Thursday, January 14, 2010

Haiti Relief

Family and friends, all of you have seen the horrible effects of the earthquake in the nation of Haiti.  Haiti is the poorest country in the western hemisphere and is absolutely devastated all the more because of this catastrophic event.  On Saturday (January 16th), I will lead a medical team into the country of Haiti to assist Mission of Hope Haiti and others.  My brother-in-law, Preston Chandler (who is a surgeon), has agreed to go with me as well as six other medical professionals.  We will be there for 5-6 days. 

The mission we will be working with has been named one of the State Departments base camps for medical assistance.  They are currently using a school on site as a hospital.  The needs are tremendous as you all know.  Here are two links for you to check out and

Our team will be met at the airport by armed officials and will be escorted much of the time by either military or other armed guards.  From there we will proceed to MOH to start assisting.

Please pray for the following for our team:

  1. For God's provision throughout our time
  2. Our families and their emotions
  3. Our personal capacities to deal with what we will see, feel and hear
  4. Protection & Safety
  5. Effectiveness & Wisdom
  6. Our ability to bring hope!

I know many of you would like to help in some way.  If you would like to contribute financially, you can go to, register, and then give to Haiti Relief.  If you have any questions or would like to participate in a future relief trip, please email me.  We are not sure yet what it will look like to take relief teams to Haiti in the future, but we know it will be needed.  Right now the highest priority is medical personnel and finances.


Thank you and God bless,


Wednesday, October 14, 2009


This morning had a very scary moment in it. I was on the regular Wednesday morning bike ride when one of my brothers got hit by a car. I watched the whole thing happen and I never want to see anything like it again. All I heard was a loud thump and crushing sound of carbon fiber breaking into pieces. Fortunately my brother was ok with the exception of a few bruises and scrapes - amazing considering he was travelling at about 20 mph when it happened.

The first thing I yelled was for someone to call 911. Scott was rolling around on the ground in some considerable pain. And like all athletes, he tried to shake it off and wand walk around as soon as he could. (I remember the last time I really sprained my ankle badly in a basketball game - the trainer came over to look at it and I screamed at him not to touch it.) Well I was telling Scott to get back on the ground and be still, and he didn't want to hear that (understandably so - unfortunately for us men our egos tend to get in the way and we think it is more masculine to be able to shake the injury off). I had mixed emotions. I was thankful he was up and walking and not seriously hurt, but I was afraid of the internal damage and the injuries that he may not be feeling at the moment.

The sheriff and the EMT's showed up and checked him out and he was on his way. Praise God he was not seriously injured. I felt guilty personally because I generally pray for safety on our rides and I hadn't yet when this happened. I will be more diligent in the future.

The four of us that stayed behind to make sure he was taken care of and got a ride home then proceeded to catch the group for our ride. Then the Lord gave me this picture of ECHAD.

The reality of life is that we are all going to fall (I pray hard that I never have a wreck on my bike, but most say it is not if, but when...). The tendency for men is to isolate when we fall. We don't want the help of others and honestly we believe we don't need the help of others. There is shame and embarrassment that we don't want to endure any longer than we need to and the presence of others jeopardizes that.

We need each other. Isolation is the key to destruction. our lives are not meant to be lived alone. When we fall we need to allow others to engage us and work it through. Sometimes we minimize the sin in our lives not realizing that something more internal, deeper in our soul is wounded. Others help us to heal. They help the righteous stand once again.

Our masculinity as men has little to do with our supposed capacity to deal with life's issues on our own and more to do with engaging other men and living in community with one another. The strength of our character is not measured by our own efforts to eliminate sin, but rather in our willingness to let others travel the journey with us.

Scott is doing well. To his credit he did allow the emergency personnel to check him out. Obviously this blog is not about Scott, but rather the picture that God gave me to convict me of my own tendencies at times to run the race alone.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Kendall Is Getting Baptized

So this morning the unexpected happened. As Kelly, Kendall and I were sitting at the table eating breakfast, Kelly mentioned that she and Kendall had a conversation about baptism the day before.

Apparently, Kendall told Kelly that she wanted to get baptized when she was 9 years old. Kelly of course dug deeper and explained that getting baptized is not about being a certain age. One of Kendall's friends is 9 years old and recently got baptized therefore Kendall thought that is when you are supposed to do it.

Kelly asked me to explain baptism more to Kendall this morning. Being the seminary graduate and pastor that I am, I went into a discourse about baptism and what it means. I explained that through baptism we make a public declaration that we are Christ followers. I also shared what all the different aspects of getting dunked in the water is about.

After I finished my explanation, Kendall asked, "Why can't I get baptized now?" Well, I was not expecting that question. I replied, "Nothing." Then I had this fear of whether or not she truly understood the gospel. So I asked some questions.

"Kendall, are you going to heaven when you die?" She replied, "Yes."

I said, "How do you know?"

"Because I believe in Jesus," she said with a smile on her face. Obviously I needed more, so I asked her, "What do you believe about Jesus?"

Quickly she proclaimed, "That He died on the cross." I probed deeper, "Why did He die on the cross?"

Kendall responded confidently, "For our sins." Now Kendall has been able to share parts of the gospel for a year or so now but not as clearly as that. I wasn't satisfied and asked her to explain it to me again. Without hesitation she presented the whole gospel to me again without my probing questions.

Feeling confident now that my daughter has a relationship with Jesus, I told her that she could get baptized. Before she could get baptized though I needed to know why she wanted to do it. The next words out of her mouth were absolutely some of the greatest words a dad could ever hear from his child - "I want to be a Christ follower." What a gift from God!

Call me a skeptic or just responsible, but I wanted to make sure my 5.5 year old didn't just want to be "cool" or go swimming in the cool portable hot tub. Tonight at dinner I asked her again, why she wanted to get baptized. No hesitation, "I want to follow Jesus."

All day long I have not been able to stop thinking about my daughter wanting to be baptized and proclaiming publicly that she wants to be a Christ follower. Several times I thought I was going to lose it like a little baby.

What an opportunity I will have this weekend to step into the baptistry with my daughter and hear her and be with her when she publicly proclaims her faith in Jesus. Are you kidding me?! This is the abundant life.

Monday, February 16, 2009


Yesterday my little Hope came down with a high grade fever. She is sick. I should have known simply by the symptoms. She just wasn't acting right. Normally she is so happy and bubbly, but yesterday she just wasn't herself. Her eyes were swollen. Food would not comfort her. Nothing we did would comfort her. (I will say that even for a sick baby, she was still pretty easy.)

Then I started thinking about spiritual sickness. What are the symptoms that spring up in my life that point to the fact that I am sick spiritually? Right away I thought of Hope's eyes and how swollen they are. For me, when I am spiritually sick, my pride swells. I notice that I am more defensive and feel a need to protect myself. I have an estimation that I am bigger in my own eyes and more important than I should be. Then I tend to be difficult to be around - kind of like a sick baby.

Poor Hope was frustrated by my attempts to love her and make her more comfortable. It strikes me that when I am spiritually sick there really isn't anything anyone else can do to make me feel better. I notice that I am less patient with people. I tend to slip into bouts of frustration and impatience. I not only get irritable, but I can get mean - a true symptom that something has gone wrong in my heart. I am not in communion with the heart of God.

Spiritual sickness affects my ability to enjoy life. The things that typically give me pleasure are no longer enjoyable. Last night we sat down to a nice dinner and had great food. Hope is in hog heaven when we sit down at the dinner table, but not last night. She wouldn't eat anything, including chocolate ice cream. I couldn't believe it.

So what does all of this mean to me? It means I need to be paying attention to the signs of sickness in my life. I need to catch them early before they become deadly. As soon as I saw the first reading on the thermometer last night, I was afraid we were going to have to take Hope to the emergency room. Fortunately my sister is a pediatrician and only a phone call away. We followed her protocol and Hope is on her way to healing.

When the symptoms of sickness start to rear their ugly heads, its important for me to get in front of Yahweh Rapha - the God who heals. he is the great physician and only He can heal my heart. This means I must let Him in and begin to treat the things that are making me sick. I must get before the face of the Lord.

I am thankful for a God who cares so much for me and doesn't want me to be sick. He is always ready and willing to heal.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Be a Blessing!

When God made His covenant with Abraham, He said that Abraham would be a blessing to ALL the families of the earth (Gen. 12:1-3). Then God reaffirms this to Isaac and says, "...and I will establish the oath which I swore to your father Abraham. And I will multiply your descendants as the stars of heaven, and will give your descendants all these lands. and by your descendants ALL the nations of the earth shall be blessed."

The Hebrew text actually says "be a blessing" and not "and you shall be a blessing." It was a command that God gave Abraham and not a prediction. Of course, Abraham would be a blessing to the nations as he sought to fulfill the command God had given him.

Abraham and Isaac both understood "descendants" to be their physical seed. But we also know from Galatians 3:29 that this seed is expanded to a spiritual seed who are all those who have placed their faith in what Christ accomplished on the cross.

Now consider for a moment what the Great Commission says. Matthew 28:19 "Go therefore and make disciples of ALL the nations." Mark 16:15 "Go into ALL the world and preach the gospel to all creation." Luke 24:47 "...and that repentance and forgiveness of sins should be proclaimed in His name to ALL the nations, beginning from Jerusalem."

It follows that we, the spiritual seed of Abraham, are commanded to be a blessing to ALL nations. How are we to be a blessing? Through word and deed. It is the Great Commission coupled with the Great Commandment.

In Luke 9:2 we see that Jesus sent the twelve out to proclaim the kingdom of God and to perform healing. What is the kingdom of God we are to proclaim. It is the acting rule and presence of God in His people (those who have trusted in His son's death for the forgiveness of their sins). This is the good news. We were once separated in our sins from the presence of God, but now we have been reconciled and not only have the privilege of being in His presence, but His presence is now in us.

It is His presence now in us that gives us the energy (if you will) to be a blessing to others. To heal them. To serve them. To speak life into them. To honor them. To respect them. To yield to them. To seek their benefit. To seek their gain. To bring wholeness to them.

In my own life I find myself getting frustrated with people very easily. You know those who get in my way. Those who thwart me from reaching my goals. Those who get in my space. Those who just don't get it. Those who don't live up to expectations. The temptation then becomes to deal with these people accordingly - and many times (unfortunately) I give into temptation.

God hit me square between the eyes today when I was reading in Luke 9:55-56, "But He turned and rebuked them, and said, 'You do not know what kind of spirit you are of; for the Son of Man did not come to destroy men's lives, but to save them." This statement from Jesus comes right after He entered a village of the Samaritans who refused to make a place for Jesus because he was heading to Jerusalem. (Jews and Samaritans had a long standing dislike for one another - birthed out of a racism type disdain.) This rejection by the Samaritans angered the disciples and like a good band of brothers they quickly asked the Lord if He wanted them to fire down on them and burn them all.

Oh, trust me there are times when I want to call fire down on people (all too often). But that does not come from the right spirit within me. You see the Spirit within me gives me the power not only to respond differently but to desire something different for my adversary all together. To be a blessing. To be able to pause and be driven to compassion for those who thwart my ways, or much worse the ways of God. When I am walking by the Spirit I am empowered to walk the Way of being a blessing to ALL people everywhere. This is God's grand Way of overcoming evil with good. It is the great Divine Conspiracy! And why? That God might be glorified through the redemption of hurting, broken, lost, sinful humanity - every man, woman and child. In the familiar words of an old friend in Texas (Frank Lehti), "Be a blessing, walk with the King!"