Sunday, September 24, 2017

In Christ Alone

During our recent local church revival, Rev. James Spruill preached Saturday evening on being "in Christ." I concluded the service reading the lyrics of this song that inspired my own prayer life in the early 1990s. I think the message of the song will also encourage you now: 

"Worship Only God!" Rev. 22:9 NLT


Saturday, September 23, 2017

"I Love You..." -- God

The reality of this verse should help to do away with our low self-esteem and many other negatives in our lives: 

"Worship Only God!" Rev. 22:9 NLT


Friday, September 22, 2017

"O What a Night of Worship"

On Thursday night, September 21, 2017, The Jewish RoshHahanah (Feast of Trumpets), we experienced such an awesome night of worshipping the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob (Israel) at our local church. 

Messianic Worship Leader, Paul Wilbur, led us with his awesome talent and his humble heart. I was so blessed to partner with Him as a local pastor so that Jesus could be lifted high. 

600+ in attendance on a Thursday night was a miracle and so marvelous. The Presence of Holy God was so undeniable. "O What a Night of Worship!" I believe the Lord was glorified and His people were unified! 

A few images from our "Hope for Israel" night...

Rabbi Paul Klassen and Paul Wilbur in the Gethsemane Room pre-concert 

Ned Kuller, 81-year-young, Messianic, Jesus-believer brought in the flag of Israel


Paul Wilbur blesses us

Holy Worship underway 

After the worship concert, refreshed, Paul Wilbur and Yours Truly 

"Worship Only God!" Rev. 22:9 NLT


Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Tears Witness

When there are tender tears in my eyes, even flowing onto my pillow, I know in those sacred moments that the Precious Holy Spirit is truly witnessing deep within my heart, mind, soul and strength, that I am fully depending on my Loving God in every aspect of my life. 

"Worship Only God!" Rev. 22:9 NLT


Monday, September 18, 2017

Really Interesting

I think this video clip is really interesting. Enough said. 

"Worship Only God!" Rev. 22:9 NLT


Sunday, September 17, 2017

Seasons Change

As summer's breezes give way to autumn's colors, I am reminded about our own lives. Each season has its wonders and its worries. My prayer is that in every season of my life, I can turn the worries into wonders by worshiping Holy God.

This Thursday evening, doors open at our church for an evening of worship with world-renown Messianic Worship Leader, Paul Wilbur. We have 650+ free tickets available and at last count only 400+ have been claimed. Personally, I cannot understand why all the tickets are not already gone. But then again, I have been called a radical when it comes to worshiping THE KING OF KINGS! I pray there is enough evidence to convict me of such an accusation!  

I believe in my heart that too often: (1) The worries of our lives choke out the worship. And, I also believe: (2) The enemy of our souls wants this to happen because when we worship Holy God, then, His holiness, His healing and His hope becomes more visible and more available in our lives.

So, if there are empty seats at our worship event, I know these two reasons I have given will have surely contributed in successfully cheating would-be worshippers from being present for what could well have been a life-changing evening for their lives.

If you'd like to join us September 21, 2017, yes, this Thursday for what I believe is an ordained Worship Event, tickets are available at if there hasn't been a rush for all them while I was writing this blogpost. :) Doors open at 6pm with a video at 6:30pm and the main event of worship starting at 7pm.

Yes, seasons change, so below are a few photos I took in our Lord's Shenandoah Valley, as autumn is arriving with its wonders, its worries and hopefully with our renewed WORSHIP OF HOLY GOD!

"Worship Only God!" Rev. 22:9 NLT



Friday, September 15, 2017

Farthest Coastlands

Psalm 97:1, NLT, "The Lord is King! Let the earth rejoice! Let the farthest coastlands be glad."

As a boy growing up on an island, I always felt far away from everything important, or so it seemed. Of course, I was blessed and did not know it, because too often it's sad but true, familiarity breeds contempt.

As I have been praying Psalm 97, today, while I solemnly sit alongside the Atlantic Ocean, verse one spoke especially close to my inner being. Yes, because "The Lord is King, even those of us at the farthest coastlands have reason to be glad." 

Here, now, I will share once more images of my island roots -- yes, from my Granny's homeland, Ocracoke Island -- and I pray in someway each view will somehow bless you.

Outside chalk board message at the Community Store on Silver Lake 

Ferry about to enter the Silver Lake Harbor at sunset with live oak tree silhouettes along the shoreline

A biker passing by my friend, David ONeal's home and my Granny's home place just beyond

An island front porch at dusk

Best breakfast imaginable is at Pony Island Restaurant, where our friends Vince and Sue are the owners 

Maritime forest next to the lighthouse 

A quick shot during our daily bike rides

The Amen Corner, Village Craftsman, front porch resting place  
Our private oceanfront for the day

Lucy loves the smells of the seaside

Brothers ONeal at the Downpoint Decoy Shop

A local "shrine" to local fishermen 

A night of island folk music with the local group, Molasses Creek -- a packed house at the Deep Water Theater

1940 Buick, Howard Street 

A gift carved for me, an Oyster Carcher by Vince

Shrimp Trawler docked in Silver Lake

Lunch prepared for me by my cousin, Chef Jason -- bluefish, collards, garlic bread 

Cousin John Ivey's fig tree

Cousin Debbie's fig preserves

Howard Street primitive gate sign 

Ocracoke Lighthouse after the rain at day's end

Lucy was fascinated on the Oceanside 

Final night at Cedar Grove Cottage on Sunset Drive, 5am ferry in the morning, Saturday 

"Worship Only God!" Rev. 22:9 NLT





Thursday, September 14, 2017

The Sea And...

Today, I asked the Lord to speak to me through His Word and surely He has through Psalm 96:

Verse 8: "Give to the Lord the glory He deserves..."

Verse 9:"Worship the Lord is all His Holy Splendor..."

Verse 11: "Let the heavens be glad, and the earth rejoice! LET THE SEA AND EVERYTHING IN IT SHOUT HIS PRAISE!"

Verse 13: "... for He is coming!"

"Worship Only God!" Rev. 22:9 NLT


Wednesday, September 13, 2017

The Sea

It's no secret that whenever I have exhale seasons in my life, I almost always make my way to the sea. Raised the son, grandson and great-grandson of real-life village fishermen, island roots is where I find renewal. 

This week I am on one of my favorite islands with my wife, Kim, and our hounddog, Lucy, yes the island where my Granny Margery was raised. 

In the Silver Lake Harbor on this island, my Grandaddy Gray often docked to rest from his net-fishing and one night while in this seaside village, he met my Granny. They were married and from this same harbor she left with all of her worldly belonging in an old trunk and moved to his seaside island. 

So, I was raised on my Grandaddy's island, Harkers Island, and this week I am enjoying a week of renewal on my Granny's island, Ocracoke Island. Being here leaves me speechless, humbled and grateful.

A verse of Scripture spoke deeply to me this morning about the sea. 

"Come let us shout joyfully to the Rock of our salvation. Let us come to Him with thanksgiving... The sea belongs to Him, for He made it." Psalm 95:1-2, 5a NLT

And here are a few images I have taken on Ocracoke Island during these inspiring days.

Pamlico Sound near Silver Lake Harbor entrance where my Great-Grandfather, William (Billy) and his brother, Ivey, were drowned when my Granny Margery was only 12-years-old (read yesterday's blog post for more of the story, "Tender Tears") 

Goose Crossing

Morning glories reminded me of The Trinity

Howard Street (Actually, a dirt road left this way to remind us how Ocracoke Village used to be)

Wood-carved waterfowl

Ocracoke lighthouse

Lucy having her first beach day

Our rented cottage amongst the island cedars with mourning dove's everywhere 

The Church where my Granny Margery attended until she moved to Harkers Island with my Grandaddy as a teenage lady

"Worship Only God!" Rev. 22:9 NLT



Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Tender Tears

This morning at the breakfast table at our rented cottage on Ocracoke Island, I read in one of the local newspapers my family's story from many years past. 

Yes, in the early 1900s, when Margery ONeal, a native of the island -- who would become my own sweet Granny --  was 12-years-old, she experienced one really dark day, yes, a day when her dad, William (Billy) and his younger brother, Ivey, never returned from a fishing trip. They were in their early thirties. 

Though it was a clear starry night when they left the harbor, the next morning a freak storm came up, and their boat capsized. As a result, they were drowned beneath the fishing boat, sadly entangled in the nets. Four men were onboard and three died. Two were Billy and Ivey.

Eliza, my great-grandmother, was left with my Granny, Margery, age 12 and also three younger children -- Dicie, Ivey and Isabella. Eliza went to work immediately raising her children alone with my Granny Margery, the oldest, having to grow up quickly in order to oversee the children while her mother made ends meet as a cook and cleaning lady at the Pamlico Inn.

Something about reading the story written in an official local newspaper this morning brought tender tears to my eyes. I was so moved that I had to get up from the table and sit on the screened-in porch to catch my breath. My heart was really hurting as I considered the hardships my own family must've faced on this barrier island nearly a century ago.

After a while, the Lord gave me a verse that comforted my mind and consoled my heart concerning my Granny and her three young siblings who were left fatherless all those years ago. 

Here are a few images to go with the story:

The island graves of my Great-Grandfather, William (Billy) ONeal, my own dad's namesake and Ivey ONeal, Williams beloved younger brother. 

My Granny Margery with my own son, Grayson, in late 1980s.

Our rented island cottage for the week and the front porch where I shed tender tears thinking about my loved ones. Island roots go deep.

An artist's rendering of Silver Lake Harbor
 "Worship Only God!" Rev. 22:9 NLT