Saturday, October 30, 2004

KC and the Election

I will be on the road for a few days. Going to Kansas City, a GREAT place to visit with LOTS of wonderful people. And the BBQ ain't too bad either! :) I always look forward to visiting KC, and feel blessed for having been there.

If you haven't voted already, be sure to get out and do that Tuesday. Having lived in foreign countries, I will tell you that it is a freedom that many many people wish that they had. Don't waste that freedom.

I saw this bumper sticker last night at Matt's football game. It is kinda corny and simple, but it also has very very deep truths.

"No God, No peace.........Know God, Know Peace". Wish I had thought of that!


Thursday, October 28, 2004

Congrats and Quote

Congrats to the Red Sox and their fans! What a magical year! I am sorry my Cards didn't show up for the Series, but they had a super year and maybe they will make it back next year. Spring training will be here before we know it! :)

Those of you who have been to my office can attest to the fact that my walls around my desk look like they belong to the guy from "A Beautiful Mind". No, I'm not saying all great minds have that characteristic! :) I have quotes, phone numbers, and football tickets everywhere. Mostly though, I have quotes. Most of them are of a spiritual nature. I ran across one today that I had not read in a while. I hope it blesses you today. I love the concept of cultivating the soul.

This quote is attributed to Abraham Joshua Heschel.

"To educate means to cultivate the soul, not only the mind. You cultivate the soul by cultivating empathy and reverance for others. You cultivate it by calling attention to the grandeur and mystery of all beings and to the Holy dimension of human existence. You also cultivate it by teaching how to relate the common to the Spiritual."

Tuesday, October 26, 2004

More Than Words

The lyrics below are from a Steven Curtis Chapman song that Monte shared with us this past Sunday in his college class. The title of the song is "More Than Words" and I hope it blesses you.

Lord, I don’t know what to say;
As I get down on my knees to pray,
The same old phrases come to mind,
But You’ve heard them all a thousand times.
It’s not that it’s untrue when I say "Lord, I love You",
It’s just that I want it to be more.

More than words, I want my prayer to be
More than words, thoughts my heart alone can speak;
As you listen to me tell of all Your power and mercy,
Lord, You know it’s my desire that what You hear is more than words.

As I open up this Book,
And read of all the love it took
For a holy God to care for man;
Spirit, help me understand.
It’s not that it’s unclear, it’s a letter to children,
But Lord I know it’s meant to be much more.

More than words, not just letters on a page;
More than words, for every line and every phrase
Was a breath of inspiration from a caring Father
Who gave the gift of His Son to prove He loved us more than words.

As I consider quietly the wonder of all Your ability,
It’s more than I can comprehend, and I find myself in need again;
But if I had every word and a thousand years to use them,
What You are to me would still be more, oh, so much more, more than words.

Sunday, October 24, 2004


Here is a quote from the book I mentioned a week or so ago by Antjie Krog where she talks about the Truth and Reconciliation Commission in South Africa:
"What you believe to be true depends on who you believe yourself to be".

So, my question to you is much TRUTH is there in that quote? Please give it some thought before you respond. I doubt she was looking at it from a Spiritual perspective, but I am very much looking at it in that context.

Looking forward to your comments!

Friday, October 22, 2004


Gotta has been a GREAT day! You ask why and I say BECAUSE MY CARDINALS ARE IN THE WORLD SERIES!! SHOUAAA! See, the first 10 years of my life I spent growing up in Memphis, and it is a HUGE Cardinal town. Tim McCarver is from Memphis and he had that town in his palm. Also remember that in the early 60's there were NO other Major League baseball teams in the South. The Cards were the ONLY team us southern folk could call "ours". I remember going to my first game in 1964, at old "Sportsmen Park". It was against the I saw Ernie Banks, Don Kessinger along with all my Cardinal heroes.......Lou Brock, Bob Gibson, McCarver, Curt Flood, one of the Boyer brothers and many more. I thought I had died and gone to Heaven, cept for one thing. I had NEVER been around beer or alcohol before, and I just knew if God came back that night I was going straight to Hell.....I was going to be guilty by association. The Schlitz and Fallstaff was flowing, and I was in shock. I remember hoping that my mom and dad wouldn't find out that I was hanging out with this crowd, because I just knew they would be upset with me! And by crowd I mean the WHOLE stadium! :) But I can remember how full of color everything was. I was used to watching baseball on a black and white TV. The scoreboard looked HUGE, and they had a net out in the outfield to catch foul balls. I still have the ticket stub, and wouldn't sell it for the world. Life didn't get much better for a young kid in 1964!

So, I hope my Cardinals win it ALL! If they do lose, I am glad it is to the Red Sox.
They are my newly acquired heroes in that they defeated the Evil Empire! :) Was that not UNBELIEVABLE? You gotta tip your hat to em, coming from being down 3 games to none.......and doing it on the road in Yankee stadium! It may be their year. If so, I am glad the Cardinals can be a part of it.

Is baseball great or what?

Thursday, October 21, 2004

The 16th Psalm

Tonight we had our "Golden Circle" dinner at Harding for all those alums from 50 years or more. It is a blessing to be around these wonderful servants, even if it is just for one evening. There are always some giants there. Tonight I happen to see Dr. Joe Pryor and Leon Sanderson, both giants in my life. In closing, the president of the class of 54 read the following section of the 16th Psalm and I want to share it with you. I hope it blesses you as much as it did me!

"Lord, you have assigned me my portion and my cup; you have made my lot secure.
The boundry lines have fallen for me in pleasant places; surely I have
a delightful inheritance."


Wednesday, October 20, 2004

49 and Holding

Well, I officially have my LAST Birthday today. No way am I EVER turning 50! I mentioned a few days ago about my youngest turning 20. What I didn't mention was that on that same day I also got bifocals. So within just a couple of weeks, I've had three reminders that I am not getting any younger.

I was about to have a "sho nough" pity party, and then it hit me that my dad was about to go to Africa for his third term on the mission field when he was my age.
I find that amazing, and you folks who know his health issues can appreciate why I say that. There is no way he could have done that with his own power, so it helps my faith to know how much the Father must have helped him. I also get to thinking about Henry Farrar, and the dozens and dozens of trips he has made to Nigeria when he was WAY beyond the age of 49. He is one of my heroes, for LOTS of reasons. If you look the word "servant" up in the dictionary, it will have a picture of Henry Farrar there. And then of course I think of Mother Teresa. Goodness. The very mention of her name brings silence and awe. I agree, her picture HAS to be there with Dr. Farrar.

So, my pity party is spoiled and I look forward to trying to emulate the lives of those heroes I mentioned........because they were emulating Christ. I realize that with HIM as my source of strength and energy I can do more than I ever dreamed I was capable of. How about you? Feeling young yet? :)

Friday, October 15, 2004

South Africa

I think I have related my passion for ANYTHING related to Africa....sub-sahara. Who I am today is a result of many many relationships from many places. The 3 years I spent in Africa seemed to have influenced me the most. Don't get me to try and explain it, I can't. I could try, but it would be grossly inadequate. Because of my love for ANYTHING African, I read books about that wonderful continent. Even though I have never visited there, I have always been fascinated by South Africa.
Some would call it an obsession. It may not be a melting pot to the degree that America is, but it for sure has been the intersection for a LOT of different people and cultures. I am jealous of GKB because he has lived there.

I just finished reading an account of the hearings that took place for the "Truth and Reconciliation Commission"....who's purpose was to get South Africa on the road to healing and to come to terms with her often horrendous past. It is not a book for the faint of heart, in that these hearing were for those who wanted to come and confess crimes committed during the years of apartheid....a system so brutal that it has few parallels in modern history. The apartheid regime had kept the, Indian, and mixed race......separate and unequal. When they protested, they were often tortured. Death frequently so gruesome as to defy even the most active imagination. And for a variety of reasons, those who suffered at the hands of the apartheid state usually suffered in silence. The decree concerning the Truth and Reconciliation Commission read as follows: "In order to advance such reconciliation and reconstruction, amnesty shall be granted in respect of acts, omissions, and offences associated with political objectives and committed in the course of the conflicts of the past". In other words, if you stepped up to the plate and confessed your crimes, you would be given amnesty from those offences.
You can just imagine the uproar this caused on ALL sides. Enough background. I want to quote a section of the book, and trust you to make application as you see fit. For those interested the title of the book is: "Country of My Skull: Guilt, Sorrow, and the Limits of Forgiveness in the New South Africa" by Antjie Krog.

"Venter says this about his actions: 'Then I was not sorry because I thought it was right. Now I know that it was wrong and I regret my deeds.' This sounds ordinary, but according to psychiatrists, Venter has made a crucial leap with this statement-
allowing for a space where change is possible: then it was right; now it is wrong. What makes this a psychological breakthrough is that it is almost impossible to acknowledge that the central truth around which your life has been built is a lie. At the risk of the disintegration of your self-image, you would rather keep on denying any wrongdoing."

Wednesday, October 13, 2004

Measly $19

I was feeling sorry for myself this morning because I had a lousy nineteen dollars that was supposed to pay for going to get a haircut, get an adjustment at the chiropractor, and eat lunch. The 99 cent menu at Wendy's was looking like a probability. Not hating it, but not the best meal either.

Then I got a bulletin from "Doctors Without Borders". My lousy $19 all of a sudden became equal to winning the lottery to five kids who are severely malnourished. It would buy all five of them 2 high-protein biscuits that would keep them from going hungry for several days. When those run out, they can get back to doing what most of the kids in their neighorhood are doing.......starving to death.

Isn't it all relative?

"When did we see you hungry and feed you?"

Tuesday, October 12, 2004

How do we view Spiritual matters?

As you do, I hear alot about churches fighting the worship wars of "contemporary vs tradtional" or "progressive vs conservative". Some want to sing newer praise songs and others want to sing old songs. If you don't know a church where this discussion is going on, then you live in a bubble. It's not just our fellowhip, it's happening in most fellowships. I believe that this discussion is just the surface of a much deeper battle that is going on. It is a battle that people have fought for centuries, and it was the motivation for both the reformation and the restoration movements. One group of people realize that the institution has become the focus of the movement, and they want to return to God being the focus of the movement.
You can define it many ways, but a description I like and agree with is that it comes down to deciding if you want an institutional mindset or a relational one. Do you want the focus to be on "US" or God? Are your decisions made based on how the institution will accept them, or how the Father will accept them? Do you have an institutional filter or a God filter? Let's face it, we ALL have an institutional filter to some degree because of it's influence over a lifetime. But how thick is your filter? Is it a thicker or more important filter than the filter that has to do with your relationship with Christ?

To site an example, what was the motivation behind the Shepherds pulling support from the missionaries in Africa over the drums? It doesn't take a scholar or a PHD in Theology to figure that out. Some people think that was the right decision, others are appalled. Why do the two groups see it so differently? One group has an institutional mindset, the other has a relational one.

At a recent Lectureship, a speaker was assigned the topic of God's love for us. Would you agree that is a VERY relational subject to preach on? Here is a direct quote from that talk: "If we quit teaching those things that make us Biblically distinctive and unique, we might as well shut our doors. I mean that with all my heart. We have no right to exist if we don't have some Biblically distinctive and unique message". WOW! How did that quantum leap happen? The topic was relational, but the message ended up being institutional. By the way, I very strongly disagree with the quote, but that is another blog.

I hope all of you will read two books that really helped me see the difference in these two approaches to scripture, church, and relationships.....especially my relationship to the Father. They were both written by Rubel Shelly and John York. The first is "The Jesus Proposal" which deals more with individuals and how they see their relationship to God and others. The second, "The Jesus Community" looks at how churches choose which of these two mindsets they will choose to guide how they will function as a body of believers.
Both books will impact your life, I promise you that.

Friday, October 08, 2004


This quote hangs in the living room of Dr. Jack Lewis in Memphis.
It impacted me........I hope it does you too.

Faith is not believing in what God can do.
Faith is knowing what God will do.

Thursday, October 07, 2004

Luke and the Election

Those two have nothing in's just I am going to blog about both today.
My youngest baby boy......turns 20 years old today! Dan Davidson brought Luke into this world on a Sunday afternoon in 1984. After 12 years it is going to seem different to NOT have a teenager in the house anymore. The darndest thing is trying to figure out how Luke has gotten to the age of 20 without me getting any older. Go figure.

Are you as tired as I am of the name calling and mud slinging being done during this election year? Has it always been this bad? I tend to agree with the pundits who conclude that our nation is as divided as it has ever been coming into an election.
I have my conclusions as to WHY that is the case, but I am not going there with this blog.....maybe another day. I just want to focus on the attitude the followers of the two camps seem to be displaying. I think you can disagree with someone without attacking them personally. There are some VERY hateful words being used to describe BOTH candidates. I know that there are plenty of scriptures that I could go to when addressing this being the second greatest command. But I remember a quote from "The Green Mile" that has stuck with me, and I hope it resonates with you also as we think about how we are treating each other. I know those of you who have seen this movie ( Don Eudaly is the only person I know who has NOT seen it.....the last flick he caught was "Lady and the Tramp") will remember this powerful scene. Tom Hanks played the part of Paul Edgecomb, the Corrections Officer who was in charge of the "green mile"....death row. The wonderful Michael Clarke Duncan played the part of John Coffey......the inmate wrongly charged for the murder of several children. Think about John's word's and how they apply to us today. Even though they are ficticious, I think they have the power to speak to us during this time of election. I hope they penetrate what ever barriers you may have put up to help you deal with the "other side".

Paul: On the day of my judgement, when I stand before God, and He asks me why did I kill one of his true miracles, what am I gonna say? That it was my job? My job?

John Coffey: You tell God the Father it was a kindness you done. I know you hurtin' and worryin', I can feel it on you, but you oughta quit on it now. Because I want it over and done. I do. I'm tired, boss. Tired of bein' on the road, lonely as a sparrow in the rain. Tired of not ever having me a buddy to be with, or tell me where we's coming from or going to, or why. Mostly I'm tired of people being ugly to each other. I'm tired of all the pain I feel and hear in the world everyday. There's too much of it. It's like pieces of glass in my head all the time. Can you understand?

Paul: Yes, John. I think I can.

It's like "pieces of glass" to me too. How about you?

Wednesday, October 06, 2004

Believe Part Three

Earlier this summer I blogged about Monte's powerful lesson about "I believe in YOU" taken from John 11. I later blogged about my encounter with the words of Jesus in Mark 5 "Don't be afraid, just believe". This past Sunday David Matthews encouraged me by sharing John 6: 28 and 29.

28: Then they asked him, "What must we do to do the works God requires?"

Instead of realizing that eternal life is a GIFT, they had a theology that motivated them to want to achieve it by pious works. We have to forgive them of this, because when we do we are forgiving ourselves.

29: Jesus answered, "The work of God is this: to believe in the one he has sent".

Their response to this was to ask him for a miraculous sign, forgetting they had just witnessed him feeding the five thousand with 5 loaves and 2 fish! Is that not incredible?

What is your response? Are you going to require something of Jesus before you believe? How about the miracle of healing someone you know is terminally ill?
How about the miracle of getting you out of debt? How about the miracle of healing a bad relationship you are in? We have our requirements too, don't we?

I want the world to see me doing the "work of God". I want to be right beside Martha when she says "I believe in YOU"!

Friday, October 01, 2004

Parable of the Ninety-Nine

I know I usually don't blog "twicet" in the same day, but I had to forward something I read today. I read this off a web site called "the Ooze", a spiritual web site somebody turned me on to. I don't go often, but when I do I am ALWAYS blessed. This article is written by Sarah Dylan Breuer. I know NOTHING about her, but at the end of this article, she has a link to her blog. I was very impressed by her latest was at a completely different level from your normal blog. Especially this one. Here is the link to the article, and remember to check out the link at the bottom to go to her blog.

The Third Greatest Command

I guess we could debate this and never know the true answer, but what would you consider to be the third greatest command after the first two? My guess is that all the rest pale in comparison to the first two, or He would have told us about the third greatest one. Do we communicate by the priorities in our lives that we believe there is a third one that is greater than the first two? Do we communicate it with our theology?

Looking forward to your comments! I hope everybody has a wonderful weekend!