Friday, October 28, 2005


Mixed up about voting...

Tuesday, November 8, we in Texas get to vote on an amendment to define marriage as a union between a man and a woman. So all of our churches are making dramatic announcements for all their members to demonstrate their Christian commitment by voting in favor of this amendment. Now don't misunderstand. I agree with this definition of marriage, and I will go vote for the amendament. And I have signed on to the pastoral statement to be read Sunday at Southern Hills. But there are a few things that really concern me about our attitude to this amendment.

First of all, God defined marriage a long time ago, and no matter what any country legislates, they cannot change the truth. And if this is some sort of effort to "keep America a Christian nation", then we are really missing the point. Our citizenship is in heaven, not in this world. There is no nation on earth that is chosen by God.

I would rather our dramatic call to action be to model Godly marriages as living witnesses in this world. That takes much more effort than voting, and will have a more lasting impact. Legislation does not change lives, nor does it enforce morality. Jesus changes lives.

Wednesday, October 26, 2005


I hate Satan

I really believe Satan gets active against God's people when he gets scared. And he gets scared when God's people are on the attack. So of course he fights back. Good things are happening at Southern Hills and Satan has turned up the heat. Just among our elders and staff, we have two who lost jobs, two who had major health issues, two who had spouses in the hospital, and two with major health issues among their children.

Doesn't he know that he can't win? I guess he is just hoping to win a few battles. So he attacks our faith, he tempts us to sin, he attacks our families, and chips away at our self confidence. I resolve to be strong, to pray for God's people to be strong, and to battle Satan for every soul. It is a war, and God is calling us to battle.

How are things in your life? If Satan is piling on, rest assured it is because he is afraid of what God is doing through you. Be courageous, be strong, and remember...we win.

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

I don't do it often, but I found myself visiting a church last weekend. And not as the visiting preacher. I do lots of that kind of visiting, and everyone meets and greets the visiting preacher. If they are not meeting me, then I am busy introducing myself (after all, the visiting preacher is supposed to be friendly). But last weekend I visited a church because I had to meet someone there. I got there right about the middle of class, walked in, and stood in the foyer. Just as an experiment, I decided to see how long before someone welcomed me.

It took eleven minutes. I did get a few nods, and several people did look at me (I guess to see if they could figure out who I was). Even the people with the "welcome" badges on didn't welcome me. Finally an older gentleman came in, saw me, and walked right over to introduce himself. When he found out I was with Herald of Truth, he helped me find the person I was there to meet. They introduced me to lots of people and they were all friendly, warm, and welcoming.

But I can't help but wonder what would have happened if I had just been a random visitor looking for answers in my life. Would I have stayed eleven minutes before I gave up and went somewhere else?

How do visitors do where you go to church? I'm going to do better. And thanks Chester, for going out of your way to make this visitor feel welcome.

Tuesday, October 18, 2005


Don't count your chickens before they're hatched...

We have all heard that saying, but it was brought home again last night as I stayed up to watch the Astros celebrate. Oops. Everyone assumed it was over, it should have been over, it seemed like it was over. It's like the "best laid plans" situation. You make your plans, you execute your plan, and the next thing you know... your fantasy team is 1 and 5. You just can't count on anything to be a sure thing.

Now I wonder if I do that spiritually. I just assume God is going to let me live out a full measure of my days, and I will go out preaching at the ripe old age of 120. And of course, I will have full possessions of all my faculties. But I don't think I can count on that. In fact, the only thing I am sure of is that God is in control and that He will do what is best. And if I can only count on one thing... that is the one I would chose.

By the way, Julie is doing well. Jake's signs are good, the tear seems about healed, and she is getting tired of all the bed rest. Thanks for the prayers. Keep them up.

Friday, October 14, 2005


It's Homecoming at ACU...

It is one of my favorite events of the year. I love homecoming. Now that may seem a little odd since we live in Abilene. I like the Galaxy breakfast, though I don't like getting up early, and the food is not worth what I have to pay. Even though I like ACU football, I rarely go to the homecoming game. Unless I'm speaking, I usually don't even make it to chapel. I've ridden in the homecoming parade, but rarely watched it. So why in the world do I like homecoming so much?

Because I get to see people who I rarely get to see. I get to visit with people who impacted my life, and with those whose lives I impacted. And my kids come home (and of course bring Anna with them). It's all about the people.

I think homecoming in heaven will be even better. See you there. Don't miss it.

Thursday, October 13, 2005


My guys goofed...

Well, the men of Galaxy are on probation. We can still have homecoming breakfast, be in the parade, and sing in Sing Song. In fact, the only real difference is that we ended pledging one week early. And it was our officers who suggested that course of action to the administration. And they should have. They had an activity without getting it approved, and without any advisors present. Interestingly enough, the activity would have been approved. But they took responsibility and have learned a great lesson.

The interesting thing has been to be labeled with other clubs as under investigation for hazing activities. I guess some people don't care about the facts, while others just assume the worst.

I wonder if I ever do that with people: believe the gossip, assume the worst, say things that are not right. People have done that to me, and I know how damaging it can be.

I am reminded that I never want to do that to anyone else. God forgive me when I have.

Wednesday, October 12, 2005


I wish I could really use the computer...

It seems so easy for everyone else. My wife can sit down and create all sorts of documents in minutes. My boss at Herald of Truth sends back comments on my proposals with the comments in different colors and in little boxes and everything. Our director of operations fixes in two minutes what I spent the entire morning messing up. Maybe I'm just not smart enough, or good enough, or something. I want to do better, I try really hard, but I just don't get it sometimes. Of course, I never had any classes, and I haven't really been working at it that long, and I'm a little (or a lot) overwhelmed by the whole thing.

I wonder if anyone ever feels that way in our churches: overwhelmed, intimidated, feeling inadequate, or not good enough. Maybe I should be more sensitive to others, a little more patient, spend more time teaching.

God help me to help your children grow, even as you have helped me.

Tuesday, October 11, 2005


I think it is God...

Julie met with her specialist yesterday and he thinks the tear is much smaller. Her was careful to explaing that there is still a long way to go, but we believe God is healing her. She got to go home from the hospital yesterday but still is on complete bed rest. She goes back Wednesday to the neonatal specialist.

I am by nature a minister, fixer, preacher, healer, prayer, and counselor to others. I realized again this week how hard it is for me not to be able to fix this with Julie and Jake. Seeing the tears in Bobby's eyes about broke my heart. As my good friend Phil reminded me, waiting on the Lord is not always easy.

I was moved and touched by our family being on the receiving end of so many prayers, visits, calls, and prayers. It was powerful and affirming. I hope I never forget how important it is to just be there for people.

Thanks to all of you, and thanks God for reminding me that we are really not in control of anything. But you are...

Monday, October 10, 2005


What a weekend...

First let me give you a quick update on Julie and her baby. So far, the tear in her placenta has not increased. That is the good news. At this point, it is not yet healing so that is the current prayer. She gets another ultrasound this morning then meets with her doctor and the neonatal specialist. Julie is at least hoping to be able to do bed rest at home and not in the hospital.

I was so focused on what was going on with us that I almost missed what is going on in our world. Even as Tx., La., and Ms. dig out from under the hurricanes, disasters struck all over this world. A horrific earthquake in Pakistan, mud slides in Guatamala, and floods on the eastern coast of the U.S. I cannot claim to know the mind of God, but I wonder if God is trying to get the attention of this world.

I do not know how all of this plays out, but I do believe the work of God will be seen in this time.

I want to us all to remember that God has us here for a purpose. So I will continue to pray, I will visit, I will teach, and I will help in personal ways with those I come in contact with.

We are the light of the world... I promise to keep mine shining.

Thanks to those of you who keep your light shining in my life.

Friday, October 07, 2005


Julie and Jake

As most of you know, my daughter Julie and her husband Bobby are expecting. Jake is 26 weeks old and due on January 15. Yesterday afternoon, Julie was in a car wreck. She was hit from behind, so they took her to the hospital as a precaution. They found a tear in the placenta so they kept her overnight as a precaution. They are doing another ultrasound this morning to see if the placenta is remaining attached. If so, I'm sure she and Jake will be on bed rest. If not, then we will see what the other options are.

Keep them in your prayers.

God has been faithful to our family and He will take care of us through this.

Thursday, October 06, 2005

Thanks to all of you who offered me your glasses after last night. You forget them one time and its a big deal. And yes, I was quoting most of those passages because I couldn't read them. But thanks also to all of you who responded to the message in such a positive way. It proves the point of the lesson: God does an incredible work through not so incredible people. It's always about Him and never about us.

It was a great night at HIP. Jonathon and the praise team were wonderful, Phil and Gary used their gifts as always. And the Garden of Prayer was amazing. It was moving to watch Trina, and Jonathon, and Gary, and Tony, and Ann, and Phil, and on it goes. Some of you know their stories, and I am moved by their faithfulness. They have all faced struggles and trials and I believe the work of God is seen in their lives. They do model God's work in this world.

Going back to New Orleans tomorrow. God continues to work in His world to bring people to Him. My friend Paul Jones, preacher at the Riverside church in Lafayette, told me this morning of more people coming to the Lord. He said the hurricanes were worth it because of the souls who would now be in heaven. Good perspective.

God help us all to plant seeds of Jesus wherever we go.

Tuesday, October 04, 2005


Walk on the correct side of the road...

It drives me nuts: runners and walkers on the wrong side of the road. I thought everyone knew that you always run facing traffic (that is, on the left of the road). That way you can see what the oncoming traffic is doing. At least if it doesn't look like they can see you, you can bail out and not get hit. If you are on the right, you may never know you are in danger until it is too late.

Sometimes I even tell runners they ought to move to the other side of the road. Some of them seem to appreciate it, some act like I'm some kind of idiot, and others just ignore me. I guess they think they know best. And all I'm trying to do is to help them. I may not look like much of a runner any more, but over thirty years of running on roads has taught me a few things.

It's kind of like spiritual advice. Some appreciate it, some think I'm an idiot, and some just ignore me. But over forty years of following Jesus has taught me a few things, and I do know where the danger spots are. I've even learned how to avoid them.

I guess I can't control whether anyone takes my advice, but I sure don't want an accident on my conscience. So I will keep sharing truth as I know it...that's the only thing I can control. The rest is up to them. And that's true for all of walking- physical or spiritual.

Monday, October 03, 2005


Yesterday was tough...

The Rangers finished another season out of the playoffs. It's not that it was a shock, it's just that it is so painful. Then the Cowboys managed to lose again. And to top it off, it looks like I am going to be 0-4 in my fantasy football league. I have the third highest point total in the league and can't win a game.

I'm glad all this happened on Sunday. I also got to go to church yesterday. The praise time was good, Phil's sermon was on target, and we had a full university class in the gym. I got to visit with two of my Sheparding Groups (sorry Fraziers and Cookseys), and I always enjoy getting to see caring people in action.

But most of all, it reminded me about what really counts in life. It's not sports, or work, or possessions... it's Jesus. Worshipping with Granny and Grandpa, Julie and Bobby, and lots of our best friends on this earth. It doesn't get any better than this until I die. And then it gets better.

Thanks God for giving me a family (both blood and blood bought) to let me share life with.

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