Saturday, May 19, 2007

Graduation Day


As your name means you truly are a gift from God. You will never know the deep joy you have brought to the lives of your Godly Mother and I. It started with me talking to you while still in the womb and addressing you as "Junior". Then I ran down the hospital corridor in Fort Worth yelling, "It's a boy, it's a boy!"

I remember the great time we spent together during the time between Seminary graduation and our next assignment in Ladonia Texas. Your Mom worked at General Dynamics so I was Mr. Mom for that time.

The town of Ladonia Texas remembers the little boy who would follow me back and forth with his plastic mower as I mowed the grass at the church parsonage. The church there remembers the cute little boy whom a certain Deacon taught to throw rocks at the cars in the church parking lot! I remember holding you down and nearly fainting as the Doctor stitched you up.

I remember your first day of school in Henderson. Even though your new classroom was only three doors around the corner from my office it seemed like you were a world away. I remember Scooter, the tenacious little weenie dog who was always yours. I remember the first day of home schooling and how I thought we would likely just do it a few years. Today you will graduate with a whole "class" of home schoolers.

I remember soccer, and T-ball, basketball and football. Seems like I remember a broken arm during the football part. (I'm sorry it took me four days to figure out your arm was really broken!) I remember our first Astros game. The Giants beat our Astros 6-3. (Two young players named Biggio and Bagwell scored twice and had three hits. We watched them do that for two decades. We are still watching Biggio do it today!) I remember you catching a bigger fish than me. The picture is still in our house.

I remember you complaining that you had to mow. It was no accident that I was the one who came to pick you up from Youth Camp so you could tell me on the drive home that God had called you to be a Worship Leader. I remember your first guitar. I remember you turning the other cheek, not because you are the Pastor's son but because you are the Father's child.

I remember the smile on your face the day we gave you your truck. I remember the lump in my throat as your Mother and I drove the 15 miles on that rainy night to get you out of the ditch where your truck had landed after you hit the tree. We had no peace in our hearts until we actually saw you and decided you were ok. I remember how proud I was of myself for not yelling at you until the next day! I remember thinking of how thankful I was that I sold the 1966 Red Convertible GTO before you were able to drive! I remember how bad I felt that you were never able to drive it.

I remember the fits you have given your Mother. You realize don't you that when you stir her up I am the one who has to go to the bedroom and get an earful don't you!?

I will remember today. I am so proud of you. You will walk across that stage and your Mom and I will hand you a diploma. We will stop just seven paces away, stand on the tape and someone will take a picture to mark the end of your high school career. Your Mother did a great job and I enjoyed being the "Principal" and bossing her around! You will walk across that stage as a man of integrity, far beyond anything I ever was.

You have run this course of the race well. I am not going to lie to you and tell you that the next leg is easy. College is a joy but at times it is an uphill climb into the face of a cold wind. At times you will feel like giving up. Don't. I am glad that you are going to our Alma mater, East Texas Baptist University. I am sad and terrified that you are going to move away from home in August to do it. (once more, remember whose you are!)

Here is my Fatherly advice. You only get one earthly life, make the most of it; don't leave anything on the table. Trust in God; trust Him with all your heart. Never limit your vision; if He can call you to do it then by His power you can do it! There are two things that last forever, the Word of God and the souls of men; major in both. When you feel like giving up remember to cast all your cares upon Him for He cares for you. Do your best and you will have no regrets. Remember I will come to you any time, any place by any means I can. Just call. Remember prayer IS the relationship with God. Sing every day. See blue skies. Watch great sunsets. Share many sunrises with God. Love the girl you marry more than you love us. Be patient with my grandchildren (when they get here). If the Lord tarries, smile at my funeral and at your Mother's. Always watch Jesus.


Friday, May 18, 2007

Something To Crow About

I am feeling very MANLY (insert Ahhhnold Shwartenegger voice). I slew a giant venomous monster that was crouching and waiting to strike one of my unsuspecting little gifts of God as they innocently went to collect the few meager eggs from our beloved hens that would be their sole source of sustenance for the day! OK, I killed a cottonmouth in the backyard between here and the barn. (Note to country boys who think the city slicker does not know what he is talking about: I know it was a moccasin because a) It tried to bite me b) I made sure by looking it up on the Texas Poisonous Snakes website c) the big triangular head and white mouth were kind of a clue and d) Granny said so when she walked out to make sure I had adequately dispatched yon viper.)

The funny thing about "The Great Snake Incident" is the way we found the snake. After supper we were looking out the back window and saw four crows who kept hopping back and forth as if they were jumping over something. We thought it was strange and so Robin sent me to investigate. There he lay, coiled up and in a foul mood. I guess crows have the same effect on him as the Wal-Mart birds, also known as grackles, have on me. Anyway, he was not very pleasant with me and he didn't seem to understand the concept that my shotgun had a longer range than his fangs.

This has changed my outlook on crows. I used to think that crows were so bad that they were even telling the deer where I was at. Now I find that they are the next best thing to having a cat! Anyway, here is your life lesson. Go find something good about someone or something you don't like or appreciate. Anyone know where I can get a "Hug A Crow" bumper sticker?

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Passing Of A Patriot

The news yesterday recorded the passing of Pastor Jerry Falwell, planter and Pastor of the mega-sized Thomas Road Baptist Church and founder of Liberty University. He is most famous in the news for his leadership in it's prime during the late 70's and 80's but lasting through the current decade, of the "religious right". He founded a group called "The Moral Majority" and brought conservative Christian influences to the political and governmental landscape. While it is hard for many of us to agree with absolutely everything he said or did I found myself agreeing much more than disagreeing. His usefulness to our country came at a time when a fresh breath of morality and values were desperately needed in a country left drifting from the disappointments of the 60's and 70's.

He is less known in the media but admired among fellow believers for his work in founding and growing Thomas Road BC and Liberty University. His most lasting achievements will likely be these two organizations. What many in the public failed to see was his deep love for people, his faithfulness to God and his down to earth attitude. Those who knew him personally (I did not)almost always refer to his kind demeanor, unpretentious nature and individual concern for those around him. His humility came through in his own admission that some of the things he said were a little over the top. Unlike many other public figures when he realized this he was usually quick with a PUBLIC admission.

It is a shame that the movement he started did not penetrate our society more deeply. He condemned homosexuality and the radical agenda of the godless voices of the nation but never seemed to lose his love for sinners in need of God's grace. On the day of his death several organizations which have opposed him throughout the years responded with a seemingly happy attitude about his death. Too bad his message could not change the hatefulness of those who would angrily defend their right to debauchery.

I certainly am not saying he was a saint. I am very uncomfortable with many of the things he said and did and some of the criticism levelled at him was justified. I note however that his attitude about his death was very different than those who opposed him. His last message to his church family was, "I am at peace with death".

Agree or not with his agenda but he lived a life that counted. May we do the same.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

The Great Candy Caper

Texas Man Charged With Stealing $250G Worth of Skittles Candy, read about it here:,2933,272352,00.html I guess some addictions are irresistible. I wasn’t even aware there was a black market for Skittles. I beseech you to ask yourself, “Do I have a Skittles problem?” Admitting it is the first step in beating the problem.

Please comment if you like, I would especially like to hear from recovering Skittles addicts!

The Mishap of Mistakenism

Until today “mistakenism” was not a Word. This changes everything! Jesus always had just the right thing to say. Think about it. The words He spoke were very pointed, useful and “with authority” to the people of His day. Still, the skillfulness with which He crafted His words brings them swinging like a powerful punch right in to the 21st Century where they are as useful and straightforward as they were the day He spoke them.

In dealing with the religious legalism of the day, a fatal malady that ends the witness of more churches today than anything else I can list, Jesus spoke these words in Mark 12: 24:

24Jesus answered and said to them, “Are you not therefore mistaken, because you do not know the Scriptures nor the power of God?

I like how The Message, a modern day paraphrase puts it:

24Jesus said, “You’re way off base, and here’s why: One, you don’t know your Bibles; two, you don’t know how God works

Jesus’ bottom line teaching is that we are often mistaken. There is no question about it. "If you think you ain't, you is"! The interesting part of the teaching is that being mistaken is the symptom but Jesus also identified the disease. We become mistaken when we do not know the Word of God. I am reminded of some other words of Jesus, “Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that shall proceed from the mouth of God”. The apostle Paul fleshed that out by saying, “Faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God.” If you are not pursuing the knowledge of His Word, you are setting yourself up for a lifetime of knowing less of Him that He desires. You are being content with dirty water from the puddle when He wants you to drink freely from the fresh, cool spring of His written wellspring.

There are two streams of thought on the last part of this verse. One is that we also don’t know the power of God. Perhaps we should be seeking the power of God in the same way as we are to be seeking the Word of God. That would mean that we need to be seeking the Lord and yielding our lives to Him. The other interpretation I like better, we don’t have the power of God because we do not know His Word. It seems we often suffer from the listlessness of an unfruitful life when God would have us slicing through the deep waters, both calm and storm tossed, to boldly reach the destination of His will.

Happy sailing.

Monday, May 14, 2007

Mother's Day Roundup

About the only thing you can do to get in trouble on Mother's Day is to forget it or to bad moth someone's Mamma. For someone like me who sort of "looks for trouble" this is a challenge. Like many churches we do the little Mother's Day ritual of giving away corsages to certain Moms. We usually do the oldest Mother, Mother with the most children and the Mother with the youngest child. Yesterday I told the church we were going to do things a little differently. I told them (in jest) that we were going to recognize the most Godly Mother, the Mother with the Godliest children and the Most Improved Mother, someone who was a pretty lousy Mother this time last year but has shown great improvement over the last year. We all had a great laugh and did it the old way. Forgive me for my thoughts but I really could have picked those three out of the people in attendance!

I don't understand high attendance on Mother's Day. I know some of those folks are coming to please their Mothers or because of tradition and I certainly don't mind that some of the people are lost. I guess I am not so confused about Mother's Day as I am about why believers would forsake the church so many other Sundays. Let's have a teach the Pastor day. Please explain one or both of the following Scriptures to me:

  • Hebrews 10:24-25 24And let us consider one another in order to stir up love and good works, 25not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as is the manner of some, but exhorting one another, and so much the more as you see the Day approaching.
  • And/Or any portion of 1 Corinthians 12 you want to teach to me.
Both of these Scriptures have implications far beyond mere attendance. Based on your reading: how often, how consistently and why should we be at church?