Every morning, I do a mad dash to drop off my son Tyler at day care so I can get to work on time. My impatience hit home one morning when he piped up from the back of the car, “Our car is really fast and everyone else’s is slow because they’re all idiots, right, Mom?”


What Boys Want

“Boys just like one thing,” my ten-year-old daughter told a friend. Oh, no, the end of her innocence, I thought. Then she announced her finding: “PlayStations.”


The Brakes

The first time my son was on a bike with training wheels, I shouted, “Step back on the pedals and the bike will brake!”

He nodded but still rode straight into a bush.

“Why didn’t you push back on the pedals?” I asked, helping him up.

“You said if I did, the bike would break.”


Hair Raiser

Our friend tells everyone that he began losing his hair while serving in Vietnam. His granddaughter incorporated that information into her grade school history report on the war. She wrote, “My Grandpa went to Vietnam and got his hair shot off.”


The Warning

I should have known better than to take my four-year-old son shopping with me. I spent the entire time in the mall chasing after him. Finally, I’d had it. “Do you want a stranger to take you?!” I scolded.

Thrilled, he yelled back, “Will he take me to the zoo?”


Clean Plate

At a baby shower, everyone was asked to complete nursery rhymes. My 11-year-old daughter Taylor contributed this: “Jack Sprat could eat no fat.

His wife could eat no carbs.”



WAL-MART Wine List


Some Wal-Mart customers soon will be able to sample a new discount item: Wal-Mart’s own brand of wine. The world’s largest retail chain is teaming up with E&J Gallo Winery of Modesto, California, to produce the spirits at an affordable price, in the $2-5 range. Thought you would like to be first in line to buy some!

“While wine connoisseurs may not be inclined to throw a bottle of Wal-Mart brand wine into their shopping carts, there is a market for cheap wine,” said Kathy Micken, professor of marketing at Roger Williams University in Bristol, R.I. She said: “The right name is important.”

So, here we go–the top 6 suggested names for Wal-Mart Wine:

6. Chateau Traileur Parc

5. White Trashfindel

4. Grape Expectations

3. I Can’t Believe It’s Not Vinegar!

2. World Championship Riesling

And the number 1 name for Wal-Mart Wine

1. Nasti Spumante

The beauty of Wal-Mart wine is that it can be served with white meat (possum) and red meat (squirrel).


Tarp As Sacks

On my birthday I got a really funny card. It joked about how our bodies might be getting older, but our minds remain “tarp as shacks.”

I wanted to thank the person who sent it, but I can’t. They forgot to sign the card.



Never Lose A Tank

When I lost my rifle, the Army charged me $85. That’s why in the Navy, the captain goes down with the ship.



“Please Draw Him Near!”  by James Banks excerpt from “Pray and Go”


Jesus said, “no one can enter the kingdom of God unless” they are born of “the Spirit” (John 3:5). It is through the work of the Holy Spirit in our hearts that we receive the Lord as our Savior and are born again. Before the Holy Spirit can indwell us as followers of Jesus, he must convict us of our sinfulness and our desperate need to receive God’s mercy. When we come to Jesus for salvation, it is because the Holy Spirit has made us aware of “the privilege of repenting” of our sins and “receiving eternal life” (Acts 11:18 NLT). Scripture tells us that “No one can say, ‘Jesus is Lord,’ except by the Holy Spirit” (1 Corinthians 12:3).

Jesus also made clear to His followers that “No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws them” (John 6:44). So we pray strategically for others when we ask the Father to send the Holy Spirit to draw others near. When we have tried and tried to persuade someone we care about to become a Christian and our words seem to have little effect, how encouraging it is to know that through God’s power and kindness, we can still reach them through our prayers! Just as the earliest believers “all joined together constantly in prayer” (Acts 1:14) before the Holy Spirit moved in many hearts on the day of Pentecost, our prayers for God to draw others near can have a powerful impact in their lives.

Jack was a plumber who worked on the construction of our church building project several years ago. He said some of the “choicest” words ever uttered in the building when a city inspector required him to relocate a drain in a concrete floor—earning him a prominent spot on my daily prayer list. When Jack learned I was praying for him, he sometimes would ask me to pray for friends who were sick or in the hospital.  I continued to pray daily for seven years for God to draw Jack near and save him.

One Saturday I was out of town at a hotel having a morning devotional time when I was convicted about a need for more baptisms at our church, and I began to pray. It was a simple and direct cry from the heart:  “Please, Lord, just give us one!”

At 1:17 that afternoon my cell phone rang. It was Jack. “James, we need to talk.”

There was a serious tone to his voice: “I have just been diagnosed with pancreatic cancer, and I’m not ready….” We agreed to meet after his doctor’s appointment the following Wednesday, and he consented to my asking others to pray for him. At the prayer meeting at our church that Sunday evening we prayed for Jack’s healing, and asked for God’s Spirit to make him sensitive to his need for salvation.

The following Wednesday afternoon after a heartfelt conversation, Jack knelt in our prayer room at the church and received Jesus as his Lord and Savior. When he was baptized the following Sunday, I was able to share with the congregation the ways that God had moved directly in answer to all of our fervent prayers.