Friday, December 28, 2007


One of the things God is teaching me is the importance "clarity." When it comes to expectations, I think I am rather ambiguous.( As Pam would say "You think?!!!) I leave alot open to interpretation, instead of clearly spelling out what it is I expect.

This can be illustrated a dozen different ways. At home, I figure that after almost 27 years of marriage I should not have to explain myself. But then it occurs to me that I am not the same person I was 27 years ago, so how would Pam know what my expectations are?

Our kids are all grown, and pretty much out of the house. But I still think they should be able to predict what I want and execute it. (Those are not nice words in a family setting are they?)

At church, I am finding that I enslave fellow staff members to my feelings, because of a lack of clarity. Instead of me telling them exactly what I think, I hedge, or give options that sometimes are polar opposites of each other. I used to think that this was all good, because it builds teamwork. But as time goes on I believe that it really does just the opposite. It harms unity, and it opens us up to disappointment. I don't want that.

A conversation I had with a member of the church really brought this home. They had an idea about how to spend some money. It is a good idea... maybe even a really good idea. But I could not commit to it without some planning, talking to Elders and praying about it. But as the conversation went, I had a hard time saying it. Maybe it was because I wanted them to give the money. Maybe it was because I wanted them to give the money with no "ideas" attached. I know their heart and it is a heart that is so good. But eventually, I got around to sending a note to them explaining that I could not commit to their idea,( although I think it has exciting possibilities) and then followed that up with a phone call. And after it was over I thought, "Why couldn't have I been more clear with them about it upfront?" I was conflicted and found myself bouncing around on the subject. And that was not fair to them, or to myself.

Most of the time, my first instincts are pretty good. But I don't want to hurt someone's feelings. I want their approval. John Ortberg wrote a pretty good article entitled, "Approval Addiction" which I am trying to take to heart. (More about that another time).

Seems like Jesus said something about wanting the praise of men rather than the approval of God. ( John 12:43). I find myself thinking "What did they think about that?" without much regard to "What does HE think about that."

Soooooooo....I think the New year holds a "resolution" or maybe more like a goal ( certainly a prayer request). I want to be more clear with others about what I expect and feel. Then I can let the chips fall where they may. I think doing this will help my relationships at work, and at home.

2008 is around the corner... and I find myself thinking, " what will it all be like?" One thing that I would like to see in the next 12 months is a some growth in this area of my life.

If you want to pray about something specific for me.... Clarity would be a good start.

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Christmas 07

MERRY CHRISTMAS! We celebrated Christmas last night at church with our traditional Christmas Eve Services. We had two, one that was overflowing and one that was about 60 of seating capacity... It was a great service....simple and a really good balance of young and old. It just seemed right this year all the way around... I especially liked us getting the young kids on the stage to hear THE STORY. Aaron(our children's minister) did a great job with that.

Someone said "Next year, we will only have one service, right?" I said, "No way... we will need too." Our new building on North Garnett is about 30-45 days from being done..and there will be twice the seating capacity... but new people will come, and I pray that we will be overflowing in both services as we strive to tell people about Christ and the real meaning of Christmas.

With Nathaniel and Lizzie in town, we ate dinner and then opened gifts. I was pretty wiped out from 4 services in 36 hours, but managed to stay in the game for the evening. This time next year it will be Christmas with a grandchild. How cool is that! They will be fabulous parents... Their world is about to be rocked big time... what fun! I am thankful that they are close to us ( 100 miles.)

We miss James and Lydia, but know that God is blessing them in Joliet. It helps knowing that they are serving Christ there, making a difference with so many people. We hear that they are such a blessing to many. The Crossroads Church is doing so well, and the leadership of Matt and Janice ( James' brother and sister in law) and James and Lydia has been so influential on many people.

It is hard to be away... and this Christmas it double tough for them . It is the first "away" Christmas for both of them, along with dealing with the death of James' mother at Thanksgiving. However, Vicki gets a front row seat at the throne of Jesus this Christmas. She is praising God, hands raised, probably doing a little dance along the way... The kids have done so well through this... their character has shined through in a such a good way through this time.

Today... well I am playing my new Eagles album. WOW! what great stuff... We are getting ready for dinner and then Liz and Nathaniel will head back to Fayetteville.

It is has been really good having Joel and Abigial here as well... I love all our kids and what they bring to our lives in a special way. Abigail just finished her first semester at Ozark. I will brag a bit. She finished the semester with a 3.56 GPA, and that was on top of playing College Volleyball. The best part? She loves her classes and I can see how God is shaping her more and more into a Godly woman.
I am so happy for her. Where did my little Abigail go?

Joel is still on the job search. This has been a real patience building time for him. He is closing in on something that he is really excited about. He should know the end of the next week. Pray for him... and for his continued trust in God to provide for him. He has been working about 25 hours a week at the club and doing a bang up job there. They will hate to lose him there. What a great kid. ( He is not a kid anymore... :)

On top of all that is a special gift that came to our friends Danny and Pam Stout. Danny has been on the list for a liver tansplant for several years. Along the way, he has really battled for his health. Earlier this week he found out he was up to #3on the list. Then on Christmas Eve he moved to #1. Last night Pam and I prayed with Matt and Steph ( Danny's Daughter) that God would provide in his time. Less than 20 minutes later Danny got the call from OKC. "Be there in 4 hours!" And they were off... He went into surgery at 3 or so this morning and as of 10, he was out, with a functioning liver!

What a Christmas gift!!!! I know it is bittersweet, because there is another family on the other end who is probably struggling with the loss of a loved one on Christmas. So we pray for them although we probably will never know who that is.

We are so thankful for Christ, and his willing sacrifice for us. And we celebrate his sacrifice all year long. What a blessing!

Hope you had a wonderful time with your family this Christmas. And I hope that deep in your soul you know that you are loved by a God who is Creator, and a Savior who willingly came to pay the price for your sins... at just the right time.



Saturday, December 22, 2007

Some Saturday Morning Thoughts

Here are some "wierd" things running through my mind. These all give me pause to take moment and give it a second thought.

Steroids....I see why men and women would fill their body with illegal drugs to gain a competitive edge. The money...bottom line it is about the money.

I see why newspapers like the LA Times would say that a certain federal indictment includes the names of Andy Pettite and Roger Clemens. Money... plain and simple.. outside of Barry Bonds, there was one other name out there that would make money. Roger Clemens.

I see why people think it could be true. in '96 his team says he is washed up, on the downside and they refuse to resign him to a huge contract. So he signs with Toronto, and then goes on to win multiple Cy Youngs, another 160 games, pitch for the Yankees ( No way!) and is considered a medical and physiological marvel. Certain Hall of Famer! And then the Mitchell report comes out with Roger Clemens in it.

What I don't get is that the Mitchell report was not a criminal investigation. He had some powers that I would not have, but from my perspective it seems that what Sen. Mitchell did was ask alot of questions, gather information from a couple informants who are marginal at best and then wrote a 400 page plus report, naming names.

The problem? No evidence or proof. No checks in the Mitchell report from Roger Clemens. No cooborating evidence from others. Just hearsay. And with that comes all the doubt, the insinuations and the assumptions that because he was so good at the end of his career, it must been because of needles and pills pushed and popped at just the right time ( give him muscles and to avoid detection)

In the interest of full disclosure, I have been a Red Sox Fan since 1967. That makes me a Roger Clemens fan. I don't really follow or care about baseball except for the Red Sox. ( Which makes 2 out of the last 4 years pretty good). But I have loved the Red Sox. I wear a Red Sox hat every day when I work out. I have a little ten year old boy whose dad works at the place I work out, who comes in and wants to talk Red Sox everyday. I am his best friend, because I know who is hitting the ball, whose not, and what kind of wierd mood Manny Rameriz is in. And I have paid attention to Roger Clemens, no matter where he pitches, even when he is pitching for the Yankees!UGH!

So here is my problem. The mere mention of his name in the Mitchell report has sullied his name forever. If he is guilty of the crime, then he should come out and say so, and let us deal with it. But he has come out and said, "No way,ever.!" Whose to say? I don't know.

But here is what I do know... If someone, anyone, accuses me of immorality, or inappropriate action toward someone else, especially a woman or a child, true or not, I am pretty much done. It would not take proof. It would not take evidence. It would just take the statement, said at the right place and the right time. And it is not just me. Teachers, coaches,Doctors, Dentists, business ownwers and a boat load of other professions face the same kinds of things. It is the reality.

What can I do?( or anyone else). Well, make sure you live a consistent life that reflects the values of Christ in every way. Make sure you do not put yourself in obvious situations that might cause someone to "think" they see something.

And leave it in the hands of God. I don't know if Clemens is doing that or not ( He has been pretty quiet, but his lawyer is making alot of threats about lawsuits). If it happens to you or me, we won't have a 28 million dollar a year contract to fall back on, or high priced lawyers.

But do have God, and those who know us well and know this world well. I will take my chances with him.

It may be that I am being "snowed" by the only baseball player I have really followed closely... but it may be that what he says is the truth.

Whatever happened to "innocent until proven guilty?" In the days of internet , tabloid journalism, Senate committee hearings and GREED, that statement seems strangely distant from the public eye.

Well, that is the rant of the day.

One other thing on my mind... after two weekens of Ice/Snow and more snow due today.

Here it is....

"Why does God plan snow and ice on Saturdays and Saturday nights?"

Hmmmmmmn...something only a preacher or a teacher would give a second thought to. Guess that is why the do not ask me to "play God" in the play.

Have a great day!

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Ice and Snow

Ice storms are no fun.

Last Sunday night the freezing rain started pelting NE Oklahoma. At the time, I think we all thought it would pass. In the middle of the night the cracking and breaking of limbs began. That grew into total destruction of many trees in the area.

We live next to Centennial Park,which is full of large older trees. The sound of trees breaking under the weight of ice is erie. Fortunately we have just one young tree in our front yard, so the damage to our property was minimal. However,many in our community and church were not so fortunate.

Then the power went out. 4 days later there are still nearly 200,000 people who have no power. Most of Owasso was knocked out, especially in the older part of the town. We were blessed. Ours was out 10 hours. At first it seemed inconvienent, but as I have seen others go through days of no power, we got off pretty good.

Our church became a shelter on Monday Morning. Our Staff has done a superb job in organzing and directing the shelter. We did not know what we were doing, but with the leadership skills of our team, we have managed to help well over 100 people. We have had alot of help from church members as well. We have good hearted people who want to serve. What a blessing

Now, we have word that a snowstorm is approaching. It could be heavy, but this is Oklahoma, and it seems after living here for 25 years, Weather experts in Oklahoma rarely know how to forecast snow.

Should be interesting.

Sunday, December 02, 2007

On my mind...

One of the fun things I have done this fall has been the Leadership class that I have been leading on Wednesday nights. We took a different route than in the past with reading a couple books together (Lead Like Jesus and The Resilient Life). Abotu 25 guys have stayed with it in the class since the first of September. The discussion has been challenging to me. Good for me to listen to the hearts of men.

I am not sure where it will go from here, as this Wednesday night is our last group meeting. But I am hoping that some small groups will evolve out of this that can be an ongoing discipleship opportunity for the men in our church.

Today's services seemed much more alive than the past few weeks. That is encouraging. October and Nov. have produced some 'flat' spots , but hopefully today is an indication that we are ramping up again.

People are ready for the building to get done... Probably still 60 days from occupying, but alot is happening. The work is accerlating for sure. There are still lots of questions about what we are doing once we occupy. I am glad that God is in control. And I am thankful for the staff of the church, which carries on, inspite of some the uncertainty.