Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Dez Bryant's Rookie Lesson

So during Cowboys' training, rookie Dez Bryant refused to carry Roy Williams' shoulder pads. I am not defending him, because it's just part of the rookie initiation. Easier to go along than to get defensive. But I do think it is interesting that Williams (who has been pretty much a bust, thus resulting in the Cowboys drafting Bryant #1) would be the one to initiate the raze.

Well, Williams had said at the time that Dez would pay. Monday night, Dez took the offense to Pappas Brothers' Steakhouse. Williams also invited the defense. Dez ended up paying the bill for about 30 football players. Final tab? Just under $55,000. (No, I did not add too many zeroes).

As I listened to GAC (Galloway and Company) on ESPN radio yesterday, they were discussing this. One of them had added up the cost if a person ordered EVERYTHING on the menu (all appetizers, entrees and desserts). It came to just over $1,000. Obviously those football players didn't order everything on the menu. I did read this morning in the paper that many of them left the restaurant with expensive wine bottles under their arms.

The moral of the story? If someone asks you to carry his shoulder pads to the locker room, carry them to the locker room two days (this is a bit of a twist on what Jesus said.) It sure is easier and cheaper than facing the consequences.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Weekend Wrapup

Beverly and I have had all of our grandkids with us at some point over the last two weeks. This morning, our Memphis family is leaving. So tonight we are empty nesters again. It has been SO fun being with our grandkids for so long. I'm going to miss them.

Have I told you how much I love my shepherds? Every time I get to spend time with them, it is a joy. By the way, you won't hear many preachers saying that, either. Also, we have had 6 baptisms since Wednesday. Yesterday morning, one of our Friendspeak contacts was baptized. It was so beautiful. As we gathered after her baptism, we sang to her in Spanish. Tears were flowing.

The Rangers clinched! I have enjoyed watching this team. They just seem to have fun playing ball. I don't have real high expectations for how far they will go in the playoffs, because they have not done well against the Twins or the Rays. But who knows?

And, oh yeah, Jerry's team won yesterday for the 1st time this year.

Ryder Cup week, bay-bee! I love watching. Golf is such an individual sport, but it is really cool watching them play as a team. I'll be pulling for USA, but I have a feeling Europe is going to win this year.

It felt GREAT walking outside to get the paper this morning! 54 degrees. I love it!

Friday, September 24, 2010

ACU Summit

I was blessed by being in Abilene Sunday evening through Wednesday. So many people and places that have shaped me and my life. I must admit that my first trip back since Jenny's death was bitter-sweet. So many reminders of good times. Beverly and Josh did the Lord proud in their presentations at ACU Summit.

I began a series on the Fruit of the Spirit a couple of weeks ago. For the last two days, I have sat here at my desk -- with my mind blank. Sunday I am supposed to speak on "joy." And I feel so inadequate to the task. Then next week is "peace." Oh, how my joy and peace have been shaken. Will I ever really know them again? My mind tells me yes, although they will never look the same. But my heart has its doubts.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Borrowing a Blog Today

A fellow preacher, Wade Hodges, wrote the following blog. I found it thought-provoking. Hope you will, too:

“We just want to be fed.”

Every pastor has heard it from someone. Sometimes you catch it when they’re coming and sometimes when they’re going.

It’s something that church-going Christians say to justify their decision to change churches. Many use it as a smokescreen to cover up the real reason they’re leaving. After all, who can argue with such a rationale? That’s why God created the church, right? So that long-time church goers (and their kids) can be fed.

The irony is that usually the people who use this language are the ones who are least qualified to do so. If you’ve been attending church long enough to know the trick of using “we want to be fed” as an excuse to leave, then you should be spiritually mature enough to start feeding yourself.

Have you ever really thought of what imagery accompanies the “fed” metaphor?

When I hear it, I see a baby sitting in a high chair wearing an apple sauce smeared bib waiting impatiently for his mommy to shovel in another load of gooey stuff. Watch him as he closes down on the spoon. See his mother use it to wipe away the excess from the corners of his mouth. Now swallow. Good boy.

I’m sure anyone who has ever used this line to describe what they’re looking for in a new church is objecting to this image. Which one would you prefer? Maybe a wise shepherd leading his clueless sheep into greener pastures because heaven knows without a shepherd to guide them the ignorant sheep would either starve to death or sniff their way right off of a cliff.

Does that one make you feel any better?

There is a time when we all need to be fed like a baby or a sheep. My boys need feeding. If I don’t teach them the Scriptures and show them the way of Jesus, they will not find it on their own. New Christians need feeding. They need to learn a new story with new language as they leave their old way of life behind. But at some point, children and new Christians should grow enough in their faith to be wise enough to figure out how to feed themselves.

Pastors, we should expect the people in our churches to grow to the point in their relationship with God that they no longer depend on people like us to feed them.

Parents, we should reach a point in our faith when we no longer depend on someone else to feed our kids.

We need a new metaphor and fast, because too many “mature” Christians are making a fool of themselves by walking around saying they just want to be fed. It’s time they take off the bib, grab a spoon, and start feeding themselves.

What if one day the chief complaint from church going Christians were to be something like this:

The problem with our old church is that we weren’t being exercised. We’re looking for a church where we can work, serve, and maybe even suffer. We want to pay a price for something other than adding a new education wing to our building. We want to put it all on the line and do something crazy for God. We’re tired of being fed. We’ve been fed so much, for so long, that we’ve gotten fat. We’re spiritually obese and we can’t take it anymore. We want to be exercised!

Now that’s a metaphor.

It’s also a problem.

Pastors, let’s go ahead and admit it. If our churches were suddenly inundated with such complaints, we’d be the ones who would need to start wearing a diaper.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010


I haven't been out to the cemetery since Jenny's birthday in early August. Late yesterday afternoon, Beverly and I went for an early supper. When we got in the car after eating, I said, "Something is telling me we need to go out to the cemetery." Beverly said, "That is strange, because three times today I have thought the same thing."

So we drove out there.

As we were driving up, we noticed that Jenny's monument was in place! We had been told we would receive a call when it arrived, but we hadn't yet.

Weird, huh?

It was much more emotional than either one of us expected it to be. I guess I am still in such denial that my precious girl is gone.

"Why are you downcast, O my soul? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him, my Savior and my God." (Psalm 43: 9,11; 43: 5)

He is my ONLY hope.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Yesterday Was a BIG Day

Yesterday my son Josh turned 30. As I watch him and my son Jonathan with their boys, who are 3 and 4, I am taken back to when they were that age. I remember that feeling of having them think I could do anything. It was both incredible -- and fearful. I knew I could never measure up, but it was fun while it lasted:)

I am so proud of Josh. He is so gifted as a preacher. But he also has a huge heart for the disadvantaged. In fact, it is his passion. And I am learning so much from him about living out the heart of Jesus.

Happy 30th, Son.

I LOVED watching the Rangers beat the Yankees Sunday. Actually, sweeping them over the weekend was really nice. But Sunday's game was just good, fundamental baseball. Great pitching from Lee. And our closer, Felix, is UNBELIEVABLE! But we scored runs with good base-running decisions and timely hitting. So different from Rangers' teams of the past who basically depended on the home run.


Wednesday, September 08, 2010

Burning the Quran?

I am sometimes SO embarrassed by things people do and say in the name of "Christianity." Too often, it is me.

Reverend Terry Jones, of Gainseville, Florida, I assume feels like he is doing the "Christian" thing by burning Qurans on September 11th. To an outsider, it looks like a publicity stunt. But what kind of publicity? And at what cost?

People have done crazy things "for the cause of Christ" through the years. Crusades have been fought. Inquisitions have taken place. Witches have been killed. Civilizations have been conquered. The KKK has been formed. Segregation has been defended.
And on numerous occasions, books have been burned -- which always seems to bring more attention to the burnees than to the burners. Yet even in my wildest imagination, I cannot picture Jesus smiling over any of that.

There are MANY reasons that Jones' book-burning is a really bad idea. Our military has asked him to reconsider because it will endanger our troups in Afghanistan. Others have argued that it will inflame Islamic radicals. I am not terribly sympathetic over that one, because they seem to get inflamed and blame Americans and Christians if their cereal gets soggy. (BTW, I seem to be in a minority that does believe that Islam is a violent, intolerant, hate-motivated religion whose aim is world dominance).

But listen: The main reason that what Jones is doing is wrong is because it is not Christlike. It bears no resemblance to the Sermon on the Mount. It is not being salt and light and leaven to the world. And it puts those of us who want to be Jesus to the world in a defensive position.

So he and his 400 or so deluded followers will have their 30 minutes of fame. But how many people will turn away from their only hope because of the false impression left by these impostors of Christ?

I wonder if Jesus blushes with embarrassment at us?

Tuesday, September 07, 2010

It Was Worth a Try

I have written before on this blog about my love for Memphis barbecue. So yesterday for Labor Day, I had a brainstorm (watch out!). I went and bought a side of both beef and pork ribs. Beverly helped me find a recipe, and I set out to try to duplicate our Memphis experience.

After 4 hours of wonderful aroma and mouths watering, it came time to actually try my experiment. Beverly and David tasted them first, and acted like they were delicious. I tried them, and I was SO disappointed. Not at all what I had expected.

I really think they were cheerleading me because they want me to keep trying to perfect this new menu item. But I have decided I will just settle for an occasional trip to a good ribs' joint -- and stick with my famous hamburgers and popcorn.