Sunday, December 30, 2007

Happy New Year!

My blog has a new look, thanks to my daughter-in-law, Kayci. She and Truitt have been staying with us for several days, and she set me up with a new template that will allow me to post pictures and have links. Thank you, Kayci!

We have had a wonderful Christmas with our family here. Last Monday morning we took the kids (our three kids and their spouses) to Denton to the Mall. We gave them each some money and had them draw names. We challenged them to spend the money on that person, and the one coming closest to the dollar amount without going over won. They had about 35 minutes. So, Beverly and I babysat while they all took off. It was great! Jonathan won -- he spent within three cents.

While we were watching the grandkids, an elderly man came up to me and said, "You are really blessed." I said, "Yes, sir. I am." He said, "I watched you with your family a few minutes ago. I hope you know how blessed you are." I thanked him for making my day. I have thought about him saying that many times over the last week.

2007 was a good year for my family and my church. But here is hoping that 2008 will be filled with even greater things for the kingdom. Happy New Year to all!

Monday, December 24, 2007

Merry Christmas

"The Word became flesh, and moved into the neighborhood."

May the wonder of the incarnation fill your heart and mind this Christmas season.

My prayer is that this will be the Merriest Christmas you have ever had.

Friday, December 21, 2007

Unbelievable!

Yesterday afternoon will be forever burned into my head. I was going to the hospital in Fort Worth for one of our member's surgeries. I hit heavy traffic on 1-35 South near downtown Fort Worth for a while, and had just gotten out of it -- going about 50. I looked in my rearview mirror and saw several police cars coming up on me from behind -- lights flashing. I was going to pull over, but one of the squad cars was coming down the shoulder.

As I turned my attention back to in front of me, an officer was standing by the concrete median ahead of me. He threw a tack strip out into the lane to my left. About that time, a white blur went speeding by me on the left. He hit the tack strip -- throwing it into the air. I don't know how it missed my car. He went into a fish tail, and I slammed on my brakes. He ended up facing me about 15 or 20 feet away -- with the back of his car against a guard rail on the shoulder.

Immediately there were officers surrounding his car -- guns drawn. One of them went to open his door, and he floored the accelerator. He might have hit one of the officers, but one of them began shooting. He shot through the windshield -- shattering it. He shot through the side window. I heard three shots total.

The car ended up against the concrete barrier in the middle of I-35. The man was dead.

He was driving a stolen car as it turns out. I don't know if there was more to the story or not.

I can't get the image out of my mind. And I can't get the man's family or the officer who shot him out of my mind either. I have been praying God's blessing on them all.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Cowboys' Rant #2

Yesterday was an absolute thrill! I could get spoiled to such service real easily. The golf course was incredible, but being waited on hand and foot -- WOW! On the range, every time i changed clubs -- someone was there to clean them. We had a forecaddie while we played, and he was so helpful. As a whole, the experience was beyond what I had even expected.
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I don't want to just harp on the Cowboys, and I am really open to someone telling me I am just wrong. I mentioned a couple of days ago that this team is not in the league with the teams of the 70s and 90s. I mentioned that the team of the 90s had 10 Pro-bowlers on its roster. Well, if the Pro-bowl announcements didn't come out -- and guess what? This team has 11.

Again, tell me if I am wrong. Is the Cowboys having 11 Pro-bowlers this year a sign of their greatness -- or a sign of the weakness of the NFL? Look at who made it: Flozell Adams, Leonard Davis, Nick Folk, Andre Gurode, Terrell Owens, DeMarcus Ware, Jason Witten, Marion Barber, Ken Hamlin, Terence Newman and Tony Romo. Three offensive linemen? This team ought to be running down opposing defenses' throats! Marion Barber a Pro-bowler? The guy can't even make the starting lineup! He plays part-time!

Compare that list to this one: Troy Aikman, Emmitt Smith, Michael Irvin, Eric WIlliams, Mark Stepnoski, Nate Newton, Jay Novecek, Charles Haley, Darren Woodson (I'm leaving out someone).

Again, I hope the Cowboys win a Super Bowl this year. I will be pulling for them. But I don't see them even getting to the Super Bowl -- much less winning it. Let them get a ring or two before we compare them to past teams.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

I am So Blessed!

It looks like today is the day that I will get to play golf at Vaquero. What a treat!

My life has been so blessed by good people who have extended incredible kindnesses to me. When Beverly and I were going through the pits of our last ministry, there was a couple who is in the travel agency business who took us on two wonderful trips with them. It was exactly what we needed at the time.

Then a few weeks ago, an acquaintance of my daughter's (I have yet to meet the man) told her he just wanted to take me to his club. So that's where I am going today. Wow!

Then last week, a man I deeply respect walked up to me after my lesson on Mary and said that I really need to go to Israel to see 1st hand the sights where the Bible played out. He told me to pick a trip for me and Beverly and he would take care of it. Unbelievable!

So Beverly and I can hardly get our minds off of this trip now. I am hoping we might go in February.

I certainly have so many reasons to be thankful!

Monday, December 17, 2007

Open House and Open Opinions

Yesterday we hosted an open house for our church. The turnout was wonderful. I am so proud of Beverly. She is a great hostess, and did such a fantastic job of decorating and baking. Everyone seemed to have a good time. I just wish they had eaten more!
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Please tell me if I am over-reacting, but do the Cowboys seem to be slipping into another December meltdown? They have looked awful the last two games. They shouldn't have won a week ago -- and got lucky. And yesterday they were terrible.

I want to laugh when I hear people saying that because they are 12-2, this team is as good or better than the teams of the 70s and the 90s. Right. The teams of the 70s went to the Super Bowl five times and won two of them. They had several Hall-of-Famers on their roster. The teams of the 90s went to three Super Bowls and won three of them. They have already had three players enter the Hall. At one time, they had at least 10 All-Pros on their roster.

This team? They are a good team. In my opinion they are playing in the weakest NFL I have ever seen. They are maybe the 4th or 5th best team in the league -- and after them the strength of teams falls off dramatically. They have yet to win ONE playoff game. Any Hall-of-Famers that you see? Maybe T.O. I could see Witten perhaps one day. Roy Williams? He's a fraud. Please don't say Romo -- at least not yet. A guy who only has one year under his belt does not qualify for consideration (See Ben Rothlesberger (sp?)

I have followed the Cowboys closely for years. The 70s teams were good -- but tended to play in the shadow of Green Bay and Pittsburgh. The teams of the 90s? They were awesome! They were THE dominant team for a 5 year period. If Jerry Jones had checked his ego and kept Jimmy Johnson as coach, they would have won 4 straight Super Bowls. I would put the 90s team up against any team in history -- even the current New England Patriots.

That's my rant. Agree? or Disagree?

Final note: Have Romo tell his girlfriends to watch him at home.

Friday, December 14, 2007

The Christmas Story

This year I have been preaching through the Christmas story. I have gained so much from it personally. Every day since Thanksgiving, I have been thinking through the incarnation story. God as a baby. How vulnerable is that?! I am in awe.
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The Mitchell Report came out yesterday. Looks like Barry,Raffy, Jose and Giambi weren't the only guilty parties. I must confess: I was expecting Jeff Bagwell and maybe even Craig Biggio to be in it. They just look like they beefed up a lot.

One person I never questioned was Randy Johnson:)

It is sad, and I just hope the American public is as righteously indignant about Roger Clemens as they were about Barry Bonds.

I'm glad the report is out. Now the boil has been lanced -- and the healing of the sport can begin.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

A Confessional Prayer

My oldest son, Josh, has begun writing a blog and it is very good -- even if his proud daddy must say so. You can read it at www.h-townpreacher.blogspot.com. Yesterday he had a prayer that I want to share with you today. Blessings.

A Confessional Prayer

You asked for our hands that you might use them for your purpose,
We gave them for a moment then withdrew them for the work was hard.
You asked for our mouths to speak out against injustice,
We have you a whisper that we might not be accused.
You asked for our eyes to see the pain of poverty,
We closed them for we did not want to see.
You asked for our ears, that we might hear the cries of the oppressed.
We did not listen for it was too hard.
You asked for our lives that you might work through us.
We gave a small part that we might not get too involved.
Forgive us for the times we have washed our hands of people, walked away when they needed us, offered half measure,
O God, our Father, forgive us.
We believe in one God, author of life, Creator of the universe.
We believe in the Son, Jesus Christ our Lord, who came into the world to seek the lost and to redeem the whole of creation.
We believe in the Holy Spirit, the Giver of Life, who renews us and helps us grow in the likeness of Christ.
We believe we are created to be faithful servants who will no waver or be crushed, who, by praying, working, and standing together can bring justice and truth to the whole earth.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Best Cowboys of All Time

I love trivia. And yet, the word "trivia" suggests that what is being talked about is fairly meaningless. In today's Star-Telegram is an article in which readers were asked to choose the top 5 Cowboys of all time -- the "Fave Five." Here they are, in order:
1. Roger Staubach (1969-79), who narrowly beat out #2.
2. Bob Lilly (1961-74) What a dominating tackle!
3. Emmitt Smith (1990-2002)
4. Troy Aikman (1989-2000)
5. Randy White (1975-88) The Manster!

As I looked over the list, I think the readers did a pretty good job. Yes, there are so many great players you could name: Michael Irvin, Tony Dorsett, Mel Renfro, Don Meredith, LeeRoy Jordan, Chuck Howley. But who would you take off the list to add one of them?

The only thing bothering me is that Quincy Carter and Chad Henderson got left off.

What do you think? Would you change the list? And please -- no Romo yet. Let him get a full year under his belt before you go rah-rahing for him.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Wrapping It Up

I am holding on to a thin ray of hope that I will still get to play golf today at Vaquero. The cold front that came through here a few days ago has returned as a warm front. Temperatures are supposed to be pushing 60 today. It's raining this morning, but it appears there may be a break until it comes more heavily later in the day. We'll see.
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Last night I picked up on my Christmas tradition. I am the official gift wrapper in the family. Beverly LOVES Christmas, and so that usually means wrapping I won't even tell you how many gifts.

It takes me forever, since I want everything to be even and precise. I usually get out a folding table and set it up in the den and watch old movies while I wrap. That's what I did for a couple of hours last night.

Beverly, meantime, was in the kitchen baking for this weekend's open house. She has been slaving in the kitchen since Saturday,. But she absolutely loves doing that.
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Tonight Beverly and I are going to take her parents out for supper. This is their 58th wedding anniversary! We told them we would take them wherever they wanted to go. Their choice? Casa Torres.

Monday, December 10, 2007

Know the Color of Their Eyes

I was watching "Good Morning, America" this morning. Rick Warren and his wife were on. Rick is the author of The Purpose-Driven Church. He is my favorite of the popular preachers these days, but that's another blog for another time. He and his wife were on GMA because of her passion for helping stem the AIDS epidemic in Africa, in particular.

While they were being interviewed, Robin Roberts asked Rick a question about the recent mall shooting and the shooting in Colorado over the weekend. Rather than pontificating about the decline of morals, blah, blah, blah -- Rick said, "There are a lot of people hurting. Hurting people will get attention any way they can. We need to get inside these people and find out what is causing them to hurt so much." He then said, "People need a Savior."

That is so true. We can point fingers and place blame. We can wag our heads. But the fact of the matter is: We live in a broken world. And there is only One who can put it back together -- and WE KNOW HIM!
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After that story, Beverly told me about something she heard a young church planter tell a group recently. He said he was walking down the street with his mentor, and they passed a poor man. After they passed him, the mentor asked, "What color were that man's eyes?" He told the young man that to really know where a person is -- you have to look into their eyes. Know the color of their eyes.
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Sports Page: If the Cowboys are like a cat, they spent 8 of their 9 lives yesterday.

Friday, December 07, 2007

Pearl Harbor and D(Dallas Cowboy)-Day

Yesterday I wrote about being invited to play at Vaquero next Tuesday. At that time, the long-term weather forecast was calling for temperatures in the mid-50s and a possibility of showers. Since then things have gotten worse. Now they are calling for a possible winter weather event. Oh, well. Maybe I'll get a rain check.
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Today marks 66 years since Pearl Harbor was attacked. I wonder what the world might look like today if Japan had not committed one of the biggest military blunders in history -- "awakening a sleeping giant."
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The Cowboys play a game this week that had all the makings of upset written all over it. After playing 3 games in 11 days and winning an emotional, playoff type game against the Packers, we might have expected a letdown. But Detroit Lion's quarterback Jon Kitna has taken care of that. A radio interview he did before last year's game has surfaced in which he talked about Bradie James not knowing where he was. He also made some remarks about Terrance Newman.

So, James has vowed that Kitna will know where he is, and Newman has said he has set aside enough money to pay a fine for taking Kitna's head off. I imagine the rest of the defense will also be carrying a chip on its collective shoulders, as well.

Thanks, Kitna, for helping the Cowboys to 12-1. When will athletes learn that what goes around comes around? I still can't wait for New England to get what is "coming around." I may have to wait a couple of years, however.

On a parting note: What is wrong with the Mavericks?

Thursday, December 06, 2007

Wednesday Night Church

Last night was one of the greatest Wednesday nights I ever remember. My class went really well. Then after the classes had dismissed, one of our young men was baptized. The auditorium seemed to have a much larger number than we would normally have on Wednesday night. I looked over to where our young people were sitting, and I nearly cried. There were row after row of kids. I did not realize we had so many!

The spirit in that room last night was really, really sweet.
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This won't mean anything to those of you who don't play golf, but it's not your blog:) I received an invitation yesterday to play at Vaquero next Tuesday. It is a fairly new course that is over the hill from the buffalo herd on HWY114 in Trophy Club (actually Westlake). It is a very exclusive course that is ranked at the top in Texas. Tiger Woods plays there when he is in town -- which is actually quite often since his instructor lives out there and the Nike Golf headquarters is in Fort Worth.

I have been so blessed to be able to play some of the places I have. I got to play Dallas National a few years ago. What a gorgeous course with breathtaking views. It's over in the rolling hills close to Oak Cliff. And the course that Beverly treated me to in Cabo San Lucas may be the most perfect golf course I ever played.

I haven't gotten to play Colonial, but I would love to just for the history of it.

Right now the long term forecast for next Tuesday isn't looking too good. I'll keep my fingers crossed.

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

New Men's Class Tonight

Tonight I will begin leading the men's discussion class at our church again. This class has grown to where we fill every chair in the room. One of our elders has been leading the discussion since September. I was asked last week to pick it up for a while. I am a little anxious to see if the material will go over well. It's called "Being God's man in tough times" -- and the Scripture study comes from the life of David.
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Last night was our Widow/Widowers Banquet. I love watching our young people interact with our senior members. We need to foster that dynamic on a more consistent basis. The ladies who put the banquet on did a beautiful job, as usual.

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Unibomber Coach, Mary and Water

I only watched parts of Monday Night Football last night. That was a weird ending! It almost seemed like a spell was cast on Carolina that caused them to go braindead. But that makes sense, doesn't it? A spell cast by the evil empire -- the New England Patriots and their Unibomber coach.
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This Sunday I am preaching on Mary, the mother of Jesus. I am struck that it seems the major theme of both Mary and Joseph is their willingness and obedience. We so sanitize these stories. But as I try to live the characters, it is amazing the things they had to deal with by accepting God's call.
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Trivia: Did you know that we Americans each use over 120 gallons of water a day, on average? In England, they average about 30 gallons per person.

Monday, December 03, 2007

A Case of the Blahs

I love my job -- if it is fair to even call it that. I love my calling. I love preaching. I love visiting people in the hospital. I love giving hope to people who find themselves in difficult seasons of life. I consider myself so blessed!

I've been living out this calling now for a long time. I've experienced peaks and valleys. And maybe it's selective memory, but I can't remember not wanting to go in to the office. But today I'm having to drag myself in. Why? I don't know! I love the people I work with. I love the church I serve. There is no good reason. It's not because I'm dreaming of being on the golf course. I have plans to go one afternoon later in the week.

Maybe it's because my brain is tired. Maybe it's the lull between Thanksgiving and Christmas. Maybe it's because the BCS stunk it up again. I don't know.

I'm betting that once I get into the day, I'll feel differently. My prayer this morning was that God would use me -- even in my blah.

Do you ever feel like I do this morning?

Friday, November 30, 2007

Cowboys #1?

I have no plans to turn this blog into a totally sports-oriented one. However, the BIG GAME was played last night. And while the Cowboys won, there are some observations I have. I don't claim to be an authority on football in any way, but I have been watching it for a long time. So, you are welcome to openly agree or disagree with my assessment. I might even be open to correction.

First, about half way through the 2nd quarter, I was thinking, "This team is ready to play New England! Bring 'em on!" However, by the end of the game I was feeling lucky to have a win.

Second, the announcers (in particular Chris Collingsworth) and a columnist I usually like (Randy Galloway) were continually crying about the bad calls against Green Bay. The 1st call when T. O. caught a ball and the defender wrestled it away but the play was called dead -- it was a close call, but it seemed to be the right call. And a right call means stop crying.

The last call -- the pass interference call in the 4th quarter: What am I missing here? Collingsworth kept whining about the DB was playing the ball, and said he was even looking back for it. In my view, the DB looked back once around the 20 -- and never looked back for the ball again. He grabbed the receiver's shoulder at one point to slow him down. And how can a DB get so tangled up with a receiver in the open field on accident? I know it happens, but what a convenient time for it to. I know this is the rule, but it sometimes doesn't make sense to me. It certainly doesn't apply to a defensive lineman hitting the quarterback. He can't "accidently" plow into him after he has released the ball. How can you determine if the DB "accidently" got his legs tangled up with the receiver? But I digress. To me, the call was a good one. You can't grab a receiver by the shoulder to impede his speed. The guy was beat and he knew it. So quite crying, Chris. You would think an ex-receiver would have appreciated that call.

With all that said, the Cowboys are now 11-1. Best in the NFC? If so, not convincingly. Can they beat the Patriots if they get to the Super Bowl. Maybe, but they will have to play flawlessly.

So that's my opinion. How about you sports nuts out there?

Thursday, November 29, 2007

They Don't Get Much Bigger

Tonight is the big game. Pretty unusual in the 12th week of the season to have two teams who are 10-1 playing each other.

Randy Galloway has an article in the Star-Telegram this morning that caught my attention. He said that if the Cowboys need any inspiration for tonight's game, Wade Phillips ought to bring Jethro Pugh in for a pregame peptalk. For those of you who may not remember, Jethro Pugh was a great defensive tackle who played for the Cowboys in the 60s and 70s.

Galloway was thinking about the importance of home field in the playoffs. In 1967, the Cowboys had to play the NFL (before the division into NFC and AFC, it was the NFL and the AFL) championship game in Green Bay because the Packers held home field advantage. The Cowboys probably had the better team by most counts, but that day the temperature was -15, with a -30 chill factor.

Galloway had suggested having Pugh come in and hold up his hands -- which still bear the marks of frostbite from that game. That would be enough of a visual to make me want to play a little harder for home field advantage.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Coincidence?

Last night Beverly and I went to Fort Worth, as she needed to do some shopping for a baby shower. We decided to go to Red Lobster in North Richland Hills (we had never been to that particular one). I dropped her off at the door and went to park the church van (we needed it because she was the designated "buyer" for the shower).

As I was walking to the front door, I saw Beverly. She was standing next to a young woman, and I remember thinking, "That looks like Jenny" (our daughter). As I opened the door, my granddaughter came running to me! So we were able to eat dinner last night with our daughter and her husband and our granddaughter.

It was such a neat serendipity. We had originally planned to shop in Denton, and that was changed at the last minute. Then to go to a restaurant we had never been to. And share a meal with our sweet family. I love those kind of surprises. And although I don't know how to differentiate between what is coincidence and what is divine arrangement -- I will choose to thank God for that. After all, James says every good and perfect gift is from above. And last night was good. And it was perfect.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

The Psalms

This Sunday morning I will begin a class on the Psalms. 13 weeks to cover 150 psalms? So I have tried to pick out a few that kind of represent the whole psalter.

Of course, I had to include Psalm 1. It is one of my favorite passages in Scripture -- maybe because it was one of the earliest passages I committed to memory when I was young. And I love Psalm 63, too. So I have included it. And I have to include the 23rd Psalm.

But my favorite? Psalm 139. I have always liked it. But having been to a concert and heard Michael W. Smith quote it -- it was incredibly moving.

Interesting: If you buy a New Testament, it will probably also include the Psalms. Why? You won't find Leviticus in it. I find it incredible the way the Psalms continue to connect with us.

How about you? What is your favorite Psalm?

Monday, November 26, 2007

12 Days of Christmas

It's nice to see some sunshine after several days of gloomy weather. We did need the rain, however. I hope everyone had a wonder Thanksgiving. I did.
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I have spoken before in this blog about Christmas songs. So you probably know my feelings about "Little Drummer Boy." There is another song that I'm not crazy about simply because, like "Kumbaya," it seems to last forever. It's "The 12 Days of Christmas."

An article in the business section of today's Star-Telegram says that the cost of the gifts that "my true love gave to me" is $78,100 this year. Most expensive? The 9 ladies dancing. One performance would be $4,759. The 10 lords a-leaping is not far behind at $4,285. The bargain on the list is the partridge ($15).

If my "true love" is reading this, please take that money and let's invest it or pay off the cars or even take a nice trip. Other than maybe the 5 golden rings (I could pawn 4 of them), I don't see anything on the list that I can't live without. I mean really, who would get this for someone for Christmas: 8 maids a-milking?

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Thanksgiving Eve

A cold front is blowing through Decatur as I write this blog. That's really more like the weather to be expected -- with tomorrow being Thanksgiving. It's been in the 80s for the last week!

I would have liked the 80s to stay another day, however. My wonderful son-in-law was going to help me put up the Christmas decorations tomorrow (meaning he does about 90% of the work). But the weather is supposed to be cold and windy tomorrow, so I don't know if that is going to work out or not.

I do want to wish everyone a fantastic Thanksgiving. Enjoy the food. Enjoy the football. But most of all, enjoy each other -- and be grateful. God is SO good. And we are So blessed.

What is your favorite Thanksgiving food? Give me a part of the meal and a dessert. Here's a chance for some of you who are bashful about leaving a reply to join in. Mine is my mother-in-law's dressing (I like the drier, crustier part best) and pecan pie.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

"Ocean's" of Turkeys

Beverly and I watched "Ocean's 13" last night. I spend the 1st half of those movies going, "What?" Things happen so fast, I just can't follow them. In the last half, most of it comes together. I really enjoy movies like that one. I can't wait for the latest "Bourne" movie to show up at Blockbuster.

When the movie was over last night, I told Beverly, "Isn't that incredible? We sit and cheer for a bunch of crooks!" The "Ocean's" movies are definitely about getting a pound of flesh. However, they are not violent. The "pound of flesh" is always about money. I think it is OK when you cheat a bad guy out of money:)
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Today is turkey giveaway at WARM. Last year, we gave away nearly 400 -- and plan to do it again today.

Monday, November 19, 2007

Catching Up

We had a great time in H-Town hanging out with our grandkids. Malaya is about the easiest kid I have ever been around. She is such a good sport, and a great oldest cousin. Jed and Truitt are at such cute stages. I could just sit and watch them all day. I'm glad we got to see them -- and their parents.
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Sport's Alert: The Cowboys were lucky to get away with a win yesterday. How does a center get more than half way into the season and suddenly can't snap the ball?

OK, it's time for true confessions. I know I will take a beating for this, but so what. I am now a T. O. fan. Yes, I have converted. But I am a fan of the new T. O. If he reverts to the old T. O., I will backslide to no longer being a fan of his. The guy is performing at an incredible level -- and he is being a good teammate. Let's hope it lasts, because he already has Hall of Fame numbers. But if he divides another team, he may have a hard time getting in.

I also have a new team that I HATE! In baseball it's the Yankees -- even though I grew up loving them. That was pre-Steinbrenner. In basketball, it's the Spurs -- another team I used to love. But that was pre-this current team. (By the way, the Mavs win over them the other night was really sweet).

And football? (drumroll, please) The Patriots! What a bunch of cocky guys! Beating the Bills in Buffalo last night by 40 points, and taunting the crowd. Going for it on 4th and 1 twice when you are up by 35-40 points, and then scoring touchdowns both times. I am a huge believer in you reap what you sow, and what goes around comes around. I cannot wait until the Patriots hit the skids. Every NFL team needs to show no mercy and pile on the points. (I know this does not sound Christ-like, but we are talking sports here. OK?) They are disgusting. It would be such an act of poetic justice if they get beat in the playoffs, or if Dallas or Green Bay can beat them in the Super Bowl.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Obeying Your Shepherds

This afternoon Beverly and Malaya and I are heading to H-town (that's Houston in my oldest son's lingo). We will spend a couple of days hugging on the grandkids -- and visiting with the kids. They will be at the in-laws for Thanksgiving, and we just couldn't go another month before seeing them. I can't wait!
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Last night in our men's class, we had a great discussion of what it means to be sheep. What kind of followers are we to be? What does it mean to "Obey your leaders" (Hebrews 13: 17)? After class was over, someone asked me, "What exactly are we to obey?" It was a good question, and I have been thinking about it ever since. Those early shepherds were the only way the flock had of receiving the Word of God -- since there was no Bible as we know it. So were they to obey what the shepherds shared as handed down by the apostles? Or were they to obey -- even in areas of opinion?

Certainly, the elders were not to "lord it over the flock" (1 Peter 5: 3). So, what were they to obey?

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Baptism

I enjoy reading Edward Fudge's blog. I really like the way he worded his reply to a reader's question on baptism, especially the middle paragraph. Following is the exchange:

A gracEmail subscriber writes: "In Romans 6, Paul seems to tie baptism to our death with Christ, then speaks conditionally about our resurrection with him. Please comment."
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The gospel tells us that Jesus died on the Cross, then arose from the dead to live again (1 Cor. 15:1-4). To live again after death is to live outside the limit of Sin's jurisdiction, for Sin has no power beyond the grave (Rom. 6:6-7). Because Jesus died and lived again -- and because he did so as our representative -- his people also died and arose with him (2 Cor. 5:14-15). Thus freed from Sin's power, believers can and may live holy lives dedicated to God (Rom. 6:4b-6, 8-10). The key is continually to reckon that we died and rose in Jesus our representative, and to present our bodies to God for righteous living on that basis (Rom. 6:11-14; Gal. 2:20; Col. 3:1-3).

Baptism is the believer's personal affirmation of faith in the gospel. It remembers the gospel. It declares the gospel. It portrays the gospel. It formalizes the believer's union by faith with Christ who died and arose for us (Rom. 6:3-4). Baptism does not point to itself. It does not point to our faith. It points away from us to Jesus Christ, the object of our faith. It points to the death and resurrection of Christ -- a finished, perfect, complete and sufficient work -- by which God set sinners right with himself.

Today, we need to recover the central gospel message that the work which set us right with God happened outside of us, for us, in the person of Jesus Christ our representative (2 Cor. 5:18-21; Col. 1:19-20; Heb. 1:3; 10:12-14; 2 Tim. 1:8-10). We need to recover the New Testament practice of promptly baptizing those who come to faith in Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord (Acts 2:41; 8:36; 10:47-48; 16:33; 22:16). And we need to recover the New Testament emphasis on personal holiness and obedience -- consequences which flow from the fact that we died and rose with Christ our representative (Rom. 6:1-10; Col. 3:1-15).

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

I'll Fly Away?

I read the other day that Kenneth Copeland ministries has 6 airplanes. 6 airplanes! And at least two of them are not even functional for "ministry" purposes. One is an old two-seater byplane and another is an old WW2 fighter. Am I missing something here? What could these possibly have to do with ministering in the name of Jesus?

I know it's not fair to always equate the cost of things to "how many poor people would that feed?" But sometimes, I think it is an appropriate question to ask. Especially when money that has been given by people to "the Lord's work" is spent on things not in any way related to ministry.
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Cowboys in the Super Bowl? Jim Reeves in the Star-Telegram wrote an article today entitled, "February in Arizona, Where the Cowboys Appear Headed." They are looking good, and T. O. is even pulling his weight. But Green Bay is looking pretty good, too. And there is a lot of season left. What if Romo gets hurt? Or Ware?

I think this might be a case of "counting your chickens before they hatch."

Monday, November 12, 2007

Big Boys Don't Cry

I'm a little late this morning with my blog. We got in from Florida last night after spending a wonderful weekend with my brother and his wife and family. I had so much fun reconnecting with some really special kinfolks. They were so hospitable, and we laughed and talked and cried and played. It was nice.

The church in Bradenton was so gracious. They seemed very appreciative of what we shared. I am really proud of my brother and his wife and the work they are doing there. The church seems to adore them.

So thanks to my bro-buddy for inviting us.
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On Good Morning America this morning, they listed the top movies that make men cry. Number one was "Rudy," number 2 was "Field of Dreams" and number 3 was "Rocky IV."

I know I wil disappoint you guys, but my biggest cry movie is "Sabrina."

What's yours?

Thursday, November 08, 2007

Do Not Be Like Them

This weekend in Florida, I will be challenging the people with some of the words of Jesus from the Sermon on the Mount. I continue to be struck by the radical nature of Jesus' description of life in His Kingdom. I agree with John Stott who says he thinks the Sermon could be summed up by Matthew 6: 8: "Do not be like them."

I don't mean that in a cultish sense. We are not to be different from the world because we dress weird or do our hair in some strange way. That's OK, but that's not Christlikeness. We're not to be different because of political positions we choose to champion. We're not even to be different because of some point of doctrine that we think makes us stand unique. That is not what Jesus is calling us to.

Jesus is calling us to be different because we choose to live His values. We are to be different because we take on His worldview. It is radical. It is different. It looks weird, and it feels weirder. It's countercultural. And it stands out like a sore thumb.

Or in Jesus' words, it stands out like salt and light.

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

It's Holiday Season

The holiday season is rapidly approaching. I have noticed all the stores are setting up their Christmas decorations. Thanksgiving is only two weeks away!

I saw a piece in the paper this morning that said many malls are setting aside special nights to bring your pet to see Santa. Really, I'm not kidding. All I know is that is another job now struck off my list -- being a Santa. Can you imagine having to hold just anyone's dog or cat for a picture with Santa? It might be a big ole slobbering bull dog or a cat that decides it doesn't like the way you look -- so it scratches your face. Or a dog that gets excited and wets all over you. No thanks.
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Tomorrow Beverly and I will leave for Florida and be gone until Monday night. I am really excited about getting to spend some time with my "baby brother" and his family. I am so proud of them. Pray that the Lord will use us, and that what we share will bless those who are there.
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Since I won't be blogging for a few days, I want to mention this: Sunday is Veteran's Day. When you go to church, take a moment to go up to those who have served our country and thank them. I stand in awe of the sacrifices made in particular by those who served in World War II. We owe them and their spouses so much.

Monday, November 05, 2007

Super Sunday

Yesterday was a great day at church. Our Bible class was incredible as a young man shared with the group about his struggles with internet porn -- how it nearly cost him his marriage and job, and the boundaries he has now put into place to help him win the battle against Satan. One of the great blessings in my time here in Decatur has been to watch the blossoming of his relationship with his wife. Wow!

And I am not a "meetings" person. But yesterday afternoon we had an elders / deacons meeting. It was great! Our elders are establishing such a wonderful environment for our church. And the spirit of the meeting yesterday was beautiful. My partner in crime (I mean ministry), Jacob, shared some exciting plans for involving every member of our church in employing his / her gifts.

At the end of the day, I told Beverly, "I am one blessed man." This is truly a sweet, sweet season of life.
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This weekend, Beverly and I are going to Florida to do a weekend "Adult Rally" at my youngest brother's church. I am especially looking forward to spending time with him and his family.
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I was excited after the meeting yesterday and before evening service started. One of our deacons told me that the Colts were beating the Patriots 20-10 midway through the 4th quarter. I thought, "Alright! They've got them." Then as I was driving home, I was listening to ESPN radio only to find that the Patriots had won. BOO. Not that I am a Colts' fan, but I do not care for Cheater Bill Belicik. I am especially turned off by his aloofness about the whole thing.
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The Cowboys looked good in disposing of the Eagles last night. How about Jason Whitten loosing his helmet and still trying to score a touchdown? Oo-oo-oo. That earned some real man points.

Friday, November 02, 2007

Boundaries

It's Friday already? It seems like the week just began.

Tomorrow night, Beverly and I are speaking to a group of married couples about boundaries. I don't know about you, but I find it to be an ongoing, daily struggle to set proper boundaries in my life.

For instance, there are moral boundaries that seem to shift on me continuously. When it comes to TV, I have set pretty stringent boundaries. Yet, even watching a sporting event -- you can't predict what the content of the commercials is going to be. The battle for purity is a challenge in our culture -- but I am going to win it!

But as I mentioned yesterday, I think my greatest struggle right now is in the area of spiritual boundaries. I want to be more intentional about prayer, taking time to sit before God in silence and meditate upon His Word and His goodness. It is amazing how Satan can convince me that everything else (mostly good stuff in and of itself) is more important.

Thursday, November 01, 2007

Prayer

This Sunday I will be wrapping up a series on the "one another" passages. The final one is "pray for one another."

I am so humbled when I preach on prayer. I feel somewhat hypocritical, since I have a long way to go on the spiritual disciplines. I want a deeper, more intimate prayer life. But apparently not enough to make the sacrifices necessary to have one. I love moments when I sit in silence before God -- but I don't do it much. I have prayer time every day several times. But there is a depth that is, more often than not, missing. I'm tired of the shallow and the routine.

Hmm. Sounds like a good New Year's resolution. At this point, I could even get a two-month running start.
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By the way, I can't stand when people say, "Prayer works." Prayer doesn't work. God works.

Am I being nitpicky? Don't tell me if I am. Just talk behind my back about it:)

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Trick or Treat

Tonight is Halloween. I think of all the holidays on our calendar, this one could probably be most easily removed. However, I know how much joy it brought to me as a child -- and continues to bring to kids today.

Sometimes I wonder what the proper response to issues like Halloween should be. I know of churches and preachers who every year remind us of the evil roots from which Halloween began. Yet it seems to me that such a reaction only builds walls between us and our communities.

When I was studying Greek in college, my professors often referred to "root fallacy." This is the mistake of going back to the root meaning of a word in order to determine its usage in a passage. As my professors would say, "MEANING IS DETERMINED BY CONTEXT!"

Isn't that somewhat true of Halloween? To trace it back to its roots may make us look smart. But I don't know anyone (especially the kids dressed up like "High School Musical" characters or Batman) who attach any meaning to calling up spirits or having seances or worshipping Satan.

I know I sound somewhat inconsistent, since I am on such a crusade about us being countercultural people. But I think we need to be wise about picking our battles. And bashing a night when kids dress up and go around to ask for candy is not a hill I want to shed blood on. I think it makes us look like radical extremists -- with no connection made to Christlikeness.

I am not saying that to discourage Trick or Treating is wrong, either. This is very much a Romans 14 kind of issue.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Brett Favre and My Dad

Today would have been my dad's 78th birthday. He was born THE day after the great Stock Market crash -- known as Black Tuesday. It seems ironic, because his life was covered by a dark cloud. I hurt for him as I think of how much emotional pain he must have carried through his life.

He's been gone now for 11-1/2 years. And he went out well -- making me proud.
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What an ending to Monday Night Football last night! Brett Favre, the "old man" (he's ony 38! How did Testiverde get a pass here?), threw an 82-yard touchdown pass on the 1st play of overtime to beat Denver.

How can you not like this guy. Unlike others who have gone through drug addictions and made excuses, etc. -- he got help and has turned his life around. We've watched him go through so much: the death of his father, his wife's cancer, his nephew's (If I remembered right) tragic death. He is definitely a survivor.
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I read a piece in the paper yesterday about the Packers. There is a waiting list for people to get season tickets. You have to wait until someone dies or gives them up. The wait is something like 400 years! Incredible! And Green Bay is not even a large city.

The writer of the piece said at least there is hope. Those who wait 400 years might get to see Favre before he retires. I say when you can throw the ball the way he was last night, why is retirement even being discussed?

Monday, October 29, 2007

The Golden Compass

When Beverly and I were in San Antonio, we went to a movie. One of the previews was for a movie entitled "The Golden Compass." As it was showing, I leaned over to her and said, "It reminds me of "The Lion, The WItch and the Wardrobe."

Well, a friend sent me an email this morning about "The Golden Compass." I went to Snopes, and the following is a quote from its website:

Origins: The Golden Compass, a fantasy film starring Nicole Kidman that is scheduled to be released into theaters on 7 December 2007, has been drawing fire from concerned Christians. The film is based on Northern Lights (released in the U.S. as The Golden Compass), the first offering in Philip Pullman's His Dark Materials trilogy of children's books, a series that follows the adventures of a streetwise girl who travels through multiple worlds populated by witches, armor-plated bears, and sinister ecclesiastical assassins to defeat the oppressive forces of a senile God.

Books of the trilogy have sold more than 15 million copies around the world, with Northern Lights winning the Carnegie Medal for Children's Literature in 1995 and in 2007 being awarded the 'Carnegie of Carnegies' for the best children's book of the past 70 years. The Amber Spyglass, the final book of the series, won The Whitbread Prize in 2001, making it the first children's book to do so.

The series' author, Philip Pullman, is an avowed atheist who has averred that "I don't profess any religion; I don't think it's possible that there is a God; I have the greatest difficulty in understanding what is meant by the words 'spiritual' or 'spirituality.'" Critics of Pullman's books point to the strong anti-religion and anti-God themes they incorporate, and although literary works are subject to a variety of interpretations, Pullman left little doubt about his intentions when he said in a 2003 interview that "My books are about killing God." (Conservative British columnist Peter Hitchens labeled Pullman "The Most Dangerous Author in Britain" and described him as the writer "the atheists would have been praying for, if atheists prayed.")

Bill Donohue, president of The Catholic League, has condemned The Golden Compass as a "pernicious" effort to indoctrinate children into anti-Christian beliefs and has produced a 23-page pamphlet titled The Golden Compass: Unmasked in which he maintains that Pullman "sells atheism for kids." Donohoe told interviewer John Gibson on 9 October 2007 why he believes Christians should stay away from the film:
Look, the movie is based on the least offensive of the three books. And they have dumbed down the worst elements in the movie because they don't want to make Christians angry and they want to make money. Our concern is this, unsuspecting Christian parents may want to take their kid to the movie, it opens up December 7th and say, this wasn't troubling, then we'll buy the books. So the movie is the bait for the books which are profoundly anti-Catholic and at the same time selling atheism.
Other critics, however, have described Pullman's works as being more generally anti-religion rather than specifically anti-Christian or anti-Catholic:
In "His Dark Materials," Pullman's criticisms of organized religion come across as anti-authoritarian and anti-ascetic rather than anti-doctrinal. (Jesus isn't mentioned in any of the books, although Pullman has hinted that He might figure in a forthcoming sequel, "The Book of Dust.") His fundamental objection is to ideological tyranny and the rejection of this world in favor of an idealized afterlife, regardless of creed. As one of the novel's pagan characters puts it, "Every church is the same: control, destroy, obliterate every good feeling."
Last updated: 23 October 2007
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What should our response be? I would encourage us not to be angry Christians. All that would do is make this atheist author feel smug in his assessment of us. Remember: In American, he has freedom of speech, too. But what we CAN do is to make sure this movie is a financial bust. THAT sends the only message that Hollywood cares about. Do not take your kids to see it. And make sure to tell others the same. That is OUR freedom of speech.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

The Numbers Game

I'm visiting with people, and they find out I'm a preacher. I guarantee one of the 1st questions they will ask is, "How big is your church?"

Beverly and I do a marraige retreat for another church. As people find out what we have been doing, they ask, "How many people were there?"

I know it's human nature. Especially in America, we attach success to numbers. Human nature. But how spiritual is it?

A. W. Tozer wrote a piece 40+ years ago. Yet it rings with such truth to us today. Hear what he says.

Now if anyone builds on this foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, straw, each one's work will become clear; for the Day will declare it, because it will be revealed by fire; and the fire will test each one's work, of what sort it is. --1 Corinthians 3:12-13

The emphasis today in Christian circles appears to be on quantity, with a corresponding lack of emphasis on quality. Numbers, size and amount seem to be very nearly all that matters even among evangelicals. The size of the crowd, the number of converts, the size of the budget, the amount of the weekly collections: if these look good the church is prospering and the pastor is thought to be a success. The church that can show an impressive quantitative growth is frankly envied and imitated by other ambitious churches.

This is the age of the Laodiceans. The great goddess Numbers is worshiped with fervent devotion and all things religious are brought before her for examination. Her Old Testament is the financial report and her New Testament is the membership roll. To these she appeals as arbiters of all questions, the test of spiritual growth and the proof of success or failure in every Christian endeavor.

A little acquaintance with the Bible should show this up for the heresy it is. To judge anything spiritual by statistics is to judge by another than scriptural judgment. It is to admit the validity of externalism and to deny the value our Lord places upon the soul as over against the body. It is to mistake the old creation for the new and to confuse things eternal with things temporal. Yet it is being done every day by ministers, church boards and denominational leaders. And hardly anyone notices the deep and dangerous error. The Set of the Sail, 153.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Make Each Moment Count

Beverly had me DVR "Oprah" for her the other day, and we watched it last night. Now don't any of you think I have become a big Oprah fan, because you would be wrong. But this show was about people who know that they are dying, and how they are coping with it. It was really fascinating to listen to people who a few months ago were living the rat-race -- and how clearly (and quickly) their lives have become prioritized.

As I watched, I once again was made aware of the fact that we all need to live that way. Who knows when what we say may be the last words our children or spouse ever hear from us?

Every time I hear Tim McGraw's "Live Like You Were Dying", it is a wake-up call for me. I want to stop taking days -- or even moments -- for granted. I want my time on earth to be spent in ways that will make a difference.

So that is my goal today: Make each moment count.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Finding Intimacy with God

Last night I was reading Dr. Myra Perrine's book, What's Your God Language? I want to share a piece from that this morning.

"Thomas Merton said that only the one who truly seeks God with real desire finds Him, not those who remain at a distance and confine life to a 'few routine exercises or external acts of worship and service.'

She then shares a quote from M. Basil Pennington that so practically applies this principle. He said:

I have run into a situation in marriage counseling a number of times. The couple is unhappy. The wife is dissatisfied and the husband cannot see why. He goes into a long recital of all he is doing for her. He is holding down two or three jobs, building a new house, buying her everything. But to all this, the wife quietly replies: "If only he would stop for a few minutes and give me himself!" I sometimes think that God, as He sees us rushing about in all our doing of good, says to Himself: If only they would stop for a few minutes and give me themselves!
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I'm looking forward to the World Series tomorrow night. I enjoyed watching the last two games of the Boston-Cleveland series. I like Boston's closer -- he is a hoot! But I can't decide who to root for. I want Boston to win because it makes the Yankees look bad. But I always like to see a new face in the crowd too. So I might pull for the Rockies.

Monday, October 22, 2007

I'm Back!

It's been a while since I posted a blog. I have been on vacation. It was an interesting one, to say the least.

Last Tuesday and Wednesday, a friend of mine and I went golfing. We played 18 holes on Tuesday and 36 on Wednesday. Allergies hit me Tuesday -- and then really set in on Wednesday. It has to be ragweed. I have never felt as dragged down by allergies as I have from this.

Anyway, Thursday through Saturday, Beverly and I went to San Antonio. It was almost comical thinking back to it. I was feeling wrung out, and then she got sick, too. So we certainly weren't just balls of energy. It pretty much put a damper on things. I usually really enjoy the Mexican food, but my tastebuds were shot.

Oh well, things could have been a whole lot worse! And we have been so spoiled with good health that we have never experienced anything like this before (sick on vacation).
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The weather is great! I am hopeful that this cold front will get rid of the ragweed. High today in the 50s!

Friday, October 12, 2007

"Doable"

This time next week, Lord willing, Beverly and I will be in San Antonio. I am really looking forward to spending some time with my woman -- alone. We are going to take the scenic drive there (US 281). We're going to eat lots of Mexican food and do lots of walking.

In fact, I will be on vacation Monday through Saturday. So, obviously, this blog site will also be on vacation.
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My friend Ron Carlson wrote an excellent article I want to share with you. I already sent it to some of you in an email. It is fairly lengthy -- but you will find it worth the reading:

“Doable”

It costs a lot more money these days to keep Madison Square Garden up and running. It’s not heating oil, extra handicap parking spaces, or a deteriorating infrastructure that have sent costs spiraling upward. Rather, a steady flow of sexual harassment lawsuits are eating away at the bottom line.
Recently, an 11.6 million dollar judgment was levied against CEO James Dolan and the Garden. Knick’s coach Isaiah Thomas was fingered as the primary culprit, accused of crossing the line in “discussions” with female employee, Anucha Browne Sanders.
The Knicks could sign another washed-up veteran five years this side of prime for that kind of money.
Following the verdict, Browne Sanders encouraged other women in the organization and beyond to come forward and speak out against sexual harassment in the work place. At least one of the New York Rangers’ cheerleaders has responded in the affirmative regarding the negative instructions of her male bosses who demanded her fellow dancers should look more “doable.”
Can you imagine a respectable man in the corporate world making such a crass statement?
My guess is that such language and influences are part of the daily dialogue. Sports franchises represent only a small fraction of businesses that hire attractive, well-structured women to expose their bottom lines. Remember, this is sex-saturated America where sex sells and sexual magnetism easily translates into money and power.
Everybody, regardless of gender, is in some degree guilty. Professional cheerleaders are not ignorant of their job description. They understand they are eye candy, paid to jiggle and wiggle. Don’t be so na├»ve to believe any of the rhetoric appealing to artistic expression and athletic prowess.
Since respectable men don’t like to be seen at strip clubs, they can get the same sights and sounds for free at a Cowboy or Maverick game. It’s the same fantasy, the same buzz, and the same ancient exploitation.
Anybody really think that a turned-on Herod would have offered half his kingdom to a young dancer ill-equipped to stimulate lust? John the Baptist lost his head because the king was more interested in sex with a “doable” teenager than justice for a prophet.
Women know what works. They can titillate a man with little clothing, properly dispensed, as well as with no clothing. Who buys a thong for comfort? I can’t imagine that a haywire push-up bra is all that comfortable. A size twelve body stuffed into size eight jeans balancing on four-inch heels is simply not assembled for ease of movement.
The enormous pressure our culture exerts on women to look and act sexy is destructive and insane. They ought to sue us all for defamation of character. Instead, the majority plays along.
If Dancing with the Stars is really about dancing, then why are the female contestants required to possess augmented breasts and wear costumes with more slits than garment? Why do the male dancers thrust their hips that way?
The answer is no mystery. The sponsors demand high ratings, and those ratings are achieved by attracting a voyeuristic audience that loves raw sexual energy and hopes it’s contagious. This formula requires dancers who look “doable.”
The comical exploits of the East Texas television station that hired a young and unproven journalistic talent with massive implants to anchor the evening news has drawn some surprising criticism. The station’s basic response has been, “If you’ve got it, flaunt it.”
This popular motto, incidentally, does not come from scripture.
Folks with “it” (we rise up and call them blessed), often get paraded around like the dog-eared boy at a carnival.
A number of years ago, I made the mistake of taking my teenaged sons to a giant car show. It turned out the cars were accessories for the “car-babes,” who my boys found far sleeker and more attractive than the lines of a new Buick.
“It’s time to ‘flee youthful lusts,’ ” I told them as I dragged them back to our old sedan. I was talking more to myself.
Want to know how far we have plummeted in our disrespect for simple modesty and sexual sensibilities? Far enough that porn stars are pop culture’s new media darlings. Jenna Jameson, Queen of Hollywood porn, is regarded as a national treasure in the way our grandparents revered the wit and wisdom of Will Rogers. She is a multi-millionaire, partly because she markets a line of anatomically precise silicone body parts designed to pleasure a man. And proud of it!
Respectable men, I mentioned earlier, hate to be seen at strip clubs. That doesn’t mean strip clubs have not become respectable. I read an article recently explaining that entertaining clients at a “Gentleman’s Club” is now a legitimate business expense. Corporation accountants still prefer clients pay for their own lap dances.
Most tragically, we are raising a generation of young women who believe it’s a good thing to look “doable.” High School girls walking to school often look like hookers lined up on Harry Hines trolling for johns.
We have an entertainment industry full of super models, super sluts, and super stars, many who possess no legitimacy outside their “hot and sexy” appeal as “doable.” I saw an advertisement claiming that Britney Spears’ and Paris Hilton’s secret sex DVD’s are a primary staple of any good video library. These girls not only look “doable”; they are!
I could go on and on, but you already know the score. We are still in the middle of a sexual revolution where the insurgents are inflicting heavy damage. We resemble the culture of Jeremiah’s day where folks “have the brazen look of a prostitute who refuses to blush with shame” (Jer. 3:2-4; 6:15; 8:12).
This is front-line, in-the-trenches spiritual warfare for Christians. Over and over again the New Testament writers admonish us to “flee immorality” and leave our old pagan lusts behind. The Holy Spirit demands we practice our sexuality in ways that are healthy, holistic, and holy. Keep in mind that God wants us to establish and maintain sexual purity because our bodies “are a temple of the Holy Spirit” (I Cor. 6).
Don’t expect culture to stop the sexual harassment any time soon. Expect Las Vegas to come to a community near you soon. Anticipate pornography to become mainstream entertainment. Don’t be surprised when folks close to you cross over to the “doable” side.
We’re under attack. It’s time to take up the full armor of God (Eph. 6:10f) and do battle. The bodies and souls of our children are at stake. Victory in the Holy Spirit is doable.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Dear Abby Has Spoken

The article in the paper made it seem as if the final authority had spoken. Yes, Dear Abby (actually Abigail Van Buren's daughter, who took over for her when she developed Alzheimer's) issued a statement in support of homosexual marriage. (I have trouble being PC on this and using the term "gay." That used to be a good word that meant happy).

We live in interesting times. Anything Oprah or some Hollywood star or "Dear Abby" says, people take as if it is authoritative. What qualifies these opinion leaders to speak about morals, ethics, etc? Dear Abby? She's a lady who came up with a gimmic of getting people to write letters, and she gives advice. She has NO schooling or training in the fields of medicine or psychology.

Oh, I realize that we live in a nation of free speech where anyone can say whatever they like. But one's freedom to speak doesn't obligate us to believe or accept it.

Recently Oprah had a show endorsing open marriage and encouraging promiscuous sex as being healthy for a relationship. I was told that this week's episode of Boston Legal basically cast teaching abstinance among teens as criminal -- perhaps even making a school that teaches such an accessory to murder if someone dies of AIDS. This show proclaimed that the condom is the greatest invention of the last century. Really? Greater than the automobile, electric light, airplane, air conditioning? Greater than heart transplants? How ridiculous is that? Yet, millions of people will say, "Yeah, he's right. Because he's on TV."

I'm so glad that I belong to another kingdom. Because even if this nation slips into the depths of total decay -- my kingdom will live on.

OK, my rant is over. I know I'm supposed to feel better, but I'm still kind of sad.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Not Much on the Plate Today

Some days I feel very challenged just to come up with a blog idea. Today is one of those days.

Finally there is a feeling of Fall in the air again. After several weeks of record heat, it was nice to mow the yard yesterday afternoon with the temperature in the upper 70s. And then this morning, it felt so good! My thermometer said 64.
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I'm not a "Dancing with the Stars" fan, but Beverly has gotten into it this year. So I read Golf Digest last night while she watched a TiVo version of DWTS. I will say this: Wayne Newton must have gone to the same plastic surgeon as Jerry Jones. Their faces look as taut as a drum head. To lift a face that much, it must have pulled their chins up under their noses. It doesn't look very natural, that's for sure.

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

No Fair Report

Well, we didn't make it to the Fair yesterday. We hit traffic about ten miles before we got there. Thinking it was a wreck, we sat in the traffic for about an hour. David, my son-in-law, called to tell us he had heard that the traffic to the Fair was tied up for miles. A record-breaking day. Some Disney group was there, plus it was Columbus Day.

So my daughter pulled into the West End. Beverly took me to Landry's for lunch (birthday eve). Then we went to the Dallas Aquarium. It was really great. On the way home, we stopped at Uncle Julio's for another birthday meal.

So actually, I enjoyed the day more than if we have gone to the Fair. I think Beverly is going to take Malaya another day before the Fair shuts down.
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What a game last night! It's the 1st Cowboy game I have watched in over a year. Dallas gave Buffalo every break a team could want (21 points not scored by their offense, along with 6 turnovers). Dallas still won, although it took a few lucky breaks down the stretch. Give their kicker a game ball!

OK, here I go -- into territory I NEVER dreamed I would. Let me begin by saying T.O. dropped a couple of crucial passes again last night. The guy has GOT to put Stickem on his hands before the next game. But (and here's where I never thought I would go), the call the ref made on him for "delay of game" was ridiculous. There is a new rule in the NFL that spiking the ball after a catch is considered a delay of the game. If what T.O. did was a spike, it was a really poor attempt. He basically let the ball spin out of his hand. It went maybe 5 yards away. Pretty petty call.

Monday, October 08, 2007

State Fair Day

Beverly and I had a great trip to Houston. I really enjoyed seeing Jonathan coach both the JV and Varsity squads. And hanging out with my grandson Jed was SO cool.

Today I get to hang out with my granddaughter Malaya. Beverly and I are taking her and her mom to the State Fair. It's a "5-pound day." Because even though we take in some of the exhibits, we basically go to the Fair to eat. In fact, 5 pounds may be an underestimate.

From what the weather report is showing, we may get rained out.

Thursday, October 04, 2007

On the Road Again

Today Beverly and I are traveling to Houston. She is doing a retreat for the Bammal Road Church of Christ tomorrow and Saturday. I'm just tagging along.

We are leaving today so that we can watch our son, Jonathan, as he coaches the private school's junior varsity football team tonight -- and then the varsity tomorrow. He is the receivers and defensive backs coach. I bet he is really good at it, too.

So I'm going to try to catch up on some reading over the next couple of days -- in between playing with my grandson. Can't wait to see him!

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

It's Just Extra Protein

Last night Beverly went to supper with some friends from when she worked in Dallas. They met in Grapevine and I'm sure had a wonderful time. So I was left to myself.

I have enjoyed getting chicken fried rice from a local restaurant, so I called and ordered some. I went home and dug in. As I got toward the end, I noticed that something appeared to have fallen out of the styrofoam container. On closer observation, it was A ROACH! A nice, big, juicy one.

Ever since then, my stomach has been unsettled. I just keep seeing that ugly bug. This might help me to be able to lose some weight, because my appetite is low right now. Also, my list of restaurants in Decatur is getting shorter and shorter. I hate that, because I really want to patronize the local businesses. But, really now!

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

I Think I Smell Mi Tierra

In a couple of weeks, Beverly and I are going to go to San Antonio for a couple of days to belatedly celebrate our anniversary. San Antonio is one of our very favorite places to visit. I actually lived there from the start of my freshman year in high school until I left for college -- and I liked it. But through the years, we have vacationed there a number of times and taken at least one trip a year for a couple of days. We love the river walk and the market square. We eat at least once a day at Mi Tierra. I think our love for it has rubbed off on our kids. Jenny and David honeymooned there. And our other kids have made short trips there as well.

We also love to drive through the hill country. We are going to take a different route there this time. Instead of I-35, we are going to go Hwy. 281. We have heard it is very scenic.

I'm not saying it's my favorite place I've ever been. On a previous blog, we discussed that. New York. Boston. Cabo San Lucas. Australia. Grand Canyon. Yellowstone. Wow, I've been blessed to see some wonderful places. But for a two-day getaway, give me San Antonio.

Do you have any place like that? Someplace you try to get away to occasionally?

Monday, October 01, 2007

Sports Monday

I thoroughly enjoyed watching the Presidents' Cup this weekend (thanks to one of the greatest inventions ever -- DVR). It was played in Canada, and was absolutely beautiful. I wish I could have been there. Even being color blind, I could see the brilliant color contrasts as the leaves were changing.

But the golf -- on both teams -- was really incredible.
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We had a fun day out at Runaway Bay on Saturday for our third annual church golf tournament. My team just couldn't get many approach shots near the hole. Congratulations to Mark Duncum and sons. It was a great day for golf.
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OK, I'm a believer now. He still looks goofy to me when he passes the ball. But you can't argue with his results. Tony Romo appears to be the real deal. And the Cowboys are looking pretty good, too. I know, the Rams are a shell of a team. But in the past, those have been the teams that have risen up and beaten the Boys.

Confession: The "new" T. O. is even becoming fairly likeable. Coach Phillips just needs to make sure to keep him happy.
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Baseball playoffs are about to begin. ZZZZZZZZ. I used to LOVE watching baseball. When my boys were little, we would even VCR games to watch together. I can't remember the last baseball game I watched.

I do feel sorry for Mets fans. What a collapse! Why couldn't that have been the Yankees?

Friday, September 28, 2007

Golf Weekend

I enjoyed watching the Presidents' Cup last night (DVR -- what a wonderful invention!). The Americans finally looked formidable again as a team. They lead 5-1/2 to 1/2 after the 1st day.

I wax nostalgic as I watch Jack Nicklaus and Gary Player captain the two teams. Two great competitors in their day. And yet in the midst of their competitiveness, there is such grace and sportsmanship.
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Tomorrow is our church's annual golf tournament. We have had it in the spring in years past. We thought we might get more involvement if we moved it to the fall. WRONG! We have about 25 fewer players than we did last time. Oh well. Maybe we'll move back to spring next year.

It will be a beautiful day. Good food. Good fellowship. And all in a beautiful setting.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

It's a Joke, OK?

There are people in Texas who think I am wishy-washy when it comes to football because I root for both Texas and Texas A&M. Fact is: I just want Texas teams to shine on the national level, so I root for both. However, I don't bleed burnt orange or maroon.

Having said that, someone sent me an email that I thought was hilarious. Those of you who DO bleed burnt orange may fail to see the humor. Don't take offense. Just laugh, because some of these one-liners are funny. Here it is:

Longhorn football

It's been almost one (1) week without an arrest of a Longhorn football player! Good Job Mack - way to keep those boys in line!!!

(Note: for those of you that don't know, Austin's Pride has produced, within the last month, four (4) boys- w/ mug shots and prints. Two for armed robbery (w/ firearms), one for auto burglary & DUI and another for DUI. )

1. What do you call a drug ring in Austin?

A huddle.

2. Four UT Longhorns in a car, who's driving?

The police.

3. The UT Longhorns have adopted a new "Honor System".

Yes your Honor, No your Honor.


4. The UT Longhorns knew they had to do something for their defense, so they hired a new defensive coordinator:

F. Lee Bailey.


5. How do the UT Longhorns spend their first week at fall practice?

Studying their Miranda Rights.


6. What do you say to a Longhorn in a suit?

Will the defendant please rise?


7. If you see Longhorn football player on a bike, why don't you swerve to hit him?

It might be your bike!


8. The Longhorns employ scouts. But to look out for cops, not to scout high school kids.


9. I heard a rumor that the Texas Department of Corrections plans to build a new prison in Austin, Texas in order to allow Longhorns to walk to school.


10. What do you call it, when a Longhorn goes on vacation?

Time off for good behavior.


11. Why couldn't the Longhorn get into a huddle on the football field?

It's a parole violation to associate with known felons.


12. Obviously Coach Mack Brown is not paying his players if they have to resort to robbing people.


13. Book 'em, Horns!

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

I Wish I'd Had a Camera

This time of year is strange because of daylight savings time. I had a 7 AM meeting this morning, so I left the house and it was still dark. I realize that for many of you, you always leave the house for work in the dark. But my point is it's not supposed to be dark at 7 AM.

There was a blessing involved in that. As I made the turn off of College onto Hale and began to head west, the moon was sitting up over the horizon. It was BIG, and it was beautiful!
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Last night I was elected to the position of president of W.A.R.M. I think it may have been more of a matter of no one else really wanting it. But I want so much to do a good job and use my time well. It is a wonderful ministry. My prayer is that God will continue to bless us to be able to meet the needs of people here in Wise County.

Being a part of WARM has caused me to appreciate so much more the trust that George Mueller had as he opened an orphanage in Bristol, England back in the 1800s. He never solicited funds, but always trusted the Lord to provide. And God was faithful to him. Many thousands of orphans were cared for as a result of Mueller's faith in Jehovah-Jireh.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Update on "Give 60!"

Three weeks ago, I challenged our congregation to "Give 60!" Broken down, it simply means to volunteer 60 minutes a week outside our church building. We are challenging the church to kick ourselves out of old rut habits and to view our world through the eyes of Jesus. Be His hands and feet. We offered some suggestions, but really are encouraging each member to use his / her imagination.

The response has been exciting. Kids are mowing lawns for elderly people. Mothers and daughters are reading to an 18-year-old girl who is in a partial coma in a local nursing home. A business leader is beginning a Bible study with anyone in his company who is interested. An elderly member is making lap quilts to take to local nursing homes.

I mentioned the possibility of getting involved in World Bible School on Sunday, and will check into that this week. I expect a number of people to become involved in that good work.

These are just a few things I am aware of. I know there is a lot more going on. But I am so proud that my precious church family is taking the challenge to heart.

Let's give 60!

Friday, September 21, 2007

Who Wants to be a Billionaire?

Forbes magazine released its list of 400 richest Americans yesterday. To even make the list now, you must be a billionaire. It was not many years ago (seriously, I'm not kidding) when Ross Perot topped the list at about 3.5 billion. I'm thinking maybe the mid-90's.

Well, I looked over the list several times and have not yet found anyone in whose will I am going to be listed as an heir. I think I will spend some time this weekend tracing family roots. Who knows?

Topping the list is Bill Gates. He is currently worth $59 billion dollars. This means that if he invested his money at only 5% interest, he would earn $295 million a year. I know what you're thinking. Investing at only 5% would not be wise. After all, it would be hard to live on $24.5 million -- A MONTH! Can't you hear the conversations in that home? "Honey, we need to watch our spending this week. It's a 31-day month, and we had a big utility bill. So we only have $5 million to make it til Thursday."

I can't even relate to it. Hmm. Come to think of it, Joel Olsteen is sounding better all the time:)

Thursday, September 20, 2007

O. J. and The Tank

I've been out of town for a day and a half, so these are old news. But I can't let them go:

1. Tank Johnson? Is Jerry Jones trying to remake the Cowboys into the image of the Oakland Raiders. I know Al Davis is one of Jones' heroes. Maybe he ought to consider Davis' record since he became known for signing league trouble-makers.

As a lifelong Cowboy fan, I am just embarrassed. I know what you are thinking -- that there have always been "characters" on the Cowboys. Maybe it's different because they BECAME characters here. Many of them were cut or shipped off to take their trouble elsewhere. Mr. Tank and T. O. are guys who were proven team-wreckers in other places. And Jerry went out shopping for them. I'm wondering if he isn't working behind the scenes right now to see if he can sign Michael Vick.
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2. Then there is an ex-NFL star who, if he wasn't so old, would be at the top of Jones' list. After all, running back is still a pretty big question mark for the team. I'm talking about O. J. He would fit right in with Tank, wouldn't he?

When is America going to say enough is enough with this guy? He thinks that because he could carry a leather ball that he is above the law.

I heard where he lawyer said (while he was still in jail) if he was anyone other than O. J., he would be out on the street. I would counter that if he was anyone other than O. J., he would have been found guilty of a double murder over a decade ago and would still be in the pen.

I'll try to rediscover me compassionate side by tomorrow. These sports premadonnas, as my oldest son says, "Just chip my hide."

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Abilene, Abilene -- Prettiest Town I've Ever Seen

Today Beverly and I will travel to Abilene. Last year ACU moved their lectureship from February to September. Wise move! It seems like there was always an ice storm or snow during lectureship week. That will be doubtful in September. So we are going out for today and tomorrow -- and be back tomorrow night in time to teach classes.

We are going to hear Josh (our oldest son) speak tomorrow morning. While we are there, we will take in a few other lectures as well.

I used to go to ACU's lectureship years ago. I stopped because it seemed that our universities' lectureships got stale (other than Pepperdine, which I have never been able to go to, but they always seem to have a great program.) But under the leadership of Mark Love, they have had a really good program the last couple of years. I am going to make this a regular on my calendar again next year.

I love Abilene (and ACU). It's where I got my education. It's where I met my wife. And even though I grew up in church, I feel that it is where I came to know Jesus. It's where Beverly and I began our marriage. And it's where two of our wonderful kids were born. I have so many fond memories, and so many people who are dear to me.

So, I look forward to our 24 hours there.

Monday, September 17, 2007

Sports Monday

Yesterday Tiger Woods won the Tournament Players' Championship and the 1st FedEx Cup. Is anyone surprised? He won by 8 strokes, and looked like it was nothing more than a Sunday afternoon stroll through the park.

Being a golf fan, I told Beverly Saturday that I am glad to be living in the time I am. I was a kid when Jack Nicklaus dominated golf -- often by beating my childhood hero, Arnold Palmer. Up to this point, I would say Nicklaus was the greatest the game has ever seen. But no one has dominated the game like Tiger Woods. I am getting to watch history in the making. Right now, the man has no weakness in his game. Barring injury, he will shatter ALL records.
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The Cowboys played yesterday and won. I didn't watch it, either. I was so caught up in the golf I pretty much forgot. This would shock anyone who knew me 30 years ago. I could tell you about every play in every game.
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I followed with some interest the game between Southlake Carroll and the team from Florida. Carroll was ranked #1 prep school team in the nation, and the Florida school was ranked #2. Carroll lost.

I feel a little bit guilty, because I was pulling for the Florida team. Carroll has won for so long. Like Highland Park, there is something about money being able to buy success that doesn't sit well with me. My guilt springs from finding out that the new coach at Carroll is a member of the Keller Church of Christ.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

WalMart

Walmart. It's a store I have a love-hate relationship wtih. I love it for its convenience. I hate it because it's so busy. (That seems somewhat paradoxical, doesn't it?) I love it for the way everything you need is under one roof. I hate it for the way it has run out so many specialized businesses (another paradox).

This morning on Good Morning America, they were talking about the many things WalMart knows about America. Do you know what their #1 selling item is? Bananas. The average woman shopper wears a size 14 and her shoe size is 8-1/2.

I found this one interesting: The state that buys the most tea? Pennsylvania. Five times more than any other state! I thought for sure it would be a southern state.

So, how do you feel about WalMart?

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

All Other Ground is Sinking Sand

It's funny how a tune can get in your head and just stay there. A few weeks ago, I had the MASH theme song in my head for several days. Oh, no. Just writing this has put it there again.

This morning I have found myself hearing the words to an old hymn. The words that keep going through my head are "My hope is built on nothing less than Jesus' blood and righteousness." The more I think about it, the more I realize -- that sums it up! We get caught up in arguing this point of doctrine or that. But it all boils down to this: If my HOPE is placed in anything other than the atoning blood of Jesus and His righteousness that has been credited to me -- then, as the song says, all other ground is sinking sand.

Any songs you find constantly replaying in your head?

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

The Lessons of 9-11

The images are still so clearly burned into my mind. People jumping from windows. The buildings collapsing. The plane actually hitting the second of the Twin Towers. People running down the streets as a huge cloud of dust and debris chased them.

Three thousand people! That's half the people in Decatur. Each one a person who was loved and who loved. Their absence has interrupted the flow of a family.

So what are we learning from the events of five years ago today? I know my 1st reaction was RETALIATE. Hit them harder than they hit us. I remember hearing one woman say (and I'm sure it was the feeling of millions of others), 'Let's just nuke all those Arabs." Looking back, I don't think my reaction was the most Christlike I could have had. But we were left feeling so helpless.

This morning, I found myself praying for Osama Bin Laden. He and his cohorts desperately need Jesus. How sad it must be to believe in a god who would delight in terrorism and murder. If that were the only option on the table, I would choose to be an atheist. But it's not. And even though Christians through the ages have done some pretty ungodly things, too -- it's not because we have been reflecting the nature of our Father or our Savior.

My prayer this morning (and many mornings) has also been that Islam will just implode upon itself. That it will just cease to be. Not because we have out-killed them or out-weaponed them. But because it is seen for what it is. And because Jesus is seen for Who He is.

So five years removed from that day, that is what I have learned. I never want to be desensitized to 9-11. May we never forget it. But may we learn to be Christ to the world in the way we Christians respond.

Monday, September 10, 2007

Give 60!

Yesterday's time together with the Body was incredible! Jacob and I issued a challenge for every member to give 60 minutes -- one hour a week -- in service to the Lord outside of church. Jacob offered several suggestions of ways to serve.

I loved hearing the "buzz" after church. I walked by a group of boys, and one of them said, "I already know what I'm going to do. We have some neighbors -- and the man is on oxygen. I'm going to mow his yard." I had to wipe away a tear.

But it wasn't just the young people. I heard adults discussing ideas for ways they could serve. It was really cool.

Remember: It doesn't have to be something that is "organized." Nor does it have to be anything elaborate. Make some cookies for your neighbors and deliver them. Visit a nursing home.

I would love to introduce "World Bible School" to our church. It is a work overseen by the Westover Hills Church of Christ in Austin. Ads are placed in papers all over the world for bible correspondence courses. The students mail the courses back to be graded, etc. It is very easy to do. You grade their paper, send them the next course and perhaps write them a note of encouragement. Anyone of any age could do it. No telling how many souls have been brought to Jesus through this effort.
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I don't know if it's just me, but did that Cowboy game last night excite anybody about their coming season? We had no problem scoring -- but it was the Giants, after all. But what's with the touted Wade Phillip's defense? Maybe he needs more time. I'm not bashing Wade. I like him so much more than Parcells.
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Tiger continues to amaze me. Yesterday his ballstriking was close to flawless as he cruised to his 6th victory of the season. I am hoping he can win next week and take the FedEx Cup. I'm concerned about his retirement. He needs the $10 million deferred prize money.

Friday, September 07, 2007

Ready for the Weekend

It's Friday. I have been looking forward to the weekend. And it's all around eating (isn't that weird?)

Tonight some friends are taking us to Del Frisco's. Dude! That place is good. We've only been there once -- when Beverly was given a gift certificate for speaking at a church. I can't wait!

Then tomorrow, we will go to Sam's for our quarterly "stock up on the necessities" trip. While in Southlake, we will go to Anamea's Mexican Restaurant -- on another gift certificate given to us by some other friends (Life is tough).

So I look forward to the good food. But I am also reminded today what special friends we have.
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I might even try to catch some college football tomorrow. However, the chase for the Fedex Cup has gotten my interest, too.
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Then on Sunday, Jacob and I will issue a challenge to our church. Our theme: "Give 60!" I am excited about the possibilities and look forward to the way the Lord might stimulate us to serve our community.

Thursday, September 06, 2007

Gearing Up for Fall

Can you feel it? I asked CAN YOU FEEL IT?

Fall is near. Next week, we are going to have lows perhaps in the upper 50s. Yeah, buddy!

You know by now that Fall is my favorite season. Fall is also when the Ross household gets REALLY busy. This is the beginning of womens' retreat season. So, Beverly will be gone for several weekends over the coming months.

I have mixed feelings about that. Obviously I miss her and just hanging out and doing things with her. But she is SO gifted at what she does. And she brings women closer to the heartbeat of God. For that, I am so proud.

So my advice is: Go get 'em, girl.

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Bury This Blog

Yesterday Jacob (my ministry partner) and I went to a funeral over in the old part of Dallas. It is a pretty cemetery that sits among beautiful live oaks.

As we were leaving, I asked him what he thought about cremation. I don't mean to get morbid on you, but I have thought some about it. For one reason (and those of you who know me will understand this): It's cheaper than a burial.

Obviously if the Lord doesn't return for a while, all of us are going to end up being ashes anyway. So why do we have a hangup with cremation? I'm not sure, but for some reason I do. From a theological standpoint, I don't think there is anything wrong with it. My guess is that I am just so culturally conditioned a certain way -- it just doesn't sit well with me.

So, any thoughts?

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Home Improvement

I was enjoying the Tiger-Phil showdown yesterday. And then a storm came. My satellite scrambled. So I had to check ESPN later to see how it ended. Oh, well. Congrats to Phil. He seems like a good guy.
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We have had a spot appear on our kitchen ceiling. It gets worse whenever we have company stay upstairs. So, I had a plumber come out, and he cut a hole in the sheetrock in our attic and began his search. He couldn't find it. I told him it seemed to only happen when company had taken a bath. We found some missing grout in a corner, and he got to where he could see inside the wall. I splashed water over into that corner -- and sure enough, that was the culprit. So I regrouted the bad spots yesterday afternoon.

Now comes the hard part: Patching the sheetrock and matching it to the rest of the kitchen ceiling. I have done some sheetrock work in the past, but I don't trust my ability to be able to blend the textures. So, I guess I will have someone come out to do that.

I'm sure there is a great spiritual application waiting. You know, how just a little bitty leak can ruin a ceiling.

Friday, August 31, 2007

What a Wonderful Night!

Beverly's fundraiser last night was awesome! The testimonials given by those who have been her clients brought tears to my eyes as I considered the power of God working through the counselor-counselee relationship. I was SO proud of my wife!

Then to watch the volunteers practice such sweet servanthood. They were there from before we began to the very end. It was a sight to behold.

It is so humbling to witness how God has placed His blessing upon the counseling center. A year ago, we wouldn't have dreamed that this would be where it is. So Beverly and I are in high-praise mode today.

Thank you to any of you readers who have volunteered for or supported this ministry. Tye Lovell put it so well last night when he said that you are not just helping the client. You are affecting generations yet to be born as habits and practices that might have been passed down are reshaped by the Master. As Tye said, it will be so cool to have someone walk up to us in heaven and say, "Thanks for what you did for my granddad. It impacted my dad and me and the generations that came after me."

God is good!

Thursday, August 30, 2007

No Time for Sleep

ZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZ. Oh, sorry, I was just wak -i -n-g ZZZZZZZZZZZZZ.

I know and confess: I am a wimp when it comes to sleep. And not getting to bed until between 1:30 and 2 AM registers on my wimp meter.

But it was great to be in Crockett for a few hours last night. Beverly and I got there early and drove around -- being reminded of good memories there. Plus, we ate an early supper at Sam's Cafe in Fairfield. If you ever want good homestyle cooking -- off an all you can eat buffet -- it's the place to go. It's on the east side of I-45 in Fairfield (not to be confused with Sammy's, which is on the west side at the same exit).
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Today is one of the most important days in Beverly's and my life. Tonight is her annual fundraiser for her nonprofit Wise County Christian Counseling. Before, she has always been connected with another agency, but now she is on her own. She has received generous support from a number of people, but there is still a significant shortfall that she needs to cover tonight.

I have no doubt that the Lord will provide what is needed. For one, the people of Wise County have been so extremely generous and encouraging about the Counseling Center. For another, I think that the Lord has shown His endorsement of the ministry through the way so many families have come for help. Beverly's schedule is overflowing.

I love the way my wife is so passionate about the things she does. When she was a school teacher, she was the best -- winning her school districts awards for excellence. And now she is at the top of her field in counseling. She brings the Lord into all that she does (her greatest passion). Needless to say, life with her is an exciting adventure.

Please pray for tonight's fundraiser.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Heading to East Texas

This afternoon, Beverly and I are traveling to Crockett where I will speak tonight. We will return home late this evening.

Crockett was my 1st full-time work. We moved our family from Texas City to begin working with the church in Crockett in June of 1988. At that time, it was a church of about 80-90. And they were kind enough to give me the opportunity to enter into ministry. We quickly grew, and experienced some wonderful times in our five years there. The people were so encouraging and supportive. They endured many lessons from a green preacher -- lessons that I can't believe I ever preached. But they loved me in spite of that.

It's really special when we get to go back. There is a feeling of home in Crockett. Lifelong friends. Good memories of raising our kids there.

So while it will only be for a couple of hours, Beverly and I will make the most of it tonight.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

True Confessions

OK, it's confession time. I know I take the risk of your rejection when I share some of the dark things in my life. But it is a risk I am willing to take.

Here goes: I could easily become a video game addict. Yes, there it is. And worse: The ones I could become most addicted to are the war games. So, I have never bought one. I know my limitations. I would probably become pale and thin from never leaving the computer.

Actually, I am kidding (a little). There is one game Beverly gets me every year. It came out this morning, and I already have it in my possession. Tiger Woods PGA Tour 2008. Yes, it's mine -- ALL MINE!

While some people spend their evenings watching TV, I enjoy playing a couple of games of "Tiger." So, tonight I will load it up and see how it works. This new edition allows you to put a picture of yourself in it, and it will generate a player who looks just like you! (Jeff, I know even as I write that I am setting you up for a comment). So, do I go with a bearded picture? or pre-beard? Oh, the heavy decisions that I have to make.

If you haven't heard from me in a couple of days, you might want to notify Beverly -- or the authorities.

Monday, August 27, 2007

A Special Day

For many people, today begins a new school year. It has been a while since Beverly has been in the classroom -- or since I have had to drop off kids for school. Yet, I still think that the beginning of the school year is more like New Year's than January 1st. It is truly a time of new beginnings -- holding new possibilities.

It is also an emotional time for many. Parents taking their children to school for the very 1st time. My daughter was telling us at lunch the other day that she doesn't understand parents saying they can't wait for school to start so they can get the kids out of the house. She said she has enjoyed her daughter (my granddaughter) so much this summer that she was not anxious for today at all. I still can't believe that my granddaughter is in 2nd grade!

I'm praying today for students, teachers and parents. My prayer is that they will have a special year this year. But my prayer is also that those who are Christians will wear the name well. What great opportunities to be the hands and feet and voice of Jesus in this world!
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Today is also my father-in-law's birthday. Today he turns 80! I have learned so much from Mr. Jones. His devotion to God. His love for his family. His almost obsession with being a man of integrity. If he says he will do something, you don't need a contract. He will keep his word -- even if it hurts. And I have also learned a lot about forgiveness by watching the way he interacts with people who have done him wrong.

He would not have a clue how to find a blog, so he will never read this. But I still want to say Happy Birthday!

Friday, August 24, 2007

A Word on Michael Vick

Last night Beverly hosted a party for a group of women with whom she has been studying each week. So I came straggling in about 8 PM -- trying not to disturb them. The food was still out, and so I begin to graze. It was SO good!

She came up with a drink recipe that is delicious. I don't know if you have ever had an "Arnold Palmer," but it is half tea and half lemonade. She adds some other stuff. And it is really good.

What is your favorite summertime thirst quincher?
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I listened to a few minutes of sports talk on ESPN yesterday. They were talking about how vilified Michael Vick has been. Michael Wilbon attributed it to racism. He said if Troy Aikman or Brett Favre had done the same thing, we would not have had such a negative reaction.

I wasn't sure I agreed until he brought up this example: John Daly. He said that here is a man who stands on a green having DTs, comes to a golf tournament with marks on his face, has gambling problems and drinking problems -- and is considered a cult hero. He said a black athlete would never receive such treatment. And I had to agree. However, I -- unlike many I guess -- do not find John Daly to be cool, cute or just a "good-ole boy." I think he is deserving of punishment or banning from the PGA. So I guess I would be equally opposed to both Vick and Daly.

Both these men should be punished for their misdeeds just like any blue collar worker would be if he or she engaged in similar misdeeds. The ability to run with a football or hit a golf ball should not bring with it immunity from decency, morality or obedience to the law.