Friday, December 23, 2005


Thanks to our small group...

Today I am writing in praise of my small group. We meet twice a month (sometimes more and sometimes less), and we eat together, laugh together, pray together, share lots together, and cry together. We have prayed each other through many a spiritual and physical crisis. We have been supportive, given advice, and just been there for each other.

We take care of each other's families, and we are the first line of defense when Satan tries to tempt one of us. They were the very first ones to show up after Julie's wreck, and not just to take care of Mom and I, but to take care of Julie and Bobby. It is fair to say I would not be an elder today if not for my small group.

So I hope you have one. If not, start praying for God to put the people in your life to grow together. And if you do have a small group, be sure and let them know you appreciate them. You can even salute them on your blog...or on mine. We really think ours are all family. So thanks to John and Jana, Tim and Traci, and Phil and Donna. We love you and God bless.

Tuesday, December 20, 2005


Great Christmas Memories

I think about them every best Christmas memories. And I bet my list is much like yours: people, relationships, time spent together. It really is amazing how few material things ever make the list. I remember Julie's first Christmas. The paper and boxes were lots more fun that the presents. And I remember the year Joe Don gave me a gift certificate for 10 free wrestles.

I remember being with people I love, and that loved me. I remember Christmases where lots was bought, and those where not much could be bought. I still get excited when everyone is coming home for Christmas. I think about the fun of watching each other open presents, not what the presents were. I think of meals together, and of praying in the family circle. And I remember movies, and hunting, and games.

So every Christmas gets better and better. And I think that is probably because Jesus is the underlying key to everything that matters to me at Christmas- not because of when he was born, but why he was born.

So I do mean Merry Christmas. Or Happy Holidays- after all, holiday is a version of holy day.

So enjoy the things that matter this season. I will.

Thursday, December 15, 2005


More thoughts on disaster relief...

Every time I am in New Orleans I am struck by the selfless acts of so many volunteers. I am inspired by those who give of time and energy to get to that area for a day, a week, or a month, and work to help people get back in their homes and churches. I am amazed by the people who can't go but they give. But I am most amazed by those who live there and are pouring their lives into helping others. They open their homes, they feed, they clean, they pray, they study, they listen... and often their own lives have been turned upside down.

And I am so proud of so many churches. In a time when it popular among the church of Christ to point out our shortcomings and weaknesses, I want to say something in praise of us. Everywhere I have gone in New Orleans, the church of Christ is mentioned with respect and admiration. Government officials even send people to us to get help. We were first responders to this crisis and people noticed. We stepped up when people where hurting and in need. We gave our time, energy, and money. We took care of ourselves, and we took care of many others.

I know there were many other congregations who have come to the front, but I really commend Riverside in Lafayette, South Baton Rouge, Carrollton Avenue in New Orleans, and Tammany Oaks. Because of my work at Herald of Truth, I have been able to work with these congregations closely and they have let their light shine. People are seeing Jesus and lives will be changed forever because of what they are doing. God will give an increase of souls.

When tragedy strikes in the area where we go to church - and it will - will we step it up in the same way?

Tuesday, December 13, 2005


Christmas Celebrations...

I grew up in a fellowship that did not celebrate Christmas. There might be a brief acknowledgement of the season, but there certainly were not any pagents, plays, or even Christmas carols sung. Sometimes I even heard theological explanations for why this was: after all, we do not know the exact day Jesus was born so we should not celebrate any one day more than any other. It was sometimes explained that we should celebrate Christmas every day, not just once a year. However, I always wondered if we just wanted to be sure that we were not being like all those denominations.

Now that same fellowship has Christmas pagents, sermons on the birth of Christ at Christmas time, and we sing lots of Christmas songs. And I hear theological explanations for why this is now the right thing to do: after all, the birth of Christ is an event worth celebrating. And at a time the whole world is thinking about Jesus, we need to say a word for the Christ child. However, I wonder if we just want to be sure that we are as much like everyone else as possible. We don't want to be seen as different or quirky.

Christmas is just the latest example of our difficulty in knowing how to relate to other religious groups. I used to think we would rather climb in and out of a window rather than a door so we wouldn't be seen as denominational. We learned almost nothing from our religious friends because we had almost no interaction with them.

Now I think it has become trendy to be as much like everyone else as we can. Now we want to be popular with all our religious friends. If we disagree about an issue, it is almost assumed that we must be wrong. So we become so afraid of offending someone that we won't take a stand on anything. It is as if we are saying "this is true unless you disagree and then it may not be true".

Wouldn't it be wonderful to make decisions based on God's Word, and not worry about what everyone else thinks? After all, I am going to have to answer to God, not to the religious leaders of the world.

Just food for thought.

Monday, December 12, 2005


Back from New Orleans

I spent last week in New Orleans and once again I am overwhelmed with all that I saw and experienced. Here are just a few reflections. matter how many times I see the individual houses trashed out, I cannot get over seeing the ruined pictures and toys. They really get to me.

...I worshipped with Carrollton Ave. church of Christ Wednesday and was struck by their joy and determination. And most of them are still working to get their houses back in shape.

...I don't care what you hear, New Orleans will never be the same.

...I am so encouraged by the obvious enthusiasm of the churches in and around New Orleans to use this disaster to reach the lost.

...People matter and homes matter. Things and houses don't.

...I like electricity, hot water, beds, and bathrooms.

...Beignets are still good at Cafe Monde, and yes we did go there. And it is open.

So God help me to remember that my house can be destroyed, but not my home. And thank you for all the things I take for granted. Help us to reach the searching hearts for you. Let your work be seen in our lives.

Monday, December 05, 2005

I love it when I come across ministry tracks. You know what I mean...when you are ministering to someone and you find others whose tracks you cross. I just wanted to say thanks to Sarah, Tammy and others. I crossed your tracks the other day and I wanted to say God is using you and I appreciate it.

We had our elder open house last night and we got to share ours with Todd and Carla Hooper. They are two of the finest people I know and we really enjoyed "sharing flocks" with them for our open house.

It seems that lately lots of my prayers have involved babies- those who have been here a while, those who just got here, those on their way, and those we hope to see on their way. So I want Anna, Jake, Levi, Ryan, Jack, and Lisa to know I remembered them today.

And Jenny, Jennifer, Julie, Anne, Tiffani, Ann -and all your husbands- God is faithful. Through all the struggles, fear, joy, and hope...we will all always hang on to him. Thanks for your faith, your love, and your commitment. You all are, and will continue to be, great Moms. And for those of you wondering, this last list is part of my prayer list of Moms who are carrying little ones - or who really wish they were.

I am blessed to have people in my life who set such a good example for me. So thanks to all those who inspire me and keep me focused.

And thank you God for letting lives intersect at times of celebration... and at times of need.

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