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8/31/12

ARE YOU READY FOR SOME FOOTBALL?

Football is a pretty dumb game.  Everybody beating the crap out of each other.  Hurting each other.  Breaking each other in half.  Getting broken in half.  I LOVE IT!!!!  

I went to the Texans game last night and watched all the guys who probably will get cut today and never play another down of football in their lives.  Really?  Yeah, and I loved it!

Even though it's hotter than you-know-what out there, there will feel like there's a little cool front hidden beneath all the heat, not because it's cooler, but because it's FOOTBALL...which means it's FALL...which means SOMETHING.  I'm not sure what, but when it's football season, everything's better.

The answer is YES, I'M READY FOR SOME FOOTBALL!!!  Last night I got to watch my guy, Cody Wallace, play for the Texans.  Today, I get to speak to the Pearland Oilers before their season opener.  My 6-year old grandson is playing football.  The Baylor Bears start their season on Sunday night.  Life is good!

I think it's because football is about life.  How much are we committed to a goal?  How hard are we willing to work toward it?  How much are we willing to see less "me" and more "we"?  Life hurts.  It knocks you down...sometimes hard.  How willing are you to get up when you're knocked down?  I could go on and on, but I won't.  Football is a metaphor for life.  It's not just about who wins.  It's about what we learn.  What we take away.  Great coaches don't build great football players, they build great men.

DID I MENTION I LOVE FOOTBALL?

8/30/12

POLITICAL STUFF

It's that time.  Election time.  The once every four year one.  The big one.  Lot's of claims.  Lot's of rhetoric.  Lot's of claims and counter-claims.  We have to choose Candidate A or Candidate B.  We tend to get pretty emotional about our choices.  If we choose Candidate A, we think everyone's an idiot who would even consider Candidate B.  And vice-versa.

So, is there any help from scripture on picking a candidate and involving ourselves in all this madness.  I think there's some.  See if this helps:

1.  Remember, neither of these guys are the real answer, the real savior that America needs.  That job is taken and it's not up for grabs in November.

2.  Both men will disappoint.  Accept that.  They are not perfect, but then, neither are you.  They won't always do what you think is right, but then again, you're not always right, so even when they go left when you think they should have gone right, you may be the one who got it wrong that time.

3.  We live in a great country...I believe the greatest on earth, but our system only allows us to get the government we deserve.  If the majority of our nation is immoral, we will most likely have immoral government.  Hard to swallow, but true.  Accept it and move on.  That's why our real job is not really to simply put out the yard sign or click the right name on the ballot, it's to contend for the hearts and souls of a nation one life at a time.  Only as our nation turns to God will it have any chance of having God-honoring government.

4.  When you choose your candidate, don't look for the perfect one, Jesus isn't running.  Don't look at where he goes to church or who he claims to be spiritually.  Anyone can do that.  Know what the Word of God says.  Know the timeless principles of truth that never change and see which man, whatever he calls himself, follows them most closely.  Principles like stewardship, justice, equality, protection of life, born and unborn, freedom of religion, debt, personal responsibility, etc.  Don't look at the tag they're wearing.  Look at what their principles are.  Are they, purposefully or not, biblical principles.  Pick the guy who follows them best.  Not perfectly, but best.

5.  Whoever wins, pray for them.  It's a commandment.  Do it.

6. Be civil.  We've lost civility for the most part in this country.  That doesn't mean you have to as well. Be firm, but be nice.

8/29/12

FACETIME....ONLY

Last night we decided to do a little FaceTime hook-up with our son Noah, daughter-in-law Erin and grandson Cash.  Well, as it turned out, Noah was away, so it was just us with Erin and Cash.  We had a great time.  Cash was in rare form, except he kept getting closer and closer to Erin's iPad (I think he's really into the close-up shots).  Finally he grabbed it and punched some button (still unknown) that muted him and his mom.

What ensued was 10 minutes of silently watching a pregnant woman try, unsuccessfully, to undo what a two-year old had just done.  Mind you, she's trying helplessly all under the watchful gaze of her in-laws, all while a two-year old decides "This situation needs some comic relief.  I'll crawl up mom's back.  I'll pull her hair.  I know...I'll hit her with my new baseball bat.  The grandparents will love this stuff!". 

Have you ever seen total, abject frustration on someone's face and wanted to help them, but couldn't.  All the while she's under attack by a totally out of control two-year-old, who desperately needs his fanny rearranged, all while he's being egged on by our laughter. (Yeah, we finally figured out they could hear us the whole time....wander what I said?)

And the moral to this story is...I have no idea...except, in life, every life, sometimes everything that can go wrong, does.  Yeah, I know, you thought you were the only one.  Nope.  Sometimes it all goes to hell in a hand basket (not sure where that saying came from, but people keep saying it, so I did too).  Just remember, when all goes wrong, it could always be worse.  You could be on display like a zoo animal with your in-laws gaulking at you while a two-year-old hits you in the head with a bat.  See...isn't life better now?

8/28/12

BRUCE

I have a friend.  His name is Bruce.  Last night he calls me up at 9:00pm and says, "I'm about to leave Baton Rouge.  Just wanted to make sure there's an empty bed for me."  I said, "Of course".  That's the way Bruce rolls.  Actually, that was more notice than we sometimes get.  In fact, on any given day, if we wake up and hear loud snoring coming from the guest room, Bruce may be in the house.  He knows how to get in, where to go and what to do.  He knows he's always welcome here, no questions asked.  Well, that's not exactly true.  We ask questions.  But, he always knows he has a place to stay, a meal to eat, and a listening ear.  It's a given.

We may see him 3 weeks in a row sometimes, then other times we may not see him for 3 months.  But, no problem.  We pick up where we left off.  He's just part of the family.

That works great for Bruce and I....dropping in when he can or when he needs to.  But, many of us have this same relationship with God.  We may stop by and chat once a week for 3 weeks, then we may go 3 months without talking.  Not the best way to have a meaningful relationship with the one who made you...the one who longs to know you and love you and hear your voice...the one who desires to guide you through this minefield we call life.  What works great for me and Bruce, wouldn't work so great with Susan.  Different relationship.  Different needs.  Different expectations.  Different level of intimacy.  The level of intimacy God desires.  Intimacy comes on a daily basis...sometimes hourly.  Not a now and then or whenever necessary basis.  If that's your relationship with God, maybe it's time to make Him a priority in your time and in your day.  Don't stop by when necessary...realize the immediate necessity.  Prioritize.  Come close.

8/27/12

BODYNOMICS

As many of you are aware, I tend to have problems with my kidneys.  The rest of me manages to stay relatively healthy, but those kidneys are another story.  When I go to the doctor, they check my blood pressure and my temperature.  They're always great.  Sometimes they check my cholesterol, PSA, hormones (I score very low on the follicle producing hormone...duh!).  You get the picture, and the picture is I look like a pillar of health.  Except for those pesky kidneys.

All in all, that's not too bad...right?  They don't fall out or shrivel up and die or go on strike or attack other organs.  They just get infected and don't work right.  Shouldn't be that big of a deal.  But, it is.  They cause me exhaustion.  I get horrible headaches.  My lower back hurts.  I get nausea.  I ache all over.  Who knew one member not working correctly could wreak so much havoc on the whole body?

Enough biology.  But, what does this have to do with anything else?  Well, the Bible talks about the church as many things.  One of those things is a body.  In fact that's the #1 analogy God uses to speak of the church.  So, what's my point?  My point is that in my body when one little part fails to do it's part, my whole body suffers.  One part, hidden away in one little section of my body, minding it's own business.  But, when it fails to function properly, the entire body becomes unhealthy.  The entire body gets sick.  The entire body experiences disease.  It's a mess, and I'm not the person I want to be.

As a believer, you're a part of a body, the church.  As a part of that body, you have a role to play.  It may seem big.  It may seem small.  You may think nobody ever notices, and quite possibly, they don't...until you're not there to do what you do.  Then they notice.

Question:  Are you a functioning body part?  Is the church healthier because of you or are you part of the disease it suffers?  Is it functioning to it's fullest capacity because of you, or struggling to be all it was designed to be in spite of you?  Are you contributing to the health of your church?  Are you functioning at full-capacity?

Jesus didn't die for a cadaver, but a body.  Whatever organ you are, function at full-capacity!

8/24/12

REMODELING

I know, some of you are saying, "Wait, hasn't he written about this before?".  The answer would be "Yes, you're not crazy.  It's just what we do now".  We've remodeled our floors.  We've taken out a bedroom and remodeled our Game Room.  We've remodeled our kitchen.  We've remodeled our Guest Bath....our patio...our DRIVEWAY!

Recently, Susan told me she didn't think this was the last house she wanted to live in.  (She wanted to move!)  REASON: It's a 2-story house.  She thought as we get older we didn't need a second story (basically STAIRS).

After all the remodeling, basically rebuilding this house, NOW she wants to move?  We love our house.  We love our neighborhood.  We love our neighbors, except for that crazy lady across the street (I know she reads my blog, so I had to throw that in).

MY ANSWER:  OK, let's move.  But, one caveat...no more pool.  I've built one.  I'm not building another.  One-story home without pool.  Two-story home with pool.

BOTTOM LINE:  We're remodeling again.  Here's what I've discovered.  Remodeling is not an just an event, it's a process.

It's a lot like our salvation.  Sometimes we think of it as an event, "I got saved on______ day".  That's absolutely true.  But, God's Word also says, "day by day, I'm being saved".  Our salvation is more than an event.  It's also a process.  God is busy saving us day by day.  But, that's not all.  Paul talks about the day he will leave this earth and enter heaven and speaks of it as "I will be saved".  Yes, our salvation is a PAST, PRESENT and FUTURE event.  We were saved, we are being saved, and we will be saved.  We're being remodeled by God.  Pretty cool.  AND, with baptism, you get the pool!

8/23/12

IF GOD KNOWS.....

Someone asked me the question last night that I get from time to time, "If God knows everything, how could He allow those who He knows will reject Him to be born?"  That's a great question.  How can a loving God allow people to come into this world that he already knows will be condemned to hell eternally?  Can He really be considered "loving", yet allow such a thing?

My Response:

1.  We must not confuse knowledge with causation.  Just because I know the house is burning down doesn't mean I set the fire.  Because He knew it doesn't mean He caused them to reject Him.  We're quite capable of that on our own.

2.  God is love and love demands a choice.  Susan knows I love her, not because I had to, but because I chose to...and keep choosing to daily.  Love entails my having the choice not to love.

3.  The question is a good one, but it misses the bigger, better question: "How could a just God, who knows we all, at some point, reject Him and choose our own way over His, and even when He saves us and forgives us we still reject His way and take our own over and over...how could a just God let anyone into his heaven?"  That's the more mind-boggling proposition to me.  The fact that ANY of us will see heaven is beyond reason.  The fact that you will.  The fact that I will.  The fact that a bunch of sin-soaked rejects get the reward of a lifetime...of ETERNITY!  That's crazy!  That's ridiculous!  That's our God!

8/22/12

GUILT VS. CONVICTION

A number of you asked for these comparisons form last Sunday's message, so I told the last person I would blog them today.  So, here they are...

                   GUILT                                                                       CONVICTION
*Condemns                                                                   *Calls you to something better
*Tears down                                                                 *Builds up
*Kills hope                                                                     *Inspires hope
*Causes us to run from God                                        *Causes us to run to God
*Motivated by fear                                                        *Motivated by love
*Leaves us feeling worthless                                         *Leaves us feeling valued
*Yields shame and despair                                           *Yields holiness & joy

Don'r mistake the voice of GUILT for the voice of GOD!

8/21/12

I LIKE CACTUS

Not everyone knows that.  If you look in my backyard, you'll find that half of it is a desert. Sand and rocks and...cactus.  I get a bad rap for it too.  "Cactus around a pool?  What were you thinking?".  Well, one thing I was thinking was if you're in my pool you should stay there and stay off my sand.  The other thing I was thinking is that's it my yard, I like cactus, live with it.  If you don't like it, swim in your bath tub.  But, I digress.

When most people think of cactus they think of one thing and one thing only...needles.  They miss the beauty of these amazing plants.  Most see needles, spines and pain.  I see some of the most beautiful blooms imaginable.  Yes, most cactus bloom.  Beautiful blooms.  But, they have lived in some of the most desolate areas of the world, so they have developed defense mechanisms that say, "Don't come too close, or you'll be sorry!"

There are a lot of cacti in the world.  I'm not talking about the horticultural varieties now.  I'm talking about the people variety.  So many people have lives of great beauty, but, for whatever reason, they have developed a defense system that says, "Come too close, and you'll be sorry!"  We've all suffered the pain of rejection, hurt, abuse, unfair treatment, etc.  But, the difference is, some move on from it and others develop a self-protection system that says, "Ignore the beauty...just pay attention to the thorns!"

I love cactus, but, I don't want to be one.  And, I don't want you to either.  Drop the needles.  Put away the thorns.  Lay down the spines.  Let the beauty of your life be approachable.  It's a dangerous world out there, but life's too short to be known for your needles.

8/20/12

FAMILY

It's been a great summer at the Allen house.  A trip to the Carribean, breaking ground on our new campus, finding out about the 2 new additions coming to our tribe, a graduation, birthdays, ...I could go on and on.  Hard to choose a highlight.  I'm sure everyone has their own, but for me, last night would be hard to beat.  It was burgers in the back yard.  Me, Susan, the kids and their spouses (which are our kids, too) sitting around the table talking about "remember when..." and "Dad, when we were kids, did you ever______?"  And, "What do you do when the kid does ________?"

We talked about stuff.  We talked about nothing.  We talked about back when and now and what's to come.  If the grandkids hadn't gotten worn out and moved into the "I'm crying and I don't know why" phase, we might still be sitting there talking.  Trees and football and names of kids and houses and jobs and what to do with 2-year-olds, and...stuff.  Stuff that mattered and stuff that didn't.  Great stuff.

Highlight!

8/17/12

CASH IS IN THE HOUSE!

That's my grandson from OKC.  He's a stud.  I don't get to see him as often as I'd like to, so...I can write a blog or play with him.  Have a wonderful day!

PS:  Oh yeah, he brought his parents with him, too.

8/16/12

CONSUMER CHRISTIANITY

We are, by nature, a nation of consumers.  That's pretty much what makes our economy hum.  Recently, people have stopped consuming quite as much and we've experienced an economic down turn.  Politicians all say we need to turn this economy around, get people back to work and people consuming again.  They all have different ideas how to do it, but our economy is still based on people consuming.  It's the American way.  Of course, over-consumption can lead to a society that's up to it's eyeballs in debt...but that's for another day and another post.

Americans...consumers...go...buy...consume...get...get some more...get all you can, can all you get and sit on the lid.  It's the American way.  However, when it comes to our Christianity, our Americanism may get in the way without our even knowing it.  The American way...consume, consume, consume.  Look for the place that gives you the best product with the best service at the best cost to you.  After all, it's all about you.

Jesus taught quite the opposite though.  And when our consumerism follows us into church, we tend to look for the best church that gives us the best product with the best service at the lowest cost to us.  But, Jesus idea for His Church was that HE would be the product, WE would GIVE the service and WE would bear the cost.  Since Jesus had already laid down his life for us, we would, in turn, lay down our lives for others.  The Church would not be a place we would consume, but rather a place we would serve.

Our question to the church should not be, "What have you got for me?", but rather, "How can I be of service?"  Is that the question you're asking?

8/15/12

COWBOYS & COWGIRLS

First thing in the morning is one of my favorite times.  Susan and I get up, make the coffee and sit back in our two big chairs.  One of us pours each of us a cup and we sit back and chat about things that happened the day before, challenges we have for the day ahead or just stuff that means something to us or is just bugging us.  Bottom Line:  Before the day takes us away from one another and does with us what it pleases, we connect.  We read our Bibles, we pray, I write my blog, but through it all, we connect.  Each of us knows they have permission to "butt in", no matter how trivial it may seem.

We have our favorite coffee mugs.  Mine says "COWBOY", and hers says "COWGIRL".  You may be saying, "You're no cowboy!"  Well, you've missed the point.  I never drink from that mug when she's not there.  She never drinks from her mug when I'm not there.  They're a matched set.  They only operate together.  You see, she's only a "COWGIRL" when she's with her "COWBOY" and vice versa.  It says nothing about our agrarian lifestyle.  It says we're a matched set.  I may be a "cowless cowboy", but I'm hers, and that's all that matters.

Excuse me while I lay a big wet one on my "COWGIRL".  YEE HAW!!!!!

8/14/12

SAY GOODBYE...YOU SAY HELLO

My friend Elizabeth died yesterday.  She was way too young to die, but she did.  I didn't get to know her long, as time is measured, but I feel that in spite of that I got to know her well.  She was beautiful on the outside.  Much more so on the inside.

There are people I've known for years, but never knew as well as I got to know Elizabeth.  She was an open book.  If you let her talk, she would.  She REALLY would.  REALLY.  And she had something to say.

I could write so much, but let me limit my words.  I think two things really define our lives...how we LIVE and how we DIE.  Elizabeth poured 3 or 4 lives worth of living into her short years.  Some people hang around for 100 years, but never do much living.  She proved the adage that it's not so much  the years to your life, as it is the life to your years.  In that sense, she may have outlived us all.

One scene will be etched in my memory: As she lived out her last hours, she did so with her three girls perched on her bed, taking turns reading God's Word to her.  Stuff like that doesn't just happen by accident.  Those things get planted deep in the lives of children by a powerful, godly, loving mother.  Her family is a testament to her life.

Yesterday, it was hard to say goodbye to her.  But, it was easy for her to say hello to Jesus...to leave behind her suffering and the limits of this world and be united with her Savior.  Today, heaven is a even better place.

8/13/12

IT'S BROKE!

The GROUND, that is.  It's broken now.  Confession: I don't really look forward to things like Groundbreaking Ceremonies.  I'm not really big on ceremonies.  Just build the building and when it's finished give me my own key and I'm good.  Not really big on the pomp and circumstance part.

However, yesterday was special.  It was exciting to see what God had done.  It was inspiring to recall again all that God had orchestrated to bring us to that point.  It was moving to see how much it meant to every person.  It was a GOOD DAY.

We need those moments.  We need to pause and reflect and give glory to God.  We need to put a shovel in the ground and recognize the elders who lead us and the Building Team who has worked so long and hard and faithfully to bring us to this point.  And we needed to see all those children digging and breaking "their own" ground.  On the trip there, one of my grandsons asked Susan, "Yaya, are we going to get to help build today?"  She wasn't sure what to tell him.  But, when we invited all the children to come forward and break ground with their own shovels, her heart just leapt.  Those children were so excited, just to turn a shovel of dirt.  But, now they continue to be a part of building a building and building a church to His glory.

It was NOT a waste of time.  It was a GREAT DAY!

8/11/12

GROUNDBREAKING

Some things are real.  Some things are symbolic.  Just because something is symbolic doesn't make it any less important.  Jesus went to the cross and bled and died and suffered for us and paid for our sins.  That was real.  Every time we celebrate the Lord's Supper, we remember the cross and the broken body and shed blood.  It's symbolic, but it's still powerful because it points to some to something that was and is real.

Tomorrow we break ground on our new campus.  Well, not literally.  There aren't big pieces of machinery poised and waiting to swoop in and erect a building, but can't until we break up the ground for them.  I think we all know that.  What we do tomorrow is symbolic.  We turn a few shovels of dirt.  Big deal.  But, for those of us who have prayed and obeyed and given and sacrificed for a building that represents a dream of what is needed to build God's Kingdom, it is a big deal.  Symbolic?  Yes.  Real?  Absolutely.  My heart is going to leap a little.  Not because I know the construction can start now.  But, because I know we're symbolically starting the actual construction of what was only a dream for so long.  God has taken us a long way.  He's got a long way to take us still.  But, we need to celebrate all the big things he does in us.  We need to give him credit.  We need to celebrate.  We need to make these moments memorable.  Let's tear up some dirt!

8/10/12

DON'T WASTE A MINUTE

It's HOT!  Always.  Really.  I'm tired of hot.  I'm ready for Fall.  Fall has cool.  Fall has football.  Fall has less mosquitoes.  Fall has less people on vacation and more people in church.  Fall has a church being built.  Fall has leaves turning colors (somewhere).  Did I mention Fall is cooler?  You actually want to go outside.  Fall lets you get out of your vehicle without your glasses fogging up.  I'm ready for Fall RIGHT NOW!

OK, wait a minute.  That's how we live our lives a lot of time.  I wish I was 16 now so I could get my license.  I wish I was old enough to get married...go off to college...get a job...move out...have kids...you fill in the blank.  All great things, but would you really want to miss the next day, month, year, etc. to get there now?

The principle here?  CONTENTMENT.  That's a big Biblical principle.  What does it mean?  It means that if you can't be happy where you are, you'll never be happy where you want to be.  I means don't wish your life away.  It means being willing to enjoy right now.  It means choosing to be present in the moment, not just looking to someday.  Because somedays aren't promised, but you do have today.  Don't miss it.  Don't waste it.  You'll never get it back.  It's a gift.  LIVE TODAY...FULLY!

8/9/12

FLESH EATING BACTERIA

Did you hear about the guy who went fishing in Galveston and contracted the flesh-eating bacteria and may have his leg amputated? (this, among other things, is why I don't fish...complete and total lack of patience being another, but I digress)  How can a guy innocently wade out into the bay, throw in a line, catch a few fish...and have his leg amputated?  That's crazy!  It makes no sense.  How can something as simple and innocent as fishing cause parts of your body to be eaten away and destroyed?

I guess the other question is, why does this draw such attention in the physical realm, but not in the spiritual realm.  The exact same thing happens every week in the church, but it never makes the news.  Yesterday, I had a really sweet, dear man come by my office to tell me he was leaving the church.  This guy is quite the exception.  Rarely does anyone tell me.  They usually just amputate themselves from the body and disappear into the night, sometimes telling others down the line in less than flattering terms.

Why was he leaving?  Because of something I had said.  That part is pretty typical.  Was it a bad thing...evil thing...theologically incorrect thing?  No, just an innocent remark I made that got lodged in his head and he took offense to.  Solomon said, it's the "little foxes that spoil the vineyard".  Not the big things, but the small.  That's typical.  Like the small bacteria that somehow entered this man's body when he was just fishing, so a spiritual bacteria had done the same.  And, the ramifications can be just as devastating.

Remember, we have an enemy whose strategy is to steal, kill and destroy...and that means YOU!  He desperately wants to destroy the body of Christ, the Church.  Part of his plan includes you.  Be aware.  Be vigilant.  Guard yourself.  And when it does hit, don't ignore it like most.  Do what this man did.  Confront it.  Don't be a spiritual amputee.

8/8/12

MORE THAN A SONG

"Count your blessings, name them one by one.  Count your blessings, see what God has done.  Count your blessings...name them one by one..."  Some of you may have never heard that song.  It's an oldie.  I've sung it 1000's of times.  But, probably never paid attention to anything I was singing.  Why do I know that?  Because I never did what the song says to do...Count your blessings.  

Have you ever done that?  Probably not.  You're like me and 99% of most of the world.  Every time something goes wrong, we take note of that.  We worry.  We fret.  We say, "Why me?".  But, we ignore the many, many, many ways we have been blessed beyond measure.

Do you have a roof over your head?  Blessing.  You have air conditioning?  Blessing.  Do you have a job?  One that pays well?  One with a sane boss?  One with benefits?  One you like?  All blessings.

Do you have an intact marriage?  A spouse who loves you?  Kids who aren't devil-worshippers?  Blessings.

Friends?  Family?  Church?  Awesome pastor? (please check that one)  Hope? Health?  I could go on and on.  So, why not?  Make yourself a Blessing Page today and fill it up.  Every time you think of one, jot it down.  It just might blow you away.  It just might change your attitude.  I just might change your "Why me's" into, "No big deal, Lord.  I'm unbelievably blessed!"

8/7/12

SWING CORRECTION

I played golf yesterday.  Poorly.  Not surprisingly, but poorly.  I met a new guy named Bill.  Great golfer.  Better guy.  Bill's probably my age, or even a little older, but, wow, could this guy hit a golf ball.  We'd played about 16 holes and he'd watched me shank every drive straight right.  That's when he said, "I could fix that".  Two things went through my mind: 1) I doubt it, & 2) If you really can, what have you been waiting for.  My response was, "Knock yourself out, big boy!"

Bill said, "It's real simple".  Whenever someone says "It's real simple", I immediately know this may be a lot of things, but simple isn't one of them.  He said, "Just kind of sit down in your swing, cock your hips and swing through".  Oh, that it were so easy to correct  ineptitude.  So, I tried my best to do exactly what he told me (with very low expectations, I might add).  SHAZAM!  Blasted that sucker right down the middle past every other ball.  I crushed that thing.  I felt like Bubba Watson (only right-handed).  I looked at Bill.  All he said was, "See.  Told ya."

Who in their wildest dreams thought that one little correction could make such a difference?  Well, besides Bill?

I think God's Word is our Swing Corrector.  It's filled with practical, relevant corrections for our life, that if we would just listen and follow, would change us for the better.  Like I did with Bill, I thought, "This feels really weird...really uncomfortable".  But that's because I'd done it wrong so long, that wrong felt "righter" than right.  That's the way it is in our lives.

"Love your enemies"seems weird.  "Walk by faith and not by sight" feels really strange.  "Don't worry about anything, instead pray about everything" is unbelievably awkward...but they work.  You have to decide if you want to keep doing what feels comfortable and get awful results or opt to do what God says, awkward as it may feel, and experience the results of doing it His way.

Did I mention we shot a 54?  Just braggin'.  Still lost by 7 strokes.  Golfers?!?!

8/6/12

OILER GOLF

Today, I'm playing in the Annual Pearland Oiler Golf Tournament, to raise funds for the PHS football program.  It's something I try to never miss because of the great respect I have for this program and the role it plays in the lives of so many young men.  I'm excited...and a little concerned as well, for several reasons:
1.  It starts at 1:00PM.  I have become a heat wimp and know its going to be beyond HOT.  Actual melting is a real fear.
2.  Golf is a game that must be played often to be played well.  No exceptions.  I haven't...therefore I won't.  Embarrassment is a very real possibility.
3.  Golf requires a full half-day.  Throw in lunch, warm-up (why that would be needed, I'm not clear) dinner, awards, etc., you can blow the better part of a day.  I feel strongly I need all of mine.

LIFE LESSONS:  *Being a Christ-Follower is much the same.  To do it well, you must do it often.  It's not just something you can pick up and put down as you feel like.  To follow Him well, you must follow Him daily.
*It takes time.  In fact, it's actually a full-time vocation.
*If you follow Him, expect to feel the heat.  He'll take you into some tough places.  Uncomfortable places.  It's where He goes.  It's where He expects you to go with Him.  Remember, Jesus came to comfort the afflicted and afflict the comfortable.

8/5/12

WHAT'S YOUR EXCUSE?

There are two kinds of people that Jesus met and dealt with...those that gave excuses and those that believed him, followed him and saw results in their life.

Two thousand years later, not much has really changed.  There are still two kinds of people Jesus deals with...excuse-givers and result-givers.  You have to choose which one you'll be.  No fence to straddle. Excuses or results?  It's your choice.

Today, let me show you how to step out of the excuse camp and experience the amazing results of believing and following Christ.  See ya soon!

8/4/12

MORE #jesusstuff

In John 5, Jesus approached a guy who had been crippled for the past 38 years.  He asked him a simple question: "Do you want to get well?".  Simple question.  Dumb question!  Who doesn't want to be healed?  Who doesn't want to get well?  The obvious answer is, "YES!".  But, was that his answer?  What did the man say...and why did he say it...and what does that have to do with you?

The answer might surprise you.  Check it out tomorrow at crospointchurch.tv.  Remember, new service times are 9:15 and 11:00.  See you there!

8/3/12

CHICK-FIL-A & GAY

The Chick-Fil-A Appreciation Day was unbelievable.  In case you've been living under a rock and don't know what all the hullabaloo is about, it all started when CEO Dan Cathy responded to a question posed to him that his company was opposed to same-sex marriage.  Of course, that set off a firestorm of response.  Apparently, in our hypocritically politically-correct society, if you disagree with someone, that means you hate them.  The hypocrisy comes from the fact that if someone is opposed to same-sex marriage, they are automatically placed in the category of hating all gay people.  However, it doesn't work both ways.  If you disagree with that point of view, and openly and emphatically make that point publicly, you aren't accused of being a hater of Christians.  You're just considered tolerant.  Hmmm...

Here's a couple of things to consider:

1.  As believers, we sometimes put homosexuality into a higher, more reprehensible category of sin.  Many christians have been guilty of hating gay people.  Somehow their sin is worse than ours.  It gets put in a whole different category.  Few of us even know a gay person, much less have taken the time to have a conversation with them, much less love them.  Jesus would love them.  Sure, he'd tell them, "Go and sin no more", but he would love them.

2.  We have to refuse to get sucked into the hype that is political correctness.  It is hypocritical, incorrect, intolerant and illogical.  "If you disagree with my point of view, you're a hater.  If I disagree with you're point of view, I'm just open-minded, tolerant and more morally evolved than you."  That's trash.  Don't buy it.

3.  You can refuse to be willing to change your definition of marriage without being a homophobe.  I do not hate gay people.  I love them.  I don't like their lifestyle, but I love them.  However, I am unwilling to redefine marriage to accommodate any particular group.  Unwillingness to redefine marriage does not equal hate.  Marriage is for one woman and one man for one lifetime.  Period.  God defined it.  It's not my place to change it.

If we change it to include two men or two women, what's next?  How about multiple women or multiple men?  You OK with that?  How about one man and one child?  You say, "That's stupid!".  Well, not according to the Man-Boy Love Association.  How about one man and one animal?  You OK with that too?  Come on folks, if you're going to be tolerant, you can't pick and choose who/how/what you want to be tolerant with.  If you're open-minded and morally evolved, then you better open it up a little wider and evolve a little further.

BOTTOM LINE: I can be unwilling to redefine marriage without hating anyone.  Only a hateful moron would think otherwise.

8/2/12

BICYCLES

Susan and I reached some decisions over our vacation time.  One of those was to purchase bicycles and join a cycle club.  Whew!  Tough, but we thought it through and made the tough decision.  Now, we just buy bikes and start rolling.

Not so fast, Jack.  We just thought we made the tough decision.  You DON'T just buy a bike.  Do you want a road bike, a mountain bike, a hybrid bike or an urban bike?  Steel, aluminum, carbon or a combination?  Oh, a road bike.  Great.  Touring or racing?  What size?  What components?  What saddle?  What geometry? (there's math in this?)  What are you going to do with this bike? (that's none of your business.  It's MY bike!)  Color preference?  Tire pressure?

I just want a bike!  I thought the choices were Schwinn and Huffy.  Red or silver.  Handlebar streamers or bell?  Why does something so simple have to be soooo complex?

Inevitably, we tend to assume our life to be COMPLEX and everyone else' stuff to be relatively SIMPLE.  Our life is tough.  Our decisions are hard.  Our decisions are tough.  Keeping our marriage together isn't like yours...ours is work.  Our job isn't like your job...ours is taxing and our boss is, well, bossy.  You can keep filling in the blanks.  We know that where we live, life is challenging, but tend to assume that everyone else' life is a cakewalk.

But, life is tough, across the board.  Lessons to be learned?
1.  Don't use the assumption that your life is tougher than everyone else' to excuse your giving less than your best to every detail of it.  You're called to God's Best...PERIOD.
2.  Don't assume that anyone else' life (marriage, work, family, finances, etc.) are simpler and easier than your own.  They don't obey God because it's easy.  They obey God because it's right.  And, so should you.

Life is tough.  GET OVER IT.  Then, get after it!

8/1/12

TEARS TO CHEERS

A couple of nights ago, Jordyn Wieber was in tears.  She had just found out that her dream of winning the Gold in the Olympic All-Around Competition was over before it even started.  Even though she had one of the 5 best scores among all the athletes competing, she would be left out because two higher scores were registered by her teammates.  Although she tried, she couldn't hold back the tears.  The All-Around World Champion would not be the Olympic Champion.

Everyone held their collective breath as the team competition began last night.  How would Jordyn respond?  Could she regroup and give her best performance after her dream had been shattered?  That question was quickly answered as she led-off for the U.S.  Again and again, she nailed her routines and help lead her team to the Gold Medal.   No one smiled brighter or grander as they stood on the medal stand to receive, not an individual Gold, but a Team Gold.

Being shut-out of her dream was not her choice, but adopting a new dream was.  She had a choice...bitter or better.  She chose better.  And now, along with her teammates, she wears Gold.  Maybe not the Gold she most coveted, but Gold.

Life is about choices we don't get to make and the choices we do get to make in response to those.  What we choose changes everything.  We either readjust our dreams and desires, or we simply get bitter.  It's that simple.  Today, something will go array.  How will you respond to it?  Your response to what you don't want will determine more about who you are than all the "wins" you rack up combined.  Choose better, not bitter.