Friday, July 30, 2010


I have to say, the word "reunion" means a lot more to me as a child of God than it use to. There are a lot of words and ideas that are applied to heaven that I believe are simply wishful thinking, but I don't think the idea of reunion is one of them. Jesus even talked about sitting down to dinner with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob in heaven, so not only are we talking reunion, but a pot-luck provided by God! How awesome is that.
Well, I've said that to simple say that we are at the Curtis family reunion in Searcy, AR right now. Hopefully, I can share a couple of picture when I have time on Sunday or Monday. It's fun to see everyone, but it's also the first family reunion without Donna's dad being here. So, I guess we'll just have to wait for the eternal one, with God, to see everyone. See ya there, if not sooner.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Limiting God?

Does God limit himself? I mean, the Bible is clear, he knows everything and he's everywhere, but should we add the caveat, if he chooses? It seems to me that God chooses to limit what he can know in order to have an honest interaction with his creation, who are clearly limited by space and time. For example, when God was talking with Abraham about his plans to destroy Sodom and Gomorrah, did he know ahead of time that he'd let Abraham talk him into changing his plans multiple times - as in from fifty to just ten righteous people? If he did, wasn't he leading Abraham on to let him keep offering up new numbers? I don't know. It just seems to me that there are times when God waits to hear from us, hopes we'll change our minds about something, or even changes his mind in response to a prayer request, all of which doesn't make as much sense if God already knows everything and has everything already worked out?
Again, we never were meant to understand everything about God whose ways are much greater and higher than we can comprehend, but still, just because he can know everything and can be everywhere, does that mean he does it? For instance, God knows our every sin, whether they're secret and hidden from others, or out in the open for all to see. He is also omnipresent, but does that mean he is there in the midst of sins darkness and ungodliness? Does he have to be there to know about it? I don't know. I do know that he doesn't need to be informed about anything and he doesn't want to be part of anything that is unholy and unrighteous.
What am I getting at? Something that many of us still don't get! Our God is relationship driven. Was he in the garden when Adam and Eve made the wrong choice? Remember, it wasn't just choosing good over evil, it was choosing self over their relationship with God. Why was he looking for them in the garden afterwards, and why was he asking them so many questions when he knows everything? Does he limit himself because of his desire for a relationship with us? Seeking a relationship with God changes the way he is present! James said, "Come near to God and he will come near to you." Doesn't that mean that God limits himself until we choose to want him closer? "Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up." That's pretty close contact! How amazing is it that our God is waiting for us to invite him to come closer? Maybe the real question for us isn't about God limiting himself, but how are we limiting God - who loves us and wants to be close to us!

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Bathroom Report

Okay, this may just be for family, but I wanted to show off our latest DIY project at the Root house. This is the first time we've owned an older house, so we've been needing to update a lot of things, especially the bathrooms and kitchen. We started on the downstairs bathroom, but had new toilets put in all three bathrooms. Hey, it's the little things in life that mean the most! The picture below is the "BEFORE" sort of, after some demo. Man it's nice to get that old light & man-made fixture out. Here is the "AFTER". The biggest part of the project, not counting the Lowe's plumber putting in the toilet and new vanity top, was moving the electrical wire from the far left of the wall to a new box were the new light fixture would go. Lot's of wall board removal and fixing, and sanding and sanding, and I still missed some spots that I couldn't see until I got the new light up, but by then I'd done all the painting. Still, I'm happy with it.
I threw this picture in so you could see the new light fixture better.
Just a little FYI about our DIY. Please no LOL.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

I Wish...

My wish list changes with age. I guess that's to be expected since our priorities constantly change with age. I don't waste time dreaming and wishing for a new car or a new house, and don't wish I could travel and see the world, though an occasional cruise or bow hunting trip is nice. I guess part of aging is learning to enjoy the simple things of life, which I do, and when I find myself saying "I wish" it's usually dealing with some church related concern, problem, or hope. And, I do find myself wishing we could see our family more often, but that might be true even if they lived closer than Nashville, Dallas, and New York.
What do you find yourself wishing for? What are some of the weird and quirky things that you find yourself saying, "Man, I wish..."? Here are a FEW of mine.
* I wish I could stop eating when I was full instead of continuing just because it tasted good.
* I wish I didn't allow myself to get uptight about time - especially on Sunday morning.
* I wish I could totally forget ALL my stupid mistakes from the past.
* I wish I'd go ahead and take painting lessons, golf lessons, and yes, dancing lessons.
* I'm better at it than ever before in my life, but I wish I was more uninhibited.
* I wish I had better discipline about writing.
* I wish we could stop calling ourselves "church" and call ourselves the family of God or the Body of Christ. Church has been institutionalized too much for it to be what it was in the NT.
* I wish everyone in our family here at Florissant understood the preeminence of loving one another and that "church" exists to help make that happen.
* I wish that folks would understand that wanting more giving, more outreach, more involvement, and more dedication can only happen with MORE passion for Jesus.
* I wish our government was made up of true servants and not people driven by partisan politics.
* I wish Fritz's Turtle Concretes were part of the Recommended Daily Allowance for fifty-somethings.
* I wish I wasn't paranoid about being betrayed by church leaders who are friends. I don't want to be cynical or fearful about anything, but "burn me once..." or more, leaves scars. I do trust Jesus completely.
* I wish broccoli always had a cheese sauce on it.
* I wish I'd remember to thank God more for the little things each day that make like wonderful.
* I wish I didn't have bags under my eyes, had more hair on my head, and less spots and growths on my skin, but hey, the important things still work - Praise the Lord!

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Poor Theology?

I mentioned a couple of blogs ago about the importance of having a God who never gets tired of hearing us ask "Why" when it's part of our pursuit of knowing Him better. When you have been blessed to have had some incredible teachers through the years, those incredible teachers sometimes become so idolized that they become the personification of truth. That's a problem that students must work through not the teacher. Any teacher worth their salt wants to point their listeners in the right direction, motive them to further study, and create a seeking mindset that will sick with the student through their life. A some point, each of us must discover God's will, the truth, for ourselves or it will continue to be a borrowed theology rather than an owned theology.
For example, several of us were challenged the other day about which day of the week the Lord's Supper is supposed to be taken. I was taught that our practice of Sunday only communion was the only biblically correct view that any doctrinally correct Christian could possibly have. After all, we've always done it that way, the Church Fathers said it was done that way, and the early church, according to Acts 20:7, came together on the first day of the week to break bread. Done deal! Biblical example = biblical command = restoration of NT practices.
Why would anyone dare question it? It's poor theology, that's why. Acts 20:7 says they broke bread, and it's our tradition (and reverse interpretation - imposing what we believe on the Bible) that declares this verse to be talking about the Lord's Supper. Any really good commentary will say that "It's traditionally believed that this was the communion," but NO ONE knows that for sure. Jesus gave it to us on Thursday night and Paul reminds us of that in 1 Corinthians 11 without pausing for heart beat to point out, "But now we do it on Sunday." Not only that, the Acts 20 story is taking place on Saturday evening, when Sunday day began at 6 P.M.. As far as the Church Fathers go, what Christians did in the second and third century is a long way from what happened in the first half of the first century. Do you know how long it takes for a church practice to become a tradition and thus law? I've always said it takes about three weeks of doing it the same way without change.
There is no "church ordinance" example in Acts 20:7. When you start out looking for ceremonial acts of worship that we assume must be part of a "formal worship time," we find them. Unfortunately, we got that presupposition from Catholicism not Restorationism.
Jesus took the most common elements from every meal of that day, and said, use these tools to remember my physical body given for you and the Body you have become as my church, and "whenever you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord's death until he comes." It was a simple meal to be used as a simple tool to help the followers of Jesus remember who they live for - anytime they choose to use it. In the New Testament it was always part of a common meal and according to Acts 2, they were doing that daily.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Back Home

We are back from being gone four days to a retreat at Paris Landing State Park in TN. It is one of the true highlights of each year for us as we get to see lots of old friends and have several days of spiritual feasting. The picture above is one I took Wednesday evening as a group from Alabama called the Southside Singers performed for our retreat group. They were great and I'm sure they haven't done many programs for a group as ready to "rock out" as our group was. We really enjoyed their singing.
While we had a wonderful retreat, it's good to be back home and we're looking forward to sleeping in our own bed. And, of course, we managed to hit our favorite Mexican restaurant in Florissant for lunch. It helps when you leave TN at 6 A.M. and don't stop. Isn't it amazing how it's the little things in life that you enjoy the most? Salsa makes my wife happy, and when she's happy...

Monday, July 12, 2010


This little baby bunny kept me quite entertained this morning as I sat on our porch swing cooling down from our morning hike. It was so young it didn't know to run, and it it just continued to feed and to preen itself about ten feet away from me. God's creation is amazing. Even looking at that cute little bunny, I found myself asking God why he made that little creature the way he did. That made me think of how many questions one of my grand children might ask if they were sitting beside me. I could hear all the "why's" coming faster than any parent or grandparent could answer. It made me think of a statement I made in my lesson yesterday morning. "We have a Father who never gets tired of us asking why." That is especially true if our "why" is coming from a heart that is seeking to know him better. It has been a truck load of "why's" that has driven me to discover things about God, His Word, and His plan that I never had seen in all the past years of my spiritual journey. Enough "why's" will send you all the way back to "In the beginning" and even beyond that, because the Bible tells us that God "planned" before the creation of the world, to do whatever it took to allow us a chance at an eternal relationship with Him. Talk about amazing? I'm thankful for a Father who wants me to ask "why".

Thursday, July 08, 2010

Selective Forgiveness?

Did you ever notice that we tend to think of forgiveness in terms of what someone has personally done to us. Just mention the word "forgiveness" and your mind automatically goes to the people in your past who hurt you, offended you, or in some way did something that caused you to make a conscious decision to forgive them. Forgiveness isn't a option if your goal is to please God. He made it clear that we only get it if we give it. But, it's much more than a chosen response to personal injury by others. Forgiveness must be an attitude, a spirit, an inseparable part of our character - if we truly want to be like Jesus.
Maybe the key is learning to be a forgiving person as a natural response to anyone who - well, just ticks you off, gets your goat, and/or daily causes you grief and stress. Here are some people I need to forgive.
* People who don't use their turning signals
* People who walk through the mall talking loudly to the box stuck in their ear
* Folks who DON'T turn off their cell phones at the movies
* Christians who say un-Christ-like things about my President (past or present)
* Crazy people who text and drive
* Those who misuse scripture to justify their traditions or their preferences
* Friends who don't tell you there's a problem
* Drivers who risk lives to get one car length ahead
* Smokers who make my clothes stink when I leave the restaurant
* Today? Colorado Rockies players who hit home runs in the ninth inning

Tuesday, July 06, 2010


What was with that whole "Transfiguration" thing in Mark 9? I've always wondered about that. It just seemed so strange and unrelated to what was happening in the narrative of Jesus, but, hey, it's got to be important or God wouldn't have included it - right? It really is an amazing part of the Gospel story. Even with all the miracles, teaching, and personal time together, the apostles had a lot of things they were unsure about. They didn't exactly shout out in unison that "You are the Christ" when Jesus asked them "Who do you say I am". They were totally disconnected with his prophetic words about his suffering, his death, and his resurrection. Remember? Peter even rebuked him for saying such discouraging and "un-leadership-like" things.
I suggested Sunday that the Transfiguration of Jesus was a "Let me show you something" event for Peter, James, and John. Jesus was glorified, affirmed by Moses and Elijah - the symbols of the Law and the Prophets, and he was confirmed by God Himself, who professed Jesus as His Son and the only One they need to listen to. In fact, the whole event is pretty well summed up by the words of God: "Listen to Him!"
The three apostles were scarred to death! Peter wanted to build ceremonial shelters for Moses, Elijah, and Jesus, but the voice of God made it clear that what He wanted was for them to pay very close attention to His Son.
I wonder, is there a lesson there for us? Are we sometimes tempted to build ceremonial shelters when what we really need to do is just listen to Jesus? I'm not talking about church building, but about missing the point. What ever we do, as individual children of God or together as the Body of Christ, must be about Jesus. We must be about the business of learning more about Him and becoming more like Him, either of which are helping us draw closer to Him.
Forget the shelter building and the control of fear, and as God said, "Listen to Him!"

Saturday, July 03, 2010

Cardinal's Game

We decided Thursday that it was past due time for us to take in a Cardinals game. We've only been to one since they opened the new stadium. One big incentive was having a nice cool evening ahead. So I got us some good seats just past the first base line. Donna took these pictures, and we both agree that we need to do it again.
During pre-game warm ups, several of the Cards were fairly close to us on the field. Here's "The Man" doing some short jogs out on the grass.
This, of course, is the real star of the game. Fred Bird did a little entertaining just in front of our seats. We were on the seventh row.

This is a great picture Donna took just as Albert hit his home run, the only real highlight for the Cards all night. Unfortunately, they lost.
Here is Albert just after crossing the home plate after his HR. Fun night! Come and visit us and we'll go see a game together.

Thursday, July 01, 2010

Camp Jesus?

I've always said that one of my goals in preaching is to cause people to think. Thinking about a lesson after hearing it, is what gives it legs - makes it last longer than the minutes it took to share it. Sometimes, even when I'm working on the next lesson, something from the previous lesson keeps bouncing around in my mind like a golf ball on concrete. Last Sunday I made this point in my introduction. "At some point we must stop being campers for Christ and start being soldiers of the King." I was talking about Jesus preparing his apostles for his approaching arrest and death, and why he was challenging them to profess who they thought he was. They had been with him for a long time, enjoyed his mentoring, and been amazed at his miracles, but they hadn't truly been called on to do much or risk much. I described them as having been to Camp Jesus, and now it was time to move on to the next step of their spiritual journey.
A faith that never causes discomfort, sacrifice, or loyal obedience is a faith that is still at Camp Jesus. Soldiers must learn to be uncomfortable, do without, and carry out the mission regardless of the cost.
What has your church experience been like so far? Most of us would have to say that we've been enjoying Camp Jesus for a long time. Every time we have discussions about how to keep everyone happy with our assemblies, or how how to make it more comfortable for members to attend at times that work better for them, I wonder - how long will camp be in session? When do we dare start being soldiers of the King? When do we start expecting it of ourselves and members?
Just something to think about - so I'm not the only one thinking about it.

Smelling Sand & Sea?

Okay, so we don't have any self-control. We decided we couldn't wait two years before we took another BIG vacation. It's been our plan since the mid 90's to take a good vacation every two years (to give us time to save or pay it off), but the combination of REALLY enjoying that two week vacation this past year in a warm climate in the dead of winter, and the lowering of prices to attract people like us, and well, we just want to do it. We doing a 14 Caribean cruise that leave January 31 and stops at some great places - all warm. Doesn't sound so exciting in the Summer, but come January, it will sound sooooo good. We've got a couple of friends going with us, and we've also decided that who you're with is more important than where you go. So if you'd like to go with us - come on! Check it out on and click on the search cruises tab. Click on Caribean, 8-15 day, January 2011. You'll find it. There's only one doing that on Jan. 31st. We fully expect them to come out with some better deals on this cruise as it gets closer to it, and we'll simply have them do what's called a "re-fare" where they re-book you at the lower fare even if you're already booked - and we are. Contact me if you have any questions.