Sunday, June 21, 2015

Happy Father's Day 2016

Here we are, Father's Day 2016.  In a world where far to many children are growing up without a father, I just wanted to share a little of my heart and suggest a couple of resources that have been helpful to me. Most of this is from last year.  Since this post, many of you know that my Mom has passed away.  To my Dad's credit, he has stepped up even more than he already did; and made a conscious effort to communicate, pray, and encourage his children.  He still is not perfect and neither am I, but he is making a strong effort and that is all any of us can do. Thanks Dad.  He has since gotten remarried to a wonderful, God-fearing lady who loves him very much.  Congratulations to you and Marisol.

Nobody's Perfect

My Dad loves me.  Of that there is no doubt.  Never has been.  He has not had it easy.  He spent most of my growing up years as a Pastor and some as a teacher and both professions brought their challenges to me. As well as many other odd jobs along the way.  He worked a lot.  Not because he was a work-a-holic but because it was necessary to put food on the table and pay the bills.  And because the Lord always called him to small churches that did not generally pay a ton.  But he did what needed to be done to take care of his family.  Mistakes were made along the way but that's life.  There are things that I learned not to do, as is true in most families and will certainly be true for my children from mistakes that I have made and will make.

But there are definitely things that I learned to do and am still observing from his example now.  For example, in forty years of marriage things have not always been perfect but, both Mom and Dad have remained faithful to their covenant vows that they made before Almighty God so many years ago.  My mom has had many medical problems in later years and Dad has worked hard to provide for her all along the way and be there for her through it all.

My brother pointed out that our Dad passed along a solid example of working hard and doing what it takes to strive to support your family, all the while trying his best to lead us spiritually and be available to parent as well.  It was a difficult task, of that I am certain.  There were four of us and we did not make it easy sometimes.  While there are things that we could look back on and wish for something different, it is not constructive.

When you become an adult and you look back, you realize that God had a plan for everything that you went through.  He gave you your parents, flaws and all, to help mold you into who He wants you to be.  So it is hard to remain bitter when you understand the sovereignty of God in all things.  And to Dad's credit, he has tried very hard to let us know that he is aware of his imperfections, often in hindsight, but when he realizes error he is humble enough to try to make things right if there is anything that needs to be made right.

I am thankful for all of the experiences that I have had, for better and for worse, because who I am today and what I understand about life and ministry is molded tremendously by what I learned growing up.  And to top it all off, I know my Dad loves me and is proud of me and the life that I am striving to live.  You can't ask for much more than that.  Thanks Pop.

To My Father-In-Law

I would also like to take a moment to thank my father-in-law.  In 20+ years of knowing him he has always been a faithful husband and father who loves his family fiercely and generously.  He has provided another sound example of the kind of Father and Grandfather I want to be as I continue this journey.  I honor you today as well.  Thank you sir.

Myself as Daddy

For me, becoming a dad and learning the in's and out's and do's and dont's has definitely been an adventure thus far.  There are many things that, by the grace of God, I feel I have done pretty well with thus far.  Yet there are sooooo many things that I wish I could have a do over for.  If there is anything that I am extra thankful for as a father, it is God's grace made evident in a child's ability to forgive and find a parent so very awesome and loveable in spite of so many failures.

The Lord has blessed me with two phenomenal boys ages eleven and seven.  Many of you know them or have met them. They are good looking, talented, and brilliant and I see their mother and I in them, for better and for worse, every day.  There is nothing more thrilling, entertaining, and terrifying than realizing that you are looking at a mini me.  The talents and good personality pieces are good, but then there are the bad inclinations such as temper, laziness, or hardheadedness that you wish had not been passed down.

There has been a video on Facebook that shows children of all ages calling out to their daddy's.  It brought me to tears.  Though we are sinfully prone to taking it for granted, there is absolutely nothing sweeter than the sound of your children calling your name, running toward you and wrapping their arms around your leg or neck.  I love walking in the door and my children screaming my name with glee because I am home.

Like every parent, my biggest fear is messing them up.  I regret every wasted moment and fear the ones to come.  I pray continually, and yet not enough, for the Lord to help me be the father that they need me to be because I know without Him, I will absolutely screw them up.

A Faithful Father

Yet there is peace, deep down, that I am not on this journey alone.  Neither are my children.  We are not dependent on each other exclusively.  Just like my Dad knew and still knows, I know as well, that we have a faithful Heavenly Father who has been in control all along.  While I played a role in conception, scripture tells me that it is God who knit my children together in their mother's womb just as He did for me(Psalm 139).  He is the true creator of me and my children and He had a plan for all of us before time began.  Not only that, but I now know that He chose me for himself and for His glory before the creation of the world.(Ephesians 1:3-6). I believe that He has chosen my children as well.  How do I know?  Call it a gut instinct at this point founded on what I know of who my children are and how I see God working in their lives already.  But, at the end of the day, I know that my God is faithful and true and that nothing will happen in the life of my family that he did not ordain and that He is not in complete control of .  He is a great God and I trust Him with my life and the life of my family.

I truly don't know how parents do life without faith in Jesus.  There is an inexhaustible hope to be possessed via God's gracious gift of knowing Him and having salvation made available through His Son.  This sin-stained life is hard enough, even with strong faith in a living God.  Sometimes people still loose sight of hope and their faith can waiver.  It must be terrible to have no hope at all.  Working in a hospital, you can sometimes see the difference in the way those with a strong Christian faith handle suffering and loss compared to those who have no hope outside of themselves and what this world has to offer.


Our God is faithful and He provides resources to help us learn to be the parents we need to be.  First and foremost He gives us His word brought to life by His Spirit.  All the hope, power, and instruction that we need for life and Godliness has been made available to us through His word and by His Spirit(2 Peter 1:3-10).  

Then, as if that were not enough (which, of course, we know is not true),  He gifts people to help us understand and apply all that He has made available to us.  He sets before us flawed, examples that act as mirrors in which we can see ourselves and in whose example we can often see resolutions to our sinful inclinations.  He does this in real men of God who have been where we are and He does it through stories in movies and books.

For me, a blessing of a resource has been found in the movies by Sherwood Pictures.  You may have heard of them.  So far there are four: Flywheel, Facing the Giants, Fireproof, and then Courageous.  jThis last year has also seen War Room, a movie about having a strong prayer life.  In every one of these stories we have examples of men struggling to be good husbands and fathers and we see examples of God working in and through them, bringing glory to His name.

Courageous, was most directly aimed at calling men to be men of courage as it relates to manhood and fatherhood.  If you have not seen it, you should buy it and watch it over and over again.  It will change your perspective on who you are as a man and how you are allowing or even better, how you are actively causing that to influence others.  It is a call to action.  It is a call to arms.  In that movie the characters make a resolution about the kind of men they want to be to their families and to other potentially fatherless young men around them.

They wrote a book called The Resolution that fleshes out those commitments in a very powerful way.  The pastor of Sherwood Baptist Church, Michael Catt, wrote a book called Courageous Living that is also very powerful.  I highly recommend both of them if you are looking for instruction and inspiration as a father.  The movie and both of those books did and still do press me forward to be the kind of godly man that I want to be and that I know my family needs.

Wrapping It Up

One of the primary scriptures that is the theme for the movie comes from Joshua 24:15.  It essentially says, "choose you this day whom you will serve.  But as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord".   That is my heart through thick and thin.  I want to be a living example of what a man who is striving for godliness and holiness should look like for my children and for my wife.  I want to make Jesus real to them by my example.  Oh, I fail daily however, by God's grace, I will never stop striving to that end.

I want to end this blog post with a copy of the resolution that the men made in the movie and the last speech given by the main character from Courageous, Adam Mitchell.  After experiencing tragedy and seeing first hand what the effects of a lack of commitment to being a godly man can be, he feels compelled to uncover what the bible calls men to be to those around them.  These are the thoughts and the challenge that He brings to those who would be men of courage.


I do solemnly resolve before God to take full responsibility for myself, my wife, and my children.

I WILL love them, protect them, serve them, and teach them the Word of God as the spiritual leader of my home.

I WILL be faithful to my wife, to love and honor her, and be willing to lay down my life for her as Jesus Christ did for me.

I WILL bless my children and teach them to love God with all of their hearts, all of their minds, and all of their strength.

I WILL train them to honor authority and live responsibly.

I WILL confront evil, pursue justice, and love mercy.

I WILL pray for others and treat them with kindness, respect, and compassion.

I WILL work diligently to provide for the needs of my family.

I WILL forgive those who have wronged me and reconcile with those I have wronged.

I WILL learn from my mistakes, repent of my sins, and walk with integrity as a
man answerable to God.

I WILL seek to honor God, be faithful to His church, obey His Word, and do His

I WILL courageously work with the strength God provides to fulfill this resolution for the rest of my life and for His glory.

As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord. – Joshua 24:15



Friday, June 19, 2015

The Hip Bone's Connected To The.....

Titanium hip joint : Stock Photo

Hip Replacement Surgery!

Everyone knows that song, "Now Hear The Word of the Lord", that describes the way the bones are connected.  It actually derives from the story of The Valley of the Dry Bones in Ezekiel 37.  That song just comes to mind whenever I think of this fascinating and at times, scary adventure we have been on.  For anyone who does not know, my wife Angie got a new left hip this past Friday June 12, 2015.  She suffered from severe osteoarthritis that had worn the head of her femur down so much that she had very little cartilage left.  The surgeon said that she had worn a fairly good sized bald spot there and it was shiny and hard like a marble.

After the diagnosis last spring, we spent a considerable amount of time praying and preparing as we considered the when and where of surgery.  After two unsuccessful cortisone shots, we knew it was time.  Everyone is amazed at how young she is to have had this surgery and rightly so.  But she has handled it like a champ.  It doesn't hurt that God has been so good to us.

First of all, she was able to have anterior hip replacement surgery.  Until recent years, hips had to be done from the posterior.  That means that the surgeon approaches the hip through the side/back which involves cutting through muscle and tendon and that getting the fit and leg length just right was much harder.  Consequently, the risk for dislocation was much greater and the recovery time much longer.

Because Angie was able to have the anterior approach, they came at the hip from the front.  They make a small incision in the upper thigh, spread the muscle rather than cutting it, cut the head from the femur at a certain point, and scrape out the hip joint.  They insert the prosthetic pieces into the femur and hip joint to form the new hip.  If need be, they can secure the initial cup to the pelvic bone with up to three screws.  Angie has one screw.  I have included a pic (above) that is similar, though not exactly like Angie's.  It is three pieces, except a little more colorful and perhaps made of some different materials.  One of the pieces is purple which, of course, she liked.  Once complete, they close it up with sutures inside and staples outside and it's done.

Rehab And The Road To Recovery

The pics below are the same ones for the most part that I shared on FB while we were on this journey.  I wanted to include them here to go with the narrative for posterity and to bring them all together in one place for anyone who might like to look them over again or never saw them to begin with.  For the record, I do have permission to have these out there.  Thankfully, Angie has been very humble and unconcerned about appearances through this whole process as it regards photos.  That is saying a lot because ordinarily she doesn't like pictures even when she is put together perfectly.

The pain and soreness the first full day out of surgery was rough but she was still up like a champ learning small stairs, how to get in and out of the the shower and the bed, and walking long distances in the hall.  This, of course, contributed to the discomfort but was necessary for healing and to help avoid blood clots.  Sunday we practiced a full flight of stairs and went home.

From the very beginning of recovery there have been no restrictions and no abnormal complications, infections, or discomforts.  Just your "run of the mill" process.  God has been so good to take care of my baby girl.  Since Angie came home Sunday she is progressing beautifully.  She is having Physical Therapy every other day and getting around with the help of walkers.  Eventually she will move to a cane and then nothing.  Her pain has been minimal and her progress, phenomenal.

As of today, Friday 6/19/2015, one week after surgery, the physical therapist had her walking around without any support device; no cane, no walker, nothing.  She is not done healing and gaining strength and she will still have support devices for at least another weak for safety, but this is an incredible accomplishment.  It speaks to the wonders of the surgery and the determination of my incredible wife.  I am very proud of her.

Concluding Thoughts and Many Thanks!!!!

I don't know how interesting this is to people but I know some have found it to be so.  I hope this helps everyone understand a little bit more of what this experience was like.  If you ever need a hip surgery, you should definitely use someone who is comfortable doing the anterior approach.  We had Dr. Chris Blackmon with Piedmont Orthopedics and he was wonderful.  He has done close to 600 of these in about five years and has only had two dislocations.  That is an incredible stat.  Thank you Dr. Blackmon.  There are many others in the area who are becoming well-versed in this procedure as well.
We want to say a BIG THANK YOU to everyone who has supported us through this journey.  All of the likes and comments on the photos via FB along the way were so helpful. We can not express our appreciation enough for the many prayers and words of encouragement we received before, during and after the surgery.

Our Associate Pastor and his wife came to the hospital the day of the surgery offering encouragement and praying with us prior to her operation.  That meant so much.  A special Thank You for that. Your prayer was encouraging and it was answered.

Since coming home, we have enjoyed many delicious meals from friends and church members that have wanted to help in that way.  Some have called to ask how they can help.  Our  Associate Pastor's wife set up a meal train through our small group to help organize meals and some of our other friends have utilized that as well.  We want to say a huge thank you specifically to you as well.

Last but not least, Angie and I would like to express gratitude that is beyond words to her parents, who came down the day before surgery and have stayed for a week.  They have helped in just about every way imaginable to keep up the house, prepare meals, entertain children, do laundry, and even make a couple of repairs.  Their love and support has been invaluable to helping us get through the surgery and this initial week of healing and learning.

Tim and Brenda, we cannot thank you enough!

Finally, I would like to say how blessed I am to have had the privilege of being a part of my wife's life through this process.  She is such a strong woman in so many ways and she has amazed me time and again as she has dealt with the pain of  a bad hip to begin with, not to mention the surgery and recovery process.  She is incredible.  Thanks for being my wife and letting me be by your side through all of this.  It has been my joy to serve you.  I love you babe!

This has been an unforgettable adventure and we feel privileged to have so many friends and family, whether you could be directly involved or not, whom we know have been sharing in this with us.  We know you love us and we love you too.  Thanks again for everything.  Please do not cease to pray as Angie continues to improve throughout the summer.  Prayer absolutely makes a difference.

This joint could last up to 30 years so we look forward to lots of  pain free adventures with many of you in the future.

To God Be The Glory!!!  
He Is Good All The Time and All The Time He Is Good!!!  

Thursday, June 4, 2015

What Do We Do With The Duggars?

Who Are They Anyway?

Most if not all of the U. S. of A knows who the Duggars are.  If not, they have at least probably heard of the television reality show 19 Kids and Counting.  To date it has been a wholesome, God-glorifying show about a large and still growing Christian family....until now.

As many of you know, a controversy has arisen regarding the eldest son of the Duggar clan Josh. There has been yet another media frenzy as everyone reels about the idea of sin existing in this wholesome, some might say "holier than thou" TV family.  I must admit that while I knew who they were, I have never really had the time to follow the show.  I just knew that they were a Christian family who were living out their Christian convictions for all the world to see and seemed to be doing it pretty well.  With all of the reality trash available to watch these days, I am happy for anything that has "family friendly" much less Christian listed as an adjective to describe it.   Thankfully, this show had both.

So Why Write About It

I had heard about this controversy via FB of course and was a little curious, but the idea of writing about it had not even crossed my mind.  Then someone at work, who is a fellow brother in the Lord and follows this blog at least some of the time, asked me what I thought and pretty much told me He would be waiting to read what I write on my blog about it.  He had a few thoughts that intrigued me so here we are.  There are two thoughts that are in the frame of questions which I would like to address.  First, "How should we respond to the facts revealed?"  The second question is, "Do or did the Duggars now have any right to speak to other moral issues when they have had issues themselves?"  I don't know how terribly profound this will be but here we go.

How Should We Respond?

A number of people seemed to enjoy a response to this story that is found on the website of The Christian Post. You can find that link here.  This is a loving, solid, biblical response to the concerns.  I would like to add a few thoughts before moving on to the next question.

There is a lot going around about the facts and everyone has an opinion.  There are many judgements being made upon what happened, how it was handled, and how disgusting and disappointing it is.  Many blog posts and articles have been written, some more fair minded than others.  To be sure, it is unfortunate that anyone had to experience being violated or being the violator.  This is something which, no matter how forgiven he is and no matter how much grace he is given by others, he will always live with the memory of in this life.  Something he will always wish he had done differently.  We all have those moments.  Let us not stoop to making ourselves feel better about our mistakes by demonizing someone elses.  We can be just as guilty of the "holier than thou" attitude as anyone.

With that said, should the Duggars have handled things differently?  To be honest, without all of the facts laid out in front of me, I think it is not my place to say.  Since it is difficult to know for sure what all of the facts are without being intimately involved, I would suggest that the majority of those with an opinion should stay out of it, including the press.  As I understand it, the way this story came to light may have been illegal and was certainly not handled with any amount of integrity.  There was one goal here as I see it; to smear the name of the Duggar family and strive to ruin the effectiveness of something that was bringing glory to God.  What we as Christians must strive to remember is that while the press created this firestorm, Satan is the one behind it.  Make no mistake, this is spiritual warfare.

This kind of story can play out in any Christian family at any point and grace will be needed everytime.  No matter how heinous or mild the sin may be, we must remember that we are all sinners and so are our children.  No matter the sin; grace, prayer, repentance, forgiveness, and healing are necessary.  Regardless of how well it was or was not handled in the opinions of various people, what seems to be consistent is that it was handled.  Josh Duggar confessed his sin, repented of his sin and sought help with his parents guidance.  As I understand it, forgiveness was given by all the offended parties.

It is very sad that no matter how well sin may be handled locally on a case by case basis, the Christian community is often known for crucifying any public figure who professes Christ and dares to fall into sin.  Public figure or not, if someone is found to be gulty of sin and that person is acknowledging that sin, repenting, and seeking forgiveness, beating them up over the sin is not the loving response.  We don't need to call them to actions and attitudes that are already evident nor do we need to respond as if we have never been guilty of veering from the path ourselves.  If on the other hand, the person is caught in sin, trying to cover it up, making excuses, basically doing anything to avoid being held responsible, then there is a place for a still loving, yet challenging response.

Josh Duggar's story is the first of the two examples.  From a strictly Christian biblical perspective, all the right things seem to have been done and yet, we feel the need to hold his feet to the fire to make ourselves feel better about something that does not even affect us directly.  At this point, unless directly involved as family, employer, or any other party that is hands on in this story, I believe our only response needs to be prayer and compassion.

Josh Duggar was a self-professed, non-Christian kid at the time these atrocities happened.  Which one of us did not do sinful things that we are not proud of and from which we would like to move forward without having them rehashed?  He is now a repentant, forgiven grown man living as a Godly husband and father.

Should The Duggars Have a Voice on Biblically Moral Judgements?

In other words, because of this past sin in the life of Josh Duggar and the percieved mishandling of it by the Duggar parents, do they have a right to stand on biblical truth as it relates to the current culture's moral direction?  Does sin nullify our witness?  This could probably be fleshed out in a string of blog posts to do it justice on a larger scale but let's try to stick with the Duggars.

As this thought process was presented to me, it was explained that the Duggars have taken stances on issues of sexual morality, most specifically homosexuality and gay marriage.  The question was, do they have a right to in light of this "scandal"?

First, let me say that I know of no biblical mandate that would support the idea that you must air all your dirty laundry before you can represent Christ in a public forum.  We must confess our sins to God and in a local church context, perhaps to our Pastor if appropriate.  However, only in the case of a professing Christian who is living in sin without an attitude of repentance, are those sins potentially required to be made known to the local church body of which they are a part.  And that, only after more private attempts at holding the person accountable have been made.(Matthew 18:15-17)  

I don't know that this was done in the case of Josh Duggar however, it sounds like he came with a broken, contrite heart, confessing and repenting without much of any prodding being necessary.  So our only recourse is found in 2 Corinthians 2:6-8, forgivenss, comfort and affirmation.  Once someone has repented and been restored, they are to be treated like any other member of the body of Christ and they are to behave as such.

What should that look like?

It should look like what Jesus said every disciples life should look like...that of a disciple maker. Jesus gave us His instructions in His Great Commission in Matthew 28:18-20.  I have quoted it many times in this blog so I will leave it to you to look it up.  Suffice it to say that making disciples involves teaching, and teaching involves standing for biblical truth on any number of topics including sexual morality.

So What Does All Of That Mean?

Basically, I believe we should stop joining in the judgemental, unloving, insanity that was started by the media.  I believe we should stop helping them sensationalize a sinful mistake that was made long ago as if the rest of us don'd have sinful skeleton's in our closets.  If Josh Duggar has truly repented and confessed his sins before God then he is forgiven by God and that sin is no longer counted against him.  We should do no less.

We should recognize our own need for grace and forgiveness to be continually poured out in our own lives and give God praise that He is faithful, even when we are faithless (2 Timothy 2:13).  We should remember that Christ died for Josh Duggar's sins even while he was still a sinner (Romans 5:8) and the same is true for all of us who have placed our faith in Christ.  If Josh Duggar has done as many of us have in following Christ's instructions to repent and believe the gospel (Mark 1:15), then we should recognize that he is our brother.  He is a member of God's family and we are to love him as such.

Last but not least, I believe that we should not only allow for the Duggar family to stand for biblical truth in spite of their sins; we should pray for this to come to pass.  The Lord gave them the platform that they have had on that television show and he can certainly take it away.  However, they seem to have been faithful in using that platform for God's glory and I pray that He will continue to bless this family with opportunities to continue lifting up the name of Jesus in very public ways as they stive to live lives that are worthy of the gospel. (Philippians 1:27, Colossians 1:9-12)

May it be so in Jesus name.