This afternoon I’m at my home office computer watching the live stream Memorial service for one of the men who encouraged me in ministry. His name is Roy Wheeler and he served in Amarillo, Texas for over 40 years as the Senior Minister for Hillside Christian Church. (Known as Paramount Terrace Christian Church when I was growing up) My first two suits came from Roy and those are a necessity, at least back then, for being a preacher. Roy came up to Joplin, Missouri in April of 1994 to hear my senior sermon and participate in my ordination service for full-time Christian ministry. Later on that day Roy said he was so impressed with my sermon that he wanted me to come back to Paramount Terrace and preach it for all three Sunday morning services before Debi and I left for Moscow, Russia as missionaries.
I wanted to make the memorial service today but with all the Hurricane relief that our Houston area church is engaged in, I just couldn’t make it happen. I’m sure that among all the people who were in attendance, there will be a number of men, like me, who owe part of their journey in Christian ministry to Roy. While it was Jesus who truly called me to this task, it was Roy and men like him who confirmed it. For that I am ever grateful.
This afternoon is indeed one of those times in the race of our lives when we do stop and think about those who have been a positive influence on us. For me, I’d say that the “A Team” list of older mentors in my life, who have encouraged me in ministry, would be Eric Wolfram, Max Goins, Mark Scott, Fred Masteller, Dennis Platt, Bob Gerhardt, and Steve Sigler in addition to Roy. Maybe for you, today can also be a time to remember, thank Jesus for, and possibly reach out to those who have encouraged you.
Likewise, as we live in such a negative culture today, the positive power of the tongue is such a rarity. I often ask myself whom I might encourage like these men have done to me. What about you? The reality is that all of us will be at center stage of a funeral or memorial service someday. At that time, who will be stopping and thanking Jesus for allowing you to be a positive influence in their lives?
It had been a long day as Deb and I were dropping off our girls for youth group. We try to grab date nights whenever we can. When you’ve been married for just over 26 years even fast food has a romantic ring to it. So with a coupon that Deb was graced with from one of her students, we headed to Chick Fil A with the anticipation of not having to clean a kitchen and enjoy some time without teen drama. The problem was that the line was taking forever and the day was just getting longer.
I wanted to bolt, but Deb was much more patient. To encourage me she suggested a bet; which is something she hardly ever does. In her confidence, she offered a bet that if we were not through the line in 10 minutes she’d wear a corset that night.
What? A preacher talking about the intimate details in marriage? Well why not? Actually the Bible does speak about the subject in quite wonderful ways. The unfortunate deal is that our present Western culture has allowed Hollywood to highjack the subject. Yes, God really did create sex and preachers really do engage in it. So today and later in a second installment I’ll share 5 quick points on the subject that just might help us restore a truly Kingdom mind set about sex. (more…)
I’m not sure when or why we started calling him Sir Rob. I mean he’s not British and as far as I know the Queen has not knighted him. But Sir Rob just kind of feels like a knight. He’s ex-military and a tough guy but yet carries an air of nobility and wisdom with him that makes you feel like you’re talking with someone in the English Parliament. Except of course when he’s making jokes and swimming in dry humor. Which I suppose is a lot of the time. But still, Sir Rob just fits.
I also don’t recall when I first heard him pose the question. I’ve heard it a lot though. Another one of my friends gets down on himself and begins a degradation process. You know; the “I’m an idiot” type talk. I’ve done that. Maybe you have. But right after my friend told himself how bad he was Sir Rob followed up with the question of; “really, who said that?” In other words, who said he was an idiot, failure, or other? (more…)
Earlier this morning a friend noted a New York Times article from yesterday addressing the political aftermath of the shooting at a gay night club in Orlando. In the write up the author stated that prior to a recent congressional vote, a “Republican congressman read his colleagues a Bible verse from Romans that calls for the execution of gays.” The truth of the matter is that the book of Romans in the Bible says no such thing. This type of paid journalism, beyond being unprofessional and dishonest, is part of what is propagating the myth in our present culture that Bible believing Christians hate gays.
Yes, a section of Romans chapter 1 does speak of giving into homosexual temptations as being outside of God’s design but it nowhere calls for hatred and violence toward those people by Christ followers. Indeed there are cultish groups like the Westborow Baptist Church that spew hatred toward others. However this does not speak of authentic Christianity. While people who hold to an authoritative view of scripture may not agree with gay-marriage, they do not hate those who practice such. On the contrary, they love them despite their differences.
This can be easily illustrated by the response of Chick fil-A Sunday following the shooting in Orlando. (more…)
Emotions were high again yesterday as the city of San Antonio voted for the inclusion of sexual orientation language in its non-discrimination policy. While supporters of this move are naturally thrilled, I see this as very problematic and even a dangerous move. I know that some will say I’m responding in this manner because I’m hateful even though I’ve not uttered a nasty word toward those with the LGBT philosophy. Rather, my somberness is because I’ve connected the logical dots along the line of purposefully abandoning a Biblical world view in favor of relativity when it comes to truth. Take for example the implementation of unisex bathrooms to appease those who have a propensity toward transgender feelings. That kind of reasoning will only bring pain on the innocent and the case last year of a man who feels like he’s a woman is a perfect example. In that situation, the man in question was awarded the ability to change in the women’s locker room of a college even if girls were there because the school ruled it was his “Civil Right” to do so. This is just the latest round in a culture where right is called wrong and wrong is called right and truth is relative to the eye of the beholder.
Indeed one can see chaotic times looming as the natural and logical progression of moral relativity continues to shape values and then laws. However; my purpose in writing today is not directed toward those who oppose Biblical sexuality and marriage, but rather to offer up a challenge to those who are truly trying to follow Christ. (more…)