Thursday, October 29, 2009

The Cynic Returns

Maybe the fault lies with my main news source. Beverly and I watch channel 8 (ABC) for all our news coverage. But it seems like they get on one or two stories that to me are not even worthy of coverage to begin with -- and just beat them to death. Every day for months, you can count on the following non-stories:

1. John and Kate plus 8: Do we really need daily updates of this dysfunctional couple? What is newsworthy about it? Of course, I never watched the show to begin with. It's not on ABC, or I would think they were simply wanting to increase the show's ratings.

2. Swine flu: Whether I watch the morning, noon, afternoon or evening news -- there will be a 5-minute segment on this "deadly epidemic." Please don't mishear me on this one. One death from flu is too many. But the normal seasonal flu kills 70,000 people in the US -- and lasts for days in each individual case. The medical folks say that the swine strain is a short-lived, moderate flu that has not even come close to the normal flu season numbers. I understand that the elderly, young and people with health issues are more susceptible, but isn't that true of every strain of flu? Yet every time someone dies, it is like we are keeping a "death ticker." Have we done that with other strains of flu? What am I missing here? (I really am open to greater knowledge on this). Is it just because there is not much other news to scare the public with right now?

3. Michael Jackson: Great talent. Very unique person. Let him rest in peace.

OK, I have to have an occasional cynic day. I feel kind of like Andy Rooney on days like this one. I'm done.

I know nothing about the Phillies, except that they are from Philadelphia. But I am SO pulling for them!

I'll close with a quote from Augustine. Let this one roll around in your head and make its way to your heart today: "By loving the unlovable, You (God) made me lovable."

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

What Kind of Company Do We Keep?

Chew on these quotes from Philip Yancey. They raise issues that I have been struggling with for a year or so. I am embarrassed that I had so missed Jesus that I have not struggled with them for decades:

". . . the Christian church now attracts respectable types who closely resemble the people most suspicious of Jesus on earth. What has happened to reverse the pattern of Jesus' day? Why don't sinners like being around us?"

"Somehow we have created a community of respectability in the church. The down-and-out, who flocked to Jesus when he lived on earth, no longer feel welcome. How did Jesus, the only perfect person in history, manage to attract the notoriously imperfect? And what keeps us from following in his steps today?"

"What was Jesus' secret that we have lost? 'You can know a person by the company he keeps,' the proverb goes."

"You can know a person by the company he keeps." That one haunts me (Rick Ross). We usually use that proverb in a negative way. But what does that it reveal about Jesus? Chew on that one today.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Timely Advice

I haven't posted any Tozier for a couple of months. Remember: This guy wrote over 50 years ago. He sometimes comes across as a little grumpy. But most prophetic voices do. In a world that's prevailing messages are so different, he has a way of bringing me back to what is of ultimate importance.

O Timothy! Guard what was committed to your trust, avoiding the profane and idle babblings and contradictions of what is falsely called knowledge-by professing it some have strayed concerning the faith.... --1 Timothy 6:20-21

The crowds-at-any-price mania has taken a firm grip on American Christianity and is the motivating power back of a shockingly high percentage of all religious activity. Men and churches compete for the attention of the paying multitudes who are brought in by means of any currently popular gadget or gimmick ostensibly to have their souls saved, but, if the truth were told, often for reasons not so praiseworthy as this....

Our constant effort should be to reach as many persons as possible with the Christian message, and for that reason numbers are critically important. But our first responsibility is not to make converts but to uphold the honor of God in a world given over to the glory of fallen man. No matter how many persons we touch with the gospel we have failed unless, along with the message of invitation, we have boldly declared the exceeding sinfulness of man and the transcendent holiness of the Most High God. They who degrade or compromise the truth in order to reach larger numbers, dishonor God and deeply injure the souls of men.

The temptation to modify the teachings of Christ with the hope that larger numbers may "accept" Him is cruelly strong in this day of speed, size, noise, and crowds. But if we know what is good for us, we'll resist it with every power at our command. The Size of the Soul, 117-119.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009


Today we are being blessed with more rain. While most of the metroplex is probably wishing it would go away, we still need it here in the northwestern section. Lake Bridgeport is still pretty low.

For the last few days, we have had a couple of wasps that come out in the late afternoon and invade our den. We had this a couple of years ago, and they went away. I never have been able to figure out where they came from. They stay up toward the ceiling (20 feet in our den), so I can't swat them.

So, Monday night I went to the store and got some foggers that will kill wasps. I set one off yesterday morning when we left the house. By lunchtime, we had two dead wasps.

Late yesterday afternoon, when Beverly had come home before her meeting, she called me to tell me there were two more "nearly dead" ones. She put a glass on top of each one:) I got home and ate, and then settled in to do some studying. Suddenly it was like a Hitchcock movie (well, nearly). Wasps begin buzzing all over the place! As they weakened, they would fall out of the sky. Then I would attack!

As of this morning, the count is up to 28. I don't know what the bag limit is. I just hope I get all of them.

Monday, October 19, 2009


Looks like the perpitrater of the runaway balloon story of last week is going to pay dearly for his few moments of "publicity." I'm not sure what he was thinking he would gain from this.

I watched a few minutes of two shows this weekend that caught my attention -- both on The History Channel. One was about the conspiracy to kill Abraham Lincoln. I found it fascinating. This conspiracy went much further than the killing of the president. That night, the vice president and several other high-level government people were also targeted. Only Booth was able to pull his part off.

This story raised the question as to if Dr. Mudd, who set Booth's broken leg and was a Confederate sympathizer, had actually at one time been a part of the plot.

The other show was about the supposed government cover-up of 9/11. There are actually people who think this whole thing was a government plot. What is scary is that they seem to be relatively intelligent people.

Of course, there are people who deny the Holacaust, who claim that the moon landing actually occurred in the desert Southwest, who say that JFK actually survived the assassination attempt and lived in South America, and that Elvis is still alive. Scary.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Strange Happenings

Surely you have heard the story of the "balloon boy" by now. As the story unfolds, it is sounding more and more like it may have been nothing more than a publicity stunt on the part of the father. If that is the case, I hope there is some way he can be held liable to pay for all the tax-payer funded planes and helicopters that had to be scrambled in an attempt to "rescue" the balloon.

I'm still trying to learn how to link things onto my blog. Sometimes I can. But I could not find the option for linking this video. Paste the below link into your address line and then watch the accompanying video (nobody was hurt):,0,2805301.story

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Intimacy with God

"I want a close relationship with God." "I want to feel the presence of the Lord." This is the heartcry of many Christians. I am one of them.

I preach about such things a lot: Intimacy / relationship with Jesus. But what does that really mean? What does it look like? How does it feel?

I get glimpses of it as I spend time in prayer. Or as I serve others in the name of Jesus.

But I want to WALLOW in it! I want to be immersed in it!

Now, what I'm about to say is going to sound a lot like Paul in Romans 7, but while I want it -- do I really want it? I want it -- but it involves time. I want it -- but it involves discipline. And my time is already allotted to other "stuff." I want it to come easier than it does.

So I often end up settling for being an acquaintance rather than being intimate. And my daily prayers for greater intimacy come across as suggesting that God is more to blame than I am. "Lord, why don't I feel your presence? I want to sense your warmth. Draw me closer." But little is changed in my daily pursuit.

So I am going public, and I invite you to hold me accountable. I want to be more disciplined. I want to spend more time in communion with my Father. To sit quietly over His word. To drink deep. To let Him speak to me.

Because the truth is: He IS with me. It's not that I need to pursue Him -- as if He is running ahead of me. Rather, I need to stop running -- and relax into His embrace.

I feel better already.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Pray for Marriages

I have such a great admiration for Beverly's work! I don't know how she does what she does. I am aware of marriages that are hurting and in crisis, and I hurt so much for them. Yet, her day is filled from morning to evening with that. What a blessing she is! God has affirmed her work here in Wise County so clearly.

I pray daily for hurting marriages. I would ask you to join me in that as well. And I pray that the Father will hold up my woman. I don't know where her energy comes from -- but I know it is fueled by the Holy Spirit.

Speaking of Beverly, I hope you have all seen what is now known as "the giant Beverly." She is doing a depression seminar for women at the Richland Hills Church of Christ next week, and they have her picture on their billboard. A 15-foot Beverly overlooking north Tarrant County! Ominous.

I wish I had a picture.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Sports Recap

I'm kind of going through a dry spell in blogging ideas right now. Yet, I like the discipline of posting something fairly regularly. So with nothing much on my mind, here goes:

I can't ever remember actually rooting for the Cowboys to lose -- but I was yesterday. JJones has absolutely turned me against a life-long allegiance. And while I don't think even a loss to the lowly Chiefs would wake him up to how he has wrecked this team, there is always hope. He is an opportunist who is taking advantage of a loyal fan base. But that fan base may be eroding for him.

As the Cowboys scored in overtime, you would have thought they had just won the Super Bowl the way he was so ecstatic. If that had been MY team, barely squeaking out a win against one of the worst teams in the league -- I don't think I would have been celebrating. There are definitely problems with this team.

ACU holds onto its #2 national ranking with a victory Saturday. Go Wildcats!


I thoroughly enjoyed watching the Presidents' Cup. Tiger and Phil are both at the top of their games, which hopefully will make for an interesting 2010. The 18-year old budding star from Japan looks like the real deal. As Beverly and I watched some of it, I commented that I don't know of another sport where there is such a large percentage of guys committed to family and faith. It is really refreshing. And yet the irony is that the captains for both sides were anything but that.

Thursday, October 08, 2009

Presidents Cup

Today begins the Presidents Cup, in which 12 of the USA's best golfers take on an international field (excluding Europe, who participates in the Ryder Cup). I love these kinds of competitions. We get to see guys partnering with each other in different formats. Golf is usually a very individualistic sport, but these competitions place them as a team.

The Ryder Cup has been going on for a long time, and there is a much more intense rivalry. In fact, it often gets a little smash-mouthing. The Presidents Cup is not there yet. It has only been played 8 times (each event is played every other year), beginning in 1993. The Internationals have only won once -- so it has not developed much of a rivalry yet. I guess the closest thing was when Vejay Singh's caddie showed up on the 1st tee in a match against Tiger Woods with a cap that said, "Tiger Who?" Not the smartest person.

Two years ago, the event was in Canada. It was the site of the famous "Woody Austin taking a dive" moment.

I'm looking forward to watching.

Interesting interview on the Golf Channel yesterday with Bill Clinton. He was asked if he could have anyone in history, who would his 4 dinner guests be. One of them was Jesus. He said this (not a quote, but a paraphrase): "As the founder of my faith, I would like to ask him what he meant by 'Render unto Caesar the things that are Caesar's and unto God the things that are God's.'" He said he would like to know where Jesus would actually fall in the "separation of church and state."

Wednesday, October 07, 2009

The Name of Jesus

I'm rereading another Yancey book, The Jesus I Thought I Knew. I love this:

When I switched on my computer this morning, Microsoft Windows flashed the date, implicitly acknowledging that, whatever you may believe about it, the birth of Jesus was so important that it split history into two parts. Everything that has ever happened on this planet falls into a category of before Christ or after Christ.

Richard Nixon got carried away with excitement in 1969 when Apollo astronauts first landed on the moon. "It's the greatest day since Creation!" crowed the president, until Billy Graham solemnly reminded him of Christmas and Easter. By any measure of history Graham was right. This Galilean, who in his lifetime spoke to fewer people than would fill just one of the many stadia Graham has filled, changed the world more than any other person. He introduced a new force field into history, and now holds the allegiance of a third of all people on earth.

Today, people even use Jesus' name to curse by. How strange it would sound if, when a businessman missed a golf putt, he yelled, "Thomas Jefferson!" or if a plumber screamed "Mahatma Gandhi!" when his pipe wrench mashed a finger. We cannot get away from this man Jesus.

(H)e positioned himself as the dividing point of life -- my life . . . According to Jesus, what I think about him and how I respond will determine my destiny for all eternity.

Tuesday, October 06, 2009

Letterman Revisited

The following comments were on a Smartmarriages email last week.  I know that Letterman has made a public confession and asked his wife to forgive him, and I commend him for that.  He has also said he is going to work hard to save his marriage.  Yet, I found these comments to be enlightening as to our times:  
A reader wrote the following:   The public reaction to the latest admission of extramarital affairs - this time by David Letterman - may signify a new level of acceptance (or even approval) of affairs. Up until now, there has been a generally critical reaction from the public to the exposure of an affair. But this time - after Dave used his show to turn this admission into a 'funny story' - the audience laughed throughout and actually applauded several times!
Diane, who oversees the website, responded:                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              This was last night and it's all over the news this morning. Peggy pegs it - it's the changing of the social consciousness (or conscience) -- normalizing this behavior and lowering our expectations of monogamy -- that does the damage. Or as Scott Stanley, commitment researcher, might put it, there goes another External Constraint as the social stigma against infidelity is further undermined -- as infidelity is turned into one big joke, as something so cool. Boys being boys. Employers with power, being employers with power. 
Letterman effectively reduces the moral question to, *What's worse blackmail or infidelity?* Turns the blackmailer into the moron while he casts himself as the protector of the reputations of his prey - of the women who worked for him. Amazing. Bet his wife isn't laughing. Wonder if Harry (his son) will get the message. Daddy my hero: the cool, funny guy and the protector of women. 
Beverly reminds us that research done even by secular marriage "experts" repeatedly confirms that monogamous marriages result in greater happiness, fulfillment, sexual satisfaction and peace.  That is not the message of Hollywood or the media.  But it is a message that needs to be heard.  

Monday, October 05, 2009

Monday Memos

I have no way of measuring this for certain, but my guess is that the once-overflowing Romo bandwagon now has some vacant seating. 
I saw this quote from Robert Fulghum on my Smartmarriages email.  It is certainly worth thinking about: 
Don't worry that children never listen to you; worry that they are
always watching you.
We began LifeGroups last night at our church.  I am SO excited about the potential this has for building relationships and meeting needs among us.  I am grateful to our elders for their vision.  May the Lord be glorified through them! 

Friday, October 02, 2009

Letterman's Confession

I saw a clip this morning from David Letterman's show last night. Apparently someone was trying to blackmail him with information about him having had affairs with female staff members. So he candidly admitted on his show that he had. To his credit, he did not make light of it or act proud of it. But what I found incredible was that when he said, "Yes, I have had sex with female staff members," the audience erupted in applause!

Isn't this the kind of thing that politicians have had to resign over? Why the double standard?

Actually, whether politicians or TV celebrities or average Joe's, this is a sad statement on where we are as a culture. Not that I am surprised. Only another reminder of the depths to which we have fallen.