"THE DEATH OF CHRISTMAS???"
2:06 am cst
"They" don't like to use the word Christmas anymore...it might be offensive.
They'd rather use the name X-mas, or better yet...the term "Holiday Season."
They've seen to
it that any mention of Christ or prayer has been removed from virtually all taxpayer-funded venues,
such as Public Schools and Courthouses. They legally call it separation of Church and State. So be it.
You can separate Church and State, but you can't separate the truth from someone's heart.
Actually, I understand
the purpose and reasoning behind the basic idea of "Separation of Church and State," which is to restrict religions
from ruling over a free people...but nothing can change the fact that America is a Christian Nation.
We are not ruled over by our religion, which is the case with other Countries...such as Iran or Saudi Arabia...but we are
empowered as a Nation by our Christianity.
A recent ABC News poll found that 83% of Americans consider themselves
to be Christian and there are 2.1 Billion Christians around the World. Christianity remains the World's
Like it or not...our Nation loves Christ and loves to celebrate His glorious
Additionally, Christmas retail sales around the World would amount to financial figures that would boggle
the mind of even Bill Gates. In reality...every Country's economy is blessed by the Christmas season and the spending
that occurs around that time. Even the largely Islamic Countries benefit from increased oil revenues because of increased
travel during Christmas.
Some people want to kill Christmas...and Christianity altogether...but it isn't going
to happen. "Upon this Rock I will build My Church AND THE GATES OF HELL WILL NOT PREVAIL AGAINST IT."
They might as well try to drink the Oceans.
Of all the hatred, killing, war, sin and victimization in the World
today...the life of Jesus Christ stands out as a beacon of hope to everyone. Regardless of the "not-so-beautiful"
past regarding Christianity as a religion...the life of Christ, Himself is flawless.
To me, that's what
makes Christmas such a blessed time. It is a time not directed at celebrating our Christianity...but the person of Jesus
Christ. My thoughts are always directed to Him personally at this time of year...not focused upon my own Christianity.
Frankly, that's a pleasant breath of fresh air.
Christmas is a sacred time of year and nobody will ever take
that away. Even if it was removed from the Earth, it would still be celebrated in Heaven!
No matter how many
Nativity Scenes are removed from Public places, it doesn't change the fact that this scene really happened. Not
matter how much people try to ignore the fact that Jesus Christ loves them...He does it anyway. No matter how often
they want to deny that He lived and died for them...He did it anyway.
Have you ever wondered what would happen
if they made Christmas illegal to celebrate around the world? We'd do it anyway. Why? Because the true
celebration of Christmas is in the heart...a place they just can't reach.
There is an old story about a little
boy and his mother waiting for a bus at the bus-stop. The little boy was restless and kept moving around and playing.
The mother finally grabbed him and made him sit still beside her. Finally, he looked at her and said, "I might
be sitting down...but in my heart I'm still up and moving around." As long as we have Christmas in our hearts...no
one can take it away. When everyone breathing today has turned to dust...Christmas will be alive and well. Death
could not hold Christ...and it cannot hold Christmas.
I love you all,
"WELCOME TO OUR BIG SHIN-DIG"
Once per year for the past seven years, a large group of us from Trinity Church in Muleshoe and our Community
has performed a concert we lovingly call, "Christmas in the Country."
2:14 am cst
We do this concert yearly
as a benefit to raise money for "Meals on Wheels," a program that provides meals for shut-in's. We find
this to be so rewarding as we work to obey the Lord's command: "I was hungry and you feed me."
the past years we have raised well over $25,000.00 for this program and that is something I am very proud of. One can
only imagine how many meals that has purchased for people in need.
My dear friend Kenneth Richards, (Co-founder
of the Anchor Brothers), joins us yearly to add his wonderful tenor voice. For the past several years, Sandy Watson
has also joined us, bringing his wonderful voice and ability to harmonize flawlessly into the mix. Unfortunately, Sandy
began a new job this year and will not be able to attend.
This concert features a live band of five guitarists,
(one acoustic, three leads, and a bass), as well as a drummer and myself on keyboards. We have a full choir made up
of our Church members as well as soloists from the Community...all to make for a really fun and great sounding show.
Everyone works so hard, and for a show of this nature it takes at least two months of practice to bring it to the level
of professionalism we desire.
This year we are adding some new dynamics...for instance, instead of hosting the
show at Trinity Church, we are moving it to the much more spacious Bailey County Coliseum, since we've had standing room
only for the past couple of years. Secondly, we have hired a professional "Sound and Lighting" company to
take on the task of making it look and sound great.
Also this year, I'm thrilled that we have my dear and precious
friend Craig Stone adding his gifted talents to our line-up.
For me personally, this is much more than a performance.
It is about being with all my friends, making music, laughing and having a "Big Time," in the name of the Lord.
I smile as I think of Randy Anderson in his Santa hat, or his wife Susan...unable to stand still...bouncing around to the
music of Holiday favorites. All of these people are my dear friends...my family and it is such a joy to be a part of
them. I'm writing this to honor each of them.
The concert will be on Thursday, December 6th at 7:00p.m.
I hope everyone can come. If not, we will be attempting to make a DVD of the show for those who cannot attend.
I realize this is not my usual type of Journal Entry, but I just wanted to share with you about this wonderful experience.
Please join me in prayer that we have a huge crowd, a flawless show, and raise a ton of money for Meals on Wheels. By
the way...we never charge admission...we simply take up a donation...it's worked great so far!!!
I love you
"WHEN HOLIDAY DEPRESSION SETS IN"
4:43 pm cst
As I'm sure you are aware, the Holidays can bring our emotions to the surface making us more sensitive
than normal. Sometimes this is a wonderful thing as we share with time and meals with families and friends.
Other-times, it is not so pleasant.
If you've lived awhile you know that the Holidays are all about family
and life has a cruel way of changing or even eliminating some of the faces around the table.
During the Holidays
it is very easy to let our minds wander back to memories of precious loved ones who are no longer a physical part of our lives.
Death, divorce and distance...the 3 dreaded D's...can leave us feeling sad, wishing the Holidays would just fly past and
leave us alone. Although on the surface these emotions may seem selfish, they are...nonetheless...very real and painful.
As I write this article, I'm making plans to attend a funeral of an old friend of mine who was tragically
killed in an automobile accident on Monday. He was 47 and leaves behind two kids who only recently left home to start
their own lives. In talking to others, I have had two different people say "It's such a hard time of year to
lose someone, with the Holidays and all."
Obviously, anytime is a hard time to lose someone we love
and hold dear...but the sting of it does seem to be greater at the Holidays, since we all think of these times as "family
Having lost my Mother and Sister in recent years I know firsthand the pain of their absence at Holiday
gatherings. It flat out stinks!
I've learned to do two things that have helped
immensely and I want to share them with you. Maybe they'll help you a little as well.
learned to view my life from the End...backwards to now. I know without a doubt that at the end of my life I will forever
be with those I love for every Holiday in the future. No more death, no more separation...no more tears...no more goodbyes.
Having this knowledge deep in my heart and mind helps me to be excited about the future, rather than feeling glum about the
past or present. It's like skipping ahead in a novel to discover that "They all lived happily ever after."
This is the gift Jesus died on the Cross to give us. That alone is worthy of celebrating Thanksgiving.
Secondly, I've learned to embrace more dearly those who are in my life presently. Since the deaths of Mom and
Theresa, it seems that I've grown much closer to my other siblings and family. We have all learned to cherish each
moment together and we stay actively involved in each other's lives throughout the year. Although the dynamic of
the family has changed, the love has only increased and grown deeper.
I've also learned that the Family of
God is also a intimate part of my life. I have such dear brothers and sisters in the Lord that are a part of my everyday
existance and they fill my life to overflowing. And, of course, I also have a great wife and two sons who make
me a very rich man daily.
When I focus on these things...any of those painful emotions seem to drift away on the
If, however, I didn't have what I just described, I'd search for a family! I know for a fact
there are many people in this world that are also alone. I'd volunteer at a Nursing Home, an Orphanage, or somewhere,
where I could share my life and Holidays with someone who could use a friend. With 6 Billion people on the planet, there
is no need for anyone to be alone.
Finally...if you've recently gone through a divorce I know from experience
that the Holidays can be a painful time of feeling alone and awkward. This too can pass if you'll push past your
injured emotions and search out new and healthy relationships through Church, Civic organizations or the like.
you feel alone in the Church you currently attend, I recommend that you pursue deeper relationships with some of the members...on
a non-church level. If they don't seem open to that...you should find another Church.
Divorce is cruel...death
is devastating...and distance is painful. However, the blood of Christ brought all of us into one big family.
Christians should never feel alone.
Finally, I'm so thankful that God led me to open this website. The
letters, emails, support and love that I've received since it began tells me that God brought us together here for a reason...to
grow closer and share His love.
Instead of dreading the Holidays, I pray that you'll become determined to make
this year the best year yet. The devil steals enough from us already...let's not let him steal our love for Thanksgiving
and Christmas...two Holidays to celebrate God's love for us.
I pray His wonderful blessings upon you and your
family. I pray that life, love and joy will fill your hearts to overflowing and that one hundred years from today...you
and I will join with all our loved ones and God...and have the party of our eternal lives!!!
I love you all,
"YOUR HIDDEN TREASURE"
1:43 am cst
I firmly believe that God wants us to be free. The Bible says; "He whom the Son sets
free...is free indeed!"
In order to understand what true freedom is, we need to understand what true
bondage is. Bondage is anything that restricts us from having the abundant life that Jesus promised.
As with the majority of people, one of my greatest bondages is a lack of dough. Not the kind that is white and
fluffy like the Pillsbury Dough-boy...but the green kind with President's faces on them! I have so many things I'd
love to do in our Church and in my own life if I just wasn't limited by money. In other words...if I wasn't in
bondage to limited resources.
I've always believed that it is God's will to make His people prosperous
so that they could cease from financial struggling and help those who are in need. I also believe that deep inside everyone
of us is a "HIDDEN TREASURE," that can set us free from financial lack...if only we could find it.
After all, our Father is amazingly wealthy. Bill Gates fortune is pocket change to God.
Now, I realize that
when a Preacher starts talking about money...many folks think: "Oh, here we go again," but please hear me out.
I'm not asking anyone for a single penny here. I'm not a money-minded person at all and have no desire
to acquire a whole bunch of fancy houses or cars...boats, planes or any such thing. I'm a country boy at heart and
am happy with a nice home for my family and I drive a Jeep. My daily wardrobe is usually jeans, tee-shirts and sneakers,
so I don't see myself trading that for silk suits or fancy shoes. Besides, where would I wear such a suit in Muleshoe,
Now, back to our hidden treasure.
One day in 1951, a man in Switzerland went for a walk
with his dog. After the walk, he noticed that his clothes and his dog's fur was full of Burdock seeds.
These particular seeds have a 'hook' at the tip and if you brush against them, they will come off the plant and stick
into your clothes...or your dog's fur.
This man's name was George de Mestral and after that day
he began to study those seeds. Suddenly, an idea came to him and he invented VELCRO. Within five years
he had a patent and sold tons and tons of the stuff becoming a multi-millionaire. God had led him to his "HIDDEN
TREASURE" on an afternoon walk with Fido. Velcro is used in massive quantities today in everything from
sneakers to space suits. I'm even thinking of putting it on our Church pews to keep people from leaving! (wink).
I believe that those kinds of treasures are within reach of any one of us who will ask God for them. Imagine
if you had created the toothbrush...or plastic...or rubber...or shoe laces! Even the creator of the "Pet Rock,"
walked away with millions of dollars by selling a 'rock in a box.'
I'm putting this "bug in your
ear," (as we Texans say), so that you'll begin to ask God to reveal your hidden treasure. When He does...go
to work and make it a reality!
If you are struggling financially today...you could be set free by finding
your gift. I'm praying earnestly for God to reveal something like Velcro to me. When He does, I'll never
have to worry again about Church Building payments, house payments, insurance, dental care for my family, college tuition
or anything else...financial. I'll be free from that bondage.
Sure there are many things money can't
buy...but God has resources for those issues as well. "The Lord is my Shepherd, I shall not want!"
Let's give it a try...what do ya say?
Now if you come up with something as amazing as Velcro after reading
this journal entry...don't forget where you heard it from!!! :)
All His Best,
"YOU HAVE INSPIRED ME"
3:32 am cst
I want to thank each one of you for your support for this website and my ministry over the last
several months. Your sweet letters, e-mails and words have been a real inspiration to me.
I long to reach
out to as many people as I can with the beautiful Gospel of Jesus Christ. I know Him as a wonderful Counselor, the
Son of God with a heart full of love, compassion, mercy, grace, kindness and power to help anyone who seeks Him. That
love compels me to continue to share what I know of Him with anyone willing to read or listen.
There are plenty
of people who can remind us daily of all the bad things that are happening in the World, but I desire to be a voice of hope
and help, in spite of them.
About six months ago, I felt the Lord directing me to put up a personal website were
I could write my thoughts and feelings down for others to read. Thus, this website was born. I happily pay the
expense out of pocket and find it very rewarding to do so.
In the four months since making this site public it
has received nearly 15000 hits and has been visited by close to 700 different users. Those statistics are beyond what
I could have dreamed and I'm thankful to God for using it to help people.
The letters and e-mails I've
received have been overwhelmingly positive and many have brought tears to my eyes as people would share how one of the
Journal entries had so blessed them or taught them.
I can promise you...that is my greatest reward in ministry...to
see others touched by the message of Christ.
So...I wanted to write and say thank you. You have inspired
me to write more, dig deeper and reach further than ever before.
My sincere gratitude,
"YOU PICKED A FINE TIME TO LEAVE ME LUCILLE"
2:36 am cst
Back in the mid to late 70's, a singer by the name of Kenny Rogers left
his group "The First Edition" and was embarking upon a solo career. His first hit was with a song
entitled "Lucille," written by Roger Bowling and Hal Bynum.
The song was set to a Waltz beat and told
the story of a man out for a one-night-stand in Toledo. Inside a bar, he notices a very attractive woman sitting alone
and he approaches her. After sharing a couple of drinks with the woman, she is confronted by a very large man,
who seems to come out of nowhere to crash her party...her husband.
The large man is emotionally broken and speaks
out the chorus of the song: "You picked a fine time to leave me Lucille, with four hungry children and a crop in
the field...I've had some bad times, lived through some sad times, but this time your hurtin' won't heal...you
picked a fine time to leave me Lucille."
When this song became a huge hit for Kenny Rogers, I thought
it was a little bit silly and lame. Years later I heard it again and I actually found tears in my eyes thinking
of this poor fellow, portrayed in the song.
The truth of this song goes much deeper than adultery or lust.
It speaks of the unbearable hurt that selfishness and abandonment cause those who are left behind to pick up the pieces.
In this song, Lucille not only abandons her husband of many years, she also leaves behind four children dependent
upon her for a thousand physical and emotional needs. She is the most important person in a child's life...their
Although the song doesn't give Lucille's reasons for leaving, they are plainly evident. She
is a farmer's wife...a mother of four...and she's grown tired of it. She wants to have fun again...party...sleep
around...be selfish. Her desire for personal freedom is greater than her conscience or her love for her husband and
children. In fact, her love for herself is greater than any other love she knows.
To Lucille, the pain she
is causing others is not enough to turn her around...in fact, she ends up in a motel room shortly after this encounter with
her husband. Only the conscience of the singer prevents this sordid relationship from going further.
we live in a world where many people forsake those who want them and need them the most...trading all that is real for a self-indulged
trip to the circus. "I deserve to be happy," they say...or they lay all the blame for
their unhappiness at the feet of those being left behind in order to satisfy their conscience or defend their actions to others.
In these situations there are no winners. While it's true that Lucille's husband and children will suffer
greatly from her departure...Lucille will also find...somewhere down the road, that Satan had 'baited' her.
Why? To ruin her life.
I've learned firsthand that selfishness is the door that opens up to
all the pleasures of sin. Eve found this out when she traded The Garden of Eden for a piece of fruit and
false wisdom. Sadly, walking through that door ruined Eve's life, her husband's life, her first two sons lives...and
has even affected the rest of us to this day.
In other words...both Eve and Lucille weren't finding freedom...they
were finding a deeper and darker prison. Satan tossed out the bait and they bit, like millions of others who have
destroyed lives and been destroyed by sin.
My precious friends: You are surrounded today by people who want you
and need you. It's not always easy...it takes tons and tons of sacrifice and there is often few visible rewards.
Nevertheless, it is your cross to bear. Love and family are the heartbeats of life...not all the "lights
and glamour" of Sin City.
A few years back I was asked to become the Senior Pastor of a large
Church in another State. The congregation was nearing 1000 members, there was a full-time staff, the property was paid
for and it would have been a wonderful career move and advancement for me. As Sharla and I talked about it, all we could
see were the faces of those people here in the small town of Muleshoe, Texas who wanted us, and needed us. I couldn't
bring myself to leaving them.
My prayer for you today, is that you take a long look around you at the people who
need you and want you and begin to thank God that He has placed you in such a rewarding place. Secondly, that if the
Devil is tempting you to leave...baiting you with thoughts and feelings that are "all about you," that you pick
up your cross...tell him to take a hike...and do what you know in your heart is right.
I love you all,
"WHEN SICKNESS STRIKES"
In the last chapter of the gospel of Mark, Jesus commissions His disciples to: "Go into all the World
and preach the gospel to every creature. He who believes and is baptized will be saved; but he who does not believe will be
condemned. AND THESE SIGNS SHALL FOLLOW THOSE WHO BELIEVE...in MY name they will cast out demons; they will speak with
new tongues; they will take up serpents and if they drink anything deadly, it will by no means hurt them. THEY WILL
LAY HANDS ON THE SICK AND THEY WILL RECOVER."
3:10 am cdt
Notice in this passage of scripture that Jesus said it
was "Believers," who would do these things...not just the remaining eleven disciples.
Anyone who has
read the four gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John knows that healing was a very dynamic and important part of the Lord's
ministry. Why? Because sickness severely hinders our lives and livelihood and many times even shortens our time
and purpose here on Earth.
Beginning around 1996 or so, I saw first-hand what sickness could do as both my mother
and father were diagnosed with heart disease and underwent bypass surgery. Dad's did very well for him and he is
still relatively healthy at 81 years old.
Mom, on the other hand, continued to struggle with her heart due to enormously
high blood pressure. For the last ten years of her life, she was in and out of surgery until finally there was nothing
else they could do. She died quietly, leaving behind a family who loved her and adored her. She was only in her
A few years before Mom died, my sister Theresa had a brain aneurysm which burst, destroying a successful
career as a hospital executive and relegating her to a life of frustration and feelings of hopelessness. Her health
continued to deteriorate and she passed away at 46. Again, we were devastated.
About two years ago, my wife
Sharla developed a serious sinus problem affecting her ears and making her continually nauseous and dizzy. It made our
day to day life much more difficult and I found myself staying home more to help her and to care for her. I consequently
allowed some things at the Church to slip and even lost some members because I couldn't maintain my former level of ministry.
Thankfully, we had a breakthrough with much prayer and the wonderful hand of God touching her.
My point is...these
are the very reasons that healing was so important to Jesus. He knows that sickness can destroy lives.
When major illnesses strike, it can leave families broke, ridiculed for not having enough faith, and with feelings of utter
However, I know the Bible tells us that "He (Jesus) carried our sins and our sicknesses upon
His own body, upon the Cross." For this reason, I believe that sickness is a wicked device of Satan, meant to hinder
God's plans and purposes within people's lives.
I believe that one day soon, the Church will experience
a miraculous breakthrough in the knowledge of Divine Healing and we will begin to see healing miracles on a wide scale that
will mirror the healing ministry of Jesus.
I know healing exists, because I've experienced it personally.
Just this week I was scheduled to have a counseling session with a couple that were desperate for help.
So desperate that they were in the final stages of divorce and believed I could help them save a "Sinking Titantic."
Within an hour of time for the session, I developed severe pain in my stomach. I was nearly doubled-over in pain and
began to think I'd better get to the Emergency Room.
The only thing holding me back, was the knowledge that
this couple needed me so desperately. I could not cancel on them. As soon as I made the decision to go on to my
meeting, I walked into the bathroom and bent over to run my bath water. INSTANTLY the pain vanished! It was almost
like I could hear the Lord saying: "Since you're determined to help this couple, I'm determined to help you!"
I haven't had that pain since...not for one second.
My prayer for you today, is that if you're sick, or
struggling beside someone who is...that God will divinely reach out to you and bring a quick healing, so that you can continue
your mission for God!
Satan hates Christians...the book of Revelation tells us that. He will do anything
he can to hinder our call or purpose for living. Thankfully, God is bigger...and His grace larger than any tool of the
Here's to our health...I believe it's coming!
I love you all,