Friday, March 31, 2006

Daylight Savings Time

It seems like we just fell back and it's already time to spring forward again. Personally, I like daylight savings time. I like the fact that I can go play golf after work, or mow the yard. Also, I like it staying darker a little longer in the morning. I know this is an inconvenience to some, especially as we move closer to winter.

I'm not sure why they are going to do it, but next year we will begin daylight savings time in the middle of March and it will go through November. They claim that it saves on energy. Wow! it will be dark until 8 AM!

Anyway, don't forget to change your clocks tomorrow night. And if you are bothered by losing an hours sleep, just go to bed an hour earlier.

And I'd like to hear: are you pro- or anti- daylight savings time?

Thursday, March 30, 2006

Calling All Dreamers

In our men's class last night we shared the account of David's death. We talked about how he went out as a dreamer. That's the way I want to go out, too.

I then mentioned that we, in Churches of Christ, have tended to be motivated by fear for most of my life. Fear is the worst motivator there is. We have resorted to pulling up the drawbridge to try to hold on to what we have. We have been really hard on our dreamers, too. In such an atmosphere, how can we possibly hope to hold onto future generations?

God wants us to be bold and courageous. He wants us to take the land! We can't do that when operating out of fear about what XYZ church in San Antonio or Nashville is doing. When we become passionate about the possibilities for Kingdom advancement, that will become contagious for our children as well.

So, in future weeks, I think I will lead our men's class into discussions from 1. Ephesians 3: 20-21 ("Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine . . ."), 2. fear, 3. Nehemiah 6 (When the nay-sayers come, Nehemiah says, "I've got important work going on here. I can't come down to fuss with you."), and 4. perhaps some stuff from Joshua about being "bold and courageous."

Any other ideas?


On another note, I find it very sad that the media is using the murder of the preacher in Tennessee to paint the Church of Christ as a cult that fosters murderous behavior. They get people who have no clue (usually a narrow-minded pastor with an ax to grind) to tell them about who we are. Oh well, no one ever promised that our mission would be easy.

Wednesday, March 29, 2006


I will probably say more about this on Sunday, as I will begin a series of lessons leading up to Easter. I think we, as God's people, sometimes spend too much time picking things apart (often in a miss-guided desire to be "sound") that we miss enjoyinng the Lord and His people.

As I grew up in the church, we were suspect about Easter. After all, we said, the word "Easter" actually comes from a pagan fertility celebration. And that is true. But words' meanings don't always stay in their root. Words mean what we currently understand them to mean. And the world as a whole today are not referring to a pagan fertility celebration when they speak of Easter. They are recognizing Resurrection Day! And we look pretty much like pagans when we frown at the mention of Easter.

Also we have said, "Well, we don't celebrate Easter. We take the Lord's Supper every week." (I wonder how much we actually "celebrate" each week). True, the early church celebrated the Lord's Supper every Lord's Day (Sunday). And it is a beautiful part of our heritage that we have followed their example. But I have room in my brain to take the Lord's Supper every week, and still have an extra-special week once a year that is actually THE resurrection day. Beverly and I celebrate our anniversary every year. But there are extra-special ones that come along, too -- like the 25th, 50th (or this year, our 30th). And my brain can get around that.

Easter is not like Christmas in that we cannot know with certainty the date. It is dated from the Jewish Passover, which is dated from the full moon in a particular month of the Jewish calendar. So, on Easter morning, we are commemorating the most important anniversary in the history of humanity. The tomb was empty that morning. Jesus is risen! So rather than trying to press the point of how "right" I am (which is nothing but a turn-off to others outside our doors), I want my voice to be heard in pronouncing the Good News! There is life beyond the grave. There is Victory in Jesus!

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Miscellaneous Mumblings

Ten years ago, I had not heard of email or blogging or internet. Now, it is like I am handicapped without them. Our hard-drive on our home PC crashed about a week ago, and Beverly and I both feel like we have been cut off from the world. I worry about getting the bills paid, since I now do that on line too. Oh well, I think our superhero son-in-law is going to come to the rescue for us this weekend.

The marriage retreat was wonderful! The turnout was great, and everyone really seemed to be engaged in the entire event. Kyle and Shelly Reeves did a marvelous job coordinating the whole weekend. The "trooper" award goes out to Jerry Nicholas, who had undergone a double-treatment for his cancer on Thursday. He stayed for everything, and told Anna that he thoroughly enjoyed it. Saturday night she had to take him to the hospital because his fever got so high. Hang in there, Jerry!

Spring is definitely in the air. Things are "greening up." I'm just hoping that our brown yard wakes up. It could be that we bought a house with dead grass. Oh well. I like doing yard work. But I so want it to look good this year!

Another sign that we are too spoiled: Beverly's garage door opener broke. It has been such an inconvenience! We actually have to either go in my side of the garage or go through the back door! I am looking forward to when our kids come get whatever they want of our furniture that is in the garage. After all, that's where the cars are supposed to be. Life is tough:)

Friday, March 24, 2006

Sacred Marriages

Beginning tonight, Beverly and I will be conducting a marriage retreat for our church. We have done a number of marriage retreats in the past, and I always felt like what I offered was lacking in something. But I am getting pretty stoked about this one. We are presenting new material, and are putting the finishing touches on it today.

In his book Sacred Marriage, Gary Thomas shares something that I had never thought of in quite this way before. He notes that the divorce rate of those who call themselves "born again" Christians is higher than that among non-believers (27% to 25%). But the highest rate of all is among those who call themselves "fundamental" Christians (30%). He then observes that our goal in life is to be "ambassadors for Christ" -- offering the message of reconciliation between God and humanity. Yet, what does it do for our testimony when we are so poor at reconciliation in our own relationships?

Please pray for Beverly and me this weekend. And pray for our nation, that Satan's savage attacks against our families might be defeated.

Thursday, March 23, 2006

Movie Review

While we were on vacation, Josh and Kayci brought several movies. They are both very passionate about social justice, and so two of the movies they brought dealt with that issue. Perhaps you have seen them. If you haven't, I would highly recommend that you do (although they are not for kids). They are 1. Hotel Rwanda, and 2. Crash.

For those NASCAR fans who read this blog, Crash is not about racing (vroom, there they go again!) It's about racial prejudices. It may be the most intense movie I have ever seen. I will warn you -- the language is strong and you may want to fast-forward through one steamy scene. But when the movie was over, Beverly and I just sat there. We felt like we had been through a workout. Hopefully, this movie will reawaken the America's dormant social conscience.

Hotel Rwanda relates a true story from the events of civil war in Rwanda back in the early 90s. Josh told me he had read that Bill Clinton said the greatest regret he has from his presidency was not stepping in to help in this situation.

I like the trend I am seeing in the church to the awakening of our social consciences. We need to be more creative in coming up with strategies to help the oppressed. We must push past prejudices and biases to empower -- not enable. And by the way: It's not the government's job. It's ours. Scripture is filled with warnings to those who turn their eyes away from the poor and needy. And it is filled with promises of blessings for those who reach out to the downtrodden.

Let's think outside of the box for God!

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

So T.O. is a Cowboy

Just dig a hole and roll me in and cover me up. Life as I have known it is now over. T. O. has been signed by Jerry Jones. I think all the rain over the weekend must have been Tom Landry, Tex Shramm and Clint Murchison crying. Also, God may have been included -- since the Cowboys were once His team. (Someone once said that Texas Stadium had a hole in the roof so that God could watch).

I told my boys that I would not be watching the Cowboys this year. They think I'm joking. After all, I have been watching them for 40 years -- through good times and bad. I loved Tom Landry. And even though I disagreed with Jerry's handling of the situation with Tom, I agreed that it was time for a change. Beverly used to be as big a Cowboy fan as I was, but she has never gotten over that. She and I used to make a date to watch the games, but I don't remember the last time she watched the Boys.

Well, now I will join her. I'm not saying that I won't sneak a peak on Monday night, etc. But I will not be following or rooting for the Cowboys this year. I feel that strongly about the signing of T. O. Jerry has resorted to scraping the bottom of the barrel to bring him in. I don't care if he scores 30 touchdowns, has 2,500 yards receiving and takes the Cowboys to the Super Bowl. He represents everything that stinks about professional athletics. He thinks team is spelled, "I-ME-MINE."

As I drove over to Amberton U. to teach last night, I was listening to the Randy Galloway show. Randy is always good for a few laughs. I think people could appreciate him more if they realized that he is pretty tongue in cheek with his comments -- although he is very opinionated. He was really coming down on Jerry for signing T. O. But he refused to call him anything but "Lucifer." I didn't know that Randy was particularly religious, but it is interesting that Lucifer means "Destroyer."

So, any T. O. fans out there?

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Marriage Retreat

I had a blog ready to post a moment ago, and lost the whole thing. As I rewrite it, I am wondering if there is a reason for it being lost -- because I was really bashing Satan. So, now he is going to get a double dose.

As Beverly and I were traveling last week, we completed a book by Gary Thomas entitled "Sacred Marriage." This book is really good, and takes a radical, but God-centered, approach to marriage. So as Beverly and I outlined this weekend's retreat yesterday, I look forward to incorporating some of Thomas' stuff into it.

I am pretty ticked today! I'm ticked at Satan. My mind is preoccupied right now with people I love who are being targeted by him. Many are suffering with cancer or heart ailments. Even though the breakdown of our bodies is to be expected because of the Fall, it still irks me.

But even more than that, I am tired of watching the way Satan is attacking our families. The carnage and destruction break my heart. What he is doing reminds me of terrorist tactics. As he targets families, it is more like a car bomb than a rifle shot. He takes out handfuls at a time rather than single victims. And many of them are innocent bystanders. What a coward!

I have been so blessed in this life that I am guilty of being distracted at times. My eyes get focused away from the ultimate goal of heaven. But one thing that causes me to look forward to Jesus' return is seeing Satan get what is coming to him (this is where I lost the last blog). What do you think it's going to be like when THE FATHER punishes this cowardly terrrorist who has inflicted so much pain on His kids? All I know is I want a ringside seat.

Monday, March 20, 2006

A Great Trip

Beverly and I got back from Ruidoso last night at about 9:30. We had a great week with the family. Skiing? Well, we did that just enough to know that it's not for me. I think Beverly would agree.

But the mountains were gorgeous. No snow, however. Josh and David and I went to play golf one day, and the club pro said that the course was usually not open until April. He said this time of year, they normally had 3 feet of snow on the course. There was no snow in sight -- not even on the mountain peaks.

Malaya (our granddaughter) was awed by the mountains. She made the whole trip worth it -- just sharing her delight. She went to kiddie ski school one day, and had a blast. Another day we went for a hike, and her imagination about bears and Indians and such reminded me of when I was a kid.

As we were hiking, she was running ahead of us. I was amazed at how much energy she had. Suddenly, the altitude seemed to hit her, and she turned very pale. She didn't feel good. So, Jenny started to carry her back to the car (we guys were not with the girls at that moment.) A few minutes later, I came back to them and Jenny and Malaya were sitting by the path. Jenny was tired from carrying her, and Malaya was lying with her head in Jenny's lap. I picked Malaya up and said I would take her the rest of the way. As I lifted her up, she said, "Mommy, I feel fine now! It's a miracle!"

What can I say? Maybe I have found a new calling.

Anyway, it's good to be home.

Friday, March 10, 2006

Heading to Ruidoso

Sunday, as soon as Beverly and I can slip away from church (which means, for her, when the last person has left the building), we will be heading to Ruidoso, New Mexico. We have rented a house in the mountains for a week. The kids (all of them!) will be coming up Monday.

Beverly and I have never skied, and we were so excited about the possibility of giving it a try. But they have had only 12 inches of snow this whole season. They say that some of the slopes are open, so we may still give it a try. If that doesn't work out, then we'll play some golf and do some hiking and shopping. No matter what, it's going to be a great time with the family.

I don't know if I will be able to blog while I am away or not. I am so appreciative of those of you who visit my blog site. I invite your comments. And please check in next week, but I will for sure be back the following Monday.


On a political note: I love George Bush, and have supported him even though his ratings are down right now. I appreciate his conviction to do what he believes is right even when it is not politically expedient. But I have to wonder: WHAT IS HE THINKING WITH THIS DUBAI PORT SITUATION!!!!! We have hundreds of millions of Moslems wanting to cut our heads off, and we are going to allow a UAR company to come in and have that kind of authority over what comes in and out of our ports? Doesn't that kind of define the old adage of "letting the fox in the chicken coop"?

Sorry, President Bush. But on this one, I am adamantly opposed. I love ya, man! But this is a no-brainer.

Thursday, March 09, 2006

Ask the Preacher

It's interesting: When people in church want the answer to some Biblical question, they often say, "Let's ask the preacher." And that's cool. I like it when people have such confidence in me.

But you know what? There are many theological issues that I don't have the answer for. And one of them is the issue of pain and suffering. Why do good people get sick and die young? Why do some families seem to be hit like Job -- by one thing after another? I know what I believe, but it probably isn't a very satisfying answer.

RIght now, our family of faith seems to have been swept with a cancer plague. It just breaks my heart. And I am praying every day for these people to be healed. But the question still hangs there. Why? I like what C. S. Lewis said when asked why Christians suffer. He said, "Because they are the only ones who can take it." But that still doesn't answer the question.

Well, there is a lot I don't know. But I do believe that all of us -- good and bad -- are victims of the Fall. When Adam and Eve sinned, they opened a Pandora's Box of death, suffering and pain. They let Satan loose to inflict upon us all kinds of bad stuff. And our gracious Father immediately set another plan into action. It is a plan to return us to Himself eternally. Oh, the short-term stuff still burdens us. But maybe that's good -- because it reminds us that there is a better place awaiting us. A place we can call "Home." A place where we will be forever with the Father. A place where we will see His face (Revelation 22: 4). And when we are there, we are all going to nod our heads and say, "Oh, now I understand."

Wednesday, March 08, 2006


I've just left a small group of guys. We meet together every Wednesday morning, and are working through the book, Wild at Heart. This morning, we talked about our dads. And for most of us, it involved some pain.

I remember hearing years ago that a child's first impression of God comes from his/her father. That has haunted me, perhaps because I can see how true it is. I am pushing 50 years old, and I still struggle with God's faithfulness / dependability. Because He has ever proven to be less than faithful or dependable? No. But my father was.

As we sat around that table this morning, someone said, "I wonder what our kids will say about us in 20 years as they sit around a table like this?" Wow! It was a very sobering thought. And more than that, how will what they might say reflect how they feel about their Father?

Along that line, if you have never read The Blessing by Gary Smalley and John Trent, it is a must read. Not only for dealing with our own pasts, but for making sure about our children's future.

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

A Special Birthday

Sorry there was no blog yesterday. It would not allow me on.

I'm glad it allowed me on today, because today is a special day. It's my sweetheart's birthday. And so it's a day worth celebrating. Because if she had never been born, I would hate to think what might have happened in my own life. The Lord has blessed me with some incredible gifts: salvation, His Spirit, His Word. But I see Him "fleshed out" most in my wife.

There are so many special things about Beverly. One of them is her joy over some of the simplest things. She is definitely not high-maintenance. She brings the sound of laughter into every environment. She brightens every room into which she walks. Her zest for life is contageous. And no matter what she's doing, she is conscious of looking for how the Lord can be glorified in it.

I confess that her energy level sometimes wears me out! But if not for her, I would probably be an official couch potato. So, I am grateful for the way she pushes me beyond my comfort zones. We have worked through the years on compromising on this, but she struggles with "chillin' out." Just too much energy for that. I do think she is getting to where she enjoys our occasional "movie on the couch with a bowl of popcorn." (She probably sits there and thinks of a million things she could be doing, but she never says that).

I was so blessed to parent with her. I almost feel like I was able to just sit back and watch her work her magic. She was an incredible mother. A lot of it was just her instincts. But she wasn't satisfied with that. She was always reading and researching to be the very best mother she could be. And don't even get me started on the grandmothering thing. She took to that like a duck to water.

I was so immature when I asked her to marry me 30 years ago. I was not prepared for marriage. But the Lord blessed me anyway. He blessed me with a patient woman who endured a lot of junk. Thankfully, she saw something in me worth hanging in there for. I'm so grateful that she did!

So tonight, we will go to Anamia's -- her favorite restaurant. And I will get her table-side guacamole. And she will be thrilled -- as if I just gave her the Hope diamond. And I will be reminded once again of how blessed I am.

Happy birthday, Beverly! You da' bomb!

Friday, March 03, 2006


Beverly and I are soon to be on our way to her parents in Crockett. Malaya is going with us. We will be coming home tomorrow afternoon.

I am so looking forward to having a weekend or two sometime soon to work in our new yard! Spring is just around the corner. Flower beds need weeding and tending. I need to put up a fence. And the grass is going to need some TLC.

Last night was spent with some special friends. We have been through some real challenges together, and continue to journey through others. There is no way to describe what it means to have a handful of people you can trust with your innermost thoughts as you experience both mountain peaks and trecherous valleys.

As Smitty says (that's what those of us close to Michael W. Smith call him -- j/k), "A lifetime's not too long to live with friends."

Thursday, March 02, 2006

I'm Goin' Back to Houston, Houston, Houston

Well, it is official now. My son, Josh and his wife, Kayci will be moving to Houston to work with the Southwest Central Church of Christ soon after he graduates in May with his Masters of Divinity Degree. He will be their pulpit minister. I think it is a work that will suit him well, as they are heavily involved in reaching out to their area of Houston, and Josh has a passion for working with the poor and disenfranchised. The church is not far from the Astrodome and the MD Anderson Medical complex. So, they will be in south Houston.

Jonathan (my youngest son) and Jennifer (his 6-months pregnant wife), on the other hand, will be in north Houston. Jonathan began work with the Bammal Road Church of Christ on March 1 as their worship minister.

David (my son-in-law) is from Spring, which is just north of Houston. He and my daughter, Jenny and granddaughter, Malaya, currently live in Keller. We are so blessed to have them close! But who knows what the future holds for them?

So, it's interesting the way the Lord humbles us. Houston is one of my least favorite cities I have ever been to. Beverly and I lived south of Houston for 8 years. We began raising our kids there. Jonathan was born in Texas City. And now, Houston is where I will be spending a lot of my vacation and long weekend time. But I bet I will like it better now -- because of the special people who are there.

So, my advice is: Invest in Southwest Airlines' stock. I have a feeling it will be going up due to increased revenues from Beverly and me.

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Spiritual Workouts

Spiritual discipline. It's a term that stirs a mixture of feelings for me. I want to be spiritual. But discipline suggests work. And while I consider myself a fairly disciplined person, I find spiritual disciplines very difficult at times. Scripture reading. Prayer. Fasting. None of them are easy, nor do any of them become habit-forming. They demand a daily, determined effort.

I am encouraged, however, as I read from great people in history -- people we would consider to be spiritual giants. What encourages me is that these disciplines didn't come easily for them, either. They continually struggled with them -- for their whole lives.

Listen to what Philip Yancey writes about these "spiritual athletes." He says "they acted voluntarily, and few looked back on their experiences with much regret. We live in a society that cannot comprehend those who fast or carve out two hours for a quiet time, and yet honors professional football players who work out with weights five hours a day and undergo a dozen knee and shoulder surgeries to repair the damage they inflict on themselves in the sport."

I want to be spiritually "in shape." The reality is that it takes a workout regimen every bit as grueling as keeping my body in shape. Yet, it obviously pays more lasting benefits. So, I'm determined to keep after it!