Tag Archives: Legacy

An Antique Trunk

An Antique Trunk … or something more?

What do you have that just shouts “Legacy”? What do you have that connects you to previous generations?

There are pieces of furniture in my possession that mean a lot to me. Some date back over a century. My grandfather, Roy, passed away decades ago. One of his skills was taking old furniture, furniture disposed of by others, and reclaiming them, repurposing their parts, or just refurbishing them – making them objects that now are desired by others. I have a desk/table that was shaped out of old church pews. This is kind of cool. I have dressers and chests of drawers dating back to before my parents wedding (early 1950s). And I have kitchen table that also was on our family home for half a century.

Table made form old Oak pew

There is a water table, some chairs and a miniature travel trunk dating back to possibly 1800s.  Add to this some homemade quilts, doilies, lead glass bottles and other paraphernalia. And a true treasure are the Bibles my father and his father used to preach from.

These connect me to my parents. I sense the presence of my grandparents in them. I imagine them using the trunk when they moved from Missouri to Mount Airy, NC.  Did my great grandparents use them? What was in the trunk? Where did they get it? Was it a child’s (being so small)?


I treasure these items. For this month, I am decorating the stage of the church with a different room of the house each week. Relationships by the Room. One of the powerful connections is I am using some of these “legacy” items on stage.  Again – it’s like my father and grandfather are part of my ministry.  I shiver.

You can see the chest and the water table in the above picture.

Maybe you have some items as well. Items that carry your family name, your ancestors’ stories, and a heritage.  I have lost a few over the years. Chairs have broken and beyond my repair. A few items have been given to nephews or other members of the Estes heritage. A couple have been claimed by my son and daughter-in-law.

But where will the ones I still have be in 30 years? What do I have that will be a legacy to Sammy (my first and presently only grandchild)?  What will mean something to him?  I am not a hoarder, so his pickin’s are slim.

The actual “item” has relevance and carries a story – but the power is in the legacy, the connection.

I hope they continue to tell the story of a family, of individuals, that loved God, served Him wherever they were sent, and were bold in telling their story that centers around Jesus.  Perfect? Not at all. But my story os one of grace, forgiveness, mercy, and His love for, in and through me.

Lessons to take away …

  • Write your story down so it can be there when you are not. Me, I have this blog. Where will they find your story?
  • Write down the story behind the items of legacy. Pass along the stories like the table out of church pews. Connect the legacy, the stories, to the items.
  • If possible, get the stories from the ones that are before you. A time will come their knowledge will pass away

Final challenge – think of the legacy you are leaving.  Will it magnify you, or will it magnify Christ?  You only leave one. Make it count.

The Little Walnut

I was at the top of the world. I was hanging big in my domain, at the top of the highest tree. I wasn’t worried about pesky squirrels or other furry creatures getting to me. I was snuggled comfortably in my outer shell, a blanket of warmth and protection.

But my blanket began to crack. It was coming apart as if it was peeling away little by little. And then the unthinkable. I was released to fall, and fall, and fall. I bounced of limbs and finally hit a layer of soft leaves.

The shock wore off and I was okay. These leaves weren’t so bad. I would miss my sunshine, but I could get used to the comfort of a bed of leaves.

No. Stay away. Don’t come near me you beady eyes, bushy tail monster. The squirrel picked me up and ran away. Far from my tree, far from my home. Was this it? Would I end up as a winter meal?

But Lady Luck had another plan … the squirrel got rattled by a noise and dropped me. I fell into a small hole. Maybe nobody would find me and I could just enjoy this place. I felt the sun. The ground was so soft. I think I’ll just take a long nap.

But when I woke up, something had changed. I wasn’t in my shell, I wasn’t a small nut anymore. I was a small tree. I reached for the sun, took in the rain, lost my leaves in the winter, and came back in glory in the spring. I grew big and strong.

I saw other trees come and go. But I remained. Houses were built. I shaded little kids playing. Had a swing from my strong arms. Provided walnuts for pies and sweets. Kids and animals climbed me. Birds played and sang in my upper leaves.

Life was good.

But then I felt the axe. The brutality. Piercing sharp blows bringing me closer and closer to falling over. Life seemed worthless. All I had done, all I had experienced was coming to ruthless and violent end.

I cried out, ‘Why?” I wanted to have meaning, purpose, a legacy. Had I survived the fall, the snatching by the squirrel, the long seasons, the storms, the years … for this?

I was cut, sawed, smoothed, and stacked in the corner of a shed. A man came by and took me home. When he handled me, it was gently, tender … as if he saw something in me. But I was near the end, I no longer had my glory of a strong, large walnut tree.

His hands shaped me. They smoothed my rough edges. They seemed to work with a passion, a vision of something I couldn’t see. Then he put a liquid … warm and calming on me. I had a luster, a warmth of color that brought out the grains, the knots, the flow of my texture. What was he making out me?

He loaded me in his truck and took me to a large building. It was not what I expected. A large meeting place. Holes and hangers were added. And then I was placed vertical again. But not outside. I was on a wall. Hanging there.

Was this it? What was going on? And then a voice talked to me. A firm and confident voice, but a comforting voice.

“Dear piece of wood, you will be a reminder of something great. For you will point people to our Creator, our Savior, our God. For you, you who started as a walnut, high in the tree … you who grew into a large, mighty tree … that isn’t your legacy. You are now a cross, the image of where everything changed, where Hope is realized, where sin was defeated, where death lost its sting. There is no greater legacy than to point people to Jesus.”

And then I heard him whisper, “And I pray my legacy will be like yours … pointing people to Jesus.”

Yesterday, in our worship, we had a new piece added to our worship center … a cross made of black walnut. We worshiped with the cross lifted high. May we forever live in the shadow of the cross, and may our legacy be pointing people to the cross, today and always.

Old Rocks Church and the Legacy of Suanee Creek – and Me

Nestled in the woods in the far corner of Appomattox County is a hidden venue with a legacy that is older than our nation. One has to travel down a half mile fire road of gravel that is blocked off by a simple metal gate. The location is quiet, peaceful, and historic – filled with simple sounds of birds chirping and the water splashing over the rocks.

And if you listen close enough you might hear the echoes of “Amens” that go back to 1772.

The location is right along what used to be the old stage coach trail. Yet time and the railroad made that stage coach trail relocate. It is the original spot where Rocks Baptist Church used to meet and worship for decades. On looking around, you can see where the church got its name – for the acreage has rocks large and small that have been there for millennia.

The Suanee Creek pretty much flows the way it did for the past several centuries. Some rocks were added to help dam up a small area that could be used for baptisms. And this is what brought me to the scenic hideaway.

A few months ago, before the pandemic changed the world forever, I was approached by a friend that expressed a desire to be baptized in believers’ baptism. This was exciting and He wondered if we could get baptized at this location, the Old Rocks church site. The opportunity arose, and so yesterday we ventured out there for an act that is linked in a legacy.

I cannot fathom how many people have professed their faith in Jesus and stepped into these waters to be baptized. The simple act of immersion signifies their complete surrender in obedience to Christ. Hundreds? Thousands? Who knows. But it is spine tingling to know that I now have a small piece in that long line.

Initially, the waters were chilly. And I wasn’t sure if I would ever be able to get my Chuck Taylor clad feet unstuck from the mud at the bottom of the creek. In the end, we survived, and we got all our footwear safely back to shore. But more importantly, PR proclaimed to the world that he is a faithful follower of Christ.

Surrounded by family and friends, he joined an even longer line of legacy of those who have been baptized in the name of Jesus. And that is even more spine tingling than a legacy of a location.

There’s no real lesson in today’s blog, but what there is are the emotional words of a writer who realizes how Jesus changes everything with His death, burial and resurrection. And we who are spiritually dead can be made alive in Christ. And that’s the greatest lesson of all.

See, here of the water. What does prevent you from being baptized? Proclaim it!

Killing a Legacy

Don’t miss what you were created for.

It grew strong and lasted through many years. It was fruitful and grew to be proud among its peers. It was an evergreen, a pine to be precise. It’s needles lasted in harsh summer and the coldest winters.

Trail head of a simple trail at James River State Park.

Where the Tye River meets the James. Unique in its right angle intersection as opposed to a Y-type of most merges.

But something happened. It now lays horizontal on the floor of the forest.

Was it toppled by heavy winds? Maybe it was hit by lightning or knocked over by another tree that fell. I didn’t hang around to investigate. All I saw was the evergreen tree laying dead on the forest bed of leaves. All her once thriving needles have since fallen off to die and decay.

But something caught my eye. The limbs. The limbs were still full of her pine cones. They remained attached even when the tree had already shed her needles and dried up.

I learned a few things … cones can stay viable for quite a while, even after detached from the source. Cones can be attached for around ten years before they no longer produce seeds. And cones have quite a lore about them.

But I pondered if these cones were still viable. It didn’t appear so. It seemed they were stuck and dying right along with the rest of the tree. And if that is the case, the seeds would no longer be able to spread. The legacy of the once mighty evergreen would remain on the limbs till they too decayed in the circle of life.

I pastor a church … a church called Evergreen. This image challenged me. If we don’t get off the branches and spread the seed, we too will one day lose our legacy. If we stay inside the building, if we cling close to each other, and just hang out in one place, then we would not be doing what we have been created to do. We are to be going into the world, sharing the love, the hope, the grace of the Gospel.

So this month, we are sharing water and love at Railroad Fest, we are connecting with a sister church for AutumnFest, (we love Fests in this neck of the country), we are feeding after school kids, and we are getting ready for even more next month.

I don’t want us to be known as a ‘come to us’ church. Let’s be ‘let’s go to the world’ kind of people.

What about you?

Nomads in my Family Tree … Italian Exiles

I haven’t done the Ancestor.com. I haven’t researched extensively the Estes clan through the centuries. But, I do know a little. From what I know, we trace back to northern Italy where we were pretty well off. (There’s even a library with our name … look here). That’s also why I probably like pasta and pizza way too much.

But we kind of messed up. From what I’ve been told, we tried to get into politics so they kicked us out of Italy, and took our land. We floated around Europe, had a few marry royalty here and there; but we weren’t the type to settle down, so my kin headed west … and ended up in America, Missouri to be more exact. But even then, we floated around – with Roy & TW ending up in North Carolina … Mount Airy (or better known as Mayberry). Then my dad moved, and moved, and moved, and even moved some more. And so have his kids.

Monday, I went to the Frontier Culture Museum in Augusta, VA. It had some wonderful exhibits of how African, English, Irish, and German farm and residential cultures impacted American farms and frontiers. The European homes had been transported and restored to their original architecture. It was cool to see how we came to be who we are today. Now that I am in a more agrarian environment, I see some of that culture front and center.

There are those that will follow us and be influenced by our culture, our worldview, our way of doing things. What are you doing about it?

We can try to start fresh, we can try to run from our past heritage, and we can try to create a new legacy for those that follow us, and to some degree – that can happen. But it is uncanny how we see our heritage impact the way we continue to live.

We parent the way our parents parented. We have been programmed, to a degree, by 18 plus years of culture and influence. We often like similar things (fishing, sports, reading, etc) or believe similar world views (politics, faith, etc).

Bottom line … two things.

One — we can run from our past, but it still impacts us. We can build on its strength and try to eliminate the weaknesses, but we rarely can ignore it. So learn from it so you can make a difference in the second point.

Two — we are leaving a legacy. There are those that will follow us and be influenced by our culture, our worldview, our way of doing things. What are you doing about it? Make the most of this. Strive to be the best you can.

It’s never too late to make difference.

Messed Up People

Sunday’s message was summed up in this quote …

God uses messed up people, because that is all He has got to work with!

Here are the notes from the handout, with blanks filled in …

A look at how our extraordinary God works through ordinary people. Life Lessons from the Big Three (Abraham, Isaac & Jacob) and the legacy they leave.
This could also be titled – Grandpa is a bit crazy!

ABRAHAM, A Man of …

1. Weakness
11.27-32, 12.10-13, 16.1-2
lied, doubted, worked around God’s plan
baggage from a messed up family

2. Willingness
12.1-4, 22.1-3,16
willing to give all – including sacrificing Isaac
got up and went even when did not know where he was going

3. Wisdom
13.8, 14.14-15, 23
knew when to seek peace, even at his expense
knew when to go to war – to save family

4. Worship
17.1ff, 22.9ff
talked with God, called on God, built altars, had visions
God’s friend

5. Witness
an open sided tent welcoming all who passed hos way
this needs to our mentality

An Open Sided Tent
It is not the borders of our tent that should be our concern, it is what happens on the inside

All are invited to encounter the hope, grace, and love of Christ

All find a place of joy … a joy reflected in our praise and celebration in worship

All find hospitality and respect

All can discover life transforming truth found only in the life and works of Jesus

What baggage are you still holding on to? What would it take for you to let go and give it to God?

Is worship exciting to you? What would it look like if your grandkids worshipped with the passion you show in worship? What is the legacy your living?

This week, look at your life and see if you are living an open tent life – here at EBC and all throughout your week. 
What needs to change?

What’s your legacy?