Wednesday, October 31, 2007
There is a house on my street with suspicioius activity...cars come and go at night...they haul gas cans and other undefined items in through the garage at all hours...just as long as it's dark...by day nothing happens. The neighbors have all complained to each other and the board which told them there was nothing they could do...and they report to each other the anxious details of who came and went in the very suspicious goings on of the house in question. One neighbor can't sleep he is up at all hours of the night documenting who is coming and going...people are full of fear and anxiety and yet all that has been done is to stir one another up. I got tired of the anxiety and called the cops and started the process for the narcotics officers to watch what is likely a meth lab. There are things in our life that are unknown...that are dark that are scairy but we cannot simply complain and document our objections. We must take action and if necessary direct action. It is less dangerous than stirring the world up around us to simply join us in our fear...anxiety without action is a prision of fear.
Tuesday, October 30, 2007
Psalm 133 says " how good and pleasant it is when brothers dwell together in unity....it's like oil running down upon the beard...even Aaron's beard or it's like dew of Mount Hermon falling upon Zion.....the blessing of God "life forevermore" Unity is a saturating, life giving state...it is anointing and provision...it is blessing...Unity does not come without sacrifice, effort and strangely you at times must fight for unity. But to dwell together...unified...is good and pleasant! Sometimes I wonder what non-essential must I relinquish, what petty wrong must I forgive, what annoying gossip must I ignore etc.........in order to foster and cultivate unity and the fine balance of going to a Brother if I cannot ignore, reliquish or let go...in order that reconciliation might bless us both. How good and pleasant (like a massage), like a Ice Cold Coke on a Summer's day....Like spring rain over the recharge zone...blessing...Life...forever.
Saturday, October 27, 2007
Connor and I delivered the Canoe we made to my father for his 73rd birthday...he was blown away...he said over and over again that it was the best birthday present he had ever recieved and he and Connor went for their first trip together across the lake. Later that day as Connor and I were tossing the football and my mom and dad were on the patio in a flurry of conversation these words came from my dad's mouth..."Connor, your dad is the dad I always wanted"...the conversation went on and those words lingered like a dove descending or the clouds opening...I think I understand 'blessing' more in light of this moment...at least blessing the way scripture uses the term. The words of affirmation that confer weight...in the moment and for a lifetime. It's why Jacob wanted to steal it from Esau...it carries with it the momentum of a lifetime....it is one of the greatest gifts.
Friday, October 26, 2007
The Hilton Legacy has been tainted of late by brainless blonde exploits, but Hilton's original commitment was to Hospitality, Kindness and Excellence. Victor Cervantes the Mangager over all food and beverage for the Hilton Palacio del Rio invited my wife and I down for dinner on the river last night. We were given the best table with clean pressed linens and fine china facing the river. We never had to even place an order as the delicacies came from the kitchen in waves on the hands of an attentive and dedicated wait staff. After dinner we strolled the river walk on a perfect evening of 72 degrees and cloudless skies, and as we made our way back to the Hilton where our up front valet vehicle awaited we felt as though we were royalty. We had been 'thanked' and praised and blessed and all the while we were the ones who were being served. Victor Cervantes spoke of his General Manager for Hilton as his mentor and the commitment to the Hilton legacy...to service, hospitality and excellence... for Victor this is not merely the Hilton legacy but a fulfillment of his life in Christ and with grace and a smile we were blessed, ministered too and honored. In every walk of life the life of Christ can be emulated and expressed it just depends on the legacy you are attempting to leave behind.
Thursday, October 25, 2007
Last Night the Ten o'clock news led with a story that my brother was covering. The 10 o'clock news notoriously leads with murder, arson, rape, but this night an inspiring 'sports' story of how the World Series Colorado Rockies are generously supporting fallen baseball player Scott Coolbaugh's family as they ascend through the playoffs. The story was sad because the 6 and 5 year old boys lost their dad, but it was also inspiring how a sports team 'did the right thing'. What amazed me was for a brief moment the 10 o'clock murder, arson, rape parade transceded into something that elevated your life rather than soak it in terror, fear or apathy. I was proud because my 'sportscaster' brother is usually the one who leads with news that is meaningful and he's the sportscaster...go figure. The reality is it shows that it's not about the role that you play, it's about what you choose to focus on that counts. Some day a local news will figure out that if they led with inspirational news they'd be the most watched news cast...it's just harder work to focus on all that's right with the world...but it's a choice. Unfortunately as soon as the story was over it turned to murder on the southside...now that's a shocker! Each day is full of inspiration and stories that elevate the lives of those around you, we just have to look a little harder.
Wednesday, October 24, 2007
After the rain the Mountain Bike trails are brand new...the old trails have been washed out or blocked by fallen trees and so new trails emerge. There is a strange balance between riding as though things are the same and discovering new trails. Last night I found this out the hard way. My friend and I were flying through a very familar set of trails when all the sudden a fallen tree created an obstacle...new trail had been developed around the tree, he went one way and I the other...my trail descended rapidly and was undulating and then suddenly and yet in slow motion my rear wheel was above my head and I was in a semi flip...I lay on the ground still going through a mental check list and by the time my friend arrived I was back on my back..."are you alright"? for the most part I said...a bruised ego and a thigh bruise that will smart for a few days. Things change and as they do we have to adapt but sometimes the rate of speed at which we are traveling needs to adapt as well.
Monday, October 22, 2007
Last night my kids made the last Icee run of the season. This morning the forecasted cold front is blowing in and we wanted to capitalize on moment. The five of us stormed the local Valero each in search of their favorite flavor or mixture of flavors. We made a mess as we usually do because pouring your own Icee is an art. As we drove home the kids thanked me and Mc my 5 year old said " this is the best Icee run ever"...we laughed. The "blue northern" as my Nanny would call it isn't all that cold but it has pushed the temps down by 25 degrees...the main thing is seasons are changing and with each season change comes the opportunity to close out the out going season well and to prepare for the incoming season. Every season has its own beauty and wonder, challenges and hardships, but they don't last for ever and it's fun to celebrate them and mark them. The third week of february we will plant tomatoes in anticipation of spring...it is an act of faith...and on May 1 we will celebrate may day...the official Harris holiday with a day run to the beach...seasons come and go...but mark them well, in faith and hope and expectation that God is working it to good and the next greatest moment of your life is just a moment away.
Friday, October 19, 2007
Yesterday Connor and I began the epic process of building a Canoe for my father's birthday. My dad and Connor fish when Connor visits and a Canoe we decided was needed...500.00 minimum at Academy and after searching the web I found the instructions for an "affordable" canoe. We have plans and materials and today we will 'wet in' the canoe by applying fiberglass...I have no clue...but we are having a blast...we pray she holds water and we will "fair" her to make her "Yar"...We decided to name her either Tres Georges or George3 ( to the third power or cubed). Connor is George Connor and I am George Jeffrey and my dad is George Horton...there you have it. I don't know much about Canoe making but I'm enjoying my son and my hope is he and my dad will fish and paddle and memories will be made and wisdom will be passed down. Lyle Lovett sings "if I had a boat I'd ride out on the ocean and if I had a pony I ride it on my boat...we'd all go out together and ride upon the ocean me on pony on my boat"...I don't have a pony...but looks like I have a 'boat'.
Thursday, October 18, 2007
Yesterday morning I was playing my guitar and it was early...it was one of those mornings when the chord progression just was right and the words just flowed...I felt inspired and I worship in what can only be described as a 'meditative' state...it just was. I thought that I needed to write the song down...it was in my estimation 'good' and with the rythym and lyrics in my head it might be something worth formalizing. The kids woke up, the day started, I had the best intentions and after crowding my head with the CD in my dash...it was gone...Every morning all around the world there are little, medium and big voices in showers, on walks, in the cars humming, singing, shouting original/new songs to God. Lyrics of praise, and redemption, gratitude and love. Rap and dissonant diatribes, as well as choruses of praise. A billion voices all individually heard and appreciated by my magnificent God who delights in the music that I sing only for Him...whether remembered or lost in the moment. All I know is that if God has an iPod I have several songs on it....I don't remember them...but He does.
Wednesday, October 17, 2007
Yesterday we went to the Tip Top Cafe and we ate the Chicken Fried Steak that Tip Top has been famous for since 1949. Don't forget the Onion Rings that mound about 2 feet off the plate. We laughed a little...just taking a break from the craziness...we indulged. I said I wish there was a pill you could take that would dissolve the cholesterol and just make the food disappear...like those new combination drugs...My friend Thomas said Yeah like Exlax and Lipitor...how about lipolax...then he said no I got it...Exitor! and we laughed...we belly laughed. Laughter is so good for the soul and it widens the capilaries and hopefully made the cholesterol pass by easier since I was fresh out of Exitor. Our infinite creator God loves laughter and the reflection of goodness...he modeled that for us and too often we miss it; the miracle of an orange glow sunrise, the soft billowy breathes of a new born with there fresh skin smell, the beauty of a hummingbird at rest or the belly laugh of grown ups delighting in the moment of everyday. We miss the worship in the common things when we don't pause to taste slowly, admire deeply, laugh heartily...It is Good!
Tuesday, October 16, 2007
In the darkness the halo of the screen stares blankley back at me. There is plenty going on in my mind and my heart and there is also a vein of numbness and inarticulate safe zone. The mixture of compulsion, confusion and apathy lead me to the momentary conclusion that blogging sucks. Tommorrow I won't/hopefully feel the same way though there is no guarantee....afterall where does the exhaustion/grief/writers block/cathartic journaling disease come from anyway?
Saturday, October 13, 2007
About 11:15 a.m Bubba Pruett left his skin body and finally got to see Jesus face to face. Bubba was a tortured soul...this world was tough for him...The outside as a lover of Jesus was strange and confusing...hard. Bubba had been out for six years and made money as a painter but was primarily a missionary to the down and out, the once imprisioned and the hurting. He longed to go back in to prison as a preacher and he was good at it. God used him. When he preached at Grace Point folks that wouldn't normally come, came...Bubba could connect, he'd been there. I will miss him, his big warm smile...the ease of his walk, the genuineness of his conversation. He will be missed for his presence...he never understood or was comfortable with the sheer potency of his presence..."why do people make such a fuss?" " I wish people would shut up about my past and see me for who I am". We did Bubba...We do.. You are a Prince of the Kingdom of the Almighty God...a prisoner set free, a lover of Jesus who now is in his presence...and because you so clearly loved him and because you spoke of your passion to be with him...you once again "have been there" and you once again are making your presence felt...I will miss you and yet the thought of you with Jesus is good...its right...
Friday, October 12, 2007
I've been in jail twice...only once overnight. My friend Bubba was a convict for 10 years for pushing cocaine. He was a bad$#@ motorcycle thug until he met Jesus on the inside. This was no Jailhouse conversion...this was the real deal...life altering, world changing, Jesus loving conversion and it touched everyone he came into contact. Bubba still has an affection for the Harley's...it gives him the sense of freedom...now that he's on the outside he values freedom more than most of us can fathom. Two nights ago he laid down his harley and now he's fighting to live once again. He fought to live when he was a dealer, to live on the inside against the gangs...he fought to live by giving his life to Jesus and he's fought through a head on car wreck and now this motorcycle accident. Things don't look good...but like everyone who has been imprisoned, by sin, fear,or circumstances there is hope. I don't know if I'll see Bubba again on this side, but I hope. I don't know if he'll say he little fella and wrap his big arms around me but I hope. I don't know if tears will fill his eyes after a message and I'll hear the words "preacher I sure do love you" but I hope...and if not, then I still hope.
Wednesday, October 10, 2007
Subjectivity seems to be the ethos of the day! Our opinions and feelings guide our lives. When I see a homeless person I immediately assume he is an addict or mentally impaired and while statistics bear this out I allow the statistic to enable me not to think more deeply. Poverty is caused my laziness, and addiction but also by injustice, and oppression. I live in the U.S. so everyone has equal access to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness...but is that actually true or only ideally true? Is it possible that the system we live in is injust or oppressive? My feelings about this dictate the truth that I choose to believe and I align those feelings with others and systems that validate and support that...we call that politics. The reality is that truth is a fixed point and the only thing that is relative is my proximity to it. Objectivity is the willingness to move closer and closer to that fixed point.
Tuesday, October 9, 2007
World Hope is a missions organization...I sit on the board. For years I have challenged the board to find a dedicated, full time leader to organize and fuel the mission desire of the organization but to no avail. World Hope is leaderless and while it is full of well intentioned saints with great desires it will never accomplish what it could or should for the Kingdom. Now, it does some good and to God be the glory but too often it settles for mediocrity. I cannot fix World Hope I can only reflect and ask the same question of myself; Am I settling in areas of my life for the mediocrity of 'doing some good' at the expense of greatly glorifying God to my best? World Hope is leaderless...and when everyone is responsible for fund raising, or Newsletter writing and the like, the no one is. In organizations where responsibility is unclear they slowly drift into irrelevance....but with lives it is different...responsibility is unshakeable and the drift into irrelevance complicit negligence.
Monday, October 8, 2007
The confusion of Mission, Vision and Strategy is not the stuff of corporate raiders but the disconnect of the everyday. An impulse buy is a Vision that is divorced from a mission and strategy. A fad diet is a strategy divorced from a Mission though it may fulfill a short term vision. A divorce is a relationship without a mission, operating on an unstated strategy, without a clear destination in mind. All these exemplify why Mission, Vision and Strategy are for the common man, for the everyday decision matrix and why we need to know. The mission tells me why I exist. The Strategy are the essential steps I need to fulfill to pursue this mission. The vision is an ever clarifying picture of what it looks like to pursue and arrive at this destination, with each step closer the picture becomes more clear. Too often we don't know why we are here and so our process for living is jumbled and unclear leading us to drift and bounce around the sea of life without a destination. Without it our jobs, purchases, familes, prayers, entertainment, leisure, lunches, relationships....are transient encounters.
Saturday, October 6, 2007
The Canyon Gorge opened today for tours. The Gorge was the by-product of the 2002 floods here in South Texas where we received 35 inches in about a week. The waters topped the spillway and for 3 days sending torrents of floodwaters onto the wateshed below. What resulted was a deep gorge was cut leaving no vegitation and unearthing fossils and dinosaur prints. The Gorge is one of the largest in the U.S., except for the Grand Canyon which scientist say took 100 million years to carve out. Which is interesting the because the Canyon lake Gorge only took 3 days....I wonder if some other epic flood could have caused a Gorge to be cut out in a short period of time...say 40 days? Anyway it's front page Yahoo news and it's about 20 miles from us... http://www.canyongorge.org/ check it out
Tuesday, October 2, 2007
Last night as my daughter worked on a writing paper I pulled out two authors in an attempt to help her. I said "close your eyes and listen". After reading a short excerpt from Hemingway I asked her to describe what was taking place and she and her younger brother did so with ease. After one small paragraph they knew exactly where the characters were, what they were doing and fine details about them. Then I read Faulkner. After two long meandering pages I asked them to describe what was taking place. Neither of them knew for sure where they were or what they were doing. They knew the dialect was southern but beyond that the details the senses were muted, and lost in the flowing dialogue. Two great authors, two very different styles. I prefer Hemingway, the potency and touch of his words. The efficiency and precision, the way you can taste and smell the moment. Sometimes we get lost in the dialogue...the long meandering, complex structure of our lives and we don't really know where we are or what is happening. Life is so much richer when we taste the sugary sweet consistency of a pear or we smell the damp freshness of summer rain. Too much is lost in the meandering dialogue of our lives where the detail and robustness is lost in office cubicles, traffic and television. I'd rather write a life like a Hemingway novel.
Monday, October 1, 2007
The argument goes something like this " that's what you believe, but you don't corner the market on truth and if you want to believe that fine, but I don't believe the way you do". It is a compelling argument especially in a world that is constantly changing and in a world where it's difficult to know who to believe. The premise of course is that there are no absolutes and that even as you read this there is no way to know for sure that you are reading it except perceptual information. The teenager I visited with who was suggesting that pot smoking wasn't wrong just illegal because of some random sterotype by the goverment and that what scripture says is archaic was the poster child for this relative generation. The interesting thing here is that even if they are right then what scripture says "that what really matters is faith" is actually true...even in a relative world. Think about that....If truth is relative or absolute, faith is still the truest thing either way....That is why faith is an act of God and a conscious choice. Even though the mountains crumble into the sea...faith stands. Stop and put your mind around it...what is true?