Thursday, April 30, 2009

Judge Not....

For the past seven days our family has been on the run. Meaning we have been very busy. We went to Ft. Worth earlier in the week to visit family and now we are getting ready for a family camp out this weekend. I said all of that to say this. We had to get our home ready for fellowship tonight, and I had not had a whole lot of time to think about or prepare for the evening. However, I am learning the meeting does not depend on me

As busy as we have been, it was not a burden to get ready. We had another great gathering. The potluck was very tasty tonight. Sharing meals together are always a blessing. After we ate, the men ended up in the living room for a time, while the ladies chatted in the dining room. Soon every one gathered and we sang a few songs while my oldest son played guitar. Sometimes we sing at the beginning, sometimes we sing at the end and sometimes we don't sing. We don't come with a plan. However, we do enjoy the singing and it helps turn our focus toward the Lord.

While singing I felt I needed to share a little about how encountering the Lord in these meetings is changing my life. After I shared, things got a little quiet, and whenever this happens I get a little uncomfortable. I feel I need to keep things flowing, but I fret needlessly. I did turn to one of the men and asked him what he had for us tonight. He brought up something we had been discussing earlier. "Judge not that you be not judged", Mt 7:1.

This led to another night of the Holy Spirit weaving and intricate message for us. We talked about receiving or accepting one another per Rom 15:7. This led to Rom 14:13 - Therefore let us not pass judgment on one another any longer, but rather decide never to put a stumbling block or hindrance in the way of a brother.

The Lord is showing us that loving one another, not judging one another, and receiving one another is more important than our doctrine. To be sure doctrine is important. It is the foundation of what we believe. However, Jesus said, "A new commandment I give you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another." So how did Jesus love his disciples? He taught, encouraged, admonished, rebuked and a whole list of other things. But, He rebuked the pharisees for their focus on their doctrine, law and traditions.

People have killed through the centuries over doctrine and religious beliefs. Is it our job to protect the purity of doctrine? Or is it our job or calling to love one another? This is the question I wrestle with. I think if we concentrated more on all of the "one another's" toward our fellow believers, doctrine would take care of itself. Sometimes I wonder if we get too caught up in defending and debating doctrine at the expense of just being a blessing to one another.

We talked tonight if we would put limits on what type of people we would invite to our group. It was a good discussion. Some sensitive subjects were discussed. The bottom line is we have to be sensitive to the Holy Spirit and extend Christ's love to whomever we encounter.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Simple Church

"And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works...." I read this scripture several weeks ago in our home fellowship.(Heb10:24) It was one of the "one another" scriptures we had been talking about. One hour later, an intricate message had been woven by the Holy Spirit, using normal folks in various stages of their christian walk. Each adult and several young people contributed to the conversation. It was not a message that was prepared beforehand by anyone.

We hear a lot about loving one another in church,
but that particular verse in Hebrews uses a very strong verb
in the Greek.
Provoke, incite, stir up, stimulate, arouse;
these are some of the words used by different translations.
These words are not passive.
This type of love is something that we must purpose in our hearts to do.
It does not just happen.

After the meeting was over, I came away convinced the Holy Spirit had spoken to us in a very concise manner. I personally felt that it was a message for me. However, I was not the only one who felt that way.

Each time we have come together, the Lord has spoken to us through those that are gathered. I find myself meditating on that word throughout the next week. It has an impact on my life. It challenges me and makes me uncomfortable. This is what simple church is about.

What I am finding is that I cannot hide in these meetings. I have a responsibility to spend time with the Lord so I can be ready to share with the group. The Lord is revealing things to me that I need to attend to. It is very personal. The next week the message was along the same lines. The Holy Spirit weaved another amazing message that touched my heart. I confessed at the beginning of the meeting that I had been challenged in provoking my family to love. Jokingly I mentioned that I had been better at provoking them to anger. The problem was it had been easier. One of the dad's asked his teenage son for forgiveness for getting mad at him the week before. This happens in simple church meetings.

So here are some questions I ask. Are we challenged when we gather with the saints? Do we participate? Do we leave the meeting with a mission on our hearts? Are we changed?

I have encountered God during these meetings. It is frightening. The flesh doesn't like it. I am exposed. I come away changed, grateful for a Mighty God that loves me, in the midst of my weaknesses and faults. You can't help but be changed when you encounter God.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Bermuda Trip

Had a good trip to Bermuda. The pic above is Bermuda. We were on a wide downwind for landing when I took this pic. The airport is located at the top of the picture. They wont let you fly over the island so we had to keep over the water until landing.

This pic is of the airport from a previous trip. The runway runs NW/SE, which runs horizontal in this pic. The image below is from google map.

View Larger Map

I did a little snorkeling. The water was freezing, but I got used to it the longer I stayed in. I took a disposable underwater camera and below is a pic of a parrot fish. I took a whole roll, but this is the only one they came out very well.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009


I haven't flown since the end of March. I enjoy being home but, I get paid to fly airplanes. Things are real slow in the industry, and sitting home waiting for a call gets old. The good thing is I am on salary, and get paid whether I fly or not.

My crazy work schedule does not lend itself to developing consistent habits at home. I have a whole list of projects to be completed, but seems I can never get caught up.

We go out to Bermuda about six times a year. We only stay for one night each time so we don't get any time to explore the island. It is a beautiful place. Very British and colonial. The people are very nice. It does not seem to be a party island like the Caribbean islands are.

We were there this past January, and I had taken my snorkeling gear with me. The wind was blowing about 40 mph. There is a small cove in front of the hotel where we stay and we were on the lee side of wind so I thought it might not be too bad to swim in. I stuck my foot in the water and I thought I was going to into shock. It was so cold. Nevertheless, I gave up on the idea of snorkeling. I am going to try again this time. Maybe the water will have warmed up a little.

The bad part about the trip this week is I am going to miss our home fellowship and will not be able to post about it first hand. That happens a lot in this business. It is hard to consistently be a part of anything and plan things.

I'll post some pics if I get some good shots when I get back.

Monday, April 20, 2009


On Monday nights my three oldest kids(16-21) and I take a class called Perspectives on the World Christian Movement. It has a different speaker in every week. It is broken into four sections: The Biblical, Historical, Cultural, and Strategic Perspective.

Tonight's speaker was Jimmy Dorrell, who started a church for the homeless under a bridge in Waco, Texas in 1992. He also has a ministry to the poor called Mission Waco.

Here are a couple of quotes from his talk tonight.

"People with problems, need to be part of the solution for the problem"

"We have taught so much and done so little." Talking about the American church.

He says they have an abundance of requests to help between Thanksgiving and Christmas. Come the middle of July, there is no help to be found.

My favorite story of the night is how they minister to poor families during Christmas. Instead of bringing free gifts to families and embarrassing the parents that cannot afford gifts for their children, they open a store and sell gifts and toys for 80% off. This way dignity is maintained and there is a price paid.

Sunday, April 19, 2009


There are plenty of blogs out there that are addressing the issue of ecclesiology, that are much more articulate and persuasive than I am able to do. However, I like joining the fray because it helps me organize and articulate my thoughts in a much clearer manner.

I have found myself in too many conversations where I am unable to explain, for example, why I think meetings should be interactive and participatory; not a one way monologue with the pews. I can see in my spirit what it all looks like, but have a very difficult time expressing it in a cogent manner. I generally come away frustrated.

There is a picture in my mind of how I believe the church ought to function. I believe it can all be backed up by scripture, but I don't have it all written down in a clear concise manner. Have you ever seen someones office with post-it notes all over the walls and desk. The guy knows where every note is, but does not have it all organized in one area. Well, that is what my mind is like.

So, I am starting to write some questions to ask people instead of engaging in persuasive type conversation. Here are some of the questions I am putting together.
  1. What does the bible say about the gathering of the saints?
  2. What is the purpose of the gathering of the saints?
  3. What is a church service?
  4. Is the gathering of the saints or worship service the place for believers to participate of spectate?
  5. What is a worship service?
  6. When does the worship service start?
  7. What does the bible say about the worship service?
Some of the questions are leading, but hopefully they will make people think. So much of the church never thinks why they do the things they do. Paul said in 2 Th 15 to...stand firm and hold to the traditions you were taught by us... Jesus told the pharisees, "...for the sake of your tradition you have made void the word of God," in Mt 15:6.

It behooves every generation to "ferret" out the traditions that have been passed down them to ascertain they are not of pharisaical origin.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Flying Gliders

Flying has been in my blood since I was a kid. I believe God plants those desires in our heart. When I first started flying almost thirty years ago, I could not believe that everyone did not share my passion. I found out a lot of people could care less about flying airplanes.

I enjoy flying anything with wings and had one glider ride years ago. Last May on a trip to the Bahamas, I met a fellow corporate pilot who was a believer and glider pilot. I told how I was looking for a way to teach my middle son how to fly. He suggested we learn to fly gliders together.

I did not need much encouragement, and found a local glider club in the Houston area called the Soaring Club of Houston (SCOH).
Since Jaron was gone most of the summer to Africa, we waited until September to join the club. Ironically, our first scheduled lesson was the day Hurricane Ike hit. I was gone that weekend evacuating the G-IV to New York. That is a another story in itself. We got on the schedule the next weekend and both of us flew. Here are some pics of Jaron's first flight.


STRAPPING IN - Younger brother watching




Jaron has learned fast and soloed this past December. Here are some pics of his first solo flight.





Since December the weather and schedule conflicts have slowed the flying down somewhat. However, we are both getting close to taking our checkrides for our private pilot glider rating. Here are a couple of recent pics.



Stayed tuned for more exciting news as we continue our glider flying!

Answered Prayer!

We met on Thursday this past week. The group is starting to coalesce. I am surprised by the group. I would have never guessed God would have put this group of people together. I don’t mean that in a negative way though.

At the end of last weeks meeting we talked about our desire to minster to people groups from other countries. There are a lot of refugee and unreached people from all over the world in the Houston area. We just don’t have any contacts. So we prayed a specific prayer for God to show us how or set up some divine appointments for us the next week.

So what happened? Monday in our Perspectives on World Missions class that I am taking with three of my kids, a couple from the area came in and shared about their ministry of reaching out to international students in the Lonestar College system. Bingo! Divine appointment. Here was an opportunity for families to adopt international students and develop relationship with them.

The next day I signed up to adopt and called and talked to the couple about their ministry. I told them about our home fellowship and invited them to come and talk to our group. They were excited and cleared their calender and came Thursday night. The group was excited to hear that our prayers had been answered so fast, and for the opportunity to reach out to international students.

I am awestruck how God is working in our group. We are young as a group and their will be challenges ahead, but life is full of challenges. Relationships are full of challenges. I am confident God will bless us.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Passover Seder

We went to a Passover Seder at some friends house last night. I had never been to one and have always been fascinated by Jewish traditions and how they relate to us as believers.

It was a very interesting and enjoyable time. I think we have done ourselves a disservice by not learning more about Jewish festivals and celebrations. We are grafted into Gods family. Our savior is Jewish.

There are so many things that Jesus did that we don't understand because we don't know the background of the Jewish life.

I'll never forget the false labor run to the hospital for our first born. The nurses said to go and walk some to see if it was real labor. So we went to a nearby mall to walk. We met a Jewish man and his wife selling prints of old testament scriptures. I started asking him some questions and we sat down on a bench and he started elaborating on the meaning in Hebrew of a certain passage in Psalms. I was fascinated at the depth and meaning he was able to describe that English could not satisfy.

Last night after the Seder we sat around and listened to the man and his wife who my friend had asked to facilitate the Seder. They are messianic Jews. He talked about how the Jews celebrate the Shabat or sabbath 52 times a year. Each time if done correct, the head of the household will say blessings over his wife and children. He honors and serves his wife as she prepares the Shabat meal. He would help with the children and greet any guests that were invited.

The point being, blessings were spoken over his family on a regular basis. We see in the old testament how important blessings were from a father to his children. They were coveted and very powerful.

I was not one-hundred percent on board with all the man said. However, I was challenged enough to do some more investigation and research.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Stir Up One Another

Finally, I have enough courage to make a post. We started a small group in our home in January. The idea was to invite those from our local fellowship and some other believers we know, and study what the bible says about small group interaction.

Over the last couple of months, the attendance has varied but there has been a core group that has been faithful to attend. We offer a time for a potluck meal before we start the meeting, and have always had a few families show up. From the beginning I did not want to be a visible leader, just a facilitator. We spent at least six meetings studying about all of the "one another's" in the new testament.

Starting last week I did not feel that I had anything to teach, so I just opened up the meeting to discussion. It was amazing how the Holy Spirit manifested in the hearts of the people. A strong word of stirring up or provoking one another to love came forth from among the people. We had some great discussion and reading from the Word. Heb 10:24,25 got us started, and it just flowed around our living room after that.

We gathered again tonight and had one of our largest attendances. Once again I came not prepared to do a focused teaching. Once again the Holy Spirit manifested himself by taking us deeper into provoking one another to love. We discussed being a doormat for Jesus. We heard testimonies of what God may require of us to spread His gospel.

One brother shared the story of a Nepalese man who ended up spending many years in prisons for sharing the gospel there. His prayer had been, how can I reach so many people all over Nepal. Long story short, he ministered and witnessed to thousands of prisoners. When released many of them spread the gospel. He endured all sorts of hardships and pain to fulfill his calling. He was provoked by the love of Jesus to spread the gospel.

How willing are we to deny ourselves, and have a love so strong for the lost to do what this man did?