Thursday, June 28, 2007


The "meltdown"...

Several of you have asked if I was going to be honest enough to share this on my blog, so here goes. It is something I shared at Southern Hills two or three Sundays ago.

A few weeks ago I had come to the end of my rope. I was mentally, physically, emotionally, and spiritually exhausted. I had a really difficult year at work with a lot of stress. As an elder, I was dealing with many of the crisis situations among my flock. Maybe because we are such examples of grace in action, people feel better about calling me when they have spiritual blow-ups. So it is emotional and painful. My father-in-law had major surgery, lots of complications, and that took a toll. I preached HIP thru the semester but instead of getting some "down-time", I went right into wedding season: eight this year, with three of them the first three weeks after HIP.

How did I know something wasn't right? I was getting the essentials done, but my productivity was low. My motivation was weak, and my sleep habits were horrible. For a high energy, super positive guy, that is scary. So Marsha hauled me to the doctor. Great guy and a believer who asked how I managed that much stress. I told him exercise, prayer, and time in the Word. Except I realized my study had become lesson intensive, not personal. I was praying for everyone but me, and for two months I hadn't been running. Oddly enough, I didn't even realize I wasn't until Marsha told me. He asked what I did to relax. I told him hunt, fish, golf, and get away with Mom. Then we established that it had been a year since we had been away, that I only went hunting three times last year, fished once, and last played golf three years ago. And I wasn't taking time off. If I took time off from Herald of Truth, I was doing eldering or ministry at Southern Hills. Or preaching somewhere.

Technical diagnosis: exhaustion. Practical diagnosis: I kept the pedal to the floorboard all the time. Then I ran out of gas and I still kept it floored. And as has been pointed out, this will never end. I could resign as an elder, but people would still show up for help, and I cannot envision a time when I will not be preaching or teaching. Those of you who know me well have assured me this is right. By God's grace, I am who I am. And I believe it is God who opens the door for all these opportunities.

So what's the answer? Fill the tank, then don't let it get empty again. Marsha is intense about helping me. My accountability group is going to monitor me. My ministry team at Herald of Truth is going to watch me.

So why tell you all this? Don't let it happen to you. It reminds me that Jesus really is life or death for me. I need the Lord. He must be the source of my strength and my energy. He has been and He will be. And yes, I am getting there. Still doing lots, but taking time and letting God fill my tank.

So... if you have any thoughts, ideas, or similar experiences feel free to share them.

Thursday, June 21, 2007


Random thoughts...

Just a few random thoughts before heading to Miami this weekend and preaching at a couple of different congregations.

Spent a week in Chile following up on last year's Herald of Truth campaign. They have baptized over twenty and still are working with another twenty or so. My favorite part of the trip was meeting with a small church on the outskirts of Santiago one night. About 20 people, and no one had been a Christian longer than ten years. Their preacher was converted in prison. What a great church.

Sammy Sosa hit his 600th home run last night, so the debate begins over the greatest home run hitters. Maybe Babe Ruth because he hit so many more than his contemporaries. Maybe Hank Aaron because he hit the most. Hard to say Barry or Sammy because of the steroid issue. My vote goes to Willie Mays. He hit 660 and missed two years while in the military. Then played most of his career in Candlestick, a tough place to homer.

Haven't seen my neighbor and the dogs again. I did appreciate the suggestions. Of course, the best one was to pray for him. The second best was from the person who told me if I carried spray, turn it the right way.

By the way, we are drinking Taste of Abilene coffee. Good call from those of you who suggested it. And Marsha is trying some of those "liven it up" suggestions for her coffee.

Got to take my grandson Jake to the zoo the other day. What a hoot (and not just the owls). Boy does he love life, as does my granddaughter Anna. Wonder where they get it. I sure do enjoy hanging out with them.

Tuesday, June 05, 2007


Advice needed...

He walks in our neighborhood between 5 and 6 in the morning and he lets his two dogs run loose. About a month ago, the little dog ran at Marsha from behind. After I ran his dog back, I told the man he needed to put his dogs on a leash. He never said anything. About two weeks ago I saw him again with the dogs still loose. The little one ran at me, I ran him back and said "you really need to put your dogs on a leash. It is against the law to let them run loose." He did not reply. This morning I saw them again. I asked if the little dog running loose was his and he said he didn't know, he couldn't see it. OK, maybe it's not. It's dark, and I can't see well. But then that little dog ran at our little dog, Jaxon, who I had on the leash. The man starts yelling at the dog to come back. So I tell him he has to leash those dogs or I will have to report him. He begins to yell at me...scream at me. So I reply that what he is doing is illegal. He pulls out a flashlight, shakes it at me and asked if I want to "get it on". I first laughed, then I said I would have to call the police, then I walked away with him still shouting and threatening me. So what do I do?

The John Wayne fans would say whip him and the dogs. Some would say stay home and don't walk early in the morning because he is a nut case and may use a gun on me. I thought about offering him a Bible study after pointing out that he is clearly not a Christian.

I am thinking maybe I should try for a different route in the neighborhood so not to encounter him. Maybe I should call the police and the pound because I think I have some obligation to my neighbors to make our neighborhood safe.

So what would Jesus do? That is the most important question. So I am asking for advice...what should I do?

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