Archive | December, 2011

AND THAT’S THAT!

31 Dec

Love? Ha!

That’s how he felt for the last 20 years. He had learned as a result of his environment and the circumstances that led him there to not trust anyone or anything! You can’t trust family, you can’t trust friends, and you certainly can’t trust God! Nope! Don’t even try to tell him about it! He’d made up his mind!

And that was that!

That’s what he’d learned in state prison! Oh, there were those who had tried to argue with him about it! The prison chaplain had told him that his attitude was not going to get him anywhere and he needed to look to Jesus! But that fell on deaf ears. If Jesus was who He said He was, then he wouldn’t be locked up right now!

That was that!

Volunteers came into the prison every now and then and would try to lead Bible studies but it was nothing he really wanted to be a part of. The last thing he needed to hear from a bunch of people who probably had never committed a crime worse than stealing a pencil was that Jesus loved him!

And that was that!

But then someone invited him to a Kairos weekend.

“Oh, great!” he thought. “Another Jesus thing!”

But he decided to apply anyway. No, his heart wasn’t softening. No, he wasn’t willing to “give Jesus a try”. But he was told there would be home cooked meals! And homemade cookies! Now, that got his attention!

On the first day, it was exactly what he expected. A bunch of people telling him about Jesus and how much He loved him and that they loved him too! It literally made him want to vomit!

“The food better be good!” he thought!

And it was! As a matter of fact, it was delicious! But there was something else he saw that he didn’t expect to see! He saw people who appeared to be genuine. He saw people who never even asked him what crime he committed and didn’t really seem to care. They didn’t treat him like a prisoner. They said they loved him (they even hugged him) and something inside his hard heart told him they meant it!

He would sit in his cell each night during the weekend wondering about what these people were really all about ? Could they mean what they say? Were all the volunteers he kept turning away like these people?
Should have given those Bible studies on the unit a try? And just what was it happening in his heart?

On Sunday morning, the final morning of the weekend, he gave in!

“Jesus, I’ve learned something through these volunteers! You ARE real! And it’s going to take me a long time, but I’m asking you now to help me become the man I need to be! I want to serve you with the rest of my life!”

“And that’s that!”

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A VERY IMPORTANT PERSONAL PLEA

31 Dec

Dear Friends and Family,

I am one of the few people who try to make New Years Resolutions every year. Sadly, most of the time I don’t reach the goals I set for myself. But this year needs to be different. In fact, it is critical that it be different. Let me explain:

My life as a Christian husband, father, and pastor over the last 10 years has been a journey of incredible growth. I constantly find myself being convicted by the Holy Spirit about some inconsistency in my life. I am ashamed to tell you that most of the time, situations like this fall into a very unfortunate pattern. I will become convicted, make a half hearted effort, and then something will happen that makes me realize that I better do something now or lose someone or something that I hold very valuable.

It was that way with the stewardship of my personal finances. It was that way with the way I communicated with my wife. In each case, I realized that if I did not line this area more up with God’s will, then I could lose the way of life with which God had blessed me.

Now, I face another situation. Actually, I’ve been dealing with it for close to 20 years. I have made promises, commitments, etc. but all with the same half-hearted effort.

I am speaking of my weight. At present, I am approximately 170 pounds overweight. I have said time and time again that I was going to lose it. I have known that it was a sin to be this heavy and not be a good steward of this body. I have known that I was not treating it as God’s temple. But I have never really tried like I should have.

And I want to do something about it… and I want to do it NOW!

I want to do it before something drastic happens… because that something drastic could be death!

Don’t get me wrong! I am not afraid of dying. I have a relationship with Jesus Christ. My name is in the Lamb’s Book of Life.

Here is what I don’t want.

I don’t want Danna to be a widow before she’s 40. I don’t want Destiny to have to hear stories about her Daddy because she was too young to form any real memories of him. I don’t want Cheyenne on the day of her wedding wishing I was there.

But if I don’t do something, all that is going to happen.

No, I haven’t been to the doctor .. but I know what they’d tell me. And no, I am not some kind of morbid fatalist. But the reality is that I am over 40, way overweight, hyper in personality, and there is nothing in my life to rule out the possibility of dying of a heart attack.

Something has to change… NOW!

So what am I going to do?

Most of what I am about to tell you, some have already heard before. However, I am hoping you hear the sense of urgency in what I am telling you now.

I am going to taper off of Dr. Peppers. I am not saying I won’t have one now and then but it needs to be the exception rather than the norm. Praise God they make Dr. Pepper TEN now. That stuff rocks!

I am going to eat healthier. I am going to use my membership at the gym. I am going to write down everything I eat.

Why am I telling all of you?

Because if I have figured out nothing else recently, it is this: I cannot do this on my own. Here is how you can help:

Don’t bring me free Dr. Peppers! If you put them in front of me, I will drink them!

If you are one who likes to invite me over for dinner, please don’t say “Hey, Rick! Come on over! I made you fried blob of grease with a side of lard!” I cannot demand anything of you but if possible, please cook heart healthy dishes.

If you see me at a meeting where dinner is served or are out to lunch with me, hold me accountable on what I eat. I promise not to get mad at you as long as you don’t do it in a way that is hurtful or embarrassing.

Church members, if I am at the gym sometimes during the day, please do not make snide remarks about how much free time your Pastor must have. I am constantly on my phone while on the treadmill or reading material for an upcoming lesson or sermon. I make up that time by being in the office or on the field or in sermon prep at the house until midnight most nights. You would rather have a live Pastor than a dead one.

Maybe you’re reading this and you are not anywhere near Lillian, Texas. An email or phone call of support would always be appreciated.

And please, no fat jokes! They do nothing but hurt and they won’t help at all.

Above all, I need prayer. I do not wish to dramatize this but I consider this the most critical task I have taken on in a long time. I need not only your accountability but God’s constant still small voice urging me forward.

Am I saying that you are responsible for my weight loss? Far from it! The responsibility is mine and mine alone.

All l am asking for is your help!

Thank you in advance and God bless you!