"THE LOVE BUG"
1:46 pm cdt
When I was a boy, my Mom drove me, my sister Theresa and my brother Rick into downtown Amarillo
to see the movie "The Lovebug," by Walt Disney.
It is my earliest recollection of an indoor movie theater
and I've loved the movies ever since.
I remember how 'drawn into' the story I was and how impressed
I was that a car could have a personality and a life of it's own....how it could love and desire to be loved. If
you've never seen the movie...you should rent it!
Anyway, I was so impressed with that movie that my
first car was a 1968 VW bug! I loved that car, even though it was the second worst car I ever owned. The worst
car was a Buick Riviera that was built by the demons of hell and filled with gremlins. I'm telling you...it stayed
in the shop more than an overworked mechanic!
In hindsight, I've come to realize that many things in
my life have been forever been touched the movies of Walt Disney. I have such fond memories of the emotions they evoked
within me then...and even now.
I remember crying my eyes out when Ol' Yellar had to be put down due to rabies
or when Dumbo was crying for his mother or when Bambi's mother was shot by hunters. I remember laughing out loud
to Jungle Book, 101 Dalmations and Lady and the Tramp.
When my son Joshua was old enough to understand the theme
of a movie, I bought Pinnochio on VHS and we watched it over and over. It was such a great "Father and Son"
We've watched so many Disney movies that we now play a game in the car where someone says, "I'm
thinking of a Disney Character," and the rest of us try to guess who it is. Of all the places my kids desire to go for
vacation...Disneyland and Disney World are always their first picks, even though they're teenagers now.
just wanted to give a 'shout out' to Mr. Walt Disney for his vision, his talent and his skill of bringing such unforgettable
memoires and love to pure entertainment. Wouldn't it be great if we could all acheive something that touched so
many in a good way? Granted...he didn't cure cancer or eliminate hunger from the World...but he did bring us laughter
and tears, and a remembrance that it's alright to feel.
I love you all,
"MAKING ENEMIES/ MAKING FRIENDS"
3:12 am cdt
As a minister of the gospel of Jesus Christ...and as a Christian, I'm called upon by
God to do something that is very difficult...love everyone, including those who have the audacity to disagree with me. (tongue
Now, I'm no different than anyone else in terms of having my own opinion on a variety of issues from
politics to religion to society and culture. However, I've learned that my opinions and views do not take priority
over the issue of whether to love or not to love. In fact, I'm called upon by Christ Himself, to "Love my enemies."
The definition of the word enemy is, "one that is antagonistic of another." In other words...someone who disagrees.
As you probably know well, we live in a society and culture that is currently very divided. Divided by what?
Strong opinions and beliefs.
Sadly, what seems so difficult for many people to realize is that each one of us views
life through 'tunnel vision' and that fact alone, can keep us from seeing the truth...or even when we're
being deceived for that matter. There is simply no way for any one of us to know or understand the whole truth,
while looking at life from our singular angle.
In other words, I've come to realize that I live my life looking
through MY eyes alone and therefore find it hard at times to see another point of view that differs from my own. That
fact, in and of itself is not a sin...unless...I allow my own opinions to create enemies of those who don't share them.
As a minister, I'm often very saddened by the judgmentalism and sometimes...downright hatred, that
is spewed from religious institutions toward those who do not share their world or spiritual view. Having differences
of opinion are fine...making enemies of those who don't share them is sinful. Why? Because it is difficult
to walk in love with those you hate...even when commanded to do so.
The key then, is to give our own opinion
the weight it truly deserves...which is "very little." Only when we allow our own ego to step aside are
we able to look beyond differences in peoples, thoughts and cultures, to find this single truth, "God is no respector
of persons," and therefore loves us all the same.
It truly breaks my heart when I hear Christians (especially)
bashing others who do not choose to live or embrace their views. They seem to forget that Christianity is offered
freely to everyone, but is not forced upon anyone. To be angry with anyone or to hate
anyone who does not believe or embrace our views...is to completely miss the greater message of Christ, which is to love.
In many cases, it seems that Christians are terrified to accept and love someone who is different for fear that in
doing so, we would somehow be embracing their views, philosophies or lifestyles. Nothing is further from the truth
and quite honestly...is a sign of immaturity as a Christian rather than a badge of honor.
Now, I'm certainly
not saying that this problem is unique to Christians...it's not. Hatred and divisive behaviors are evident in all
aspects of society without a doubt. But as a spokesman for Christianity, I would love to see us move toward a more gentle
and loving people, rather than one that is so opinionated and even judgmental at times.
I admit, that I have many
friends that hold opinions, ideas, and lifestyles that are very different from mine. So did Jesus. I've also
learned that at the end of the day...that's ok. I am secure enough in my own beliefs and thoughts, that I can
love them without feeling threatened by them.
In truth...when all the layers of our opinions are torn away...we
were all created by a loving God who values us greatly.
My precious friends, please hear me. I'm
not trying to scold or correct anyone here. I'm humbly and sincerely trying to remind us of this great truth: We
are commanded to "Love our neighbor as ourselves," not to "defend our opinions to the death." The
world is full of enemies. Let's be an example of how to be friends.
I love you all,
"TURNING STONES INTO BREAD"
12:09 am cdt
In one of the most famous stories about the life of Christ, He was led into the wilderness to be tempted
of Satan. For forty days and nights He was tempted mercilessly by the devil.
Having not eaten for those four-plus
weeks and He was understandably very hungry. Satan appears to Him and says, "If You are the Son of God,
make these stones bread," to which Jesus replied, "Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word
that proceeds out of the mouth of God."
On the surface, this might not seem like a great temptation.
After all, we've all been hungry before...and without giving a thought to prayer or asking God for help, we go into the
kitchen and raid the fridge or toss together a sandwich. Simple...just man (or woman) meeting a basic need right?
In this case however, the temptation was very different. What Satan was trying to get Jesus to do, was to rely
upon His own strength, talent or power to meet a desperate need, rather than to depend solely upon God. After Jesus
rejects this temptation, the Angels came to Him and fed Him.
Believe it or not...this particular temptation is
still one of the most frequently used devices of Satan against God's people. Not 'turning stones into bread,'
necessarily, but trying to get us to rely upon our own strength, intelligence, and abilities in order to achieve something
In one of the most powerful letters ever written, the Apostle Paul is expressing anger and fear
that many of his fellow Christians in the Country of Galatia...had fallen hard for this temptation. They had literally
begun turning away from total faith and dependence upon God...replacing their faith with fleshly works...works that are completely
Satan's plan in all this is simple. He knows that our human efforts are weak at best...and destined
to fail. If he can get us to move in our own power...he knows failure is certain. He causes us to focus more on
the "need" than on the "Supplier," which results in continued stress and increasing worry. He causes
us to go into 'panic-mode' where we desperately try to fix things ourselves or retreat into defeat and hopelessness.
He is a cruel enemy!
No where does Satan attack more in this area, than in finances and our salvation.
The Galatians were tempted to retreat into the Old Law in order to please the Jewish leaders of their day. They suddenly
began to fear their salvation depended more upon them...than upon Christ. Paul warned them that doing so, would be to
alienate Christ and His death on the Cross that relieved them from the Old Law.
Oftentimes, when we are faced with
financial struggles and a horrible economy, we too can begin retreat into fear that if things don't change, we're
gonna end up in deep trouble. These fears are very real and can even cause us to do things we wouldn't normally
do, like sell our house, move to a new place...etc. Not that these things are always wrong...but they should never be
done in panic mode.
It is during these times that we must remember that "God feeds the birds of the field,"
although none of them hold jobs, stocks or bonds, properties or have big retirement accounts. In fact, Jesus spoke a
great deal about God's love for us...and His ability to take care of us. In short, Jesus was telling us, "No
need to try and make bread out of stones, the Father has you covered!"
My prayer for us today, is that
when Satan tempts us to turn away from the grace and power of God, toward our own strength and will...that we reject it as
flatly as Jesus did.
I love you all,
"SOMETHING ABOUT THE COMING ELECTIONS"
5:48 am cdt
At the end of the day on November the 4th...we...American's will have elected a new President.
Barring any unforseen tragedy or the End of the World...we will have elected Barack Obama or John McCain as our new
leader for a four year term with hopes that better days are ahead. Isn't that what every American prays for...hopes
for and longs for every time we go to the polls? That the next guy...or gal...will be able to get Congress moving to
make positive steps to help us all? It's what they promise anyway...and what we buy into everytime. I still
remain hopeful, although I tend to be a cynic where politians are concerned.
As I look back over the eight years
of the Presidency of George W. Bush, there are things that I was pleased with...and things I wasn't pleased with at all.
I'm sure I would have felt the same had Al Gore been elected. Those issues are my own personal political views and
I won't bore you with them in this article.
However, I have noticed that in the last eight years America
has become a deeply divided Nation. The debate over how best to live as American's has grown from fairly cordial
disagreements...to shouting matches...hate-filled speech and even violence. The political scene has really gotten ugly
at times...with most people having an opinion and not afraid to voice it...nor are they afraid to hate those who disagree.
That division can ruin any Country...including ours if it continues.
Jesus made a profound observation one day
saying, "A Nation divided against itself, cannot stand, but will be brought to ruin."
I agree. We must as American's...find common ground again and save this Nation for our Children and grandchildren.
After all, division or unity are choices within our own power.
As I look back, trying to discover where America
became so divided...I honestly think it was back in 2000 when the election was held up by a close tally, hanging 'chads,
and the legal battles that led all the way to the Supreme Court. American's became angry as some felt like the election
had been stolen...while others felt angry that the defeated Party should accept the outcome and move on.
fact that the outcome was determined by lawyers and Judges, instead of the voters...was bound to leave a dark cloud over any
presidency...regardless of the eventual outcome. I honestly believe that had Al Gore won, there would have been
just as many "haters" as George Bush has had...merely because the way the election was decided...not simply
because of the man. Of course, that is mere speculation on my part.
My prayer for this election however
is simple. That whoever wins...wins, and that American's will accept the democratic form of government and free
elections and get behind the winner...united. If we as American's can do this...it would force our politicians
to work together to get something done for our Country. At the end of the day...they work for us...right? If they
can't work together...and the shouting and division begins with them...how can they expect American's to be any different?
We should be able to fire them if they don't. Not after four years...but after one year. Send em'
packing...no big lifetime retirement...no big speaking fees. Fired!
Maybe I'm a dreamer...but
I have seen what Unity can produce. I've also seen what division can do...and it's horrible and ugly.
Lastly, I once began a game of Monopoly with a guy who I knew had a temper. He hated to lose. When
it became obvious that I was going to win, he literally picked up the Monopoly board and threw it across the room
and stormed out. Immaturity does that when it loses. My precious friends...it's time American's
grew up and matured enough, to cast our vote...and then support the majority decision...like it or not. At the end of
the day it's the way our government works...and it beats Communism and dictatorship, anyday.
I love you all,
"IF YOU REALLY WANT TO LIVE...DIE"
1:33 am cdt
Yesterday was the one day of the year I've come to accept as a day in which I am forced to
do a personal evaluation of my life. It was my birthday. A very real reminder that the clock keeps ticking...and
time does run out eventually.
There was a time when my birthdays were anticipated by me as a day when I would receive
some very nice and kind attention...and maybe even a gift or two and some nice cards with well-wishes and a nice dinner and
For the last several years however, my birthday has become a time for me to
reflect upon my life and ask myself some important questions. The first being: am I contributing to others enough?
Is my life making a difference in the lives of others? I'm so grateful the answer to that question is "yes."
I must admit, there was a time when such reflections were not based upon how I was doing with
others, but rather upon what I was achieving on a personal level such as wages, titles and so forth. Thankfully, I've
outgrown that part of my life and tend to focus instead about how my life is influencing or helping others.
I look back...I find that much of my life was wasted on personal pursuits that brought me little more than fleeting satisfaction.
I've performed music before crowds of thousands who cheered and stood at what I could accomplish musically, but that pales
in comparison to the two phone calls I recieved today...one from my brother and one from my sister...wishing me a Happy Birthday...or
from two of my precious Aunts who phoned with birthday wishes.
In other words...my Birthday today was celebrated
with very few people...but people who I have invested my life in...and who return that investment with such loving reward.
I guess what I'm trying to say is this. I've learned in my life that true success is found in the number
of individual relationships that we invest our hearts into...not in the fame, wealth or personal glory that the World promotes
so rampantly. I can tell you without flinching...that I'd trade the most important title in the World or the best
paying job in the World for the two hugs I got today from my two sons.
I was asked earlier this week, by my secretary,
if I wanted to cancel all of my counseling appointments on my birthday so I could celebrate it without working.
I declined. Instead, I spent my day working to help a precious young man on the verge of a painful divorce...a child
who has problems with his thought processes...and a woman who is trying to find the right medications to help her long-term
suffering. All three were precious experiences for me...and in my opinion...a great way to spend one's birthday.
My evening was spent with family and friends, a nice dinner from Pizza Hut, and a store-bought cake.
I loved every second of the whole day...it was perfect.
As anyone who is a member of our Church could tell you...I'm
not a great leader. Not in the sense that I can organize things well and generate huge numbers of people or offerings.
That's simply not my gift. Without the help of others...it would be a mess.
What most of those same members
could also tell you is....I'm all about people. In my heart, success as a pastor is measured in the personal investment
I'm able to make into the lives of God's precious lambs...not in organizing or building a gigantic congregation through
powerful leadership. With all my heart, I wish I was terrific at both...but I'm simply not.
is for people...to love them...to help them...one at a time...to the best of my ability. Why? Because a Carpenter's
Son from Galilee did the same for me one day. When I examine my accomplishments on my birthday...that's what I'm
Last night a dear friend, whom I known for many years...and have served with in the Church, gave me a
wonderful birthday present. She told me how her son...who's had a very difficult life, suffering with depression
and drug abuse told her recently, "If it wasn't for Reydon, I'd be dead."
Those words were such a gift and reminded me what my life is really all about.
One day Jesus said, "If you
lose your life for My sake, you'll find it." He was right. Life lived for "self" is so
empty of real life. A life dedicated to helping others...is the true essence of life. I learned how to give and
love...through Him. To echo my friends statement, "If it wasn't for Jesus, I'd be dead."
I love you all,
"I CAN'T DO WHAT?"
3:48 pm cdt
"These people draw near to Me with their mouth, and honor Me with
their lips, but their heart is far from Me. And in vain they worship Me, teaching as doctrines the commandments of men."
In this passage of scripture, Jesus has just had a long day and some of the religious
people of the day were insulted at Him because His disciples sat down to eat bread, WITHOUT WASHING THEIR HANDS. Imagine
that. A bunch of grimy fishermen, a tax-collector and the rest of the ragtag group failed to observe something religious,
and now Jesus is being ridiculed for it. According to those insulted...He broke tradition. A big "no-no"
in relgious circles then...and now. Eek.
(Internet definition of the word: Tradition: A broad religious
movement made up of religious denominations or church bodies that have a common history, customs, culture, and, to some extent,
body of teachings.)
Let's face it...we all have traditions. Sometimes this is a very good thing...like
sitting together as a family and celebrating the Thanksgiving Holiday with a dinner and warm conversation. Othertimes
however, tradition can become a religious demand made by man...rather than something instituted by God...and that is never
Growing up in a denomination, I soon became aware that if I were to fit in...I was going to have to identify
and embrace as my own, the unique characteristics and 'traditions' of my denomination...or I wasn't going to
fit in. I soon learned all the "this is how WE do things around here," stuff and fell into line...at least
After I became and adult and began to read the Bible for myself, I found that many of the things I had
been taught as biblical...were in fact, man-made traditions and not biblical at all. At first I was angry that I had
been taught such things...and especially angry when I felt like I had failed God when I wasn't able to keep one of these
traditions. Then I realized...it was my own fault.
Reading and understanding the Bible for ourself
is essential if we want to walk free of "unauthorized" traditions or rules that are man-made and meant to keep us
in line with the social or cultural ideas of mankind, rather than walking in the peace and freedom of Jesus Christ.
If we just blindly accept as biblical...the teachings of mankind, it's nobody's fault but our own. I don't
mean that to sound harsh...it's just true.
I remember going to a funeral a few years ago and the sacred rite
of Communion was going to be given. As the ministers prepared to serve communion an announcement was made that "if
you are not a member of this congregation, we ask that you do not participate in communion." It probably goes without
saying...I was livid.
How could anyone keep the "Body and Blood" of Christ away from me...just because
I haven't joined their man-made denomination? I may not be the biggest tent in the campground, but I know a thing
or two about God, and I know that the Gospel of Christ is offered freely to "whosoever will," and whether or not
the world likes it...I fit into that category.
My first instinct was to say, "I don't care what they say,
I'm taking communion." Then I calmed down and realized that these men were just following orders...not from
God...but from their own religious bosses.
That event made me think of the words of Jesus, "Behold, I stand
at the door and knock...if anyone will hear My voice and open the door I will come in..." This denomination rewrote
those words to say: "Behold I stand at the door and knock...if you can get past us first...you might get to Him!"
I admit, they may not have written or said those words...but they might as well have.
I challenge each one of you
to consider your notions and ideas about God. Search your own beliefs to find out what things are actually of God...and
which one's might be man-made traditions that you've embraced as your own. I continually come face to face with
my own and realize that...at the end of the day...they will be 'plucked up.'
You see, Jesus told us, "What
God did not plant will be plucked up...what He did plant, will remain."
My precious friends, there is a day
coming when the traditions of man will be held up to the scutiny of God...and little will remain...if anything.
prayer is that all Christians will do a little gardening of their own and get rid of anything that is not of God, or represses
or keeps anyone from enjoying the freedom that comes with a relationship in Christ.
Please don't misunderstand
me...I'm not saying all religious traditions are wrong or unworthy of embracing as a personal lifestyle or philosophy.
I am saying that if they keep other people "out" or if they are taught as biblical...they are deceiving and that
I'm always amazed when certain religious groups lay claim to the notion that their denomination is
"the only way to God or to Heaven," especially in light of the fact that Jesus said, "No one can come to the
Father EXCEPT THROUGH ME!" Can they not see how enormously arrogant and self-absorbed that type of thinking and
teaching can be? To be honest...it's no wonder so many people are turned off to religion altogether with such overt
expressions as those.
I long for the day when all Christianity returns to the simple faith that was born out of
the life, death and resurrection of our Only founder...Jesus Christ. He...without tradition...opened the doors of the
Kingdom of God wide and made a broad and embracing invitation: "Come unto Me ALL who are weary and heavy laden...and
I will give you rest."
I love you all,