Thursday, February 23

Yesterday I drove up to Joplin for the Alumni Banquet at Ozark Christian College (my alma mater). Actually, I mostly went up to see people and I got to visit with Dave and Velva (my brother and his wife), Derek and Gabriel Lauer (one of my best friends from college - whom I haven't seen in over 8 years - and his son), and a lot of other old friends. It was a good trip and a very refreshing, but short, time.

The highlight of the banquet each year is the presentation of "Outstanding Alumni" awards. This year Stephen Prophete (a native Haitian missionary), Shan Rutherford (a preacher in the Indianapolis area), and Joe Garman (best known for prison ministry around the world) were honored. All three of these men have seen God do some amazing things through their lives. They are each worthy of our respect and honor.


Early tomorrow morning I head for Boston. I'll be officiating the USA Indoor Track and Field Championships on the weekend (you can see it on ESPN on Sunday afternoon). I will also be spending a couple of days with Tim Hawkins and his crew who are starting a new campus ministry project in the Boston area - where there are almost 300,000 students on some of our nation's most influential campuses - Harvard, MIT, Boston College, Boston University, etc. I'm looking forward to the trip - except for the flying part.


Here are a couple of recent items regarding life on the university campus ...

Losing Their Religion: According to a recent Gallup Poll, some 17% of 18-29 year olds claim no religious affiliation, considerably more than the 10% of 30-64 year olds and only 4% of those 65 and over. 13% of men and 8% of women claimed no religion. The UCLA study on freshmen shows that while 52% of incoming freshmen say they attended religious services frequently during their last year of high school, that number drops to just 29% by their junior year in college. (as reported in CPYU #84, December 15, 2005) ( December 6, 2005).

Uproar at Dartmouth: According to Christianity Today, the Dartmouth vice president for student life resigned immediately following a welcome address to freshman this fall when the student body president, Noah Riner, made the following remarks to the incoming class: "Character has a lot to do with sacrifice, laying our personal interests down for something bigger. The best example of this is Jesus . . . He knew the right thing to do. He knew the cost would be agonizing torture and death. He did it anyway. That's character." The VP for student life called the religious reference "reprehensible and abuse of power." (Christianity Today December 2005 p. 21)

Saturday, February 18

It's been almost six weeks since I have posted anything. Life just seems to be flying by and I haven't been able to find the time (or, sometimes, energy) to post. But that will change! Just some thoughts and things going on down here ...

Today everything is shut down in NW Arkansas with five inches of snow. This is a good weekend for it, because I really don't have anything scheduled for today. I can lounge around, work on tomorrow's sermon, watch a movie or something. No real need to leave the house. Gina and Erin are still in bed (and I would bet Stacy is, also), but I'm getting too old for that. There reaches a certain point where staying in bed is counter-productive for me. My back starts hurting and I feel worse if I stay in bed more than about 8-9 hours.

If you missed it, last Sunday was "Evolution Sunday" in many churches around the nation. I just can't get my mind around the idea of having a Sunday to honor Darwin and evolution. Here is a story from the
NY Times about it.

Are you watching the Winter Olympics? I don't watch much of them. I just can't relate to most of the "sports" - especially anything that has to do with ice skating. I enjoy most of the skiing events, but that's about it. It's so bad that we have even watched Dancing with the Stars and American Idol rather than watch the Olympics! How sad is that???

This semester, my preaching has been covering both the big picture of the Bible and an up-close look at Colossians. On Sundays, I'm trying to give a bird's-eye view of what God is doing in history and an overview of the Bible. Kind of looking at the Bible (and history) as a play in six acts. (The Drama of Scripture by Craig G. Bartholomew and Michael W. Goheen and The Story We Find Ourselves In by Brian McLaren are helpful resources.) It has been interesting and challenging. We have covered the first two acts (creation and the entrance and spread of sin) and will start act three tomorrow (how God initiates his plan to restore his creation). Most of the sermons are available for download at the ConC website ( However, we have had "technical difficulties" on the last three Sunday mornings! But those will be posted before too long.

We have one less dog at our house. Some of you know Zero, our long-haired miniature dachshund - eight pounds of attitude. 99% of the time, he is great. But once in a while, he gets aggressive with Gina and the girls (even biting and drawing blood). It was to the point where we didn't trust him, especially around children. A couple of weeks ago, another family took him home for the weekend to "try things out" but returned him after one night. But another family took him home on Tuesday and he seems to be doing well. Maybe the change of scenery will be good for him. We miss him because most of the time he was fun and loving. But we're going to have a two year old with us for a few days pretty soon and we feel better about that now.

Thank you, Amanda Jean, for getting me back on the blog ...