Thursday, July 14, 2011

Hot Times

I have lived in Texas for all of my 39 years and have weathered the summers here for all of them minus one when I spent the summer in northern Germany.  I know hot when I see it, feel it, or melt in it.  This summer is HOT!  Robin Williams in Good Morning Vietnam says, "It is Africa hot!"  Brothers and sisters, Africa has nothing on Texas this summer.

Tuesday evening while 100+ children were gathered at Genesis United Methodist Church a UPS truck pulled into the parking lot.  The driver was not there to make a delivery.  The man was on the verge of dying in the heat.  Literally, he was vomitting and not fully consious.  He collasped on the ground and was not able to even get into a wheel chair to be brought inside to the air conditioning.  A 911 call brought an ambulance and firetruck to the church.  The man was taken to a local hospital and given an IV and treatments for heat exhaustion. 

Yep, it is hot.  Sunday, a group of Junior High kids and a few of us adults will go on a mission trip in the heat.  I have to admit that I am not looking forward to what some forecasts have in the range of 100 to 105 for the highs. 

Today, Marvin, a.k.a. the UPS man, came by the church to thank the staff for their help in his time of need.  On Tuesday evening he was literally at his last stop, save the fact we were having Vacation Bible School. 

Did I mention the theme for Tuesday night was, "God watches over you"?  And we were reminded that "Even in darkness I cannot hide from you" (Psalm 139:12).  God watches over us in the hot and in the cold, in the light and the dark, in the good and the bad, in our best and our worst.  God was watching over Marvin and God is watching over you.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

This Morning

Last Sunday several people gave "updates" on prayer concerns with statements like, "I got a text from them last night" or "I talked with his wife this morning."  It is a way of conveying this is the most up to date news availible to the group. 
Nicole C. Mullens sings a song My Redeemer LivesToward the end of the song she says, "I spoke with him this morning."  This line, more than any other in the song, gives me chills every time.  It says that her relationship is up to date.  It is a way of conveying that she didn't just speak to him a while back, but she has a current and relavant relationship with Jesus.  It is for me the true testimony of her faith and her belief that her Redeemer, Christ Jesus, does live.

Most mornings, I speak with my Redeemer while I go for my run.  Sometimes it is the brief good morning of old friends.  Others it is a powerful moment as sweat runs down my brow and the sun breaks the horizan.  Either way it is for me a moment of proof that indeed he lives.  It is not something that is just biblical or creedal; it is personal. 

Sunday, April 24, 2011


For the season of Lent, I did not use Facebook or write on my blog.  Today is Easter.  The time of darkness has past; the computer is turned on.  Resurrection has come.  Redemption has come home.

Obviously, this is the day that we as Christians remember that "He is not here.  He is risen!"  These words were spoken by the angel at the tomb when the women went to see the body of Jesus.  Today, death is found powerless.  Today, darkness has past from us.  Today is the day of Resurrection and we are free from sin and the grave!

It is also a day when many of us take back some of the things we "gave up" for Lent.  I have already perused though Facebook this morning.  Amazingly, it looked pretty much like it did 40 days ago when I signed off for the last time.  While, I was slightly disappointed with the posts I read this morning, I am sure within a few days I will be back to checking it several times a day lest I miss something important.  Funny isn't it.  I don't think I missed anything truly important over the last six weeks.

Today is also a day of redemption.  Before Jesus faced his own crucifixion and death, he stopped at the grave of a friend who had been dead four days.  Martha, the friend's sister, warned Jesus, "There is already a stench!"  Jesus told the people to remove the stone which covered the face of the tomb.  When Jesus called, "Lazarus, come out!" the dead man walked out of the tomb.  But then Jesus had to tell the people, "unbind him."  Many people walk through life bound up by the past.  We might not literally be dead, but we cannot be fully alive if we are still tied up by the past

A little over a week ago, I received the call to be unbound.  I received word that I was accepted to law school.  Suddenly, it felt as if my life had changed.  I was not dead, but the past still hung on me like the cloths that held the dead.  Today, I am alive, free, and looking forward to a better tomorrow. 

May your day of resurrection and redemption come swiftly.  May you be blessed as you find yourself unbound from the past.

Friday, February 4, 2011


"I control my own destiny."  It is something that all of us want to believe in some form or fashion.  Just a couple of weeks ago, a church by which I pass had on the marquee, "WE ARE THE RESULT OF OUR CHOICES."  As humans, we want this to be the case.  We know it to be the case.

This week is the antithesis of these humanistic mindsets.  North Texas has prepared for months for this week.  It is the week of the "Big Game."  I don't want the NFL to come saying that I am infringing on their precious copyright, so I will just say, "The Big Game."  Well, as much as DFW prepared, made choices, and put our destiny in our own hands, God has looked down and laughed at the little Babylonians trying to build for ourselves a tower and make a name for ourselves.  We could plan, hope, dream, invest, choose, and still at the end of the day, we could not control the weather.  We have had the coldest temperatures in over 15 years along with ice and snow.

We want to prove that we can do this.  We want to be smart enough and strong enough to handle these things on our own.  Frustratingly, we are not.  OK, I will make it more personal, I am not.  Maybe Jerry and the guys running the "Big Game" are strong enough and smart enough.

Yes, I have lots of control in my life.  Yes, I can make many choices every day.  Yes, I have intelligence and strength.  No, I am not in control and I do not want to be.  I am not solely the result of my choices.  Good things have happened in my life that have nothing to do with the choices I have made.  Bad things have happened despite some good and right decisions.  I have not always gotten what I deserved, good or bad.  On the whole, I am as much the product of grace as of any control I have in life.  God has never failed to remain faithful regardless of my desire for control.

After four days cooped up at home, I am ready to have a bit more control.  I am ready to drop the kids at school, go get a Starbucks, and then have the ability to come and go as I choose.  And I will continue to be thankful for the lack of control I have which somehow has been blessing and grace in the long views of life.

Thursday, January 27, 2011


Last week I exchanged emails with a friend who is coming out of a turbulent year.  Although the turbulent was personal, she said, "surely that has spilled into my professional life to some degree."  We would like to believe there is some great wall of division between our professional and private lives.  And somehow we are surprised when the professional or public pours into tour private lives, or when a tough time in the private world comes out in odd ways in our public self.

My mom used to work in a school where the principal's secretary was also his wife.  Mom's classroom shared a wall with the principal's office.  She could tell you when they had a fight at home because of the yelling in their offices at work.  Are any of us really surprised at this phenomenon?

We also expect there to be a wall of division between our sacred and secular selves.  This wall is no more existent than the wall mentioned above.  We are integrated beings.  Our sacred and secular effect each other.  Our faith cannot start on Sunday about 8:15 in the morning and only be important until 12:03. 

Maybe we all need to embrace the reality that our being is integrated.  That our physical effects our spiritual, that our public and private are related, and that our sacred and secular in reality are the same person.  Not that all things have to be shared in all places, but being more fully integrating and not letting the walls of division be so prominent in our lives actually frees us to be the full person God called and created us to be.  Maybe we can be more fully alive in all aspects of life.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Beyond One's Self

Yesterday afternoon a friend's husband was attacked by a student at his school.  Originally, they thought he had a few broken ribs, but did not appear so on the x-ray.  Apparently, he is still hurting and they are headed back to the doctor this afternoon.

Obviously, I am concerned about the friend and I worry about the state of our schools, but part of me hurts for this student.  What is going on in his life?  What was he thinking?  Was he thinking?  What would his parents say?  Do they even know?

To attack a teacher is to act outside of one's self.  He was acting beyond what was rational and expected.  Many people act beyond themselves at various points in life.  Glen Beck and George W. Bush both admit to having acted beyond themselves in their use of alcohol. Lindsay Lohan may have almost forgotten what it means to act within herself over the last several years.  Even St. Peter acted outside of himself as he denied even knowing Jesus.

I know the pain acting outside of one's self can bring.  I have experienced it in my own life.  I almost threw away the best things in my life as my family and marriage were slipping out of my fingers and my career eventually flew out the window.  Beck, Bush, and Lohan got help to get back on track.  Peter ended up being the rock on which the Church was built.  I have had help pulling myself together and establishing and reestablishing my own boundaries. 

What about this kid?  Who will help him?  Who is helping in our schools?  I have to admit I am a fence rider, literally, on this subject.  I serve on a PTA for one son's local public elementary school, and am a passive parent at my other son's private middle school.  I hope this kid finds a way to establish his own self in a positive way.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Goals v. Resolutions

OK, so I am a little late on my New Year's resolutions.  But, as I looked at this question, sometimes they are not resolutions, but rather goals for the year.  So, first, let me define "goal" and "resolution."

Goal: that which one plans to achieve.
Resolution: a decision to do something or make a change in behavior.

I have both goals and resolutions for 2011.  My goals include - 1) taking the LSAT in February, 2) continue running 4 times a week, 3) assuming I do well on goal 1 to go to law school in the fall, 4) lose 20 lbs (doing this means I could weight the same on my 40th birthday as I did on my 20th!).

My resolutions include - 1) not looking back at the past with regret, 2) to give thanks for today, 3) to look forward with optimism to the days to come, 4) to love my wife and my boys more carefully.

These are much more self-centered than most goals and resolutions that I have put before friends in the past.  They are probably much more honest about where I am and what I want as well.  I pray that 2011 will be a good year for Tammy and I, for us and our boys, and that this second half of life will continue to overflow my cup of blessing.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011


Most team sports, minus hockey (which as a Texan does not make any sense to me), have a halftime.  Halftime can simply be a chance for players to catch their breath and get a drink.  Often it is a time for the coach and the team to adjust the game plan and prepare for the second half of the game.  Many games shift at halftime.  Last night the momentum shifted for Arkansas as they played Ohio State in the Sugar bowl.  I was asleep by this point, but apparently Arkansas played a much stronger game in the second half.

This year, 2011, is my halftime.  I will turn 40.  Assuming an average life expectancy, I am right at the halfway point.  I have been a stay-at-home dad for the last 15 months.  This has been an incredible time for me to stop, catch my breath, and adjust the game plan for the remainder of my life.  During this time, Tammy and I have worked on being the husband and wife we both deserve and who God has created and called us to be.  We also have set out ways and means for us to continue on a more healthy road in the days and years to come.  I too have been thinking about what am I going to do with the second half of this game called life. 

Well, I know somethings will change for sure.  In December, I withdrew from the ordained ministry of the United Methodist Church.  It was time.  It was not an easy decision, but it was the right one.  Currently, I am preparing to take the LSAT in February and apply to law school.  I have discovered during my halftime I love weekends and evenings with my family.  So, that will remain a priority in the second half. 

I am still working on my resolutions and goals for the new year and second half.  Look for some of those thoughts next week.