Christmas can and should be a joyous time of the year. Sadly, many who should be experiencing the joy of Christmas are not. For them, Christmas is a time of increased stress. Let me give you a few ideas of ways to reduce stress and experience more joy during this Christmas season.

Set Gift Giving Boundaries

Gift giving should be fun and relaxing. So many people are stressed because they cannot afford the gifts and other items they are trying to buy. Put pencil to paper, determine what you can afford to spend, and then tell your older family members how much you’re spending so that their expectations are not too high. Small children are easily pleased. Don’t get caught in the peer pressure trap when purchasing for the children in your life. I often hear older people talk about how simple Christmas was when they were children. They might have gotten one gift, and many times, it was fruit and a peppermint stick. Keep gift giving simple.

Set Family Boundaries

There is a saying, “You cannot please everyone all of the time,” and it’s true. Trying to make sure you have plans to see every friend and family member during the Christmas holiday can lead to stress, arguments between spouses, hurt feelings, and major holiday blues. Your friends and extended family love you. Even though they may be disappointed you cannot visit on a specific day, they will understand. It might help to make some plans for after Christmas day.

Set Time Boundaries

Family, church, and work should definitely be priorities. In this season, you will be asked to give your time for lots of extra stuff. Prioritize your time, and be willing to say “no.”

Relax At Home As Much As Possible

Put on some comfy clothes, play some easy listening Christmas music, or watch a classic Christmas movie. Have a cup of coffee or hot chocolate. There will always be things that need to be done. I can’t remember the last time I was “caught up.” Some things can wait. Take a deep breath and relax.

Get Enough Sleep

I know some of you are tough and try to prove that by going to bed late and getting up early, but it is a proven fact that adults who get at least eight hours of sleep each night have less stress and are more productive.

Last, but First

Guard your relationship with the Christ of Christmas. Read scripture, pray, and keep Jesus first. Jesus is the reason for the season.

Merry Christmas!!


Get a copy of my book The Eye of A Needle Here. It would make a great, inexpensive gift for the person in your life who likes to read.


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It’s Monday afternoon and Labor Day. I’ve just sat down to my computer for the first time today. I open up the news and the first thing to catch my eye is this story. Two High School football players targeted a back judge in the final moments of a game this past Friday night.

I have always loved football. No one loves a good, clean, legal hit on the football field more than I do.  Football is a violent sport.  I too have stewed over the calls of an officiating crew and have at times thought that a crew might be a little on the partial side.  I’ve heard the chant, “we have a rope, we have a tree, all we need is a referee,” and smiled because it was never serious. It was just disgruntled fans getting their frustrations out with a stupid, cheer. What I see in the video is stupid as well but in my opinion it’s criminal.

The problem I see in football and sports in general is that too many times, thugs are in uniform.  When I played High School football we were taught to play hard, run hard, block hard, and hit hard.  We were also taught the value of being real men, men that understood respect and responsibility.

These two thugs from John Jay High School in San Antonio Texas have already been suspended from the football team. It’s not enough. They should go to jail!


See The Video Here

The moment I heard there was going to be an American Sniper movie based on the book by Chris Kyle I knew I had to see it. My plan was to go the day the movie was released locally.
I don’t make it a habit of seeing R rated movies. I have seen a few. Movies like The Lone Survivor, Saving Private Ryan, The Passion of The Christ and now The American Sniper.
I didn’t get to see American Sniper the day it was released and now several weeks have gone by since that release. Finally, yesterday, I had the opportunity. I sat in a theatre without Felicia and with about sixty other people whom I did not know. When the movie was over and the credits rolled to silence (no music) the moviegoers left quietly and for my part, reverently.
I’ve heard so much controversy over the last few weeks about this movie and the legacy of Chris Kyle. Liberal moviemaker Michael Moore was quoted as having tweeted that snipers were cowards. The liberals jumped on board. I watched MSNBC one night just to see what they were up to and they were discussing American Sniper with a panel of liberal journalist who apparently all hated the movie. Why?
There is now a culture in our nation that hates this great country. They hate the pledge of allegiance, the national anthem, patriotism and the God on whom this nation was established.
They  murder innocent children. They have taken prayer out of schools, God out of the town square, Christ out of Christmas, and morality out of marriage. Many Christians barely bristle when they talk hate against heroes like Chris Kyle while in the same breath promote gay marriage and the rights of transgender anomalies.
American Sniper was a great movie about a great American hero. We need more men and women like Kyle who will take on responsibility and stand for what is right.  You may never be a Navy Seal. Even less chance that you’ll ever put your eye to the scope of a 50 Cal and shoot a target 1.2 miles away but, you can still live with courage and conviction.
What I find entertaining is that while the liberals scream their hate for American Sniper those who made it are laughing all the way to the bank.  As of this morning American Sniper is the number two top grossing R rated movie of all time behind only The Passion of the Christ, the two movies that the liberals hate the most.
Live with courage and conviction.


Last week a federal judge ruled that the State of Alabama’s constitutional ban on same sex marriage is unconstitutional.  A constitutional ban that was approved in 2006 by 81% of Alabama voters.  As an American I’m extremely troubled that activist judges are ignoring the will of an overwhelming majority of Americans. However, that’s another subject for another day.

I will approach this article primarily by responding to things I have heard from those who support homosexual rights.

1.  If you don’t support gay rights you’re a hate monger.  I agree that there are people in our country who hate gay people but those people do not represent all of us. I also acknowledge that there are people who call themselves Christian who are full of hate. They are not Christians.   I believe that same sex relationships are a sin but I DO NOT HATE HOMOSEXUALS.  I’m sure that some will read this post and respond to me with anger and even hatred but I refuse to hate you back.  I do not hate you and God does not hate you. God hates sin but not the sinner.

2.  I was born this way.  Ok!  I don’t have a problem with that statement and I may be one of the few conservative Christians that you will hear say it.  Here’s why I don’t have a huge problem with the statement.  The Bible (my authority) says in Romans 3:23 that all have sinned and fall short of the Glory of God.  I was born a sinner too. Let me give you an example. When I was three years old I lied to my mother. I was a three year old liar. No one taught me to be a liar, it came naturally. I was born that way.  God’s word teaches us explicitly that we should not lie.  When I became a follower of Christ, part of my growth as a believer was to overcome my “tendency” to lie.  So maybe you’re not a liar but you do have a “desire” to have a gay relationship.  If you are a follower of Christ you should be seeking the healing and deliverance of God to change you’re desires and overcome them.  I stopped lying years ago.

I have a few questions:

  • If a man is born with a desire to kill should he have the constitutional right to do so because he says that he was born that way?
  • If someone wants to have sex with children and their argument is “I was born a pedophile” does that make its ok?
  • If a man gets married but then discovers he likes having sex with multiple people should the constitution protect him from his spouses desire for a divorce?

3. People who use the Bible to support their belief’s are “Bible Thumpers.”  Ok again.  I believe the Bible.  I have been a  student of the Bible  for almost forty years.  Reading the Bible and accepting it by faith is part of my faith. However as I am referring to it I’m not angry nor am I foaming at the mouth.  In addition to accepting the Bible by faith I also see the Bible being fulfilled throughout history and even today.  It’s real and it is the inspired Word of God.  As a Christian I have to believe that. If I don’t believe it, then my Faith in Christ comes into question. The Bible is my final authority on all matters.  If you don’t believe the Bible, Ok but don’t hate me because I do and I want society to reflect it.

4.  God doesn’t care about homosexuality.  You have to ignore the Bible to make that statement. Scriptures are replete with passages that show God’s disdain for homosexuality.

Leviticus 18:22New International Version (NIV)  “‘Do not have sexual relations with a man as one does with a woman; that is detestable.

Leviticus 20:13 New International Version (NIV)  “‘If a man has sexual relations with a man as one does with a woman, both of them have done what is detestable. They are to be put to death; their blood will be on their own heads. Note: Because I understand scripture and understand that Leviticus is the law, I’m not suggesting that God wants us to put homosexuals to death. All I’m doing in sharing this verse is to show you that indeed, God does care.

New International Version (NIV)   1 Timothy 1:   8 We know that the law is good if one uses it properly. 9 We also know that the law is made not for the righteous but for lawbreakers and rebels, the ungodly and sinful, the unholy and irreligious, for those who kill their fathers or mothers, for murderers, 10 for the sexually immoral, for those practicing homosexuality, for slave traders and liars and perjurers—and for whatever else is contrary to the sound doctrine 11 that conforms to the gospel concerning the glory of the blessed God, which he entrusted to me.

Look at this passage of scripture from Romans 1

18 The wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all the godlessness and wickedness of people, who suppress the truth by their wickedness, 19 since what may be known about God is plain to them, because God has made it plain to them. 20 For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse.

21 For although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened. 22 Although they claimed to be wise, they became fools 23 and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images made to look like a mortal human being and birds and animals and reptiles.

24 Therefore God gave them over in the sinful desires of their hearts to sexual impurity for the degrading of their bodies with one another. 25 They exchanged the truth about God for a lie, and worshiped and served created things rather than the Creator—who is forever praised. Amen.

26 Because of this, God gave them over to shameful lusts. Even their women exchanged natural sexual relations for unnatural ones. 27 In the same way the men also abandoned natural relations with women and were inflamed with lust for one another. Men committed shameful acts with other men, and received in themselves the due penalty for their error.

I’ve given you just a sampling of scripture. There are many more. My only motive is not to “Thump” the Bible but to show you that God does care and that God does not approve of homosexuality.

If you have made your mind up about this matter I may not change it. But if your trying to decide what you believe then take my argument to heart and mind.  If you call yourself a Christian but support the gay rights issue I’d love to have you hear my heart.

If you feel trapped by a desire to be a homosexuality, there is deliverance.

As I close I’d like to reiterate that I don’t hate you if you disagree. I love people,  even those who do not agree with me. I love you!


Get a copy of my book, The Eye of A Needle here.

Note from me: I usually write when something is burring in my heart or heavy on my mind. I write and  type fast and I make mistakes. I don’t take the time to have my entries proof read because of the urgency in my heart at the moment and, spelling and grammar are not some of my strong points. So please excuse the spelling errors that get by Word and for my grammar and  mistakes.

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Every year during the month of January many in Christian churches spend time fasting as a first fruits offering, a way to give God the first of the new years. The church where I serve has done this for many years. I thought I would share with you two, only two important points about fasting, points that will help you.

One: It’s not supposed to be hard. Our bodies need food and when we don’t give it to them they rebel with hunger pangs, dizziness and other negative side effects. In addition to the need to have food for health and survival we Americans are accustomed to eating, eating a lot and eating a variety. Our social lives surround food. We sit at the lunch table talking about what we will eat for supper. It’s harder in our culture because food plays a bigger roll here than in many places.

Two: It’s not for your glory. If you’re drawing attention to the fact that you are fasting then you have your reward. Your reward being that other people know you’re fasting and possibly admire you or feel sorry for you. J

esus is recorded in the book of Matthew chapter six saying, “When you fast, do not look somber as the hypocrites do, for they disfigure their faces to show others they are fasting. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full. But when you fast, put oil on your head and wash your face, so that it will not be obvious to others that you are fasting, but only to your Father, who is unseen; and your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.

We fast for the Glory of God. Read Isaiah chapter fifty-eight and see the results of fasting. Here is the list.

  • To loose the chains of injustice.
  • To untie the chords of the yoke.
  • To set the oppressed free.
  • To break every yoke.
  • To give food to the hungry
  • To clothe the naked.
  • Your light will break forth.
  • Your healing will appear.
  • You will call and the Lord will answer.

Wow. That’s pretty impressive but there is no way a man can get or take glory for those results. The glory goes to God. If your fasting for attention or for your glory, STOP and go get something to eat. You’re wasting your time. That’s it! I believe in fasting and I believe that it brings great results in our lives. Blessings on you.

Below are links to good books on fasting.

For Sermon Audio on Fasting Click This Link.


I live and pastor a church in a small town, East Brewton Alabama.  East Brewton is separated only by a creek from the town of Brewton. Brewton and East Brewton, both small towns that make up one community even though some who live In these towns would deny that both communities are one. That’s another subject for another day. The point, It’s a small community. We only have one zip code for home addresses and that zip code also includes much of the rural area around these two towns.  The total population of the zip code is just a little over 16,000. Ok, I’ve made my point. It’s a small community.The church I pastor, First Assembly of God in East Brewton is located on nine ares of beautiful land that years ago was home to the Eagle Drive in theatre.  Sitting on this property we have three buildings that are used for ministry. The first houses our main sanctuary which only seats about one seventy-five the building also houses our offices, old fellowship hall, nurseries and several classrooms. It measures one hundred feet by on hundred feet or ten thousand square feet.   Building number two measures one hundred feet by seventy -five feet or seven thousand five hundred square feet with bout another one thousand square feet upstairs.  It houses our student ministry center, the kitchen, banquet hall, our clothing ministry and video studio.   Our third building is an old school portable building that was moved onto our property and renovated.  It houses part of our children’s ministry and is maybe seven hundred and fifty square feet (I haven’t measured).  All other buildings are storage and maintenance related. So we have a little over eighteen thousand square feet of ministry space, total.

Right now our Sunday morning attendance bounces around from about  one hundred thirty to one hundred fifty-five.  Not a big church by the worlds standard.  There are hundreds and hundreds of churches in our nation that run in the hundreds and thousands. I know many churches that are in small towns and are larger than First Assembly.

I want our church to be larger and we’re working hard to reach more people. However it amazes me when I talk to people in our community about our church and tell them where we are located. Without fail they will say something like, Oh, The Big Church. What?  The other day I was talking to a lady about our church and it’s location AND SHE SAID. Oh that huge church! WHAT? WHAT? A few years ago a man stopped attending our church of one-fifty and when I asked him why he said, “I don’t like big churches.” What? Granted,  we are one of the larger churches in our town but that’s not saying much and granted there are tons of churches in our communities that are much smaller in facilities and numbers than we are but does that qualify us a being big or even huge? I guess size is in the eyes of the beholder.


I live in a small town that I love. I love this community but if they think our church is big or even huge, does that make our church a mega church in small town in  south Alabama? No! I just thought I’d share. I aways smile when someone says, “Oh that big church.”  My hope is that this church will grow beyond anything we’ve ever been and blow the mind of this community.


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presentsThis morning I visited a local Dollar Store to pick an item we needed at home.  When I made it to the checkout line something  caught my attention.

In the line ahead of me was a young mother. I assume she was a mother because she had a baby with her and I am guessing she had other, older children because of the items she had in her buggy (which was loaded).  She was buying toys and a lot of them.  She was also buying several things in two’s. Two toy guns, two dump trucks and two of several other things.  My guess is that she was Christmas shopping and there were either twins or two boys close together in age involved.

Our society gets so caught up in the commercialism of Christmas, me included.  We think we have to buy expensive gifts for children who don’t understand the value of the gifts their getting..

I have three grandsons and the oldest of them is only twenty-eight months. I am crazy about those boys and love being their Papa.  I’ve got a feeling that as they grow older I’ll be spending a lot of money on stuff for them that they will not appreciate the value of.  I want to buy them things. I want to spoil them. Isn’t that what grandparents are supposed to do?  I’m sure right now I could give the two youngest empty boxes for Christmas and it would suffice. But as they get older….

Back to the young mom in the Dollar Store:  Her buggy was loaded down.  One by one she placed those toys on the counter and one by one the clerk scanned them. Finally he scanned the last item and gave the young mom the dreaded total that she would have to pay.  $45.46 was her total.  I couldn’t help but grin as it dawned on me that this young mom knew the secret of a happy commercial Christmas.  That may have been her complete shopping list for the kiddos in her life and she did it for $45.46.  The kids will be happy and she will not be stressed because she didn’t spend too much money trying to keep up with society.

Maybe we could all learn something from that young mom. Maybe.


Great Christmas Gift for the Reader In Your LIfe.


iPhone Photo by Jeff Scurlock

It’s 10:50 in the morning. I’m sitting in a booth at the local McDonalds. I’ve been here since about 9:00.  My seat is next to a window. I can see the traffic going by and the sun is pouring in.  Some days this McDonalds is my office. Why McDonalds? Because my community doesn’t have a coffee shop with deep arm chairs and low light. That would be nice.

A very precious lady from my church came by about an hour ago and expressed to me that she knew I was having a hard time getting anything done with all these people around me. It’s quite the opposite.  I don’t do it often but it seems that I can get more done in McDonalds that in the supposed sanctity of my office.  There my desk is populated with notes, invoices, clutter and more. Things that distract me and draw my attention away from what I need to be doing.  Here at McDonalds the only thing on my desk are a salt and pepper shaker, my phone, my coffee and of course my computer.

I think the employees here think I’m homeless.  Or maybe the owners of this establishment might want to charge me rent for this space. Or, I might get the gossip lovers fired up. I can hear it now. One gossiper is talking to another fan of gossip saying something like, “I’ve been by McDonalds several times this morning and that preacher’s truck has been sitting there all morning. Surely we’re not paying him to hang out at the coffee shop.” Please excuse my limited grasp at humor.  I don’t have any people in my church that are like that (wink).

The truth of the matter is I’ve had a quite productive morning.  Life is full of distractions. Sometime escape is discovered in the  most unlikely place.

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It’s been four days since the iPhone was officially released. My iPhone 5 had a rough life. I didn’t use a case and I was on my third screen glass which was broken. So I decided that I would get the new 6 and I got it the day it was released. I’ve never had new technology immediately. I’m usually late.

I first struggled as to if would get the 6 or the 6 Plus.  The extra features in the video camera on the Plus appealed to me. I tried for days  leading up to the release to find someone who had at least a dummy model of the Plus so I could see how it fit in my hand. It never happened. Friday September 19th I stood in my local Verizon store waiting for my turn at the desk. While waiting I did some quick research. I found out the size of the iPhone 6 Plus was almost identical to that of the Galaxy Note 3. I could get my hand on the demo Note 3 in the store and it was HUGE. There was no way that with my hands I could do any one handed operation with the Plus so my decision was made.  I would get the iPhone 6.

About forty five minutes later I walked out of the store, new 64 GB iPhone 6 in hand. Here are my first impressions.

  • I love the size. The Phone (in a Trident Case) fit Perfectly in my hand.  It’s still really big compared to the 5.  It’s still a stretch for me to do some things one handed but I love it.
  • The display is extremely sharp. I can’t imagine videos being any better.
  • The camera takes exquisite pictures.
  • The internal speaker is robust. Great sound.
  • The internet speed is noticeably  faster than my old 5.
  • I could have updated my old 5 to IOS 8 but did not. I love IOS 8 for so many reasons. One thing I really like is the response when using voice to text, which I do a lot with texting. IOS 8 displays each word as it is spoken.
  • Phone calls are crisper.

WHAT I DO NOT LIKE ABOUT THE IPHONE 6……… Drum Rolllllllllll.    The Lock Button. The lock button has been moved from the top of the phone to the right side. After four days I’m still reaching a finger to the top to lock my phone. I know I will get used to it but it seems to me to be an unnecessary change. Change just for the sake of change.

Bottom Line: So far so good, I really like the iPhone 6. I know this has not been a technical review. If you want that go to CNET or some other tech site. This is just me talking to you. Be Blessed.



I apologize to my regular readers for the long gap between post.  No excuses!  Most of these India installments are only around 500 words in length. If you would like to go back and read them and are not on that page now you can click HERE TO READ PREVIOUS POST.  


I’m not sure exactly what time it was but I think it was around 3am. The streets of Bangalore were quite. There were some street lights and the roads were paved. We arrived at our motel. It cost us $75 per night. The same hotel in an American city would have been much more.  We drove up to the front door under a covering that was supported by huge marble pillars. A door man dressed in what to me looked like a safari outfit, cleaned, pressed with hat and everything bounded down the marble steps to open the door for us.  As we exited the car, bell hops grabbed our four heavy suitcases and the door man opened the entrance door for us to step into the lobby.  The lobby was spacious with fountains, marble pillars and a marble floor.  We checked in and one bell hop helped us to the room.  After our luggage was placed in the room and as he left I handed him a US five dollar bill. He seemed very grateful.  I later learned that the average income of middle income Indians at that time was about three hundred dollars a year.

We fell into the bed. It was hard as a rock but it had sheets, pillows and blankets and we were beyond exhausted. It was about four in the morning and we had been awake for more than two days. We  had no problem going to sleep.

The telephone shook me out of my sleep. It was 6:30am. I’d never heard a telephone ring so loudly.  After about two full days with no sleep and then only three and a half hours of sleep before being jarred out of bed it was horrible.  I had to get awake enough and my head cleared enough to answer. I picked up the phone, “hello..” I said with a hoarse frogieness (not a real word) in my throat.  The room was spinning, the bed seemed to bounce like there was turbulence.

“Praise The Lord pastor Scurlock,” the cheery voice came across the phone line. “This is pastor T.C.George. I am in the lobby of your hotel and have come to make your aquaintance.” It was 6:30 in the morning. Why in the world was pastor George here now?  I knew I would be meeting him, that he would be our contact in Bangalore, but at 6:30 in the morning?  T.C. George was the General Supt. of the South India Assemblies of God.

“Brother George, I will be down in just a few minutes.” I said

“Wonderful, I will wait for you.”

I quickly threw some clothes on, wet my hair (I did have some then) and brushed it, brushed my teeth, washed the sleep out of my eyes and exited the room with Felicia already back asleep.  It was peculiar to me that the same bell hop that helped us to the room at 3am was standing directly outside of my room facing my door. “Good morning sir,” he said with a smile.

“Good morning.” I said with a forced smile.

When the elevator door opened in the lobby I immediately heard his voice again. “Praise the Lord pastor Scurlock.” At six feet tall and more weight than I wish to give details on I was easy for pastor George to spot. Three steps of the elevator and he embraced me with a welcoming hug then while holding my had walked me to a sofa in the lobby. It was a much nicer welcome than the one I had received in the Bombay airport.

T.C. George was a small man. Maybe “5’6” and about 150 pounds. Maybe. His skin was dark and his thinning hair was gray. He seemed so genuinely pleased to see me.  He welcomed me to India and shared with me some technical things he knew I needed to know. Things like ‘make sure if you drink water it comes from a bottle with a government seal or stamp on it.  He shared with me that he had arranged many preaching opportunities. “But first” he said. “You and your wife take a couple of days to rest. You will need it after such a grueling trip.”  Boy did I!  We talked for about forty-five minutes. Brother George left and I was back on the elevator just hoping I could go back to sleep.  I turned the corner from the elevator toward our room. The cleaning cart was outside of the room next to ours and that same bell hop was outside of my door. “Good morning sir,” he said and I was back in our room. Why was the cleaning cart outside of the room next to ours at such a early time, and why was that bell hop outside of my room?

In a matter of seconds I was out of my clothes and back in the bed. Felicia grunted something that wasn’t coherent, I fluffed up my flat pillow the best I could and……….

The telephone shook me out of my sleep AGAIN. This time it was about 8:30am. I had been back asleep maybe an hour. I answered the phone. It was the gentleman at the front desk telling me that our car had arrived and wanted to know what instructions he should give to the driver.

“We’re sleeping! I said. “I don’t know what to tell him.”

“I will have him park in the garage until further instructions,”

“Good! park in the garage.” I’m pretty sure I sounded delirious.