Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving!

I want to wish all of you and your families a happy, peace-filled Thanksgiving.  I count the Decatur Church of Christ, behind Jesus and my family, as my greatest blessing.  

I went to a Mavs' game last night with my three sons (Yes, David is my son, too).  We had a great time!  And the Mavs won!

Today we head to the greens.

Enjoy this one from A. W. Tozer:

There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit. --Romans 8:1

God knows that sin is a terrible thing-and the devil knows it, too. So he follows us around and as long as we will permit it, he will taunt us about our past sins.

As for myself, I have learned to talk back to him on this score. I say, "Yes, Devil, sin is terrible-but I remind you that I got it from you! And I remind you, Devil, that everything good-- forgiveness and cleansing and blessing-everything that is good I have freely received from Jesus Christ!"

Everything that is bad and that is against me I got from the devil--so why should he have the effrontery and the brass to argue with me about it? Yet he will do it because he is the devil, and he is committed to keeping God's children shut up in a little cage, their wings clipped so that they can never fly! I Talk Back to the Devil, 6.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Pushing 400!

Update:  As of about 1:10, we had given out over 380 turkeys!

W.A.R.M. Up Those Turkeys

Today is a busy day at W.A.R.M.  We will give away 300 turkeys, along with pies.  I plan to go help this afternoon.  I LOVE being involved there.

Also, our church will open a clothes closet for the county -- with a startup date of February 1. Decatur does not currently have one.  The Bridgeport Church of Christ operates one.  We have a number of people here at our church that are excited to be involved in this ministry.

I am SO grateful to be in a place where we are concerned about the poor.  I have been reminded in recent years of just how important this is to God.  The prophets stress this theme over and over again.  Jesus has SO much to say about it, as well.  In fact, in two weeks I am going to begin a series (it may turn into more of an epic) on the Gospel of Luke.  Of the 4 Gospels, this one tells us more about Jesus' emphasis upon ministry to the poor and disenfranchised.

A sign of tough times:  Buick has dropped Tiger Woods.  He has been receiving $7 million a year for his endorsement (commercials, golf bag logo).  I hope he doesn't have to let his house go back as a result of this financial setback.

Three finalists for the Davey O'brien Award (given to the top college QB):  Colt McCoy, Graham Harrell and Sam Bradford.  ALL from the Big 12.  What a turnaround for this conference.  It seems like only a couple of years ago that pundits were saying it was one of the weakest conferences.  Now it has 3 teams ranked in the top 10 (Texas, Tech, and OU), and others hanging around (Missouri, Kansas and Oklahoma State).      

This is a late addition to my blog:  I just received word that Prentice Meader, longtime minister at Prestoncrest Church of Christ, passed away this morning in Nashville.  Prentice was a good example to me of how much more positive our influence can be when we emphasize Jesus in our preaching.  Our prayers go out to the family.    

Monday, November 24, 2008

No, It Wasn't Basketball

Do you want to build up your upper body in only three hours?  Go to an ACU football game and follow the Aggie tradition of doing a pushup for every point scored -- after every score.  Last Saturday you would have done several hundred, since the final score was 93-68.

It reminds me of the old Aggie joke.  It seems that A&M bribed the head referee into sounding the final gun to end the game early in the 4rd quarter with Texas leading 7-0.  The Longhorns left the field, thinking the game was over.  Three plays later, A&M scored.  But they lost 7-6 when they went for 2 and didn't make it.

(Aggie fans:  Save your wrath.  I love the Aggies.)     

How do two teams score 161 points in one game?  That's 23 touchdowns!  Nearly 6 every quarter.  A score every 2-1/2 minutes!  The paper said ACU scored every time they had the ball, except once when they missed a field goal.  I'm told that West Texas A&M started kicking on-side kicks after their scores, hoping they might keep the ball out of ACU's hands. 

Yesterday we had a memorial service at our church for my friend Jerry Nicholas.  His life was an inspiration for many as he battled cancer with such dignity and peace.  I think my favorite story was when he had his leg amputated, the family went home and dressed as pirates for a family picture.  It was his "amputation celebration" picture.  He sat in front as the peg-legged pirate.  What class! 

Friday, November 21, 2008

Football Weekend

I have real mixed feelings about the big game tomorrow between Oklahoma and Tech.  I really want Texas to be in a better position for the BCS, but I love the Tech story this year too.  I really admire Leach and what he is able to do in Lubbock.   And I have NEVER rooted for OU.  So that's my great dilemma for today.

Also, here's a shout-out to ACU, who earned a bye last week in the NCAA II playoffs.  They are playing their 1st playoff game this weekend, ranked #2 in the nation.  GO WILDCATS!  I never thought I would see this day again. 

And the Cowboys?  Pac-Man is back.  Can you believe it?

Thursday, November 20, 2008

The Pot Calling the Kettle Black

Maybe it's the cynic in me.  If what I am about to say is wrong to you -- or if I am missing something, I welcome your comments.  

Yesterday the CEOs of the Big 3 Automakers appeared before Congress to request a bailout.  The media exposed how these men had flown to Washington on private jets at a cost of $20,000 round trip.  I'm thinking, "Bad PR move, guys."

But here's what got me:  Congress then wanted to beat these guys up over this.  They had them on the hot seat -- continuously questioning them about this.  Was it a big blunder?  Yes.  Should it be addressed?  Yes.  But by Congress -- the greatest wasteful spenders anywhere?  Spare me the utter hypocrisy.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Extra! Extra! The Daily Paper

I grew up in a home in which I would get up and get ready for school, then sit down to a quick breakfast and the sports page.  I would pour over the stats -- be it baseball box scores or football and basketball game stats.  I guess I have begun my days like that for 40+ years.  

As an adult, the order goes like this:  sports page to business page to front page to section B to Lifestyle (and comics) to crossword puzzle.  It throws me into confusion when my kids are at home.  I go for a section -- AND ONE OF THEM HAS IT!  Do you know what that does to someone who borders on obsessive-compulsive? 

Well, I came within days of canceling my daily newspaper this month.  I would not want to be someone that is mid-career in the newspaper business.  I can't see newspapers being around for too many more years.  We have that information too readily available in other places -- and on our electronic devices that we have such an infatuation with.

I had about convinced myself that canceling the paper would free up some time for me each day.  After all, my personality type is such that I can't get a daily paper -- and then not read it.  I had told Beverly that I would buy her a Sudoku book and I would get a crossword puzzle book.  But when push came to shove, I finally caved in.  I renewed my subscription.  So for at least three more months, I will continue my 40-year tradition.     

Monday, November 17, 2008

Obama On Family

I want to share with you some excerpts from an article I found to be interesting as well as encouraging.   Let us be praying for President-elect Obama and his family.

Atlanta Journal Constitution
November 16, 2008
Cynthia Tucker

President-elect Barack Obama and his wife, Michelle, are members of a minority: They are a black married couple.

Wed 16 years in October, the Obamas conceived their two daughters, Malia, 10, and Sasha, 7, after the wedding. While that kind of traditional couplehood is losing popularity in every corner of the country, it has all but disappeared in black America, where more than 70 percent of children are born outside marriage.


Just in case you want to read it again, here are core remarks from the speech President-elect Obama made at The Apostolic Church of God in Chicago this Father's Day, June 15, 2008:

Good morning. It¹s good to be home on this Father's Day with my girls, and it's an honor to spend some time with all of you today in the house of our Lord. . .

. . . .Of all the rocks upon which we build our lives, we are reminded today that family is the most important. And we are called to recognize and honor how critical every father is to that foundation. They are teachers and coaches. They are mentors and role models. They are examples of success and the men who constantly push us toward it.

But if we are honest with ourselves, we¹ll admit that what too many fathers also are is missing -- missing from too many lives and too many homes. They have abandoned their responsibilities, acting like boys instead of men. And the foundations of our families are weaker because of it.

You and I know how true this is in the African-American community. We know that more than half of all black children live in single-parent households, a number that has doubled -- doubled -- since we were children. We know the statistics -- that children who grow up without a father are five times more likely to live in poverty and commit crime; nine times more likely to drop out of schools and twenty times more likely to end up in prison. They are more likely to have behavioral problems, or run away from home, or become teenage parents themselves. And the foundations of our community are weaker because of it.

How many times in the last year has this city lost a child at the hands of another child? How many times have our hearts stopped in the middle of the night with the sound of a gunshot or a siren? How many teenagers have we seen hanging around on street corners when they should be sitting in a classroom? How many are sitting in prison when they should be working, or at least looking for a job? How many in this generation are we willing to lose to poverty or violence or addiction? How many?

Yes, we need more cops on the street. Yes, we need fewer guns in the hands of people who shouldn't have them. Yes, we need more money for our schools, and more outstanding teachers in the classroom, and more afterschool programs for our children. Yes, we need more jobs and more job training and more opportunity in our communities.

But we also need families to raise our children. We need fathers to realize that responsibility does not end at conception. We need them to realize that what makes you a man is not the ability to have a child -- it's the courage to raise one.

We need to help all the mothers out there who are raising these kids by themselves; the mothers who drop them off at school, go to work, pick up them up in the afternoon, work another shift, get dinner, make lunches, pay the bills, fix the house, and all the other things it takes both parents to do. So many of these women are doing a heroic job, but they need support. They need another parent. Their children need another parent. That's what keeps their foundation strong. It¹s what keeps the foundation of our country strong. . . .

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Al-Queda's "Victory"

I don't usually blog on weekends, but I read an interesting article this morning. It seems that al-Queda is taking credit for ruining the economies of the West, and feels that they are proving victorious in their cowardly acts of terrorism.

Now let me see if I understand this: The West (along with the rest of the world) is going through an economic downturn that is a part of the historical cycle. More severe? Yes. Many will have to curtail purchases and make some cuts in areas.

But al-Queda is hiding in caves -- staying one step ahead of being taken out. Many of their higher-ups already have been. And the price of crude has dropped -- drying up many of their resources. Also, the world seems to be committed to finding alternative fuel sources -- which will hurt al-Queda even more.

Seems like a hollow victory to me. Am I missing something?

Friday, November 14, 2008


It's good to be back home.  We got in late yesterday afternoon, moved around like zombies until 8:30 last night when we both fell asleep.  But after a good night's rest, right now I'm feeling OK.

The trip was everything I had hoped for and more.  Moslems require that all of their faith try to make a trip to Mecca in their lifetime.  I think we Christians would do well to make a trip to the roots of our faith as well.  It is not a vacation; it's a pilgrimage.  But the rewards were life-changing.  

Today I just want to mention how much I was impacted by the idea of "shalom."  Our outstanding tour guide, Anton (an Arabic Christian who grew up near Nazareth) continually asked us to pray for "shalom" (peace) for his land.  He was a brilliant man and we were especially blessed to have him as our guide.

We met Sunday night for worship in our hotel.  Joining us was a preacher for an Arabic Church of Christ just outside of Jerusalem.  He shared with us the struggles he faces every day.  We asked him what he needed from us.  I was moved by his simple unselfish requests:  1.  Shalom for his land, and 2.  He needs money for Arabic bibles.

Join me in praying the blessing of shalom.  Our only hope for that in this world is the Prince of Shalom -- Jesus.