Tuesday, December 22, 2009

What Is Christmas?

Every year it seems that Christmas becomes more and more materialized and les and less like Jesus. I hear people or read signs that say "Jesus is the reason for season." However, it makes me wonder how many people truly believe that. Is that just a catchy phrase to make us sound more spiritual. Don't get me wrong, I am not perfect and sometimes get tangled in our Americanized web of this holiday. I enjoy getting gifts as much as anyone. I enjoy giving them even more, although my wife and I haven't bought a single thing yet this year. If you've read our previous posts you understand how crazy our life can be, hence why no Christmas shopping quite yet, but we'll get there.

Okay back to the purpose of this post. What is Christmas? What is the first thing you think about? Is it Santa? Is it a tree with presents underneath? Is it your children? Or your family? What makes Christmas special to you? You see, all of these things aren't necessarily bad things. It's not wrong to give/receive presents, or to spend time with family and loved ones, or to give your children a sedative so they won't go nuts in anticipation, or even singing cheesy Christmas songs that have no meaning or value whatsoever (sorry, personal soapbox about certain holiday tunes). It's not about an argument over saying "Happy Holidays" as opposed to "Merry Christmas" although I could go off on that topic. Happy Holidays? I mean, really? Say Merry Christmas.

The truth is, Christmas has always been and will always be about one thing. Jesus. The holy, almighty God of creation, who has no beginning and no end, who was and is and is to come; I AM, sent his only Son to earth to fulfill the law, put an end to sin and death, and to become a sacrifice for those who would believe. This holiday is about the advent and descension to earth of the King and Savior of all! My charge to each of you is not just to acknowledge the birth of Christ, but to celebrate and it make it your sole focus. I heard someone say once we need to pray that God would allow us to see the world through new eyes. I think that applies here. We must look at Christmas with new eyes. Parents, read the story of Jesus' birth from the Scriptures and explain what it means. This is truly a celebratory time, but let us not just simply look to the coming of Christ over 2000 years ago, but let us also look to the second coming of the King! Let us prepare Him a way and prepare ourselves so that we are ready upon His return.

My goal here is not to guilt trip people out of having fun. As I said, there's nothing wrong with traditions or spending time with family, eating food (probably too much), exchanging gifts, playing dirty Santa or white elephant games, throwing parties, singing carols, etc. I'm just asking that you not make it the main thing this year. Let all of those things be a side item to the main event. Jesus is not the means to an end, HE IS THE END! Jesus is the reason we should do anything because in our sin, we deserve eternity in hell. However, through the redemptive blood of Christ and the mercy found in His grace, we can live and breathe and worship in everything we do. This year, actually pay attention to the words of the Christmas songs like What Child Is This? and Joy to the World and Silent Night and O Come O Come Emmanuel, Mary Did You Know and so many more that have great meaning. Sure, we celebrate Jesus' birthday and put up little porcelain nativity scenes where all of a sudden Jesus, Mary and Joseph look like they are from L.A. However, we must also celebrate the life we've been given for those who have been called and set free. We must celebrate that we have been adopted as sons and daughters of the Most High God and are an heir to the throne of grace.

I will look at the world with new eyes this year, will you? Will you join me in trying your best to keep Jesus on the forefront of your minds and hearts? Maybe instead of our typical New Year's resolutions like losing weight, saving money, or keeping up better with friends, we'll just start being the church. Let us live our lives with an eternal focus and perspective. Don't limit God. Don't limit yourselves. I pray that Christ will reveal Himself to you all in amazing ways this Christmas. I pray He will show you His plan and equip you with the necessary tools to carry out His perfect and seamless plan. I pray that you and your families will be saturated with the gospel and overwhelmed by the goodness that is in Christ Jesus and that you will tell everyone around you about the hope found in Him. I pray God will mend relationships, tear down barriers, change hearts, transform lives, soften hardened hearts, and bring about laborers into the Harvest. What is Christmas? In a word.....Jesus!

C&B
Hayes Party of Two

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Life, Love and Happiness

Yes, yes I know. It has been way too long since my last post. It's funny, I love to write and thought when we started this blog I would be updating it at least a few times a week, but so far is not turned out that way. Oh well, maybe leaving you faithful readers in suspense has an underlying value in itself. Well, to no surprise, we remain crazy busy with life and work and extracurricular activities. I had the opportunity to go to the National Youth Workers Conference in Atlanta, with my friend Travis and the ministry he runs called Pursuit Ministries, which is great by the way. Anyways, thanks to him I was able to get in for free all day on the Friday of the event. It was pretty cool walking around to all these different booths, getting free stuff, talking to people about what they do, and also getting a chance to self promote. It's not something I enjoy doing, but networking and promoting are part of life these days to try and open up new opportunities for worship leading and music and things like that so I made some posters and business cards, brought some CD's and did my thing. Hopefully that will lead to something, but it's in God's hands, not mine. I got a chance to hear Andy Stanley and Francis Chan give two great talks, an awesome worship band, and of course hear Shane and Shane do a late night show (sorry Brittany) which my wife wasn't happy about missing and the fact I was there, but I think she was able to move past it. I do owe her one though.

Thanksgiving was a great time as well. We visited the Housers in Vidalia and the Hayeses in Conyers each for a few days. Good food, great family time and despite the driving, we really enjoyed the time with family and just being away.

For Brittany, she just finished up her last two papers for the semester in Grad School and now has no more assignments until her last semester kicks off in January. I just wanted to take a few moments and explain to you a couple (of the neverending) reasons why this woman is so amazing. There is simply no way I could do anywhere near as much as she does with the excellence and effort that she puts in to it. If you don't believe me, just check out my college transcript, haha. Anyways, Brittany works her tail off teaching 4th and 5th graders every day. Now when I say teach, I don't mean just your common teacher who does what they have to and that's it. My wife is one of the most compassionate, caring, intentional people I have ever met and she loves her kids and wants to not only see them grow academically, but spiritually, emotionally and in any other way possible. She goes far above and beyond the call of duty, doesn't spoon feed her kids so they actually learn something rather than just get good grades. She deals with parents, teachers, students, lesson plans, grading, reading, and so on the list goes. Then, on top of all that, she spends 6 hours in class each week on two nights and does all the work required for her grad school classes and gets A's constantly with maybe a couple of B's scattered in there. She is incredible and has the strength and heart of a lion, but is so humble about it at the same time. I am so grateful to have someone like that in my life to help counteract my pride and laziness I display all to often. She challenges me to be better every single day.

Okay, so I know I've written a lot, but I had to catch you up. The state of Georgia is still making it very difficult for me to be effective in my work for DFCS, but I press on and try to do the best I can. It is good to see the Lord use me and I am certainly grateful just to have a job right now, but I have to admit it is really hard most days to get up and go to a job that I simply do not want to do and know that it is not my calling in life. However, I trust and believe the God of all, the King of kings, Jesus, is working for my good and has an amazing plan for me and is completely sovereign and in control. That allows me to do this as long as necessary and trust in His faithfulness. God continues to show his provision in our lives, his love, his mercy, his faithfulness, his peace, his joy, his patience and really all of his attributes. I serve a God that is jealous for me and longs for me to worship him and bring him glory in every single thing I do. It is my prayer that it would be my undending joy and desire to serve him, to know him, and to live like him every second of every day. sure, I will continue to sin and fall short, but praise be to the one who paid my ransom on the cross. He did it once and will not do it again because his grace is enough and his sacrifice was sufficient for me and now I am a son of God and no longer an enemy. The Savior King has set me free so I will commit my life to knowing him more and following him. I pray that this season we are all reminded that Jesus was sent to us from the Father to fulfill the law and change the world and draw all men to the throne in worship. Glory be to Jesus!

Monday, November 16, 2009

Send your own ElfYourself eCards

Monday, November 9, 2009

Everything Is Different Review and The Holidays

I have to start today's post with a quick review of my favorite band's, Shane and Shane, new album which is entitled "Everything Is Different". At first listen, it wasn't my favorite album and a few of the songs I was unsure about. However, I've had the CD in my car playing non stop for the last week and it has really grown on me. As all musicians, these guys continue to grow musically and lyrically. They took a very simplistic approach on this album using simple chord progressions and not a ton of extra programming and created an album that reflects their heart of worship and adoration. The lyrics are powerful and are completely saturated with the gospel found in Scripture. A lot of it is verbatim out of the Word of God, which is never a bad thing. As a worship leader, I do have to say there aren't a lot of songs on here that would translate well to a congregational setting, but I can assure you this album will challenge you, encourage you, lead you to the throne as well as comfort you in whatever emotions of life you are in at the time you listen. I've already figured out 4 or 5 of the songs on guitar and have enjoyed playing them. I wasn't thrilled that several of the songs were written in alternate tunings, but I can't really blame Shane Barnard for his creativity and growth instrumentally and as a song writer, it's quite impressive. It's hard to pin down one or two favorites, but the ones that stand above the others so far are Everything Is Different, I'm Alive, Worthy of Affection, Great Reward and their version of The Lord's Prayer, which I wasn't thrilled about at first, but really like now. You can go to http://shaneandshane.com/ to watch a few videos and get more information on the CD, but I highly recommend buying it and wearing it out.

In other news, Brittany and I finally had a chance to enjoy a date night together this past Friday. We drove down to Buckhead and enjoyed an amazing dinner at The Cheesecake Factory. In fact, we also enjoyed our leftovers the next day for lunch. It's nice when you pay a lot for dinner that you actually get a lot of food and can keep some for later. Anyways, I have been sick since last Thursday so that hasn't been too much fun, but luckily I have an amazing wife to take care of me and a really strong immune system as well. I seem to be almost all the way better now.

As the holidays near I get excited about a lot and also a little anxious. I love getting to spend time with family and friends and all the festivities that are involved with this time of year. I love Christmas music and it is almost time to start listening to it, haha. I don't like all the time spent traveling in the car or the money spent and stress that can sometimes come out, but I think we all are in that same boat. For example, there isn't much in this world that I enjoy doing more than giving gifts or serving people. Yes, part of that is my people pleaser side that I have tried to get away from, but most of it is just the enjoyment in doing something for someone else. However, since we don't exactly make a ton of money, we have be very frugal with how we spend, who we buy for, what we get. I mean, last year we couldn't even buy presents for each other, although my homemade Christmas card for Brittany was one of a kind and she loved it. Just ask her. With that said, I am going to try this holiday season to enjoy everything and to rejoice in the blessings the Lord has given to me. I will enjoy the driving, the spending, the planning, the activities, the cleaning, the wrapping, and all the "busy" stuff. I will also enjoy spending time with my wife as much as possible, time with family, both original and new. I will enjoy celebrating the true meaning of Christmas in that of the birth of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. You see, in our country and culture, these times have become so much about go and do and buy and plan and bake and all these action verbs that cloud our minds and use up our time and bank accounts. But what if this year we decided to not focus on those things, but focus on what really matters? What if we rejoice in the goodness of our Savior? What if we enjoy actual quality time with loved ones and really engage each other in fellowship? What if we decided to not let the little things get us down or stress us out? What if Jesus was King of our lives and the object of our affection rather than the things we want or get this year?

I'm not saying that traditions and festivities are bad, so don't take that. All I am saying is prioritize what is truly important. If you are a parent, teach your children the joy of giving rather than the expectancy of receiving. If you are married, spend time with your spouse and treasure them high above stuff. Love and peace always and may you bask in the radiance of the glory of Christ this season. He alone can satisfy. He has created nothing that will give you more pleasure than Him.

C&B
Hayes Party of Two

Friday, October 23, 2009

Wicky Wicky Wild Wild Weekend

After a long and busy week, the weekend has finally arrived. This weekend is kind of great and also not great. It's going to be a whole lot of fun, but is so busy will not be very restful. Tonight we have a meeting for the Amazing Chase at church. It's very similar to the Amazing Race on CBS, a big scavenger hunt all over the city of Rome that has clues, puzzles, challenges, and all of that. Tonight we find out all the details and the Chase starts tomorrow morning around 9 and then goes until around 1 concluding with a cookout. Brittany and I have been on the winning team for each of the first two years and look to make it three in a row tomorrow, but it won't be easy. We do have a great team though again this year. We are partnering with Andrew and Jessica Smith, who were married the same day as us and Jessica and Brittany even wore the exact same dress. We are really looking forward to competing and having a great time. We named our team the 614 Champs, 614 coming from June 14th, the day we all became married folk last year. Wish us luck!

Saturday, after we finish with the Amazing Chase, we are driving up to Cloudland, GA to spend some time with another couple who are some great friends, Travis and Beth Milhan. We've tried to get up to their property for months, but each time something came up and we were not able to. That will also be a lot of fun I think, although I don't know how much energy we will have left.

Sunday is another great morning of worship at Three Rivers. Afterwards, we are helping out at a Fall Festival taking place at Garden Lakes Baptist Church, where Travis and Beth are the youth directors and helped do a lot of the planning for this. Me and the band that played with me at The Nest last month are performing, which will be great. We are doing a set from 4:45-5:30 and then doing a worship set from 6-6:45. The festival runs from 3-7pm over all and should be a great time. The weather looks to be great and hopefully there will be a good turnout. Once the day winds down, the weekend will be quickly over. As I said before, that is the only bad thing about a packed weekend, is just little time to sleep and take it easy.

Hopefully, some pictures and/or videos will come in a near future post to show some highlights of the weekend.

Lastly, did anyone else notice how we went straight from summer to winter? That was crazy. One week it was in the high 80's, low 90's and then all of a sudden it's 40 degrees outside. What happened to Fall? Oh well, Fall finally showed up this week and other than the rain, the weather has been beautiful. This weekend should bring some really nice temperatures and some beautiful colors that fall is well known for. Rome is amazing in the Fall with all the leaves changing, especially on Berry's campus. I can remember driving or walking around campus as a student and just been amazed at God's creation. That stuff just never gets old even when we take it for granted sometimes. Take time this season to truly enjoy the majesty of creation and it's Creator. God bless.

C&B
Hayes Party of Two

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Videos

This one will be short and sweet. I promised that I would post some videos from my first concert at The Nest, but instead of uploading them all on the blog, which would take a long time, you can see them in one of two places.

http://www.youtube.com/chdisciple

http://www.facebook.com/chdisciple

Hope you enjoy them.

C&B
Hayes Party of Two

Monday, October 5, 2009

Happy Birthday Martha!

This weekend included the annual Berry College festivities known as Mountain Day. Now, for those of you who did not go to Berry, you would call this tradition crazy, dumb, borderline fruity, and many other descriptions that I've heard over the years. However, if you look at most school's traditions, the actual act is pretty silly, but the tradition and history of it is great and means a lot to those who share that common bond. Mountain Day is no exception. Basically it is a whole weekend filled with olympics, alumni reunions and projects, athletic events, carnival, picnic, chapel services and of course the Grand March. I'll give a quick description for those who have no earthly clue what the heck I am talking about. On Saturday, up at the Mountain Campus (WinShape), there is a huge outdoor picnic and then starting at 1:00pm, all the students line up by gender in two lines (one with boys, one with girls) starting with seniors up front and going down to lower classmen. Senior boys where white shirts, senior girls where blue shirts, all other boys where blue shirts and all other girls wear pink. Then the march begins. Both single file lines start heading down the hill and when they get to the bottom, they place a handful of change (the amount is supposed to be your age) into the basket, then walk back up the hill in two's (typically one boy/one girl, but there are a lot more girls, so you get the idea). They come back down the hill in 2's, then go back up in 4's. This process repeats until the final march down the hill in row's of 16. Then everyone stops and the soccer team does their special chant and every sings (or fakes) the Alma Mater. I know, you are still lost, but it's tradition. It symbolizes the idea of multiplication. Martha Berry, one of the greatest female pioneers the stated of Georgia has ever had, was a Christian and believed in the principle of multiplication. You touch one or two lives, then those touch one or two, and so on and so on until millions have been reached. Martha believed this and lived it out giving of her time, energy, money, land, experience, resources, connections, and everything she had to impact the lives of young people and to provide them with a future. Brittany and I are two of the many people positively affected by her sacrifice and commitment to education. Thank you Martha!

It was a good day seeing old friends and classmates, many I only see this time every year. Brittany was able to catch up with many friends as well and we had a good time. Saturday evening we went to a benefit get together with many current and former Berry students. Quick story: a friend of ours, Mike "Gooch" Hearn, was in a motorcycle accident a few weeks ago and currently is paralyzed from the chest down and given only a 5% chance to walk. Some people decided to get a bunch of his friends together, held a silent auction, spent time celebrating his life and trying to raise money and prayers and support to help pay for medical bills and just to show love for Mike. His girlfriend, Ellen, also a good friend of ours was there and very appreciative of the turnout. If you are reading this and feel compelled to give/donate, please let me know and I will make sure and give you more information on how to do that. Here is a picture of Brittany and I at the event:



I want to leave you all with some thoughts. We serve a huge God. Not only is he big enough to let Mike walk again, which I pray is the case, but he is big enough to change the lives of many people out of it. God doesn't perform miracles just so that we can be better off. Sure, he wants to do great things for those He loves, but that is a biproduct of his purpose. God does miracles so that he will become more famous, more glorified, known throughout the world, adored, feared, praised, honored, and seen as holy and gracious and good (just a couple of his attributes). Keep in mind that miracles come in all shapes and sizes. From the miracle of a baby, to physical healing, to the saving of nations, and so on. Jesus brought people back to life, healed sickness, cured blindness, turned water into wine, walked on water, changed the lives of everyone who would know him and follow after him, changed the minds of kings, showed kindness to servants, spent time with sinners and lived a life full of miracles. Brittany and I could talk for hours about the things the Lord has done to provide for us, encourage us, grow us, bring us back to him and sometimes just to remind us he is with us. Some bigger than others, but all with the same purpose of glorifying Himself and then for our good. Psalm 84 says "no good thing does he withhold from those who love him." Nothing in Scripture is on accident or without purpose. The Word of God was written so that we would know it and nothing in it is worth skipping over or taking lightly. That includes promises, commandments, stories, and yes, even the Old Testament. I know, shocker, but yes it is still important and applies today and should be read. I say all of this with great conviction because I need more than 2 hands to count the number of Bibles in my home, but still don't read it with enough regularity or passion. People ask, "how do I become more like Christ?" I think the answer starts with knowing him, reading his words, meditating and memorizing it, and sharing it with others. This applies to me as much if not more than anyone and I pray that the Lord takes my heart and mind and gives me the desire to know him and his word so much better and to live it daily. I forget exactly where this comes from, but somewhere in the Old Testament the writer states that he longs to hear from the Lord more than food. Sorry for the loose translation and lack of remembering the reference of the text, again another reason I need to be reading more. Still, what an incredible passion and hunger to know God that he would wake up in the morning and before wanting breakfast, or wanting to sleep longer or do anything else, he longs to spend time with God, listening and hearing from the Lord. My desire is that I would be like that and I simply am not there at all. It's sometimes hard for me to sing songs that talk about Jesus being better than life and things like that because my actions don't echo that. What songs do you sing that are hard because you don't really mean the words, or that your life doesn't show it? If you do this, you are not alone. God, please change the hearts of those who don't long for you more than everything else. You satisfy our every need and give us life, what more shall we want? I leave you with the lyrics of one of my favorite hymns that we do a lot at Three Rivers with a modern tune, but the words are powerful. May God bless you and keep you and make his face to shine upon you and be gracious, and give you peace!

All my life long, I had panted
For a drink from some cool spring
That I hoped would quench the burning
Of the thirst I felt within

Hallelujah, He has found me
The one my soul so long has craved
Jesus satisfies all my longings
Through His blood I now am saved

Feeding on the filth around me
Until my strength was almost gone
Longed me soul for something better
Only still to hunger on

Poor I was and sought for riches
Something that would satisfy
But the dust I gathered round me
Only mocked my soul's sad cry

Well of water ever springing
Bread of Life so rich and free
Untold wealth that never faileth
My Redeemer is to me!

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Yeah, I know it's been a while

I'm guessing you can tell how busy we are since we haven't posted in like 3 weeks, but what are you gonna do? So I had another full band concert at The Nest here in Rome last Friday and I thought it went really well. We had a great turnout considering the weather and the fact it's football night for anyone with kids in high school or even those who just like to go. We had a great set of songs and desptie not being able to practice much, I was pleased overall with our performance. It's fun getting to play different types of music and performing in that type of setting. I mean, my calling and passion in life is leading worship and I will never prefer performance over that, but it's fun to do every once in a while. However, it takes up a lot of time and energy to put something like that together so I am probably not going to do it again for a while. At some point, I'll be able to get some videos from our July performance up on here and on Facebook so those who missed out will have a chance to check it out.

Big news for us this week by the way! Haha, no we aren't pregnant, for all those who are probably thinking that. But we did pay off a credit card and are on our way to paying off the other. Dave Ramsey is a smart fellow. The feeling of small accomplishments and success can go a long way when trying to become debt free. We paid for a lot of things with our wedding and honeymoon ourselves so we finally got the rest of that stuff paid off. Once we get the other card paid off, we'll be able to hit our student loans hard. Alas, I cannot wait for the day when we do not have to make anymore payments for our Berry College education, which come this May, will include 2 Bachelor's degrees and a Masters degree (for Brittany). It's money well spent, but it will be even better when we don't have to spend anymore. We have needs (that really means wants, but sounds better) that we need to meet and it will be nice to afford them.

With all of this busyness of late, I think my wife and I could really use a vacation. I don't think we'll get one until next summer, but it would be so amazing to be able to get away for a week. I wish I was one of those people who has a good friend or relative with a beach house or cabin or something or works for a cruise liner and can hook us up. Unfornuately, I was not blessed in that particular way, which is okay, but it would be nice sometimes. I know Brittany will be glad to be done with Grad School and this school year and actually have a summer to spend not doing school work and be able to travel a little. Our budgetary constraints will not allow us to venture very far for very long, but should hopefully provide at least one great trip, maybe two :)

As I write I'm listening to some Dave Barnes right now, good stuff. What is your favorite artist and/or song right now?

Friday, September 4, 2009

Grumblings and Observations

So, here are some recent observations I've made that I feel the need to comment on. Let's start in the pop culture realm. I find it really sad that the two biggest influences on children/teenagers via movies and books right now include a series about vampires and one about magic. Now, for those of you who really enjoy Harry Potter and Twilight, I'm not condemning anyone or saying that it is completely wrong to watch them or to let your children read/watch them, that's not my point. I just think that there should be some better content out there. I remember growing up and watching shows like Saved By the Bell, Family Matters, Full House, all shows that have some good moral lessons and a sense of family that is important. Sure there are some cheesy moments, but it is at least clean and wholesome. I grew up watching tons of Disney movies and things like that as well. Now, there just seems to be so much garbage in movies and TV that it is playing a huge role in shaping the minds of our country's young people. Don't even get me started with the internet and cell phones, haha.

I am also not the type of person to spend too much time discussing politics, but I find it really concerning that our country is in one of the worst states it has ever been, and our new president is about to head on his second vacation. I'm all for family fun, but I just have to think that there is a lot of work that could be done right now, or at least our leader should be giving off the impression that he is working tirelessly to come up with solutions and get this country back on its feet. Not to mention all the time he has spent on Sportscenter and talking about sports or at ballgames. Again, I know that is a hard position, but in my opinion, it just seems that he has spent so much time marketing himself and getting on TV, that in the meantime, our country continues to dive more and more into the ground and a lot of people are really hurting because of it. I thank God every day that my wife and I have jobs, a roof over a head, and food to eat. God has truly blessed us, although we are in no way "rich". I work with clients every day that really want to work, but are really struggling to find it and it breaks my heart. I know God is in control and that allows me to have hope, but at the same time it is scary to think where will be in 3 or 4 years. Well, I hope the President has a nice vacation.

Lastly, I am proud to say I am part of a church that "gets it". I feel like the church in North America has become so consumed with consuming. What I mean by that, is I see a lot of Wal-mart in today's church. Do you know what I mean? People show up on Sunday morning and the fill up on things for the next week and pick and choose what to receive. Not only that, but so many churches seem to use all of their efforts and resources to try and fill more seats, or build more buildings, start more programs that are designed for the people inside. However, what is being done down the street in the community? What kind of impact are they having globally? Why do people feel that the church is there for them? It's not, the church is meant to look like Jesus, act like Jesus, point others to Jesus, take Jesus to others and so on. I'm not saying Sunday School or Bible Study isn't important, not at all. Jesus didn't make the Great Commission optional, or just for those who feel "called" to do it. It doesn't work that way. Everyone saved by the grace of Jesus Christ is called to impact the world locally and globally. Not everyone has to spend a week in Africa, but should be investing, praying, sending, going if they can. Or just realize that missions can mean working in your community. Again, I'm not perfect and don't have it all figured out and this paragraph is just as much for me as anyone. Until we realize that all Christians are on the same team, division and lack of sharing the good news will continue. We tell others to live like Jesus, but I don't remember Jesus ever spending all his time inside the doors of church filling up on things. No, He lived out among the lost. Jesus spent time with murderers, adulterers, thieves......sinners. If that's the case, why aren't we spending time with sinners. Hear me, it is not the Pastor's job to preach the gospel, it is the responsibility and should be the joy of every believer. I fail in this every day, but I long so much for my life to be an imitation of our King Jesus. It does no good to invite someone to church and have them listen to the Pastor if you aren't willing to invest in their life and to live Jesus out in their life. I'll leave you all with one of my favorite quotes: "Preach the gospel every day, and when necessary, use words."

C&B
Hayes Party of Two

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Ahhh, the Sweetness of September

I know we haven't blogged in a while, but I was waiting until today for this very post. September is my favorite sports month of the year and I am pumped. Go ahead call me a boy, I know my wife will, haha. But seriously, what could be better than baseball pennant chases and the beginning of the College Football season. Oh yeah, NFL starts too which is a lot more entertaining than it used to be, mainly because the Falcons are relevant again and a contender to make the playoffs again. It's no secret I love Braves baseball and UGA football. I don't deny it nor try to get around it. It's just engrained in who I am.

Let's start with the Braves. They have been the epitome of inconsistency this season, but now find themselves only 3 games out of the Wild Card hunt and a solid chance at making the postseason for the first time since 2005. Those of you who have been long time Braves fans remember the days where we just expected the Braves to make the playoffs and contend for a World Series. Yes, I wish we would have won more than 1, but what can you do. The Braves have a bright future with a lot of young talent coming in so hopefully we'll see this time put together a long stretch of playoff runs and a couple championships throughout the next decade or two. Go Braves!

I will always be a Dawg and will bleed red and black, as will my kids, and their kids and their kids, just as my Dad before me. A lot people don't understand. UGA has the toughest schedule in all of college football this season including quite possibly their toughest season opener in years against #9 Oklahoma State. Georgia starts the preseason at #13, although I think preseason rankings are stupid. We lost our starting QB and RB to the first round of the NFL draft, but make no mistake, this team is loaded with talent. Unfortunately, our arch rival and defending champs of whose name I won't mention, are loaded even more and are the unanimous favorites it seems to win it all this year, and honestly, they should be. A lot of people consider this a rebuilding year, but elite programs like UGA don't rebuild, they reload and I expect at least a 9 win season this year against a touch schedule and a good bowl game. I think it's unreasonable to think we'll win the SEC East and get to Atlanta for the SEC Championship, but a win against UF could do that however difficult it may be. Either way, I cannot wait for this Saturday's game and for the rest of the season.

Last year the Falcons led by rookie QB sensation Matt Ryan made the playoffs, but lost to eventual NFC Champs the Arizona Cardinals. This year, they have added the greatest Tight End of all time in Tony Gonzalez and are expecting big things as well they should be. The schedule is much tougher this year, but I like their chances to win the division and contend for a spot in the Super Bowl. This organization is well run by owner Arthur Blank, GM Thomas Dimitroff and Head Coach Mike Smith. The defense is the glaring weak spot right now. The offense will score points in bunches, but the defense will need to step it up and maybe even add some pieces if the Falcons are to make any noise this season. One thing is for sure, the Dirty Birds are practically guaranteed to have back to back winning seasons for the first time in team history, which is one of the saddest things I've ever heard, the fact they've never done it before. The most interesting game this season by far is the game against Philadelphia in Atlanta when Michael Vick makes his return to Atlanta. Talk about excitement.

Well, in all likelihood my wife won't be over-approving of my decision to fill our family blog with sports talk, but a man has to do what a man has to do, or something like that. I love her so much and I appreciate the fact she allows me to watch sports, probably a lot more than I should, and that she doesn't think any less of me. It doesn't rule my life and I don't allow a win or a loss by these teams to determine my attitude or demeanor, although there were times when that wasn't true.

I'll leave you all with this. We've been doing Dave Ramsey's Total Money Makeover and are well on our way to being debt free. Obviously it will still take us several more years to pay off our student loans of course, but it was worth it for two top notch Berry College educations. Well, actually three since Brittany will have a Masters as well. I can't wait until the day we get a letter saying we no longer have a financial obligation to Berry. There will be some crazy celebration going on that day for sure. God bless and please leave us some comments and let us know what you think of our blog. Any things you want to read from us.

C&B
Hayes Party of Two

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Babies are truly of the Lord

So, Brittany and I are in no way hoping to have a baby for a couple more years, but some very dear friends of ours had their baby girl this past Sunday and she is absolutely amazing. I've had a chance to visit with them 3 times this week and gotten to hold her and just fellowship with our friends who we love dearly. Russ and Dixi Burnett brought a precious little baby girl into the world, Caedmon Claire Burnett. I'm not going to lie, I was nervous at first holding her, just something about holding such a small person, although the funny thing is babies really aren't very fragile. Anyways, it just made me think how incredible it will be one day to hold my own son/daughter in my arms and know that baby is a gift from the Lord and someone I will love more than anything in this world (along with my wife of course).

It's funny how despite how crazy and busy life can be, spending time with a baby can completely make the world stop and nothing else matters. And it's not even my baby! Haha, my wife may read this and think I have baby fever, but that's not true, I just think they are so special and it just blows me away how amazing God is that he ordains every single part of creation. Just awesome. Here is a picture of Brittany and I spending time with a sweet miracle of God.



By the way, mark your calendars for September 18th, which is a Friday night. I will once again be playing a concert at The Nest downtown Rome from 8-10pm and I would love to see you all there. Videos from the first show are hopefully to come in the near future.

C&B
Hayes Party of Two

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Home Sweet Home

Ahhhhh, what a refreshing feeling to sleep in on a Saturday morning and wake up to the smell of your wife making waffles in the kitchen. It has been so long since I've been home for a weekend that I've forgotten the simple joys of spending a weekend at home with my wife with nowhere to go, no responsibilities to attend to, and no plans to prepare for. Don't get me wrong, I love being busy and having things to do. According to my Mom, I'm a social butterfly, although being a man, I don't particularly like the butterfly comparison, but I'll let it slide for now.

So what do I do today? Well, a lot of nothing really. Brittany has lots of school things to prepare and work on so like a good husband, I will be there to help her with those. The Falcons and Braves both play today at 4:00 so I have to be glued to the TV at that time with my hand gripped firmly around the remote and my trigger finger on the "last" button to flip back and forth. One game means nothing (Falcons) and one game means a lot (Braves) due to the time of year. Let's not forget that Tiger will be trying to extend his lead in the PGA Championship today so I'm sure I will catch a good bit of his round today.

There's just something about being at home. I've always felt it no matter where my "home" actually was. I enjoy the comfortable surroundings, coming and going as a I please, doing what I want, but most of all, it is so amazing to share home with the one you love. My wife kissing me on the head to wake me up. Going to bed and waking up together as opposed to our different schedules during the week. It has just been a long time since we've enjoyed this simplistic pleasure of life and we both treasure it every chance we get. Just spending time together is all I need, me and my bride forever. Gotta love it!




C&B
Hayes Party of Two

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Here comes August, bye bye Summer

"Back to school, back to school, to prove to my dad that I'm not a fool. I got my lunch packed up, my boots tied tight, I hope I don't get in a fight OH back to school, back to school, back to school".........name that movie!

Anyways, unfortunately do to a rather extensive summer class schedule, Brittany's summer just wasn't nearly enough. I am so proud of how hard she has worked not just on grad school, but on preparing for her third year of teaching. For those of you who didn't hear, Brittany will be teaching Science and History for 4th and 5th grade this year at Excel Christian Academy in Cartersville, where she has taught the last two years. For nine weeks, she will teach Health instead of Science. Although she might not admit it, I think she is excited about it and it shows by her constant determination to be the best teacher she can be and it is so apparent that God has given her a unique gift not only to teach children, but to engage them and relate to them in a powerful way. Her students are lucky to have her as a teacher and I'm the luckiest guy in the world to be able to call her my wife.

This past weekend I spent in Buckhead running sound and leading worship for a Youth For Christ Conference. It was a really good time with great people, hearing some great speakers and just spending time with other believers. I felt privileged and honored to be a part of that weekend and hope to help out again next year. However, I am so ready for a weekend of not having anything to do. After traveling to Vidalia this coming weekend for a wedding, my hectic schedule will calm down a good bit and I am so ready for that.

God is good. No really, I don't just say that just to say it. I find myself so often feeling "comfortable" in life, or complaining about things I really have no business complaining about whether it be work, people, or just random circumstances of life that bring about confusion or what have you. The point is, God truly is good and is constantly working for my good, and for all those who have been redeemed by the blood of Christ. No matter how much I suck, how much I take credit for things God did, how often I hurt those closest to me, or how many times I decide sleep or TV is more important than quality time with the Lord, his love is rich and free and always there and God continues to work things together for my good and ultimately His glory and that stops me in my tracks and causes me to respond to him in worship. I have been so blessed to have a loving wife, a place to live, amazing friends and family, a job, and on and on and on and on, countless things in my life that come from the Lord which is so easy to take for granted. While writing this very post I am just overwhelmed all of a sudden with the goodness and glory of Christ amidst my rebellion, sin, and shortcomings. What a mighty God we serve! Jesus is completely sufficient for me and I long to make my life a sacrifice of praise that makes His name greater. I pray that encourages you today.

C&B
Hayes Party of Two

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Busy Bee

This July has been one crazy busy month for me and it now extends into the first half of August, but at least the "busyness" has been of the good variety. I have been so blessed even amidst driving a lot of miles, to spend time with some amazing people and get to lead worship at different churches and venues and God has done some amazing things as he always tends to do. This past weekend I left Rome on Friday and drove to Athens so spend time with some people that I not only call friends, but are really more like brothers and sisters including Erin, Michelle, Evie and Vic. We hung out, ate dinner downtown, and had one of our legendary jam sessions and it was just a really sweet time. I love and miss those guys very much and felt truly blessed to get to spend time with them for a few hours. I drove to Conyers later that night to my parents house and spent the weekend with them and also got to see one of my best friends, Aaron and his new fiancee Meredith. Brittany and I are very happy for the two of them and can't wait to be a part of their wedding.

On Sunday, I had the opportunity once again to lead worship at my home church. I go even express how incredibly blessed I am to get to come back to the church that has meant so much to me. I started going there with my family when I was in 3rd grade and there are still many people in the church body that I have known for so many years and they all mean so much to me. God really moved in the morning services and I feel that people truly felt His presence and responded authentically to the greatness of His glory. Some of you are probably thinking.....where was Brittany? Well, she had another good friend, Mandy Massingill come into town from doing ministry work in Mexico and their women's bible study group got together and had a good time. Brittany also had several things to do around the house the rest of the weekend and got a lot done, although she was missed very much.

This weekend I am heading to Buckhead to run sound and help lead worship for the Youth For Christ Conference which has people from all over the Southeast coming together so that should be really cool. More info to come later in another post. For now, here are some pictures from the weekend for your enjoyment. Give us feedback in a comment and tell us what you think about our blog. Take care and God bless.






Monday, July 20, 2009

Good Times with Great Friends

Sorry it has been a while since our last post, but we haven't exactly had the most free time in the world the last two weeks so I will try and catch everything up with this one. Brittany just finished her summer semester of classes for Grad School this past week. She got A's in all three classes, which comes as no surprise. She absolutely worked her tail off for 6 weeks with so much work and class time, but it paid off in the end with her grades and now she can graduate next May rather than have to take an extra class next summer so I am so proud of her. She has an amazing work ethic and I don't think I could have handled what she did nearly in the same fashion.

As for me, I spent last weekend up in Charlotte, NC with my best friend Vic just hanging out, playing music and then we lead worship together at his church that Sunday morning. It was totally worth the drive up there getting to spend some good time with Vic since I don't get to see him very often anymore and we always enjoy worship together so I was blessed to have been a part of that and we got to eat lunch with another good friend, Josh Davis that Saturday which was great.
This past week it was more of the good times with great friends. Kirk Warmerdam, another great friend and groomsmen in our wedding came into town Wednesday night from California and stayed through Sunday. Also, Christina Lynn and Rachel McLemore stayed with us and we all had a blast. Yes, we had 5 people staying in our two bedroom apartment, but we made it work. We played about 6 hours of volleyball, 3 hours of disc golf, had my concert Friday night (more info in a second), and also had some movie/game time in there as well. Let's just say we packed a lot of activities into a long weekend and it was awesome. We are very blessed to have great friends and thoroughly enjoyed the whole weekend.

I played a concert as most of you know Friday night at the Nest. It was fun because there was a full band with me including Michael Smith on bass, Tribb Robison on drums, Brandon Trapp on electric and Carrie Pinckard on vocals. The only problem was there was a mixup on the time so we didn't get to play until 10:00pm that night. However, there was still a great turnout with around 50-60 people there at the start of the show and because of being so late, we were down to about 20 at the end, but still it was an awesome time and a lot of fun. My parents and brother drove up from Conyers just for the show and then drove all the way back and that meant a lot to have them there, especially on my Mom's birthday when she could have been doing something else so to my family: I love you and appreciate you. Videos/pictures of the concert will come later so stay tuned.

This week should be a little more calm. Brittany has about 2 weeks to relax and rest before pre-planning for school starts and although I have to work, this week doesn't look to be too busy. I am driving to Conyers this weekend to lead worship at my home church, Rockdale Baptist, so that should be a lot of fun although I will miss my wife a ton as she will not be able to come. A good friend of hers, Mandy Massingill is coming into town for some fun with the girls' Bible study so I'm excited they will have that time together. Well, that should just about sum it up. Let us know what you think about our blog by leaving a comment. Take care and God bless!

C&B
Hayes Party of Two

Saturday, July 4, 2009

My Experience at the Braves Game :)

So, I know that I went to the Braves game to #1 see Chris sing the National Anthem and #2 see the game, but I found another reason to have fun at the game!!! I played a lot with this little friend! :)







~ B Hayes

Rome Braves and Independence Day

I had the chance to sing the National Anthem at the Rome Braves game this past Thursday, July 2nd. It was a neat experience and I guess I would even have to admit that I did okay. My family and some other good friends were there to support me and even though there were not a huge number of fans at the game, it was still a lot of fun. We did catch it on video for your enjoyment although it was from my crappy digital camera so the quality is not great, but you get the idea nonetheless.

video

This weekend marks the only weekend this whole month that I don't have a lot of things to do. In fact, only one other weekend this month will I even be in town so Brittany and I decided to just enjoy each other's company this weekend and do some married things. We went to a movie last night and since we saw Transformers 2 last time, it was time for a chick flick so we saw The Proposal with Ryan Reynolds and Sandra Bullock. Although very predictable for a girl movie, I have to admit it was really funny and I enjoyed it. Afterwards we came home and made some pigs in the blanket and ate some other snack foods and just took it easy.







Saturday was about the most uneventful day we could ever have, but I have to admit it was nice to simply sleep in late and do nothing at all for the day. Brittany had some school work to do, but other than that, it was a nice day of rest. Don't worry, we'll still watch the fireworks once they start and enjoy the holiday traditions. I'm not sure who decided that a good way to celebrate our nation's birthday is to blow things up, but I applaud them.

Lastly, a shameless plug, which I will continue to repeat on every post for the next two weeks. I am playing a concert downtown Rome at The Nest on July 17th. I'll be playing with a full band and also doing a few originals by myself and will cover a large spectrum of musical genres, but I can promise it's going to be a lot of fun for everyone. The show is from 9-11pm and it's a Friday night so come on out and join us there!

C&B
Hayes Party of Two

Friday, June 26, 2009

Life, Death, and Everything in Between

We had a good date night last night. Dinner at WOW Wings (World of Wings) and then we went to see Transformers 2. For those haven't seen it, the movie was highly entertaining and better than I thought it would be. There's a ton of funny parts throughout the film, lots of action, incredible special effects as expected and pretty good acting for the most part. The one thing I would say that I wasn't a huge fan of was the language and innuendos that were mainly said by the robots. It wasn't awful language, but just felt random and that it didn't really need to be in there. I still like the first one better, but this one was really good so I will definitely buy it and look forward to the third one.

In the last three days we have heard news of the deaths of 3 pretty big celebrities...Ed McMann, Farrah Fawcett, and the King of Pop, Michael Jackson. While I do not condone MJ's lifestyle or private life in general, he was probably the greatest musical entertainer of all time and I love his music. It's fun to sing, dance to and just doesn't get old for the most part. He was bad, dangerous, black and white, the man in the mirror, and wasn't afraid to tell people to beat it or that the kid is simply just not his son. Michael, in one word, your career was simply "thriller".

Although the Braves have been about as mediocre a team can be this season, I still love them (not romantically) and cannot wait to see them play the Red Sox on Sunday with my boy Russ. He invited me to go so I just could not turn it down. It will be weird seeing Smoltz in the other dugout, but I hope we can get a win while I'm there. Nothing like seeing a ballgame at the park, although I'm not sure how happy my wife is that she isn't going, haha, it will be okay though.

I know this has been long, so I will end this post with a personal thought, then a really good quote. I have been blown away by how faithful God is the past couple of weeks. The funny thing, it's not been due to things in my life, but His provision to people close to me. I can't go into too many details because I don't know how much these people want others to know, but let's just say that the Lord has provided a fiance', a job, a baby, and great news regarding someone else's job that was not expected and is exciting. The Lord is good and his timing is absolutely perfect. He is constantly working for our good and even during our trials and hardships, he is shaping our character and strengthening our faith and ultimately causing his name to become greater. Remember that when you are finding it hard to be patient, struggling to have faith, can't seem to see the way, or whatever you are going through, that if you are a child of God, your King, Savior, Deliverer and your Great Father is working for your good at all times and will work everything out for your good and for his glory. That is reason to rejoice and respond to Him in worship. I'll finish with this quote by Pastor Harry Reeder:

"Circumstances don't dictate our character, they reveal it and give us a chance to improve it."

C&B
Hayes Party of Two

Friday, June 19, 2009

One Year!!

Well, it took a little long for us to post, but after no further adieu, we have details of our one-year anniversary trip to Chattanooga. We have been married for one year!

We drove up there Friday afternoon and when we arrived, we went to the movie theater to see The Taking of Pelham 123. Other than it having a lot of language, the movie was excellent. There was action, comedy, drama, suspense and of course two great actors in Denzel and Travolta.

After the movie we checked in to the Stone Fort Inn, which is a 100 year old Bed and Breakfast in downtown Chattanooga and we loved it. They had an antique pool table that we played a few games on and a very nice suite with two rooms and a large bathroom.


Chris and I played some pool.




Friday night they had a wine and cheese hour from 6-7, which was pretty cool.




However, we aren’t big wine drinkers so after a few sips we opted for a couple of cokes instead. The cheese, crackers and fruit were all very good though and served as a nice appetizer before we went to dinner at Big River Grille.

We walked from the B&B about 8 blocks to get there and back, but it was a nice night and a nice town to walk in so we enjoyed that very much. Before going to bed that night, they had videos you could get and watch in your rooms so we watched Kindergarten Cop, haha…classic!


On Saturday we woke up and went down to breakfast, which was very good. Brittany opted for some cereal while I had some fruit, fancy hash brown stuff and some crepes filled with applesauce, which were awesome. They also had some fresh orange juice. The service was excellent and we really enjoyed our stay there.

After checking out we drove to Ruby Falls and did the tour through the caves to the underground waterfall and then after lunch we went to Rock City and enjoyed that as well. Guess we figured it was important to do some touristy things while in the city.

Chris being silly........

I followed and was silly as well.........




Overall, it was an amazing trip because we got to spend it together and honestly it didn’t matter what we did. This first year has been filled with everything and we cannot wait for however many more years God chooses to give us. Hopefully next year we will be able to do something a little more fancy like a cruise or a nicer vacation, but it was a nice first year anniversary indeed.




When we got home, we got to eat our first year cake. I am going to be honest friends and say it was not the best thing in the world.


The funny part was that it was too tall for the cake topper to cover it. So, Brittany made her own topper. We had no toothpicks in the house, but we did have straws. :)




C&B
Hayes Party of Two

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Updates On Life

I thought today would be a good time to give everyone some updates on our lives and where we are at. Obviously, Brittany is still teaching but is off for the summer and has begun her first of 6 weeks of summer Grad classes. Since she is taking 3 classes this summer, she will be able to graduate next May. Pray that she gets though this because it is a lot of class time and a lot of work at a high level. She will return to teaching at Excel Christian Academy in the fall for her third year there.

As for me, I recently took a new position at DFCS (Department of Family and Children Services). I am now a Family Team Meeting Facilitator. Basically what that means is that when a family has an ongoing case with the Department, we do a Family meeting involving the parents, case managers, service providers, etc and develop a case plan and talk about the family's strengths, needs, and things like that. It's a really cool part of the process that seems to be very effective and successful. We also do one right before we close the case to celebrate the good work of the family and to help them look out for things in the future. I enjoy it for the most part, although there is a learning curve involved so as I continue to understand the process, get organized and come up with a solid routine, it gets easier.

I started getting up earlier in the mornings this week and have been running. It's a struggle, but I hope to keep it up. I stay pretty active during the week in the evenings playing basketball, volleyball and disc golf at least 3 nights a week, sometimes more. Hopefully I will be able to lose some weight, get in better shape and be healthier all around. I'm just not the kind of guy that likes running unless there is a ball or some purpose or sport involved so it is a challenge, but hopefully God continues to give me strength and motivation to get up and do it.

Lastly, Brittany and I are so excited about heading to Chattanooga to celebrate our one year anniversary together this weekend. Stay tuned for details and pictures. I also got my haircut, but didn't think anyone really cares to see pictures of me, it's short like it always is, haha.

C&B
Hayes Party of Two

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Changes

So....if you know me, you know that I am not one for changes! I love my comfort zone. It is the best way for me to remain non-stressed. Last Friday, I decided it was time for change. I got my hair chopped off! This was big for me, but I love the result.

FIVE inches were cut off!!!



I love the result though!

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Simple Pleasures

So, I know what most of you are thinking....."it's about time the Hayes' got a blog, I've been dying to know what is going on with them". Well, your dreams have come true because we have joined the blogging world and can now tickle your fancies with our musings, anecdotes, and with whatever we feel like talking about. Now to the good stuff.

I came home Wednesday evening after a long day of work then a couple hours of basketball to find my beautiful wife at home who told me to go shower and get ready, she had a surprise for me. We had a nice spontaneous little mini date as we went out and got a drink from Sonic, then some Chickfila for dinner and brought it home to enjoy together. She's amazing and was so cute and it really was a lot of fun. We had some friends come into town this weekend to stay with us for a wedding that was today and that was fun. We also got to go to Cartersville and do some shopping because I desperately needed some clothes and Brittany wanted to get a few things as well so our friend Keri joined us.

I'm excited about worship tomorrow at Three Rivers, we are doing some really awesome songs like: Everlasting God, Satisfied, Holy Hands, O For A Thousand Tongues to Sing (Crowder version) and Mighty is the Power of the Cross. Come out and join us tomorrow if you are looking for a church, or just want to try something different.

We have now been married for 51 weeks and they have been the best of our lives. Stay tuned to hear about our anniversary adventures and plans. Rock on and God bless!

C&B
Hayes Party of Two

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

The First Post

Our First Post.......interesting huh?