Category Archives: Be A Leader

Articles celebrating, instructing, encouraging, and inspiring leaders and promoting leadership principles, especially in the service of the King.

What Do You Say?

It’s been awhile since I’ve written or blogged. I’ve practically given up FaceBook for a long season and promoting my book that way? It’s been a quiet time of enjoying life, reflecting on life, and seeking the Lord personally for myself. Oh, I’ve been active in kingdom circles and activities, maybe too much so? I attend three men’s meetings each week. A life group from the church I attend meets in our home weekly. And we support a number of missionaries and mission causes. But some deep disappointments and spiritual circumstances have had me derailed, disillusioned, and not serving the Lord in the same way I’ve served in the past.

I mentioned the men’s groups I attend. Hopefully I bring something of value to the table for some of them occasionally, but I mainly attend for myself. The spiritual food from others who seek the Lord, and determine to live for and with Christ, sacrificially and faithfully. To the end. These men touch me deeply with their lives, honesty, humility, and humor. This is most valuable to a man in some spiritual despair and disillusionment.

I find myself wanting to dive off into this, and the lessons learned, and how the Lord spoke to me about it this morning in my Wednesday men’s group, but not now. Suffice to say, it was about grumbling in the wilderness. A spiritual wilderness for me. But we know from Exodus and the NT that grumbling is not good! It can derail your life! Your life with God. And the good plans He has for you. Enough on that, you get it! I got it this morning, thankfully, when I heard the Scripture and the Spirit highlighted it in my heart and experience. And in the safety of those men, I shared it, bringing some healing and release to me.

We prayed for many things today, but one jumped out at me. A friend of one of our members  had lost his sixteen year old grandson in an automobile accident last week where he was ejected from a vehicle and then run over by the same.:( This same grandfather had lost a wife in an untimely death, and was “mad at God,” as reported by my friend. Certainly this is understandable and we’ve all known of situations like this, trying to pray, counsel, and morn with those who morn. And this is right, of course. I guess? But this is what came to me…

It was written on a church bill board or marquee a few blocks from my house that I viewed driving home yesterday. It says, “God owes you nothing. God gave you everything.” Kindly stark! Isn’t it? But absolutely true as you start to meditate on it, in light of the Bible, and the human experience, isn’t it?

I’ve determined to keep my blog posts short, to better serve readers, and because I like short posts myself. 🙂 So the main point of my musing and insight this morning will come later, when this writ is continued…

 

Nor grumble, as some of them did, and were destroyed by the destroyer.” (1 Corinthians 10:10)

The end of all things is near; therefore, be of sound judgment and sober spirit for the purpose of prayer. Above all, keep fervent in your love for one another, because love covers a multitude of sins. Be hospitable to one another without complaint.” (1 Peter 4:7–9)

 

 

 

“You Owe Me… Nothing”

The Western Wall . Jerusalem

And I owe you … Nothing (Except to love you.)! 🙂

With Easter still fresh on our minds, I want to challenge you, and myself, about forgiveness. About practicing “forgiveness” and “living forgiven.” I believe understanding these two concepts are curial to living a life of freedom and peace before God and with others.

I’m not claiming to be an expert in this matter or even say I’ve mastered “forgiveness” myself. But I do believe I’ve recently received a little revelation on the subject that’s profound, easy to ponder, and an “acid test” of sorts to determine if you are living “forgiven and forgiving” or not?

St. Scholastica . Fort Smith

It’s two simple questions you can ask yourself. I’ll tell you what they are, why they are important, and where I got them.

Questions one is, “Do I owe you anything?” That is, am I in debt to you in any way? If the answer is “yes,” then I must make every effort to settle my debt by payment or seek to have it forgiven.

Why is this important? Or a goal you should always be working toward, or trying to maintain? Because it’s the clear teaching of Scripture, “Owe no one anything, except to love each other.” (Romans 13:8a) Debts owed usually affect relationships negatively, and rob the involved parties of real peace and freedom.

Sea of Galilee . Israel

Question two is, “Do you owe me anything?” That is are you in debt to me in anyway? If the answer is “yes,” then I must make every effort to collect the debt or forgive it? So that your balance sheet is clean and does not affect your relationship with me or with others.

This is the clear teaching of Jesus about His Father, and His kingdom in the area of “debt and forgiveness.” Look at Matthew 18:21-35, which is perhaps the clearest and most telling truth on “forgiveness” in the Bible.

The Jordan River . Israel

This is where Jesus ties forgiveness to debts. Especially in the areas of large debts of personal injury that are hard to place a price upon or repay. We see that is the context of the parable because of the way it starts with Peter’s question to Jesus, “How often should I forgive my brother who sins against me?”

Sometimes the debt is so large, forgiveness is the only alternative to settle the affair, if the debtor is to have any chance at a fresh start, dignity, hope, and a life worth living. Still, this forgiveness is not required by justice or by law. It’s a grace or mercy extended by a loving heart out of concern for the well being of the debtor and his family.

Fort Smith . Arkansas

Indeed forgiveness is best extended and understood by these statements. “I forgive you. You owe me nothing.”

“Forgiveness is not the same as reconciliation, restitution, or approval of sin. Forgiving, according to Jesus in his parable of the unforgiving servant (Matthew 18:21-35), involves a singular decision of the will by which you consider another person no longer indebted to you.”
(from The Red Feather by Tom Elliff)

Amen אמן

In light of the huge and impossible-to-repay debt that God has forgiven us by the sacrifice of His Son, and at His Son’s request, we must forgive others their much smaller debts. Do you agree? Then go and do likewise. Godspeed.

Jerusalem

And may it be, or I should rather say, it will be, healing for your soul. And the souls of those about you. God’s peace.

 

“Owe no one anything, except to love each other, for the one who loves another has fulfilled the law.” (Romans 13:8)

“And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors.” (Matthew 6:1)

Other Quotes on Forgiveness:

The weak can never forgive. Forgiveness is the attribute of the strong. ~Mahatma Gandhi

To forgive is to set a prisoner free and discover that the prisoner was you. ~Lewis B. Smedes, “Forgiveness – The Power to Change the Past,” Christianity Today, 7 January 1983

Forgiveness is a funny thing. It warms the heart and cools the sting. ~William Arthur Ward

Forgiveness does not change the past, but it does enlarge the future. ~Paul Boese

Friends Freedom Flight

Awaiting the Freedom of Flight

As some of you know, and others may have gathered, I’ve been led to a life long career and love of aviation. After having the unanticipated pleasure of flying fighter jets and commercial airliners, I’m experiencing presently the unanticipated joy and opportunity to own and fly a private airplane.

This experience continues to teach me a lot about God. His largeness, His generosity, His joy in creation, His joy in adventure, and His joy in showering good gifts upon His children. I continue to be humbled by His goodness, as well as, quietly and joyfully overwhelmed by the same.

N188DL Visiting Her Previous Home and  a True Friend

Recently I was invited to join a fraternal organization of pilots with all types of back grounds in aviation. Apparently it’s a friendship fraternity centered around flight. It’s a bit mysterious, and I usually steer well clear of secret or mysterious organizations, but I took courage by meeting the members a number of times, and because two of the members have been my close aviation and personal friends for more than thirty years. “What could be wrong with it?” I thought. And, “I’m all about friendship!”

Getting a Friend Out of the House for a Spiritual Lift

So on the appointed night of my acceptance (or rejection?), I felt the Spirit impress me to write a short poem as an acceptance speech, should there be an acceptance, and such an occasion to speak afterwards arise? 🙂 This I did hurriedly by the fire on a scrap of paper, the inspiration and words flowing into my mind surprisingly quickly, within five minutes. Sticking it in my pocket I kissed my wife goodbye and headed out the door to the meeting.

And Enjoying a Day Out in Creation

After the hilarious  meeting, I was asked to step out, while I assume some sort of vote was taken. I returned and it was announced that I  had been accepted as a member to smiles, laughter, and a short round of applause. While this was dying down, I ripped the little paper from my pocket, and announced, “ I have prepared an little acceptance speech for you, in the event you accepted me? If it’s appropriate to do so? It’s actually an acceptance poem.” They nodded their quizzical approval with smiles, and I began.

Friends On a Mountain Top to Enjoy a Sunset

[The name of the organization isn’t important, and I told you they were a bit mysterious, so I’ll just use XX for the name. 🙂 Thank you for your understanding.]

XX

What the heck’s a XX?
I don’t really know.
It seems by evenings end,
I may be one though.
It may be a man
With courage to leave the ground,
To launch toward the sky,
Where more that blue is found.
To soar with the birds
And look down on things,
To trade gravity’s bonds
For engines and wings.
And to walk among men,
Who similar paths have trod.
Some trusting in their aircraft.
And most trusting in God.
A fraternity not earthbound,
With skill and courage they flee, 

Mostly they have in common

The desire to be free.


Thank You Brothers and Friends In Flight , 
And have a good night. 

An officer asked me for the poem which I handed over with a smile. And I wouldn’t even have a copy except for the fact it was published in their national magazine last month.

There is a lot of freedom in flight, along with adventure, joy, beauty, spiritual truth, and friendship. But instead of exalting flight, the gift, I want this writ to exalt the Giver of flight, friendship, and freedom, even Jesus Christ, the Lord. His peace to you all in this Easter season of meditation and contemplation of His holy life, and His holy gift, freedom. Also His joy!!

Flying Into the Sunset … Arriving Home

It is for freedom that Christ has set us free.” (Galatians 5:1)

Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me.” (John 14:6)

So Jesus was saying to those Jews who had believed Him, “If you continue … you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free.”” (John 8:31–32)

[Dedicated to Friends who soar in flying machines, and spiritually.]

Humility Strikes Again

Coming out from Men’s Meeting… iPhone… unedited

Scott, a very good friend of mine, and one I don’t see often enough, asked me to breakfast this morning. During the course of catching up on family, friends and spiritual things he asked me how the airplane was doing?

“Didn’t I tell you?” I replied? “I haven’t been trying to hide it from anyone, and I thought the word had traveled pretty fast! 🙂 I had another accident with it three months ago, December 30th to be exact, so I’ve been without the use of it since then. Maybe I will get it back into the air next week?”

Not Good! 🙂

“What happened?” he exclaimed. “Well, I’ll give you the short version and then the longer version if you want it,” I replied with a smile. I was practicing patterns at the airport, to burn a little fuel out of the tanks before putting the airplane in the hangar. It was a beautiful, sunny day with a good head wind out of the south, right down the runway, perfect conditions for short field landing practice. So I decided to see how short I could land and stop using the white painted area at the approach end of RWY 19 as a gauge. I landed exactly where I wanted to, braked hard, but well short of locking the brakes up, and when I had slowed to an estimated 5 MPH or walking speed,  I looked out the left window and down at the tire, saw I was still on the white paint. Thinking nothing bad could happen at such a slow speed, I continued to apply full braking. The next thing I heard was the sound of the prop striking the

Missing Something! Important….

runway multiple times; with the airplane in a nosed over attitude. Sickening feeling! It was so unexpected. And it happened so fast. I had the feeling I’d slipped on ice and hit the back of my head on the ground instantly.

It was such a slow speed event there wasn’t much of a safety concern. I just had the sickening thought that, “This is going to be expensive!” And, “This is your second airplane accident in three  years!” “How could this happen?”

Fuel was now pouring out the overflow vents due to the nose down attitude of the plane. So I got out and lifted the nose, lowering the tail gently to the ground. I climbed back into the airplane, called the tower to tell them I didn’t need emergency equipment, but I would need to be towed to the hangar, then pushed the airplane safely off the runway and waited for a tug, and the long ride to the hangar. That’s the end of the story.

On the Road to Recovery

Well sort of…. This kind of prop damage requires a new prop, and also that the engine be removed and sent to an FAA approved engine shop for tear down and inspection to ensure there was no internal damage from the sudden stoppage of the prop. There was no internal damage, but this has taken three months to date, and a significant amount of money, most of which thankfully is covered by my insurance company.

I’ve had plenty of time to ponder what happened and lessons that could be learned from this event? I’ve asked the Lord to teach me or show me what He wants me to glean from it and journaled about it a number of times. 🙂 I may share some of those lessons in subsequent posts, but this one has gotten long enough, so I’ll close.

It’s purpose is to not miss an opportunity to humble myself, and admit my mistakes. To be real about being human, and living life as an adventure with friends, family, and before the Lord. So I’ll end this report as I started the last accident I reported on this blog site about three years ago.

“After flying as a pilot more than fourteen thousand hours over thirty-five years, and never scratching an airplane, on March 28th of this year [2014] I crashed and totaled one. I walked away from it, and there is an old saying in aviation, “Any landing you walk away from is a good one.”  This is in fact true, for reasons that should be self evident, but it’s still very embarrassing [and humbling :)] to have an accident like this as an experienced pilot.” [More to follow…]

“The reward of humility and the fear of the Lord are riches, honor and life.” (Proverbs 22:4)

“… all of you, clothe yourselves with humility toward one another, for God is opposed to the proud, but gives grace to the humble.” (1 Peter 5:5)

“I’ am still learning.”  Michelangelo

[I realize I’m posting this mainly for myself. Hopefully it will benefit some, and I’ll return to trying to be an encourager and providing spiritually uplifting material with the next edition. Thanks!]

Blessed is the Nation… 2016

img_9627If you follow this blog, you may have noticed I’ve been pretty quiet about the election in social media. I’ve been quiet period, and quiet in my own soul. Oh, I’m aware of what’s going on around me and tumult in the nation, even though I’m seldom on Facebook and almost never watch the news on TV. It’s just that I put my trust for our national well being, and my personal well being in God, and not in man, or the political system. Psalm 131  could well be my creed in this matter. Yet I intend to write more often on this subject in the days ahead, as led, to espouse the light the Bible shines on this matter, and on our path as a nation.

I’m very aware the government of God and the governments of man are both realities and that they intersect at times, if not at all times. 🙂 There is much teaching about this in the Bible. I’ve tried to understand it and do my part led by God’s teaching and the laws of our land. God’s Word, His giving us a free will, and world history make it imperative that I be as active as legally permitted, that I vote, and that I pray. Still my trust is in the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth, not man, nor the political system of the USA or any other nation.

img_9628You can read my only pre-election writing in the last post. The election was easy for me from the beginning. I didn’t struggle to decide. It could be summed up in three or four Bible verses that came to me early in the process. [1] “Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord.” (Psalm 33:12) [2] “Righteousness exalts a nation, But sin is a disgrace to any people.” (Proverbs 14:34) [3]  “You will know them by their fruits.” (Matthew 7:16) And with most (but not all!) of my friends and family I voted for the platform that stood for the most right and against the most wrong.

I believe this article by Thomas Sowell in the Wall Street Journal and other news papers around the country hits the main points quite well. The Constitution. Contempt for the law. Real leadership. Supreme Court justices. And more.

img_9633Some of you know exactly what I’m talking about, some do not, and some will contest who or Who gets to decide what’s right and wrong? That’s the real problem as I see it. We have good news and bad news in the outcome of this election.

The good news is we have a reprieve. And what a welcome relief it is to many of us! We were being led and going down a path that would have invited or required God’s judgment on our nation, according to the Bible, and as demonstrated in history.

Painting of my wife's church in SE Arkansas

Painting of my wife’s church in SE Arkansas

The bad news is we are still a deeply divided nation as shown by the popular and electoral vote. The results were 48% to 46% in the popular vote, with both coasts seeing things differently than the interior of the country. The results were 20 states to 30 states and 232 to 306 electoral votes. Surely as you watched the venom of the candidates during the election and the venom of the voters during and after the election, one must wonder about our division as a nation and our character as a nation. I would suggest that we haven’t been this divided as a nation since the Civil War. Abraham Lincoln’s “A House Divided” speech comes to mind. Of course Mr. Lincoln borrowed this quote from Jesus Christ almost 2000 years earlier.

Our Times . Acts 17:26

Our Times . Acts 17:26

If you fear God, and believe the Bible, as our founding fathers did, and Christians do in every age, you feel we have been given a reprieve from judgment. A time to breathe easier, while gearing up to further work and prayer for healthy spiritual and moral change in our nation, and in the world we so clearly affect. I pray we can come together and farewell with God’s help.

A quote from Elton Trueblood in my book at the beginning of chapter 3, “Understanding Your Times,” comes to mind.

The greatest problems of our time are not technological, for these we handle fairly well. They are not even political or economic, because the difficulties in these areas, glaring as they may be, are largely derivative. The greatest problems are moral and spiritual, and unless we can make some progress in these realms, we may not even survive. This is how advanced cultures have declined in the past. 

Let’s rest a bit and enjoy a small, but major victory for our country, or that’s the way I see it.  Then let’s get back to work; the work of the kingdom, the ongoing work of the King!

Christmas Peace in His Name

“Pray, then, in this way: ‘Our Father who is in heaven, Hallowed be Your name. ‘Your kingdom come. Your will be done, On earth as it is in heaven. ‘Give us this day our daily bread. ‘And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. ‘And do not lead us into temptation, but deliver us from evil. For Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen.'” (Matthew 6:9–13)

But He answered them, “My Father is working until now, and I Myself am working.” (John 5:17)

Vote!

Early voting is open, and my wife and I voted early as did many others by all accounts. The lines were short and the process was straight forward and easy. I recommend you do it if possible to avoid the possibility of long lines on election day or something coming up that would preclude you exercising this important opportunity and responsibility.

Our Country Has Opportunity to Take Flight Again… Which Direction Will We Choose?

You can click here for a sample ballot to avoid surprises at the voting booth if you’re from our area. You can click here for information and guidance from Arkansas Family Council on state candidates and  issues in Arkansas. And you can click here for information on national candidates and platforms. As discussed recently at our home group, for many of us the vote has come down to platforms and not candidates at the national level, voting for the most good, and against the most evil.

VOTE! Soon!! Do it!

Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord.” (Psalm 33:12)

Righteousness exalts a nation, But sin is a disgrace to any people.” (Proverbs 14:34)

“I have lived, Sir, a long time, and the longer I live, the more convincing proofs I see of this truth- that God Governs in the affairs of men. And if a sparrow cannot fall to the ground without his notice, is it probable that an empire can rise without his aid?” Benjamin Franklin Request for prayer to Constitutional Convention 1787

Eventually…

“…, “The kingdom of the world has become the kingdom of our Lord and of His Christ; and He will reign forever and ever.” (Revelation 11:15)  Amen…

 

A Festive Prophet

SONY DSCSince my book and kingdom passion is about men, men’s ministry, and kingdom living; I’m constantly on the look out for things God might be doing among men in churches, cultures, para church ministries, etc.

Introducing “Fight Club!” Some friends of mine attend Grace Community Church in our city. It’s an active church with an active men’s group. One of their number invited me to be a part of this semester’s version of Fight Club. I would describe is as men challenging themselves and each other to live vibrant life in Christ. Most of it is done alone, but some of it in community by social media, along with  three meetings over a ten week period. I’m finding it challenging, helpful, and rewarding. That’s all I’ll say. We’re supposed to do it, and not talk about it.

SONY DSCI would say I’m doing it because I was invited, and then felt led to accept the invitation. Also because I’m curious and always on the look for fresh ideas the Spirit might be using to empower and ignite men to relationship and action. But mostly I’d say I’m doing it because, like their pastor Jeff said at a kickoff campfire, “I need the discipline, accountability, camaraderie, and other men in my life” to spur me on in the journey. I also love their core verse of Scripture:

When I saw their fear, I rose and spoke to the nobles, the officials and the rest of the people: “Do not be afraid of them; remember the Lord who is great and awesome, and fight for your brothers, your sons, your daughters, your wives and your houses.”” (Nehemiah 4:14)

SONY DSCIntroducing Haggai

This weeks spiritual assignment was to read a minor prophet’s book (or lesser prophets, as they are sometimes called, simply due to the shorter length of their writings), and discuss it with a friend. That has proved to be a delightful adventure as I have rediscovered these prophet’s lives and times, which are much like our own, as well as some of the important prophecies or insights they gave us by the Spirit of God about their times and times to come. Also insights about the heart and person of God, which they commonly describe as the LORD of heaven’s armies.

I was reading a little about each one, trying to pick one. Then I remembered that an old  friend living in Houston and visiting last weekend discussed Zechariah with me. And this morning a gentleman from my Tuesday morning men’s group insisted I read Haggai chapter 2 while we were together. Turns out Haggai and Zechariah were contemporaries, and along with Malachi were the only three prophets to the Jews following their return from seventy years of Babylonian captivity. I picked Haggai.

SONY DSC

I’m feeling led to do something I wouldn’t normally do, that is type for you the introduction to The Book of Haggai from my Thomas Nelson, NASB, Open Study Bible. I think you will see in it a lot of interesting conditions that speak to your life today. And it may stir you to read the two short chapters of Haggai, giving the Spirit space and time to speak to you personally, which is a quality of the Bible in general and prophetic Scriptures in particular. Here goes…

Date and Authorship. The author is the only person in the Old Testament named Haggai which means “festive” or “festal.” He is one of the prophets whose personal life is unknown. He is mentioned by Ezra (Ezra 5:1; 6:14). He is the first post exilic prophet who ministered to the remnant that had returned from Babylonian captivity. His prophecy is clearly to be dated 520 B.C., the second year of Darius the king. Haggai was probably born in exile in the early part of the sixth century. His contemporary in the prophetic office was Zechariah (cf. Hag. 1:1 with Zech. 1:1; see also Ezra 5:1; 6:14).

Historical Background. The prophets before the Exile (586 B.C.) foretold the fall of the Judean kingdom to the the new Babylonian empire. It was also revealed that after seventy years the LORD would restore His people to their homeland (Jer. 25:11; Dan. 9:2). When Cyrus the Persian destroyed the Babylonian power, he favored the Jews’ return to the Land of Promise to rebuild the sanctuary in Jerusalem. The foundation of the new temple was laid and the work was begun. Soon hostile neighbors employed their devices to stop the work. The work was halted, but outward opposition was only part of the problem. Indifference seized the fifty thousand exiles who had returned with resolve to build the House of God. When Darius Hystaspis came to the Persian throne, the Temple had been untouched for sixteen years. Haggai (and later Zachariah) was sent by God to awaken the people and stir them from their lethargy to undertake the restoration. It is unfair to Haggai to consider that his messages are solely concerned with matters of building. He begins from that vantage point, but goes on to the glory of the presence of the LORD Jesus Christ, the future establishment of God’s earthly kingdom, the Judgment of God on ungodly world powers, and the blessing awaiting the nations that will return to God.

SONY DSCThere you have it! A beautiful history of the LORD working among the nations of antiquity and especially, intimately, with His covenant people, Israel. He still does this. He is the same yesterday, today, and forever.

Hostile neighbors (or spirits), indifference, lethargy, inattention to God’s Temple or House? Restoration? Sound familiar? Sound like the reason for Fight Club? And for staying close to God, His Word, and the community of believers today?

As you read the two short chapters of Haggai with this background, I pray the Lord give you revelation and personal insight, and “festive” encouragement for a course change or help in living a life “well lived”, a “festal” life. Amen.

********************************************************************************

…do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and that you are not your own? For you have been bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body.” (1 Corinthians 6:19–20)

Now therefore, thus says the Lord of hosts, “Consider your ways!” (Haggai 1:5)

The Book of Haggai

“Honor All People”

Fred J. Bell Aug 19, 1924- July 23, 2016

Fred J. Bell                 Aug 19, 1924- July 23, 2016

It’s been almost two weeks since July 23rd, the day my father, Fredrick Jefferson Bell, or Fred J. Bell as he was know most of his life, went to  his eternal reward.

His going was very peaceful with two of his children, their spouses, and some friends chatting and laughing in his room as he lay resting,  mostly sleeping, in no pain, nor taking any pain medication, when he took two deep breaths, the second being his last. His passing wasn’t expected, nor was it totally unexpected. He was weeks short of ninety-two years old. 🙂

Honor Says It All

Honor Says It All

He had lived a lot of life! His was too large a life and legacy to describe meaningfully in a service or speech. 🙂 But I wanted to try to say something honoring at his home going service, if the Lord would help me and give me strength? At the same time I was completely at peace, knowing I didn’t need to say anything. Dad’s life had already said what needed to be said. Those present at the funeral knew it too, and were glad just to meet, honor his life and memory, and worship the King, Who guarded and guided Dad seemingly his whole life long.

If you would like, you can read the eulogy I read in tribute to Dad here.

Dads Hat and Accolades

Dads Hat and Accolades

When you’re almost ninety-two, most all your friends have preceded you in death, and funerals are fairly small affairs. There was a full house at Dad’s celebration as people came from far and wide. And a celebration it was; of a life well-lived, of friendship, of family, of belonging, of honor, of worship, of love.

I told some brothers at an early prayer and Bible study this morning, that I’ve been completely at peace, and completely happy during the whole time, very much sure that Dad is with Jesus, our Blessed Hope. Yet there is a hollow void of sorts that has me quietly looking and listening for revelation or anything the Spirit might show me? It’s a deeply reflective

Honor Guard at Dad's Viewing

Honor Guard at Dad’s Viewing

time when you’re grateful for any strength your father poured into you, yet your human side feels something is deeply altered to some degree you cannot comprehend, or even give much thought to… Thought and the mind cannot probe deeply enough into the mystery of life and who we are? But it’s felt, maybe for a season, maybe for a reason?  The Lord is near. In fact I told my spiritual brothers this morning a Scripture verse was ringing in my ears, “Love is as strong as death.” In fact, I feel love may be stronger than death, because I fear death not at all for myself or my family, or my believing friends. But I’m grateful for love and feel the love of my father extending  beyond death into eternity in ways I can sense but not begin to know. It makes me happy.  🙂

Honor Guard & Law Enforcement Escort

Honor Guard & Law Enforcement Escort

On behalf of the family, I want to thank everyone who came to honor Dad, and for every thought, card, and expression of love or sympathy. You have proved healing and beautifully honoring. On that note I want to thank the Arkansas Game & Fish Commission Honor Guard, for their travel, sacrifice, and the very touching way they honored and paid tribute to one of their own, Dad who honorably served the citizens of Arkansas as one of them for forty years.

There were also National Park Service Rangers and other law enforcement officers there to honor Dad and provided an impressive motorcade one hour north where he was laid to rest. About fifteen miles before the cemetery, very heavy rain storms blanketed the area all the way there making driving and seeing the car in front of you very difficult. Once at the cemetery for a few short minutes, the rains parted for about ten minutes, while there was a reading of Scripture, and one of the grandsons played “Amazing Grace” on the violin. Dad was then honored by a twenty-one gun salute, flag ceremony, and the honor guard bugler playing taps. It was deeply touching and silently moving beyond words… Very, very honoring. “All is well, safely rest, God is nigh.”The Rain Flags

 

Honor all people, love the brotherhood, fear God, honor the king. (1 Peter 2:17)

 For love is as strong as death,  “Many waters cannot quench love, Nor will rivers overflow it; ” (Song of Solomon 8:6–7)

(View the cemetery service by clicking here.)

Honduras!

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Honduras, again? I never imagined it or planned it, but I have been a part of 4 different mission teams to Honduras within the last 14 months. 🙂 When I retired from the airlines in 2011, my mantra for the next chapter of life was, “The LORD is my Shepherd, He leads….” And so it goes…

During these four years He’s also led and provisioned me to go on missions to Costa Rica, Cuba, and Nicaragua. So I’m sensing that God’s big heart and strong hand is extended to Central America in this season of history with spiritual power and provision. “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for their’s is the kingdom of heaven…” we hear Jesus say in His Sermon on the Mount.

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Our team in the mountains above Siguatepeque

There were five of us on the team, four from Fort Smith, AR and our leader in the field, a missionary to Honduras, who was our driver, translator, and led the children’s ministry events.

We stayed two days and two nights with a Honduran family, in their home, experiencing the local culture and hospitality in ways short term mission teams seldom do. But this is also the family with the vision and desire to start the orphanage so we needed to get to know them, their vision, and their hearts. We held a children’s event on their patio with the whole village invited and evidently there. 🙂

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Munoz Family (3 generations) with Ken

We traveled the next day with three members of that family to visit another mission and family three hours away who are supported by the mission sending agency XMA. They had found a desirable spiritual covering and legal, administrative way to establish a Honduran version of a 501c3, to protect stewards who want to sow into the ministry there. Bringing these two families together was a divine appointment and the information they shared was key to the proposed mission going forward. May their future relationships with each other be fruitful in every way possible. We held a second children’s event in their village school after a delicious lunch.

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Possible site for orphanage

The following day, we said our goodbyes and headed up further into the mountains to see their church which is under construction, oddly enough with some help by an Asian mission-sending church in our city of Fort Smith! We visited with neighbors, and heard the project report from some of the members, praying with some who greeted us and had needs. And we prayed for the church before leaving Concepcion for San Pedro Sula and a night of rest and reflection. Besides the beautiful mountain scenery all about us, we were also treated to a refreshing visit to a 100’ waterfall, and lunch beside a very large, blue, fresh-water lake with a mountain backdrop–very beautiful, relaxing, and rejuvenating.

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Copan

The next day we visited the famous Mayan ruins of Copan, birthplace of the famous Mayan calendar, and got in position for our last kid’s event scheduled for the following day. We also visited a church along the way in a village served by a long swinging bridge, and learned more about what the Spirit of the Lord is doing with the church and people of Honduras. The hotel was charming and nice. Our leader had told us that even though it cost only $15/night, it had WIFI and hot water. It had WIFI. 🙂

The next day after devotions and breakfast, our team took a 30 minute horse-back ride to a high Mayan village where we saw something akin to a North American Indian village and held our third and last kid’s event before visiting with some of the village people, playing with kids, walking down their steep paths, and riding our horses back to the hotel, from whence we began our drive 4 hours back to San Pedro Sula.

IMG_7364Sunday morning we arose early, had breakfast with our missionary leader and his beautiful family, and headed for the airport. All travel coming and going was uneventful, if very early and very late at times. 🙂 Customs was a breeze, because we had “letters” saying our bags contained items for churches, children, and the poor. Indeed we were carried along by the Spirit the whole time and I think we all had a sense of it, albeit there was also spiritual warfare sometimes near and about. Spiritual opposition, and a successful mission, is why we are indeed grateful for our prayer supporters, and the Lord’s favor, blessing, and presence.

It’s our teams prayer that the Lord will bless Honduras, use our work there, lead us as wishes in the future, and call some of you to go or send others on short term mission trips during this exciting period of earth and church history! Shalom in His matchless Name.

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For the full report with more specifics sent to our prayer supporters, click here.

For a photo collection of our experience click here.

For a short video of our mission by our missionary friend and leader click here.

 

Character

7c9c2798-6ec9-45b3-a2ee-cc1f5b5ed66dI was laying on the couch by the fire this morning reading the Gospels when I received a text from a friend in a men’s group I attend weekly. It got my attention because it was about Omar Bradley. I quickly read and enjoyed the  article which reminded me in short summary the accomplishments, service, history, and the depth of the man. I was surprised at how well he spoke to the future, which is our day,  almost prophetically.

DSCN9047I have a best friend from college days named Bill Bradley. We nicknamed him “Omar” and it’s stuck with many of his friends to this day. 🙂 So of course I sent him the link quickly. He too is a man of character, service, and vision – the CEO of a large hospital in NWA. And for the same attributes of character and caring he has the respect of doctors, nurses, medical staff, support staff, patients, and the community at large. I call him “Omar” and “friend.”

IMG_6396I have a best friend from fighter pilot days named Brian Fields. His home going was two years ago today. Reading about Omar Bradley reminded me of Brian’s patriotism, sacrifice, and leadership. Besides being an excellent fighter pilot, he became the Vice Commander of our fighter group because of his attributes of character and caring.

Thinking about Omar Bradley today reminds me of these two friends and a few more I am blessed to have like them, men of character and caring. Knowing people like this brings sweetness to one’s lifetime on earth. Walking with them brings a level of peace, joy, purpose, and vision.

It would seem that Omar Bradley had extraordinary vision. Note his words below. They seem to apply in the natural and the spiritual realm.

IMG_6230And if you know people of character and caring in your realm. Tell them you appreciate their friendships and lives with a note or a call today.

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General Omar Bradley stated in an Armistice Day speech, November 10, 1948 (published in Omar Bradley’s Collected Writings, Volume 1, 1967):

“To ignore the danger of aggression is simply to invite it… We shall doom our children to a struggle that may take their lives…

We know that unless free peoples stand boldly and united against the forces of aggression, they may fall wretchedly, one by one, into the web of oppression.”

General Omar Bradley stated:

“We have men of science, too few men of God. We have grasped the mystery of the atom and rejected the Sermon on the Mount.

The world has achieved brilliance without conscience. Ours is a world of nuclear giants and ethical infants…

If we continue to develop our technology without wisdom or prudence, our servant may prove to be our executioner.”

In contrast to the totalitarian dictators he fought against, General Omar Bradley stated in his Armistice Day Address, November 10, 1948:

“In the United States it is THE PEOPLE who are SOVEREIGN…

7244a377-212a-4363-889c-c6e99df732aeThe Government is THEIRS – to speak THEIR voice and to voice THEIR will.”