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


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.

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:)

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.

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!

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


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."
* * *
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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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


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


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.

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:)