Thursday, January 31, 2008

It's Called Ministry! Hello?!

I had a rough day yesterday. At the NFL Experience. With Jennifer Lopez and 4 of her friends. Not that Jennifer Lopez - THE JLo is about to pop, I've been told. This Jennifer Lopez is a 9 year old 4th grader. One of our parents here at Southwest asked if I could chaperon their daughter's class trip to the NFL Experience. O what we do and call it 'ministry.' I had fun though.

Thursday, January 24, 2008


Abraham and I have a lot in common. Not the “Father of the Faithful” kind of stuff, but like him, I’ve moved around a lot. Like him I’ve tried to help God fulfill his promises to me too many times, instead of letting Him do what He does best. And like Abraham, I have sorely underestimated the character of my neighbors.

A couple of months ago a family moved into the vacant house next to ours. They are a big family; grandparents, parents, 4 kids, 2 cats, 1 yapping dog, and 4 or 5 cars. We met some of them a week after they moved in when we had a yard sale; they seemed nice enough, but I was a little worried.

It didn’t take long for that worry to be realized. Their kids beganto take a short cut from their front door to the corner by cutting across our front yard. Now for those of you who don’t live in Arizona, our front yard is gravel, which means they’re not killing the grass or anything, but it was leaving visible tire ruts in the gravel. I started to get a little aggravated and wasn’t looking forward to having a confrontation with my neighbors about their kids beating a trail through my front yard.

Yesterday afternoon, when Leisa and I came home from work their 3 younger children were out in their driveway playing. I waved. I sprayed some weed killer on the weeds growing up through the gravel. I went inside to take a quick power nap before heading back to church. The door bell rang.

It was the 3 kids from next door; Leslie about 12, Christian, about 10, and Ashley maybe 8 years old. “Yes,” I said. Then I got spanked! Leslie, holding a broom, said, “We’re sorry for making a mess of your gravel, we’ll clean it up.” I of course lied and said, “Don’t worry about it. It’s Ok.” I did encourage them to use their youthful energy and keep their bikes on the sidewalk; which they said they would.

I went inside, lay down but couldn’t sleep.

I wondered how I was ever going to show them Christ more powerfully than they had just shown Him to me. I know God was speaking to me about my own heart and attitude, and until I get that more in tune with Him, I would continue to be a pretty weak witness of His love and grace.

I'm still a little sore from that spanking.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Pure Joy

One of the highlights of last year was watching our oldest son, Chad find and marry the love of his life. To watch them in those moments of celebration really took our breath away. My prayer for them is that they can build on the joy of that day to have what Leisa and I still have after 25 years.

Chad & Jaime are finishing their education at LCU. Chad is also the associate minister at Carpenter's Church in Lubbock.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Man Sees Jesus in Meteor

It’s not every day that a meteor lands in your back yard. But that is exactly what happened to Terrance Cotton. He had recently moved from Abilene to Celina, Texas, a small town about 35 miles north of Dallas. He brought the golf-ball sized meteor into his house, and claimed a voice told him to look closely at the meteor, and when he did, he saw the face of Jesus.

This happened about a year ago. Many have come to see this phenomenon; some have seen it, some have been skeptical. I can understand that. The picture of the meteor on-line had to have a diagram pointing out the crown of thorns, the eyes, nose, beard, etc. I still couldn’t see it very well.

I don’t know how you feel about these kinds of things; people seeing Mary or Jesus in everything from window pains, tree bark, potato chips, or a stain in a Chicago underpass. Many people are drawn to these ‘sightings’ and find inspiration, or confirmation of God’s presence, blessings, approval, or whatever the emotional/spiritual need of the moment is.

Regardless of these other so called appearances, we have a clear indication of our “favored status” with God; for on a door in our church you can clearly see the image of the Apostle Paul. Skeptical? Look closely at the picture. It is the Apostle Paul. That he is on the door to the kitchen, also settles the question of whether kitchens in the church building is scriptural.

OK, moving right along, I can see you’re not too sure about this whole “sighting” of Jesus, Mary or Paul thing.

Now let me shift gears. My first reaction, like yours may be strong skepticism, and to quickly dismiss these people as misguided. But another thought began to nag at me after I read the story about the meteor image. I had to ask myself, “why am I so quick to dismiss these sightings, yet so slow to see the presence of Jesus in other places all around me?”

I admit that too often I walk through life, seeing things only from a physical perspective. I see people in their social situations, some doing well, some not so well, and I fail to realize that I shouldn’t be looking at people from that point of view. Paul challenges us all when he writes about his own perspective; “So from now on we regard no one from a worldly point of view.” (2 Corinthians 5:16) Add that to Jesus’ statement in Matthew 25:40 that when we encounter people who have needs, we are encountering Jesus in them. Do we see Jesus in these moments, or do we turn a blind eye, and continue on our way.

I still don’t think your going to find Jesus in the skillet burns on a tortilla, but I don't want to get stuck in Ahithophel thinking. I want to be more open to see Jesus in my everyday encounters with others. I am certain that if we look with more spiritual eyes, we will see him.