always lack faith and never seem to understand who Jesus is until the very end. Compare that to the blind man Jesus heals in Mark 8:22-26. Note that the blind man can’t see clearly at first…and then later the picture becomes clear. That is a picture of the disciples faith in Mark – gradual.


Last Sunday I shared about the FREE resource for the New Testament Challenge.
Here is a tutorial on how to best use the CD. I hope it helps:

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Preview of the New Testament Challenge

This past Sunday at NRN we featured BFF Sunday! Barbecue - Friends - Fun !

I was greatly blessed with 9 friends that I had invited to join us. I admit I was disappointed by the number of church family that are usually at church but was not there. The ministry of so many people was outstanding. It was a GREAT day had by all in attendance.

It was also the day I launched the preview message of the new teaching series:

The New Testament Challenge consist of 3 parts:

1) Spend just 28 minutes a day ( 5 days a week) to read/ listen to the portion assigned of the New Testament.

2) Be in church each Sunday of this teaching series ~ or ~ listen to the podcast of the message found on the church website.

3) Allow the Word of God to speak to your heart and life over the next 63 days.

In order to assist you with the challenge - we are providing a FREE CD of dramatized New Testament . This CD is in MP3 format and is part of a listening program designed by Faith Comes By Hearing. You can download the MP3 version of the New Testament onto your computer, iPod, or phone. There is a app for your phone. We even provide free iTunes reading guide on iTunes.

If you do not live in the Raleigh, NC area but would like to join us on the journey of the New Testament Challenge - simply provide a comment below and provide me with your contact information.

28 minutes a day - could change your life - forever.

Friday, September 30, 2011

God Bless You!

The common practice of saying "God bless you" after someone sneezes is a part of American culture.

But it sparked a controversy at a Bay Area high school this week.

Teacher Steve Cuckovich docked his students' scores after they said "bless you" in the middle of class. He says talking of any kind is disruptive and takes time away from class.

Cuckovich teaches health at William C. Wood High School in Vacaville.

"The blessing doesn't make any sense anymore," Cuckovich told the Fox affiliate in Sacramento. "When you sneezed in the old days, they thought you were dispelling evil spirits out of your body. So they were saying, 'God bless you,' for getting rid of evil spirits. But today, what you're doing doesn't really make any sense."

Some parents were furious with the teacher, claiming his rule was anti-religious.
Cuckovich apparently listened to the parents. He says he will no longer deduct points from assignments for the disruption, but he added he will continue to control his classroom.

On Thursday, the district made it first comments on the issue. Superintendent John Niederkorn said that Cuckovich thought the students were sneezing in dramatic fashion with the intent of disrupting class.

"It was brought to the District’s attention a few days ago that students were disciplined for being disruptive in class. The teacher believed that students were dramatically sneezing and responding in repetitive fashion “Bless You”. One of the concerns is the social convention of saying “Gesundheit”, “God Bless You”, or “Bless You” after someone sneezes. Of question is whether a series of these repeated remarks by several students constitutes freedom of speech or a classroom disruption and merits student discipline. Vacaville Unified’s Administration is continuing its investigation of this reported classroom disruption.

We are reviewing the impact of this disruption and the student grading policy. Certainly a blessing by one individual to another after a sneeze is a welcomed acknowledgement of a social norm. Hopefully it is not abused as a disruption of classroom instructional activities." Dr. John Niederkorn, Superintendent.

Neiderkorn's final word on the matter is still to be determined.

By Lori Preuitt 9/29/2011

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

A moment of vacation

The view from our beach house looking over the water.....

Thought you would like a moment of vacation. Just pause and view then relax!

Saturday, September 10, 2011

The 2011 Hudgens' Family vacation is underway!

The 2011 Hudgens' Family Vacation is now underway. We received a last minute phone call from the owner of Dolphin View to let us know the beach house would be available to us earlier than expected. This was a great way to escape and arrive at Topsail Island a day early!

It is so hard to believe that this is our 5th year of family vacations along the North Carolina Coast. The beach house we rent really feels like home. I am always amazed by the beautiful view of the ocean and the calming effect it has.

Tomorrow morning I plan to visit an area church and experience being a first time guest. There are several things on my mind about tomorrow. First is the tenth anniversary of 9/11. On the morning September 11, 2001 Sharron, Danielle and I arrived in Topeka, Ks to begin our time of service as District Superintendent of the Kansas District of the Wesleyan Church. This was a major move for our family. Tomorrow at NRN will be a time of remembrance of the impact of that historical day.

Rev. John Kelley will be preaching at North Raleigh Church of the Nazarene in the morning. I am so fortunate to have such a competent man of God to preach when I am away. John and I have a great bond of ministry. He and his wife Mary began attending our church about one year ago. John served as District Superintendent of the Pennsylvania Conference of the Free Methodist Church before relocating to NC.

Also tomorrow I plan to be in front of the TV to hopefully see the first regular season game of the Washington Redskins. My loyalty as a Redskins fan has been strong for many years.

Monday, September 5, 2011

For His Name's Sake

I realize my the postings on my blog have been few recently. It is hard to believe that I missed the month of August without a single post. Now I am back and hope to do much better.

This past Sunday as I stood before the church family of NRN I continued in the teaching series through Psalm 23. I did not have it in my preaching notes - but heard myself say " If you want more examples of the importance of the phrase FOR HIS NAME SAKE be sure and check my blog this week. Well, the Lord laid that upon my heart as I preached so I am compelled to post tonight.

Here are some of the words I shared - and as promised - additional verses ...

This is an amazing phrase “For His Name’s Sake.” is used by David right in the middle of Psalm 23. This is the Banner under which everything provided and promised is the Psalm is fully realized. The Lord can’t fully be my Shepherd if my life as a sheep hasn’t been surrendered to His Namesake. His leading, providing, blessing and protecting is only things that come into play when I become completely yielded to Him. So huge is the importance of this compelling phrase that it finds itself not only in the heart of Psalm 23, but throughout the heart of the entire work and will of God.

1 Samuel 12:22 For the LORD will not forsake His people, for His great name’s sake, because it has pleased the LORD to make you His people.

1 Kings 8:41 “Moreover, concerning a foreigner, who is not of Your people Israel, but has come from a far country for Your name’s sake

Psalm 23:3 He restores my soul; He leads me in the paths of righteousness For His name’s sake.

Psalm 25:11 For Your name’s sake, O LORD,Pardon my iniquity, for it is great.

Psalm 31:3 For You are my rock and my fortress; Therefore, for Your name’s sake, Lead me and guide me.

Psalm 79:9 Help us, O God of our salvation, For the glory of Your name; And deliver us, and provide atonement for our sins, For Your name’s sake!

Psalm 106:8 Nevertheless He saved them for His name’s sake, That He might make His mighty power known.

Psalm 109:21 But You, O GOD the Lord, Deal with me for Your name’s sake; Because Your mercy is good, deliver me.

Psalm 143:11 Revive me, O LORD, for Your name’s sake! For Your righteousness’ sake bring my soul out of trouble.

Isaiah 43:25 “ I, even I, am He who blots out your transgressions for My own sake; And I will not remember your sins.

Isaiah 48:9 “ For My name’s sake I will defer My anger, And for My praise I will restrain it from you, So that I do not cut you off.

Isaiah 48:11 For My own sake, for My own sake, I will do it; For how should My name be profaned? And I will not give My glory to another.

Isaiah 66:5 Hear the word of the LORD, You who tremble at His word: “ Your brethren who hated you, Who cast you out for My name’s sake, said, ‘ Let the LORD be glorified, That we may see your joy.’ But they shall be ashamed.”

Jeremiah 14:7 O LORD, though our iniquities testify against us, Do it for Your name’s sake; For our backslidings are many, We have sinned against You.

Jeremiah 14:21 Do not abhor us, for Your name’s sake; Do not disgrace the throne of Your glory. Remember, do not break Your covenant with us.

Ezekiel 20:9 But I acted for My name’s sake, that it should not be profaned before the Gentiles among whom they were, in whose sight I had made Myself known to them, to bring them out of the land of Egypt.

Ezekiel 20:14 But I acted for My name’s sake, that it should not be profaned before the Gentiles, in whose sight I had brought them out.

Ezekiel 20:22 Nevertheless I withdrew My hand and acted for My name’s sake, that it should not be profaned in the sight of the Gentiles, in whose sight I had brought them out,

Ezekiel 20:44 Then you shall know that I am the LORD, when I have dealt with you for My name’s sake, not according to your wicked ways nor according to your corrupt doings, O house of Israel,” says the Lord GOD.’”

Ezekiel 36:22 “Therefore say to the house of Israel, ‘Thus says the Lord GOD: “I do not do this for your sake, O house of Israel, but for My holy name’s sake, which you have profaned among the nations wherever you went.

Matthew 10:22 And you will be hated by all for My name’s sake. But he who endures to the end will be saved.

Matthew 19:29 And everyone who has left houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or wife or children or lands, for My name’s sake, shall receive a hundredfold, and inherit eternal life.

Matthew 24:9 “Then they will deliver you up to tribulation and kill you, and you will be hated by all nations for My name’s sake.

Mark 13:13 And you will be hated by all for My name’s sake. But he who endures to the end shall be saved.

Luke 21:12 But before all these things, they will lay their hands on you and persecute you, delivering you up to the synagogues and prisons. You will be brought before kings and rulers for My name’s sake.

Luke 21:17 And you will be hated by all for My name’s sake.

John 15:21 But all these things they will do to you for My name’s sake, because they do not know Him who sent Me.

Acts 9:16 For I will show him how many things he must suffer for My name’s sake.”

2 Corinthians 4:5 For we do not preach ourselves, but Christ Jesus the Lord, and ourselves your bondservants for Jesus’ sake.

2 Corinthians 4:11 For we who live are always delivered to death for Jesus’ sake, that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our mortal flesh.

2 Corinthians 12:10 Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in needs, in persecutions, in distresses, for Christ’s sake. For when I am weak, then I am strong.

Philippians 1:29 For to you it has been granted on behalf of Christ, not only to believe in Him, but also to suffer for His sake,

1 John 2:12 I write to you, little children, Because your sins are forgiven you for His name’s sake.
3 John 1:7 Because they went forth for His name’s sake, taking nothing from the Gentiles.

Revelation 2:3 and you have persevered and have patience, and have labored for My name’s sake and have not become weary.

Friday, July 29, 2011

We're having a heat wave

We are facing a heat wave in Raleigh today. As I write this post it is already 104 degrees outside.The Triangle could tie the record for the hottest temperature ever at Raleigh-Durham International Airport if the mercury slips one degree above the predicted high of 104 degrees for Friday and Saturday.

It is also very hot in my upstairs at my house. This is when my PC is located and where I usually spend a lot of time in front of my computer. As I gaze at the thermostat it records that the temperature is 84 degrees. The repair man came today to replace the motor in our central air unit. Now the air conditioner is working hard to bring the temp down in our upstairs,

This evening I begin teaching the final weekend of the classes for the Carolina's School of Ministry. Students from North and South Carolina will meet me a a few hours to begin our evening class and classes tomorrow morning.

To deal with the heat I recommend the following:

Slow down. Reduce, eliminate or reschedule strenuous activities for the coolest time of day. At-risk individuals should stay in the coolest available place.

Dress for summer. Lightweight, light-colored clothing reflects heat and sunlight and helps your body maintain normal temperatures.

Put less fuel on your inner fires. Foods, including proteins, that increase metabolic heat production also increase water loss.

Drink plenty of water or non-alcoholic fluids, even if you don't feel thirsty. Your body needs water to keep cool. People who have epilepsy or heart, kidney or liver disease; are on fluid-restrictive diets or have a problem with fluid retention should consult a physician before increasing their consumption of fluids.

Spend more time in air-conditioned places. Air conditioning markedly reduces the danger from the heat. If you cannot afford an air conditioner, spending some time each day, particularly during the hottest weather, in an air-conditioned environment affords some protection. I strongly encourage everyone to seek an air conditioned CHURCH this coming Sunday.

At North Raleigh Church of the Nazarene our church is air conditioned with comfortable chairs, friendly people and a prayer soaked atmosphere to encounter God.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

We came in peace

On this date in 1969, I was a 14 years old - glued to the black and white TV set in our family room. With a pen in hand, I took notes about one of the greatest events I have ever witnessed:

American Neil Armstrong became the first man to walk on the Moon.

The astronaut stepped onto the Moon's surface, in the Sea of Tranquility, at 0256 GMT, nearly 20 minutes after first opening the hatch on the Eagle landing craft.
Armstrong had earlier reported the lunar module's safe landing at 2017 GMT with the words: "Houston, Tranquility Base here. The Eagle has landed."

As he put his left foot down first Armstrong declared: "That's one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind." He described the surface as being like powdered charcoal and the landing craft left a crater about a foot deep. Armstrong spent his first few minutes on the Moon taking photographs and soil samples in case the mission had to be aborted suddenly.

He was joined by colleague Edwin "Buzz" Aldrin at 0315 GMT and the two collected data and performed various exercises - including jumping across the landscape - before planting the Stars and Stripes flag at 0341 GMT.

They also unveiled a plaque bearing President Nixon's signature and an inscription reading: "Here men from the planet Earth first set foot upon the Moon July 1969 AD. We came in peace for all mankind."

After filming their experience with a portable television camera the astronauts received a message from the US President. President Nixon, in the White House, spoke of the pride of the American people and said: "This certainly has to be the most historic telephone call ever made."

Saturday, July 16, 2011

A preview of July 17 at NRN

On Sunday - July 17th - I will continue in the teaching series about God's Amazing Grace. I am anticipating a awesome day of worship and praise at NRN. Here is a sample of our worship songs:

If you were there for the first message in this series - I used this clip from one of my favorite groups - One Time Blind. Here it is as a reminder:

On Sunday July 17th - I will share about God's Healing Grace...

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Mosaic - Song of the Day: Trust the Lord

The current members of MOSAIC are Jonathan Taylor Martin; Devon Graves; Emily Martin; Patrick Lockwood and Molly Lockwood. They will be in concert ministry at NRN on July 10 at 10:45am.

In anticipation of their newest album release they are providing us with a new song for the album each day. Here is the song of the day - which you can hear live in church tomorrow at NRN.


Patrick Lockwood, Jonathan Taylor Martin
Proverbs 3

Do not forget, but let your heart keep my commandments
For length of days, years of life and peace they will add to you
Kindness and truth, write and bind them on your heart
You will find favor in the sight of God and man

Trust the Lord with all your heart
Do not lean on your understanding
In all your ways acknowledge Him
And He will make Your path straight

Do not be wise in your own eyes, fear the Lord and turn from evil
It will be healing and refreshment to your bones
Honor the Lord from the first fruits of your wealth
You will have plenty, your cup will overflow with new wine

Do not reject the discipline of the Lord our loving Father
We are His children and in our good He delights
Blessed is the man who finds wisdom and understanding
It’s better than silver and worth more than fine gold

© 2011 Mosaic Music, LLC

To hear the story behind the song and then this great song - click here:

Trust the Lord

Friday, July 8, 2011

Mosaic Song of the Day: Seek the Lord

Mosaic will be in concert ministry at NRN this Sunday
July 10 at 10:45am. I hope many people will be in attendance and our family at NRN will invite their friends for this special event!

Seek the Lord

Simply click on the title to hear the song and view the lyrics.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Mosaic at NRN on Sunday July 10


in concert ministry


North Raleigh Church of the Nazarene

Sunday - July 10th - 10:45am

Mosaic is a diverse group of friends and artists that love God, love each other, and love sharing music. Though they grew up all around the country, the members of Mosaic all graduated from and met at Belmont University in Nashville, TN.

Individually each member is unique in style and personality, but these friends have joined together to support each other, serve the church, glorify God, and make great music. It's Mosaic's desire to display the beauty of community and the strength in being different parts of one unified body.

Mosaic began their ministry in May 2009 by performing several small concerts along the east coast, featuring collaboration between the members of Mosaic, each performing their individual pieces written as solo singer-songwriters. In October 2009 with Christmas approaching, Mosaic made plans to record a Christmas album comprising fresh, imaginative arrangements of classic songs, chosen to raise Jesus back to the forefront of Christmas, while focusing on worship and praise. In January 2010, Mosaic made the move to start performing and ministering full time and began writing for their second album “As Long As It Is Day”.

Mosaic is currently touring the country full time. Their newest album, entitled “Teach Us”, is anticipated to release on July 15, 2011, kicking off the summer with a new tour and a new season of songs! Never more excited to share their music with the Church than they are now, Mosaic, is trusting God to use these songs to ignite a fresh and authentic application of Scripture in the lives of His people.

Here is an excerpt from the upcoming release about a song they will share this coming Sunday. I was moved by the song story - and then the great message from this song: Simply click on the title:

Saturday, July 2, 2011

How we spend our day

My wife, Sharron, departed for her trip to Canada on Thursday June 18th. She is taking care of her dad following his surgery. I am so glad to hear the good reports that he is doing so well. Sharron returns to Raleigh on Sunday afternoon, July 3rd.

Today is the last Saturday before her return - so I have a long "honey-do" list toaccomplish.

This Sunday I will continue in the teaching series on the Amazing Grace of God.

Here is a quote I recently read that spoke to me about how I spend my time each day.

"How we spend our days is, of course, how we spend our lives. What we do with this hour, and that one is what we are doing. A schedule defends us from chaos and whim. It is a net for catching days. It is a scaffolding on which a worker can stand and labor with both hands, a section at a time." -- Annie Dillard

Monday, June 20, 2011

Farewell to Tom and Joyce Alsbury

Yesterday we celebrated Father's Day at NRN. We also expressed appreciation to Dr. Tom and Joyce Alsbury for their distinguished service to North Raleigh Church of the Nazarene.

The letter of appreciation I presented to Tom and Joyce was the following:

This award is to express our deep appreciation to you for your distinguished acts of service and labor of love to the Lord through your ministry at North Raleigh Church of the Nazarene.

Joyce – we appreciate the hundreds of selfless hours as you served as our church treasurer. You have served behind the scenes in many capacities, as a member of our church board and even serving as a sound technician. Thank you for your service to the Lord!

Tom – Over the past few years God has used you in a mighty way as you have served as our worship leader. You have used your gifts from the Lord to serve Him and your ministry has been a blessing. Thank you for your leadership, serving on our church board in the past and directing our worship in recent significant worship experiences. Words cannot adequately express our appreciation for all you have done. You have been so faithful to provide financial sacrifice for the purchase of equipment to enhance our worship ministry. The many hours behind the scenes in the early Sunday mornings have not gone unnoticed. Thank you for your ministry.

We are so excited about the call of God upon your life to step into a unique ministry position. As you begin your service at Seattle Pacific University, we feel you will be a part of a great mission to “engage the culture and change the world with the gospel of Jesus Christ.” Be reminded often of our love for you and our prayers on your behalf.

Tom and Joyce will depart this week and begin their move back to the sate of Washington. We will miss them very much however, celebrate the call of God upon their lives to begin their ministry at Seattle Pacific University.

The last song Tom presented to the church family at NRN was powerful:

Tom and Joyce - you have been church members of my dream. I will miss you....

Thursday, June 9, 2011

I now pronounce you - husband and wife

Today Sharron and I celebrated our 33rd wedding anniversary. Thanks for all the kind words of encouragement on Facebook. Sharron and I feel extremely blessed as we take a moment to reflect over the years together. We are spending the evening at the Lifeway Conference Center in Ridgecrest, NC.

Over the past two Saturdays I have had the privilege to stand before a couple and pronounce them husband and wife. I pray that their marriages will be as blessed as ours. Here is the trustworthy saying I reserved for today:

"Find a good spouse, you find a good life— and even more: the favor of God!" Proverbs 18:22

I am so thankful for my wife Sharron!

Sharron just read this post and then she asked me to post this clip since we are staying tonight at a Baptist Retreat Center. This is one of our favorites: ENJOY!

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

A serious case of writers block

You may have noticed that I have not blogged for a long - long time. There are several reasons for this. I was in the process of posting devotionals for the Lenten season preparing for Easter 2011. One morning as I went to prepare my post for the day my computer stopped working.

My computer "died" and I did not have computer access at home for several weeks. As I worked through this difficult time - my cell phone began to give me trouble and then - it "died".

Now I have a new computer at home and I am now the owner of a new Verizon Samsung Fascinate Phone.

I think my season of a writer's block is soon coming to a close. Over the new few weeks I plan to prepare a few retro postings - refreshing some of the events I failed to share - I also begin to bring new and fresh blog postings. I am battling with writers block - but this is a first step and I plan to be back soon.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Lenten Devotional: the End of Cain's History

Genesis 4:1: Now Adam knew his wife Eve, and she conceived and bore Cain. Adam and Eve become the proud creators of new life, a new life which, however, is created in human beings' obsessive desire for life together and for death; Cain is the first human being born on the ground that is cursed. History begins with Cain, the history of death. Adam, preserved for death and yet consumed by a thirst for life, begets Cain, the murderer. The new element in Cain, Adam's son, is that he himself, in his being like God, violates human life. He who is not permitted to eat of the tree of life reaches all the more greedily for the fruit of death, the destruction of life. Only the Creator can destroy life. Cain usurps for himself the ultimate right of the Creator, and becomes a murderer. Why does Cain commit murder? Out of hatred toward God. This hatred is great. Cain is great. He is greater than Adam, since his hatred is greater, which means that his obsessive desire for life is greater. The history of death stands under the sign of Cain. Christ on the cross, the murdered Son of God—that is the end of Cain's history, and thus the end of all history. It is the last, desperate assault on the gates of paradise. The human race dies under the slashing sword, under the cross. But Christ lives. The trunk of the cross becomes the wood of life, and in the middle of the world life is established anew in the accursed ground. In the center of the world, from the wood of the cross, the fountain of life springs up anew, and all those thirsting for life are called to this water, and whoever has eaten of the wood of this life will never again hunger or thirst. A strange paradise, this hill of Golgotha, this cross, this blood, this broken body; a strange tree of life, this trunk on which God himself had to suffer and die—and yet here is bequeathed anew by God in grace: the kingdom of life, of resurrection, an open door of imperishable hope, of waiting, and of patience. Tree of life, cross of Christ, the center of God's fallen and preserved world, that is the end of the story of paradise for us. Today now he unlocks the door To blessed paradise. No angel bars it anymore, To God all honor, glory and praise. Excerpted from: Meditations on the Cross by Dietrich Bonhoeffer

Monday, April 11, 2011

Lenten Devotional: Suffering in Solidarity

It must be clear to us that most people learn only through personal experience occurring to their own bodies. First, this explains why most people are remarkably incapable of any sort of preventative action. We keep thinking that we ourselves will be spared when disaster strikes—until it is too late. Second, it explains our insensitivity toward the suffering of others; solidarity with suffering arises in proportion to our own increasing fear of imminent doom.

Much can be said to justify this attitude. Ethically, we wish to avoid meddling with fate. We draw the inner calling and strength for action only from an actual and present crisis. We are not responsible for all the injustice and suffering in the world, nor do we wish to judge the whole world. Psychologically, our lack of imagination, sensitivity, and inner readiness is balanced by a kind of unwavering calmness, an undisturbed ability to work, and a great capacity for suffering.

From a Christian perspective, though, none of these justifications can conceal that the real issue here is our hearts' lack of magnanimity. Christ avoided suffering until his hour had come; then, however, he went to it in freedom, seized it, and overcame it. Christ—so scripture tells us—experienced all the suffering of all human beings on his own body and as his own suffering (an incomprehensibly lofty notion!), and took it upon himself in freedom.

We are certainly not Christ ourselves, nor are we called to redeem the world through our own actions and our own suffering, nor should we burden ourselves with the impossible and then castigate our own inability to bear it. No, we are not lords, we are instruments in the hand of the Lord of history. Only to an extremely limited degree are we really able to join with other human beings in suffering. Although we are not Christ, if we want to be Christians we must participate in Christ's own magnanimous heart by engaging in responsible action that seizes the hour in complete freedom, facing the danger. And we should do so in genuine solidarity with suffering flowing forth, not from fear, but from the liberating and redeeming love of Christ toward all who suffer. Inactive "waiting-and-seeing" or impassive "standing-by" are not Christian attitudes.

Christians are prompted to action and suffering in solidarity not just by personal bodily experience, but by the experience incurred by their fellows for whose sake Christ himself suffered.

Excerpted from: Meditations on the Cross by Dietrich Bonhoeffer

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Today at NRN

Saturday was a full day and travel as we visited a dear friend whose mother suffered a stroke this past week and is hospitalized in Concord, NC. Thanks to ALL those who participated in the church work day as we prepared our facility for the open house in conjunction with the Gigantic Easter Egg Hunt on Saturday April 23, 2011. Today will be special at NRN as draw near to our upcoming prayer vigil. Here are some of the worship songs we plant to present to the Lord:

Friday, April 8, 2011

Lenten Devotional: Turning Hate to Love

These are the things which might conceivably and truly make men forgive their enemies. We can only turn hate to love by understanding what are the things that men have loved; nor is it necessary to ask men to hate their loves in order to love one another. And just as two grocers are most likely to be reconciled when they remember for a moment that they are two fathers, so two nationals are most likely to be reconciled when they remember (if only for a moment) that they are two patriots.

From: "The Intrinsic Value of the Nation," Illustrated London News, June 4, 1921

Eye for an Eye "You have heard that it was said, 'An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.' But I say to you, Do not resist an evildoer. But if anyone strikes you on the right cheek, turn the other also; and if anyone wants to sue you and take your coat, give your cloak as well; and if anyone forces you to go one mile, go also the second mile. Give to everyone who begs from you, and do not refuse anyone who wants to borrow from you." Matthew 5:38-42

Prayer Who am I, God, that I should consider myself superior to others—worth special treatment or consideration? Open my heart to understand my fellow men and women, especially those with whom I currently experience conflict. Open my mind to comprehend that I am connected to other human beings; that my sense of individual separateness is in reality an illusion. Teach me, Lord, first to understand my enemies and then even to love them.

Lenten Action Spend ten to twenty minutes in silent prayer. As distractions crowd your mind, do not hold on to them; let them go. After you find some soul silence, ask God to bring to your mind your "enemies." Imagine, as Chesterton suggests above, ways you are alike. Ask God what you have in common with these people. Finally, ask God to show you ways you might take small steps toward reconciliation—a card or phone call, a smile or handshake.

BY: G.K. Chesterton

Thursday, April 7, 2011

A Lenten Devotional - A nut falling from a tree

Readings: Isa 49:8-15; John 5:17-30

Scripture: "Amen, amen, I say to you, the Son cannot do anything on his own, but only what he sees the Father doing; for what he does, the Son will do also."

(John 5:19)

Reflection: Principals and counselors appreciate the old adage about the nut not falling far from the tree. To understand a student's attitudes or behaviors, to understand a client's values and vision, the principal or counselor need but reflect upon the family of origin and in so doing come to a fairly good grasp of what is going on. The intimate relationship within the Trinity of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit is the concern of John's gospel. To understand the nature of our triune God, we must ponder the works that God does, and those works are creating, redeeming, and sanctifying. Jesus does what the Father and the Holy Spirit do, that is, give life and love to the world. That is why Jesus came, that we might have life to the full that comes to us through faith in the Lord and love for one another. We are the children of God, God's beloved children.

Hopefully we "nuts" do not fall far from the tree, the tree of life. Made in the image and likeness of God, we are called to continue the works that Jesus and the Father and the Holy Spirit are doing. We are called to be agents of life, instruments of divine love, conduits of God's light. But something has gone wrong. We tend to wander from the tree that has given us life. We tend to do works of darkness, not light; we struggle with self-absorption when we should be loving; we sometimes participate in the culture of death and fail in our mission of bringing life to others.

Lent is the season to repent, to once again return to our baptismal commitment of being true disciples of Jesus. Like Jesus, we are to seek God's will and we are to participate in the marvelous works of God: creation, redemption, sanctification.

Meditation: What is God asking you to do? In what ways can you be an agent of God's creative, redeeming, and sanctifying love? Who are the people you have known who have done the works of the Lord?

Prayer: Lord Jesus, deepen our faith in you. May we hear your voice and follow in your way so that we might be agents of your Father's kingdom. May we live out our call to participate in your mission of salvation by being ambassadors of reconciliation. Come, Lord Jesus, come.

By: Bishop Robert Morneau

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

A Lenten Devotional: Well Being and Responsible

Readings: Ezek 47:1-9, 12; John 5:1-16

Scripture: When Jesus saw him [the sick man] lying there and knew that he had been ill for a long time, he said to him, "Do you want to be well?" (John 5:6)

Reflection: Health is one of the most desired values in all of life. Well-being, be that of body, emotions, or our spiritual life, is a grace of supreme importance. Tremendous amounts of money, research, and energy are put into the healthcare field. As Emerson reminds us, "The first wealth is health." Jesus raises a question in today's gospel that is directed not only to the man who had been ill for thirty-eight years but also to us: "Do you want to be well?"

Do we want to be healed of whatever infirmity we have? Despite it being the Sabbath, Jesus cures the man on the spot, bidding him to pick up his mat and walk. But not only was the man cured of his physical ailment, the Lord makes reference to the man's spiritual life as well when he commands him not to sin anymore. The persecution directed at Jesus was as much at his spiritual healing as it was at his physical healing.

This wanting to be well has an interesting consequence. Once healed of whatever infirmity, we are now given new responsibilities and we cannot claim exemptions from ordinary tasks because of illness. So the thirty-eight-year-old ill man must now get a job and take on the duties of ordinary life. The person who is emotionally healed cannot continue to be excused from one's responsibility from solid relationships, hiding behind emotional distress. And the spiritually healed person, sins forgiven, must now take up those religious disciplines (prayer, fasting, almsgiving) that sustain spiritual health and help us to grow in the Spirit.

The philosopher Father William Lynch, SJ, reminds us: "With the ill, there is less relationship, less call, less response, more fear of help or response when it is there, and therefore far more trouble." It is no small wonder that some people do not want to get well, for good health imposes many demands on our life.

Meditation: What is the state of your health—physically, emotionally, spiritually? Have you ever hidden behind illness as a way of avoiding responsibility?

Prayer: Lord Jesus, you came to heal and restore us to health. May we have great faith in your power to make us whole. Through the gift of your Holy Spirit we can live full and productive lives, and even when ill, we can discern and do your will. We do want to be well and praise you for the gift of health.

Excerpted from: Not by Bread Alone: Daily Reflections for Lent 2011 By: Bishop Robert Morneau

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Lenten Devotional: The Whole Household

Readings: Isa 65:17-21; John 4:43-54

Scripture: The father realized that just at that time Jesus had said to him, "Your son will live," and he and his whole household came to believe. (John 4:53)

Reflection: Ours is an age of individualism. Our thought patterns and our moral behavior tend to focus more on the individual, much less on the common good. Self-interest reigns; it's all about me; you've got to take care of number one! Jesus was concerned about the individual and about the "whole household."

In teaching the disciples how to pray, stress was put on "our" Father. We are all interconnected; we are all part of the same body, the body of Christ. St. Paul clarifies this by reminding us that when one person suffers, we all suffer, and, vice versa, when one person rejoices, joy comes to all.

The second sign that Jesus worked—the curing of the royal official's son—led to belief. But not only did the official come to faith, "his whole household came to believe." The same thing happened in the story of Zacchaeus (Luke 19:1-10) wherein salvation came not only to the tax collector but also to his whole family. The social nature of our spirituality has profound implications. One implication is, as the Quaker Douglas V. Steere asserts, we have "unlimited liability for one another." A mature spirituality does not allow us to privatize our relationship with God. Although we do have a personal relationship with the Lord, there is always a corporate component to our religious life. The notion of being a pilgrim and traveling with other pilgrims illustrates this "unlimited liability" notion.

A second implication is that, because of our social nature, community has a high priority in the Christian life. We are church, a gathering of people in the household of God. We are called to share and care; we are called to compassion and empathy; we are called to respond together to God's will by acting justly, loving tenderly, and walking humbly in faith (Mic 6:8).

The royal official in Capernaum was in a life and death situation. His son was critically ill and the official begged Jesus to heal his boy. The official believed! And so did the rest of the family.

Meditation: What role do you assign to the social component of spirituality? How has the faith of others influenced your personal growth?

Prayer: Lord Jesus, give us the gift of faith. In our illness and struggles, we need your healing power. May our personal faith enrich the lives of others; may their faith in you help us to be better disciples. Come, Lord Jesus, come.

Excerpted from: Not by Bread Alone: Daily Reflections for Lent 2011 by: Bishop Robert Morneau

Monday, April 4, 2011

Lenten Devotional - The Center

One who does not seek the cross of Jesus isn't seeking the glory of Christ.

-St. John of the Cross

Every believer knows that Christ went the way of the cross for our sakes. But it is not enough just to know this. Each of us must find the cross. He suffered in vain unless we are willing to die for him as he died for us. Christ's way was a bitter way. It ended in a victory of light and life, but it began in the feeding trough of an animal in a cold stable, and passed through tremendous need: through suffering, denial, betrayal, and finally, complete devastation and death on a cross. If we call ourselves his followers, we must be willing to take the same path.

When a grain of wheat is laid in the earth, it dies. It no longer remains a grain, but through death it brings forth fruit. This is the way of true Christianity. It is the way Jesus went when he died on the cross for each of us. If we want our lives to be fruits of Christ's death on the cross, we cannot remain individual grains. We must be ready to die too. Christ died on the cross to break the curse of evil and vanquish it once and for all. If we do not believe in the power of evil, we cannot comprehend this. Until we realize that the main reason for his coming to earth was to do this on our behalf—to free us from the powers of darkness—we will never fully understand our need for the cross. We can search the whole world, but we will find forgiveness of sins and freedom from torment nowhere except at the cross.

Many people say, "God is so great, so mighty, that he could have saved humankind without the cross." But that is not true. We should remember that God is not only one hundred percent love—which might have allowed him to forgive our sins without the cross. He is also one hundred percent justice. To kill the son of God was the most evil deed ever done. But it was just through that deed that God showed his greatest love and gave everyone the possibility of finding peace with him. The image of a sweet, gentle Savior, like the thought of an all-loving God, is wonderful, but it is only a small part of the picture. It insulates us from the real power of his touch. Christ comforts and heals, saves and forgives--we know that; but we must not forget that he judges too. If we truly love him, we will love everything in him; not only his compassion and mercy, but his sharpness too. It is his sharpness that prunes and purifies. There is something in modern thinking which rebels against the Atonement.

Perhaps our idea of an all-loving God keeps us from wanting to face judgment. We think that love and forgiveness is all that is needed, yet that is not the whole Gospel---it makes God too human.... When we know Jesus in the depths of our hearts, we will begin to realize (even if only to a tiny degree) what he went through for our sake. This means surrendering ourselves to him in prayer and quiet, confessing our sins to one another, and laying them before the cross in a spirit of repentance. Then he will accept us and give us reconciliation with God, a clean conscience, and a pure heart. In rescuing us from inner death and granting us new life, his love for us will spill over into our own hearts and give us a great love for him. Naturally it cannot end here, however. The experience of personal purification at the cross is vital, yet to remain focused on that alone would be useless. Christ's love is so great, it must lift our minds above our little struggles—and any preoccupation with our own salvation—so that we can see the needs of others, and beyond that the greatness of God and his Creation.

The cross is so much greater than the personal; it has cosmic significance, for its power embraces the whole earth and more than this earth! There are secrets that only God knows, and the crucifixion at Golgotha is perhaps the greatest of them all. Paul speaks of its mystery and says only that it pleased God to let his full nature dwell in Jesus and to reconcile to himself everything on earth and in heaven "through the shedding of his blood on the cross" (Col. 1:19-20).

At the cross, then, not only earth but also heaven and all the powers and principalities of the angel world will be reconciled to God. Certainly not we, and maybe not even the angels, will ever fully understand this. But one thing we know: Christ overcame death, the last enemy, and through this, something took place that continues to have power far beyond the limits of our planet.

A devotional by J. Heinrich Arnold

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Preparing for Sunday April 3rd at NRN

As I prepare for Sunday at NRN I am praying over the message in the teaching series called 24 hours that changed the world! We are walking through the last 24 hours of Jesus life here on earth.

I am so excited about what God has planned for our worship experience on Sunday April 3rd at NRN!

We will begin with an awesome Call to Worship:

Followed by a great hymn of our faith:

As we prepare for a time of prayer and remembrance we share this great song:

We will conclude our time of communion with a song of adoration to God:

I have requested the worship team share this song as we present our tithes and offerings to the Lord:

Friday, April 1, 2011

A Lenten Devotional: Merchandising Truth

Jesus entered the temple area and drove out all who were buying and selling there.

Matthew 21:12

We read in the Gospel how Holy Week began with Jesus entering the temple and driving out all those that bought and sold. He then rebuked the vendors of doves: "Get these things out of here!" He was so crystal clear in his command that it was if he said, "I have a right to this temple and I alone will be in it and have control of it." What does this have to say to us? The temple God wants to be master of is the human soul, which he created and fashioned just like himself. We read that God said, "Let us make man in our own image." And he did it. He made each soul so much like himself that nothing else in heaven or on earth resembles him as much. That is why God wants the temple to be pure, so pure that nothing should dwell there except he himself.

And that is the reason why he is so pleased when we really prepare our souls for him. When we do this, when he alone dwells in our hearts, he takes great comfort. But who, exactly, are the people who buy and sell? Are they not precisely the good people? See! The merchants are those who only guard against mortal sins. They strive to be good people who do their good deeds to the glory of God, such as fasting, watching, praying and the like--all of which are good--and yet do these things so that God will give them something in exchange. Their efforts are contingent upon God doing something they ardently want to have done.

They are all merchants. They want to exchange one thing for another and to trade with our Lord. But they will be cheated out of their bargain--for what they have or have attained is actually given to them by God. Lest we forget, we do what we do only by the help of God, and so God is never obligated to us. God gives us nothing and does nothing except out of his own free will. What we are we are because of God, and whatever we have we receive from God and not by our own contriving. Therefore God is not in the least obligated to us--neither for our deeds nor for our gifts. He gives to us freely. Besides, Christ himself says, "Without me, you can do nothing." People are very foolish when they want to trade with God. They know little or nothing of the truth. And God will strike them and drive them out of the temple. Light and darkness cannot exist side by side. God himself is the truth.

When he enters the temple, he drives out ignorance and darkness and reveals himself in light and truth. Then, when the truth is known, merchants must depart--for truth wants no merchandising! God does not seek his own benefit. In everything he acts only out of love. Thus, the person who is united with God lives the same way--he is innocent and free. He lives for love without asking why, and solely for the glory of God, never seeking his own advantage. God alone is at work in him.

As long as we look for some kind of pray for what we do, as long as we want to get something from God in some kind of exchange, we are like the merchants. If you want to be rid of the commercial spirit, then by all means do all you can in the way of good works, but do so solely for the praise of God. Live as if you did not exist. Expect and ask nothing in return. Then the merchant inside you will be driven out of the temple God has made. Then God alone dwells there. See! This is how the temple is cleared: when a person thinks only of God and honors him alone. Only such a person is free and genuine.... And what does Jesus say when the soul has been cleared? His word is a revelation of himself and everything the Father has said to him.

He reveals the Father's majesty with unmeasured power. If in your spirit you discover this power, you will possess a like power in whatever you do--a power that will enable you to live undividedly and pure. Neither joy nor sorrow, no, nor any created thing will be able to disrupt your soul. For Christ will remain and he will cast aside all that is insignificant and futile. When Jesus is united with your soul, the soul's tide moves back again into its own, out of itself and above all things, with grace and power back to its prime origin. Then your fallen, fleshly self will become obedient to your inner, spiritual self, and you will in turn have a lasting peace in serving God without condition or demand.