Tuesday, July 18, 2017


Avery Grace is 10 today...

My Granddaughter, Avery Gilbreth, is 10 today.  Here are just some of the reasons I love her and am so proud of her.

She loves her family.  Her Mommy and her Mimi are her best friends.  She loves her Bubba Jake.  Loves her cousins.  Her family really are her people.

Fun happens when the Ave is around.  Laughter, joy, good times.  She wakes up happy and stays that way.

She is amazing with the younger girls that follow her around at the ballpark.  She has a little posse of girls that hang with her.  They play slime, she talks to them, she has time for them.  She's their friend and is a great role model.

She loves animals.  Her heart is tender and she wants to adopt -- and sometimes does adopt -- every stray animal she sees.

Great athlete.  Gymnastics is her sport.  State champion.  Fearless, hard working, fierce, and loves to compete.

She loves to help.  Helped me put in the garden this year.  Helped Mimi do the VBS teeshirts.

Does not speak bad about people.  Even when they are not kind or good.

Is friends with everyone.  Money and popularity do not matter to her.  People do.

But most of all, she loves God and Jesus.  I do not know what the future will be for Avery, but I do know it will involve great things for the Kingdom.

I love you Avery Grace.

So thanks God for Ave.  Keep molding her into a disciple of your Son.  Protect her from evil and do amazing Kingdom things thru her.  

Thursday, July 13, 2017


Some of my Shepherds are no longer elders...

It started with my grandson Jake a few years ago.  He was in the hospital with a scary case of Kawasaki disease and some of our elders came up to pray over him.  Some time later he saw one of them in a restaurant and asked his Mom if he could go say hi to one of his elders.  He still refers to him as his elder.  But this man is no longer an elder at our church.  Due to some family issues, he resigned.  But Jake still thinks of him as his elder.  And if Jake was in trouble, I believe he absolutely would talk to this man.

So he is still his shepherd tho he is no longer his elder.

And I have realized I have men that are no longer serving as elders that I definitely consider my shepherds.  These are men that resigned for different reasons.  Some felt they needed to "retire" and let others be elders.  Some had family situations that required a great deal of time.  Others decided the church politics were not worth it.  But at one time, our church selected them to serve.

I recently made a list of men I would call if I needed real shepherding.  Not men who would make decisions, but real elders.  Men who lived like Jesus, who knew Scripture, who had faithful families.  Men who could be elders.  I also have a number of friends that I trust but who for various reasons would not be elders.  But I am thinking about elders who are not listed on the website and don't come to the meetings.  But who our congregation very much recognizes as shepherds.

So my list of real shepherds was about 50% men who are currently elders and about 50% who no longer hold that title.

This blog has no agenda to change our church structure.  I am not advocating having elders to decide things and shepherds to take care of people.

It is more my realization that the men I would trust to get my family to heaven, the men I do trust to get my family to heaven, are still my shepherds.  Just not all of them are elders any longer.

I am not the only one who feels this way.  I often ask people in crises to tell me other elders they would like to work with me to help them thru the current struggle.  Often they list elders, and often they list men who used to be elders.  When I point that out, they often ask if they can still get them to help.  And we do.

Shepherds who are no longer elders.

I am thinking a lot about this lately.

And have no idea where I am going with it.

Just thinking out loud.

Tuesday, July 11, 2017


God did an amazing thing 17 years ago...

It actually occurred on July 1 but this is the first chance I have had to write about it, so congratulations to my son Joe Don and his wife Jamie.  They just celebrated 17 years together.  And it is a God thing.  Here are just a few of the reasons I love them and are proud of them.

They are still in love with each other.  You can see it and know it if you spend any time with them.  They work to make time for their relationship.  They have fun together.

God is absolutely and without a doubt the center of their home.  They read Scripture, they pray, they give generously, they open their home.  They are deeply involved in their church.

They are raising three amazing kids (yes I know they are my grands and if you want to know why they are amazing, check out my blog on their birthdays).  They both work hard at parenting.  They support each other.  They do family mission trips.

They are better together than they would be apart.  They give God the glory for what happens in their life.  They can discuss, disagree, hold each other accountable, and do it in the context of love and submission.

Joe Don is a leader and Jamie is his partner.  And they both put God first.  And they both put the kids third -- after God and each other.

They are doing some great Kingdom work.  People are going to be in heaven because of what they have -- and are -- doing.  This world is better because God put them together.

I am so proud of them and love them so much.

Thanks God for connecting Joe Don and Jamie.  You get the credit and the glory for what they are doing in the Kingdom.  Keep blessing them and their family.  

Thursday, June 29, 2017


My son Joe Don turned 39 today

Today is my son's 39th birthday.  He knows I love him and am proud of him, but here are just a few of the reasons why.

He is a passionate follower of Jesus.  He does not just talk about it -- he lives it.  He gives solid spiritual advice.  He reads, studies, and prays.  He serves and he has Jesus conversations with friends and co-workers.

He is a great Dad.  He loves his kids and spends a lot of time with them.  I watch them sometimes when he comes home from work.  They are all over him and he gives each of them attention and time.

And a great husband.  He really loves Jamie.  He works to let her know it too.  Does home projects.  Spends time with her.

Great role model for lots of other kids.  I have watched him with his sister's kids.  I have watched him with his friends's kids.  I have seen him make a lot of kids feel special and loved.

He is fun, funny, smart, verbal, and a natural leader.

I think I am most proud that when people follow him -- and they do -- they end up at the cross.

So God, thanks for JD.  You are doing a great work in him and in his family.  Keep using him -- and them -- to make Kingdom difference in this world.  Thanks for letting me be his Dad.

Tuesday, June 27, 2017


On All-Star, Travel, and Select Baseball teams

It is the season in West Texas for Little League All-Star competition.  Then comes Travel ball, while the select teams play year round.

And I always wonder about what it all means.  So here are a few thoughts on our kids and advanced ball.

Full disclosure:  One grandson plays select ball in the Metroplex and another plays on one of the Wylie all-star teams.

The selection process is not fair, has never been fair, and never will be fair.  There are always boys left off who are better than some that made it.  And there are always some on the bench who should be playing more.  Life is not fair.  Get used to it.

Involved Dads give their sons an unfair advantage.  Correct.  Maybe that is a fair reward for the time they put in.  Maybe it gives their son the break he needs.  Or maybe it hurts his son because everyone knows how he made the team.  Nepotism.  Get used to it.  Wait till you get in the business world. Of course, it is also possible those Dads are involved because their sons are really good athletes.

Yes, some get way too serious and intense.  These are boys that are not even teenagers yet.  I see a lot of players that are really bad sports.  I also see where they learned it.  I also have seen some of the greatest acts of sportsmanship ever.  And I saw where they learned that too.

The odds of any of these boys playing professionally is slim to none.  Most will not ever play in college, and certainly few of them on scholarship.  A surprising number will not even play in High School.  On the other hand, Wylie High School just won a State Championship with a bunch of guys that played Wylie Little League together.  And an amazing number of Big League ballplayers started in Little League so who knows.

Some boys will burn out and quit baseball.  Some will pick another sport.  Some have reached the peak of their athletic ability.  Some will get hurt.

And some little guys will eventually grow.  And some big kids will have their coordination catch up with their size.

Some of these boys are really smart.  Some are not.  Some have great people skills.  Some do not.  Some are really good people.  Some are not.  Just like anything else in life.

So I think you learn a lot about life watching these teams.  Do what is best for your child.  Be smart about how much you let them play and about how much you spend.  And life is a whole lot bigger than baseball.

Just a few thoughts on baseball and kids.

Gotta post this and leave.  One of my grandsons plays tonight.

Go Wylie.

Tuesday, June 20, 2017


Andrew, Trauma, Facebook, and God

My grandson Andrew had an accident in a swimming pool last Sunday night and ended up spending the night in Cook's Children Hospital emergency room.  He hit his head and his vision was blurry and the right eye was not tracking.  The CAT scan and MRI turned out OK but he had to see a Nuero Ophthalmologist this morning.  Long story short, he does have some nerve trauma that should heal on its own.  It could take weeks -- or months -- and until it does, he is seeing two of everything.  And of course, no playing ball, no bike riding, no running -- you know, all the things a 9 year old boy loves to do.

It was pretty traumatic for everyone.  Not at all how my son expected to end Father's Day.  Certainly not what Andrew thought would happen.  Hard on Mom and his brother and sister.  Hard on the grandparents.  We stayed up most of the night praying for Andrew.  And most of yesterday and last night praying for the Doctor visit.  Asking God for healing.  Thanking him for the other times He has intervened to heal our grandkids.  Asking to do it again.

Andrew handled it with amazing faith.  He has consistently been cheerful and confident God will take of things.  Mom and Dad faced it with a strong conviction that God was in charge.  Us too.  And for our family, it is not just talk.  We believe God will handle whatever comes.  We had -- and still have -- very specific requests for God to restore Andrew's vision and to do it quickly.  But it will be OK whatever God does.  We all decided a long time ago that He is in charge of our family.

But it was not just Andrew's family that spent hours in prayer for him.  Countless friends and acquaintances have been lifting Andrew up constantly.  And I think God heard and that is why the prognosis is favorable.  Not luck ... but God.

Which leads me to a point about Facebook.  There are lots of bad things about Facebook.  I cringe at some of the pictures and some of the posts.

But Jamie put out an update about Andrew on Facebook.  Marsha shared it.  And I shared her post.  And it took off from there.

Hundreds of comments with everyone of them backed up by prayer.  Lots of emoticons on the posts -- each of them representing someone that prayed.

So God used Facebook to have a lot of people lift Andrew up in prayer.

God heard and He is answering.

Thank you God.

Thank you God's family.

And thanks to Facebook for reminding me that God uses lots of things to do His will.

Who would have thought it ... except God, Jamie, and Marsha.

Friday, June 16, 2017


What to say to your Dad this Father's Day

It is a wonderful, horrible, happy/sad day this Sunday.

It's Father's Day.  And the old preacher tale may be true.  On Mother's Day praise our Moms.  On Father's Day, yell at the Dads to do better.

But here is why it is a difficult day.  Many of us had wonderful Dads, some had Dads who tried but just did not do well.  And some of you know the pain of having a bad father.

And this day is hard for those who have lost their Dad to death.  It is hard for single Dads who are overwhelmed with raising kids by themselves.  And hard for single Moms who are doing their best to be Mom and Dad.

And there are lots of men out there being "dad" to other kids.  Grandfathers, coaches, neighbors, uncles, church leaders, and on and on.  And step-dads who are choosing to be a Dad to their wife's kids.

So here are a few things to say to your Dad this weekend.

Thanks.  For putting up with me.  For being patient with me.  For teaching me.  For being there.

I love you.  Dad's have self-esteem issues too.  Most feel like they are not -- or did not -- do the whole dad thing as well as they could have.

I forgive you.  You did your best and I am OK.  Or, I forgive you anyway.

And here is a last piece of good news for all the Dads out there doing their best and wondering if they are doing anything right.

You are.

So here a few quick things to remember that will help you get it right.

Love Jesus.  Love their Mom.  Laugh lots with them (but never at them).  Pray hard -- for them and with them.  Be there.  Listen.  Love.

And one day you will look up and realize you raised some great kids who love Jesus.  And that is the best gift of all.

So thanks to my dads now in heaven.  My dad and my dad I got when I married Marsha.

And thanks to my son Joe Don.  You are doing a great job with yours.

And thanks to Julie and JD.  You make me proud every day.

I am blessed.

So thanks above all to the one true Father who gave his son so I be his son too.

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