What Did You Say?

What Did You Say?

Are we beginning to commend ourselves again? Surely we do not need, as some do, letters of recommendation to you or from you, do we? You yourselves are our letter, written on our hearts, to be known and read by all; and you show that you are a letter of Christ, prepared by us, written not with ink but with the Spirit of the living God, not on tablets of stone but on tablets of human hearts. 

                                                                                                     II Corinthians 3: 1-3 (NRSV)


Back in the day when Paul wrote this letter to the Corinthians, letters of recommendation may have been requested by churches to authenticate that one was a valid teacher as opposed to a false teacher.  At the same time, commentaries suggest that false teachers carried counterfeit letters of recommendation for the same purpose.

Paul said that he did not need any such letter.  He said that his letter of recommendation was from Jesus Christ, written on their hearts, not with ink but with the Holy Spirit!

Have you ever thought about what your life communicated?  We’ve all heard the term, “body language”.  Body language sometimes speaks volumes when we think we say nothing at all.  Sometimes body language suggests something totally contrary to what we are saying verbally.  Sometimes body language supports and emphasizes what we are trying to communicate… for good or not so good.

Knowing that you should be Christ’s letter to those around you, what would you want to say?  Would you pause occasionally to “proof-read” what is written?  Do your words and “body language” agree?  Is your letter authentic?

Personally, I would say that many times my life letter has misspellings and grammatical errors as do many of my email communications to our Church.  However, hopefully I can learn from my mistakes, keep writing, and have a realization that Christ is constantly communicating to the people around me, through me. 

Dear Lord,

I am so thankful for Your grace.  I am so thankful for the Holy Spirit that dwells within me and that it desires to speak through me.  Please help me speak Your words today in Jesus’ name.  Amen

A Proper Response

The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge; 

fools despise wisdom and instruction. 

Proverbs 1:7



King Solomon said that the fear of the Lord was the foundation for obtaining knowledge and wisdom.  “Fear of the Lord” or “fear the Lord” is a phrase that is seen throughout the Bible, both in the Old and New Testaments.  So, what does it mean to “fear” the Lord?  The Hebrew word translated to fear in this application means respect, reverence, piety (devoutness).   I really like this explanation that I learned a while back enlightening what it means to fear the Lord … To fear the Lord is to acknowledge who He is and to respond accordingly.

Today is the first day or beginning of the new year.  Our verse today tells us that fearing the Lord is the beginning of knowledge.  Considering both New Year’s Day (with its resolutions and renewal) and Proverbs 1: 7, how do we put life into the proper perspective? How do we respond to the One who spoke and all was created?  How do we respond to the One who loved us so much that He gave His one and only Son to die for our sins, so that we may be forgiven?  How do we respond to the One who will one day judge both the living and the dead?   Later in his life, King Solomon wrote these words of wisdom: “The conclusion, when all has been heard,

is: fear God and keep His commandments, because this applies to

 every person.” (Ecclesiastes 12:13) A good question for us is… How will we respond to God in this New Year?


Have a Blessed New Year!


Reading for today: Proverbs 1


“On A Mission” August 2015

A few weeks back, Tommy was a little nervous about leading the communion meditation at his church for the first time.  When it came time to lead the meditation, Tommy put the nervousness behind him and bared his heart before God and the congregation.  Thank you Tommy for being willing to share this meditation again through our e-devotion, “On a Mission”.



1 Corinthians 10:13


No temptation has overtaken you but such as is common to man; who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but the temptation will provide the way of escape also, so that you will be able to endure it.



The word communion means “to share” or “to have something in common.”  Although it is more than just a feeling, the feeling is rather nice.


Communion is what you feel the first time you fall in love, and they love you back.  You can almost read their mind, and when they go away, your heart breaks.


Communion is what you feel in the middle of the night when your spouse is trembling from a nightmare and gently, you wake them from it.  They thank you with a hug for saving them from the terrors of the nighttime.


Communion is what you feel when you are really, really down and a friend drops by for a visit.  For two hours you trade woes, and when you are done, you are both laughing like school kids, and the world looks bright.


Communion is what you feel when you are striding down the walking trail with God’s sun in your face, the wind in your hair, and the birds cheering you on.


Communion is what you feel at a funeral of a godly friend.  You are relieved that their suffering is over and you feel that they are in Heaven… then Heaven will be a pretty nice place to be.


Communion is what you feel when a neighbor calls to say, “We lost our son in the war,” and you lost your own son in the war last year.


And Communion is what you feel when you are sitting in church, feeling lower than a lizard because of careless and stupid choices you made when confronted by terrible temptations.


Suddenly the worship team begins to sing, “Lord Jesus I long to be perfectly whole, I want thee forever to live in my soul.  Break down every idol, cast out every foe, now wash me and I shall be white as snow.”


Then you reach for the unleavened bread, wondering if God can really forgive you yet again.  You rinse the bread down with the blood of the vine, and your eyes are moist with relief.  You can almost hear your Savior say, “It’s OK, I understand.”  I was tempted too, remember?  And I overcame temptation just so I could help you in times like this.  I forgave you for everything, and I’m giving you a new, unspoiled week.  Call on me whenever things get tough.”


Please join me reciting the Lord’s Prayer…


Our Father, which art in heaven,
Hallowed be thy Name.
Thy Kingdom come.
Thy will be done in earth,
As it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread.
And forgive us our trespasses,
As we forgive them that trespass against us.
And lead us not into temptation,
But deliver us from evil.
For thine is the kingdom,

The power, and the glory,

For ever and ever.


On A Mission – The Light

I was walking in to work from the parking lot early one morning not too long ago.  It was a cool morning with the temperature in the upper thirties.  As I turned the corner around one building, I was met by the sun that had just risen above the buildings and trees ahead of me.  The beautiful sky that surrounded the sun, along with the radiant warmth that touched my face gave me an overwhelming desire to praise and worship God for Him being the Creator and for Him making his presence known to me.
All the while I was walking in to work that cool, early morning, I was thinking over a verse of scripture that I had read the night before.  That verse of scripture was John 8: 12, which reads:   When Jesus spoke again to the people, he said, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” (NIV)  I felt that God had just brought those words to life for me through a magnificent display of the nature He had created.
Then in a random thought I wondered, “what if the light from the sun just went away?”  Then in an instant, I was reminded of another passage of scripture.  This time it was a passage from the Gospel of Matthew (chapter 27), which describes the crucifixion of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.  The verse that was most vivid in my mind was Matthew 27: 45, which reads: “From the sixth hour until the ninth hour darkness came over all the land”.
Over the years, many intelligent people have tried to explain what caused this darkness over the land.  However, in my simple mind, all I know is that Jesus said that He was the light of the world.  Jesus was dying on the cross, thus the light of the world temporarily went away. What a dark and cold world it is without Jesus!
We observe this day as “Good Friday”, which commemorates the death of our Lord and Savior on the cross.  But darkness could not overcome the light and death could not hold its grip on Jesus!  This Sunday, the day we observe as Easter, will be celebrated as the day that Jesus arose from the dead.  What better way is there to honor our Savior’s victory over the grave, the triumph of light over darkness, than to display his light for those around us to see?  “You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden.  Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house.  In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.”  (Matthew 5: 14- 16 NIV)
Wherever you are today, whatever you do, let us join together in one spirit… as one church… together in praise and worship of God, as we celebrate victory over death… light over darkness!

J. Cahoon

“A Breath of Fresh Air”

With all of the cold weather we have been experiencing this winter, I have grown accustomed to seeing my breath when I go outside.  Seeing your own breath is a neat reminder of the complex process that takes place in our bodies when we breathe. Without oxygen, which enters our body through our lungs when we breathe, we would soon die.  The average person at rest breathes between 12 and 20 times a minute; totaling up to between 17,280 and 28,800 breaths per day.  Wow!  I am glad that my body breathes on its own and doesn’t depend on me to remember to do it!

Genesis 2: 7 says:  “Then the Lord God formed a man from the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living being.” (NIV) Man did not become a living being or soul until God breathed into him the breath of life.  Without the breath of life, we were just a lifeless figure made of dirt!

Knowing all of this gives me goose bumps when I read these words of Jesus after He was resurrected and appeared to His disciples saying: “Peace be with you!  As the Father has sent me, I am sending you.” 22 And with that he breathed on them and said, “Receive the Holy Spirit.”  As the Father had given life to man by breathing into his nostrils, the Son poured out the Holy Spirit by breathing onto his disciples!

As a result of these two Divine “breathing” events, we have a soul that lives forever and we have the power of the Holy Spirit… all this happening inside of us!  So when you go outside today and see your breath, be reminded of your Creator.  Be reminded that your physical breath, the one that you are seeing now, is temporary and will one day cease but God’s breath in you, your soul lives on forever!  Be reminded that His Son breathed out the Holy Spirit on his disciples to empower them and still empowers you today!  Be reminded that when you see your breath, you are still alive and able to give glory to God this day!  Amen!

 You Brother in Christ

“Breathe on Me “

Breathe on me, breath of God
Love and life that makes me free
Breathe on me, breath of God
Fan the flame within me

(Fisher Lucy)


Choose the words that we say.

We have all said things before that we wish that we could take back.  Unfortunately, once a bell has been rung, it cannot be “unrung”.  Similarly, once words are spoken, they cannot be swallowed back as if they were never said.  That is why it is so important that we carefully choose the words that we say.

King Solomon said in Proverbs 18:21, “The tongue has the power of life and death, and those who love it will eat its fruit”. (NIV)  I love the translation of the “Message” for the same verse… Words kill, words give life; they’re either poison or fruit—you choose. (Message)  If you read through the book of Proverbs, you will find that “the tongue” is one of the most frequent things talked about.  That is because the words that we say are so very powerful!

So what can we do to help prevent ourselves from saying words that we wish we hadn’t of said?  One way is to think before we speak or reply.  King Solomon also said, “There is more hope for a fool than for someone who speaks without thinking.”(Proverbs 29:20 NLT) Another way is to think “encouragement”.  As damaging as hurtful words can be, conversely, kind words can be so very encouraging and motivating!  Gracious words are a honeycomb, sweet to the soul and healing to the bones. (Proverbs 16:24 NIV) We should make a habit of saying kind words to others.

Most of all, we should work on our hearts if we want to say words that are more kind. Jesus said that …the mouth speaks what the heart is full of.   A good man brings good things out of the good stored up in him, and an evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in him.  (Matthew 12:34b-35 NIV)  We can prepare our hearts to speak by spending time in His Word and time alone with Him in prayer.  Saying the right things most of the time is not by accident!


Sing them over again to me, wonderful words of life,
Let me more of their beauty see, wonderful words of life;

(Wonderful Words of Life by Philip P. Bliss 1874)


Words can build you up, words can break you down
Start a fire in your heart or put it out

(“Words” by Hawk Nelson, 2013)
In his service,

On a New Year Mission

Greetings UCOC and Happy New Year!


When I watch a TV show about snakes, I’ll usually wind up dreaming about them when I go to bed later that night.  Maybe I have a little of the condition “Ophidiophobia” or fear of snakes.  Fortunately for me, I live in a place where it is highly unusual that I would have an encounter with a snake.

However, another fear that I have is much more difficult to avoid.  That is my fear of failure.  My fear of failure is not so great that it debilitates me but it does cause me to look at some situations or problems and say that this is “too big for me” or “where do I even start?”… There’s no way I can do this or at least I can’t do it up to my own expectations.

Nehemiah knew that he had to do something about the walls of Jerusalem.  He didn’t try to avoid the situation or hope that someone else would take on the responsibility.  He took on the burden.  As we looked at a few weeks ago, the burden caused him to weep.  The bible does not elaborate on Nehemiah’s talents and skills.  What qualified him to take on this enormous rebuilding project and take on the governorship of this newly renovated city?

As a leader in the church, I often feel unqualified for the responsibility I have been given.  At times I feel overwhelmed by the responsibility and the challenges I face. From the story of Nehemiah, I find encouragement in the fact that although he faced a much larger trial than I am facing he didn’t run from the difficulty or try to avoid it.  He stood up and “volunteered”; allowing himself to be used by God!

As a leader in the church, I can also learn from Nehemiah’s devotion to prayer.  He began with prayer and continued with prayer all through the challenges he faced. Nehemiah didn’t see prayer as a formality he saw it as a privilege and an opportunity to go before the Lord of Creation to seek guidance and strength!

Finally, as a leader in the church, I see where this rebuilding project was truly a “team” or unified effort in every way imaginable.  To me, the biggest part of Nehemiah being a great leader was his ability to rally the people together for the common goal of rebuilding the walls and re-establishing their city.   Nehemiah didn’t rebuild the walls of Jerusalem, all of the people did!

I hope that we can all find encouragement and inspiration from the account of Nehemiah… in our private lives, in our jobs, in our church.  I strongly encourage you to take time to read (or re-read) the book of Nehemiah.  We all have faced challenges over this past year… some greater than others.  However, each challenge is real and tests our faith and develops our character.  It is my prayer that with each challenge you face this year that you know that you can do all things through Christ who strengthens you… that God is always accessible through prayer and that your church family is there to help you.  May you and your family have a blessed 2015!


In Christ,



On a Mission 10-2014

There were two things that I distinctly remember not liking about going to “church” when I was a boy.  Those two things were not the singing and the preaching as one might guess.  It was the clothes I had to wear… and those two things being the pants and the shoes.

I had one pair of “church” pants and one pair of “church” shoes for what seemed like years! From my recollection, these polyester “church” pants were about a size and a half too small in the waist and two or three inches too short in length (the original “High Waters”… no Hyde County pun intended).  As with the pants, the shoes as I remember were also at least a size too small.  I did use a shoe horn to get them on if that tells you anything.  I dreaded having to go to church knowing that I would be required to outfit myself in that torturing apparel.  I am thankful that I no longer have to put on those pants and shoes to go to “church” any more.

You may not have realized it but the Bible does give us a dress code on how we should dress or clothe ourselves for “church”.  Actually, this dress code does not just apply to Sundays but to every day of the week and to no matter where we are.  The Apostle Paul wrote these words to the Colossian church:  “ Since God chose you to be the holy people he loves, you must clothe yourselves with tenderhearted mercy, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience.” (Col. 3: 12 NLT)  Then in verse 14, Paul follows up with this statement: Above all, clothe yourselves with love, which binds us all together in perfect harmony. (Col. 3: 14)

I have heard many debates and opinions on what one should wear to “church”However,from my study of the scripture, I have found little in the Bible that actually addresses the topic of outer appearance in this context.  On the contrary, much is said about the way we should clothe ourselves inwardly.

Wearing jeans and a t-shirt no more makes a person humble than wearing dress slacks and a polo shirt makes one gentle… nor does wearing a coat and tie make one love his brother. See, articles of clothes cannot display these values.  Dressed up or dressed down… only a heart that is filled with Jesus can genuinely display the virtues that Paul describes in Colossians 3.

In 1 Samuel chapter 16, God was about to anoint a new king over Israel.  God had rejected Saul as king because of his disobedience.  God sent his prophet Samuel to Jesse in Bethlehem to anoint the new king.  When Samuel saw one of Jesse’s sons Eliab he said: ““Surely the Lord’s anointed stands here before the Lord.” (v.6)  Samuel must have said this because Eliab was big, strong and “king” looking.  But this is what the Lord said to Samuel: “Do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him. The Lord does not look at the things man looks at. Man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.” (v.7)  God rejected six more of Jesse’s strapping sons, seven in total.  However, God chose David, Jesse’s youngest son, the shepherd boy, to be his new king.

After this meditation came to me, I realized that I need to pay a lot more attention to what I am wearing… not just to church but around the house… to work… to the grocery store…etc.  The next time you ask yourself, “what should I wear?”… Consider pulling something out of God’s wardrobe such as humility, gentleness, mercy, kindness, patience or love.  I guarantee you that you will look great in it!