Friday, June 30, 2006

Kierkegaard Quote

Praise God! Our group made it home safely this morning.

My son Josh sent me a Soren Kierkegaard quote yesterday that I have not been able to get off my mind. My prayer is that you won't either. Here it is:

The matter is quite simple. The Bible is very easy to understand. But we Christians are a bunch of scheming swindlers. We pretend to be unable to understand it because we know very well that the minute we understand, we are obliged to act accordingly. Take any words in the NT and forget everything except pledging yourself to act accordingly. You will say, if I do that my whole life will be ruined. How would I ever get on in the world? Herein lies the real place of Christian scholarship. Christian scholarship is the Church's prodigious invention to defend itself against the Bible, to ensure that we can continue to be good Christians without the Bible coming too close. Oh, priceless scholarship, what would we do without you? Dreadful it is to fall into the hands of the living God. Yes, it is even dreadful to be alone with the NT.

Sounds pretty extreme, doesn't it? But it haunts me. It haunts me because I am a part of that scholarship. And it haunts me because I am thinking about how often I have heard someone say -- or have myself said -- "This is what Jesus really meant." "Paul said this; but he meant . . ." "Jesus said, 'You can't serve God and money.' What He meant was ..."

I agree with Kierkegaard. It is dreadful to be alone with the NT. In the same way that it is dreadful to undergo a major surgery that can improve the quality of one's life -- if not save it.

Thursday, June 29, 2006

Pray for Our Brazil Team

We received word this morning that our mission team to Brazil has hit another snag. They were in the air last night about an hour out, and a problem developed with the plane. So they returned to Brazil, and will not leave until 9:30 tonight -- hopefully arriving here at about 6:30 Friday morning.

I really feel for our group. After a few days away from my sweetie, I can't wait to be reunited. And then, to have two delays -- it must be very discouraging. Let's pray that they will have peace in their hearts from the comfort of the Father.

Russ Hamilton called me this morning and has requested that anyone who can -- come to the building tonight at 7 PM for a prayer vigil. They want to pray for the team -- that they will be able to leave tonight and arrive home safely. I have a Bible study in Southlake tonight, so will miss out. But thanks, Russ, for coordinating that!

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Are We Really That Busy?

Today I came across some thoughts from A. W. Tozer. I love his stuff! He really makes me think fresh.

Worship: Omit the Third Verse

Praise the Lord! Praise the Lord, O my soul! While I live I will
praise the Lord; I will sing praises to my God while I have my
--Psalm 146:1-2

I suppose it is not of vast importance that the third stanza is
so often omitted in the singing of a hymn, but just for the
record let it be said that the worshipers are deprived of the
blessing of the hymn by that omission if, as is often true, the
hymn develops a great Christian truth in sermonic outline. To
omit a stanza is to lose one link in a golden chain and greatly
to reduce the value of the whole hymn.

The significant thing, however, is not what the omission
actually does, but what it suggests, viz., a nervous impatience
and a desire to get the service over with. We are, for instance,
singing "When I Survey the Wondrous Cross." We long to forget
the big noisy world and let our hearts go out in reverent
worship of that Prince of Glory who died for us, but our sad
sweet longing is killed in the bud by the brisk, unemotional
voice of the director ordering us to "omit the third verse." We
wonder vaguely whether the brother is hungry or has to catch an
early train or just why he is so anxious to get through with the
hymn. Since all standard hymns have been edited to delete
inferior stanzas and since any stanza of the average hymn can be
sung in less than one minute...and since many of our best hymns
have already been shortened as much as good taste will allow, we
are forced to conclude that the habit of omitting the third
stanza reveals religious boredom, pure and simple, and it would
do our souls good if we would admit it. The Price of Neglect,

God, forgive us for our desire to "get the service over with." What are we thinking?!

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Blessings, Charlie

Tomorrow will be Charlie Gibson's last day on Good Morning America. I have enjoyed him so much through the years. He is a rare breed among public figures today. Never a scandal attached to his name. He has always been very open about his faith and his love for his family. He's just a real decent man. Witty. Funny. Mischievous. Compassionate.

Charlie is moving to the anchor desk for ABC news. I seldom watch the evening news, but I wish him well. I can't imagine who ABC can get to fill his shoes on GMA.

By the way, this is not intended to be a GMA vs. Today Show blog. I must admit: I began watching GMA years ago, and never even checked in with Today. I just wanted to give some props to Charlie. He's the man!

Thursday, June 22, 2006

My Youngest Turns 23!

After work today, Beverly and I are heading back to Houston to see our grandson (oh, yeah -- also his mom and dad). Can't wait!

Speaking of his dad, Sunday is his birthday. My youngest turns 23. And since I won't be blogging tomorrow, I want to send out his birthday blog.

Twenty-three years ago today, Beverly was in the hospital. She had gone into labor, but we were told by her on-call OB-Gyn that the baby was far too small for delivery. In fact, he had said that if the baby was born now, it would have to be immediately life-flighted to Houston. So, Beverly had been put in the hospital to stop her labor. She and I were scared -- thinking something might be wrong.

Well, on June 25th, the baby came. 7 lbs, 8 ozs. A beautiful baby boy. I was able to be more involved in his birth than with our 1st two, and the attending nurse placed him in my arms only seconds after he was delivered. It was really special.

When Jonathan turned 3, Beverly returned to school to finish her Elementary Education degree. I was working shiftwork at the time, so it was just Jonathan and me quite often. We had some good times together -- going to the beach, watching reruns of High Chaparral.

And now he's grown. Married to a wonderful woman. And -- a daddy! He will be a wonderful daddy. Jed has a head-start with the parents God has blessed him with.

I am so proud of the man Jonathan has become. He has a sense of humor that keeps me in stitches. And to watch him lead a congregation in worship to our Lord gives me goosebumps -- as well as a lump in my throat.

Our other two kids tell me that Jonathan can get away with more than they can. Maybe that comes with being the youngest. It is interesting: When they come to visit, he walks in the door -- and the TV remote becomes his property for the duration of their visit. Sports Center, Around the Horn and PTI. But to tell you the truth, I enjoy watching them with him.

So, happy birthday, son! Your daddy is so proud of you. What a blessing you continue to be in your mother's and my life.

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Closure on the Mavs

I usually don't use two blogs a week to talk sports, but today I return to the Mavs. They had a great year! Hey, beating San Antonio in a game 7 in San Antonio made a great year!

I am a Mavs fan. Not fanatical. I used to be pretty fanatical about sports. But my interest doesn't run that deep any more. But I am a Mavs fan. I say that because I will probably catch some flack from the Mavs fanatics out there. I think this team was spent by the time they got to the finals. I wish they could have gone out with a fight rather than with a whimper.

And listen: No whining about the officiating. If we take care of business in game 3 -- the series is over. If our "superstars" sink a couple of freethrows in game 5 -- Mavs win.

Now, here is where someone may really get mad at me. I can see more clearly now why Dirk has not caught the attention of the national media. How I wish in these finals that we had a superstar who said, "Get on my back, boys. We're gonna win an NBA championship." Instead, that superstar was Dwayne Wade. He was incredible! Dirk? Hopefully he learned from this, and will be a different player next time he finds himself in a similar role. If he would have been as aggressive against the Heat as he was against an exercise bike on his way out of the arena, perhaps we might have faired better.

How about Avery Johnson? What a class act! I love this guy. He deserves more credit than perhaps anybody. Don't even begin to blame him or question him for this team's embarrassing collapse. They shot poorly from the field and the freethrow line. They were timid -- even with him yelling at them to take it to the hoop. I love Avery!

And Cuban? Give him props for having a championship mentality. He has brought a winning attitude to Dallas, and helped build a solid team that should have won. But someone has to convince the guy to shut up! His constant whining about the officiating has to hurt his team. It is human nature that those officials who are constantly being criticized by him are not going to be as favorable towards his team.

Well, that's my observations this morning. Congratulations to the Heat -- particularly Dwayne Wade. Without him, they probably don't even make it out of the 1st round. And congratulations, Mavs, on a good year. Maybe next year.

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

It Could Have Been Worse

Yesterday Beverly went to Sonic in Grapevine. That comes as no surprise to those of you who know her. I think she is on a 1st-name basis with every Sonic in Texas.

Well, anyway, when she went to leave -- her car wouldn't start. So, she called me and told me what had happened. She then called a friend who works close by and got a ride back to her office. I went soon after to check her car. Immediately I'm thinking new starter. I'll have to get the car towed. Mechanics. Labor. $$$$$$.

But then I thought, "Wait a minute! It could be as simple as a dead battery." So, that's what I decided to check 1st. I drove around the corner to NAPA and got a new battery -- and all is well.

I wonder how many of you tend to think like me: Worst-case scenarios. I am really working on that. And I'm finding that circumstances are seldom as bad as I can conjure them up to be. And I'm also learning to be more aware of the presence of God in it all. After all, He is El Roi -- "the God Who Sees." That's the name we will study this week.

Monday, June 19, 2006

Notes from the Weekend

Yesterday was a wonderful Father's Day. I have to pinch myself to make sure that this is real. I am so, so blessed.

And I am so proud of our church! Last week as I witnessed so much work being put into reaching our community through Vacation Bible School. And this morning, I am seeing 30 of our members off to Brazil, where they will be involved in mission work there for 10 days. What an incredible undertaking for a church our size. It is exciting to be involved in God's kingdom activity.

On another note: It was a sorry weekend for sports! The US Open was the worst I have ever seen. I don't think anyone won the thing. Goeff Oglivy simply won it by default. Colen Montgomery has a chance to win his 1st major: Double bogey on 18. Phil Mickelson comes to 18 with a one shot lead: Double bogeys 18. It was pathetic.

And the Mavs! I'm hearing a lot of crying about the officiating, and it does seem to be slanted. BUT- the Mavs appear to be choking big-time. Dirk, where are you? You are supposed to be a superstar. A go-to guy. And you have disappeared from the radar!

Oh, well. Maybe their fortunes will change when they come home to Dallas.

Friday, June 16, 2006

Father's Day

My father passed away 10 years ago in May. He was only 66. He had suffered a minor heart attack a few days earlier. The doctor was going to release him, but he 1st had to pass a stress test. While on the treadmill, my dad suffered a massive heart attack and died.

There were contributing factors to him being in such bad physical condition. For one, my dad was a smoker. But also, my dad was a recovering alchoholic who had abused his body for 40+ years.

As a child, I had good memories of my dad, because it seems that every weekend we were either going fishing or golfing together. But at about the age of 12 it began to sink in to me that he wanted to be with me so that he could get away from my mom and drink. So at that point, I became embittered toward my dad -- feeling like he was using me for his selfish pursuits.

When he reached his 50s, my dad's addiction began to affect his work. He worked for IBM for 42 years, and had moved up the ladder of middle management. But then, he received a couple of demotions. Finally, IBM gave him an untimatum: Get treatment for your addiction or be terminated.

So, at the age of 59 my dad went into treatment, and turned his life around. He retired a couple of years later. He went to AA (Alcoholics Anonymous) nearly every day. It became his passion -- serving others. He went into the jails and helped struggling alcoholics and drug addicts. In fact, he brought several of them to the Lord. His life began to reflect a beautiful peace as he surrendered it more and more to the Lord.

I will always treasure the letter my dad wrote me during this period of his life. He apologized for the way he had used me. He expressed sorrow for not having been a better dad. He told me how proud he was of me.

Today, I am an ACOA (Adult Child of an Alcoholic), which I have discovered through research brings with it a lot of baggage. But I don't resent my dad. In fact, I am so proud of the way he left. His whole life was tormented by some demon -- and I may never fully understand what it was. But he went out well -- and I am realizing more each day just how important that is.

I miss you, Dad. And I'm proud of you.

Thursday, June 15, 2006

Sports Thursday

It's sports Thursday. Today, the US Open begins. What a story it would be if TIger Woods wins. Can you imagine the emotion on Sunday -- Father's Day? I don't know if I have ever seen a public figure who had such a healthy respect and love for his father, who passed away about 6 weeks ago.

I sure hope the Mavs can win tonight! I don't think I can watch it! Basketball is too hard on me. I am taping the US Open, so I think I will watch it and just check in on the Mavs occasionally.

I am jealous. Beverly is getting to see Jed (My 9-day old grandson) today. She is going to make a quick trip to Houston late this afternoon with my daughter -- who is running an errand, and then coming back tomorrow. I want to hold him so badly!

Tomorrow I will write something about Father's Day. Last month marked 10 years that my dad has been gone. Wow! TIme flies.

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Memory Verses

Boy, did the Mavs let one get away last night or what? They had the Heat on the ropes! I hope that game doesn't come back to haunt them.


Being at VBS this week has brought back memories from childhood: Memory verses. As I was shaving this morning, I was thinking about memory verses I learned in Sunday School.
Baptism verses: Matthew 28: 19-20, Mark 16: 15-16, Acts 2: 38, Galatians 3: 26-27.
Why we do what we do verses: Acts 20: 7, Ephesians 5: 19, 1 Corinthians 16: 1-2.
Verses about the importance of the Word: 2 Timothy 3: 16-17, 1 Peter 3: 15, Hebrews 5: 12.
THE verse about being at church "every time the doors are open." Hebrews 10: 25.
Evangelism verses: John 3: 16, Matthew 28: 19-20.

I'm not meaning to be critical. I am very grateful for the many people who touched my life in Bible Classes. But most of the verses we memorized had little if anything to do with the formation of a personal faith in Jesus.

I think the verse that has meant the most to me through the years is Psalm 1. A Bible class teacher I had in 5th grade (I think) challenged us to memorize that whole psalm. "Blessed is the man who walketh not in the counsel of the wicked, nor stands in the way of sinners, nor sits in the seat of scoffers. But his delight is in the law of the Lord, and on that law he meditates both day and night..."

So, what is your favorite memory verse?

Tuesday, June 13, 2006


It must be in the Bible somewhere. But I haven't found it yet. Something to the effect of "Let every church set aside one week each summer for the kids. Let the adults, many of whom normally assume leadership roles in the church, spend this week dressing in goofy outfits. Sing songs with lots of clapping and physical activity. But let this activity be for one week -- and one week only."

Oh, traditions. Some of them need to be jettisoned. But many of them serve us well. I can't imagine what summer would be like in a church without VBS. We began ours last night. VBS is a week unlike any other on our church's calendar. It's a week where we tolerate things that would not be tolerated by many at any other time. It is a time of fun. It's a time where "old stuffies" let their hair down.

But best of all, it's a time for focusing kids on Jesus. My granddaughter went to VBS last night, and then spent the night with us. After we got home, she was talking to her uncle Josh on the phone and was telling him, "You know about the miracle: A little boy had a lunch, and Jesus took it and fed all the people."

In all my life, I've never been a part of a church that didn't have a VBS. And I hope that it's a tradition that will last through my lifetime.

Monday, June 12, 2006

The Wonder of Life

I love the way life brings us gentle reminders. Last Tuesday morning, I held my grandson only minutes after he was born. I began to think about how he had gone from an environment of amniotic fluid to taking his 1st breath. I thought about how God had been shaping and forming him for 9 months. Heart beating. Fingers wiggling. Brain functioning. Eyes taking in all the sights.

And then it hit me: The majority of Americans actually believe this happened by evolution! And they ridicule us for our "faith."

"I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well." Psalm 139: 14

Friday, June 09, 2006

I'm A Granddad Again!

Sorry I haven't been back to blogger land for a few days. I did try to write a blog day before yesterday, but the blogger site was down.

It seems that I have been taken captive this week by a cute little booger named Jedidiah David. Yes, my grandson entered the scene on Tuesday morning at 1:24. We got his mom to the hospital at 1:18. That's right -- no typo. He was born 6 minutes after she arrived!

He has now been home for two nights, and is doing great! He is sooo cute! Mom and Dad are fitting into their new roles so well. While here, we (Beverly and me) also got to visit with our oldest son and his wife. They have just moved to South Houston, where he begins his ministry this week with the South Central Church of Christ.

We'll be heading back to Decatur soon. I'm just warning you: Beverly has pictures. She has two cameras and a camcorder. So, beware!

Friday, June 02, 2006

Life is Like a Book

I'm reading Donald Miller's book, Through Painted Deserts. In the introduction he says this: "every person . . . has to change like seasons; they have to or they die. The seasons remind me that I must keep changing, and I want to change because it is God's way."

He then compares our lives to a book. He says, "soon you will be in that part of the book where you are holding the bulk of the pages in your left hand, and only a thin wisp of the story in your right. You will konw by the page count, not by the narrative, that the Author is wrapping things up."

Things like that catch my attention more at this point in my life. I recognize that I probably have more pages read than I do left to read. But at this point in my life, instead of that getting me down -- I feel invigorated to make sure that I am where the Author wants me to be whenever it comes to to "wrap things up." Life is such a blessed challenge.

Thursday, June 01, 2006

Visions and Dreams

OK, I know. I know what Jesus would say to me (at least one of the things). "Oh, you of little faith."

For about a month in our mens' class on Wednesday night, we have been talking about capturing a vision for God's Kingdom work in Decatur. Last night was to be the culmination of it all. I had told the men that I was basically going to facilitate a brain-storming session, and if no one came with any ideas then I would be left just standing there. I really feared that this might actually play out that way.

But these guys came ready! There has obviously been a lot of time spent in thought and prayer. So, I again posed the question: "If money was no object, what could we do for the Kingdom here in Decatur?" And the ideas began to roll. A private school. Half-way houses and counseling for people with addictive behaviors. Food and shelter for the poor. A place for families to stay who have someone in the hospital. A Hispanic ministry. Classes offering English as a second language. Life skills for a well-rounded life -- physically, mentailly and spiritually. A senior bus to pick up the elderly for church and then take them out to eat, as well as on outings. A GED program offered by our church. Support groups meeting in our building.

I am probably leaving something out, but am going simply by memory. Now my prayer is that the Lord will lay a passion for these possibilities on individual hearts to see them carried out. Too often we have thrown ideas like these in the elders' laps, and then a year later said, "See, they don't really want to do anything." That's so unfair. I much prefer someone with a passion for a work being the person to pursue it -- with the elders' blessing and empowerment.

Speaking of which: Today Beverly and I begin a new chapter in a dream of hers. We (Jacob Baker is going to help me) are going to her Dallas office to get her furniture. We will swap it out in Grapevine, and bring her Grapevine furniture to her new office in Decatur. Until August, she will be in Grapevine on Monday and Tuesday and in Decatur on Wednesday and Thursday. We are so excited!