Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Mick's Musings - Old dogs,new tricks?

Seniors on a 444 mile Natchez Trace bike trail.
"Hardening of our categories" - a Howard Hendrick's phrase all too descriptive of us oldsters. We are locked into our ways. In fact, some of us believe our prejudices, our preferences, and our preconceived ideas were thundered from Mt. Sinai.

It is scary to be my age and the Lord confront me through His Word about my hardened categories and tell me some adjustments were necessary if obedience to Him mattered. Here's just one category. In a word God said, "Mick, before you say something to whomever - your sweetie, or a complete stranger - I may want you to respond differently." Years of perfecting responses to all sorts of interactions does not give up without a fight. The choice was mine, obey or not. No zapping with a category softener from my Father that took the sweat out of considering doing it differently. He laid the choice squarely at my feet. Or in my heart.

And no category is off limits with Him. The Hound of Heaven will pursue us, and overtake us, and capture us for Himself. If I am to be conformed to the image of Christ until I am made like Him when I see Him as He is, then constant category checking and change is necessary. That's scary for an oldster whose gene pool, experience, and natural bent readily cultivated an  acceptable to me (often hurtful to others) hardening of the categories.

So hang with this "old dog". New tricks category on the docket.

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Mick's Musings: "Blessed are those whose friends can relax with you...and we are."

Coffee cups, shoes off, warm fire on a cold day, friends with unguarded hearts (Sam's on the red sofa on the right), no one on the clock, and Biblical feet on the ground conversation....doesn't get much better than that. It was a great day yesterday.

Uptight could be an apt description of many who claim Jesus set them free from the law of sin and death. The glorious liberty of the sons of God is a distant dream of theological potential but little practical experience. Many long for it but such freedom lies buried under the debris of past misdeeds, people issues, emotional scars, and the constant call to live in condemnation, whether that call is from Satan, self, saints, or society. All of those siren songs are deafening, drowning out the magnificent refrain of truth resounding throughout Scripture.  Romans 8:1, "There is therefore now no condemnation to them who are in Christ Jesus." That entire chapter is a glorious "UPTIGHT" remedy.

Love having those non-uptight people around. Makes the coffee taste better, the fire warmer, the relaxing unlimited, the presence of the Living Lord humbling..

To all our relaxable friends...we are thankful for you.

Monday, November 18, 2013

A Righteous man???? Mick's Musings

LIFE OF HIS BEAST.  Proverbs 12:10

I am a KISS person. Keep It Simple Stupid. For me, theologically loaded words like "righteous" need to be translated into easily understood concepts if I am to integrate that truth into shoe leather living.  And some of the pew perplexity we pulpit purveyors of truth produce is because we define theological terms with theological terms. This revelation was brought to me by God's prophetic voice in my life...my wife!  Cutting to the chase, to me, "righteous" means "being in right relationship". Hence the profound truth (I Cor. 1:30) - Jesus Christ IS our righteousness. In Him, I am right with God, right with myself (I am what I am by the Grace of God...and God "don't make no junk!"),  I can be in right with you, and in right relationship with the world around me. A shoulder out of joint is an unrighteous shoulder. Your shoulder in place is a righteous shoulder. Unrighteousness is being "out of joint" in my relationships, starting with God. Righteousness is being in right relationships.

I am also an unabashed animal lover, especially my pets. Mogli, above, belongs to our daughter's family. Fun mini Schnauzer, likes to play, looks at you with those deep eyes, and let's you know she is happy to have you in her pack. Our too infrequent encounters are never lacking in punching this old geezer's pet button. For years our travelling hindered my pet loving instinct and I've missed it. As the Lord narrows down our focus to offer ourselves and our place to anyone needing spiritual, emotional, or physical R & R, the potentially pleasurable pet urge has lifted its' head again. 

And knowing that I will love, care for, and make life good for any future Mogli-like creature encourages me.  At least with my pet the "righteous man" tag will fit.

Here, pooch!

Friday, November 8, 2013

Crowned Royally - Fifteen Times Proverbs 17:6

Older age can have a mellowing effect on those of us hardened by years of layering our soft side with self protection, plunging with gusto into our work to the neglect of those needing more of us than just a grunt from behind the sports section of the newspaper, walling out relationships that might demand some emotional connection - something we men fight because escaping emotional connections is less demanding than enfolding them - or even that righteous excuse (for my crowd); the demands of ministry. We've heard more than one emotionally starved cry for father love from hurting folks. In those quiet moments of life reflections, I fear those cries came from the souls of my own off spring...too quick old, too late smart.

Hence the joy of older age...every moment with our children and grand children affords a "time to love". With our children we've hugged and kissed since day one. Still do.  Today I had lunch with our one son. Our BB Que crowded meeting place witnessed an old guy and this fine looking younger man (totally unbiased observation) greet each other with a kiss. Hopefully the obvious common look between us allayed any suspicions. If I could do it over again I'd love on my kids like there was no tomorrow. In the tomorrows on God's Daytimer for me I want them to know their ole dad's love for them is core-soul stuff. And always has been, even though the distractions of life may have submerged that love in a sea of ministry at times. Opportunity to love on your kids while they are young only happens once. Do it...with a vengeance.

And grandchildren. Like Elise above, our youngest grandchild, each one unique, heart warmers, capable, talented, led in their growing understanding of the Lord Jesus by their parents.  I hold in highest esteem their moms and dads as I witness the depth of the preparation input into their offspring for their journey in life. Jessica, Jake, Jena, Jillie; Casey, (Little Stevie), Leah, Josie; Brock; Austin, Nelson, Carson, Amellia; Dalton, Elise;  they indeed are my crowns and all are in the Birmingham area.  Except little Stevie...he awaits us in glory.

So to get  an Elise-crown hug last night (Thurs) required bundling up, $5 to get in the game, watching 6th graders play their brand of football, a cup of hot chocolate to warm the bod, and yeas! for our little cheerleader while shivering in the cold. But who's counting?

One crowned man.

Sunday, October 27, 2013

A TIME FOR ????????

Solomon's God given wisdom (oft unheeded to his peril) is right on this score. There is a time...for everything. This past weekend thirty three years serving on the Board of Trustees at Bryan College came to a close. It has been a good ride, abounding in emotions from sheer joy (catching a glimpse of God at work in young lives) to painfully agonizing moments, such as watching the main Administration and classroom building burn to the ground. God gave beauty for ashes and today the College stands firm in its commitment to the Bryan motto - "Christ Above All". But God, through the quiet, gentle impressions of the Holy Spirit as I sought His wisdom in His Word said, "Mick, it is time to hang it up."  

Bryan College gave me a down to earth education, a wife worth far above rubies, life time friends, and an opportunity to invest my life in thousands of young people as part of the decision making of the Board of Trustees. I am grateful....and will miss it.

In that Ecclesiastes short discourse on time for everything under the sun, Solomon included a time for dancing.

I want to dance through these latter years. And you do that with people. In these latter years, my heart's desire is to......

Dance in my strength, dance in my fears, dance when my eyes are full of tears; 
Dance in the dark, dance in the light, dance when it's wrong, dance when it's right; 
Dance in the shade, dance in the sun, dance when it's a drag, dance when it's fun; 
Dance with my friends, dance with my foes, dance in my joys, dance in my woes; 
Dance with my sweetheart, my love - my wife, dance with our children, as they journey through life;
Dance when it's silent, dance when it's loud, dance when my faith reaches the cloud; 
But latter year dancing can only be true, for faith's last dance of joy, Lord, belongs to You.

Bring on the music.


Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Falling back into blogging...

Fall is here, and it seems like a good time to start this blogging business back up again!


Numbering our days is a solid biblical concept. Check out Psalm 90:12. It is not a matter of figuring out how many more days remain on our life day timer. It's seeking wisdom for today and our tomorrows, what God desires of us during these days, what our priorities should be, and plugging into His purposes for us with a vengeance; howbeit, an older, more experienced and should be gentler vengeance.

For us it is an issue of how best to invest our physical, emotional, and spiritual energies after 31 years  serving in a pastoral role and these last 18 years "Serving the Servants of Christ Around the World." It has been a wonderful journey into 40 countries, loaded with amazing wounded warriors and hidden heroes. Blogging and writing took a back seat, just by the nature of our unpredictable lifestyle.

Numbering our days brought us back to one of my first loves... penning (computerizing) thoughts born out of our journey with God, with each other, and with people, who to us are the most enjoyable entities God put on earth. We write, not as experts, but simply experienced. Hopefully from an honest  walk with God, a love for people, and full of grace and truth.

Be careful in this thing of numbering your days and applying your heart to wisdom. It may cause a shake up in your well ordered routine.  

In His Grip,