Rev. Neil Dunnavant, Executive Pastor

Many of you know that Kate and I are taking care of a family farm in Patrick County, Va., on the NC border and close to Mt. Airy. It is where Kate’s mother Helen grew up. It is over 400 acres of cow pastures, hay fields, forests, springs, streams, and cropland.

Kate has planted over 4 acres of abandoned fields in wildflowers as part of a state program to attract bees, butterflies, and birds. I took several short videos on the farm, a sort of tour with scripture readings.


Seeing what we want

Because of the way the farm spreads out, we share property lines with 10 different owners. After many decades of rural tranquility, suddenly we are having a problem with one of our neighbors. She has moved a stake to a place where it does not belong.

As our Patrick County friend Daryl said wisely the other day, “She has moved the stake to where she wants it to be.”  And I whispered to myself, “And not to where it is supposed to be.”

Being a preacher whose mind is always searching for sermon material, I have been thinking about how much of our lives and human conduct is based on how we want it to be, not on how it really is.


Truth and sleep

Jesus said that the Truth will set us free, but it is often not the truth that helps us sleep well at night. We prefer our illusions.

The truth about life is often unpleasant and can be far worse.

We want to believe that we are safe and secure, but the truth is that we are vulnerable and insecure. Tomorrow anything can happen, and that is about the last thing we really want to hear. We want to believe that we are strong, resilient, and brave, but the truth is that we are at times the opposite.


Truth and rescue

However, we need not despair. There are other truths that come to our rescue.

Even if life is unpredictable and often even dangerous, we know we have our friends and family and the abiding presence of God. We do in fact have great inner strength through Christ’s Presence within us.

I count on that. I know it to be the Truth. It’s not just how I want it to be. It is how it really is. Amen.



2 Corinthians 12: 8-9: Three times I appealed to the Lord about this, that it would leave me, but he said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for power is made perfect in weakness.’ So, I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may dwell in me.



You Can’t Always Get What You Want.