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Showing posts from February, 2008

Young again

For those of you who visit here on a regular basis, I apologize for not writing in a while. My schedule has not lent itself to writing every morning. Let me just say that in north Texas, grass dies in the winter. You may not have to mow your lawn from November through April, except for some weeds that can get tall. I am still getting used to the Tropics, where grass grows all the time and insects never die. It's February and I'm treating fire ant mounds. Something just doesn't seem right about that.

Anyway...I received many comments about the entry I wrote last week about teenagers. Many of you have expressed thankfulness that the Lord never gives up on us. Amen to that. Those of us who grew up in the church probably had meaningful encounters with Christ as teenagers. We were quick to make commitments and we were totally sincere. But, for so many, things didn't turn out like we thought. There are many reasons for that, but, needless to say, we can give thanks for a God …

Pilgrimage

Psalm 120 is the first of a little song book called the Songs of Ascent. It is possible that Psalms 120 - 134 are a collection of songs sung by pilgrims who made their way from all over the world to the temple atop Mt. Zion in order to worship in the presence of the LORD.

I just reached Psalm 120 in my daily scripture readings. It is an interesting little psalm, and the appropriate place for us to begin our own spiritual journeys into the presence of the LORD. The psalmist is in distress. Apparently he lives far away from Mt. Zion, among a people who are anything but godly. The overall tone is one of dissatisfaction. Psalm 120:6 says, "Too long have I lived among those who hate peace." He finds himself out of place, out of step, he is uncomfortable, he is fed up and now something must be done. For too long he has done nothing, but now he can not continue to maintain the status quo. Being one of the songs of ascent, we assume that what he will do is go on a pilgrimage to Mt. Z…

Dusty Relic

I couldn't write yesterday because of a jolt I received early yesterday morning. It wasn't over the independence of Kosovo and a possible showdown with Russia, it wasn't over the retirement of Fidel Castro and the implications that has on democracy in the Americas. No, the jolt I received was that yesterday Molly Ringwald turned 40 (!!).

I know. Like you, I've had a hard time coming to terms with it. I realize that some of you are of an age where this means nothing to you. But there are those reading this for whom Molly's birthday is a wake-up call. Listen, let me give it to you straight...not only are you getting older, you are absolutely not a teenager anymore. Those days are gone forever. You are a responsible adult. Now, go and get your kids ready for school, and be sure to take your meds, for cyring out loud.

Being a Gen X slacker, I know I'm supposed to connect with "The Breakfast Club," and I do. I know that "Pretty in Pink" w…

Continuity

Kim and I love London, England. It is my favorite city in the world, and we sit around dreaming up excuses for spending a large wad of money on another trip. The last time we were there was in March of 2003 for our tenth anniversary. We stayed in a hotel in Picadilly Circus, right across from a London Underground station, which made the city readily available to us. We wanted to see some shows in the West End while we were there, so we bought tickets to see the Lion King. The show opens with the "Circle of Life" number, as the animal kingdom gathers to celebrat the birth of the Lion King. It is staged so spectactularly, and the song is so inspiring, that I wept like a little girl.

Ecclesiastes 3:1 says, "There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under heaven..." and you know the rest. I don't know about a circle of life, but there is a cycle, a God-ordained order of things. This cycle illustrates the Easter story and gives us hope f…

Allegiance

Is it just me, or does it seem that we have been in the presidential campaign season for years? Politicians are an exclusive group, in my opinion, and their are no "outsiders" among them, at least not on the national level. You reach that point by being one of them, and knowing how the system works. A teacher once told me that perhaps the best qualified individuals would never even consider running for office, let alone get elected.

The past 18 years or so I have had the theory that the people will elect the presidential candidate with the best last name, with some consideration given to looks. We've not had a Mondale, Gore, Dole,Dukakis, or Kerry, but we elected a Bush, Clinton, and Bush II. Assuming that McCain wins the Republican nomination, I don't like his chances again Hilary Clinton. I think her name beats his name. But Obama? I don't know what to do about that. Right now it is a toss up - their names tie. So then it goes to looks, and there it is…

Hope

Hope is a wonderful thing, and a vital part of the Christian experience. Like love, hope can also be wild and dangerous. This may be so because many of us have vivid imaginations and often dream wonderful dreams for ourselves, our lives, our families. You are courageous indeed to put your hope in your dreams. Why? Because our dreams are produced by our own flights of fancy and may not be rooted in the word of God.

Scripture tells us to put our hope in a person - Jesus Christ- and in his holy word. This morning I read Psalm 119:114, "You are my refuge and my shield; I have put my hope in your word." We hope for what we don't have yet. As Christians put our hope in Christ and in his promises contained in scripture. God always keeps His word, so even though we are hoping for what we don't have yet, we know for certain that we will receive it one day. Living faithfully in this hope allows us to experience God as our refuge and shield. We place ourselves squarely…

I'm back

Kim,Michael and I continue to do well. Kim's family was here for a while and then my parents came down and stayed a few days. Thursday was the worst day for me,personally. Kim is beginning to feel a little sore, but not bad enough to take any painkillers. We both are sad but things are getting better.

Saturday Kim and I got to get away for a few hours by ourselves. We drove along the beach on Mustang Island. I didn't know you could actually drive along the beach. It was wonderful. The thermometer on our Explorer said it was 65 outside, but there were still many people out swimming in the ocean! They must have been from Canada.

I began the process of trying to email all of you back individually, but there are just too many. I apologize for that, but I hope it will be enough for me to say how much Kim and I love all of you and we have been touched by the outpouring of support.

Sunday at church was truly wonderful, and a little overwhelming. We thank God that He has bels…

Another Update

It is a little before 1:00 p.m. and we are all home now. Kim is doing very well physically, emotionally and spiritually - all things considered. Michael is doing well too. He slept through the whole thing and wasn't upset this morning because Mommy wasn't here. He has started doing something funny when he is not happy: he gives you a squinty-eyed Clint Eastwood look straight out of The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly. When we got to the hospital he seemed happy to see Kim, but when I set him down on her bed, he just sat there and gave her that look. I couldn't help but laugh, we both needed a good laugh. Oh well.

God is good and faithful. As we have had opportunity to reflect, we are amazed at how God's hand is evident through this whole situation. I may write more on that later, but for now we're going to get some rest.

Again, we have been overwhelmed and blessed by the outpouring of love, support, and prayers. Especially Kim. We love you all so much.

Update

What we were afraid would happen before the procedure today did happen last night - Kim miscarried. It was horrible, but thankfully Michael was asleep. Betsy Moers stayed at the house with Micheal while I rode in the ambulance with Kim to Corpus. Allen Ray followed us down there. Kim's doctor met us there and they did the DNC last night around 11:30. We were so thankful that we already knew that we had lost the child before Kim miscarried or it would have been absolutely terrifying. Allen Ray and I got home about 2:00 this morning, aftern they got Kim in her own room. Michael hasn't woken up yet. When he does, we'll head back down there to get Kim. Her doctor said she could go home this morning.

Thank you so much for the prayers and encouragement. It has meant a lot to Kim to read your emails. We are all fine, but rattled. I love all of you and I am so thankful for you. I'll post more later, Michael just woke up.

We appreciate your prayers

Kim had her doctor's appointment this morning and the news was not good. There was no heartbeat from the fetus. The doctor took some measurements and determined that the fetus had not grown very much since our last visit. This told him that there was some sort of serious chromosomal disorder, and things took their natural course as so often happens in these situations. Kim will have a DNC tomorrow.

Right now we are still in shock and a little numb, but we are grieving. So many of you have walked this road before and you are familiar with the experience. We love all of you and appreciate all of your prayers and support. We don't know what we would do without our brothers and sisters in Christ.

I have canceled all my appointments for the week so I can be home with Kim and Michael. My parents are on their way here from Cleburne to be with us and to help with Michael. I plan on being in the pulpit on Sunday morning, but I'm not sure yet about Sunday night.

Kim, Michael, and I are…

NY Giants upset the Pats!

Well, it seems God did watch the Super Bowl after all. I could not be more delighted over the Giants stunning victory last night. In reading the reports from "the experts" this morning, it would seem that the Pats defense gave the came away in the Giants go-ahead drive. Don't you believe it. Players on great teams have to make plays - that's what the game is all about. You don't give a game away, it is taken from you when the other team makes the plays you don't. The Giants made those plays and won the game. They beat the Pats and it was no fluke. No question the Pats are the better team, but you still have to play the game.

Here's good news for all you underdogs out there: the Giants were never in awe of their opponents and played with courage and confidence. You do the same.

Congratulations to all you Giants fans, especially you Sheltons in Sherman -- I hope you enjoy every minute of it, and I mean that. Kim and I love and miss you guys. I have…

Underdog

You may have heard that there is a football game today. This year's Super Bowl features a matchup between the undefeated, machine-like, possibly arrogant New England Patriots, and the scrappy, cinderella-like, overwhelming underdogs New York Football Giants.

I will be cheering for the Giants. It pains me to admit it. No respectable Cowboys fan would cheer for the Giants unless extreme circumstances called for it. I have two reasons for this shocking show of allegiance. First, I have good friends in Sherman who are Giants fans, and I forgave them years ago for this foul offense. It would tickle me to death to be able to see them during the game, and after if the Giants win.

But my second reason for cheering for the Giants is because I can relate to them more. What about you? Most of us have never experienced the high level of success and excellence that the Patriots have this year. Did you have a flawless season? Did you trounce every opponent and obstacle you faced this p…

School of Hard Knocks

I have said before that God does not intend for any of us to live our lives in light of the worst thing we have ever done. Repentance means we have turned away from our failures and selfish impulses, and God's grace means that we are not only forgiven, but made new as well. God uses the experience of sin and failure, combined with our repentance and His grace, to mold us into something new and different, something and someone we would not have become otherwise.

Psalm 119:66-68, 71 says, "Teach me knowledge and good judgment, for I believe in your commands. Before I was afflicted I went astray, but now I obey your word. You are good, and what you do is good; teach me your decrees. It was good for me to be afflicted so that I might learn your decrees."

I recognize that some of us only learn the hard way. And some things can only be brought to the surface of our lives if we are afflicted and experience the process of repentance and grace. But, I am not rejoicing in you…

Depression

I am reading Linclon's Melalncholy: How Depression Challenged a President and Fueled His Greatness, by Joshua Wolf Shenk. Lincoln's depression was well-documented in his lifetime, and he had at least one, possibly two nervous breakdowns before he became President of the United States. Historians tiptoe around these facts, or ignore them completely. Historians go through phases in which it is trendy to view history through one kind of lens, and years later different historians may use another lens to view the same history. Throughout most of the 20th century, historians were prone to view "just the facts" while not attempting to interpret much beyond what could be verified, or ingoring what was not pertinent to the historical record. So, often, Lincoln's depression was viewed as irrelevant, with the result that those of us who were educated in the 20th century don't know a whole lot about Lincoln's "melancholy."

There is no way to know for su…