Friday, November 17, 2006

Thanksgiving and sharing

Today officially begins the "Holiday travel" season. Fox News said that this "travel season" lasts twelve days. This is not the time to be flying in America, or so they say. Does it ever occur to you that we lengthen out our holdiays more and more each year? It is like from the 2nd week in October through the 2nd week in January we are in "holiday"mode. Now, that is great fun for the most part, except when all you want to is to go to Walmart and get some shaving cream, and you have to wade through the bizzilion Holiday displays... in OCTOBER! Oh, sorry, I guess Walmart has decided this year to call them, "Christmas displays."

Holidays are great fun, but for Pam and I they are changing. Now we have two kids married and we have to share. I was always told it is nice to share, and I told my kids the same thing. But honestly, I don't think it should apply to kids and holidays. Nathaniel's family is a great group. I like them alot, but I wish we could have Liz and Nathaniel ALL day, every day of thanksgiving. But we have to share. ( I am sure his parents probably feel the same way) Lizzie and Nathaniel do all they can to make everyone happy and for that I am glad. Even with hours and hours of driving, they still will make it here.

Lydia and James will be here too... I am not sure what the schedule is, but they will drive down from Joplin... I imagine they will spend time with us, and with Jame's family ( They live 10 miles north of us). They are fine people... But I am selfish. I want them here ALL day and everyday...

Joel? Well, there is no girl to share with yet...yippee. It is the Oklahoma State Football Team. Bedlam is the Saturday after Thanksgiving. There are great preparations for the home game... A really big game.... So I don't think he will be home. What is more important... OU vs. OSU or me being happy. I guess I have to share.

I thought about us going over there... but then Lizzie and Nathaniel and James and Lydia would be here, and the point is for all of us to be together.

Abigail will be home... YEAH! But it occurs to me that this too will soon end. She is a senior in High School, and someday, she will let us know that we have to share her too.

All we will have left is each other.... And honestly, that used to sound sooooo good ( with four kids afoot running through the house, making noise, and me saying,"hey... I can't hear the game!") Ah thanksgiving... what a fun time. Turkey, football, naps.... together.

All we will have left is each other, and 4 kids and their families coming and going, and me refining my ability to share.

A lesson that I need to learn, but not one I signed up for.

Happy Thanksigivng.

Monday, November 13, 2006

A Saturday morning run...

Last Saturday, I set out to do something that I had been thinking about for over 20 years. I decided many months ago that if my health held out and I got better, that I would like to try the Tulsa Run. Not the fun run, or the 5K, but the 15K. The Big One!

Elizabeth said she would run it with me... so she came back from Illinois early and we set out on Saturday morning for Downtown Tulsa. We got there early. It was cold. About 35 degrees. And there was a north wind. Neither of these developments would deter me from my goal.

In the warm-ups we had a good time running around, acting like we knew what we were doing. I noticed that I was over-dressed... and boy was that the case during the run.

When the representatives of our Armed Forces came through in formation, I knew I was in the right place. What an inspiration!

It took us about 4 and 1/2 minutes to get to the starting line after the gun went off. There were over 3500 runners in this race. Elizabeth and I settled in and starting enjoying the run. It was fun! Someone had told us that it was a flat course.... They must have been dreaming. Pretty hilly for the first 5K.

We ran the first 7 k together... in about 50 minutes. That was decent time for me...but I was tired, and told Lizzie that she could go on ahead. So she did... I walked 3 K, and then ran the last 5 K into the finish line.

Some observations.....

* There are lots of really fast runners out there
* There are lots of really slow runners out there.
* I finished in 3324th place, ,out of 3477 runners.
* Seeing a familiar face was a great thing... Alan Cook , Dwight Stogner, John Hill were three of
our church members that I saw there
* Matt Sewall waited for me at the finish line with his mom. That was so cool.
* Liz finished about 30 minutes ahead of me, then ran back to where I was and ran the last
Kilometer in with me again. What a precious thing for her to do. I could not have don it with
out her.
* It feels really great to accomplish a goal.

Will I do it again! You bet! It is on the calendar for next year.

Some asked, "What was the hardest part of the run?" Actually it wasn't the run that was hard. It was the fact that when I got home, after thinking about the reward of a hot bath or shower on those very sore muscles, I found out that the Hot Water heater was broken. OUCH! That was not a good thing.

Both Bryan Wilmeth and Tim Sinkhorn came over and got the HWH going... That shower felt so good, even though it is was 9 hours later...

A great way to spend a Saturday morning.

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Lessons from Ted Haggard...

The lessons of the recent fall of Ted Haggard really hit home. As I followed this story of a mega-church pastor who had engaged in deceit and immorality, I could not help but think of David and his similar episode with Bathsheba.

I know that the two incidents are separated by centuries, and that the circumstances were not exactly the same.

But there are a few things that seem to parallel each other.

One, both men seemed to be accountable to no one. David did what he wanted to do. He became idle, and did not follow the normal course of activity that kings did in that day.

“In the spring, at the time when kings go off to war, David sent Joab out with the kings men and the whole Israelite Army.” 2 Sam. 11: 1

It seems that Haggard had no one that he was accountable to, and could use his time for activities that were anything other than God-honoring.

Two, both men were at the top of their world. Many scholars think that David was around 50 when he failed. Haggard is 50. Both of them had people that were at their beck and call. Popularity and fame has a way of clouding judgment, confusing values and creating an attitude of entitlement. Leaders with great demands on them, tend to think that they deserve to cut corners, or to play fast and loose with the rules. Both of these men did that it cost them greatly.

Three, both men found out that “your sins will find you out.” ( Numbers 32:23) God knew all the time about both of them… and it was only a matter of time before both of them faced the truth. The fallout was devastating for both of them as well. The Bible says, “Whatsoever a mans sows, that shall he also reap.” (Galatians 6:7)

Fourth, Forgiveness was and is available for both. David was forgiven because he faced his sin and said, “I have sinned.” He dealt with his relationship with God and humbled himself before the Lord. He called on God, and God was there for Him. ( Psalm 51)

It remains to be seen about Haggard. He has started the process, but this is not something that happens overnight. Confession and repentance is a process. It is sometimes very painful and even lonely. But it is necessary as God reaches deep into a man’s heart to heal and repair the damage.

God’s greatest work may not be with Ted Haggard. I believe if Haggard wants to do the hard work, there is a redemption that can be had here… God is so good at that.

However, while it will not get the press, His greatest work in this case may very well be with the New Life Church in Colorado Springs. It may be with Ted Haggard’s family.

I have to be honest… I have prayed for Ted Haggard, as I sure many of you have. But I have that church and family on my heart. I pray that out of the terrible circumstances that have been thrust on them, that there will be a renewed sense of understanding about the Church. It is not the church of Ted Haggard. It is the Church of Jesus Christ.

My prayer is that no matter how many people come to our church, and how great things are… that we will never be intoxicated with success to the point that we begin to believe that we had anything to do with it. God gets the credit.

I also pray that his sons and wife will see the grace and peace that comes from understanding and forgiveness, and that they will extend it to their father and husband. I have a sense that they will. I hope they will.

For all the jokes, skepticism and cynical comments that the world wants to make about this, one thing is for sure… If anyone can bring glory to Himself out of this… It is God. Be assured of this…His Kingdom will prevail.

Sunday, November 05, 2006


Lots of people have been wondering how I feel. It is funny... There are days I feel really great, like "I can take on the world". And then there are days that I feel like my world goes in slow motion. I can't predict

Last week, I spent two days in meeting with the staff. Being in the room with 11 other people for 6-7 hours is real challenge. The input of information comes fast and furious and it seems hard for me to process that much information in a short time.

What was great about the retreat is the understanding of those around me. They have been so good to me through out this time in my life, and they continue to do so.

I am slow integrating back into the life of the church. Besides preaching, today I did the opening and closing. I still plan to have Matt T. do that each week, but I managed it and that was good. I am reading better as well.

I still find myself losing words from time to time, and that is frustrating. It has happened very little in preaching, and for that I am thankful. It seems to be more in conversations and it is not happening every day.

Through the last 7 months, I have learned that limitations do not have to be completely debilitating. Imperfections are ok. Encourage is amazing. The people of First Christian Church are incredible. And my family has been wonderful. Especially Pam. What a true friend in every way. I am finding out every day that God blessed me more than I can imagine.

The future looks good. Physically I continue to get stronger. I am running now... 3-4 miles a day around 10 minute miles. Plus walking and lifting. This has made a definate change in my appearance. People are amazed, but not as amazed as I am. I just never thought this would happen for me. I still have a ways to go physically... but I am dedicated and will continue.

Thanks to all of you who have prayed for me. You are great.