Thursday, May 26, 2016


Every Church Needs a Phyllis Hadley

Phyllis Hadley was one of the church secretaries at Southern Hills for almost 20 years.

She finished her journey last week and got to go home to live forever.  Here are just a few reasons why I loved her, miss her, and why every church needs someone like her.

We all knew she was on her way home.  Phyllis knew it too.  Stage 4 cancer.  Marsha and I got to see her at the hospital and at home during her last days.  Prayed for healing while giving thanks for her life and for God's gift of Jesus.

She was dying and she wanted to ask about our Julie's health.  Thinking of others, not herself.  Of course.  That is who she was.

Church secretary was not a job for Phyllis.  It was a calling.  It really did not do her justice to list her as support staff.  She probably should have been listed under the Ministers.

She worked hard at her job.  Loved her church.  Knew everybody.

She was one of my secret weapons as an elder.  Everyone always wondered how I knew everybody at church.  I didn't.  But between calling Marsha and Phyllis, there was not anyone that I could not identify.

And Phyllis worked countless hours on nights and weekends.  Volunteered for everything.

I don't think she had a lot of money, and we did not pay her near enough.  But she sure was generous.  Gave her contribution of course, but was also quick to give to people in need.

She could speak her mind.  I liked that.  I always thought it was valuable to listen to someone who knew the congregation so well.

She was part of a group of older single ladies who took care of each other.  And who helped untold numbers of younger women.  Helped them spiritually, emotionally, and financially.

Though I do need to say here that I used the phrase "older ladies" one time in her presence.  Only once.

One of her favorite things to do was get the information for the new converts.  Loved all new members, but really got excited about new Christians.  She wanted to know about their stories, how they found Jesus, and what she could do to help them.  She showed up at several baptisms during the day -- and not just the guy doing the baptism could never find his keys.  But at least I knew who to call.

Phyllis was one of God's great servants.  Her faith and work helped God build our church.

We will miss her. We will see her again.

I hope your church has a Phyllis.  Tell them how much you love and appreciate them.

Or better yet... be a Phyllis.

So thanks God for the gift of Phyllis Hadley.  She made a difference for your Kingdom.  Just like you planned for her to do.  She went home just like she lived -- with grace and faith.  Please raise up more like her.  We need them.     

Tuesday, May 24, 2016


Thoughts on 43 years of marriage

Marsha and I have been married 43 years as of last Thursday, May 19.

We have raised two great kids.

We have 5 grandkids that are doing really well.  Loving God and Jesus.  And, based on the awards they are getting at the end of school, they are smart, athletic, and popular.  And they live their faith.

We have made a Kingdom difference.  Helped a lot of people decide to follow Jesus.  Helped heal a lot of people who were wounded on that journey.

And here is how we did it.

We never stopped following Jesus.

Never stopped loving each other.  No matter what.

Were sorry for the bad and worked to fix it.


Kissed lots.

I am forever thankful Marsha said yes.

I picked well.  She is a keeper.  She was the right one for me to do life with.

When you want to hear about Jesus, find me.  When you want to see Jesus, find her.  Which makes us a pretty good team for the Lord.

She is strong in those areas I am not not. We complete each other.

So here is how you can stay married 43 years.

Love Jesus.  Go to church.  Raise your kids in faith.  Love your grands and be in their lives.  Help others.  Forgive.  Kiss.  Hold hands.  Don't quit.


So thanks God for putting us together.  I am a better man and I am still your follower because of her.  Thank you for all the incredible ways you have blessed us for 43 years.  I don't know what happens next or how long we have left, but this we promise.  We will love you and we will love each other.  You can take care of the rest.

Thursday, May 12, 2016


Stop using God as an excuse to marry someone else

It is something I am hearing more and more these days.

I am hearing it from Christians that should be more mature.

I am hearing it from Christians that should know better.

Christians are using God as an excuse to end their marriage.  And sometimes using God as their excuse to marry someone else.

You may have heard statements like these:

God wants me to be happy and I am miserable in this marriage, so...
Or God wants me to be happy and that will happen if I was with this other person, so...

My mate is keeping me from doing the ministry God has called me to, so...
Or, this other person would really be the partner I need to do God's work, so...

God desires happy marriages.  Mine is not, so...
God wants me to have a happy marriage like I would have with someone else, so...

My mate should help me get closer to God. Since they do not ...
This other person would really help me grow spiritually, so...

These are lies from Satan and they are not true.

Breaking up your marriage is not a spiritual decision.  Marrying someone else's spouse is not spiritual.

Stop defining happiness by what you think you want or what you think is best.

God wants you be obedient.  He wants you to live in ways that honor his Son and bring glory to him.

I know sometimes being faithful to God and trying to save your marriage is not enough.  Marriage is hard and sometimes Christians break their promises to God and to their mate.  Divorce happens and God hates it.  After all, it takes two committed to Jesus.  Not just one.  And I am sorry for those of you who never wanted to end your marriage but your mate did.  But that is on them.  It was not what God wanted.

So stop using God as your excuse to get out of a marriage you no longer want to be in.
Repent.  Be faithful to God's call.

I do believe this with all my heart.  When both of you are committed to God, your marriage will survive and thrive.  If you will not honor your current marriage, why do you think God will honor a marriage to someone else?

And I believe this.  When marriages end, someone has not been faithful to God.

There may be many reasons someone chooses to end a marriage and be with someone else.  But none of them are spiritual.  And none of them are what God wanted..  So if your mate ends your marriage, do not let them try to tell you it was God's will.  It was not.

You may fool yourself.  You may even believe the lie.

But that does not make it true.

Thursday, May 05, 2016


Mother's Day is a Great and Horrible Day

I love to celebrate Mother's Day.

I love to watch the Moms who obviously have warm, loving families to celebrate with.

I love the Moms in my physical family.  Marsha and I are blessed to have both our Moms still with us.  We talk and visit often.  They know we love them and they love us.

Marsha is an awesome Mom and Mimi.  She is great with her own family, and she has a whole group of younger women she has sort of adopted.  And lots of extra grands.  Spiritual Mom and Mimi.

Julie and Jamie are both passionate, loving, fun, spiritual Moms.

I love the church Moms.  Our church has incredible Moms.  Foster Moms, single Moms, Moms who adopted their kids, Moms who never had children of their own but have "adopted" kids all over their community of faith.  Moms whose kids and grandkids live far away so they love on all the rest of us.
I celebrate them all.  Mother's Day is a wonderful day.

And it is a horrible day.

There are some women who dread this day.  It hurts.

So I hurt this weekend for these Moms.

Those who have buried one of their children.

Those whose kids are in a far away country spiritually.

The Moms who do not have a relationship with their children.

The Moms who did not mother like they should have and live with that guilt and pain always.

The ladies who desperately want to be a Mom and can't get pregnant.  Or who have not found a mate.

The Moms who have sick kids:  physically, emotionally, or spiritually.

The Moms worried to death about things they cannot control.  Bad Dads, culture, friends.

So this Sunday be aware.  Celebrate with those who celebrate.  Laugh and share joy.

But if you know those who are having a tough time... cry with them.  Hug them a little tighter.  Say a prayer with them and for them.  Help them if you can.

So God thanks for our Moms.  Your really blessed our family and I know it and thank you for it.  And you have blessed our church family with some great Moms.  But help us see the hurting Moms that struggle.  Help us not just see them but to serve them in physical, emotional, and spiritual ways.  And help us remember Mother's Day every day.

Tuesday, May 03, 2016


Happy birthday Granny

Marsha's Mom, Jean Herttenberger, turns 88 tomorrow.  Here are just a few of the reasons I love her and am proud of her.

She has an amazing spiritual legacy.  Her kids are faithful.  But I especially appreciate her generational influence in my family.

She raised my wife.  Taught her to be an amazing wife and mother.  She has been a great influence on our Julie.  Helped Marsha teach Julie to be a strong woman.  Prays for Marsha and Julie as they raise Avery the same way.

I call them 1,2, 3, and 4.  Strong women.  Women of faith.

She includes lots of people in our family.  Her home has always been a place where everyone is welcome.

She is someone to cry with.  Her heart is huge for those who are hurting.

She loves Grandpa.  71 years a faithful wife.  Amazing.

She loves me as a son, not a son-in-law.

She has been a giver all of her life.  Taking care of others.  Now she needs taking care of .  I appreciate that she always thanks those who care for her.

She is one of those who models faith much more than she talks about faith.

Great example of a wife, mother, grandmother, and great-grandmother.

Daughter of the King.

Talks about wanting to go home and means it.  She is ready.

God thanks for Granny.  Thanks for all she has meant to our family.  Thanks for her love and faith.  Thanks for her example.  Thanks that she molded Marsha, Julie, and Avery to be like her ... and to be like You.  Give her peace and comfort.  You have done a good work in her.

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