Friday, December 28, 2007

Please Pray For My Friend...

I was a youth pastor for a long time. It was a great time of life. God blessed me by making me a tool. OK, I know that is not usually a compliment. But to be a tool in God's Hand ... what could be better? A tool for God.

Tools seldom work alone. I know that I did not. I had a network of youth pastor's and we walked together through ministry. We learned from each other. We encouraged each other. We laughed together. We cried together. More than once I sat with one who's wife had left him because she could not take the ministry thing anymore. There was just a lot ... a lot ... that we went through together.

One of these guys wrote a song. At least I think he wrote it. Nobody else would claim it. It was simply called, "The Booger Song." The lyrics? You know you want to know ...

"Sitting at the stop light with nothing to do
You're watching the light ... and I'm watching you
You look sophisticated in your fancy new clothes
And then your index finger disappears up your nose

And I say "Hey! You! You know who you are!
I saw you pick your nose when you were driving your car!
Don't try to deny it, you won't get very far!
I saw you pick your nose when you were driving your car!"

There's more but you get the idea. The guy who wrote that is named Ron too. As a matter-of-fact, my two closest youth pastor friends were named Ron. And so am I. Sometimes we would get together with our wives and if one of them called out to her husband ... chaos ensued.

I got a phone call from "The Booger Song" Ron tonight. I was doing a wedding rehearsal in Wisconsin and I couldn't hear him. So I tried to text message him. He responded with, "I am" and then another one with "I am in du" and nothing else. I didn't understand. About two hours later I was back in my hotel room and I checked my email. I had received an email from the wife of "The Booger Song" Ron. It seems that "d u" is "Duke University" ... as in hospital. My friend had a heart attack tonight. And he reached out to me from ICU on his cell phone and then through text messaging. And somehow I dropped the ball.

Do you know how much I hate that? I would drive to North Carolina for him tonight if he needed me. He's out there visiting friends and I guess things just went badly. His wife tells me that surgery went well and hopefully everything will be OK. They'll know more tomorrow.

But please pray for "The Booger Song" Ron. We've called ourselves "friends to the grave." I don't think he's in immediate danger but somehow I wish we had phrased that pledge differently. Ron's my friend. When I hurt he was there for me. When he hurt I tried to be there for him. The world needs more "Booger Song" Ron's. I wish wish WISH I had stopped whatever I was doing and called him back tonight. I remember thinking that he must be better at picking his nose than he is at text messaging.

But no. He was having a heart attack.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

The little drummer girl

My grand daughter is cooler than your grand daughter!

Monday, December 24, 2007

Jesus ... crashing, kicking, plowing ... and waiting

You ever go anyplace you were not invited? Perhaps you "crashed" a party or invited yourself to a friends house when you knew the timing might not be the best. It's a strange feeling, isn't it? I remember intentionally going to the home of a person in a church I served once, knowing that he did not like me. As a matter-of-fact that is precisely why I went. No, I didn't want to confront anybody. I didn't go to sew seeds of discontent or to argue. On the contrary. I hoped ... I prayed ... that my "dropping by" might open the door for new opportunities. Healing. Reconciliation.

It did not work. True, we talked. We swapped a story or two. Still, no headway was made. No healing took place. By all appearances it was a wasted visit. I will never know for sure. All I know is that I tried. Sometimes trying is all you can do. There is no forcing friendship. No coercing companionship. Life does not work that way. Oh that it were so simple.

So it is Christmas Eve. Oh Holy Night. The night that Christ followers celebrate the coming of baby Jesus into a world over flowing with sin, evil, self righteousness, and a blatant rebellion against God. He was not invited. He received no request for a visit.

And yet He came anyway.

He could have come to tell us "how it is." You know. Twist the arms of several billion people. Force the issue. Insist on instant compliance with His plan.

That just isn't His way.

Still. It does not change the facts. "While we were yet sinners Christ died for us." He crashed the party. He kicked in the gate. He plowed the road. He totally opened the way for me ... for you ... to go from "self server" to "Christ follower." But even though the party is crashed, the gate is kicked, and the road is plowed the door knob remains firmly in one hand. Mine. And your door knob remains in yours. Everything on the other side of the hearts door is cleared. The path is ready. Only the door remains to be opened.

And only I can open mine. And only you can open yours.

As for me and my house ... we will serve the Lord. I deeply and sincerely hope that you will join us in that life giving endeavor.

Oh ... and Merry Christmas.

Sunday, December 23, 2007

This is why I drive all of the way to St. Louis for Christmas...

Any questions?

I thought not...