Wednesday, April 25, 2007


My favorite preachers...

I hear these discussion periodically. Who are the best preachers of our generation? Who do you most like to hear preach? Usually these discussions are conducted by young preachers. I did hear it phrased differently the other day: if you could only hear 10 preachers the rest of your life, who would you pick? When asked for my list, I was suprised by what my list had in common. Let me share the list (in no particular order) and then share with you what it made me realize.

Steve Ridgell (I know that's me, but if I don't want to hear what I have to say, why should anyone else and I am the best I have ever heard in terms of hitting the subjects that I personally need to hear :), Phil Ware, John Risse, Tim Archer, Jerry Taylor, Mark Edge, Skye Noe, Randy Harris, Rick Atchley, and Joe Don Ridgell.

Now for what I learned from making my list. These are Abilene preachers, Southern Hills preachers, Herald of Truth preachers, or people I am really close to as friends. And most of these are people who I know well. I am partial to people whose life I know to be authentic, who live what they preach, and whose lives support their sermon. I am partial to people I have heard many times. Any one can bring it on special occasions but I like the guys who are consistent. These guys are all heavy into the Word, so I like preachers of the Book. I realized I didn't fill my list with guys I alwasys agree with.

So I learned that how you live may determine how effective your preaching is, that if you stay in the text you'll be OK, and that some preachers get better the more I hear them (which probably says something about me). I learned that I don't want my preachers to agree with me because how else would I learn.

So take a minute to list your favorite preachers, and then figure out what it says about you.

Feel free to share the list (or not). I may find some people I need to go hear. But please share the common traits. I think those would help us all. So...what kind of preaching do you like to hear?

Thursday, April 19, 2007


What the heck...

It happened last night at HIP. It was intense, I was focused, God's people were tuned in, and we were talking about living the holy lives to which God has called us. And then it came... the music explosion. It only lasted a few seconds before they caught it in the sound booth. It seemed like it went on forever. I know that at first everyone thought it was part of a planned illustration of some kind. But no, it was a royal foul-up.

So what do you do? Well, first I had to be sure not to go off on anybody in public. Then I had to try to get my focus back. Then I had to try to get the congregation back. Maybe I did, maybe I didn't...but I did learn something from this experience.

It was just like my life. When I really want to be holy, something often intrudes. Sometimes violently. Maybe that's how Satan works.

A really good preacher would have thought to make that analogy last night.

Wish I had.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007


Virginia Tech Tragedy...

Along with everyone else I have spent the last couple of days in prayer and concern over the tragic shooting at Virginia Tech University. Several thoughts come to mind as I have reflected on this horrific event.

Evil is real in this world. Satan is alive. Tragic and horrible things will happen in this world.

The consequences of sin are sometimes random and unfair. You know that one of the burning questions being asked is "why not me". Any of us, at any time, could have our life taken from this earth by an act of violence.

This life is not forever, and it sometimes ends when least expected.

As a Christian, am I prepared to minister in the face of tragedy? Am I prepared to give an answer for the hope I have?

Am I ready to die? Have I really bought in to the belief that this world is not my home? Am I prepared for this to happen to people I love.

These are some of my thoughts and reflections. What about yours?

Friday, April 13, 2007


Lessons learned from Grandpa

First of all the good news: my father-in-law had triple bypass and it went very well. The doctors are pleased, he is in good spirits, and we are thankful and praise God. So let me share some things I believed but had reinforced to me this week.

Having all of those people surround me at HIP the other night during the Garden of Prayer and pray for Grandpa and for Marsha and I was amazing. You always enjoy being part of those but it was amazing to be on the recieving end.

Our elders met with the rest of the family Wednesday night to annoint Don with oil and pray over him. It was really meaningful because I got to do the annointing, but I was reminded of how powerful that act is. It is Biblical and it works. If any of you readers are elders and not practicing annointing, start now.

Prayer works. I know it, but it always good to be powerfully reminded of it. We asked God to bless the Doctors, but even more we acknowledged that healing comes from God. He is the one who answers prayers.

Family and friends are special. For the fifty or so that showed up to hang around Thursday...thanks. You will never know what that meant. It reminds me to do that more often myself.

Finally, I wonder about the witness in that hospital. Twenty five or so family and elders praying on Wednesday night, fifty or so friends and family there to share one another's burden, about thirty of us still there to circle up and give thanks after the surgery. Let your light shine.

So say a prayer for someone, make a visit, let your light shine, and tell someone today how much you love them.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007


Thinking about life...

My father-in-law is going to have bypass surgery either Wednesday night or Thursday morning. In taking him back and forth to the Doctor and staying in the hospital, I have had lots of time to watch and listen as he faces this. And I've learned a few things about life.

...Grandpa and Granny have been married for 62 years. When she comes to his hospital room early in the morning they kiss, she smooths his blanket, and helps him with his breakfast. He doesn't need the help, she just wants to do something for him. All of our young people ought to see that.

...He isn't afraid to die. He does want to live because he wants to take care of "mother". He knows that we will take care of her, but he wants to. Life always ought to have purpose and that purpose should never be about us.

...He tells everyone in the hospital about his God, his family, and his church. Great sermon from a guy who would never get in a pulpit.

...I continue to be struck by the bond between my mother-in-law, my wife, and my daughter. In many ways they are three peas in a pod. They are what family should be. Julie is now expecting and I think her little girl Avery will be just like them. That is really comforting to know the incredible web of love she will be born into.

...I marvel at how much a son I am to him and not an in-law. That's how families ought to be, and reminds me that is how God treats me also.

...He keeps saying everthing will be fine, and he means it. Whatever happens.

We all really need to pay attention to the heros of faith we get to share life with. There are lots of them out there and they have lots to teach us.

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