Sarasota or Bust

It’s vacation time and the Barnes’ will be traveling in the family truckster to Sarasota, Florida.  Yeah, National Lampoon’s has nothing on us.  I even look like Cousin Eddie in my swim trunks and inflatable duck ring.

Thanks to Mike, Flav, Ann, Sandra and Kim for letting me go!  I look forward to seeing you all in about seven days.  Ahh…you guys and gals are great!

Jon Graham is filling in for me at Zion for the patriotic and worship music which is going to be awesome!  I can’t wait to see the video.  There are such good people that always help me to get the job done when it comes to the music and worship.  I haven’t said it in a while, so I would like to say it now.  Thanks to all these great people who make Zion worship what it is today:

Glenn, Sandy, Jan, Kendra, Dana, Cal, Kyle, Ann, Kim, Janay, Lora, Jon, Jed, Allan, Bryan, Emilie, Ryan, Lindsey, Michael, Robert, Andrea, Laura O, Laura M, Carrie Ann, Susan, Ashley, the whole choir, Static, the drama teams at Zion and everyone else that helps at some time or another.

Also, I would like to thank a few of the leaders who make it happen in Small Groups:

Adam, Tony, Kristen, Mike, Jane, Jason, Steven, Linda, Carrie Ann and Sandra.

By the way, the small group I’m in ROCKS.  It’s the best!!  Sorry ya’ll, but it is. 

Hey, I gotta run.  I need to go buy some bungee cords for the trip.  I have no idea why, but I’m sure I’ll need them sooner or later.  I might need to strap our cat on the roof of our truckster!  Just kidding all you animal lovers.  I don’t have a cat, but if I did…..

C ya! 


What’ll ya have?!? What’ll ya have?!?


How many have ever been to “The Varsity?”  What is “The Varsity?”  Oh, if you have never been you have missed out on an experience of a life time that originated in Atlanta, Georgia. 

 The Varsity is a restaurant that serves “naked dogs a walkin,'” that would be a plain hot dog to go, an “FO,” or Frosted Orange drink, a “yellow or red dog,” that would be mustard or ketchup and so on and so on.

If anyone has ever been, they know not to get up to the counter before having their order ready to spit out or they’ll shoot you DEAD and send you to the back of the line.  Sort of like the SOUP NAZI on Jerry Seinfeld. 

Does anyone know the question that they ask you when it’s time for you to shoot out your order request?


They have a great SYSTEM.  They can even shut you down and you’ll come back because you knew before you stepped up that there were expectations before ordering.  They are in a hurry to satisfy a herd of customers and they will not let you hold them up.  The interesting thing is people don’t get mad when they have been hit by the hurry up rule and more and more people keep coming because they are so intrigued by the system.  Also, the food is not bad if you are looking for a before the game gut busting meal in Atlanta.

I would like to consider this system in comparison to  some of our systems for our churches.  Often times we stand there waiting on people to decide what they want.  Wrong!  Big mistake! 

As leaders we are called to LEAD.  Makes since doesn’t it?  I know that sounds simple, but it’s not as simple as it sounds.  Sometimes we are afraid of the responses or reactions of those who will TAKE the LEAD, if leaders don’t lead.  It takes risk and wisdom to lead.  Without them both we will sit and spin our wheels. 

Many churches today are afraid to go out and try something new in the community because the leaders are afraid to change the system.  Now, we as leaders can’t complain when we have neglected to lead and others begin to take up our slack.

The challenge for you and me as leaders is to LEAD.  Beware, it’s going to cost something.  We may lose a friend or two.  We may have to risk our jobs, comforts or many other things in order to LEAD effectively. 

I always want to be a part of a system that people just can’t resist and it moves forward for the Kingdom of God.

Ralph Batchelor – A New Dimension

Not very many people get to live ninety-four years, but Ralph Batchelor did.  He witnessed almost a hundred years of man’s successes and man’s failures through it all.  But today he entered a new dimension.  Not a human dimension, but a Godly dimension.

My Grandfather, Ralph Batchelor, has been a major player in my life.  I’ve gone fishing with him, tractor riding with him, a million errands with him and once I shot a hole in his truck and he whooped my butt.  He tore me up good, but the truth is he thought I could have been hurt.  He always laughed whenever I told that story.  I’m going to miss telling it without him.

He has always been there for me and especially until I was five years old.  When I had no Dad he played the role and when it was time for him to be the Grandad he stepped back and let my new Dad take over. 

He has always pampered me even though he was not against giving me a good butt whipping if I needed it.  He cared about my future and wasn’t going to settle for me doing stupid things.

Basically, from the beginning of my life he has always been there for me.  Today, I got to be there for him, although I’m not even sure he knew I was there.  But, the important thing is that I knew I was there.  I can never repay him for what he has done for me, but I wanted to be there today.

Right before he gave his last breath he opened his eyes and with my hands on his neck and shoulders, I  told him, “Every thing’s going to be OK” and then he died. 

If he could see me during this moment when he opened his eyes, I was the last thing he saw in this life and that makes me feel honored because the next thing he saw was his maker, his savior, his rescuer and friend…JESUS!

I know he must be dancing, praising, shouting and singing with all of those who’ve gone before him in the presence of the Holy One and his salvation calms my heart.

I love you Daddy Ralph…

Flavver Knows Best

I was encouraged today by our Student Pastor and the message in today’s Father’s Day service at our church.  It was a real heart breaker and fixer at the same time.  It wasn’t just a talk on Dad’s be good to your kids and kids be good to your Dads.  There was MEAT in it. 

One of the key passages was in Romans 8:38, 39

Neither life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

So, no matter what we’ve done.  No matter what.  Nothing can separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus.  NOTHING.  God is not waiting to strike us down for our wrongs although he hates those things we do that are wrong.  There are consequences for our bad decisions, but it never changes the love that God has for us.  That’s encouraging and that’s what I was able to take home today. 

Thanks Flav for your submission to the Father and willingness to be the messenger, no matter the cost.

How Full Is Your Bucket?


Written by Tom Rath and Donald O. Clifton, Ph.D. 

A great book.  It’s all about positive strategies for work and life.  Here are a few points made in the book that I am chewing on.

  • Imagine having an imaginary bucket that is constantly being filled with either good things or being emptied by what people do or say to us.  A full bucket gives us a positive outlook and every drop in the bucket makes us more positive or optimistic.  Everytime someone dips from our bucket it poisons our outlook.  It zaps our energy and undermines our will and it hurts us.  So, we can fill one another’s buckets or dip from them.
  • The #1 reason people leave their jobs:  They don’t feel appreciated.
  • Bad bosses could increase the risk of stroke by 33%.
  • A study found that negative employees can scare off every customer they speak with – for good.
  • 65% of Americans received no recognition in the workplace last year.
  • 9 out of every 10 people say they are more productive when they are around positive people.
  • The magic ratio: 5 positive interactions for every 1 negative interaction.
  • Extending longevity: Increasing positive emotions could lengthen life span by 10 years.
  • Five strategies for increasing positive emotions:
    1. Prevent bucket dipping
    2. Shine a light on what is right
    3. Make best friends
    4. Give unexpectedly
    5. Reverse the Golden Rule

There is so much more meat that I can’t give in detail here.  I highly recommend this book.  You will not be disappointed. 

Free Kenya!!


Kenya Coffee by Starbucks Coffee (1-lb.)Not the country!  The coffee.  Yeah, Kurt another blog on coffee.  But, this story has to be told. 

Today I was at my favorite Starbucks and I was the only one in the store.  It was odd being the only one in there on the customer side of the counter.  They were brewing Kenya and it wasn’t finished, so they told me it would be a minute.  “No problem,”  I said and started checking out the new Paul McCartney CD.  Another employee walked by and the guy who had addressed me asked her to get me a venti Kenya.  She said, “I’m on my break.”  I thought he was going to come unglued.  He asked another guy to get it for me and he did and they gave me the largest size coffee they had and told me it was on them and to put my money away.  I thought that was pretty cool and I twitched all the way to the office from such a large cup of coffee.

I overheard the guy on my way out of the store speaking to the lady employee and he said if your on your break, don’t come out there especially if a customer is ordering and you’re not going to stop and help.

Got me to thinkin.’

The lady was either over worked and a manager needs to be observant and give her some time off or she should be told in an encouraging way to get the customer the coffee and then in private tell me your on break.  If having her break is more important that servicing the customer then she should be replaced.

How often do we do this to outsiders as they wander in our church lobbies or worship centers looking to find service and someone says, “I’m not doing it.”  Or, ignores them.  “That’s not my preference, age, style, type of music, person  or whatever.”  Basically, we really are saying I don’t care beyond my desires and they can go to hell for all I care.  I know it sounds harsh, but think about it, that lady didn’t want to give me customer service this morning basically said to me, “Sorry dude, I’m on my break and you don’t come before it.”  If I was the type to take it hard, I could have walked and never come back to Starbucks, but I won’t do that because I’ve had many times of great service, but just think if that was my first time. 

I say free Kenyas for everyone!!!

Coffee Anyone?

My eyes are twitching right now as I write this.  Too many Starbucks?  Nah.  Too much stress.  Maybe.  I’m telling ya, life gives you all kinds of curve balls doesn’t it?  Maybe I should lay off the grande with room for cream for a while.  Nah.  The problem with coffee is that it keeps you wired even when you’re tired.  I had a grande kenya today and before my morning meeting was finished I was spewing my visionary ideas and opinions.  I wonder if it’s the coffee mixed with two shots of look out!!  Sorry to ramble, it’s been a rambling day.