Tuesday, November 8, 2016


Like a broken tooth or a lame foot is reliance on the unfaithful in a time of trouble.-Proverbs 25:19 NIV 

A man without self-control is like a city broken into and left without walls.-Proverbs 25:28 ESV 

Whoever is slow to anger is better than the mighty, and he who rules his spirit than he who takes a city.-Proverbs 16:32 ESV 

When I was a child, I spoke like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I gave up childish ways.-I Cor 13:11 ESV 

Criminal versus crazy. 

That's how I have characterized the 2016 Presidential election. 
This is in sharp contrast to the exciting run up to 1984.  Morning in America. Remember that?   After watching a joyful President with a winsome personality, I was very excited to cast my first Presidential vote for Ronald Reagan in 1984. 
In contrast we now find ourselves reduced to going out to vote for our side's demon to keep the other demon out of the White House.  

You've probably figured out, I am not a fan of either candidate. 
Voting for Hillary Clinton is absolutely out of the question.  Aside for the fact that she is an unindicted criminal, her ideology will certainly push America further from its Constitutional moorings. 

Sadly, the standard bearer for the Republican party is someone I do not trust.  Before even getting into political issues, I have no confidence in Donald Trump's character.  It is true that we are all flawed and imperfect human beings.  But it is another thing to show no demonstrable aspiration to virtue and proclaim that you see no need to ask God for forgiveness.   

Politically, Mr. Trump has spent most of his life as a Democrat.  He is clearly a Progressive.  My concern is that he has simply leveraged hot button issues like immigration and trade to lure a plurality of Republicans.  And in the process his demagoguery on these matters has needlessly alienated people who might otherwise embrace Conservative policies like fair trade and legal immigration.   

Let's be blunt here: the Republican candidate for President has produced a cult of personality.  It has been all about him. If you're in the cult, great!  If you're not, you're subject to all kinds of public shaming and vitriol.  Just days ago Never Trumper Erick Erickson revealed that one reprehensible Trump supporter suggested his wife's cancer is a punishment for not supporting "God's choice, Donald Trump.."  

If you're already skeptical of Republicans, the odious elements of Mr. Trump's personality and behavior can be frankly repulsive.  Sadly too many have not figured out that you can attract more flies with honey than with vinegar.  A lot of vinegar has flowed from the candidate and his followers... almost as much as the kool-aid that has kept members of the cult drunk with inordinate infatuation to the point of losing all sense of introspection.   Too many have been simply fan boys and girls, refusing to call their candidate to account for behavior that is beneath that we would expect from a Presidential nominee, or any healthy human being for that matter. 

In fact, this campaign has been rife with nastiness from candidate and citizen alike.  As if trying to endure the horrible character flaws of Donald J Trump wasn't enough, there's the issue of many of his supporters. Honestly, it would be all too easy to vote against Mr. Trump out of spite toward those who behave more like an angry mob than civil Americans who know how to govern themselves.  I'm reminded of a documentary "Lord Save Us From Your Followers".   It addresses the fact that they way too many of us Christians have behaved in a way that poorly reflects on our Lord. tians have behaved in a way that poorly reflects on our Lord.  I believe the "in your face" mentality of too many Trump supporters has truly reflected the ethos of the candidate himself.    

Ultimately the corrupt character of  Hillary Clinton helped to sharpen my focus and mute all of the white noise bombarding me.  I believe Mrs. Clinton has used her position for personal profit and her use of private email was beyond irresponsible. Her corrupt activities have already undermined our National Security.   Beyond her extreme leftist policies, a person of this ilk cannot be trusted in the White House... period! 

So on Friday, one of the last days of early voting in North Carolina I walked into the voting booth with a final decision.  I tapped the touch screen for every race except the first one.  With a heavy heart I returned to page one and voted for Donald J Trump. I have chosen the crazy one over the criminal.  I did it for one reason alone:  damage control.   As Mark Levin has brilliantly articulated, Hillary Clinton must be stopped.  That is it.  This is not an expression of confidence in Mr. Trump.  Simply a rejection of the unthinkable alternative.   

If Mr. Trump can pull off a victory Tuesday night, he should fall on his knees and give God the glory.  A win certainly will not be the result of him successfully selling himself to the American people.  He would simply be the last person standing in a battle between two very unlikeable and toxic candidates.  And I hope Mr. Trump will take the opportunity earn the trust of millions of Americans like me. 

I also hope his election might prompt him to deeply humble himself and express a willingness to grow as never before.... first and foremost as a human being.  I pray that he will begin an earnest pursuit of wholeness... to unearth and conquer the demons that drive him to wound people in an effort to "unwound" himself.   That's not me playing psychologist.  He acknowledged this troubling behavior to Megyn Kelly during the primary.  

I will also pray that those who have Mr. Trump's ear will be strong and refuse to be bullied. Frankly, of those in his circle, it is only Newt Gingrich who I have ever heard call out his juvenile behavior publicly.  I especially like his challenge weeks ago that Mr. Trump had to make a choice: whether to become President or whether to be himself.  The same is true for being President.    If he is elected to the nation's highest office, Mr. Trump must seek Divine help to become the man this nation needs at this critical time in history. A 70 year old adolescent simply will not do   

Monday, July 11, 2016

An Open Letter to NewSpring

I write this with a heavy heart, knowing very well the myriad emotions that flood your hearts and minds at this hour. A man you've known and loved is gone... just like that. In many ways it feels like a death in the family, even though Perry Noble is very much alive.

As a brother I'm putting out this appeal to those of you who journeyed with Perry at NewSpring. My heart is to see that this painful experience is maximized for God's glory... that restoration, healing, and fruitfulness would abound.

For those of you who are members, this is a time to freshly assess where you are in Jesus. Are you secure in Him, freely serving with your gifts in the ministry God has for you, or have you been content to be a mere spectator or even a busy religious worker bee serving as an extension of someone else's "ministry"? God created you to be much more than a cheerleader in the stands applauding and building into the "ministry" of a celebrity preacher. Do you even know what your gifts are?

In Ephesians 4, the Lord lays out his plan for the church, for apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors and teachers to build you up for the work of ministry. In reality this rarely happens. Most real ministry does not happen from a pulpit on a Sunday morning. It happens in work places, in neighborhoods, in the streets during everyday life. And God uses people like you to do it, not paid "professionals".

I recently had the privilege of interviewing and getting to know a new friend who has written an awesome book called "Sustainable Church". Walt Russell lays out a vision for churches with every member operating in their gifts. If this resonates with you, a good starting place would be taking the spiritual inventory test available at this link:

There is also an excellent book on leadership that provides much needed adjustment to our understanding of leadership in the Church.

Jesus is building His Church with people growing in mutuality, serving and loving one another. Is this the desire of your heart?

As for NewSpring, my hope and prayer is that no one replaces Perry Noble. Truthfully, we've practiced at least 1700 years of religious dysfunction, building "churches" around "pastors" rather than Jesus. (And I'm still waiting for someone to show me the title of "senior pastor" in the scriptures) I know this is heresy to the modern day church growth movement, but we need to reexamine several irrefutable truths:

-Jesus truly discipled (pastored) only 12 men. He equipped them to serve others relationally, not to build ministries around themselves

-The Church is a living 24/7 organism, not a meeting or an event.

-The American "church" as we know is dying. Membership and attendance are declining across the board, even in megachurches, and if we are honest with ourselves, we will acknowledge much of what we have done is simply "Christian laundering", moving people from one religious venue to another. For the most part, growth is not happening because we are making new disciples or welcoming new believers in Jesus.

The religious landscape in America is riddled with wounded and damaged believers still recovering from man centered McChurches in Chicago and Seattle, just to name a few. God will not be mocked.

It is too easy to believe in the veracity of our own press releases. At this critical hour I urge the leadership at NewSpring to get objective perspective from outside the church growth echo chamber. There are faithful servants who can provide timely wisdom in how to proceed at in a way that exalts Jesus, the true builder of the Church. (I can recommend several who have deeply enriched my life and others).

For those believers outside NewSpring, in the Upstate and beyond, now is not the time to self righteously look on in judgment at the failures of one man or organization or rejoice in the opportunity to expand our own religious empires... to profit from the likely turmoil at NewSpring. (be honest, for some of you this is an opportunity to get one up on the "competition". If we are wise, we will see that self examination is in order for us all. The same issues and questions apply. The size of the religious institution doesn't matter. For our Father, it’s all about our hearts.
Above all, this is a time for us to look to Him to fulfil the promise to build His church, not to build ours.

1 And he gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the shepherds and teachers, 12 to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ, 13 until we all attain to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to mature manhood, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ, 14 so that we may no longer be children, tossed to and fro by the waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by human cunning, by craftiness in deceitful schemes. 15 Rather, speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ, 16 from whom the whole body, joined and held together by every joint with which it is equipped when each part is working properly, makes the body grow so that it builds itself up in love.

Vince Coakley
Greenville Radio Talk Show Host

P.S. Finally, pray for your embattled brother. To the extent you are able; please reach out to love on Perry Noble and his family. His greatest need is not accountability or any of the other religious mumbo jumbo nonsense we've manufactured. Now more than ever he needs to experience the love of our Father directly, and the love of his brothers and sisters in Christ... love detached from the titles, positions, and roles he's embraced, and those imposed on him from others.  

Friday, April 29, 2016

The Morning Time Slowed Down

The morning of Wednesday April 30, 2015 time slowed down. It started like any other typical day. I usually wake up around 6am visit the bathroom and go back to bed for a little more sleep before starting the day with an hour walk. On this morning an unusual sensation hit me. I frantically sought a way to resolve this feeling? I began pacing. I tried lying down. Nothing worked. It slowly dawned on me: something was seriously wrong. I needed help. I woke my wife up and she called for help.

She was clearly startled by what was happening but quickly grabbed the phone and dialed 9-1-1. She told the dispatcher about my symptoms: chest pain, and difficulty breathing. She followed his prompting and gave me baby aspirin. Interestingly enough the aspirin was so easily accessible because I had put it close to the bed only days before.

By now it felt like the hands of time had slowed down dramatically. Although the first responders probably arrived within 10 minutes, it seemed like an eternity. Immediately they did an EKG and confirmed what we all suspected: I was having a heart attack. One of the men made a comment about heart surgery. It was at this point that I started a mental countdown to what I thought would be relief in the form of general anesthesia. Not only did that not happen, the journey to treatment was painfully slow. I was hyper conscious of every single moment, every simple movement, and every painstaking step in every process on the way to the treatment that would save my life.

I was taken from my bedroom, in an evacuation stair chair, down the steps to the first floor, and then outside to a waiting stretcher. Again it felt like forever waiting as the Medic administered nitroglycerin and established an IV line. Inside my soul was crying out: “why aren’t we moving yet?”

Then finally! The siren sounded and the ambulance pulled away. I could see a couple of curious bystanders outside the window sporting looks of concern. Though time seemed to creep by, I sensed that this was not the end of my life’s journey. I did wonder how long that awful pain would continue and when I could finally rest.

As the ambulance made its way through early morning traffic, I felt way too aware of every street on the way to the hospital. I noted the roundabout leaving my neighborhood, the boulevard and the exit to the interstate. The speed increased a little more on I-85. Fortunately we were able to zip through, even along areas where traffic had come to a standstill. As we weaved through the heavily congested ramp to I-77 South, we slowed down a little but fortunately never stopped. What seemed like eons later I glanced out the window again: still on 77. I told myself “we’re almost there”. We moved to the collector lane to get on the final freeway. Three more turns and we’re there.

I expected quick preparation for surgery and felt anticipation building for the anesthesiologist to ‘put me under’. Instead I found myself in a strange lab with heart monitors and other equipment. One of the men told me “we’ll have you feeling a lot better in just a few minutes.” Next I was warned to expect a sharp stinging sensation on my wrist. He also mystified me by saying I was about to get a local anesthesia. LOCAL? Isn’t that for the dentist office? Thankfully, that was one of my last conscious thoughts. Sometime later, I woke up in ICU to learn I had had a stent installed to restore circulation to my heart. My crisis was over.

This “adventure” was certainly not what I expected just days away from my 50th birthday. But I am thankful for God’s hand of protection, the quick response from my wife, the first responders and the medical team.

There was never a question in my mind that my assignment on earth is not complete. I will be intrigued to see what unfolds during Act II, as the clock has returned to normal speed.