Tuesday, September 26, 2006

One of the respondents to our hopeforlife.org evangelistic website recently started a discussion with me about this whole idea of being "good enough" for God. His concern was how to be better. Of course, he is missing the point. Connecting to God is not about being good enough. After all, how good is good enough? And compared to God, I can't be good enough. If we are not careful, this whole being good deal becomes like a giant suck up to God: "I'll try to be really, really good and then you let me into heaven." In fact, that's one of the atheists favorite arguements against Christianity.

My friend is trying to figure out this whole Jesus thing, so I am patient with him. But what about Christians who think they have it figured out but are still stuck in this rut. Understand that I know I am sinner saved by grace. Jesus is good enough for him and me both. And thank God for that. I am good because I want others to see Jesus. And if I am not good, it is not my salvation that is in danger (thanks to grace) ...but it is the missed opportunities that haunt me. Who missed a chance to see Jesus in me? Or who got a distorted picture of Jesus because of me?

I don't try to please God in order to be saved. I try to please God because I am so grateful for what He has done for me. He saved me when I couldn't save myself.

That's when I think I have it figured out. It's about Him, not me.

Monday, September 25, 2006


I just can't give up on some people...

I recently was asked about why I spend so much time with people who seem to be struggling with the same old sin and not making much visible progress - while at the same time spending hardly any time with others in sin. It was a good question and I continue to reflect on it. However, I am clear about a couple of things and maybe they will help you decide who to invest your time in helping.

I help the "triers". I continue to spend time with people who confess their sin, commit to doing better, and actually take steps to change their life. Sure it takes time. I get frustrated but so do they. Sometimes it seems that not much progress is being made. But when I get a sense that they are trying, I go the extra mile.

I must confess that I do give up on others quickly. If they can't admit their sin, or if they don't seem willing to go to war to get it out of their lives, then I don't waste much time with them. Does that seem judgemental? Perhaps, but I ask for wisdom and I try to be a good steward with the time I have available.

Of course I am sure that some people are conning me, and that others are much more penitent than they seem. So I do the best I can to help as many as I can to defeat their demons.

Most of you will know that for a long time I too was a trier: someone who hated my sin, wanted to defeat my sin, and wanted to be what Jesus wanted me to be. And every day I am conscious of how grateful I am that God- and some of his people - wouldn't give up on me. So I'm pretty patient with strugglers. There but for the grace of God go I.

Thursday, September 21, 2006


Reflections on Lectureship...

Another Lectureship has come and gone. I don't know how the September date will work. Crowds seemed down to me, but then I thought they were about to be non-existent in February.

...Mark Love and the people at ACU are committed to making Lectureship an outstanding spiritual experience. I really believe it is more than a tradition to them.

...I loved the Coffee Group class. Yes it was a class for ladies and yes they are part of my flock at Southern Hills and yes I am prejudiced. But I still think they are great. I was especially touched by Tammy as she talked about God being God no matter what happens to her son Jack. She has a powerful testimony about God's grace.

... Phil Ware is brilliant. Of course I don't always agree with him, but it may be because I don't understand what he is saying. He is really perceptive about communicating with moderns using tools and resources that they use every day.

...Thanks to the HIP praise team. I was there Tues and the first part of Wed. What a blessing to be led in worship by you. Keep using those talents.

... Tim Archer and Skye Noe are incredible additions to the Herald of Truth ministry team. I really believe God is going to use us to do great things.

... I know I should get tired of hearing men like Rick Atchley, Mike Cope, Lynn Anderson and others. I must be a groupie. But they are always relevent and always make me think.

... went to a class taught by Darren Reese (and others). He is like another son to me. Couldn't help really feeling proud of what God is doing in his life. I really did always know God would do great things with Darren, Joe Don, and their other friends.

... lots of you must read this blog because so many of you asked why I don't keep it more current. Sorry. I'll try to do better. It's just that it comes after being Director of Ministry at HoT, eldering at Southern Hills, preaching HIP, being husband, Dad, and Pops. Well...you get the picture.

Anyway, I guess I actually like Lectureship. Who would have thought it.

Thursday, September 14, 2006


More reflections on old and young...

Some of you raised the question about only being as old as you feel. You know, some days you feel twenty years younger, and some days twenty years older, than you really are. And then there is the debate about looking older - or younger- than you really are. But the most interesting question is why are some old people so young... and why are some young people so old. You've met them. I have known college students who were already little old men. And I have know old people who are young, like my friend Georgia. She is 81 and went to Cuba with us this summer.

So what makes some old people stay young. It may have to do with attitude. How excited are you about life? Do you think of the future more than the past? Are you an optimist? Are you still up for new challanges?

I think I will be young till the day I die. People that just see me always think I must be older than I really am. But people that know me, spend time with me, or hear me preach, always think I am younger than I really am.

Maybe it has to do with Jesus. After all, if you know you are immortal (and believers are)... then it's easy to stay young.

How about you?

Tuesday, September 12, 2006


Another year older...

I had another birthday yesterday. Birthdays are always odd to me. I never feel different but everyone acts like you should. Maybe its because this one was my 55th. I'm not sure how I'm supposed to feel at that age. Is it young or old? I know I look older but I never really think about that. I think I act younger, but not with any conscious effort. However, there are a few things I am aware of as I get older.

I mark time by knowing that other people are getting older. My babies are having babies. I know elders who used to be in youth groups. I have lots of second generation people hearing me preach. And even a few third generations. I just don't seem older.

I can still do about anything I want to...it's just that it takes longer sometimes. And it takes longer to recover. So my projects need a little longer lead time. I don't look much different. That's the advantage of being bald and having a face like mine. I've looked this way for years and probably will for lots more years.

The list of things that really matter to me becomes shorter and shorter. But the things that do matter become more critical. I am more intense about God and Jesus and family.

I am just not much for looking in the rear view mirror. The past is past, and I can't do anything about it. I wish I had done some things differently, but why dwell there. I don't even want to live in the "good ol days" of the past.

I just don't get the whole retirement thing. Sure there are a few things I wish I had more time for, but I don't know that there are a lot of things I'd do different. And I guess the money situation is different when you retire, but I figure I'll do about the same things I do now for the rest of my life. I'll talk about Jesus, try to be more like him, and keep enjoying each day as a gift from God.

So I guess I'll just keep on keeping on. But feel free to check in on me when I'm 75...or 105. Or when we get to heaven.

So how about you? Are you getting older? How do you know?

Tuesday, September 05, 2006


Living on the edge...

Steve Irwin is dead. What a life he lived...always on the edge of danger. "Crikey, mate"! Snakes, Crocs, and all sorts of dangerous animals were his props for television and movies. He created a whole industry out of living on the edge with dangerous animals. And just like that, one got him. I don't guess I am really surprised. What did we think would happen? Did he make it seem so routine that we forgot how dangerous these events really were? Did he forget how dangerous they were?

You can already see the spiritual application, can't you? Why do we want to "push the envelope" spiritually? Flirting is harmless... it's just one beer... but porn doesn't really hurt anyone... and on and on it goes. And then we act shocked when we get bit. Satan is real, he hates God's children, and he will destroy you if he can. Stay away from him. Don't get lulled into a false sense of security. One of these days, you'll get bitten.

What are the other ways that we live close to spiritual danger?

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