Tuesday, January 31, 2006

(One of my favorites)

If I had my life to live over again, I’d try to make more mistakes next time.

I would relax, I would limber up, I would be sillier than I have been this trip.

I know of very few things I would take seriously.

I would take more trips. I would be crazier.

I would climb more mountains, swim more rivers, and watch more sunsets.

I would do more walking and looking.

I would eat more ice cream and less beans.

I would have more actual troubles, and fewer imaginary ones.

You see, I’m one of those people who live life prophylactically and sensibly hour after hour, day after day. Oh, I’ve had my moments, and if I had to do it over again, I’d have more of them.

In fact, I’d try to have nothing else, just moments, one after another, instead of living so many years ahead each day. I’ve been one of those people who never goes anywhere without a thermometer, a hot-water bottle, a gargle, a raincoat, aspirin, and a parachute.

If I had to do it over again, I would go places, do things, and travel lighter than I have.

If I had my life to live over, I would start barefooted earlier in the spring and stay that way later in the fall.

I would play hooky more.

I wouldn’t make such good grades, except by accident.

I would ride on more merry-go-rounds.

I would pick more daisies.

Hallmark Hall of Fame

Monday, January 30, 2006

I grew up believing that "When You Care Enough To Send The Very Best" you will send Hallmark cards. Over the years I have sent very few humorous cards. Most of the time I selected cards of a more serious nature. However, recently I went looking for something that was really funny. Naturally I headed for the Hallmark store. Nothing! Oh, they had a few cards that were suppose to be funny but in my opinion they were just silly.

Last night I watched the Hallmark Hall of Fame movie, "The Water Is Wide." It was excellent! But what I liked more than the movie was the commercials. Most of them were repeats but I loved them just the same. Everytime I see them I get a little misty eyed. Those commercials are not just good---they are excellent! Three cheers for the Hallmark movies and commercials!

No funny cards? Ok, so nobody gets everything right all the time.


Sunday, January 29, 2006

The Psalmist said, "Our mouths were filled with laughter, our tongues with songs of joy." (Psalm 126:2).

Dr. Seuss, the famous author of children's books said, "Humor has a tremendous place in a sordid world. It's more than just a laughing matter. If you can see things out of whack, then you can certainly see how things can be in whack." (From Keep On Dancin' Daily Readings to Celebrate Life, by Tim Hansel).

Having fun releases us from our circumstances and gives us the courage to laugh at our problems---and ourselves. Laughing doesn't make the pressures go away, but it helps us view them more clearly. Laughing opens a door of HOPE!

The Jesus Creed

Saturday, January 28, 2006

In his book, The Jesus Creed, Scot McKnight says, "Jesus knows what life is all about." The theme of his book is what he calls the Jesus Creed:
"Hear, O Israel, the Lord our God, the Lord is one. Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength." (Deuteronomy 6:4-5) The second is this: "Love your neighbor as yourself." There is no commandment greater than these. (Leviticus 19:18)

The Top Ten Ways To Tell You Grew Up In The Church of Christ

Friday, January 27, 2006

10. You know the 1st, 2nd, and 4th verses to nearly every song in the book.

9. You ever thought that it might be unscriptural to drain the baptistry.

8. You were 18 years old before you knew that "guideguardanddirectus" was not one word.

7. You used to think the offering was part of the Lord's Supper.

6. You've wondered who Ebon Pinon was.

5. You never saw an orignal showing of any program aired on early Wednesday or Sunday evenings.

4. You were the only kid in the 6th grade who knew what "acappella" meant.

3. You were the only kid who had actually sung alto or tenor before taking junior high chorus.

2. During a service you have laughted, cried, spanked a child, dropped a book, walked to the bathroom, passed a note, emptied your purse on the pew, eaten a cookie, chewed gum, taken medicine, whispered to somone sitting beside you, winked at a friend, coughed, sneezed, burped, or maybe even said, "Amen," but you have NEVER, EVER CLAPPED.

1. You have stood for 13 verses of "Just As I Am" with the last stanza sung softly.

Marriage Humor

Thursday, January 26, 2006

Marriage is a great institution, but I'm not ready for an instituion. - Mae West

By all means marry. If you get a good wife, you'll be happy. If you get a bad one, you'll become a philosopher...and that is a good thing for any man. - socrates

Marriages are made in heaven. But so again, are thunder and lightening.

Marriage is when a man and a woman become as one; the trouble starts when they try to decide which one.


Wednesday, January 25, 2006

When I was a young preacher I read a sermon by Arthur John Gossip with the title, But, When Life Tumbles In What Then? He preached that message shortly after his wife died. I was absolutely amazed at his great faith in God. I couldn’t understand how so soon after this great loss he could deliver an uplifting message of hope and courage.

I was a young preacher then and I am an old retired preacher now and I still am amazed. I pray for the kind of faith that will give me Arthur John Gossip’s kind of relationship with God. He was hurting but as he walked with God he knew (faith) that it would turn out alright.

The Apostle Paul wrote in Romans 8:28 that we can be sure that every detail in our lives of love for God is worked into something good. I see two things here: (1) Every detail in our lives is worked for something good. He doesn’t say that every detail is good. It certainly isn’t. We have accidents and get hurt, we lose a loved one, we have a heart attack, we lose our job, our mate stops loving us and leaves. The list goes on and on! Paul says, Every detail in our lives is not good but it works into something good. (2) This happens in the lives of those who love God. This is important!

I look back over a life of loving God and see how He has taken the bad things that happened in my life and worked them into something good. When hell was breaking loose all around me I had a hard time believing that anything good could ever come out of the mess.

I know that God is good. I find my hope in His past promises and faithfulness. I know He will work all things out for my good. When life tumbles, in I just tighten my grip on His Hand a little bit more.


Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Truth has no special time of its own. Its hour is now---always.
Albert Schweitzer

The Joy of Growing Old

Monday, January 23, 2006

Growing old is not without humor.

I like the story of the elderly couple driving out to meet friends for a social evening. She said to her husband, "Honey, you try to remember where we are going and I will try to remember who we are."

The Word of God

Sunday, January 22, 2006

Our preacher is doing expository messages through the book of Mark.

Today he found himself in chapter ten and needing to deal with the unpopular subject of divorce.

He did a great job!

A lot of preachers I know would have “skirted” those verses.

The building was jammed packed. (Probably 2,000 people) How many of us needed to hear this message? I don’t know. I do know the divorce rate in the Phoenix area is high. The preacher never said that divorce is the unforgiveable sin. He realizes that it is going to happen. What he was doing was discouraging it.

It does my heart good to know that the man in the pulpit is going to deal with every Scripture he comes to in an honest way and not try to skip over any of them.



Saturday, January 21, 2006

What is your “one thing”? What is the “one thing” you are ready to give up anything and everything for?

The movie “City Slickers” was about guys from the city who visit a dude ranch and participate in an old-fashioned cattle drive. There is one scene where a wizened old cowboy named Curly holds up one finger and asks the city dude if he knows what that means. He doesn’t. Curly explains that it represents the “one thing” that life is all about. When the dude asks what that is, Curly answers: “That’s what you’ve got to find out.”

So, what is it for you? Have you found the “one thing”?

Is it fame, money, power, pleasure, your family, your job, your church?

Three thousand years ago King David said: “One thing I have asked from the Lord, that I shall seek: That I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to behold the beauty of the Lord, and to inquire in his Temple.” Psalm 27:4

Is this too high and holy---too heavenly minded?

If Curly is right and the “one thing” is what life is all about, let me ask again---what is your “one thing”? Is it money, pleasure, power? Is this really what life is all about?



Friday, January 20, 2006

Don’t say “No” if you can keep from it.

Say “I’ll do all I can; I’ll look into it at once.”

This gives hope.

To say “No” flatly sounds harsh. “No” closes the matter. There’s no more promise.

When you delay in saying “No” to a request for a favor, something usually turns up that makes it possible for you to honor the request or to get around it.

When you politely stall, you avoid offending.

We are urged by many to “just say NO.” This is when we are dealing with moral things. The answer is always “No” when we are being asked to do wrong. What I am talking about is the day by day requests of friends, fellow workers, and loved ones.

Life is so darn hard that we need to hear “Yes” as often as possible. We don’t need to expect it for ourselves, but we can sound it out for others---“YES”!


Thursday, January 19, 2006

Scott Peck, now deceased, taught me a great lesson. It was years ago that I read his best-seller, The Road Less Traveled. His opening words were: “Life is difficult.” Well, I already knew that, but I had never thought about it in the way he explained it. He went on to say:

This is a great truth, one of the greatest truths. It is a great truth because once we truly see this truth, we transcend it. Once we truly know that life is difficult---once we truly understand and accept it---then life is no longer difficult. Because once it has been accepted, the fact that life is difficult no longer matters.

I encourage you to read the rest of what he has to say in this good book. I don’t agree with all of it but most of it is great. This one truth, that life is difficult, helped change my life. It helped me stop acting like life should be easy. It helped me stop moaning and complaining constantly about what should be.

Not Worth The Lead It Would Take To Shoot Him

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

For years I went around saying, "He/she is not worth the lead it would take to shoot him/her."
I said that about everybody I deemed hopeless.

My dear wife would tell me over and over that nobody is hopeless. It didn't make any difference, I kept saying it.

One day it finally sunk in. There is hope for everybody as long as God is alive. Everybody has worth! So as slow as I am---I finally stopped saying those things. Oh, I slip now and then. Some people "drive me up a wall" and I let it slip out---He's not worth the lead it would take to shoot him! But most of the time I try to be more patient with people and leave them to God.

HOPE WITHOUT PATIENCE results in the illusion of optimism or, more terrifying, the desperation of fanaticism. The hope necessary to initiate us into the adventure must be schooled by patience if the adventure is to be sustained. Through patience, we learn to continue to hope, even though our hope seems to offer little chance of fulfillment. … Yet patience equally requires hope, for without hope, patience too easily accepts the world and the self for what it is, rather than what it can or should be.Stanley Hauerwas, A Community of Character

Say It Ain't So

Tuesday, January 17, 2006






DIFFERENCES--Martin Luther King Day

Monday, January 16, 2006

THE DIFFERENCES between black folk and white folk are not blood or color, and the ties that bind us are deeper than those that separate us. The common road of hope, which we all traveled, has brought us into a stronger kinship than any words, laws, or legal claims.Richard Wright, 12 Million Black Voices


Sunday, January 15, 2006

Friends have been visiting. Our home has been filled with laughter and joy.

We have known these friends for over 35 years.

Our first Thanksgiving in Phoenix was going to be a lonely one. We had just moved from California and was trying to adjust. Paul and Bobbie left their family and friends in California and flew to Phoenix to be with us. (Their children will never let them forget it and we will never forget it!)

In times of great ministry discouragement---Paul and Bobbie were there. When we desperately needed support---they were there.

For almost 20 years, EVERYTIME I went to the pulpit, I knew that Paul would be there encouraging me along. Did he always agree with what I preached? NO! Do we always agree on everything now? ABSOLUTELY NOT! But we are honest about our disagreements and we work through them.

It's lonely around our house this afternoon. Paul and Bobbie are flying back to their home in California.




Thursday, January 12, 2006

There isn’t much that I can do, but I can share my bread with you, and sometimes share a sorrow, too---as on our way we go.

There isn’t much that I can do, but I can sit an hour with you, and I can share a joke with you, and sometimes share reverses, too---as on our way we go.

There isn’t much that I can do, but I can share my flowers with you, and I can share my books with you, and sometimes share your burdens, too---as on our way we go.

There isn’t much that I can do, but I can share my songs with you, and I can share my mirth with you, and sometimes come and laugh with you---as on our way we go.

There isn’t much that I can do, but I can share my hopes with you, and I can share my fears with you, and sometimes shed some tears with you---as on our way we go.

There isn’t much that I can do, but I can share my friends with you, and I can share my life with you, and oftentimes share a prayer with you---as on our way we go.
Author Unknown


Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Reading through the Bible every year is a good habit. Sure you will come to chapters that are so familiar that you can quote them. But you will also come to some Scriptures that will amaze you. You will think, “How could I have missed that?” Since it is just January, I am still in Genesis and Matthew. It’s exciting to be there. I’m not in a hurry to move on.

I’m also reading a devotional thought each day from Tim Hansel’s, Keep On Dancin,’ Daily Readings to Celebrate Life. I have many devotionals but this is the best. Tim is practical and down to earth. This morning I pulled another of Tim’s books off the shelf, You Gotta Keep Dancin’. This has to be one of my all time favorites. I recommend it to everybody. His theme is, in the midst of life’s hurts, you can choose joy! That theme is the sub-title of the book. Wow! I can’t say enough about this book. I never read this book without thinking of some friend that also needs to be reading it. There are a lot of hurts in life. This book offers help and hope.



Tuesday, January 10, 2006

You have the power in the present moment to change limiting beliefs and consciously plant seeds for the future of your choosing. As you change your mind, you change your experience. Serge Kahili King

In a very real sense we are the authors of our own lives. Mandy Aftel

Experience is not what happens to a man. It is what a man does with what happens to him. Aldous Huxley

In every adult there lurks a child---an eternal child, something that is always coming, is never completed, and calls for unceasing care, attention, and education. That is the part of the human personality which wants to develop and become whole. C.G. Jung

The world is full of people that have stopped listening to themselves or have listened only to their neighbors to learn what they ought to do, how they ought to behave, and what the values are that they should be living for. Joseph Campbell

Whenever two people meet there are really six present. There is each man as he sees himself, each as the other person sees him, and each man as he really is. William James


Monday, January 09, 2006

The name of the movie was Serendipity. There was one line that I especially liked. I may not quote it exactly, but it went something like this: " The Greeks don't write obituaries. When a man dies they ask, Did he have passion?"

That's it! That's it! DID HE HAVE PASSION?

A Message For Singles

Sunday, January 08, 2006

Lauren F. Winner is the highly acclaimed author of the memoir Girl meets God. She is currently completing a Ph.D. in American religious history at Columbia and has written for the New York Times Book Review, the Washington Post Book World, Publishers Weekly, Christianity Today, and Christian Century.

I really like the following words from her book, Real Sex-the truth about chastity:

Perhaps we ought not fixate on the call to lifelong
singleness. Some people, of course, are called to
to singleness for a spell, if even a very long spell.
Often, our task is to discern a call to singleness for
right now, and that's not difficult. If you are single
right now, you are called, right now, to be single--called
to live single life as robustly, and gospel-conformingly,
as you possibly can. (Emphasis mine)


Saturday, January 07, 2006

A pocket full of money would be better, but what I have is a pocket full of beans---pinto beans. I don’t always go around with beans in my pocket. These are left over from last night. Not last night’s dinner, they are uncooked---last night’s beaning of the birds. Well I didn’t really bean them, I missed. But my bean throwing was close enough to them that two beans sent two birds flying. I didn’t really want to hit them, although the beans wouldn’t have hurt them from the distance I was throwing, I just wanted to drive them off my window ledges.

We had our house painted about a year ago and it is nice and clean and we want to keep it that way. The pigeons evidently don’t care much for clean. Modesty is not even in their vocabulary. They just let it rip wherever they are. As a result there is bird poop all over our new paint job. Well, not all over, but all over the window ledges. About three weeks ago I cleaned it all off, which is no small job. When I got through the front of the house, over the garage, was nice and clean. It looked like we had just had a wonderful winter rain. (It hasn’t rained in Phoenix in months) However, in a few days the crap had begun to pile up again. It began to look hopeless. I didn’t know how to get rid of them and I certainly didn’t want to move.

Yesterday I cleaned the house again. Last night and the night before I attacked! The first night I couldn’t find the beans so I used almonds. The almonds worked well. The birds left for the night and didn’t come back until last night. I could have used almonds again but I decided I had rather get rid of beans than almonds.

How long do I plan to keep this up? I honestly don’t know. I’m pretty stubborn---but so are those birds! Please don’t send me your suggestions for getting rid of birds unless you know of something besides: fake owls, messy glue like substances and poisons.

Right now I have a pocket full of beans and a 22- rifle in the closet. If you drive by some day and my windows are all gone and the front of the house is all shot up---come in and talk to me about the owl, I will be ready to listen.

Borrowed Thoughts

Friday, January 06, 2006

I like these comments Emily posted on Mike Cope's blog.


~ I joined a health club last year, spent about 400 bucks. Haven't lost a pound. Apparently, you have to show up.

~ If God meant us to touch our toes, he would have put them further up our body.

~ I have flabby thighs, but fortunately my stomach covers them

~ If you are going to try cross-country skiing, start with a small country.

~ The only reason I would take up jogging is so that I could hear heavy breathing again.

~ I don't jog. It makes the ice jump right out of my glass.

~ I like long walks, especially when they are taken by people who annoy me.

~ I have to exercise early in the morning before my brain figures out what I'm doing.

Football, Hamburgers and Sunny Days

Thursday, January 05, 2006

Vince Young and the Texas football team defeated University of Southern California for the national championship. Congratulations to them. I went to college at Abilene Christian in Abilene, Texas and so I have good feelings about Texas. At the same time I am bothered occasionally with their arrogance. I love George Bush. He calls what he does walking. I call it swagger. But, of course, I guess it’s alright to swagger. I wish I had something to swagger about. So again, congratulations to the Texas U. football team. I must admit that I wanted USC to win. I lived in southern California for about fourteen years and almost twenty in northern California. I went to Pepperdine when the college was on the old downtown campus. University of Southern California was just down the road. I attended many games---most of them when O.J. Simpson was playing. Now, I don’t care if I ever see him again. In fact, I hope I don’t. USC has won two consecutive championships it is time for somebody else to take over. HOOK’UM HORNS!

A few weeks ago I wrote about how many people love In-N-Out Burgers. One person sent a comment saying they taste like cardboard. I think that’s funny. It proves we don’t all like the same things. I’m glad we don’t. It’s hard to find a place to sit at In-N-Out Burger now. What would it be like if everybody liked them? Yesterday was a beautiful day so we stopped at Sonic for a burger. I like sitting in the car and eating. It reminds me of my High School days growing up in Oklahoma. Charlotte likes Sonic burgers much more than she does In-N-Out. I like them more too. In fact, I think they are one of the best in our area.

It is suppose to be 80 degrees today in Phoenix. It is not suppose to be that warm in January---but it is. I’m not complaining really, I’m not. It’s just that we invited friends from Stockton, California to come visit with us. They are coming next week and the weather is being reported as being about the same as now. I had told them we would sit around the fire and tell lies. We have been friends for many years and we only get to see one another about once or twice a year. So I’m sure there will be a lot of, let’s say, “wild stories” told. That sounds better than lies. But I doubt seriously if we will want to sit around a fire. We may sit on the patio by the pool. This would also be a good time to run up to Sedona, Flagstaff or the Grand Canyon. That way I would have them trapped in the car as a captive audience and I could tell all the stories I wanted to. I just turned and looked outside. It is absolutely beautiful out. I’ve got to get out there!

The God On The Mountain

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

Last night I went to bed praising and thanking God for saving those 12 miners trapped in a mine in West Virginia.

At 6:00 this morning I turned on the television to get news of how they were doing. I couldn’t believe the message: 12 Miners Dead. 1 Alive.

The families at the church building in West Virginia had been praising God. Now some of them were cursing him. They went from praise to profanity. This is not justifiable—but understandable.

What can I say? Words are not worth much at times like this. I can only give my witness. I am 71 years old. For almost 50 years of ministry with the church I rejoiced with those that rejoiced and wept with those that wept. I helped bury the young and the elderly. I have heard God being praised and I have heard him being cursed. My witness: God is good! My faith in Him is stronger now at 71 years of age than it has ever been. My heart goes out to those broken hearted families in West Virginia and I’m asking Him to give them strength and courage for the lonely days ahead. For reasons known only to Him, He didn’t bring those men out alive. But I believe that He is ALIVE AND HE IS GOD.

I am comforted by Lynda Randal’s singing. Her words go something like this:

Life is easy when you’re upon the mountain,
You’ve got peace of mind like you’ve never known.
But things change when you’re down in the valley,
Don’t lose faith for you’re never alone.

For the God on the mountain is still God in the valley,
When things go wrong he’ll make them right,
And the God of the good times is still God of the bad times,
The God of the day is still God in the night.

We talk of faith way upon the mountain,
Talk comes so easy when life’s at its best,
Now it’s down in the valley’s trials and temptations
That’s when your faith is really put to the test.

My Heart Goes Out

Tuesday, January 03, 2006

Can there be anything more agonizing than waiting for news of a loved one that is hurting or in danger?

My heart goes out to those thirteen men trapped in a mine in West Virginia and their loved ones who wait for news.


Prayer is no small thing. We often say, "There is nothing we can do but pray." To some that sounds like we can't do much. Prayer is the biggest and best thing we can do!


Sorry, Not Today

Monday, January 02, 2006

For almost fifty years I went to the pulpit every Sunday. I never went unprepared. NEVER!

Someone has said that many preachers give up because Sunday just keeps coming. Week after week the preacher has to be ready to stand before God and the congregation to speak the message of God. This is a tremendous responsibility. There is no time for messing around. You either are ready or you are not. Yes, it would be easy to quit because the Sundays just keep coming.

Even though I was always prepared there were Sundays that I felt like I should in all honesty go before the congregation and say, “NOT TODAY BELOVED. NOT TODAY” and then just sit down.

Well, that how I feel today about this blog. I have told my friends that all they are going to read here is what I happen to be thinking about on a particular day. If you are not interested in that (and why would you be) don’t look. Today, just the second day into the New Year I am saying, “NOT TODAY. NOT TODAY.”

I am now turning off the computer. Hopefully I will be back tomorrow.

Out With The Old, In With The New

Sunday, January 01, 2006

New Year’s Eve wasn’t all that exciting around our house. We did a little shopping at Kierland Commons in the morning. (If you haven’t been to this exciting shopping experience in Scottsdale, you should go someday). I guess I like it because it is laid out like our “old” towns back home were). We stopped by Blockbuster and picked up the DVD of Ray. This movie was big in 2005 so we wanted to see it before the year was gone. We watched it last night and then before toddling off to bed around 11:00, I couldn’t pass up watching a few minutes of You’ve Got Mail (one of my favorite movies) on television. I woke up at midnight when the fireworks started going off. Charlotte was sound asleep and didn’t stir so we passed on the traditional kiss. (Hey, we kiss all the time. What’s so big about a New Year’s Eve kiss?)

Around 7:00 on New Year’s morning, Charlotte rolled over in bed and said, “Happy New Year!” I grunted and went back to sleep until 7:50. This is very unusual for me. I am usually up by 6:00. Up, I said, not going! It’s a good thing we were not having our 8:10 Bible Class, we wouldn’t have made it. We went to the morning assembly and then we ate lunch at Picazzo’s Pizza place. I watched the Cardinals lose another game (which they almost won) and I couldn’t pass up watching the end of You’ve Got Mail again. (Is that movie on all the time?). Carol came over for a few minutes in the afternoon. It’s always a big day for us when one or both of our kids drop by. I went outside and looked at the Christmas lights on the house. I think that if I study the situation it will be easier to put them up next year. I am going to take them down tomorrow and put them away for another year. It’s late in the afternoon now. It will soon be time for dinner. We are having meatloaf tonight. That’s always a winner for the Ditmores and makes for a big day. Ok, I said it wasn’t all that exciting around here.