Archive for February, 2015

My Bucket List

February 24, 2015

It seems many of the men my age have a Bucket List. Recently some people asked me what is on my bucket list, so here we go:

1. To spend a day with my grandchild all by myself. Yes, it’s the first thing I think of because our first grandchild is expected in four months. I would like my daughter to leave the child with old dad and let me care for her, sing to her and show her off to all my friends. I am not afraid and my daughter should not be either. I did just fine by her!

2. To write a book that gets published. I wrote one in 2004 that was condensed by the publisher into a magazine article. It got published in two journals yet I still want to write a book. On what subject, I have no idea. I’ll come up with that later.

3. To return to my childhood camps and spend a night or so. I loved growing up at two great camps in Alabama. Camp Winnataska is about an hour east of Birmingham. I learned to ride a horse there, make a hemp rope necktie, enjoyed pillow fights, dressing in native clothing for Indian night, singing around the bonfire and competing in Derby Night. The second camp is my Ebenezer. Camp Sumatanga, located about an hour northeast of Bham, is where God hammered out my call to ministry, introduced me to creative worship, the place I got my first kiss, learned to square dance and loved to escape/retreat to at least one weekend a month during high school. I had friends there that were as close as siblings. Wonderful place!

4. Travel to some places Meri and I still want to get to: New Zealand, the Hershey Plant in Pennsylvania, and the Amish Country there. Hawaii and even Las Vegas, not to gamble, just to enjoy the sights, sounds and attractions. Also to stay at Animal Kingdom in Disney World and go across the city to Hogwarts at Universal. And take an Alaskan cruise.

5. Some places I still have not convinced Meri to visit yet are on my list:  China, fish the Amazon River, go back to the Congo and worship in the churches where I helped raise funds for new roofs, and take a cruise through the Panama Canal.

6. Refinish some old furniture. I did this when we first married and have not done a piece in 20 years. Takes a lot of time and patience.

7. Catch a largemouth bass of 8 pounds or more, take a picture of it and release it. Then have a picture of it in my office, but not a mounted fish. I would rather know it’s still out there producing more bass for me to catch! And take Anna with me to fish once again and see her catch a large fish, but not larger than mine.

8. Cook breakfast for my children and have all of them in our home with their future kids for a whole weekend. The last time I did this the grits were terrible. How do you mess up grits?

9. Eventually work for my son in the church where he is the lead pastor or the teaching pastor. I already learn so much from him and would like to work on his team.

10. Live long enough to do all this with my sweetheart Meri and be with her as she completes her list as well. And I do look forward to the day in retirement when she gets to choose where we live and where we worship. She has been a good sport to always go where I am sent and support my ministry there through blessings and challenges.

Well…that’s enough for now. Time to get to it!!

JONAH and ISIS – there is a connection.

February 10, 2015

Jonah is the reluctant prophet who did not want to go and preach Good News to the people of Nineveh. He was not scared of them, lazy, or unprepared. He knew that God would do what God does best – God would show them mercy and save them. What’s wrong with that? Well, Nineveh is in present day Syria, you know, the land of ISIS. Get it now? Many of us do not want mercy and salvation for this terrible group of terrorist thugs. Right!? It is more than a coincidence that this group destroyed the tomb of Jonah.

This morning a young prophet/youth minister friend of mine said the biggest need of the student generation is their desire for mercy. They long for it from their parents, their teachers and friends. They experience it in very few people, so his team seeks to show mercy and teach them all about it through words and actions. Jesus said, “Blessed are the merciful…” (Matthew 5: 7).

One of the hardest things to do is to show mercy to those we deem evil and have brought pain into our lives. Yet God is calling present day Jonahs to go to Syria and bring Good News even to ISIS. This morning I read of a Japanese Christian who wanted to go and his government revoked his passport.

There is someone in your circle right now that needs mercy. Will you share the very mercy that God has poured into you? Are you a judge, a Jonah or a merciful servant? What’s the connection for you?