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


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.

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!

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.

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 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.

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.

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!

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.

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.

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."

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.

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.

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.

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.

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?