Wednesday, November 24, 2010


A strong and loving family, perseverance in hard work, and faith in Jesus Christ can go a long way toward alleviating poverty. (I found this video on Mark Merrill's blog.)

Friday, November 19, 2010

How a Gentle Soul Talks About Hell

"Let your gentle spirit be known to all men. The Lord is near" (Philippians 4:5, NASB).

Converted to Jesus Christ shortly after the Civil War, T. B. Larimore started preaching a few years later and did not stop until his death in the late 1920s. During that time, Mr. Larimore was instrumental in bringing thousands of people to the Lord.

Although T. B. Larimore was known as an eloquent speaker, he was even better known for his character. He was a careful Bible student, a devoted family man, and a man of integrity who obviously cared about people. In an era when religious debates were popular, he avoided arguments. (He only engaged in one debate, in which both participants treated each other with deep respect and courtesy.) Even when insulted from the audience by a potential opponent, T. B. would thank the antagonist for his comments and move on with his biblical message.

Several years ago, while reading In Step with the Spirit by Rubel Shelly, I came across this paragraph:

"A while back I was reading of a man who was led to Christ by a gentle soul named T. B. Larimore. The man in question had been to hundreds of church services and dozens of evangelistic meetings before Larimore came and preached in the town. So someone asked him, 'Why did you respond to the gospel under Brother Larimore's preaching when you hadn't before?' His answer is a rebuke to some of us and our methods. 'From other preachers I'd learned I was going to hell,' he said, 'but they seemed pleased that I was. From Larimore I learned I was going to hell, but I could tell it broke his heart to have to tell me so.'"

I would like to be like T. B. Larimore...faithful to the biblical message (even the hard parts) while caring about the people who hear it. I believe that was the key to his effectiveness. Obviously, the Spirit of Christ lived in T. B. Larimore.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Can We Learn Anything From the Mistakes of Westboro Baptist Church?

Kevin DeYoung made some very good points on his blog today about what Christians can learn from the hatred of the church that has become well-known for protesting at the funerals of military personnel. Click on the link below for his post:

Can We Learn Anything From the Mistakes of Westboro Baptist Church?

Monday, November 15, 2010

A Glimpse of the Contact Church

I found this video on YouTube this morning. Ministers Ron Babbit and Joel Osborn talk about the ministry of the Contact Church as the church hosts a cookout at one of the apartment complexes in Tulsa this past summer.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

"I Do Not Wish to Have a Coward For a Husband"

A couple of weeks ago, we bought Growing Together in Courage by Barbara Rainey. The book is a seven-day family devotional intended to encourage the development of courage. We have been reading it at the dinner table.

This is an excerpt:

"To be countercultural means to go against the flow. It means doing what is right and true no matter what others are doing. When you go against the flow, you recognize that just because something is popular doesn't necessarily mean that it's right.

"Courage is countercultural.

"In 1945, an assembly of pastors and priests gathered in Bucharest, Romania. The meeting had been organized by the new Soviet-controlled Communist government, which had recently replaced Hitler's Nazi government in Romania. Neither government allowed true freedom of religion. The Romanian people had suffered under Hitler and were about to suffer under a new, equally cruel leader, Joseph Stalin.

"Richard Wurmbrand and his wife, Sabina, were at the 1945 gathering. They knew that a primary intent of Communism was to destroy religion, so they were shocked to hear many of their fellow religious leaders actually declaring a belief that Communism and Christianity could peacefully coexist. Because of fear, these men set aside their faith and spoke with lies and flattery.

"Deeply troubled, Sabina whispered to her husband, 'Richard, stand up and wash away this shame from the face of Christ.'

"'If I speak,' Richard explained, 'you will lose your husband.'

"Sabina replied, 'I do not wish to have a coward for a husband'" (page 19).

The book is available only from FamilyLife. I do not know about another devotional book designed to build courage in children. It's a very good book, and may be ordered at

Thursday, November 11, 2010

The Fatherless

"Father of the fatherless and protector of widows
is God in his holy habitation" (Psalm 68:5).

Last Sunday, many churches around the United States observed Orphan Sunday, a day to reflect on the needs of the more than 140 million orphans around the globe and a day for each Christian to consider what he or she can do for these children in need.

Before engaging in my normal Sunday morning routine of preparing breakfast for my family (which consisted of driving to Quik Trip to buy donuts), I checked my Facebook account. Southern Baptist Seminary dean Russell Moore's status update on that morning has been in my thoughts ever since. He wrote, "Today is Orphan Sunday. Remember the fatherless, and the Fatherless, in your community and around the world."

The needs of the fatherless are overwhelming. More than 140 million children live without parents around the world. Nearly 500,000 American children are in the foster care system of the states. Many of these children grow up on the streets. Many starve to death or die of easily preventable illnesses. Many end up as victims of human trafficking in a world of forced prostitution. Many find their only solace in illegal drugs. Many are lured into gangs. Many are kidnapped and forced into becoming child soldiers for lawless militias that terrorize many nations around the world. They grow up without hope, without love, without guidance, without discipline. They are heading toward a tragic end. They need parents who will love, nurture, and protect them.

The needs of the Fatherless are overwhelming, too. More than 4 billion people around the world do not have God as their Father. They are trying to make it on their own. Sometimes they are following a false god who misleads them into an abusive situation. Sometimes, in efforts to protect themselves in a harsh world, they hurt others and themselves. Sometimes they merely wander through life, surviving in the best manner they can, but never knowing the security of the Father's love. Their lives are heading toward a great tragedy. They need the Father who will love, nurture, and protect them.

Christians are children of the Father. "In love he predestined us for adoption as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will, to the praise of his glorious grace, with which he has blessed us in the Beloved" (Ephesians 1:4-6). As children of the Father, we have been called to care for the fatherless (James 1:27) and to seek out the Fatherless in the world whom our Father wants to adopt as his own (Matthew 28:18-20).

As John Piper said a few weeks ago at the Lausanne Conference in South Africa, "Christians, in the name of Christ, care about all suffering, especially eternal suffering." We care about the physical orphans of the world. We care about the spiritual orphans of the world. With God's help, we will do something positive about their situations.

Monday, November 08, 2010

How a White Man Should Talk About Abortion to a Black Audience

Last week on his blog, Thabiti Anyabwile criticized the way white people approach the topic of abortion in front of black audiences. In a comment, I asked him how a white man like myself should approach the topic. This link is his excellent response:

How I Would Talk About Abortion and Slavery to an African American Audience Were I a White Man

Saturday, November 06, 2010


Since it's the month of Thanksgiving, I'm listing a few blessings for which I'm thankful today. I've been thinking about how much God has changed my life in the last 20 years in ways that I would not have imagined...but in ways for which I'm deeply thankful.

I'm thankful for my great wife. Janet and I have been married for 17 years. She has been my greatest encourager. She has been my best friend. She has been a wonderful partner in the joys and pains of life. No one could ask for a better wife.

I'm thankful for my outstanding son. Christopher is my 7-year old son. Before we were married, Janet and I talked about our dreams of adopting a child someday. We did not know that Christopher would be our only child, but we could not have asked for a more enjoyable little boy. It has been one of the honors of my life that God has entrusted me with the responsibilities and blessings of being Christopher's father.

I'm thankful for being a part of the Contact Church. Janet and I have been participants in the Tulsa urban ministry for 10 years. Eight years ago, the Contact Church was formed as a result of the urban ministry. Many people dream of being able to be a part of a church that reaches the urban poor. We have been blessed to experience it. We have been able to be a part of something very special.

I'm thankful for opportunities to share my faith. Nearly every day, I am asked by a co-worker, a friend, or an acquaintance about my faith in Jesus Christ. That was not happening until recent years. I have never had such opportunities fall into my lap so frequently. I can see God moving in the lives of others in my life every day. Also, I could not have imagined 20 years ago the opportunities that God has given me to share my faith through the internet. In addition to being able to reconnect through Facebook with friends and classmates from 25 years ago, I've been able to share my faith on this blog with people on every continent (except Antarctica). (I've been blown away when I have seen some of the countries from which I've seen visitors to this blog--especially those from closed Communist and Islamic nations.) It's hard to believe that God has entrusted me with such opportunities.

God has been very, very good to me.

"Make a joyful noise to the LORD,
all the earth!
Serve the LORD with gladness!
Come into his presence with singing!

"Know that the LORD, he is God!
It is he who made us, and we are his;
we are his people, and the sheep of
his pasture.

"Enter his gates with thanksgiving,
and his courts with praise!
Give thanks to him; bless his name!

"For the LORD is good;
his steadfast love endures forever,
and his faithfulness to all generations" (Psalm 100).

Tuesday, November 02, 2010

That's My King!

This video was played at the Contact Church a couple of days ago.

"Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father" (Philippians 2:9-11).