Thursday, September 29, 2005


They said it couldn't be done...

You are not supposed to be able to tip over a kayak. That's what they said at the dock. That's what those in the group said- the one's who were all experienced in kayaks. I sure wasn't going to say I wasn't sure about it. After all, I'm a guy, right? We were out in Puget Sound and it was spectacular: seals, ducks, scenery, coastline, woods, and water. We were over two hours into our three hour trip. I was skimming along, a little behind, but for a guy who had no clue what he was doing... not bad.

Then all of a sudden, I was in: I don't know how, I don't know why, I don't know what I did wrong. The group leader said it wasn't my fault. The waves had gotten up, we were too far out from the shore...blah, blah, blah. All I know is it was wet, cold, and a little frightning. Shore seems a lot farther away when you are towing a kayak.

But now its sort of funny. And its a good story, and a good sermon illustration. You know, sailing through life, not paying attention, in over your head, get out of it, learn your lesson, be more careful next time.

Thanks God for saving me... and I don't just mean in the ocean.

Thursday, September 22, 2005


Here comes Rita...

Boy, is it interesting to hear people talk about Hurricane Rita. There are those who think this is God's judgement, others who seem to think it the foreshadowing of the coming of Christ. I tend to think it is the weather. I am not sure God exercises his judgement in this way. Does this mean the the area hit by the tsunami and the hurricanes are more wicked than the rest of the world? And I am not sure we will ever be able to clearly identify when the Lord is about to return. But I do believe God is present, and I believe He controls this world. If He did not send these storms, He certainly allowed them to strike.

I would be happy to explain what God was thinking... but I am not God. His ways are far above my ways. Perhaps this is a wake-up call for the people living amidst the destruction. Perhaps it is to claim the attention of this country. Or maybe i is to focus His people. I am sure God is here, He knows what is happening, and He has only our best interests at heart.

I do think there are hearts that are now hungry for God. I believe people are seeking the important things of life: relationships, family, purpose, and life. I believe God is where these are found. I pray that hungry hearts will be filled with His Word.

I commit to do my part.

Tuesday, September 20, 2005


Reflections of Bid Night...

Last Friday night was bid night at ACU. It is the night that students pledge their fraternity or sorority. As always, it is exhausting, exciting, and encouraging all at once. I am one of the advisors for Galaxy, the club I was in when I was in school. And again I was struck by how things stay the same. The events and activities may change, but the young men in my club are much the same now as they were over thirty years ago when I pledged.

I am amazed at how intimidated they can be (even when they shouldn't be). I am surprised how anxious some of them are to be accepted. I am happy to see the depth of spirituality among so many of them. I am thankful for the leadership I see exhibited by our officers, and their determination to do things right. So does everything go just like it should? Of course not. There are young men in my club who do not know Jesus, and others who are struggling in their Christian walk. In other words, we are just like every other group of people at ACU.

I continue to be a supporter of social clubs. I do not believe they are for everyone, but they serve as a great tool for student involvement, leadership, and fun. I enjoy my time spent with the men in my fraternity, and I support the other social clubs on campus. They are important to ACU. I just hope everyone else realizes that.

Monday, September 19, 2005


Celebration Sunday

We had Celebration Sunday yesterday at Southern Hills. Hallal was with us and I was again so impressed with their heart and with their giftedness. Ken Young and his team have really helped our fellowship focus on what it is to praise God. Thanks for your help.

Phil Ware shared in his sermon about following the call of God, and how he and Donna had to wrestle with the decision to come to Southern Hills. I just want to affirm to them that I believe it was a call from God, and they were right to follow it. That's probably just because Marsha and I are so blessed by them personally, but that's fine too. Thanks for being our friends.

My Dad just heard back on the results of his treatment for prostate cancer. Good news- his count is way down, so things look good. You never really come to grips with the fact that your parents are going to die, but it is remarkably comforting to know they have a faith that will take them home. I'm glad they were able to pass it on to me and mine. Thanks. But I am glad it looks like Pap will be around a while longer. Thanks God.

Friday, September 16, 2005


People I met on the way to heaven...

I had four different people at the house last night for three separate sessions, and I am just reminded again how we are connected to a spiritual family in order to encourage each other on our journey to heaven. The first conversation was about ministry. We talked about how to reach the spiritually hungry in this world with the good news of Jesus. Seeing another person's passion for preaching sharpened me and reminded me how badly I want this world to know Jesus. I will be more focused on mission and ministry today.

The second discussion was with a couple concerned about the welfare of one of their children. She is facing serious decisions and they want to be sure they are doing all the can to guide her and to give wise counsel. It reminded me to be supportive and appreciative of my kids, even as they lead their own families.

The last conversation was with a brother who desires to be the man God wants him to be, the husband God would have him be, and the father he should be. I was supposed to encourage him, and I think I did, but he helped me sharpen my focus.

Thank you God for brothers and sisters to make this journey with.

Thursday, September 15, 2005


I am a walking sermon illustration...

I had another good opening to my sermon last night, and once again it was right out of my life. It started when Marsha and I met at Taco Bell for a quick bite before church. I was commenting on how my bill was as cheap as hers even tho I had more food. It was then that she pointed out that they had given me the Senior Citizen Discount. I had just about gotten over that when I managed to drop my keys into my large Diet Coke. No, I don't know how I managed to do that. When I went in to rinse them off, I managed to splash water all over my clothes. And of course, there were no paper towels in the holder.

Sometimes our bodies change (Senior citizens), and sometimes they malfunction (keys in a coke), and sometimes things happen to them (water shower with no towels). It's just like the body of Christ: sometimes it changes, and sometimes it doesn't function just like it should, and sometimes things happen to it.

We are the body of Christ. We need each other, we depend on each other, and we are one.

Wednesday, September 14, 2005


Am I being judgemental...

It was another one of those conversations that leave me feeling a little uneasy. She is a dear friend of ours, and one of the nicest people I have ever known. If fact, she is one of the best people I have ever known and she deeply loves Jesus. She is searching for a church home and has visited Southern Hills with us often.

And we do not agree about how to come to Jesus. She is hurt because we do not endorse her conversion experience. We are hurt because we worry about being judgemental. And I hear so much these days about not building walls, and about unity in the body of Christ, and about how narrow we are to insist on baptism as the way to be crucified with Christ. I don't like conflict, I want everyone to like me, and I want all of God's people to be one.

I think the gospel is the one thing that matters. And I believe baptism is how you respond to the gospel. I have studied it, prayed over it, talked about it, and studied it again. I just can't get around it. It is there, and it is clear. I just can't feel good giving people assurance about things that are God's business without going to the source. And that source is the very word of God.

But everybody doesn't see it my way. And I do not have to answer to everybody else. I have to be faithful to God. And I have to speak His Word, not mine. And my friend does not have to answer to me. If she is confident in her response to God, it is between her and her God. I am not obligated to endorse her position; nor will I compromise truth to maintain our relationship. There are lots of things in God's Word that I do not clearly understand. However, the gospel and our response to it is clear. So I will teach and preach what I see as truth.

May God help me if I am wrong... but I will be faithful to His Word. As for my friend, she is smart and has a heart for God. We will continue to look at His Word together and I believe she will make her decision and live with it. Just like I have to do.

So am I arrogant and judgemental? I am sure there are people who think so, especially if they disagree with me. But they are not the final answer, nor do they determine what I believe. So I will continue to speak the truth with conviction and faith, and will continue living out the gospel every day in my life.

There may lots of room to disagree on many other issues, but the gospel is too impotant to compromise. Jesus died for my sins, he was buried, and he was raised on the third day. I was baptized in response to that gospel, and I remember that gospel every week when I commune with my brothers and sisters. It is wonderful, it is simple, and it is important.

Tuesday, September 13, 2005


Back from Louisiana...

I have just returned from another trip to Lafayette and Baton Rouge. It is always hard to sort out my thoughts after these trips. It is almost as if I have emotional overload. Almost two weeks after the hurricane there are still people finding their way into shelters. Many of these people still have no idea what they will do in the future, yet most of them are amazingly upbeat.

I was able to visit with several that were recently baptized while living in a church shelter. It seems to me that they have been given the greatest "relief" they will ever find. God's work is continuing in a great way. And the door to their hearts was opened by Christians willing to sacrifice and serve in the name of Jesus. I am reminded how many times in the gospel accounts that Jesus linked preaching and service. I need to remember how intertwined they are. Preaching may not be heard without demonstrated love and compassion, yet we really haven't made a forever difference in people's lives without telling the good news of Jesus.

And for those in our fellowship who enjoy pointing out the things wrong with the church of Christ... now is the time to celebrate what is right. We have come to the front in a wonderful way, and are recognized all over that area as the people who make a difference. We have set the standard for being God's hands in a world turned upside down. I am proud to be a member of the family of God in this time.

Thursday, September 08, 2005


My fantasy team is in trouble...

Yes, it is sad but true. I am a fantasy football participant. This year I was so busy that I only had time for one league, and I didn't even have time to prepare for my draft. However, I always do well, and it's fun to analyze the market, draft your team, and reap the harvest.

When I got ready to set my lineup for the first game, I realized my team my not be as good as I thought. Young quarterback (Carson Palmer), old running back (Ahmad Green), and a troubled running back (Jamaal Lewis) make me wonder. It makes me realize a few things. One is that fantasy is still easier than real life because there are no serious consequences if I do not do well.
Second, I wonder what God thinks when He looks on the team He has assembled to witness to this world. Good thing He gave us the Holy Spirit to help.

Wednesday, September 07, 2005


Simone's Story

Simone came to Jesus and was baptized in 1990. She said she stayed faithful and involved for seven or eight years until she moved to New Orleans. Then she began to fall away, lost her focus, and began living a lifestyle that went against everything she really believed in. When Katrina hit, she was living with her five children: two girls, ages 16 and 13, and three boys, ages 10, 20 months, and three months.

They thought they could ride out the storm when it stopped raining, but soon had to retreat into their attic with one of their neighbors. Realizing that they were not going to be able to survive the rising water, they swam through their house, out the front door, and climbed onto their roof. They were then evacuated by helicopter to the University of New Orleans. Meanwhile, the infant had swallowed so much water that he and Simone had to be Care-flighted to a hospital in Baton Rouge.

While they were at the hospital, UNO campus had to be evacuated. The neighbor and the other four children were put on a bus to Reunion Arena in Dallas. With the help of kind, loving, and persistant volunteers, Simone was contacted and told her children were with the neighbor in Dallas. One of the pediatric nurses at the hospial was a member of the South Baton Rouge church of Christ and told Simone that she and her baby could find shelter at the church's Student Center near LSU.

In the meantime, I was with our advance team from Herald of Truth over at the Student Center handing out tracts and setting up our distributions for this coming weekend. While there, we visited with Ann Ledet, the Women's Campus Minister, about what they were doing and how we could help. We then made our way over to the Riverside church of Christ in Lafayette. About 10:30 that night, Ann called Riverside looking for the Herald of Truth group; she was wondering if we could take Simone and her infant to Dallas and help her find her children. So we did.

What a trip. By the way, infant seats are lots more complicated to hook up than I remembered. We prayed to find her kids, we talked about Jesus, and we sang praise songs all the way to Dallas. Simone spoke of her desire to regain her spiritual focus, and to make sure that her children had faith. While on the way, we contacted the volunteer in Dallas and found out the kids had been moved to the Convention Center.

When we rolled in to Dallas (about 8 pm), we headed to the Convention Center. While Simone was registering with the Red Cross, I got on the phone to find the volunteer and the children. In a crowd of thousands, there was only one thing to do: "look for the bald guy standing on a chair waving his hands..." In a few moments, there were squeals of joy, tears of relief, and a standing ovation from everyone in the area.

Only God could have pulled it off. I'm glad He used me to be a small part of it.

Tuesday, September 06, 2005


Worse than you can imagine...

I have just gotten back from Louisiana and it really is worse than you can imagine. We spent time at the Riverside church of Christ in Lafayette and at the LSU Christian Student Center sponsored by the South Baton Rouge church of Christ. Both of these locations have opened their doors to those displaced by Hurricane Katrina. To see the devestation is one thing, but when you start putting a human face to is overwhelming. We were there from the Herald of Truth to begin implementing plans to be sure God's Word is heard in the aftermath. We talked, prayed, counseled, and helped with hundreds of those who lives have been altered forever.

I do believe that there will be people looking for answers to help make sense of what has happened. I do belive that there will be people whose heart will turn to God. It is imperative that they hear God's Word during this time. We at HoT are distributing Scripture and tracts so that lives can be changed forever.

The whole weekend reminds me that while many people have lost their homes, we know of a home that lasts forever. And in the midst of a situation that seems out of control, we know who is in control. I believe people will be in heaven because of what happens in the next few months. I know people that need food, shelter, and support. If they get that, and still do not hear a word from God... have we really helped them?

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