Monday, August 9, 2010

Jesus stood

There is only one time - that we can read about - when Jesus stood beside His Father's throne: when Stephen was stoned to death for his faith.

Last week, 10 Christians were summarily executed in Afghanistan after spending several weeks in remote Afghan villages providing medical care to the people there...

The Taliban claimed responsibility for the attack as international reaction ranged from disgust at the abject barbarism to anguish for these saints and their families.

One of the members of the team was Tom Little, an optometrist from New York who has lived in Afghanistan for 30 years... he raised his family there, and has been providing free eye care and organizing medical missions since he moved there in the late 70s...

As I think about these precious brothers and sisters who literally gave their life to serve others, I wonder if Jesus is standing now...

May God grant peace and comfort to the family members left behind... and may the angels welcome these 10 new residents with a grand bash worthy of royalty!

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

San Francisco

just got back from a whirlwind tour of San Francisco! a B E A U tiful city!

Truly enjoyed the culture, the people, the geography and the iconic landmarks... we walked across the Golden Gate, had a piece of Pizza in the Haight Ashbury district, took in a Giants game at AT&T (Candlestick) Park and saw the 'Full House' house! -even played in the park from the Full House opening credits! :-)

First Day did a benefit concert for Agape Villages and led worship at Lake Merced Church of Christ... it was a really perfect weekend!

Caitlin joined us for the trip.... and the only regret is that my other 3 girls couldn't be with me!

blessed indeed!


Monday, June 28, 2010

amazing Panama

the people of Panama are what makes the country so amazing! My family and I traveled to the Western Province of Chiroqui in June of 07, and fell in love...

but after just returning from a week which spanned 8 days and all but 2 provinces, I gotta say Panama is as diverse as any other country!

Meeting precious people from several different Indian Tribes from Cocle to Darien reminded me how different people in the same country can be...

It was a terrific trip, and I am a better, richer person for having gone...

Thank you to all who prayed and supported. Without you, none of this happens...

check out pics and comments:

more later!


Monday, April 26, 2010

hedges and walls

There is a lot of bad stuff going on in our world... I read about it in the news and see it on TV: foreign wars, gang-banging, murders...

and I learn about stuff in my own little myopic world: families crumbling.... cancer progressing... moms leaving, daddies cheating...

and it is hard to reconcile all this... it's difficult to understand... I want to apply a 'cause' to every 'effect', but it doesn't always add up.

yeah, I suppose one could see (through 20/20 hindsight, of course) how this flirtation or that stray look or that 'what if' thought could lead to cheating and disappointment and hurt and separation. ...or how ignoring the family to climb one more ladder rung could lead to resentment and loss.

but what do I do with a 17 yr old in a coma after a car accident which he couldn't avoid? or a dying momma succumbing to the ravages of cancer?

I am not sure.

But I pray every day that God continue to build a hedge around my family... and that His Spirit give me strength to fortify the wall around my heart with prayer and Bible study.

At the end of the day, I just have to understand that I don't understand. So I have to fix my mind on Him and surround myself with His people and do everything in my power to stay vigilant and watchful... to avoid temptation when I see it and pray God's protection when I don't see it.

and i have to believe He is in control. ....that the sovereign God of the universe who sent His only Son to die for me knows what I need. and provides it.


Monday, March 15, 2010

Jonathan Richardson remembered

I met him only a couple times at family gatherings.

Technically speaking, he was my step-nephew. My daddy married his grandma 12 years ago after we lost momma to lung cancer.

Last Tuesday he was warming his hands by the fire at the Army Base in Khost, Afghanistan, when a Taliban suicide bomber dressed as an Afghan Police officer walked up and pulled the ripcord on his bomb vest, ending the lives of Jonathan and his best friend... two more American Soldiers in their mid twenties who joined the growing number of Americans killed in action in operation Enduring Freedom.

Jonathan leaves behind a wife and a momma and brother.

He was a decorated Soldier who died way to young in a place which is, by definition, God-forsaken.

I am not politically active anymore. And this is not the time or place to rant about the 'why'...

I simply want to honor Jonathan: another hero who came home from this war to be buried and remembered.

You are missed here, my young friend. terribly missed.

I know the angels are celebrating your arrival there. And from that we will gain peace.

God Bless

Monday, March 1, 2010

what goodbye looks like

I saw what a 70 year goodbye looks like yesterday.

After the mourners paid their respects and made their exit, it was just the family.

and after the nieces and nephews and cousins and son and daughter said their farewell, it was Jimmy's turn.

'til death do us part.

it takes on a new meaning when you watch a broken man say goodbye to the only love he ever knew.

The music had long since stopped playing...

and finally it was just this frail old beautiful man... touching the face and hands of his beloved best friend. Sobbing openly and loudly... pouring out the contents of his heart. Bidding farewell to his bride of almost 70 years.

It was a very sobering and lovely moment.

And if I live to be 120 years old, I will never forget it.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

compromised immune system

When I was a boy, mom and dad smoked. A lot. When you walked from room to room, you could actually see the 'clouds' part as you cut through them... sorta like a jet airplane leaving those cool swirly contrails as it knifes through fog...

Most everyone's parents smoked. It was the thing to do... I mean, think of how popular a gift the ashtray was... How would you like to own an ashtray company today?

Anyhow, a few weeks ago, my family was passing around a winter headcold... they're very thoughtful that way. and, of course, I caught it.

But because my momma and daddy smoked for all 18 of my years at home, a simple head cold descended into my compromised lungs and became bronchitis, heading toward pneumonia. And I did what I have done at least once a year for most of my adult life: I went to the doctor, got a steroid shot, started on a high-powered antibiotic and a codeine-laced cough syrup and laid in bed for a couple days while God and the medicine did their work.

It's miserable. It's not end-of-the-world miserable (though my wife will tell you I am the BIGGEST BABY on the planet... and she's right!), but it is very very unpleasant.

and it got me to thinking... how many of my peers and fellow adults are smoking around their kids and grand kids. I think I will start preaching my message to every idiot who lights up in a confined space - like a car - with a child inside... yeah, I think I will...

but it also got me to thinking something else... when we are 'surrounded' and daily bombarded with spiritual pollution, what long-term affects might that have?

I mean, if my lungs are indeed unable to defend themselves against a common head cold - like most peoples' lungs can easily do - how bout my soul? How is THAT affected by all the 'smoke' I have inhaled (wittingly or not) over the years?

That's the thing with sin. You may think you are maintaining a perfectly healthy defense system... but all the while you are letting junk into your mind that erodes and corrupts your spiritual immune system.

'minor' temptations then become not so minor. and falling into habitual sin becomes much more possible...

what antibiotic do you take then? what shot do you get? How do you undo the damage from all the garbage you have allowed to enter your soul?

here's the deal with my lungs... I asked the doc if there was anything I could do to repair whatever damage has been done. I was a little bit scared to learn that there is not. I will always have a compromised respiratory system because of what I was exposed to when I was a boy. Period.

thankfully, God does give us a salve that can heal. I pray daily that God will remove the bad things from my 'soulmemory' that I have exposed my heart to over the years... and His Word is a healing balm that WILL undo what damage we have done.

Thank God!