Monday, August 30, 2010

WIN EVERYDAY

Champions know the value of striving to be you best all the time, especially during practice. How an athlete practices determines how great a player they will become.

Sunday afternoon I caught a few minutes of a TV program that feature Alabama University football training camp. There were several quotes that stood out during the programs. One was, "Win everyday." Another was, "Winning is why I am here. That is what it is all about."

Now life is far more important that Alabama football. I love football, and I love UA football. But, believe it or not there is more to life than UA football. Here is the take-a-way. Win everyday. Nothing matters but winning.

Really winning everyday means winning Christ. It means living everyday for Him. It means putting Him first. At the end of the day, at the end of life, that is all that matters.

I watched with interest and intrigue the few minutes of the TV program on UA football Spring training. They were passionate, determined, and focused on one goal: winning. All of their efforts with much sweat and blood to win a few football games and hopefully another National Championship. So, at the end of the day does any of that really matter? Well, I hope they do win another National Championship, but that pales in comparison to winning Christ.

I think I need to take winning Christ to another level. After all, that is all that matters.

Win Christ everyday.

Everybody, on the count of three, "Win Christ!"

Friday, August 27, 2010

ONE FUNNY FUNERAL


Funerals aren't supposed to be funny. I mean--after all somebody died. That is why there is a funeral. Right? True. I have been to my share of funerals, and I have preached countless funerals in almost 40 years of ministry.

But I went to the most amazing and interesting funeral this week. It was a hoot. A real celebration. I don't think there was a Scripture verse read. Not one, but oh the impact was powerful.

The funeral was for Gladys Zink, one of the former pastor's wives of Southside Assembly where I now serve as lead pastor. She was 92 and her children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren were the speakers. She and her deceased husband, Rev. Dale Zink, were the pastors of Southside Assembly some 33 years ago.

Dale and Gladys didn't have much money, but they left a huge legacy. Just look at the picture above. That is their family. They all love the Lord and are serving Him, many of them as ministers and minister's wives.

Her family told story after story about Gladys that would make you roll with laughter. This lady loved the Lord, her family, The Church, and everyone for that matter. I knew her, and I knew she was funny. But, she passed all of my expectations and previous impressions as the family shared grand, funny story after story about her.

She taught her youngest son how to skip school. She would say during hard times that it was time to cuss and pray. Now that is a great preacher's wife. She would pull the pants of her grandchildren down as they walked through the house. She was really into making life alive.

There were sweet tears, and learning moments, and legacy leaving thoughts that flowed from her family as they talked about her. I am so glad I went. This is a great family that I have had the privilege of knowing for years. They all love the Lord and love one another. What a family.

Gladys Zink preached her whole life. Not with great sermons on Sunday. But she spoke as she lived life. She was a hoot.

The Lord willing, I hope to live a long time, but when I die this is the kind of funeral I would like to have.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

THE BEST RULE

Life has lots of rules, regulations, and demands. It is difficult to remember all of them. There are rules for driving, tax regulations, and city and national laws, and on and on it goes. Just how many laws are there? There are rules for schools, rules for jobs, and rules at home. The list is endless.

But here is the best rule. You only have to remember one. Here it is.

Do to others as you would have them do to you.

That sums it up. That isn't so hard to remember. Treat others the way you would desire to be treated.

I can't help what others do, but I can help what I do. This rule applies to life over and over. This rule works everywhere, for everyone, for every situation.

Now I haven't mastered this rule, but I have determined to work harder at it. I want forgiveness so I will forgive. I like for people to be courteous on the highway so I will strive to drive in a safe and courteous manner. I want to be loved and respected so I will work harder at loving and respecting others.

The easiest thing in the world to do is smile. It doesn't cost much to smile, but a smile can be priceless. Guess what? When I smile, people smile back. That is a great way to live in life. Smiling at others and getting a smile in return.

I love to receive the favor and blessings of others so I will be more generous in encouraging and blessings others.

The Golden Rule works. Wouldn't the world be much better if that was the law of the land? It is the best rule.

Monday, August 23, 2010

LITTLE PRAYERS?

My daughter Jennifer asked me recently about praying for her little dog that had been sick. She wondered if God cared about little doggies? Sure He cares about doggies. He watches over the lilies of the fields and sees the little sparrows that fall. He cares about you and everything you care about. That is what friends are for. They care about you.

Jennifer and family lost a much loved dog not too long back which was killed by being run over by a car. That was heart breaking for all of her family. They had that dog for some 8 years or more. Now, their new dog was sick.

We did pray. The dog got some better and then worse. She finally got a vet to see it and now the dog is improving. Prayer and good attention both are appropriate actions to take, but prayer works about little things too.

Wanda's son and daughter-in-law and family just had a loss of a much loved pet that got hit by a car too. Chloe had been in their family for years and now is suddenly gone. They all needed some comfort too.

Yes, God cares about lilies, sparrows, and precious pets. He is our friend. He hears the little prayers of our hearts.

Friday, August 20, 2010

IMPACT

To impact means to influence or make an effect on something or someone. It has other definitions too, but today I am thinking about impact from the standpoint of changing or influencing for the good. This is really to bottom line of why I continue to write and share this blog three days each week. It is a desire to impact others for the good.

Writing is one of the most powerful tools known to man. It gives incredible ability to impact lives for the good or bad. Literally thousands into the millions or more can read something from someone they have never met and have their lives forever changed.

Facebook, Twitter, Blogs, and Texting are all easy, quick ways to touch multiplied numbers of people. It amazes me the number of people who have read this blog from places all over the world. Just a few simple lines read over and over.

Incredible!

I pray that you are being impacted for the good by these few musings.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

SELF CONTROL

Self control is not always easy, but it releases incredible opportunity and blessing. Self control in our appetites helps us with health issues. Self control with our tongue keeps us from hurting others and ourselves. Self control in our meditations keeps us emotional and mentally fit. Self control with our finances keeps us from going broke. Self control in what we watch keeps our inner thoughts pure and clean.

Moderation is the key. Allowing the Holy Spirit to flow is the source.

I was told in college that what I feed grows, and what I starve dies. That is part of control too.

Self control can be hard, but allowing the Holy Spirit to control is much easier. The Holy Spirit of God gives us wisdom, strength, and power to overcome the habits that rob, steal, and kill.

Discipline frees while a lack of discipline leads to bondage. I counsel people regularly who have been sorely deceived and blinded to their ill choices and are controlled by flesh, desires, and the carnal. Not much good comes from those sources. They usually are living with huge regrets and have to bend their wills to the better good.

I choose God, His Laws and precepts, and His ways. That all lead to a higher wisdom of life that blesses. Choosing God is the first step.

Monday, August 16, 2010

LA, LA, LA, LA, LA


Little Claudia held my hand skipping as we walked together. What a joy it was to share time with Lorenzo, their parents, and Claudia. We have just returned from a week's visit with them in the Caribbean.

That afternoon as we were leaving church, I wasn't tuned in to Claudia as we walked with her little hand in my big hand. But, finally I tuned back in to this precious free spirit.

Claudia was skipping along by her Papa singing, "La, la, la, la, la," over and over again.

What peace!

What joy!

What trust and rest!

With not a care in the world she sang, "La, la, la, la, la," skipping with delight along her way.

I began to sing with her, "La, la, la, la, la, la, la....."

I felt peace, joy, rest, trust. We laughed and I even giggled with her. She loved her Papa skipping and laughing with her.

There has to be a sermon in there somewhere, or at least and illustration.

LA, LA , LA, LA, LA, LA, LA.....over and over again, skipping and giggling and laughing as we walked down life's journey.

After all, God is in control. We should trust in Him with the faith of a child.

LA, LA, LA, LA, LA, LA, LA

Friday, August 13, 2010

MY FUNNIEST JOKE

This town barber is known to be a grumpy old guy. (This one is not true. The barber is not related to Jim from the last post.)

The barber is cutting the hair of a guy who is tells him that he is about to make a trip to the Vatican.

"Why in the world would you go there," the barber grumbles. "What airline are you flying? What hotel are you staying, he asks? Grumbling all the while.

The guy says, "American and the Sheraton."

The barber states that is the worst airline in the world and I've heard that the Sheraton there is a dump. He grumbles more.

Well, the guy makes his trip and bumps into his barber not long after returning home.

"How was your trip? The air flight? The hotel?

"Super," the guy responds. "Best flight ever and the Sherton there is five star. I even got to have a private audience with the Pope."

The barber could not believe his words. "What did the Pope have to say to you...., he grumbled.

"Well," the guys said, "I was nervous. I bowed before the Pope, and he place his hands on my head. The Pope said, 'My son, who gave you that crummy haircut?'"

***

That is a long way around just to say that grumpy attitudes lead to crummy living.

See you on Monday. Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

ANOTHER FUNNY

This one is a true story.

***

I visited a church member years ago in the hospital. As I was about to pray for him, the town doctor came into the room and announced he had discovered the member's illness.

Now sadly the church member was known as the town grump.

The doctor said, "I know what you have, Jim (named changed to protect the innocent).

"Shoot striaght with me, Doc," Jim responded, "What is it?"

Doc said, "It is very serious, Jim. I don't see this very often."

Jim looked worried.

"Tell me, Doc, what is it?"

"Optic recitis," Doc answered.

Jim looked more worried. "That sounds very serious," he commented.

"Yes, it is," the doctor shared.

"Well, what is it, Doc? Shoot straight"

The doctor looked at me with a grin and anwered back, "Optic recitis is when the nerves in the eyes get crossed with the nerves in the rectum and it gives you a crappy outlook on life."

****

That true story took place over 35 years ago and I still laugh about that one.

Doc was right.

Monday, August 9, 2010

MY FUNNIEST JOKE

We're chillin' in the Caribbean with Jennifer and the kiddies and Javier. It is a great place to vacation and enjoy family.

On Friday I'll tell you my funniest joke. but today did you here about the talkin' parrot?

A couple passed by him in the mall as they walked past the pet shop.

The parrot looked at the guy and said, "You're ugly!"

Stunned by what the parrot said, the couple walked farther down the mall, but finally the guy turned around and walked back up to the pet shop.

The parrot saw him and said again, "You're ugly!"

Really upset now, the guy goes into the store and speaks to the manager, "That parrot of yours insulted me. He said to me twice that I was ugly!"

The manager walks up to the parrot, scolds him, swats him with a newspaper to the inch of his life and says, "You better never say an insulting thing like that again."

Feathers were just a flyin'.

As the guy walks past the the parrot going out the door, the parrot looked down and weakly said, "Youuu....... know........!"


Friday, August 6, 2010

CHILLIN' IN THE CARIBBEAN

We're on vacation for a week or so down to Sunny San Juan, Puerto Rico to see Jennifer, Javier, and the grands. It will be a great week of relaxing, walking the beaches, and enjoying the Caribbean breezes.

I will share more about the trip when I return, but on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday of next week my blog will be my best funnies. I love jokes and clean fun. Humor adds life and makes tough moments easier. I don't know what I would have done all these years if there hadn't been a lot of laughter all the way? Humor helps.

So what are my best jokes?

Tune in on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday and laugh a little or a lot. 

Not much more to say. See you when we're back. 

We're chillin' in the Caribbean.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

REGULAR WORSHIP

Here is a short lesson from Job.

After his first test of losing family and possessions, the Bible says that He worshipped. He yet gave thanks in spite of loss. There was no blame, anger, bitterness. He simply bowed and worshipped.

There could be several reasons for such amazing faith, love, and commitment. Here are two.

First, Job had a habit of worship. Earlier in the first chapter of the Book of Job, the Bible says that Job regularly offered worship to God. This was an on going part of Job's life. He knew God and he regularly and consistently offer worship to God.

That leads to the second point. God knew His Redeemer. We often quote Job 19:25 which reads, "I know that my redeemer lives..."

I like to read it this way....I know my redeemer. Job knew his redeemer. It was a personal relationship. Job's had relationship. He was sure that His Redeemer liveth, because He knew His Redeemer. When the Divine test came, Job's regular worship, though tested, saw him through the storm.

Regular may seem so bland, blah, boring. But it is the consistency of life actions that leads to success. Regular worship led to victory over a Divine test.

Monday, August 2, 2010

KABOOM!



Summer afternoon rains here have released incredible electrical storms the last few days. Another one passed through this past Saturday afternoon as Wanda and I enjoyed the fresh rain while sitting on our back porch. Summer rains cool the air and clean the atmosphere. They relax and calm the soul. I like to watch it rain.

Then out in the distant we heard thundering and lightening. It got closer.

Then KABOOM!

It hit real close and Wanda flew into the house. She said that she wasn't staying out there any longer. The lightening was too close to home. Literally.

We walked to the front of the house and gazed out the dining room window.

POW!

KABOOM, again.

Real loud up close with sparks and fireworks and racing bright lights. It was like 4th of July right our front yard.

We thought a tree behind the house straight across the street from us had been hit. Chills went up and down Wanda's spine and arms. That was something!


Wow! Amazing!

Lightening up close and personal is something else. But you know what? God controls and heaven and the universe. He is above all.

We didn't hear sirens or noise, but in a few moments our street was lined with firetrucks. I counted six of them. Our neighbor's house had been hit by lightening and smoke was coming out from the house. No one was home in the house which was hit. We didn't see it, but a neighbor behind them saw it and called the fire department. The firemen pulled the electric meter out, knocked in the front door, and cut into the roof to get to the fire. In moments all was well.

Other neighbors had air conditioners knocked out and lights blown and other electrical issues. All that from a summer electrical storm. No one was hurt and the fire damage was minimal.

But it was exciting for a few minutes Saturday afternoon on Tonga Dr.

KABOOM!



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