With a hint of irritation in his voice my doctor said, “I wish you would trust my medical advice.” A month earlier he had prescribed medicine for a problem I was experiencing which had worsened. When I told him I had decided not to take the medication, his response was a polite way of saying, “Why do you pay to see me if you are not going to do what I recommend?”

I have been reasonably healthy all my life and have taken very little medication but I have seen others who have had serious reactions to some medication. After getting the prescription filled I read all the possible side effects and was frightened at the possibilities. So I decided not to take the medicine. I should not have been surprised when my condition did not improve.


Why would anyone consult with a physician whom they did not trust? Why would one incur the expense of a doctor’s visit if you were not going to follow the advice you were given? Why pay for prescription medicine if you are not going to take it? Why return to the doctor when your condition did not improve if you had not followed instructions previously given?

I understood.

As a parent I have often wondered why a child would seek your counsel and then ignore it. Why ask for my advice if you don’t intend to take it seriously? At the same time I understand that asking for advice does not necessarily mean one is going to agree and follow the directions. Still I think the knowledge and wisdom gained from my experience should have some value. When it is not heeded, I feel a little like my doctor.

After a lifetime of serving people I am not surprised that everything I say and suggest is not accepted and acted upon. I also understand that my opinion and perspective is not always the best for every circumstance. In fact, sometimes my advice is not helpful at all.


I suspect that God often feels like my doctor. I ask God to guide me. To help me discern the right path. To help me behave appropriately. To do what is right. Then I ignore God’s advice received either through prayer, scripture, or the counsel of others and do what I want anyway. Surely God says, “I wish you would trust me.”

However, God, like my doctor, doesn’t give up on me. Thank God (and my doctor) that I am given another chance to get it right.

Jamie Jenkins

I know it is not Thursday and you were not expecting to hear from me today but there is something I wanted to share with you. The anthem that the Peachtree Road United Methodist Church choir sang this morning struck a chord with me and I felt it was worth passing on.

The World of Our Dreams

By Jeffrey Ames


There is a day I long to see when we will live in perfect peace;

Where war and strife no longer reign, and kingdom of hatred cease;

Where freedom rings for every soul and love is shown to all.


Can you dream a world for our future? Can you dream within your heart?


It is a world without distress, the God of peace is there;

He wipes away all tearful eyes, He banishes every care;

The joys within this world are full, the songs are ever new.


Can this be the world of our future? If you dream within your heart!

Dream of a world and lift your eyes to glorious visions in the skies.

Oh, trust in faith and by His hand, we shall reach our promised land.


There are times in this world when it seems oppression rules;

The hopes and dreams of burdened hearts become as shattered jewels;

The hollow pain from deep within, can nothing subdue this heartache?


The world I dream will meet the needs of every living soul;

It reaches from the highest star, to the darkest depth below;

Within my world are days of hope, peace, harmony.

May this dream forever live, and become reality.


Dream a world within your heart.


Jamie Jenkins



I arrived in the small west Georgia town of Roopville in the summer of 1972. It would be a wonderful place for me, my wife, and our eight month old son.

In the next few months I discovered that there was no organized recreational opportunities for the children and youth of this rural area. With the help of a few committed folks in the community we changed that.


The Roopville Athletic Association was formed. Volunteers invested many hours and their money and this loosely organized group fielded two boy’s baseball teams the next summer. With the help of a lot of local people we worked on the hard red Georgia clay playground at the Roopville Elementary School and made it into a baseball field of sorts. The contributions of entrepreneur J.W. Wood, who lived across the road from the United Methodist Church, enabled the boys to be outfitted in uniforms as nice as any other teams.


Although the Roopville team uniforms looked as good as others, that was where the similarities ended. The boys in our area had never played organized baseball and they competed with teams in other communities that had been playing competitively for years. If you looked at the season’s won-loss record, it was ugly. The Bad News Bears looked like all-stars compared to our teams. But it was a chance for these kids to develop their athletic skills and learn a lot.

You know that they were desperate because they let me coach the 11-12 year old team. During one game we miraculously got a runner on base. Then, wonder of wonders, someone hit the ball that got past the opposing team’s center fielder allowing our player to advance to third base where I was coaching.


As our next batter stepped in I said to the exuberant young man who had just slid safely into third, “Phil, if Tony hits the ball no matter where it goes do you think you can make it home and score?” He looked at me with a big grin on his face and replied, “I don’t know coach. I ain’t never been this far before!”


Some days I am as bewildered as Phil. I read and hear that self-driving cars are becoming a reality. There is serious talk about establishing colonies where people will live on Mars. The globalization of the world’s societies and economies makes us interdependent and vulnerable. The recent decision of the United Kingdom to leave the European Union sent shock waves through economic systems worldwide. Terrorism across the globe has changed the way we live. The immigrant crisis in Europe has caused great concern everywhere. Climate change, Zika virus, and a host of other issues cause me to realize that we have never been this far before. And it can be frightening and unsettling.


I cannot comprehend what changes will occur during the short span of years that I hope to live. And to think about what my grandchildren will experience is mind boggling. Rather than be pessimistic, I find comfort and hope in the words of a song I learned a long time ago:

Many things about tomorrow I don’t seem to understand

But I know Who holds tomorrow and I know Who holds my hand.

There is ONE who sees the end from the beginning and I have complete confidence that God will guide and guard us through the future.

Jamie Jenkins



When I did an internet search for “retirement advice” almost everything related to finances. While that is a very important part of planning for retiring, it is not all and I am certainly not the one to give guidance in that area. Having enough money for a comfortable living and a little to provide for satisfying hobbies/interests is essential to your physical and emotional well-being during your retirement years.


Many people are diligent in financial planning for retirement and are to be commended for it. I was not one of them. Fortunately my employer made significant contributions to my pension and encouraged me to participate fully in that effort. After a lot of years I finally invested more for my future.

I am goal oriented and recognize the wisdom in planning and preparation. But when it came to considering the end of my working career, I just never gave it much (any) thought. I never thought it would happen. I have worked all my life and I found fulfillment in what I was getting paid to do. Then somewhere in the 40th year of my professional career things changed.

My change in thinking began one day when a colleague of mine expressed concern when she said, “I don’t hear you whistling anymore.” I am a whistler but I am not aware of it until someone asks, “What was that song you were whistling?” My wife tells me it is my subconscious way of expressing my emotions. Maybe.

I thought about why I had stopped whistling, I wondered if it was a way that my deep inner self was trying to tell me I needed to make a change. I was not unhappy, burned out, or angry. But maybe it was time for a change. During the next several months I pondered and prayed about it and it became clear to me that it was time for me- not to quit- but to do something else. I made that decision and transitioned into a new phase of life.


When asked what I wanted to do after I retired my answer was consistently, “I don’t have a clue.” I just knew it was time. I have always believed that if you are doing what you should be doing today, you will be where you should be when God has something else for you to do. That is not a cop-out to justify poor or no planning. Rather it is a mindset that governs your life and work. I am convinced that everyone has a “calling” and fulfillment and contentment comes as one faithfully follows that path. It does not begin or end with retirement.

In making the decision to retire and think about this new era, I came across some suggestions that made sense to me. There are four questions in preparation for your new reality and they can equally apply to any stage of life:

  • Where do you want to go?
  • What do you want to give?
  • What do you want to learn?
  • What do you want to do?

Go, Give, Learn, Serve.

Go- There is a great big wonderful world to explore. Many beautiful places, near and far, to visit. Give- There are many places and situations where you can use your talent and experience to serve others. Learn- We are never too old to learn and there is much that will enrich our lives. Do- Individuals have different hobbies and interests that may not be fully explored or developed during the years of our “making a living.”


I have been in retired status for a little over three years now and it has been wonderful. There have been more than ample opportunities to consider. I am taking advantage of the ability to make more choices and am attempting to remain useful and productive without much of the stress that surrounded my life for 41 years.


I am grateful for the years of following God’s call upon my life and serving God’s people. I am glad those years are not over.

Jamie Jenkins









On the radio show Prairie Home Companion Garrison Keillor always ended his tales of life in Lake Wobegone by declaring that in that mythical town “all the women are strong, the men are good looking, and the children are above average.”

I don’t know about Lake Wobegone but my world is well populated with strong women. My wife, my daughter, my daughters-in-law, my granddaughter. My last two administrative assistants before I retired. Clergy and Laity staff at my church and others with whom I have worked. Women who have a good sense of self and are willing to step up, take responsibility, and use their talents well.

Louise Applegate Adams was one of those strong women until her death August 19, 2016, four months before her 87th birthday. She was a faithful wife, companion, and caregiver to Chuck, her husband of 63 years. She loved her family, especially her four granddaughters, her church, and her community.


Louise loved life and lived it to the fullest. She believed that every day was a gift to be used wisely. She was diagnosed with breast cancer in the 1950s at age 27. Her zest for life was largely due to the unlikely fact that she was a cancer survivor. Every day was precious to her and presented many opportunities to invest herself for the good of others. She welcomed responsibility to serve others far more than most people. She could keep up with the Energizer Bunny as she lived into the latter part of her eighth decade.


At her funeral her friends and family remembered Louise with words like determined, strong willed, hard-working, devoted, a lover of learning, courageous, focused. Advocating for women’s rights and giving voice to those who could not speak for themselves were tasks that Louise took on gladly. If she believed in something she was more than willing to stand up and speak up.


Among other things, Louise’s pastor said she spoke her mind, expected you to do the same and she respected you for it even if you disagreed with her. That is a quality that is all too rare among people.

There is no shortage of people who will boldly express their views and are forceful in making their point. Louise was one of them but she gave you equal opportunity to state your position, even if it was different from hers, and did not demonize you for it. That made her different from most folks.


We are called upon to “speak the truth in love” and sometimes that seems harsh. However, expressions of different opinions do not have to be mean spirited or demeaning to persons of other persuasions. Louise seemed to understand that. While she seemed more than willing to be the “fly in the ointment” she did not “take her ball and go home” if things didn’t go her way. While she hoped to convince you to see things her way she did not desire to “defeat” you. She understood that making an argument was not the same as having an argument.

Many people avoid conflict and just want everyone to get along. This is an appropriate attitude but it does not require everybody to share the same perspective. It is possible to be respectful and appreciative of others with whom you disagree. That was something Louise realized and practiced.


Louise was not a peace lover. She was a peace maker. And that means working together even when we disagree. Sometimes I will be right and sometimes you will be right. Sometimes both of us are right and sometimes we are both wrong. But if we continue to be respectful in our relationship and engage in civil dialogue, we will most often come to wise and constructive decisions.

Thank God for the spirit of Louise Adams and the women in which it lives on.

Jamie Jenkins


I enjoyed sports as a player in my earlier years and have always enjoyed as a spectator. I grew up in Mobile, Alabama and during my teenage years I lived near Baltimore Park, a city recreation center. I played on a baseball team there. Our team’s Coach Campbell also played in a softball league at the park on Tuesday nights and I would often go to watch him play.

If Coach Campbell booted a ground ball, made a bad throw, or struck out, I would remind him of it the next day at my team’s practice. This was not received kindly and I can still see his face grow red as he would say, “Don’t do as I do. Do as I say!

Many years later in a church board meeting there was discussion about whether we should continue to have worship services on Sunday night. After many comments the chairman called for a vote. When asked for those who believed we should continue Sunday evening services almost every hand in the room went up. Then the chairman asked another question: “If we continue Sunday evening services, who will attend?” This time there were far fewer hands raised.

Sometimes our actions don’t match our words.

One day Jesus told a parable of a farmer who had two sons (Matthew 21:28-32). The farmer went to the first son and said, “Go work in the vineyard today.” The son was somewhat rebellious and replied, “I will not.”  The father was disappointed but did not say anything else.

The farmer then went to his second son and asked if he would help out in the vineyard today. The second son said, “Yes sir, I will go.” With the assurance that the second son would help out, the farmer went to work in another part of the vineyard.

Things didn’t turn out quite like the farmer expected. The first son who answered, “I will not,” changed his mind and spent the entire day working in the vineyard. The second son who said, “Yes sir, I will go,” also had a change of mind. The second son, the one who promised to help his father, did not.

Jesus asked the religious leaders, “Which of the two did the will of the father?” “The first,” they answered.


Best-selling author, Steven Covey, writes about the time he was a professor at the Marriott School of Management. One of the young executives asked him how he was doing in class. As they talked for a while Covey confronted him directly. “You didn’t come in to find out how you are doing in class,” he said. “You came in to see how I think you are doing. You know how you are doing in the class far better than I do, don’t you?”

The young executive said he knew how he was doing in class. He admitted that he was just trying to get by. He gave a host of reasons and excuses for cramming and taking short cuts. The young man came in to see if it was working. Reflecting on this incident Covey writes, “If people play roles and pretend long enough, giving in to their vanity and pride, they will eventually deceive themselves.”

Such was the case of the religious officials that Jesus was talking to. They had been using all the right words, going through all the ceremonies. They had God on their lips but not in their hearts. They had said “yes” to God but God was not real to them. Sometimes we go through the motions, not really meaning what we say. Empty words. Sometimes we are like them- our actions don’t match our words.

It is easy to sing the song, “I’ll go where you want me to go, dear Lord. Over mountain or plain or sea. I’ll say what you want me to say, dear Lord. I’ll be what you want me to be.” It is another thing to really do what we say we will do.

God expects us not only to “talk the talk,” we are also expected to “walk the walk.” Talk is cheap. Actions speak louder than words.


We are called not just to say, “Here I am, Lord. Send me.” But to actually “go” where God sends us. Not just to say, “I will” but to actually “do” what we say we will do. Not just give lip service but to actually practice what we preach.


Jamie Jenkins

Everyone has faith- in someone or something.


We have faith in our parents. When we are young we trust them and believe they are the wisest people around and can work miracles. During our teenage years that perspective changes but then as we reach adulthood we realize they might really know what they are talking about.


We have faith in our spouse. Although there might be things about which we disagree, we know that he/she can be trusted to have our back. You can depend on her/him to be honest with you and tell you the truth. They will be there when the going gets tough and there is no one better than him/her with whom to share your joys and sorrow.


If we have a healthy self-image, we have faith in ourselves. It is possible to be overly confident and become an egomaniac, but a healthy individual has a realistic assessment of their abilities.. If we are intentional about learning and growing,  we will know our capabilities and our limitations.


We have faith in wise and intelligent people who invest themselves in their academic or professional disciplines. Their conclusions are well thought out and substantiated with reliable factual data. We invest our money, our health, our security, and much more because we trust their economic, philosophical, and scientific theories.


We are skeptical of the folks who predict the weather but we apparently have faith in them. Otherwise why would we take an umbrella with us when they say it is going to rain. Even if it does not rain as predicted, we still trust them and the umbrella we carry the next time rain is in the forecast is ample evidence.


I saw a wonderful example of faith the other day as I drove down Peachtree Road in Atlanta. Hundreds of people were walking down the sidewalks in front of Lenox Square Mall. When the traffic light turned red I stopped and dozens of people streamed across those eight lanes of traffic without even looking to the right or the left. Obviously they had faith that I and the other motorists were going to stop when we were supposed to.

Evidence of faith is everywhere and everyone has a measure of it. So why is it so hard for some to accept faith in God? Some of us are cynical, at best, when it comes to putting  our faith in something/someone that we cannot see or touch. Yet, we risk our lives on so many different levels to people or principles that we cannot see and do not encounter face to face.13251-trustgodlife-1200w-tn_

To deny that faith in God is a valid disposition would make sense only if we did not trust anything or anyone. To fail to recognize that faith in God is a solid principle on which to base our lives, is as ridiculous as if we did not believe that water is wet or that the sun is hot. Without faith one could not function in life. “The fundamental fact of existence is that this trust in God, this faith, is the firm foundation under everything that makes life worth living. It’s our handle on what we can’t see.” (Hebrews 11:1-2, The Message)

Jamie Jenkins


The pursuit of happiness is one of the “unalienable rights” which the Declaration of Independence says has been given to all human beings by their Creator. However, happiness is often considered elusive and fleeting. Nathaniel Hawthorne said that “happiness is as a butterfly which, when pursued, is always beyond our grasp, but which if you will sit down quietly, may alight upon you.”


Recent research suggests that happiness can be attributed to three major sources: genes, events and values. Data suggests that if we understand them we can improve our lives and the lives of others.

According to the researchers, data on happiness remain fairly consistent. Arthur C. Brooks reports in the New York Times that every other year for four decades, roughly a third of Americans have said they’re “very happy,” and about half report being “pretty happy.” Only about 10 to 15 percent typically say they’re “not too happy.”

Although there are demographic differences that can affect the statistics, about 48 percent of our happiness is inherited from our parents. Studies further suggest that isolated events control up to 40 percent of our happiness at any given time. Social scientists say that we can control the remaining 12 percent if we pursue four basic values: faith, family, community and work.

The website offers another formula for happiness: Letting Go + Acceptance + Gratitude. This suggests that the best things you can do with your life is to “let go of what was and what will be and be okay with it, thankful for it, and appreciate it.”


In a new study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, researchers at University College of London have provided another formula for happiness. They created an equation that accurately predicted the happiness of over 18,000 people. Participants in the study completed certain decision making tasks. Then researchers used MRI imaging to measure their brain activity and asked them repeatedly, “How happy are you now?” This testing resulted in the following equation:


You will have to do your own research to figure out what all that means.

The suggestions based on studies that are offered above are worth considering, but I commend the following to you as a formula for happiness that I think will work.

Rev. Bill Britt, Senior Minister at Peachtree Road United Methodist Church in Atlanta, offered another formula for happiness in his sermon last Sunday.* He based it on Philippians 4:4-7 in the Bible.

  • Be gentle
  • Don’t worry about anything
  • Pray about everything
  • Be thankful for all things

Actually Rev. Britt gave only three steps. I have added one: Be gentle. The Message translates those two words in verse 5: “Make it as clear as you can to all you meet that you’re on their side, working with them and not against them.”

This formula sandwiched between “The Lord is near” and “the peace of God which passes all understanding will guard your hearts and minds” offers a simple but effective process for pursuing happiness.

Jamie Jenkins

*Rev. Britt’s sermon can be viewed at


Safety officials and medical professionals report that pedestrian accidents are becoming more common leaving many people with bruises and lacerations. This phenomenon is not the result of encounters with automobiles but with other pedestrians. As more folks are walking without looking where they are going collisions occur frequently on the sidewalks and in shopping malls.


The increased use of hand held devices have increased the likelihood that people bump into each other more often. Serious, and not so serious, injuries are on the rise. A recent three-person accident on a busy sidewalk resulted in the one of the most serious incidents. A young man playing Pokemon Go collided with a woman talking on her cell phone and a couple who were taking a selfie. Each of the injured blamed the others for being careless.


The Washington Post recently carried a story about another fairly new health hazard. It reported that “text neck is becoming an epidemic and could wreck your spine.” According to a study published in Surgical Technology International, when the neck bends forward the weight of the human head on the cervical spine increases. This is the burden that comes with staring at a smartphone which millions of people do for hours every day.


According to research published in the National Library of Medicine, Kenneth Hansraj, chief of spine surgery at New York Spine Surgery and Rehabilitation Medicine, says “the poor posture can lead to early wear-and-tear on the spine, degeneration, and even surgery.”

A national chain of physical therapy clinics reports that more teens than ever are complaining of “text neck,” or back and neck pain that can only be explained by the strain on the body caused by constant viewing of hand-held technology. “We have teens experiencing the same shoulder, neck and back pain usually felt by people 30 years older,” said physical therapist Megan Randich.

One of the two stories above is an exaggerated fabrication to call attention to our attachment (addiction?) to portable technology. The other is a factual report of a medical issue that is fairly new among us. You can verify the authenticity of the information on “text neck” and you can only imagine that the reported pedestrian collisions are only slightly theoretical.

The intent of this writing is not to emphasize the negative aspect of technology. My purpose is simply to accent the potential downside to the wonderful advantages of cellphones, tablets and other devices. There are many pros and cons to technology, like almost anything else. Even things that are essential to life (food, exercise, etc.) can be abused and in excess can be harmful. Rest and relaxation, meditation and introspection are as important as our physical activity and human interaction. The real issue is balance. To take advantage of the positive elements and minimize or avoid extremes.


That which is true for physical and mental health is also valid for our spiritual life. We need a balance of belief and action- faith and works (James 2:14-17). What we believe is important but it needs to be balanced by our actions. Whether it is in our service to others or our own self-care, moderation/balance is essential if we are to lead wholesome and holy lives.


Jamie Jenkins

Early one morning last week I walked outside my house to discover two naked ladies by my driveway and an army marching up toward the house. No I not am exaggerating or imagining. They were there for the whole world to see. However, there was no need to rush to get my camera or to call for reinforcements.

The two naked ladies were standing tall and proud among the roses alongside our driveway. These beautiful flowers have many identities. They are called Belladonna Lilies, Belladonna Amaryllis, Jersey lily, resurrection lily, magic lily, surprise lily or the March lily, depending on what part of the world you may live in.


This gorgeous flower produces green, leafy growth that emerges in spring and dies back by mid-summer. In late summer, leafless stems produce elegant, pink flowers. The stem without leaves is why it is called “naked lady.”

As I was enjoying these beautiful naked ladies I noticed dozens of caterpillars advancing steadily up the driveway headed to the flower beds. Each one of this army of little critters is basically a “stomach with legs.” Gardening guru Walter Reeves said “their existence is dominated by the urge to eat as many leaves as possible in the shortest time period.” I felt that it was my duty to save the plants in my wife’s garden from destruction by this invading army.

Now admit it, when you saw the heading of this column, did you jump to wrong conclusions about the subject matter? Did you keep reading because you thought the topic was something other than what you discovered it to be? Were you disappointed?

In this day of sound bites and the media frenzied world we live in it is easy to get wrong impressions and be led to faulty conclusions. Words and images inform and influence us. We need to be careful that we are not manipulated by them

I remember ordering a small drink at a fast food restaurant several years ago and being told they did not have small beverages, only medium, large and extra-large. Call it whatever you wish but one of those offerings was the least-big of the three.


Products on the supermarket shelves often claim to be “new and improved.” That designation is supposed to attract our attention and influence our buying decision. Is it really “new” and what is “improved” about it?


Have you received a call offering you a free vacation? If you listened to the spiel, you probably learned that it might be “free” but there were some charges involved.


There was a day when gambling was viewed by most people as an undesirable activity. We are now supposed to believe that it is a healthy and wholesome activity where people have loads of fun. The gambling establishments are now presented as entertainment venues frequented only by happy and healthy individuals. The picture that is painted has very little basis in reality but we are intrigued by the inviting images and the positive descriptions.

Jesus warned of “wolves in sheep’s clothing.” Things are often “dressed up” to deceive us. We must guard our minds, our hearts, and our wallets lest we become ensnared by naked ladies and invading armies.

Jamie Jenkins