The Sound of Music: a Memory – National Day of Listening -November 28, 2014

Carol loves the musical, “The Sound of Music,” so much that we planned a European trip around it. We flew to Prague on the first lap of a wonderful trip. Prague is an extraordinarily beautiful city. We visited all the important historical sites and the Baptist International Seminary which has now moved to Amsterdam. The people of Prague were welcoming and happy to have visitors from the states. Unfortunately we left too much of this city unseen. We took the train to Vienna.

Our small hotel was a short block away from the Opera House. We were enchanted with all the sites. There is music everywhere. We visited the Webster University campus and received a royal welcome. I could live in Vienna. We took the train to Salzburg.

What a beautiful place. We wandered the streets. Got lost in a rainstorm and didn’t mind a bit. Everyone sang along with the music on the, “Sound of Music” bus tour. We got off at every stop. The scenery is spectacular. We went down in a salt mine. You should have seen us on the slide that took us to the bottom where we boarded a barge to cross the underground lake. We ate ice cream in Berchtesgaden. It was time for our train to Munich.

Munich, unlike Prague, was bombed during the Second World War. Everything has been rebuilt or restored. Never-the-less it is a beautiful place. Of course, we visited the soccer stadium. We ate in sidewalk cafes and took the tours. We flew back to Prague and home.

On a later trip in June of 2007, we visited the Trapp Family Lodge in Stowe, Vermont for a few days. Earlier we met a nurse in Middlebury who attended the real Maria von Trapp when she was hospitalized in Morristown. The lodge is beautiful. The views are spectacular and the flowers are glorious. We took a tour of the villas and dreamed of winning the lottery. We could not turn down another viewing of, “The Sound of Music,” showing in the basement.

I am telling you this story because Carol no longer remembers it.  November 28 is National Day of Listening, a day set aside to tell and record family stories. Learn from our experience. And share your family stories. They are important.

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The Wedding Ring -National Day of Listening Nov. 28, 2014

The Wedding Ring – Christmas Eve 1997

On Christmas Eve 1997 Carol and I went for a drop-in at the home of Joyce and Dean Murphy before going to the Christmas Eve Service at First Baptist Church. Carol was a little more than annoyed with me for adding another event into our busy week-end, but when she experienced the warmth of the hospitality at the Murphy’s home that quickly faded. The church was bathed in candlelight with poinsettias and candles in every window.

As the congregation stood to sing the closing hymn, “Joy to the World,” ushers started down the aisles lighting the candle of each worshiper sitting at the end of each row. As they approached the pew two rows away from us, I reached for Carol’s hand? “What do you want? Do you want my bulletin?”  I slipped the diamond engagement ring on her finger. It glistened as I lighted her candle from mine. Carol was startled and excited. My strategy had worked.

The people around noticed something taking place. Jane Hamrick was the first to see the ring. The word quickly spread as we made our way in the midnight air to the parking lot. It was Christmas morning.

I am telling this story because Carol no longer remembers it. Black Friday is also National Day of Listeningy. It is a day to tell and record your family stories. Take a lesson from us. Don’t wait. Your stories are important.


International Kindness Day – November 13, 2014

International Kindness Day

How will you celebrate International Kindness Day on November 13th? If you are like most other people, you will simply ignore it.

It is not really that hard to celebrate it. Just take an extra minute to be polite. Say something encouraging to a counter person.  Say Something Nice; Be a Lifter. Give an older person your place in line. Open a door for someone. Say something affirming to your children or someone else’s children. Leave a bigger tip than usual. Call an old friend. Visit someone who doesn’t get many visitors. Write a thank you note. You will feel good at the end of the day.

Dr. Arthur Caliando, retired pastor of Marble Collegiate Church in New York, said it well. “Be kinder than you think it is necessary to be because the other person needs it more than you know.”

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Immovovable: Standing Firm in the Final Days – Dr. Tim Riordan – Guest Blog

What is going on in the world? This question seems to be on the minds of many people today as we consider world events. Some people face these times of uncertainty with great fear and dread while others engage these times with wonder and expectation. For those of us who are Christians, there is another question on our minds: “Do world events have anything to do with Bible prophecy and the return of Jesus?” While God is clear in His Word that no one knows the time or day when Jesus will return (Matthew 24:36), He also tells us in the same passage to “keep watch.” He gave us specific prophecies in the Bible related to world events telling us these would be indicators that His return was near, and He stated that these anticipated happenings would grow in increasing intensity: “But all these things are merely the beginning of birth pangs” (Matthew 24:8). The miracle of birth begins slowly, maybe even weeks before the actual delivery. Early contractions are so insignificant that many young mothers may not even notice them. As the prophecies of Matthew 24 begin to be fulfilled, they will start small and grow in significance. There is no doubt that we are seeing a growth in intensity of world turmoil, and some of these specific prophecies are becoming more pronounced with every passing day.

If we are living in the last days, what does this mean for the Church? What does it mean for you and your family? It is because of my burden for the Church and my belief that we could be facing very challenging days in the near future, I wrote my new book, Immovable: Standing Firm in the Last Days. I believe that God has given Christians equipment, or armor, to help us endure the evil days leading up to Christ’s return and to bear fruit during a time of unparalleled opportunity. Ephesians 6:13 says, “Therefore, take up the full armor of God, so that you will be able to resist in the evil day, and having done everything, to stand firm.” I shared these thoughts about this verse in my book: “While ‘the day of evil’ can refer to a time of intense temptation or spiritual conflict that can come at any point in any Christian’s life, it seems that God may be calling us to think about THE day of evil. Is it possible that this passage is calling Christians approaching the last days to prepare for battle by putting on spiritual armor?” With that question going through my mind, I began studying Bible prophecy about the last days comparing it to the teaching of the spiritual armor of Ephesians 6. The connection was significant, and I believe there are important implications relating the spiritual armor for the last generation before the return of Christ. These implications are not only important for us, but also for our children and grandchildren.

I encourage you to consider our times and the clear teaching of Scripture. Study Bible prophecy with an eye on the evening news and consider how the spiritual armor of Ephesians 6 will help you prepare for what is to come. What do you need to do to put on the spiritual armor of God so you will stand firm in the last days? Being immovable is really not an option for the Church. The world is desperate to see strong, healthy believers standing firm in the last days. When the winds of heresy and deception blow, will you be immovable holding firmly to the truth of God? The only way you or I will stand firm is if we put on the armor of God and allow the immovable Lord Jesus Christ to live victoriously through us.

Dr. Tim Riordan serves as pastor of SonRise Baptist Church in Newnan, Georgia and is the author of Songs from the Heart: Meeting with God in the Psalms and his newest book Immovable: Standing Firm in the Last Days. For more information on his books or ministry, visit his website at


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