Friday, June 30, 2006

ARRRGGH!!

Oh my gosh. My Laptop Crashed! My precious! My link to the outside world. Oh the humanity!
I have someone working on it. And I will be back to posting in no time. Bear with me.
Will strive to get to another computer if I don't get it back today.


Blessings!

Larry

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

ITUNEs and The Wondrous Cross

I was doing the ITunes Shuffle today and came across this tune. It is one of my favorites. This version is sung by Kathryn Scott. It is hauntingly beautiful and never fails to let me know just how unworthy I am to recieve God's grace.

A lyric that really hit home with me. "all the vain things that charm me most. I sacrifice them to his blood." Just how important is my stuff compared to what he did for me? There are things I obsess over. I want to have this or that. Or, Man, I have Got to get me one of those! Ipod shuffle wasn't good enough for me. I had to get the NANO. What does it matter?

My latest obsession has been for a new mountain bike. Of course I can't ride it right now but that hasn't stopped me from managing a way to get it. All the vain things that charm me most. Really don't matter do they? I can't take my Ipod or my bike with me can I? Why don't I turn that energy to helping others more?

Jesus said in Matthew 25, 34-36

Come, you who are blessed by my Father, inherit the Kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. For I was hungry and you fed me. I was thirsty and you gave me a drink. I was a stanger, and you invited me into your home. I was naked, and you gve me clothing. I was sick, and you cared for me. I was in prison, and you visited Me.

He wasn't talking just about Himself, he was speaking of his sheep, us. What have we done today for another? What have we done to serve our neighbor?
What can I do? I don't have time for a project. I have kids and a job.

When was the last time you gave a real thank you to someone who has provided a service for you? A smile, a pat on the back and a genuine thank you can go a long way to make someone smile. Shoot, to make someones day!

If you are leaving the grocery store. Walk your cart back to the front of the store. (nobody will know but you) Save the cart guy a pinch of work. Give out a complement, a smile, a thanks. Make somebody's day today just by doing that little extra.

I went to my first sales training meeting since the surgery yesterday. We had a rah rah session on an old cliched training gimmick. 211 and 212.

Give up? 211 is hot water, 212 is when water boils. One degree difference. Just that smidge and you have steam. Steam can move mountains. Can power a locomotive.

Football is considered a game of inches. An inch here or their and you have a first down. Just one extra base hit each game can be the difference between the minor leagues and a player going to the show. An extra second a lap can mean the checkered flag in Nascar.

So little infinitesimal increases make all the differences in the world don't they? Try doing one thing extra this week and making it a part of your routine. See what kind of a difference you can make in someone else's life. Then see the difference in yours.

Wow can you believe all that from a song?


Cool!

By the way, the lyrics are posted below.


Larry


WHEN I SURVEY (The Wondrous Cross)
Isaac Watts

When I survey the wondrous cross
On which the Prince of Glory died
My richest gain I count but loss
And pour contempt on all my pride

Forbid it Lord that I should boast
Save in the death of Christ my God
All the vain things that charm me most
I sacrifice them to His blood

See from His head His hands His feet
Sorrow and love flow mingled down
Did ere such love and sorrow meet
Or thorns compose so rich a crown

Were the whole realm of nature mine
That were an offering far too small
Love so amazing so divine
Demands my soul
Demands my soul
Love demands my soul
My life my all

Traditional - Public Domain
This Arrangement copyright 2003 Vertical Worship Songs

c/o Vertical Music, 1000 Cody Road, Mobile, AL 36695

Monday, June 26, 2006

Freedom, The NYT, and Terrorism

I am taking a deep breath right now.
Not going to lose it.
Wouldn't be prudent at this juncture.
Not going to let the veins pop out of my forehead.
Not going to use my laptop as a frisbee.

I have decided I am taking crazy pills. I have decided that I went in for my surgery and woke up in bizzaro world. Over the last few days I have kept it buttoned. Not said much. Thought the gospel should come first. Stay out of politics.

One of the things that suprised me when I started blogging was that none of my writings were political. I am a relapsing news junkie and a student of history. Only two of my posts could be considered in that vein and they were emotional responses to other blogs. This however, makes me fear for the whole country, and our way of life. Democrat, Republican, conservative, liberal, independent, libertarian, greeny or communist. It should scare all of you too.

Let me give you a history lesson.

In World War II The United States had broken many of the Japanese Naval codes. They called this program "Magic", in many cases we knew what the Japanese were planning. In fact some of the intercepted messages when analyzed with hind-sight, told of the sneak attack on Pearl Harbor, December 7, 1941. The British had broken many of the codes the Germans used and had in fact, captured several of their coding machines called enigma.

Knowing the codes of the enemy allowed us to know what they were doing. The battle of midway was the "tipping point" of the Pacific war. We were able to defeat the Japanese in part because we knew of their plans to capture the Island of Midway. That battle was the beginning of the end for the Japanese. Had we lost Midway, thousands more lives might have been lost and the war could have dragged on for several more years.

The ability to know what the Japanese and Germans were up to by reading their communications was considered so important it was to be kept secret at all costs. I will give you two examples.

Winston Churchill found out from the British code breakers the Germans were planning a massive bombing raid on the English city of Coventry. He faced this dilemma. If I command the RAF (Royal Air Force) to protect Coventry the Germans could find out we are reading their codes. If they find out they will change them. We will no longer know what they are planning. If you read your history you will find that Coventry was completely destroyed with great loss of life. Can you imagine the agony of Winston Churchill? But, how many lives were saved because the Germans didn't find out their codes were compromised?

Another example, in 1944 Thomas Dewey was defeated in his run for presidency by Franklin Roosevelt. His biographer reported that Dewey was asked not to speak of two things that would have possibly given him the key to beating President Roosevelt. One was the fact that we had broken the Japanese code. Two, that information regarding the Pearl Harbor attack was available before the attack. Dewey kept his mouth shut. You can read more about this here in a great article by Jeffrey Lord. And hey don't just take mine or his word for it. Look it up. Crack a book. Educate yourself on the issue.

How many civilian lives were saved? How many soldiers? These were men who understood what was at stake in the world they lived in. It didn't matter how they felt about tax cuts or the envrionment. The knew what would happen if the enemy won. What price did these men pay for doing the right thing? The patriotic thing? One had to live the rest of his life with Coventry on his conscience. The other could have been President of the United States.

Look at how pathetic we are today. Governmental employees leaking classified information. Information on how the United States is fighting a war. That in itself is despicable. People who don't agree with the current political party's policies, leaking information in a time of war. They should be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. We have thousands of military men and women fighting terrorists all over the world. Even if some diseased brains feel the military deserve it, what about the civilians? We have contractors helping to rebuild Afganistan and Iraq. Millions of Civilians living in Iraq, Afganistan, The United States, Spain, Great Britain, Canada, Israel, Saudi Arabia, and Jordan. The list of attacked and potential attacked countries goes on and on.

Worse than the leakers. We have newspapers, alleged American Institutions no less who are now deciding what should and should not be classified. These people believe they know what's best for you, me and the world. They know better than the President, Congress, CIA, Pentagon and the whole government put together. A group of people un-elected and un-accountable to anyone, even their own customers. (circulation has been dropping substantially over the last few years.) They are deciding what is right, and wrong in this country. Cable TV, and the alphabets aren't much better. Their level of arrogance is astonishing.

Lets look at what could happen

Al Queda changes tactics in the way they ship money around. This is because details of how the US is currently tracking them was printed in the New York Times. The financiers that would have been caught aren't. Money that would have been intercepted, now gets through to purchase explosives, IEDs, morter rounds, and machine guns. These weapons are then used to kill US and Allied troops, and Iraqi, and American civilians.
Then let's say the weapons make it over here. I don't care if you are liberal, or conservative. If a suicide bomber blows up in Times Square with explosives that could have been stopped before they were bought, you are just as dead! And the New York/La Times, or any of their ilk would be responsible.

Think! Do you not see it? My God, how many liberals, conservatives, libertarians or others were killed in the World Trade Center? Do you think Al Queda or any of these genius home grown groups are going to differentiate?

You know that awesome freedom of the press we have in this country? How would you like to lose it? With great power comes great responsibilty. If the press continues to divulge classified information to the public, they are going to destroy the very freedom that allows them to operate. The Government is eventually going to do something to reign in an out of control industry. It will happen because it has to, to protect the American people.
No more freedom of the press. Then, when we need someone to help protect our freedoms who's going to do it?

I know this is not a usual tack for me. I just could not let this one go by. I pray for people from all over. Please use your heads. Think about what is going on. Are we really that polarized? Is there no more common sense anywhere? I did a previous post about people only seeing the differences and not the similarities in each other. It is time to start, for the good of our country and for the good of the world.

Jesus tells us to pray for our enemies. I never thought I would be praying for the press.



Larry




Saturday, June 24, 2006

Brain Dead and Couched. Out

What do you get when you cross me, my father, and daughter with a baby shower my wife threw for my cousin? Give up? A day over at my brother's house cooking a brisket and eating tons of junk. So now I am braindead and don't feel like moving. I don't think I have had a lazy day like this in a while.

Oh, let me tell you about the brisket, it was out of sight! It was my brother Craig's first attempt on his new smoker. Perfect, 'specially when you round it out with some Mr. Stubbies! Yes I know it's called Mr. Stubbs but when you say it with a deep growling voice and say Mr. Schtubbies like Fred Sanford would, it gives this awsome concoction more gravity. This stuff is terrific. The only place I could find a picture of it was at this blog, give it a read. Gotta give credit where it is due. My brother came home with us and we had a great meal. Brisket, corn on the cob and navy beans.

Only one thing would have made dinner better. Big Johns Beans and Fixins. Not only some great beans, but a terrific joke my best friend and I kidded about since grade-school. He has had a copy of Big John's label in his wallet since high school. There is just something funny about it. Remember in my last post I spoke of my sick sense of humor? Go figure. Anyway dinner would have been even better with a can of this. I told y'all It was a braindead and couched out day.

Tomorrow is my first day back at church working instead of being a civilian. I will be back in choir, and setting up the media. It's good to serve again. I was getting disconnected.

Ok, at this point I am blogging just to blog. Rambling on an on. Forgive me. See what happens when you eat too much junk?

Hope y'all have had a great weekend.


Larry

Friday, June 23, 2006

Week of Firsts


Tonight was the first time I have been back to lead Celebrate Recovery since the surgery. In fact this was a whole week of firsts since the surgery. First time to drive, first time back at work (till noon each day) and last but not least I dared to walk my dog. Sierra is a real challenge. A very happy and hyper Australian Sheppard that loves other dogs. The problem is when another pooch goes trotting by she wants to go play... Right now! Thirty pounds of muscle jerking on the leash? My doc would have a heart attack. I have to take my wife Lisa with me when I walk her. She takes over when Sierra goes off to play. Sierra is one of my gaggle of girls.

Let me take a second and introduce you to my number one sweetie, my wife Lisa. Lisa and I have been together for 12 years and married for eight. I have truly been blessed to have her in my life. Talk about agape love. No reservations or conditional love here. She loves me 100% warts and all. Things I love best. Her smile, her hazely green eyes. The mischievious giggle. We share the same sick sense of humor. She's my girl.

Anyway week of firsts, leading Celebrate Recovery as always is a blast. I have to admit I kind of cheated this week. I played a testimony instead of preparing a real lesson. So next week will be the first week back to CR with a real lesson. Lisa and I led the singing tonight. We sang Enough by Chris Tomlin, Road to Recovery by the Celebrate Recovery Band, Here I am to Worship, and Blessed Be Your Name, Tre63 style. This was also the first time Lisa has helped lead the praise and worship time all the way through. (she usually gets nervous and sneaks off and sits down. LOL!) Not only are we a good team but a good duet too. It was a good night to get my feet wet again we had a light crowd. I was a little nervous and when I get nervous I talk way too fast.

With this post you got to meet two of my girls. I will be introducing the others in the coming weeks. I want to leave you with this thought and verse tonight.

Therefore, as you recieved Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in him, rooted in faith, just as you were taught, abounding in thanksgiving. Colosians 2, 6-7

Each day for me can be a challenge. I know that I put a cheerful face on it most of the time. Fact is, some days it is hard for me to get out of bed. I have prayed and fought hard to avoid anxiety and depression during my recovery process. I have to remember each day to be thankful. My pain will go away eventually. I will heal. I can't live in the negative. Sure I was in a nasty car wreck that really screwed me up. However, thank God, that he has given man the ability to perform the surgery that fixed me.

God has used this time to make changes in me. Thirty days today and I haven't smoked. My life is becoming more organized. My future has never been brighter. One of the things I shared in group tonight. I just want to wake up and feel "normal."
Another month or so and I will.

Thanks to all of you for your prayers. They have helped far more than I could help myself.


Blessings!


Larry


Thursday, June 22, 2006

Spreading the Good News or Politics?

A cool thing happened today. I am kind of a news hound. I keep track everyday of everything that is going on everywhere in the world. Drudge Report, for the latest headlines. American Spectator, National Review and others for commentary. I love my Google Desktop because I get constant updates. There were times at work before my surgery where I would spend most of the morning reading the news. Blogging has shifted the emphasis from news to well, blogging. It can be a problem for me at times. I am however working on it. (powerless) LOL.

One of my thoughts when I started blogging was that I could cover some politics as well as recovery. I have been very suprised at the direction of my posts. Politics is not where I have been led. I believe I have done two political posts Reality Check and Ann Coulter the Left and Christians. Both were spawned from crawling other blogs and both were based on emotional reactions to the subject matter.

Helen Losse, from Windows Toward the World can relate to this, it's how we met during a spirited discussion on the Da Vinci Code over at The Bereans blog. Anyway now that I have laid some ground work I can get to the point.

I recently finished reading Rebel With a Cause. It is Franklin Graham's autobiography. In one of the chapters he spoke of his father, Billy Graham and how he preached in the Soviet Union. He said his "daddy" caught a lot of flak. It was remarked that the Soviets were using him for propaganda purposes. Billy just said, "who needs Christ more than the KGB". and kept on preaching regardless. ( I am paraphrasing.) Franklin said in his book. "To me, that was what truly mattered. Political issues would come and go. It was the gospel, the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes, that would endure. That's what I wanted to talk about." The attention should always be about Christ.

It made me think about some advice John Baker, founder of Celebrate Recovery gave me. I was volunteering at a Celebrate Recovery conference in Katy, Texas almost two years ago. I had been struggling over my Narcotics Anonymous commitment versus my Celebrate Recovery commitment. I was in leadership positions with both, to the detriment of both. I asked him, what do I do? He said "Your N/A commitment is an earthly thing. Celebrate Recovery is an eternal thing. What you do here will have eternal consequences." I resigned my N/A positions the next week and never looked back.

Today I was surfing blogs that I read often and came across RightWing Agenda. The last two posts have been on homosexuality infiltrating the church. Most recently the disturbing events concerning the Episcopalian stance that homosexuality is not a sin. It is a subject that raises massive temperature levels.

An athiest responded to post in a way that immediately got my blood boiling. Remember earlier we spoke of emotional reactions? Man I cranked out a good four paragraph response to this person rebuking what was said.

I paused my writing for a second, took a breath and it hit me. This is an eternal thing. Who cares about the politics. Isn't salvation the only thing that really matters? Who cares what I think about this in the realm of the eternal. It's whether or not this person has the opportunity to hear the good news. So instead of ranting and railing, I witnessed. The chance was there to plant a seed. My hope, my prayer is that a mind may be changed, a life saved.

Something said here, a thought gleened there. Coming together for his will.

God works in all of us to His good purposes.




Larry





Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Happy Anniversery!


I wanted write about and honor someone whom I don't know very well but have been enormously enjoying her writing. Shirley Buxton and her husband Jerry are celebrating their 50th wedding anniversery this month. You may sample her work at Shirley Buxton.

How wonderful, 50 years. Do you think everyday was perfect? Probably not. You think they had a fight or two? Probably. They stuck together. Through thick and thin. Rich or poor, for better or worse. In this ADD world driven by feelings and emotion, Jerry and Shirley are a testament of what we should all aspire to in our marriages.

Congrats You two. May your next 50 be as blessed.


Larry

Monday, June 19, 2006

Child-Like Faith in Christianity

Child-Like faith, what is it?
Knowing that your daddy can take care of anything?
Is it when my daughter says "thank you Jesus!" while she keeps Mario from falling into the abyss in a game of Super Mario brothers?


Child-Like faith, how do we get it back? How do we keep it and what does it have to do with recovery.


First off Jesus says in Mark 10, 14-15 "Let the children come to me. Don't stop them! For the Kingdom of God belongs to such as these. I assure you, anyone who doesn't have their kind of faith will never get into the Kingdom of God."

How difficult is it for an adult to be wide eyed and innocent? Childishly believing that things will always turn out ok? By the time most of us reach our middle twenties to thirties we have been exposed to most of the negative things life has to offer. Sex, drinking, drugs, divorce, mtv etc. How easy is it for us to surrender? To throw our arms up to God and say "Lord save me!."

When my Lexie was a baby she would walk to me and put her hands up in the air. She wanted me to pick her up and comfort her. I loved that feeling. That feeling of absolute trust. Her knowing that everything would be perfect if daddy could hold her. That my friends is childlike faith.

Don't you think God feels the same about us? He longs for nothing more than us to raise our hands to him for comfort and security. For us to know that everything will be all right if we just have faith and trust in Him.

Surrender is a very difficult concept for most people. In our society to surrender is to lose. However in our faith and recovery to surrender is to win. Surrendering and admitting we are powerless is the first step on the road to recovery. We are on our way to the finish line.

Whether we are new in recovery or have been in it for years, we have to maintain our childlike faith in our Higher Power, Jesus Christ. To give him our hurts, habits, and hangups. To just say I can't Father, please take it. I know for me that was the turning point in my recovery. We were down and out. At our last straw. I remember getting on my knees and praying, "Lord I can't do anything about this. Only you can, Lord take it, fix it, because I just don't know what else to do." I had heard someone talking about "giving it to God" in a meeting. In the next few days, out of the blue I was offered the job of a lifetime. We found a new place to live and we found the resources we needed to move. This was in the infancy of my return to faith. I was and still am a child in the way I prayed and gave up those problems to God.

Is it always that way? I wish. Partly because I take a lot of my issues back the next day. I give one thing up to God and continue to work on the rest myself. Thats not what He wants. He wants me totally reliant upon Him. That is hard for anyone Thank God for the Holy Spirit that lives inside us, teaching and convicting us. Each day I get a bit better at it.

Just because we admit we are powerless does not mean we become victims though. Admitting our powerlessness is an honest appraisal of our situation in life and a good first step in our recovery.


Larry




Sunday, June 18, 2006

Cars, Shamrock, and Route 66

What a great movie! What a treat! My girls treated me to a pre-Father's Day movie yesterday. Cars. I loved it, it was terrific. Too many blogs and websites have already done reviews. If you want a good one go here.

For me the movie brought back all sorts of nostalgiac memories both real and imagined. A longing for a world that sort of exists on the surface but scratch down deep and reality sets in. The main character of the movie, Lightning Mcqueen becomes stranded in the backwards town of Radiator Springs. A near ghost town lost in time on historic route 66. Like so many small cities it was cut off when the interstate was built and withered into obsurity. The town is so slow night time entertainment is deciding if the town's flashing yellow light is off on it's middle flash.

Ahh the venerable route 66 the magical path that winds its way from Chicago to La. It was the first highway that connected east and west. Now interstate super highways get us from here to there in speed and efficiency.

My wife and I have always loved road trips. We were married in August of 98 in Vegas. We drove there from Houston taking primarily state highways. Watching the film really got us longing for one. It will be a while though. I can't drive for another week and the thought of my spine in a car for more than 30 minutes is not a pleasant thought. However my pining for the open road won't go away.

My father's side of the family for the last 100 years have all come out of the Panhandle of Texas. They settled in Wheeler County, Texas around 1890. Wheeler County is home to the town of Shamrock located on, you guessed it historic route 66.

Many of the towns on route 66 were competing with each other for travelers. All kinds of gimmicks were used to attract drivers who needed gas, lodging and food. One of the ways this manifested was in the architecture of gas stations, restaurants and hotels. The buildings in little Radiator Springs were modeled on the art-deco designs that littered towns all over route 66. There are several buildings of this type in Shamrock.

This is the U-Drop In Diner and Gas station. My great uncle Leon was a cook here when he finished serving in the military.


Shamrock is a step back in time. It stirs a longing in my soul of a more relaxed, easier, genteel place. My Uncle Tobe has a non working farm there, and we get to visit when we like. Most recently we were up there for my Aunt Jodie-girls funeral. She had just celebrated her 100 year birthday when she passed.

My dream is to one day be able to live in a place like that. Where I can hear the grass grow and watch the yellow light flash on mainstreet at midnight.

If I'm up that late.


Larry

Happy Father's Day



Thank you Father, for giving me life.
Thank you for always being there.
Thank you Father for Your unfailing love.


You have molded me dear Lord with Your Holy Spirit.
And given me grace beyond grace through Your Son.
You saved my life, pulled me from the bonds of misery and hell.


Each day You deserve honor and praise above all.
I'm sorry I'm not better.
You know this and still love without question.


I praise you Father, Abba, Great I am.
Not for what You have done but, for who you are.
My words will never be enough.




Happy Fathers Day



Larry

Friday, June 16, 2006

First Night Back


Tonight, was my first night back to Celebrate Recovery since the surgery. I made it through the first hour and had to go home. Talk about taking things day by day. I am taking things an hour or even a minute at a time. My recovery has been swift. According to my doctor I am four weeks ahead of schedule in the healing process. I have to wear my brace three more weeks, and I can drive in five more days.

I know that I owe all of this to the prayers of others and to God. The biggest challenge I face is that I tire easily but I know each day I grow stronger.

Oh the indomitableness of the Holy Spirit! How faith grows as God works visibily in our lives. Even more important is that faith grows when God's works aren't so visible.

It was great being at Celebrate Recovery tonight. I can't wait to get back involved into the nuts and bolts of my service to the Lord.


Larry

Thursday, June 15, 2006

The 12 Steps and Their Biblical Comparisons



Step One
We admitted we were powerless over our addictions and compulsive behaviors, that our lives had become unmanageable
I know that nothing good lives in me, that is, in my sinful nature. For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out.
Romans 7:18
Step Two
We came to believe that a power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.
For it is God who works in you to will and to act according to His good purpose.
Philippians 2:13
Step Three
We made a decision to turn our wills and our lives over to the care of God.
Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God — this is your spiritual act of worship.
Romans 12:1
Step Four
We made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves.
Let us examine our ways and test them, and let us return to the LORD. Lamentations 3:40
Step Five
We admitted to God, to ourselves, and to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs.
Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed.
James 5:16
Step Six
We were entirely ready to have God remove all these defects of character.
Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up.
James 4:10
Step Seven
Humbly asked Him to remove all our shortcomings.
If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.
1 John 1:9
Step Eight
We made a list of all persons we had harmed and became willing to make amends to them all.
Do to others as you would have them do to you.
Luke 6:31
Step Nine
We made direct amends to such people whenever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others.
Therefore, if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your gift there in front of the altar. First go and be reconciled to your brother; then come and offer your gift.
Matthew 5:23-24
Step 10
We continued to take personal inventory and when we were wrong, promptly admitted it.
So, if you think you are standing firm, be careful that you don’t fall!
1 Corinthians 10:12
Step 11
We sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with God, praying only for knowledge of His will for us and power to carry that out.
Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly.
Colossians 3:16
Step 12
Having had a spiritual experience as the result of these steps, we tried to carry this message to others and to practice these principles in all our affairs.
Brothers, if someone is caught in a sin, you who are spiritual should restore him gently. But watch yourself, or you also may be tempted.
Galatians 6:1


Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Atascocita Thunderstorms

One of my first posts on here was Weary but Blessed where I compared emotions like Texas weather. Yesterday's storm that hit out here must have been frustration and anger all rolled into one. This is very close to where I live, in fact Atascocita is pretty much one big neighborhood.
I was at home doing my "couch potato" thing in my recovery. I noticed thunder but other than that nothing more than the usual. It rained a bit, and then power went off. No big deal, it happens out here quit a bit.

The rain died down and Lisa and I left to go to run some errands with my daughter and one of her friends.

We usually cut through subdivisions to avoid traffic and about half way to where we were going my cellphone rings. "Are you guys ok?" a voice calls "What do you mean?" I asked. It was my daughter Lexie's friend's mother. "A tornado just hit over here and I wanted to make sure you guys were all right." We were flabbergasted, we had no indication whatsoever that anything like that occured. She went on to explain that trees were down all over the neighborhood and there was no way traffic was getting through. Lisa turned a corner, and we saw powerlines sagging where a tree had hit and rolled off. "Woooah!" we cried. All before us was the kind of damage I had seen in east Texas after Hurricane Rita.
Trees sheared off at the base, leaves, bark and debris all over the roads. All the damage occured in about 20 to 30 minutes time. One minute life is great, the next lives are changed.
Trees I had seen in front of houses for years suddenly gone.

There is nothing creepier than turning on your radio in the midst of this chaos, traffic, and downed power lines and hearing the spooky growl of the Emergency Alert System. Especially when the warning announcement is more severe thunderstorms rushing in. Ominous thunder echoes in the background and fat raindrops start plopping on the windshield.

My wife Lisa is driving through all this mess. I can't drive for another two weeks. Now, Lisa and bad weather do not mix. She hates storms especially when she is out driving. The scary thing was, she and the girls had been out earlier getting an ice cream. She dodged the worst by ten minutes, and now we had been caught between t-storms. She normally drives like granny coming home from church but yesterday? She was Jeff Gordon personified. I have never seen her so aggresive. "Get out of the way!" "Turn turn!" she cried. I do believe she set a land speed record getting us back to the house before the second storm hit. I was so proud.

We went out later and surveyed the damage. It was pretty rough. My heart went out to those who suffered damage. Trees smashed into homes. Collapsed garages. Thanks to the Lord there were no serious injuries reported.

It was interesting, seeing the damage pattern. A little damage here, then nothing. A lot of damage there, then nothing. The storm seemed to be like a childs tantrum.
What did I tell you about Texas weather.




Larry

Monday, June 12, 2006

Acts 2:43-47

A deep sense of awe came over them all, and the apostles performed many miraculous signs and wonders. And all the believers met together constantly and shared everything they had. They sold their possesions and shared the proceed with those in need. They worshiped together at the Temple each day, met in homes for the Lords's Supper, and shared their meals with geat joy and generosity-all the while praising God and enjoying the goodwill of all the people. And each day the Lord added to their group those who were being saved. Acts 2:4

I wish I was brave enought to live this way. Fellowship and the Lords Supper each day.

Because of my job I am able to feed my family and provide a place to live. I believe God has provided this for me. In turn I provide my time, energy and money back to the Church.
I wish I had more money to give back. Sometimes I fail to even give my tithe. This could be because my check was short that week or, let's be honest because I find excuses not to give. "Well, I will double up next time" I say. There are a lot of Christian disciplines in which I fall short.

I struggle each day, especially on my medication to maintain my prayer life. Since my surgery I have been disconected from church completely. I feel lost in spaaaace at times.

You know what though? God knows where I am at. He knows what I am struggling with. In fact many times when we struggle, God is using it in several ways.

One, to draw us closer to him. He desires a relationship with us. Guess what? If we only call on him when we are in trouble, then all we are going to have is trouble. We have to pray during the good times and bad.
Two, to prune us to make us stronger and healthier. Have you ever pruned a tree? Your trimming it to help it bear good fruit. Pruning could hurt.

Each day I grow stronger and stronger in my faith and my walk with the Lord. He uses everything in my life as a tool to mold me to his ways. Most recently my surgery. It has been a difficult time. I have made some tough changes in my lifestyle for the good during this period. Tough times + good changes= pruning.

I may falter in my steps but never beyond His reach.



Larry



Sunday, June 11, 2006

Reality Check


Why do people insist on believing in utopia? A fairytale land of commune living, where everyone shares equally, and we will all sing kumbaya around the fire. The reality is ladies and gentleman, there is only one utopia, one place where we are all equal, and that is Heaven. Is it fair? Maybe not, is it real? Yes.

Nowhere in the entire history of the world has there ever been a perfect place. Well, one, the Garden of Eden and we all know how that turned out. Since Adam's fall the world has worked this way. The stronger, better organized culture has driven out the weaker less organized. Since Cain slew Abel this has been true. Only since the dawn of the capitalistic democratic society have we come close and even then we are so far out from perfect it is ridiculous to think so.

Why people are resentful of the society they live in is beyond me. The United States of America is the free-est on earth. Whether we have the patriot act or not. Whether The goverment has our phone records or not. I will never understand why people on the left will call conservatives nazis. This baffles me. Do these people not know what Hitler and the nazis really did? Are they that challenged? If you said one thing against ole Adolf or, if your neighbor decided you had said something about ole Adolf you would be getting a knock on your door about three in the morning, and you would never be seen again. Gone you would be, either to a ditch just outside of town where your lifeless body would be buried with lime and dirt, or to a labor camp where you would be worked to death or given a shower along with your entire family. Last I heard all the attendies of the kos convention have gone to bed safe.

How about calling christians the taliban? Do you know what the taliban were doing? Stoning women who didn't keep their bodies completely covered from head to toe. Killing women who dared to try and get an education or talked to a man who wasn't a family member. I havn't seen any women at my church being whipped with a car antenna for showing some (gasp!) ankle.

Why not try China. Where Google is forced to censor it's search engine in order to do business there or throwing people in jail for practicing a form of yoga. (Falun Gong) What about France, where it is actually illegal to say something considered hateful.

Do you know where all these freedoms come from that we enjoy so much? From all those dead white guys who wrote the Declaration of Independence, the Bill of Rights, and our Constitution. Guess what? None of those guys were perfect either. These freedoms that we hold so dear have enabled us to create the wonderful diverse society we live in today. A society that has created a level of wealth and knowledge unheard of in the history of the world. That is not arrogance, it is the truth. Could this wealth be better spent? Of course it could. We are human beings! We are imperfect. We are going to make a mess of everthing we touch. It is in our "sinful nature".

Why do we buy Ipods when we could feed the poor? Why do we spend so much money on cable tv, the internet, dish network, dishwashers, and cool clothes? Why not spend it on poverty, feeding the world, and getting bibles into every hand? Just like Joe Dirt says "Why is the sky blue? Why is the grass green? It just is." No amount of hand wringing and wishing will make the world we live in perfect. Calling names, controlling congress, fixing the environment, even stamping out terrorism will not make this world a perfect happy place. Get over yourself, enjoy what you have. Remember, our time here is miniscule compared to the eternity we get with God.

Love your God with all your might. Give it away when you can. Spread the good news and keep others in your prayers. Love your neighbor as yourself. If only wishes were fishes but they ain't. Get used to it.

One day it will be perfect but it won't be here.


Larry

Thursday, June 8, 2006

Amazing Love


I want to speak for a moment about Gods amazing love.
There is no love greater than the love God has for us.
He laid the foundations of the earth, created the heavens
and chained the oceans to their beds.
He created the perfect atmosphere for us to breathe.
Everything, from the stars above, to the grass at our feet,
all designed perfectly to his specifications. He didn’t have too.
He didn’t need too. He just did. Why?

For love, For all of us, you, me, for everybody walking on this planet. God tailor-made everything on Earth specifically for us.

Here are two verses I can refer to that show Gods perfect love.

Romans 8, 32
Since God did not spare even his own Son but gave him up for us all,
won’t God who gave us Christ, also give us everything else?

In other words God loves us so much that he gave his son Jesus to die for our sins. Not just mine or yours but everybody. Liberals, conservatives, black white, brown whatever. Americans, Russians, Africans, and Arabs it doesn’t matter where we are from or who we are, Jesus died for us all.

Another verse.
Romans 8, 38-39
And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from his love. Death can’t, and life can’t. The angels can’t, and the demons can’t. Our fears for today, our worries about tomorrow, and even the powers of hell can’t keep God’s love away. Whether we are high above the sky or in the deepest ocean, nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Meaning, it doesn’t matter what you have done in your life, what kind of sin you have committed God loves you. He has done his part we have to do ours. we have to reach out and ask him into our lives, our hearts.

Don’t tell yourself, I have to wait, I have to get my crap together and be perfect before I can come to the Lord. I have to quit partying, I have to quit sleeping around, I have to quit using, I have to quit pornography, I have to this, I have to that. Don’t wait, there has only been one perfect man and that is Christ. Don't wait, nothing can separate you from Gods love.

Say these words.
Dear Lord, my life is a mess. I can’t go on like this any more. I have tried it my way and I just can’t make it happen. Lord I ask you today, to come into my life and my heart, help me to do what I can’t do alone. I know that you died on the cross for my sins and rose again on the third day. Father I just want to surrender my life to you. I don’t want to be away from you anymore. Amen.
Leave a comment or email if you would like to speak more on this. Don't forget, nothing can separate us from His love.

I will leave you with the words to the song Amazing Love as sung by Bebo Norman.

My Lord, what love is this
That pays so dearly
That I, the guilty one May go free!

Amazing love, what sacrifice
The Son of God, given for me
My debt He pays, and my death He dies That I might live



And so, they watched Him die
Despised, rejected
But oh, the blood He shed
Flowed for me!

Amazing love, what sacrifice
The Son of God, given for me
My debt He pays.
And my death He dies
That I might live
That I might live!

And now, this love of Christ
Shall flow like rivers
So come wash your guilt away
Live again!

Amazing love, what sacrifice
The Son of God, given for me
My debt He pays,
And my death He dies
That I might live,
That I might live!
That I might live, that I might live!



Larry

Back to the Doc

Back to the doc today for my first follow up visit after my surgery. I am hoping for three things. One, I get to start walking the neigborhood to begin getting back into shape. Two, They will tell me what to do about this nerve pain down my right leg. Last but not least, three, I can start working a few hours a day. They are going to x-ray my back to be sure everything is healing properly. I will post later on how it went.

I want to thank everybody again for all of your prayers and well wishes. Getting through this would have been much harder without it.


I hope your day is blessed!


Larry

Something to Think About


Jeeze, midnight again. I have been really working on going to bed earlier but I just can't do it. Especially since I slept till 2:30pm today. I had bad nerve pain this morning when I woke up, bad enough to take a flexeril. It blows my mind that a tiny little pill like that can completely suck my will to live. I wake up crazy eyed from it. Sad things is, I can't cut it in half, too small. I hate taking them. So you know it is bad if I do.

Anyway, I was having bloggers block and surfing Technorati in search of something to comment on and came across (I will credit the blog that linked to the article) Being free. The article is called "What Evangelicals Have Done to Sin"

This is something I am really going to have to think about. Besides using a lot of really big words, the gist of what I got from the article is, yes we sin on an individual basis but what do we do about societies sins? In other words lust is a sin but we will watch Sunday football games and ogle the cheerleeders thereby promoting lust. We will give an offering to help the needy at our church, yet do nothing personally to help poverty stricken people in a societal way. These examples are really lame, I am still digesting what I read. I am not sure how much of this article I agree with but, it has made my cogs start turning. Check it out and tell me what you think. Check out Being Free while you are at it.

I am also going to leave you tonight with Rick Warren's Starbucks coffee cup quote.

By the way, Haven't smoked in two and a half weeks!


Blessings!


Larry

Tuesday, June 6, 2006

Ann Coulter, The Left, and Christians

Ann Coulter, The Left and Christians. What is going on today? The blogosphere is all abuzz with Ann Coulter going head to head with Matt Lauer about the 911 widows. As a Christian I am utterly disgusted with the rancor on both sides. Does everything these days have to be politicized? Is nothing sacred?

First, the elevation of the 911 "widows" to foreign policy experts is completely unfounded. Their status has been raised by a media in this country that has gone mad with its own self importance. The one term Rush Limbaugh coined that is absolutley perfect. Drive By Media. They do this type of thing to everyone. The widows are being used to promote a political agenda. It's not their fault, if you stick a microphone in someones face enough they are going to answer what ever question you give them.
But, just because you are related to someone who died in a tragedy does not make you an expert in foreign policy, terrorism, or anything else.

This leads us to Ann Coulter. "I have never seen people enjoying their husbands death so much." she says of the 911 widows. Enough is enough! I say Shame on you for saying such a thing in public much less on the airwaves.

Now to the hypocrytical left. I won't repeat what they have been calling Ann or any other conservative. They accuse people of spewing hatred and bile, yet every other word they use seems to be the lowest of the low in profanity to describe people who don't agree with their political preference. Shame on you too.

Is open debate no longer allowed in this country? Can we no longer discuss the issues without screaming at each other? Is everything so life and death that each minor thing has to be gnawed over like a worn dog bone? Do we have no basis or common ground with each other anymore? Do we always have to see the differences not the similarities?

Christians don't get a pass either. A recent survey not too long ago stated that 80% of Americans believe in God. You could have sure fooled me. The number one commandment that Jesus gives us is to "love your God with all your might." and to "love your neighbor as yourself." What are we in this country if not neighbors. The bible also exhorts us to love our enemies, to pray for them. Jesus tells us to "present the other cheek." People love to insult christians. No wonder, the way some have been acting, from Jerry Falwell to Pat Robertson and all the ones in between. We should be praying and sharing the good news, not joining in on the slugfest of insults and anger. Love is the great commandment, not you slimy piece of filth and flarn and flarn and filth. Gotta love Bill Cosby.

Cool Down! We are all Americans! We are all different people! We are not always going to agree with each other about some major stuff! Thats OK!

Ugly American doesn't only apply overseas. It starts right here at home.


Larry

Sunday, June 4, 2006

What Me Normal?


Ahhh, love these nights full of regrets. Two weeks after surgery and I'm like, what was I thinking? I know I know, look how I've improved so far. Tonight, it's not enough. Day by day laying around the house. Completely unable to affect anything. Nerve pain abounds as my nerve endings start to wake back up. My favorite is the one that runs from my lower back, right beside the incision, down my right leg to just behind my knee. Throb throb burn burn.

Couch potato, thats what they told me to be until my Dr's Appointment this coming Thursday. Unable to go to meetings, unable to go to church, unable to work. This is nothing I didn't know was coming. Reality is much more fun than imagining isn't it?

What I wouldn't give to feel normal right now. To be able to run down stairs and jump the last five steps. To go for a road trip, conduct an enrollment, deal with a crisis. I realize this will all pass. I realize this is only temporary for me. I know that I still have it better off than others. But It sucks right now and I want to vent. This week at the Doctor they are going to do an x-ray to make sure everything is aligned then their gonna tell me to start walking everyday. Thank God! A goal. A task.

Sorry to unload. Y'all are my group right now lol. Don't forget anonymity lol. It works if you work it.

Be better next time.

Promise


Larry

Saturday, June 3, 2006

Whats the Point?


One of my all time favorite heroes is Rick Warren, author of the best-selling book "The Purpose Driven Life". He is also the one who gave John Baker authorization to start Celebrate Recovery at SaddleBack Church 15 years ago.
I have had several moments in life where things changed for me forever for the good.

Birth.
Asking Jesus into my life at eight years old.
Learning how to drive.
Meeting my wife.
My daughter Alexis was born.
Giving my life over to Christ again 2/15/03.
Reading the Purpose Driven Life

I am not including the car accident or surgery into my accounting. Out of all the life events listed, number one was accepting Jesus as my Lord and Saviour, CEO, and Number One Accountability Partner, reading the purpose driven life was number two. Rick Warren really helped me to understand and put together exactly why I am here. The question is, do I utilize it as much as I should?

I recently read a post on a blog called The Broken Road. The title was "A Neat Little Package." The post really made me think of Purpose Driven Life.
At different times in my life I have often felt like I didn't really belong here. Like I was lost on a desert island or something.
Of course in my fantasy land brain I thought I was born in the wrong time, like Patton said he was. I didn't go as far as Shirley Maclaine and decide I had been reincarnated a bunch of times, but everything felt out of place.

Imagine when I read The Purpose Driven Life and the chapter about life being a temporary assignment. It all made perfect sense. Psalm 119, 19 says
I am here on earth for a little while.
Holy smokes! A reason for feeling that way. This is not my permanent home nor my final destination. When I am uncomfortable in my own skin, am I living as I should? Am I thinking of my real home or am I too wrapped up with earthly things?

Since reading Ellen's post I went out and purchased a new copy of The Purpose Driven Life. (I had given mine and several copies away.) This time around I am not only going to make notes like a journal but I am going to study each daily verse much more intensly. I am going to better utilize the lessons within instead of letting it lapse in memory. And yes, I am going to do the Life Purpose Statement this time around. For me Working the steps of Celebrate Recovery never stops. Neither should the lessons of Purpose Driven Life.

When life's day to day struggles weigh us down it is easy to forget why we are really here. It is easy to wallow in our own self centeredness and lose site of eternity. I am thankful for Ellen and her post. I am even more thankful for the Holy Spirit helping me recognize the significance of what I read.


Larry

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