I Have a Voice!!!!

I watched ‘The King’s Speech’ a few nights ago, which truly was a remarkable film. I love that we have come to a point in our culture when the marketplace is thirsting for real life stories of overcoming and triumph, which is one reason why a film like this is received so well.

Sure, it has superb acting, directing and production, but the joy it places in our hearts is where this film truly clicks.

But I walked away from this film not even realizing the biggest takeaway, until this morning – I HAVE A VOICE!

I don’t know about you, but I have forever struggled with confidence. I spent the first 30 years of my life never telling people what I truly felt. I always just put on a smile and hoped my feelings of frustration, irritation and dislike would just pass and we could just be “friends.” Why did I never tell anyone about my feelings? For reasons of discomfort, sure, but more so a fear that I didn’t have the right to say this.


This is a term that could often be attached to protest marches or political rallies, but give it some real thought. Don’t you have a voice?

Only recently, God finally got through to me that He has given me tasks to speak His words to people, and they may be hard to hear, but they need to be spoken. It may be (incredibly) uncomfortable, but the fruits that result are boundless. In several instances I have stepped outside of myself and used my voice, and each time I have been overwhelmed by the rush of strength and legitimate power.

This is not to say that I am out to conquer the world in the name of Matt Rennels, I recognize it is God working inside me for His works. I am entirely Blessed by this, and I am so thankful that a mighty God would use a small man like myself to accomplish His means.

The most amazing aspect about this movie was that Bertie went into speech therapy to work on his mechanics. He absolutely refused to look at what was inside him, which was truly what was holding back his voice.

I can truly relate to this. I have experienced an inability to speak at many times in my life, and it is painful. It’s amazing that it is something inside of us that deeply affects our voice. It’s the bad stuff inside us that keeps the good stuff bottled up.

Everyone has a voice. Bertie was destined to be King George VI but he didn’t think he could be a king, only because he didn’t think he had a voice. He certainly did. You do, too. You likely won’t be King of the United Kingdom, but you are definitely destined to be someone of great importance. Let that voice out.


Freedom From Banging Our Heads Against The Wall

I have felt a weight on my chest lately.

It feels like an elephant is standing on it to check out the view. It feels as though one of those giant cement balls from Looney

Tunes cartoons is resting on me. It feels like I have the weight of the world on there.

And I suppose I do. What’s the world bring us? Bills, bills, and bills, and elephant-sized challenges. What’s the Lord bring us?

FREEDOM from our challenges, peace, joy.

It sometimes feels like I can’t breathe. The weight of being a new husband and father (to my dog Pongo) can be a lot heavier than

expected. The demands of the 40-hour work week, both on the job and the limited time off, is straining. And to think I worked so

hard, unknowingly looking for stress like this! (Be careful what you wish for, it might just come true!)

As children of God, we are to be free of this.

  • And he saith unto them, Why are ye so fearful? How is it that ye have no faith? – Mark 4:40
  • Fear not, little flock, for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom. – Luke 12:32
  • For I the Lord thy God will hold thy right hand, saying unto thee, Fear not; I will help thee. – Isaiah 41:13

God, our greatest friend and helper, is here for us. Like a true Father, He wants to take our hand, walking us through our

troubles. He wants us to lay our troubles at His feet so He can take care of them. This isn’t just a neighbor down the street who is

offering to take a look at your broke down weed whacker when he gets the time, this is the Lord, demanding us to give Him

WHATEVER problem we face.

That’s not only if we feel like it or if we don’t feel quite prepared ourselves, that’s in every single instance. The only problem is

that we don’t want to. Even the tallest hurdles, something stubborn inside us, or something prideful, cries out “I want to try at

that!!” We may be yelling out “AHHHHH!!! I can’t do this!!” But we still continue trying it alone, and continue beating our heads

against the wall with each failure.

We need freedom from clinging to dying efforts. Look at your life, you know there is something in it that just isn’t working, no

matter how hard you try. Let God take control, and He’ll work the miracles you have been wanting to see all along.

God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. – Psalm 46:1

Watching Other People go to Weddings

How about being free from wedding pictures on Facebook?

My wife LOVES looking at these pictures of Facebook. I really think that if Facebook didn’t have any wedding photos, she wouldn’t check it too very often. I always hear “oooooohs”, “aaaaaahhs”, and “Wow! She should NOT have been wearing that!” Coming from her desk across the office.

I enjoy going to weddings, but I don’t really enjoy looking at other people going to weddings. And after being so involved in a wedding  planning process only a year ago, I don’t ever care to analyze tuxedo styles, corsiage colors or limo options ever again. But, that’s just me.

Freedom from Facebook? That’s another post. How about just banning all wedding photos from Facebook? Then I may be able to see my wife’s face once in a while! How cool! 🙂

Freedom From Poor Planning

This is something I need freedom from. This can be a combination of problems, whether it is a result of poor planning, implementation, or both.

Do you ever feel like there aren’t enough hours in a day? Well, all of us are given the same amount, so everyone else around you must be magicians the way they pull hours out of a hat!

There are no excuses. We just have to find a way to do what we have to do in order to give ourselves more hours in the day. We have to find a method, whether we are working alone or within a marriage, to efficiently and successfuly get done what we want to do, have to do, and need to do.

“The plans of the diligent lead surely to plenty, but those of everyone who is hasty, surely to poverty.” Proverbs 21:5

You may be saying, “But I am diligent! I work all day and all night! And I’ve been doing this forever, where’s my plenty??” But diligent does necessarily not mean working hard in general, in God’s eyes diligence is perseverent application in whatever God intends us to apply ourselves within.

A man can be the hardest worker we know, but if it isn’t the work God has asked of him, then there won’t be fruits within this. And He may be asking for diligence within one small characteristic of that man, which will lead to bigger fruits in his life.

Also, poor planning may be the result of not organizing a day well enough, but cramming too much in. My wife and I are very much guilty of this one, because then a well-planned out schedule is shot.

I have one aspect that needs some major work, and then the fruits of my labor will produce quality planning. This is a major area of my prayer, and I will keep you updated, but just remember that God is the maker of all plans, so if you need to become a better planner, you don’t have to look too far to find some good advice.

Trees are pretty!

I was driving today when it just struck me how beautiful it is. If only I didn’t have to look forward while driving.

It’s worth reminiscing about being able to stare out a car window at the rolling fields and spectacular sights. I used to look so forward to family road trips, but unfortunately not because I wanted to chat it up with the family, rather, I really, really enjoyed strapping on the headphones, pumping up the Discman and daydreaming out the window.

It’s not that I want to do that anymore. Heck, today my dreams would no longer consist of girl interaction and aspirations to be a rock star, my mind would probably be filled with budgets, landscaping projects and insurance plans. But I can only hope not, because I would have plenty of praising to do of our Creator.

Look at the trees, and watch as they blow in the wind. Notice the birds and the unique way they hop. See the grass blades, each one appearing as it should, straight up and green. Let the blue majestic skies overtake you for a moment, remembering that skies aren’t blue every day. Enjoy it! Praise our Creator for such beauty.

Life can get so fast-paced that it can squeeze out the simplest things, and those are often the best things. Last weekend my wife and I spent some all of Saturday working on our yard, and what was a long work day was actually a really enjoyable, relaxing time. Just being in God’s Creation can set things in line. It can set you free from your worries, because you can see that nature, as vastly intricate and complicated as it is, comes together as expected each and every day. It doesn’t take much thought, but working in God’s soil naturally releases us from our worries, but I think that’s the reason – our spirit is reminded of God’s complete dependability.

When driving along, we can see where man falls short, as some buildings or work projects are left unfinished, street signs are rusting, and you will likely find many signs with spelling and grammatical errors. We have good intentions, but we all have the tendency to let some things go, not putting complete care into it. But God’s creation, the stuff that isn’t touched by man, is completely taken care of. You won’t find too many elm trees that just grow without leaves, or you won’t find too many blades of grass that are purple because He put the order in wrong. God takes care of it all.

The saying we all know is “Don’t let life pass you by”, but I say “Don’t let yourself pass by life.” There is so much beauty to see, take some time out of your busy schedule, free yourself up.

Spoiler alert!!!

In the movie Forrest Gump, Oscar award-winning actor Tom Hanks plays Forrest Gump.

A Helping Hand

I have been wanting to write this blog for several days now.

What should I write about? I have thought to myself so many times.

I am living in the middle of a national crisis, I have to write something impacting, amazing, encouraging, life-changing, and wise … my thoughts continued, heaping adjective after adjective onto onto my plate. 

The world is counting on me to give it lenses to our crisis in Nashville and surrounding areas through my writing!!!!!!

(My years as a newspaper reporter has only heightened my ego. I may need to realize I’m not still a trusted news source.)

The story is still unraveling and there are so much to tell and so much to come. A WordPress blog that’s updated three or four times a week may not be able to rival The Tennessean or CNN in coverage, so I won’t even try. But I will tell you what I have experienced, because no other news source can tell that – amazement.

My wife and I drove down to Riverside Drive last night, where there used to be a street and now there lies the Cumberland River. It was the first time I got the opportunity to see anything, since I live two miles down the road and drive 30 minutes the opposite direction to work each day.

Monday was both amazing and excruciating. I work at a cubicle in a bank in a city 30 minutes away, so I’m close enough to hear about it all day long, but I’m far enough away that I felt like This was the first day after an extremely wet weekend, but I didn’t see this coming at all. A friend from nearby Hopkinsville called during the rain on Saturday, and I assured him we were fine. “Hopkinsville floods all the time, but Clarksville’s fine, it never really floods.” He then spookily said, “Yea, I just worry about you guys and the river,” to which I ignorantly replied “No, that will never flood, don’t worry we are fine.”

But the news reports just kept on coming in, grander and grander, and I felt as if I was on a different continent. I was in a cubicle of all places, working vigorously to ensure people are receiving their paychecks, the same thing I’d do any workday. This was so tough, especially with my wife right in the middle of the flooding in her radio job, and it was still in my blood after being the crime reporter a few years ago for Clarksville’s Leaf-Chronicle, a direct link to the center of situations like this one. As if cubicles didn’t seem mundane and lifeless before, this suddenly seemed like a blunt stapler blow to the face.

Please, pray for our area. Nashville is, of course, getting much of the news, especially since all the historic landmarks that millions of people have been to are being destroyed, that certainly draws a lot of attention. But right here in Clarksville, an Army town of about 250,000, we are in grave danger, too. Thousands of people are now without their homes, one person has died, and the Cumberland River has completely overtaken the riverfront. Riverside Drive, an oh-so-recently thriving commercial region, is now home to all walks of businesses and churches that are underwater. This suddenly leaves thousands of people without jobs, an absence most of them are unable to afford.

My family lives on top of a hill, and a good distance higher than the river. I do believe that nothing is impossible, but it’s only a little short of impossible that we will see any flooding at  our home any time soon. Therefore, I assure you that  Tasha, Pongo, myself and our home are reasonably safe at this point.

Still, I have been so much on the outside that it’s painful. Last night Tasha and I went to a shelter set up by the Red Cross to help people who have lost their home due to the flood, but  red tape kept Tasha from being able to help since she hadn’t taken a training orientation. This world is backwards in that you have to be qualified to help out in a crisis. We bought a couple bags of groceries for the shelter, but then I had to leave to sit on the sidelines. I really hope to be able to help this weekend, though.

I have also asked Tasha to share in an entry what she has experienced within her job. I promise that she has seen some amazing things.

Regardless, God is going to work miracles in all this. He worked miracles back in 1999 when Clarksville’s downtown was destroyed by a tornado, only for them to rebuild and come out better than they were before it hit, and I am certain God’s going to shine on this city again before too long at all. Prayers are very much needed, as are helping hands. Please pray for me, too, as though my hands may be helping by typing this news on this keyboard and asking for help, there is so much more work to be done, and I just feel a burning desire deep down to get my hands dirty in helping.