Wednesday, May 21, 2008

John Robert Dobbs

John and Margaret Dobbs have been long-time friends due to a Magnolia Bible College connection. Many of you know of them because John is a blog king among those of us in Churches of Christ. Additionally, John has played a central role in relief efforts in and around Pascagoula since Katrina came ashore.

Their 18 year old son, John Robert Dobbs, was killed Tuesday night/Wednesday morning on Interstate 10. You can read what John wrote and find links to news reports at his blog. John Robert was scheduled to graduate from Pascagoula High School on Friday night.

I get so angry! And grief-filled. It was just three years ago that other good friends of ours lost a 19 year old son in a car accident. It's just not right.

John and Maggie, we love you. Holy kisses from the Oklahoma Mays are for you! When we all get to heaven, what a day....

JR Leading Worship

Glory Days and Fantastic Futures

He had the speedball that no one could hit. She was the prettiest girl that no one would with whom no one would break up. Those were the high school days. Bruce Springsteen calls them "Glory Days" in the song with that title.

Toward the end of the song he sings about the glory days topic:

And I hope when I get old I don't sit around thinking about it;
But I probably will.
Yeah, just sitting back trying to recapture
A little of the glory of, well time slips away,
And leaves you with nothing, mister, but
Boring stories of glory days.

Glory days. Well, they'll pass you by;
Glory days. In the wink of a young girl's eye
Glory days, glory days.

Glory days can become the only days on which we can affectionately reflect if we quit moving into our dreams.

When Jericho fell, the Israelites should have been so pumped up with faith that they moved through the rest of Canaan, claiming the Promised Land that God told them he would deliver into their hands. They eventually got to a point, however, where they were in no hurry whatsoever. There were issues about dividing the land, and still issues about getting the former inhabitants out, but when Joshua approaches them with the problem he simply asks, "How long are you going to slack off?"

It's as though they were making a cross-country trek on route 66, pulled over to roadside park to rest, and stayed there for a couple of years! You can't look back at the progress you've already made and decide that now is the time for you to rest on your laurels for a while. Somehow, when people quit moving they eventually become very satisfied with the rest stop.

If you are graduating from high school this week, you may feel somewhat amazed at how quickly your school years have gone by. If you are like me, you especially feel like your senior year zoomed past – "in the wink of a young girl's eye." All of us hope that your high school experience was fantastic. We hope you will look back on them with thoughts of "glory days."

But none of us, your family in Christ, want you to look toward your future with any thought less than "glory days!" We want you to graduate from high school with your tires rolling, your faith strong, your hope secure, your eyes open, your heart pure, and your dreams big – and getting bigger because you are moving toward them! That's Life at Work!

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Married to the Preacher's Wife

This morning I am speaking at the OC preacher's luncheon about being married to the preacher's wife. I'm referencing this incredible video. If you haven't seen this video, watch it a dozen or so times, to let the rich meaning sink into your heart. And then, husbands, espcially preachers, watch it again remembering that the love Jesus has for his recreation, the church, is what you are to have for your wife. The protection Jesus offers in this skit is the protection that we must offer for our wives to rescue them from the unmerciful attack of Satan.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

The Right Thing at the Right Time

"It's a great moment when someone has the character to do the right thing at the right time" (Pam Knox, Western Oregon Softball Coach in interview with ESPN).

Coach Knox was commenting on the actions of Mallory Holtman and Liz Wallace. They play for Washington State and were in a playoff game against Knox's Western Oregon team. Western Oregon's SarahTucholsky, a senior, hit her first homerun as a college player against Washington State. As it turned out, it would be her last at a bat as a player. In her excitement about the homerun, Sarah failed to touch first base. As she turned to go back, her knee didn't pivot, and she tore her ACL so badly that she could only crawl to first. For her run to count, though, as rules were understood by the umpires on the field, she had to touch each base and none of her teammates or coaches could touch her.

Mallory Holtman and Liz Wallace from the opposing team asked the umpires if they could carry Sarah around the bases. As there are no rules against that, Mallory and Liz carefully scooped Sara from the ground at first based and carried her all the way home, setting her left foot on each based as they passed. Sarah got her home run.

Mallory and Liz got the attention of ESPN and a nation full of people who love sports – and long to see character. "Let your light shine," Jesus said, "so the world may see!" That's Life at Work!

Thursday, May 08, 2008

A Mom’s a Mom

You might have brought your baby home from the hospital having delivered her yourself. She has your eyes, your husband's hair (or lack thereof), your sister's dimples, and your dad's feet. One thing is for sure - she has all your love, and you have all of hers. Because a mom's a mom.

You might have watched from behind a window when he was carried by a nurse from the birthing room to the nursery. You might have known that the baby that just went by would be at your home before long. You've been good to the birth mom who just couldn't take care of the child in her womb. You'll always know what she looked like because you'll see her in the baby you've adopted as your own. His features don't look like anybody in your family, but one thing is for sure, he has all your love. You have all of his, too. Because a mom's a mom.

Maybe the kids you care so much about came to your home knowing who their birth mom was and knowing they couldn't live with her anymore. You adopted them after personalities developed, after they had to consider whether they were loved, and after they could be held and rocked comfortably. You've struggle, you've taught, you've hugged, and you've spent yourself on them. One thing is for sure, they have all your love. And you have all of theirs, because a mom's a mom.

You were going to be their grandparent, but your role has changed. There's a huge age difference, and you find it hard to keep up most days. You've stepped up to the challenge, though. You take him to school and pick him up. You go to his soccer games and sit with the soccer moms smiling as he falls all over the field. You weren't planning on this. There were days when you thought you couldn't do it, and wished you didn't have to. But now, one thing is for sure. He has all your love, and you have his. Because a mom's a mom.

She's lived in your house for six months. You have no clue how long she is going to stay. DHS could come tomorrow to take her from you. You've held her as she cried. You've comforted her when she's been scared. You've done all you can to heal her heart. You've modeled a good home. You've hugged her and kissed her. You've told her things she should have been told all her life, but that she's never heard before. You don't know if the phone call will signal the end of your time with her, but one thing is for sure. She's got all your love, and you've got hers. Because a mom's a mom.

God bless you Moms. All of you.

Monday, May 05, 2008

This Is Huge – Fatigue and Hurts

As I asked in my informal survey for information about the huge struggles that we have in our various life settings, women told me about hurts and fatigue; and how they create a suction on their energy – including their spiritual energy. Furthermore, though they seek for it, there seems to be no end, no relief, and no rest.

As I looked for more information I came across some writing of Denise George, author of What Women Wish their Pastors Knew. In her own survey, she discovered that women wish that they could receive more help from the church, including the pulpit, in regard to these huge concerns:

1. Women are tired.

2. Women are hurting.

3. Women want to grow spiritually

4. Women want to raise godly children.

5. Women often feel like "second-class citizens" in church.

Being tired and hurt play a critical role in the other three concerns that George lists in this Christianity Today article. Fatigue and pain impact humans in many negative ways.

How can women who feel wiped out emotionally and spiritually reclaim the fire? I'm not talking about doing more! I'm talking about being spiritually revived! We know Jesus is the source. He said, "Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light" (Matt 11:28-30). Peter affirmed the help of God when he wrote, "Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you" (1 Peter 5:7).

What does coming to Jesus look like? How do I cast my anxiety on him? This is Huge!

Do you agree with George? What would you add to the list?

Friday, May 02, 2008

This Is Huge - Teens Drive to Connect

There’s nothing wrong with wanting to fit in. We can put a negative slant on the idea of fitting, but ultimately, fitting in is synonymous with having friends. A teenager has to ask herself some serious questions if she is remaking herself in unChrist-like fashion in order to fit in. But a teen also has to ask himself some serious questions if he doesn’t have any friends. Look in the lists of virtues in scripture. Loneliness is not in any of them. When a young person wants to fit in, he is sensing something from deep inside his DNA. He is sensing that he was created for relationships. She knows that much of who she is involves interaction with other people.

In teenagers, the drive to connect with others is especially strong. Even young people who are shy, still have a powerful force inside them to make friends – and it’s incredible how shy people find each other. The drive is so strong, young people do boneheaded things, things out of character for them, in order to make the connection.

It’s important for us, teens and not-so-teen people, to understand this drive and the impact it has on choices. Many of the poor decisions that young people make are not thoughtless. They are not “unencumbered by the though process.” The consideration of right or wrong and the reflection on potential consequence may have been short; but it was usually there. Teens don’t mess things up because they are idiots; they aren’t. Their drive to connect is just often stronger than their sensibilities.

For guys, Chris Cagle’s song “Chicks Dig It” has a lot of meaning:

Just throw caution to the wind my friend
And then sit back and watch your life begin, cause;
Scars heal... glory fades;
And all we’re left with are the memories made.
Pain hurts, but only for a minute.
Yeah, life is short so go on and live it
Cause the chicks dig it.

Connection is Huge for teenagers! Christian teens have to remember the command from Paul to refuse to conform to the world, experiencing instead a transformation to being like Christ through a renewing of the mind (Romans 12:1-2). Christian teens have to know about the real Jesus so that friendship and connection with him is priority #1! Christian teens also need to make strong connections with other teens of faith, for their own benefit and for the benefit of the other teens.

This is huge for teens, so it is huge for all of us! That’s Life at Work!

This Is Huge - Pornography

This is huge! Pornography is destroying men (mostly), their marriages, and their families. According to the website Oklahoma City ranks 10th, 3rd, and 7th in the nation regarding the number of internet searches for “porn,” “xxx,” and “sex” respectively.

According to their numbers, which match other numbers I’ve seen, 90% of kids eight to sixteen years old have been exposed to pornography on the internet. The average age for seeing the first pornographic image is eleven.

But this isn’t an adolescent problem or teenage phase. The largest consumer group of pornography is men between 35 and 49 years old. It’s not just a problem for unbelievers, either. According to Proven Men (, 60% of Christian men have sought out some form of pornography. Ninety percent of men raised in Christian homes were introduced to some form of pornography before adulthood. Do you keep your home computer screen where it can always be seen from a hallway or another room? Seventy percent internet porn is viewed during business hours.

The attraction to pornography does not stay small, if it can even begin that way. What a man views today that excites him, will not have the same effect after consistent exposure. The need for more; and the need for more explicit, more hardcore images, grows. Men will waste hours, hours that should have been spent working or with wives or their children, to see naked pixels.
Men will sale their souls to see videos of ungodly people dishonoring the sexual union that God designed to be honored, not exploited. Some prison ministries report that 100% of sex offenders frequently viewed pornography. I’ll guarantee you that nearly every man convicted of molestation said at one time at the report of some other sex offender, “I’ll never do that.” I’ll guarantee you, further, that nearly 100% of those who end up as sex offenders were led to the point where they would do that by pornography.

Stop it! Now! Pornography will kill your soul and the innocent victims along the way will be your spouse and your children. What do we need to know and what can we do about pornography, its grip on our culture, its destructive force, and methods to defeat its influence on your life and family?We must! That’s Life at Work!