On Loving Pizza

Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Pizza! Don't you just love it? Oh I know, many of you like me, grew up eating "comfort food"--- biscuits and gravy, fried chicken, fried potatoes, the list goes on and on. I must stop. I'm making myself hungry! I can remember the first time I heard about and saw pizza. It was called pizza pie and to my eyes it looked awful. I didn't bother to try it for several years. I have never been to Italy, but I have eaten pizza in many places. Some of the best was at a little place right on the beach at Malibu. We have been attending the Pepperdine Lectureship since 1958 and so at least once a year we had visited this little Italian resturant named Cardi's. We first went there with "Big" Don Williams, my roommate at Abilene Christian. The restuarant was small, over- crowded----but the food was fantastic. They later moved across the street from the beach to a bigger place. The food remained the same. I'm writing this to tell you that in Phoenix we have a place that makes pizza just as good as the little place in Malibu. Sure, I had rather eat my pizza in Malibu, but since I can't always be there----I love Red Devil Pizza in Phoenix. Some guy in New York declared a Pizza made in downtown Phoenix as the best in the country. I'm ashamed to say I can't even remember the name of the place. I fully intended to give the pizza my own taste test and rating. But I didn't. So right now, my vote is for Red Devil Pizza. Why does the man in New York have the right to name the nation's best pizza? Who gave him that power---the pizza gods? Listen to me. Try Red Devil---you will like. Better still, if you're my friend, give me a call, I will take you. Don't you just love pizza?????

Just Wondering

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Why don't we just ignore the people who are upset with the word Christmas? If they don't want to say: Christmas Season, Christmas Cards, Christmas Carols, Christmas Tree then let them say Holiday or whatever they want. The majority likes Christmas so lets keep the word and march on!

Why do we make fun of fruit cake? My mother-in-law's fruit cake is wonderful. But once upon a time somebody decided that fruit cake was a joke and so it is! The same cruel joke has been played on Dan Quayle. The media made such a big deal out of one spelling mistake that from that time on Dan was considered to be a dummy.

Why does that hard, ribbon, Christmas candy cost so much? When I was a child we were poor but we always had that candy. Sure every thing is more expensive now----but that much?

Why do some members of the Church of Christ think you can have a Christmas tree in the home but not in the church building? You have a lot of things in the home that you don't have in the church building?? The building is sacred?? The building is not sacred?? It will leave the impression that you believe Jesus was born on December 25th??

Why do some Churches of Christ give their preacher's bonuses on special occasions, like their birthday, their years of service to the church, etc. but never at Christmas??

Why do I even wonder about these silly things???????????

Cold In Phoenix

Monday, November 28, 2005

We don't get to say this very often but we can today---IT'S COLD IN PHOENIX! Yep, it got down to freezing in the area last night. But it won't last long and the sun is out bright and it always feels warmer than it really is.

The Cardinals finally won a football game last week and in a decisive way. They lost again yesterday. We knew winning wouldn't last long.

Time marches on. Things come and go: Christmas, New Year's Eve, New Years Day, it gets cold, then spring comes, summer follows with days hotter than ----, fall comes, the first thing we know its Christmas again and then another new year. Things change. We can't control all the changes but we can control the way we feel about change. I opt for acceptance and excitement.
These are exciting days enjoy them.


Sunday, November 27, 2005

We went to worship today and it was wonderful. There were three services this morning. There were probably 1500 to 2000 people in the assembly we were in. When I was still in High School I drove to a little school building outside my home town and preached for 11 people. Before I left to attend Abilene Christian College there was an attendance of 35. It was wonderful. While a student at Abilene I drove 218 miles every week back into Oklahoma to preach for a small church of about 40 or 50. It was wonderful. I was attending worship services when I was young and I still do now that I am old. IT'S WONDERFUL!

Yes, Virginia There Really Is A Santa Claus

Saturday, November 26, 2005

The other kids were telling me there was no Santa Claus. I asked my mother. She said, "Yes, there really is a Santa Claus." I guess I believed that much longer than the average child. If mother said so---then that's the way it was. She also told me that there is a God and that the Bible is true. At some point I finally realized that mother was either lying, confused, or just taking part in a traditional "belief" that wasn't intended to be believed as an adult. Well, if mother didn't have it right about Santa---what about God? It was quite a strain on my weak, little brain but I finally had to sit down and ponder these things. Did I have to throw mother "off the train," or what?
Plain old, Okie, common sense kicked in and I ruled Santa out, and God in. I didn't damn mother or Santa to hell I just let common sense put this traditional story in its proper place. I still believe in Santa as the giver of gifts he just doesn't wear a bright, red suit. What about God? Once again, common sense told me that mother was telling the truth about God. I accepted God by faith based on mountains of evidence. The evidence didn't prove God but it did produce faith. There is so much about God that I don't know. But I agree with the one who wrote: "So I go on not knowing, I would not know if I might. I had rather walk with God in the dark, than walk alone in the light." Sela

It's Beginning To Look A Lot Like Christmas

Friday, November 25, 2005

It was still dark outside when I got out of bed this morning and yet women all over the country had been up for hours and were moving like an army on the malls of America. The attack was on! Snatching, grabbing, squealing with delight. The fun was on! I am happpy to say that my wife was still in bed At this time of life there is very little "stuff" that we do not already have. Don't misunderstand, I know why they do it. It's part of a long tradition. It's the thing to do. But there does come that time when you reach a saturation point. A time when you desire more sleep than more "stuff." You prefer bed over baubles. You had rather have sugar plums dancing in your head than bills piling up on your desk. That's when you know you have arrived----your old!

I turned 71 yesterday and I kinda like it. I no longer have to give a reason why I don't want certain things, I don't want to do certain things and that I just want to sit. Everybody seems to understand---Clif's old.

Even though I'm old now I'm still excited about Christmas. First and foremost I'm still excited about the old, old story about the Christ child. In a few days I will put lights on the outside of the house and light the tree on the inside. We will put decorations all around and say once again, "It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas." We may even sing the words. We'll smile a lot, laugh a lot and generally just feel good all over. It's beinning to look a lot like Christmas and I am glad. I hope you are too.


Thursday, November 24, 2005

Today is the day that citizens of the U.S.A. observe an annual day of Thanksgiving. I am grateful for many things. I can only name a few. I am grateful....

For a Great God--- A loving, heavenly Father, for Jesus Christ our Savior and for the Holy Spirit.

For my 71st birthday, which is today, for good health and for medications that control my diabetes.

For Charlotte a devoted wife of 47 years, and for our children, Carol and Allen who have always been a blessing.

For the freedom and prosperity of our country, for the work I have had over the years, for Social Security that provides for us in our senior years, for the beauty of all that surrounds us. I would love to live long enough and have enough money to live for a year in many places all over the United States.

For Christian brothers and sisters all over the world, for the encouragement that I receive from just knowing they are there!


Knowing What Time It Is

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Ted Koppel of ABC's Nightline, said, "There are two ways to retire. One is too soon. The other is too late." He took the first option. I felt that way when, after fifteen years, I resigned from Lincoln Heights Christian Church. I didn't want the elders to have to tell me it was time to quit. I wanted to give somebody else the opportunity to take the church beyond what I was able. My friends ask me if I miss preaching. You bet I do! For almost fifty years everything I saw, heard, read or did was material to help illustrate Bible messages. That's hard to turn off. I continue to read and study but I lack a pulpit. Silly me, I thought the elders at Lincoln Heights would invite me back to the pulpit at least once or twice a year. That hasn't happened. I knew that even small congregations have at least two preachers now, and don't need anybody to "fill in." I thought that when a congregation was looking for a new preacher that they might invite me on an interim basis. That hasn't happened either. But, like Ted Koppel, I'm still glad I quit before being asked to do so. My first speech teacher often told the class, "Stop when they are wanting you to go on." I practiced that when preaching. My messages were usually 25 minutes----sometimes a little more, sometimes a little less. I wanted to quit speaking before the congregation stopped listening. I write this for those of you who ask, "What are you and Charlotte doing with your time?" We do the next thing. We get up every day excited about what God has planned for us. We hope you do too. God bless you as you live for Him.

The Mess We Are In

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Now that I am retired I watch too much news on T.V. Watching the news has convinced me that the world is in a bigger mess than I ever dreamed. I don't want to ride this thing like a hobby horse but I am convinced that one of the top causes for much of the mess is LIBERAL JUDGES. I am amazed on a daily basis by the liberal decisions that Judges hand down. What ever happened to sin, right and wrong, justice, punishment, grace? Common sense just doesn't seem to matter any more. We have laws on the books that don't make sense to anybody but we continue to enforce them. On the other hand we have laws that we just dance around and seemingly ignore. What the heck is going on?

This is Thanksgiving week and I am sincerely grateful for every judge, lawyer, law enforcement officer, and everybody else that is standing up for what is right. Soldier on!

Thanksgiving Week

Monday, November 21, 2005

It's Monday and I'm moving slow. Must be a hangover from the years when I was preaching. I put everything I had into Sunday and so on Monday I was emotionally drained. Even though I don't do the preaching now I get so emotionally involved in the worship, especially the sermon that I feel like I am responsible for the outcome. (You know, maybe I am. If you don't put anything in, you don't get anything out.)

This is Thanksgiving week and I love it. We have so much to be thankful for. Friends are close to the top of the list. This morning we received a great E-Card from our dear friends, Paul and Bobbie Covey who live in Stockton, California. We will always remember the year they came from Stockton with two other dear friends, Bill and Sue Burnley, to spend Thanksgiving with us. It was one of our best. We had just moved to Phoenix and even though our children had come from L.A. to be with us----we were lonely. Our friends left their own famalies to come and be with us. We will never forget it! Thank God for your friends.

The Emotions of Worship

Sunday, November 20, 2005

In 1957 I graduated from Abilene Christian and became the Minister of Preaching at El Monte Church of Christ in El Monte, California. Every Sunday I sat on the front pew and cried my way through the singing of great Christian hymns. Over the next almost 50 years I continued to sit on the front row on Sunday morning singing but tears only came occasionally. I was moved---deeply moved, but not to tears. This week, on Thanksgiving Day I will celebrate my 71st Birthday. Now, on Sundays like today, I find tears in the corner of my eyes as we sing "Beneath the Cross," "Near the Cross," and "In Christ Alone." Is it because I am nearer heaven now than ever before? I don't know. Maybe it's just age. I cry a lot more often now about a lot more things. I hope it's because I have deeper feelings about Christ, the cross, and heaven. I hope you do too.

Saturday, November 19, 2005

Carol, Charlotte, Al at Disneyland Posted by Picasa

Carol, Clif & Allen on the Mark Twain
Riverboat at Disneyland Posted by Picasa

Disneyland is a happy place

Got back to Phoenix yesterday afternoon. We visited relatives in the L.A. area and spent two exciting days at Disneyland. Soarin' Over California is my favorite ride. Wow! What an experience. It's exciting every time I ride it. We enjoyed two full days and went to our Hotel at night after the fireworks. We enjoyed being with our children Carol and Allen for four days as we made the trip to CA. with them. It was nice to just sit back and let someone else do the driving, especially on the streets and freeways of the L.A. area.

When you own a home something always needs to be fixed. Today I have had the pool cleaner repaired and I repaired the timer for turning lights on and off in the house when we are away. My next project will be installing a new timer for our sprinklers ourside.

Tomorrow is Sunday and I am looking forward to another exciting day of worshipping with the church.

Good Books

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

A few weeks ago Charlotte and I worshipped at Camelback Christian where Joe Smith preached for many years. He recently retired so we did not get to hear him preach. He was the first one to greet us as we walked from the parking lot. He was excited about a new book he was teaching from. The book is real SEX the naked truth about chastity by Lauren F. Winner. Mike Cope who preaches for the Highland Church of Christ in Abilene, Texas recently recommended this book on his blog. It's a good read. Darryl DelHousaye, the Senior Minister at Scottsdale Bible Church recently recommended The Story of Three Kings as the best book he has ever read. Well, I didn't like it that much but it is a great book. It was written by Gene Edwards. So many books---so little time.

Finding The Heart's True Home

Monday, November 14, 2005

My friend, Roy Achmoody teaches a class on prayer at the Lincoln Heights Christian Church in Phoenix. He recently wrote two articles in newsletters sighting some of the books he uses in the class. The books he recommended are excellent. This morning as I walked past my book case several books on prayer caught my eyes. A few of my favorites are: Prayer-Finding The Heart's True Home by Richard J. Foster, When God Answers Prayer by Bob Russell,Break Through Prayer by Jim Cymbala,Partners In Prayer by John Maxwell,Between Heaven and Earth by Ken Gire,Approaching God-How to Pray by Steve Brown and The Transforming Power of Prayer by James Houston. It may be trite---but true, PRAYER CHANGES THINGS!

Favorite Days

Sunday, November 13, 2005

Today is Sunday---one of my favorite days! Thanksgiving is just a few days away and then it will not be long until Christmas and these are two more of my favorite days. This morning started off in a great way with an exciting Bible Class taught by Dr. Wayne Grudem.He taught on the clarity of Scripture. There are 500 members enrolled in this class. We meet in the Gym. The next few weeks, through the end of the year are going to be exciting times at Scottsdale Bible Church. There are many things planned: Carol singing, tree lighting, Handel's Messiah presented by the Phoenix Chamber Symphony and Chorus, Christmas Eve Celebration, many worship services and many outreaches to the community. One major outreach will be to take friends to see a special showing of the movie The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and The Wardrobe.

Museum of The Book

Saturday, November 12, 2005

Wow! We heard Col. Oliver North speak last night on,"Celebration of the Book." He is encouraging the Legacy Ministries as they build a Museum that will celebrate the Bible. There will not be any other place like this in the United States. This museum will honor God and His Word. I am pleased that it will be built in the Lake Pleasant area.

It's All New To Me

Friday, November 11, 2005

I'm 70 years old and still learning. Blogging is a new and exciting adventure for me. Now that I am retired I have plenty of time for mediatation and reflection. Today is Veteran's Day and in a few hours my wife,son,daughter and I are going out for Mexican food and then on to the Scottsdale Bible Church to hear Oliver North speak. It will be a great evening!