Monday, August 30, 2010

Coming Attractions

This week should be an exciting one. I am finishing up a 4-week series on baptism, and anticipating beginning a series on the Fruit of the Spirit. Also, our Bible class quarter changes with next week. I will be teaching Church History 2, beginning with Martin Luther. And on Wednesday nights, the men's class will be sharing from Francis Chan's Crazy Love, and I will be leading that discussion.

Further, our Houston grandkids are here this week with their mom. So much fun!

And tomorrow, I have been invited to play in a golf scramble at Cowboys. That is always a treat. So, it will be an action-packed week.

I know preseason football doesn't mean anything, but surely die-hard Cowboy fans have to be wondering what is going on. After all, Jerry Jones says this is a Super Bowl-bound team. And we all know that when Jerry speaks, you can take it to the bank.

Come to think of it, has there been a team over the last 15 years that Jerry didn't think was at least playoff bound?

It's hard to think football when it's 98 degrees outside. But it's here! High schools began last weekend, and colleges kick it off this week. I love Fall Saturdays, when I can get up and do a little work and then by afternoon sit down to watch football. I usually double-task (as I do when I am watching any sports), but there is just something about the atmosphere of it.

Go Frogs!

Thursday, August 26, 2010

The Best Country in the World

I borrowed the following from Mike Cope's blog, and thought it was interesting. i read the complete article, and Newsweek used a number of criteria to determine their ranking: education, health, quality of life, economic dynamism and political environment. I would be curious to hear your reaction. Here it is:

Newsweek’s cover story this week is entitled “The Best Country in the World Is . . . .” Here is their top ten:

Screen shot 2010-08-23 at 4.25.17 PM
1. Finland
2. Switzerland
3. Sweden
4. Australia
5. Luxembourg
6. Norway
7. Canada
8. Japan
10. Denmark

It was a good survey if you live in northern Europe! Congrats to Scandinavia.

In the next ten spots you pick up (in order) the United States, Germany, New Zealand, United Kingdom, South Korea, France, Ireland, Austria, Belgium, and Singapore.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Good Trip to Tennessee

We had a wonderful time in Memphis. Two and a half days of hanging with our Tennessee grandkids and their parents. Got to play golf with Josh. Took the kids to Chucky Cheese (my 1st experience there). Truitt absolutely had a blast. Ate delicious pork barbecue. Celebrated Noah's birthday. We will celebrate our anniversary later.

Yesterday was especially good. The Sycamore View Church of Christ is a wonderful body of believers that have encouraged our weak knees in many ways in these last 6 months. I was blessed to be able to preach at both their services, and Beverly and I were interviewed by Josh during the Parents of Teens class. That went especially well.

Thanks to so many of you who prayed us through the weekend. In some ways, 6 months seems like only a few days. The full reality of life without our precious daughter still has not fully sunk in. Beverly reminded me that Saturday was not only Noah's birthday and our anniversary. It was also Jenny's 22nd spiritual birthday. She was baptized on August 21, 1988.

Our doctor who sang over Jenny as she went to be with Jesus sent us an email attachment of him singing "It is Well With My Soul." What a gift and what a blessing.

Today is Malaya's 1st day of 5th grade. She and David will be on my mind all day.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Off to Memphis

Thursday morning Beverly and I will head east to Memphis, Tennessee. We are going there to celebrate August 21st. For 33 years, that was the day we celebrated our anniversary. Now it has been hijacked from us by a cute little dude named Noah. Saturday is his 1st birthday. So we will celebrate our anniversary later.

34 years! Wow! That makes me sound old. I will tell you this: The incredible woman I married on August 21, 1976 just keeps getting better and better. I have had a ringside seat of watching her be transformed into the image of Jesus. And the serendipity of that is that she has pulled me along with her. What a woman!

We will stay over in Memphis until Sunday. I am going to preach at two services Sunday morning, and Beverly and I will be involved in a parenting Bible Class. I am looking forward to that!

There is something else I am looking forward to as well. Thursday night. On arriving in Memphis, we are going to eat pork ribs. Bring 'em on!

Please keep us in your prayers. While so much of this weekend is going to be about celebrating, Sunday also marks 6 months since Jenny went to be with Jesus. Like the sky, her memory covers everything we do.

Monday, August 16, 2010

No Do-Over

Yesterday in my sermon, I mentioned in passing about Uzzah, who committed a "letter-of-the-law" infraction by touching the Ark of the Covenant as it tipped -- and was zapped. I also mentioned Nadab and Abihu, who offered "strange fire" before the Lord -- and were zapped.

Yesterday I watched a true-to-life zapping. Dustin Johnson came to the 18th hole in the PGA Championship needing a par to win. He ended up bogeying the hole, and was walking off the green thinking he was headed to a 3-man playoff.

At that point, he was informed by an official that he had grounded his club in a bunker on his 2nd shot on 18. This was a little area of sand that the crowds had been sitting in and walking through. I have NEVER seen a tournament in which this has been the case. It didn't have the appearance of a bunker. Yet the rules said it was. Result? Zapped. Two-shot penalty. Instead of a tie for 1st, he dropped to a tie for 5th.

I felt so sorry for Dustin. It didn't seem fair. No room for grace. No do-over. No 2nd chance.

Imagine if that was the way it was with God today. Any violation of the letter of the law -- ZAP! No room for grace.

Actually, I don't want to imagine it. As a result, instead of hiding in fear of a zapping -- I run TO the One who offers grace and forgiveness.

Thank you, Father, for the One who purchased my pardon. I praise you, Jesus, for new life.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Another Good Quote

This week's Tozer quotes are really good. I want to share another one with you today:

But we have renounced the hidden things of shame, not walking in craftiness and handling the word of God deceitfully, but by manifestation of the truth commending ourselves to every man's conscience in the sight of God. --2 Corinthians 4:2

Here again is seen the glaring discrepancy between Biblical Christianity and that of present-day evangelicals, particularly in the United States....

To make converts here we are forced to play down the difficulties and play up the peace of mind and worldly success enjoyed by those who accept Christ. We must assure our hearers that Christianity is now a proper and respectable thing and that Christ has become quite popular with political bigwigs, well-to-do business tycoons and the Hollywood swimming pool set. Thus assured, hell-deserving sinners are coming in droves to "accept" Christ for what they can get out of Him; and though one now and again may drop a tear as proof of his sincerity, it is hard to escape the conclusion that most of them are stooping to patronize the Lord of glory much as a young couple might fawn on a boresome but rich old uncle in order to be mentioned in his will later on. Born After Midnight, 17.

Have a blessed weekend. Peace.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010


From A. W. Tozer:

Let a flood or a fire hit a populous countryside and no able-bodied citizen feels that he has any right to rest till he has done all he can to save as many as he can. While death stalks farmhouse and village no one dares relax; this is the accepted code by which we live. The critical emergency for some becomes an emergency for all, from the highest government official to the local Boy Scout troop. As long as the flood rages or the fire roars on, no one talks of "normal times." No times are normal while helpless people cower in the path of destruction.

In times of extraordinary crisis ordinary measures will not suffice. The world lives in such a time of crisis. Christians alone are in a position to rescue the perishing. We dare not settle down to try to live as if things were "normal." Nothing is normal while sin and lust and death roam the world, pouncing upon one and another till the whole population has been destroyed
. Born After Midnight, 30.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Radical Discipleship

Selected qoutes from Francis Chan in a chapter entitled, "Profile of the Obsessed," from Crazy Love:

  • Obsessed: To have the mind excessively preoccupied with a single emotion or topic.

  • The idea of holding back certainly didn't come from Scripture. The Bible teaches us to be consumed with Christ and to faithfully live out His words.

  • Sometimes I feel like when I make decisions that are remotely biblical, people who call themselves Christians are the first to criticize and say I'm crazy, that I'm taking the Bible too literally, or that I'm not thinking about my family's well-being.

  • If one person "wastes" away his day by spending hours connecting with God, and the other person believes he is too busy or has better things to do than worship the Creator an Sustainer, who is the crazy one? If one person invests her or his resources in the poor -- which, according to Matthew 25, is giving to Jesus Himself -- and the other extravagantly remodels a temporary dwelling that will not last beyond his few years left on this earth, who is the crazy one?

Radical, huh? Yeah, radical like Jesus.

Monday, August 09, 2010

Gear Up, 2

Yesterday our church experienced our 2nd "Gear Up." Although we did not have nearly as many people show up this year, it was still an incredible opportunity to be Jesus to our community. I think our members receive as much or more blessing from serving than do those being served. We had well over 250 volunteers!

I am so thankful for the vision of a handful of our women that has made this a reality.

Tiger Woods, where are you? The #1 player in the world has fallen off the map! Right now, he is a living testimony to how much our emotions affect other aspects of our lives. I cannot think of another athlete who has shown the ability to get "in the zone" like Tiger has throughout his career. But right now, he is in a different area code.

Many are ready to write him off. That would not be wise. Not yet, anyway.

I am equally amazed at Phil Mickelson. For the last several weeks he has been given prime opportunities to take over the #1 spot. With Tiger's dismal showing over the weekend, all Phil had to do was finish 4th or better -- which is where he was after two rounds. So he proceeded to shoot 78 on Sunday! Go figure.

Thursday, August 05, 2010

Dog Days of August

Last night Beverly and I were blessed to be invited to share our journey with the Saturn Road Church of Christ. Our good friend Gary Bingham, who serves that church as an elder, did an incredible job of interviewing us. It was wonderful to see so many friends from our Mesquite days. Others came from Trophy Club and Decatur to be with us. The night was a real blessing.

Monday I was in a traffic accident. I left my Honda at the shop this morning. Even though no one was hurt, it was yet another reminder of how fragile life is.

The forecast here in north Texas is hot, hot -- followed by a few days of hot. But that it pretty typical for August. I would like to see some hint of rain in the forecast. What I begin to think at this time of year is that in another 5 weeks or so we will get our 1st cool front. And that leads to my favorite season -- Fall.

Monday, August 02, 2010

Oh What Memories!

Thirty-two years ago tomorrow (August 3rd), Beverly and I became parents. Mom and Dad. We will celebrate our daughter's birth tomorrow by visiting the neo-natal centers at Presbyterian Hospital in Denton and Baylor Grapevine. Jenny often said that someday she wanted to volunteer at a hospital and just rock babies. She loved children SO much.

On her birthday in 2006, I wrote the following blog:

On August 3, 1978 the people of Albany, Texas (north of Abilene) were overwhelmed with 20 inches of rain. The Great Albany Flood. That same day, Beverly and I were overwhelmed with the birth of our oldest child. During Beverly's pregnancy (which she loved. I know you will find it surprising that she found joy in that), people would ask if we wanted a boy or a girl. I wished for a girl. And the Lord granted my wish.

It was still in the days where the father was not allowed back with the mother during delivery. So, when I finally got to hold that beautiful bundle, it was just unbelievable. She brought so much joy into our lives.

She was born with a voice like an angel. Her cry was soft -- almost considerate. But from the time she began to talk, she could sing on pitch. To this day, her voice gives me goosebumps.

So many wonderful memories. I loved rocking her to bed every night, and reading her bedtime stories. Butterfly kisses. Working puzzles. Icees. Going for walks. PIcking the "Oak-oak" (that's okra for you grown-ups) out of my garden.

Whenever we traveled, she would shout, "I see choo-choo train." And she would continue saying it until we said, "Yes, Jenny. It's a choo-choo train."

When she was in kindergarden, she came home from school with an assignment: Write a letter to Santa Claus. So, she and I sat down to write. I asked, "What would you like to say?" No response. I said, "How about let's begin with 'Dear Santa.' What do you want to say next?" She thought for a moment and said, "Rabbit Santa."

I am so glad that Jenny is our first child. If we had had one of the boys first, we might have been tempted to stop there (Just kidding, guys). My only regret is that I was so new at the parenting thing, I made a lot of mistakes with her. If I could do it over again, she would never doubt that she is the pride of her father's heart.

I am so very pleased with the woman my daughter has become. She is an outstanding mother, wonderful volunteer, and a woman of strong faith and conviction. She made an excellent choice in a mate. David is a father-in-law's dream. And I am so very grateful for the way in which she shares precious Malaya with Grammy and Grampy.

Please keep the Ross and Bizaillion family in your prayers this week.