Wednesday, March 26, 2014

The Compass by Mike DeCamp

The Compass

By Michael R. DeCamp

Born, endless roads yet unfollowed
The paths of life still mine to travel
Pain and strife beset those before me
Threatening foggy trails of upheaval

“Love God,” your words were like a compass
Pointing my heart like a needle
Parting the clouds to the horizon
For toddling feet, the trail was level

A child is too young to travel alone
A star was sent to light my way
Not my mother, she guided none the less
She enlightened the path into the fray

I walked and grew, grew and walked
Not yet a man, no longer a boy
The road had forks, enticing diversions
Compass forgotten, life to enjoy

Friends were sent to set my foot right
Words of faith, friendship, and direction
“Do you believe?” they asked “Will you keep walking?”
“Oh yes,” I said, immersed in reflection

Retrieving my compass, I cast my eyes forward
The road is long, and not for the sprinter
“I see it!” I said.  “I know where I’m going!”
The horizon comes on without drawing nearer

Alone on the road, I was given a heart
A heart to hold, cherish, or squander
“Will you?” I asked.  “I will,” she replied
“I’ll hold it,” I said, “and cherish it yonder”

We took up the path, walking together
United both hearts and minds
Soon, we were four and onward we traveled
Compass in mind, but forgotten sometimes

The road became dusty and hard to decipher
Sometimes it would wind, rise, and wander
Sometimes it grew lonely, dusty, and scattered.
“Am I going the right way?” I would pause and wonder

I have traveled that road from there to here
The forks still enticing as ever
But, I’ve still not reached my true destination
The road stretches on, and on; seems forever

I no longer claim to know its end
And still the path sometimes grows gray
But, when I’m unsure, not knowing the next step…
You stoop to my ear, whisper, and say:

“Look higher my son, and remember your compass.”

Dedicated to:
Emma Ogletree, the “Star” who introduced me to church
Mike Runcie & Neil Parsons, the youth ministers who “set my foot right”
Nancy DeCamp, the “Heart” I will always “cherish”
And especially dedicated to…

Ralph R. DeCamp, my father, and the man who gave me my “Compass.”
L to R: Mike DeCamp, Ralph DeCamp, David DeCamp

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Health Ministry Newsletter-March 2014 by Lisa Fleetwood

Meaningful Movement

Mark 16:15 (NIV), “He said to them, ‘Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation.’” (emphasis mine)

Jesus gave his disciples a charge. He commissioned them to be people of action; going, doing, sharing, seeking, finding, healing, and helping. Have you ever considered the physical energy required to do God’s will?

When Isaiah heard the Lord was looking for a volunteer, he jumped at the chance to help, even before he knew the assignment, shouting, “SEND ME.”

Isaiah 6:8 (ESV) “And I heard the voice of the Lord saying, “Whom shall I send, and who will go for us?” Then I said, “Here am I! Send me.”

Would you answer in the same way? Today, our hearts are willing but are our bodies able? With epidemic rates of obesity, diabetes, and high blood pressure, our willingness may be dampened by physical limitations. This doesn’t have to be the case. Beginning a routine that incorporates meaningful movement will strengthen your body, increase your stamina, and even sharpen your mind. In doing so, we will develop our physical bodies making them not only willing but also physically able to do the “work” of our Father.

Let us begin 2014 by readying both our minds and bodies to be people of action. Then we will be prepared as was Isaiah to shout, “Here am I! Lord send me.” Remember 1 John as you consider your responsibility to action.

1 John 3:18 (NIV) “Dear children, let us not love with words or speech but with actions and in truth.”

Starting Your Exercise Routine

1. Consult your doctor before starting any exercise regimen.
2. Prepare. We are always short on time yet we always make time to chauffer, clean, and work. Physical health IS a priority. Schedule it on the calendar and honor your appointment as you would any other.
3. Start slowly. Do much less than what you’re capable of. Take a 20-minute walk if you’re returning to exercise. It is better to start slowly and avoid injury than to be sidelined and discouraged by sore muscles.
4. Where are your friends? Sparkpeople, web-based health, lists motivation, inspiration, determination, and conversation as four keys to success. Surround yourself with friends who will support this kind of journey.
5. Praise God. Paul compared his Christ-walk with running many times. It may be difficult, but it’s so worth it! Consider this as part of your faith journey and push forward even when you would rather not!


Do choose activities you enjoy; the best activities for you are the ones you’ll do.
Do get an exercise buddy or accountability partner to keep you honest.
Do start off moderately, with a few minutes of exercise, and slowly increase.
Do drink lots of water before, during and after your workout.
Do cool down after exercising to relax your muscles and gradually lower your heart rate.

Don’t begin exercising without warming up first to prepare your body and mind.
Don’t try to race someone or get competitive when you are just starting out – you’ll risk injury.
Don’t obsess over weight loss; concentrate on getting fit and using energy, and the weight loss will come in time.
Don’t let yourself get bored – add new activities to your routine.
Don’t forget about good nutrition. Eat a variety of foods every day, color your plate with as many different vegetables and fruits and consider supplements to ensure complete nutrition and attain your optimal health.

Source: Sean Foy, Daniel Plan

Exercise ideas

Brisk walking or jogging
Yard work (mowing, raking, digging)
Lifting weights
Climbing stairs or hills
Playing tennis
Playing basketball
Standing on one foot
Heel-to-toe walk
Tai Chi
Shoulder and upper arm stretch
Calf stretch
Using a resistance band

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Hebrews 12:1 ESV “Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us,”

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Slow to Speak by Craig Hill

This past Tuesday near Roanoke, Virginia at my client’s offices, my co-worker and I were called to a meeting about special pricing, but weren’t told why we were asked to the meeting. As I rounded the corner into the conference room table area, I saw that there were about 10 people already there, including two Vice Presidents. I figured we might be in for an ambush.

And we were. Last summer, at this client, we had worked hard to get someone to work with us to set up their pricing, but we ran into a lot of trouble. No one in the business area wanted to get involved with the new software implementation project. We raised the issue with the president of the company, but to no avail. Someone from the information technology area got assigned instead of the people who really set pricing in the sales areas.

Last fall the president had raised an issue with their special pricing process, and we were asked to help. But again we couldn’t get anyone to work with us. Two of the people that wouldn’t work with us were eventually let go, but still no progress.

Now, we are about to go live with the new software and are entering the testing phase with no time left for new development. But here we were in a meeting with 10 people about special pricing with 2 VP’s. And they pressed us to develop a solution. We explained it would be difficult, and would take one of their people in the sales area committing themselves to learning the software. It would take about 60 hours of effort on their part and our part. And as the project manager responsible for launching the software on time, I had to explain that we were out of time to take on this problem now that we had to test and go live with what had already been developed. That we didn’t have time to take this special pricing problem on now, or it would delay our go live.

But as I started to explain the problem, one of the VP’s, Joe, cut me off. He raised his voice and starting yelling at me. He said, “You’re not listening. You don’t understand that this will cripple our order entry department, and you better do what I am telling you.” But I had listened. And many times, not just in the meeting I was in, but in meetings the day before, and the day before that. And I hadn’t said more than half a sentence in this meeting before he cut me off.

I drew on my teachings and my experience with yellers: yellers such my football coaches, previous managers, and myself. I’ve studied a lot about anger, because I suffer from it. And I’ve studied a lot about how to deal with them.

Number 1 – make sure you are listening, and after you have listened repeat back to them what they are saying to you. James 1: 19 – “My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen . . .” Make sure the yeller knows that they have been heard.

I said, “Joe, you don’t need to yell at me.” And I tried to explain, but he continued repeating himself in an intense manner. I remained calm and let him talk for a while longer – which is rule #2 and #3: Be slow to speak and be slow to anger.

Finally, I said, “I’ve listened to you, now would you listen to me?” He said yes. I said, “I understand that the current special pricing process needs to be improved. The way it works today is not efficient, causing customers to not get the discounts they are entitled to, and it requires a lot of rework and credits being granted after the fact. I am not saying that the process shouldn’t be improved. I am not saying it is not important. I am saying we don’t have time to work on this now, or we will delay the project. We should work on it after we get the software already developed live and in place.”

The rest of James 1: 19 goes like this “. . . slow to speak and slow to become angry,” I had successfully waited about 20 minutes into a 30 minute meeting to make my point. I had spent 20 minutes listening to a point I had already heard about 5 times over the past 9 months. I was doing okay, and much better than I usually do. Many times in my life, I’ve butt in, and insisted on being heard, and I’d gotten mad when someone yelled at me.

But I’ve learned anger does more harm than good. That it ruins relationships and hurts you and other people. On February 11, 2007, Keith Stillinger said it to me this way, “Anger at someone is really anger at God, saying we are upset with God about our circumstances.”  And God loves us too much to want to hurt us.  I need to be diligent in my love to him and other people, even if they are yelling at me.

Jesus said, "You have heard that it was said to the people long ago, 'You shall not murder, and anyone who murders will be subject to judgment.' But I tell you that anyone who is angry with a brother or sister will be subject to judgment. Again, anyone who says to a brother or sister, 'Raca,' is answerable to the court. And anyone who says, 'You fool!' will be in danger of the fire of hell.”

And the next 2 verses in James 1 (verse 20 and 21) say, “because human anger does not produce the righteousness that God desires. Therefore, get rid of all moral filth and the evil that is so prevalent and humbly accept the word planted in you, which can save you.”

And Joe, the VP of Customer Service heard me, and he apologized for yelling at me. And the other VP in the room, Sam, said, “Craig, you make a good point. And we need to see who can work with you and your team to learn the software before we ask you to do this. Let us think about this and get back to you.”

After the meeting, the other VP, Sam, came to me and said he was impressed by how I handled Joe. Sam said, “Joe has often done that to me, and he’s gotten under my skin. Then I’ve gotten angry also. You stayed calm and unwavering. You handled that very well.” Little did he know it’s taken 53 years of practice, learning, and countless failures to be able to accomplish this. It was Jesus, my friends, and my family that have taught me to not get angry and to be patient in listening. My wife Regina has been patient with me, and shown me this countless times in her actions, in her dealings with me, and with many others. And it’s been a good lesson, and one I still strive to model in my life.  So be quick to hear, slow to speak, and slow to anger.

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

History Connects Us by John Wright

History Connects Us
by John Wright                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    

            Four weeks ago, while at Ralph and Alice Brown's house, Ben Cushing Sr. said "history connects us." Ben was referring to our fiftieth anniversary Sunday that is coming up April 13th. That statement struck a chord with me as I was thinking about what unites us as members of the Church that has been meeting here for the last 50 years. Why does the past matter?  Does the past or history of the human race really connect us? As members of the Human race are we really very different from one another? The Bible teaches us that we are all from one blood line descended from Adam and we are also descended from one of the sons of Noah, either Shem, Ham, or Japheth. This brief review of human history as it unfolded in scripture teaches us that it is not our humanity that bonds and connects us together, instead it is our creator who maintains a connection to us. God has always been involved in the affairs of men.

            Now back to us at Southeastern Church of Christ, fifty years may not seem to be a very long time but in terms of our lifetime it is a huge deal. Any person who was forty years of age or older in 1964 has by now passed away. There are very few still with us that were adults when we moved from Irvington into our new building. One of the most obvious things we can immediately see is that we are connected by our mortality. History does, after all, teach us that we will die. I am not usually this morbid, and I am not defeated even though I am living in a body that continues to be in decline. History teaches us that we have a grand heritage passed on from one generation to the next. Our heritage is to love God and keep his commandments.

            I do believe that history does connect us in so many ways that gives us a common bond somewhere eventually through the annals of time, but that is not what I want to explore here. I want to look at the greatest connection we have, the one with our loving God. At Southeastern we believe that God loves us with a supernatural love, and because he has loved us so completely we want to love our fellow man the same way God has loved us. Our history is one of service to one another and putting others before ourselves, it is a behavior we have learned from God himself and his son Jesus Christ. Mankind has an innate drive to find the God connection, often looking in all the wrong places. Regardless of our actions God is always near!

            I want to look at a story in the Bible about one of God's most devoted followers who gave up on life, yet God did not give up on him. 1 Kings 19 tells us the story of how Elijah became very discouraged and he prayed to God that he should die saying "I am no better than my ancestors." God sent an Angel to strengthen him, and God sent him on a journey. When Elijah arrived at his destination God spoke to him and told Elijah to explain his behavior. Elijah explained he had done everything God had told him to do but he still was a failure. God said go outside for I am about to pass by, then a powerful wind tore the mountain apart, but the Lord was not in the wind. Then there was an earthquake but the Lord was not in the earthquake. After the earthquake there was a fire but the Lord was not in the fire. After the fire there was a gentle whisper. The lesson I think Elijah needed to learn was doing great things in the name of the Lord was not the way to connect with God. Do not go looking for God in all the wrong places, instead he can be found within us where he has put his gentle whisper.

            The gentle whisper of Jesus Christ says "come unto me all that are weary and heavy laden and I will give you rest, for my burden is easy and my yoke is light and you shall find rest unto your soul." The journey of mankind comes full circle through the atonement of Jesus Christ. Adam had an eternal friendship with God until the fall. Everyone who follows and obeys Jesus have a restored eternal friendship with God. History does connect us in a unique way, we cannot know where we are going until we know where and whose we have been.

            Church, we need to learn the right lessons from history.  As the Apostle Paul wrote in Galatians 6:9, " Do not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up."