Monday, October 31, 2005


I had written a blog and was ready to send it when lightning kicked off our electricity here at the office. I don't have time today to rewrite it. In fact, this week is going to be difficult for me as a blogger. Please keep checking back.

Things are moving right on schedule for us. Please lifti us this week in your prayers -- that the move goes smoothly. God has been so faithful to us!


Friday, October 28, 2005

It's Holiday Season!

I can't believe it! My favorite holiday is right around the corner. And no, I'm not talking about Halloween. Halloween is goofy.

My favorite holiday is Thanksgiving. It is the most unspoiled, least-commercialized of our holidays (other than the Friday sales after). And I just love the whole idea behind it. I know this year in particular is going to be one of exta thanks. Last year's holiday season had a dark cloud hanging over it. Scrooge (or Scrooges) visited Beverly and me about this time last year. Still, we had great times with family. But this year is full of tangible blessings. And I look forward to it so much!

What's your favorite holiday?

Thursday, October 27, 2005

Elder Selection

We are currently undergoing an elder selection process at the Decatur church. I really wish that the Lord had left us a 5-step procedure for this. Three men have been placed before the congregation as candidates. We are now in the "objection period." I don't know about you, but something about that seems strange. "Objection period." It almost seems to encourage the Negative Neds and Nellies to come forward. It seems that perhaps a week of prayer and fasting would be more appropriate. Perhaps even a week of affirmation. Believe me, those who are going to have objections certainly don't need to be encouraged to do so. And obviously, if there is a legitimate objection -- it should come out. Just thought I would share my opinion.

Speaking of affirmation: Being an elder in the church is TOUGH. They hear every complaint -- from the sermon being too long to the air conditioning is too cold or too hot (both in the same week). They're told to go tell so-and-so that she isn't dressed properly. And the song selection needs to have more newer songs or older songs (also both in the same week).

I want to drop a suggestion: Go affirm the elders. Tell them you appreciate what they are doing. Tell them you are behind them. Just be careful. You might have to pick them up off the floor.

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

A Rose By Any Other Name?

You've heard the old adage, "A rose by any other name is still a rose." I think that same principle works in reverse, too. Calling a weed a rose doesn't make the weed a rose.

On November 8th, there are a number of propositions coming up for vote in Texas. One of them, Proposition 2, defines marriage as a union only between one man and one woman. I find it incredible that this is even coming up for a vote. But the moral and political landscape of America has changed so quickly it leaves my head spinning.

Homosexuals (hardly "gay" -- which means happy) have made tremendous strides in being accepted into our culture. What God calls an abomination is now touted as no different than that which God honors (marriage). They can already live together and enjoy employee benefits that were once reserved for married couples. But this does not satisfy their agenda. They will not be content until they have totally redefined society as it has existed since creation. They are not satisfied with compromise. Those who have any sensitivities which run counter to theirs must be vanquished. I would encourage anyone who thinks their behavior is normal to read Steve Farrar's book, Standing Tall -- particularly chapters 6 and 7.

Well, if America decides to change the meaning of marriage, I wonder what God will do. Will He give in to our majority vote? Will He send down an amendment -- changing Genesis 2: 24, Matthew 19: 4-6, and Ephesians 5: 31?

In our PC culture, I realize this might qualify as hate-speech. I really don't hate homosexuals. I do hate their sinful, abominable activity. My love for God and His Word will not allow me to call what is wrong right and what is right wrong. I don't think we are being Christlike if we allow people to live in rebellion to God and we say nothing.

So, on November 8th -- I will vote "YES" on amendment 2.

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

One Day at a Time

The big day is one week from tomorrow -- moving day. There is a part of me that wishes I could just fast-forward about 9 or 10 days. But then, I would miss out on what God has in store for me in those precious days.

Wow! So much to do. Switching utilities. Making all the arrangements. Address changes. It's almost overwhelming! And in the back of my mind, Jesus words keep playing over and over again. "Do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself." And then I just have to believe He said the next line with a twinkle in His eyes: "Each day has enough trouble of its own." Isn't that true? Not necessarily trouble -- but just stuff.

Lord, help me to live one day at a time. I want to breathe in the sweetness of each new day, and not waste one. Thank you for the newness of each day.

Monday, October 24, 2005

What a Surprise!

Yesterday we had arranged with our realtor to go and look at our new house again after church last night. Our daughter Jenny and her husband David and our granddaughter Malaya were meeting us at church so that they could go with us. So, imagine my surprise when -- at 6 o'clock -- I looked up, and there stood my youngest son, Jonathan! And behind him in the hall was his wife, Jennifer! I was stunned. They said they had heard we were going to look at the house, so they drove in from Abilene to go with us. I was thrilled!

After looking at the house, we went to eat. Soon after we had sat down, Jonathan said he had something to share with us. They are going to have a baby! That's right. My little boy is going to be a daddy. I am so excited for them! The baby is due June 8th. They are going to be incredible parents.

So, I guess I better find a 2nd job, because Beverly really gets into this grandparenting thing -- if you know what I mean. Right now, every time I see Malaya, I see my retirement. Just kidding, honey.

Proverbs 17: 6 says, "Children's children are a crown to the aged." While I don't feel very aged, I can say this grandparenting thing does make me feel like a king. I highly recommend it.

Friday, October 21, 2005

Directives From the King

As I study about living in the Kingdom of God, I have been reminded this week about just how different Jesus' teachings are from the practices of the world. "If someone asks for your shirt, give him your coat as well." Jesus, don't you realize that would mean that he wins? "Do not lay up treasures on earth." But that's how we measure success.

For me, the toughest one is this: "Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you." Everything about that is so unnatural! But then I'm reminded: Jesus hasn't called us to live like humans. He's called us to be like our Father in heaven.

So what one teaching of Jesus most challenges you?

Thursday, October 20, 2005


I want to thank so many of you for your prayers yesterday. Beverly's procedure went well. However, she was extremely sick for about 6 hours of recovery. I managed to get her home about 6 PM, and then she began to improve. This morning, she is sitting up in bed and feeling much better.

HOW 'BOUT THEM ASTROS! I am so glad to have a World Series in Texas. This is going to be exciting.

Right now we are scheduled to close on our Trophy Club house on the morning of November 2nd and our Decatur house a few hours later. Isn't that incredible! God is so good.

This Sunday, I will begin a series about living in the Kingdom of God. It will focus on the Sermon on the Mount, where the King presents to His subjects what life in His Realm is to be like. I'm excited about this. It is one of my passions right now. I think we (the church) have made a big mistake in trying to make "church" attractive to the world by conforming to it. The Kingdom of God is a radical one. It is upside-down from the thinking and lifestyles of this world. And ironically, it is that difference that makes Jesus and His reign attractive. I'm going to entitle the series, Standing in the Reign.

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Please Be Praying Today

My sweet wife is going to be in surgery this morning for a couple of hours. Please be praying that everything goes well. She will then be recovering today and tomorrow.

Also just want you to know: We executed a contract on a house in Decatur yesterday. It's at 1301 College. We should close on our house in Trophy Club and our house in Decatur on November 2nd. Praise God! I was wondering at times if He was listening to me through all of this. But this could not be working out any better.

Thanks for the prayers!

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Sometimes I hate sports

Sports have to be one of the most gut-wrenching pieces of our lives. The ups and downs of an athlete must be incredibly hard to bear. You can go from hero to goat within a few minutes.

I guess you can tell I watched the game last night. I can't say that I have been a huge Astros fan (or baseball fan, for that matter) for a number of years. But my family used to watch every Astros game. So, it didn't take long to get back on the band wagon. I mean think about it -- there has never been a world series game in Texas! That's embarrassing.

So, last night I'm watching. One out away from the big series. They keep showing one of my heroes -- Nolan Ryan. I'm thinking, "Man, he must be proud of these guys" I watch Lindge as he absolutely embarrasses the 1st two hitters in the inning. Then it starts to unravel, and before you even have time to prepare for it -- BAM! All the mountain-top experience is smashed. From hero to goat in a matter of seconds.

I think I do hate sports (at least today). I have a good friend who has experienced the lows and highs of being a professional athlete. He's been the hero -- cheered by thousands. One tough game, and they're booing. And my heart hurts for him, because he is more than some unfeeling robot out on the field. He is a man who loves the Lord. He is a man who loves his family. He has a family who cares for him deeply and go through the peaks and valleys right along with him. And they hear all the "stuff," too. All of this over a game?

We have people dying from hurricanes and earthquakes. We have terrorists trying to kill us. There are thousands who die every day with no hope of eternity with God. And look at the energy we expend on a game.

I know I'm being harsh. And probably rambling. And I also know I will feel totally different tomorrow. But I just had to get this off my chest today.

Anyone feel differently?

Monday, October 17, 2005

Knocked Her Socks Off

As we have approached this move, we have pretty much assumed all along that we would buy a piece of property and build. However, we had dedicated yesterday afternoon to going with our realtor to look at rental properties and a few houses that were for sale. I had told Beverly that we would not buy a house unless she saw one that just knocked her socks off.

Well, we began by looking at a house that sat on 2-1/2 acres. As we looked, Beverly was saying, "This has potential." I was thinking, "That's not even knocking booties off -- much less socks."

Then, we went to a 2nd house. I had driven by it last week, trying to preview and eliminate any houses that I did not think she would care for. From the outside, I had thought she would not approve since the yard is not very big. As we walked to the front door, I could see anticipation in her eyes. When the realtor opened the door, Beverly's eyes grew open like saucers. She began walking through. You could literally feel her excitement. She began talking about how this would work there, etc. And when she saw the master, I thought I was going to have to pick her up off the floor.

As we left the master, she began going through the downstairs again. I had to remind her, "Honey, we haven't even been upstairs yet." I didn't know if that was going to kill her enthusiasm or not. The answer was, "Not!" She loved it, too.

Needless to say, she had her socks knocked off! So, we are making an offer today.

One thing I love about my woman is the way her face is so expressive. I will remember the look on her face from yesterday for a long, long time. And I know this: I want to be there when she sees heaven for the 1st time! Her zeal for life and for God energizes me like nothing else!

Friday, October 14, 2005

State Fair

Well, today we take our annual trip to the fair. Malaya and Beverly are like kids on Christmas eve. It is a fun day, just being with family and catching the sights. I like the car show. Malaya said that 1st thing, she wants to go to the dog show. I don't think she has ever watched more than 2 minutes of it. Beverly keeps talking about eating a corndog. For me, it's lemonade and something sweet (I guess I should say something else sweet).

How about you? Have you been to the State Fair? If so, what's your favorite sight and what's your favorite "eats"?

Have a great day! I'll tell Big Tex hello for you.

Thursday, October 13, 2005

Attracted By the Outside

Yesterday I wrote about how God does not use appearance as a measure of our worth. I was reminded of that yesterday evening in a practical way. Beverly and I are in the middle of trying to find a place to live. We will probably rent for now, and build next year. But I found a house on the web. It looked really nice. So, I drove out to take a look. Beautiful lot. Deer running all over the place. Nice pool. Cute front porch. I thought that maybe this was the answer.

So, we had our realtor set up a viewing for late yesterday afternoon. Everything was going well until we opened the front door. Its floors were a strange shade of blue -- both tile and carpet. One bedroom was painted in the nicest shade of orange that I have ever seen for a bedroom. Actually, come to think of it -- I've never seen an orange bedroom before. Maybe they paint it seasonally, and this is their halloween stage. And then there was the master closet -- which set back the meaning of master.

Needless to say, we were drawn in by looks. I'm reminded of what Jesus said (Matthew 23: 27-28) "Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You are like whitewashed tombs, which look beautiful on the outside but on the inside are full of dead men's bones and everything unclean. In the same way, on the outside you appear to people as righteous but on the inside you are full of hypocrisy and wickedness."

I don't want Jesus to say that about me when he looks me over. Yet, I know that there are areas of my life in which what He said applies. That's why I pray every day that He will examine my heart and do surgery so that when He looks at me, He sees Himself -- inside and out.

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Another WOW From Miller

I told you I am reading Donald Miller's newest book, Searching for God Knows What. Every once in a while he just leaves me going, "Wow!" In the chapter entitled, Jesus, Miller is simply making observations from what he has read in Scripture about Jesus. One of them is "He was ugly" (Understand: Miller likes to shock with his words). He cites Isaiah 53: 2-3 as supporting this.

But listen to what he says: "Jesus was definitely representing humanity as equal, hardly caring about how He looked. One might believe that the unsightliness of Christ was a statement of humility, but that isn't true. It would be inconsistent if Christ's looks were a statement of humility. They were, rather, a statement of truth, and our seeing them as humility only suggest an obvious prejudice" (p. 126).

Wow! He got me! We think not being good-looking is humility. Why? Because culture associates looks with worth. But God said long ago to Samuel, "Man looks at the outward appearance, but God looks on the heart." And I still haven't gotten it.

Oh, God -- help me to value the way You do!

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

The Old Testament

In discussing Scripture with people through the years, I have been asked why we don't believe in the Old Testament. And you know what? I'm not sure how to answer that. My 1st response is to say, "Sure, I beiieve in the Old Testament." But what they mean is why don't I follow it.

Well, on closer scrutiny -- they don't either. In my daily Bible readings, I have been plodding through Moses' expounding on the Law. The dietary laws, sexual laws, purification laws, etc. I am bothered that the homosexual community says, "We are not under the Law of Moses any more, so what he said about homosexuality does not apply." And while that bothers me, I would have no problem if someone wanted to cook a young goat in its mother's milk (Ex. 23: 19). And my favorite food is probably shrimp -- followed closely by catfish (both considered unclean in the Old Testament).

I realize that the New Testament reinforces many of the laws of the Old Testament -- such as the prohibition against homosexuality. And I know about Peter's vision of the clean and unclean foods, etc. I also know that Jesus said (Mt. 5: 17) that He did not come to abolish the Law, but to fulfill it. I know that, at least in part -- He accomplished that by being the perfect, one time sacrifice and also by fulfilling the Aaronic priesthood, etc And I also know that Paul said that Jesus nailed the Law to the cross.

But I still struggle with exactly how to make the transition and application. God is still the same God. His character has not changed. And lifestyles and attitudes that provoked Him to anger then must still do the same today.

I do know that I want to be about making Him smile.

Any thoughts?

Monday, October 10, 2005

I've Also Been Tagged

1st things 1st! We have a contract on our house! I repeat: We have a contract! Be sure to offer up thanks to the Lord for us.

Josh, so much for your prediction about Texas-OU. Hook 'em, Horns! And did you see poor John Daly yesterday? How tragic is that? Tiger was even embarrassed for him.

I have also been tagged.......
First Memory: Watching Tarzan kill a Rhino on our black and white TV in Shreveport, LA. You had to hit the side of the TV every once in a while because the sound would go off.
First Kiss: Does anybody answer this question?
First Concert: Grand Funk Railroad
First Love: Beverly. Nothing before her was really love
First thing I think in the Morning: I need to go pottie.
First Book I remember loving: Yertle the Turtle
First Pet: A German Shepherd named Queen
First Question when I get to Heaven: How cool is this?
First word I think of for Vacation: Golf
First Best Friend: Chris Wells, in Jackson, Mississippi
Last Time I dressed up: Yesterday (Sunday morning)
Last thing I ate: Armondo's Mexican
Last CD I bought: The Eagles -- Best Hits
Last time I cried: I don't cry much, but I teared up real big when I saw Malaya walking down the hall at her Nursury Rhyme Parade
Last time I told someone I loved them: When I left my precious wife this morning
Last really fun thing I did: When Beverly went with me out to the golf course on Labor Day
Last thing I watched on TV: Good Morning America this morning
Last Halloween Costume: Wow! My memory is not that good
Last Concert- Chris Tomlin, Casting Crowns, and Stephen Curtis Chapman
Okay... I tag Josh, Jeff, John and Jonathan. Just cut and paste.

Friday, October 07, 2005


Well, for much of this state and that other one just north of us -- tomorrow is a big day. Texas-OU weekend. For those of us who root for the Horns, it's been a tough few years. Times we should have won and didn't. Times when we got blown out and shouldn't. I've never been a huge Mack Brown suppporter, and I've wondered how he has survived this drought. But if he loses this one . . .

I want to say he should be fired. And from a worldly point of view, maybe he should. But that hits too close to home for me these days. Firing someone because they don't meet your ridiculous, worldly expectations. Turning lives upside down because "I want." Breaking commitments to someone because of promises of financial support from someone else. Pretty fleshly thinking. But I've been guilty of similar thinking at times, too.

Praise God -- He doesn't think that way! I'm so grateful that He doesn't "fire me" based on His expectation of results. In fact, He loves me the same when I lose the games I should have won as He does when I play for the championship. Wow! What an awesome, beautiful God!

So, go UT! Win it, Mack! But even if you don't, I'll be pulling for you.

Thursday, October 06, 2005

Hall Monitors or Trailblazers?

Remember back in school? Those hall monitors and cafeteria monitors. "Slow down!" "Quiet!" "Sit still!" "Single file!" "Having fun? Stop it!" Man, they struck fear into the processes of walking down the hall or sitting in the cafeteria.

Well, I must be honest: In my experience in churches, that's the role elders often fill. Unfortunately, I think to a large degree it's because that's what the congregation pretty much expects from them.

Here in Decatur we are beginning an elder selection process. I am hopeful that the stereotypical, culturally-shaped role of an elder is evolving into a more biblically-accurate one. Not church hall monitors. Not a board of directors -- modeled after corporate America. And certainly not operating out of fear. Men of God are not driven by fear -- but a spirit of boldness and courage. Fear strangles the very life out of a church.

I long for leaders who are more like trailblazers. "Come on! Follow us!" To paraphrase the words from Deuteronomy 1: 6-8: "We've circled this mountain long enough! It's time to break camp and advance into the hill country. God has given us the land! Let's go and take possession!" I long for leaders who are like shepherds. Men who know their sheep and lead them through the valleys into quiet pastures and still waters.

I want to be a sheep in that kind of flock!

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

Baseball, State Fair and the Weekend

The cycles of life are so wierd to me. I can remember a day that I knew the names of every baseball player and his stats. Back in the mid to late 80s, our family watched every Astros game that was televised -- about 156 a year (Jenny has very fond memories of this. It's probably why she watches the stuff she does today.See her blog from yesterday:

Today, I couldn't name a dozen big leaguers. But I do know that it's playoff season. And I'll be pulling for the 'Stros again. How about you? Who are you rooting for? (If your team is the Yankees, please don't contaminate this sight with a vote for them. And Josh, you can't vote for the Giants.)

On another note: Who's going to the state fair? Beverly absolutely loves it. I go along, and always end up enjoying it. Suggestion: Go to the food court and there will be a pizza place. It's run by a friend -- Tom Grace. Order a lemonade. You will thank me later. I would not recommend going this weekend however. Texas-OU. Is this finally the Longhorns' year?

On another note, Beverly and our daughters-in-law are going to be leading a ladies' retreat for our church. Jenny can't be there because her brother-in-law is getting married in Houston. But I am so proud of all of them. How cool is that? I will probably go play golf Friday afternoon and come home, fix some popcorn and watch an old movie. Any suggestions?

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

Growing Older -- But for the Better?

It's hard to believe that another birthday is just around the corner for me. You would think this doing-life thing would get easier as we go -- but it doesn't. I have been praying for a long time that the Lord would reveal to me things in my life that need to be pruned or replaced by the Spirit. I am under such conviction right now about how self-centered I am. And also, I am realizing how much I put my trust in things of this world rather than in God. But along with that, the Lord is also showing me that joy is not found in these things. Rather, it is found in delighting oneself in Him.

Yet, nearly 50 years of bad habits are hard to break. I pray every day that the Lord will let His Spirit possess me. But for that to happen, I have to make room for Him. And that involves clearing out some junk.

I guess we are never too old to be made new.

"Let the morning bring me word of your unfailing love, for I have put my trust in you. Show me the way I should go, for to you I lift up my soul . . . Teach me to do your will, for you are my God; may your good Spirit lead me on level ground." Psalm 143: 8, 10.