Reasons Why I Love Ashland, Kentucky: Reason #4

600_358185062Yesterday, I picked up with a series of blog posts on the reasons why I love Ashland, Kentucky. Here is one more reason:

4. Natural beauty is all around

I’ve noticed something surprising when I’m away from home now: I miss the hills. I thought the hills would be an inconvenience and they are when it snows. But the hills, as well as the rocks, trees, and valleys give northeast Kentucky a magnetic quality.

My family and I have found natural beauty exploring our backyard and our neighborhood. We’ve found majestic trees, breathtaking boulders, and inviting streams, even some historic .

IM000138.JPGThere are 3 great state parks within an hour’s drive of Ashland and we’ve enjoyed each one of them. We’ve fished, floated, acoal mines
nd jumped in the water at Grayson Lake. We’ve hiked and we’ve sightseen at Greenbo Lake. And we’ve camped and caved at Carter Caves. And that’s just scratching the surface of the wonderful creation in the Ashland area.

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Why I Love Ashland, Kentucky: Reason #1

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I believe that God calls pastors to communities as well as churches. You can’t have a healthy church without personal evangelism and local outreach. If is very difficult for a church to engage in these activities without the support of their pastor. In my experience as pastor, its hard to get excited about reaching beyond the four wall of a church unless you love the community where you minster.

In order to show my love for the area where I minster, I want to share a series of blog posts this week on the reasons why I love Ashland, Kentucky.

  1. The people here are warm and welcoming

My wife and I were both raised in the north. I’m from a small farming town southwest Michigan and she grew up in sprawing suburbs of Cincinnati, Ohio. We have lived a few places in our life together, some big and some small, but none with such kind and gracious people.

Our church family has been incredibly warm and welcoming, but it goes way beyond that. We have enjoyed a quick smile and an offer to help from shopkeepers, salespeople, and workmen. The teachers and staff at the schools where our children attend have been accepting and encouraging. Our neighbors are friendly and helpful and we have enjoyed a few cooks and block party together.

That is not say we haven’t encounter any grumpy people. But for the most part, the people in this hard-working little city have welcomed my family and I with open arms. For that, we are grateful.

Check back tomorrow another reason why I love Ashland, Kentucky.

We’re Headed to Ashland KY, and Unity Baptist Church!

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It has been a long journey, but my family and I are finally headed home – to our new home in Ashland KY.  This past Sunday, August 10, Unity Baptist Church voted to make me their next Senior Pastor.  We are thrilled that God has made His will so clear and given us such a strong, loving, and prayerful church family.

As we prepare to make our move, I would like to express my gratitude to the people and organizations that helped and encouraged us along the way.  I appreciate that Billy Yates and Alan Brady from Pedal Power Bike Shop let me live my childhood dream by building and selling bicycles.    I am thankful for the people at Central Baptist Church in Paris and Cornerstone Baptist Church in Lexington who loved and accepted my family and allowed me to serve them as an interim pastor.  I wouldn’t have made it through this transition without the help support I received from Paul Chitwood, Karl Babb, and the rest of the Kentucky Baptist Convention, Ronny Raines from First Baptist Church Bradfordville FL,  and Ron Edmondson from Immanuel Baptist Church in Lexington  In addition, David Stokes has been invaluable, even before he became the Executive Director of the Elkhorn Baptist Association (soon to be the Central Kentucky Network of Baptists).  I also need to mention Kevin Milburn, Senior Pastor of Union Baptist Church, for being such a good friend and counselor.

Thank you again, everybody, for all your thoughts, well wishes, and prayers.  We have some of the best friends and family in the world!  We are excited to see what God has in store in Ashland.  If you are ever in eastern Kentucky, stop in and visit us.  We’d be glad to have you.