Trash Day!


When Tuesday arrives in The Woodlands, Texas that can only mean one thing in my neighborhood!


The routine is the same week in and week out. People put all their trash in these wonderful, large, green trash cans with green lids (they even have wheels!!!) and place them by the curb. If we have any recyclable trash we put those items in these large, wonderful green trash cans (with wheels) that have “yellow” lids.

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Boy meets Girl…

My children’s elementary school celebrated twenty years of existence yesterday with a school wide Carnival.
We were getting ready to head out the door when Faith excitedly said, “I am meeting Caitlyn in the library at the Carnival.” Not to be outdone by his sister, Joshua quickly countered with, “I am meeting someone too at the library.” Faith’s natural follow-up question brought the crickets out in the room. “Who are you meeting?” Dead silence…

In realizing that he had spoken up just a little bit too quickly without thinking of the ramifications of the aftermath of such a pronouncement, Joshua bowed his head in determined silence so as not to reveal the name of his “Meet you at the library date.” I knew right away that it was a girl. Faith pressed for the name. Joshua could have easily bench pressed 350 pounds of clenched teeth to keep his silence. And so it went, back and forth like a ping pong match for the next few minutes. Joshua holding his ground. Faith, on the offensive to extract the identity of the would be date.

We arrived at the parking lot of the elementary school under threatening skies and Faith was first to jump out and greet another classmate by name. While Faith was distracted, I pulled Joshua over to the side. With one hand on his shoulder his big brown eyes looked up and met mine. “Who are you meeting at the library?” He said her name. He was a little embarrassed. He didn’t want his big sister giving him a hard time about it.

I smiled and my proud heart skipped a beat or two.
I put my arm around his shoulder…
He wrapped his arm around my hip…
We both walked with purpose…
We were on our way to the Carnival…
To the 20 year birthday celebration of Powell Elementary School.
I am not sure where Joshua’s mind was, but all I could think about as each step brought us one step closer to the school was…
Boy meets Girl!
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You’re Almost There…


This past Saturday I decided to take a hike. (People have been telling me to do this for years!!)
The 11,916 foot peak of Mt. Charleston looms large, looking over Las Vegas, Nevada.
Within a spectacular forty-five minute drive I was at the Mary Jane Falls Trailhead – Elevation 7,800 feet.

I wasn’t properly dressed. With blue jeans, hiking boots and a long sleeve shirt I had underestimated how warm it would be on the trail as I began the one and a half mile hike that would ascend another 1,500 feet.

The trail is well marked, well maintained and well worn.
I marveled at the fact that hundreds of thousands of hikers had helped pave the path before me.

The trail was full of hikers ascending and descending.
The warm “humid-free” air was breathtaking.
The view of the tall evergreen pines lining the trail was an eye-full.
The climb literally took my breath away.

An interesting phenomena started happening about half-way up the trail.
As I was ascending, there were those on the trail descending.
With each passing hiker and with a friendly nod of the head and a brief, “Hey!”, every hiker said exactly the same thing…

“You’re almost there!”


Sure enough, this mantra of “You’re almost there!” encouraged me and motivated me to keep going.
The fascinating thing about this particular hike is that I was never able to see Mary Jane Falls until I actually arrived.

I just had to trust the trail and adhere to the advice of my fellow hikers that I was almost there.
The moment finally arrived where I arrived at the summit of Mary Jane Falls.
The trail opened up and there were a number of fellow travelers taking in the view. As I came over the horizon, the mantra of “You’re almost there!” became “YOU MADE IT!”

I raised my bottle of water in the air to cheer the accomplishment as I breathlessly uttered, “Woohoo!”

This got me thinking…(Stick with me here… My imagination might get a little far fetched…)

My hike was very analogous to the Christian journey…
I am hiking through life and as I ascend the Mountain of God I run across all sorts of hikers ascending and descending.

Those ascending are fellow hikers trying to make their way up the arduous trail.(The living…)
Those descending are fellow hikers who have already made it to the top. (Those saints who have passed on)

A thought that popped into my head on the way up the mountain was, “How high is the mountain that each of us gets to climb?”

My Superman friend Tim’s mountain was only sixty-four years high. He passed by on his way down and encouraged me with his slow deep drawl, “David, you’re almost there!”

How much further would I be able to travel up “my” mountain before I would hit the summit thus ending my hike?

I had just taken a few steps onto the trail when I ran across my friend Hannah Noel. Her mountaintop was only nine weeks high.

About ten more minutes along the way Jacob was running down the mountain with the biggest smile on his face, his peak only being seventeen years high.

And so this is how it went for a full hour.
My cousin Gary…
My youth pastor Gary Lenhart…
My F-15 fighter pilot friend Skip “Hoss” Robertson… (We laughed together as I said, “Fly Skip Fly!”)
My tennis partner Howard…
Members of Reid Memorial Presbyterian Church…
Members of First Presbyterian Church in Klamath Falls…
My grandparents…Nana and Dendy, Momma Jerry and Paw Paw..
My dad…He was still smoking his pipe!

And the list went on and on…
Each of them encouraged me, “You’re almost there! I have hiked the path you are on. Keep going! They are waiting for you at the summit!”

How high is the mountain that you are ascending?
I have no idea and neither do you…
For some of us the peak will be ninety years high.
For others, not so much.
Whatever the elevation our peaks might be…we just keep hiking!

And then the moment arrived…
I arrived at Mary Jane Falls…
I never saw it coming…
I knew I was close but I couldn’t see it until I came around a bend in the trail!
The chorus echoed in my heart and soul…

Hear the good news!
We will hear that victory chant as we walk or run or crawl on to the Summit of God’s heavenly kingdom, exhausted and exhilarated and literally out of breath!

As I sat there for about thirty minutes I had the complete joy of joining in the chorus of “You made it!” to my fellow hikers, many of whom I had passed along the trail.

Then the time came for me to start my descent.
Guess what I had the privilege of saying to each hiker I passed as they were ascending the trail?

“You’re almost there!”

Laugh often and Fear not!


Confusion and Clarity

Beth opened the door only as far the chain on the door would allow her, while her two chihuahuas barked incessantly at the would be intruders.
Her eyes darted back and forth as the three of us. Two Elders and the new Pastor stood at her door to bring her “Home Communion.”
Beth recognized one of the Elders from the church that I serve and she quickly closed the door, unlatched the chain, flung open the door quickly enough to step out and close the door behind her before her two little canines could chew our shoelaces off.

We introduced ourselves and as I told her that I was the new Pastor she held my hand longer than a normal handshake. She was very pleased to see that we had come by for a visit.

After letting go of my hand Beth said, “Where is the church?”
We gave her the physical address of the church.
Her response was, “Well, where is the church?”

Beth invited us to come in and we sat around her as she placed herself in her well worn recliner as the chihuahuas closely monitored our movements.

And this is the way it went for the next thirty minutes or so.
Beth suffers from dementia.
She was positive she could drive to church if she could only remember how to drive. Maybe someone could teach her how to drive the car that sat in her driveway that hadn’t been driven for a very long time.
Beth’s husband passed away a few years ago, but she was certain that it had only been a few weeks.

Beth asked if there was anyone who lived close by to give her a ride to church. She lives quite a long way from the church in an area of the city where geographically speaking no one attends our church. We told her that there was no one close by at the moment.
About every two minutes Beth would repeat this same question.
At one point Beth looked at me and asked, “Who are you again?”

The three of us were very patient and kind and sincere in our responses and in our conversation.
But there was no getting around the fact that in Beth’s home and in her mind one thing reigned:


As Jesus did so long ago, we began to do that which Jesus told us to do in remembrance of Him.
We broke the bread of life and we drank from the cup of salvation.

One of the Elders prayed. The other Elder prepared the elements – the bread and the juice.
I recited the words of institution – “On the night in which Jesus was betrayed he took bread…”

Of course, our service of remembrance was interrupted with questions of the location of the church, comments about Beth’s husband who had just “recently” passed away and how Beth was certain she could drive herself to church if she only knew where it was.

We came to the part in the service where we were going to say the Lord’s Prayer together.
We handed Beth a sheet of paper that had the Lord’s Prayer written out in large print.

We began to pray…

“Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be Thy name…”

I didn’t need the paper. I have recited this prayer thousands of times. Maybe you have too.
And here was the moment of revelation for me…

I didn’t look at the paper on my lap…
I didn’t look at the chihuahuas lurking around our ankles…
I didn’t even pay attention to the clutter that was around us…
I focused on one thing and one thing alone..
Beth’s lips…

Beth didn’t need the paper either…
With her eyes closed Beth recited the Lord’s Prayer word for word, syllable for syllable…
Without hesitation…
Without interruption…
Without asking a question…
Without confusion…

Only one thing reigned while Beth offered the Lord’s Prayer…

How about we say the Lord’s Prayer today…
Perhaps there is some confusion in your world these days…
Perhaps you don’t quite know your way back to God these days…
Perhaps you are looking for just a glimmer of hope and understanding…
Perhaps and maybe just perhaps…
We can say the Lord’s Prayer together today and discover what Beth discovered yesterday in the midst of confusion…

Would you please pray these words with me…

“Our Father, who art in heaven,
Hallowed be Thy name.
Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done,
On earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread.
And forgive us our debts as we forgive our debtors.
And lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from evil,
For thine is the kingdom and the power
and the glory forever and ever.

Laugh often and Fear not!

A special thank you to the two Elders who offered such grace and mercy and love yesterday… Juanita and David.
It was a privilege to serve with you…

He is Risen!!!

Nikolai Ivanovich Bukharin was one of the most powerful men on earth. He was a Russian Communist leader during the Bolshevik Revolution in 1917 and afterwards.

There is a story told about a journey he took. He went from Moscow to Kiev in 1930 to address a huge crowd. The subject was, or course, atheism. He attacked Christianity! He said some insulting words about Christianity. And he argued against it as well. It took him a long time to convince the crowd. At the end of his talk, he was confident that he had convinced the crowd that they should reject Christ and embrace atheism.

At the end of the meeting Nikolai turned it over to the local parish priest to dismiss the crowd. The priest humbly ascended the stage and complimented Nikolai on his eloquence.

The priest turned to the crowd and uttered, “CHRIST IS RISEN.”

And the people passionately exclaimed as with one thundering voice, “HE IS RISEN INDEED!”


Don’t you just love that!

I have heard this story for years. I have no idea if it is true or not. I guess it really doesn’t matter.
What does matter is that the three most powerful words ever declared in the course of human history are as true today as they were the very first time they were uttered…

If we didn’t utter these words the Easter Lilies would trumpet the praise of this good news around the world!

I love the fact that when those three words are proclaimed, “HE IS RISEN”, my mind, my heart and my voice proclaim with an almost Pavlovian response, “HE IS RISEN INDEED!”

He is Risen!

He is Risen indeed!!

It’s indisputable!
It’s undeniable!
It’s incredible!

It’s life changeable!
It’s eternally livable!
It’s magnificently miraculous!
It’s totally true!

May the promise, the presence and the power of these three words bring you much joy today as we celebrate the resurrection of Jesus Christ!

As Jesus found new life, may all of us find, discover and embrace the new life He has in store for us this day!

“The angel said to the women, “Do not be afraid, for I know that you are looking for Jesus, who was crucified. He is not here: he has risen, just as he said.” (Matthew 28. 5-6)

Laugh often and Fear not!

The Day After…

I have seen it hundreds of times.
Maybe you have too.
It’s the most difficult day of days.
All the preparation and prayer in the world cannot prepare you.
It didn’t help me…
It probably didn’t help you.
It didn’t help Mary or Peter or the disciple that Jesus loved – John.
They watched Jesus be hailed as the Prince of Peace as he made his triumphal entry into Jerusalem just six days ago on Palm Sunday.
They watched him dismantle the money changers in the temple.
They ate with him around the table at supper on Thursday night.
They all had their feet softly and gently and lovingly washed on Thursday night.
They all saw him troubled as he prayed with such heartache in the garden.
They all saw him get arrested.
After that…they scattered…
And now, Jesus is dead.
His tortured, pierced, bloodied body has been laid to rest in a tomb.
And now the question that faced his mother, his family, his friends and his disciples faces us.

What do we do when our loved one has died and it is now “The Day After.”


Below is what the scriptures have to offer us on what the disciples and Jesus’ family did on Saturday, the day after…












That’s right…

I hope we have better news tomorrow…
The day after the day after…

Laugh often and Fear not!

The Decision

In a seventy-five minute interview that was broadcast live to millions of television viewers on ESPN on July 8, 2010, basketball phenom, LeBron James, a two time NBA MVP and six time NBA All Star with the Cleveland Cavaliers made the following announcement:

In this fall… this is very tough… in this fall I’m going to take my talents to South Beach and join the Miami Heat. I feel like it’s going to give me the best opportunity to win and to win for multiple years, and not only just to win in the regular season or just to win five games in a row or three games in a row, I want to be able to win championships. And I feel like I can compete down there… 

The live broadcast would become known to all of America as – The Decision


On a Thursday evening during a conversation that lasted less than an hour, in front of no viewers, local carpenter, Jesus of Nazareth knelt before God in the garden of Gethsemane and wrestled with the greatest decision in the history of humanity. The stress and the pressure of the decision before Jesus became so intense that the capillaries just underneath his skin burst and his sweat became like drops of blood (Luke 22:44)

The plea and the request and the acquiescence was short and to the point…

“Father, if you are willing, take this cup from me; yet not my will, but yours be done.” (Luke 22:42 NIV)

What cup was Jesus asking the Father to take away? The cup of death that Jesus was about to suffer for the sins of the world. In less than twelve hours Jesus would endure flogging, being hit and beat and spat upon and worst of all – the 39 lashes with the cat o’nine tails. Jesus would then be crucified…

It’s the greatest decision that has ever been made in the history of humanity.
If Jesus does not go forward with the plan then there is no Good Friday and subsequently no Easter Sunday morning.
If Jesus does go through with it then there is the Crucifixion whereby the Son of God takes on the Sin of the world and he dies.

And subsequently there comes Easter Sunday morning where the tomb where Jesus had been laid is now found empty. Death has been overcome. The last enemy of humanity, death, has been vanquished in the victory of Jesus’ resurrection on Sunday.

Thank you Jesus for making this decision…It has changed the whole course of human history!
I have made the decision to follow Jesus.
It’s changed the whole course of my life…
How about you? What’s your decision?

Laugh often and Fear not!