Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Climbing higher

I just got back from rock wall climbing with my two oldest kids at the gym where we just became members. Usually when Amy and I go to the gym with the kids, all six of us go into the pool. Today was the first time climbing.

Rock wall climbing is a lot harder than it looks—especially if you're doing it wrong, like I was. Apparently, you have to keep your hips close to the wall and let your legs, not your arms, do most of the work. Despite my poor form, I made it up to the top of a section of the wall that was medium difficulty. It was a glorious feeling to be 400 ft. up in the air dangling by a rope. OK, maybe it was more like 40 ft., but I'm telling you the air was really thin up there.

When I got down, I saw my 5-year-old son, Morsel, on his way up another section of the wall. He got about 1/3 of the way up, when he looked at me and said that that was as far as he was going to go. I looked at him and said, "No, Son, keep going up. You can do it." He was a little hesitant at first, but he started to make his way up the wall. Soon he was taking more confidant strides. When he would get stuck, I gave him suggestions on where to put his foot, where to reach, etc. I knew he could make it to the top, but I didn't know if he would go all the way.

He was almost to the top of the wall, when it looked as if he might go no further. I kept urging him on: "You can do it, Son. You're doing great! You're almost there!" I was so proud of him when he finally grabbed the top of the wall. I think I was more excited than he was.

Every young man needs an older man who will not let him give up after only climbing 1/3 the way up his wall. Every young man needs an older man who declares his belief in him, pushes him forward, cheers him on, and celebrates his victory. Older men, do you have a younger man that you are encouraging to go farther than he believes he can go? Younger men, have you found someone who can speak into your life and push you out of your comfort zone, so that you don't stop short of your potential?

If not, let's commit to seeking those out so that we can walk in the fullness of who we are in Christ.

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Monday, October 20, 2008

Big kid Bible

We just got our 5-year-old his first real Bible: the kind without the pictures. Although, it does have some maps in the back. He loves it. He's started reading through one of the Prophets. It's very encouraging to see him interested in the Word.

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Sunday, October 19, 2008

If your student asks for a fish...

A few days ago, I was rushing through my 30-minute lunch at school. I had been working into my lunch period trying to prepare my room for the PSAT test I was giving my students. I only had a few minutes to myself to eat my meal: leftover tilapia and rice. I just wanted to eat my lunch in peace and not be bothered.

Not long after I sat down for my meal, one of my students walked into the classroom, where I was trying to "hide."

"Hi, Mr. Andrews, what are you eating?" she asked.

"It's tilapia," I responded, not wanting to engage her.

"I've never heard of that. What is it?"

"It's a kind of fish."

"Oh, I've only had catfish." I thought she would lose interest at this point, but then she continued. "Can I have some of it?" Quite honestly, I was taken completely off guard. You're kidding me, right? I was thinking to myself. I was blown away by her boldness, but also the innocence with which she asked me. She obviously thought nothing unusual about her request, but fully expected me to give her some of my lunch. Speechlessly, I broke off a piece of fish and gave it to her. She seemed to enjoy it.

Reflecting on this incident, I remembered Jesus' parable about the man who boldly went to his friend at midnight asking for bread. I also thought about His words after that:

"Which of you fathers, if your son asks for a fish, will give him a snake instead?...If you then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!
It was a reminder to me to persistently ask the Lord for a fresh filling of His Spirit. He will satisfy my hunger.

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Sunday, October 12, 2008

Here comes the judge

Yesterday, we went to the International Bar-B-Que Cookers Association Cookoff held in a town a few miles from our house. I was excited to take in the sights and sounds (and tastes) of this yearly event. I figured that the public could probably buy barbeque at an inflated price, but I was willing to pay.

When we got to the location, the first thing I heard was, "Folks, we're going to need some judges for the cook off." Imagine being a little kid at Toys R Us at Christmas time and your parents saying to you, "Johnny, you've been such a good boy this year, here's our credit card. Pick out some things you like."

That comes close to the feeling I had. But then it seemed like the bubble of my dream was about to burst:

"We're looking for people to be judges in the ' best beans' category."

Beans? Beans??

"So when are you guys judging ribs?" I asked.
"Oh, that's not until tomorrow (Sunday) at 1:00 p.m."

Immediately I began to plot a strategy to get myself back to this location the next day in plenty of time to sign up to be a judge. I would go to church in the morning, making sure I sang all the praise songs loudly and confessed all my sins so that God would have favor on me. On the way home from church, I would promise my wife three straight days of alone time without the kids so that she would have favor on me. Then with all humility and pitifulness, I would ask her if she minded me going back to judge the ribs contest. "It's a great opportunity for me to be a witness for Jesus when I pray before scarfing down tasting the food."

My plan was foolproof...until my wife said, "Are you remembering we're having lunch with my parents tomorrow?"

[heavy sighs, biting my lips to hold back the tears]

"Oh yeah."

So I settled for judging in the finals of the "best beans" category. There were 19 finalists, so we had to pace ourselves.

If you ever thought to yourself, "I wonder what kind of people volunteer to be judges in the 'best beans' category at a bar-b-que cook off," I can give you the answer to that question. I sat across from a guy who must have been a veteran at this sport. The guy next to me looked as if he might eat beans right out of the can...and then eat the can.

"Howdy," I said warmly to my fellow judge across the table in the best Texas accent I could muster. He sat still as a statue and looked at me as if I had just called his mother an iguana. I figured I came across as too friendly; I decided to try a different approach with Mr. Tin Can.

"Hey," I said coolly as if I had just ridden a bucking bronco and was bored to tears to be judging a bean contest but only did so as a favor to my ailing grandma who lives for this day.

"Hey," he responded. (We must have the same grandmother.)

So I enjoyed my 20 minutes of fame as a judge in the finals of the 'Best Beans' category at the IBCA Cookoff. On the drive home, however, my wife was sorry that it was beans and not ribs that I had judged.

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Shocking!

I saw regular unleaded gas for $2.99/gal today! I should have taken a picture of the sign because I know that many of you don't believe me.

UPDATE: $2.89/gal is the new low that I've noticed here in Arlington, Texas.

What's the lowest price of gas that you've observed? What city?

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Thursday, October 9, 2008

Scientist for Jesus



"Daddy, I want to stop the fighting in Science," my 5-year-old says to me the other day.

"Oh, yeah? How so?"

"I want to prove scientifically that God created the world."

You know, I believe he could do it. Last week he was explaining to me how a combustion engine works. Went totally over my head, but he knew exactly what he was talking about. He can spend hours with his microscope, reading about dinosaurs, building planes and helicopters, and coming up with ideas for experiments.

There used to be a time when to be a scientist meant to have a strong faith in God. Many scientists nowadays seem to take pride in ridiculing or being condescending toward believers. I pray for a generation of upcoming scientists who can converse with skeptics, atheists, agnostics and prodigal scientists on a highly technical level, but who are themselves passionate about the Lord Jesus Christ.

"Father, strengthen my son's heart and sharpen his mind. Let him bring glory to the Name of Jesus through his love of science. Let him bring light into dark places. Let him reach people that are far from You. Let me be an encouragement to him as he follows the path You have laid out for him."

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