Celebration Church in Hispaniola

This is the island of Hispaniola.


In 1492, Columbus landed here and named it La Isla Espinosa.  The name was later Anglicized to Hispaniola.  The island is made up of the French-speaking nation of Haiti and the Spanish-speaking nation of the Dominican Republic.  For the last two weeks, God has opened the doors for the pastors of Celebration Church to make a huge difference across this entire island.

Robert in HaitiIMG_0362

Early last week, Pastor Robert Storey and his wife Kathy spent several days in Haiti working with the Convoy of Hope Christian Relief Organization, sharing the good news of Jesus Christ to the people of Port au Prince.  Then, this past week, Pastor Dennis Watson, our lead pastor and Pastor Manley Miller, our Metairie Campus co-pastor, teamed up with the Storeys to train pastors and teach leaders all across the Dominican Republic.  Over these past several days, God has not only used them to lead people to Jesus and minister to the hurting but also to train literally thousands of ministers across that island.  Every time they teach or preach, they receive more invitations to teach and preach.  It could be said that God is literally giving us the island of Hispaniola!

Dominican Republic mission

If you’re a part of Celebration, God is using you to reach Hispaniola?  You may be thinking, “Me?  What did I do?  I’ve never even heard of the place.”  It’s because of your faithful giving that our pastors can teach, preach, and minister on that island.  So, next time you see something about the Dominican Republic or Haiti, you can tell everyone, “Hey! God is using me to make a difference on that island.”

The Day Deacon Bill Performed a Monkey Hysterectomy


Deacon Bill never passed up a senior adult trip.  On one occasion, everyone had spent a fine day with my wife and I touring Colonial Williamsburg.  On the drive home, they opened their shopping bags to reveal scented candles, purple and red hats, boxes of fudge, and one stuffed monkey.  The monkey whistled loudly each time his motion sensor was activated.  For ten minutes, the ladies hooted with glee as the monkey made whistling passes at them.  Finally, they asked its owner to put the toy away, thinking its dark bag would stop the whistling.  However, the van’s shocks weren’t working too well, and with every bump, the monkey shook and the wolf calling continued.  It soon went from being really funny to extremely annoying.

“Pass me that monkey,” said Deacon Bill as he pulled out his pocketknife.

“Don’t break it,” the owner cried.  “It’s for my granddaughter.”

“I won’t,” he replied as he grabbed the monkey viciously.

A moment later, the whistling ceased.  A hush fell over the van as Deacon Bill closed his pocket knife.

“Did you kill it?” I asked.

“No,” said Deacon bill, holding up the battery for everyone to see, but I did give that monkey a hysterectomy!”

I took a deep breath, expecting negative comments from these prim and proper Virginia ladies.  After a brief pause, the ladies roared with laughter and I sighed with relief.

When we finally pulled back into the church parking lot, Deacon Bill patted my shoulder and said, “Son, in ministry you have to be prepared for anything.”


Disclaimer:  No stuffed monkeys were harmed in the writing of this blogpost


“Man of Steel” Review

We learn in the movie trailer of Man of Steel that the “S” on Superman’s chest is really a symbol meaning “Hope” on the planet Krypton.  That came to mind as Amy Adams spoke at Spike’s Guy’s Choice Awards as Man of Steel won the award for most anticipated movie of the year.  She said, “I hope that the movie lives up to all of the anticipation.” I hoped the same thing as I bought my ticket for the movie yesterday.


You know the story – As a boy, Clark Kent learns that he has extraordinary powers, was born on another plantet, and was adopted by his earth parents.  As a young man, he travels the world to learn more about his origins and his purpose in life.  He learns to harness his powers and becomes a symbol of “Hope” for everyone on earth.

Man of Steel does a few things really well:

  1. The story is familiar but different enough to keep your attention.
  2. The action scenes were done very well.
  3. Henry Cavill was an excellent choice for the role of Superman.

Here’s where the film is really lacking (in my opinion):

There’s way too much action and not enough story.

Come on!  It’s Superman for crying out loud.  Where was the fun?  Where was the romance (besides the lame kiss and cliché)?  Where was the humor?  For that matter, where was the dialogue?

As Tom Long of the Detroit News states, “Man of Steel packs quite a wallop. A few too many wallops, as it turns out.”

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5 Short Summer Movie Reviews

Oz, The Great and Powerful

Review of Warm Bodies: a paranormal, romantic, zombie, comedy, narrative film

Why Did I Have To Get Selected For Jury Duty?


A couple of years ago, I was selected to serve on the jury of a second degree murder trial.  I tried all of the usual “tricks” that people use to get out of serving:

I told the clerk I had important meetings to attend.  I was ignored.

When asked my occupation by the prosecuting attorney, I said that I was a “pastor” on staff at a local church.  I had heard that many ministers were dismissed from jury duty.  I was wrong.

When the judge asked if I had ever been the victim of a crime, I answered affirmatively.  He was fine with it.  It was obvious that I wasn’t going to get out of serving.

I ended up being Juror #1. 

No one on that jury was happy about being selected.  Everyone wished that someone else would be selected instead of them.  Not a single person on that jury denied that something needed to be decided regarding the crime that had taken place, but no one wanted to participate in the decision making process.  Everyone wanted someone to be chosen for the jury, but no one wanted it to be them.

Those of us who are Christians have already gone through the selection process.  Colossians 3:12 says – Since God chose you to be the holy people he loves, you must clothe yourselves with tenderhearted mercy, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience.

God has chosen us to:

Clothe ourselves with tenderhearted mercy.

Cover ourselves with kindness.

Be filled with humility, gentleness, and patience.

Make allowance for each other’s faults.

Forgive anyone who offends us.

Clothe ourselves with love.

Let the peace of Christ rule in our hearts.

Always be thankful.

To let the message of Christ fill our lives.

To teach and counsel each other with the wisdom that comes from Christ.

To sing psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs.

Reach out to the hurting.

Minister and proclaim good news to the poor.

Share the love of Jesus with the lost.

Visit the sick.

Preach deliverance to the captive.

Comfort the broken hearted.

Proclaim healing to the blind.

Restore the crushed in spirit.

Pray to the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into that harvest.

Be those laborers ourselves.

Fight the good fight.

Finish the race.

The equip the saints for every good work.

Go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.

There’s really no worthwhile excuse not to participate.

Next time you think that somebody should do something about whatever issue is before you, pray and ask if you are the one who has been chosen.

Abraham Lincoln, Zombie Statue


Imagine for a moment that you are in Washington D.C.  You find yourself in the national mall and you walk past the reflection pool and make your way up the steps of the Lincoln Memorial.  Slowly, you walk up to the giant statue of Abraham Lincoln.  Thoughtfully, you remember the man that many people consider the greatest president that has ever lived.  Suddenly, his statue begins speaking to you.  At first, you wonder if he’s some sort of zombie statue who might even possibly devour you for treading on his territory, but then, you realize that he, the real Abraham Lincoln, is really there, in person, desiring a conversation with you. What you thought was going to be a personal memorial for a deceased man has suddenly become an interaction with a living president.

This is what happens to us when we encounter Jesus.  We think of Him as the One who died on the cross to pay the penalty for our sins, but we often don’t anticipate it going any further than that.  We certainly don’t expect any personal interaction with Him.  But then, we encounter Him and we remember that He’s alive and real, not wanting to destroy us but desiring a strong, real meaningful, personal relationship with each one of us.

My goal is to know Him and the power of His resurrection and the fellowship of His sufferings.  Philippians 3:10 HCSB