Standing with Boston

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Our hearts and prayers go out to Boston following these horrific bombings. As I was watching the newscasts yesterday unfold, my mind wandered back to my own memories of Boston.

When I was in college, I spent a summer/winter break working for a corporation in Boston. It was extremely hard work and long hours. Driving in during rush hour at 5 am was the worst and then hitting afternoon rush hour was a bear. I used to listen to Howie Carr on the ride home and WBZ.

I worked for the landscaping and maintenance department and we had many business properties we were responsible for around Boston. Over the course of the summer I worked with many immigrants and let me tell you, they worked hard and I learned a lot about their culture. Whether or not they were here legally — I didn’t ask — I just knew they worked hard and most of them sent what little they had back home.  Not trying to make a political statement, just sharing facts and something that stood out to me as a 20-year-old.

The other thing I remember — and being a New Englander myself — was the plethora of sarcasm and cuss words. It seemed every other word was the F word. It was liberally sprinkled about conversations just like salt during a meal, and most likely for the same reason — to add a little flavor. Like I said, I growing up in New England, that was normal conversation so it never really bothered me and you learn to just tune it out eventually. I’m not condoning that sort of language, but it’s New England culture love it or hate it. It is what it is.

Personally, I never spoke like that around them (God forgive me…I did have quite the potty mouth before I cleaned up my life). Anyway, I never condemned them nor judged them. I just chose not to talk like that. Most of them took notice and apologized and cleaned up their language. But I told them they didn’t need to apologize to me, I wasn’t offended. After a while that opened doors to share my faith.

I’ll never forget the day I overheard a couple older co-workers discussing life. I had been assigned to baseboard scrubbing due to the rainy weather and I was working in a hallway. Down the stairwell a couple other guys were working on a project and having a good time joking around and cutting up. The language was flying and the crude jokes were dropping. Then this complete stranger walked by and started chatting with them as he waited for the rain to die down. This complete stranger made one of the nastiest remarks about a woman and her daughter who were in the parking lot getting into their car.

After the individual left, the two co-workers stopped their jokes and profanity. Both of them had daughters. Then one said to the other how much of a schmuck that stranger was and how far gone society was that shmucks like that were walking around. Then they both agreed that parents these days need to have some sort of religion in order to make sense of society and how parents need to have faith in order to combat the filth of society and not let their kids be sucked up into it. Yes, these two foul mouthed jesters realized that simply fact.

Now here we are 13-years later. The world I think has changed for the worse since then. And yes, we do need religion and faith to make sense of it all. But what you put your faith in will make all the difference. Personally I choose Jesus and I hope you will too. If I didn’t have faith in Jesus, despair would reign in my life. But through Jesus there is hope that society will be restored. Not through political activism, but through Jesus himself as he brings final judgement and then reigns on earth for 1,000 years. Yes, on this very earth we are now physically occupying.

We have seen the depravity of mankind in action — 9-11, North Korea, terrorist attacks around the world, the threats on Israel, the Boston Bombings. I don’t know about you, but I’m ready to see Jesus come back. Lord come quickly.


New Spring Changes to NewLife Praise!

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With the arrival of Spring in Georgia, I always find the urge to start new projects and change things up a bit. You’ll hear new changes coming to NewLife Praise this spring too.

1. Georgia News You Can Use — this is a new news segment that will highlight news of interest from around the NewLife FM area and the state of Georgia. this 2-3 minute news segment will air at the top of the 5 and 6 pm hour following AP radio news. Folks can follow up on the news tidbits by visiting NewLife.FM and browsing our news widget!

2. Trivia Tuesday — Who doesn’t like winning fun prizes? Every Tuesday at around 5:15 pm we will ask a trivia question and then open up the phone lines. The first correct caller will win. We won’t end the contest until we do get a correct caller so if you don’t get through on your first try…try again! On the Trivia Tuesday launch we had about 10 callers before we got the correct answer.

3. Front Porch Friday — This segment will air around 6:25-6:30 pm Friday. Front Porch Friday is sponsored by Front Porch Bluegrass Revival and will feature one bluegrass artist/song. It could be anything from the traditional sound of early bluegrass to the more hard driven progressive sound of today’s bluegrass musicians. All in all it will be a fun time to do something a bit different than the usual.

Other fun features are in the works and we hope that you will join us every Monday – Friday as we have fun and praise the Lord on NewLife Praise!


In with the new, out with the old — blood

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One of the things I love about my job is meeting new friends.  Recently I was privileged to become friends with Dick and Mary Frances Bowley. This husband/wife team is doing a great work in our listening area. Mary Frances is author of “The White Umbrella” and the founder of Wellspring Living. Dick is the author of “POP: Power of Prayer a Journey in the Light”.

“Pop” is actually a publication of Dick’s care page journal. You see a few years ago, Dick battled Leukemia and by the grace of God was healed. Recently, he came into our studios to share more of this amazing journal and we will present the interview to you on a future Georgia Town Crier (if you are reading this after March 2nd, 2013 the interview is available on our on-demand streaming player — go to NewLife.FM and click listen live).

A couple days after the interview Dan sent me the following email excerpt and it was so powerful I thought I’d share it with you.


The big hero of the story is my brother  Dan.  Without his bone marrow in the form of stem cells and blood I would not be here today.   Here is the metaphor:

My body, my blood was  diseased. It was riveted with cancer, leukemia. I was literally dead to this world. (Sin). I was lost.  I was dying.  For  me to live  I  needed a complete transfusion. I needed transformation.  I needed redemption.

  The picture is in the book of Dan lying there in the hospital, for 3 hours, arms outstretched, blood going out one arm, through a dialysis machine, and returning to his body.   You cant help but visualize  how Jesus stretched his arms out and gave his blood for us.   Dan sacrificed his blood so that I could live.

 How does this transformation  and redemption work?

 I realized that to live, I could not do this alone. I realized I was not in control. For me to try and save myself and do what I thought I needed to do was futile. I had to let go of my old self which was full of disease, and be totally willing to let my old self be destroyed (by chemo) and accept this new blood and life that was was poured  out for me by my brother. (God’s grace)

 To do this, I received chemo every 6 hours for one solid week before the transplant.  They literarily took me to ground zero.  I had to completely get rid of my former self.  For me to live, I had to destroy self, and be ready to accept this new  blood, this blood of salvation that was poured into me.

  When the blood was transfused into me, my nurse Hannah said a short prayer, ‘grow cells grow’!   As they grew over the next 100 days, I was transformed Into a new man, a new creation.   I had a new blood type, B Positive, and new DNA.   As much as I loved and enjoyed life before, we went to the next level. 

 A bone marrow transplant is a parallel story of how a person puts Jesus into his heart and begins a new eternal life. You realize you can’t do it on your own, you destroy the ‘old you.’  You ask Jesus, the living God who gave His life (blood) for you, to come into your heart.  You become a new person.  Your life becomes a ‘living sacrifice’ and you are transformed daily by the renewing of your mind.

 I also learned that there was no way I could repay him for what he did for me. (Dan/Jesus). It was unconditional love.  With love that can’t be written about or explained properly, my brother Dan (and Jesus) unconditionally sacrificed himself and his blood so that I (his brother) could live.  I learned and realized that I couldn’t repay him.  I felt I needed to return the favor and the love. I needed to do something to pay him back. 

 I learned this about God’s unconditional love.  With God, and my brother, there is nothing I can do to make him love me any more. There is nothing I can do to make him love me any less.  Wow!


Proper Communication in the digital age

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“…the tongue is a small part of the body, yet it has great pretensions. Think how small a flame sets a huge forest ablaze.” James 3:5

The age of communication. So many avenues of communication are at our disposal — cell phones, smart phones, the internet, Twitter, Facebook, video chat, texting, email, the list goes on and on. But how effectively are these mediums being used?

Are the words we speak or type meaningful? When we make first contact with individuals are we making a positive first impression? My theory is that with each advance in the technological world of communications — the more we cease to effectively communicate. Especially in the business world.

The Phone

Let’s start with one of the first modern communication marvels. How many of you remember being taught phone etiquette? For me, that lesson came in freshman college speech class. Each of us had to sit in front of the classroom with an old rotary dial phone (disconnected) while we engaged in a pretend conversation with the teacher. We were taught to identify ourselves, be cordial, have a pen and paper handy and so forth. Sounds silly, right? Well, I did think it was silly at the time, but I practice those skills to this day at my work desk. First impressions, even over the phone, can go a long way in establishing a networking relationship.

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve called an actual business number only to be greeted by a less than enthusiastic “yes” or “hello” and then silence. If this is your business line shouldn’t you answer “Hello, such and such business…so and so speaking”? Churches and ministries are the biggest offenders on this rule.


Email is probably the second most popular form of business communication. Without being able to hear the inflections of the human voice, it’s hard to determine the “attitude” in which an email is composed. Sure ALL CAPS could mean that someone is e-yelling, but it could also mean the caps lock is stuck and they have no choice.

Before sending out email, make sure you read it through for grammatical and spelling errors. And give it a good read for “attitude”. Make sure nothing in the email could be taken in the wrong spirit. The ease of email could also be a detriment to your communication. Instead of firing off rapid responses, take the time to compose a thoughtful response. It’s so easy to misinterpret an email, the last thing you want to do is rapidly fire off a response in the wrong spirit. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve sent off emails I wished I didn’t. Remember, once you hit that “send” button…it’s gone.


Well, what can I say about texting that all of us haven’t heard before? The bad grammar, the misspelled words, the dangers of texting while driving or walking. I prefer not to use this mode of communication partly because my thumbs just won’t cooperate and partly because I can’t fit my thought into the space allotted. Again, the biggest problem with texting is just the impersonal nature of it. It’s so easy to just rapidly fire off a text without thinking about the consequences and not having to see the other person’s reaction. So like email, just think twice.


I actually find these social mediums to be a very valuable tool. In radio, I find that artists and promoters will actually keep these outlets more up-to-date than their actual websites. The problem is that some people are better at posting updates than others and we need to evaluate the value of each individual post. Are we turning people off by the constant posting? Does the post have any real value? (Describing your latest ham sandwich would fall in the little to no value category)

Properly used, social media sites can be a great way of effectively communicating. But we need to watch for clutter while at the same time making sure we post relevant, effective content.


Call me old school, but in the end I think an honest face-to-face meeting and handshake is still the best form of communication. But whether or not you agree, and despite what medium we use to communicate, the same thing is true today as it was during James’ era. Who we are is reflected in the spoken and written words we put forth. In today’s day and age it is so easy to engage in vain communication. Let’s make sure each word we say and each word we type, text, or post is given the proper vetting it deserves. After all it is a reflection of who we are, and more importantly the one we claim to follow — Christ.


Why NewLife FM?

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One thing I love doing — when I’m not hosting NewLife Praise — is gardening. Recently, while sitting down for breakfast, I picked up a copy of the local farm publication and inside was a table for early spring planting. Yes, it’s hard to believe but it’s now time to plant those spring veggies!

One of the most satisfying things in my life is to plant a seed and continually watch its progress into a mature plant. As the grandson of a farmer, I often thought that one day I might follow in his footsteps. However, the Lord had different plans for me.

In a way though, working in Christian radio is very similar to farming. Through the music and programming we are “scattering” gospel seeds over the air. Some of those gospel seeds will fall on fertile soil, others will go in one ear and out the other. But it is exciting to see and hear from those seeds that do sprout. Whether it’s the occasional email, phone call, or even folks stopping by the studios.

Christian radio stations have many different monikers depending on the market. Personally, I’ve worked at a “Rejoice”, or a “Joy”, and even an “American Family” station. This is the first “NewLife” station I’ve worked. However, I think NewLife captures what we do the best. We are sowing the seeds of  new life found only through Jesus.

It’s an exciting, difficult-at-times, joyful new life. But one worth pursuing, and one worth encouraging. So as you tune in and listen along — think of NewLife FM as more than just your favorite radio station. Think of it as a farmer planting a seed of truth in the people around you (perhaps even you!) and encouraging people to grow strong in faith and love for Jesus Christ.

Thus NewLife FM!


What to do about fear

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Today I had the priviledge of talking with Dan Dean of Phillips, Craig, and Dean. Dean called in to NewLife FM while he was standing in line at his local DMV getting his license renewed. We shared a couple DMV jokes before we got into the recorded part of the interview.

Many of you may not realize that in 2012 Dean was diagnosed with prostate cancer. Those of you have been diagnosed with a life threatening disease can better understand the emotions coursing through your mind when you are first diagnosed. Dean faced the fear head on, and through a radical surgery procedure I’m happy to let you know he is now cancer free. But you need to hear about the rest of the journey.

From there the conversation focused on their latest album and the song “When the stars burn down”. The backstory on this song is very uplifting. Then Dean offers some great advice on how we as individuals can respond in the face of fear. It’s a great nine minute interview and I hope you’ll join us on the program today bring the rest of the story to you. If you are unable to join us…you can catch the entire interview on our streaming player in the on-demand podcast section. God bless!


Happy Birthday!

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On the heels of the 40th anniversary of Roe v. Wade, my youngest daughter turns 4-years-old. As a father and husband, I would have never thought about ending the precious life of any of my kids in the womb. As the Psalmist writes:

For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well. — Psalm 139:13-14

I remember the first time I was introduced to my children. That was on an ultra-sound scanner. There was no doubt in my mind that even in the first tri-mester life was evident. Whether it was the visible and audible beating heart, or the activity of the little bean sized girl jumping around in the womb. (Think John the Baptist leaping in the womb when he heard of Jesus’ soon coming birth)

Now I know the reality of abortion and the 55+ million lives that have been lost since 1973, but at the same time I know that the God I serve is an all forgiving God. That is why on this 40th year of remembrance of Roe v. Wade my prayer is that people’s eyes will be opened to the truth, but not only that — that the people who have made the choice to seek abortion will be able to forgive themselves and seek true forgiveness through Christ. You are not beyond His redemption.

Every Sunday night from 9-10, I am honored to run the broadcast board in our studio for Kim Ketola’s Cradle My Heart program. Kim is an individual who experienced the pain of abortion and later found healing. If you find yourself in that circumstance I encourage you to join Kim on Cradle My Heart and find healing too. Cradle My Heart is a live call-in program. 1.800.811.3003 is the number to call and we hope to hear from you.


Swaddling Clothes

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It’s a part of the Christmas story many of us just rattle off without giving it a second thought.

Luke 2:12, “And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger.”

But why did the Angels tell the sheperds to specifically look for a “babe wrapped in swaddling clothes”? In pondering this question, I found some interesting verses in Old Testament prophecy.

Ezekiel 16: 4-6, “ And as for thy nativity, on the day thou wast born thy navel was not cut, neither wast thou washed in water to soothe thee. Thou wast not salted at all, nor swaddled at all.  No eye pitied thee to do any of these unto thee, to have compassion upon thee; but thou wast cast out in the open field, to the loathing of thy person on the day that thou wast born.   And when I passed by thee and saw thee polluted in thine own blood, I said unto thee when thou wast in thy blood, ‘Live’; yea, I said unto thee when thou wast in thy blood, ‘Live.’

In this Old Testament passage, God is describing how the nation of Israel was born and Israel was rejected by the world, but God showed mercy and adopted Israel as his own. If you read Ezekiel 16 further, God even talks about how he wraps the infant nation of Israel in swaddling clothes. A sign of his love and protection.

As a parent, I too swaddled my newborn children. Swaddling an infant helps them keep warm, it restricts movement of limbs much like a baby in the womb, and helps soothe the infant. Our nurse even instructed my wife and I to hold our swaddled infant close to our hearts so they could hear our heart beat, which also helps calm the infant.

I’d like to think that the Angels specifically told the sheperds to search for a “babe wrapped in swaddling clothes” because they would remember that passage from Ezekiel. They would remember how God took care of the nation of Israel and how in those dark days of much uncertainty the swaddled babe would remind them of God’s covenant with them. It would remind them that God once again was wrapping the newborn King of Israel in his love and protection, and through this swaddled babe — that swaddling of love and protection would come to all mankind.

My encouragement to you this Christmas is to once again seek the “babe wrapped in swaddling clothes”. Remember the promises that God has made to each of us and put your fears aside.  We are swaddled in the love, protection, and grace of our heavenly King.


Giving Tuesday

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Thanksgiving, Black Friday, Shop Local Saturday, Cyber-Monday, and now Giving Tuesday? These are the names of some well-known (and little known) shopping holidays following Thanksgiving and heading into the Christmas crush. Like it or not, our society is driven by the need to get the best deals and the drive to out give each other on December 25th.

In the midst of the shopping chaos — I’m not going to complain about a day set aside for charitable giving. A little known day called Giving Tuesday. I am so thankful for the fine folks who have supported NewLife FM all throughout the year — many of them giving sacrificially. Thank all y’all!!!

Heading into Giving Tuesday, I was encouraged by a letter NewLife FM received recently from Cedar Rock Church in Jackson. I’d like to share it with you.

Dear Sir:

Our Congregation chooses a faith-based group to send our church tithes to each month. Your organization was chosen for September.

Many of us listen to you regularly and receive many blessings from your broadcasts.

Please use these funds to continue the spreading of God’s word to places and in ways that we cannot.

In Christ,

The Congregation of Cedar Rock Church

WOW! NewLife FM is grateful for your support Cedar Rock! And I’d like to take this time to highlight a point they made in the letter “continue the spreading of God’s word to places and in ways that we cannot.” NewLife FM is not here to replace the church. We are here to help the church in their mission. NewLife FM is an extension of the church and of many individuals and organizations who are engaging in the Great Commission!

Will you consider supporting NewLife FM on Giving Tuesday? And perhaps even throughout the coming New Year? We could not fulfill our duty if it was not for the support of many individuals and organizations who share the common goal of reaching people for Christ.

More information on how you can support us is available online at www.NewLife.FM or by calling 770-229-2020 during business hours (9 am – 5 pm…Monday-Friday). And remember, each gift is tax-deductible for 2012 if donated before December 31st! God Bless!


Are you a Mary or Martha?

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Apart from NewLife Praise — one of the programs I host on Sunday nights from 6:30-8:30 pm is called Front Porch Bluegrass Revival. Recently we added new songs from a group called Nu-Blu (which came out with their first all gospel bluegrass album). The project called Nail by Nail only has seven songs, but these songs are oh so powerful — my favorite being Martha and Mary.

We find the story about these two women in Luke 10:38-42. Most of us are familear with the story. One day Jesus decides to have dinner with their family, Martha freaks out about having everything just so in the house and on the dinner table (sound familear around the holiday season?) and Mary puts all that aside to sit at the feet of Jesus and show her thankfulness by listening to his teachings.

We all have a little Mary and Martha in each and everyone of us. The question is — what is the dominate personality? When the holidays approach do we let Martha take over and stress about the decorations, the meal, or the clean house? Or do we let Mary take over and put aside the stress of the season in order to truly thank Jesus for his blessings and make sure we have time for true one on one worship with Him?

Each of us have so much to be thankful for this year despite our circumstances. I hope that this holiday season we will make room for some one on one time with our Saviour. Let’s resolve to “declutter” the holidays and spend some time at His feet. And don’t worry if the dinner rolls don’t come out perfect.

Listen to Nu-Blu — Martha and Mary!