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This Week’s Thought

By Brad Campbell –

Just a thought to help start your week.

You are looking at a photo I took while walking along the outer walls of the medieval fortified city of Saint-Malo, located on the French coast of the English channel.  It is a beautiful city indeed, one that works hard to preserve its historical aspects.  In fact, our bus was not allowed on the ancient narrow streets and had to unload and remain just outside the city.  We then walked into town dragging our suitcases with us.

Our evening walks around the walls of the city afforded us some beautiful scenic views, the walls themselves reminding us of times long past.  The walls were built around this city and many like it to provide protection from enemy attacks.  

I wonder how often we, still today, surround ourselves with walls, attempting to keep out anyone and anything.  Way too many times through the covid pandemic of the past couple of years, we have walled ourselves up away from others.  We’ve hidden behind the walls of our homes, venturing out only when we deemed it ‘safe.’  But one thing about walls is that they not only keep you inside, they also keep others out.  And which is more dangerous?  More sad?

The walls of our homes and our churches provide comfort to God’s people while we gather to live and worship, but let’s be careful that we don’t use our walls as an excuse to keep others out.  Certainly we must protect our own in times of peril, but there must remain points of access.  Even the completely walled city of Saint-Malo had great large doors through which we walked to gain entrance.  Even the great walled city of Heaven itself has gates through which one must pass.  Jesus is the only door.
This week, don’t hide behind your walls.  Instead, walk atop them, taking in the scenery, and allowing access to those who desperately need to be a part of something greater – the family of God.

Just a thought.

This Week’s Thought

By Brad Campbell –

For only about the third time in these past few years, I’m breaking my own rule and using a photo that includes myself in it.  But, do me a favor and focus not on my sheepish grin, and instead notice the wooden pulpit behind which I’m standing.  Simple and plain, and yet a pulpit used in sharing the Word of God.

This summer I was privileged to visit the Billy Graham library, home, and museum at Charlotte, NC.  It is indeed a beautiful place to visit.  One can tour Billy Graham’s relocated boyhood home, his and Ruth’s gravesites, and an onsite museum, which you are reminded is about the Gospel, not the man who preached it.

I wandered, listening to video presentations, looking at artifacts, and hearing the Gospel presented, and then rounded a corner to see the very pulpit that was literally carried around the world for Billy Graham to use to preach that Good News.  I, of course, took the opportunity, aided by a kind stranger, to have my picture taken.  I must admit I was in awe and had a slight chill of goosebumps on my arms as I stood reverently still in that quiet space for just a moment.

But what remains the most remarkable is not that plain wooden pulpit, certainly not the man you see behind it, and not even the great Rev. Dr. Billy Graham, but is the Gospel message that was shared from the Word of God while he stood there.  

In human standards, I will never be another Billy Graham.  However, I can share the very same message of God’s eternal love!  Now THAT gives me goosebumps!Share the Word with me this week.

Just a thought.

This Week’s Thought

By Brad Campbell –

Just a thought to help start your week.

This summer, my wife and I took a multi-state trip traveling to and through many interesting places between our home in Alabama and our northern-most destination of New York.  One particular day, our GPS guided us through some tight seemingly abandoned streets of Jersey City, New Jersey, to finally reach Liberty Park, where we waited our turn among the masses to crowd onto a tour boat that then took us to Liberty Island, the home of the Statue of Liberty.  

Much about that day left me in awe, and I’ll share some of that as time passes.  But part of the majesty of the locale is the opportunity it afforded us to simply stand and stare at the magnificent New York City skyline, which you see here.  The harbor was beautiful, the untold number of different nationalities represented in the crowds was amazing, but the simple beauty of that sprawling skyline was itself something to behold.

To think of the generations of people and the vast multitude of opportunities for betterment that brought so many to this place through the years is mind boggling.  But the Lord offers us so much more.  To see and hear and know of all the wonders of true Life that He offers to all people, if only they will come to His outstretched arms, is the most mind boggling of all.  And His beauty is magnificent enough to leave one standing and staring for hours.

We tried to soak up as much of our surroundings as possible on that trip.  How much of the Lord’s gracious goodness do we make a point to soak up on a daily basis?  Are we simply walking along through the crowds, or are we stopping to take it all in?  May His beauty and all the awe He generates fill you in the week ahead.

Just a thought.

This Week’s Thought

By Brad Campbell –

Just a thought to help your week.

Sunflowers.  Have you ever really taken a close look or paid attention to sunflowers?  Other flowers have more dramatic or more scientific names.  Obviously a rose by any other name smells as sweet and is still a rose.  Why is the sunflower called a sunflower?

For one thing, it is shaped very closely to the likeness of a glowing yellow sun that each of us, as elementary school children, drew at the top of our handcrafted designs of farms, houses, animals, or people.  The flower simply looks like the sun.

But also, the sunflower looks toward the sun.  A sunflower grows taller and taller, reaching for the warmth and light of the sun above.  The sunflower even turns to follow the movement of the sun throughout the day.  A sunflower looks for the sun and reaches up to meet it.

As Christians, we are called to bloom where we are planted.  So let’s assume the name of sunflower, or more aptly, SONflower.  Growing as we should in His world, we reach upward toward the Son, we look for Him, follow His movements, and bask in His warmth.

It’s all so simple.  We should resemble a simple childlike drawing of the sun – big and bright, reflecting the light of the Son into our world.  So, dear SONflowers, are we living up to our name this week?  Perhaps the more important question is are we living up to His name?

Just a thought.

My Soul Waits for the Lord

By Madison Moore

A Song of Ascents.

Psalm 130 Out of the depths I cry to you, O Lord!
    O Lord, hear my voice!
Let your ears be attentive
    to the voice of my pleas for mercy!

If you, O Lord, should mark iniquities,
    O Lord, who could stand?
But with you there is forgiveness,
    that you may be feared.

I wait for the Lord, my soul waits,
    and in his word I hope;
my soul waits for the Lord
    more than watchmen for the morning,
    more than watchmen for the morning.

O Israel, hope in the Lord!
    For with the Lord there is steadfast love,
    and with him is plentiful redemption.
And he will redeem Israel
    from all his iniquities.

Do you ever feel like God doesn’t hear you? The key word here is “feel.” Human nature and cultural influence tells us that if we don’t feel something, it must not be right—that we shouldn’t trust whatever it is we’re seeking. But this Psalm says differently. David cries out to the Lord about his distressed heart but doesn’t just focus on his needs—he focuses on the Lord.

He’s reminded of a gracious God, one that’s to be feared. He shifts from self to:

  I wait for the Lord, my soul waits,
    and in his word I hope;
my soul waits for the Lord
    more than watchmen for the morning,
    more than watchmen for the morning.

Watchmen spied for enemies approaching their city, and in some cases, sat over vineyards and fields to protect the crops from thieves and animals. The watchmen’s duties required an eagle eye and active observation. Like watchmen at their stations, David patiently and attentively waits for the Lord. He waits expectantly to see and hear the Lord take action because he knows God’s promises never fail.

Remembering the Lord’s Faithfulness

By Madison Moore

One thing we all know to be true is that life isn’t always easy. In fact, more often than not, you may feel like life is just really hard—like there’s always an obstacle, heartbreak, sickness, or struggle. In these times, we desperately need to cling to God’s promises and remember his character. We’re poor and needy every day, but there’s a reason the Puritan’s titled one of their prayers “The Valley of Vision.” Yesterday I read John chapter 18 and I felt God reminding me of his faithfulness in my life, through all of the hardships, he’s working, even when I don’t feel it, he’s working. If you’re a believer in Jesus Christ and have surrendered your life to him, you can proclaim this over your life as you wake up to each new day.  

A lot is happening in chapter 18: Jesus is betrayed by Judas and arrested by authorities; his disciple, Peter, denies him three times; and he’s taken to stand before Pilate, the Roman governor, to be questioned. I reflected a lot on this chapter and how Jesus was probably feeling, and one thing kept standing out to me: Jesus is faithful and will forever be faithful. He cannot not be faithful. Jesus knew he would be arrested, he knew Judas would betray him, he knew Peter would deny him three times (and even told Peter this beforehand), and he knew that Pilate would hand him over to be crucified. Yet, in his great love for us, died for us so that we might live. In chapter 19, he sat there while solders placed a crown of thorns on his head and mocked him by saying “Hail! King of the Jews” and slapping him. Yet Jesus didn’t fight back. Unto death, he gave himself for us. 

The story doesn’t end there. Jesus also knew that. Three days later, Jesus rose victoriously from the grave defeating death, later ascending into heaven and leaving his Holy Spirit to fill us. 

I want you to be encouraged by this: you can hold fast to your confession of Jesus Christ as Lord with confidence through whatever comes, good or bad, ‘for he who promised is faithful.’ You can call out your sin of unbelief, confess it, and be reminded of Jesus’ faithfulness all throughout scripture, even unto his death. 

If you’re suffering, remember this: He is near to the brokenhearted and crushed in spirit (Psalm 34:18). He has compassion on those who suffer (Psalm 103:13). You will have trouble, but take heart, He has overcome the world (John 16:33)! He is faithful to his people!

“The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.”

—Lamentations 3:22-23

Peter denied Jesus three times, yet Jesus’ plans for him prevailed and Peter went on to spread the good news of the gospel and lead a Spirit-filled life. And we too can live a Spirit-filled life through the power of the Holy Spirit.

Let Ephesians 3:14-21 be written on your hearts: 

“For this reason I kneel before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth derives its name. I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.

Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.”

Sowing Seed in a Crazy World

By Ryan Kelly

We have all heard the parable of the sower from Matthew 13, which describes the scattering of ‘seed’ in a field and the result of the seed on the different types of soil. This parable can be taken in several directions, but the two best ask the questions, “what type of soil are you sowing, and what type of soil are you?”

When we sow, we cannot affect the soil by which we are planting. If it is rocky or thorny soil, the seed will struggle to thrive and will often die out. This is the result of so many people that have an emotional response to the Gospel, but due to lack of depth or problems in someone’s life, the Gospel message cannot take hold. Obviously the best soil is the one that is fertile and ready for the Gospel message.

One of the most frustrating things to me as a Christian is to have no power over the soil. I can share the good news of Jesus all day, but I have no control over whether it is accepted by someone who hears. But this shouldn’t be frustrating, it should be encouraging. Acceptance is not our job as Christians, but rather our job is to share. If someone accepts Jesus, it is their decision through the will of God and there is nothing that you or I can do about that. If they do not, perhaps it’s just not their time.

To the second question, are you fertile soil? I certainly hope that the answer is yes and that the Holy Spirit is growing you in righteousness as He is me. If he is not, I urge you to evaluate yourself and determine if there is something in your life that is preventing the Lord from growing you in the manner that He intends to. If there is, you must get rid of it and ensure that you have a life that allows you to grow in your faith.

I say this to be encouraging to you when witnessing to those around you. If you don’t see immediate results from your efforts, be encouraged that you are doing what the Lord has asked of you. Most importantly, we most love others enough to take the risk and the chance at telling them about the love of Jesus. This is the love that will show others our faith.

Then he told them many things in parables, saying: “A farmer went out to sow his seed. As he was scattering the seed, some fell along the path, and the birds came and ate it up. Some fell on rocky places, where it did not have much soil. It sprang up quickly, because the soil was shallow. But when the sun came up, the plants were scorched, and they withered because they had no root. Other seed fell among thorns, which grew up and choked the plants. Still other seed fell on good soil, where it produced a crop—a hundred, sixty or thirty times what was sown.” Matthew 13:3-8

This Week’s Thought

By Brad Campbell –

Just a thought to help start your week.


This majestic (and very large) bird was just one of the beautiful creatures we saw on a brief but nice visit to Navarre Beach, Florida this week.  After moving our youngest to the coast to begin her new post-college-graduation job, we enjoyed a nice visit with some great people, had a great seafood supper, and then enjoyed the great views!


Kiddo has worked hard, and while we certainly have shed some parental tears over her relocation, we couldn’t be more thrilled for her or for any of our kids.  Her excitement is mixed with apprehension and wonder, as is ours.
These birds, the dolphins we watched playing in the surf, the large sea turtle that popped up to say “hi,” and the many other creatures we had the privilege of observing had not one worry or care in the world.  Even as this big bird stood scanning the waters for his next meal, he wasn’t worried that it might not come.  He was simply patient, waiting for the right moment to swoop down and snack away.


To truly cast all our cares upon the Lord means to give him all of our worries and concerns about the day.  Yes, as parents (and as God’s children), we will continue to stand watch.  But we do so not worrying about the future, only praying that each new opportunity is even better than the one before it.


As you face your new week or whatever may come your way soon, simply watch and wait.  He will provide.  You have my promise in that.  And more importantly, you have His promise to take care of you.  What a blessing it is to know He is watching over all of His kiddos!


Just a thought.

This Week’s Thought

By Brad Campbell –

Just a thought to help start your week.


Now this certainly isn’t the best photo I’ve ever taken, but maybe you can tell that this is a picture of a bird’s nest.  Built on top of one of the lights on our front porch, this nest is constructed of what seems to be mainly mud and moss.  


When I first noticed the mess on the porch floor and realized the nest already half built, I chose not to disturb it, but to allow the birds to continue building.  I figured I could watch and enjoy the process.  Indeed the birds – at least two of them, which I’ve called “Mom” and “Dad” – worked on their nest for several days before it seemed as if they had finished.  And then came the wait.


The layout of our home is such that my office window faces the porch.  Day after day, there was a bird sitting in that nest, occasionally peeking over the side to make sure I wasn’t getting too close.  And then one morning last week, there was an awful lot of chirping going on.  Apparently “Mom” and “Dad” had become parents of some little ones.  The babies were small enough that I haven’t seen them, but their parents are obviously taking very good care of them, feeding them constantly.  And before too long, each of those little ones will fly off on their own.


I had watched the building of the nest, observed the work of those very attentive parents, and have enjoyed the sounds of their chirping brood.  I had highly anticipated the arrival of those little ones.


As we head into a new week, I couldn’t help but wonder as I glanced at the nest again this morning, am I anticipating the Lord’s arrival as much as I did for those little chirpers?  Will I live my life in such a way in the week ahead that others see the excitement and anticipation in my voice and actions — the anticipation of a coming King?  I pray that it may be so.


One day before long, I’ll climb the ladder and clean off the porch light.  But until then, that masterfully created nest will be my reminder that He may arrive any day!  And oh what singing I will hear then!  Are you waiting and watching?
Just a thought.

This Week’s Thought

By Brad Campbell –

Just a thought to help start your week.

In our side yard stands this concrete bird bath.  It has been there for several years.  Sometimes, especially after a good rain, it is full of water.  The birds especially love this.  When the old knobby pears from the nearby tree begin to fall, some landing in the bird bath, it becomes a place that one beautiful little gray fox loves to visit, of course shared with the squirrels and an occasional deer.

The deer, not quite so gentle in their eating habits, have knocked the top off of that bird bath several times, and there are chips in the concrete to show it.  I would also assume, considering the extreme nosiness of our cat and the occasional ‘possum, that they are frequent visitors upon that lofty perch, too.

And then there’s me.  I have used it many times, as you can see here, as a flower stand.  Place a pot of petunias or some such plant on it, water it well, and it will grow and extend down into the birdbath and beyond as it drapes over the sides.

That old simple concrete bird bath has become so much more.  One might say it has been repurposed.  Perhaps even multi-purposed.  Even with the dents and dings, weather-stained colorization, and plain looks, it is as strong as ever, and it enters each and every spring-time never knowing what is in store for it.  All it has to do is stand — and adapt.

God the Father sometimes repurposes (or perhaps many more times multi-purposes) us.  This doesn’t necessarily mean we weren’t good at what we have previously done.  It just means we can branch out into something new.  A new opportunity to bring joy to others.  A new chance to make a difference in our community.  Another chance to stand tall, allow the beauty and creativity of the Father to shine, and be a blessing to those who take notice, even if they are few and far between.

Stand and adapt.  What does your future hold this week?

Just a thought.