Friday, March 28, 2008


Andrew and Pops

I got to hold my four month old grandson the other day and he got to cooing at me. It must have gone on for five minutes when I heard his mom Jamie say, "He is going to be a talker just like Pops". It was funny and we all laughed, but I thought about it later. Grandkids and kids really do reflect us in many ways. There are so many things from Marsha that I see in Julie. And every time Bobby mows the yard, little Jake follows right behind with his toy mower. So I started thinking about what I want people to "get" from me.

I want my grandkids to get how much I love the Lord and love people.

I want some of you couples to get how happy Mimi and I are. You can be too.

I want to model good shepherding skills for those of you who will be elders someday.

I want my kids, and others, to learn from us how to go thru the stages of life (getting older) with energy, enthusiasm, grace, and dignity. I think we are learning that from our own parents even now.

Laugh lots, love much, and remember that God has always been God, he is God, and he will always be God.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008


Cuba gets it...

Got back from Cuba a couple of weeks ago and it was amazing. Herald of Truth has a field office there where Tony Fernandez follows up on our radio contacts. Juan Monroy has a shortwave program and Tim Archer an AM program that cover the island. Working out of the city of Matanzas, Tony and his team have planted fourteen house churches with over 250 baptisms in the last 15 months. They find someone who has written in response to the program, or find someone who knows someone, or find a relative of one of the Christians, and study the Bible with them. When someone is converted, the church starts meeting in their house.

Tim and I visited six of these churches. They had from 12-30 people at each one, crammed in wall to wall, sitting on the floor, eager to hear God's Word. Most of them Christians less than two years. Most of the teaching is done by men from Matanzas, but new converts are expected to undergo training so they can be preaching and teaching within six months. There is one full time evangelist and he uses 1/2 his salary to pay expenses for the men traveling out to preach on Sundays. The "mother" church in Matanzas has about 350 members and they meet in Tony's "backyard" under a tin covering.

They get it.

Sarcasm warning.

Just imagine if they had staffs like we do here in the States. What if they could have youth ministers, and worship ministers, and involvement ministers? If we could just get them to really focus on a vision statement. If we could only get them to build facilities like all of our congregations have. Just imagine what they could do. Just like us, they could baptize 20, or 30, or maybe even 100 a year.

I don't want them to be like us. I was ashamed by the comparison. In fact, it would be interesting if they could come and teach us. I just don't know if we would listen.

I know it is different here. Different culture, different politics, different economy. And I know some of us do get it. But let's be honest. We are not growing like they are. We are not changing our world like they are. We are not living radical like they are. Maybe it is because for them to become a Christian really is a life changing event. It costs them. Much is expected.

And we want to build buildings, not offend anyone, and build mega churches. Which church would Jesus be more at home in....Cuba or the United States?

So... how do we "get it" in the same way they do?

God, thank you for the amazing things you are doing in Cuba. Thanks for the passion and commitment of my brothers and sisters there. Help me to keep that same kind of fire and passion here.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008


Final Four Picks...

Some years I really think I should be making a living as a basketball commentator. Some years my dog's picks have been better. My motto for this year: "no guts, no glory". So here are my final four picks.

North Carolina (dark horse: Arkansas)
they have the best collegiate player in the tournament with the biggest heart in Tyler Hansbrough.

Vanderbilt: (dark horse: Clemson)
Never rule out a team of great shooters.

Stanford: (dark horse: Pittsburgh)
team chemistry (two of their best players are twins)

UCLA: (dark horse: West Virginia)
Kevin Love (and he is nephew of Beach Boy Mike Love)

And yes, I am still a Razorback fan. My head won over my heart this year.

Monday, March 17, 2008


A Salute to Parents of Preschoolers

We kept Jake and Avery this weekend. It was great and we had lots of fun. But they wore me out...and Mimi did most of the work. I did OK with the puzzles, the eating, the zoo and the play time. What I forgot about was how hard it is to get ready for church. I know we used to do it when ours were little, but it must have been all Mom and not me.

I forgot that little boys like to run around in their diaper when its time to get ready. Sleep schedules don't quite fit my schedule anymore. And surely it doesn't always take two adults to keep up with two little ones. If we ever keep all four grandkids together we'll be outnumbered and may have to surrender.

It did make me thank God for all of you who are raising preschoolers. And it really made me think of those who are doing it as single parents. In the midst of all the upheaval and stress, try to treasure these days. Be thankful for the blessing that your children are. Continue to teach them about Jesus.

Be thankful you are young. We have the wisdom but not the energy. You have the energy (most days) and God will give you the wisdom. All of which is good because in a few years...

they will be teenagers. :)

So God... bless all the parents of your little ones. Give the parents wisdom and strength during long hard days. Help them always see the joy of your gifts in their children. And thanks for our four grandkids. It's fun to live again the joy we see in them.

Thursday, March 06, 2008


One last Ecuador story...

I thought I would share one more Ecuador story I heard last week. When Herald of Truth did a nation wide television program there last spring and summer, one of the churches received a call from a family in a town thirty miles away. The preacher and his wife went that very afternoon to meet with them. It was on a Saturday. Good thing it wasn't in the States because most of our preachers take Saturday off. Just kidding... sort of.

Anyway, they began a series of studies with the parents and their 15 year old son. The son made the first decision to be baptized. In addition to driving in to worship on weekends with his family, the young man - Jonathan Monroy - rides the bus in once a week for further studies in new Christian discipleship.

The mom has now expressed interest in becoming a Christian and they expect the Dad to make this decision also. He is catching up on the studies he missed due to his work as a commercial fisherman.

Neat story. It helped remind me that there are people all over this world looking for good news. And they will respond. And they will make sacrifices. And they will be committed.

So what are we doing - what am I doing - so this same kind of thing happens in the United States, or Texas, or Abilene, or on the hill where I live.

Well, just thought I'd share. Leaving in the morning for Cuba. See you after I get back.

Monday, March 03, 2008


Ecuador demonstration...

Part of my time in Ecuador was spent in a camp near the top of one of the mountains. There are a number of flower plantations that have been established around the camp. They have greenhouses where flowers are grown, trucked down the mountain to the airport, and shipped around the world. The trucks from the plantations have torn up many of the roads from the villages on the mountain.

So Saturday morning we start down the mountain and right before the highway, the road is blocked off by a number of villagers who are burning brush and tires across the roadway. You could pass on foot but not in a vehicle. All three roads off the mountain were similarly blocked. The villagers were going to demonstrate like this until the plantation owners agreed to work on the roads.

We explained we were from a Christian camp, had ministry activities to get to, and would like permission to pass. They were very polite, very friendly, and very interested. They were also very sorry that we would not be allowed to pass. And I felt better when I figured out the machetes were for cutting brush and not for stupid foreigners who wanted to pass.

Then the police showed up. They too were very polite, very friendly, and very interested. They too were very sorry we could not pass.

After two hours of waiting, visiting, begging, and praying...we found a compromise. They could not let us pass because that would defeat the purpose of the demonstration. There was an alternate route to another road and they would not watch if we wanted to try that. So we did. We drove thru a pasture, by a lady's backyard where she was washing her clothes. She seemed rather surprised to see us. But we got out.

It all served to remind me about how things work differently in different cultures. It reminded me that sometimes people have different priorities. And it reminded me that somehow things always work out. And they did. Our lunch appointment went fine because they were about two hours late getting everything prepared. The only thing we ended up missing was supper and that was OK because they served me enough at lunch to last for two days.

As always, God worked it out. Must remember that.

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?