Saturday

does this thing still work?

Wow.

Sorry folks if you check this regularly. We have been busy packing to move back to the Dallas area Monday. My wife is just unbelievable. You should see that woman organize. Praise God that I married her. Mercy, she is a gift from God.

I have actually been busy preparing a sermon on 1 Kings 19:1-18 that I am so very blessed to give at Covenant Fellowship in Amarillo tomorrow. They are a supporting church of ours and when I called the pastor a few weeks ago and asked what he'd like me to do he said, "You wanna preach?" and I said, "Ah, sure, yeah, you bet!" And that was that.

It's actually, I think , my first official full length sermon on a Sunday. Officially. So please pray I don't mess it up. But I have to tell you, I have missed teaching. I haven't been able to do it much in a long time and it is just such an unbelievable gift that the Lord let's me do it. It's, well, it's awesome. And I have very deeply enjoyed the process. I don't know how you full time pastors do it every week.

Anyway, this is our last 2 days in Lubbock before we head out and leave Jenny's mom by herself for the first time since Robert went home. We know he's in glory but it sure still hurts a lot down here. I would not repeat 2007 for the world.

So, those of you in the Dallas area, maybe we'll see you around. Enjoy this weekend, folks. The Lord gave them to us for a reason.

sometimes things don't turn out


We've been in West Texas for coming up on 3 months. That's most of winter, mind you. Now normally there are 2-3 decent snow storms. Decent for a Texan is 3-4 inches. Enough to cover everything and muffle out sounds for awhile.

Hasn't happened. We thought that Deacon would get to play in snow - enough to make a snow man or romp around in and eat. Just play. But this is an abnormally warm and dry winter here. The folks up north and east, they wish it were a little warmer and dryer up there, but that's just how things go.

Most likely we will return to Guatemala in May with Deacon never having had the chance to see a good snow. Now he'll probably see some one day. Eventually we'll be somewhere where there is snow. But for now you just have to be a little disappointed and move on.

We leave Lubbock one week from Monday having been here since the end of November. There are a lot of things I wanted to do while we were here that just didn't happen for one reason or another. And that's just life. Sometimes things don't turn out. I'm not sure where I learned to deal with disappointment. It's not like that's a class you take. And some things are of course more disappointing than others. But I'm not sure what else to do other than wish it would have snowed and then move on.

2007 was full of things that didn't turn out for a whole lot of people close to us. I guess that's part of life in a fallen world. Expectations, reasonable or not, go unmet. I guess character doesn't get built very fast when everything goes your way.

I do wish it would snow.

Thursday

Well, happy Valentines Day

Something about Valentines has bugged me as I have grown older. Maybe it's the social pressure to buy red and pink things to show your affection. I don't know. The same culture that says, "I'll stay married to you until I'm no longer happy" also says, "Spend money you don't have on things that don't matter or else you are not 'romantic'". I guess today is supposed to celebrate romance but I'm not sure America even knows what that means anymore. Romance and commitment go hand in hand.

It also says that if you don't have a Valentine you are some how not as happy as everyone else and that irks me on a theological level. Happiness is about being content and contentment comes from seeing life through Christ's eyes. If you are single today - don't worry! And don't let anyone tell you what it means to be happy. Unless it's the Lord, that is. Then you should listen.

Don't get me wrong, I got my wife something for valentines. But I spent $0! I made her a card with a poem I wrote her - a sappy little poem - that she loved. But I don't just do that on Valentines day! That's what husbands are supposed to do - often - to try and convince the women who are way out of their league that marrying them was still a good decision. Jenny and I both worked at flower shops so we know that today is not the day to buy flowers. But flowers are still really nice.

So, if you love today, good for you! Enjoy it! I'm going to eat my half of the Witman's chocolates I got and hopefully spread that eating out over several days instead of just grabbing one each time I walk by the box like usual.

But romance was around LONG before Hallmark told us how to do it.

Tuesday

who likes to swing?



When was the last time you went swinging? Head back, toes up, swinging. When was the last time you enjoyed doing something that didn't make you money or build anything or leave a legacy. When was the last time you just enjoyed being human?

I took our son to feed the ducks and run around at the park last weekend. See, for him, it was just FUN. Sure it was fun within boundaries (no running into the pond, no eating duck poop, stop when daddy says stop) but he didn't care. He doesn't know that disobedience can lead to his harm - at least not like I do. He just knows that its fun to watch the ducks and that throwing stale bread is almost as much fun as trying to pick it back up again after the ducks are on it.

I directed him and then let him be 2. He's too small to get up in the swing or walk to the park without my help. He's not too small to throw bread or run or slide or dig himself into pea gravel. I wonder how many things I have not enjoyed because I thought I knew better than my heavenly Father? He doesn't give me boundaries to control me but to free me to enjoy those things which are truly important. He desires what is best for me, what brings me joy and fills me with purpose and - yes, even things that are fun. If God did not like us to have fun, why in the world would He have made us in such a way what we would make swings? They serve no other purpose. They do not create wealth or fame. They do not persuade people. They do not really DO anything - except allow us to have fun on them. And they follow God's rules! It demonstrates the pendulum, is subject to gravity and other forces. It's something that works within God's parameters and when we do the same thing - life is enjoyed.

God did not call Himself our Heavenly Father on accident. He knows that people need a father - and every dad falls short of what we as humans need in a dad. But Father God does not fall short. He knows what we need. He knows what we want. And He knows how to bring those two things together in a way that is best for us and in a way that brings us, and, amazingly Him, joy.
See, the experience was in the context of relationship. I took that picture. We fed ducks. I can't take a picture of my son if I'm not there. And that's what made it more than just fun - it made it eternal because we invested in each others lives. Now, Deacon doesn't understand that but that doesn't make it untrue. We enjoyed one another. And even though I was standing, baby, I was swinging every time he laughed and smiled and called out my name.

I think maybe we'll do that again.

Thursday

hope is a funny thing

Maybe it's just a funny word. Or at least how we use it.

I'm hooked in american idol. Not so much the crazy first round auditions, but the concept really fascinates me. And some real talent comes through there. Deacon loves to listen to people sing and so we have a good time.

The producers, of course, know that emotional stories hook people and I'm sure I'm as much a sucker as anyone for a sob story. But some of the people who audition - they get crushed if they don't make it. Most of the real talent gets through to Hollywood and if you are really good, you have a great chance of getting a record deal down the line - even if you don't win.

But some of the folks put an enormous investment into something that has no guarantee. And I applaud them for it. I mean, if you don't ever try out, how will you know? I guess I come from the "Go For It" school of thought. If I'm scared of something, I like to confront it and overcome it. Take the ocean. I'm pretty much terrified of the ocean. I am afraid of sharks and drowning, both of which can happen at the ocean. I can drown in the tub, but at least the shark thing holds up in the ocean. But that makes me want to go to the ocean and swim with sharks. Now, I don't want to cover myself in chum and dive in - but I think wearing one of those shark suits and getting in the water would be great. Scary, but good.

I guess fear and hope are always wrestling and both can't be victorious. Now, to be certain, I hope for things that I have limited control over: I hope that my children grow up to love Jesus and live lives that are pleasing to Him. I can teach them that and I can love and pray for them, but in the end, that's their decision. I hope I am married to Jenny 50 years from now. But I could get eaten by a shark in 5 years so...well, not if I don't go to the ocean. But there are things that I hope in, Like Christ's return, like eternal life and the resurrection - these things I hope in but i KNOW they will happen. And I know by faith. Do I ever have fear that they won't happen? Absolutely. But fear is cast out by love - the love of God - and is replaced with hope.

So I say go for it - whatever that is. The worst that can happen is you fail.

Or you get eaten.

Sunday

beyond me

This morning I read John 1 and Revelation 1.

I am just overwhelmed with the magnificence of Jesus. And I can't begin to describe Him. It's like looking at a your first sunset over the ocean or the Rockies or the desert or the West Texas plains and as things fade into darkness and the sky ebbs through it's pallet you just sit there in silence.

Because it's indescribable.

Words do it no justice. And yet words are what I have.

My, my. Read those today and share with me in this awe of Jesus.

Saturday

reading the paper

Some mornings I read the paper while our toddler consumes his breakfast calories.

The other day I was reading in the op-ed section about what people believe regarding the US and stuff going on with the presidential election. I thought these funny - so don't get too worried about my politicking.

69% of people think that the president of the US has control over the price of oil and thus gasoline.

??????

I'm no economist. But I'm pretty sure we buy most of our oil from other people. The buyers don't set the prices, the sellers do. It just seems crazy to me to think that the president controls the price of oil.

45% of people think that the next president will be the person who makes our country better.

Please correct me here if I am in error - but isn't this a government, "of the people, by the people" or was I totally lost during political science? The president is the chief executive of the government. The congress creates legislation and the supreme courts judge as to whether that legislation lines up with the constitution.

Aren't WE, the citizens, responsible for making this country great? And what does that mean anyway? Whose definition of great? Does great mean that everyone has a job? That everyone has a car? A house? What does it mean to be a great nation?

It seems that a nation who, as a whole, looks to God as their Lord and executes acting justly, loving mercy and walking humbly with their Lord, would be doing fine.

And maybe that's the problem. People, we the people, don't want to do that. We elect politicians (and keep electing them) to fix the problems that are our responsibility. There will always be poor people and widows. But they should not be hungry where there is a church. There will always be people who have less than others. But they should have the opportunity to do whatever they can.

Maybe the problem isn't just the politicians.