Friday, May 30, 2008

The Old Variety Shows

For my generation growing up, almost everyone remembers "The Carol Burnett Show." It was a variety show, which was a very popular format during the 60s and early 70s. One of the funniest people on TV was Tim Conway. He never could carry a show on his own, but he was hilarious as supporting cast. Kind of like another one of my all-time favorite comedy actors, Don Knotts.

Well, the "Carol Burnett Show" was filmed before a live audience. And part of the funniness of it was that Conway did a lot of improv. He would do something funny that the other actors weren't expecting in the skit, and Carol and Harvey Korman would just roll over laughing.

I heard this morning that Mr. Korman has passed away at age 81. When I think of him, I don't think of his own humor. I see him busting it laughing at Conway. A show like that wouldn't make it today. But it brought laughter to millions for many years.

Does anyone else remember variety shows? There used to be a lot of them. My dad liked "The Dean Martin Show." But none had the longivity of Burnett, though. I think I saw where she was voted the 2nd best female comedian in TV history. #1 of course was Lucy.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Something to Chew On

Randy Moon sent me this email yesterday. I love these kinds of things, perhaps because I like trivia. But there is a lot of wisdom in some of the statements. I hope you enjoy it:

Only in America drugstores make the sick walk all the way to the back of the store to get their prescriptions while healthy people can buy cigarettes at the front.

Only in people order double cheeseburgers, large fries, and a diet coke.

Only in banks leave both doors open and then chain the pens to the counters.

Only in we leave cars worth thousands of dollars in the driveway and put our useless junk in the garage.

Only in America........ do we buy hot dogs in packages of ten and buns in packages of eight.

Only in we use the word 'politics' to describe the process so well: 'Poli' in Latin meaning 'many' and 'tics' meaning 'bloodsucking creatures'.

Only in they have drive-up ATM machines with Braille lettering.


Why the sun lightens our hair, but darkens our skin?

Why women can't put on mascara with their mouth closed?

Why you don't ever see the headline 'Psychic Wins Lottery'?

Why is 'abbreviated' such a long word?

Why is it that doctors call what they do 'practice'?

Why is lemon juice made with artificial flavor, and dishwashing liquid made with real lemons?

Why is the man who invests all your money called a 'broker'?

Why is the time of day with the slowest traffic called rush hour?

Why isn't there mouse-flavored cat food?

Why didn't Noah swat those two mosquitoes?

Why do they sterilize the needle for lethal injections?

You know that indestructible black box that is used on airplanes? Why don't they make the whole plane out of that stuff?

Why don't sheep shrink when it rains?

Why are they called apartments when they are all stuck together?

If con is the opposite of pro, is Congress the opposite of progress?

If flying is so safe, why do they call the airport the terminal?

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Will Smith

Yesterday, my brother said he tried to post a comment to my blog and it didn't accept it. I hope that hasn't been the case for the thousands of you out there who contribute to the discussion here (that's a joke, by the way). I don't know what happened, and have checked my settings. Hopefully it was just a May 27th glitch.

I have always liked WIll Smith. Not to the level my son Josh does, but I do like him. Now I like him more. Listen to this piece that was on the Smart Marriages website:

Will Smith has found the perfect way to keep a marriage on track - rule out divorce.

The movie star has been married to actress wife Jada Pinkett Smith for a decade and insists they'll never split because divorce isn't an option for them.

He explains: "Divorce can't be an option - it's really that simple. If you just remove the option because, if you have the option, one day that person's gonna make you wanna divorce.

"That's been a huge part of the success for she (Pinkett Smith) and I...We're like, 'Listen, we're gonna be together one way or the other so might as well try and be happy."

Good advice, Will.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

This morning as I was running (well, jogging), I was listening on my MP3 to one of my favorite recording artists, Michael W. Smith. A song came on that is one of my favorites of his because of its driving beat (remember, I am an ex-drummer), but I had never really paid attention to the words. But this morning they really struck me as I thought about the many parents who will be releasing their seniors over the next couple of weeks. So here are the words. And may you be blessed.

Fly To The Moon

Fly to the moon
Well, you could do it if you wanted to
Try flying high
The only limit is the endless sky
So, go on and fly to the moon

Live in the sun
You know your living has just begun
So much ahead
Don't let the night leave you for dead
So, come on, live in the sun

Fly to the moon
And when you find your wings I will celebrate with you
Watch you as you soar
Take the wishes that are yours
And let them fly you to the moon

Dream on a star
You can let it take you near or far
Feet on the ground
Don't let anybody hold you down
So, go on and dream on a star

Fly to the moon
And when you find your wings
I will celebrate with you
Watch you as you soar
Take the wishes that are yours
I know you can fly to the moon
You can do all things
I will celebrate with you
It's hard to let you go
Still, you have to go,
I know

So go on, fly to the moon
And as you spread your wings
I will celebrate with you
Hope we taught you good
Hope you know that if I could
I would fly away with you

Gotta take it all the way
When you follow dreams
Follow far
Flying high and away
You're flying all the way
To the moon

Monday, May 26, 2008

Memorial Day

I've always tended to work out in the afternoons, I guess because I tend to sleep as late as I can in the morning -- giving me just enough time to get ready, eat a bite and get to work. But this morning I went running. It felt really good. Since the afternoons are now into the mid 90's, it just makes more sense to run when it's in the 70s. So, I may change my routine a bit.

The Colonial could not have asked for a better script. Phil Mickelson hit an unbelievable shot out of certain doom to within 9 feet on the last hole, and then sunk it for a win. I loved the guy in the background doing a cannonball about the time the putt went in the hole. My guess is that will become a ritual by next year.

Beverly and I really enjoyed our day at Colonial Friday. It is such a pretty place, with huge pecan trees providing ample shade throughout. I did not remember, from my past experiences there,being able to get so close to the players. There was several times that I was able to stand within 10 feet of Phil.

Enjoy your Memorial Day. Take a moment to remember those who have made the ultimate sacrifice. Go on line and read about D-Day or Iwo Jima. Or rent "Saving Private Ryan." I cannot even relate to the bravery shown by so many. We owe so much to them.

Friday, May 23, 2008

The Tradition of Colonial

Beverly and I are going to the Colonial today. I look forward to watching Phil Mickelson and other tour players who amaze me with their abilities. But I also look forward to showing Beverly one of the grand great golf courses of the 20th century. I would love for golf to return to the days when courses like Colonial were considered great. Tight fairways. Well-placed trees. Courses that required the golfer to think rather than just see how far he can hit it. But that is not what most fans want.

Have a blessed weekend!

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Pray for the Chapman Family

So David Cook beat David Archeleta by 16 million votes, with 97 million cast. I don't know why, but the whole "Idol" thing was anti-clamatic for me this year. I won't be running out to buy recordings of either, since I have yet to buy any of the Idol music. If I did, it would be Carrie Underwood.

I heard some tragic news this morning. Stephen Curtis Chapman's teenage son was backing out of the driveway and ran over and killed one of the children Chapman and his wife had adopted from China (a 5 year old daughter). My heart goes out to the Chapman family this morning.

Tozer is on preaching this month. I wish today's words would convict all preachers everywhere. They have served as a reminder to me. I was especially convicted by the last sentence. Here they are:

For do I now persuade men, or God? Or do I seek to please men? For if I still pleased men, I would not be a bondservant of Christ. --Galatians 1:10

This is one of the marks of our modern time--that many are guilty of merely "nibbling" at the truth of the Christian gospel.

I wonder if you realize that in many ways the preaching of the Word of God is being pulled down to the level of the ignorant and spiritually obtuse; that we must tell stories and jokes and entertain and amuse in order to have a few people in the audience? We do these things that we may have some reputation and that there may be money in the treasury to meet the church bills....

In many churches Christianity has been watered down until the solution is so weak that if it were poison it would not hurt anyone, and if it were medicine it would not cure anyone! I Talk Back to the Devil, 30-31.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Honoring a Hero

Yesterday Jacob, Beverly and I had the privilege of attending the dedication of a new dorm at Sheppard Air Force Base in Wichita Falls. The building has been named for Kathyrn Nordman's father who was killed in action in 1965 as he flew air defense in dangerous weather for ground troops in Viet Nam. Even after his plane caught fire, he still delivered his payload before crashing.

I felt so honored to be there. It is a beautiful, state-of-the-art facility. I know Kathryn and her family must be so proud of the tribute given to her father and the legacy he has left.

I was never in the military. Maybe I missed my calling to some degree, because I am SO impressed by most anything military. I have had the privilege of serving at funerals of veterans who were buried at the National Cemetery in Arlington, Texas. I get goose bumps as "taps" is played. And watching the color guard as they fold the flag and present it to the fallen's relative. I am moved when I hear a 21-gun salute, or hear fighter planes fly over. I'm captivated by the precision and discipline that goes into every move that is made.

I am also impressed by the way soldiers are trained to care about the fallen -- to leave no one behind. So much of the self-discipline of soldiers would work well in our churches, too. But I don't want to stretch that analogy too far.

Blessings on the Mattis family (Kathryn's maiden name). And thanks for letting me share in your special day yesterday.

Monday, May 19, 2008

Monday Morning Musings

My son Josh and his wife Kayci and my grandson Truitt are coming today to spend a few days with us before they head off to Memphis where they will begin their ministry with the Sycamore View Church of Christ. They are such a gifted couple, and I am very proud of them. The Southwest Central church in Houston has been so good to them over their two years there. I pray that their transition in ministry goes well.

I still find it hard to believe that I have been here in Decatur for over three years now. God is SO good. After I nearly gave up on ministry due to my prior experience, the Lord directed me to a place that has been incredibly affirming of Beverly and me. Because of the difficult season we went through several years ago, it has made me more appreciative of this wonderfully affirming group of believers. I've said it in the past, but it seems more relevant with the passing of time: Normally a preacher experiences a honeymoon period of about 6 months to a year (this is probably why some preachers move around so much). Well, after three years, we STILL feel like we are in our honeymoon stage.

We are SO blessed!

Tonight is game 7 between San Antonio and New Orleans. I can't decide who I am for. I'm kind of tired of the Spurs being in the finals. It seems like everyone has been saying for years that they are too old. Yet, every year at crunch time -- here they are. New Orleans is interesting because they are fresh faces. And them being this far helps in some small way to vindicate the Mavs.

Kenny Perry, a professional golfer who is also a deacon in the Church of Christ in Franklin, Kentucky (I think that is the name of the town) was in a playoff for yesterday's tournament. His second shot to the par 5 18th (1st playoff hole) hit a pine tree far to the right of the green, ricocheted across the green -- nearly hitting the pin, and ended up in the water on the left side. Talk about bad luck! Oh, well. I am glad to see he is getting back on his game after some extensive surgery a couple of years ago.

Beverly and I are planning to go to the Colonial this Friday. Maybe we will follow him around some. When he walks by, I think I'll say, "Hey Kenny! 728B. Acts 2:38." He will immediately know what we have in common:)

Friday, May 16, 2008

Kingdom Difference

I've been ill at home for a couple of days, so I have been out of Bloggerville. After going to the doctor yesterday, I am doing much better today -- so far.

I read this morning that the California Supreme Court has ruled against a state law banning homosexual marriage. This and similar issues are difficult ones for me. I believe that God only sanctions marriage between a man and a woman. In fact, that would be the definition of marriage.

However, the libertarian in me says that government legislation on moral issues is inconsistent at best -- as well as useless. Maybe I am just trying to prepare for the inevitable, because I believe our nation will soon allow homosexual marriage. But the legislating of morals has never worked. In early America, adultery was against the law. Can you imagine that today? What would happen to our workforce if every adulterer was in prison? Obviously, prohibition was a huge failure.

I think the answer to the above issues is found in this: If homosexual marriage is allowed, it will provide Christians with an opportunity to show the world the difference that living in a God-honoring way can make. We have not done well in recent years with that, since the Christian divorce rate is pretty much identical to our cultures. But we are to be an upside-down kingdom -- living vastly different from the world. And here will be an opportunity to be salt to the decaying and light in the darkness.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

A Tribute to May

May is perhaps the busiest month of the year. I graduated from high school and college in May. Many weddings are in May, as was my oldest son's and his wife's (6 years ago last Sunday). Lots of endings come in May.

My father passed away in May, 1996. We buried my father-in-law this May. My youngest grandson was born in May, 2007.

For our church, May means Mother's Day, Children's Place graduation (tomorrow night). Senior Sunday and Memorial Day.

So May is a paradoxical month. A time of change. School comes to an end. Huge life changes for seniors. But May is also about fresh starts. Everything seems to be at its greenest and most colorful in May.

I don't know that it's my favorite month -- because I love the Fall, too. But I like May.

How about you?

Monday, May 12, 2008

Back From H-Town

I don't know what's in the air, but I'm ready for it to leave! My wife and daughter have been hit hard by allergies for several days -- pretty much lost their voices. For Beverly, that renders her nearly immobile:) Well, it hit me yesterday. I think it is Cedar that affects me, because I get it in the spring and the fall.

It was so good to be at my grandson's 1st birthday party Saturday. He and his family are getting ready to move to Memphis. They will be coming to stay with us for several days next week. I can't wait!

We stayed two nights with my other grandson and his family. He will be two next month --just about the time that his sister arrives. I got to play golf Friday with my son Jonathan. It was a treat. It took a long time, but the blackberries are ripe, and so while we waited, we picked berries and ate them.

Thursday, May 08, 2008

Get Educated on Islam

I was reading about Islam the other day and came across this quote:

Christians and Jews say "I will die for what I believe."
A Muslim says "You will die for what I believe."

I know that people could make the argument that historically, "Christians" have killed in the name of Jesus, etc. And that would be true. But even a cursory reading of the teachings of Jesus and the New Testament would uncover no evidence for killing in the name of Jesus. In fact, Jesus called His followers to just the opposite -- to suffer for the sake of the gospel. To turn the other cheek. To forgive one's enemies.

Islam, on the other hand, is carrying out the very words of their false prophet Mohammed. He called for his followers to cut off the heads of "the infidel" (that's Christians and Jews). He called for the conquering of the world -- submitting it to Islam or the sword.

So while the argument can be made about violence done by those who follow certain religions, it is scary when you take it back to their actual "holy books."

Further, I am skeptical of the claim that Islam is a religion of peace. Islam does not teach peace or love. It teaches submission and domination. And don't be fooled by the politically correct media telling us that Muslims that live in the United States have no agenda. That may be true for some. But Islam teaches the practice known as "Takiyah." Takiyah teaches Muslims to do whatever is necessary to achieve victory over the "enemy" or "infidels". In short, they can lie, promise peace, and even act like an infidel. But when their opponents' guards are down -- they are to crush them.

It is bone-chilling to read reports of things that are being said in American mosques today.

I know many think I am being an alarmist, but we have buried our heads in the sand on this issue. We assume that Islam will play by "American" rules of live and let live. THEY WON'T. To do so is to be an unfaithful Moslem.

I challenge you to go on line and read some of the teachings of Islam. Become informed.

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

Let's Talk Some B-Ball

Hmmmm. Maybe the Mav's 1st round loss to New Orleans wasn't such an embarrassment after all. They have looked pretty impressive in going up 2-0 on the Spurs.

I read an email this morning that I thought was cute. A family who are friends of ours serving as missionaries in New Zealand sent out their update. In it, Troy (the daddy) mentioned that his teenaged son (a Spurs' fan) asked if Tony Parker was the greatest basketball player ever. Troy said it made him feel old to tell his son about Michael Jordan, and have him not know who he was talking about.

So, it got me to thinking: Who would make your list of the greatest basketball players ever? And if anyone puts Dirk (I like him, really), I will edit your response:) And PLEASE -- no Shaq. Throw any 500 pound man out there and he is going to disrupt play -- especially when the refs let him get away with anything.

The two that come to my mind: Magic Johnson (absolutely grace in motion) and Michael Jordan (no doubt about it -- the BEST ever). I would like to put Wilt Chamberlain in there, but don't know that he wasn't simply the Shaq of his day. If you look at old film, he looks a head taller than anyone else on the court. But the dude did score 100 points in a single game. And his average for that year was over 50, I think.

Others I have truly enjoyed watching through the years -- especially in their primes: Larry Bird, Dr. J, Jason Kidd, Hakeem.

I don't know if my sons are going to reply to this or not, but I can tell you who their favorite is: John Stockton.

Monday, May 05, 2008

Thank You

I was visiting with the many people who came through at my father-in-law's visitation last Wednesday night. The encouragement I had received from brothers and sisters in Christ had sustained me and my family, and I was feeling very blessed and grateful.

I was speaking with one lady when I said, "I don't know how people without a community of faith make it during times like this." She leaned over to me and with a smile whispered, "Vodka."

I was reminded over and over again over the last few days of just how rich I am. The kindnesses shown by my Decatur church family have been too many to count. The food. The thoughtful words. My elders' being 2nd-milers. People thinking of things we needed before we even realized it. They guys who came over Saturday morning to take care of some chores at my mother-in-law's house. It has blown me away!

But it didn't stop there. The turnout at the graveside in East Texas was incredible! There must have been 200 people there! Of course, my father-in-law had served two churches (Crockett and Groveton) as an elder. Both those churches were within a half hour of the cemetery. I began my ministry in Crockett. So to see loyal friends who waited for a while since we were running late -- it reinvigorated us. Wonderful, wonderful people.

Everyone who participated in the service did incredible jobs. I chose the word "integrity" in shaping my thoughts about my father-in-law. My brother-in-law concluded the service by saying his word for Mr. Jones was "acceptance." How true.

Thank you to everyone who journeyed with us over the past week. Your kindnesses will not be forgotten.