Friday, March 11, 2011

I hate depression...

I heard the news yesterday. A brother in ministry had passed away. Like me, he had a background in music and singing. Also like me, he was a pastor, and a family man. He was somewhat younger than I, and the news of his passing troubled me.

I had met him a few years ago when he came to my church for a benefit we were having for my brother in law, who was battling cancer. He brought his wife and kids, and they sang for us. I had known of this brother through his frequent appearances on a local Christian TV station, and also knew that he had had a background with helping some big time gospel groups in his beginnings. In our concert for Michael, my son in law, he, his wife, and kids sang. It was a beautiful singing.

I hadn't personally heard from him in a while, but I knew he was pastoring a church in nearby South Carolina. I assumed everything was going well. Then I heard the news... Apparently things had been going bad lately. I don't know the details, and only heard this through another pastor friend. But this brother was going through some rough times. His wife had left him, and his church had asked him to resign.

A couple of days ago he took his life. I am deeply saddened by this. Although I did not know him well, I feel a great loss. I know he was a man of God, and there was an anointing on his life. He contributed much to the kingdom of God. It shouldn't have ended like this.

We all have felt the emotions of discouragement and despair. I personally know what it is to battle depression. Most of us do not take the measures that he did. I regret that he felt so low that he did so.

Our prayers are with the family.

Friday, March 4, 2011


I like my coffee! I enjoy the smell and the taste of a fresh cup. I don't want anything in my coffee. No flavors, please. Also no cream, and no sugar. I like it black, extra strong. And I have a particular brand and blend that I prefer the most. It is Millstone Columbian Supreme.

I generally buy a pound from the local Wal Mart. I grind it up there, espresso grind. The coffee will last between a week to two weeks. I drink a couple of cups in the morning, and maybe a cup or two later in the day. And when company or guests come over, I often put on a pot.

Wal Mart has probably a dozen or so blends of Millstone coffee from which to choose. On occasion they are out of my favorite, Columbian Supreme, so I have to pick another blend. And about once a quarter, someone pulls the "coffee switch." I am not sure if it is on purpose, or by accident. I just know that I know my coffee. And I know when it isn't my favorite blend. As a matter of fact, I can pretty much tell you what they switch it with-- breakfast blend. I know this because when they have been out of my favorite, that has been my next choice. But it is not my preference.

I just put on a fresh pot this morning. Yes, they have done it again. It was labeled Columbian Supreme, but it isn't. It doesn't have the rich aroma, the taste that I crave. It is a substitute, a replacement. I suppose the stocker of the coffee thinks we will never know. Oh, but I know. I know my coffee. And I know what isn't my coffee.

Which leads me to my real point today-- Don't we often substitute for the real move of God. We bring in imitations, copies. Something that looks close like. Yet it isn't the real. We ran out of the real, so we offer what we've got. And it just isn't the same.

Signing off... craving a cup of real Columbian Supreme.... and a real move of God!

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Mother in Law Jokes and Banana Pudding

We've all heard the mother in law jokes. Most men have not only heard them, but have shared them. We've also made up a few of our own. Any man who has been married has more than likely felt the wrath of an intrusive mother in law who at one point felt the evil man was hurting her little girl.

I was one to share some mother in law jokes. I was also one that on occasion had a difference of opinion with my wife's mom. But although we had our differences, we got along well. And I haven't shared a mother in law joke in quite a few years. At least twelve or more, I think. Mary passed away years ago to cancer. I think it was about twelve.

I miss her. I remember when Trish (my wife) and I met. Her mom was a talker. I was shy and backwards by nature. But Mary never met a stranger. She could talk to anyone, whether she knew them or not. In my early days of ministry, her communication skills were a tremendous help to me. I learned that talking to people helps them open up. It helps them to get comfortable with you.

Another thing I miss is her crying. We would often laugh at it. I was one of the leaders of the laughing. I can see it today as if it were only yesterday. We would be sitting around at a family gathering, enjoying ourselves, when all of a sudden, she would start. She would try to hide it, and we would wonder what it was. The crying wasn't always sad, many times it was joyful. But still, she would open up like a flood. Mary's heart was tender. Whatever it was that had touched her heart, she couldn't conceal. So the tears would flow.

And boy, could she cook! Southern style cooking with all of its flavor! I miss the dinners, and the desserts. One of them that I remember was the banana pudding. My wife never made banana pudding, because, as she put it, "nobody makes it like momma." And sadly, when she passed, so did the pudding with her. Trish never thought to get the recipe. (Thankfully, my daughter makes a pretty good pudding)

Banana pudding, tears, talking. Memories. Mary is with Jesus today. I had left the hospital by my wife's side as Mary struggled with breathing. The cancer had taken its toll. I had a wedding to perform. I didn't make it back in time to tell her goodbye.

I'm looking forward to the next time we meet, when I will say hello. Or, as we say here in the south, "Hey." I might say "Hey, Mary. Got any banana pudding?"