burning memorial candles

A Thanksgiving Like No Other Still Haunts Me

Ten years ago we toured Israel. There were so many memories that were life changing. But one memory was unexpected and lasting. We were in the midst of a whirlwind tour of Israel when Turkey Day arrived. As the day dawned in Jerusalem I remembered past Thanksgivings with family all around. Watching the Macy’s Parade while the tantalizing aromas of roasting turkey, pumpkin pie and fresh baked bread filled the house. Watching the football games, eating way too much, and  then the afternoon lapse into semi-consciousness known as the traditional Thanksgiving day nap. I knew that this year would be a little different but I had no idea how much. When I heard our schedule I knew this would be a Thanksgiving like no other. Our final activity for that day would be a visit to the Holocaust Museum in Jerusalem.  My first reaction was “No, no, not today”. But then I reconsidered. What better reminder of how very much I have to be thankful for
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Helping Hand with a shadow on pavement of an adult hand offering help or therapy to a child in need as an education concept of charity towards needy kids and teacher guidance to students who need tutoring.

We All Need A Little Help Now and Then

There is so much pain in this world. So many hurting people. I feel overwhelmed and helpless. What can I possibly do? And the answer quietly comes to me. Do something. A classic song called “Lean On Me” reminded me that we all need to do something for others. The lyrics sung by Bill Withers talks about simply being there when friends and loved ones are hurting. Sometimes in our lives We all have pain We all have sorrow But if we are wise We know that there’s Always tomorrow Lean on me, when you’re not strong And I’ll be your friend I have been thinking a lot about community. I have, to be honest, had many moments recently when I wondered if living in messy community with messy people is worth it. One of my dearest friends is Dr. Gil Herren. He used to tell me stories about working the emergency room at a Memphis hospital and how much
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Two hands on sunsut.

When A Man Loves A Woman

I love the power of lyrics to touch the heart. A song by Percy Sledge brought a spiritual connection to the morning walk. I loved Motown music as a teen and I still do. My secret desire was to perform as the bass singer with the Temptations. Remember the song “Papa was a Rolling Stone”?  I wanted to be the guy that said “and that ain’t right” in that deep, deep bass voice. But my lack of talent, dancing ability and the general composition of the group precluded that dream from becoming reality.  “When a Man Loves a Woman” reached number one on both the Billboard Hot 100 and the R&B charts in 1966. The song was number 54 in the 500 best songs of all time in a poll by Rolling Stone Magazine. Anyone who has ever been in love can feel these lyrics deep in your soul. I remember when I fell in love with the stunning Mrs.Burchett. I could have written these
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choose new way concept hand drawing on whiteboard

A Better Way

Even occasional readers of my humble ramblings know that the start of my faith narrative was mired in moralism. Our church was, without question, the denomination of “no”. Starting from that faulty foundation led me to years of sadness, tiredness and bondage. I replayed my long and fragmented journey to grace and freedom as I listened to a song from Hillside United titled, “From the Inside Out”. One thousand times I’ve failed Still your mercy remains Should I stumble again I’m caught in your grace Everlasting your light will shine when all else fades I remembered day after day of agonizing self-loathing because I kept failing. I did not understand His mercy nor did I believe I could fall on His grace. I was taught that such an attitude showed a lack of obedience and a dependence on “cheap grace”. Somehow I missed the message of Jesus to the religious hypocrites as I was influenced by the preaching of shame.
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Perspective word on a puzzle piece to illustrate vision or creative ideas as a plan or solution

Perspective From A College Sports Weekend

I don’t want to become a grumpy old man but I sometimes need an emergency grace infusion to not go full metal grouch. This weekend I sat through a very soggy Homecoming victory by the Baylor Bears. It was not the sharpest performance of the season but I reminded myself that Baylor is currently ranked as high as second in the nation. This is the school that lost a game years ago because they tried to run one last scoring play when all they had to do was take a knee. The running back lost the ball and Baylor lost as their opponent ran the recovered fumble 98 yards for a touchdown. Think of the irony of a Baptist school that loses because they refused to kneel! Fast forward to the Art Briles era. This same school now wins Big 12 Championships and is a legitimate contender for the Championship Playoff. I remind myself of the miracle that has happened
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depressed young people sitting in the tunnel

Redeeming Suffering and Trials

Full disclosure. I envy songwriters. A songwriter can say in a phrase or chorus more than I can communicate in paragraphs or chapters. I am surprised by how often I am impacted by a phrase or thought from a song. Writer Aldous Huxley wrote these words. “After silence, that which comes nearest to expressing the inexpressible is music.” Being in community with others means you share in their joys and their sorrows. Sometimes the sorrows come in tsunami waves and all you can do is care, pray and be present. Good and decent people deal with financial, emotional and physical suffering all around us and it is easy to lose heart. The news seems to be only tragedy and heartbreaking sadness. What can be redeemed of all of this suffering? A song called “The Hurt and the Healer” by MercyMe resonated when I first heard it but now that same song ministers much deeper in my soul recently. Why? The
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lone tree without leaves in autumn

How Do So Many Christians Fall?

I used to be quick to jump on Christians who failed morally. How could they claim to be a Christian and do something like that? I wondered how they got to such a low point in their journey. Perhaps a bit of insight came from a Texas storm. Strong winds toppled a 50-foot-tall tree in a friend’s backyard. But strong winds are a part of every spring in Texas. Why did this particular storm fell a mature tree? The answer came as my friend cut up the fallen tree—it had completely rotted inside. There was no way to tell when you looked at the tree. The bark covered the decay and the leaves were still green and pretty. But inside the tree was dying. It finally reached a point where there was not enough strength left in its core to withstand another storm. The example from nature is a metaphor for how we can topple as Christians and completely surprise
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