Wednesday, August 31, 2005


Going to see Katrina...

You may not hear from me for a few days. Our ministry team is going to be in Louisiana doing evaluations and planning for our spiritual relief efforts for Hurricane Katrina. People need lots of help and our country is so good to help with relief efforts. However, at Herald of Truth we are committed to spiritual relief efforts in the wake of tragedy. We believe in a God who is powerful above all else in this world, and we are committed to getting a message from God into the hearts of people affected by Katrina.

Pray for all those impacted by this tragedy. Pray that God will use us to point people to His Son. We will keep you posted, but we are getting a handout in the hands of some of the churches that points people to the God of hope and salvation.

Tragedy of this magnitude always causes people to evaluate their priorites, to hold to family more tightly, and to look for meaning and purpose in life. Believers all over that area have a chance to witness by how they react to personal loss, and how they respond to the losses of others. Pray for them.

It makes me evaluate my life also, and realize I need to be about the business of the Lord. There really is no time to waste.

Tuesday, August 30, 2005


Another great mission you have never heard of...

While in Lelongwe City, Malawi this summer I got aquainted with some of the most real people I know at the Malawi Project. They have an orphanage, a hospital, and a food processing plant. They are structured so that the Malawi people control and oversee the efforts. They have incredible support and recognition from the government. They really take seriously the mission of Jesus to "heal the sick" and "feed the hungry".

They are also serious about reaching the lost. They recently baptized thirteen teenagers staying at their village. I was fortunate enough to meet most of these students during our Herald of Truth campaign. I had never even heard of them, and I found what is one of the finest mission efforts I have ever seen.

I wonder how many more great works of God are never famous. And I guess they don't have to be. God is not about fame and fortune, but about redemptive grace in this world. The only recognition that matters is that we come to know Him.

So thanks Dick, Suzi, Moses and the rest of you. God bless and I'll be back next year.

By the way, if you want in on the secret, check out

Monday, August 29, 2005


So will they stop the parties...

New Orleans is not the place to be this week. The Superdome is being used as a shelter for poor people, the city is being pounded by storms, and the "good" news is that now it looks like the weaker edge of Katrina will be what hits New Orleans. For a town that has built its reputation on the basis of being able to party 24/7, this has got to be upsetting. Some people are determined to party on... as if this is a temporary inconvenience. Others are openly talking about their faith. It seems to me that this gives people a little different sense of priority.

I pray that God's people will be a living witness of faith and trust, and that this will be an opportunity to turn people's heart to God. And it always makes me wonder how I would act if I were in a similar situation. How about you?

Friday, August 26, 2005


Meetings, meetings, meetings...

This weekend is meeting and planning weekend. Today is the ministry retreat for Herald of Truth. We are planning our outreach for 2006. There are so many exciting things on the drawing board, both domestic and international. It's going to be a great year. We are spending much of the day on our U.S. outreach plans. I'm glad to be a part of what God is doing.

When I finish my HoT retreat, I am heading out to our Southern Hills retreat for the elders and their wives. We continue to work on our relationships, our sheparding skills, and managing our time more effectively. However, Marsha will not even be there. She is in the Metroplex playing Mimi with our little Anna Claire. All the other wives think that's a good move.

God is doing a great work in His world. I hope you are a part of it.

Thanks, God, for letting me be a part of what you are doing.

Thursday, August 25, 2005


Pray for the Jones' little one...

Anne and Nathaniel Jones are two of my favorite people of faith. They and their little girl, Natalie, really need our prayers. They have long wanted a second child, and it has been a difficult and painful journey. They miscarried on the first attempt early in the pregnancy. However, they concieved and were overjoyed at the impending arrival of Carson.

Marsha and I were really excited because we got to be prayer partners through much of the pregnancy. We were two of the first to know, and kept them close in prayer. But we lost Carson. I marveled at Anne and Nathaniel's faith through the "valley of the shadow". Their pain, tears, and struggle bound our church family together as we loved them and prayed for them.

Last night at HIP, they told us they were pregnant again. And with their Doctor's permission, they asked me to help them bring it before their church family. Over 1000 of us, many of whom were university students who don't really know them, surrounded them in prayer. That's what families do. We cry together, we rejoice together, we love each other, and we hold each other up to the Father.

Thanks God for letting me see their faith, and for letting us be a part of their journey.

Wednesday, August 24, 2005


Lessons from my Madagascar friends...

Had a Bible study last night with two students from overseas. It is refreshing and humbling to hear them talk about seeing Jesus at ACU, at Southern Hills, and in the lives of people who are serving them in the name of Jesus. Sometimes I hear too much about what the church is doing wrong, how we don't get it, and how we are too dogmatic about some (or even all) of our theology. I actually think we are getting it right most of the time.

My two friends are reminding me that the gospel is simple, the call to Jesus is clear, and that there are lots of focused Christians making a difference in this world. They are deciding right now what to do with the gospel. They are serious and have hearts committed to finding and doing God's will in this world. I"ll let you know what happens.

God is at work in this world. I'm glad to be part of it.

Tuesday, August 23, 2005


I'm a fan of Social Clubs...

School has started at ACU and so have the annual debates about whether to join a fraternity or sorority (oops- I mean a "social club"). Is it a mark of spiritual maturity to not join, or are you an social misfit if you do not join? Is selective membership Christian or not? Does the whole social club scene need to be overhauled? Do they really reflect Christian values.

Most of you know I am pro social clubs. I was in one, both of my kids were in one, and I currently serve as an advisor for one. So take these observations with a grain of salt; oh're not allowed to ingest anything in this context.

Don't confuse a social club with the church. Jesus did not die for a social club, or for ACU for that matter. My group is not made up of all Christians, and sometimes the believers in club are struggling. So sometimes mistakes are made. And somtimes students are baptized. And sometimes someone gets their feelings hurt. And sometimes friendships are made that last forever. And sometimes lives are changed. And sometimes these students become connected alumni who recruit and donate.

We are generally like all the other extra-curricular activites: athletics, service clubs, band, etc. Sometimes great good ensues, and someone will always be willing to criticize. Sometimes mistakes will be made, but I believe in the students in our Social Clubs and in the advisors who mentor them.

Last comment: if abuses are generally occruing in one club, have the courage to discipline that club. Don't paint every club with the same brush.

Monday, August 22, 2005


Life continues to teach me...

Noticed lots of students where Marsha and I walk/run in the mornings. We are always interested to see how many of them are still there in a month. Of course, they may not need to work out as much as we do.

Went to see our 2 and 1/2 week old Anna Claire Saturday. Joe Don and Jamie's friends Justin and Holly were there with 2 and 1/2 month old Riley. Lots of difference. I was also struck by how proud of Justin and Joe Don I was. Having watched them since they were kids, it was fun to see them as Dads. Very humbling.

Huge college class at Southern Hills yesterday. I continue to be excited over the hunger for God's Word among their generation.

Life sure teaches me lots about my walk with God. I bet He designed it that way. Are you getting the lessons of your life?

Thursday, August 18, 2005


What a Morning...

Well I'm late this morning. My day started with the Sunrise Devo at ACU for the incoming freshmen. They had around 150, which overwhelmed me for a 6:30 devo. We met on the steps of the Bible building and were singing when the sun came up. Very impressive. I got to share from God's Word, and was struck with the interest in hearing God's Word. It makes me hopeful for what God will do with them in the future.

HIP was incredible last night. Great praise. Jonathon, Ryan, and the praise team led God's people in a time of inspirational worship. That kind of experience really does make me long for heaven. I need that in the middle of my week.

But I did have to go to the Dentist this morning. David gave me a temporary crown over a cracked tooth. I felt really helpless, had to rely totally on him, and sometimes had no idea what he was talking about even though he carefully explained it. It reminded me of my relationship with God... and that has sure turned out well.

I guess the tooth will be alright too.

Wednesday, August 17, 2005


High Impact Praise is Back...

Tonight at Southern Hills we start back with HIP, our mid-week praise service. The freshmen are in town and excitement always comes with them. I am always anxious to meet the new freshmen because I can't wait to see what God has brought to Abilene: talent, discipleship, challanges, faith, temptation, and growth.

During the next few years, many of these freshmen will sharpen their faith, others will commit to Jesus, and some will make decisions about ministry and missions. Some will meet their mate, some will make the best friends of their life, and some will even get a degree.

I'll be speaking to many of them this week. I'll share with one group tonight at supper, we'll have a crowd at HIP, and then I speak at the Sunrise Devo in the morning (can't imagine many at that one).

It's a good chance for me to refocus my life too. And like many of you, I need to take advantage of every opportunity to sharpen my focus. I'm glad I'll have the chance.

Tuesday, August 16, 2005


Two of my friends are out of work...

I'm having lunch today with two good friends who are smart, capable, and out of work. They are certainly not old, but they are past the point where this is a little speed bump on the highway of life. And they are deeply spiritual, committed men of faith. And they were both fired by Christians. Ouch! Maybe they had to be let go... financial situations dictate changes. Or maybe they just weren't the right fit. But that does not make it any less painful. Nor does it prevent the inevitable questioning of your self worth.

So what do I say? I love them and I can affirm their value to me personally. But I don't have any job to offer them. I am struck by the fact that both of them are trusting God to heal them, and to provide for them. Isn't that what people of faith do? Smooth sailing is not promised to us as Christians. Rough waters are when we need Jesus.

I hope I don't get my self worth wrapped up in what I do (even if what I get to do all day is ministry). I've made that mistake before. My identity is in Christ. I hurt for my brothers, but I am already stregthened by their faith and reminded of where my own self worth is found.

Take care of all of us God...

Monday, August 15, 2005


Saturday the freshman moved in...

It's an exciting time in Abilene and at Southern Hills when school starts again each fall. I was over at ACU Saturday morning handing out water with the Campus Ministry team from Southern Hills. It is always entertaining to watch the parents bringing their freshmen to school. The first-timers are nervous, excited, and emotional. Everything is new and sometimes a little frightening. The repeaters have a little better handle on the situation. I even saw a car window with "3 of 3" painted on the window. They were probably emotional too, but for a whole different reason.

There were girls coming in with diagrams of how their room was to be set up... and there were those trying to find where the dorms were located. Walmart had to have made some money Saturday; shelf paper, nails, cleaning supplies, etc. all becoming matters of immediate priority. I witnessed joy, sorrow, pain, exhaustion, frustration, pride, and serenity. Sometimes I saw all of these emotions within the same family.

But one thing struck me in each encounter: the sense of inevitability. Children grow up and go off to college, ready or not. It happens in all of our lives. My own children are having children. My parents and my in-laws are getting older, and so am I. Life is full of changes, and I for one like that. Each year-and even each day- brings something new. I even think each day is better than the one before.

I think that's because Jesus makes each day brand new and special. Without him, I just might see things differently. Change might be overwhelming and frightening. So thanks to Jesus.

And I'm glad I'm not the one carrying those televisions to the third floor.

Friday, August 12, 2005


I Could Fix the Texas Rangers...

Really. It 's August and the Rangers are once again proving they don't have enough pitching to contend. And as usual, all the proof you need that a ballplayer is finished is to see the Rangers trade for him (or sign him to a free agent deal). Of course, my general manager experience is limited to a few fantasy football seasons- and I can't even win all of those. But seems so obvious.

It's like life. I am so sure I could fix your life. I haven't always done so well in mine, but I know I could do a better job with everyone else's life. I guess it always seems easier when there's no real pressure. I really don't have the opportunity to fix the Rangers. And I really can't do anything about your life. Well, I can pray, I can give counsel and advice, but you are the one that has to live it.

Maybe I should just worry about my life. After all, it's the only one I can really do anything about.

But will someone please help those Rangers.

Thursday, August 11, 2005


I Learn a lot from watching our dogs

I learn a lot from watching our dogs. Remington, our old Golden Retriever, and Jaxon, our Schitzu, seem to be best friends. And they both are fiercely protective of their house and yard, especially Jaxon. If they are in the house and hear a noise, they run to the back door and bark furiously till someone lets them out. Jaxon then runs as hard as can to the middle of the yard barking as loud as he can. Then he stops and turns around to see where Remington is. It's as if he wants to be sure he has sufficient back-up when he launches his attack. I wonder what he will do the first time Remington doesn't make it out to back him up.

It's a little like me and God. I like having the confidence to attack life because I have God to back me up. I don't have to be afraid of Satan...he needs to fear me. I can attack with great vigor because I have God on my side. Maybe I sometimes have to check and remind myself that He is still there. And He always is; every time and every day. Living life with confidence is the only way to go.

Thanks God for always being there to back me up. And thanks Jaxon and Remington for reminding me how blessed I am.

Wednesday, August 10, 2005


I thought is was my truck...

I know I cannot be the only one who has done this, but yesterday I tried to steal a car. Well, not really steal it, but I sure tried to get in the wrong truck. I left the restaurant after lunch, walked to where my truck was parked, and wondered why my remote wouldn't open it. It was the same model, same color, and parked right next to mine. Once I figured out what I was doing, I first worried about who could see me. Then I wondered about what they thought about me. Then I wondered and worried about me - was this the start of early Alzhiemers? At least it helped that one of my good friends and fellow elders was with me. He didn't laugh, or make me feel stupid, or scold me. We just walked to the right truck, got in, and drove off.

It is just like so many other things in life: who sees me, what do they think, and what does this say about me, and what do I do now?

God sees me, He loves me anyhow, and I want to keep molding my life to fit where my heart is. And I want to stay surrounded by real friends. And if I make a mistake... fix it and move on.

And I think that's enough.

Tuesday, August 09, 2005


I Don't Know and Who Cares...

I have absolutely no clue what I'm doing with a blog. For a technophobe, this is frightning. And I have not a clue about whether this will be seen by anyone but me and God. But I suspect it will be a little like life, you never know who is watching (or in this case, reading).

I do know that life is good for me. God continues to bless me. Just this year I got to perform the wedding ceremony for my Julie and her Bobby. I got to see my first grandchild born to Joe Don and Jamie. Anna Claire is beautiful and sweet and I am overwhelmed. Southern Hill Church of Christ ordained me as one of their Shepherds, and I became the new Director of Ministry for the Herald of Truth. Then to top it off, Julie and Bobby found out they are expecting.

At least Marsha and I are never bored. Sometimes I marvel that God could be so good to me. And I remember every day that I do not deserve any of this. But that's the whole point, isn't it?

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