Subscribe in a reader or enter your address to get posts via email: 
Like this blog on Facebook!

Tuesday, May 31, 2016


Bless the Lord, oh my soul - oh my soul
Worship His Holy name
Sing like never before, oh my soul
I'll worship Your Holy name
Two years ago today, my phone rang. It was my mom, and she said to me, "Your daddy died."

Instinctively I clicked into "do what needs to be done" mode, and I said into the phone, "I'll be right over." But then it sank in what she had said, and in a voice that even as it came out of my mouth sounded to me like the voice of a little kid, I squeaked, "He died?"

Yes he had. He and my mom had had a nice evening together, talked and enjoyed each other's company, and then they went to sleep. My dad woke up with Jesus.

At his memorial service, my wife and I sang "10,000 Reasons (Bless the Lord)" for the crowd. I had sung it at a men's breakfast a month or two earlier and Dad had been present, and I wanted to share with the crowd the last song he had heard me sing. Apparently our performance was memorable, at least for our family; several of them have told me since that they can't hear the song without thinking of that day. It bothers me that I've turned this beautiful, meaningful song into something painful for all of us — something that reminds us of the pain of Dad's death instead of what I intended. I wanted to take this opportunity to explain why I thought the song was an appropriate memorial, and hopefully in the process, re-frame it a bit for the family. Maybe even bring a bit of healing.
The sun comes up; it's a new day dawning.
It's time to sing Your song again.
Whatever may pass, and whatever lies before me,
Let me be singing when the evening comes.
I had heard it before, but I first fell in love with this song when I heard a delicate, intimate acoustic version recorded by Rend Collective. At the time my son was in junior high school, and I was driving him to school every day. The school is on the east side of town, so often we were driving straight into a beautiful sunrise. One morning he and I listened to this song on the way; it's quite a great way to focus on Jesus first thing.

I think it's important to understand that worship is not a melody and lyrics. Worship is something that is inside your heart. It's your attitude of adoration and thankfulness to God that is the real worship. Sure, making music is a great way to express your worship, but you can also express your worship through prayer, or showing love to someone who needs it, or just through choosing to live your life in the way you know in your heart pleases God. You can't literally sing all day, any more than you can literally "pray without ceasing". "Singing" in the context of this song is on one level referring to making actual music, but on another level it is a metaphor for living your life for Christ.
You're rich in love, and You're slow to anger;
Your name is great, and Your heart is kind.
For all Your goodness I will keep on singing —
Ten thousand reasons for my heart to find.
My dad was a good man. But he wasn't a perfect man. In the two years since he passed I've spent quite a bit of time thinking about him and his life; in sorting out some of his stuff my brother and I learned details about him that we never knew. I think there were things on his heart to do with his life that he simply never got around to doing. But the one thing that he did do, all the time and every day, was believe that God is good, and had good things in mind for him and for his family. He had frustrations and things that upset him and setbacks and I know he had plenty of times when he felt pretty unhappy, but through my whole childhood he never gave up on God. He took us to church, we had Bibles and books about God around the house, we listened to Christian music. Despite what sometimes looked like evidence to the contrary, Dad never gave up believing that God loved him... loved us... and that it was worth it, living for Jesus. My dad could sing a bit, but he didn't much; his worship was lived out every day.
And on that day when my strength is failing,
The end draws near and my time has come,
Still my soul will sing Your praise unending...
Ten thousand years and then forevermore.
My dad was still worshiping with his life up until the night he moved away from Earth in favor of a much better location. The night before he went to be with Jesus was spent loving his wife, whom he had stuck with through thick and thin in 45 years of marriage. He was still going to church, taking classes about the Bible, and seeking God's will for his life. What I love about this song is that it starts at sunrise and goes to sunset — from beginning of life to end of life — and communicates a very simple message: God is wonderful, and it's worth it to spend your whole life, "everything you have" so to speak, in order to gain His kingdom.

One day, unless Jesus comes back first, it will be my turn to leave this world and enter Heaven. When that happens, I hope that I've followed my dad's example of seeking after Jesus every day of my life on Earth. It's a goal worth following. I hope my family members, when they read this, will be able to see this song in a new light. The song is about you and me and our response to God. I don't want this song to be about our sorrow that Dad was gone. But I think it's okay if we think of him when we hear this song, because I think his life illustrates what this song is reminding us to do. He made mistakes, but he "sang" with his actions a song of worship to God from sunrise to his final sunset. I hope that from now on, hearing this song will inspire us to try as hard as my dad did to live a life that is pleasing to the Lord.
Bless the Lord, oh my soul - oh my soul
Worship His Holy name
Sing like never before, oh my soul
I'll worship Your Holy name!
I'll worship Your Holy name!
I'll worship Your Holy name!

Thursday, May 26, 2016

New ORU Web Site!

How could I have forgotten to mention this? A couple of months ago I started a new job at my alma mater, Oral Roberts University. A big part of this first couple of months for me has been helping prepare the university Web site for a re-launch; the screen shot you see on the right is the main page of the terrific new version of our site! There are a number of things that are cool about this.

The first thing you'll see if  you visit from a computer is that the background is moving video! The next thing you'll notice is that there are huge links to most any major area you might want to visit on the site.

If you visit the site from a mobile device, it still looks great - not like a site designed for a desktop browser that you have to pinch-zoom to view from your phone! The big links are still there, and every page looks great on your tablet or cell phone.
We've created terrific new versions of several parts of the site. Some examples we are particularly proud of: Please visit the site and take a look around! ORU is a terrific place (I wouldn't have come back here as an employee if it wasn't), and we wanted the Web site to match.

Full disclosure: I was not asked to write this, or paid to do so. This is my personal blog, and if I wasn't excited about the school and the Web site, I wouldn't have done it. One more time, the Web site is at:

Monday, May 23, 2016


Four years.

It had been four long years since we moved to Bixby, Oklahoma. Don't get me wrong - we love Bixby. It's just that when we moved out of our house in east Tulsa and into an apartment in Bixby, we expected to live there for four months while we sold our old house and built the new one we would live in. But then our house in East Tulsa didn't sell, and to support that mortgage while it was on the market we wound up retracting our deposit on the new house build, and then we wound up having to turn our old house into a rental property. So we were stuck in an apartment which was very nice, but also very cramped for our family of four. With no money left to build our new house.

For four years.

Our lease was coming up for renewal, and we really felt like it might be time to make a move. It was either get out of the apartment, sign another year lease, or pay a huge premium to go month to month. One day my wife and I had dropped our little girl off at a friend's house for a birthday party, and with nothing else to do for an hour or so until picking her back up, my wife said "Drive down there." Apparently she had seen a sign for a little neighborhood that was going up... so we drove down to take a look.

There were only a handful of houses there, but right near the front of the new neighborhood there were three model houses available to look at. We peeked into each one in turn, and had a bit of a Three Bears experience... the first one wasn't quite what we wanted, and neither was the second one, but the third one was Just Right. The realtor told us that since it was close to the end of the month, it might be to our advantage to wait to shop for financing until after the first of the next month, so we told her we would get back with her then.

But we couldn't get away from being interested in that house! After the first of the month we went back over, and talked to the realtor - who was actually a different woman this time. She told us that the house was still available, but there was another potential interested party - if we had our minds made up, it would be to our advantage to put down our earnest money and lock it down for ourselves. We needed to run back to our apartment to get the checkbook, but she said she would be there when we got back.

Now, it so happens that that day was my wife's birthday, and to celebrate we had bought tickets to hear Jonny Lang play in concert that evening. Jonny is an amazingly talented blues guitarist who is also a man of faith, and his faith in God sometimes turns up in his music. To get pumped for the concert that evening, we had been listening to his Live at the Ryman album all morning - it was playing on the way back to our apartment.

When we got to the parking lot at the complex, something occurred to me. "We haven't actually prayed about this yet," I said to my wife. "Would you like to pray?" She said yes, and right there in the car she began to pray for guidance and wisdom.

I was listening and agreeing with her in prayer, but as it turned out I didn't hear much of what she said... because the Holy Spirit was speaking to me right through my stereo speakers! Right when my wife started praying, Jonny Lang got to a part of his song "Red Light" where he was half-speaking, half-singing to his audience about trusting God. "It's gonna be all right," he sang. "It's gonna be all right. Everything's gonna be all right."

Over and over Jonny sang "Everything's gonna be all right," and my heart said to me that it wasn't an accident that that part of the song happened to play right when we were seeking God's wisdom on this decision. I'm not someone who sees "sign from God" in every coincidence, but I'm also not too dense to recognize the Holy Spirit using something to encourage me.

There were a lot of things that day that came together for us. We happened to have enough spare money available to us right then to put down the earnest money - an unusual situation for us. We got there that day before this hypothetical other buyer - I realize that he may or may not have truly existed (I know how high-pressure sales work), but a man did turn up as we were working on the paperwork and he did want to look at houses. The perfect house for our family was already built and waiting for us just when we needed to move out of the apartment; no waiting for a 4-month build.

And my wife got the most lavish birthday present of her life so far: a new house!

We've never regretted what happened then. Today is the one year anniversary of the day we moved in, and we couldn't be happier! (Even our dog is more relaxed than he was in the apartment!) The neighborhood is nestled between some areas of farmland - the photo at the top of this blog post is a snapshot I took one morning within walking distance from where we live.

Four years.

Sometimes God's blessings take a bit of time to arrive (review this if you need additional information). But when they do arrive, they are amazing!