Dip Cone Hair and Simple Life

891d3-conesThis is a picture of my hairstyle a while back.

Yes, the dip cones to the left are an exact representation of my hairstyle.

I’d like to say it’s more “Jimmy Neutron” than Dairy Queen to increase my “cool factor,” but that’d be stretching it.

This isn’t on purpose mind you – it just happened that way. Hair got a little too long, a little too free with the gel and…voila! DQ Dip Cone hair!

I noticed the DQDC resemblance in the mirror, and told a couple of friends “Look! I have dip cone hair!” to which one responded, “you absolutely do – did you do that on purpose?” “Yes! And tomorrow I’m going for a Hunger Buster belly!” OK…sooo not really.

I want the simple life.

A church member with a biting wit was giving me a hard time just two days before. In response I emailed her – “I’m leaving the ministry… getting a job at Dairy Queen in Gonzales (my daughters and I go to that DQ when at a friend’s ranch in the area). I will be their new “dip cone” guy. I dip the cone and then turn it upside down before I hand it to the customer. Then I smile sweetly (I’m good at that). That’s the life for me. No harassment. No stress. Just honest simple labor .”

Sweet, sweet lady. In response she emailed back “Is this the part where I say, “You’re good at being a dip?” The love of the Lord was all over her.

It got me thinking though.

Great job dipping cones. Nothing else to do. No complications, no worries. Just fill the cone, dip it, turn it upside down before handing it over. Creamy perfection.

And if you do it right…everyone loves you. People all over town saying “love the dip cone guy!”

My life isn’t like that at all.

There are regular complications, issues, and…you can do the right thing, and sometimes people will still hate you for it. Jesus mentioned that we should expect that.

And life is never free of stressors. Even the dip cone guy has stress. “Red alert! Red alert! The chocolate’s too hot! I turned the cone over, and it plopped onto my shoe!” Then he’s banished to the fryer and a life of chronic grease induced clogged pores and Crisco hair. Talk about stress.

What I really want, is a Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego kind of life.

They were told if they didn’t worship the king’s statue they’d be thrown in the fiery furnace. Their response?

Something like this: “Hate us – we don’t care! Throw us in the fiery furnace – we don’t care! We won’t worship your statue!”

That is so bold and excellent. I want to respond like they did! BUT…I want to already know beforehand that it is reeeeaaally gonna be OK.

Like God is whispering in my ear “I’ve got your back on this! Act a little more uppity! Wave that freaky dip cone hair around and say something like ‘whether God rescues me or not, I don’t care! Cause I’m one faithful bad mamma jamma!’”

That’s NEVER happened to me.

God does tell us beforehand that He’ll always be here and never forsake us (Deut. 31.6). But it seems that more often than not, He shows up (great Biblical point coming…wait for it…wait for it…) while we are in the fire. He shows up in the middle of our inferno and carries us safely through.

That’s what He did with Shadrach, Meschach, and Abednego:

He (Nebuchadnezzar) said, “But I see four men unbound, walking in the midst of the fire, and they are not hurt; and the appearance of the fourth is like a son of the gods.” Daniel 3:25

Not hurt. Not burned. God with them.

Are you in the middle of a fire right now? Look for God. He’ll be right there with you and will never, ever leave you.

Amen amen.

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Mike Pence = Taliban

Washington DC is #1!  Washington DC is #1!

#1 for what David?

Ok – I exaggerated. DC is #4. DC is in fourth place in the US regarding Ashley Madison cheaters, with 50,000 members looking to discreetly commit adultery (the website connects married folks who want to cheat).

But Mike Pence is the freak.

An article came out in the Washington Post about the Vice Presidents’ wife. The article revealed how disturbingly deviant Mike Pence really is. He said (HIDE THE CHILDREN’S EYES – IT’S HORRIFYING!):

He doesn’t dine alone with a woman other than his wife.

Some people got the vapors over this. Here are a few choice tweets:

  • I wonder what happened that led to these rules?
  • Sounds like someone who knows he has no self-control.
  • God spare us the Jesus freaks.
  • Would love to see what’s hiding inside Pence’s closet.
  • He is extremely creepy. Just makes my flesh crawl.
  • American Taliban.

    Stymie
    If this causes you to hyperventilate, you a) never saw the full Little Rascals episode (the boys realize the error of their ways) and, b) take yourself way too seriously. This is hilarious!

The consensus of the left is that Mike Pence (and every Christian) is part of the He-Man Woman Haters Club.

In response to all of that craziness, here is a great tweet:

“Bill Clinton never dines alone with his wife. Who’s REALLY crazy?”

I know I know. So unkind. But the truth of our day is that for many, a serial adulterer is a hero and the man who sets boundaries for himself is the freak (and he just said dining alone with a woman so spare me the histrionics about not meeting with women – he didn’t say that).

But guess what? 

Billy Graham has a similar rule. No one has ever accused him of being a member of the He-Man Woman Haters Club OR of having an affair.

Cal Thomas said years ago, “The Puritans may have had some problems. But AIDS was not one of them.”

Rick Warren has been preaching this for years. From his 10 Commandments to Help Staff Maintain Moral Purity, the first two (which don’t apply to singles) are:

  1. Thou shalt not go to lunch alone with the opposite sex.
  2. Thou shalt not have the opposite sex pick you up or drive you places when it is just the two of you.

“Too much purity!” Not our problem today.
“Not enough adultery!” No one is claiming this is our problem.
“We need more divorces!” said no one ever (divorce lawyers excluded).

Here’s my thought: In a career and town that is known for cheaters (Clinton, Weiner, Gingrich, even Petraeus) Mike Pence is wise to set boundaries to protect his marriage, and every man and woman should set their own similar boundaries so they can keep that marriage that God gave them! In other words, don’t be an idiot!

In marriage, you’ve got a GREAT thing! What’s so great about it you ask? Just this:  Genesis 2:24 (love this) says  “Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh.”

One flesh. That is great news if you’re like me. I married waaaaay above my station! And because my wife and I are “one flesh” – on the day we were married, I instantly became a much, much better person because I’m part her.  Yay me!

And marriage is such a great gift that God wants you to pull a “Mike Pence” and do whatever is necessary to protect it. 

In the NIV, Genesis 2:24 says a man should be united to his wife. “Be united” is so tame and sounds wussified to me (wussified? see definition here – it’s really good!). It doesn’t suit the need of the day. King James says “cleave,” which is a better action word, but no one today knows what it means since it’s a 16th-century word. The ESV says, “hold fast.” That’s an action word.

Hold fast to that marriage. 

Brings to mind a picture of an angry sea that is rocking and a rollin’ and the ship is about to capsize. The captain lashes himself to the ship’s wheel, so he can’t be thrown overboard. He’s holding fast to the ship’s wheel. If the ship goes down, so does he (I have no knowledge of sailing ships – I just made this up – but it is a good picture of the verse).

What God intends in Genesis 2 and what we need today are people who leave mom and dad and everything else that might get in the way and hold onto that marriage like grim death!

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Actual photo of Grim Reaper. Snapped it with my Iphone and ran like the wind!

“Hold on like grim death” = to hold tightly to something, despite great difficulty.

Genesis 2:24  ESV    Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh.

What Billy Graham and Rick Warren and Mike Pence know, is one of the best ways to hold fast to a marriage, is to make sure you don’t ever put yourself in a compromising position. Almost nobody ever says, “When I get married I want to commit adultery.” Yet somehow, millions commit adultery every day. 

Why? Because it’s MUCH easier to cheat than to celebrate your 50th wedding anniversary.

So hold fast to your husband or your wife! Not in some weird/controlling/stalker/creeper/abusive kind of way. That’s just crazy. But hold fast through the hard times and tempting times with an understanding of the weaknesses and frailty of all men and women and do whatever is necessary to protect that great gift of oneness. And never apologize for that.

And if you’ve already blown it? Repent, stop it, reject the sin, and move forward with Jesus.

American Taliban indeed. Oh geez.

Amen and amen.

 

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Best Bible Story Ever-When God Comes to Dinner

Hyperbole alert – I may have overstated that title – all the Bible stories are excellent! But for at least two reasons this one is great. I love Genesis 18, which Ray Stedman called “When God Comes to Dinner.” I just love the picture of God coming to dinner as a man.

First Reason this is a Great Story: Angels show up. And so does God. 

Abraham is hanging out one day, and three men walk up and have dinner with him. They start talking, and as the conversation unfolds, it becomes apparent that one of the men is actually God in disguise (some would argue the pre-incarnate Christ, but that’s a subject for another time). The language changes from “they said” to “the Lord said.”

Boggles the mind.

 
This story is not in Genesis 18. But I am Laughing Out Loud at it right now.

Now Hebrews 13:2 says we should show kindness to strangers because you never know – you could be in the presence of an angel. Whoooaaa. You could be buying a Big Mac or a Venti coffee from a guy and he’s actually an angel. A real life angel who FLIES through space and time and has actually been in the presence of God in a way I haven’t (Although he probably covered his eyes and feet (Isa. 6:2)). But that thought is a big hairy audacious deal.

Now to be clear, the other two men who come to see Abraham are, in fact, angels. So Abraham encounters not one, but two angels. And you gotta admit, any Bible story with angels is a great story.

But wait! It’s a lot more than that. The third person is God Himself! How amazing to be talking to someone and realize all of a sudden, “hey, this is not just some regular guy, this is like, THEE guy, the ONE, that like, MADE me!”  Remarkable.

Abraham had an awesome day that day (except for the fact that God told him He’s going to destroy cousin Lot’s town of Sodom).

Second Reason this is a Great Story: God says –
Nothing is too hard for Him.

God tells Abraham that next year Abraham and Sarah will have a boy. Sarah overhears from inside the tent and laughs to herself (she’s 90). Silently. And God hears the silent laugh (that is sooo like God…hearing even silent things).

And the Lord asks Abraham (and somehow Sarah gets in on the conversation) why Sarah laughed. And here’s where I laugh:

Genesis 18:15  But Sarah denied it, saying, “I did not laugh,” for she was afraid. He (the Lord) said, “No, but you did laugh.”

Hilarious. “No, but you did laugh.” So matter of fact. So straight up. And I read it as said completely emotionless and deadpan.

 
Actually, average person would have to wear flame retardant pants 11 times a week.

Sarah lies because she’s afraid. 
Before we think too poorly of Sarah, according to one Notre Dame study, the average person lies 11 times a week, even though it’s not God calling them out. But God hears it every time, just like He heard Sarah’s silent laughter.

In the face of Sarah’s disbelief, God asks a rhetorical question. In verse 14 He asks “Is anything too hard for the Lord?

Great question. Yay God!

If God spoke our entire world into existence, then making a barren woman pregnant is pretty much a cakewalk*.

And apparently, Sarah considered this, because somewhere between her lying and cynical disbelief and childbirth, Sarah believes. But you only know this by reading ahead.  How far ahead? Like 58 whole books ahead to Hebrews.

Hebrews 11:11 says: By faith Sarah herself received power to conceive, even when she was past the age since she considered Him faithful who had promised.

Somewhere between Genesis 18:15 and Hebrews 11:11 Sarah must have considered that question “Is anything too hard for the Lord?” And she came to a most excellent conclusion: no. Nothing is too hard for the Lord. And He keeps His promises. Even the seemingly impossible ones.

Nothing is too hard for the Lord.  So you believe.

Believe and ask the question: What in your life is too hard for the Lord?

  • Your marriage?
  • Your attitude?
  • Your heart?
  • Your friend who is far, far from God?
  • Your kids?
  • A sin that you cannot overcome?
  • Your circumstances?
  • Your grief?
  • Your pain?
  • Your home?
  • Your job?
  • Your country?

What if? What if when God said, “is anything too hard for the Lord?” He was speaking a truth that applies not just to Sarah, not just to Abraham, but a universal truth that applies to you too? What if you woke up tomorrow, or next week or even next year, to discover that nothing is too hard AND He keeps His promises?

 For all the promises of God find their Yes in Him (Jesus). That is why it is through Him that we utter our Amen to God for his glory. 2 Corinthians 1:20

God shows up. And nothing in your life, nothing, is too hard for Him.

Amen.

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10 Things You Gotta to Know About Walking on the Water

23073497 - businessman standing in the dramatic ocean before storm

I think Peter has gotten a bad rap.

Since childhood I’ve been told the story of Jesus walking on the water and how Peter was brash, overreactive, spoke without thinking, took a risk and then failed miserably because he’s such a loser-he took his eyes off of Jesus (because no one has ever done that!). Jesus is the hero; Peter is a zero.

Wrong (about Peter – Jesus really is a hero).

If you don’t know the story, it’s in Matthew 14. Here’s the Readers’ Digest version: Disciples are on a boat. Strong wind and waves. Jesus walks to them, on the water. They think He’s a ghost. He’s not. Peter wants to walk on the water too. Jesus says, “Come on!” Peter does. But then looks at waves, gets scared, and sinks. Jesus pulls him up.

Of the twelve disciples in the boat that day, I’d rather be Peter than any of others. If anyone deserves to be discounted, it’s the other 11. Not Peter.

While it’s true that Jesus asked Peter why he doubted, consider:

  1. 12 men saw Jesus walking on the water; ONE wanted to do it bad enough to ask.
  2. 12 men saw Jesus walking on the water; ONE had enough faith to get out of the boat.
  3. 12 men saw Jesus walking on the water; ONE had the initiative to get out of the boat.
  4. 12 men saw Jesus walking on the water, only ONE other, in all of human existence, actually did walk on the water.
  5. 12 men saw Jesus walking on the water, ONE tried, succeeded, and then failed.
  6. 12 men saw Jesus walking on the water; ELEVEN failed even to try. 
  7. 12 men saw Jesus walking on the water; ONE was motivated by faith, we can only surmise that 11 were motivated by fear.
  8. 12 men saw Jesus walking on the water; Only ONE learned first-hand what it means to take his eyes off Jesus, sink, and have Jesus pull him right back up!
  9. 12 men saw Jesus walking on the water; ONE stands out for his faith.
  10. 12 men saw Jesus walking on the water; ONE got to (and this is the best part) walk on the water with Jesus

Peter got to do something that nobody else has ever done! He got to experience what no one else has ever experienced! And he got to do it with Jesus. Why? Because Peter did what nobody else on that boat would do.

If you want to experience God in a way you never have before,
do something you’ve never done before.

William Carey said, “Expect great things from God; attempt great things for God.” That’s Peter. And that could be you too.

It’s much much better to attempt something wonderful for God and fail, then be a smashing success at doing absolutely nothing. 

Some of you have tried something wonderful for Jesus and you think you’ve failed. You may be heartbroken. But instead, take heart! In God’s economy – you have won…because you got out of the boat and tried for Jesus, while thousands of others sat quietly on their posterior in the security of the stern. 

God is calling all of us to reject security. Step onto the water. That’s where you see Jesus at work. That’s where you experience Jesus at work. Win, lose or draw – it’s always a win…when you take a step of faith for Jesus.

It’s time to get out of the boat and attempt something wonderful for God.

Amen, amen.

 

 

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I Like Big Buts and I Cannot Lie

13692630_sHey! If you read that and thought I was writing about something else and some song is stuck in your head, that’s on you and your poor music choices! And, I’m sure I have no idea what song that might be…just saying.

First of all – small buts (our “buts” will remain lower case through this post to designate their smallness). We all have what I’d call small buts. And it has nothing to do with your diet.

Here are a few examples of small buts:

  • but what if God doesn’t come through?
  • but I worry all the time!
  • but I’m afraid if I give to God, I won’t have enough!
  • but I don’t have time to serve God!
  • but my life is just going crazy; I can’t get to church.
  • but I don’t know if God will do what I ask.
  • but they won’t like me if I talk about Jesus.
  • but Sunday School ethics don’t work in the real world.
  • but I’m scared about the future.
  • but I’m not motivated.
  • but I don’t have all the answers.
  • but I don’t know where to start.
  • but I can’t.
  • but I’ll fail.
  • but I’ve lost hope.

You get the idea. And honestly, it’s implied in all of those buts, “I don’t trust/believe God” and/or “I’m not sure He’ll come through in the end.”

I’d summarize the above mindset this way: God is small. And I am all. Meaning, “I’m all I have, and God can’t take care of business.”

But David! One of those on your list is my but, and my but is HUGE! Big as a double-wide! And I don’t like my big but!”

No no no no no. No matter what your but is, it’s a small, tiny but. You just think it’s big because you lack perspective.

Check this out: I feel really small on an NBA basketball court, and I feel REALLY big in a preschool room full of toddlers.

That’s all about perspective.

If you’re comparing your but to yourself, your friends or the world around you, your but may seem big. But it’s not.

What’s bigger than your but (no giggling)?

God’s BUT (all caps to indicate it is large).

God wrote a book. It’s FULL of big BUTS (over 50). Life-saving, wonderful BUTS!

BUTS like:

BUT God remembered Noah and dried up the earth. Gen. 8:1
BUT God saved David from Saul. 1 Samuel 23:14
BUT God wakes me up, fills my lungs with air, puts a beat in my heart and keeps me alive day after day after day after day. Psalm. 54:4
BUT God is the strength of my heart. Psalm 73:26
BUT God brought me up from the pit. Jonah 2:6
BUT God raised Jesus from stone-cold dead to alive forever. Acts 13:30

Those are all live-or-die BUTS.  “BUT God” is a powerful phrase!

It turns reality upside down.
It saves the day.
It makes the bad good.
It makes the tired strong.
It makes the old new.
It makes the dead alive.
It makes the future bright.

“BUT God” changes everything.

Where have you lost hope? Where have you given into worry? Where have you given up trying? Where has fear kept you from doing what God has called you to do?

For every small “but” you and I have, God has a bigger “counter-BUT”.

You say, “But I’m worried.” BUT God controls the future.
You say, “But I’m too tired.” BUT God gives power to the weak.
You say, “But I will fail.” BUT God always wins.
You say, “But what if God doesn’t come through?” BUT God always comes through.
You say, “But I’m afraid.” BUT God says, “Do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.” Isaiah 41:10

No matter what small but is bringing you down, holding you down, keeping you from doing what God has called you do, God is bigger and badder and stronger, and is willing to act for His kids.

Remember I said it’s about “perspective?”

It’s NOT “God is small. And I am all.” That is the very definition of “stinking thinking” (thank you for a great phrase Zig Ziglar).

It is:  I am small. And God is all. 

God is all and proved His great love and willingness to act for you in this…BUT God showed His love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Romans 5:8 

So every time a but enters your mind, or is spoken to you by some naysayer or weak faith person, that contradicts what God has already said, you answer back, “BUT God”…and you fill in the blank with God has said. 

And there is no bigger but than what God has said. He always gets the last word. And it’s always a good word.

Got it? Now go try something great for Him today.

Amen.

 

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I’m a little drunk and I need you now.

That’s one of the lines from the Lady Antebellum song “I Need You Now.” The complete line says, “It’s a quarter after one, I’m a little drunk and I need you now.

The song is quite haunting and most folks can identify with the idea of having lost love, being alone and that aching feeling of desperately wanting to get it back (not necessarily because you’re drunk and it’s late at night.)

Lost your first love. 

A song that fits the idea with more precision is “You’ve Lost That Loving Feeling” by The Righteous Brothers and Hall and Oates, but I don’t like it as much no matter who sings it. There’s also “All Out of Love” by Air Supply. It’s not bad, but a little 80s – ish. As in parachute pants, pastel suits and guys with wings in their hair – like Farrah Fawcett.

But you know that feeling. You lose that loving feeling over time and quit holding hands Valentinesand kissing goodbye. Valentine’s Day becomes a chore invented by a fat baby with wings. You quit doing those things that stir your affection for one another, and you do those things that rob you of your affection for one another. And you lose that loving feeling.

True story  – Daily Telegraph, September 2007. Husband and wife BOTH secretly seek out an affair. They BOTH meet someone online who is PERFECT. They set the date, show up, and guess what? They’re BOTH engaged in an affair with…wait for it, wait for it…each other!!!!

Happy ending right? WRONG Einstein! They BOTH feel betrayed. What a crazy response!  Embarrassed I could understand. Ashamed I would get. A little stupid, I’m all in. But betrayed? Really???

But they each lured the other by treating a stranger online the exact way they had treated each other years before they “lost their first love.”

And Jesus tells the church at Ephesus, “You’ve lost your first love. Repent. Remember the works you did at first. And do them again.” Revelation 2:4

What about you? Did you at one time have a powerful, energizing love for Jesus? And have you lost it? Then Jesus says to you, “Get it back!

What a wonderful call from the King! “Come back, do those things you did in the beginning. Come back to Me, for you are My love, My child, My son, My daughter.”

Go back and do those things that stirred your affection for Christ in the beginning, and run to the arms of your King. And experience the newness of His love again.

 

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You’ll Make It Home

The earth is the Lord’s, and everything in it. The world and all its people belong to Him. Psalm 24:1 NLT

 My first hunting outing with my dad, was dove hunting.


I was five. We lived in Waco, and drove to West (where the explosion was). My dad’s hometown was West. 

Amazing I hunt as much as I do today, because on this first trip, as

Print from my dad-reminded him of my brother, him and me.

we were walking through the high grass I got stung on my stomach (actually “tummy” – if you’re under six it’s a tummy) by a couple of hornets. 


I started crying, we went back to the car, and my dad pointed the a/c vent at my stomach to try to relieve the pain. We drove a bit, saw a tree in a pasture, and my dad “Why don’t we go sit under that tree? We might see some doves.” I agreed.

Dad’s Belgium made Browning 12 Citori…and hand biter.

We got out, and had to climb over a barb wire fence. He lifted me over first, then he began to climb over. He was holding his Browning 12. He had it open for safety. But as he climbed over, it got hung up, and closed on the skin between his thumb and hand.

 It cut through the skin, began bleeding quite a bit. He picked me back up, took me back to his mom’s house where he soaked his hand in kerosene (country antiseptic).

Here’s the point:
Stung multiple times.
Crying.
Upset. 
Dad’s hand hurt and bleeding.
Great day gone bad.

I never felt afraid.

I hurt. A lot! I was upset. A lot! I cried. A bit.

But was never concerned about my ultimate safety.
Never worried I’d survive.
I knew, that at the end of the day-I knew…everything would be OK. 

And! And! And!….get this: I was absolutely certain I would make it home.  Because my dad would carry me there. 

And in Christ, it is the same with you. 

God is sovereign.  
He’s in absolute control – and He will take care of you. You might hurt sometime. You might be upset. But just like me as a little kid:

 You will be safe in the arms of God. 
You will survive in the arms of God, 
You will be OK
 and at the end of the day
Everything will be OK
AND….you..will..make it…home. 
Because your heavenly Father will carry you there.



The earth is the Lord’s, and everything in it. The world and all its people belong to Him. Psalm 24:1 NLT

God Speed,

Pastor David

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