Sunday, October 30, 2011

Some Octobers Stick Around -- For Good

(From today's Times and News-Star)

Be of good cheer and take your cuts, even when you don’t feel like it. You never know when a tiny something you do today might make a big difference for somebody tomorrow – or nearly 30 years from now, and on many days in between.

Got email this week from a dear friend I’ve never met. He’d been sent a link that connected him to a story I’d written years ago about “It’s A Long Way To October,” a three-hour “documentary” about the 1982 Atlanta Braves that aired in ’83, then disappeared.

It didn’t disappear to me. I’d recorded it on a VHS machine the size of a deep freeze and still play it often while I work. No sound: I just look over at the TV set and am reminded…

The Braves’ entire season was covered since Atlanta’s TBS SuperStation, with cameras and mics and whatnot, had the technology. This was unheard of in ’82, hearing players and umpires talking in the dugout, at spring training, on road trips at restaurants. Watching it was like spending time with friends since back then, the Braves and Chicago’s Cubs, thanks to cable, were the only games in town.

So it’s neat that I should get this mail now, during World Series week.

“I was the executive producer of that special a long time ago and have a sports Emmy and a cable Ace thanks to the talented people who made this happen,” wrote Terry Hanson. “It was supposed to be the quintessential ‘any season in baseball,’ but the club’s success had Ted Turner opt for memorializing that season. So, it had only a one-year shelf life when my initial intention was to have it live for a lifetime. Happy to see you remember.”

Are you kidding me? The original “It’s A Long Way…” guy found something I’d written and wrote me back? Joy! Rapture! I wrote HIM back to say I’d made copies for other loyalists, guys I’ve never met who saw the same link and wanted a copy. They just wanted to remember Torre and Red Barber, Ernie and Pete and Skip, Horner and Dale Murphy and Niekro, even the Red Man and Miller Lite and “Buy a Kenny Rogers album” commercials of yesteryear. Is that Roger Staubach pushing life insurance?

“It is a joy to want to thank somebody for years and finally get the opportunity to do it,” I wrote to Mr. Hanson. “…Whenever things aren’t going your way – you’re having a bad day or whatever — I want you to know something: You made a difference for me. And for a lot of guys in college back then, even in high school in the late ’70s. We had the one game a week and then suddenly – THE BRAVES! The horrible, terrible, wonderful Braves…Then this piece of work in ’82. Before there WAS this kind of stuff. Not a single week goes by that I don’t quote something from the show or have it quoted to me by one of The Guys from back then…

“Finally, you might think you didn’t , but you DID make something that lives for a lifetime. You did. At least for a few guys like me.”

If you need to thank someone, do it. We all need encouragement. And if you feel underappreciated or feel your work has a short shelf life, hang on anyway. Keep dishing out the good stuff. Somebody out there’s your biggest fan.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Vision Accomplished: 5

(My notes from FBC Ruston, Dr. Chris' effort)


Neh 2: 4 and 6

Human Skunks put out toxins who that have negative affects on others; we all have skunk tendencies...

Nehemiah faced skunks as he attempted to follow God's vision for him

I. Skunks M.O.


Neh 2:10 --

Sanbalat -- gov of Samaria
Tabiah -- gov of Ammon
These are leaders in the area around Jerusalem who were opposing Nehemiah

* Some people just don't want good things to happen

2:19 --
Geshem is another governor of a nearby area

* Misery loves company

* Skunks band together

* Jesus hung around the worst of society, but his closest friends were God followers


2:19 and 4: 1-3 Nehemiah moced and ridiculed

* Ridicule is the weapon people use when they have no other weapon

* Skunks also use slander (v 19 in Chapter 2) "Are you rebelling against the king..?!"

Neh 4: 7-8 "...they plotted to stir up trouble..."

* Expect ridicule if you want to move forward with God -- your motives will be challenged

* it's a dangerous to challenge someone's heart

* words DO hurt ... expect ridicule

v. 4: 10-12
Jewish people are surrounded by people / kings discouraging them as they work toward God's vision; this is serious...



Ezra 4: 1-3 describes when these same kings in this story asked Exra if they could help him rebuild the temple in Jerusalem and Exra said no, probably because the kings wished to uhndermine his efforts or take credit.

2. ARROGANCE: most negative people think theyr'e smarter than everyone else

3. SELFISHNESS: Surrounding kings controlled the area, and a strong Jerusalem would hurt them economically -- "Hell hath no fury like a skunk scorned."

4. REAL HEART ISSUES: We all have sinful natures that muse be replace with a God nature
Matthew 12:35 .. "The good man brings good things out of the good stored up in him, and the evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in him." ... Which nature do we feed?

1 Cor 10:8-11 "We should not commit sexual immorality, as some of them did—and in one day twenty-three thousand of them died. We should not test Christ, as some of them did—and were killed by snakes. And do not grumble, as some of them did—and were killed by the destroying angel. These things happened to them as examples and were written down as warnings for us, on whom the culmination of the ages has come."

God challenges us to go through life not as a skunk, but more like Nehemiah, loyal and courageous

Thursday, October 27, 2011

In The Presence: 4

(My notes from FBC Ruston and Dr. Chris)


1 Samuel 3

v. 1-4 ... God created organized religion and shows up in church...Do I go to church looking for God to show up? BE in the house of God...

1 Kings 19 tell the story of Elijah missing God because he was looking for an earthquake
Psalm 46:10 "Be still and know that I am God..."

v 4 --
Samuel answered, "Here I am"
Do you go to church, connection groups, wanting to hear a word from God?

v. 5-9 .. "Samuel ran to Elijah..."
* Have people in your life who will help you

v. 10 -- "The Lord said...Samuel Answered..."
*Am I really open to God's woice and to what he has to say, exactly?...

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Vision Accomplished: 4

(My notes from FBC Ruston and Dr. Chris Craig)


Nehemiah 1-3

Three ingredients God says are essential for our "dreams" to come to pass

1. PREPARATION -- Nehemiah planned, practiced and prayed to accomplish building the wall, something others failed at for 140 years.
Neh 1:1 - Neh 2:1 -- four months pass as Nehemiah prepares

* Jesus prepared for 30 years for his ministry of three years. He reminds us in scripture to "count the cost" of discipleship. Take a risk assessment.
*Most dreams fail not because of lack of zeal but because of lack of counting the cost.
* "Pray, but keep your powder dry."

Neh 2:7 -- "Let us rebuild..." a WE CAN attitude
Phil 4:13 -- I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me...
* "If you think you can or tink you can't, you are probably right." Henry Ford
* Attitude is what gets you over the top.

Neh 2:18 -- "Let us RISE UP and build..."
Neh 3 illustrates that God's word honors the manual labor of rebuilding the wall
Neh 4:6 -- "the people worked with all of their heart..." toiled with their whole being

*Pray like it depends on Him, work like it depends on me
* Most people are like callouses ... they showe up after the work is done

Thoreau -- Live the life imagined, advance in the direction of your dreams


Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Self Is Scary

(from today's ethought...)

“For I know that good itself does not dwell in me, that is, in my sinful nature. For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out.” – Romans 7: 18

A week from today, some of you will be on a post-Halloween sugar high of Biblical proportions. Good luck with that! (Quick question: Do you ever put the tiny “Fun Size” candy bars in your freezer and eat them later by just letting them slowly melt in your month? Try it!)

In my youth I was, in different late Octobers, a pirate, cowboy and ghost. As a ghost I was completely covered by a bed sheet, save the holes we’d cut where my eyes were. Even in disguise, I was not very convincing. Mrs. Bobbie, my first-grade teacher, opened her door and said, “Hey little Teddy! Come on in!”

I make a poor “holey” ghost, apparently not gifted for trick-or-treat espionage.

But I do have an eye for what’s evil and what is scary. I see it whenever I look into a mirror.

One of the best blessings of my life has been a daily realization and acceptance of my potential for evil. In sin did my precious mother conceive me, right? Paul knew. The law convicted him and his covetous heart, “slew” him, convinced him his best would not be enough to save him. Suddenly, the situation became very clear: as the rest of us do, Paul needed a Savior. So … is there any hope? Is there anyone who can rescue me from me?

“What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body that is subject to death? Thanks be to God…” — Romans 7:24-25


Sunday, October 23, 2011

To All The Dentists I've Loved Before!

(From today's Times and News-Star -- about our annual Doc Jack Witte Golf Day to benefit the Fellowship of Christian Athletes)

Four out of five dentists surveyed say four out of five people hate their guts.

I’m that fifth guy!

The fear is probably from the unnerving whirring of those insane drills. Having your mouth open while reclined in such a vulnerable position. Being reminded you aren’t flossing enough, and in an “Eat your vegetables!” tone.

Or, it could just be fear of the sheer pain. There is that.

But I love going to the dentist. I like my dentist! And he pretends to like me, and my teeth. It’s a beautiful working relationship.

A few months ago I had a tiny cavity filled. I slobbered a “thank you” and smiled a crooked smile. They gave me a freshly baked cookie and coffee, which I drank and spilled down my numb chin. I felt like I was in a Carol Burnett skit.

Which is exactly why I like going to my dentist -- because it’s not like going to the dentist. It’s like being in a good 30-minute sitcom.

Besides, how can you hate somebody who gives you a free cookie? After all, dentists are people too. Sort of.

I even had another dentist, sort of a surgeon dentist, drill a screw into my head. An entire screw. Into my gums. Way back there. But he numbed it of course and he was funny and really nice about it and I like him too. Not enough to go get another screw drilled into my gums, but he was a very nice man.

I like dentists because they help the world smile. We need more of that. More flossing and brushing, less gingivitis and tartar. Down with decay! Up with dentists!

Oddly, my favorite dentist is a guy who never touched my teeth. But he did touch my soul. Since he died 10 years ago in May, cancer at age 44, we’ve talked about him annually here. Jack “Doc” Witte was a guy we played golf with, coached ball with, had fun with. We miss the Doc.

He was a passionate supporter of the Fellowship of Christian Athletes, a main player in FCA’s annual Ironman golf fundraising marathon. The event is now the Dr. Jack R. Witte Memorial Golf Day, which is Thursday at East Ridge Country Club, and I ask your support in the way of a tax-deductable donation as I do every year. As other will, I'll be playing in honor of Doc, to raise money as he would be doing were he here.

You can donate online at (click Donate, then One Time Gift, then type in Golf Day.) Or you can send your donation to Terry Slack, FCA, 3018 Old Minden Rd., Ste. 1121, Bossier City, LA 71112. Or just email me and we'll figure it out!

My family has made a $100 donation and I ask you to match that; not everyone can. (We've been saving up!) But your gift, whatever you feel it can or should be, will be used wisely once received.

Our friend Terry and his wife Peggy are in their 22nd year with FCA; he’s still northwest Louisiana’s point man, but he’s also FCA’s state director now. He’ll handle your gifts wisely, as Doc Witte always knew he would. You can help make an eternal difference.

“I’ve grown in faith and leadership skills that help me on the football and baseball fields,” said Byrd High star quarterback Richard Carthon, who attended an FCA Camp at Slack’s urging in 2010. “I’ve grown as a leader at home and in FCA at school.”

“Terry Slack and FCA,” said John Bachman, head football coach at Shreveport’s Calvary Academy, “are loved and wanted around here.”

I thank in advance the tireless brotherhood of dentists who’ve faithfully donated in Doc’s memory and hope you’ll follow their lead. You’ll help a lot of people smile if you do.


Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Doc's Memorial Golf Day

More about this Sunday, but Thursday, Oct. 27 is the Dr. Jack R. Witte Memorial Golf Day.

East Ridge Country Club is allowing us to play there. Donations we receive will benefit the Fellowship of Christian Athletes. Doc Witte, former Fair Park stud and Louisiana Tech football player, was a wonderful athlete, dad, husband, dentist and friend, and a loyal, passionate supporter of FCA. He died 10 years ago of cancer at age 44, and this tournament is a way to remember him and to help FCA, as he did when he was here.

My family is making a $100 donation and I'll play that day in honor of Doc, as we all will. We're asking you to match our donation, but any gift you are willing to give will be helpful in reaching the area's student athletes, coaches and their families. Again, more will be here, in The Times and in The News-Star Sunday. And more about dentists. I love my dentist!

Meanwhile, if you wish to donate now, you can online at (click Donate, then One Time Gift, then type in Golf Day.)

Or you can send your donation to Terry Slack, FCA, 3018 Old Minden Rd., Ste. 1121, Bossier City, LA 71112.


Tuesday, October 18, 2011

In The Presence: 3rd in a Series

Exodus 33-34

Do you long to see the Lord? Moses did. Exodus 33:12-23 -- Moses prays intimately to see His face
Moses is a mature follower who still asks God for more of his presence

34: 5-6 "The Lord is merciful..." Do I want to know God or just want to know more ABOUT God?

34:1, 27-28
Moses came to understand God's instruction when Moses was devoted to Him ... in this case, for a supernatural 40 days
Prayer is a way we bathe ourselves in the Divine Presence
We want a formula, but God is a person

34:29 "Moses was not aware his face was radiant because he had spoken weith God"
Too many of us think our face is shining and it is not
1 Cor 13:4-7 -- what love is
Gal 5:22- fruit of the spirit

34:31-35 "...they saw the face of moses, that he shone..."
Our job is to influence, not to demand or dictate
"To be much for God, you must be much WITH God."

Nothing matters if you don't have Jesus in the house; He won't be if He's not in our hearts and minds

Jer 29:13 "You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart."

Pray that God will show up in my church and in my life.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Don't Toss The Tube 'Til It's All Gone

(From Sunday's Times and News-Star)

My friend of 35-plus years eulogized his dad Monday with an eloquence impressive but surprising, considering the circumstances. I was proud of him.

Years ago his pastor father gave the address at our high school graduation, encouraging us to be wise, as young David was, with the stones we’d choose to slay the giants we’d face. Saturday morning Rev. Davis brought the mail inside, sat in his chair, then died suddenly of a heart attack, his Bible open in his study, his notes ready with Sunday’s sermon.

“He worshipped in heaven this Sunday morning,” the funeral program read.

My buddy Clint told a lot of stories about his dad in the filled-to-the-brim church – they even had to sit people in the choir loft. Most of the stories I knew already. A personal favorite is the one when the pickup screeched to a stop on Interstate 20; Clint and his younger sisters had figured out they could alter the steering of the truck by rolling from side to side on the foam mattress in the truck bed. There was hell to pay.

His dad got out, cracked the door on the camper top, pulled Clint out and tore him up on the side of the road while truckers honked their approval. Then he pitched a subdued Clint back into the bed, got back in the cab, continued the mission.

Clint’s daddy was old school.

One story about this imperfect but godly man I did not know. Glad I do now.

Bro. Davis would roll the toothpaste tube very carefully, day by day, all the way to the opening. Not surprising, especially for a man whose first job brought him $2,200 annually as a junior high coach and teacher in Webster Parish.

When the tube was completely rolled, he would unroll it and rake is thumb down the tube to get one more squirt. THEN, to get the absolute last bit of toothpaste, he’d suck the end, and brush furiously. Only then would he throw the completely spent tube away.

Here’s a guy you’d trust with the inventory.

Clint said that even through that modest hygienic illustration, he learned a lesson from his dad. The days of our lives aren’t much different than tubes of toothpaste. Each day, we get a new tube.

And each day, we roll the tube toward the top as little by little we squeeze out a piece of the day. Hopefully, what we squeeze out will make us and others a bit cleaner.

Then we head home from work and the tube seems done, all the way to the top. But that’s when your spouse and children need you, and nothing is more important than that, so you roll the tube back out and slide your thumb down its middle and get another little bit of love to share. Then it’s late and there’s that tiny bit left, that bit you can suck out. And maybe you need to, because maybe that’s when you need to say to someone, “I was really a jerk today. I love you. I hope you’ll forgive me.”

Each day, we get just enough in the tube to handle the day’s challenges and needs. Tomorrow, a new tube. Bro. Davis didn’t waste much toothpaste or time. One of the many legacies he left was his willingness to be used up in service, his willingness, as they say in sports, to leave it all on the field.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Vision Accomplished: 3rd In a Series


Book of Nehemiah

Three essentials in finding vision and accomplishing our purpose

1. FAVOR, sympathy from God in his leanings toward men

a. Favor with God -- many of us shoot for goals so low we don't need god's help; God wants to push us to things only He can accomplish, through us.

Neh 1:11 and 2:18: Nehemiah prays for success, for God's gracious hand, for His favor

b. Favor of Others -- Neh 1:11 and 2:1-5: "...favor in the king's sight..."

We should pray this often: "God help people in my life be sympathetic to my efforts toward them, in my spirit influence..."

c. Be a Favorable Person (as Nehemiah was)

Acts 2:47 -- "...enjoying the favor of all..."

Don't be a 'jerk for Jesus' ... those people never accomplish anything.

Lou Holtz "If you're ugly, dress better." Don't intentionally try to be off-putting.


Neh 2:10, 2:19 .. Nehemiah, the cupbearer for the king, is willing to leave comfort in the palace and be rediculed to accomplish God's vision .... Nothing great is ever achieved without enthusiasm and sacrifice.


Neh 2:2 "I was very much afraid..."

Nehemiahn approaches the king, thought scared -- his request demanded faith

If faith is not challenged sometimes, we might not be really trying to accomplish much

Like a trapeze artist, we've got to be willing to let go.

* The visionary sees the wall already up before it's up...


Wednesday, October 12, 2011

In The Presence: 2nd in a Series...

(Notes from Dr Chris at FBC Ruston)

Exodus 3: 1-12 (at bottom)
God speaks to Moses in the burning bush

Charles Swindoll: "After decades in the ministry, I realize I am just scratching the surface of understandinbg and experiencing the presence of God."

1. God Manifests Himself in Unexpected Places (v 1-5)

* God appears in the normalcy of Moses's everyday life -- on the backside of the desert.
* For the first time in 400 years in scripture, since the life of Jacob, God appears with a word for man
* Are you looking for God and praying for Him to show up?

2. Sometimes God Shows Up in Unexpected Ways (3-5)
Take your "box" of God and break it in two, turn God loose -- let Him show up on his terms

3. God's Presence is a Place of Reverence (6-7)
The is the first text in which the word "holy" appears in scripture.
* God is everywhere, so everywhere is holy ground; reverence is about humility, showing honor, about attitude -- we dn't strut into the presence of God.
* If our heart is haughty, God won't show up.

4. God Manifests Himself to Help Us Experience Him More (v. 4)
* God says "Moses, Moses" -- He knows my name; he speaks my languard
* v 6-7 -- "I AM -- the man who is, was and will be
*Are you looking for God to reveal himself to you? God does not show up for frivilous reasons; he shows up with purpose

5. God Manifests Himself to Give Us A Vision/Task (8-12)
* Moses called to lead Israelites
* No way to have an experience with God and be the same, so some of us choose not to ask for his presence
* God's power is available, but comes with a price -- humility, selflessness, a servant's attitude.

Exodus 3: 1-15
1 Now Moses was tending the flock of Jethro his father-in-law, the priest of Midian, and he led the flock to the far side of the wilderness and came to Horeb, the mountain of God. 2 There the angel of the LORD appeared to him in flames of fire from within a bush. Moses saw that though the bush was on fire it did not burn up. 3 So Moses thought, “I will go over and see this strange sight—why the bush does not burn up.”
4 When the LORD saw that he had gone over to look, God called to him from within the bush, “Moses! Moses!”

And Moses said, “Here I am.”

5 “Do not come any closer,” God said. “Take off your sandals, for the place where you are standing is holy ground.” 6 Then he said, “I am the God of your father, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac and the God of Jacob.” At this, Moses hid his face, because he was afraid to look at God.

7 The LORD said, “I have indeed seen the misery of my people in Egypt. I have heard them crying out because of their slave drivers, and I am concerned about their suffering. 8 So I have come down to rescue them from the hand of the Egyptians and to bring them up out of that land into a good and spacious land, a land flowing with milk and honey—the home of the Canaanites, Hittites, Amorites, Perizzites, Hivites and Jebusites. 9 And now the cry of the Israelites has reached me, and I have seen the way the Egyptians are oppressing them. 10 So now, go. I am sending you to Pharaoh to bring my people the Israelites out of Egypt.”

11 But Moses said to God, “Who am I that I should go to Pharaoh and bring the Israelites out of Egypt?”

12 And God said, “I will be with you. And this will be the sign to you that it is I who have sent you: When you have brought the people out of Egypt, you will worship God on this mountain.”

13 Moses said to God, “Suppose I go to the Israelites and say to them, ‘The God of your fathers has sent me to you,’ and they ask me, ‘What is his name?’ Then what shall I tell them?”

14 God said to Moses, “I AM WHO I AM. This is what you are to say to the Israelites: ‘I AM has sent me to you.’”

15 God also said to Moses, “Say to the Israelites, ‘The LORD, the God of your fathers—the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac and the God of Jacob—has sent me to you.’

“This is my name forever,
the name you shall call me
from generation to generation.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Vision Accomplished, 2


Neh 1: 1-4
1 The words of Nehemiah son of Hakaliah:
In the month of Kislev in the twentieth year, while I was in the citadel of Susa, 2 Hanani, one of my brothers, came from Judah with some other men, and I questioned them about the Jewish remnant that had survived the exile, and also about Jerusalem.

3 They said to me, “Those who survived the exile and are back in the province are in great trouble and disgrace. The wall of Jerusalem is broken down, and its gates have been burned with fire.”

4 When I heard these things, I sat down and wept. For some days I mourned and fasted and prayed before the God of heaven.

Live every day as if it's your last day, and some day, you'll be right.
Don't want "until" -- now is the time


1. Begins with you and God
No vision unless, like Nehemiah, you are connected/close to God
John 8:47 -- the reason you don't hear is that you don't belong to God

2. A Person of Character
Nehemiah prays for his people and himself with honesty
God won't give a vision to a skunk

3. Be Open to It
No one was open to the vision of rebuilding the wall for 140 years


1. Thur the Bible
Neh 1: 8-9 "Remember Lord your word to Moses,..." Nehemiah prays. Scripture will always give us a foundation and boundaries

2. Thru others (v. 2) -- "I questioned as they said to me..."

3. Thru real needs and problems (v. 3) -- Nehemiah jointed the Vision Club, not the Criticism Club ...

4. From our Giftings and Passions -- Nehemiah was 'cut out' for wall a top servant of the king, he was dependable, detail-oriented, ... Like, God often tailors/matches His given gifts to His vision for us...

5. Prayer v. 4
"I wept, mourned, fasted and cried..."
We don't sit before God and listen much. We need to sit and say, "God, talk to me..."

Sir Francis Drake -- "Disturb us oh Lord..Push back the horizons of our hope...may we seek you in strength, courage, hope and faith..."


Sunday, October 9, 2011

Can't Beat The Good Ol' Days

(Reprinted from today's Times and News-Star)

For a memory mix of tragedy and comedy, nothing beats one about getting a whipping from your parents.

Good times.

Corporal punishment in the kitchen, den and bedroom – basically wherever your dad could catch you – went out with vinyl records and the rotary dial, it seems. Daddy saying “Boy, I’m gonna tear you up when we get home,” and then actually doing it, you don’t hear that much anymore. It was music to our rears.

Sounds of my childhood…The wailing. The kicking. The screaming. The good old-fashioned belt roundhouse. The innocent switch. The handy flyswatter.

Today’s kids don’t know what they’ve missed.

A few months ago during his North Louisiana Summer of ’11 Tour, my dad relaxed on his daughter’s couch and asked my two sisters, all nostalgic and everything, “Girls, remember the only whipping I ever gave your brother?”

We waited for the punch line. My dad whipped me like Grant whipped Richmond, except with more regularity. I know it. My sisters know it. The American people know it. But daddy’s forgotten, like an old ballplayer forgets games simply because they were so routine.

My dad could whip with the best of them. Hair brush. Garden hose. Hot Wheel track. But the belt, that was his true medium. He could flash the leather. All Conference, first team.

“For years momma whipped me with the same pair of house shoes she’d had since before I was born,” a buddy told me. “When I got to be about 8, I told her she needed a new pair, that that pair had stopped hurting five years ago. Probably shouldn’t have told her that.”

Another friend whose dad worked at his elementary school dropped a Webster’s Dictionary in a roomful of napping custodians one summer during a lunch break, just to wake everyone up. A coach passing by witnessed it all and said to my then-little friend, “I can give you five licks here or I can take you across the street to your daddy.”

“Tear me up right here,” my friend said. “Please.”

You did not want the heavy artillery brought in if you had an option. Better to be whacked with small arms fire. Back then, well-meaning teachers and neighbors didn’t mind being the first wave in when we got out of line.

“Lot of times I’d hear my name and just walk to where my dad or mom were and bend over,” one of the guys said. “I knew I’d done something. Didn’t always matter so much what.”

“I once got whipped really hard on a school trip and came home and told my dad it was too hard,” another friend said. “He told me to drop my pants. You could still see the marks. My dad just shrugged.”

It took a limb loss to get penalty yardage in your favor back in the day. But then, we were always guilty, and our sins were no secret. Grownups tattle told.

“My little brother in third grade signed our dad’s name to one of his tests he was supposed to take home,” my buddy said. “The teacher asked him, ‘You get your daddy to sign this?’ He said yes ma’am and that he knew he needed to do better and all that. Milked it. She asked him three times. After the third time, daddy walked out from behind the cloak room.”

Game over.

He figures what gave him away was signing his dad’s name in red crayon.


Saturday, October 8, 2011

In the Presence: 1st in a Series


Genesis 1:26-27
26 Then God said, “Let us make mankind in our image, in our likeness, so that they may rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky, over the livestock and all the wild animals,[a] and over all the creatures that move along the ground.”
27 So God created mankind in his own image,
in the image of God he created them;
male and female he created them.

Genesis 3:8
Then the man and his wife heard the sound of the LORD God as he was walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and they hid from the LORD God among the trees of the garden.

The goal is living in God's manifest presence

We are modeled/patterned after God's image. He created us with a social awareness that he gave no other part of creation.

Adam and Eve hear God in the garden (v. 3:8) In Heaven, we will be with God, must like Adam and Eve were with God in the garden.

Rev 21:3-4 3 And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Look! God’s dwelling place is now among the people, and he will dwell with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. 4 ‘He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death’[b] or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.”

Rev. 22: 4 They will see his face, and his name will be on their foreheads.

Today, we are 'in the middle" Sin limits our interaction with God ... we are 'banished from the garden.'' (Gen 3: 8-9, 23-24)

Lessons for Today
1. Our goal here is to crave and seek to experience God and his presence

2. Understand the character of God
a. God is perfect love
1 John 4:7-8 Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. 8 Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love.

b. God is holy
1 Peter 1:15-16 But just as he who called you is holy, so be holy in all you do; 16 for it is written: “Be holy, because I am holy.”

God won't be around jealousy and hatred, and he won't be in immoral places

c. God is pure
Matt 5:8 -- Blessed are the pure..." This is why God didn't make himself know to Pharisees; God doesn't dwell in impurity

d. God is perfect, period
Mat 6:10 -- Your will be done on Earth AS IT IS in heaven
God's will is absolute in heaven, where there is no debate. Find out what God wants, and do that.

e. God is perfect unity
John 17: 20-23 ... "I pray that they may be one..."

This is how thigns were in the Garden and how they'll be in Heaven ... But God still shows up in the middle.
Invite the presence of God to be known in our lives, homes and church
All God the freedom to make Himself known...


Thursday, October 6, 2011

Vision Accomplished, Series from Nehemiah, Part 1

(notes from FBC Ruston and Dr Chris)

Nehemiah 1

To know Christ, love Him and others, and discover His mission and visition for you is what life's about.

God really want to do something with you..

Nehemiah was cup bearer to the king, a trusted servant and food-taster for the king. The Walls of Jerusalem have been down for 140 years, since the Babylonian takeover. Nehemiah and Israel will rebuild the wall in 52 days. The book of Nehemiah is about this event.

What can this mean to me?

1. Long-Term Visions
...for your career, marriage, in your community etc...

2. Short-Term Visions
...Nehemiah called to rebuild a wall. What have I been putting off doing?

Are there things you'd do differently if you lived your life over? So what are you waiting on...

God has a wall for you
Find that callenge, that wall/vision. All god to make a difference with your life.


Monday, October 3, 2011

Top Ten Fair Foods: Fair Fare at the Fair

We happened upon a billboard last weekend that read, “See a Monkey Ride a Dog!” The billboard picture was of a monkey in a little red fez, probably a New Era size two-and-three-eights, riding a saddled dog.

This can mean only two things.

One, somewhere, there’s a very mad dog.

Two, it’s carnival time! Which can mean only one thing.

One, let’s rate the Top 10 Carnival Foods!

Even as we speak you’ve got your Red River Revel in Shreveport, which is more art and craft than merry-go-’round and taffy pull. (“See a Monkey Paint a Dog!”) I love me some Revel.

And the State Fair of Louisiana, which is more “mainstream” and animal-oriented, opens in less than a month (Oct. 27) on the Fairgrounds in Shreveport, site of the toughest interview of my career: The Headless Woman. Hard to get quotes from the Headless Woman. Just sayin’…

The “See a Monkey Ride a Dog!” billboard was in Tupelo, Miss. where the Tupelo Fair ends, most unfortunately, today. It was only a four-day fair because, well, you know what they say about “too much of a good thing…”

Plus, four days was all the Dog Union Local No. 7 (No. 49 in dog union years) would agree to.

What most of us would agree on is that carnival food is worth a roll of the dice at some point. I’m not talking about the school or church booth where you buy food from people you know; I am a big fan of these booths. I’m talking about the carnival food from the lighted culinary kitchens that flavor the midway, the diners on wheels. It’s a gamble, but carnival food is one of the A’s in “America,” (and, some would argue, in antacid.)

10. Turkey Leg: This is a “shout out” for the old souls, you peeps who cater to carnival fare first made popular in the Middle Ages. I can’t do a turkey leg. Feels too medieval. I see someone eating a turkey leg and wonder what castle wall they just climbed or what peasant village they’ve plundered. Ever tried to get barbecue sauce out of chainmail? I would have hated to have been a turkey around King Arthur’s time, back when everybody carried a battle axe, a sword, a dagger and a flail, even just taking out the trash.

9. Candy Apple: Harder to eat than lobster. To me, the payoff’s not there.

8. Pretzel: I will eat little ones on a plane but this is strictly boredom eating in my book. Even with cheese dip. Pretzel lovers swear by them. Eat and let eat, I say.
7. Cotton Candy: Outgrew it.

6. Sno Cone: Too messy. The paper cup always gives up too quickly. A very unforgiving “fun” food.

5. Popcorn: Well now we’re getting somewhere. It’s vanilla, I know. But I love the classics.

4. Anything on a Stick: Except a turkey leg. Turkey meat, maybe. Dead chicken. I would stand in line for a pork chop on a stick. (Someone should make meat sticks and you could eat the whole thing.)

3. Lemonade: Refreshing!

2. Corn Dog: A hot dog and crispy corn bread. Two of my faves. It ain’t peanut butter and jelly or Conway and Loretta, but as a duo, it’s not bad.

1. Funnel Cake: With powdered sugar. Hot. Crispy. If a funnel cake were meat, it’d be bacon. To paraphrase Kramer from “Seinfeld,” it’s like a carnival in your mouth.