You first saw the light of day yesterday, a Monday, November 21, 2016. But you first lit our day today. And boy, did you light it. The world is full of pretty babies and we’ve seen our share. After all, you are number nine for us. But I’ve gotta tell ya, you’re as beautiful as it gets, and it was worth the ride to hold you in our arms for the first of many times.
I should probably point out that you may have set some sort of world record for the most people holding a newborn in his first 24 hours. But there’s a reason. [click to continue…]
Lately it feels as though you’re doing a tightrope dance with the devil himself. He seduces you like an angel of light in one ear and shames you for all your failures in the other. Your life feels, even smells like a sulfurous war zone and it sure seems as though the casualties are piling up. But in the quake and the fury, there’s one and only one thing you need to know…
God’s got this. All you have to do is trust Him. And say “thank you.”
Like a broken cash register, your money drawer only seems to open when it time to shell it out to somebody else. From disaster salesmen to debt collectors, everybody’s standing with an outstretched hand. There’s always another reason to fret over this thing called The Economy, and even a box of Girl Scout cookies feels like a sacrificial charitable donation. But in the fear and loathing-, there’s one and only one thing you need to know…
God’s got this. All you have to do is trust Him. And say “thank you.” [click to continue…]
You’ve probably never heard of Yarbo. Unless, of course, you’ve spent some time tooling through Washington County, Alabama. This unincorporated community, positioned halfway between Chatom and Millry, flies by your car window pretty fast on Highway 17. A couple of old chicken houses, an abandoned softball field, a few house trailers, that’s about it.
At least that’s how it looks through my window. Yarbo is a place on the way to some other place.
My dad had a different view.
On his regular excursions between Millry, his home at the time, and Chatom or Mobile, he would notice a singular figure sitting in the shade of one of those mobile homes. An older black gentleman would spend hours there, offering a friendly wave at passers-by. And there in the warmth of those Southwest Alabama summer days, my father found a kindred spirit.
He waved back.
Eventually he came to look for his nameless friend and would make a point of tooting his horn and waving. Though separated by all the things that make for TV news sound bites – race and economic status and culture and probably politics – each of these men found in a simple gesture a point of connection.
That wasn’t enough for my dad. [click to continue…]
I started writing this last Wednesday with an urgent prayer that I would get home in time to see my dad before he passed away. What would normally have been a routine knee replacement surgery poked a vicious bear called Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis. He would never leave the hospital.
Lynchburg to Charlotte
On the plane headed home from Lynchburg. Going home to a father who is going home himself. It seems that everybody – including him – has concluded that there is no fight left. He gets weaker every day and this morning he has some sort of infection that requires everybody to wear a glove and mask to be in the room with him.
I postponed the weekend trip to Lubbock. Cassie and Joel are on the way. They will get to Mobile ten minutes before I do. It’s just a matter of time.
It was both distracting and comforting to be at a conference filled with worship leaders, listening to people sing about victory over death and the power of the blood of Jesus – even the old standby “I’ll Fly Away.” It takes on a totally new meaning when my daddy is about to be doing the flying. [click to continue…]
Dear Laura Kate,
It was seven years ago this month that we welcomed you into the world. And what an amazing seven years it has been. Of course, there are plenty of things in this world to feel alarmed or sad about. For example, I seriously doubt that anyone has watched the news or read a newspaper in the last seven years that didn’t contain the word “terrorist” in it.
You have never known a world where, if people wanted to communicate, they actually had to look someone in the eye and use their voices to make words – or get a piece of paper and use a pen, pencil or crayon to write.
You have never known a world where English wasn’t a second language to “Textlish.”
You have never known a world without FaceBook, YouTube, or the iPhone. “Grammy/Mommy/Papa/whoever, can I play with your phone?” became standard conversation early in your life.
Over the years, thanks to social media and places like this site, we have watched you grow and known that you were created without a mold. So when you marshalled your forces and launched an all-out invasion on First Grade, we all braced for impact. [click to continue…]
You entered our world today, December 18, 2014, and may I just say, you didn’t disappoint! We fretted a little that we wouldn’t get here in time from Alabama, but like the gentleman you already are, you politely waited for us arrive, then for good measure took a few more hours for everybody to get their bearings. Then in the fullness of time, you let it be known that you were large (our largest grandbaby yet), loud (probably the loudest, too), and in charge!
Other babies have been born on this day, but only you can claim to have a sister who’s the Sasster. In a world of brothers and all-boy cousins, she’s the only girl, and I think she sorta likes it that way. I know she loves being your big sister. “He’s just adorable,” she said when she saw you for the first time. And no, I don’t know how a first grader knows the word “adorable,” but she can probably also spell it, parse it, and say it in German, Spanish and Swahili.
You’ll learn the ropes from your brothers Shepherd and Fischer soon enough. And yes, that frightens me just a bit. That’s all I’ve got to say about that.
[click to continue…]
I once heard someone say that every Christ follower is a missionary or a mission field. And when you cease to become a missionary – that is, a functioning ambassador for Christ – you become someone else’s mission field. Whether that’s true or not, one thing is certain: every believer has been given the mandate to impact other lives positively for a living Christ and His gospel.
Yes, that means you, even though you most likely don’t consider yourself a missionary in the classic sense of the word. But I want to remind you that you quite likely stand on the spiritual shoulders of a first-century Apostle who had this to say:
For though I am free from all men, I have made myself a slave to all, so that I may win more. To the Jews I became as a Jew, so that I might win Jews; to those who are under the Law, as under the Law though not being myself under the Law, so that I might win those who are under the Law; to those who are without law, as without law, though not being without the law of God but under the law of Christ, so that I might win those who are without law. To the weak I became weak, that I might win the weak; I have become all things to all men, so that I may by all means save some. I do all things for the sake of the gospel, so that I may become a fellow partaker of it (1 Corinthians 9:19-23).
This man dedicated his life to sharing a message of hope, grace and forgiveness for one purpose: winning. But not winning in the sense of producing a gaggle of losers in his wake. No, he said winning meant that those who heard his message became fellow partakers of the good news. That meant an ongoing relationship. And when you read the letters Paul wrote, you see that he did that very thing… he kept “partaking” in the gospel with them… showing them its implications, giving and receiving its encouragements.
So what about you? Who are the potential “fellow partakers” in your world? Who are the people you are uniquely positioned to influence?
Before you give me that “aw shucks” kick in the dirt or your eyes glass over, let me show you three ways to answer that question. Answer these three questions and you’ll find three fields of influence in your life: [click to continue…]
Today my mother would have turned 76 years old. She passed away suddenly four years ago – a reminder to anybody who’s paying attention that there are no guarantees in this life.
Like anybody whose life has touched another for that long, I have lived long enough myself to see Mama’s mental, emotional, and moral DNA flowing throughout my own and my sister’s life, as well as through the lives of her grandchildren and now seven (soon to be 9) great-grandchildren.
We had our points of disagreement, some of them quite loud. We also had hours of conversation – some of them way past bedtime. And like Abel in the Bible, I love the fact that long after her life here was over, she still speaks to me today.
Give her a chance, she’ll speak to you, too. Here, in no certain order, are the life lessons I learned from her. [click to continue…]
Raise your hand if you want tomorrow to be better than today.
Raise your other hand if you would rather God give you prosperity than calamity.
Good. I’ve got you where I want you. Now give me all your money.
You and I were hard-wired for hope. Something in our DNA makes us want to believe that tomorrow can and will be better than today. When times are easy, we tend to presume on that. When times are tough, we go looking for it.
Maybe that’s why Jeremiah 29:11 has become such a popular verse in recent years. Go into any Christian book store or gift shop and you’ll see it on coffee mugs or on some idyllic painting or poster:
For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.
Doesn’t that do something for you? It certainly does for me. It tells me something about the heart of my God for me as an individual, and for the people I care about.
Trouble is, we take it completely out of context. [click to continue…]
Next time you make an appointment with me, I’ll just expect you to show up early! Boy, was that a quick surprise! But I’ll take that kind of surprise any day.
We welcomed you into the world on Wednesday, September 18, just two days after your Great Grandpaw turned 76 years old. “We” is a relative term, however, and this relative didn’t get to make it until Friday. But that surprise one-of-a-kind voice you heard while you were still in the hospital? Yep. That was Grammy.
That’s about all I know to say about that.
You were born into a family that absolutely adores children. You were wanted. Anticipated. Prayed for. And delighted in… long before you were ever born.
You big brother Jackson is already crazy about you. He loves to watch you sleep, hold you (with a little help), and pat you while you’re sleeping. He’s both tenderhearted and brilliant – I can’t think of a better big brother for you.
Your parents are pretty amazing people themselves. [click to continue…]