Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Happy 16th Birthday!

Today we celebrate 16 years with Ben Worley!

It's never easy being the youngest of (3) brothers, but Ben has his own style and his own way about him.

Here are ten things I love about Ben:

1. His laugh
2. His loudness
3. His sarcasm
4. His self-taught ability to play the upright bass (arco)
5. His self-taught ability to play tenors (quads - those 4 drums you strap to your body in marching band) and march while playing them
6. His love for God
7. His love for people
8. His love for his brothers
9. His creativity
10. His convictions

Happy 16th, young man - God did good when He made you, and Mom and I are grateful He entrusted you to us......

Friday, September 19, 2008

Letter To The Next President

This summer while on my sabbatical, I attended one of my favorite churches - North Point Community Church in Atlanta, GA. Through the years, getting to know North Point's pastor, Andy Stanley has been enriching to my life to say the least.

On this particular Sunday, Andy was in the middle of a very interesting series entitled, "Letters To The Next President". Now before you think he was walking that ever so volatile line between politics and religion, fear not. He knows better.

His 3-part series was a look at leaders in the Bible, and how the way they led impacted those who followed. He then asked the great question - if you could write a letter to the President, and you know He would read it, what would you say to him?

I highly encourage you to click HERE, then find Andy's letters - He wrote (3).

My favorite is the one with the darker brown envelope - entitled:
From: Andy
To: The Next President
Subject: Beyond Approval Ratings

I am still working on mine.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Praying Friends

I receive a weekly e-mail update from a person I have never met. I continue to do so because he consistently includes quotes from various authors on the subject of worship and theology that are always an inspiration to me.

He is obviously a very intelligent, compassionate, and Godly man - based on what I know of him through others who actually know him personally.

Recently, He became ill with cancer, so now each week he gives a brief health update at the conclusion of his regular inspirational updates.

I have noticed two things about this that impress me:

1. He always lists the quote BEFORE his update - that tells me what someone else has to say about worship and theology is more important to him to communicate to his list of recipients than how he happens to be doing physically that particular week.

2. He always begins his health update with "Dear Praying Friends"......

I so love that.......after all, what other kinds of friends would a person want?

Friday, September 12, 2008

Happy Birthday, Dad!

Today is my father's 86th birthday!

For all these years W.J has lived and contributed to so many people's lives in a variety of ways. He has done so in what many would call "the old fashion way" - hard work, determination, and caring for others.

His dry sense of humor, his quiet spirit, and his work ethic have always impressed me, and anyone who knows him.

As a child, I remember him working 12 hours @ day - 7 days a week at the Gulf Service Station. I don't know how he did it.

Together we have built many things in and around our home. They are constant reminders of his ability to use his hands to create something of value. I love "constructing things with wood", and that love comes directly from him.

My favorite of all time is this deck that we built 20 years ago (in the summer of 1988). The people who now live in this house probably don't realize how special that "work of art" is to my family, but I will always remember that experience!
(Good grief, I hope I can build something like this when I am 66 years old!!)

So, thanks Mr. Worley for being around for 86 years. You are a really good man, friend, husband, father, grandfather, and great-grandfather.

(The photo at the top of my post was taken a year ago. He is with my sister's grandson. I love this photo and the expressions on their faces!)

Friday, September 05, 2008


This week, I have been confronted with what seems like more than the average volume of suffering among friends and colleagues. (I won't touch this subject matter related to what we all have experienced this week by watching the RNC!)

I know I work in a very large church, so the odds (of many, many people around me dealing with most every kind of suffering known to humans) are very, very high.

We are singing a song in choir right now called, "When I Don't Know What To Do". It is an incredible Tommy Walker song. Karla told me after choir rehearsal that someone asked her during that song if she thought anyone in that room truly had ever been at a point when they literally did not know what to do?

Think about that.

I ask myself have I ever been at a point in my life when I literally did not know what to do?

We seem to always have an answer for everything, don't we. If we don't, then we find a way to worry or fret thinking that will help.

We pray prayers that seem to never be answered. We are impatient with God, our family and friends, and most often ourselves. We doubt. We whine. We might even seem comfortable at times in our own self-pity. We can't imagine anyone suffering to the degree that we are, and yet we know there will always be someone who is "worse off" than we are. (Does that really help anyone when we think that?)

(If you're still reading - stay with me - I think I have a point that I am taking awhile to get to!)

Scriptures tell us everything we need for every situation - yet, we still suffer in very real ways.

We are intelligent, resourced, blessed with more than any of us deserve to have, and we wrestle with our guilt (caused by feelings that are in the back of our mind) that it still is not enough because whatever it is that is causing our suffering is real -it's painful, and it just won't go away nearly soon enough.

We don't want to admit that suffering is indeed a part of this life or if we admit it, we surely don't want to wear it like some badge of honor. We also don't want to succumb to the pit of despair and depression that suffering can very well lead us to.

(I want to very careful in this next statement)

I believe that what is very real pain and suffering for someone I know might not be the same degree of pain and suffering for me. It very well could be much worse. It also could be much "easier" (if I may use that word respectfully).

It is about perspective.

I meet regularly with a close friend who reminds me of things I need to be reminded of. Today, he told me this - "Suffering is not a competitive sport."


The next time we are in pain, and we suffer deeply over something whether it is for brief moment or it has lasted for years beyond our comprehension - may we resist the urge to judge or compare our circumstances with those around us.

Instead, allow those around us to help us, love us, and walk with us as best they can so that even in our suffering, Christ is made much of.