Tuesday, August 16, 2016


Austin Ridgell is 6

Our youngest grandchild, Austin Ridgell, turned 6 last week.  And here is why I love him and am proud of him.

He is fearless.  Climbs, jumps, runs, swims, can water ski and well... you get the idea.  I have not yet found anything he is afraid of.  Of course, that also means I have to worry for both of us.

Super active.  All the time.  When we keep all 5 grands, we divide them up this way.  Me and Austin.  Marsha and the other four.

Last week he and his brother and sister went to see Granny, Marsha's Mom.  Austin led This Is the Day.  We all sang. Sweet.

He prays for everything.  I sometimes forget to pray for everything.

He is strong willed.  He does what he wants.  I have watched him count the cost -- you know, if you do this then here is the consequence -- and then do what he wants.  And pay the price.  And if he does not want to do something, he does not.

He talks all the time.  All. the. time.  I do not know where he gets that from tho Marsha seems to think it was inherited from someone in the family.  I tell him not to worry if no one listens.  Happens to me all the time.

The guy loves life.

He loves his Pops.  And I love him.

So here is what I think the future holds for Austin.  He will choose his own path.  It will be about Jesus.  He will not give in to peer pressure.  He will make life exciting and fun for everyone around him.

So thanks God for Austin.  I pray you will use his big heart and his enthusiasm in amazing and powerful ways for the Kingdom.

Tuesday, August 02, 2016


Our Anna Claire is turning 11

Anna Claire, Joe Don and Jamie's girl, turns 11 tomorrow.  Here are a few reasons I love her and am proud of her.

She loves  her family.  She adores her Mom and Dad.  Loves her brothers (even tho she has to put up with lots of "brother" shenanigans).  Loves her extended family of Aunts, Uncles, and Cousins.  And she loves her Mimi and Pops.  She even still likes to hang out with us.

She is really smart.  Not only makes good grades, but actually understands lots of things.  Loves reading and enjoys writing.

Great athlete.  She is really good at softball and basketball.  And I think she is as natural a runner as I have ever seen.  Intense competitor.

She cares about others.  I loved hearing her talk about the family mission trip to Honduras.  Her prayers always include something about other people and not just her.

She has lots of friends.  Teachers like her.  Younger girls look up to her.

Anna loves Jesus.  She wants to follow him.  She wants to make a difference in this world.

She was our first grandchild.  She sets a high standard to follow.  Great example.

So thanks God for giving us our Anna Claire.  Continue molding her into a follower of your Son.  I look forward with great excitement to what you will do with her and thru her in the future.

Tuesday, July 26, 2016


Why I Love Vacation Bible School

Tonight is our last night of VBS at Southern Hills.  200 volunteers.  Over 1000 in the auditorium for the musical.  Several hundred visiting the various stations around the building.  Oh... and that does not count the 20 or so of our young people doing a VBS down in the Dominican Republic.

But ours sure is different than some I have worked.  Our musical is fantastic with amazing talent and sets.  There wer times I have done them with me singing with 20 kids in a gym.  I've done them with as few as 10 or 12 teachers.  I've watched cookies come in by the thousands over the years.  I've seen one class for all the elementary students and I've seen multiple classes for just one grade. I've seen VBS where I really think Marsha and I did all the teaching, singing, and crafts.  This year we worked like crazy just getting out the Tee Shirts.

But here is why I love VBS.  And why I think all of these are more alike than different.

Every volunteer is performing an act of love.  They love God and they love kids.  And the want the kids to love God.

They have all been fun.  Lots of laughter, singing, noise, and study.  God and fun.  That fits.  And it works in VBS.  Maybe Sunday mornings ought to be a whole more like VBS.

God is glorified.  Every VBS tells God stories from his word.  The singing is in praise of God.

People arere invited to join us on the Jesus journey.  Last night our Children's minister invited people to come to the stage and talk with him about becoming royalty in God's family.  One of our  main performers in this year's production was converted in large part by what he saw a couple of years ago in VBS.  Last year we had our baptistery covered for the musical.  So we set a horse trough out in front of the building.  One of my great VBS memories is when I watched one of our members baptizing a couple into Christ in it.  

The whole church has to pitch in.  I've seen teachers, cookie makers, and van drivers.  I've seen singers, actors, teachers, carpenters, cooks, registration ladies, photographers, and security volunteers.  The entire body of Christ working together.

And here's one more reason I love VBS.  Marsha and I both grew up going to VBS.  Having our parents teach.  We both started doing VBS as high schoolers.  Joe Don and Julie grew up going to VBS.  They have taught, led singing, and worked in VBS since they were teenagers.  And their kids have grown up going to VBS.  I have no doubt all five of our grands will be involved in working some version of VBS for most of their lives.  And their kids will go.  And on and on it goes.

So thanks God for the Vacation Bible Schools going on all over everywhere this summer.  Thanks for the people who love you and love children so much that they will give up hours and hours of their time to teach the little ones about You and your son.  Thanks for the hours my family has spent setting up, teaching, singing, and helping in VBS.  I pray even tonight their will be someone touched by your story enough to let us share the good news of Jesus.  And you get the glory.


Thursday, July 21, 2016


Church Inside Out

I rarely recommend books, but I am going to make an exception.

Church Inside Out by Tim Archer.

The book explores ways for "getting church insiders out to bring outsiders in."

It is a good read for ministers, elders, and those interested in reaching our communities with the good news.

Tim is a gifted writer and thinker.  He is passionate about sharing Jesus with our world.

Full disclosure:  Tim and I work together at Hope for Life, a Herald of Truth Ministry.  Knowing him so well is one reason he has credibility with me and why I enjoyed reading his book.

Tim shares other resources that are helpful and he offers suggestions for implementing the ideas he shares.

21st Century Christian published this book and you can order off their website: .21stcc.com

I am intrigued by some things I learned from Tim and I would be interested in hearing your thoughts after reading.

Tuesday, July 19, 2016


Avery Grace is 9

Avery Grace, Julie's girl, turned 9 yesterday.  So here are just a few reasons I love her and am so proud of this granddaughter of mine.

She loves Jesus.  She reads the Bible, she prays, and she tries to live like Jesus.  She really is happy all the time.  Puts others first always.

She loves her family.  I watched her last night as she sang This is the Day with her Mom, her Mimi, and her Granny.  Granny, Marsha's Mom, is in Hospice but Avery comes to see her every day.  Holds her hand and talks to her.  Avery is learning about dying and going home to heaven.  She gets it.

She is a great friend and role model to little girls.  I watched her play with and keep the little sisters of Jakes's baseball buddies all summer.  Those little sisters love Avery.

Loves animals.  Not just all of ours but all animals.  She especially loves dogs.

She is my gardening buddy.  Waters our tomatoes and peppers.  Picks them for me.

She loves gymnastics.  Practices, watches it on TV, dreams of her next meet.  And is absolutely fearless.  And evidently she is really good.  Wins a lot of medals and competes against girls two and three years older.

I call her The Ave because she is so unique and special.  One of a kind.

So Avery, I love you and am proud of you.  You are beautiful, smart, and athletic.  But I am most proud of the way you love God and your family.  You make us all happy.

So thank you God for our Avery Grace.  Protect her from evil and continue to mold her into a follower of your Son.  I look forward to the amazing ways you will use her in your Kingdom. 

Thursday, July 14, 2016


Watching baseball and thinking about Jesus

I have gotten to spend a lot of time watching grandsons play baseball this summer.  Andrew in Dallas playing on a select team and Jake playing on the Wylie All-Stars.  Here is what I learned about following Jesus from watching baseball.

You are never good enough.  The best players strike out, misplay balls, and have off games.  I am never going to be good enough spiritually either.

It takes all of us.  You better have some players who can throw it, hit it, and pick it.  The body of Christ has lots of members with different talents.  We need each other.

Cheer loud.  Celebrate the victories.  Cheer for the big hits and the great plays.  We must be a church full of encouragers.

Pick each other up when you fail.  Piling on when someone is down is a sure way to keep them from getting up again. Satan loves it when Christians gossip, turn their back on, and refuse to help each other when one of us falls.

Good teams do not blame each other.  Good churches don't either.

Community is great.  At the ball field and at church.

Good teams require lots of time, money, and energy from coaches, parents, and players.  Good churches have lots of members investing time, money, and energy.

Players get better with practice.  Spiritual disciplines develop with practice.

Baseball is fun.  Jesus is better.

It is OK to be proud.  Andrew hits well and plays a great center field.  His team finished third in the end of year World Series.  Jake hit well and really pitched well.  They advanced to Sectionals and finished third there.

And it is OK to be proud of your church family.  Not because of how good they are but because they are letting God do amazing things thru them.

Athletic talent plus hard work makes good ballplayers.  God's gifts used by dedicated Christians makes for Kingdom growers.

Thanks God for the joy of watching those boys play ball.  And thanks for letting it remind me of things about your Kingdom.

Thursday, July 07, 2016


What I learned from another heart test

Well I had another heart test today.  Treadmill, bunch of pictures of my heart, and got shot up with some kind of dye.

Here are some lessons I learned.

I still have some kind of irregular EKG that freaks out medical people.  I have probably had it all my life but certainly since I was 50 and they first discovered it.  It is either nothing to worry about or it is going blow my heart someday.  Or something in between.

Truth is that none of us are promised long life on our terms.  Car wreck, plane crash, cancer, or my heart.  All possible.  Not sure any are probable.  But I am promised eternal life.  Better than this life anyway.  And the people I love most are all going to live forever too, so...

Live life every day.  I really don't think I would change much if I knew I was going to die tomorrow.  I talk to someone about Jesus almost every day.  The people that matter to me all know how much I love them and how proud I am of them.  My legacy is pretty well set in my kids and grands so I'll just keep living happy and die happier.

Encouragement is a good thing.  When you are on the treadmill, someone is always asking if you are OK.  I think that is exactly what we Christians should be doing with each other.  And they are always telling you how good you are doing and what good shape you are in. We should all be great encouragers.  It makes you try harder and do better.

Cardiac labs have a lot of really old people in them.  I think I was the youngest one there by several years.  Or maybe they just all look old because  -- well, after all they are at a cardio lab.  But no one said anything to me about my age.  Looking around reminded me that I have way more years on this earth behind me than I do in front of me.  If life is like a football game, I am early in the 4th quarter.  But I am not old.  Don't think like it, don't act like it.  And I am going to finish strong.  Faithful to the end.

And above all, I was reminded that God is in control.  He is the real healer and the giver of life.  Now and forever.

So thanks God for life here.  Take care of my heart.  I promise to finish strong -- whether that is days or decades from now.  Because this life is not the end.  I will keep praising you for giving me life that never ends.  And keep giving me chances to invite others into this life.  

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