Archive for October, 2011

All Hallows Eve: The Disputed Holiday

Posted by    |    October 31st, 2011 at 10:42 am

Photo courtesy of lmlifestyledesigns.wordpress.com

It’s finally Halloween and children everywhere are getting excited to put on their costumes of favorite cartoon, TV, and movie characters and run around the neighborhood. Interestingly enough there has been upset from different groups to protest Halloween because it is the “devil’s holiday.”

To combat the “evil” holiday of eating candy and bobbing for apples, the holiday of Jesus Ween has been created. Christians are asked to give out Bibles instead of candy. (more…)

Real Men (and Women) Dote

Posted by    |    October 29th, 2011 at 5:40 am

“Dote” is not a word we use much anymore. In fact … I like the word pursue. But just so you’ll know … to “Dote” means: “to be lavish or excessive in one’s attention, fondness, or affection for.” Doting is pretty much what you did to win your spouse before you were married.

I’m not ashamed to say that I love to dote over my wife. Some men don’t dote. In fact, some men think it’s unmanly to dote. I personally think that real men do dote.

I vividly remember the afternoon. Another guy and I were hanging out when our wives walked in the room. I immediately said, where Lea could hear me (what good is it if she doesn’t hear me), “There’s my absolutely beautiful wife.”  The other guy looked at his wife, turned up his nose up and said with a real tough tone, “And there’s my wife, and she’s not much to brag about.”

I remember wanting to double up my fist and punch him in the mouth, or better yet, I’d hold him and his wife could punch him in the mouth. Instead I shot him a dirty look and told him if he didn’t start praising her and building her up, he’d be calling me someday with advice on how to win her back. His sarcastic response was, “Real men know how to keep their wives in check!” I just shook my head in disgust knowing he was serious and that his wife had heard the whole conversation.

A little over a year later he was sitting in my office seeking help on how to win his wife back because she had just left him. Surprise, surprise! Someone had come in her life that said sweet things to her, treated her nice and made her feel special; and he couldn’t BELIEVE she’d do this to him. I’ll be honest, I wasn’t very nice to him that day … and I did say, “I told you so.” 

Real men (and women) dote. In fact … they NEVER stop doting. Try it, your spouse will love it and your marriage will thank you for it!

“The man who finds a wife finds a treasure, and he receives favor from the Lord.”  ~Proverbs 18:22

  “Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.”  ~ Ephesians 4:29

  “Husbands, go all out in your love for your wives, exactly as Christ did for the church—a love marked by giving, not getting.”  ~Ephesians 5:25 (Message)

One strike away, twice

Posted by    |    October 28th, 2011 at 6:45 am

Texas was so close. Freese's triple off Rangers relief pitcher Neftali Feliz ties the game at 7-7. We're going to extra innings, World Series Game 6 in St. Louis, Oct 27, 2011 (Credit: MCT/Ron T Ennis)It has not been easy to be a Texas Rangers fan.  Since our inception, we have lost more games than any team in baseball.  All that was about to change last night–we were one strike from a World Series title, only to give up the tying runs.  Then we were once again one strike away, only to lose the game.

If the Rangers lose Game 7 of the Series tonight, their collapse will go down in history as one of the worst ever.  Fans who would have been celebrating their world championship will ridicule them as losers.  But if they win tonight all will be forgiven, the previous evening’s frustrations quickly forgotten.

That’s how the world measures success–you either win or you’re a loser.  Growing up, that was my view of life as well.  An A on the test wasn’t good enough if A+ was possible.  You are what you do.  Performance-based perfectionism ruled my life.

Here is Why I Love Wednesdays

Posted by    |    October 28th, 2011 at 5:40 am

There’s not a Wednesday that goes by that I don’t think of my friends at the dump. This is their day… their day of the week to be fed. Every Wednesday my amazing friend Marc Tindall and a group of Christians make a trip to the Tegucigalpa dump in Honduras to feed hungry people who are there. Sadly, the dump people have spent the last 6 days searching the trash for something to eat, recycle or sell. While we’ve been asking questions like, “When or what are we going to eat?” they’ve been asking questions like, “Will we eat today?”  Thankfully today is Wednesday … so they’ll eat today. That warms my heart.

In a little over a month, on December 7th, we’ll have a “Jesus Banquet” for the people at the dump. They won’t be fed beans and rice from the back of a truck, instead they’ll be served “banquet style” some of the best food you can eat in Honduras.

“When you give a dinner or a banquet, don’t invite your friends and family and relatives and rich neighbors. If you do, they will invite you in return, and you will be paid back. When you give a feast, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, and the blind.” Luke 12

Someone recently asked, “Why go all out for people living in a dump?” The answer is simple … we offer our best to them because God offered His best to us … His son.


Thank you for your continued support of the Honduras Project…

IBM, Gettysburg, and hope

Posted by    |    October 26th, 2011 at 6:45 am

On They Came with Flags Flying by Mort KunstlerPersistence is making the news this morning.

Virginia Rometty has been named IBM’s next CEO.  She is the first female CEO in the company’s 100-year history, and has been with IBM for 30 years.

Bree Boyce is profiled on this morning’s CNN website with the headline: “From 234 pounds to the Miss America pageant.”  The South Carolina native lost 112 pounds through steady dieting and exercise.

Moammar Gadhafi has been buried in an unmarked desert grave, eight months after rebels began efforts to remove the dictator from office.  The “Arab Spring” continues, as Tunisia is forming an interim government and new constitution.

The death of Gadhafi and the call of God

Posted by    |    October 24th, 2011 at 6:45 am

Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi speaks during a ceremony to mark the 40th anniversary of the evacuation of the American military bases in the country, in Tripoli, June 12, 2010 (Credit: Ismail Zetouny)What a difference two weeks makes.  When I left the States to lead a study tour of Greece and Turkey, Moammar Gadhafi was still defying rebel attempts to capture him and take complete control of Libya.  This morning his remains are on display at a meat market.

Our group had a wonderful experience visiting Turkey, as we noted the growth of their economy and relative stability of their culture.  We returned Saturday night–Sunday morning an earthquake devastated the country and could kill as many as 1,000 people.

Greece has long been one of my favorite places to visit.  The history and culture of this ancient land are breathtaking.  But this was a difficult trip–archaeological sites were closed due to strikes, trash was piled up in Athens as sanitation workers refused to work, and there was a pervasive sense of crisis.  European leaders met over the weekend, their 13th summit in 21 months to deal with debt in Greece and across the Eurozone.

Who is your king?

Posted by    |    October 23rd, 2011 at 5:40 am

Profile of the Imperial State Crown from the right, the crown's left (Credit: CSvBibra via en.wikipedia.org)We’ve been considering the ten most important spiritual truths I’ve learned over the years, starting with the earliest and continuing to the most recent. 

Today we’ll finish our series with #1: God is a King.

I am an Anglophile.  I am fascinated by all things British, from Buckingham Palace to the idyllic English countryside.  Every time I’ve been to England I left more enthralled with the history and traditions of the British Empire.  But there’s one part of Great Britain I’m glad we rejected in the War of Independence–the monarchy.  The royal family is today more symbolic than despotic, but there was a day when every subject of the Crown was just that–a subject.

We Americans don’t like kings.  We want to govern ourselves–the less others have authority over us, the better we like it.  We are consumers who work hard for what we have and measure success by our possessions.

Taylor … Army Strong

Posted by    |    October 22nd, 2011 at 5:40 am

I’ve been doing my best to avoid writing this post. It’s not that I’m scared of it or that I’m ignoring it, it’s just that I didn’t want it to come … at least this quickly.

For those of you that don’t know, our oldest son Taylor, leaves next week for Basic Training at Fort Benning, Georgia. He has for a long time wanted to serve his country and is planning to do so through the Army.

Back when Taylor was trying to decide IF he was going to enlist or not, Lea and I found wisdom and comfort from friends like Patrick Mead who also has had a son serving in the military. It’s been great to find love, support and answers from people who understood what we were going through as parents.

When Taylor was trying to decide if he was going to enlist, Lea and I prayed that God would give him wisdom to make the right decision. Now that he has enlisted our prayers have changed to, “Lord bless him that this adventure might be a great blessing in his life and that he might always serve You!”  The crazy thing is … I haven’t even prayed yet, “Lord, keep him safe.”  While Taylor’s safety  is important to us, there are still MUCH more important things.  We want this to be a blessing in Taylor’s life and we want him to continue to serve God … THAT is what we find important.

Taylor is a great young man and he has always made us proud. When we take him to the airport next week to catch a flight for basic training, it’ll be hard … because we know he’s not going to be around as often.  Lea and I will continue to pray for him … and we have no doubt that he will continue to to serve his God AND to make us proud.

We are very proud of you, Taylor.

How to change the world

Posted by    |    October 20th, 2011 at 6:30 am

Mont Saint-Michel in Normandy France at night (Credit: Benh Lieu Song via en.wikipedia.org)We’ve been considering the ten most important spiritual truths I’ve learned over the years, starting with the earliest and continuing to the most recent. 

This morning we come to #2: Changed people change the world.

I consider James Davison Hunter the most important Christian voice on American culture today.  The University of Virginia sociology professor serves as founding director of the Institute for Advanced Studies in Culture.  His magnum opus is titled, To Change the World. When I read it recently, his thesis transformed the way I serve God.

6 Things That Have Made Me A Better Minister

Posted by    |    October 20th, 2011 at 5:40 am

I’ve been doing ministry for about 25 years now. (Insert “old guy” joke here). In those 25 years, ministry techniques have come and gone. I’ve learned both good and bad ways to minister to people. There are plenty of things in the last 25 years that have and have not worked. Over the last few years I’ve seen a few things come along that I believe have made me a better minister.  Here are a few of them…

  • CELLULAR PHONES: One of the biggest blessings in my ministry has been the use of a cell phone. I’m no longer tied to an office or having to constantly check in to see if anyone is looking for me. Now if you want to find me … wherever I am … you can. I can check on people, send messages and be found at anytime. Now for those who scream, “There are times I don’t want to be found,” I will totally agree … simply turn it off or put it on silent.
  • LEARNING TO SAY “NO!” One of the worst things I did early in my ministry was never saying “No.” I had a hard time not signing up and being involved in everything. I would spread myself so thin that I couldn’t do things very well. Now that I’m okay with delegating and saying “No,” I’ve become a better minster … and am more productive at the things that really matter.
  • SOCIAL MEDIA: There are both pros and cons to social media (Facebook, Twitter & Blogging). I’ve found that I can use social media for ministry. Here are some examples: Facebook … In the community where I live, I’m friends on Facebook with a huge portion of the community. I’m able to pass along information about events, activities and spiritual challenges with people from my community that are unchurched. As for blogging, I’m able to reach 1000′s on a daily basis through a blog. Over the past 3 years, you and I together on this blog, have raised close to $100,000 for missions in Honduras and feeding the hungry. Social media has become a HUGE part of my ministry in the past 4 years.
  • PUTTING MY FEAR OF FAILURE BEHIND ME: In the past I struggled with not trying certain things in ministry  because they might fail. I thought that if an idea or project failed, then that made me a failure. When I finally got past that fear, it opened up some new and amazing ministries for me. I have new ministries and new outreach ministries that have blessed people greatly because I took a risk. Plenty of things fail, but more plans have succeeded. Dream big, people … God can make those dreams come true.
  • I QUIT SEEING PEOPLE AS PROJECTS:  For the longest time I saw the poor, the hungry and needy as projects. When I finally quit seeing those people as ministry projects and started seeing them for who they really are it opened my eyes to a very different ministry.  So if the homeless and poor aren’t ministry projects, then what are they?  They are now my friends who have needs. They are loved by God as deeply as I am loved by God.  When I start seeing people for what they really are, God’s children, I’m able to minister to them better.
  • STICKING AROUND: The longer I stick around at a place, the better my ministry gets. I’ve been in Childress now for nearly 9 years. Before moving to Childress, I was in Tulia for 10 years.  I can’t even begin to imagine trying to do ministry and moving every two years.  I’m not sure what the average stay is for ministers, but the longer I stay the better my ministry gets.