Friday, December 29, 2006

Biggest Villains

Here's hoping you have had a Merry Christmas and are moving toward a Happy New Year.

A lot of stuff going on in the news this week. The death of a descent, good man -- Gerald Ford. The impending death of a wicked, evil man -- Saddam Hussein.

Speaking of which, a poll came out in the paper this morning. Here is what it revealed:

Biggest villains:
1. George Bush (25%)
2. Osama bin Laden (8%)
3. Saddam Hussein (6%)
4. Mahmoud Ahmadinejad (5%)
5. Kim Jong II (2%)
6. Donald Rumsfeld (2%)

By the way, George Bush also topped the list of Biggest Heroes. As I look at that list, it makes me worry about the American people. This nation (at least those polled) actually think George Bush is a bigger villian than Osama Bin Laden and Saddam Hussein and Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and Kim Jong II -- each of which would like to see us destroyed! Go figure.

Again, enjoy the Holidays. Happy New Year.

Friday, December 22, 2006


I am currently preaching through Acts, and this week will be talking about Stephen -- the 1st Christian martyr. He must have been an incredible man, since Luke tells us that he was "full of faith and the Holy Spirit" and "full of grace and power." The few snippets we get of this man are powerful. His face was "like that of an angel." He was able to glimpse into heaven and see Jesus standing at the right hand of God. Wow!

Stephen's speech before the Sanhedrin has to be one of the most courageous speeches ever given. He certainly tells them "how the cow ate the cabbage." We preachers are often reminded that "you can catch more flies with honey." I've always wondered about that saying. I have no desire to catch flies!

But Stephen uses no honey in his speech. He is very confrontive and to the point. And the Sanhedrin obviously feel threatened -- since they kill him.

I wish I knew a little more about the story. Luke tells us that Saul (later to become Paul) was there -- witnessing this whole event. I wonder what went through his mind as he saw "the face of an angel." As he heard Stephen speak of seeing Jesus standing at the right hand of God. As he heard Stephen's dying words, "Lord, do not hold this sin against them."

Again, Merry Christmas to all!

Thursday, December 21, 2006

When To Unwrap Gifts?

I enjoy our Men's Wednesday Night Class at church. We are talking about being the husbands God has called us to be, and it is encouraging to me to have guys who are as committed to that as I am to journey with. The Lord certainly knows my wife deserves my very best.


I will be on vacation next week, but may try to blog by mid-week. I know that many readers will be leaving town over the next couple of days. So, here's wishing everyone out there a very Merry Christmas and a joyous New Year in which we are all drawn closer to the Lord.


I made a list last year of resolutions / goals. It's almost embarrassing to look back at them. Some I made progress on. Others I totally failed. I had made it a goal to exercise more and lose some weight. That has been a no-go for sure. Why is it so hard to exercise? I always feel better after I do.


Question of the day: Do you unwrap gifts on Christmas Eve or Christmas morning? It is amazing to me how strongly we feel about such traditions as these.

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Musings About Christmas

This week I have been doing some reading on the history of Christmas. I have again been reminded of how quickly something can become a hard and fast tradition for us. As I have said before -- traditions can be very good. They are anchors of security in a chaotic world. And Christmas is one of those beautiful traditions.

But did you know that the celebration of Christmas (as the birth of Jesus) was actually outlawed by the Puritans. And while the tradition of Santa Claus goes back to a monk from the third century (Saint Nicholas), our idea of Santa Claus really came to being through the famous poem, "The Night Before Christmas," by Clement Clarke Moore (1822). It was originally titled "A Visit from Santa Claus."

As quickly as our culture is evolving, it would be entirely possible that Christmas as we have known it for all our lives will look quite different in another generation. Even now, this time of year is known as "Winter Break" or "the Holiday Season." The word "Christmas" is used less and less. I would hate to see that happen. Because my appreciation for Christmas continues to grow more and more. As our culture is moving toward the removal of "Christ" from Christmas, I am realizing that Jesus REALLY IS the reason for the season.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

The "Spitting" Incident

Yesterday Joy, our secretary, said, "I haven't read your blog today. Did you write about T. O.?" I guess I am becoming too predictable on Mondays. But no, I hadn't written about T. O. -- YESTERDAY. Today, however, is another day. I would love to have T. O. be a non-story. But he makes sure that, no matter what's going on with the team -- it ends up being all about him.

So, Saturday night, on about the 6th play of the game -- he spit in the face of DeAngelo Hall, a defensive back for the Atlanta Falcons. T. O. said Hall was (those of you who are sensitive might want to go get a kleenex) "bugging me." On the 6th play of the game?

In his book that came out back in the summer, T. O. told about one of the most devastating things from his childhood. He spoke of how it had scarred him. Do you know what it was? It was when someone spit in his face.

As a lifelong Cowboy fan, I have had to put up with some characters who embarrassed and tarnished the "Cowboy star." Duane Thomas. "Hollywood" Henderson. Erik Williams. Michael Irvin. But there is nothing to compare to this guy. I'm sure Beverly would love to "counsel" with him for a few sessions.

So, at what point does an athlete's behavior not matter? Are we to not care so long as he is catching TD passes or hitting 50 homeruns or scoring 30 points a game? Is unacceptable behavior on the field OK so long as no felony is committed? Where do we draw the line?

Maybe I'm just old-fashioned, but I think character is nearly as important as athletic ability. And that's why I have been on such an anti-T. O. crusade. He represents everything I do not like to see in an athlete.


Monday, December 18, 2006

Christmas Movies

I spent Friday and Saturday shopping with my favorite person in the world. Beverly is -- without a doubt -- the most delightful person I have ever been around. We had a really good time.


Today we hope to find out what our 3rd grandchild will be. I am predicting a girl.


My kids will faint when they read this. Last night, we let Molly sleep in the bed with us. Talk about a snuggler! Every time I turned, she would move in to take any available space. She is a sweet puppy!


There have been a number of Christmas movies made throughout the years. Just off the top of my head, there is Miracle on 34th Street, White Christmas, A Christmas Carol, A Christmas Story, Home Alone (and all its sequels), The Santa Clause (and its sequels), A Charlie Brown Christmas, How the Grinch Stole Christmas, Rudolph the Red-nosed Reindeer, Frosty the Snowman and Prancer. I know I am leaving out many.

I confess that I have never watched all of Miracle on 34th Street. I have heard it is great. Also, I have never watched all of A Christmas Story. I have started to -- but it just didn't hook me. I know many people say it is great.

I think one of the really great stories of all time is Dickens' A Christmas Carol. But my all-time favorite Christmas movie (one of my favorite all-time any-kind-of movie) I did not list above. It is It's a Wonderful Life.

So, that's my vote for all-time favorite Christmas movie: 1. It's a Wonderful Life, and 2. A Christmas Carol.

What is your vote?

Thursday, December 14, 2006

The Value of Being Wounded

We have talked in the past about the fallacy of the "health and wealth gospel." Today's comments by Tozer address this -- and I think he is right on the mark:

Before I was afflicted I went astray, but now I keep Your word.... It is good for me that I have been afflicted, that I may learn Your statutes.
--Psalm 119:67,71

It is amazing to me! There are people within the ranks of Christianity who have been taught and who believe that Christ will
shield His followers from wounds of every kind.

If the truth were known, the saints of God in every age were only effective after they had been wounded. They experienced the humbling wounds that brought contrition, compassion and a yearning for the knowledge of God. I could only wish that more among the followers of Christ knew what some of the early saints meant when they spoke of being wounded by the Holy Spirit....

In every generation, the people who have found God have been those who have come to the end of themselves. Recognizing their hopelessness, they have been ready to throw themselves on the mercy and grace of a forgiving God.
Men Who Met God, pp. 59,62

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Christmas Songs

Hard to believe that Christmas is in only 12 days! Beverly and I have not done any shopping, so we plan on hitting it hard this weekend. It is not crucial that we be finished by Christmas day, since all the kids will be at their in-laws this year. We won't actually "do Christmas" until early January.

I talked last year about how my least favorite Christmas song is "The Little Drummer Boy." It is amazing how many people I talk to who don't really care for Christmas music at all. There are songs I like. But most of them that we hear any more are the secular ones. I think my favorite is "O Holy Night." I heard Pavoratti (sp?) sing it many years ago on TV, and it gave me goose bumps. "Oh, night diviiiiiiiiiiiiiine. Ohhhh, night that Christ was born."

As far as the secular ones, I don't really care for most of the "Santa" songs. Of course, they are geared to kids. I especially have trouble teaching kids that Santa "sees you when you're sleeping, he knows when you're awake," etc. Sounds like attributes of God, doesn't it?

I do like "Chestnuts Roasting On An Open fire." I was wondering yesterday -- what do they taste like? And I like "It's Beginning to Look A Lot Like Christmas." And "Walking in a Winter Wonderland." But "Silver Bells" -- ugh!

Beverly's all-time favorite? "Feliz Navidad." Get her to sing it for you sometime. It's a hoot. Malaya cracks up. "Feliz Navidad -- hey, hey, hey, hey , hey. Feliz Navidad." "I want to wish you a ve-ry mer-ry mer-ry Christmas."

Well, that's my opinion. Just like noses, everybody has one. I'd like to hear yours.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Great Quote

Good discussions on recent blogs!

I love our youth ministry couple -- Jacob and Heather Baker. They are soooo cool! What a blessing they are to our church.

Yesterday after reading my blog, Jacob came into my office to share a quote with me that he had heard from professors at Harding. I wish he would have written it as a response to my blog, but Jacob is real shy:) Anyway, it is one of the best quotes! Here it is:

"What you win them with is what you will win them to." THAT says a lot!


So, T.O's dropped passes (a couple of more on Sunday night) are his teammates' fault because they haven't been supportive enough of him? (Wait, I have to grab a kleenex.) And he says that right now in games he is just showing up and going through the motions? I hear people defend him by saying everything he says gets overly scrutinized. If most other players said stuff like this -- they would be cut.

Remember those "Leon" commercials from a few years ago? They were hilarious because they seemed so exaggerated. But T.O. is actually saying "Leon" type things!

Monday, December 11, 2006

Expository Preaching

I don't normally post anything this lengthy, but it is that important to me. I am so committed to expository preaching. I wrote a lengthy paper on it when I was doing my grad work. MacArthur makes some very good points. So, if you have a few minutes today, let me know what you think.

Biblically-Anemic Preaching
The Devastating Consequences of a Watered-Down Message
By John MacArthur

Those who are familiar with my ministry know that I am committed to expository preaching. It is my unshakable conviction that the proclamation of God’s Word should always be the heart and the focus of the church’s ministry (2 Tim. 4:2). And proper biblical preaching should be systematic, expositional, theological, and God-centered.

Such preaching is in short supply these days. There are plenty of gifted communicators in the modern evangelical movement, but today’s sermons tend to be short, shallow, topical homilies that massage people’s egos and focus on fairly insipid subjects like human relationships, "successful" living, emotional issues, and other practical but worldly—and not definitively biblical—themes. These messages are lightweight and without substance, cheap and synthetic, leaving little more than an ephemeral impression on the minds of the hearers.

Some time ago I hosted a discussion at the Expositors’ Institute, an annual small-group colloquium on preaching held at our church. In preparation for that seminar, I took a yellow legal pad and a pen and began listing the negative effects of the superficial brand of preaching that is so rife in modern evangelicalism.

I initially thought I might be able to identify about ten, but in the end I had jotted down a list of sixty-one devastating consequences. I’ve distilled them to fifteen by combining and eliminating all but the most crucial ones. I offer them as a warning against superficial, marginally biblical preaching—both to those who stand behind the pulpit and to those who sit in the pew.

1. It usurps the authority of God over the soul. Whether a preacher boldly proclaims the Word of God or not is ultimately a question of authority. Who has the right to speak to the church? The preacher or God? Whenever anything is substituted for the preaching of the Word, God’s authority is usurped. What a prideful thing to do! In fact, it is hard to conceive of anything more insolent that could be done by a man who is called by God to preach.

2. It removes the lordship of Christ from His church. Who is the Head of the church? Is Christ really the dominant teaching authority in the church? If so, then why are there so many churches where His Word is not being faithfully proclaimed? When we look at contemporary ministry, we see programs and methods that are the fruit of human invention, the offspring of opinion polls and neighborhood surveys, and other pragmatic artifices. Church-growth experts have in essence wrested control of the church’s agenda from her true Head, the Lord Jesus Christ. Our Puritan forefathers resisted the imposition of government-imposed liturgies for precisely this reason: They saw it as a direct attack on the headship of Christ over His own church. Modern preachers who neglect the Word of God have yielded the ground those men fought and sometimes died for. When Jesus Christ is exalted among His people, His power is manifest in the church. When the church is commandeered by compromisers who want to appease the culture, the gospel is minimized, true power is lost, artificial energy must be manufactured, and superficiality takes the place of truth.

3. It hinders the work of the Holy Spirit. What is the instrument the Spirit uses to do His work? The Word of God. He uses the Word as the instrument of regeneration (1 Pet. 1:23; Jas. 1:18). He also uses it as the means of sanctification (John 17:17). In fact, it is the only tool He uses (Eph. 6:17). So when preachers neglect God’s Word, they undermine the work of the Holy Spirit, producing shallow conversions and spiritually lame Christians—if not utterly spurious ones.

4. It demonstrates appalling pride and a lack of submission. In the modern approach to "ministry," the Word of God is deliberately downplayed, the reproach of Christ is quietly repudiated, the offense of the gospel is carefully eliminated, and "worship" is purposely tailored to fit the preferences of unbelievers. That is nothing but a refusal to submit to the biblical mandate for the church. The effrontery of ministers who pursue such a course is, to me, frightening.

5. It severs the preacher personally from the regular sanctifying grace of Scripture. The greatest personal benefit that I get from preaching is the work that the Spirit of God does on my own soul as I study and prepare for two expository messages each Lord’s Day. Week by week the duty of careful exposition keeps my own heart focused and fixed on the Scriptures, and the Word of God nourishes me while I prepare to feed my flock. So I am personally blessed and spiritually strengthened through the enterprise. If for no other reason, I would never abandon biblical preaching. The enemy of our souls is after preachers in particular, and the sanctifying grace of the Word of God is critical to our protection.

6. It clouds the true depth and transcendence of our message and therefore cripples both corporate and personal worship. What passes for preaching in some churches today is literally no more profound than what preachers in our fathers’ generation were teaching in the five-minute children’s sermon they gave before dismissing the kids. That’s no exaggeration. It is often that simplistic, if not utterly inane. There is nothing deep about it. Such an approach makes it impossible for true worship to take place, because worship is a transcendent experience. Worship should take us above the mundane and simplistic. So the only way true worship can occur is if we first come to grips with the depth of spiritual truth. Our people can only rise high in worship in the same proportion to which we have taken them deep into the profound truths of the Word. There is no way they can have lofty thoughts of God unless we have plunged them into the depths of God’s self-revelation. But preaching today is neither profound nor transcendent. It doesn’t go down, and it doesn’t go up. It merely aims to entertain.

By the way, true worship is not something that can be stimulated artificially. A bigger, louder band and more sentimental music might do more to stir people’s emotions. But that is not genuine worship. True worship is a response from the heart to God’s truth (John 4:23). You can actually worship without music if you have seen the glories and the depth of what the Bible teaches.

7. It prevents the preacher from fully developing the mind of Christ. Pastors are supposed to be under-shepherds of Christ. Too many modern preachers are so bent on understanding the culture that they develop the mind of the culture and not the mind of Christ. They start to think like the world, and not like the Savior. Frankly, the nuances of worldly culture are virtually irrelevant to me. I want to know the mind of Christ and bring that to bear on the culture, no matter what culture I may be ministering to. If I’m going to stand up in a pulpit and be a representative of Jesus Christ, I want to know how He thinks—and that must be my message to His people too. The only way to know and proclaim the mind of Christ is by being faithful to study and preach His Word. What happens to preachers who obsess about cultural "relevancy" is that they become worldly, not godly.

8. It depreciates by example the spiritual duty and priority of personal Bible study. Is personal Bible study important? Of course. But what example does the preacher set when he neglects the Bible in his own preaching? Why would people think they need to study the Bible if the preacher doesn’t do serious study himself in the preparation of his sermons? There is now a movement among some in ministry to trim, as much as possible, all explicit references to the Bible from the sermon—and above all, don’t ever ask your people to turn to a specific Bible passage because that kind of thing makes "seekers" uncomfortable. Some churches actively discourage their people from bringing Bibles to church lest the sight of so many Bibles intimidate the "seekers." As if it were dangerous to give your people the impression that the Bible might be important!

9. It prevents the preacher from being the voice of God on every issue of his time. Jeremiah 8:9 says, "The wise men are ashamed, they are dismayed and taken. Behold, they have rejected the word of the Lord; so what wisdom do they have?" When I speak, I want to be God’s messenger. I’m not interested in exegeting what some psychologist or business guru or college professor has to say about an issue. My people don’t need my opinion; they need to hear what God has to say. If we preach as Scripture commands us, there should be no ambiguity about whose message is coming from the pulpit.

10. It breeds a congregation that is as weak and indifferent to the glory of God as their pastor is. Such preaching fosters people who are consumed with their own well-being. When you tell people that the church’s primary ministry is to fix for them whatever is wrong in this life—to meet their needs, to help them cope with their worldly disappointments, and so on—the message you are sending is that their mundane problems are more important than the glory of God and the majesty of Christ. Again, that sabotages true worship.

11. It robs people of their only true source of help. People who sit under superficial preaching become dependent on the cleverness and the creativity of the speaker. When preachers punctuate their sermons with laser lights and smoke, video clips and live drama, the message they send is that there isn’t a prayer the people in the pew could ever extract such profound material on their own. Such gimmicks create a kind of dispensing mechanism that people can’t use to serve themselves. So they become spiritual couch potatoes who just come in to be entertained, and whatever superficial spiritual content they get from the preacher’s weekly performance is all they will get. They have no particular interest in the Bible because the sermons they hear don’t cultivate that. They are wowed by the preacher’s creativity and manipulated by the music, and that becomes their whole perspective on spirituality.

12. It encourages people to become indifferent to the Word of God and divine authority. Predictably, in a church where the preaching of Scripture is neglected, it becomes impossible to get people to submit to the authority of Scripture. The preacher who always aims at meeting felt needs and strokes the conceit of worldly people has no platform from which to confront the man who wants to divorce his wife without cause. The man will say, "You don’t understand what I feel. I came here because you promised to meet my felt needs. And I’m telling you, I don’t feel like I want to live with this woman anymore." You can’t inject biblical authority into that. You certainly wouldn’t have an easy time pursuing church discipline. That is the monster that superficial preaching creates. But if you are going to try to deal with sin and apply any kind of authoritative principle to keep the church pure, you must be preaching the Word.

13. It lies to people about what they really need. In Jeremiah 8:11, God condemns the prophets who treated people’s wounds superficially. That verse applies powerfully to the preachers who populate so many prominent evangelical pulpits today. They omit the hard truths about sin and judgment. They tone down the offensive parts of Christ’s message. They lie to people about what they really need, promising them "fulfillment" and earthly well-being when what people really need is an exalted vision of Christ and a true understanding of the splendor of God’s holiness.

14. It strips the pulpit of power. "The word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword" (Heb. 4:12). Everything else is impotent, giving merely an illusion of power. Human strategy is not more important than Scripture. The showman’s ability to lure people in should not impress us more than the Bible’s ability to transform lives.

15. It puts the responsibility on the preacher to change people with his cleverness. Preachers who pursue the modern approach to ministry must think they have the power to change people. That, too, is a frightening expression of pride. We preachers can’t save people, and we can’t sanctify them. We can’t change people with our insights, our cleverness, by entertaining them or by appealing to their human whims and wishes and ambitions. There’s only One who can change sinners. That’s God, and He does it by His Spirit through the Word.

So pastors must preach the Word, even though it is currently out of fashion to do so (2 Tim. 4:2). That is the only way their ministry can ever truly be fruitful. Moreover, it assures that they will be fruitful in ministry, because God’s Word never returns to Him void; it always accomplishes that for which He sends it and prospers in what He sends it to do (Isa. 55:11).

Thursday, December 07, 2006

A Sleeping Giant

I will not be blogging tomorrow. Beverly and I will be leaving this evening to go to Houston, where our grandson will be having minor outpatient surgery tomorrow. We will be returning Saturday afternoon -- with a stop-over in Crockett to check on Beverly's dad.

Today is December 7th. "A day that will live in infamy." 65 years ago today, the Japanese, unprovoked, attacked Pearl Harbor. As the attack took place, one of their highest ranking military leaders said, "We have awakened a sleeping giant." He was right. That attack got us into World War II. We first turned our attention to the defeat of Nazi-ism in Europe -- and then took on the Japanese. This country was turned into a weapons-production plant. And in less than 4 years, the war was over.

Is it my imagination or do we pay more attention to the anniversary of Pearl Harbor than we do to 9-11? If so, I wonder why. At Pearl Harbor, the Japanese at least attacked a military instillation. On 9-11, the cowardly terrorists attacked unarmed innocent civilians. There were more casualties in 9-11. And the mainland of the United States was attacked.

Is it because the enemy is less recognizable? Or could it be that we just don't care. After all, our lives have not been all that drastically affected. Life goes on for us.

I know many people think I am being alarmist in my views, but "radical Islam" (I think that defines much more than most people do) is going to be a formidable foe that -- if we continue to close our eyes -- will eventually take over the world. Their control in Europe is already alarming. European nations live in fear every day of saying or doing anything that will "offend" the Muslims among them. We are beginning to see that happening here as well.

But it hasn't affected the Stock Market yet. Or the NFL. Or reality TV. So, let us continue to sleep.

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Political Correctness -- Bah, Humbug!

I read with interest the other day about a woman who worked for one of the airlines as a ticket agent. She wore a cross around her neck. Her employer asked that she remove it or put it inside her clothing. She continued to wear it outside. The woman was terminated for her actions.

The same airline allows Moslems to wear head coverings and Hindus to wear turbans. I don't know what to make of it. Is being a Christian the only faith that is not protected by "political correctness" today? Where is the ACLU to protect this woman's freedom of speech and expression?

It also makes me sad to see the greeting "Merry Christmas" disappearing from this time of year -- because someone might get offended. I'm sad because I remember how much I enjoyed school during the Christmas season, and today's children will never experience that. Now it is a celebration of winter. A celebration of winter? Yes, sir. I bet winter ranks right up there as everyone's favorite time of year.

Things like this make me long for "the old days." Some day I'll tell you about when I used to have to walk five miles to school uphill both ways.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Changes in the Religious Landscape

The religious landscape is changing so quickly it leaves our heads spinning. We might think this phenomenon is peculiar to our own fellowship (churches of Christ) -- but it's happening in every group. So many churches are dropping their identifying "names" and calling themselves "community church" or "family", etc. Yet, they are simply Baptists or Methodists or Churches of Christ gone under cover.

Within our own fellowship, our traditional positions on many issues are being challenged. Some churches are introducing instrumental music and others are allowing women to have a more public role in the assemblies.

Ultimately, it does not matter all that much what a church in Dallas or San Antonio or Nashville does. What we are responsible for is being what God has called us to be right where we are. We have always claimed to be autonomous -- with no ruling councils and with every congregation under the local authority of elders. Let's practice that now.

The WORST thing we could do is become afraid and draw inward into a protective mode. This is often the response of churches to situations such as those we currently face. But we must not do that!

Let us (I am speaking for the Decatur Church of Christ) be bold in prayer and in action to be the hands and feet of Jesus to Wise County. Let us be led by the Spirit to be what God has called us to be. What freedom it is to have no authority other than Jesus to tell us what we must do or be. But with that comes the responsibility to be HIS church.

Fear is the WORST motivator there is. It leads to making knee-jerk decisions and clouds sound reasoning. We have not been called to fear, but to boldness.

Monday, December 04, 2006

Willard on Discipleship

Yesterday was such a good day! I LOVE gathering with my community of faith here in Decatur.

And the Cowboys won! Despite the $10 million dollar man dropping at least two crucial passes (Josh, I just had to mention that). And how ironic that they won on a 46-yard field goal -- the week that Parcells released "the greatest kicker who ever lived."

Maybe it is just because I am following college football a little closer this year, but can anyone remember a year when there were so many huge upsets? Once again, we are back to all the pundits talking about a national championship playoff. I guarantee: I would be watching! I have yet to hear an argument against it that makes more sense than having it.


Dallas WIllard is a current author who is writing books that challenge us to true discipleship. His stuff goes far beyond "church growth recipes," etc. He gets down to the basics. My son Josh is reading his new book on discipleship entitled "The Great Omission." Josh shared the following with me:

He begins his book stating that "disciple" is used 269 times in the Bible, while "Christian" is used 3. The goal of the Great Commission and the goal for us should not be converts or more people placing membership in a church, but it is to "make disciples."

Words from Willard:
"I do not know of a denomination or local church in existence that has as its goal to teach its people to do everything Jesus said. I'm not talking about a whim or a wish, but a PLAN. I ask you sincerely, is this on your agenda? To teach disciples surrounded in the triune reality to do everything Jesus said? If that is your goal, you will certainly find a way to bring theological integrity and spiritual vitality together. But as you do so, you will find both your theology and your spirituality refreshingly and strongly modified."

That is so what I want. I see my mission (calling) as being used as an instrument to strengthen the level of discipleship in myself and the faith community I serve. If God brings a numerical increase, that is great! But I don't want to buy into the American corporate mindset of trying to manipulate it though.

Friday, December 01, 2006

The Dark Night of the Soul

Have you ever experienced what has been referred to as "The Dark Night of the Soul"? I have -- and I don't like those times at all. If you have, you can probably relate to Tozer's words today:

How long, O Lord? Will You forget me forever? How long will You hide Your face from me?
--Psalm 13:1

Some of you know something of that which has been called "the dark night of the soul." Some of you have spiritual desire and deep longing for victory but it seems to you that your efforts to go on with God have only brought you more bumps and more testings and more discouragement. You are tempted to ask, "How long can this go on?"...

Yes, there is a dark night of the soul. There are few Christians willing to go into this dark night and that is why there are so few
who enter into the light. It is impossible for them ever to know the morning because they will not endure the night. I Talk Back to the Devil, 80-81.

As I said, I don't like those "Dark Nights." But it does seem that with each one, I come through with clearer eyes and a hungrier heart.

Thursday, November 30, 2006

Watching My Words

As I write this morning, the streets and sidewalks are white with sleet. It has been coming down pretty heavily over the last 30 minutes. Today is my big study day, so I think I will settle in here at the house, build a fire, and do my studying.


Last night, it was raining in sheets. We got to church in the middle of it. The building was flooding in some spots. We all gathered in the Fireplace Room (probably 50 who showed up) and had a devotional. It was a special "family" time. I really appreciated Craig Jordan's thoughts about our speech. I so want to be someone who could be described as Eliphaz described Job (Job 4: 4): "Your words have supported those who stumbled; you have strengthened faltering knees."


If you live in the area of this winter storm, PLEASE be careful today.

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Let It Snow!

I love snow! If I lived somewhere where you had it all the time, it might change my feelings. But our annual snow that melts by the next day is always exciting to me. I love to go stand outside when it is coming down really hard. If you are somewhere that is quiet, you can hear each flake as it hits the trees or the ground. There is something that is just delightful about that to me.

So, I am rooting for at least two inches of snow by tomorrow. Our forecast here in Decatur calls for snow from about sun-up until early afternoon. I would love to spend tomorrow with my wife at home with a nice fire in the fireplace and watching a couple of DVD's.

Monday, November 27, 2006

Tuesday's Blog on Monday Night

I am writing this blog on Monday night. Tomorrow morning Beverly and I will be traveling to Mansfield for the funeral of Merle Foster's son who tragically died in a motorcycle accident last Wednesday. Please keep Merle and Ray in your prayers.


Don't come by to look at our decorations for a few days. We have had a major malfunction of our "Santa and Frostie coming out of the igloo." It is a sad sight right now. I will have to try something different.


So, Vanderjack (sp?) got cut. How could they do that to the self-professed greatest fieldgoal kicker in history? Now if they would just cut "Lead-hands" Owens -- I will be a happy Cowboy camper again.

How about them Mavs? As I write, they are beating up on the Timberwolves. Looks like their streak will reach 10. Wow!


I hope you all had a great Thanksgiving. We certainly did at the Ross'.

Yesterday, my incredible son-in-law David came over and helped me put up Christmas yard decorations. Jenny and Malaya helped Beverly put up the inside decorations. David came even though he was not feeling well. He does such a great job!


Last night a few of us gathered for a baptism at Craig and Deena Jordan's hot tub. It was a beautiful occasion as Tera Davis was immersed into Christ.

What made it all the more special is that yesterday marked Beverly's spiritual birthday. 39 years ago she put on her Lord in baptism.

While I believe that Scripture teaches that baptism is when we are joined with Christ, the meaning of baptism has taken on deeper significance for me through the years. I see it as serving the same purpose that a wedding does for a marriage. It is a marker. It is a reminder of vows / commitments once made.

I certainly think this is what the New Testament writers (mainly Paul) had in mind when they discussed baptism. After all, they were writing to the community of believers -- people who had already been baptized (that is a given, by the way). And they are not writing so much to give them a doctrinal discourse on baptism as they are to point back to it. "Don't forget your baptism." "How can you think of living in sin? Remember: You were baptized!" (Romans 6: 1-4). "Don't you remember that you were once an alien to God -- living in wickedness? But now you have been washed and sanctified." (Titus 3: 3-7). "How can you treat people as if they are 2nd class citizens? Don't you realize that when you were baptized, you were clothed with Christ? If we are all clothed with Christ, then there is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female. We are all one in Him." (Galatians 3: 26-28).

Much as a marriage counselor might tell a couple, "Remember your wedding vows?" -- these verses are saying, "Remember your baptism?" What a beautiful marker it is!

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

What's On The Side?

I was so glad to see that O. J.'s travesty of justice got panned. I was sorry to hear, however, that he will probably still walk away with $3.5 million. What a vile man.


Tomorrow is it: Thanksgiving! I live such a charmed life. I have so many things to be thankful for. My wife is THE most incredible person I have ever known. And I have the blessing of getting to spend this life with her. Of course, my family in general is a tremendous blessing.

But this year, I think the blessing most on my heart is the church I serve. I have been here for a year and a half now, and still feel like I am in the "honeymoon." I LOVE THIS CHURCH! I look forward to each assembly time. Obviously, because I love to praise God. But the fellowship is so sweet. I thank the Father for bringing us to Decatur!


By the weekend, I hope to have Christmas decorations up. I am trying to decide whether to get one of those inflatable Santas to put on the balcony out from. I am leaning toward it because I think Malaya would like it.


OK, today's topic: Side dishes. Beverly worked for straight hours in the kitchen yesterday preparing for Thursday. She fixes so many delicious things. Thanksgiving would not be the same without her gourmet potatoes (everyone in the family loves them). And she makes a good sweet potato dish. I'm not crazy about sweet potatoes, but I like to have one large spoonful of hers over the next several meals.

But my favorite has to be dressing. I don't like when it has big hunks of egg. But I LOVE dressing -- a little on the dry side. I like to get the edges. I probably will have 10,000 calories tomorrow in dressing alone.

I've never had "stuffing" before. Is that a Northern thing? I wonder if it tastes like dressing.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Where's the Beef?

Incredible! A month ago, nearly everyone was ready to write the Cowboys off (me included). Yet, after the Giants' loss last night, the Cowboys now stand tied for the division lead. And their schedule looks pretty favorable compared to others. I guess it helps being in the mediocre NFC.

And how about the BCS? Usually at this time of year, it seems that things are clearer than they stand this year. Of course, few would question that if Ohio State wins out, they are number 1. But from there, what? Even though MIchigan is currently number 2, according to what I read, if Southern Cal wins out, the computers will bump them to number 2. And then there is Notre Dame sitting close by -- playing USC this week. Arkansas could spoil things for Florida. It will definitely be interesting.

It is sad that there are no Big 12 teams lurking.


OK, back to Thanksgiving. What is your favorite meat? While we have to have turkey, it is not my favorite meat. And I only like the white meat -- pretty dry. I probably prefer ham -- if it is a real ham and not the processed stuff. Beverly gets a spiral-cut ham shoulder and I love it! We are also serving brisket this year. Of those three, I would probably rank them: 1. ham, 2. brisket, and 3. turkey.

We have never tried fried turkey -- but I have heard it is delicious. So, what's your meat?

Tomorrow: Sides.

Monday, November 20, 2006

Thanksgiving Week

Poor Molly! She is not doing any better -- coughing her cute little head off. Not good.

This is Thanksgiving Week. Our kids will start arriving tomorrow night. By Thursday, we will have 16 people at our house. Beverly is taking this week off, and will begin preparation for "the Feast" today. The countdown has begun: 78 hours and counting.

OK, for the next few days, let's talk about favorite Thanksgiving foods. We will begin with desserts. I must tell you -- I am NOT a pumpkin pie fan. Probably because all I can think about is seeing that slimy stuff being dug out of the pumpkin. And mincemeat? I have to confess: I don't think i have ever tasted it. It just doesn't sound dessert-ish. About like blood pudding.

My favorites are pecan pie, buttermilk pie and coconut pie. Coconut would probably be my year-round favorite (with the coconut burned just a hair on top). But my Thanksgiving favorite would be pecan.

How about you?

(Tomorrow: Favorite meat)

Friday, November 17, 2006

If I'm Sick, Take Me To The Vet

I had to take Molly to the vet yesterday. She has had kennel cough for about three weeks, and it seems to be getting worse.

I really admire vets. I have taken our pets to a number of them through the years. I know this is somewhat of a generalization, but I have found them to be so much more compassionate and concerned for their patients than MD's are for theirs. Now before anyone gets after me, I have very close friends who are MD's, and I am grateful for what doctors do for us. It must be one of the most stressful jobs there is. But I think that human doctors, in general, could learn a lot by observing a vet's "bedside manner."


Tonight, I am going with a buddy of mine to Texas Indoor Golf in Grapevine. You can play a simulated game of golf -- choosing from over 60 of the greatest courses in the world. I don't know where my friend will want to play. And looking over the list, I'm not sure either. Augusta is not on it or I would probably choose that. But Pebble Beach is. And St. Andrews. Also the beautiful course Beverly and I saw in Cabo San Lucas. So who knows where we will be "traveling" tonight.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Your News Source -- Right Here

The media is having a field day this week. What did you think of the Bobby Knight incident? I think the guy's track record suggests he has some real anger-management problems. But if any other coach had done what he did this week, would it be in the news?


Then yesterday, the story broke about O. J. Simpson coming out with a book entitled, "If I Did It." This is classlessness taken to a new low. This guy is now going to make millions of dollars by exploiting the deaths of two people -- which, according to early reviews of the book -- he basically admits to killing. Because our Constitution says a person cannot be subject to double jeopardy (tried for the same crime twice), there is nothing that can be done to him.

I don't know why the earnings from this book cannot be garnished to pay for the 30+ million he owes from his civil trial.

Beverly, the ever-maternal one, said this morning, "How could he do this to his children?" Good question.

I am using much self-control right now, because I could really go off in a judgmental tirade about this man.

Remember after the trial, when he said he would spend his life looking for the killers? He must have reason to think they were golfers -- because he spends all his time on the golf course.


And Tom Cruise is getting married in Italy. ZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZ

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Tozer on Sin

I haven't thrown any Tozer at you for a while, but today's reading hit me hard. We often think of sin as being only something we "commit." But sin is an outgrowth from what's in our hearts. Tozer's comments today were convicting to me:

I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me. --Galatians 2:20

To be specific, the self-sins are self-righteousness, self-pity, self-confidence, self-sufficiency, self-admiration, self-love and
a host of others like them. They dwell too deep within us and are too much a part of our natures to come to our attention till the light of God is focused upon them. The grosser manifestations of these sins--egotism, exhibitionism, self-promotion--are strangely tolerated in Christian leaders, even in circles of impeccable orthodoxy. They are so much in evidence as actually, for many people, to become identified with the gospel. I trust it is not a cynical observation to say that they appear these days to be a requisite for popularity in some sections of the church visible. Promoting self under the guise of promoting Christ is currently so common as to exite little notice....

Self is the opaque veil that hides the face of God from us. It can be removed only in spiritual experience, never by mere
instruction. We may as well try to instruct leprosy out of our system. There must be a work of God in destruction before we are free. We must invite the cross to do its deadly work within us. We must bring our self-sins to the cross for judgment. The Pursuit of God, 43-44.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Beautiful Animals

Beverly and I went to Roger and Judy Armstrong's last night for supper. Because Beverly will be traveling to Kenya in March, they wanted to share with us some of what they had seen on their trip last year. It was incredible!

As I watched the many animals on their video, I was reminded once again how magnificent God is. The leopards, lions and cheetahs are so perfectly camauflaged that they fade into their surroundings. Absolutely awesome. Of course, there is the giraffe and the elephant -- that remind us that God has a sense of humor. And the jackal: It looks like it was made with left-over parts.

Several others were there last night, and I threw out that of all the animals on this planet, the Orca (Killer Whale) would make my top 5 most beautiful animals (Of course, Molly would make my list, too). Roger voted for the leopard.

What do you think? How about sharing your top choices. Of course, we know that Randy's is the prairie dog:)

Monday, November 13, 2006

A Waste of Time

Yesterday afternoon, I washed and detailed both of our cars. I love the way the cars look and smell right after I finish. At the time I did not know that rain was in the forecast for tonight.

I have not been very good through the years at keeping our cars clean. Something about washing a car seems like a huge waste of time. They look nice for a day or two -- and then they need to be washed again.

I'm not consistent in my application of this principle of wasted time. I love keeping a nice yard, which as you know must be done again in a week's time.

I realize that many things in life are like that. My youngest son used to complain about making his bed for the same reason. He thought it was a total waste of time, since he would be getting back into it that night.

What -- to you -- constitutes a waste of time? I already know what you NASCAR fans are going to want to write -- if you are truly honest.:)


Josh chided me last week for my regular Monday trashing of T. O. So, I won't mention another couple of crucial drops yesterday by the self-proclaimed greatest receiver of all time.

Wow! What a shake-up in the BCS! I know fans from many schools are now thinking they have a shot at the national championship. I think I might pull for a real underdog -- Rutgers.

Congratulations to Decatur on winning the district championship in football. Go all the way to state!

Also, congratulations to Paradise and Boyd for making the playoffs. I hope all our local teams go deep!

Friday, November 10, 2006

Look Out For Falling Ducks!

I mentioned in my blog on Monday about the power outage at our house on Sunday night. I found out what happened this morning -- as it made the front page of the Wise County Messenger. A flock of ducks was flying over and was struck by lightning. Apparently they fell onto a transformer and blew it out. 26 ducks!


I watched bits and pieces of the Louisville/Rutgers football game last night. It was a good game. Louisville entered the game ranked 3rd in the nation. Rutgers was ranked 15th, I think. Anyway, Rutgers was playing at home. The fans were absolutely going wild! They have not had a game of this magnitude in their history -- even though the 1st collegiate football game ever played included them.

Well, Rutgers won! It took two attempts at a field goal in the final seconds -- but they won. And the fans stormed onto the field like ants on an anthill if you stir it up. It was an incredible moment.

I like sports, but as I get older I think about how fleeting such moments of euphoria are. And I wonder: Why don't we get as excited about this: God loves us -- even in our sin! Jesus took our sin debt -- and nailed it to the cross. The Holy Spirit lives inside us to help us to live victoriously! There is a place called Heaven -- where we can live in the presence of the Father for all eternity!

And yet, for the most part -- we get more excited about some reality TV show than we do with that.

Thursday, November 09, 2006

The Godhead

I must admit the Rumsfield resignation took me by surprise. I am wondering: If he was such a political liability, wouldn't the resignation have made more sense prior to the election rather than the day after?


It seems to me that the subject of the Godhead comes up a lot these days. It is a very difficult concept. After all, Islam accuses Christians of being polytheistic.

I really do believe that this is one of those concepts that we humans will never fully comprehend. Kind of like a 5th dimension. And any illustration one uses has its weaknesses. I have found the most helpful illustration to be comparing "the Trinity" to water. Water can be a gas (steam), a solid (ice) or a liquid (water). But it is still only one element.

I've also used the candle illustration. You have the candle itself (Jehovah), the light it gives off (Jesus) and the warmth it radiates (the Holy Spirit).

Again, any attempt to compare the Godhead to such things has its inherent weaknesses. It is a concept I will continue to wrestle with. Any ideas?

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Post-Election Observations

Well, it the US House is going to the Democrats -- with several seats to spare. The Senate is still in question. The political landscape today certainly looks different from the last 13 years when the Republicans took over both House and Senate.

While I have voted Republican for quite some time, I must say that I have been somewhat disappointed with what the Republican party has accomplished (or failed to accomplish) while they have been in power. They were given an opportunity by the American people with their "Contract for America." And while conditions are certainly not terrible in our nation, I think the public expected more.

So, it will be interesting to see what happens over the next couple of years. I could not help but notice, however, how giddy the TV news people were last night.


On a related note, I went to vote yesterday afternoon. Back when we moved to Decatur, I had updated Beverly and my driver's licenses on line. There was a place on there to update our voter's registrations -- which I did. But when I handed the lady my driver's license yesterday, she said I was not registered. So, I will have to wait until the next election. Oh, well.


Wow! What is happening to Metroplex sports? The Cowboys get No-Catch Owens. Now the Rangers are talking about going after Barry Bonds! What's next? The Mavs trying to work a trade for Kobe?

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

It's Election Day

Today is mid-term election day. This may prove to be very interesting. Does America want to stay the current course? Or are we wanting drastic changes. Because it seems to me that the two parties are further apart ideologically than perhaps ever before.


So, Saddam Hussein has been sentenced to hang. I have found the feedback from the world to be interesting. Bush has commended the passing of the death sentence. Tony Blair has commended the guilty verdict, but is opposed to the death penalty. Among the Iraqis themselves, there appears to be both jubilation and "blame the Americans" (what a surprise).

I have been wondering lately: Would the world be better off if there was no USA? I think many in our own country believe that. I find myself disappointed in the way we tend to politicize so much in our foreign policy. But we are also an extremely benevolent nation -- unlike any other on the planet.


If you live in the vicinity of Decatur and have wondered about a good work that you could volunteer some time to, I would recommend that you check out WARM. They are in desperate need of volunteers for such things as answering the phone, stocking groceries, packing food boxes, etc. If you might be interested in giving an hour or two a week, call them at 626-4676.

Monday, November 06, 2006

Get This Clown Out of Town!

Sorry I'm a little late with my blog. I have been playing "Grampy" this morning -- taking my daughter-in-law and grandson to my daughter's house in Keller.


So, T.O fans: Is "the Disease" worth $10 million? I watched about 10 minutes of the game yesterday. I saw him score a touchdown, and do his cute little "nap." He got what he wanted -- a lot of attention. Who cares that it came with a 15 yard penalty? It could have been a momentum booster. Instead, it seemed to fire up the Redskins. But he got on ESPN -- that's what he cared about.

And then he drops a 75 yard sure touchdown! A ball I could have caught (even at 50). Probably was thinking, "How can I top my last cute endzone show?" Well, it probably cost them the game.

Get this clown out of town!

I am so disappointed. A team that used to be the envy of the league. A proud francise. And now it is the joke of the league. All so a multi-million dollar owner can stoke his ego and pretend that he is a football man. Jerry Jones as General Manager is a joke! Do you think any other team in the NFL -- if they were looking for a General Manager -- would say, "Let's get someone like Jerry Jones!'

And Bill Parcells. No doubt he was once a great coach. Not legendary, but great. But here in Dallas he has been mediocre. His boorish behavior in interviews doesn't endear him to anyone, either. He seems to me to be a man who is just biding his time until he retires.


OK, that's my rant. I feel better now.


Last night as we were finishing supper (about 7:40), the lights went out. They were out until about 12: 30. We managed to round up a bunch of candles and sat in the den until about 10. It was pretty nice, really. We just talked. Jennifer said, "I wish I could just turn off the electricity at my house every once in a while." Yeah, I agree.

Friday, November 03, 2006

Painting: Resurrection Morn

Beverly and I were visiting one of our sweet members (Dorothy Paul) out at Governor's Ridge Tuesday night when I noticed a painting on her wall. It is called "Resurrection Morn." Dorothy is an avid reader of Civil War history and had gotten the picture at one of the battlefields.

She told me to read the back. The story is incredible. It went something like this. During a lull in the fighting, the two armies were camped opposite each other with a river in between. In the Confederate camp, a chaplain was holding a Bible study. One of the young men decided he wanted to be baptized. He was told that it would be too dangerous, but he insisted.

So, the Confederate troops laid down their weapons and approached the river. When the Union army saw them at the river's edge, many of them came closer to see what was going on. As the baptism took place, troops from both sides were at the water's edge.

After the baptism, the Confederates began singing a hymn (I can't remember which one). The Union soldiers joined them in the singing.

You can see the painting at It's by Hong Min Zou.

Thursday, November 02, 2006

A Great Story

Maybe you have heard the story of Dick and Rick Hoyt. I first heard it on Good Morning America several years ago. Since then, I have been reminded of it on a number of occasions -- and every time I have cried. So, read the story. And then be sure to go to the link at the end and watch the video.

P.S. There are still heroes in this world.

A Rick Reilly column in Sports Illustrated :

I try to be a good father. Give my kids mulligans. Work nights to pay for their text messaging. Take them to swim meets.

But compared with Dick Hoyt, I suck.

Eighty-five times he's pushed his disabled son, Rick, 26.2 miles in marathons. Eight times he's not only pushed him 26.2 miles in a wheel chair but also towed him 2.4 miles in a dinghy while swimming and pedaled him 112 miles in a seat on the handlebars--all in the same day.

Dick has also pulled him cross-country skiing, taken him on his back mountain climbing and once hauled him across the U.S. on a bike. Makes taking your son bowling look a little lame, right?

And what has Rick done for his father? Not much--except save his life.

This love story began in Winchester, Mass., 43 years ago, when Rick was strangled by the umbilical cord during birth, leaving him brain-damaged and unable to control his limbs.

"He'll be a vegetable the rest of his life;'' Dick says doctors told him and his wife, Judy, when Rick was nine months old. "Put him in an institution.''

But the Hoyts weren't buying it. They noticed the way Rick's eyes followed them around the room. When Rick was 11 they took him to the engineering department at Tufts University and asked if there was anything to help the boy communicate. "No way,'' Dick says he was told. "There's nothing going on in his brain.''

"Tell him a joke,'' Dick countered. They did. Rick laughed. Turns out a lot was going on in his brain.

Rigged up with a computer that allowed him to control the cursor by touching a switch with the side of his head, Rick was finally able to communicate. First words? "Go Bruins!'' And after a high school classmate was paralyzed in an accident and the school organized a charity run for him, Rick pecked out, "Dad, I want to do that.''

Yeah, right. How was Dick, a self- described ``porker'' who never ran more than a mile at a time, going to push his son five miles? Still, he tried. "Then it was me who was handicapped,'' Dick says. "I was sore for two weeks.''

That day changed Rick's life. "Dad,'' he typed, "when we were running, it felt like I wasn't disabled anymore!''

And that sentence changed Dick's life. He became obsessed with giving Rick that feeling as often as he could. He got into such hard-belly shape that he and Rick were ready to try the 1979 Boston Marathon.

"No way,'' Dick was told by a race official. The Hoyts weren't quite a single runner, and they weren't quite a wheelchair competitor. For a few years Dick and Rick just joined the massive field and ran anyway, then they found a way to get into the race officially: In 1983 they ran another marathon so fast they made the qualifying time for Boston the following year.

Then somebody said, "Hey, Dick, why not a triathlon?''

How's a guy who never learned to swim and hadn't ridden a bike since he was six going to haul his 110-pound kid through a triathlon? Still, Dick tried.

Now they've done 212 triathlons, including four grueling 15-hour Ironmans in Hawaii. It must be a buzzkill to be a 25-year-old stud getting passed by an old guy towing a grown man in a dinghy, don't you think?

Hey, Dick, why not see how you'd do on your own? "No way,'' he says.

Dick does it purely for "the awesome feeling'' he gets seeing Rick with a cantaloupe smile as they run, swim and ride together.

This year, at ages 65 and 43, Dick and Rick finished their 24th Boston Marathon, in 5,083rd place out of more than 20,000 starters. Their best time'? Two hours, 40 minutes in 1992--only 35 minutes off the world record, which, in case you don't keep track of these things, happens to be held by a guy who was not pushing another man in a
wheelchair at the time.

"No question about it,'' Rick types. "My dad is the Father of the Century.''

And Dick got something else out of all this too. Two years ago he had a mild heart attack during a race. Doctors found that one of his arteries was 95% clogged. "If you hadn't been in such great shape,'' one doctor told him, "you probably would've died 15 years ago.''

So, in a way, Dick and Rick saved each other's life.

Rick, who has his own apartment (he gets home care) and works in Boston, and Dick, retired from the military and living in Holland, Mass., always find ways to be together. They give speeches around the country and compete in some backbreaking race every weekend, including this Father's Day.

That night, Rick will buy his dad dinner, but the thing he really wants to give him is a gift he can never buy.

"The thing I'd most like,'' Rick types, "is that my dad sit in the chair and I push him once.''

Here's the video.... if you don't watch it, you will miss something VERY special….
Now watch the video - and don't say I didn't warn you.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Happy Birthday, David -- But Don't Eat the Cake

Today is my son-in-law's birthday. The Rosses have been so blessed to have David as a part of our family. When he asked me if he could marry Jenny, I asked only one thing of him -- that he guard her heart. He has done that so well.

We have laughed so many times as we think back about the way David tried to impress us when he first started dating Jenny. Intentionally losing card games with Beverly. Pretending that I was so overpowering as all the boys wrestled in the swimming pool on vacation. (David, you might want to take some acting lessons).

And what a wonderful father he is to my granddaughter. My heart wants to explode sometimes as I watch him with Malaya. He is such a good daddy.

Besides all that, David is an extremely hard worker. And his love for the Lord is so obvious.

So, happy birthday, David. I love you.


I was watching ABC news day before yesterday. They were doing a report on fat content in foods, and how New York is considering passing a law that all restaurants must stop using trans-fats. I am glad to see that many food chains are voluntarily removing such fats from their foods.

But one statement really caught my attention. They said, "MacDonald's is making us obese." I turned to my mom, who was visiting, and said, "They aren't making me obese." I mean, I have yet to see Ronald MacDonald holding a gun to anyone's head and telling them to eat 6 Big Macs.

Don't get me wrong. Any move to make food healthier is good. But is this something the government should get involved in? Are they going to tell me that I can't have an occasional Blizzard at Dairy Queen? And if fast food places are responsible for obesity and heart disease -- what about grocery stores?

This is Political Correctness run amock. What has happened to personal responsibility and self-control?

Please tell me: Am I missing something here?

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Invitation to Reply to My Blog

BOO! Scared ya', didn't I.

For a well-researched and balanced article on Halloween, go to


According to my blog-meter, there are quite a few readers of this blog every day. Still, I must confess that there are days when I wonder if the time I spend on this is worth it. Some days, nothing comes to me -- while other days the blog is basically written in my head the evening before. However, I would really like for there to be more interaction with you readers. For instance, yesterday I threw out a question -- trying to bait you to respond. Nobody did!

So, again: I want to invite you to respond. It doesn't cost anything. And it makes reading blogs more fun


My mom has been here for a couple of days. As we spent some time together yesterday, I was reminded that it would have been my dad's 77th birthday. He was born October 30, 1929. That's right, for you history buffs. He was born THE DAY of the stock market crash.

Monday, October 30, 2006

What a Weekend!

On Good Morning America, they are going to be doing a series on the 7 Natural Wonders of the World. It will be interesting to see what the "experts" include on their list. I feel pretty confident that I have seen two of them -- the Grand Canyon and Yellowstone National Park. Other guesses would be the Sahara and the Great Barrier Reef. From there, I am pretty stumped. Maybe the Galapagos Islands? Or the Amazon Rain Forest? Any ideas?


I'm still trying to get over the weekend! My family is so amazing! I wrote on Thursday that Beverly and I were going to Houston for her to do a ladies' retreat at Josh's church. Well, the whole thing was a lie. Josh had told me last week that his truck was broken down -- so he had to borrow Jonathan's car. Supposedly Jonathan and Jennifer were out of town. So, on the way to Houston, Josh called us and asked if we would swing by Jonathan's and pick him up -- as he was returning Jonathan's car.

We pull up and Beverly needed to go to the bathroom (another lie). We went in -- and the whole family was there to surprise me for my birthday.

Then Friday, we went and played golf. As we left the golf course, Josh said, "Follow me." So, we got out to I-45 and headed south. We ended up in Galveston, at a motel facing the beach. Ate at Landry's that night (it was soooooooo good!) Got to spend some great time together. Thank you Beverly, Jenny, David, Josh, Kayci, Jonathan, Jennifer, Malaya and Jed for a great memory and wonderful time!

I will give Jonathan credit: I don't think he lied to me at all. He does cheat on the golf course, though.


Please keep Beverly's parents in your prayers. Her dad is not doing well. We stopped to see them on our way back Saturday. He has been taken to the hospital this morning for observation. Her mom is having to come to Dallas today for a doctor visit. I know it is very difficult for them right now. Beverly's dad is such a wonderful man.

Thursday, October 26, 2006


I have made a BIG mistake. Beverly and I are leaving this afternoon for Houston, where she will lead a ladies' retreat at my son, Josh's, church. We are going to have to leave our dog with the pet-store owner here in Decatur. I am so attached to this dog now -- I'm not sure I can make it until Sunday. I should have waited until Monday to get her in the 1st place.


Tuesday is Halloween. This is a day that has become a topic of (sometimes heated) discussion. I can remember when I was growing up in Mississippi, Halloween was a blast. We would head out with our paper grocery store sacks about dusk. By 8 PM, we would have about 10 pounds of candy. It would last us until Christmas.

We never thought of it as a religious celebration. Not once were we tempted to worship dead saints. It is only in adulthood that I have come to be warned of the "evils" of Halloween.

I recognize that the day has its roots in some pretty unsavory stuff. But current context should carry more weight than the historical -- in my opinion. I mean, should we stop celebrating Thanksgiving because it actually ushered in the mistreatment of Native Americans? And the 4th of July: If one of the 50 states today declared independence from the US, would we consider that something to celebrate? Or would we consider that treason? The celebration of Christmas and Easter have questionable roots as well.

I'm not trying to tell anyone who is opposed to celebrating Halloween that they are wrong. I think this is a Romans 14 issue. I just think that sometimes we Christians hurt our witness by being opposed to things that the world is going, "Huh? It's about candy and a little 'Boo'."

Oh, I long for simpler days -- before the days of Political Correctness.

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Introducing Molly

OK, the cat is out of the bag (or in this case, the dog). For years, Beverly has said that one of her dreams is to wake up on Christmas morning to have a dog in her stocking. So, I have been checking into how to pull that off.

Yesterday I was on my way to WARM, and was passing by Noah's Ark (the local pet store). I decided to go in and talk to the owner about a breed she might recommend. She mentioned several, and said that she would highly recommend a long-haired chihuahua. And it happened that she had one left from her litter. I saw it -- and fell for it.

So, I had to tell Beverly. I called her, and she said, "Rick, I don't think I want a dog right now." She is going off of past experiences with me and one particular dog. I said, "OK, we'll just wait then." She said, "No, I'll come look at it." I told her, "Don't do that. If you see this dog, you are going to love it."

Well, she came to the store. She saw the dog. And she fell in love, too. Needless to say, we have a dog. Black and white female. Her name is Molly.

After our 1st phone call, Beverly IM-ed me and said, "I just had a phone call from some man about wanting a dog." She could not believe it was actually coming from me. When she called Josh to tell him, he said, "Mom, what have they done with Dad?"

She is the sweetest dog. Sleeps on my lap while I work in the computer. Whined for a while last night at bedtime. But when I went in this morning, she was asleep in her little doggie kennel.

I must admit I am surprised at myself. I think I am mellowing with age. But I like it.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Catching Up on Stuff

Wow! The Cowboy game last night was ugly! I am still keeping with my vow not to watch them, but Beverly got home late -- so we had it on while we ate. And then, while I was playing Tiger Woods golf, I could hear it. Either this team was grossly over-rated or the T. O. poison has spread.


I heard a report that said oil has dropped so drastically because the oil companies want to help the Republicans get re-elected in the mid-term elections. I certainly hope that is not the case. I don't like being played with like that. I don't want this blog to be a political one, but if I knew that was the case -- it might cause me to change my vote.


I got to see pictures of my grandbaby-to-be! Josh says it definitely resembles him. At this point, from what I can tell -- I would agree.


Beverly and I did a marriage retreat this weekend for a church south of Dallas. The retreat was in Midlothian at a Salvation Army complex. It was really a nice place! I wonder how many kettles of cash it took to build it? I'm being cynical. It really is a nice retreat facility.

I love hearing Beverly share with people. What an incredible woman she is!


By the way, in case you have forgotten: I LOVE the Decatur Church of Christ! After a year and a half, Beverly and I find ourselves -- it seems like daily -- saying how blessed we are.

God is SOOOOOO good.

Monday, October 23, 2006

Computers and Stuff

Yesterday I made mention of us living in the "computer revolution." The PC is only 25 years old. And remember how slow those dinosaurs were? Then there was internet dial up -- with that horrible noise you had to endure while it connected (what was that all about, anyway?)

Well, now we have to have faster computers. Our home computer has been running "slow", so I called Dell and they are fixing me up with 1 gig of memory. They tell me that I will have a racecar computer now. (Actually, it will help my Tiger Woods game to perform better. It's all about priorities).


Let's start our week off with this Tozer quote:

Oh, magnify the Lord with me, and let us exalt His name together.
--Psalm 34:3

I am positively sure after many years of observation and prayer that the basis of all of our trouble today, in religious circles, is that our God is too small.

When he says magnify the Lord, he doesn't mean that you are to make God big, but you are to see Him big. When we take a telescope and look at a star, we don't make the star bigger, we only see it big. Likewise you cannot make God bigger, but you are only to see Him bigger....

My brethren, God calls us to magnify Him, to see Him big. A meeting is not big because a lot of people are present. A meeting is big because a number of people see a big God in the meeting. And the bigger God is seen, the greater the meeting. A friend of mine has a little saying, 'I would rather have a big, little meeting than a little, big meeting.' There are a lot of big meetings that are little because the God in them is a small God. And there are a lot of little meetings that are big because God is big in the midst of them....

That is the first thing--magnify God. Your ministry will be little, and you will live and die little unless you have a bigger God.
Success and the Christian, 36-37,40

Friday, October 20, 2006

Sports Talk

So, it's Detroit and St. Louis in the World Series. Most of my friends are going for St. Louis. I think I will be pulling for Detroit. After all, they are Texas Rangers North (Kenny Rogers and Pudge Rodriguez). It will be the closest I will probably ever get to rooting for the Rangers in a Series.


When I was attending ACU (1974-1978), they had just come off of winning an NAIA national title in football and also won another while I was there. Since then, things have not gone well for the Wildcats. They have gone through years when there were probably more players on the sidelines than fans in the stands.

But not now! They are 7-0! Last night, they defeated West Texas State (ranked #4 in the nation). They were even on TV. My son, Josh, called about 10:15 to tell me. So, I watched the last 6 minutes of the game -- switching back and forth to the World Series game. The commentators were lauding ACU's head coach for not only emphasizing football -- but life.

In fact, I was told that ACU no longer has an "athletic dorm." The coach wants his players to be more assimilated into the student body -- to experience more opportunities to grow spiritually. That's cool! Now, if he can only keep them away from Sub-T 16.

Go 'Cats!

Thursday, October 19, 2006

The Olsteen Heresy

Let me begin by thanking you for praying for Jerry yesterday. The doctor told him that the "tumor" on his leg is probably only an infected lymph node. Praise God!


My son, Josh, sent me an article yesterday from Time Magazine entitled, "Does God Want You To Be Rich." To its credit, the article was pretty balanced. It mainly dealt with Joel Olsteen and his gospel of "God will only let good things happen to you -- all the days of your life." But the article also quoted Rick Warren quite a bit. Warren cut Olsteen no slack -- calling his "gospel" a farce.

Josh is so passionate in his desire to minister to the poor. The church he serves is in an impoverished area of Houston -- but in the shadows of Olsteen's megachurch. So, understandably, Josh gets pretty passionate about Olsteen's lies. Truthfully, how long can such a gospel impact a person's life? What is a follower of Olsteen's to do when bad stuff happens (and it will)? Job lay-off. Bankruptcy. What can one do except to blame God for not fulfilling His "promise"? And what does such a gospel say to the Christians in China -- whose lives are made more difficult because they are Christ-followers? And if Olsteen's gospel is true -- then God short-changed His own Son as well as the apostles.

Yeah, he has a nice smile. His words seem so warm. People are flowing in droves to hear him speak. But he is a heretic. He has trashed the cross and all of its implications. He has made a mockery of Jesus' call to give up self.

So many churches across our land are filled with people who just "want to feel good." As I start my series on Acts this week, I am reminded how starkly that church would stand in comparison. All they wanted to do was talk about the One who was crucified and risen. No thought for their own well-being. And they changed the world.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Last Evening

Today Jerry Nicholas is having a biopsy on a place on his leg. What a courageous, inspiring man he is. He and his wife Anna have certainly been two of the treasures we have discovered since coming to Decatur. Please be praying for Jerry -- that the results might come back negative. Also, be praying for both him and Anna -- for the Lord to cover them with His presence, comfort and peace.

It was so wonderful last night to be able to witness the new births of John and Delores Foley. They have visited our church, and asked that the elders come visit with them. Mike McDowell and Ronnie Hess went Monday night and shared and studied with them, and last night they were baptized. It was great!


Red Lobster's stock should be OK today. I ate well, but did not overdo it. Not because of any self-control on my part. When you order, you get to choose two kinds of shrimp. I ordered shrimp pasta and coconut shrimp. They were both very good. When the waiter came and asked if I wanted more, I said, "Yes, more coconut shrimp." He informed me that they were out. So, they saved some last night by being out. I could have done considerably more damage.

Both the food and the company were great.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Food, Football and Something That Really Matters

Tonight I will be celebrating my birthday dinner. I know, I'm already 8 days into my next year. But due to my poor planning, we were not home on my birthday, so tonight is it. Beverly and I will be joined by our prayer group. Destination? Red Lobster -- all-you-can-eat shrimpfest, baby! Don't buy Red Lobster stock today, because I'm gonna put a dent in their profits tonight.


This may seem like poor timing after what I just wrote, but I want to share some Tozer with you this morning:

As for man, his days are like grass; as a flower of the field, so he flourishes. For the wind passes over it, and it is gone, and its place remembers it no more. But the mercy of the Lord is from everlasting to everlasting on those who fear Him, and His
righteousness to children's children.
--Psalm 103:15-17

We who follow Christ are men and women of eternity. We must put no confidence in the passing scenes of the disappearing world. We must resist every attempt of Satan to palm off upon us the values that belong to mortality. Nothing less than forever is long enough for us. We view with amused sadness the frenetic scramble of the world to gain a brief moment in the sun. 'The book of the month,' for instance, has a strange sound to one who has dwelt with God and taken his values from the Ancient of Days. 'The man of the year' cannot impress those men and women who are making their plans for
that long eternity when days and years have passed away and time is no more.

The church must claim again her ancient dowry of everlastingness. She must begin again to deal with ages and millenniums rather than with days and years. She must not count numbers but test foundations. She must work for permanence rather than for appearance. Her children must seek those enduring things that have been touched with immortality. The shallow brook of popular religion chatters on its nervous way and thinks the ocean too quiet and dull because it lies deep in its mighty bed and is unaffected by the latest shower.


You T. O. fans are incredible. The guy catches 5 passes for ~50 yards on Sunday. The three TD's were what? 3 yards. 5 yards. I don't remember what the third one was. 5 passes for 50 yards? That is pathetic for a 10 million dollar man! And might I remind you: They were playing the HOUSTON TEXANS! There are a number of college teams who could beat them.

Let's see what happens in the next few weeks, as the Cowboys get into the tougher part of their schedule.

My point from the beginning, however, has been this: It doesn't matter what guys like T. O. do on the field. What they bring to the clubhouse is destructive. And we have seen several episodes of that already.

Monday, October 16, 2006

Monday Morning Quarterbacking

Yesterday was such a good day! The attendance was down considerably, from rain (?), ACU homecoming or whatever. But that didn't dampen the day. The response I have had to my Names of God series has really been overwhelming. And then to witness Cade Isham being baptized -- WOW! We also had a sister who has been struggling spiritually ask her church family for prayers and support. In addition, three families placed membership. And how special it was to hear Ancel share about total dependence on the Father in his Communion thoughts.

Next Sunday I will share the results of our congregation's vote for their favorite name of God. I feel like I preached with a little extra passion on the ones that are my favorites. So, we will see if that shaped the vote any. We had a great voter turnout!

Next Sunday I will also begin a new series on the book of Acts. This year's LTC is covering this book, so I thought it would be good for the whole church to spend time together here.

Let's make an intentional effort this week to be the hands and feet of Jesus -- wherever we go!


On a humorous note: Fulton Allem is known on the PGA tour as being one of the toughest golfers to have to work for or deal with. He is about a "C" player who thinks he is much better. During the 1996 MCI Heritage Classic, he was playing so badly, he fumed, "I feel like breaking something." His caddie shot back, "How about breaking par?" Allem fired him on the spot.

Some people just don't have any sense of humor.

Friday, October 13, 2006

Rating the Fair

Yesterday was a great day to be at the State Fair. Not overly crowded. Pleasant temperature. Great company (my wife and granddaughter).

Our first stop was to grab a corndog. After downing them, we headed for the car show. As we walked, Malaya said, "Sometimes when I walk, I just like to think about how much God loves me." So, we walked in silence for a few moments as our 6-year old precious one taught me a lesson about life.

Here is the official 2006 Ross critique of the Fair food (today I will only eat a Subway Turkey sandwich and a Chili's grilled chicken salad):
Corn Dog: "A" -- this is a staple "must" of any Fair experience. I don't usually even like corn dogs.
Roasted Corn: "B+" -- I love corn on the cob. This one was good, but a little bland. They serve it so hot, you have to watch out or it will burn your lips. I got a blister on my lip a couple of years ago.
Fried praline: "B" -- the praline itself was very good. The fried stuff didn't really add anything.
Fried Coke: "C" -- this just didn't cut it for me. Beverly and I shared it. You know something isn't very good when both people sharing it are saying, "You can have the rest." "No, that's OK. You eat it."
Funnel Cake: "A+" -- We have a friend who operates two food booths at the fair. They are primarily pizza places, but he makes funnel cakes with strawberries or apples or plain. We had strawberries. It was delicious!
Fresh-squeezed lemonade: "A+" -- again, from our friend's place. Truly one of the fair highlights each year. All that sugar!
Pizza: "A" -- Our friend's regular job is making pizza. He knows what he is doing. It was so good. We ate it last night as we waited for the parade to begin.

Our favorite events: The pig races are always fun. But the bird show was incredible! Malaya enjoyed the petting zoo, as well. And she loves the parade.

It was a really good day! (Burp)

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Tomorrow is Fair Day

FINALLY! T. O. and I now share something in common. After the game Sunday, he was ranting in the locker room: "Why have you brought me here?" I have been asking the same question since May (or whenever it was he signed).


Tomorrow Beverly and I are taking our granddaughter, Malaya, to the State Fair. I am putting limits on the amount of food I will consume. I am going to hold strictly to 100,000 calories and 800 fat grams.

Malaya will be spending the night with us tonight and tomorrow night. And when she is at the house, she is in control. She insists on having her own room in our house, but has never slept in it. She sleeps with Beverly in our king-size bed. I have tried sleeping with them, but would get more rest if I tried to sleep in one of those kids' bouncy houses. More than once, I have awakened to find Malaya's foot resting against my trachea. With as much force as she exerts when she moves about in the bed, I realized that I was only inches from death.

So tonight and tomorrow night, I will be sleeping on the couch. Malaya thinks it is hilarious. I do tell her every night not to drool on my side of the bed.

Grandkids are so wonderful! I miss Jed. And can't wait for Josh and Kayci's addition!

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

The Year of Jubilee

My son, Josh, reminded me yesterday that I have entered the "Year of Jubilee." In the OT, every 50 years all debts were canceled and the people took a year off -- with pay! (I wonder if my elders would agree to that?)


Yesterday, Beverly and I returned from Lovington. We had a great weekend with that church. This is the third straight year we have gone out there, and they are already wanting to plan for next year. One of my best friends, Larry Tittle, is a minister there. And so we got to spend some good visiting time with him and his wife, Aleta.

That church was so encouraging to me two years ago. I was going through some really tough times of self-doubt due to the church situation I was in at that time. I was seriously considering getting out of ministry. But that church was so affirming! So, they hold a special place in my heart.


Before we left Friday, I had gotten the Dallas Morning News out of the front yard. I opened it to find an advertising insert titled, "Be Who You Are." It was about 12 pages -- promoting the homosexual lifestyle. I am going to contact the News, and tell them I think it was inappropriate. I'm sure they will tell me that it is paid advertising, so there is nothing they could do about it. But would they accept paid advertising from the KKK?

I've been thinking: Every argument that homosexuals use to support their sinful lifestyle could be made by pedophiles. Is that going to be the next step in this slide? There is already an organization committed to promoting men-boy relationships (I think it is called "Manba", or something like that). Who will be able to say it is wrong? This is the consequences of throwing out God-given morality.

Friday, October 06, 2006

Half a Century -- Whew!

Things I have learned in my first 50 years:

Good food with good friends is hard to beat.
The future is rarely as bad as the media tries to predict.
Whatever one political party accuses the other of, they are probably guilty of themselves.
Make time to enjoy sunrises and sunsets. It is worth it.
Enjoy a romantic movie with your wife. She will not question your "macho-ness" for doing so.
I still like sports, but not nearly so much as I used to. Follow a team for a whole season all the way to the championship. The adrenaline rush when they win is pretty fleeting.
I love cold nights around a crackling fire place and sitting on the porch watching it rain -- but there is nothing like watching it snow.
Enjoy a "sinful" dessert every one in a while.
Marry right.
Marriage gets better with age. Unfortunately, many people never find that out.
Adult children walking with the Lord may be the greatest reward this side of heaven.
Grandkids are "da bomb."
Investing time in service to others really does make one feel better.
Working with one's hands (yardwork, etc.) is very theraputic.
God really is good -- ALL THE TIME.

I could go on, but will cut it off here.


Please be praying for Beverly and me as we go to Lovington, New Mexico this weekend.

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Called to be Peacemakers

I'm reading Jack Reese's book, The Body Broken. It is really good! I want to share some exerpts from the chapter, Suffer the Children:

He begins by quoting from Augustine's Confessions: [When I was a child,] when people did not do what I wanted . . . I would become angry with my elders for not being subservient to me, and with responsible people for not acting as though they were my slaves; and I would avenge myself on them by bursting into tears. This, I have learned, is what babies are like, so far as I have been able to observe them.

Reese later says: "Peace is not a divine afterthought unrelated to central matters of faith and discipleship. Unity is not a marginal doctrine that becomes a luxury for Christians whose primary concerns are elsewhere. Peace is what the cross has wrought. People formed by the cross become peacemakers. Those who are healed become healers. Those who are reconciled become ministers of reconciliation. That is what the cross does. That is the kind of people the cross creates."

He says, "Living in unity is not the byproduct of the resolution of our differences. To wait until we all agree before we engage in matters that produced peace is nonsensical. Unity is only possible in the midst of differences; otherwise it is not unity. Waiting to have unity until everyone agrees is like having cancer but refusing treatment until the malignancy is gone."

"Peace is not what we accomplish, it is what we receive, what we inherit. Peace is God's work, God's gift."


Tomorrow Beverly and I head out to Lovington, New Mexico to lead a weekend seminar (I am sure I got the dates right this time). We will be back Monday evening.

Monday I turn the big "5-0". Physically, I don't know if I have ever felt better. The biggest change I can see is in my hair. I used to could hardly run a comb through it. Now there isn't much to comb at all.

I will try to blog in the morning before we leave.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006


What a great day I had yesterday! My time at W.A.R.M. was so rewarding. I have become cynical when it comes to "benevolence" because I have seen so many abuses of the system. But yesterday "warmed" my heart. I saw elderly people, young moms with kids, whites, Latinos, and African Americans. They all waited patiently, and were so grateful for the assistance they received. My faith in humankind got a shot in the arm yesterday.

And last night's dinner was incredible. The turnout was great, the food was good, and the speakers did a great job. The generosity and support of those in attendance was yet another sign to us of God's blessing on Beverly's ministry. She and I went home praising the Lord for once again blowing us away with His faithfulness.

This morning, I met with my prayer group and we shared about things that have happened in the last year and a half. We talked about how excited we are about the future for God's Kingdom here in Decatur. I was once again reminded of just how blessed Beverly and I are. God certainly delivered us from the pit we were in two years ago -- and has taken us to the mountaintop.

Thank You, Jehovah Jireh!

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

W.A.R.M. and WCCC

I am saddened at the news of yet another school shooting. So many things in our society today could lead one to live in fear. Yet some of the most common words spoken by God and His Son were "Fear not."


First Tuesday at W.A.R.M. is the busiest day of the month (they are not open on Mondays). So, I am going to head up there in a few minutes and get my first taste of what it's like. I continue to be so impressed by this ministry.


Tonight is a dinner to introduce Beverly's new ministry to Wise County. Wise County Christian Counseling. There are well over 80 people who will be joining us for barbeque in the church "Fireplace Room." It is so exciting to see how the Lord is blessing this ministry. A little over six months it was only a dream in the minds of a handful of people. Now it has been fully operational for a couple of months. We are still in need of additional funding. But as we look at how the Lord has blessed it, we are confident that Jehovah-Jireh -- "the Lord Will Provide."

Would you join us in praying for this ministry?

Monday, October 02, 2006

A Good Friday

Friday was a special day for me. I attended the memorial service for Byron Nelson that afternoon. I almost decided not to go after the media kept talking about how there would not be room for everyone, and you better arrive by 11 AM to get a seat for the 1:30 PM service. I got there at 12:30 and had no problem finding a parking place and a good seat in the auditorium.

The memorial service was beautiful -- befitting a man who was also beautiful. As I watched the many professional golfers who were there because of their respect for Mr. Nelson, I found myself praying for them. I realized that service might be the only opportunity some of them have to hear the gospel. And they certainly did. Who knows what seeds might have been planted in their hearts.

I love the way Rick Atchley summed Byron's life up. He said, "You can debate about which man is the greatest golfer, but there is no debate about which golfer is the greatest man."

Then after the service, I drove to Crockett to see Beverly's dad. He is in the hospital. I got there about 6:30. I took Beverly's mom to supper, then sent her home and I stayed with Mr. Jones that night. He is such a great man. He has been like a dad to me, and I was reminded of that as we visited and sat together that night.

Thursday, September 28, 2006

Thursday Tidbits

I love our mens' class on Wednesday night. It's great to hear men -- young and old(er) share their struggles, dreams and convictions. The sincerity of these guys is so obvious. It really does make for a lift each week.


I plan to attempt to attend Byron Nelson's funeral tomorrow. I won't be surprised if I get there and can't get in. The auditorium holds 2200, and the remote feed to the gym holds another 1900. I wonder where everyone will park?

For an excellent article about Byron, go to and read what Grant Boone (a member of the Church of Christ) wrote. It will give you goosebumps.


Every Thursday morning, I go to Governor's Ridge, a retirement center here in Decatur. I get to spend 45 minutes or so with some of the sweetest people ever. All ladies, except for Bill Dwyer. What an incredible man! He was a highly decorated soldier in WW2, and is such a kind man. It is a real treat to go out there.


Our daughter-in-law, Kayci, is doing well. Said the baby is the size of a raisin. By next week will be the size of a strawberry. Josh is already claiming that the baby looks like him.

When Kayci was talking to our granddaughter, Malaya (my daughter's 6 year old), she asked what Malaya wanted. Malaya said, “I hope it's a girl. I'm tired of these stinkin’ boys!”


So, T. O. won't be a distraction for the Cowboys? Sure.

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Ode to Byron Nelson

The world lost one of its really special people yesterday with the passing of Byron Nelson. I wrote a little bit about him back in May before his Dallas tournament, but want to reflect on his legacy again.

There are a handful of sports records that may never be broken. One could make a good argument for Nolan Ryan's 7 no-hitters, and maybe his career strikeouts. My guess is Joe Dimaggio's 56-game hitting streak is pretty safe. Wilt Chamberlain's 100 points in one game used to seem untouchable -- until Kobe ("Never Seen a Shot I Want Take") Bryant came along. But still, he is 30 points away in his best game. Maybe Jerry Rice's career touchdowns?

One record that I can't see ever being broken is Byron's 11 straight PGA wins in 1945. Tiger got to 5 this year, and that was unbelievable! But he wasn't even half way. Interesting, Byron lost in the 12th tournament, and then went on another streak. He went on to win 18 tournaments that year!

But his greatest achievement is the way in which his life was lived. Everyone who knew him knew what his #1 priority in life was -- to go to heaven. He was a man who lived a life of faith without being obnoxious about it. I have never heard or read one negative word about him. He has been adored be men from Arnold Palmer to Ben Crenshaw to Tiger Woods.

In Churches of Christ, we have had some wonderful celebrities to represent us: Sonny James, Loretta Lynn, Sen. John Cornyn, Randy Travis, Gene Stallings, David Robinson. But Byron Nelson has truly been a great ambassador. And more importantly, he has been an ambassador for Christ.

May the Lord raise up more like Byron Nelson. And I congratulate him for obtaining his goal. He's now at home with the Lord.