Archive for the ‘Writing’ Category

Get Away Trip with Gayla

Posted: August 12, 2013 in Family, Marriage, Stories, Writing

In the past four July-s, Gayla and I have seen three of our children marry wonderful spouses — our daughter, Kendal, married Colin in 2010; our son, Travis, married Rebekah last year; and last month, our daughter, Melissa, married Cameron. No matter how you tally the score, that’s three weddings in four years. Frankly, we feel come consolation in knowing that we have launched all our of our children into adulthood and into married life successfully.


With Melissa and Cameron’s wedding on July 27 and an impending international mission trip in late August, I wanted to take Gayla on a trip of our own. We had previously planned to visit Gayla’s stepbrother and his wife this summer, but with wedding preparations becoming the main priority for the summer, those plans had to wait. Since Wes and Marion live in St. Louis, I eyed a weekend in June when the Texas Rangers would play at Busch Stadium against the Cardinals. My bucket list includes visiting all the major league ballparks, so having my favorite team play in St. Louis would have been icing on the cake. However, my cake icing this year would be on a wedding cake!

However, last week Gayla and I did get to make a trip to St. Louis. We had a great time visiting the city. We took the obligatory ride to the top of the Arch and viewed the city from 630 feet. Getting into that little egg-shaped contraption just about brought me to my claustrophobic knees, buy I managed to make the descending trip as well (as if I had any choice). We visited the Missouri Botanical Garden and Forest Park. We shopped in an eclectic place filled with all kinds of furnishings and stuff that must have come from a variety of estate sales in the city. We tried interesting foods, including a Persian cafe and a Vietnamese restaurant. On our return trip, we stayed a night in Memphis and dined at one of Elvis’s favorite diners.

All in all, we had a great time visiting with family and enjoying a lot of “couple time.” By the way, we made back to our home town in time to attend the wedding of some church family members. It seemed appropriate, since the family also had ties to St. Louis. By the way, the game we watched involved the Dodgers defeating the Cardinals. But I didn’t really care who won!

The headline read “Ashton Kutcher Apologizes for Slamming Penn State Officials for Joe Paterno Firing.” Apparently, Kutcher has learned a valuable life lesson after blasting Penn State officials on Twitter for firing legendary football coach Joe Paterno. Kutcher had sparked a frenzy among his more than eight million followers late Wednesday after he tweeted, “How do you fird Jo Pa? #insult #noclass as a hawkeye fan I find it in poor taste.” (By the way, # before a word is a way on Twitter to make sure you get more hits on your feed. It’s called a hashtag in Twitter lingo.)

However, the actor soon admitted mouthing off in ignorance on the ongoing child abuse scandal in State College. Kutcher expressed shock and issued an emphatic apology after he discovered why the  longtime coach was dismissed. He deleted the previous post and then tweeted, “Heard Joe was fired, fully recant previous tweet!”  he added, according to the Los Angeles Times. “Didn’t have full story.  #admitwhenYoumakemistakes.”

Kutcher later deleted the series of messages, before  issuing a frank apology. “As an advocate in the fight against child sexual  exploitation, I could not be more remorseful for all involved in the Penn St.  case,” he tweeted. “As of immediately I will stop tweeting until I find a way to  properly manage this feed. I feel awful about this error. Won’t happen again.”

When we attempt to draw conclusions without having all the facts and pass those conclusions on to someone else, it’s called gossip. All scuttlebutt subject matters — no matter who or what it involves — has the same fundamental two-pronged goal. First, it’s intended to hurt somone. Gossip never builds, and it never helps anyone. The second goal of gossip is selfish in that the one who dispenses it either actively or passively seeks to elevate his or her position. This may mean that the individual sharing it wants the listener to think he or she is the source of important or valuable information.

Consider these references to gossip:

  • A perverse man stirs up dissension, and a gossip separates close friends (Proverbs 16:28, NIV 1984).
  • A gossip betrays a confidence; so avoid a man who talks too much (Proverbs 20:19, NIV 1984).
  • Without wood a fire goes out; without gossip a quarrel dies down (Proverbs 26:20, NIV 1984).

Ashton Kutcher would have done well to have not spoken (tweeted) until he had the facts, because he spoke before he had all the facts. However, as believers we can actually go a step further. Before speaking (or posting on any social media), we should ask, “Is what I am about to say going to help or tear down?” If it will tear down someone’s character, it violates biblical guidelines. Consider what Paul wrote to the church at Rome, We must pursue what promotes peace and what builds up one another (Romans 14:19, HCSB).

Let’s promote peace and build up one another!

Today I’m re-entering the blogging world. A few years ago, I experimented a bit with the concept but never really seriously made much headway with it. However, recently I started using Twitter and Facebook more to connect more with a wider audience.

I have several reasons for re-entering the world of blogging. My primary reason: to add another forum and audience who I might engage with the good news. My passion for sharing the message of the gospel of Jesus Christ drives me. I have a lot of friends and acquaintances who do not have a saving relationship with Christ. Perhaps by reading something I have written, they might move closer to Christ. At least I’m praying to that end even as I write.

I also enjoy writing. (My high school English teachers would find that shocking!) Over the years of my pastoral ministry, I have written thousands of sermons and hundreds of newsletter articles. For the past several years, I have written a “five-day-a-week e-devotional” which many people read and forward to others. I have written Sunday School lessons occasionally for LifeWay. (My next set of lessons will appear in January 2012 in the Leader Guide for LifeLessons: Bible Studies for Life. I also have a couple of book ideas in mind and have begun working on one of them with a couple of chapters completed in rough form.

Some might question whether or not I have time to add another thing to my plate. However, I see this as an extension of my responsibilities as a pastor but more importantly as a Christ-follower. I look forward to hearing how God uses this blog to further you along in your walk and how He might draw others to faith in Him.