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).

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!

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?

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.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

News, Sports and Weather

Wow! The Rangers scored 30 runs last night! That's the most by a major league team in 110 years. I used to be a huge Houston Astros fan (back in the 80s and early 90s). That would have been a good two weeks worth of runs for them. I remember one year, Nolan Ryan had an ERA of 1.69 at the all-star break -- but his record was like 6-12 because he had no run support.

When we get to this time of year (the dog days of August), I am reminded that my favorite season is just around the corner. In fact, within the next month we will be getting some cool fronts. In Texas, that means nights down into the 60s and daytime highs in the low 80s. But after the heat of summer, it always feels so good on the skin.

My youngest grandson will be arriving here tonight at about 10 with his parents. I can't wait to hold the little booger. He's nearly 4 months old! I imagine that he is already asking his parents when he will get to Grampy's house. They are coming in for Beverly's dad's birthday celebration. He turns 80 on Monday.

Every Thursday morning, I go out to Governor's Ridge (a retirement home) and have a bible study with about 12 of the women and one man. It is such a delight. They are some of the most gracious and grateful people I have ever known. They encourage me so much. I have come to view them as my 2nd church, and I love them dearly.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007


She has a way of smiling with her eyes that melts my heart (no, that is not a mistake the way I wrote it).

She is the most Christlike person I have ever known (and I live with her, and know what she is like when no one is watching).

She knows just the word I need -- whether a word of encouragement or a gentle prod.

She knows how to have fun, and how to make those around her have a great time, too.

She raised three beautiful children, and continues to be the ideal mother and mother-in-law.

She has taken to grandparenting like she was made for it.

There is no one on this planet I would rather be with -- whether it's to go out to eat or travel with or sit around the house.

Her love and enthusiasm for the Lord is absolutely contageous.

Every morning I wake up thanking God that I get to spend my one life with her.

If I had one wish, it would be for more lifetimes together.

We married too young. Statistics said we wouldn't make it. If the marriage had depended on me, we wouldn't have. But she sacrificed her own desires and needs to make it work. She has made me a better man, not by nagging, etc. -- but be showing unconditional love. The Lord obviously knew what I needed.

Today marks out 31st wedding anniversary. And the love I feel today for my woman makes our wedding day in 1976 -- as beautiful as it was -- pale in comparison.

Thank you, God, for giving me this incredible woman to journey with toward eternity.

Monday, August 20, 2007

People are Funny

While I was on vacation, I decided to grow a beard. Beverly has always liked me with a beard. In fact, when we first started dating I had one. A few months later, I had to shave it off for Sing Song, and I thought she might break up with me.

I grew one again a few years ago. One morning, I went to trim it and forgot to put the height selector on the razor. I cut a highway right down the middle of my beard. So, I shaved it off. Beverly told me she thought I would never have one again.

But I do. And I like it. And she likes it (that's really most important).

Here's what I find humorous. A few people have come up to me and said, "I don't like your beard." Or they tell Beverly. It does not bother us, because as I said, I want to make my woman happy. But I just got to thinking: I can't imagine going up to someone and saying, "I don't like your hair." Or, "That dress sure looks bad on you." Or "I don't like the way you wear your make-up."

People are funny. I'm just glad that I have my act totally together:)

Friday, August 17, 2007

Friday Fumblings

I am sorry for the torrential rains that are hitting Texas south of us. But for us to the north, the cooler weather is an emotional lift. Now the Texas coast is bracing for the possibility of a big hurricane.

This time of year, I sometimes think back to when I was a kid heading back to school. I can still smell it. Paste. Crayons. The cafeteria. As I got older, it also brought the excitement of football.

Speaking of football, my younger son, Jonathan, is coaching. The church he ministers to has a large private school. They have asked him to coach receivers and defensive backs. They went through two-a-days while we were on vacation.

It seems that the "in" thing today is to rip on the church. Many are predicting (and I guess it's even happening to some degree) that the traditional model of the church is going to give way to cell churches -- or no institutional church at all. I guess time will tell.

However, I found the following quote worth repeating. It is from Shane Claiborne in the book THE IRRESISTIBLE REVOLUTION. He said, "I once heard a pastor say, 'The church is like Noah's ark. It stinks, but if you get out of it, you'll drown.'"

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Jesus and Legion

I loved our visiting preacher's lesson last night. He preached from the story of Jesus and Legion (the man with many demons). A couple of things that stood out to me: When the Creator speaks, His creation MUST act. Even the demons, when told by Jesus to leave the man, had no choice. Their only option was to negotiate where they would go. Yet, God loves us so much that when He speaks, He leaves us with a choice.

Also, I wonder how many Legions I have walked around and avoided in my life. Jesus did not avoid him. He had compassion for him. If I had been living in that vicinity in that day and time, I doubt the crazy, naked guy who lived among the tombs would have been at the top of my "prospects" list. Yet, Jesus empowered that "crazy man" to become a missionary of the gospel. Incredible. I want the Jesus perspective!

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Life is Fragile

I meet with a small group of guys every Wednesday morning. As we met today, I was reminded at just how fragile life is. Our health can change at the drop of a hat. Our whole life can be affected by a single action taken at a single moment in time -- often in a moment of emotion when the consequences are not thought through. Llfe is certainly fragile.

But you know what? Even though we live in a fallen world in a culture that seems to have everything upside down from the way God designed it -- life is also good. There are still so many good things that happen around us every day. Good people. Good music. Good food. Good books. Good times of fellowship with family and friends.

So while life is certainly fragile, it is also certainly good. And spending it walking with God is a real treat.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Nothing Comes Easy

Now that summer has set in, my inlaws have discovered that the afternoon heat beats the back of their house for hours -- making it impossible to keep their den cool. So yesterday, Jacob (my ministry buddy) and I took on the job of putting a roof on their patio arbor. I thought it would take a few hours. However, once we got into the job, we hit a couple of snags. I think that is a law of nature: Any time you take on a project, there must be at least two snags.

Anyway, we worked until after 6 last night. By the way, it was the hottest day of the year (are you crying yet?) But now we are on a roll. We think we can finish in an hour or so this morning.

Monday, August 13, 2007

Vacation Ramblings

The Lord truly blessed my family with a wonderful week of rest and rejuvination. Beverly and I really needed it! I began the vacation with a stomach virus (24-hour variety). But I was long over it by the time all the family got together. Then Josh and all of his family passed it around. Thankfully, it was fairly shortlived for all of us.

I played a lot of golf and went tubing (it was a blast!) And I read a Grisham novel, The Partner. I think it was the only book of his I had not read. I usually really like his stuff -- and I enjoyed reading this one too. But the ending left me very unsettled. I would like to rewrite it.

As much as I enjoyed vacation, it is still good to be back home. Time together with the church yesterday reminded me of just how blessed I am to be where I am.

Well, Tiger Woods won yet another major yesterday. He very easily could have won three this year. He now has 13 in his pursuit of Jack Nicklaus' record of 18 -- a record that once seemed untouchable. Tiger is several years ahead of Nicklaus' pace. He is already approaching Arnold Palmer's total wins count, which would place him 3rd on the all-time list behind Nicklaus and Sam Snead. And he is only 31!

And Barry Bonds is now the home run king. I know I have discussed this before, but I sure wish he didn't have the steroid thing hanging over his head, because he would have gone down as perhaps the greatest ballplayer in history if he had continued on his pre-steroid pace.

Summer has finally arrived! Today is projected to be 105. And it is supposed to be over 100 all week. At least it's mid-August, and we only have about a month of this left. But the lakes are full!

I did hear that the weather service is projecting a hurricane to hit the Gulf next week some time. Go fill your gas tank today, because the oil companies will raise their prices just thinking about the possibility of that excuse.

Thursday, August 02, 2007

Good Start to August

Well, it is the morning of August 2nd, and we have already had more than the average rainfall for the month. 3-1/2 inches yesterday! That would be a good summer in some years.

Our home computer crashed yesterday. So, I guess I'll have to order another one today. I don't have a whole lot that I want it to do -- other than handle Beverly's picture program and play my Tiger Woods' Golf Game.


Tomorrow we will leave for vacation. I don't know if I will blog while I am gone or not.

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Us and Them

I loved these thoughts from Edward Fudge:


Bible readers know the phrase "Jews and Gentiles," but not everyone remembers that "Gentiles" are literally "the nations," meaning all those who are not Jews. The Greeks of the Hellenistic period divided the world into "Greeks and Barbarians," with "Barbarians" being those who did not speak Greek and who therefore sounded (to Greek ears) as if they said "bar-bar-bar."

I have read, but cannot prove, that the names of Native American tribes all mean "the people" in the languages of each respective tribe. Each tribe viewed the world as inhabited by "the people" (themselves) and everyone else. The Chinese speak of their "Middle Kingdom," supposing that they occupy the very center of the earth. The Japanese call their country "the Land of the Rising Sun," as though each new day begins in Japan. North Americans make world maps and globes which show the United States as the focal point of our planet. We all are self-centered, truth be told.

The English word "pagan" comes from the Latin word for a "villager." Christianity thrived in the cities of the Roman Empire, while the rural village-people remained unconverted. The English word "heathen" has the same kind of etymology -- the cities were well churched but country people who lived in the "heath" were not. Our word "outlandish" mirrors the fact that what is foreign (from out-land) to us, we often regard as odd or strange. Farmers laugh at "city slickers" who come among them, while urbanites make jokes about "country bumpkins."

In this world of "us" and "them," of people who are like ourselves and those who are different, the gospel is the great leveller. Christ takes humans of all sorts, kinds, origins, races, economics, cultures and colors, and creates a new humankind. For those in union with Christ, such differences are no longer to matter. To the extent we come short of this goal, we need to repent -- and, with God's help, to seek again to make it a daily reality.