February 16, 2014

Trust me when I tell you I lie....

Why anyone would want to attend a church pastored by me, sit across from me in a counseling session, follow me on this blog or on Facebook, and read anything I write is a mystery. Especially after telling you up front that I lie, yet I can be trusted.

Is is possible that a man who tells you upfront that he lies can be trusted? OK, maybe I'm not a full blown liar, but for sure one whose life is filled with many harmless contradictions. I guess you could say much of my life is a paradox.

Let me explain… In my closet are 2 pair of custom made cowboy boots and a pair of riding boots. They are lined up neatly on the bottom row of my shoe rack. But the real truth is I don't own and have never owned a horse or cattle, and have no plans to do so.

On my desk is a nice case that holds many beautiful writing instruments. I think the number is now up to… let me not say. While they are very beautiful and functional, I spend all my time typing and tapping away on my computer or iPad.

Mounted on the wall in my office is a nice trout and several ducks. But I'm really not a big hunter or fisherman. Sure, I have hunted and fished, but not enough to be considered a real sportsman. For sure not enough to have game mounted on the wall.

Since I am coming clean maybe I ought to tell you my closet is filled with an over abundance of workout clothes with TCU logos. The truth is I never went to TCU and haven't worked out since I don't know when.

I could feel bad, but I don't. Why? Because these are as stated, 'harmless contradictions'. You see if all of us closely examined our lives we would find many contradictions. While not changing my office decor or getting rid of my boots, I do want to always be real, open and honest and deal with every contradiction that keeps me from being the man God intended me to be.

December 10, 2013

THE CAB RIDE I WILL NEVER FORGET

Twenty years ago, I drove a cab for a living. One time I arrived in the middle of the night for a pick up at a building that was dark except for a single light in a ground floor window. Under these circumstances, many drivers would just honk once or twice, wait a minute, then drive away. But I had seen too many impoverished people who depended on taxis as their only means of transportation.


Unless a situation smelled of danger, I always went to the door. This passenger might be someone who needs my assistance, I reasoned to myself.
So I walked to the door and knocked. “Just a minute,” answered a frail, elderly voice. I could hear something being dragged across the floor. After a long pause, the door opened. A small woman in her 80’s stood before me. She was wearing a print dress and a pillbox hat with a veil pinned on it, like somebody out of a 1940s movie. By her side was a small nylon suitcase. The apartment looked as if no one had lived in it for years. All the furniture was covered with sheets. There were no clocks on the walls, no knickknacks or utensils on the counters. In the corner was a cardboard box filled with photos and glassware.
“Would you carry my bag out to the car?” she said. I took the suitcase to the cab, then returned to assist the woman. She took my arm and we walked slowly toward the curb. She kept thanking me for my kindness.
“It’s nothing,” I told her. “I just try to treat my passengers the way I would want my mother treated.”
“Oh, you’re such a good boy,” she said. When we got in the cab, she gave me an address, then asked, “Could you drive through downtown?”
“It’s not the shortest way,” I answered quickly.
“Oh, I don’t mind,” she said. “I’m in no hurry. I’m on my way to a hospice.”
I looked in the rear view mirror. Her eyes were glistening. “I don’t have any family left,” she continued. “The doctor says I don’t have very long.” I quietly reached over and shut off the meter. “What route would you like me to take?” I asked.
For the next two hours, we drove through the city. She showed me the building where she had once worked as an elevator operator. We drove through the neighborhood where she and her husband had lived when they were newlyweds. She had me pull up in front of a furniture warehouse that had once been a ballroom where she had gone dancing as a girl. Sometimes she’d ask me to slow in front of a particular building or corner and would sit staring into the darkness, saying nothing.
As the first hint of sun was creasing the horizon, she suddenly said, “I’m tired. Let’s go now.” We drove in silence to the address she had given me. It was a low building, like a small convalescent home, with a driveway that passed under a portico. Two orderlies came out to the cab as soon as we pulled up. They were solicitous and intent, watching her every move. They must have been expecting her. I opened the trunk and took the small suitcase to the door. The woman was already seated in a wheelchair.
“How much do I owe you?” she asked, reaching into her purse.
“Nothing,” I said.
“You have to make a living,” she answered.
“There are other passengers.”
Almost without thinking, I bent and gave her a hug. She held onto me tightly. “You gave an old woman a little moment of joy,” she said. “Thank you.”
I squeezed her hand, then walked into the dim morning light. Behind me, a door shut. It was the sound of the closing of a life.
I didn’t pick up any more passengers that shift. I drove aimlessly, lost in thought. For the rest of that day, I could hardly talk. What if that woman had gotten an angry driver, or one who was impatient at the end of his shift? What if I had refused to take the run, or had honked once, then driven away?
On a quick review, I don’t think that I have done anything more important in my life. We’re conditioned to think that our lives revolve around great moments. But great moments often catch us unaware—beautifully wrapped in what others may consider a small one.
Kent Nerburn


August 26, 2013

To All The Girls I've Ever Loved...

This is about all the girls I’ve ever loved beginning December 6, 1968. Well, it really started in May of that same year. I was working night shift at an Exxon service station (real service, oil checking, window washing and all) and one evening a car pulled in for fuel. When I went to the window to ask what I could do for the customer, there SHE was. She was a 15 year old high school student in my hometown. In such a small town with such a small high school, how could I have ever missed her? Maybe I was looking for an older woman. Anyway, it was love at first sight. OK. Maybe it was lust, but whatever, I knew I wanted to spend the rest of my life with her. I wanted to sleep in her bed and I wanted her to have my children. Well, the bed sleeping part and children bearing part didn’t start then, but I asked if I could see her again. Much to my surprise, she said yes.  We started dating and I could not go a day without seeing her. She was in my thoughts continually. I wanted to marry her, but she was just 15 years old and an only child. We dated for about 6 months and then I popped the question. She said yes again. We then went to work on her parents. I remember having supper with them every night for 3 months and I am sure they felt the only way to stop me from eating with them everyday was to give me their daughter in marriage. It worked!  On December 6, 1968 we were married.  I have slept in her bed now for almost 45 years and she still excites me. She has given me 3 wonderful children and has done a fantastic job in raising them. That leads to the other women in my life that I will always love—Amy, our oldest daughter, and Marlie, our youngest, and Trish my daughter-in-law. Then there is Lauren, Lenzy, and Chloe my precious granddaughters. How can a man be so blessed? Anyway, I am, and I rejoice for these loves of my life.

August 2, 2013

Fort Worth here we come...

Well, that time of the year is almost upon us. You may ask, "what time of the year is that?"  My response is, "Are You Ready For Some Football?!"  I'm talking primarily about NCAA college football. Let me get this out of the way first:  I am a big TCU fan. I didn't follow them until I sent my youngest daughter to school there. It just seemed right that if they were getting most of my income, that I should have a right to expect not only a good husband for my daughter (which I got), but also a good football team. I will have to say they have not disappointed me the last few years. 

Preacher's Wife suggested that since there is no more college tuition to pay that we should still invest something in the school.  I told her I could think of nothing better than season tickets to their football games. She agreed. She loves football but she also loves the idea of seeing her youngest grandchildren on a regular basis. So we became season ticket holders. Now since the college tuition almost broke me we have to sit in the end zone, but what the heck, she still gets to see her grandchildren and I get to use my new binoculars. I hope whatever team you are rooting for wins, especially if they are a Texas team - UNLESS, they are playing against TCU.

April 2, 2013

My Dogs and My Sermons..

Now don’t get me wrong about what I am going to say. I don't hate dogs. I love my dogs. I even talk to them. I just don’t ask them questions expecting them to answer me. They say a dog is a man’s best friend. I guess that all depends on the man and the dog. We have two Cavalier King Charles Spaniels. Bo and Jake are simply lap dogs. They eat, sleep and wait to be petted. They bark only when they want a piece of ice to chew on. They make little or no demands. In fact they give me loads of affection. When I come home from a long trip or even a short trip to the grocery store, they meet me at the door and run in circles until I sit down and let them give me a big slobbery kiss. At times, I feel like walking out the back door and around the house and coming in again, just so I can feel loved and get another kiss. I have found them to be two of  best friends. They serve me well. When I am going over my sermon they lay in the floor and sleep. It makes it feel just like I am preaching in church, with little or no response coming from the pews. They usually wake up when I am finished and expect to be petted. The more I think about it, it’s a lot like church. I wonder if both my dogs as well as people's response in church have anything to do with my preaching?

March 6, 2013

Frustrated by Telephone Prompts?

I realize times have changed and I'm still a little old fashion, but it doesn't change the fact that telephone prompts frustrate the heck out of me. How many times have you called a business and have been asked to press a certain key to speak to someone. Of course you will need to know their extension. Generally a list of names and extensions are not conveyed. I have moved beyond the frustration of the first prompt which is, do you prefer 'English' or 'Spanish'. 
I prefer a person, even if they speak spanish. I realize I will not be able to use my hands over the phone to communicate with them, but generally the name of a person I speak, they will understand. 

Usually when I call a business, I’m not sure which number to press, because by the end of all the selections I have either forgotten all mentioned prompt selections or nothing matched what I needed. It usually ends up either, “ your business is important to us so please remain on the line, and someone will be with you shortly,” or “please press zero and the operator will direct your call.” Nine times out of ten, it usually ends up that I have to press zero because I didn’t hear anything I needed. Once I press zero I  hear someone say, "we are experiencing a high volume of calls, your call will be handled in 12 minutes." 

Another fun little annoyance with these prompts is when I hear, “please listen carefully because our menu selections have changed.” This is great but I never called your company before, so how would I know what the old selections were? I think they do this because they want you to stay on the phone and hear all their choices, and you won’t try using the prompts before they say what they are. Maybe there could be a game show called “Beat the Prompts.” 

 People still need people. It just seems like it is harder to get to people than ever before. Look, I understand the cost of having a receptionist that is good at multi-tasking, but there has got to be a better way. 

Here’s a thought, just put a receptionist on the phone. Not only will we not have to sit and listen to the laundry list of the “directory” selections, but our call will end up being directed to exactly where it needs to go, even if it is to the right persons voice mail. At least we can move on into hope that they will return our call, plus you’ll help the unemployment rate.

January 2, 2013

I'm Through Whining...The quilter finally made me a quilt.

If you remember a few post back I wrote about being married to an avid quilter. I shared how she had made a quilt for everyone in the family but me.  Of course, I whined and complained about being her only financial sponsor.  I know it is probably pretty petty of me, but after I saw her first quilt I was blown away at its beauty.  I wanted one to call my own. Well, as much as I hate whining and complaining (which she believes I enjoy),  I must say it worked. It was either that or the $8,000.00 Janome 12000 sewing machine I bought for her sewing room.
Anyway, it was a small price to pay to see her happy face. It has been said, "if momma ain't happy nobody's happy."  I cannot say that about my children's momma. She has always been one of the most, spiritual, secure, gifted, talented, loving, easy going, and generous women I know. Add to that being a pastor's wife for over 25 years, raising three wonderful children, and being a fantastic grandmother to seven grandchildren. And to think she doesn't even teach a Bible Study. But she is for sure a Proverbs 31 woman from my perspective.

August 25, 2012

Married to an avid Quilter...

My lovely wife Anne known by many as Preacher's Wife became a quilter about 18 months ago. At that time I thought it was a neat hobby for her to take up since she is a fantastic seamstress as well as mother and grandmother. She immediately set a goal to make all her children and grandchildren a special quilt from Nonny.

As of this post I haven't seen her in about 18 months. Don't laugh it's not funny.  Only a quilter's spouse would know this to be a true statement.

When she first started I had no idea that quilting would be so expensive. According to statistics it ranks above hunting and golfing for the most money spent on a hobby. That was hard for me to believe until now.

Being the loving husband I am and wanting my wife to be happy and totally fulfilled, I turned our guest bedroom into her sewing and quilting room. And that was when she first went missing.

At present she is on target for her goal of making quilts for the children and grandchildren.  Even though I am her ONLY financial sponsor, I have yet to hear about any quilt being made for me.

So as she quilts away for others, I am left with only a U-haul moving blanket for any means of cover. Prayers welcome!

I am pretty sure she will will have a rebuttal of this post on her blog soon. Preachers Wife Speaks

November 30, 2011

Til Death Do Us Part...

Anne and I will be married 45 years on December 6th. She had just turned 16 and I was 19. Honestly, as I look back and reminisce I must admit we had no clue what we were doing. We were just ‘in love’. So how did we stay the course for almost 45 years? I think it was love but not the kind of love we read about in romance novels rather the kind of love that is described in the Bible. Love is more than a feeling because feelings change. Anne and I have not always felt in love or felt like we wanted to remain married. Love is a choice. Love has to do with the will. We must love when we don’t feel like it because this is what God requires. This is real love.

We don’t feel we are better than others in the marriage arena. We’ve had our ups and downs, our sharp disagreements. Yes, we have allowed the sun to go down on our anger as well as come up while we were still angry. Maybe we’ve stayed married because we were both to proud and stubborn to leave or quit. We had 3 wonderful children and they deserved better than us giving up or just quitting.

I know a little about young love and romance. Through the years in ministry I have learned about covenant. I know which one is most likely to last. Romance so often is seen in the phrase “as long as,” while covenant is ‘until”.

If you know me, then you know this is not written to belittle anyone who has experienced the hurt and pain of divorce. It’s about how it takes God, and two people who are willing to hang in there when the going get rough. Hopefully, wherever you are in your marriage relationship you will allow God’s love to prevail in your heart, and keep choosing in the hard times to will it so. We are but one of many testimonies that declare you can make it.
Thanks for rejoicing with us.

October 17, 2011

A Cardinal is just a noisy red bird...

I don't want to make a big deal out of the upcoming World Series. I want to be fair and non-bias. I am sure you who know me believe this. To be honest, I'm not even an avid baseball fan. I usually tune in during the play-offs right before the championship.

Now I don't want anyone to take what I'm going to say all wrong. I don't hate the Cardinals. I have nothing whatsoever against the Cardinals. A Cardinal to me is just a beautiful red bird that makes a lot of noise.

But there is something about me I would like for you to know. I am a God loving, God fearing man. I love God, my family, my many friends, the USA, and last but not least the Republic of Texas. I root for every Texas person or team who is competing with anyone outside of Texas. If two Texas teams are competing against each other I flip a coin (unless I have a dog in the hunt = a bet)(either way I win) to choose my Texas team of the day.

I have difficulty understanding how a Texan can root for another team who is playing a Texas team. I know this happens and I am sure there are many good reasons one could give. I just said, "I don't understand it."

So my friends, as the World Series begins tomorrow, I hope you'll sit back and enjoy and root for the team of your choice. GO TEXAS RANGERS!!!