read your bible

this is the time of year when people make resolutions. like Todd Bumgarner says, Resolve to Read Your Bible.

Todd links to and describes a number of reading plans. here is a direct link to the ESV plans which are all on the web to use every day.

here is the one that I plan to use this year.

A friend of mine has passed away

While we were in Colorado this weekend, I received several emailed emergency prayer requests and eventually the awful news that a friend of mine had passed away Monday.

Jim McMurtry was in good health and celebrating Christmas with his family on a cruise when he became ill. He was rushed to the hospital in Houston when the ship returned. Surgery was performed, but was ultimately unsuccessful in saving his life.

Jim was a great man. I have known him for more than ten years. I have seen him perform under intense stress and I have seen him perform when everything was smooth and silky. In both kinds of situations, and in everything in between, Jim was the same. He didn’t get rattled. He prayed instead. He was a calming Godly influence in every situation.

Jim was a great man. He loved his first wife and cared for her when she became ill with a brain tumor. He selflessly devoted himself to her care and treatment till the end of her life. Linda was loved and sacrificed for as much as a man could do.

Jim was a great man. He married again and found happiness and renewal with Debbie. He made her a part of his family and they experienced happiness together in the brief time that God in his grace allowed them to have.

Jim was a great man. He was a successful and kind attorney. He was smart, careful and tenacious. His clients were cared for as people in addition to having their matters cared for with much attention to every detail. In addition, he was a successful businessman. He bought a sausage company and made it more successful than ever. He cared for his employees and expanded the business in a smart and prudent fashion.

Jim was a great man. He loved his kids, his kids’ spouses, and his grandkids. He loved them with his words. He loved them with his time. And he loved them with his actions. They loved him back. I have been friends with one of his son-in-laws for some time. I know that Jonathan loved and respected Jim as a man, christ follower, husband, father, grandfather, lawyer, boss, confidante, business partner, friend and so on and so on.

Jim was a great man. He was one of the good guys. As I write this through tears, I wish there was more I could say. Jim was great example to us who are younger than him. I admired him. I respected him. I learned from him. I will miss him. I wish God had given him more time with us.

I think often of II Corinthians 4:7 through 5:21. I know that Jim has now been “swallowed up by life”. I also know that every one of us will take the same journey and that we will stand before the judgment seat of Christ. Since we know what it is to fear God, we seek to persuade men.

Jim exemplified in every aspect of his life what it means to be a new creature and an ambassador for Christ. I will remember and seek to follow his example.

it was fun

well, we had a fun winter trip to Colorado, but it is time to make the very long trek home. Not looking forward to being in the car all those hours, but I am ready to be back home.

Hallet Peak

it was a bit cool, but fun
walking on Sprague Lake

ain’t she pretty?
Julie in the snow

here is the whole gang of us
the group

a fascinating article

Courtesy of Carl Trueman here is an article in the Times of London from an atheist. His point is that what the continent of Africa needs is the spiritual renewal brought by Christian missionaries.

Here is a teaser, but you have to read the whole thing, it is fascinating.

But travelling in Malawi refreshed another belief, too: one I’ve been trying to banish all my life, but an observation I’ve been unable to avoid since my African childhood. It confounds my ideological beliefs, stubbornly refuses to fit my world view, and has embarrassed my growing belief that there is no God.

Now a confirmed atheist, I’ve become convinced of the enormous contribution that Christian evangelism makes in Africa: sharply distinct from the work of secular NGOs, government projects and international aid efforts. These alone will not do. Education and training alone will not do. In Africa Christianity changes people’s hearts. It brings a spiritual transformation. The rebirth is real. The change is good.
….
Faith does more than support the missionary; it is also transferred to his flock. This is the effect that matters so immensely, and which I cannot help observing.
…….
Christianity, post-Reformation and post-Luther, with its teaching of a direct, personal, two-way link between the individual and God, unmediated by the collective, and unsubordinate to any other human being, smashes straight through the philosphical/spiritual framework I’ve just described. It offers something to hold on to to those anxious to cast off a crushing tribal groupthink. That is why and how it liberates.

anyway, those are three snips from an article that should be read in its entirety.

sunday morning

I am here in Estes Park watching the sun rise over the Rocky Mountains and reflecting pinkly off the snow capped peak on the other side of the valley. Wow!

gives a whole new meaning to Job 38-41.

check out these verses from chapter 38 and then go read all four chapters.

The LORD Speaks

1 Then the LORD answered Job out of the storm. He said:
2 “Who is this that darkens my counsel
with words without knowledge?

3 Brace yourself like a man;
I will question you,
and you shall answer me.

4 “Where were you when I laid the earth’s foundation?
Tell me, if you understand.

5 Who marked off its dimensions? Surely you know!
Who stretched a measuring line across it?

6 On what were its footings set,
or who laid its cornerstone-

7 while the morning stars sang together
and all the angels [a] shouted for joy?

8 “Who shut up the sea behind doors
when it burst forth from the womb,

9 when I made the clouds its garment
and wrapped it in thick darkness,

10 when I fixed limits for it
and set its doors and bars in place,

11 when I said, ‘This far you may come and no farther;
here is where your proud waves halt’?

12 “Have you ever given orders to the morning,
or shown the dawn its place,

13 that it might take the earth by the edges
and shake the wicked out of it?

14 The earth takes shape like clay under a seal;
its features stand out like those of a garment.

15 The wicked are denied their light,
and their upraised arm is broken.

16 “Have you journeyed to the springs of the sea
or walked in the recesses of the deep?

17 Have the gates of death been shown to you?
Have you seen the gates of the shadow of death [b] ?

18 Have you comprehended the vast expanses of the earth?
Tell me, if you know all this.

19 “What is the way to the abode of light?
And where does darkness reside?

20 Can you take them to their places?
Do you know the paths to their dwellings?

21 Surely you know, for you were already born!
You have lived so many years!

22 “Have you entered the storehouses of the snow
or seen the storehouses of the hail,

23 which I reserve for times of trouble,
for days of war and battle?

emphasis added.

Monument morning

These are a couple of pictures off of the back porch of the Middleton’s house where we stayed last night. Beautiful. The view, not my iPhone pictures

friday fotos

A little 620 mile road trip today to Colorado, so I am a bit late but here are some pictures.

sunset outside of San Angelo
west texas sunset

Odessa prickly pear
west odessa

mama’s big brother
Billy Ray