Thursday, November 29, 2018


My Mom turned 88 and I am proud of her

Well my Mom turned 88 a couple of days ago.  Here are just a few reasons I love her and am proud of her.

She is constantly looking for ministry opportunities.  She reads the Bible to others, is involved in Bible studies, goes to every devo at University Place, and invites people to church.

She has a deep love for God, Scripture, and others.

I recently did my Can I Tell You a Story seminar at University church of Christ over 4 Wednesday nights.  She brought 3-5 visitors every night. 

She keeps up with the family.  Really proud of her kids and grandkids.  Even keeps up with all her greats.  And is proud of every one of them.

Still exercises.

Reads and works puzzles.

Sharp mind.

Looks out for the old people where she lives.  She's 88.  Looks after the old people.  Awesome.

I have been blessed. 

God is good.

Thanks Mom.

I love you.

Tuesday, November 20, 2018


Andrew Joel Ridgell had another birthday...

So my Grandson, Andrew Joel Ridgell, turned 11 yesterday.  So as is my custom, here is why I love him and am so proud of him.

He is a committed, passionate Christ follower.  He wants to do what Jesus would have him to do.  I watched him last Friday at Grandparents Day at his school.  There was not a kid there that he did not greet by name, talk to, wish them a Happy Thanksgiving.  He genuinely loves people.  All of them.

And he loves God when things are hard.  He spent a lot of this last year wondering if his eyes would be normal.  Had several months of double vision due to an accident.  Stayed the same happy, loving kid as always.

Twice he has been voted the servant leader award in his grade.  Love the fact that he doesn't think it is a big deal.  It is just Andrew being Andrew.

He loves the outdoors.  Really loves to fish.  Likes catching fish, but is happy to just go fish.  That bodes well for lots of future Pops/Andrew time.

Great athlete.  Very competitive.  Intense point guard.  Pretty good pitcher, good third baseman and really good outfielder.  Knocks the thunder out of the ball.

I got to hear him speak to the main assembly at Grandparent Day.  He is the Elementary School Student Counsel President.  He spoke on legacy and talked about his four grandparents and the legacy of faith he was getting.  Talked about his Pops going all over the world to tell people about Jesus.  But what made me the happiest was when he talked about learning to tell others about Jesus and that the real legacy was faith in Jesus and sharing that with others.

People that know our family mentioned how much he reminded them of his Dad and his Pops.  Loves Jesus and wants others to love him too.

I am blessed.

So thanks God for Andrew.  Thanks for his heart and his passion for others to know you.  Protect him and take care of him.  I look forward to what you will do with him and through him.

So Andrew... Pops loves you and is proud of you.

Go God.

Thursday, November 15, 2018


A Car Dealer, a Doctor, a preacher, and a new brother

It was -- and is -- an incredible story of healing and answered prayed.  Hunter Hanner has Guillain-Barre Syndrome.  Life threatening.  Touch and go.  In and out of the hospital.  But he comes from a strong family, his wife is strong, and his church family believe in the power of prayer.  Meals, child care, donations, help of all kinds.  It became an all church journey.  And God healed Hunter.

Dan has Guillain-Barre Syndrome also.  He thought no one else in Abilene struggled with this.  Until someone told him about Hunter.  So he called to talk about their journey.  Hunter gave him his testimony of God, Jesus, prayer, and the support of a church family.  Dan didn't have that.  So Hunter did what Christians do.  Invited him to come to church.  And picked him up to give him a ride.

So Dan saw a community of faith for himself. 

And he met an ER Doc there who offered to study.  So Dan would ask questions about things he had learned as a child that seemed different than what he was seeing.  And Dr. Bobby Lawson would just open the Bible and let Dan see things for himself.

And Dan met a preacher who asked if he wanted to just share Jesus stories over coffee.  And that is how I met Dan. 

Faith seen, questions answered, and Jesus shared.

And now Dan is our brother.

Gulliain-Barre is horrible.  But God used it for an incredible testimony from Hunter.  And He used it to connect Dan to a bunch of believers.

So thanks Dan Castillo for being open to God's call.  Thanks Hunter and all the Hanners for letting God use you all and for being willing to serve others.  Thanks Bobby for sharing the Word.

Go God.

Thursday, November 08, 2018


Eppie Elmore Flew Away... Just Like He Said He Would

My cousin, Eppie Elmore, died a couple of weeks ago.  I did the funeral for his wife Lou a couple of years ago and truth be told, Eppie was ready to go home with Lou right after she passed.  It just took him a couple of years to die.

I loved Eppie for a lot of reasons.  Taught me a lot about hunting and fishing.  Carpentry.  He's the one who taught me to ride horses. 

He was a lot like an older brother. 

And Eppie was my brother in Christ.  He was pretty rough in his younger days, like a lot of the men in my family.  But he married Lou and she was a committed follower of Jesus.  My Mom and Dad helped teach Eppie about Jesus and my folks served as role models for Lou and Ep.  And following Jesus turned him into one of best hearted men I have ever known.

He was a deacon at the Winnsboro church where I preached when our family was young.  Lou and her twin, Sue, spent a lot of time with Marsha and our daughter Julie.  Eppie's boys spent a lot of time with our son Joe Don, and I spent a lot of time with Eppie.

I spent many nights coon hunting with Eppie, his brother-in-law James, and one of our elders, Jack Cross.  Two Deacons, a preacher, and an elder.  Great memories.  Made enough off the hides to buy Christmas each year.

Eppie and Lou served a lot of people.  Brought a lot of people to church.  Helped a lot of people to know Jesus.  Raised three boys to love Jesus.

Poured a lot of love and work into the Winnsboro church and into Camp Deer Run.

And Eppie loved to sing.  I'll Fly Away was his favorite song by far.  Always wanted to sing it.  Sang it with great enthusiasm.  Now Eppie only sang one note so the tune was occasionally a little hard to figure out.  But not the words or the heart behind the song.

And now Eppie has flown away to a home on God's celestial shore.  Just like he always said he would.  Hanging out with Lou, Sue and James, Jack and Hazel Cross, my Dad. 

And singing around the throne of God.  Maybe even with the right notes.

So I'll think of Eppie and I'll sing that song myself from time to time.  And I'll be thankful for a Godly man that influenced me and my family to stay the course and follow Jesus. 

Till we get to sing together again around the throne.

I'll fly away.

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