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 www.answers.org/holidays/halloween.html.


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.