They Did It Again

There have been moments of great generosity in my life.

Some Examples

  1. My brother buying lunch nearly every day my sophomore year.
  2. A good man taught me to fly fish and gave me my first fly rod.
  3. My Grandmother sent me money for my birthday.
  4. Friends who helped support me through preaching school.
  5. A four-year-old who shared his grilled cheese sandwich with me.

There are other examples of great generosity and some of them include greater amounts of money. But the generous heart can’t always be measured by monetary value. What’s the value of half a grilled cheese sandwich?  

It’s More Blessed to Give

It’s recorded that Jesus said, “It’s more blessed to give than to receive.” Is it?  What is the blessing? Will more money come back than what I give? Will the blessing be a warm feeling for having done something good? Will a smiling face be the reward?  

Two Weeks Ago

Two Sundays ago, the church I serve was asked to help the people of Haiti, to support the relief efforts in Cite Soleil after hurricane Matthew. So they helped. They always do. They have the most caring, compassionate, and generous hearts of any people I have ever known.


How Will They Be Blessed?

“Those who honor me I will honor, says the Lord.” “Whatever you did for one of the least of my brothers you did for me.” “You reap what you sow.” “Give and it will be given to you, pressed down, shaken together, and running over.”

I can’t say exactly how anyone will be blessed for their gifts. Jesus said that if we seek first the Kingdom and his righteousness, that goods things will come to us. I believe.


All I Know

I know this. The Southeast family is completing a nearly $3,000,000 capital campaign. They have supported the general budget, and they continue to give and bless and help time and time again. And then again. They are just the best!

To Close

I’m just proud of my church.

God bless them. Please.

Logo slide reverse

I’m Not a Child

I picked up a stomach virus last week. O joy of joys. Can you believe it?

Not Me Or My Pajamas, But Close

Here’s The Thing

The thing about a stomach virus is that it tends to destroy your life. Then it ratchets down to a horrible inconvenience. Finally, it dissipates and fades away. Like the plague, it leaves behind a trail of brokenness and fear.

Top Ten Things I Like About A Stomach Virus

10. You get to miss work










That’s all I have.

Such A Child

I’m not the best patient when I’m sick, maybe it’s because I have no patience for it. The person who really suffers is my wife. She has to nurse me back to health. Sad for her. I whine a lot, complain about vomiting for the 29th time, and constantly want things but can never decide what. I do want all the medicines I can get but don’t believe they will help. It must be like dealing with a child. I’m not a child. Mostly.

Better Now

I’m a tiny bit better and beginning to feel almost not sick. But I’m on my guard, you never know, these things come back, can have a relapse. Can’t have that. No sir.

A Day Is Coming

There will be a day when all stomach viruses will go away and not come back. There will be no more fever, projectile vomiting, or debilitating diarrhea. Can you imagine? It will come, it will happen. Probably the day after my funeral.

But I Soldier On

I soldier on because that’s what soldiers do, and I’m a soldier, sort of. It’s time to get up off the mat, pull up my boots, tighten my belt, it needs tightening due to the 64 pounds the flu beat out of me. Okay, didn’t really lose 64 pounds, but still. I need to get back to being a healthy, strong, functioning human being. Wow, I love the way that sounds. Go Rick.

To Close

It’s possible that I’ve exaggerated my stomach virus experience. Maybe. However, it’s Monday morning and I’m returning to the land of the living. There are sermons to write, meetings to attend, and people to serve. It’s time.

So I’ll leave you with this:

“Good morning Holy Spirit. Thank you for sharing your divine nature with me. Thank you for being such a wonderful gift. Please help me to be the man you want me to be, to serve to glorify our Father, and to do something that advances his kingdom. Amen.”


The Ubiquitous Straw

The ubiquitous drinking straw. As a child I thought they were pretty amazing. Clearly it didn’t take much to amaze me. 

The Straw

I see people using straws in different ways. Some drink from them. Some chew on a straw until it’s all chewed up. Others use them as drum sticks, beating the time to whatever song is playing in their heads. Some people twist them into shapes.

Marvin C. Stone

 Do you know Mr. Stone of Washington D.C.? He patented the drinking straw on January 3, 1888. He came upon the idea while enjoying a cool drink on a hot day. His straws were made of paper.

Joseph B. Friedman

Forty years after Mr. Stone’s patented paper straw, Mr. Friedman, of San Francisco, CA, invented the plastic, flexible, bending straw. It revolutionized the industry.

Yet Vestergaard Frandsen

A straw of a different color. In 2006, Mr. Frandsen, and his Swiss based company, conceived, designed and manufactured the LifeStraw, a microbiological filter tube that can take in filthy water and purify it by the time it reaches the user.


LifeStraw removes 99.9999% of waterborne bacteria and 98% of waterborne viruses. People in third world countries can drink from contaminated ponds, rivers, and stagnant pools.


In Haiti

LifeStraw is saving lives in Haiti. After hurricane Matthew, many are tempted to drink the contaminated flood waters, or from polluted rivers and streams. The LifeStraw makes it possible to stay hydrated and avoid disease. It’s a modern miracle of science. And a donation to Hope For Haiti’s Children will help them get more of these little miracles into Haiti.



I personally prefer the little plastic stir sticks found in coffee houses and wherever better coffee is served. They aren’t really straws but that doesn’t matter. They are small, compact, and great for chewing. I don’t really chew them but thought it made me sound cool.

To Close

There are many great ideas for helping people in 3rd world countries. But unfortunately, most of them require some kind of infrastructure, a better government, or something to already in place in order work.

The LifeStraw isn’t complicated. It doesn’t require an infrastructure, a better government or anything at all.


Now, if you will excuse me, my coffee needs stirring. 


An Amazing Evening

Tuesday evening I attended the Yom Kippur service at Temple Emanu El.

Temple Emanu El in Houston

The Synagogue

The Synagogue was beautiful, large, and tastefully done. The presence of the law of Moses and the Prophets was obvious, and good.

The Service

Yom Kippur is the Great Day of Atonement found in Leviticus 16 and perhaps the greatest of the high holy days in the Jewish calendar, perhaps only Pesach, or Passover, equals it.

The service was two hours long, and the congregation of about 1500 attendees stood for most of it. Standing is a demonstration of honor and respect for Yahweh and for Torah. I’ll admit my feet were tired and sore.

The service consisted of prayers, songs, and readings. It was very well done and deeply personal.

Standing For Most of The Service, Both Young and Old

Some Observations

  1. I have rarely been among people in possession of such a reverential focus. They didn’t fidget, shift, or move. They stood quietly in honor of Yahweh.
  2. The music was phenomenal. Some was acapella, some with a string ensemble, and some with an organ. It stirred me greatly.
  3. The prayers, of which there were many, were sung by the Cantor, in Hebrew. I didn’t follow most of it but was moved by all of it.
  4. There were moments of great passion and of quiet reflection.
  5. I couldn’t help noticing the lack of technology. There were no screens, projectors, or monitors. There were no power point presentations. Nothing but the hearts and voices of people of a deep and abiding faith.

Honoring Their Ancestors

One part of the service honored their ancestors. When this was introduced my immediate thought was grandparents, great-grandparents and so forth. Nope. They honored Abraham and Sara, Isaac and Rebekah, and Jacob and Rachael.

I sat there in awe as I released I was in the company of hundreds of people who traced their ancestry to Abraham. Frankly, it was inspiring.


Part of the high holy days of October includes fasting, confession, and repentance for sins. There was a deep emphasis on the recognition of sin and for seeking Adonai’s mercy. It was convicting, impactful, and cleansing.

Yeshua Ben Yosef

I’m a believer in Yeshua Ben Yosef, or Jesus son of Joseph. The people around me were not. My heart aches for them and when I pray for the Jewish people, I pray not for nationalism but for their acceptance of Jesus as the Son of God.

To Close

I completely enjoyed my visit. The service was marvelous and their devotion to God was every bit as real and sincere as anyone I know.

By the way. How is your faith in Jesus? Is it strong? Are you fully engulfed in a life devoted to serving and honoring him? Am I?

Just a thought.


A Tale of Two Men

Two men went to the temple to pray. One was arrogant. One wasn’t.

The Men

The first man was highly respected. He was devoted to obeying the law of Moses as perfectly as humanly possible. His whole hearted devotion caused others to hold him in high regard.

The second man was a traitor. He was thought to be crooked and unscrupulous and as such he was anathema to his people. He was despised.

The Issue

The first man devolved into self-righteousness. He thought way too much of himself and way too little of others. He believed himself superior and allowed the adulation of “lesser” people to go to his head.

The other man was a terrible sinner and lived out of harmony with others. The subsequent ridicule and isolation ultimately brought him to his knees. In his brokenness, he found  humility. He knew he wasn’t better than anyone. He didn’t try to be.

Just Imagine

Just imagine that you are walking down a street and come upon the first man. Dressed in his religious finery, you recognize him as someone respected by the people and you have a sense of being blessed for having come close to him.

As you go, you come upon the second man and immediately know he is someone to be shunned. You quickly cross to the other side of the street, averting your eyes, and wanting no contact of any kind with him.

What You Didn’t Know

What you didn’t know is that both men were on their way to the temple to pray. On arrival, the first man prayed a self-righteous prayer, expecting God to reward his moral excellence. He even thanked God that he was better than other men, even mentioning the second man who was there in the temple.

When the second man prayed, he didn’t compare himself to others, he didn’t thank God that he was better. In his brokenness, he lowered his head and begged God for his mercy, for he knew that he was a sinner and only God can forgive.

As They Left

As they left the temple, which man do you think God blessed?

Well, it wasn’t the Pharisee, for he was proud, arrogant, and self-righteous. No, in the parable of Luke 18, it was the second man who was blessed, the Jewish man employed by Rome to collect taxes from his people. It seems counter intuitive that the abject sinner was blessed instead of the celebrated clergyman. But he was. The heart matters.  

pharisee   taxcollector


Be honest, as you passed each of them in the street, were you more like the Pharisee or more like the tax collector?

Just a thought.


Creating A Beautiful Flower Bed

It took a week but I did it. I transformed a weed filled flower bed, bordered by a big boxwood hedge, into something beautiful. I had to cut, uproot, and dig. Tough work.

Not My Flower Bed Or My Weeds, But Its Close

And Today…

Today I have the following:

  1. A stiff back.
  2. Shoulder pain.
  3. Raw knees.
  4. Many mosquito/insect bites.
  5. Legs, arms, and hands are nicked, cut, and scraped.

But it’s so worth it. The flower bed looks sensational!

Not My Flower Bed Or My Flowers, Not Even Close

What Would Be Amazing

What would be amazing is if we could overhaul everything as easily as an overgrown flower bed. A rotten disposition, no problem. Marital discord, no worries. Reversal of fortune, got it covered. Yep, a little hard work, some weed pulling, and bingo, it’s done!

Not going to happen? Probably not. But it would be amazing if we could.

What Would Be Really Amazing

What would be really amazing is if we could fix places like Haiti as easily as a flower bed. Change their government, establish a firm rule of law, develop a thriving economy, and return their land to high yield productivity. Build world class schools and medical facilities, and make it attractive for global industry to expand in Haiti. Maybe even move the island of Hispaniola about hundred miles east, just enough to get them out of hurricane alley.

Not going to happen? Probably not. But it would be amazing if we could.  

What Would Be Even More Amazing

What would be even more amazing is if we could overhaul people as easily as a flower bed? Criminals, abusers, the violent, the hateful, and the murdering malefactors could all be transformed into healthy, productive, responsible people.

And Wouldn’t It Be Truly Amazing

What would be truly amazing is if American politics could be transformed from the back biting, knife stabbing, slap fest campaigns into something decent and respectable?

Not going to happen? Probably not. But it would be amazing if we could.

And The Most Amazing Of All

The most amazing thing of all is the amazing grace of the Lord our God. From his grace comes transformation, regeneration, and renewal. The old can disappear and the new can thrive in the brightest glory of the kingdom of light. Sin is sent away. Guilt is gone. The new evolves and the old dissolves; for we are born again of the water and Spirit.

Not going to happen? It absolutely happens, and is happening, and it’s amazing when it does.  

Just a few amazing thoughts.


A Cite Soleil Update

I’ve received a report about our school in Cite Soleil, Haiti.

Haiti Tropical Weather
Children Crossing a Flooded Cite Soleil Street

Severe Flooding & Wind Damage

This is from Tonya Hunt, Vice President of Hope For Haiti’s Children, reporting from Jeantyrard Elmera, a preacher and leader of the HFHC organization in Port-au-Prince. He was able to get in and get a first responder’s look at Cite Soleil. 

“Jeantryrard and the team drove through (Cite Soleil) yesterday and met with some of the sponsored children at their homes. They identified seventeen families whose homes were damaged to the degree that they are not able to make use of what is left or to live inside. Roofs were damaged or parts flew away. Water rushed through the area and the homes closest to the ocean were affected the most with many of their belongings being destroyed or washed away. This was just their first look at the damage and they will be able to assess more in the coming days.

The greatest needs are:

  • Building materials for homes that can be repaired and made livable.
  • Water filtration kits or purchased water. They may have to resort to drinking contaminated flood water and risk water-borne diseases such as cholera.
  • Food

The HFHC staff in Haiti is already trying to meet these immediate needs. Next week a team will arrive to continue crisis relief efforts. I (Tonya) will be on the team and will send you (Southeast Church) a report with pictures. Please pray that the area stays restful for our presence there and that we are happily received.  

Thank you so much for your continued support and prayers for the people of Haiti as they have endured substantial loss again.”

Tonya Hunt

Cite Soleil, Port-au-Prince, Haiti

The SE Church of Christ in Friendswood, TX sponsors 350 children in the school in Cite Soleil and is a pillar supporter of the school. We will want to do whatever we can to help.


There will be opportunity for relief donations to be made. In the next several days, as more information flows back to us, I will keep you informed of how to donate and how those donations will be applied.

People wade through a flooded street while Hurricane Matthew passes, in Cite-Soleil in Port-au-Prince

To Close: God Help Them

We continue praying, beseeching the Lord Almighty to raise his healing hand to help the people of Haiti. The level of devastation and subsequent hardships from hurricane Matthew will in some ways rival the earthquake they suffered just a few years ago.

I’ll keep you informed.