Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Grandkids and Root Canal (Don't Get Them Confused)

Our house has become a beehive of activity. Beverly brought our Houston grandkids back to Decatur yesterday. Malaya is with us, as is David. And she brought her brand-new puppy. It's a Maltese-poodle -- and is cute as can be. But I have to watch each step I take, because she loves to cuddle against my feet as I walk. Add to that the fact that every toy known to man is out on our floor -- making our house a virtual minefield.

Oh, and our Memphis family is joining us tonight!

This afternoon I am going to see my favorite, wonderful, always-so-gentle dentist (I have to lay it on thick because he reads my blog). I will be having a root canal. I've heard horror stories about them, but I'm ready to get it taken care of. And I think dentistry has improved methods of dealing with this -- right, Doc?

Friday, June 25, 2010

Happy Birthday, Jonathan!

Today my YOUNGEST child turns 27! Hard to believe. Happy birthday, Jonathan!

How about the Rangers? Eleven straight wins. Last night's come-from-behind win was fun. It's a shame they have Tom Hicks' bankruptcy hanging over them right now.

And an 11-hour tennis match? Of course, they got a night's sleep before the last hour. Ten hours of tennis would be pretty grueling. Makes me feel even sorrier for the loser of the match. He deserves SOMETHING!

Wednesday, June 23, 2010


Faith -- what does that mean? I think for me, without even realizing it, faith has meant a system of belief. And yet, that is the 4th meaning in Webster's Dictionary.

Everything in my life is being lived in a post-February 22nd way. And faith has now been stripped down to what I believe Biblical faith is really all about. Webster's 1st definition is "allegiance to . . . a person", and #2 is "belief and trust in God." Those are where my life is being lived now. Like a desperate drowning person holding onto a rope for dear life with no other options to turn to -- that's where I am today.

We have often used Hebrews 11: 1 as a definition of faith. It says, "Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see." I love the verse. But let's be honest: It sounds like a riddle. Does that REALLY tell us what faith is? Sure of what we hope for? Certain of what we do not see? It seems to me that the writer is telling us that faith boils down to a choice. A choice to TRUST. It can't be proved. It can't be diagrammed.

And while faith in God and the gospel is not blind faith -- it is still a choice to trust what we cannot prove. We have many choices. We can choose atheism. Sorry, that takes more blind faith than anything I know of. We can choose Buddhism, or Hinduism, or Islam, etc. As I consider them all, I keep coming back to this simple statement of faith: "Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life."

Jesus said, "I am the way, the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me." And I CHOOSE to put my faith in that.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Father's Day

Yesterday was a really difficult day for me. Actually, it was brutal. My 1st Father's Day to ever spend without the one who originally bestowed that honor on me. And ironically, my text yesterday was the 5th Commandment: Honor your father and mother. This was a challenge for a couple of reasons. 1. Coming from a dysfunctional family, I find this commandment to be particularly difficult. But 2, it has a promise that if you do honor your parents you will live long in the land. Well, my daughter honored me and Beverly, and she didn't receive the promise. I know there is obviously more meant there than length of life. But when you are where we are right now, things look really different.

Also, today I am officiating at my 1st funeral since Jenny died. As I sat before my Bible late yesterday afternoon trying to come up with words for a grieving family, I was overwhelmed myself with grief. I'm glad no one else was in the office at the time.

I was blessed to be able to play Champions Golf Club in Houston last week. That course has hosted a U.S. Open, Ryder Cup, and several Players' Championships. It was a real treat.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

An Exciting Day!

Today is an exciting day for me. Beverly and I are heading to Houston where I will speak at Bammal Road Church of Christ tonight. Of course, we also get to spend some time with our Houston grandkids.

But the highlight will be after I speak tonight. Malaya, my oldest granddaughter, is in Houston already. And tonight she wants her Grampy to baptize her!

Interesting: Her Grammy was 10 when she was baptized. And I had the honor of baptizing her mom on August 21, 1988 (Beverly and my 12th anniversary). She was also 10. I am confident that Malaya will mature into the spiritual giant that her Grammy and mommy did.

I don't know for sure what Heaven is like. I do know that Scripture says there is rejoicing in Heaven at an event such as tonight's. So I picture my precious daughter, Jenny, rounding up a party in Heaven right now (she always was the organizer). I can't imagine anything that would make her more proud than this.

Monday, June 14, 2010

More on Sabbath

I am almost obsessed right now with the idea of sabbath. I would love to have people share what that looks like for them in their own spiritual journeys. Sad to say, it is almost an unknown discipline among American Christians. We have so bought into our culture's mantra of busyness being a virtue. It has turned into a game of one-upmanship. "I'm busier than you are" -- as if that makes me more valuable. But who would say to someone, "I am less disciplined than you are"? Because in reality, that is what "busyness" really reveals.

Beverly and I have spent some time over the weekend talking about how we can set aside a sabbath time for ourselves. Time of quiet -- to reconnect with God. Can we really set aside a whole day every week for that? I don't know. Right now, we are talking more like an afternoon.

Again, I would love to hear how that works for you, or even ideas you are considering.

Friday, June 11, 2010


What a blessing Beverly and I received last night at her fundraiser. To see the way her ministry is affirmed by our community is so encouraging. And the sensitivity shown to us was gratifying. God has SO affirmed us being where we are.

I am preaching through the 10 Commandments right now. This week is the 4th Commandment, that pertains to the "Sabbath." When we approach Scripture as if it is a legal document rather than a call to know God, we end up as empty shells of what God intended for us. I think that is true when it comes to this commandment. In fact, the call to "Remember the Sabbath day and keep it holy" is the main reason many will say, "We are not under the 10 Commandments any more." It threatens our "meeting on Sunday" doctrine.

Well, we meet on Sunday because it is resurrection day! But to throw out the Sabbath command because we don't meet on Saturday is to miss God's "health care plan" for His people. God knows how we operate. And He knows we need a day of rest. Not more activity crammed into another day, but a day of rest. A day to reorient ourselves to Him.

I don't do very well at this. Even in my leisure, I fill it with activities (often mindless ones like watching TV). What would a day of rest look like? I don't have it figured out yet, but I am going to make this my quest. I would love to hear from you.

Please pray for our group that left for Ecuador this morning. They will be gone for a week.

Wednesday, June 09, 2010

Thanks to Good Friends

Tomorrow night Beverly will hold her annual "information and fund-raiser" event. She usually holds it in April, but had decided to forego having one this year. That is, until a few of her dear friends decided that THEY would do it for her. So tomorrow night it will be a done deal.

I am blown away at the friends we have. I know of few things more gratifying. And it leaves me humbled.

The Lord has multiplied Beverly's ministry here in Decatur beyond what I would have ever dreamed. She now has another part-time therapist working with her. And this is all possible because of the generous support of friends and people in Wise County who see the need, and how Beverly is helping to mend lives.

So pray for tomorrow night. Through this ministry, life patterns are changing that will affect generations to come. May the Spirit fill the banquet room with the fragrance of Jesus.

Monday, June 07, 2010

Walking By Faith -- FIRST

Anselm of Canterbury (c. 1033 – 21 April 1109) was Archbishop of Canterbury from 1093 to 1109. He has been called the "Father of scholasticism," which was a movement in the Middle Ages that desired to reconcile Greek philosophy with Christian teachings. He is perhaps best-known as the originator of the "ontological argument" for the existence of God -- a system of logical proof for God's existence.

All that to say this: I have come to really appreciate a prayer he prayed, as over the last few months my nicely-bundled theology has been turned on its head. He once prayed, "I do not try to understand you so that I can trust you. I trust you so I can understand you."

It fits nicely with another quote that resurfaces regularly for me right now. It was advice given to me by a preacher friend. "Learn to be content in the mystery."

Thursday, June 03, 2010

Comforting Words From an Old Hymn

William Cowper, a poet and hymn writer from the 18th century, suffered from severe mental illness. He tried to commit suicide. After spending a year in an insane asylum, he moved in with a Christian couple who cared for him. He continued to be plagued by mental illness, which might explain how he could write such great poetry.

The following verse from his most famous hymn, "God Moves in a Mysterious Way," illustrates his confidence, though fragile, in God's kind sovereignty. Although written in old English, it means a lot to me right now.

Judge not the Lord by feeble sense,
But trust Him for His grace;
Behind a frowning providence
He hides a smiling face.

His purposes will ripen fast,
Unfolding every hour;
The bud may have a bitter taste,
But sweet will be the flower.

Blind unbelief is sure to err,
And scan His work in vain;
God is His own interpreter,
And He will make it plain.

Wednesday, June 02, 2010

A Feeble Blog Attempt

Every weekday morning I sit before my computer trying to decide whether to blog or not. Right now I am going through a desert period where ideas just don't come. Or maybe it's more like they don't seem too relevant these days. I used to blog about sports every so often, but that just seems empty. Politics? It's a joke. Pretty much all I can think to write about is Jenny and heaven.

So here is a half-hearted try.

Oh, good. Another Lakers-Celtics final. These teams have won over half of the NBA championships in history. Why even have a regular season?

Things sure appear to be headed for a war in the Middle East. I pray that will not happen.

I used to work for the company that was bought out by BP (Amoco Oil). Amoco had a great safety and work record. BP can't say that. They have had fatalities at the very refinery I worked at. And this oil spill is a complete embarrassment. I am all for off-shore drilling, but how about let's have plans in place for when something goes wrong.

I am not saying that the Obama administration SHOULD be held liable for its handing of this crisis, but I am wondering how the media would be spinning it if Bush were still president.

Oh, well. There is my feeble attempt at blogging today.