Southside's Blog

Southside is a loving, vigorous, and growing congregation in Shelbyville, Tennessee. Our vision is toward the future: Our Children, Our Ministry, and Our Outreach. Our goal is to embrace all people in our hearts and fellowship as we strive together to support Christ’s mission on earth.

A Prayer Reflection of Psalm 2

I like to read short passages of Scripture, meditate on them, and then use them as a guide to pray. The Psalms are some of my favorite Scriptures to meditate upon and use as guides for reflective prayer. Today's post is a prayer reflection of Psalm 2.

"Why are the nations in an uproar

And the peoples devising a vain thing?

The kings of the earth take their stand

And the rulers counsel together

Against the LORD and against His Anointed, saying,

'Let us tear their fetters apart

And cast away their cords from us!'

He who sits in the heavens laughs, 

The LORD scoffs at them.

Then He will speak to them in His anger

And terrify them in His fury, saying,

'But as for Me, I have installed

My King upon Zion, My Holy Mountain.'

'I will surely tell of the decree of the LORD:

He said to me, 'You are My Son, Today I have begotten You.'

'Ask of Me, and I will surely give the nations as Your inheritance, 

And the very ends of the earth as Your possession.

'You shall break them with a rod of iron,

You shall shatter them like earthenware.'

Now, therefore, O kings, show discernment;

Take warning, O judges of the earth.

Worship the LORD with reverence

And rejoice with trembling.

Do homage to the Son, that He not become angry, and you perish in the way, 

For His wrath may soon be kindled. 

How blessed are all who take refuge in Him!" 

Psalm 2:1-12

O  God, the people and leaders of the nations of earth stand in opposition to You with their selfish intentions, but You just laugh at all of it and move ahead with Your plans to exalt the true King, Jesus.

You have already given all the nations to Jesus as His inheritance. He is the Rock that will shatter every empire and every nation until all of them are but dust.

I pray that You will turn the hearts of the leaders of this world toward You so they will humble themselves and worship You and You alone in reverence and awe. May they cease rejoicing in their accomplishments and revel only in Your glorious deeds.

I beg for mercy, O Lord, for all of humankind that all will repent of selfishness, wickedness, and laziness and serve and worship You.

For those of us who take refuge in the shadow of Your wings, we give You sincere praise from the bottom of our souls. You are the Holy One and we rest ourselves in You!



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Church Ettiquett

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Could not resist! Suzy is going to try to make some changes! From facebook.

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An Introduction and A Thank You

Greetings to you and thank you for reading this post. My name is Tim Gunnells and I am the new minister for the Southside church. I am looking forward to posting on this blog site on a regular basis.

I want to thank Mike Clement for his faithfulness in posting encouraging articles for such a long time. I have enjoyed reading many of the things that he has posted over the last several months. While he is taking a much-needed hiatus, as he mentioned in his last post, he is not going anywhere. He will be contributing again in the future and together we plan to involve others as guest writers to add to our voices.

I will do my best to post at least weekly. My posts will be brief. They will be primarily intended for encouragement for anyone who stumbles onto the blog, but occasionally there might be some special attention given to Southside. At all times, I hope to be a voice that directs you to the Word of God to help you (and me) as we journey through life together.

I hope you will subscribe to this blog so you will see all of our posts. We promise not to take much of your time and give you a boost to your day every time you read.

May God bless you today and every day!



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Good afternoon!

I discussed my need for a sabbatical from the blog with the elders this past fall. The decision was made to wait until our new minister was on board. I'm very pleased to announce that Tim Gunnells is the new minister at Southside. Tim and his family will transition to Shelbyville over the next few months. He has agreed to post his thoughts on the blog giving me a rest. In actuality, you need a rest from me as well. I'm certain you will enjoy  reading his encouragement. When Tim has settled in, we plan to meet to discuss new ideas for the blog.




Some have mentioned enjoying reading Maxd Lucado's devotional.  Go to Max Lucado's website.

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Are You a Listener or Fixer?

One of my many faults is that I tend to want to fix your problem no matter what it may be. If you come to me to talk about the problem, I feel the need to fix it. I sincerely mean well but maybe the help you are looking for is someone to just listen.

I learned a valuable lessons years ago. Our son, Chad, decided that he no longer wanted to manage an antique mall. He felt that becoming a policeman or a fireman was his calling. We pushed as hard as we could towards the fireman career. Getting shot at was way to dangerous. We did not know at the time that some of the fire stations in Memphis had ten foot chain link fences with barbed wire around them to protect the fireman from the neighborhood.

Chad chose to become a fireman. He went through all the necessary training and was assigned a station. During his first week he called me early one morning to discuss a call he was on that morning. The unit was called out to a head-on car wreck. An old man in one of the vehicles had gone through the wind shield and was laying on the street. I ask about the air bag. Chad replied, “Dad he went through the air bag and the wind shield. I was doing compressions on the man and it felt like compressing jello!” The man was actually already dead but they compress until the ambulance arrives.

My mind immediately went to “fix” mode but I had no idea what the experience called for so I just ask a few questions for clarification and listened to him. One the questions was, “Son are you ok?” He said he was and we closed the call. I felt like I failed him because I did not “fix’ the problem.

Shortly after I ran into one of his fellow fireman who had been on the job for several years. I related the experience to him. His comment was that I did good. Why? “We don’t need fixing! We just need someone to listen! We prefer not to take it home with us so you did right by Chad.”

What a lesson for a fixer who thought he needed to talk to fix the problem. I still have the urge to “fix” but that lesson has stayed with for fifteen years. What the Bible has to say:

1 Thessalonians 5:11 – “ So encourage each other and build each other up,”

Proverbs 17:28 -  “Even a fool who keeps silent is considered wise; when he closes his lips, he is deemed intelligent.”

James 1:19  - “My dear brothers, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak.”

Proverbs 18:2  - “A fool finds no pleasure in understanding but delights in airing his own opinions.”

Without understanding it at that time I encouraged Chad by just listening. When others approach us, listen first and speak second! Make sure they want your advice before you give it..

God is really the only true fixer! Let them know that you will pray for them!


Mike  This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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"There are some things we want to do but simply are not equipped to accomplish. I, for example, have the desire to sing. The problem is, I am what you might call a jailhouse singer – I never have the key, and I’m always behind a few bars. Paul gives good advice in Romans 12:3: “Have a sane estimate of your capabilities” (PHILLIPS). In other words, be aware of your strengths. When you teach, do people listen? When you lead, do people follow? Where are you most productive? Identify your strengths, and—this is important—major in them."

"We cannot meet every need in the world. We cannot please every person in the world. We cannot satisfy every request in the world. But some of us try, and in the end we run out of fuel. So have a sane estimate of your abilities and stick to them."

NIV version of Romans 12:3 -  "For by the grace given me I say to every one of you: Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the faith God has distributed to each of you."

This is the EVS version of Romans 12:3 –  "For by the grace given to me I say to everyone among you not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think with sober judgment, each according to the measure of faith that God has assigned."

From Mike: The bold sentence in Max's writing is my idea. I have aways thought that this verse was just about being conceited especially based on the faith God has granted us. There are some commentators who also follow Max's thoughts. It does not mean that any of  commentators is wrong but Max's line of thinking makes sense. BUT, do not use this line of thinking as an excuse for not serving. Do use Max's thought to choose your service wisely. 


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Meeting God in Quiet Places

F. LaGard Smith is the author of the book Meeting God in Quiet Places. It’s been a very influential book that I’ve used many times in Sunday school and in writings.

Mr. Smith at times has spent several months each year living in England where he authored this book. He uses his life experiences in England as references in the book. It has thirty-one chapters so I noted what seemed to be the primary message of each one. I plan to select some chapters to write what they mean to me and quote Mr. Smith. If you read the book, you might say my thought is not the main theme of that chapter. That would be okay as long as you get encouragement from his writing.

Chapter 2 he entitles “Balloons”. The theme is “Trust”. You might say the theme is “Faith”. Both are correct because you must have faith to trust. The Cotswold area of England is frequently very busy with hot air balloons. It’s a beautiful site and he even envies those who ride in them because of the beauty. He admits to mixed feelings about riding in one. His comment, “You can never be totally in control”. His thought is that while up there you must trust the pilot and he in turn is dependent on the winds and currents over which he has no control.  

Mr. Smith refers to Thomas, the doubter, because he had to see the nail scars on Jesus’ hands before he would trust that Jesus was who He claimed to be. He writes:

“From my youth I have happily committed my trust to an unseen God. Even now, in most cases, I truly am a willing passenger.  As so far as the flight has been, if not always smooth, at least accompanied by an abiding sense of security. Over the years, I have been through storm and calm, through ups and downs; through the heartache of broken relationships, the passing of loved ones, the tears of defeat, the fear of loneliness and the discouragement of my own fallibility. But somehow I kept flying. Somehow He lifts me higher. In the safety of His gracious providence He carries me over the rough times and shares with me the joys of a live lived by faith.”

Mr. Smith admits that at times he can’t understand God’s way and why it has to be His way but admits his trust works out. “When I let God’s invisible power take control, I am dependent, but oddly free. I am no longer in control, yet I am safe and secure in His leading.”

He closes the chapter: “Nothing can surpass the reality that settles on us when we reach the point that with God where we know beyond a shadow of a doubt that he is in control. When we really know that we have nothing to fear! When we take that confident step and actually get in the basket! It is then, when we let go of everything that holds us back, that we will know true freedom. And beauty. And breathtaking heights of exhilarating joy!”

When I read encouragement like Mr. Smith’s it sounds so easy to put into practice. It’s not easy for me to let go and allow God to take total control. At times His control does not deliver that for which I prayed. These occasions require extra effort to let go and trust Him especially when the understanding is not present.                           

Meeting God in Quiet Places – F. LaGard Smith – 1992 – Harvest House Publishers – Used by permission

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"We come to Christ in an hour of deep need. We realize that all the good works in the world are puny when laid before the Perfect One, so we beg for help. We hear his voice, and we step out in fear, hoping that our little faith will be enough. And with precious, wobbly steps, we draw close to him. We stand upon his promises."

"It doesn’t make sense that we’re able to do this. We don’t claim to be worthy of such an incredible gift. When people ask how in the world we can keep our balance during such stormy times, we don’t boast. We point to the One who makes it possible. “Nothing in my hand I bring; Simply to Thy cross I cling,” we sing. “Twas grace that taught my heart to fear, and grace my fears relieved,” we declare. And we never look back. May that be the anthem of your life."

From Mike: We've all had dark days. Some are going through very dark days right now. The scriptures tell us we will have dark days but there are promises made by God. Hebrews 13:5 "He will never leave us nor forsake us!!" In the darkest times get a solid hold on to God and never let go!


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Perhaps the most amazing response to God’s gift is our reluctance to accept it. We feel better if we earn it. So we create religious hoops and hop through them—making God a trainer, us his pets, and religion a circus. If only, when God smiles and says we’re saved, we’d salute him, thank him, and live like those who’ve received a gift from the commander in chief.

We seldom do that, though. To accept grace is to admit failure. We opt to impress God with how good we are rather than confessing how great he is. We dizzy ourselves with doctrine, burden ourselves with rules, think that God will smile on our efforts. He doesn’t. God’s smile is not for the healthy hiker who boasts that he made the journey alone. It is, instead, for the crippled beggar who begs God for a back on which to ride.

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MAKE A LIST - Max Lucado

Everyone likes a list. Lists are reassuring. They comfort us. To list is to understand and solve, even control. Moses brought a list down the mountain. There are lists of the gifts of the Spirit, lists of good fruit and bad. I’ve compiled a list. Some God-given, time-tested truths that define the way to navigate your life. Can I share it with you?

Here it is: When no one is watching, live as if someone is. Succeed at home first. Pray twice as much as you fret. Listen twice as much as you speak. God has forgiven you; you’d be wise to do the same. Once a week, let a child take you on a walk. Only harbor a grudge when God does. Never let the important be the victim of the trivial.

Just some ideas on my list. Why don’t you compile your own?

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A day transporting a family from one city to another is closely akin to God transporting us from our home to his. And some of life’s stormiest hours occur when the passenger and the driver disagree on what takes place during the trip. Can you imagine the chaos if a parent indulged every child’s wishes? Can you imagine the chaos if God indulged each of ours?

God’s overarching desire is that you reach that destiny. His itinerary includes stops that encourage your journey. He frowns on stops that deter you. When his sovereign plan and your earthly plan collide, a decision must be made: who’s in charge of this journey? If God must choose between your earthly satisfaction and your heavenly salvation, which do you hope he chooses? Me too.

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Jesus says in Revelation 3:20, “Here I am. I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with him, and he with me.”

The world rams at your door; Jesus taps at your door. The voices scream for your allegiance; Jesus softly and tenderly requests it. Which voice do you hear? There is never a time that Jesus is not speaking. There’s never a room so dark that the ever-present, ever-pursuing, relentlessly tender Father is not there, tapping gently on the doors of our hearts—waiting to be invited in.

Few hear his voice. Fewer still open the door. But never interpret your numbness as his absence. He says, “Surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age” (Matthew 28:20). “Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you” (Hebrews 13:5). Never.


From Mike: Max places emphasis on  "always" and "Never". Take heart!

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The plane arrived late, folks were mad. I got off the plane with a cramp in my leg, an empty stomach, a bad attitude, and three more hours of travel to go. I skipped lunch and called home. Denalyn answered. She’s always glad when I call. We made no decisions. We solved no problems. We just talked, and I felt better. I can handle being a pilgrim as long as I know that I can call home whenever I want.

Maybe that’s the rationale behind Matthew 14:19. “Taking the five loaves and two fish…Jesus gave thanks.” Jesus was surrounded by people who wanted food and disciples who wanted a break. He needed a minute with someone who would understand. He needed to call home. Maybe you should call home, too. God will be glad when you do, but not half as glad as you will be.

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When Jesus saw people, He saw an opportunity to love and affirm value. When we see people, we often only see thousands of problems. What did Jesus know that enabled Him to do what He did? He knew how people felt, and He knew that they were special. I hope you never forget that.

You’re under the gun at work? Jesus knows how you feel. People take from you more than they give? Jesus understands. He knows what that’s like. Your teenagers won’t listen? Believe me, Jesus knows how you feel.

You’re precious to Him. So precious that He became like you so that you would come to Him. When you struggle, He listens. And when you yearn, He responds. And when you question, He hears. He loves you. He understands you. And He paid a great price to take you home.

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"The next time your world goes from calm to chaos—ponder this:  Jesus knows how you feel.  His eyes have grown weary.  His heart has grown heavy.  He knows how you feel."

"You’re no doubt convinced Jesus is acquainted with sorrow and has wrestled with fear.  Most people accept that. But can God relate to the hassles and headaches of your life? For some reason this is harder to believe."

"Listen to Hebrews 4:15, “. . .he Himself has shared fully in all our experience of temptation, except that He never sinned.” The writer of Hebrews anticipates our objections. God, it’s easy for you up there.  You don’t know how hard it is from down here."

"Listen again.  He has shared fully.  Not nearly. Not to a large degree.  But entirely! In all our experience.  Every hurt.  Every ache. Why?  So that when you hurt, you’ll go to Him who knows how you feel!"

From Mike: Do you believe what Max writes with no reserve or is there still some doubt in your heart? What will it take to eliminate that doubt? More faith! How do I get that more faith? More study, prayer and trust. For many of us it's not easy. Just keep on keeping on!

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Ananias and Sapphira used the church for self-promotion. God has a strong word for such behavior: hypocrisy. The Greek word for hypocrite originally meant “actor.” First-century actors wore masks. A hypocrite, then, is one who puts on a false face.

Let’s be clear: to do a good thing is a good thing. To do good to be seen is not. In fact, to do good to be seen is a serious offense.

Matthew 6:1 warns, “Be especially careful when you are trying to be good so that you don’t make a performance out of it. It might be good theater, but the God who made you won’t be applauding” (The Message).

Hypocrisy turns people against God. So God has a no-tolerance policy. Do good things. Just don’t do them to be noticed. You can be too good for your own good, you know.

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"If you want to be perfect, then go sell your possessions and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven” (Matthew 19:21). This statement of Jesus leaves the rich young ruler distraught. He thought heaven was just a payment away. You work hard, you pay your dues, and “zap”—your account is paid in full. Jesus says, “No way.”

What you want costs far more than what you can pay. You do not need a system, you need a Savior. You do not need a resume, you need a Redeemer. For “what is impossible with men is possible with God” (Luke 18:27). Don’t miss the thrust of this verse: You cannot save yourself. Not through the right rituals, right doctrine, or right devotion. You see, it wasn’t the money that hindered the rich man; it was the self-sufficiency.

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Our Strength*

“Habakkuk 3:1-18: “Even though the fig trees have no blossoms, and there are no grapes on the vines; even though the olive crops fails, and the fields lie empty and barren; even though the flocks die in the fields, and the cattle barns are empty, yet I will rejoice in the Lord! I will be joyful in the God of my salvation!”

“The pile of bills, the noise the car is making, the layoffs rumors at work, the child who stayed home sick—again. Pressures can overwhelm us, especially when they accumulate. Add in the stresses we put on ourselves—Am I good enough? Why did I say that? Other women’s houses aren’t this cluttered—and you’ve a potent recipe for insecurity.”

“When things seem impossible, and they often do, praise God that we have His promises and His power. It is not up to us to solve our problems; we need only to trust the Lord and accept His help.”

“Where could you use a little , or a lot, God’s strength right now? Offer your worries to your Father.”

*A Little God Time for Women – Numerous contributors – 2021 – BroadSteet Publishing – Used by permission

Do you trust in God but only when He gives you the help exactly as you requested it? Give Him your complete trust!

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"The next time you fear the future, rejoice in the Lord’s sovereignty. Rejoice in what he has accomplished. Rejoice that he is able to do what you cannot do, and fill your mind with thoughts of God."

“[He is] the Creator, who is blessed forever” (Romans 1:25 NKJV). “[He] is the same yesterday, today, and forever” (Hebrews 13:8 NKJV). He is king, supreme ruler, absolute monarch, and overlord of all history. An arch of his eyebrow and a million angels will pivot and salute. Every throne is a footstool to his. He consults no advisers. He needs no congress. He reports to no one. He is in charge."

"Sovereignty gives the saint the inside track to peace. Others see the problems of the world and wring their hands. We see the problems of the world and bend our knees."

From Mike: Are you a hand wringer or a knee bender?


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"It seems to me that the entire world is in a state of trauma. People do not know why they were born or where they are destined to go. The invisible enemies of sin and secularism have left us dazed and bewildered. The world is in desperate need of a people of God who will stay steady in the chaos."

"Bombs are still dropped. Pandemics still rage. But in the midst of it all, the Lord still has his people. And when his people proclaim the truth of God in the middle of a crumbling world, you never know who might be changed. God is in the middle of this. This uphill struggle. You feel overwhelmed, but lift up your eyes. Your father is in this moment with you. Who knows but that you have been chosen for such a time as this?"

From Mike: God not only provides us hope for life after death but hope during our difficult times. 

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