23 May 2007 ~ 1 Comment

A Family Matter

Sometimes you just can’t separate family and ministry. Like when David, my son (in-law) preached at our church last Sunday. With Pat just getting back from China with their precious Jadyn, he needed someone to step in for him and David was the man this week. That wasn’t just the High School Student Pastor up there speaking on God’s Word. Nor was it just another fellow staff member. (Not belittling you staff guys – you’re all really special to me!) But that was also my son!

David was articulate and prepared – just as always each Wednesday night when he speaks to the high schoolers. But I saw something on Sunday that was more important than anything. David showed his heart for God. You could see his passion – for the Lord and for others – to grow, or perhaps come to the Lord for the first time.

The message was a challenge to all of us to do something. Dive in and get our feet wet … and perhaps the Lord will help us (I Samuel). The challenge to me personally was two-fold: 1) to not be afraid to risk for the Lord. He’ll fine-tune our efforts if needed – we just need to get started; and 2) to make sure people around me see how much I love my Lord – just like David showed all of us Sunday.

And as a boastful dad would say, feel free to check out David’s message at fbcsmyrna.org. Type in "podcast’ in the search bar on the home page and select the May 20 sermon.

It is an honor to serve on staff with David. I am grateful for that. I am even more grateful to our Lord, for it is from Him all true blessings flow.

Now, you pray that David will speak to me once he reads this and finds out that I have played "The Dad Card"!

21 May 2007 ~ 1 Comment

Pat and Natalie

I’ve been to the airport twice in three days. I was flying on neither of those days. Saturday, I went there to see someone special arrive. Today (Monday) I went there to see someone special off.

AIRPORT VISIT #1

Our pastor, Pat Hood, and his family got back from China Saturday with their newly adopted child, Jadyn,  a precious gift to our world, and now the Hood family. (And also now, to our church!) It was a wonderful time to celebrate life.  Check out Pat’s blog for some cool pics. I can’t wait to see how little Jadyn changes Pat. I won’t make fun of him. Rather, it will be cool – again, worth celebrating. Pat and Amy, out of their love, have made this child their own now. She is part of the family. From now on.

If you are a Christ follower you know about adoption. Nothing you deserved. Just the pure grace  and love of the Parent to make you part of His family from now on. What a delightful reminder it’ll be – each time I’ll look at Jadyn – to remember that I have been adopted as well by my loving Father.

Kids  – adopted or otherwise – have a way of changing us parents. I remember an old friend of mine told me,  just before Jen was born, "Just wait. You’re life is about to change." Indeed it did. Indeed I changed. Life has never quite been the same since having kids.

AIRPORT VISIT #2

Our youngest daughter, Natalie, is why we went to airport this morning. I am so proud of her! With a group, she is traveling today to Spain. She will be taking Spanish classes in a city outside of Madrid. They’ll be staying with a local family in the area. My little girl going "across the pond" without her Dad. (More amazingly without her Mom!) Natalie will be there for six weeks. Please pray for her – and for us.

Part of how children change your life is you learn (very quickly) how to care for someone besides yourself and your mate. And I care today. I miss her already. I struggle to keep from panicking about all that could go wrong. "Where is my faith?", you ask? It’s the only thing that kept me from not letting her go. And keeping me sane right now. I have to keep remembering she is not mine anyway. 21 years and I’m still learning that about Nat.

Younger parents, you care a lot for your kid(s) today I am sure. Be assured that the caring continues on through life. When they grow up the love just grows. With all of my mixed feelings with my girl on a plane today (and that’s an OCEAN, not a POND!) I am still thankful that the love grows.

As for Mom and me, I think we’ll get a room …

15 May 2007 ~ 7 Comments

A Marriage View of Mom’s Day

Sunday was special for us. Jennifer and Natalie, our two daughters, cooked Mother’s Day lunch for us! The bad news is that they are wonderful cooks and I ate too much!

The meal was so good it was almost "painful". These two are adult ladies now. And they did a very grownup thing in fixing the meal. Such a proud day. (I was so proud that I went out and played golf with David, my son-in-law!)

The fancy-cooked meal was also a sobering – and warm – reminder that life goes on. Things that were formerly assigned only to mom can now be done by Jen and Nat. And life goes on.

Another influence our lunch had was on our marriage. It was a reassuring thing to know that our girls are moving on with their own lives and are not as dependent on us. Our marriage is adjusting to the empty nest quite well, thank-you. That is why Sunday’s experience was assuring and not depressing. Selma and I are moving into another chapter of our marriage and it feels great. And appropriate. (And I sound like we’ve been married 90 years when I say that!)

I am thankful to God that Selma and I – years ago as brand new parents -  somehow, somewhere along the way – saw the importance of investing in our own relationship while we were busy raising girls. We’d go on dates from time to time. We’d go for a walk when the kids were older. We did a lot of family stuff but we also made time for just the two of us.

We are reaping the benefits of that like crazy now. How naiive we were in a lot of ways as young parents. But that was one thing we got right. We spent time with each other – in the midst of the busyness, the crazyness of parenting our girls.

Now, with an empty nest, Selma and I are looking at our marriage today. We see what we have invested along the way. Thank God that we like what we see.

Find some time – even a few minutes each day to touch base with that mate – in the midst of life happening to you. Reconnect when you can. Steal a few moments for just the two of you. Time moves on and so does life.

Psychologist Erik Erikson had his "Eight Stages of Man" – different stages of development as humans pass through stages of life. Examples are "Trust vs Mistrust", sausage vs. pepperoni,  tastes great vs. less-filling, etc. (Okay, the last two I made up.) I learned this many years ago in college but the last stage impacted me greatly when I heard it and still "haunts" me. It is when a man is of old age and reflects back on his life. The stage is titled "Dignity vs. Despair". What’s done is done and cannot be changed. He either views it with dignity or despair.

I want you to look back on what you’ve got in your marriage with dignity. You can if you feed it along the way. You need to feel good about it  when the nest empties in your home. It can happen sooner than you might think.

10 May 2007 ~ 1 Comment

The Long Way Back

Let me brag a moment. I’ve been blessed with the love of running for 29 years this summer. Have run in several marathons including one in Chicago with 40,000 marathoners. That’s 26.2 miles for those who don’t know (Please don’t ask anyone who says they have run a marathon "How long was that marathon?" All legitimate marathons are 26 miles, 385 yards long.) I have been blessed to have run in many states and about a dozen countries including Russia, Morocco, China and Chile.

I am boasting in the Lord because He is the One who has given me a body to run. He has also given me the passion. But boy, 2007 has been a doosy…

January 25 I had knee surgery. A cartilage tear from either running for 29 years, being in my 50’s – or both. The way back has been long. It was 20 minutes of surgery and 20 sessions of physical therapy in downtown Nashville. And my knee is still a little sore when I run. So, 2007 has been a test of my patience and a double-check to make sure I wasn’t "worshiping" running.

Well, you’ll be happy to know that when I checked I saw that – although I’ve been trying to qualify for the Boston Marathon for almost 20 years now – running was not my god. On the contrary, each time I  complete a run I always thank God for 3 things: the ability, the opportunity and the desire to run. I have tried to never take it for granted. I consider any running I do to be a gift from Him. Some would think otherwise I am sure.

So to keep from pouting over my slow rehab and long way back to running long distances and marathons and such, I recall James 1:2-4 that says to consider the trials we face a great joy. Those trials, it says, will develop our patience and faith. THEN it says the faith and patience produces endurance. And just what marathon runner doesn’t need endurance?

So thank-you Lord, for the ability, the opportunity and the desire – not just to run, but to develop my patience, faith and endurance through the trials of rehabilitation – all for you.

PS Pray for our pastor, Pat and his family. They are in China getting their baby girl. Our staff spoke with Pat yesterday – and we saw him live, too. It was cool. (Am I techno-slow or what?)

06 May 2007 ~ 0 Comments

Why the Name?

Greetings to the Land of Blog. Thanks for checking out my site. This is my first installment so please be patient with me. (Thanks to Stew for all of your help in getting me to this point. You’ve been encouraging me to do this for months.) Hopefully you’ll find something that will encourage you in your family life, whatever that looks like for you.

Why do I call this blog "Get a Room"? Married couples need to celebrate. They need to know that, while it’s necessary to work your marriage, it’s also cool to be proud of it. For example, it’s quite okay to tell someone you and your mate are going on a date. It’ll probably makes them envious.

Celebrating marriage – whether it’s literally getting a room, walking in the park, riding bikes together, whatever – it is doing marriage the way God designed it to be. Oh, it’s not all fun and games for sure. But the joy in marriage is often lost because couples stop celebrating. Then they forget how. The kids are quickly grown and then they’ve finally got time to do something special but don’t want to. They don’t know how anymore. 

This blog is designed to help you celebrate life. The thoughts won’t be limited to marriage but it won’t take long for you to see that is my passion. Like most blogs, who knows where it will take us. It might include some things from our own marriage plus stuff I’ve discovered along the way that can help marriages keep life and celebration in their relationship. Some offerings will be shorter than others. Entries could include insights from my quiet time. Still another might share what happened on our date the night before. (Okay part of what happened!). No doubt I’ll be talking about my church (the greatest in the world). And I’m sure some bragging and complaining about my running life will sometimes find it’s way in.

The celebrative spirit behind "Get a Room" pertains to family and life in general. It’s all part of why Jesus came to this earth, that we might have life abundantly (John 10:10). Full. And that’s worth celebrating.

So is this a blog on marriage? On family? On life? Yes it is, and you can join me in this journey of getting a room – celebrating the life that God gave us.