Thursday, July 29, 2010

Part of the Journey

I went to a funeral yesterday at which one of our elders, Mike McDowell, officiated. He shared a quote from C. S. Lewis's book, A Grief Observed. Lewis wrote this book after the untimely death of his beloved wife. In it he wrote, “Her absence is like the sky, spread over everything.”

Words could not be truer.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Through the Eyes of a Child

Attending the Rangers' game last Thursday night with my son Jonathan and grandson Jed was a real treat. It was Jed's 1st major-league game, and this 4-year old was wide-eyed for the entire game. He especially kept an eye on Josh Hamilton and Michael Young. When Young hit a solo homer early in the game, Jed was SO excited. He took in every detail of the game, the ballpark and all the proceedings. Never a sign of boredom. I'm glad I got to be there.

So Dez Bryant refused to carry Roy Williams' shoulder pads. Is this a big deal or not? After all, rookies have long had to endure razing from the veterans. But there is something amusing about a guy who has yet to win the respect of the Cowboys fans or coaches expecting a high-profile rookie to carry his shoulder pads. I mean, if it had even been Miles Austin telling Dez to carry HIS shoulder pads, I might feel differently. But Roy Williams? Seems to me HE ought to be carrying all the receivers' shoulder pads since they have been having to carry him for two years.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Rangers' Game: Is it Air-Conditioned?

Hard to believe it has been 5 months today since Jenny went to be with Jesus. In some ways, I feel I am progressing in the healing process. Yet, in other ways, it is still as raw as it was on February 22nd. It depends on what moment of the day it is -- and there is nothing to predict when those feelings hit. Grief is a monster.

My son and grandson are dragging me out to a Rangers' game tonight. I like watching a Rangers' game on TV, but sitting out in the 100 degree heat doesn't appeal to me like it used to. Now if it was playing golf in it -- that would be different.

Actually, I am looking forward to my time with them. Sometimes I just like to play the role of the grumpy grampy.

Jimmy Johnson on Survivor? The easiest way to get him eliminated would be for the rival team to steal his hairspray. He would probably immediately quit.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Radical Discipleship

A. W. Tozer wrote many years ago, and yet what he wrote seems so relevant to today as well. Sometimes he comes across a bit grumpy, but his words ought to alert our consciences. The following is from today's devotional reading:

The church is afflicted by dry rot. This is best explained when the psychology of nonexpectation takes over and spiritual rigidity sets in, which is an inability to visualize anything better, a lack of desire for improvement.

There are many who respond by arguing, "I know lots of evangelical churches that would like to grow, and they do their best to get the crowds in. They want to grow and have contests to make their Sunday school larger." That is true, but they are trying to get people to come and share their rut. They want people to help them celebrate the rote and finally join in the rot. Because the Holy Spirit is not given a chance to work in our services, nobody is repenting, nobody is seeking God, nobody is spending a day in quiet waiting on God with open Bible seeking to mend his or her ways. Nobody is doing it-- we just want more people. But more people for what? More people to come and repeat our dead services without feeling, without meaning, without wonder, without surprise? More people to join us in the bondage to the rote? For the most part, spiritual rigidity that cannot bend is too weak to know just how weak it is. Rut, Rot or Revival: The Condition of the Church, 8! ,9.

I had begun reading Francis Chan's book, Crazy Love, before Jenny got sick. I have picked it back up and have been reawakened to Jesus' call to discipleship. Chan is a radical disciple. Google his name and read about him on wikipedia.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Still Thinking Fruity

I shared last week about spending time in sabbatical reading about the fruit of the Spirit (getting fruity). The following really has no connection, but I guess fruit is just on my mind right now.

On Thursday I bought some nectarines. They were so good I nearly went back to the store to get some more. I love them when they are crunchy -- between green and ripe. Anyway, Saturday our friends (Randy and Linda Davis) brought us a sack full of nectarines from their tree. And they are delicious.

As I ate one on Saturday, I told Beverly, "This is my favorite fruit." Then I remembered how much I love fresh pineapple and a good navel orange. It got me to thinking. I did not realize that I am really a fruit lover! Imagine the fun God had creating such incredible flavors for us!

So, here are my favorite fruits:
1. Fresh pineapple -- It's worth going on a cruise or an all-inclusive resort just to get plateloads of fresh pineapple. Nothing beats it.
2. Nectarines -- not green, but not ripe.
3. Naval oranges. If they are pithy, forget it.
4. Fresh peaches. I don't like the feel of biting through the fuzz. But if I trim it off, a fresh peach may be (next to pineapple) the perfect flavor sensation.
5. Avocado. Think fresh, tableside guacamole.
5. Red seedless grapes
6. Banana -- again, not green and not overly ripe.
7. Watermelon

Not making my list of favorites:
1. Any melon other than watermelon. Cantaloupe sets my teeth on edge, as do honeydews, etc.
2. Persimmons

That leaves a lot of fruits that didn't make either list. Like plums, strawberries, grapefruit, etc. I like most of these, but not like I do my top 7.

So how about you?

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Desperate Faith and Hope

Right now I am in a season in which faith and hope have lost some of their "umph." I keep asking God why He made faith so hard. I mean, a person who is honestly seeking Him -- couldn't He just give that person a little peek?

I know what Paul said in Romans 1 about "what may be known about God is plain . . . clearly seen." So am I just lumped in with the godless and wicked he mentions there because I am struggling to see what is supposed to be so plain and clear? The creation of the universe: Yes, that is plain and clear. The deafening silence of the last 5 months is not.

And while I have so often claimed from the pulpit that hope is "confident assurance," right now my hope is neither confident or assured. It is a desperate clawing to just find a fingerhold. So I completely understand the anguish of David in Psalm 13, when he wrote, "How long, O Lord? Will you forget me forever? How long will you hide your face from me? How long must I wrestle with my thoughts and every day have sorrow in my heart? . . . Look on me and answer, O Lord my God. Give light to my eyes . . ."

And so I once again come back to the words of Peter to Jesus, "Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life."

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Back Home

I am back in the office today after a wonderful week in Orlando. My greatest regret is that I only got to play golf 6 times. I do feel much more fruity, as I spent a lot of time in Galatians 5: 22-25. It is humbling to realize how much more of my life needs to be surrendered to the Holy Spirit.

Tomorrow begins the British Open (or as the Brits would say, "THE Open"). I am going to enjoy watching it and no matter where they are on the course, saying, "Hey, I was there!" Again, if you watch it and they show #11 tee box, remember that Beverly and I shared communion with our friends there.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Another First

Beverly and I are having a great week in Orlando. She is soaking up information like a sponge, and I am getting fruity. I am reading about the fruit of the Spirit, and becoming convicted by how far I have to go in REALLY letting Him loose in my life. I will be preaching through this beginning in the Fall.

Today marks another first since Jenny died, and I am finding firsts to be really tough. Twelve years ago today, Jenny married David. I thank God for David, and am grateful for the day he became a part of our family.

Please keep David in your prayers today. He is a good man who loves the Lord, and I know this is a really challenging day for him. This morning he is also co-speaking at the church where Josh preaches, so I pray blessings on both of them.

Friday, July 02, 2010


How is this for a quote?: “Jesus promised those who would follow Him only three things. . .that they would be absurdly happy, entirely fearless, and always in trouble.”

Thursday, July 01, 2010

The Faces of Jesus

I am continually trying to think up new ways of getting out of old ruts. My experiments may seem elementary to many of you, and many of the things I try are things I have SAID for years -- but not put into practice.

Right now, I am trying to remind myself as I enter into any setting that each person I see is made in the image of God. I pray that God will help me to see Jesus in each person. It is amazing the difference it makes. I am hopeful that this will become a new rut. I feel pretty safe with it.

Josh and I got home last night from Eastland at about 10: 45 PM -- expecting the grandkids to all be in bed. As I opened the door, I was greeted by Jed (4) and Truitt (3). They both immediately began shouting, "Grampy, you're a double-goober with a cherry on your head." Where do these kids get such things? Oops, never mind.