What Every Kid Needs To Hear At The End Of A Bad Day

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Bad days are inevitable. You have them. And if they haven’t already, your kids will too.

Here’s what they’re going to need to hear from you.

1. “What happened?”

At some point your kid is going to need to process what went wrong. There’s no one better for him to do that processing with than you. This isn’t the time for you to give advice on how to throw a better curve ball. It isn’t the time for you to flip out over the grade on his math test. This is the part where you listen.

At the end of one of those days where it seems like everything went wrong, your kid is looking for more than an expert. He’s looking for someone who will listen. So if you must be an expert in something, be an expert in listening to your kid.

2. “I fail too.”

Have you ever noticed how rare it is for the children of highly successful people to be successful in the same field as their parent? Growing up in the shadow of greatness can be harder than it looks. If you’re any kind of a parent, your daughter is going to think that you’re great. Perfect, even. She’s going to think that you never blew it like she did today.

You need to tell her that she’s wrong. You need to tell her about that time when you got a 13 on your history test. Or the one where you struck out. In softball. Slow pitch church league softball.

Just don’t stop there. Tell her how you moved on. Any good fall down story ends with getting back up. Remind her that you still fall down. But be sure to tell her how you keep getting up. Encourage her to do the same.

3. “You don’t have to be the best but you better try your best.”

This is where parents get sidetracked. We think that our kid being the 12th best player on his team of 15 is somehow an indictment against us. So we push him harder. We demand that he be the best. But we forget something very important. Being the best at a young age is probably one of the worst things that can happen to a kid.

When he’s number 12 out of 15, he only has two options if he wants to keep up and not get run over. He can either work hard or he can give up. Since giving up isn’t an option, being around a dozen or so people who are better than him will force your kid to work harder. During all of that hard work, something is happening. He’s getting better.

Your son may never be the best kid on his team. But, if he keeps giving his best effort, he’ll be better than he was yesterday. And the benefits of that kind of growth will stay with him for the rest of his life.

4. “What do you think that you need to work on.”

This is the advice stage. This is the part where you find a tutor. It’s the part where you spend some time in the backyard working on that curve ball. And it’s the part where your child learns the value of hard work and the patience that comes with trying to master a skill. There is a lot of growth happening here. You’ll want to be around for it.

Just be careful.

Make sure that this skill development and hard work isn’t happening for your benefit. There’s nothing wrong with helping your kid get better at something. There’s a lot wrong with using your kid to help you look better. Never confuse the two.

5. “I’m proud of you.”

It’s possible for a parent to be lying when he says this. That’s because he’s really not proud of his daughter. He’s proud of what she’s accomplished. It may not seem like much but there is a big difference here.

If you truly are proud of your daughter, and not just some number on a page, you’ll be proud when she finishes the semester with an 84 in Chemistry. You’ll be proud, not because she was at the top of her class but because you saw how hard she worked to bring her grade up after a rough start to the semester. You saw her late nights spent studying. You saw her early morning tutorial sessions.

And when you see her, you may not see the best Chemistry student in the class but you do see a girl who tried her best.

And that makes you proud.

Be sure to let her know.

6. “I’ll have two cookies and cream milkshakes.”

Talk is good. Advice is too. But sometimes, at the end of a bad day, your son just needs to sit down with his dad and drink a milkshake. Maybe you talk about your favorite movies. Maybe you talk about places you’d like to travel to. Talk about anything. Anything but that missed shot, that bad grade and that broken relationship. Or, perhaps, you could even talk about nothing.

There’s a time for talk.

But, every now and then, there are those times when the only sound a kid needs to hear is that noise his dad makes when he’s trying to get the last drop of a cookies and cream milkshake through a straw.

Bad days are inevitable. You have them. Your kids will too.

But they should never have them alone.

Mercy And Judgment On The Side Of The Road

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I pulled over to the side of the road. My friend was in the passenger’s seat. He didn’t know what I was doing. It’s not his fault. He’s didn’t grow up in the south.

A funeral procession was coming by. In the south, that means that you pull over to the side of the road. The south isn’t perfect. No place on earth is. But it’s home for me. And pulling over on the side of the road during a funeral procession is one of the things I like about my home.

Last weekend I was on the other side of the funeral procession. I was the one who preached the funeral. I was the one driving in the car directly behind the hearse. I was the one watching everyone else pull over.

It was a Saturday afternoon in one of the more highly populated counties in Georgia. There was business to be done and places to get to. But for a few minutes at least, none of that mattered. For a few minutes, everyone stopped.

All for a man they never knew.

Black kids stopped.

Older white women stopped.

Men in loaded down work trucks stopped.

Women in convertibles stopped.

We drove by two different men who were cutting their grass. Both of them stopped.

All for a man they never knew.

No one asked the political persuasion of the deceased. No one asked what color he was. No one asked about his views on immigration or Iraq. They just stopped. Everyone stopped.

I was proud of my home while I was driving behind that hearse. People say that things are slower down here. Maybe they’re right. Pulling over to the side of the road and stopping everything has a way of slowing you down. Slow isn’t always so bad.

Slow makes it easier for you to think.

And nothing makes you think quite like a funeral procession.

For all of the differences between conservatives and progressives, whites and blacks, old and young, we all have one thing in common. We’re all going to die. We may even take a ride in a hearse. Hopefully people will pull over for us.

There is another certainty.

After we die, we will be judged. We will all stand before our Creator to give an account for our life. He won’t ask us if we forwarded that picture of Jesus to ten friends. He won’t ask us if we did a good enough job of getting our point across. He won’t ask us how many followers we had. In his own way, he’ll ask us whose righteousness we had.

There are only two possible answers.

My righteousness, which comes through pride and effort and leads to eternal punishment or Jesus’ righteousness which comes through faith and repentance and leads to eternal life.

If you have Jesus’ righteousness, you know mercy.

And if you really know mercy, you’ll show it to others.

So speak and so act as those who are to be judged under the law of liberty. For judgment is without mercy to one who has shown no mercy. Mercy triumphs over judgment. James 2:12-13 (ESV)

Why What’s Happening In Ferguson, Missouri Matters To All Of Us

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Ferguson, Missouri has been on fire since earlier this week when police shot and killed 18-year-old Michael Brown, an unarmed black male. You probably don’t live in Ferguson, Missouri so you think that this isn’t your problem. You’re not a black male youth so you convince yourself that none of this has anything to do with you. And you certainly don’t want to be associated with Al Sharpton, Jesse Jackson and all of the looters so you convince yourself that the riots in Ferguson really don’t matter to you.

You couldn’t be more wrong.

What’s happening in Ferguson, Missouri should matter to all of us because justice should matter to all of us.

If police shoot an unarmed person, whether it’s your homecoming queen daughter or a black male youth in a hoodie, we should all want justice. And here’s the thing about those more and more frequent miscarriages of justice that we are seeing in our neighborhoods. If you enjoy the bliss of ignorance while the injustice is happening in someone else’s neighborhood, it’ll be too late to do anything when it comes to yours.

Oppression and tyranny are not bound by race. Justice and compassion shouldn’t be either.

What’s happening in Ferguson, Missouri should matter to all of us because it forces us to come to grips with our own hypocrisy.

On Thursday, the president and other members of his party called for the police to scale back in Ferguson. President Obama called it “excessive force.” “Excessive force” is another word for too much government. It’s always interesting to see the proponents of large government suddenly get uncomfortable when the fruits of their labors spill out into the streets.

On the other side we have so-called conservative commentators who question every aspect about President Obama’s agenda. Nothing is off limits. Every word from the White House is met with skepticism. All of this is done in the name of fighting against big government. But when big government comes crashing down on the other side of the tracks, residents of Ferguson are told not to question their local police.

Both extremes are examples of what happens when we value systems of political thought over concepts like justice and compassion. Both extremes are reminders of just how deep our hypocrisy runs.

What’s happening in Ferguson, Missouri should matter to all of us because we need to be reminded of our stereotypes and how the media fuels them.

Remember when Tony Stewart was driving his race car and ran over that guy who was running toward him. Common sense would tell us that you should never pick a fight with a man who is driving toward you in a race car. But our stereotypes often trump common sense. So Tony Stewart suddenly becomes a rich, raging, murderous redneck.

The same force is at play here. Don’t let Al Sharpton, Jesse Jackson and all of the looters fool you. They are the bottom feeders in this situation and the media loves to shine a light on the bottom feeders. That’s why you never see a television station interview a chemical engineer after a tornado comes through and wipes out his neighborhood. They’d rather get a soundbite from the toothless guy in his pajamas.

Whenever something like this happens, knuckleheads and professional instigators will always show up. It’s what they do. But don’t let them doing what they do distract you from what’s really happening. I’m a white male who strongly supports limited government but I certainly don’t want Sean Hannity or the Klan representing me. There are a lot of black people in Ferguson right now who feel the same way about Al Sharpton, Jesse Jackson and the looters.

Focus on the issue, not the media’s go to pitchmen and knuckleheads.

What’s happening in Ferguson, Missouri should matter to all of us because when the local police start acting like the military, it’s never a good thing.

Police are like preachers and bloggers. There are a lot of good ones. But you better be on the lookout for the bad ones because they’re around too. Even the police chief for the city of St. Louis encouraged skepticism among citizens in this case. It’s just too bad that the police in Ferguson don’t feel the same way.

Allowing citizens and the press to ask questions might get in the way of what seems to be a totalitarian agenda in Ferguson. That’s why you see police driving around in an armored vehicle, arresting city leaders and journalists for using camera phones and, for no reason and without constitutional support, clearing out local businesses and thus having almost the same impact on those businesses as the looters did. It’s also why you saw local business owners having to defend themselves against looters while the police were nowhere to be found.

To those in power who pervert justice, a man with a camera and a microphone is much more threatening than a mob looking for free TVs.

What’s happening in Ferguson, Missouri should matter to all of us because we are all carriers of God’s image. Oppression, totalitarianism, government bullying and murder all do damage to God’s image bearers. That’s why nothing ever really is “a black issue” or “a white issue.” It’s a we issue. And right now we are watching justice hang in the balance in Ferguson.

If justice doesn’t matter to us all, may God have mercy on us.

Because we can be sure that our oppressors will not.

23 Cents

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It was one of the only restaurants in town.

And then it closed down.

In a way, it was my fault.

We used to meet there every Sunday morning. I was teaching a Sunday School class for teenagers. When I first started teaching, they would beg me to take them out for some breakfast. I usually said no. More and more, I started to give in. Eventually, we were meeting there every week.

That restaurant was a funny place.

If you looked behind the counter you could see buckets full of grease sitting on the floor. Well, it looked like grease. I hope it was grease. I think.

And they were usually out of stuff. At least two Sunday mornings a month, we’d hear, “We ain’t got no more” when we ordered a biscuit or some eggs. How can you not have “no more” sausage? It’s 9 in the morning. You’ve been open for two hours. How do you run out of sausage in just two hours? Were you looted just before we came in? But we never asked those questions. We just turned and walked to our tables and enjoyed our sausage and biscuit without the sausage.

My favorite thing about that restaurant was paying for our food. I wish that the NSA was recording everything back then so that I could pull it up on YouTube and show you how this all went down.

Restaurant Worker: “What you want?”

Me: “I’ll have a biscuit, eggs and a large orange juice.”

Restaurant worker: “That’ll be 23 cents.”

Me: “Sorry?”

Restaurant worker: “23 cents.”

Eventually, I stopped saying sorry and just paid the 23 cents. Coincidentally, I also started ordering a lot more food.

Me: “I’d like a biscuit, eggs, a large orange juice, two hamburgers, a milkshake, one of those hats they make you wear and the drive-thru intercom.”

Restaurant worker: “That’ll be 23 cents. But we ain’t got no more hats.”

I was amazed. This was quickly becoming my favorite restaurant. Sure, the food was questionable, the grease buckets were full, the roaches were active and there weren’t usually any eggs for the omelet you ordered but it was cheap. Dirt cheap.

But how?

I found out that one of the workers was friends with the mother of one of the guys in my Sunday School class. Apparently they were really good friends. I’m guessing that this guy’s mother must have saved the restaurant worker’s life at some point. But who cares? Just give me my 23 cent breakfast.

I did wonder from time to time how this restaurant afforded to give us these bargain prices. It turns out that they couldn’t. Which explains why we arrived one Sunday morning to discover that our Sunday School class had been boarded up.

The worker thought that she was doing us a favor. And I guess that she was. We got to eat a lot of food without paying a lot of money. But she wasn’t doing herself any favors. She certainly wasn’t doing her boss any favors.

That lady that gave us all of those deals wasn’t the owner of our Sunday School restaurant. She just worked there. It was her job to provide quality service to the customer while generating revenue for the business. Instead, she just gave stuff away. Until the place where she worked went out of business.

There’s a fine line between compassion and stealing. Compassion is an act of self-sacrifice to help another in need. Stealing is what you do when you act as though someone else’s money is yours.

I wish that old restaurant would open back up for just one day. I’d like to have a meal there with a few of our leaders up in Washington D.C. You know, the ones who think that the answer to every problem is just to spend more money that doesn’t belong to them. I’d like to see the look on their faces when they walk up to the counter to place their order.

Politician: “I’d like sausage and eggs.”

Restaurant Worker: “We ain’t got no more.”

At some point, if things don’t change, that’s a phrase that those politicians will have to say to their hand-out seeking constituents. But, although there will be nothing more to give, those politicians will still want all of us to pay up.

And it will be a lot more than 23 cents.

Those Who Weep

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Here’s something that you can count on in life. Tragedy.

Here’s something else that you can count on. Someone saying or writing something stupid after that tragedy.

I found out about the death of Robin Williams on Monday night. My wife told me from the other room. She said that it was all over the Internet. I told her that I had the sudden urge to watch Good Will Hunting. She said that some of my other friends were saying the same thing on Facebook.

It wasn’t long before other things were being said on Facebook. That’s the way it always works. Whenever a celebrity dies, we can count on someone being there to make us feel guilty for being sad. Those reminders usually come about 7.221 seconds after the tragedy itself goes public. And they’re usually said by the same people who remind us of how many people starved to death around the globe while we were watching the Super Bowl. But in this case, I didn’t hear the reminders until the following morning.

They go a little something like this.

Why is everyone upset about Robin Williams when so many Christians are being persecuted in China?

You posted a Robin Williams clip from YouTube but did you do anything about Mike Brown?

And on and on and on. And on some more.

Where does it all end? Should we condemn a grieving father for crying at his daughter’s funeral because there were so many more deaths in other parts of the world that day?

Should we only respond with grief to the really horrific events and with indifference to the sort of horrific events?

I get it. We live in a celebrity obsessed culture. It’s a culture where the famous seem larger than life and many of the regular folks tend to worship them. And not everything we know about those celebrities is real. Some of them don’t really look the way they do in movies. Others aren’t nearly as nice as they seem on TV.

I get it.

But while celebrities have been known to have fake body parts and fake personalities, they have very real problems. Robin Williams is a reminder of that. In spite of all of his success, he suffered. And he left behind family and friends who are now suffering in his absence. That’s one of the few common links between celebrities and the rest of us. We all suffer.

The alleviation of that suffering is never found in an angry, guilt-inducing tweet about all of the suffering people in the world that we’re forgetting about. As Christians, we know that the only real hope for a suffering world is found in the person of Jesus Christ.

And yes, there is a time to talk about that hope.

But there’s also a time to just be quiet. A time to say nothing. A time to weep with those who weep.

Remember that time when that atheist drove by a church sign that said, “God wants full custody. Not just weekend visits” and dropped everything to repent of his sins, right there in the middle of the road?

Neither do I.

It never happens.

And posting our guilt-inducing tweets about starving children around the world every time people have their attention on some other tragedy is just as productive as those church signs that we all drive by.

So whenever that guy dies who was on that show that you’ve never heard of, try not to remind us all of how rotten we are for feeling a little down about it.

Tragedies are going to happen. Until Jesus comes back, there’s nothing we can do to avoid that.

But there’s plenty we can do to avoid saying something stupid after those tragedies.

We would do well, many times, to simply remain silent.

But if we must make a noise about a particular situation, perhaps we could just weep with those who weep.

If You Really Want To Support Israel

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Two very angry groups of people are fighting.

Their fight seems to have something to do with land, buildings and ancient, unresolved prejudices.

Religion is somehow involved too.

Ask the casual observer to give a summary of the dispute between Israel and Hamas and this is the response you’re likely to get.

Ask the casual observer to give a summary of the dispute at your church, and you’re likely to get the same response.

There were all kinds of church splits in the New Testament. Some split because greedy liars were exposed for theirs sins (Acts 5:1-11). Some split because impostors were seeking to pull people away with false teachings (1 John 2:19). These are good reasons for a church to split up.

Unlike what we see in the New Testament, most of the church splits that I hear about these days have nothing directly to do with theology. Most of the disputes, to a casual observer like me, center around things like land, buildings and ancient unresolved prejudices.

Sort of like that conflict between Israel and Hamas that you keep hearing about. In the Middle East, the fight involves groups of people fighting over what they both believe to be rightfully theirs.

Many churches are no different.

This is my pew.

This is my classroom.

This is my ministry.

And, most destructive of all, this is my church.

Man, I wish that I was making that up. I wish that someone could legitimately call me out for going overboard in my description of some church conflicts. But it’s hard to argue against reality.

Each my that we fight for in the church comes with an arsenal of verbal, spiritual and sometimes even physical firepower to support our long-held positions.

This is my pew and here’s a verbal roadside bombing to prove my point.

This is my classroom and I’ve got plenty of missiles of bitterness and mean-spiritedness to keep it that way.

This is my ministry and I’ll fight to keep it the way that I want it until the day I die.

This is my church and I’ll stop at nothing to hold on to it, even if it means the death of my church.

Sadly, that’s usually what ends up happening. That church dies.

To the casual observer of what’s happening around the globe, the Middle East has always been the way that it is and it always will be that way. Why bother trying to fix it or even paying attention to it? Next story please.

To the casual observer of what’s happening in your church, church people always fight about stupid things. That’s the way it’s always been and that’s the way it always will be. Why bother trying to fix it or even paying attention to it. Meanwhile, the folks at the bar or in the hunting club never fight. Next story please.

I don’t know that anyone will ever win the constant fighting in the Middle East. Someone may quit before the other one does but both sides will suffer more than their share of casualties. There is no real victor is disputes like these.

The same is true with your church. Sure, some group of people may eventually leave while another stays behind to claim their victory but without repentance and forgiveness, both sides lose. There is no real victor in disputes like these.

Well, I guess that there is one victor.

Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. 1 Peter 5:8 (ESV)

Satan loves using Christians as his weapons when he attacks other Christians. Double the destruction. It’s what he does.

Many Christians feel as though it is their God-given mandate to support Israel in any and everything that happens around the world. But isn’t it ironic how many of those same Christians will pledge their unyielding support to a nation while systematically destroying their church with their own verbal and spiritual missiles?

If Christians really understood what it meant to support Israel, they’d stop the fighting in their own churches. The local church after all is closer to the New Testament picture of Israel than any geographical location in the Middle East.

But it is not as though the word of God has failed. For not all who are descended from Israel belong to Israel, and not all are children of Abraham because they are his offspring but “Through Isaac shall your offspring be named.” This means that it is not the children of the flesh who are the children of God, but the children of the promise are counted as offspring. Romans 9:6-8 (ESV)

If you’re a Christian, you are, spiritually speaking at least, Israel.

So if you really want to support Israel, love and support your church.

Stop lobbing your missiles.

Let go of your pew.

Let go of your classroom.

Let go of your ministry.

Let go of your church.

And surrender it all to your pastor – Jesus Christ (Colossians 1:18).

Anything short of that, and the casual observers in your community will just keep on seeing the same old thing at your church.

Two very angry groups of people fighting.

The fight seems to have something to do with land, buildings and ancient, unresolved prejudices.

Religion is somehow involved too.

Next story please.

Happy Birthday To The Boy Who Wouldn’t Breathe

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My firstborn child turned 8 today. For a while there, I didn’t think that he’d make it this far.

It took a while for fatherhood to set in with me. It didn’t happen in those months leading up to my son’s birth when my wife and I watched videos of some woman teaching us how to breathe. It didn’t happen on the afternoon I spent putting together baby furniture with John Mayer providing my soundtrack.

It didn’t even happen the day before my son was born. A self-proclaimed expert told my wife that she was several weeks from going into labor. She said that she could tell by the way that the baby was laying. She said that she’s never wrong on those things. My wife went into labor a few hours later.

Fatherhood still never set in.

It didn’t set in while I was speeding to the hospital with my wife and sister-in-law along for the ride. One was telling me to slow down. One was telling me to speed up. I’ll let you guess which one wanted me to go faster.

I figured that the feeling of fatherhood would come once my son was born. When I finally heard him cry, that would probably do it. Finally, my son was being born. All that was needed was the cry and then my fatherhood would feel official. Things were moving along like clockwork, as they say.

That clock turned out to be broken.

My son was delivered. But he wasn’t crying. For four minutes he wasn’t crying. Four minutes. The fatherhood came anyway. I just didn’t know how long that feeling would last.

Those were the longest four minutes of my life. It’s never a good thing to see a nurse running down a hall. It’s even worse when she’s holding a baby. The other nurses hurried behind her. The rest of us were worrying. And praying. Except for my wife. She was just praying. Out loud. Calmly. That feeling of motherhood had already set in with her a long time ago. So had that feeling that comes when you know that God is holding it all together.

My son finally took his first breath. Doctors and nurses were still worried about potential damage. He also had what those doctors refer to as shoulder dystocia. It wasn’t a happy sight seeing him on the other side of that glass with all of those tubes hooked up to him. I wanted to hold him. For a while, they wouldn’t let me. I felt like a father anyway.

After we got out of the hospital, another self-proclaimed expert told us that our son, “might not have any developmental difficulties.” I just smiled. My smile was only on the outside.

It’s hard to believe that eight years have passed since I saw nurses with worried looks on their faces trying to figure out what to do with the baby who wouldn’t breathe.

Right now, I’m looking at pictures of him. In one he’s skateboarding while wearing shorts and boots. There are no signs of developmental difficulties. Fashion difficulties maybe. All boys have that. But no developmental difficulties.

The boy who wouldn’t breathe can’t stop reading books.

The boy who wouldn’t breathe plays soccer with his friends and runs the mile course in front of his house with his mom and dad.

I’ve had the feeling of fatherhood for eight years now. Five years ago, I got a double dose. I wouldn’t trade that feeling for anything. I don’t know what the future holds for the boy who wouldn’t breathe or his brother. Sometimes that can be scary to think about.

But then I remember that the One who took care of my son during those four frightening minutes is the same One who will take care of his future.

And I know that everything is going to be just fine.

Happy birthday, son.

I live in Jackson, Georgia. It’s a small town.

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I live in Jackson, Georgia.

It’s a small town.

If I want to see a professional baseball team play, I have to drive an hour north. That’s assuming of course that we’re classifying the Atlanta Braves as a professional baseball team.

In Jackson, there are no stores for a woman to buy a $700 calfskin leather Louis Vuitton purse. But we do have a few dollar stores and an Ingles. I’ve bought my wife a handful of flowers from Ingles several times. They seemed to make her happy. She’s never mentioned anything about liking calfskins.

In Jackson, there are no traffic jams. It’s always fun to listen to the Atlanta radio stations talk about how bad the traffic is on I-20 as I drive down a dirt road. You should try it sometime. The closest thing I’ve seen to a traffic jam in Jackson, Georgia was the time when one of Mr. Luke Weaver’s cows got out and decided to have rest time in the middle of the road. I waved at Mr. Luke Weaver when I finally got to drive by him trying to get his cow back. I didn’t stop. The next day he told me that I was therefore unqualified to ever preach on the Good Samaritan. Point taken.

People like to put down small towns. They say that everybody is into everybody else’s business. Maybe that’s true sometimes. But maybe that’s not always so bad. Maybe that’s part of the charm of living in a small town.

A few nights ago the power went out at my house. I didn’t think that it was any big deal. People lose power from time to time. But when I looked outside I noticed that all of my neighbors had power. That was kind of scary. So I did what any reputable Southern Baptist pastor would do.

I asked my wife if we paid the power bill.

She checked our records and we were good.

So I called the power company to tell them that my power was out. I had to tell my story to a computer. The computer promised to get back to me as soon as possible. While I waited for the computer to call me back, I walked outside where I pretended to have some idea of how to restore power to my house.

That’s when my phone rang.

It was the power company. I could tell that it wasn’t a computer because my wife was laughing and saying, “Hold on, let me let you talk to him” as she brought the phone my way.

Justin was on the other end. He works for the power company. We go to church together. He promised to have my power back on in no time. And then he told me that I could not in fact restore power to my home by rubbing two screw drivers together while standing next to the circuit breaker. Who knew? So I put down my screwdrivers and waited for help to arrive.

A few minutes later, one of the big power trucks stopped in front of my house. Seeing as how it was 11:00 on a Friday night, I wondered what kind of person might be getting out of that big truck. And I wondered if he would be angry for getting pulled out of bed on a weekend. The man in the truck turned out to be Ron. Most of his family goes to church with me. He said that he’d have the problem fixed in no time.

He was right.

But I swear that I saw him rubbing two screwdrivers together.

Either way, my power was back on. And there I was, talking to Ron at 11:00 on a Friday night in my yard in Jackson, Georgia.

It’s a small town.

It’s usually pretty quiet in Jackson, Georgia.

The other night my wife and I sat on our back porch and ate cereal. The only lights we saw were from our neighbors next door and the stars up above. The only noise we heard was the sound of dogs barking and kids trying to use up their last few nights of staying out late to play before school started back.

Not a lot happens in Jackson, Georgia.

But when it does, you can count on a friend or someone from your church being around to help out. Well, unless you’re trying to retrieve your cow and I happen to be the one driving by.

I live in Jackson, Georgia.

It’s a small town.

And I wouldn’t have it any other way.