The Real Deal

You know that God must be up to something when a person with bright-colored hair walks into your church.   Bill came to our church a few months ago, and you could see him coming a mile a way.  His hair was neon pink.  The next time I saw him, it was green. Now it is bright red. Wildness might just be his natural color.  Sitting down to talk with Bill was an experience.  Jesus saved him out of a life of numerous addictions, and now Bill has real compassion for anyone stuck in those traps. He will pick up stray folks off the street who are trying to get their lives together.  He puts them to work in his auto body repair shop and begins to invest in them.  Bill is the real deal; all you have to do is meet him once and you can tell that he loves Jesus.

I got excited about Bill coming to our church.  He and his wife asked me many questions about our missions and outreach programs.  After a few hours of Bill discovering if our church was for real, I had to ask him, “What’s up with the colored hair?”  Bill said that he colors his hair all the time.  One of the reasons that he does this is to see if people will accept him, especially in churches.  If he goes into a church and no one will talk to him, he feels that church must not be for real. (James 2:2-4)

I am happy to say that everybody at our church has been very accepting of him.  In fact, when he and his family decided to join the church, he asked if he could just sign a piece of paper.  I told him “No way.”  He would have to walk up to the front of the church to join.  We wanted the hair!  Bill and his family joined at our contemporary service where mostly younger people attend, but I did wonder if our older folks would accept him at the traditional services as well.

One day, Bill sat right in front of a couple named Dewey and Betty.  They had just celebrated their 65th wedding anniversary and they are pretty  “old school.”   Dewey reached out to Bill and said,  “Young man, what is your name?”  Betty and Dewey introduced themselves, and they found out that this guy with crazy hair really loves Jesus.  Bill went on to describe how he loves others.  He reaches out to the less fortunate, the drunk who can’t keep a job, the drug addict off the street, even those who have ended up in prison.  When Betty heard this, she got a big lump in her throat.  She grabbed Bill with her aged hands and looked right at him with eyes starting to tear up and said, “Our son, David, is in prison.  Do you think there is any way you could reach out to him?”

Bill was actually scheduled to go in two weeks to the prison where Dewey and Betty’s son was incarcerated.  Bill started to get nervous; he really wanted to see their son, but it was not under his control. You see, when Bill goes into the prisons, his group makes popcorn and funnel cakes to treat the prisoners.  Bill’s responsibility is to make the funnel cakes, while the others do most of the talking with the prisoners. Bill became really concerned that he would disappoint Betty and Dewey……what if he could not find their son? Cooking funnel cakes is intense work, and the prisoners really want those funnel cakes.  How could he get out from behind the cooker to even begin looking for David?   So Bill simply began to pray.

 The day came when they were scheduled to go to David’s prison.  The sky looked like it was going to pour.  Bill’s truck and trailer had two flat tires on the way.  It seemed like nothing was going right, and yet Bill’s mind was focused on one thing: “Lord, let me meet Betty and Dewey’s son.  They are counting on me.”

They finally got there and got set up, and almost four hundred prisoners lined up for the funnel cakes.   Bill kept his head down, making one funnel cake after another.  He barely had time to breathe, much less take a break to look for one man out of four hundred.  He could not look up, but he kept praying.

After hours of cooking, Bill finally found one moment to stop.  He looked up at the prisoner who was directly in front of him.  (There was still a long line with hundreds of others.)  This was the only prisoner Bill had been able to actually talk to all day.  Then he just blurted out, “Would your name happen to be David, and are you Betty and Dewey’s son?”  The prisoner just stared at this crazy, colored-hair guy for what have must have felt like an eternity.

The prisoner finally replied, “How did you know my name and who my parents are?”  Bill gave a big sigh of relief and thanked the Lord. Then Bill’s eyes began to tear up and his heart swelled as he gave David the message that his parents love him and Jesus loves him.  After meeting David, Bill could not wait to go tell Dewey and Betty what only God could have done. That is the real deal.

Invest in the few, change the world.

Dave Marshall

Rocks

Wes was a typical, awkward sixth grade boy when I first met him and he belonged to another church.  I had been asked by a mother in our church to help lead a home Bible study for sixth grade boys before school at 7:00 am on Tuesdays. Working with elementary kids was not really part of my job responsibilities as a youth minister; little did I know that this was going to be one of the best discipleship relationships that I have ever known. Through this Bible study, I was able to start hanging out with Wes and his friends. We had a lot of fun during those days. We would watch part of “SportsCenter” on TV, have a quick devotional, and then I would take a few of the guys to the store for candy before school. Most of these guys started coming to our church when they hit middle school. Wes was one of them.

Wes quickly became part of our youth group at our church during his middle school years, even though he was not a church member. These boys were great, but they were also very rambunctious. It was almost a weekly occurrence that I had to go apologize for their Sunday night shenanigans on Monday mornings to my administrative pastor. Sometimes I would find basketballs they left in the sanctuary. They would go all over the church playing hide and go seek. Sometimes they would even climb on the church roof and even throw rocks at unsuspecting church ladies.

Wes went with us on a trip down to Florida as a freshman in high school. His parents were going through a divorce at the time. I was so glad that he was going with us, but I was still a little concerned about he and his buddies . I will never forget one night that we took the group out to dinner at a restaurant called the Blue Dolphin. I remember, because the restaurant had this huge neon sign shaped like a blue dolphin above the awning at the entrance. It was a big landmark in the area. We were finishing our meal when Wes and some of his friends asked to go hang out in the parking lot while they waited for us. All of a sudden, many of the guys came running in to tell me to come outside and see Wes. Something had happened. I went outside and saw Wes, and he looked as white as a ghost. He and his friends had been innocently bouncing rocks off the awning as a game. When Wes took his turn, his rock bounced accidentally off the awning onto the neon blue dolphin! It shattered the glass; what used to be a massive lit up neon blue dolphin was now in pieces. My stomach dropped. I could not believe he did that. I was embarrassed, and humiliated that now I had to go tell the restaurant owner that we broke his sign. This time, the rock throwing was going to cost someone thousands of dollars to fix. As a young youth pastor, I thought this might cost me my job. This incident happened almost twenty years ago and I don’t remember everything that was said, but I do remember this: I remember putting my arm around Wes and saying, “Wes, do not worry about this. We will figure something out. Don’t let this ruin your trip. Don’t let this stop you from coming to church.” I then called the administrative pastor and “took my medicine.” I apologized for the yet another rock incident and somehow it got worked out.

Wes continued in our church, and it was my honor to be in his life through his high school years. I later moved to another town and another ministry. Wes went to college to be an architect and he even played college football. Wes could have done many things, but God moved him into youth ministry and even on to seminary. When Wes graduated from seminary, he was presented his degree at our old church. When he accepted his diploma, he told the story of the blue dolphin. He said that he was sure that we were never going to let him go on another trip or even come back to that church. Now he has been the youth minister of that very same church for over 10 years. His life, ministry and family have literally affected thousands of teenagers.

He is now finishing his Doctorate of Ministry Degree. His doctoral thesis is so cerebral; I cannot make heads or tails of it. I am wowed by the impact that he has had on the ministry world. The increase that the kingdom of God has had through Wes was well worth a few broken pieces of a neon sign. Every time I see a blue dolphin, it reminds me of the importance of loving people. Even if those people throw rocks.

Invest in the few, change the world.

Dave Marshall

Dinner with the President

Pauline  was a simple, retired teacher living in Memphis, TN, going to the church where I was once on staff.  She was reading the Bible one day where it was talking about visiting those in prison.  She told her friend, “I guess that means I need to start visiting people in prison.”  So she started  to try to go to her local prison and visit the inmates.  The guards and prison officials asked why she wanted to do this.  Did she have a relative in prison?

Pauline told them, “Because it says to in the Bible.”  Yet she kept getting denied going to the prison.  One day, an attorney in our church heard about her desire to visit prisoners.   He took her  to meet a prison warden at a state penitentiary where  many prisoners were there for life.  There was little hope for these murderers and hardened criminals.

When the warden met Pauline, he asked her, “Ma’am, what do you do for a living?”  Pauline replied, “I am a retired elementary school teacher.  I taught little children how to read in Memphis city schools.”  The warden stopped in his tracks and said, “Ma’am, God sent you here.  You see, most of these prisoners here cannot read well or at all.  We have all these preachers come in here and talk about Jesus and then they leave.  They tell them to read their Bibles, but they can’t, because they can’t read.  Pauline, will you invest in our prisoners?”

Pauline  invested in those prisoners for years and years, teaching them how to read every Tuesday.   Tutoring takes time and it is one on one.  But guess what?  Pauline was following Jesus’ words to change the world.  In fact, years later, George H. Bush, (then President of the United States) started a program called “A Thousand Points of Lights.”  The President heard about Pauline and what she was doing to change the world by teaching prisoners how to read.  Pauline was given an official award for being a “point of light.”

There was an official ceremony in Washington D.C.  with a big dinner to recognize all the recipients.  Pauline was asked to go and meet the President of the United States.  What a great honor-what an opportunity of a lifetime!  There was only one problem.  The ceremony was on a Tuesday.  Guess where Pauline is on Tuesdays? That’s right, she was going to be with the inmates teaching them how to read, so she declined dinner with the President.  Remember, being about the kingdom means it is not about me!

Invest in the few, change the world

Dave Marshall

Boom!

An explosion is a large-scale, rapid, or spectacular expansion or bursting out.  Whether it is chemical, astronomical, nuclear or natural, there have to be the right ingredients for an explosion to happen.  It is not very often that I get to witness an explosion first hand. But this past year, I got to see what kind of “explosion” can happen when one follows the plan Jesus gave to win the world.

After Brad graduated college, he started doing one-on-one ministry with college athletes.  He poured himself into ministry with these few athletes in order to make disciples.  A pastor noticed Brad’s passion for discipleship and sharing God’s word.   Brad had not been to seminary, licensed to preach, or ordained for ministry.  But discipleship is not about credentials.  It is about true authentic love for Jesus and growing His kingdom.

So when this pastor came and asked him about going into youth ministry at his local church, Brad focused on how he could make disciples and thought about the kingdom impact that could make.  The church already had a core group of 200 senior high teens meeting in a warehouse.  Brad began his ministry by making disciples.  He started pouring himself into the lives of these teens.  He and his leaders “lived” at the school cafeterias and ball fields where all the youth were.   They totally invested in these students and their friends.  They were not just a youth group.  Brad was preparing those 200 teens to be a true youth ministry.

Today, Brad has possibly the largest church youth ministry program in the United States.  After beginning less than 5 years ago, Brad consistently has just under 2,000 teenagers coming to his  ministry every week.  They also have campus satellite youth ministry programs around their state.  It is a discipleship explosion!  There are so many people coming to Brad’s ministry, it is mind blowing.  They had over 5,000 first-time visitors just this year.

Brad’s youth ministry now has a cool building and all the flashy things one might want to attract teenagers.  Their worship band, technical resources, sound, lights, and media are all world class.  Brad has become a well-known speaker.  He is asked to speak around the globe at some “big time” conferences.   If fact, hundreds of youth ministers come to Brad’s youth ministry every year to learn what he is doing to bring in so many teens.  Many of these youth pastors come in to look at the building, the sound, the cool gear, the flash, and the great preaching.   Some people probably even look at the clothes and hairstyle that Brad wears.

But if you ask Brad why thousands of teenagers are sold out to this ministry, he quickly tells you that there is only one reason.   “We have relationship equity with them.”  Translation: they are doing ministry the way Jesus did.  It all started with Brad making disciples with the ones that he had.  He developed relationship equity with the few and watched that multiply.  Now of course, Brad cannot make disciples with thousands of teenagers by himself.  So he continues to model this relational ministry to his staff, leaders, and youth.  He now sees his job as growing up disciple makers to carry on what he started in this ministry.

Interestingly, Brad’s church does not have a “college group.”  This realization blew me away, because they are in a big college area!  But Brad shared with me that their philosophy is that if you have been discipled, there comes a point when God expects disciples to no longer be a taker, and start being a maker.  In fact, when teenagers graduate from high school and they have been discipled in the small group ministry at Brad’s program, they immediately begin to help in the student ministry or in another area of the church.  Usually, one of the hardest things most youth ministers deal with is getting volunteers to help.  But at Brad’s church, people know that they are not just volunteers; they are all ministers who are making disciples.  Brad has no shortage of leaders to invest in the thousands of teens, because he started out, and continues in, faithfully making disciples.

Ingredients: Passion for Jesus, Sharing the Word, Disciple Making= Boom!

Invest in the few, change the world

Dave Marshall

Walking with Jesus to Georgia

I used to live across the street across from a young man named Addison.  Addison is a person with a bright ministry future.  He is very talented in leading worship and speaking to teenagers.  Young people are drawn to him, as he is a natural leader.   He would be a great preacher; in fact, there are a lot of things that he could do for the kingdom of God.  After graduating from college, he got a lot of job offers from churches.  But instead of taking a big job in a church, Addison took a walk.

 

Addison decided to hike the Appalachian Trail last year.  Starting out in Maine on July 6, 2010, Addison and a friend walked all the way to Georgia.  They completed their journey on December 12.  The 2,179-mile trail took them just over 5 months (158 days).  Most people told Addison to go get a ministry job and do big things for God, but Addison chose a less traveled path.  He chose to spend months alone with the Lord, soaking up His amazing creation and learning to trust in Him, even for his very survival.  He endured blazing summer days to sub-freezing snowstorms. He grew tired and weary walking mountain trails.  He met new people and they quickly became good friends.  Hazards on the trail brought them together in a special way.  In fact, each friend he met got hurt at some point on the journey and Addison had to help get them to a hospital.   Addison got hurt as well, and his friends took care of him.

Addison had to learn to trust in the Lord every day.  In five months on the Appalachian Trail, he stayed in different places, saw new faces and met adventures head on. This time alone with God changed him.  He read almost 50 books.  He prayed. He sang. He worshipped the Lord at sunsets. He laughed a lot and cried at times. He and his hiking partner were filled with joy, and at other times they were completely miserable.  But through it all, Addison embraced the experience.  In fact, the hardest part of the hike was on December 12 when the journey was coming to an end, because he knew it was over.

Maybe the most important thing we can do is embrace the journey God has for us.  Many of us are anxious to run out and do “great things” for God.  It is easy to forget that God does not need us; we need God.  Our focus should be on knowing Jesus….not on how many things we can do for Him.  We need to know Him and embrace our relationship with Him before we can hear His voice and step out to do those great things He may have for us to do.  The greatest command that He gave us as believers is to go and make disciples.  We must remember that our first step in making disciples is being intentional in our own growth as a believer.   Interestingly, Jesus did not even start his public ministry until He was 30 years old.  He delayed his public ministry to spend time with the Father.  He spent plenty of time in the wilderness in fellowship with God.  And look at folks from the Bible such as Moses, Noah, and Paul.  They all spent time waiting on the Lord, growing in their own faith.  We tend to look at the great things they did, but the real story is their time spent with God.

Remember that we can’t take another step or breathe another breath of air without Jesus in our lives.  The Lord will let you know when it’s time to take that big job or do that next big thing.  He will provide what you need when it’s time to do that.  But first, let’s stop and be intentional about truly being closer to Jesus every day.

Today Addison teaches young people about missions.  I bet he still takes some pretty nice walks .

Invest in the few, change the world

Dave Marshall

Muffins, Black Belts, & Discipleship

My two younger sons have just starting taking karate.  One of their instructors is Mrs. Muffin, or “Sensei Muffin.”  When they starting telling me about her, I thought it was a joke.  In fact, I started teasing them about Sensei Apple Pie and Sensei Cupcake.  But when I went to my first visit, I met Sensei Muffin.  She was a typical senior adult with glasses.  You might be inclined to help her across the street.  But I soon discovered that Sensei Muffin is a 3rd degree black belt.  Basically, this means that she could easily kill me with her bare hands.  I was fascinated that this little lady could be an elite, trained expert in martial arts.  But as I started watching karate practice every week with my boys, I began to realize that to make it in karate, you must have hundreds of hours of one-on-one and small group training.  Mrs. Muffin must have started out just like my nine-year-old son…. learning one move at a time from those above her.  I saw that all the students with higher belts are trained to be teachers.    There are always plenty of older and wiser people willing to teach those below them what they need to know for the next belt.     The student teachers know that in order to make it to black belt, you must teach.  They are committed to spending time with the students with lower degree belts.  They watch them closely.  They show them exactly what to do, one step at a time, and they do it over and over again.  When the students do it wrong, they correct their mistakes and help them get it right.  Sensei is a Japanese word that means “person born before another.”  In general, it means “master” or “teacher.” Jesus gave us the Great Commission to go make disciples.  He calls all Christians to be teachers.  That does not mean you have to get up in front of hundreds of people and preach.  If you have asked Jesus Christ into your heart, you are called to reproduce yourself.  Make sure you are being intentional in your own growth as a disciple.  Pray about the person that God puts in your path to invest in.  If that person that is open, available, and teachable, spend time with them sharing the teachings of Jesus Christ.  If you are a parent, start with your children.  Answer their questions.  Get into Bible study together.  Walk them through the basics of Christianity.  Help them.  Encourage them.  Eat plenty of meals together.  Do like sensei a does with a student.  Watch them closely.  Spend lots of time together.  Show them exactly what to do, one step at a time, and do it over and over again.   When your disciple struggles, help them correct mistakes and help them get it right.  When you don’t have the answer or the Biblical knowledge, admit that you do not know and go get it.  Be humble and transparent.

 

Our focus must be on discipleship if we are going to see world change.  Jesus calls us to be disciple makers.  I am so excited to see how churches are committing to discipleship and how the change is happening.  If you have a success story of one-on-one discipleship, share it with others to encourage kingdom ministry.  Discipleship must be sustainable, reproducible, and effective.  You do not have to have a building, money, or a seminary degree to make disciples.  If Sensei Muffin can be a black belt, certainly I – with the Lord’s help – can follow the Great Commission from Jesus to make disciples. These are just my thoughts for the day.Yours truly, Sensei Cupcake.

 

Invest in the few, change the world

Dave Marshall

Most Meaningful Mission

Tommy is a retired air force pilot in our church.  Tommy used to fly the Vice President of the United States, the Secretary of State, members of Congress, and foreign dignitaries all over the world. Tommy is usually one of the first people to volunteer at church when a need arises.  The pilot who is ready for a mission comes out in Tommy.  He is used to carrying out orders and getting the job done. Tommy has flown important people all over the world, but I think that his most meaningful mission was when he flew Clifford.

Clifford had an accident when he was younger and it left him mentally and physically handicapped.  He is a fixture around here with his walking stick, keys, and phone hanging from a cord around his neck.  Clifford is hard to understand when he speaks.  One has to often ask Clifford to repeat himself a few times just to get what he is saying. He moves slowly and walks with a limp.  Clifford will always grab you at church to ask for prayer, or to volunteer to do something.  Many times I honestly have to just nod my head and say “OK, Clifford, that’s good.”  I know Clifford cannot do most of the things he would like to do.  After all, he is handicapped.

In September of 2011, Hurricane Irene hit the North Carolina coast, and our church was called into action with a disaster relief team.  The North Carolina Baptist Men do an amazing job when natural disasters occur in our region and beyond.  When hurricanes, tornados, floods, etc., happen, these men jump in their trucks and go help.  They have very difficult work to do, like cutting down trees, mudding out flooded homes, clearing piles of debris, and helping people who have lost everything.  They do not get paid.  The days are long, and the work is physically and emotionally draining. This mission with Hurricane Irene was not for the faint of heart.  No one would have ever expected Clifford to go.  
But when Clifford heard about the hurricane coming to North Carolina, he wanted to go help.  The normal reaction would be to brush him aside and tell him no.  But Tommy and a few others prayed about it.  They asked the question:  “If God is calling Clifford to help, why shouldn’t we let him go?”  After getting a doctor’s clearance, Clifford was cleared for takeoff.  With Tommy as the pilot and Cliff as his wingman, they left with a small group to spend a week on the coast of North Carolina.  This community had been devastated by the hurricane.

Clifford was the surprise of the trip.  Many had their doubts about how much he could do.  But no one worked harder than Clifford. He was the inspiration for everyone.  All the other volunteers and leaders could not help but be blown away by Clifford’s desire to help others.  When the volunteers got tired, Clifford’s tireless work ethic re-energized them.  If Clifford could do this draining work, so could they!  Many times Tommy tried to get Clifford to take a break, but there he was, slow and steady, determined to make a difference.  The difference was not just in the relief work that was done.  It was in the witness that Clifford had to hundreds of people who were inspired by his heart for those in need.

I think we all need that kind of inspiration. Thanks, Clifford, for inspiring me.  And thank you, Tommy, for investing in Clifford.

Invest in the few, change the world.

Dave Marshall

My Favorite Video

Videos do a great job of telling the story.  This one is my favorite video of a father investing in his son. Did you know that Jesus spent 90 percent of his life in Nazareth around his earthly family?  Live like Jesus. Follow His plan. Invest in your family. Make disciples in the family.

Invest in the few, change the world.

Dave Marshall

“I Can’t Stand Those Trees.”

Fall is one of the most beautiful times of the year in the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina.  The color of the leaves turning is simply stunning.  People from all over the world come to our neck of the woods simply to walk around and look at trees.  The streets and cafes are packed with people admiring the change in season.  Pictured above are some trees right outside my office.  They are Bradford Pear Trees. They have nice white blooms in spring and deep green leaves throughout the summer.  In the fall they have an array of colors.

On Thursday mornings at 7:00 am, I meet up with my friend Ken and he disciples me.  Ken is a very strong Bible student and has a heart for making disciples.  We spend time every week sharing in Bible Study and prayer. Ken is also one of the most intense people that I have ever met.  It is one reason I enjoy being around him, because we are so different.  As we talk, it not unusual for Ken to openly weep over the Bible.  He can also get pretty worked up and even bang on the table.  Recently, as Ken and I began to talk about our week, somehow we got on the subject of trees.  I causally mentioned how much I enjoyed the colors this season…even the trees right outside my office.  Ken actually started getting visibly upset about the Bradford Pear trees.  Not really upset, just intense.  (But if you don’t know Ken, he looks upset.)

Ken said, “I can’t stand those trees.  They are useless!” Ken went off about the trees for one simple reason: Bradford Pear Trees do not bear fruit. They look great. They even have a nice name. But they do not give us anything. They also are not very strong.  In times of storms and snow, it is not unusual for them to crack or for their limbs to give way. Tree experts tell us that they have weak wood and poor branch structure.  In fact, they only last about 20 years, and then they begin falling apart.  Remember that 20 years is not very long for the life of a tree.

Ken went on to talk about the apple trees in our area. Pictured below is an apple tree. Apple trees are actually not that attractive.  They are kind of gnarly and gangly.  Yet apple trees are beautiful to everyone here because they produce fruit.  Our biggest weekend of the year here is the Apple Festival, when tens of thousands of people come to our town to enjoy the harvest of apples.  Apple trees can live up to 80 years, and they provide for the livelihood of many in our community. In fact, worldwide, the apple industry is worth billions of dollars.

Now compare these trees to our own lives with Christ. Am I like the Bradford Pear?  Is it possible that I look good on the outside, but do not bear much fruit? Or am I like the apple tree, bearing fruit year in and year out?  Do I stand strong in the storms of life? Am I making a difference?  Am I being discipled, and am I making disciples?

“By this My Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit; so you will be My disciples” (John 15:8).

Invest in the few, change the world.

Dave Marshall

“The 50 Club vs. Hollywood Marriages”

I have to be honest.  I have a hard time keeping up with the latest current events.  We do not have cable at our house, so I am really not that up-to-date with the latest celebrity news.  However, I could not help but notice the latest Hollywood marriage that only lasted 72 days before someone filed for divorce.   I am not writing this out of judgment.  I really do not know anything about that marriage. I am just sad that this is what makes front-page news.  I would love to give you better news today.

Last week at our church, over 50 couples celebrated being married over 50 years. These couples had weathered the storms of life together by sticking to the commitment they had made to the Lord. We had a fellowship hall full of role models, heroes, and superstars.  The stories around each table were inspiring, real, and very much admired.  Some had lost children.  Many had gone through disease and illness.  Some were still caring for an ailing spouse that week.  Everyone’s story was very different, but there was one common thread to the longevity of each “superstar” marriage.  Each one had a rock-solid commitment to Jesus Christ.  And each person was committed to his or her spouse.

Three couples tied for the longest marriage, which was 67 years.  Miles and Ann were one of those couples. I asked Miles around a table of friends, “Miles, how did you make it all these years?” Miles made some kind of self-deprecating statement like, “Well, somehow she puts up with me.”  Everyone laughed, but do not be mistaken.  Miles is a 90 year old rock star in my book.  Miles has a passion for Jesus Christ. He consistently reads the Bible and he is always in church.  He faithfully attends a Saturday morning prayer breakfast with many of the husbands of the “50 Club.”  Miles leads the singing at the prayer breakfast.  Every week he also writes a poem to inspire us all to draw closer to Jesus.  Miles even volunteered a few years ago to help build one of the Habitat for Humanity homes.  He loves Jesus, he loves his wife, and he loves our church.

Miles and Ann should be on the front page of newspapers, websites, and TV reports around the world.  When I think about my marriage, I have some great role models to look up to in Miles and Ann. So move over Hollywood, and let me introduce you to some real celebrities.  Miles will even give you his autograph.

Invest in the few, change the world.

Dave Marshall