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This Saturday #1 LSU (12-0) plays #14 Georgia (10-2) in the SEC Championship Game.  LSU had an undefeated regular season for the first time in school history.  They have wins over 3 top 5 teams in the nation (Alabama, Oregon, Arkansas) and soundly beat other top 25 ranked opponents (Auburn, MS State, West Virginia).  LSU has the most BCS National Championships in history and are a two touchdown favorite over the Dawgs.

But in the clean words of Lee Corso, “Not so fast my friend!”  UGA could upset top ranked LSU.  Here are 5 reason why:

1.  Georgia is peaking at the right time and riding a 10 game win streak with HUGE victories over 2 teams with winning records:  Georgia Tech and Auburn.

2.  Aaron Murray is the best quarterback in the SEC and if the LSU defense has a weakness, it is defending against the pass.  Although, the bayou bengals do have 3 NFL players in their secondary including the Honey Badger who is one of 5 players nominated for player of the year in college football.

3. The SEC Championship Game is played in the Georgia Dome which is virtually a home game for the DAWGS. LSU could be looking ahead to the BCS National Championship Game and a rematch against Alabama in the Superdome.  It is the perfect trap game.

4. Uga is one of the best mascots in college football.

5.  If Georgia wins, I will not hear the end of it at Graystone Church.  On Sunday morning, there will be a few knuckleheads in the congregation wearing homemade black T-shirts with red letters saying L S WHO?  But I won’t have to wear UGA gear, because none of them are confident enough in their Dawgs to put a friendly wager down.

On another note, this Saturday, December 3rd, is the 17th anniversary of the day that I dropped to one knee, put my life’s savings on Jennifer’s finger and asked her to be my partner in life and ministry.  Let’s just say, “I am GRATEFUL!”  And God is good!

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A good friend called me Monday to talk about the Project Kids Space offering.  He and his wife (and now kids) have been with us since almost day 1.  In fact, I met him on the basketball court 1 year before we moved to Grayson.  To say that he is committed to Graystone is a gross understatement.

He said, “Graystone is our second home.  If something breaks at our house (I.e. air conditioner), we get it fixed whether we have the money or not.  If we need something at our house (I.e. a new roof), we find a way to pay for it.  Graystone is our second home.  If we need more children’s space, we are going to pay for it.”

He and his wife had already made a generous contribution online to Project Kids Space, but on Sunday morning, they felt led to write another check.  And they gave it joyfully.  They are making an investment in their second home (And I might add…in their eternal home.).

I wonder how many people view Graystone as their second home?  I know Jennifer and I do.  And man, it’s great to have brothers and sisters in Christ who love our second home as much as we do.  This sheds a little light on what it means to be a family of faith and do life together.  God, our Heavenly Father, is good!

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Andre, Julia, and Alana riding the Rock and Roll Roller Coaster at MGM

Julia is at Disney World for Fall Break.

When is my Fall Break?  How can I go to Florida for a week for FREE?

Tennis updates: Jennifer has decided to be a beast at the net.  Jessie can now hit a one-handed forehand.  I have a huge bruise on my thigh from getting tagged with an overhead on Saturday morning…weekend warrior.

LSU Tigers are #1 in the nation.

Jennifer’s dad, Gramps the Great, is #1 is the nation (out of 80,000+ contestants) on ESPN College Football Challenge.  I am ranked 25,422.  He is ranked #1.

I don’t even want to talk about the Mississippi Mullets.  Fantasy Football is stupid and a waste of time.  Our time is better spent in fasting and prayer.

My message yesterday was A Call to Pray.  Simple but challenging.

I like what Leonard Ravenhill says about prayer,

Preaching affects men; prayer affects God.

Preaching affects time; prayer affects eternity.

I am personally trying to pray more and pray better.  I pray that our church will be a praying church.  I need to be a praying pastor.

Here are a few (Is 4 more than a few?) prayer initiatives:

1. Day of Prayer and Fasting on Wednesday, October 12.  Here are 3 previous posts on fasting:  Tuesday- Day of Prayer and FastingThe Purpose of Fasting, and Only By Prayer and Fasting.

2. Join the Prayer Team: info@graystonechurch.com

3.  Prayer Service, Wednesday, October 12 at 7:00PM

4.  Graystone Prayer Wall:  (http://prayer.graystonechurch.com/)

24 hours a day on the Graystone Prayer Wall, you can post prayer requests and pray for up to the minute prayer requests.  Also, every day at 1:14 PM (Joel 1:14), everyone is encouraged to stop what you are doing, and say a short prayer for the specific POTD (Pray of the Day).  You can find the POTD on the Prayer Wall.

“Again, I tell you that if two of you on earth agree about anything you ask for, it will be done for you by my Father in heaven. 20 For where two or three come together in my name, there am I with them.” Matthew 18:19-20

BTW, KATB did a great job leading worship yesterday, and I could sense God’s spirit moving.  It seemed like more people were really singing out and “getting lost” in worship.  I really think Graystone is growing spiritually…ON FIRE…AWAKENING!

I loved seeing so many people in both services kneeling at the altar and crying out to God in prayer.  Cast all our anxieties on Him bc He cares for us (1 Peter 5:7).

I cannot wait to see what God does through PKS (Project Kids Space).  Let’s pray that He does “immeasurably more than we could ask or imagine (Eph. 3:20).”  The goals are Bronze ($40k), Silver ($75k), and Gold ($100k).

I wonder what “immeasurably more than we could ask or imagine” is?  The Platinum goal?  Or the Diamond?

PS…What is up with the Braves?

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Last Saturday, we had a tennis reunion at Jacksonville State University.  It has been 20 years since I graduated from JSU…can you say OLD?  It was great to see all of my old teammates and meet many of the current and former players.  JSU tennis is celebrating 60 years.  I had not been back to JSU in 15 years, and I wanted Joelan and Julia to see our old stopping grounds.

It was especially great to see Coach Bailey.  He hasn’t changed a bit.  I love when he starts a story with, “Dawg, you’re not going to believe this…”.  Big Dawg was my nickname in college and apparently, no one knows my real name.  It was great to catch up with everyone and share old stories.  We will probably do it again when Coach Bailey retires and is inducted into the JSU Hall of Fame.

Here are a few pics from the reunion:

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If there is any group of people who needs the right set of FRIENDS, it is teenagers.  I cannot overemphasize the importance of helping your kids get connected with a good peer group.  They become like the people they spend time with, and I would argue that their peer group during the teen years has a greater influence on their lives than their parents.

Whether we want to believe it or not, we all know it’s true, because we were all teenagers at one time in our lives.  And let me just say, I’m glad I do not have to go through that stage of life again.  Being a teenager is tough and one of our roles as a parent is to raise them in church and encourage them to run around with a good group of FRIENDS.

It seems like a no brainer to me but let me encourage all the parents to get your kids to Up & Out (middle school on Wednesday at 7PM) and GSM (high school on Sundays at 7PM).  This is where they will hear a Bible message relevant to their stage of life, and they will meet in a small group Bible study with kids in their grade.  Parents, let’s make our kids’ spiritual growth a TOP PRIORITY!

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Let me start off by saying that Sam Jones brought his A game on Sunday.  The kid was slinging the sticks. I love Brody’s energy.  And how about Kelci’s pipes?  Those are 3 amazingly talented teenagers!  It is AWESOME to see them using their God-given abilties to serve HIM.  Hopefully, they can continue to be a part of KATB as they begin college this Fall.

I saw Kyle come out of his comfort zone like never before.  And thank God we have Sunday mornings as an outlet for Heath.  That poor guy must sit behind a computer and desk all week.  If you know Heath, you know that he is a totally different person when he puts on an outfit.  In last Sunday’s case, it was MC Hammer. Rusty Ray, Jordan, Candace and our resident All State Agent (John on bass) all did incredible.  The 90’s music compilation was a  great kickoff to our “Jesus Loves the 90’s” message series.

Anytime we do something like we did Sunday (I.e. play “secular” music in CHURCH, dance on stage, etc.), I receive a plethora of emails and comments.  Now, my favorite one so far this week came in the form of a confession.  One of our most faithful Graystone members (I’m talking totally committed to the the 4G’s!) sent me an email confession.  OK, I am not a priest and really do not want to hear everyone’s confession. We do advocate the priesthood of the believers and that all Christians have direct access to God through faith in Jesus Christ…Sorry, I ran off on a tangent there.  I do have a little theologian in me.  Anyway, this faithful Graystone member confessed first that he was not at church Sunday but heard is was great.  And it was for the rest of you who weren’t there.  He secondly confessed that he has been to at least 5 Cinderella concerts.  But his big confession (and again this is coming from one of our most faithful members…a 40ish year old man, wears a suit to work, married, two kids, pillar in the community, salt of the earth guy, etc.) was that he went to a Cinderella concert 2 weeks ago at Wild Bills.

Really?  Cinderella at Wild Bills?  How old are those guys?   This is real life Spinal Tap.  Too funny.  My favorite line in Spinal Tap is when Nigel says, “But these go to 11.”  I better not start quoting Spinal Tap or a might get in trouble.  My blog has generated very little controversy in the last year or so, and I would like to keep it that way.

As far as my head banging friend goes, God loves you.  And yes, you are always welcome at Graystone.  Who am I to judge?  I was the only one to raise my hand that I went to a Cinderella concert.  I appreciate the honesty.

Now, if you are still with me (this post is going a little long…Johnny’s Blog old school), I had another guy come up to me on Sunday after the service.  He is a new attender to Graystone and I believe this is the first time that he heard me “preach”.  He had a huge what looked like an NIV Study Bible in his hand.  And he said, “This was awesome!  I grew up in this area and I have a ton of unchurched friends who still live around here.  There is no way that they would go to a traditional church.  They would have loved the music this morning.  I cannot wait to bring them.  I think God can use Graystone Church to reach them for Jesus Christ!”

Can I get an Amen?  That’s why we do what we do!  We want to DOMINATE our community with the love of Jesus Christ.  And we want every man, woman and child in our community to have an opportunity to know God personally.  I know there are some great churches in our community, but I think God has uniquely gifted Graystone to reach people that other churches cannot.  If Graystone is not going to reach people for Jesus than who is?  Seriously, who do you think God wants to use to reach your lost friends and family?  Do you think His plan is to send missionaries over from Korea to reach your friends and family (The United States is now the 3rd largest mission field in the world…behind China and India.)?  Maybe but I doubt it.  God wants to use YOU!

We are replanting Graystone Church (more on this in my next post…I will give you the inside scoop…the game plan to LAUNCH) and we are excessively and generously spreading the seeds of the gospel of Jesus Christ.  In the words of Don Shackelton who showed up at my house a few years ago wearing a Keith Brooking jersey and an Atlanta Falcons hard hat to take me to a Falcons game…”It’s time to go to work!”

BTW, 15 people on Sunday shared with us that they committed their lives to Jesus Christ!  To God be the glory!  Get ready Graystone Church.  The dam is about to break.  We are on the verge of a spiritual AWAKENING in our church and community.  Let’s PRAY!  And let’s reach out to our lost friends, family, neighbors and basically ANYONE that has a heartbeat.

“I tell you, open your eyes and look at the fields! They are ripe for harvest.” Jesus (John 4:35)

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Our good friends, Craig and Amanda Tindall, have been inviting us to their lake house on Lake Martin in Alabama for several years.  With the aligning of the stars and both of our crazy calendars coming together, were will FINALLY able to make it work last weekend.  It was EPIC.  There are not many things in life better than hanging out on the lake in late Summer with big boy toys, good food, and great Christian friends.

Also, Jennifer’s good college friends, Lee Carol Meads and Amy Christmas Tankerly, we able to meet us at the lake with their kids.  It was a college reunion of sorts with Jennifer and a few of her close sorority (ZTA) sisters.  Craig and I spent most of our time on the lake pulling the kids and me on the tubes, slalom, and knee board.  Let me just say that my body is still sore, and I pulled muscles that I did not know existed.  My mind thinks that I’m 27 years old, but my body knows and feels the truth.

One of the highlights of the trip was talking with Barrett, Craig and Amanda’s oldest son (12 years old), about the book he read this Summer, More Than A Carpenter, by Josh McDowell.  He was so excited about what he learned…mainly the strong evidence we have for our faith in Jesus Christ.  I asked Barrett if Jesus was a liar, a lunatic or Lord.  And he passionately declared, “He has to be Lord!”  It is so obvious that God has a strong hand on Barrett’s life, and I cannot wait to see how He uses him.

We love the Tindalls.  They are a like-minded Christian family and have been generous supporters of Graystone from day 1.  We are thankful that God has blessed us with their friendship.  BTW, I am on the lookout to get them some tickets to the Auburn vs Georgia game on November 12 if anyone has any connections.  Just thought I would throw it out there.

Here are a few pics from our EPIC Weekend at Lake Martin:

Sawyer, Julia, Jessie, Mathis, Barrett, and Joelan

LC, Amanda, Jenn, Jessie, Elle, Amy & EPIC double tubes

Barrett, Sawyer, Joelan in the back of the ski boat

Julia jumping off the 30 foot spot at Chimney Rock

Look for my next post with pictures of Jennifer and I jumping off the 30 foot Chimney Rock.

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