Saturday, March 31, 2012


(notes from fbc ruston sunday morning, March 11, Charles Lowrey visiting preacher)

"The joy of the Lord is my strength."

RELAX, so you can be a person God can better use
A trusting heart equals a longer life, on average
Is what you do more important than who you are?

R = Renew your mind. Constantly renew your mind so you'll think the way God things. Life is a paradox, the Bible says, but we forget that and worry about things that don't matter. (There is wisdom in knowing WHEN to lose...)

E = Expectations. Life is difficult and there are trade-offs. Have realistic expectations. You can't have 'this' without 'that' (you can't live in Dallas with your dream job and not expect to be caught in traffic jams from time to time)

L = Long-term View of Life -- we live lives in seconds instead of in seasons, but God's a longterm God. See things from God's perspective ... all will work out. He is God, I am not. I am not the general manager of the universe

A = Appreciate What We Have ... Be content. Don't let your heart control your brain. The appreciative people are the most healthy mentally

X = EXchange Your Stress For His Peace

The ABCs of Christianity

Adam's family messed up
Battle is sin
C is Christ who lived the life we should have lived
D is it's done ... He has done it and it is finished
E is Enjoy, relax
F is faith ... What matters is what your faith is in, not how much faith you have. The OBJECT of the faith is what matters

If your takeoffs and landings come out even, the flight is always OK. God has promised that your takeoffs and landings will come out even.


Friday, March 30, 2012

Book Lover's Diary: 'Defending Jacob'

Pub 2012 by Delacorte, written by William Landay.


Was only just a bit above lukewarm for reading this as i read it this week ... but after the final page i went, "Whoa..."

Glad I read it.

Think of the movie "Ordinary People" and couple that in with legal stuff and a murder trial, a clever change in tense here and there, and ongoing grand jury testimony (written in the book in typewritter script) sprinkled throughout the book...

It happened for me. I'd give it a very solid 7 on the 10 scale. Nothing fancy schmancy but cleanly written and a story most surprising. And there you go!


Revival Ready

(Notes from Sunday night, 3/4, fbc ruston, message from layman Jeremy Magee, a beautiful human being!)

*Do you want the best for Ruston?
What Ruston needs mainly is Jesus ... Are we at fbc on mission for God in our town?

Mat 28: 18-20 .. The Great Commission ....
2 Chron 7:14 -- "If my people who are called by my name..."

*Do we car about our sin as we should? we do not see our sin as God does. We worry more about the consequences than about offending almighty God.
Key to individual/corporate revival is repentance. Repent = to change your mind (about your sin), to agree with God about your sin
Our lives are to be a process of continual repentance
a. keep short account with God
b. as time passes, we rationalize sin and quench the spirit

* If other things are more important than God, that is idolatry
*We try to rationalize and barter with God when we wish to remain non-obedient
* To be a disciple, step one is repentance...this is the sign that you are ready to be revived, and used to help change a life, the church, your town

Unrepented sin drives a wedge between you and the Savior.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Hurts me: Earl Scruggs

(CNN) -- Earl Scruggs, whose distinctive picking style and association with Lester Flatt cemented bluegrass music's place in popular culture, died Wednesday of natural causes at a Nashville hospital, his son Gary Scruggs said. He was 88.

For many of a certain age, Scruggs' banjo was part of the soundtrack of an era on "The Ballad of Jed Clampett" -- the theme song from the CBS sitcom "The Beverly Hillbillies," which aired on CBS from 1962 to 1971 and for decades afterward in syndication.

But much more than that, he popularized a three-finger picking style that brought the banjo to the fore in a supercharged genre, and he was an indispensable member of the small cadre of musical greats who created modern bluegrass music.

Scruggs was born in 1924 to a musically gifted family in rural Cleveland County, North Carolina, according to his official biography. His father, a farmer and a bookkeeper, played the fiddle and banjo, his mother was an organist and his older siblings played guitar and banjo, as well.

Young Earl's exceptional gifts were apparent early on. He started playing the banjo at age 4 and he started developing his three-finger style at the age of 10.

Here is a classic Beverly Hillbillies clip of Flatt and Scruggs live. It's a bit uncomfortable watching Miss Jane and this other lady sing, but Jed's 'buck dancing' is beautiful, as are Flatt & (pictured right with banjo) Scruggs.

Reality Check ('Mentor' Series)

(My church notes from 3/4 at fbc ruston, message from Dr. Chris)

1 Timothy 6: 7-19

7 For we brought nothing into the world, and we can take nothing out of it. 8 But if we have food and clothing, we will be content with that. 9 Those who want to get rich fall into temptation and a trap and into many foolish and harmful desires that plunge people into ruin and destruction. 10 For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs.
11 But you, man of God, flee from all this, and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, endurance and gentleness. 12 Fight the good fight of the faith. Take hold of the eternal life to which you were called when you made your good confession in the presence of many witnesses. 13 In the sight of God, who gives life to everything, and of Christ Jesus, who while testifying before Pontius Pilate made the good confession, I charge you 14 to keep this command without spot or blame until the appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ, 15 which God will bring about in his own time—God, the blessed and only Ruler, the King of kings and Lord of lords, 16 who alone is immortal and who lives in unapproachable light, whom no one has seen or can see. To him be honor and might forever. Amen.
17 Command those who are rich in this present world not to be arrogant nor to put their hope in wealth, which is so uncertain, but to put their hope in God, who richly provides us with everything for our enjoyment. 18 Command them to do good, to be rich in good deeds, and to be generous and willing to share. 19 In this way they will lay up treasure for themselves as a firm foundation for the coming age, so that they may take hold of the life that is truly life.

Looking at the reality of our wealth and money.

1. You Are Not Taking It With You (7)

Back in the day, a family spokesman was asked how much money the late Rockerfeller left behind at his deaht: "All of it."

Money can be good or evil as it's used, but it's definitely temporary

2. Chasing Wealth And Money Can Lead You Down Bad Roads (9)
tempts us to begin to compromise

3. Can Lead You Away From God (10)

* The LOVE of money is a root of many problems
*Arrogance comes before a fall ... trouble comes as we put things before God
*** Positives of wealth

1. Used properly, wealth is a very positive tool -- 17,18
* Money is a terrible master and a great slave

** As a Christian...

a. Tithe --
Prov 3:9-10 ... give the firstfruits
Mal 3:10 -- bring tithes to the storehouse

God is my first creditor

* Tithing is not simply Ole Testament law ... Mt 23, Jesus commends the Pharasies for tithing
(Gen 14 -- Moses gives ten percent; Gen 28 -- Jacob gives ten percent)
*Avg church member gives 2.5 percent to church

b. Be generous 18-19
Be 'willing to share' .. Prov 11: 24-25 -- He who refreshes others is refreshed

c. God Will Reward You -- Mal 3:10 -- "I will pour out blessings'

Illustration: Two guys stranded on a desert island and one says, "I made $250,000 a year. I know I'll be rescued. I tithe. My preacher will come looking for me."

You can't outgive God; he has a big shovel
v 17 -- Put your hope in God

Whatever the issue -- sex, money, work -- it always comes back to this reality check: you and God. Will I trust and obey?


Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Our Journey ('To Corinth' Series)

(Notes from Dr. Chris' message, Feb. 26, fbc ruston)

1 Corinthians 4: 1-12
1 Therefore, since through God’s mercy we have this ministry, we do not lose heart. 2 Rather, we have renounced secret and shameful ways; we do not use deception, nor do we distort the word of God. On the contrary, by setting forth the truth plainly we commend ourselves to everyone’s conscience in the sight of God. 3 And even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing. 4 The god of this age has blinded the minds of unbelievers, so that they cannot see the light of the gospel that displays the glory of Christ, who is the image of God. 5 For what we preach is not ourselves, but Jesus Christ as Lord, and ourselves as your servants for Jesus’ sake. 6 For God, who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” made his light shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of God’s glory displayed in the face of Christ.
7 But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us. 8 We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; 9 persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed. 10 We always carry around in our body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be revealed in our body. 11 For we who are alive are always being given over to death for Jesus’ sake, so that his life may also be revealed in our mortal body. 12 So then, death is at work in us, but life is at work in you.

I. We Are All Entrusted With A Mission
v. 1 -- servant is an under-rower, or guardian of the family, in biblical times; faithful and trusted; it's a service job.
We are entrusted with a mission to spread the message of Jesus, "the mysteries of God."

II. How Are You Doing?
3-7 -- Don't trust your opinion or the opinion of others' concerning yourself. Paul didn't. Be careful how you judge yourself. "He who judges me is the Lord" ... stay close to Christ and the Word to make sure you are being faithful to Christ's mission

III The Journey Will Be Tough
9 -- Paul agrees with those in Corinth who are talking about how tough things are.
10-13 Paul warns that things likely will get worse, at this time in the Roman world ...
If you are serious on the mission, you will get hammered...if it's tough, it means you are doing something right. Jesus said, "they cursed me, they will curse you."

III Live Worthily 12-17
Aristotle: do not endure insult
Jesus: pray for those who insult you

* How to Live Worthily

a. Be tough -- 'velvet steel' as Abe Lincoln was

b. Live above the junk: spiritually and psychologically, rise above it

c. Stay on Mission -- v. 16 -- Paul says 'imitate me' ... Be an example of endurance

"Christians not called to be successful, but to be faithful"

Monday, March 26, 2012

Book Lover's Diary

IF YOU CLICK, you won't be able to look inside as this image is stolen from Amazon.

Read it last week. Only 120ish pages and is true to its title: The First World War: A VERY SHORT Introduction.

I asked Dr. David Anderson, a Louisiana Tech history whiz and professor and Tarheel fan and graduate -- I am sorry for the loss to Kansas Dr. Anderson; I had the Tarheels too -- about The Great War and where to start and he suggested this. Glad he did.

Oxford Press has more than 100 titles in its VERY SHORT INTRODUCTION series; I did not know that. You might be interested. There's a web site and everything. I think my spousal unit might like the short intro to forensic stuff, which is not the actual title but it is something like that. My spousal likes forensics. Criminal Minds. Private Prac. The Man Who Shot That Other Man. She watches all those shows.

Below is a note about the book from the Amazon site. A century ago, things were awfully testy in Europe...

By the time the First World War ended in 1918, eight million people had died in what had been perhaps the most apocalyptic episode the world had known.
This Very Short Introduction provides a concise and insightful history of the Great War--from the state of Europe in 1914, to the role of the US, the collapse of Russia, and the eventual surrender of the Central Powers. Examining how and why the war was fought, as well as the historical controversies that still surround the war, Michael Howard also looks at how peace was ultimately made, and describes the potent legacy of resentment left to Germany.


Sunday, March 25, 2012

All Clear and Quiet on the Western Front (and rear)

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

Roughly three hours ago I had a colonoscopy.


At least that is what I’m told. I was, thank goodness, anesthetized.

Sweet. If the guy who invented anesthesia were here right now, I’d pick up the co-pay on his next procedure. He is The Man.

I am writing this love letter of sorts to your colon simply to say that if my colon can do it, your colon can do it. We’re all in this together, so to speak. Statistics reveal colorectal cancer to be the leading nonsmoking-related cancer killer in America. If diagnosed early, the disease is almost always curable.

A preventative measure or screening test is the colonoscopy, which can reveal polyps and other abnormal growths. Most doctors recommend we have one by age 50.

So there you go. The calendar said it was my turn to bat. Granted, regardless of whether you are asleep or awake – being awake during The Procedure is an actual He-Man option – one’s first colonoscopy is, for lack of a better term, an eye-opener. Therefore, this brief play-by-play.

My prelim doctor visit was uneventful. He hit me some grounders, some easy pop flies, scheduled me to come back for the actual game in a week. Candy from a baby.
However, the night before the actual Procedure, that’s a whole different ballgame.
Various colonoscopy veterans of both the male and female variety had told me that the pregame warm-up was by far the most demanding part of the whole deal. No one has ever been more honest with me.

The stuff I drank to kick the cleansing process in gear was called MoviPrep. “Move” is the key sound to be aware of there. It was roughly a quart of white liquid, a bit slick. I drank it at 6 p.m. Sunday evening and another batch of it Monday morning at 4:30ish. By 7:15 when I reported to the doctor’s office, I was hungry and spent, but my colon was clean as a Marine’s Sunday-go-to-meeting belt buckle.

The doctor people were really nice. During the prelim, Becky had taken my insurance information. (The day of The Procedure, you don’t want to walk in there with a lot of stuff to keep up with.) Nurse Gloria took my pulse and stuck the needle in my hand and took my blood pressure.

“It’s a bit high,” she said.

“Just wait ’til I start crying,” I said.

In a cotton gown and on a gurney, about to be invaded by a pencil-thick tube I’ve never even met before, I was surprised it wasn’t a whole lot higher.

Once Mrs. Gloria told me she was a member of First Baptist Farmerville and that her husband’s people came from Swartz and that she’d spent the weekend with her grandbaby, I calmed down a lot. I don’t know why; I just did.

Jeb was my doctor. John gave me the stuff that made me go to sleep. It was like a big party, with me the only person in a gown.

Ten minutes is all it took. They say I was out for 20 or so. Again, that’s been about four hours back; I still have my little band on my wrist that says my birth date and patient number and “Buy One Get One Free.”

I had kept breaking this appointment but was strongly encouraged by some large friends of mine to keep it this time. Or else. Keeping it is what’s key. I’m glad they made me and glad I did. It all turned out well in the end.


Saturday, March 24, 2012

Moment Of Silence For My Bracket ...

Went into the Sweet 16 in the top 98.5 percentile in the nation in the ESPN Bracketology deal.

Was leading my group, the Girls Lunch Bunch.

Am now a bottom feeder. Flying bracket at half staff. Gone ...Gone...


Thursday, March 22, 2012

What Is God Looking For? (Part 2 of 2)

(Notes from Dr. Chris' sermon, fbc ruston, Feb 26)

1 Timothy 3

God is not subjective, moody or confusing or vague. God is looking for ...

1. Morals (v. 2 and 12)
Marriage is lifted high up through the scripture; this text clearly states a man should be a one-woman man, and a woman a one-man woman.
Addresses polygamy... having more than one wife at a time. This was common in biblical times.
* God is looking for you to be faithfully and morally pure. Get your past right, God says, and be morally pure.

2. Family v. 4, 5, 12 -- loving and leading
Managing your family
God is talking about direction, not perfection
The kid is not the CEO of the family, as often seems the case these days.

3. Mouth v. 11
don't be a 'devil talker'
Honor and help, don't hurt and hinder, in your speechMt 7:12 -- The Golden Rule "Do unto others as you would have them do unto you..."
If it's not true, positive or absolutely necessary, there is no reason to say anything negative.

Mt 12:35 -- "from out of the heart..." a heart problem means evil instead of good springs from the inside


Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Get Your Manning Broncos Gear Here, ALREADY!

I have got to get my mom a new jersey as her Peyton Manning Colts jersey will now just be something she can clean up dog poo with.

Now that the ink has dried on the Manning/Broncos contract, T-shirts like these are available online. I'm sure the No. 18 jerseys will be up soon. SWEET!

Also, who knew you could buy THIS sort of thing? It is a 5-foot inflatable football man. I will passadena on the purchase, but ... wow.

What Are You Building With ('From Corinth With Love-Sort Of' series)

(From my notes, FBC Ruston, Dr. Chris, 2/19)

1 Corinthians 3: 10-15
10 By the grace God has given me, I laid a foundation as a wise builder, and someone else is building on it. But each one should build with care. 11 For no one can lay any foundation other than the one already laid, which is Jesus Christ. 12 If anyone builds on this foundation using gold, silver, costly stones, wood, hay or straw, 13 their work will be shown for what it is, because the Day will bring it to light. It will be revealed with fire, and the fire will test the quality of each person’s work. 14 If what has been built survives, the builder will receive a reward. 15 If it is burned up, the builder will suffer loss but yet will be saved—even though only as one escaping through the flames.

1. The Foundation of the Christian and Church is Christ
v 10 -- my life founded on Christ's life. Is your foundation settled?

2. Christians And Churches Are Continually Building on their Foundation
v. 10 -- 'be careful how you build'
v. 12 -- We can build on eternal or non-eternal foundation.
* We are always intentionally either sleeping or building ......

A. The Church -- build on ministry, prayer, love, OR on personalities, committees, methods, etc.

B. Your Life -- v 10 -- Study your checkbook and calendar to help you see what you are building and how you are building... Prayer? Study? Tithe? ... If you are bored with prayer or worship, we have a God problem

C. Your Family -- built on Christ or on leisure activities

3. The Day Will Come When Our Efforts Will Be Laid Bare v 13
* This is a judgment of Christians, those whose foundation was Christ -- it will be made known..

A. We will be rewarded (v 14) God does keep score..
B. We may be humiliated v 15 -- Christians who build on temporary, secondary things of the world arriving in heaven smelling like smoke...

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Spring And Winter -- At The Same Time

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

Three couples, all friends of mine, had babies this month. I gave them diapers, for practicality.

But another couple I’ve known since before they were even a couple lost a baby this month. Just yesterday. Their baby was 21 years old. Out-of-the-blue cardiac arrest. A tragedy with barely an ill wind for warning.

I will give them flowers, for remembering. What do you do?

Her daddy told me last night that he didn’t know what to do. And we told him that none of us knows what to do at a time like this. So, you go step by step and don’t know what to do, together. You don’t know what to say, together. Because you are human, you contemplate what I’ve heard called the mystery of “celestial bookkeeping,” and then you ask for faith to accept a plan beyond our mortal ability to understand, and you walk along, slowly but together.

It is a tough and awful deal, beyond words, when life departs so covertly. The thief in the night…

For no real reason, three weeks ago I decided to read “Death Be Not Proud,” a 1947 memoir with the same title as the famous poem by John Donne. Written by John Gunther, one of the best known journalists of his day, it is the story of his son, John. Jr., and his 15-month battle with a brain tumor. He died at age 17.

I’m glad now I read it though I really don’t know why I did since its entire subject deals with the one tragedy we all wish to avoid talking about, much less living through. But I find the story particularly helpful today.

“There are other criteria for measuring a life as well as its duration – quality, intensity …,” Gunther wrote. “I am trying to write…a tribute not only to Johnny but to the power, and wealth, the unconquerable beauty of the human spirit, will, and soul.

“The influence, the impact, of a heroic personality continues to exert itself long after mortal bonds are snapped. Johnny transmits permanently something of what he was, since the fabric of the universe is continuous and eternal.”

Her daddy spoke just hours after his daughter’s death of how pretty and smart she was, of the daily “I love you” text messages and calls. What lives never dies.

I found this also helpful – and convicting -- this word in the book from Frances, John’s mother.

“Today, when I see parents impatient or tired or bored with their children, I wish I could say to them, ‘But they are alive, think of the wonder of that. They may be a care and a burden, but think, they are alive! You can touch them – what a miracle!... Exult and sing.’ I hope they will embrace them with a little added rapture and a keener awareness of joy.

“I wish we had loved Johnny more when he was alive. … What does it mean? What can it mean, now? To me, it means loving life more, being more aware of life, of one’s fellow human beings, of the earth.
It means obliterating, in a curious but real way, the ideas of evil and hate, and the enemy, and transmuting them into ideas of clarity and charity…It means caring more and more about other people…it means caring more about God…I hope we can love Johnny more and more till we too die, and leave behind us, as he did, the love of love, the love of life.”


Saturday, March 17, 2012

What Is God Looking For, Part 1 ('Mentor' series)

(Notes from FBC Ruston, Dr Chris, 2/19)

1 Timothy 3
Here is a trustworthy saying: Whoever aspires to be an overseer desires a noble task. 2 Now the overseer is to be above reproach, faithful to his wife, temperate, self-controlled, respectable, hospitable, able to teach, 3 not given to drunkenness, not violent but gentle, not quarrelsome, not a lover of money. 4 He must manage his own family well and see that his children obey him, and he must do so in a manner worthy of full respect. 5 (If anyone does not know how to manage his own family, how can he take care of God’s church?) 6 He must not be a recent convert, or he may become conceited and fall under the same judgment as the devil. 7 He must also have a good reputation with outsiders, so that he will not fall into disgrace and into the devil’s trap.
8 In the same way, deacons are to be worthy of respect, sincere, not indulging in much wine, and not pursuing dishonest gain. 9 They must keep hold of the deep truths of the faith with a clear conscience. 10 They must first be tested; and then if there is nothing against them, let them serve as deacons.
11 In the same way, the women are to be worthy of respect, not malicious talkers but temperate and trustworthy in everything.
12 A deacon must be faithful to his wife and must manage his children and his household well. 13 Those who have served well gain an excellent standing and great assurance in their faith in Christ Jesus.

When I get right on these things/qualities, I'll be the kind of person, dad, husband, friend, worker, etc. God wants me to be.

1. A Servant's Heart v 8
"deacon'' in the New Testament is a word meaning 'menial servant'
Jesus washed feet ... service that knows no prejudice
Albert Schweitzer said that 'happiness is found in service'

2. Worthy of Respect v 2, 8
Stable, determined and dependable

3. Sincere v. 8
KJV translation said "not double tongued" ..
Christ is not looking for hypocrits and malicious gossips; Christ wants people he can count on

4. Handling Alcohol Properly v. 3, 8, 2, 11
The Message translates this as 'not too free with the bottle"

3 Great Spiritual Truths joke
a. Protestants don't acknowledge the Pope as the ultimate authority on Earth
b. Muslims don't acknowledge Christ as Lord
c. Baptists don't acknowledge each other in the liquor store

Romans 13: 3 -- 'engage not in drunkedness"
Eph 5: 18 -- 'don't get drunk on wine'
There is a school of thought that one couldn't get drunk on the 'wine' of biblical times. But that is revisionist history, according to the scriptures
*Alcohol must be handled properly
a. You must be of legal age to drink it (Rom 12:13 'obey the law of the land'
b. don't drink if you have a propensity for addiction; some people medically should not drink
c. don't drink with those who have alcohol problems

* Consider your Christian witness; what is OK in another culture might be uncomfortable in others

5. Don't Pursue Dishonest Gain v 8, 3
Illus: A little boy kept following his mom around the house..."Our Sunday school teacher told us to follow Jesus, and I can't see him, so I'm following you."

What are people seeing when they look at me?

Monday, March 12, 2012

Wiley Will Be Ready For The Pennant Race

(Reprinted from The Times and News-Star, Sunday editions)

Wiley Hilburn, psalmist of North Louisiana and Poet of the Good Ol’ Boys, has given me permission to update you on his condition.

(RIGHT: A still-life titled "Portrait of the Writer as a Hospital Captive")

He’s been on Newspaper Column Leave since late December, when he was diagnosed with multiple myeloma, a type of bone marrow tissue malignancy. He and wife Kate have been in Little Rock for all but a few days since then; they are housed close to the hospital where Wiley has received chemotherapy and is preparing for a stem cell transplant.

They got to come home for six days in late February. During a five-minute visit, he told me with confidence he’d be OK; the doctors say the cancer is on the “brink of remission.” Or cusp. Maybe the edge of remission. I can’t remember which, but he used one of those words. I’d have listened better but his dog Winston, I’m sure named after Churchill, was insisting at the time, all four legs in the air, that I rub his stomach. And honestly, Wiley didn’t look too sick; he had on a Wrigley Field baseball cap and a World War II documentary was on television. Just another day at the office.

Like McArthur in the Philippines, Wiley shall return. And he’ll tell you all about it. Or about some of it. His call.

My hands are tied because I can’t steal any of his material. But I can offer you some pieces of notes from Kate, who has faithfully sent dispatches from their Arkansas foxhole. I share those here, and say at Wiley’s request that he will see you again (and that if you have free Cubs tickets, address them to his attention in Choudrant).

Kate, who is stealthily funny, even in the line of fire, reported in one of her first notes (Jan. 10) that Wiley had worn his Cubs cap and clutched his blue Flair pen in his hand throughout a long Opening Day of X-rays, body scans and MRIs. (That’s our man!)

Jan. 14: Kate got her husband, long fascinated with World War II, the new Himmler biography. “It also doubles as a free weight – it weighs at least 10 pounds. I asked him if I could get him a Kindle…he looked at me like I was crazy. ‘You can’t open and feel a Kindle!’”

Jan. 18: “Wiley enjoyed reading a thriller yesterday while medicated on morphine from his biopsy. At one point he said, ‘Is that a frog on the windowsill?’ I think Wiley and I have exhausted our intellectual conversation for now.”

Jan. 30: “Today they gave him medical marijuana for nausea…so even though he rejected the hippie generation, he has come face-to-face with it here…I asked him how he slept and he said, ‘I’m tired; I dreamed all night about Italian-French diplomacy.’”

Feb. 9: “We’ve had plenty of drama (but) he is progressing well, walking some, eating better slowly; it is difficult to force-feed him, and the dance of the seven veils while holding a plate of brownies is growing less and less effective.”

Feb. 19: “Living in one room with a microwave and blackout curtains and not divorcing.”

Feb. 24: “He’s doing fine and ‘on track.’”

March 6: “We are astounded at the support and encouragement…it has made all the difference. He has turned out to be both courageous and good-humored throughout this treatment, which is doggone rigorous. Not always patient, but there’s a drug for that -- and I have the drugs in my purse.”


Friday, March 9, 2012

Pearls, Church and Women ('Mentor' Series)

(Sunday night notes from Dr. Chris's sermon. This one is dicey!; you seldom hear it preached on...)

1 Timothy 2: 9-15
9 I also want the women to dress modestly, with decency and propriety, adorning themselves, not with elaborate hairstyles or gold or pearls or expensive clothes, 10 but with good deeds, appropriate for women who profess to worship God.

11 A woman should learn in quietness and full submission. 12 I do not permit a woman to teach or to assume authority over a man; she must be quiet. 13 For Adam was formed first, then Eve. 14 And Adam was not the one deceived; it was the woman who was deceived and became a sinner. 15 But women will be saved through childbearing—if they continue in faith, love and holiness with propriety.

Paul's letter is written to Timothy, pastor of the believers in Ephesus, a wealthy, metro city at the time.

1. Real Beauty Comes From Inside Out
* Rich women dressed to impress, but prostitutes in the city did the same; Paul is telling us that beauty is on the inside. Real beauty is the fruit of the Spirit, Gal. 5: 22-23; dress for God's favor

2. Men Are to Be the Spiritual Leaders (v. 11-14)
a. In the Home: God is talking about ORDER, not VALUE ...
Man is the leader, not the dictator; but as the leader, man is responsible, and that's hard (as it is for coaches, presidents, CEOs, etc.)
b. In the Church: in Jesus' day, women were property; Jesus elevated women in value, a radical view at the time...Paul is telling us ALL the be respectful in worship, and that again in terms of order, that a man is to be the elder/preacher.
(often the women in the church have to be the leaders because the men will not do it)

3. Women and All of Us Need to have the Right Focus ... v. 15
We find our greatest satisfaction by fulfilling the role God has called us to ... Being what God has called us to be is pleasing to God

Get squared up with what God's left us here for...Show your family HOW to follow by following the authority you are under ...


Thursday, March 8, 2012

Book Lover's Diary: Dick Van Dyke

Dick Van Dyke: My Lucky Life In and Out of Show Business


A Memoir

Foreword by Carl Reiner

I'd say 6 out of 10? Depends on what you're looking for. I love Dick Van Dyke, despite his having what might be the worst name in the world if you think about it? (Don't.) Very easy to read. Traces how one thing led to another, and how timing and persistence helped him score early. A comedian and song-and-dance guy if needed, but also was on Diagnosis: Murder for TEN YEARS. Fun reading to see how this contact and that one and this play and that act and all like that sort of lined up for him, and how he got past his failures.

My goal now is to see "Mary Poppins" again, one of the great all-time pieces of cinematic entertainment.

OK! Onward ...


Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Life-Altering Principles ('Mentor' Series)

(my notes from Dr. Chris' Sunday morning effort, 2/10/12)

1 Timothy 2: 1-8

1 I urge, then, first of all, that petitions, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for all people— 2 for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness. 3 This is good, and pleases God our Savior, 4 who wants all people to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth. 5 For there is one God and one mediator between God and mankind, the man Christ Jesus, 6 who gave himself as a ransom for all people. This has now been witnessed to at the proper time. 7 And for this purpose I was appointed a herald and an apostle—I am telling the truth, I am not lying—and a true and faithful teacher of the Gentiles.
8 Therefore I want the men everywhere to pray, lifting up holy hands without anger or disputing.

1. God Wants Everyone To Be Savedvs. 4 "(God) who wants all to be saved..."
vs. 2 -- asks prayers even for Nero, who'd killed Christians, and prayers for leaders everywhere, including in Ephesus where Timothy was pastor.

Understanding God's Will
1. God's Absolute will -- all will die and face judgement, Christ will return, etc
2. God's Permissive will -- do i have mustard or ketchup? you can decide!
3. God's Perfect will -- our choices, where we respond to him or now

2. Salvation is Found only In Christvs. 5 -- "there is one God and one mediator between God and men, the man Jesus Christ

Christ must be RECEIVED...
John 1:12: But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children ...
Rev 3:20 -- Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with that person, and they with me...

3. He Paid the Full Price for Our Sins

vs. 6

4. What Do We Need To Do?a. let these soak in from our heads to our hearts
b. Pray a lot for people (vs. 1 -- "FIRST, PRAY...")
c. Make sure you've crossed the bridge, come to an 'experienced knowledge (v 4) of the truth...


Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Book Lover's Diary

My bad. Books read this year. In order since January. Rated on a corny scale of 1-to-10, with 10 being the best. Sigh...

Voyage of the Dawn Treader
C.S. Lewis
Part of the Narnia deal. It's good!

Empire of the Summer Moon: Quanah Parker and the Last Comanche Tribe
S.C. Gwynne
6 --- The first half of it's a 9. Lot of things I didn't know about the (typecast?) Indians of the Plains, such as, before the Spanish got there -- no horses! Fast horses changed the ol' ballgame.

The Killer Angels, Michael Shaara, 8.5 --- Read it for the second time, first time in 15 years. Three days at Gettysburg. Won the Pulitzer, I think in 1977

The Girl Who Played With Fire and The Girl Who Kicked The Hornet's Nest, Steig Larson. ------ I'll give FIRE an 8 and HORNET'S NEST a 6.5. I saw "The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo" at the movie and my spousal unit, who read the book, suggested I skip the book if I wanted because I knew the characters now and all like that. I am saddened that the author is dead (at only age 56?), and one reason is that this character, the Dragon Tattoo girl, was a neat (not the word I'm looking for -- intriguing? really interesting?) character I'd never met before. Neither of these books were 'sensory,' but both were good good good stories that zipped along. These are 600-750-page books, but they are hard to put down. My opinion.

Midlife Manual For Men, Arterburn/Shore. 6... Obviously, if you are a girl or a young man, no need to read this. I don't like the way these guys write but the advice/suggestions are good to hold you accountable and make you think and I'm glad I read it.

The Practice of the Presence of God, Brother Lawrence. Won't rate this. Brother Larry was a monk, a guy who mainly worked in the kitchen, about 600 years ago, give or take. You can read this in two or three hours. It's a beautiful thing. Brother Lawrence was a stud.

The Art of Fielding, Chad Harbauch, 7. Getting a lot of good reviews for a first-time novel but a lot of bad ones too; more good than bad. I liked it. I understand why some people would give it poor marks but ... I liked it. Don't want to read it again, but very glad I read it. And pieces of it are spectacular. Uses baseball as a backdrop, and a small college set in the present.

Death Be Not Proud, John Gunther, 1947 is when it was published, 6.5. ... A memoir by Gunther, a well-known journalist of his day, of the death of his son from a brain tumor. The battle lasted 15 months; John Jr. died at age 17. Only about 200 pages, includes diary entries from his son as well as the child's letters to his mom and dad and friends and doctors, both before and after he was sick.


Monday, March 5, 2012

Stay The Course ('Mentor' Series)

(My notes from 1/29/12 message from Dr. Chris, fbc ruston)

1 Timothy 1:1-11
1 Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the command of God our Savior and of Christ Jesus our hope,
2 To Timothy my true son in the faith:
Grace, mercy and peace from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Lord.
3 As I urged you when I went into Macedonia, stay there in Ephesus so that you may command certain people not to teach false doctrines any longer 4 or to devote themselves to myths and endless genealogies. Such things promote controversial speculations rather than advancing God’s work—which is by faith. 5 The goal of this command is love, which comes from a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith. 6 Some have departed from these and have turned to meaningless talk. 7 They want to be teachers of the law, but they do not know what they are talking about or what they so confidently affirm.

1. Hang In There
v. 3 "urge you to stay in Ephesus"

With fatherly compassion (defines 'urge') .. Paul asks Timothy to "take up residence" -- to stay.
Paul testifies later that he himself stayed: "I have fought the good fight, I have kept the faith..."

2. Any Of Us Can Get Derailed ...

* By what we take in, such as...

a. False doctrine -- a lot of bad teaching was going on in Ephesus (v 3). Doctrine = truths of the faith, fundamentals. v 8-11 reminds us there is no 'new' doctrine "We know that the law is good if one uses it properly. 9 We also know that the law is made not for the righteous but for lawbreakers and rebels, the ungodly and sinful, the unholy and irreligious, for those who kill their fathers or mothers, for murderers, 10 for the sexually immoral, for those practicing homosexuality, for slave traders and liars and perjurers—and for whatever else is contrary to the sound doctrine 11 that conforms to the gospel concerning the glory of the blessed God, which he entrusted to me.

* Silly, trivial things (v 4 and 6) -- idle talk, minor and non-external issues

* all truth is based on God's objective, principaled truth (v 7) ... not on 'good' speakers; sincerity does not mean truth, as people can be sincerely wrong and, like concerete, mixed up thoroughly and firmly in place.

v 11 -- make sure what you hear conforms to God's truth ... is it moving God's kingdom forward? (v 4) .. people were taking in 'bad' teaching

* Good treaching causes you to love god and people more (v 5) ... the bible's bad teachers are arrogant and puffed up

b. By our lifestyle (v 19-20 -- 19 holding on to faith and a good conscience, which some have rejected and so have suffered shipwreck with regard to the faith. 20 Among them are Hymenaeus and Alexander, whom I have handed over to Satan to be taught not to blaspheme. )

Guys loosened their grip with Christ; Paul warns what happens when we start to slide and get off course a bit.


Sunday, March 4, 2012

It's Only Make-Believe --- FOR REAL!!!

Got several notes this week about Bill Joyce and his band of merry men and women earning an Oscar, which he received right there on national television a week ago tonight, his smile a cartoon-like super-sized.
One of my favorites, from the appropriately named “Rose,” read: “Hot diggity dawg for a nice Shreveport boy!”
Amen sister.
Shreveport’s Joyce and Moonbot Studios co-founder Brandon Oldenburg co-produced “The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore,” winner of the Academy Award for Best Animated Short Film. This spawned several beautiful things:
1. I grew up in a town where people stopped what they were doing and pointed toward the sky whenever a plane few over, way up there. So I am still just enough of a hick to get a funny little tingle when I see someone I actually know on a television set. The Oscar statue weighs 8-and-a-half pounds, or about a half-pound for every year, give or take, I’ve known Elizabeth and Bill Joyce. Not well, but well enough that I could not stop laughing when they called Bill’s and Brandon’s names and they walked right up there, so animated themselves with this sheer unrehearsed joy that you felt as if someone had just drawn THEM. Brandon even said as much to the newspaper in Sarasota, Fla., where he went to Ringling College of Art and Design, about what it’s like when they call your name on Oscar Night: “It’s like they dropped an anvil on your head. Stars spin around, birds are chirping and you have a goofy grin that won’t go away.” Classic!;
2. Most Oscar winners thank “the little people who made this possible.” When Joyce says it, he means it literally. This work is for children young and old. He and his friends capture the good, the hope, in reality, the parts that can easily get shut out when the rent’s due and the baby’s sick. Many franchises – “Mission: Impossible,” “Die Hard” -- take fantasy and make it seem like reality; in Joyce’s books and art and storytelling, he takes reality and expresses it in fantasy, in a story you’ve lived or felt;
3. The props for home. Check out these quotes from backstage at the Oscars:
Oldenburg: “The whole point (of the film) was to just try to get the world to recognize what we're capable of in Shreveport, Louisiana, and that there's a level of quality they can come to expect …”
Joyce: “…from the swampy lands of Louisiana, we have crawled forth with this, and it's lovely to be recognized.”
Joyce could have left for Hollywood long ago. He didn’t. He stayed home and helped bring home what part of Hollywood we needed;
4. Also backstage, the pair thanked their wives and co-workers and teachers and families, but also “The Wizard of Oz” and “King Kong” and other wonderful “make-believe” movies. You know, real ones.

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Happy Birthday to Sweeter!


Friday, March 2, 2012

It Takes The Spirit ('From Corinth' Series)

(My notes from Sunday pm, Jan 29, 2012, fbc ruston, message from Dr Chris)

1 Corinthians 2: 6-16

6 We do, however, speak a message of wisdom among the mature, but not the wisdom of this age or of the rulers of this age, who are coming to nothing. 7 No, we declare God’s wisdom, a mystery that has been hidden and that God destined for our glory before time began. 8 None of the rulers of this age understood it, for if they had, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory. 9 However, as it is written:
“What no eye has seen, what no ear has heard, and what no human mind has conceived”— the things God has prepared for those who love him—
10 these are the things God has revealed to us by his Spirit.
The Spirit searches all things, even the deep things of God. 11 For who knows a person’s thoughts except their own spirit within them? In the same way no one knows the thoughts of God except the Spirit of God. 12 What we have received is not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, so that we may understand what God has freely given us. 13 This is what we speak, not in words taught us by human wisdom but in words taught by the Spirit, explaining spiritual realities with Spirit-taught words. 14 The person without the Spirit does not accept the things that come from the Spirit of God but considers them foolishness, and cannot understand them because they are discerned only through the Spirit. 15 The person with the Spirit makes judgments about all things, but such a person is not subject to merely human judgments, 16 for,
“Who has known the mind of the Lord so as to instruct him?”

But we have the mind of Christ.

What's it take ot have spiritual discernment?

1. The Spirit -- to understand the gospel (v 6-8, 10)

Eph 1:9-10 -- "He made known to us ...Jesus" the sacred secret

The 'mystery' of the gospel was not laid out entirely until Jesus appeared

v 10 -- 'God has revealed it to us through the spirit'

It takes a work of the spirit for one to fully understand the Gospel

2. It Is The Spirit Who Ultimately Brings Others To Christ,

who brings conviction and does the winning .. (John 16:8 -- 'When HE comes, he will convict..'
* Pray for the spirit to convict...

3. It Takes The Spirit To Understand The Ways of God
v 11-12 -- "who knows thuoght of man ...we've received the spirit to understand.."
* Understanding begins in my prayer closet

4. it Takes The Spirit To Grasp Scripture
13-14 -- for the saved, scripture is no longer 'foolishness'

5. It Takes The Spirit To Understand God's Leading
v 14 -- Lost people won't understand, and lukewarm Christians not filled with the spirit won't understand either
* It takes spiritual people to make spiritual decisions

6. Spirit-filled People Can Understand How God Is Working In The World
v 15-16 -- The lost can't understand tithing, going to church, serving etc...

a. Do you have the spirit
b. Are you attuned and filled with the spirit
Don't WASTE the mind of Christ (v. 16)