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Category Archives: Biographical

A little about my life

You Lose A Lot When You “Put Others First”

Most of us are keenly aware of our own need for recognition, money, praise, position, status, clothing, respect, love, shelter etc… and sadly, we spend most of our waking moments trying to meet (and exceed) those needs.

Scripture tells us in Phil. 2:3-4   Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, 4 not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others.

These verses really started to bother me a couple of years ago. Of course, it was always easy seeing the self-absorption in others before I saw it in myself…but eventually God made it obvious to me in almost every area of my life…not pretty!

God called to mind people who He was asking me to put before my own “needs”.  First it was my wife, then my kids. Then He brought up several people in the community, then it was a group of young college guys who just needed someone to look up to. The list got longer but you get the idea.

God showed me a lot about putting the needs of others before my own. He showed me that anyone who does it will LOSE A LOT… like:

  • deep feelings of JEALOUSY at OTHERS BLESSINGS
  • the CONSTANT STRIVING for personal ATTENTION and CREDIT
  • GUILE and POSITIONING
  • FEAR of being LEFT OUT
  • FRUSTRATION with “WHERE YOU ARE”
  • sleepless nights…
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LEADERSHIP WEEK: “TRAIN HARD” Devo 4-12-11

See yesterday…

THREE THINGS ABOUT YESTERDAY’S POST…

  • I had all the right equipment for the Race…
  • I looked like I knew a lot about cycling. (not only does spandex make you look silly, but it also makes you look like you know what you are doing on a bike. Wow!)
  • I even went through the motions of training

But when the “heat of the Race” came, I was totally unprepared.

We are often the same way in our spiritual lives…

  • We have all the right “equipment” for the race. Never before in history have we had so many ways to study the Bible. Commentaries, computer programs, apps, devotional guides, books, DVDs, CDs etc…..
  • We all know how to “look” like we love the Lord. Ya go to church, tell people “your are praying for em”, and drop something in the offering plate….
  • We go through the motions of training. Church attendance, fellowships etc….

And when the “heat of the race of LIFE” comes, we are totally unprepared.

Three ways to “NOT COAST”

  1. USE YOUR EQUIPMENT! The Bible is more than John 3:16 and Genesis 1:1. I know some Christian men who can take apart a jet engine and put it back together over lunch and yet they claim the Bible remains a mystery to them. I “get” that reading a 1300 page book (my Bible has 1343 pages) is not easy. So how do you do it.  A little at a time…evey day just plug away at it. You will be amazed how much you can begin to “get”.  (also: use an app, podcast, reading plan etc)
  2. RESIST THE URGE TO “LOOK LIKE A CHRISTIAN”. If your focus in your faith is to “look like a Christian in every situation” you will be robbed of the joy of actually being one! Simply focus on loving the one who saved you from sin and death…then act accordingly.
  3. TRAIN HARD! It is the only way we will ever stand the “heat” of life. How many times have we seen folks who simply got “fat” in their faith and when the difficulties of life came they were “totally unprepared!” REMEMBER: the “heat of life” does not change our faith…it reveals it!

Hebrews 12:11 No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it.

 

HERO WEEK: “Lover, Partner, Friend…HERO!” 4-6-11

Today is my wife’s birthday! And it is completely APPROPRIATE that her birthday lands right in the middle of HERO WEEK! We met when I was 16 and she was 15. Our first date was to the 1983 Round-Up Dance at SH Rider High (see pic below) And while I cannot possibly do justice to the profound impact she has had on my life, I offer this….

Before I ever actually met her, I met her REPUTATION. She was the girl in High School who loved Jesus and loved others. She had friends in every group. Some were cowboys, “preppies”, “druggies”, jocks, “honor rollers” and “holy rollers”. Her key to all of these relationships was not that she changed with each group but that she was the same…every time. She caught some heat from her “church friends” for talking to the girls who smoked, the guys with pierced ears and the “death metal crowd”. But she thought that if Jesus would talk to them then maybe she should too…SHE HAS NOT CHANGED AT ALL IN THIS REGARD. You are just as likely to find her with a friend who is a believer with “it all together” as you are seeing her interacting with someone “far from God”. I love that about her…….. HERO!

Margie is COURAGEOUS. I have seen her in so many situations where she has had to be brave. From the death of her father to standing in front a crowd and teaching what no one else would…… she is a brave woman… HERO!

She gives me COURAGE. In my first church, I was the Min of Students/Music Minister. That’s right I led the singing for the 100 or so folks who showed up! (quit laughing) I was so nervous being in front of a “crowd” that every Sunday morning (first 6-8 months) about 5:30am I would wake up, go to the bathroom, barf my guts out then head to the the living room, sit in the dark and pray. She is the one who came in later…looked me in the eye and said “You can do this!”. She has done that 1000 times since then…….. HERO!

Margie is FIERCELY LOYAL to me. She is always on MY SIDE, always IN MY CORNER and always on my TEAM!! HERO!

Margie is DISCIPLINED. She is a runner….I mean a “marathon running, get up at 5:30am in the freezing cold and run 5 miles before she goes to church kind of runner”. I have learned to work through some very difficult times because of her example of discipline in running …and 100 other things….HERO!

Margie is an terrific MOM. She seems to know “what to do next” in parenting. She can tell when one of our kids acting out of pain or acting out of “rebellion”. Margie can LAUGH at HERSELF. You would think that someone as “freakishly talented” as she is would be “kinda snooty” but she is gracious to everyone she meets…. probably has ever met! ROLE MODEL!

She FORGIVES EASILY. Lets just say it is a good thing she has this quality. (nuff said) HERO!

Margie is the most INTUITIVE person that I know. She just knows things…things about parenting, things about people, things about which way to go etc…She is WISE. HERO!

Margie has close FRIENDS. She has close friends. I mean really close! Margie is georgeous! I mean seriously…who looks that good at “forty-t_ _ _ _” … um…er… her age?

Margie makes me BETTER… a better man, dad, husband and pastor. (Heck, I don’t eat out of a can, belch in public or weight 400 lbs because of her!!) She showed me how to “shake hands and look people in the eyes”, how to look for the person sitting alone and befriend them and how to “speak up” when no one else will. It is an understatement to say if God had not brought Margie to me I would be “lost” in life. (I’m not saying she is perfect, just perfect for me)

HERO!

RUTH 1:16 “Don’t urge me to leave you or to turn back from you. Where you go I will go, and where you stay I will stay. Your people will be my people and your God my God.

 

 

HERO WEEK: “My Brothers are my Brothers” 4-5-11

Everybody needs heroes… someone to look up to….someone who has done or is doing “it” the way you want to. These three men are at the front of the line on my “LIST OF HEROES…

Stephen Frank: (3rd from left) Because he is 5 years older than me he has always been one of my HEROES.

  • I really believe that God used Stephen to “save us all”. He was the first of my brothers to embrace Jesus. He was so changed by Jesus that I noticed….and my brothers noticed too!
  • Like most little brothers I grew up wanting to be like him (and make sure he never knew I wanted to be like him). In 1st grade I wore his football jersey to school without him knowing it. I felt pretty coolwith it on in spite of the fact that I looked ridiculous! (way too big!)
  • I have watched him confront people as well as bless them with equal skill and grace. I have often thought that if you can’t get along with Stephen….you can’t get along period.
  • Far from being a doormat, Stephen is a very successful business owner who competes with tenacity and integrity. (qualities that are not often placed together)
  • He is “Barnabas” to me. Gentle, leader, strong, reasonable…”Son of Encouragement” ….. HERO.

Acts 9:27 But Barnabas took him and brought him to the apostles. He told them how Saul on his journey had seen the Lord and that the Lord had spoken to him, and how in Damascus he had preached fearlessly in the name of Jesus.

Bruce Frank:(far left) I have watched Bruce go from being a “lost soul” (don’t even get me started!) to being the Sr. Pastor of one of the fastest growing Mega-Churches in America.

  • Bruce and I became close while at school together at Texas Tech (I was a freshman while he was a Sr). He and his friends “looked after me” my freshman year.
  • Scratch golfer (really) proud dad, leader.
  • Both of us are in “ministry” so conversations take on a special feel and his insight and wisdom in that regard has blessed me many times.
  • Bruce is as talented a man as I have ever met, but a lot of people are talented. It is his sense of humor combined with intense focus that sets him apart.
  • He is “Paul” to me. Leader, focused, fearless and visionary…..HERO.

Ephesians 4:15 Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will grow to become in every respect the mature body of him who is the head, that is, Christ.

James Frank (far right) (my twin): We have been close ever since college was over (He is an Aggies so I had to wait till he matured…ha!)

  • I can’t tell you the number of times he has “talked me off the ledge”, lent an ear or just plain spoken truth “into” me.
  • His son and I share names…Hixon. They actually refer to him as the N.I.V. (New Improved Version) If we were going to have another it would be James (Jamie) for sure. Of course if we had another one (#4) he would have another one (#5). It is the whole competition thing!
  • He is driven, competitive and bold
  • James is tenacious in his pursuit of….well…anything and he sincerely walks with God.
  • He is “Peter” to me. (cause he will actually “Get out of the boat) Leader, Thinker, Fierce, Sincere….HERO

Matthew 14:29 “Come,” he said. Then Peter got down out of the boat, walked on the water and came toward Jesus.

WHO ARE YOUR HEROES?

 

“5 Reasons My Church ROCKS!”… just indulge me.

I’m wide awake and surprisingly alert. Hard to believe that 4 hours of sleep was enough to recharge my batteries but so it is. It is very early and it is just me, my Bible and my Mac. I can’t stop thinking about my CHURCH. I’m not saying we are perfect, I’m not saying we are better than other churches, I’m not even saying our church is for everybodyBUT MAN MY CHURCH ROCKS!!!

HERE ARE A FEW REASONS WHY…

#1 PASTOR BOB (Romans 13:1, Titus 3:1)

  • He insists we call him “Pastor Bob” even though he has the credentials to insist we use the “DR.”. Early on he said the best thing we could call him would be “Pastor”…not Dr. or even brother but Pastor!
  • He can “flat out preach”. Anyone who gets in the pulpit can put together a handful of good messages. But for almost three years, Sunday after Sunday, he gets up and “brings it!”.
  • He is a Triathlete! C’mon…how can that NOT ROCK?
  • He is not impressed with himself. Confident but self-effacing. He can laugh at his own expense…small ego.
  • He is a gifted leader that can be trusted.
  • He is willing to take some risks… Building a Jr High/College Building in this economy?…done! Starting a Satellite Campus less than 6 miles away to reach SAFB? …done! INcreasing missions emphasis locally, nationally and internationally?….done!

#2 THE STAFF (2 Cor. 8:23, Col 4:11)

  • From the Preschool Director to the Executive Pastor, they have been tested by “the fires” of ministry and been found faithful.
  • They are extremely competent
  • They work VERY hard
  • They are trustworthy
  • We are a TEAM…No “prima donnas”. We pull together, in the same direction, for the same purpose.

#3 THE WORSHIP SERVICES (Hebrews 12:28)

  • 9:15 Blended, 10:50 Contemporary, 10:50 Satellite are ridiculously good.
  • I’m sure the new Church at Sheppard will be equally good when we launch on Easter
  • Done with excellence but not “showy”

#4 LIFE GROUPS (Hebrews 10:25)

  • They are like family (not the kind you “have” to see at holidays, but the kind you want to “hang with” at the movies)
  • I know it is not “trendy” to meet on Sunday Mornings in small groups for what amounts to being “Sunday School” but these groups involve a couple thousand people on any given Sunday. It works…very, very well!!
  • They connect people to each other, teach them scripture, give em a place to serve together and help em share their story about how they came to know Jesus.
  • I have watched marriages restored, lives changed and people meet Jesus in these groups.
  • Everyone is welcome in these groups…and I mean everyone!
  • If you say they are “boring” you have never been!

#5 MOST OF THE PEOPLE “GET” MINISTRY (Matt. 20:28)

  • You are welcome in shorts or a three-piece-suit…nobody cares. (well, the few that do keep their mouths shut 🙂
  • Our Sr. Adults share space with Young Adults and ACTUALLY LIKE IT!
  • We are “friendly” AND we will also be your friend!
  • Our people refuse to be DEFINED by what we are AGAINST but by what we are FOR!
  • I see “60 somethings” in suits laughing with “20 somethings” in tattoos! THAT ROCKS!

 
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Posted by on February 26, 2011 in Biographical, Brain Dump

 

TEN PARENTING PRINCIPLES (I wish I always practiced)

Several years ago, when our kids were small, Margie and I sat down and came up with what would eventually become our guiding principles for raising our kids and developing a sense of family in our home. These are ten of those principles that have been a huge help to us…. maybe they would benefit you and your family as well… ENJOY!

1. Copywritten (sorry) ooops!

2. CORRECTION versus CRITICISM “Death Spiral” – Like most people, when a teenager is wounded they will wound someone else. They will look for a way to get back at the offender (parent). That creates a stiffening of the relationship and a sparring with my teen. The child is hurt so they hurt the parent , who sees disrespect and comes down even harder on the child….who sees the stiffer punishment and finds ways to wound… keeping the death spiral alive….

  • Jeremiah 10: 24:Correct me, Lord, but only with justice— not in your anger, lest you reduce me to nothing.
  • James 2: 25 Those who oppose him he must gently instruct, in the hope that God will grant them repentance leading them to a knowledge of the truth,

3. CONTROL.  No one likes to be controlled. Including teens. My kids don’t like friends who do it, they run from teachers who do it and they rebel against us when we do it. That puts us in a tough spot. We want to lead with freedom not control. Good behavior gets freedom, poor behavior gets confinement. Can I go to the movie’s?  Response: “are you free to go” (have you completed the task given to you?, Is the movie suitable according to the standards of the family?) Can I have friends over? (are your responsibilities done)

4. MAKE YOUR HOME “BASE”. For those of you that grew up playing outside (without video games, cell phones or internet) you may remember a great game called “Kick the Can”. (at least it was great in my Tulsa, Ok neighborhood in 1977)  It is like a lot of “tag” games in that the object is to avoid getting “tagged” by the person who is “IT” while at the same time trying to “kick the stationary can” that he is protecting. To add to the fun there is a designated “base”. It may be a tree, a shrub or a fence but as long as you are on “base”  you cannot be “tagged” or disqualified from the game….you are safe! While “on base” you could relax, catch your breath, work on “strategy” and prepare to re-engage the game etc….

That is a perfect picture of what a home needs to be for teenagers….a “base”.  Safe emotionally, physically and spiritually.   A Sanctuary – I have spoken/written on this a lot. The world is putting our kids into a vice and squeezing them. Any teenager that wants to “walk with the Lord” is going to have to resist a lot of pressure. But like any of us, they cannot resist 24/7!  They need a place where they can be free from pressure, undeserved criticism and sarcasm. Your home should be a “sanctuary”.

Practical:

a. RARELY CORRECT YOUR KIDS IN FRONT OF THEIR FRIENDS (except for extreme cases). They should get to be “in charge” (socially)  and the center of attention in their own home. Unless something is dangerous, immoral or blatantly disrespectful…let em do it. “Wear their butts out” away from their friends but “tearing them down” is what the world is doing to them. We are the builders. We cannot use embarrassment as a means of controlling our kids except in extreme situations.

b. REMEMBER WHAT IT IS LIKE TO BE A TEENAGER. Insecurities, silly ideas, crushes, zits…. then show the same compassion for your own kids as you would for that guest from out-of-town who is struggling.

5.”WIN THEIR HEARTS AND THEIR BEHAVIOR WILL (usually) FOLLOW – While I know that we are our kid’s parents first and their friend 2nd, (especially when they are young), somewhere in their early teens a very cool things takes place: You get to talk to them like a real live person! A dialogue instead of monologue. Actually sharing ideas instead of solely instructing. It may happen once and then not again for a while…but then it happens again. Before you know it you are having validating, important life changing discussions with an intelligent viable teenager….almost like a friendship!

I’m not talking about getting my kids to like us….. I’m talking about respecting our teenager’s gifts, personality, bent, etc….  We are beginning to make the turn from instructor and role model to confidant and role model. (yea, ya never really lose the whole role model thing). If we never make this transition we will frustrate our teenager and (opinion) stunt their growth. I was a teenager once…

6. NOT ALL TIME IS THE SAME TIME ….. some time is “instructional”(learning opportunities), some time is relaxing (Elvis movies with friends), some time is correctional (hun, you really have a blind-spot here that I want to help you through it) and some time is relational (what is God doing in your Life…if anything?, what boys do you like? Who do you think is cute?)

7. “TALK” WHEN THEY WANT TO “TALK” – scheduling time to talk is very difficult. It can feel forced and canned etc…. but God seems to bring our kids around to a time when they want to share stuff with us. That usually means (especially in the summer) that Margie or I (usually her) will have to stay up with them till they go to bed. What is it about teenage girls that wants to talk after midnight?   (for you control freaks I would challenge the notion that making a 17-year-old go to bed at 10pm is a good idea 🙂 )

8. MY KIDS WILL “LOOK LIKE ME” IN WAYS I DONT INTEND. They will become who I am in every area of life. Mannerisms, sarcasm, anger, humility, pride, devotion to the Lord,  etc….   Jerry and Mary Royal say it best: “They will follow WHO I AM before the follow WHAT I SAY”. My child has a problem with authority? ….hmmmm.  My child wrestles with worry and fear….hmmmm.  My child does not walk closely with the Lord?…. well… you get it.

9. TRY TO GET TO KNOW “THEIR WORLD” – Most teens in my kid’s world have cell phones, Facebook, Twitter, IMing, text messaging, Skyping, ….. blah blah blah. I won’t fight it because it is just a “hill I refuse to die on” and I’d rather help em manage it with me than learn without me. (I had a phone… a land line…that I hated talking on…I’m a guy)    Each form of communication has its own little language and etiquette. Get into what they are into and you may find that you and your teen can communicate well in the languages THEY most like to use. OMG you may find your son or daughter is your BFF!       lol

10. NEVER “PROTECT THE PICTURE”– At least once a week I am in the homes of folks who have visited our worship services or Life Groups. Over the years I have been in hundreds of homes and almost every one has pictures of family members. Some are simply school pics placed on the fridge with a magnate while others are ornate formal sittings. I’ve seen hunting pics, camping pics, skiing pics, Christmas pics,  prom pics, wedding pics, black and whites, beach pics, “Lady Godiva” pics (yikes), pics where the old boyfriend was torn out, and the list goes on…..  NOTHING WRONG WITH HAVING PICTURES OF FAMILY… I recommend it, endorse it, it is a great idea! They give a family a sense who they are or who they want to be. My house is covered with em!

Most families do their best to represent the family well when they are “out and about”… and they should.

THE PROBLEM: Many times the family picture of warm smiles and happy embraces is anything but an accurate reflection of what is actually going on in the home. Don’t misunderstand, all families have issues to deal with. However, I have watched families, especially folks who are in church (who feel some misplaced pressure to look and act a certain way), do all they can to “protect” the happy images represented in the pictures that hang on their walls…… while their family implodes.  After the damage has been done most say they were too embarrassed to seek help….

The problems associated with deceitfulness, control, anger, lust, apathy, abuse, money, depression, suspicion, mismanagement, hypocrisy, fear, idols etc……When the family becomes a dumping ground for these issues and all members are expected to ignore, cover up and act like the “pretty family” in the pictures…it causes immeasurable harm in the following ways…

1. teaches the kids to prioritize what others think vs. what God thinks. (Prov 29:25)

2. trains family members to be  (even bigger) hypocrites. (Matt 6:16)

3. “hard wires” family members, who may want to “walk authentically” with God, to hide their sin from Him. (Psalm 32:5)

4. builds resentment and distance between each other and those who want to get close to them. (kids future spouses)  (Job 5:2)

5. places mother and father is the positions of “chief liars” not Godly leaders. (Prov 19:22)

6. weaves the problems into the fabric of our homes and breed dysfunction as a way of life. (Hebrews 12:1)

7. developes a “mini-culture” of secret-sin that become almost a family treasure.

PRACTICAL:

Men: Deal with your own junk before you fix your family. How can you lead your family if you can’t lead yourself? Get real.

Women: Don’t worry as much about what others think. Do they really care about your family…. or how they rank next to your family?

Both: Love Jesus…. yea, I know, but it will radically change your family

 

“7 Questions to Ask BEFORE You Marry Him…”

I have noticed that the women in my life (wife and two daughters) are “hardwired” to be attracted to the “mushy romantic stuff”. (thank you Captain Obvious) It is just “IN THEM”. In fact, after fighting it for years they have “won me” over to their side.

SOOOOOO I am publicly (all 6 of you that will read this) admitting that I’m all for “mushy love”…romantic, candlelit, corny love. The kind of love that happens in the movies…in New York City…..in the snow…. at Christmas time. You know… the “can’t breathe without you, if we don’t get married I’ll die, talk on the phone till 2 in the morning, leg popping, “Pride and Prejudice” kind of love.

Yep ….Thats me.

While I’m at it I have a few more random confessions…

I actually liked “The Notebook” more than I probably should have. I think Jane Austen was a great writer! The movie “Titanic” would have “sunk” without Jack Dawson and Rose. Valentines Day IS a real holiday! I believe in love at first sight! Kisses mean something. “Wall-E” was great because a robot finds love. Gladiator was a romance… and the Princess Bride could be the BEST MOVIE EVER MADE!!!!

eh-hem.

BUT… Since that kind of “love” usually last till just after the “credits” there are some things that I want my daughters to look for besides “all of that”.

I want em to ask themselves a few simple questions about the man they will someday (presumably) marry:

1. DOES HE LOVE JESUS? Several years ago I stopped talking in terms of “being a Christian” and started asking, do they “love Jesus”?   After all, I live in Texas, EVERYONE IS A “CHRISTIAN”! But just cause he calls himself a Christian, knows some verses and wears the t-shirt does not mean much. Does he Love Jesus? Does he really walk with the Lord? Can you tell?

2. CAN HE SUBMIT TO AUTHORITY? If you have read this blog much you can see a theme here. But so much is written in scripture about a man both having authority and being under it. A man must understand both. If my daughters are gonna marry a young man one day then they gotta go for a guy who “gets” authority. The authority he will hold in the home, and the authority he will need to submit to as he lives his life. Eph 5 and 1 Peter 3 etc… Does he understand the servant leadership that he is charged with in the home that calls him to “love his wife as Christ loved the church”? Bosses, cops, pastors, banks, landlords, housing association, blah blah blah….they all represent authority he will more than like likely have to submit to. Can he submit without becoming the rebellious guy who speaks poorly of those in authority over him?

3. IS HE IN CONTROL OF HIMSELF? When a man is driven by his appetites and not his faith, he is in danger is almost every area. From food to porn he will be at risk for addiction, deception and collapse. A woman wants to marry a man who can control himself.

4. CAN HE SUFFER WELL? Crummy boss, mean co-workers, skipped for promotion, financial setbacks etc….. will he be able to live his life well when his world falls apart? Will he find a job and keep it? Will he bail at the first signs of trouble?

5. CAN HE STAND ALONE? From the moment he leaves the house in the mornings he will be wearing “a bullseye” on his back. This world, our Enemy and his sin nature will attack him and attempt to drive a wedge between him and his wife (and kids). Has he shown that he will be a man who sticks to his convictions when everyone else caves?

6. DOES HE TREAT HIS MOTHER WELL? You can tell a lot by how a man treats his mother. Typically he will treat his wife the same way.

7. IS IT EVER HIS FAULT? I understand that sometimes the things that happen in our lives are not our fault…we are the victims. BUT… is it ever his fault when things go wrong. Can he take responsibility for his own junk? If he cannot, then his wife is going to be the reason for his struggles…cause it will not be HIS fault.

So…. I say “go for the cute one, the romantic one, the rich one, the smart one etc… just so long as he answers these questions right”!

 
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Posted by on March 9, 2010 in Biographical, Family