Monday, November 26, 2007


Andrew Joel Ridgell....

We have another grandchild. Andrew Joel Ridgell was born November 19 and Andrew, Joe Don, Jamie, and big sister Anna are all doing well. That makes four grandchildren under two and a half. God sure is blessing us.

Andrew is special for a couple of reasons. The Ridgell name has now seen another generation. The guys who read this know what I mean. There is something humbling and thrilling about knowing your name will continue.

It is also special that he the fourth Joel Ridgell. My dad is Joel Wesley Ridgell, I am Stephen Joel, then Joel Don, and now Andrew Joel. He will hear the stories of his heritage and of the mighty things that God has done thru his fathers. And that will help him to look forward to the mighty things that God will do thru him.

One last really cool deal. Sunday the 18th was baby blessing at Southern Hills and Avery Grace Gilbreth got to be part of that. Mimi and Pops were already emotional at seeing another one of our grandkids committed to the Lord and then that night we get the call that Andrew was on the way. What a day of blessings.

I am reminded again of how great is our God.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007


1968: What a year...

Just saw the latest issue of Newsweek and the cover is 1968. I know, many of you readers were not even born then. But I was in the last half of my junior, and first half of my senior, year in high school. I have not read the article, but I know what I remember from 1968. I remember the Beatles , Vietnam (the Tet offensive, I think), Robert Kennedy and Martin Luther King. That was the year I first heard the greatest rock band ever--Creedance Clearwater Revival.

I remember short skirts, cool teachers (and some not so cool), and fights over long hair (which really wasn't long yet) and not wearing socks. I remember being sent home from school for stupid things (no socks), and funny things (maybe it wasn't a good idea to let me do the announcements one morning).

I remember long talks about Jesus and making out. Sometimes involving the same girl. And (sad commentary here) with the same amount of passion.

It wasn't just 1968. It was that period when a generation was formed by music (Beatles, Stones, Creedance), assassinations (Kennedy and King), war (Vietman and Kent State), hypocrisy (Nixon, Watergate, and My Lai).

Younger, and older, people sometimes ask why we boomers think we are so special. Let me tell you why those days changed our world forever. We were the first generation post atomic bomb. We grew up knowing a bunch of idiots (our side or theirs) could blow us all up at any time. We were the generation that learned to be cynical about authority. Our war was different from the war of our fathers. We rebelled against hypocrisy. There is something profoundly disturbing about being lectured on the evils of drugs by someone chain smoking. We were the generation of civil rights and women's rights. And we were the generation of excess: turn on and tune out and free love. You could tell the sixties generation was not going to conform because so many of us dressed alike and talked alike. And however much you did, or didn't participate in the whole 60's scene... if you are over 50, you were formed by it.

Oh yeah. That was also the year I knew I was going to preach. I had always thought it before, decided it along about then.

Maybe next time I'll reflect on how those times have impacted the church today. You do realize we are being led by that generation now.

So what do you remember of the sixties? Or, for those younger, what do think was cool, or wierd? Or what do you want to ask about?

Tuesday, November 06, 2007


Spiritual Warfare

We are in the middle of a four week series during HIP on Spiritual Warfare. It has been powerful, frightening, inspiring, and motivational. Since the first week of the series we have been busy almost every night with people who are in the midst of battling for their very lives and souls. I am more convinced than ever that Satan wants to destroy us and everyone that we love. And I am just as convinced that Jesus died so that Satan could not destroy us. Spiritual warfare shows itself in many ways. Just this week I have seen the following:

...a woman crying because her maternity leave is over and she had to leave her children with the baby sitter while she went back to work.

... a young man devastated that his fiance called off their wedding because she wasn't attracted to him.

...a Christian husband who stopped a relationship before it became physical, but doesn't know how to stop the feelings.

... a Christian woman desperate to end an affair.

... a lady who had to schedule a biopsy for a suspicious lump in her breast.

... a man whose father just went back into the hospital.

... a recovering addict who just got a new job-- where he is working on a crew with addicts.

... a family who "just doesn't get anything out of church".

... two people depressed over how much they weigh.

... a person too tired to make love to their mate.

... a new Christian whose divorce just became final.

Well, you begin to see the picture. All of these are different, but they are all ways or opportunities for Satan to wage war on us.

I pray God's blessings on my friends above and on the countless others that I do not know about.

So what are some of the ways you see Satan lurking?

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