Today as per my usual custom for Mother’s Day I wore a red rose bud in the lapel of my suit. What makes this even more special this rose bud come from the rose bushes that we got from my mom’s – father’s – house. It is one of the few plants that people have given us that still is living. I am so grateful that he did not leave us grass and if you saw my yard you would understand, but in my defense we have several trees so I am growing great moss at the moment.
The interesting thing about wearing a rose on Mother’s Day is that you end up explaining what it is for: red if she is still alive and white if she is not. There seems to be a dividing line in age. If you are under 50 you usually do not know much about this custom, but the senior adults in my church always love the fact that I still do this. It is a great touch and a nice way to pay respect to mothers.
I am grateful for my mom and all that she has meant to me. She has given me a great foundation especially spiritually and I know that much of what I am is because of her prayers. She continually gives and sets the example of what a mother and a wife is supposed to be. One of the best things that she does is that she loves my wife! We joke and say that if something ever happened she would choose Janice over me. While that is not really true, she does love her to the point of it would be a close call. What a gift that is for a son.
I am also grateful for the example of what my wife is for our daughter. It is fun to watch them get closer as my daughter gets older. God picked just the right person for us. My family is truly blessed in that we have a family with good relationships.
I have thought a lot about mothers today. Mother’s Day is different for everyone. In the young couple’s class that Janice and I teach some had already said goodbye to their mothers, some people have strained relationships, and I got an opportunity to pray with a lady this morning who for the first time on Mother’s Day understood forgiveness and grace as she was set free from the guilt of an abortion from many years ago. What a great time to celebrate those people who have influenced us in so many ways.
Thank You to all of the Mothers !!
There is a lot of talk these days about legacy. What it is and how to leave one. Sometimes the greatest legacies we leave are the one’s we do not think about.
Last week I was visiting the hospital and went in to visit a lady and her mother. The mother was the one who was not feeling well. Her brother had also just drove in to visit her from North Mississippi We started talking and sure enough there was a connection – this actually happens a lot when you live in Memphis and have relatives in Mississippi J He mentioned that a man named Joe Crawford baptized him. I told him that was my great grandfather on my mother’s side. Immediately his eyes watered and he told me of how my great grandfather had baptized he and his brother when they were just boys in a small country church that my great grandfather had pastored. He could not wait to call and tell his brother that he had met me.
Needless to say I was excited and glad we got to meet. I actually have several Ministers and Deacons in my family and I am proud of all of them. My great grandfather has been dead for many years and yet I am still getting the opportunity to meet people he had influenced.
The thing is, my great grandfather never did any of that to leave a legacy or even thought about leaving a legacy. He just went about his business doing what God called him to do. I got to thinking how it was a great moment to meet this gentleman and be associated with my great grandfather for what he had done, but there was nothing that I had done on my own. I was just related to the man who did the work. In heaven – unlike here on earth, who I am related to does not matter, nor what they did does not matter. Each one of us will stand on the fact that either we believed in God and what Jesus did for us on the cross or we do not. Knowing someone important, being related to someone in the ministry or giving a lot of money will not be what gets us into heaven.
I am grateful for my spiritual heritage and I am doing my best to pass along those important elements to my daughter. We need to build those things into our families, but we cannot rest on the laurels of those who have gone before us. Each day it is our decision to live for Christ.
Last week our church did our annual “Cross Walking” on the weekend before Easter. We have 6 Crosses that we walk up and down the main streets in Collierville with. My time was at 8am and in the picture you see a friend of mine who was taking my place in the next hour.
I always like this time each year when I do this. I get a chance to reflect and think about what the Cross really means and how Christ must have felt during that time. As people drive by you get the occasional honk and wave. Here in the South there is still a respect for the Cross, although last year I did get a “gesture”.
This year as I was walking I noticed that there was a digital speed limit sign that displayed your speed as you approached. I begin thinking about how the Cross and the speed limit sign were similar. As you approach each of them you are confronted and there is a decision to be made. As in the case of the speed limit sign you can use it as a wake up call and slow down, continue if you are doing nothing wrong, or you can choose to ignore the warning and pay the consequences down the road.
So it is with the Cross. It can encourage you, or it can make you stop and reflect and challenge you to make some changes in your life. However, you can also choose to ignore the Cross, but there will be cost on down the road. As people drove by that morning each person was making a decision.
What is your decision?
This is a repost from a couple of years ago.
Yesterday was my dad’s birthday and we are going out with them to celebrate tonight. Birthdays are always a great time to remember how special people are to you.
My fondest memories are just spending time with my dad growing up. He took time out of his schedule to be with me. There were times almost every day it seemed. Little things like working around the house, yard, or cars. It seems like something always needed fixing and he could fix anything. Unfortunately for my wife I did not inherit that skill. He also involved me in his hobbies such as “ham radio”, and computers. On the weekends he would carry me hunting and we would spend time in the car on the way and back just talking.
You never realize what a priority that was in his life until you have a job, responsibilities, and a family. What makes that so different than today’s world is that we make such a big deal when we spend time with our kids. We make sure everyone knows about it, we facebook about it, and tweet about it. For him we were just doing life together. It was a natural flow and not some event to be broadcast. He actually enjoyed spending the time with me.
My Father also loved my mother. As a child you do not realize how special this is until you meet those whose life is not like yours. I never saw my parents fight although I am sure there were times when they disagreed about things; they never created an environment where you were afraid. It was a very stable house.
My Father also made sure we made it to church each week. He was a deacon and a leader. He also became my R.A. Director (Royal Ambassador) at church when I went through that program. He not only invested in me, but many other young men as well who always seemed to say how much he meant to them as well when we would see them years later. He gave time – the one commodity that is more precious than money and the one thing you cannot replace with money or gifts.
Thanks for the heritage Dad !
Today I am celebrating my friends 50th birthday at the Siteman Cancer Center in St Louis. We are here for a check up after his bone marrow transplant back in October. This is an incredible place and they do some amazing work. I tell Bruce “Next year instead of going to the doctor lets go for a run to celebrate your birthday. Maybe we could do 5.1 miles for 51 years”. I explain to him that I think that is a reasonable goal for him and would worry about him trying to do 51 miles. He gives me one of those looks like “ yea, you think I am the hold up?!” I am sensitive about my friends that way.
I am sitting here in the waiting room looking at all of the people. There are seven floors of nothing but cancer patients. We are just in the part where they draw blood and there are three waiting rooms full. As I look around I see friends and family here supporting their loved ones. I see caregivers who are very tired, sleeping and many with bags under their eyes. You can see and feel their stress. Young people and old people, some with hair and some without- cancer hits them all. It does not take long to realize just how blessed I am sitting here among these heroes.
It is three weeks before Christmas. For some they are excited for what they will get to celebrate this year. Others are wondering if this will be the last Christmas they spend with loved ones and some know that this will be their last Christmas. Some thing’s in life are gradual and some things like my friends life – change literally overnight. Five minutes in this waiting room will change your perspective on life and what is really important. Me ? – I can’t wait to get home tonight and hug my family.
As a funny side note. Bruce and I were in the elevator heading down to breakfast and this couple looks up and the man says I look like I could be the brother of a friend of his. I laugh a little and say “ I am assuming he must be a great looking guy?” and they grin and say yes. They tell me he is a comedian. I respond and tell them some days that is close for me as well – I am a minister. He asks where I serve and I tell him. He then informs me that he has a men’s ministry “Man In the Mirror” and his name is Patrick Morley. I am blown away and tell him I have read a lot of his material. He thanks me and says it is good to meet us. We get off on the ground floor and we go different directions. You just never know who you will run into.
Bruce is making good progress and his numbers are looking up. They are adjusting his medications and each day he gets stronger. He has a great attitude and his determination to get back to triathlons is strong and empowering. However, I think what I admire most is how he is letting God use this in his life. The conversations he is having with others and his daily walk are great examples. God is always with us.
I have a friend named Bruce Truitt who has been going through chemo for leukemia. He got out of the hospital last week and asked if I could go for a bike ride with him. I figured how hard can it be since he had been in the hospital for 3 weeks and doing chemo treatments so I said “ sure – why not”. I could not decide if I needed to pack a water bottle or not, but I did one anyway thinking maybe we might do 8 to 10 miles. I had been building up to about 6-to 8 miles so I thought no big deal. I pulled up to his house early Saturday morning and I noticed that he had two water bottles on his bike. One of which was a blue color so I knew he had added something to it for endurance and there was a packet of something in his jersey. Suddenly, I knew this was not going to be pretty.
After the 20 Mile Ride
We started out on a good pace ( read slow for him ). As we rode we had parts where we could ride side by side and talk about life, family and God. This is always my favorite part of the ride a time where guys can just hang out and be real. There were also times he went “aero” so he could just go for it. After a while I started thinking “ I wonder if he remembers we have to go back?”. At mile 10 we turned around and he shared his Stinger Waffle with me. This is a waffle shaped snack that gives you a quick fix of energy. Sadly the thought crossed my mind – I bet I could just push him off his bike and take the whole thing We started making our way back and in the cycling world you are supposed to alternate who leads. The lead person takes the wind head on and carries the people behind just like birds in a formation. By mile 15 I did not care anymore and he was leading the whole way while I was thinking “ I wonder if it is rude to throw up on his back tire?”. We finished the 20 mile ride and it felt great. Great because I got to share his first ride with him and see his face as we finished, and how it made him feel to push and go for it.
That is how Bruce is. In the hospital he asked what the record was for miles walked while doing chemo on that floor. The nurse looked at him and said 5 miles. I could tell she thought poor guy I just crushed his dream. He walked out doing 5 1/2 miles. He does not just break the records he goes for, he crushes them. You have to like hanging with a guy like that! Bruce is a great family man, teaches 10th grade guys on Sunday morning, and enjoys triathlons.
Bruce needs your help. His cancer is in remission, but he still needs a bone marrow transplant. Like me he is an only child so he has to search outside his family for a match. For you to be tested all it takes is a swab kit with a q-tip and swab your mouth. If you test positive and agree to donate the process has never been easier. You go for 4 days in a row and they give you a shot and on the 5th day they draw your blood – that is it. How many times do we in this day and age really get a chance to save someone’s life.
Our church is sponsoring a Bone Marrow Donation Day on August 19th. For more details go here: http://www.fbccoll.org/bethematch
If that date is not convenient or you live anywhere outside our area you can call or email and a kit will be sent to your house: Be the Match Representative, Mary LeSueur at (877) 601-1926 Ext. 7745 or (662) 403-0091. firstname.lastname@example.org
To follow his journey go to: www.caringbridge.org/visit/BruceTruitt
Please help save someone’s life !
Over the years I have had the privilege of leading conferences and teaching as an adjunct Seminary Professor. One of the standard things I have tried to convey when it comes to ministry is “ if is convenient, it is probably not ministry”. My point here is that real ministry always demands a sacrifice. The sacrifice can be small or large, but make no mistake it will be there. People need ministry at the most inconvenient times it seems.
In some ways building community with a group of believers is the same. Community begins to take place when real life happens. My wife and I started teaching a Young Married couple’s class this past May. I began by teaching lessons designed to foster discussion on what Biblical Community was and how to go about building it. Six weeks into the class we had a week where one family celebrated the birth of a new baby and another family grieved the loss of a child during a pregnancy. During this time we also have said goodbye to friends who were moving and enjoyed some social time together. It was one thing to teach about community on Sunday mornings, but it took on a different dynamic when it began to be lived out during the week. Ministering to each of these families took sacrifices from the members of the class. It was not always “convenient” to make a meal, visit the hospital, or even make the effort to be in church on some Sundays.
I would have never chosen some of the things our class has gone through in order to bring us closer. God, however has used the circumstances in our lives for us to begin to understand what community is all about. These events have drawn our class closer together. Couples who were on the fringe of being involved in church have become committed to ministering to others in the class and to attending services at the church. The beginnings of true trust and agape love are starting to blossom. We are becoming a true family like God intended for us to be. People are craving a place where they can build real relationships, feel unconditionally accepted, and learn about God in an environment where it is safe to question and share. Yes, Bible Study is at one hour during the week, but community happens the rest of the time.
I was in a meeting a few weeks ago and we were discussing the possibilities of reaching an unengaged, unreached people group. This is an area of the world where no gospel influence has happened. The important aspect of this commitment is that when our church commits to reach this group then they come off of the list for our Missions board and they are totally our responsibility – no one else from our denomination will try to reach them. We were struck by the reality of these people were our responsibility and ours alone. We felt the heavy weight of that decision.
I started thinking and that is always a dangerous thing for me. At what point did I hand off and give away my responsibility for reaching people? Why is the responsibility of lost souls around the world not keeping me up at night? When was the last time I fasted and prayed about others to the point that God broke me? Don’t get me wrong. I love the mission organizations of the Southern Baptist and they do a great job. BUT – have I been content to write a check and let someone else do the work while I conveniently move on with my life? Shouldn’t I be feeling that weight of responsibility?
Nowhere in the Bible do you read that missions is only for a select few. Dawson Trotman is one of my hero’s of the faith. His prayer was for God to give him continents and God blessed his influence through out the world. The time he took to disciple others gave him a reach into many areas of the world. The danger we face today is that we do not realize that missions and evangelism is our responsibility as individuals not just the church or an organization. Needless to say God has used this to rearrange what goes on in my quiet time. I pray differently for missions, for my friends who are church planters, and for those who God brings into my path. I am now learning to pray in a different way. It is my responsibility.
On my day off I wondered through the “GoodWill Book Store” in Memphis. It is a good way to stretch my reading money and I can sometimes find really good deals. I am always amazed to see what people get rid off.
Two poetry books caught my eye. The first was “October” by Fredric Koeppel and the author had signed it. Mr. Koeppel is a local Memphian who taught at the University of Memphis and then worked for the Commercial Appeal. Sadly for him the book was only $1.99. His poems are quite good and it made for a fun find.
The second book was “A Child’s Garden of Verses” by Robert Louis Stevenson. The book is a red hardback that is older, but not a collector’s edition by any means. What caught my eye was the inscription on the inside “Merry Christmas and love to dear _________ from Aunt _______ . December 74 – may you find many quiet hours of fantasy with this book”. We have all been given books that did not excite us, but what drew me to this book was the part of “may you find many quiet hours of fantasy …..” I felt that I had to read and find out what it was about these poems that someone could get lost in them for hours and come back to time and again. This collection was a favorite of this Aunt and obviously touched her very deep. Poems have a way of doing that. Sadly, it appears that the book has never been read. Interesting what memories $2.00 will buy.
As I have talked about this among friends they have asked me how it is going and what we are doing. There are a lot of people who do not have cable TV and for different reasons. For our family we realized we really only watched about 10 -12 channels and just surfed. We asked ourselves the question “Why are we paying $70 bucks a month for 12 channels of nothing on?” So we decided to drop our cable TV.
Here is our process.
The first thing we had to do was to upgrade our internet. We still had a slow DSL connection and it would not be able to handle streaming. We now have a year of high speed internet ( not the highest ) for half of what we were paying and after the year is up it will be the same price as what we were paying. Next we got an indoor antenna for our TV. I went with the Leaf Indoor antenna (http://www.gomohu.com/the-leaf-indoor-hdtv-antenna/ ) It had good rating and did not have the ugly rabbit ears that stick up. This sets behind the TV and you cannot see it – very easy to install. So we have local channels that we can watch in HD now and that helps. We then added Netflix and HuluPlus. Both are the streaming options and are $8.00 per month each. I also can hook my computer up to the TV to watch anything from a network site if I want to.
Let me say this is not for everyone. We are not huge sports people so we pick up enough channels to meet our needs. If you are a big sports person than your options are more limited. It took us about a week to settle in to this routine and I will admit I had the hardest time. I was used to just coming in and hitting the remote and surfing mindlessly. I have noticed we watch TV a little less, but not much. The big difference is that we are more intentional on what we watch and when. Also you need to know it takes more effort get to a program and get it set up. However, we are enjoying the system and it is not bad once you adjust. Not everything is available on Netflix or HuluPlus, be there is enough. Add in the ability to watch over the computer and you can see almost everything.
Our family really loves British sitcoms and there are not a lot of them out there for streaming. We already have a small collection of DVD’s so we can watch them. Also, twice a year Barnes and Nobles runs their Brit Com’s on half price and we can buy a few along the way. You can also rent movies from RedBox or the library.
Bottom line: This is a good move for us at the moment. I am not saying we will never go back to cable, but this is working for us. I think TV is in a transition just like newspapers and magazines and will continue to be for a few years. More people are wanting to watch what they want – when they want. Have fun and as the old saying goes “ your milage my vary”.