Thursday, October 13, 2016


Elder Authority

I believe in elder authority.  I believe that elders/overseers/leaders have the authority to make decisions for the church.  And I believe the elders have authority to speak into individual lives under their care.  Many people seem to bristle at that concept so I thought I would share where elders get their authority.

Scripture.  The Bible talks about elders being overseers, that the members are under our care, that they are to submit, that we have authority, that they should obey, and that we will give account for the souls under our care.  So I do believe God expects me to speak into the lives of my sheep.  I do believe elders can, and should, speak to how you live.  But we better do it in the right way.  We do not lord it over the flock.  And we will answer for your soul.

Knowledge of Scripture.  When we speak into your lives, we better be using Scripture.  When we are rebuking, teaching, correcting, and instructing ... we better be using Scripture.  That is what it is useful for.  Elders are to know Scripture so we can protect you from false teaching by others.  One of the characteristics of elders is that they are teachers.  Using Scripture.  In fact, elders that direct the church well, and especially those who teach and preach, are even worth paying.  So when an elder sits with you and tells you what to do, or how to live ... they will have an open Bible.

Example.  Elder authority comes not just from the Scriptures and from knowing Scripture.  It also comes from who we are.  You are to follow the example of elders.  You are to study how their life has turned out and imitate them.  Elders have healthy marriages and faithful kids.  You should look to your elders and their families to learn how to be married and how to parent.  You should watch elders to learn how to serve and how to tell others about Jesus.  Elder families should model forgiveness.  Elders should show you how to live forgiven.  How to face sickness and death.  How to deal with sin.

Maybe that is why your elders/overseers/leaders are well... elderly.  We have learned about life as a Jesus follower.  We have figured out how Scripture speaks into our lives.  And we know how to share that.

Scripture gives elders authority.  And it tells them how to use it.

So listen to us.  Watch us.  Follow us.  We will get you home safely.  God entrusted your soul to us and we are watching out for you.

So God thank you for elders and wives who have taken care of me and mine.  Men like Jack, Bill, my Dad, and so many more who have used the authority you gave them to speak into my life.  Thank you for my elders that still have lead me today.  They have made sure that I -- and my family -- are going to get home to you.  Thank you for those you have entrusted to me.  I will do everything I can to get them home to you.

Tuesday, October 04, 2016


I am going to make the United States better...

I am really concerned about a number of things happening in the United States recently.

Election season with the overwhelming majority of campaigning done on both sides consists of character assassination and lies.

Living in a culture where everyone is encouraged to make their own decisions about what is right and/or what is wrong.  And should you disagree with someone, you are reviled and attacked.

It is time I did something about it.

But here is what I am not going to do.

I am not going to lament the good old days in our country.  Because there were no good old days.  Injustice, greed, hatred, racism, and evil have been around since our country started.  Civil war, slavery, abortions, robber barons, These are just a few of the ways evil is -- or has been -- demonstrated in our country.

I am not going to lobby for moral laws so we can legislate Christian behavior.

I am not going to huddle in fear of what this world is coming to.  This world is coming to the same thing it came to with Adam and Eve in the Garden.  Satan is powerful and evil abounds.

I am not going to hope somehow the Church will become relevant in our society.  Not going to put my faith in bigger and better buildings.  Or in devising more relevant programs.

Not going to write a few checks to local charities to ease my conscience.
No... it is too easy to moan and groan and complain.  Too easy to put trust in politics.  Too simplistic to hope the corporate Church can do something.  Too easy to write a check for someone else to do something.

I believe it is time to be courageous.

So here is what I am going to do.  Come to think about it... what I have been doing.  What I was called to do when I decided to follow Jesus.

Live the way Jesus did.  I am going to try every day to follow him.  To do what he would do.  To not do what he would not do.  I will live counter to my culture.  Loving God with everything I have.

I am going to radically love the people I connect to in my life orbit.  I am going to serve.  Helping my neighbors.  Being a friend to the lonely and the friendless.

And I am going to talk about Jesus.  I am going to tell people about the one who died for our sins and was raised back to life.  And I going to invite people to join me on the Jesus journey.  Helping them learn to love God and love their neighbors.

And when I do that, my corner of the world changes.  And when the people who follow Jesus make other followers, the world changes a little more.

That is how to change a family, a neighborhood, a city, a nation, and a world.

And I can do that.  Not elections, not programs, not other people.

Me.  I can make a difference.  I have.  And I will.

You can too.

So Father, give us the courage to live in our world.  To serve in our world.  To speak good news into our world.  Help us to live as your followers.  Forgive us when we think elections and programs are better than our getting into the lives of those you put in our world.  Help us to love you radically and to love others radically.  Use us -- use me -- to change the world forever.     

Thursday, September 29, 2016


Flu Shots and Spiritual Disciplines

Stupid flu shot.  I had mine today.

They told me older people need one.  I just don't think I am old.

I probably wouldn't get the flu anyway because I am generally healthy.

Besides, shouldn't health be proactive and not just preventative.

You know... like spiritual disciplines -- Bible reading, praying, fasting.

The truth is that of course I want my spiritual disciplines to help me be a better follower of Jesus.

But sometimes my spiritual disciplines better be preventative.

Because sometimes I am weaker spiritually than I want to be.  I don't want to think I am weak, but of course it is a good idea to build up my defenses.

And I will be tempted.  No way Satan stops fighting me now.  We have been at war for a long time and I guess we will be till I am home for good.

So the flu shot may be very smart in preventing a future illness.

And spiritual disciplines may be very smart in preventing future spiritual illness.

So God keep me healthy so I can be active doing your work.  Use the flu shot if you choose to.  And keep me spiritually healthy so Satan does not harm me.  Use our conversations thru prayer and your Word to protect me.  And grow me.

Tuesday, September 27, 2016


I did not enjoy Eddie's class or Jarrod's sermon series...

I got to hear my friend Eddie Sharp teach a class at ACU Summit recently and I did not like it.  It was about the importance of spiritual disciplines.  Prayer, fasting, reading Scripture.  I told Eddie I did not enjoy the class.

And our preacher at Southern Hills, Jarrod Robinson, is preaching a series on OPEN, It is about spiritual practices that help create space in our busy lives so God can work in us and on us.  Twelve of these.  Not enjoying it.

And here is why.  I am by nature a DOER.  I would rather preach, talk to people about Jesus, help in their spiritual battles.  Too many people and not enough time.  Not only that but I am just not naturally introspective like that.

So I did not enjoy that class and I do not enjoy that sermon series.

So thanks Eddie and Jarrod.

Sometimes what I need will not be what I enjoy..

Maybe I need to slow down and be filled. Maybe I will even be more effective sharing Jesus with others if I am sharing from the overflow of being filled by Him.

So I am trying to work on my spiritual practices.

Still not enjoying class or sermon series, but maybe that is not the point of spiritual growth.  Maybe the point of spiritual growth is to do what is good for me because I love and enjoy God.

So God thanks for Eddie and Jarrod.  Thanks for brothers who see things I do not.  Help me to slow up enough to fill up.  And then use me up.  For your Son.

Thursday, September 22, 2016


Peace During the Election Season...

This first appeared on our Hope for Life blog and then again today on Heartlight.  

There is a Presidential election happening in the United States and many people are afraid, apprehensive, or nervous over what will happen in this country.  There is harsh rhetoric, angry voters, and lots of rumors, lies, and fear mongering.  And this is happening on both sides of the political divide.  What will the country look like if the “other” candidate wins the election?  Is the country going to be destroyed by this election?  Are we doomed?  Of course, this happens in other countries also.  When your emotions, your loyalty, and your faith in the future are wrapped up in any one nation or any one system of government then you are going to be worried much of the time.
So let me suggest an alternative.  Christians have a different view of this world. 
The followers of Jesus believe this world is not our home.  This world is not where our future is.  It is not the focus of our hope.  We believe we will live forever in heaven with God and Jesus.
We do not count on the powers of this world to offer us hope.  After all, nations rise and fall.  The United States is only 240 years old.  But God’s Kingdom is forever.  It will not fall.  It has outlasted all the governments of this world.
Christians partner with God to increase his Kingdom.  We believe that God wants everyone to be in a relationship with him and that he sent his son to die for our sins so we could have that relationship.  So we tell people that good news.  That is our purpose.  We Christians make a forever difference.
Someone bigger than any political system is in charge.  And he will be in charge forever.

So if you are worried and upset about election politics … there is a different, and I believe a better, alternative.  I can help you find it.  Write me at  Or visit our website at   

Tuesday, September 13, 2016


Thoughts on a milestone birthday

Well, I made it.  I turned 65 last Sunday.  I have never put much stock in numbers but everyone seems to think 65 is a major milestone.

I act like I'm 45 and look like I'm 85 so 65 is about right for me.  And to use one of my favorite illustrations, if life was like a football game I am early in the fourth quarter.

And hee are a few of my thoughts.

Many people use milestone birthdays to look over their life and reflect on what they have -- and have not -- accomplished.  I am really not very introspective that way.  We have managed not to accumulate much.  Not much money, or possessions, or debt.  Not exactly a "big name" in my profession, but getting paid to do what I love.  And paid to do what I would be doing anyway.  Talking about Jesus.

Marsha and I have been doing life together 43 years.  I like where we are.

My kids are both faithful Christians.  Happier about that than anything else.

My five grands are well on their way to being healthy, active followers of Jesus.

That's the legacy I would choose.

Past that I really don't see much point in reflecting back over life.  Much more interested in tomorrow than yesterday.  Would do a lot of things differently.  Would do a lot the same.  I am content with who I am and where I am.

Everyone seems to want to know about my future.  When will I retire?  What am I going to do?  How about money?

I don't really have plans.  I just want to keep on telling people about Jesus until I am no longer able.

I will work for Hope for Life until they stop paying me.  Or maybe a church will want an evangelist or a full-time elder.  Or maybe we will make on what we have.  God has always taken care of us.  Always.  Can't imagine that he will not take care of us in the future.

So I am pretty much living life at 65 just like I did at 64.  And like I will at 66.

Love God.  Follow Jesus.  Love Mimi, the kids, and the grands.

Tell people about Jesus.  Help Christians to know how to tell others about Jesus.  Help struggling Christians keep their faith.

And someday go home to real home and real life.  Then wait for Mimi and the rest of the family to get there.

Not much of a plan.

Or a really, really great plan.

So thanks God for 65 years.  You have always taken care of me and you always will.  So do with me what you want till I get to be with you forever. 

Thursday, September 08, 2016


What Do You Mean I Have to Go Back This Week...

He is not the first to be confused, nor will he be the last.  My grandson Austin is in Kindergarten and had a good first week.  His older brother was asking Mom to come have lunch with him one day and Austin answered "Of course we will."

Mom then had to explain that Austin would not be joining them since he had to go to Kindergarten.

Evidently Austin did not realize that it was not a one week event.  I am not sure anyone has had the heart to tell him that this will go on for longer than he can yet imagine.

It is a little like some people think about their Christianity.  It is great for week at Easter and Christmas.  Or even every week if we hold it to just a couple of hours.

But following Jesus is all day, every day for the rest of our lives.

When we were baptized into Christ we were crucified with him.  We gave up our old life to live a new one by faith in Jesus.

Following Jesus is not a matter of time.  Or a series of acts.

Jesus said if we want to come to him then we must deny ourselves, take up the cross every day, and follow him.

Give up ourselves, die, and follow Jesus.

Every day.  From now till forever.

So God forgive us when we think following you is a short-term proposition.  Today and every day from now on forever we will deny ourselves, die with your Son, and follow him.

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