Friday, April 29, 2011

Friday's Fumblings

So how many of you are spending the day watching the royal wedding? I can truly say that I have no interest in it at all. I saw the results of a poll that asked if you will be watching the wedding, and only 23% said yes. So apparently, a whole lot of people are not buying into the media overkill.

The couple of shots I have seen from the festivities do bring back memories of when Beverly and I were in London last year. This morning I heard the bells chiming at Westminster Abbey, and remember how that sound carried across London.

The Mavs won their 1st-round playoff series! They will now be taking on the Lakers. One can only wish that they somehow knock them out the way the Rangers knocked out the Yankees last year.

My heart so goes out to the hundreds of families that have lost lives, homes and so much in the tornadoes that ravaged the South this week. We have a couple of men from our church that have gone to assist in whatever way they can. I am praying that God will reveal Himself in the midst of this tragedy.

I never cease to be amazed at conspiracy theorists, and how easily people fall under their thinking. Do you realize that there are still people who think that the earth is flat and that the 1st moonwalk was staged in the desert?

Regardless of one's opinion of President Obama, the birth certificate issue makes the accusers look worse than silly. Do they really think that nearly 50 years ago, someone was already plotting to cover up Obama's "foreign birth" by placing a birth announcement in the paper? And even with the President having produced his birth certificate, now they are alleging that it is a forgery because it "doesn't look old enough."

Politics in America has reached a low point. Where is it going to stop? "Well, they did it to Bush!" "Well, they did it to Clinton!" It is SO childish. At some point, someone has to say, "ENOUGH!"

And we patronizingly look at the Middle East and wonder why they can't get along.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

My Last Two Days

Sunday was a wonderful day. Emotionally exhausting, but wonderful. Our worship was powerful, and then our time together with some family and friends at the graveside was moving. All my hope is resting on Easter.

Yesterday I played golf in the Gregg Pearson Benefit Golf Tournament. Storms were all around us, but other than a brief sprinkle we played dry. I thoroughly enjoyed the day, especially getting to spend time with Art, my ol' golfing buddy from Mesquite.

I love what this foundation is doing. They provide assistance to families who are battling health crises -- mostly cancer. I was encouraging to see survivors there last night -- individuals and families whose lives have been changed as a result. The foundation was so helpful to us through Jenny's battle. I will forever be indebted to them. I am humbled to see how a family that suffered the pain of losing a child has channeled their energies into making life better for others.

If you think you might be interested in supporting such a foundation, visit at

Friday, April 22, 2011

The Easter Story

Today is a day commemorated with sadness. For me and my family, 14 months ago today we let our daughter go to be with Jesus. I have never experienced as heart-wrenching a day as that. The feelings of despair and hopelessness were overwhelming.

Approximately 1,980 years ago today, sadness overwhelmed the followers of the one called Jesus. (As a sidenote, there is reason to believe that Jesus was actually crucified on Thursday rather than Friday. But I will follow tradition here). No doubt, they too were overcome with feelings of hopelessness and despair.

But praise God that because of the events of Sunday, a Christ-follower never has to remain in hopelessness and despair. In fact, Sunday IS hope. And so I will camp on Sunday. The tomb is empty. He is risen! He is risen indeed! And because He is risen, I can rest on God's promise that my daughter is risen too.

I live in the Easter story.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Reviewing My Grief Readings

I have read a number of books over the last year on grief. Some I could never really get engaged with and deserted them halfway through. But a few I have found very helpful. Here is my review. If you find yourself on the grief journey, I hope you find it helpful.

First, the ones I could not fully get engaged in. This does not mean that they are not helpful. In fact, they could be exactly what you need:

I had trouble with C. S. Lewis' A Grief Observed. I love reading quotes from Lewis, but I find his writings difficult as a whole. This was written after his wife died from cancer. He is honest as he deals with his struggles and doubts and victories.

Randy Alcorn's If God is Good. This book is exhaustive in dealing with the subject of good and evil. I began it when things were really raw for me, and so maybe I should go back and give it another shot. I don't always agree with his Calvinistic views on things, but there are still things to gain from it.

John Mark Hicks' Yet I Will Trust Him. Written in response to the death of his wife. Again, no doubt a good book that I just had trouble engaging with. I will give it another shot at some point.

Now, for books that have been more beneficial for me:

Philip Yancey's Disappointment With God. I am a Yancey fan, and this book is one of the best I have ever read. I intend to read it again soon.

Terry Rush's God Will Make a Way. Simple, practical advice from someone I know personally as "the real deal."

Jerry Sittser's A Grace Disguised. Excellent book written by a man who experienced the loss of his wife, mother and daughter in a car wreck. A MUST-read for anyone in the grief journey.

I just finished a book that a friend of mine who is acquainted with grief mentioned to me a couple of times. Along with A Grace Disguised, it will be at the top of my "recommended list." Written by John Claypool back in the early 1970s, it is entitled Tracks of a Fellow Struggler. It is a short book, actually four sermons he preached during his 10-year old daughter's battle with, and subsequent death from, leukemia. In this book, Claypool speaks into my heart things that I probably would not receive very well from someone saying them to me (ESPECIALLY someone who hasn't "been there"). I have to sit with the book and chew on them. His last chapter about viewing life as a gift was challenging -- yet rewarding.

So there it is, for what it is worth. I would be interested in your feedback.

Monday, April 18, 2011

This is THE Week!

Due to a couple of ministry circumstances I found myself in last week, I feel like I was in faith-crisis mode. But a reorientation over the last couple of days is helping me. I must remember that faith and trust is a daily decision. My devotional reading this morning reminded me that, like the manna in the wilderness, we must seek peace with God every day. It can't be gathered up for tomorrow. He supplies us what we need each day. This is so that we will remember that it comes from Him.

This week is the week in which Christians place ALL their hope. I can't remember Easter ever falling this late in the spring. I NEED it. I am so ready.

I can't tell you how much Paul's words from 1 Corinthians 15: 12-19 mean to me today. So I want to end this blog sharing them with you:

But if it is preached that Christ has been raised from the dead, how can some of you say that there is no resurrection of the dead? If there is no resurrection of the dead, then not even Christ has been raised. And if Christ has not been raised, our preaching is useless and so is your faith. More than that, we are then found to be false witnesses about God, for we have testified about God that he raised Christ from the dead. But he did not raise him if in fact the dead are not raised. For if the dead are not raised, then Christ has not been raised either. And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile; you are still in your sins. Then those also who have fallen asleep in Christ are lost. If only for this life we have hope in Christ, we are of all people most to be pitied.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

From Banquet to Buffet

Monday night was the 6th annual Wise County Christian Counseling dinner. YHWH-Jireh (The Lord Who Provides) continues to bless this ministry beyond anything I had ever dreamed. I am so proud of my wife and the way in which she spends herself for others. And she has so many loyal friends and coworkers who the Lord uses to make this happen.

I pray that the Lord will continue to provide this place where people can find healing and wholeness.

Last night was our 2nd "Meat Night." There were 16 men who gathered to put down some ribs. Unfortunately, the restaurant ran out of ribs long before everyone got to order. But I think all the guys still enjoyed our time together. I don't know if there is any place we get to know people better than when we sit down at table. Maybe that is why we find Jesus eating so often with folks.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Prayer Requests and Masters Recap

I would like to place a couple of prayer requests before you:

Donna Moon, a member of our church, has been in the hospital for several days with an infection in her brain. Although she seems to be doing better, I know she and her family would appreciate your praying for her complete recovery.

A friend, John Scott, longtime preacher for the Saturn Road Church of Christ in Garland has a son named Shane. Shane went on a mission trip to Ghana recently, and upon returning discovered last week he has malaria. He is in very serious condition at Parkland Hospital in Dallas. Please be praying for Shane and his family, John and his wife Teresa.

The Masters was great this year. Only one shot separated as many as 10 people as they reached the back nine yesterday. Tiger Woods looked like he was going to pull off one for the ages halfway through the final round, only to go cold. I was pulling for Adam Scott down the stretch. But it was a South African, Charl Schwartzel, who ended up winning.

The tragic figure in the story was Rory McElroy, the 21-year old phenom from Ireland. Going into the final round with a 4-shot lead, he hung in for 9 holes yesterday. Then disaster struck, and he ended up falling way down the leader board with a final round 80. However, what I will go away from this with is not so much remembering his collapse, but the grace he exhibited when interviewed after his round. He is a very impressive young man.

Friday, April 08, 2011

"For What It's Worth" Friday

So the government may shut down this morning. Think of all that productivity coming to a halt! (That comment was intended as sarcasm, in case you didn't notice).

The fight is over $40 billion dollars in tax cuts. Now here is a Congress that is really serious about dealing with the national debt. Right now it is running in excess of $1 TRILLION a year. If my math is right, $40 billion in cuts would reduce the deficit by .4%. That's right -- not even one half of one percent. And these guys can't even agree to that? What hope do we EVER have of dealing with the deficit issue?

And the scare tactics are incredible. Of course, the one issue that is being paraded is that our troops would not receive their checks. Is today payday? Or do they get paid every day? If the government shuts down today, it will not last long. All of this is political posturing. It would be political suicide to actually allow our troops to miss a paycheck.

The state of Texas is considering raising the posted speed limit on some roads to 85. I have never been one who has a "need for speed", so this has no appeal to me. But 85? Doesn't that seem awfully fast?

If you want to see what the "new earth" will look like, tune into the Masters this weekend. God is allowing us to get a peek at heaven there (this conclusion comes with a lot of scholarly research). By the way, my sermon Sunday comes from the last half of Romans 6 where Paul discusses our choice: slavery to sin or slavery to righteousness. We choose our master. So my title? "The Masters."

Wednesday, April 06, 2011

Sensational Media Stories

So Terry Jones and his church of 30 burned a copy of the Koran after putting it on trial. And the response of some in Afghanistan? The killing of a dozen people or more -- at least one by beheading.

Several observations: First, I wonder how a preacher of a church of 30 people can receive so much media attention? I mean, this guy has had top administration officials get involved in his antics. Isn't this a nothing story? How much responsibility does the media bear for making such a sensational story out of it?

Second, why do representatives of Islam overreact so much to things? If someone in Afghanistan burned a Bible (which I am sure they do), would we have a riot in one of our cities and kill dozens?

Third, am I also guilty of a similar prejudice to what those Moslems displayed? They think 30 fanatical "Christians" (I am being generous here in the definition. What they did does not resemble Christlikeness) represent the whole. But do I do that when I lump in all Moslems with the fringe terrorists? Now, I realize that burning a Koran does not rank up there with 9-11 and other atrocities. Yet I still need to wrestle with that question.

And what about the 8-year old 2nd grader who was sprayed with mace by the police? When I first heard the lead-in to the story, I was thinking this seemed extreme.

Apparently, he had gone into a rage because of something to do with his bicycle, I think. He threatened to kill his teachers, who barricaded themselves in a closet. He threw desks and other objects, and pulled off a piece of the wall that he threatened them with. He yelled obscenities at the teachers and police officers.

And get this: This is the THIRD time the police have been called to that school because of his rages.

As I watched the interview, it seemed to be clear that his mother is enabling him. She was very defensive of him, and seemed to only want to highlight the excessive police actions.

After first thinking the police action was extreme, by the end of the interview I was left wondering what other action they could have taken.

Any thoughts?

Monday, April 04, 2011

Not Much Monday

If you are thinking about flying a kite here in Decatur today, be sure to wear lead boots.

Well, it's Masters week. From the par 3 competition on Wednesday through the finish on Sunday, I plan to be watching.

Rangers 162-0? It's still a possibility.

The Mavs aren't exactly hitting their stride as the playoffs approach.

I am adding this a little bit after the original blog. I have been keeping it a secret, so forgot that yesterday it became public knowledge. My youngest son, Jonathan, has accepted a job with the DFW fire department. He has long wanted to be a fireman. That means he and his precious family will be moving closer (YEAH!). In fact, they will be moving in with us until they can sell their house and find another.

I am excited!