Monday, December 26, 2011

Sin and Christmas

At first glance you might wonder why I have these two in the same sentence. Read on and you will see.

We like most of you celebrated Christmas this year and we were able to have our whole family here at one time. It was an incredible time of fun and fellowship as well as time of worship and prayer and recounting the goodness of God in our lives.

As we were opening gifts our grandkids, which are the best in the world, showed some interesting behavior. Emery Kate got a toy laptop and her cousin (the two of them are normally joined at the hip) said to her something like this:"Emery Kate, this is ours", to which she replied "No Ney Ney (a.k.a. Duncan) this is not ours. This is mine." Then little Mollie got a toy kitchen and Campbell goes over to her and takes it and pushes her out of the way.

These are just two examples of 2 year olds being 2 year olds, and we laughed as we tried to encourage sharing. But as I thought about it
I realized that this was precisely why there is Christmas. We all have the same nature as these little kids, though now we hide it in more sophisticated and socially acceptable ways.

These kids were not taught this. They all come from spectacular families who teach Biblical values in the home. No, this is a part of the sin nature that all of us have. This sin is what separates us from God and there is no way we can overcome it on our own. So God in His great mercy, sent His son, Jesus, to come to earth as a baby, fully human and yet fully God. He eventually dies on a cross with His shed blood covering our sins so that once again we can have relationship with God.

So this is why He came. This is why there is a Christmas. So as you celebrate Christmas this year and in years to come, remember that it is so much more than just a baby in a manger. He was born to die - for you and for me. The cross and the Christmas tree go hand in hand.


Wednesday, December 21, 2011

From the Dad's Perspective

This past Saturday, the 17th, my youngest daughter, Mary Beth, became engaged to be married to a fine young man named Alejandro D'Brot. It was a fun event that the whole family was able to participate in and you can check the details on Christy's blog ( But I wanted to focus more on the view from the father of the bride to be. This is my third daughter to give away so I think I know a little of what I am talking about.

This is something that as a father you have been praying for for all of her life. It is something that as a woman she has dreamed about since she was a little girl. But no matter how much you like the guy, you always wonder if he is the right one for your little one.

In some respects there is freedom in releasing the responsibility and protection roles that you have had all of her life, but there is also the fear and trepidation as to whether that one will be able to care for her as you could and want. There is your joy which joins with her joy in getting that ring

Marrying your daughter is the last official act that you as a dad do in her life, and as this is my last daughter then my role as a father are now about to be complete.There is a little nostalgia in that.

You want to keep your arms around her always, but you know that that is not healthy, realistic or desirable. You want her to leave, go out on her own, flap her wings and fly; but all the while it hurts because you realize that she no longer needs you. And even more difficult is the fact that you are no longer the number one man in her life.

But having done this before, I realize that it is not the end because your little girl then becomes your friend and will be that for a lifetime. And then she rewards you with these little ones of her own and starts the whole process over again.

So that's it from a dad's perspective.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Work Part 3

Before we get into the Christmas season any further, I thought I would finish the series on work. This time we are going to focus on work as ministry. Remember we are called to make disciples as we are going into all of the earth. Most of us are not going to Africa, so we need to be doing this in our daily lives. And again for most of us, our daily lives revolves around work. So how can we do ministry at our place of work?

First of all we need to ask ourselves three questions.
1) Regarding the type of work, is our work meaningful and God honoring?
2) Then we look at the way we work and do we do our work with full energyand integrity?
3) Then there is the way we relate to others and are we reflecting Christ's love?

Second we need to look at who can we minister to at work. Obviously it can be our co-workers, but also clients and customers as well as families of co-workers and clients. Then finally it could be to vendors or reps. The idea is that we need to keep our eyes and ears open to whoever god puts in our path at work.

So how does this work out practically?
1) We need to work better than others with diligence and skill so that we have a good platform to speak out.
2) We need to come to work with a good attitude, not complaining, submitting to authority and by encouraging others.
3) We need to relate to others in ways different than everyone else does. That would be to thank them for what they do, help a co-worker with his/her work, let them receive the praise for a good job even if you did most of the work, but share the blame if something goes wrong. Talk to people and learn their story and their families, pray for their needs and let them know you are doing this, serve them in other ways as well.
4) We need to live the gospel out each and every day.
5) Lastly we will have to eventually share the gospel with them so be ready. You can also ask them to come with you to church or lifegroup, etc.

Hopefully this will be helpful to you to see work differently and not just a way of bringing home the bacon.

Friday, November 25, 2011

Thanksgiving 2011

The only one who did not like Thanksgiving

Luana and MB

Me and my beautiful bride. Can you believe how beautiful she still is at age 56?

Alejandro and Lu

Lu's father, Neighl


Me and my older brother, Phil

Me and my sister, Ginny

Lu and her sister, Cathy

My brother-in-law, Bruce

Anna Lee

Ginny with MB

This Thanksgiving was the year that our kids went to their in-laws so we went down to Austin to be with Luana's sister and her family. They are a sweet family and have a beautiful house in the Lakeway area and it is very amenable to entertaining. But what looked to be a small intimate gathering turned into a big group. Mary Beth was able to come and brought her boyfriend, Alejandro. Then Luana's father and his wife, Bettye, were able to come from Dallas. And to top it off my brother, Phil, and my sister, Ginny and her husband Bruce, drove up from Houston.

It was a gorgeous day and I got to take a long walk with my sister and then later with my brother. Those are some of the best times as we are able to share our hearts and to encourage each other and even at times to gently rebuke/challenge each other. I love that we have that kind of relationship. Alejandro got to meet all of Mary Beth's aunts and uncles in one setting and he passed the mustard. He even got to experience a little bit of the Sudan competitiveness the night before as we played a game of Scrabble.

Aside from that, the food was excellent and it was a collaborative effort nicely engineered by Cathy. There was football to be watched, and a lot more visiting. Mary Beth entertained us with pictures from her year in Uganda.

But more to the point is that we have a lot for which to be thankful to our wonderful God. We have wonderful and healthy kids who are all pursuing Jesus and have 6 beautiful grand kids. I have a good job and we are not financially stressed. We are a part of a vibrant church and have an incredible community to walk through life with. But I am also thankful that Luana, now three years into her battle with Alzheimer's, is doing amazingly well and she is at peace with her situation. And on top of that, my recurrent chest pains that I have been having for the past two years have miraculously disappeared. My prayer is that you are thankful as well.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

More pics

Here are some more pics from Homecoming 2011. This is the whole gang (minus Hallie Jane who was asleep)

The Forresters

Our traditional meal - Fiesta!!!

At the parade.

All in their new Baylor apparel