The Art and Science of Eating Church Donut Holes

Northside Church provides refreshments on Sunday mornings that feature Dunkin’ Donuts Munchkins. The comfort food of carbohydrates and sugar tastes like God’s goodness. Caffeinated coffee ensures everyone stays awake during the sermon.

Dunkin’ Donuts donutologists claim that 4.5 to 5 Munchkins equal one donut by net weight and caloric content. I find this information reassuring while visiting the hospitality table. A handful of donut holes feels gluttonous while one donut displays commendable restraint.

To paraphrase a Raymond Chandler quote about whiskey, there is no such thing as a bad donut. There are only some donuts that aren’t as good as others.

The pastor’s personal favorites (donuts, not whiskeys) include jelly-filled, glazed-chocolate, and powder-sugar. My OCD forces me to take two of each, exceeding the 5 Munchkin equivalency rule referenced above.

Black suits and powdered donuts don’t mix, so I’ve designed an ingenious solution. I fill a disposable cup with Munchkins and spear the fried pastries with a coffee stirrer!

Follow me for more fine-dining tips.

Psalm 34:8 declares, “Taste and see that the Lord is good, blessed is the one who takes refuge in God.” Join us Sunday mornings at Northside as we dine on God’s Word and donut holes!

Every Litter Bit Hurts

People treat the corner of Northside and West Wesley as their personal trash dump. Drivers toss their garbage out the window while waiting for the traffic light. I’ve picked up an amazing array of refuse in front of the parsonage.  

Past items included Styrofoam cups, plastic straws, fast food wrappers, potato chip bags, soft drink cans, newspaper flyers, metal bars, concrete blocks, and assorted nails and screws. Based on the empty beer bottles and wine coolers, the intersection doubles as a corner bar.

People are pigs.

I apologize for the comparison—it’s unfair to pigs! Hogs earn their stinky-sty reputation, but a porker never tossed Bud Light cans out a truck window.

Genesis records how the Lord appointed humans as co-stewards of creation. Our birthright means we should treasure the world for God’s sake and ours. 

Signs in national parks instruct hikers, “Take nothing but photographs, leave nothing but footprints.”

The people of God say, “Amen” as they pick up others’ trash. Every little bit helps.  


Someone stole 3,600 seconds of my life last weekend. Daylight Saving Time resumed in the wee hours of Sunday morning. Most of the nation sprang forward from 2:00 a.m. to 3:00 a.m.

I love Daylight Saving Time and an “additional” hour of sunlight each evening. I despise the weekends our nation adds or deletes 60 minutes of time.

The US Senate unanimously passed the Sunshine Protection Act in March 2022. The legislation called for permanent Daylight Saving Time. The House of Representatives sadly never voted on the law. The odds don’t look any better this year.   

A critic wrote about a play, “A great way to kill time for those wishing it dead.”

God’s gift of time is a gift too precious to waste—or give away—every spring.

Let’s approve Daylight Saving Time forever and call it something creative like, “Time.”  


I grew up in Cherokee County and never encountered sushi. Back in the day, we called raw fish “bait;” and I never felt a need to change my mind.

Fast forward a handful of decades.

A church member mentioned frequenting a local Japanese restaurant. David claimed his grandchildren enjoyed the California rolls while he dined on sashimi. He invited an associate pastor and me to lunch.

The hostess provided “Fun Chop” helpers for my chopsticks. They’re designed for young children and old gaijin. I managed to manipulate the salad into my mouth without mishap. They thankfully supplied an old-fashioned spoon for the soup.

The appetizers blended rice, avocados, vegetables, and crab. I felt quite cosmopolitan spearing the tapas with my toddler chopsticks. The main entrée plated a variety of raw fish, featuring several types of tuna, salmon, and an unidentified fish that may or may not have been mermaid.

My tentative nibbles turned into appreciative bites as I enjoyed the gastronomical adventure. Only a few morsels remained on the plate by the end of dinner. I thanked my host for the new experience.

Turns out you can teach an old dog new tricks. It just takes a little raw fish. Maybe I’ll try tandem skydiving next.

Good Dog

Sam the Yorkshire Terrier joined our family on Christmas Day 2007. The brown and black puppy wiggled his way into our hearts. He alternated sleeping with our daughter and son before they left home. Then he claimed a permanent spot in the middle of our bed.

We lived with Sammy 24/7/365. He followed us around the house, waiting for people to sit down so that he could snuggle beside them. We never fed the dog from the table, but tasty morsels always seemed to fall on the floor beside him.

Sambo loved road trips. He preferred to drive but begrudgingly sat in the passenger’s seat. The Yorkie barked at every dog or human who dared to use his road.

Sam turned 15 last autumn, and the years showed. The vet diagnosed him with pancreatitis two years ago, and he slowly lost weight. His hips bothered him, and he seldom ventured 25 feet outside the back door.

Our pup took a sudden turn for the worse on the first Saturday of February. We rushed him to the animal hospital, but the vets only could make him comfortable. We tearfully told him goodbye, and Sam left for his forever home.

People who spend years with beloved pets understand. They become precious members of the family and irreplaceable parts of our souls. Parishioners periodically ask if their dogs and cats go to heaven, and I reply, “How can they not?” Their selfless love reminds us of God’s eternal grace.

After all, God is dog spelled backwards. Coincidence? I don’t think so.  

Holy Land Pilgrimage 2024

I invite you to join me on a trip-of-a-lifetime to the Holy Land. Our church family along with other guests will visit Israel from March 4-14, 2024.

Holy Land 2019Biblical scholars call Israel The Fifth Gospel because geography shapes the story of Scripture. Travel brings the Bible to life as pilgrims literally walk in the footsteps of Jesus.

I have traveled to Israel several times in the past, and each journey has transformed my understanding of the Christian faith. Indelible memories continue to mold my life and ministry. I look forward to the next trip with members from my Northside Church family.

The eleven-day trip will visit  many Old and New Testament sites , including destinations not typically covered in a standard tour. The inclusive pricing includes first class hotels, deluxe motor coaches, guided tours, airfare, and much more.

For additional information, visit this link to see the full brochure that contains all of the details: You can also contact the church’s Executive Assistant, Melody Brown, at

We will have two, no-obligation interest meetings on Wednesday, February 15 at 6:00 p.m. and Sunday, February 26 at 12:30 p.m. Both will occur in the Board Room at Northside  Church. General information and brochures will be available along with a time for questions and answers.

A traditional Passover toast during the Seder meal is, “Next year in Jerusalem!”  We have the opportunity to make this prayer a reality in 2024!

Spiking the Ball

I grew up watching football on TV. At holiday family gatherings, the menfolk gathered around the tube to watch the games. I learned the sport through osmosis, listening to my elders discuss strategies, formations, and plays.

I played more baseball than football growing up; but the managers and coaches taught identical lessons about good sportsmanship and fair play. We shook hands with the opposing team after the game and downplayed our own accomplishments.

I nostalgically recalled those days during an afternoon of NFL football. I watched a wide receiver perform a dance in the end zone after scoring a touchdown. A running back dramatically pointed downfield after gaining a first down. A lineman struck a body-builder pose after sacking the opposing quarterback.

According to Wikipedia (the place of all true knowledge), Homer JonesSpike Football.png made the first touchdown “spike” in 1965.  Elmo Wright  performed what some believe was the original TD dance in 1971. Today, it’s the exception rather than the rule to see a player modestly hand the ball to the referee.

I could write a paragraph bemoaning the demise of good sportsmanship. I could lament professional athletes’ extravagant displays for simply doing their jobs. I could pontificate about the value of humility.

Instead, consider this simple point. Football teams are called TEAMS for a reason. No player single-handedly scores a TD. No running back makes a first down alone. No defensive lineman penetrates an offensive line by himself.

If you think about it, one player vainly glorifying himself for the accomplishments of an entire team seems rather silly. Our coaches always said there’s no “I” in “Team”; but there are several in “Idiotic!”

Groundhog Day

Each year the United States and Canada observe Groundhog Day on February 2. The rather bizarre holiday stars its namesake: the lowly groundhog.

According to legend, the large ground squirrel possesses mysterious, prognosticating abilities. If the rodent sees his shadow, then he retreats into his burrow in fear, predicting six more weeks of winter. If cloudy weather prevents the furred forecaster from seeing his shadow, then he leaves his lair, signifying the advent of spring.

Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania hosts the most renowned Groundhog observance in America. The resident rodent known as “Punxsutawney Phil” presides over the affair.  Over 40,000 pilgrims gather for the annual festivities.

Not to be outdone, Atlanta’s General Beauregard Lee resides at the Yellow River Game Ranch in Lilburn, Georgia. The distant-cousin-of-a rat has received two—count them, TWO—honorary doctoral degrees from local institutions. The University of Georgia awarded him a “DWP: Doctor of Weather Prognostication.” Georgia State University honored the General with a “Doctor of Southern Groundology.”

 Authorities disagree about the accuracy of Groundhog Day’s prognostications. Rodent supporters claim that groundhogs possess a 75% to 90% accuracy degree—far exceeding the success rate of their TV colleagues. The folk at the Yellow River Game Ranch assert that General Lee boasts an astonishing 94% success rate.

The National Climatic Data Center reports a more down-to-earth average of 39% accuracy for groundhogs nationwide. One scientist laconically observed that regardless of predictions, spring ALWAYS arrives on March 20 or 21—about six weeks after Groundhog’s Day.

Bill Murray starred in a 1993 movie entitled Groundhog Day. He played an egocentric weather reporter named Phil Connors. His producer assigned the weatherman to cover Groundhog Day in Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania.

Inexplicably, Connors finds himself repeating the same day over and over again. After a series of misdeeds and misadventures, Phil recognizes that fate has granted him the opportunity to change his life. The movie ends when he . . . well, you need to watch it for yourself!

January 1st inspires people to make New Year’s resolutions. Many of us need a second chance at a second chance. If 01-01 didn’t work for you, then try 02-02. Regardless of sunshine or shadows, it’s never too early or too late to claim God’s power to start anew.

Harmony and Habitat

“Live in harmony with one another.” (Romans 12:16)

Northside Church completed a Habitat for Humanity house last winter. Hundreds of volunteers worked together to make the dream come true. The ribbon-cutting ceremony on March 26th celebrated a new home for Miss Belinda.

I hauled supplies, cut lumber, hammered nails, attached siding, and installed blinds. Three of us made an easy-to-assemble shed look hard. We blamed it on the hieroglyphic directions but installing the floor upside down didn’t help!

The men and women on the worksite ranged from teenagers to septuagenarians. Democrats, Republicans, Libertarians, and Independents served side-by-side. No doubt the groups could have argued every side of any political or societal issue.

AND . . . we built a home together in eight weeks!

People assume church harmony means mutual agreement. Experience teaches us otherwise. Those seeking a church where everyone agrees will be disappointed. Whenever two or more gather in Jesus’ name, the Lord promised to be present because he realized how much conflict would occur!

Our heavenly Father adopts us into God’s household without the option of selecting our siblings. We crowd into the station wagon for a long road trip with the Lord’s admonition, “Now, you kids get along!” The Holy Spirit calls us to live in peace with one another.

The church is not a human institution but a supernatural creation. Losing sight of this fundamental truth causes us to focus on our differences rather than our commonalities. What binds us together surpasses whatever might pull us apart.

AND . . . we built a home together in eight weeks.

Northside Church begins its next Habitat Build this Saturday, January 28! Visit for details.