Tag Archives: appomattox

Traffic, Arghh!

It was a hilarious comment. One that just begged to be made fun of. And though I rarely laugh at people (I try to stay on the level of laughing with people), this statement got me chuckling right before their very eyes.

They stated they hated to go into Lynchburg, because the traffic was like driving in New York City.

This is not Lynchburg

If I had been drinking milk, it would have spewed through my nose. Now it Is true that traffic in my little town of Appomattox is basically nil. The only time I’ve had traffic issues is when the Amish buggy was in front of me and I had to wait for a good time to pass. And it is also true to go to Lynchburg (the closest mid-sized town) means more traffic.

And it is also true there are spots of traffic jams with consistent backups … but we can talk about the Chick-fil-A drive through another day. Ward Avenue is a moderately trafficked road. But New York City?

I’ve driven through NY a few time, but I’ve lived in Dallas many years, as well as NoVa (northern Virginia) outside of Washington DC – all three known for traffic, constant construction, and money hungry toll roads. Lynchburg is not NYC.

So I love my traffic around here. People driving courteously. Giving, not taking, right of way. Waving at fellow drivers – with all five fingers.

But I read a quote this week that got me thinking of even a better stretch of road to be seen on, a road our GPS may not suggest, but one we should be taking regularly. And a road too many people avoid.

There’s always less traffic on the extra mile

John C Maxwell

Wow. Ka-Boom. Mind blown.

Jesus talked about the way we are to be treating people. Turning the other cheek, giving your coat when they demand your shirt, and going the second mile. What was Jesus talking about …

In his earthly days, the Romans could subjugate and humiliate citizens of captured lands by demanding anyone could be made to carry the Romans’ luggage for one mile beyond the city. Jesus said to carry it a second mile.

Again … Wow. Ka-Boom. Mind blown.

And in that second mile comes opportunity. Opportunity to share you care, to talk about the good news of the Gospel, to explain how Jesus went the second mile to save all who would believe.

We are to be looking for these opportunities to serve and to share. In a world of people looking out for themselves, we are to be different. Believers are to be living on the second mile – looking out for others more than ourselves.

Where does your GPS say you are? Is it on the extra mile? If not, then maybe you need to redirect.

Offensive Church Signs … Just a Thought

I live in a small town that is the home place of a very historical event. Just a few miles from my front door is the location where Gen. Robert E. Lee surrendered to Gen. Ulysses S. Grant. A National Historical Park, Appomattox is one of several US locations that will always have Civil War memorabilia on the walls, fill local store shelves, and be the discussion at local diners. It’s the bread and butter of some of the local economy, especially after the garment industry dwindled and the local Thomasville factory closed.

L for the end of the Civil War, O has a banjo (credit to Sweeney … father of modern banjo), V has oars signifying local lakes and waterways used for recreation, and E has the railroad which put this town on the map … and I hear all through out the day.

As you cross the county lines, signs remind you of the event with a picture of three guns stacked together and the quote”Where Our Nation Reunited“. Even in our unique LOVE sign, a now cool marketing scheme in Virginia connected to Virginia is for Lovers, the stacked arms is the vertical arm of the letter L.

As you cross the county lines, signs remind you of the event with a picture of three guns stacked together and the quote”Where Our Nation Reunited”.

Where our nation reunited. I wish it was that simple. Years will go by and we still struggle with division … race, politics, economic, religious, ad nauseam. It seems we are a nation more divided than in any recent times. And a local church has made national news with its “America: Love It or Leave It” in lit up letters on their church sign.

Many have asked my input. Being the church has the same name as my last church in Richmond (who are apparently getting calls thinking they are the church that posted the statement), some friends from there call me and ask what Appomattox preachers are doing.

First, let me say, churches and individuals have a right to free speech.

Second, I do love America, but my prayer for America is not that we get bigger, better, and stronger for America’s sake – I want a better nation to be a better platform for freedom so the church can have the platform of freedom to share the love, mercy, and grace of the gospel unencumbered … a society that gives the church a place to shout loud the love of God.

And third, if anything, I want to be known as an agent of unity – not division nor uniformity. I want to be an ambassador of a message that draws people together. A representative of reconciliation … primarily with God, but also with each other. (It’s kind of what all Christians should be doing. See 2 Cor 5.18 … article on that here.)

So go ahead and put whatever you want on your signs; but me, I want mine to point to the cross.

Where our nation reunited. Wouldn’t it be great if Appomattox, or maybe your little corner of America, had the slogan that talked about people reuniting with the God who created them. And instead of the three guns showing surrender, we lift high the cross … showing our surrender. Now that is a sign I would love see really take off.

So I close saying I am going to listen to a little Peaches & Herb today (music from ’78 … because it feels so good! Look it up Gen Y & Z.)

Be blessed and tell someone God Loves them.


Historically Close, but just on the Outside

Charles Sweeney. Not a name with whom most are familiar. I hiked the short trails around his cabin, more of a nature walk. As I dug a bit deeper into Charles and this cabin, I noticed a few things about how he is always close, but never quite in the inner circle, never in the main area.

  • On the Appomattox Court House National Park, His cabin is one of the spots to stop and enjoy some history. But the cabin is not on the main grounds. It is just over a mile or so north of the place where Lee surrendered to Grant. Yes, there is a trail, but there is no parking lot, no main sign, and no direct connection to the surrender itself.
  • Charles, though I am sure very important in his day, is more well known historically because of his cousin Joel Sweeney. Joel travelled the world and popularized the American Banjo.
  • Some records show Lee stayed in the Sweeney Cabin the night before the surrender. But oh so close. Not Robert E Lee, it was General Fitzhugh Lee (a Calvary General and cousin to Robert E Lee).
  • It officially, his residence was part of Clover Hill, a small community. But when Clover Hill was restored, and made a little village to visit just down the street … the Sweeney cabin remained on its original spot.

I don’t know everybody, for there are a lot of everybody out there (bad grammar, but you get it). But I know most don’t enjoy time and time again being left out, or getting close but still not getting on the inside.

We can’t all be A-listers, headliners, and talk of the town. And that’s okay. It has been said God must love ordinary people because He made so many of them. We can all make an impact, leave a mark, and connect with others. Joel may be the famous Sweeney, but Charles built a home that has lasted through the centuries.

Feeling on the outside? That’s okay. Maybe God has a reason for you to be there, a person you need to care for, and a blessing you need to be. And on the outside, look for me, cause I’m out there with you. And sometimes, I really like it.

The hike was enjoyable, and the small flowers were in bloom around the field. Combined with the Ferguson Wildlife Trail, was a short loop of under three miles. I parked at the Artillery Field and enjoyed the warm day.

Volleyball for Life


I went to Appomattox High yesterday to cheer on the Raiders Girls’ Volleyball team as they compete in the post season tournament. They had an undefeated season and it was impressive to watch these players work as a single unit to overcome the strong challenge by Altavista High. The Raiders lost the first game, won solidly in game 2 and 3. But game 4 was a squeaker. They yielded a 8 point lead to let it tie up at 24. They held strong and took game 4 and advance in the competition.
I remember the days of cheering my son in his high school volleyball team … and I saw similar faces of pride of parents in their kids and grandkids. High school isn’t the intense V-Ball you see in the Olympics or even in upper level college play – but it was just as fun.
And like many youth sports, it teaches some great life lessons. Here are four I want to pass on …
There is great power and a great feeling in being a part of a team.
Maybe it’s that we were created for relationships. Maybe it’s we are at our best when we know others have our back. Or maybe we just don’t want to battle life all by ourself – a team, a group, a family is a great thing to be a part of.
You can only control your side of the court.
No matter how much you try, there are always things outside of our control. So, work hard at what you can, trust the Lord, and don’t be anxious about any thing else. Leave it prayer and Him.
We need to remember to be humble.
Nobody likes an obnoxious winner. And we all need to take defeats with grace. I get it, winning feels good, pumps us up, and even helps our confidence – especially like those victories the Raiders had in game 4 – close and exciting. So, treat the opponents with respect and never rub it in.
It teaches many qualities, the best is character.
Sports teaches us competitiveness, confidence, being coachable, commitment, and communication – but hopefully, mostly character. This can be seen in the first three points, as well as sportsmanship and ethics.

These four points can help in all our life’s efforts. These girls are doing more than just competing in a volleyball game – they are being trained for life. Thanks coaches, schools, and parents. Thanks.

till tomorrow – todd