Home from Gatlinburg Vacation


We returned last night from our vacation in Gatlinburg. Our family had a good time together.


The first day there, we hit the Ripley’s Aquarium of the Smokies. We enjoyed it, but still prefer the Audubon Institute Aquarium of the Americas in New Orleans. The beauty and diversity of God’s underwater creation always amazes me.

And God said, “Let the waters under the heavens be gathered together into one place, and let the dry land appear.” And it was so. God called the dry land Earth, and the waters that were gathered together he called Seas. And God saw that it was good.

And God said, “Let the waters swarm with swarms of living creatures… So God created the great sea creatures and every living creature that moves, with which the waters swarm, according to their kinds… and God saw that it was good. And God blessed them, saying, “Be fruitful and multiply and fill the waters in the seas.

Genesis 1

On Tuesday, we visited Cades Cove and hiked a five mile nature trail that featured a wonderful waterfall. Last summer I regularly walked 12+ miles several times a week, so I figured 2.5 miles to the falls and 2.5 miles back would prove leisurely. I learned you can’t compare the flat roads of the New Orleans Lakefront to the steep up and down rocky root covered trails of the Smokey Mountains. We enjoyed a little unexpected excitement when a couple of black bears crossed our path.


Throughout the week we shopped some of the numerous local arts and crafts, toured some historic log cabins and old churches, and did a few of the Gatlinburg attractions like George Barris’ Hollywood Star Cars Museum.

An exciting white water rafting trek down the Pigeon River highlighted our week. We all managed to stay in the boat, except for the intentional swim in a refreshing calm cool area.


My wife, an avid cyclist, stole away a couple of mornings to tackle the mountain inclines and I used the time to sneak in some reading. I brought along Don Whitney’s Ten Questions to Diagnose your Spiritual Health, God is the Gospel by John Piper and Dear Timothy, a collection of 20 essays by various authors. Lord willing, I’ll post my comments on these books next week. Courtney took off, not quite as well equip. The brutal hills called a for a larger chain ring than she has on her flat land road bike. Even with our grueling hike, the strain the hills put on her legs, and the long hours in the car yesterday, she still arrived home to win this years Louisiana-Mississippi district criterion this morning. That makes 3 years in a row!



On Thursday night we took in one of the dinner theater shows. Dolly Parton’s Dixie Stampede brought in live buffalo, equestrian, music, audience participation, and other things. Seated according to our geographic location, the show pitted North vs South in a night long competition while we ate a full meal without utensils. Hearing my wife pound the table and scream at the top of her lungs, “go – go – go – you stinkin’ little pig!” made the admission price worth while, as we watched blue and grey ribboned pigs race around the arena. With all that cheering, the southern pigs still came up short.


As far as we could tell, Gatlinburg serves as the Pancake capitol of the world. It seemed every fourth business housed a T-shirt shop, old fashioned photo studio, or pancake house. We figured “when in Rome…” so we ate pancakes at a different place every morning. The Pancake Pantry boasted the best by far. Over all the week’s food didn’t impress us much, but we admit our prejudice. Its hard to please discerning palates accustom to deep south cooking and New Orleans cuisine.

On the drive home yesterday, with our two back-seat teenagers plugged into their own mp3 players and PSP, Courtney and I connected my ipod into the car stereo. We listened to a three part seminar by Al Mohler on “Raising Teens in the Media Culture.” Download part 1, part 2, and part 3.



On Vacation

In the almost 11 months since the storm I’ve only taken a couple of days off. Heading up a disaster relief effort of this magnitude requires constant vigilance and attention. Hosting, housing, feeding, and directing thousands of volunteers, fighting to provide the essential needs of an entire community, putting on multiple vacation bible schools, planning and implementing community wide events, rehabbing over 50 houses, rebuilding houses from the ground up, stocking, staffing, and running a food distribution center that sees 400+ people a day and has given out millions of dollars worth of goods, maintaining a blog, keeping a church going amidst the controlled chaos, performing weddings and funerals, preaching twice a week, counseling the distressed, and making plans for the future leaves me reluctant to take any time off.

I hate to walk away from Lakeshore, but for the sake of my family I finally surrendered to a vacation. After church this morning my wife and kids will head toward Gatlinburg Tennessee for the week.

In addition to trying to catch up on some sleep, spending time with my family, and taking in the sites of Gatlinburg, I hope to make time to get in some much desired reading. Sleeping in your office amid eager volunteers means you have to wake-up, shower, and prepare for the day mighty early. With my sun-up to way past sun-down schedule, I’ve only been able to squeeze in reading before 5:00 am. In the last several months I’ve only had time to read a hand full of books. I’ve read:

I’ve never been to Gatlinburg. Taking a trip with no plans of what to do and see there goes against my nature. My wife booked us a room and we have the google map directions printed out. That’s about it. After the service we will head that direction. Lord willing we will breathe mountain air before nightfall and wake up tomorrow morning to His refreshing mercies.

School Uniform Drive

The children of Lakeshore head back to school in mid-August after their summer break. While crews complete the demolition of storm damaged Gulfview Elementary School, kids return to the make-shift temporary buildings housed 25 miles north of their community. The long commute, loss of friends, mixed school district, unfamiliar surroundings, and homework in FEMA campers leave families and teachers yearning for a little normalcy. The reinstituted dress code should provide a small step in that direction.

Lakeshore Baptist Church plans to distribute school uniforms as a wonderful ministry opportunity. You can help by sending dress code approved items to Lakeshore Baptist Church, 6028 Lakeshore Road, Lakeshore MS 39558. Please label as “School Uniform Drive.”

Dress Code

  • All shirts must be solid colors, white, navy blue, royal blue, or red.
  • Students may wear button down (Oxford/pointed collar or Peter Pan/Rounded collar), knit polo (2 or 3 button closure), or turtlenecks.
  • Shirts may be long or short sleeve, with or without pockets.
  • Shirts must have plain fronts without trim, lace, ruffles, pleats, etc.
  • Crop tops, Midriff shirts, or tight fitting shirts are not allowed.
  • Shirts may not carry visible trademarks, brand logos, writing, etc.
  • All pants, slacks, and shorts must be solid navy blue or khaki (tan, beige, or similar).
  • The length of shorts must be mid-thigh or longer.
  • Girls may wear caprise.
  • Pants, slacks, and shorts may be pleated or un pleated, cuffed or uncuffed, with or without elastic, but must be hemmed.
  • Wash-n-wear or permanent press fabric only; Denim, stretch material/spandex fabric, velour or fleece is not allowed.
  • Cargo or carpenter styles or bellbottoms are not allowed.
  • Very small trademark or logo is allowed.
  • Jumpers, skirts, culottes, and skorts must be solid navy blue or khaki (tan, beige, or similar).
  • The length must not be higher than four (4) inches above the top of the knee.
  • Jumpers may be V-neck or round neck.
  • Skirt style must be box pleat, knife pleat, A-line, kilt style or flared style.
  • Wash-n-wear or permanent press fabric.
  • Denim, stretch material/spandex fabric, velour or fleece is not allowed.
  • Cargo style skirts are not allowed.
  • Students may wear sweaters, vests,sweatshirts, or fleece in either cardigan-button down, pullover-scoop, or V-neck or zip up. styles.
  • Outerwear must be solid colors, white, navy blue, royal blue, or red.
  • Shirts may not carry visible trademarks, brand logos, writing, etc.
  • Coats and jackets may have hoods and may be any color.
  • Trademarks and logos are allowed.
  • Coat length is limited to mid-thigh,
  • Trench coats are not allowed.

Hidden Treasure in Lakeshore

News Release

LAKESHORE, MS (LBC) — Throughout history, man has tried to unravel the secrets to finding hidden treasure. Repeatedly, man has tried and failed because he could not distinguish between authentic treasure and the counterfeit. Lakeshore Baptist Church invites you to the Family Bible Conference, July 9-12, where we will address the subject of genuine “Hidden Treasure.”

Come discover activities for all ages. The Conference Kickoff starts Sunday night, July 9th at 7:00 p.m. Monday through Wednesday, 8:30 a.m. -12:00 noon, Preschool/Kindergarten and 1st-6th grades will find a morning schedule full of games, Bible lessons, crafts and snacks. Each night at 7:00 pm, kids return for a movie complete with popcorn while the adults meet for the Bible Conference. Hear speaker Dave Stephenson from Atlanta Georgia and enjoy special music nightly. Childcare will be provided.

Pastor Don Elbourne and the families of Lakeshore Baptist invite you to make the Family Bible Conference July 9-12 part of your summer schedule. Lakeshore Baptist Church is located at 6028 Lakeshore Road in Lakeshore MS. For more information call the church office at (228) 469-0110.