Wednesday, April 25, 2007


I was at a conference in Houston a few years ago and had the privilege of hearing a popular woman Bible study teacher and writer speak. She spoke on Galatians 5, "It was for freedom that Christ set us free." (verse 1, in part) The author of the text, Paul, wrote particularly about freedom from the law. Our salvation is free and is not obtained by following rules or by doing certain works. The speaker used the movie Braveheart as part of her illustration. Maybe you are familiar with the movie or the story of William Wallace, portrayed by Mel Gibson in the movie. William Wallace led rebels to fight for the freedom of Scotland from an oppressive English rule during the 13th century. During that time, the English did whatever they desired to their subjects in Scotland...tortured, raped, killed... At the end of the movie, William Wallace is headed to the guillotine and he cries out, "Freedom!" The speaker that day told the story and, likewise, cried out, "Freedom!" I'll never forget the sound of her voice as she cried out the word that is what all people desire.

People all over the world just want to be free. In America, we take our freedom for granted. I know I do. I've been to places in the world where people are not free. They live under oppressive governments that allow horrible things to happen to their subjects. Did you happen to see the movie Hotel Rwanda? It was hard for me to watch. It's the story of the Rwandan genocide of 1994. The Tutsis were killed by the hundreds of thousands by the Hutus. The movie is about one man's attempt to save as many as possible. If you saw the movie, you may recall that the people in the hotel thought and hoped that someone, the UN or another military presence, would see the suffering and come in a rescue them, to help them. Remember the part when they found out no one was coming...

That's what's happening in Darfur right now. The people are waiting for international action. There was a recent article about the horrible things that the children in Darfur are experiencing. Horrible is not even a strong enough word to describe it...I am sure my mind cannot comprehend the terror of their lives. They are tortured, raped, killed...

I hear lots of people crying out for there to be something done about the genocide in Darfur. I am absolutely in favor or rescuing as many as possible. This is what I don't get, however. There was a wretched ruler in Iraq who did horrible things to his subjects. They were tortured, raped, and killed. They were oppressed and lived in poverty while he lived a very lavish lifestyle. Do you suppose any of the people that were killed by the madman cried out, "Freedom!" as they were led to their death? Do you not think that the people desired to be out from under the oppressive rule? Do you think any of them were watching and waiting to see if someone, anyone, would come to their rescue? The world watched and we went in. If we leave now, there might possibly be genocide from warring factions just like in Africa. Maybe not in Iraq, but some places in the world see the prosperity of America and wonder why we don't send help. They covet what we have. To those that are given much, much is required.

When the world seems to be going nuts, I know where to find peace and freedom True freedom is found in Christ alone and He is the Author of peace.

In humble gratitude to be born an American and in service to the King Eternal,


Tuesday, April 24, 2007


I have a few wacky sayings...well, my family thinks they are wacky. One of them goes something like this: There's only black and white -- there isn't any gray. You really have to see me say it to get the full effect. It's what I say to my kids when I feel like they are not being completely honest with me. Because, in actuality, there's only truth and non-truth. There isn't any such thing as partial truth -- it's all a lie.

As the time drew near for Jesus to go to the cross, He wanted to assure and reassure His followers that everything was under control. The Gospel of John gives an account of the words of Jesus to His disciples concerning the things that were to come, including teaching on the Holy Spirit. Jesus was going away, but He would not go without sending the Holy Spirit to them. John 16:13, in part, reads this way, "But when He, the Spirit of truth, comes, He will guide you into all the truth..."

God will never, ever tell us to do something that is against His Word. His will and instruction will always line up with His written Word. Though penned by human hands, it is God-breathed and God-inspired. One professor used to say that the Bible has divine and human authors. The style of writing and content might reflect the human author, but the Book in its entirety is to reflect the Divine Author. Therefore, it is Truth. It is also the guide for my life. I am really thankful that it is. I had a moment of struggle this morning and I simply opened the pages of Scripture and found the answer -- in a matter of minutes, my question was answered and a situation was dealt with and I feel so much better!

How amazing that the God of the universe desires to speak to me! How amazing that when I ask, the Holy Spirit will guide me to truth -- I am in awe!

In humble service to the King Eternal,


Thursday, April 19, 2007

Motivate or Manipulate

My professor asked an interesting question today: What's the difference between motivating people and manipulating them? Here's the qualifier for motivation: we cannot really do anything to motivate someone internally. For example, I can tell my kids all day long to clean their rooms. I can manipulate them to do so by telling them they will not leave the house to do anything with a friend until the room is clean. In order for them to clean their rooms without instruction or keep their rooms clean they have to have a motivation that comes from within themselves. I can tell Josh over and over again how important his grades are for getting into college, but until he has an inner motivation to succeed, all the manipulating I do will achieve a short-term result, but not a lasting change.

The context of the question for class was in relationships within ministry. I can "guilt" people into doing ministry or manipulate them in some way, but how does one motivate people to desire to become involved in the ministry of the church and not just "pew sitters?" Or, in our case since we don't have pews, chair sitters. More importantly, how are people motivated to have a deeper, intimate relationship with God through His Son Jesus Christ which results in an outward change in their lives? An outward change that is reflected by the way we act, how we serve, and how we treat others.

Then, she asked us to contemplate this question: are we personally more likely to motivate others or manipulate them -- what is our own personal tendency? Where is the line between motivation and manipulation and is it distinct?

So, what do you think: motivate or manipulate?

Serving the King,


Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Does Lightning Strike Twice...

Does lightning strike twice at the exact same place? Johnny says that's an old wives tale...well, I am getting on up there in years...haha! So, I am driving home from class tonight, in the rain, again. In Texas, we never complain about the rain so I'm not complaining -- believe me! I called Johnny at home because we got out early and I was really excited. He said I missed all the excitement. What excitement? Can there be excitement without me? Lightning must strike twice at the same exact place because twice the grill has been in the pool. Yup, you got it...the grill was in the pool again. He said he looked out the window and one of the chairs was inching toward the pool and by the time he got out the door, the grill was in the bottom of the pool! He had to go in after it and, thankfully, Josh arrived home just in time to help him. Johnny said he wouldn't let Jacob get in the pool because there was lightning. I guess Johnny and Josh are invincible to lightning!! Hmmm, I guess the grill in the pool is a good kind of excitement compared to other possibilities. Some folks here in our area had some real damage at the end of last week. We've had a crazy weather season, but I am thankful for the rain and the cool weather...the hot & very hot, dry weather will be here soon enough!

In humble gratitude to the King,


Sunday, April 15, 2007

Commitment Day

Today was Commitment Day at FBC Mansfield. That just means that we all, as church members, are committing ourselves to be a part of what God is doing at our church, specifically in the area of our capital funds campaign. Johnny preached an awesome commitment day sermon from 1 Chronicles 29. I personally feel kind of like David from the text. He said, "But who am I and who are my people that we should be able to offer as generously as this? For all things come from You, and from Your hand we have given You." (verse 14) God is the owner of everything, yet He allows me to have things that I can offer back to Him. Wow! Granted, David was a very wealthy man. Still, he gave extravagantly to the building of the Old Testament temple. Whatever I have is from God's hand...who am I that I should have anything to give back to God? I've been to places around the world where people live in poverty. I know there are people here in my own community that live with very meager means, kids that will go to bed hungry tonight... God has blessed me so much.

Who am I to be chosen by God to be a part of what He is doing at FBC? I am humbled by the privilege. In the first verse of 1 Chronicles 29, King David is recorded as saying that the task of building the temple was great-- it wasn't for man, afterall, but for God. I love the illustration of the Grand Canyon. Pictures cannot fully capture the grandure of the Grand Canyon. One picture cannot show the magnitude of the canyon or the canyon in its entirety...the picture above is one little glimpse of one of the most awesome sights I have ever seen. Our work, our project, here is great but it's only a minute speck of what God is doing in and around the world. Yet, He allows me to be blessed by my feeble attempts to obediently do what He's called me to do.
I want to be up to the task -- I want to be faithful to do that part that God has set aside for me to do. His work is not dependent on me, but I am dependent on Him. He is the King and I am the humble servant. All glory and praise to Him alone.
In service to the King,

Friday, April 13, 2007


Today Jacob is twelve. Wow! He was born 5 1/2 weeks before his due date but he was perfect. He's the baby of the family and the family clown. He's hilarious! He's smart and sensitive and loyal. Jacob likes tradition and consistency. Since his birthday is on Friday, I asked him if he wanted to have his party on his actual birthday. He said, "No, that's family day!" Perfect answer...

So, happy birthday to my boy, Jacob! We are so proud of him!

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Happiness is...

a beautiful Spring day and a walk in the park with my buddy, Jot. He's the best dog on the face of the planet. He makes me so happy. I let him off his leash a couple of times today and he was so good...he came right back when I called because another person or dog was up ahead. I let him get in the creek today, too. This dog and I are pals...he knows he's loved and he's extremely loyal.
I really enjoy having Jot as a pet. We used to have a dog that was not such a great pet. Maybe having a mess of a dog makes me enjoy Jot that much more. Sometimes when you go through hard times or you have to do without something I think you are more appreciative when you know you've got something good.
Life's just like that. Johnny and I have been through some hard times and we've experienced some lean years. God taught me contentment through some really tough situations. However, I am thankful to be on the other side... and happy...
Eyes fixed on Jesus,

Sunday, April 8, 2007

Happy Easter!

He is risen...He is risen indeed!
What a privilege to worship at my church tonight by observing the Lord's Supper. The tomb is empty and the Savior of the world is risen so that I might have access to the Throne of Grace and forgiveness of my sins. During the reflection time I was reading in 1 John. Here's chapter 1, verse 7 -- "but if we walk in the Light as He Himself is in the Light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus His Son cleanses us from all sin."
I am so thankful for forgiveness. I am thankful for grace offered freely...
We closed the worship time tonight by singing "Amazing Grace" & it was awesome. I love to hear the sound of my kids singing. As Jacob sang, I prayed that it would be real to him and not just words. That he would recognize the full impact of that amazing grace.
I love my church and am thankful for it. I am so excited about what's ahead, to be a part of something that God is doing. I am humbled and blessed to be chosen, a wretch like me...
Blessings to you,

Friday, April 6, 2007

Meaning and Purpose

I'm sitting here, at my computer, while 3 6th grade boys play video games upstairs. It's cold outside, although it's Good Friday and after the first day of Spring. Johnny is gone to pick up our daughter and a friend from Six Flags and Josh is out -- hanging out, as he likes to say. On tv is a show on what life would have been like for a young Jewish boy in the time of Jesus. It's on National Geographic so it's not biblically based, although they have quoted the Bible. So far they haven't said anything too shocking -- Jesus wasn't an only child, Joseph may not have been a carpenter...

I've been reading 2 Timothy lately. As I watched the end of the show before this one (about Mary Magdalene) I was thinking about chapter 4, verses 3 & 4, "...will not endure sound doctrine...have their ears tickled...teachers in accordance to their own desires, and will turn away their ears from the truth..."

There are essentials of the faith that we cannot move away from, but how many are really doctrines that are essential and how many are our own beliefs that we will not let go of or budge on? We is ambiguous, I know, and I'm not sure to whom I am referring. Why can't we have discussion without it becoming arguing or fighting? Why cannot some feel the freedom to express their views without fear of the debate escalating beyond civility? Why cannot we honor one another and respect the right to disagree...not on essentials but on other issues?

Perhaps I am heading in two different directions with this post. My heart, however, is heavy from something that happened this weekend. The tv shows on tonight have some amount of Scriptural truth and some out right heresy. My heart ache has nothing to do with heresy, but with differences of opinion.

I really believe that the meaning and purpose of life are found in the pages and words of the Holy Text of Scripture. The book that is God-breathed is able to breathe new life into my existence every single day. There's not a word written or captured by accident and the Bible has been preserved just the way it was intended. It is God's Word to me and it speaks to my daily life and situations in real and applicable ways. It's real to me and has caught my attention and I am devoted to follow, I am compelled to live as closely to its teaching as I can -- knowing I will fail and fall. Let me, in my feeble attempts, not sit in judgment of those that do not believe exactly as I do. Judgment is not for me, it's not my place.

Ok, the somber mood is over...the two teenage girls just got home & had to tell me all about the Reliant K concert and everything else they have done over the last 30 hours since I last saw them. It's all good & reminds me that my job is to keep teaching & passing on truth, keep praying about the things that I cannot control & keep being a light when I have opportunity.

Running with endurance the race, eyes focused intently on Jesus,

Hebrews 12:1&2

Monday, April 2, 2007


My daughter told me some shocking news today. It's not about her, but about the way things are in middle school. A student pastor my husband knows told him some things today about the culture of students so I asked my daughter about it. I like to think of myself as rather well-informed -- I have a myspace, for goodness sake -- but today I have to say I am shocked. There really is no other word to describe it.

How far is too far? "For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God." (Romans 3:23) When Saul was king over Israel, he sinned and fell short of the glory of God. Samuel reported to Saul that God Himself rejected Saul as king over Israel because Saul rejected God as King over his life. (1 Samuel 15:26) When the Apostle Paul wrote out his theology to the Romans, he wrote that although man knew God, he did not honor Him or obey, but gave glory owed only to God to others. "Therefore God gave them over..." (Romans 1:24) He gave them over, He let them have what they wanted. Scary. Scary because it sounds like today.

I started to get up could I? What is it that we celebrate this week? The Savior of the world road a donkey into Jerusalem to fulfill His mission on the earth. Hosanna, save now! the people cried. Save now! "For God so loved the world, He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life." (John 3:16) He was crucified and died to save now. He rose again to victory over sin and death.

Victory...some days don't feel victorious. Some days it seems like the score is lopsided with the modern culture whooping the Christians. That makes our task all the more important and urgent.

In service to the King,