Sunday, January 28, 2007

My Friend Muscles

I am reprinting a portion of Ron and Judy Babbit's monthly newsletter to supporters of their ministry. Ron is one of the ministers of the Contact Church of Christ. His newsletter is called Tulsa Urban Ministry, and this portion is titled My Friend Muscles.

Every Tuesday morning, several of us men get together to share "Good News" with TJ (Jim Roberts). I always pick up Muscles and Sid. Muscles and his wife live with another family of seven, with one bathroom. That's not bad as long as everyone is doing their job. Praise GOD, it was only my dad and mom and my favorite sister growing up in our two bedroom pad with one bath and I had a wonderful set of parents who loved the LORD. Muscles continues sharing his faith. Even though he is living on disability, his attitude is that of helping others. Recently, while shopping at the local Warehouse Market, a man approached Muscles and asked for $5.00 to purchase some meat and bread to fix a meal. Muscles gave him the $5 and the clown did what he said he was going to do. A month later, this same clown found Muscles and said, "Do you remember me?" Muscles said, "No not really." He said, "I'm the dude who asked for $5.00. Here, I want to pay it back, thanks for helping me." Muscles couldn't wait to share his story to the "Good News" team! Part Two, Muscles said, "Ron, I found out where this cat lives and I'm going to make a visit and invite him to Contact." Amen! I'm proud of Muscles reaching out and sharing his faith and love for the LORD.

Muscles doesn't have the extra $5.00 to hand out to clowns. It's a joy watching how GOD is moving in his heart. Muscles continues to be our "show up" man at Contact, serving, being available for whatever needs to be done. He's a great example of a servant of our LORD. Come to see me sometime. I want you to meet my friend Muscles. One day, as we were returning from TJ's "Good News" sharing and lessons we were driving along one of our lovely streets and noticed traffic backed up. We slowly approached a stalled vehicle and inside was a mom with one of her babies. She needed gas for her car. I left Nabor with the family and Muscles and I went to Contact and picked up a gas can and returned to provide some fuel for her rig. She tried to pay Muscles. He said, "No. Just bring your family and come and visit us sometime at the Contact church of CHRIST." I'm proud of these guys!

Six years ago, Janet and I became involved in Tulsa Urban Ministry (which eventually planted the Contact Church of Christ, our home congregation). Being able to work with the Babbits and the many other members of the Contact church has been a great honor. What a great group of people serving the Lord!

Friday, January 26, 2007

The Home of Righteousness

"But in keeping with his promise we are looking forward to a new heaven and a new earth, the home of righteousness" (2 Peter 3:13, NIV).

I love Peter's phrase for our ultimate destination as Christians: "the home of righteousness."
When Jesus Christ returns, everything will change. The universe will be different. I will be different. I will be at home in the home of righteousness.

I will have the right attitude. I will think the right thoughts. I will say the right words. I will act in the right ways. I will be all right...and that is something exciting to anticipate.

However, I am most excited about the expectation of completely right relationships. Nothing will interfere with my relationship with God. I will be as close to him as a man can possibly be. I will worship without distraction. I will be in awe of aspects of his character and power that I have not even noticed in this life.

Furthermore, I will enjoy completely right relationships with other people, angels, and whatever other creatures may live with us in the home of righteousness. No more broken friendships. No more misunderstandings. No more selfishness interfering with us.

Followers of Jesus Christ have an enormous inheritance waiting for us in the home of righteousness. When he returns, we will experience a joy and a sense of fulfillment that cannot even be imagined. May that day come soon, and may everyone I love enjoy that day with me!

Saturday, January 20, 2007

Happy Birthday, Christopher

Tomorrow will mark your 4th birthday, Christopher. With that in mind, I would like to share a few thoughts about your birth and adoption. You will not be able to understand everything that I am writing today, but someday you will.

First, I want you to know that God answers prayer. Your birth and adoption were the answer to 9 years of prayer by your mother and myself. We had hoped and prayed for a long time for your arrival. God was preparing us to become your parents, while teaching us patience and perserverence during those years of waiting. Then God answered our prayers with the son of our dreams.

Second, your birth and adoption crossed racial barriers. You were born on the day after Martin Luther King, Jr. Day in 2003 to a young black woman who chose a childless white husband and wife to be your parents. It was appropriate that you came into our lives on the day after a day set apart in our country to honor the memory of the man who had a dream of racial barriers being broken.

Third, your birth and adoption signified the value of choosing life over abortion. You were born the day before the 30th anniversary of the Supreme Court's Roe v. Wade decision legalizing all abortions in the United States. Your birth mother made a brave decision in choosing adoption over abortion in her situation. We were honored to be entrusted with protecting, nuturing, and helping to shape your life ever since.

Finally, I want you to know that Christopher means "Christ-bearer." We were unaware of the meaning of your name when we chose it, but we look forward to seeing how you will live out its meaning. We pray that you will follow Christ closely all the days of your life, and take him with you wherever you go.

Christopher, you are a special child. You are loved. You are blessed and a blessing.


Sunday, January 14, 2007

Martin Luther King Jr. Day Devotional

I would like to share the following devotional from Our Daily Bread for January 15, 2007.

by Marvin Williams

Read: Isaiah 58:1-10

Is this not the fast that I have chosen: to loose the bonds of wickedness, let the oppressed go free? Isaiah 58:6 (NKJV)

In 1963, during a peaceful march on Washington, DC, Martin Luther King, Jr., delivered his now famous "I Have a Dream" speach. He eloquently called for freedom to ring from every mountaintop across the nation. The cost to him personally and to those who joined his peaceful resistance movement was steep, but real change soon began. God used that speech to awaken the conscience of the US to fight for the freedom of the oppressed and downtrodden.

In the 8th century BC, amid personal and national injustice, the prophet Isaiah was used by God to awaken the conscience of His people. Their convenient spirituality had led them to violence and insensitivity toward their fellow humans. God's people were oppressing the poor and substituting religious practices for genuine righteous living (vv.1-5). God indicted them (v.1) and prescribed spiritual living that would be expressed through turning to God in genuine repentance and setting people free (vv.6-12).

Like Isaiah, we have been sent to let freedom ring. By the power of the Holy Spirit, we must proclaim that the captives can be released, that the downtrodden can be freed from their oppressors, and that the time of the Lord's favor has come.

I've got a river of life flowing out of me:
Makes the lame to walk and the blind to see,
Opens prison doors, sets the captives free;
I've got a river of life flowing out of me.---Casebolt

No righteousness, no freedom!

Other devotionals can be found at

Thursday, January 11, 2007

The Wrath and Grace of God

"And you were dead in your trespasses and sins, in which you formerly walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, of the spirit that is now working in the sons of disobedience. Among them we too all formerly lived in the lusts of our flesh, indulging the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, even as the rest. But God, being rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in our transgressions, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), and raised us up with Him, and seated us with Him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the ages to come He might show the surpassing riches of His grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus" (Ephesians 2:1-7, NASB).

The grace of God is more fully appreciated when I remember the wrath of God.

God has every reason to destroy my life and cast me into hell. My sins are that offensive. My sins hurt God that much. He is fully justified in being that angry toward me.

However, God's justified wrath makes his grace even more amazing. With every reason to punish me more than I can imagine, he took the intiative to save me. He had mercy. He showed unusual kindness.

On the cross, Jesus Christ demonstrated how angry God is toward sin. He took the full force of God's wrath for us. His death was painful, humiliating, and lonely.

On that same cross, the Son of God demonstrated how far he was willing to go to save us, along with how deeply the Father loved us. He was not content to leave us as hopeless children of wrath. He was intent on sacrificing in order to deliver us from what we deserved.

When I stop to consider the wrath and grace of God as displayed on the cross of Christ, I find the motivation needed to thank God and to turn away from sin and temptation.

Sunday, January 07, 2007


A few weeks ago, I heard Rick Warren interviewed on the radio program Family Life Today. He was discussing the AIDS conference that had been held at Saddleback Church, the congregation for which he preaches. During the interview, he told the story of an AIDS activist who hated Christianity. Rick got to know the man, apologized for the mistreatment that the man had suffered from people who claimed to follow Jesus, and became a friend. They worked together on behalf of people afflicted with AIDS. Eventually, the man became a believer. Rick Warren attributed the man's conversion to the kindness shown by followers of Christ. Then Rick quoted Romans 2:4, which reads (in the NASB), "the kindness of God leads you to repentance."

Rick Warren's testimony and Romans 2:4 stuck in my mind. I realized that a part of the fruit of the Spirit is kindness, and that God was wanting to use me and other believers as conduits of his kindness so that unbelievers could be led to repentance. I began to notice things that kept me from being kind (a defensive mindset, listening to politcal talk radio, etc.), and I began to turn away from them. I stopped looking for opportunities to argue, and started looking for ways to show kindness.

The results have been positive. I have avoided useless arguments and stress-inducing radio programs. I have found opportunites to be kind that I had overlooked in the past. These small changes have opened the door for other aspects of the fruit of the Spirit to develop (such as peace and joy). Furthermore, relationships have improved with people, which I hope will allow me more opportunites to spread the gospel of Christ with credibility.

Looking for ways to be kind for the sake of Jesus Christ has opened my eyes.

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Favorite Music

Rise and Shine by Randy Travis is my favorite album of music. The following song lyrics are from my favorite songs on the album.


When I first met his mama she was just nineteen
Couldn't say for certain who the father was
But I have known him since he was a pup
And I'm gonna raise him up

If you never knew your daddy like I never knew mine
It feels like everyone knows you're fatherless
This boy may not be blood of my blood
But I'm gonna raise him up

I'll provide for him, walk beside of him
I am strong enough
'Cause it's time he knew what a son can do
With a father's love

Well he could change the world
You only have to look at Joseph a couple thousand years ago
When he was a newborn baby he named Jesus
He said He may not be blood of my blood
Still I'm gonna raise him up

I'll provide for him, walk beside of him
I am strong enough
I will show Him too what a Son can do
With a father's love
And He will change the world

Thirty-three years later when the Son was in His grave
Broken and abandoned by the world He came to save
His real Dad said, He's mine, Blood of my Blood
And I'm gonna raise Him up

I'll provide for you, walk beside of you
I am strong enough
I have seen from you what a son can do
With a father's love
One man changed the world
And He could change your world
But you gotta raise Him up
Raise Him up

As an adoptive father, I get choked up whenever I hear Randy Travis sing that song.


A farmer and a teacher, a hooker and a preacher
Ridin' on midnight bus bound for Mexico
One was headed for vacation, one for higher education
Two of them were searchin' for lost souls

That driver never ever saw the stop sign
And eighteen-wheelers can't stop on a dime

There are three wooden crosses
On the right side of the highway
Why there's not four of them
Heaven only knows
I guess it's not what you take
When you leave this world behind you
It's what you leave behind when you go

That farmer left a harvest, a home and eighty acres
The faith and love for growin' things
In his young son's heart
And that teacher left her wisdom
In the minds of lots of children
Did her best to give 'em all a better start

And the preacher whispered, "Can't you see the promised land?"
As he laid his bloodstained Bible in that hooker's hands


That's the story that our preacher told last Sunday
As he held that bloodstained Bible up
For all of us to see
He said, bless the farmer, and the teacher and that preacher
Who gave this Bible to my mamma
Who read it to me

There are three wooden crosses
On the right side of the highway
Why there's not four of them
Now I guess we know
It's not what you take
When you leave this world behind you
It's what you leave when you go

There are three wooden crosses
On the right side of the highway

I'm not sure a song could tell the story of God's grace any better.

I would keep going, but Christopher just woke up, and Janet's still asleep.