Sunday, May 25, 2014

MEMORIAL DAY WEEKEND: 3 Things a Man Should Never Allow His Wife to Do

I know I’m gonna get in trouble with this one.  Look, I am not judging men who have wives who do these things; I’m just revealing something about ME that you may not know.

Being from Dallas, Texas, I’m just different.  Chivalry is in my heart.  I don’t always open doors for my wife.  I wish I were more attentive to that.  Fact is, by the time I’m helping shove nine children into our van, the wife’s already in the car.  Which brings me to the first point.  When I’m in the car with my wife…

I use to think it was cool to doze off in the passenger seat while my girlfriend or date drove.  Then I got married.  Adéye doesn’t like that.  I didn’t understand at first, but now I like it.  You know why?  Because…
            I am The Man.  I love the feeling of power underneath my foot pedal.  (Anthony flexes his calf muscles.)  If Adéye ever doubted my manhood before, now she is convinced that I am a real man.  Correct that.  THE Man. 
Sometimes I pretend our 15-seat passenger van sports car has a stick shift.  Then I’ll rev that engine and take charge of that stick.  Yep.  I am The Man.  (Anthony gives the Zoolander “Magnum” look.)

Come on, guys.  Really?  That’s just wrong.  That’s like me being on a construction site and saying, “Okay, darlin’, why don’t you take over the jackhammer for a while?”
            Now do I believe a woman is ABLE to mow her grass?  Absolutely.  There’s just something wrong if my wife were to come in the door after mowing and smell like B.O. and cut grass.  I’m sorry.  It’s just wrong.  Now if YOURS TRULY did, it’s sexy.
            But if the missus is out there sweating behind a Briggs-Stratton, I would just know that my neighbors are driving by, imagining me sitting on the couch looking like this…
Period.  End of story.  Why?  Because only a real man can start a fire.  Oh, she can cook it okay.  But it’s the fire.  Did Michaelangelo let Guido the Janitor hack away with his hammer and chisel to finish off his David statue?  Did Michael Jordan hand the ball in midair to the popcorn seller to do his dunk for him?  Did Barack Obama let a video producer take the blame for the Benghazi attack?  (We'll save that for another time.)  What I'm saying is, if you're the BBQ Artist, you follow through with it.
            Sure, we men screw it up…oh…98% of the time.  But hey.  When it does get   
going, who’s your daddy?  And when we DO struggle getting a good fire going, we’ll never admit it.
            WIFE: “Hey, honey, can we put the chicken on the grill yet?”
            WE MEN: “Ugh, yeah, in a minute, honey.  I just bought the WORST charcoal!  Remind me never to buy charcoal from the Dollar Store again.”
            And that’s okay.  That’s one of those Rahab lies that God allows, like in the Old Testament.  (Don’t be surprised, ladies.  God’s a man, right?)  Of course, GOD’S fires are always perfect.  Case in point: Elijah with the prophets of Baal.  Now that was a fire.  That tells me that God could do a BBQ in a thunderstorm.  During Noah's time.  Under a waterfall.
            And remember the burning bush?  Men, we can finally kiss that lighter fluid goodbye.  God knows fire.  I didn't even talk about the biggest fire yet that's coming.  Mixed with a little brimstone, NOBODY can match that.

So on this Memorial Day weekend, guys, step to the plate and be a man!  Your wives will never look at you the same...

(In the preceding message, the author is immune from PCP—the Politically Correct Police.)

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

How My Daughter Changed My Life

I vividly remember my hesitation when Adéye first approached me a decade ago about adopting.  Sure, we had talked about it, but was she really serious?  All of the typical questions filled my mind and my heart with fear:

What if we can’t afford it?

What if I can’t love this child as my own?

What if this child doesn’t bond with my biological children, or vice versa?

And because she’s talking about adopting a child with special needs, does this mean I’ll be stuck with caring for them when I’m old? 

Then Adéye presented me with a check-off list from the adoption agency.  It was a pretty exhaustive list of every special need imaginable.  Before the agency would give us a referral (which is a child that they are able to promote and whom they believe would be a good match for us), we needed to express what we are NOT prepared to take on.  For example, if the agency suggested a child to us that has no arms or legs, we needed to let them know to not bother.

OK, I thought.  Let me start from the worst “handicaps,” as I called them, eliminate them, and work my way down to what would be “acceptable.”

BLINDNESS.  Check.  No way.  I don’t want to have to do everything for this child!  And what about when he or she is an adult?  And I’m old?  How am I going to do that?

DEVELOPMENTAL DELAY.  Check.  Because that, to me, means brain damage.  And how in the world am I going to communicate with a child like that, much less, love someone like that?

CEREBRAL PALSY.  Check.  Ugh.  Wheelchair!  No, thank you.  Diapers for life.  No, thank you.  Carrying dead weight.  No, thank you.  No, thank you.  No, thank you.  NO, THANK YOU!

Hmmm.  I MIGHT be able to handle a child who’s missing a finger.  But MAYBE if it’s an insignificant finger, like the little finger.  And MAYBE if it’s not on their writing and throwing hand.  Ugh.  No.  Never mind.  MAYBE if it’s a toe.  Yeah, that’s it.  I can handle a missing toe.  Besides, most people won’t see it most of the time because of shoes.


I know.  I was so foolish.  Little did I realize that not ten years later, I would be madly in love with a daughter who isn’t of my blood.  Who is of gypsy blood, no less!

Who is blind.

Who is developmentally delayed.

Who has cerebral palsy.

Who has severe scoliosis, osteopenia, bilateral hip dysplasia.

Who needs her diaper changed, needs to be fed by mouth and by tube three times a day, needs to be bathed, dressed, have her hair coiffed, and have her teeth brushed.

Our powerful God has not only given Hasya a new life, He has given ME a new life.  Today, I would be offended if someone handed me a check-off list to see if I’ll love an orphan as my own.  I am soooo thankful that God didn’t have a check-off list for ME before He chose me.  Because I have special needs—ones that can’t always be seen with the eye. 

I know I am changed.  The proof in the pudding is when I lie down next to Hasya.  There is nothing better in life than lying down with my daughter, close enough for her to feel my breath and to hear my soft words of comfort. 

It is then when my closeness gives her permission to explore her daddy.  She is deliberate in her effort to stretch out her contracted, nearly withered hand to touch her daddy’s face and sweep her cool fingers back and forth until she can “see” it better.  The repetitive garbled sounds she makes for comfort tell me that she’s happier now—now that Daddy is next to her. 

Hasya will spontaneously let out a cute cackle of a laugh, which gives ME permission to drive her over the edge.  My wiggly fingers surreptitiously make their way under her arms.  A cackle becomes a gasp.  A gasp becomes a giggle.  A giggle becomes an out-and-out burst of laughter that warms the coldest of hearts.

With inaccurate aim, she slaps my chest repeatedly in excitement.  She can’t reach out both arms to hug me.  She can’t snuggle her body next to mine.  She can’t even verbalize that she loves me.  But she can slap me.  Sure, she slaps the air a few times before her hands land on my chest.  But she makes it.  And the laughter doesn’t stop.

And even when the laughter does stop…The laughter in my soul continues…day by day by day…for Hasya…the one who changed me…my daughter.

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Three Words

What's the difference between Christianity and all other religions?

Three words:  HE...IS...RISEN!

Saturday, April 12, 2014

My "Little" Connor Turns 15!

He's tired of hearing it.

Connor's old-fashioned dad recalls the same story to him on every birthday.

"I remember when they first brought you to Mom in her hospital room.  Your Nanny (Adéye's mom) was there.  She held her middle finger against your little foot and showed us how her finger was longer than your foot."

Today, Connor wears a size 13 shoe, a size and a half larger than me.  His hands are longer and bigger than mine.  And he has something I didn't have when I was 15--the treasure of Jesus in a soft heart.

Happy Birthday, my boy!  I love you with all my heart!

Friday, April 4, 2014

Oh My Creepy Goodness!

I was in the supermarket this evening and snapped this photo at the stand next to the cash register. 

OK, so I've read the Bible like many of you who are reading this now have.

I realize, for example, that in Isaiah 53:2, Jesus is described like this:

"He had no beauty or majesty to attract us to him, nothing in his appearance that we should desire him."

But does he have to look like the bearded lady with a broken plate stuck on the back of his head, as in the magazine on the left?

And does he have to  resemble a serial killer, like in the photo on the right?

It's one thing to have "no beauty or majesty" or not look like a male model "that we should desire him," but at least depict him as the Bible describes him:

STRONG:  He was carpenter.  Carpenters today are often muscular.  Imagine the carpenters back in Jesus' day.  There were no forklifts to lift piles of wood.  If he made a table, it was made of solid wood.  There were no power tools.  Just heavy hammers and big saws.  And once done, there weren't any pickup trucks to load it on to deliver it.  He probably got help from Joseph and other tough guys, and carried the darn thing across town to Marvin Schwartz's house.

COURAGEOUS:  At 12, he was being a very big boy.  Not being intimidated by the religious "experts" of the day, Jesus stood up to teach to crowds of people, many of whom were old, wise men.  He never cared what others thought of him.  He was on a mission, and he never gave in to people who said, "Uh, excuse me, sir.  You can't do that."

TOUGH:  In Luke 4, after standing up in a synagogue and revealing who he was through the reading of Isaiah 61, a furious mob "took him to the brow of the hill on which the town was built, in order to throw him off the cliff.  But he walked right through the crowd and went on his way."  And of course, he knew he was going to be beaten severely and crucified (the worst form of torture for millenia), but he CHOSE to go right into THAT mob and let them have their way.  (Which ultimately was HIS way.)  You can't get tougher than that.

So after careful study of the Scriptures, I formulated an image of what I think Jesus looked like and sketched a draft.  I think it comes pretty close.  Let me know what you think.

Friday, March 28, 2014

About Gays and World Vision

 “It is actually reported that there is sexual immorality among you, and of a kind that even pagans do not tolerate: A man is sleeping with his father’s wife. And you are proud! Shouldn’t you rather have gone into mourning and have put out of your fellowship the man who has been doing this?”                                                   ~ 1 Corinthians 5:1-2

My heart breaks for the number of “proud” people (who claim Christ as their Savior) who lauded Richard Stearns before his reversal on the gay-marriage decision at World Vision.

Personally I am very confused.  Mr. Stearns and his books have been an inspiration to my wife and me.  We are grateful that he “repented” of his position.  Our hope is that the repentance was based on his genuine change of heart on the matter and was not driven by the drop in funding for his organization since the row occurred.  If it were the latter, our hearts break even more.  And as many other Christians have expressed to me, "What else will he compromise on for the sake of 'unity'?"

Now there is a social media firestorm brewing.  More liberal, progressive Christians accuse those who disagreed with Stearns as “judgmental,” “lacking grace,” and “unloving toward gays.”  They have even stated things like, “How dare other Christians put the children of World Vision at risk?”

But those accusations have absolutely NOTHING to do with the issue.  The issue has everything to do with whether or not a self-professed Christian believes that the act of homosexuality is a sin.  If they agree it is sin, then the issue becomes, Is the sinner repentant of that sin and actively endeavoring to draw closer to Christ? 

If they are, then the former sinner would be welcomed in nearly any Christian organization that exists.  But if the sinner refuses to acknowledge that their behavior is sinful, why should any such organization feel obligated to employ them?

And no, Bible-following Christians are not hypocritical.  Yes, adultery is also a sin, even if it’s heterosexual.  But you would be hard-pressed to find a truly Christ-centered company that employs ANYONE in unrepentant sin—like spouses having affairs, filthy-mouthed alcoholics, or even doctors who perform abortions.

The Bible is clear.  The act of homosexuality is a sin.  And when two gay people marry, it is a statement to the world that it is most certainly NOT a sin to them.

It is extremely dangerous to accuse those who follow the truth of Scripture of somehow not showing “grace” to the sinner.  God alone shows grace to the sinner through repentance.  Christians show the love of God to them.  Christians who protested Stearns's initial decision are NOT unloving toward gays.  We are simply protesting the anti-biblical acceptance of homosexual marriage for the sake of “unity.”

Charles Spurgeon wrote, “Unity in error is unity in ruin.”

And Adrian Rogers said, "It is better to be divided by truth than to be united by error."

Jesus prayed, “Holy Father, keep them in your name, which you have given me, that they may be one, even as we are one” (John 17:11). And shortly after he prayed, “Sanctify them in the truth, your word is truth” (John 17:17). Jesus desired the church to be unified as one body and sanctified by the truth of the Word of God. According to Christ, truth and unity go hand in hand. He never even hints at creating a contrast between the two.

Christian truth is NOT the antithesis of unity!  It is the foundation of it.  Otherwise, the Bible was written in vain and Christ’s death on the cross was also done in vain.  Otherwise, the apostle Paul would not have gone to such great lengths to consistently, publicly distinguish the true gospel from any false influence. 

He was dealing with pre-Gnosticism, which voiced the idea that Jesus did not actually come in the “flesh,” but was some sort of spirit.

He was dealing with Judaizers who insisted that Jewish converts to Christianity must abide by Old Testament rules, as in circumcision.

He was dealing with ascetics who insisted on a cloistered lifestyle and dietary habits.

He was dealing with hedonists whose purpose in life was to avoid pain or discomfort at any cost.

These issues are mild compared to what he would write today if this conversation about gays arose.  Why didn’t the topic arise back in his day?  Because except for the Romans themselves, the Roman “Christian” world was firm that the act of homosexuality was wrong.  Why?  Because they had the Scriptures to back it up.

Therefore, contrary to accusations that are flying in the social media arena, I make the following attestation:

The word “phobic” implies fear.  I am not afraid of those in the gay lifestyle.  I truly LOVE them.  I worked with them for years in the fashion industry.  My absolute best friend in the world came out of the lifestyle because he recognized its waywardness. I am not ashamed to be seen with them in public.  I am not afraid to have them come into my home and play with my children.  When I see them on the street, I do not cross to the other side to avoid them.

I do not love gays any more or any less than I would, say, an adulterer.  They need the love of Jesus.  Jesus gave me immense love for them.  I have no ulterior motives in building and keeping relationships with them.  I love them as people.  I do not look at them with disgust or hatred.  I can love them even though I do not agree with their lifestyle.  And why must I agree with them in order to love them?  If that’s the definition of love, we’re all lost.

We have all sinned and fallen short of the glory of God.  They are in need of a Savior as much as anyone else.

I have yet to meet someone in the gay lifestyle who sees a Bible verse and says, “Gee, I didn’t know God thinks it’s a sin.”

We all may struggle with proclivities and desires that are not godly.  But God looks at the heart and wants us to “Be holy as He is holy.”  If that means keeping desires at bay until He comes or takes us to be with Him, then so be it.  We are ALL to die to our fleshly desires, however those look.  Temptations are not sin.  Allowing temptations to take root in our hearts is sin, whether we act on them or not. (James 1:13-15)

I want to encourage all those who are under attack for standing up for the Word of God.  Time is short.  The Lord is separating the wheat from the chaff in these last days.

“All people are like grass,
    and all their glory is like the flowers of the field;
the grass withers and the flowers fall,
    but the word of the Lord endures forever.”
~ 1 Peter 1:24-25

The American Constitution is under attack for being outdated.  The Word of God is never outdated, and we will all stand before God someday as He calls us into account for any compromise whatsoever in our walk with Him.

Friday, May 31, 2013

Enough Love to Go Around

Loving my kids, Down syndrome and all.  They give me more than I could ever give to them.

Thank you, Lord, for the rich blessings!
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