Tuesday, August 30, 2011
Wednesday, August 17, 2011
Hey friends. Thanks for stopping by to check out the blog. I'd like to invite you over to our new site. Our blog is now hosted there at the Ridley Barron Ministries website. There you can read the blog. We will have RSS capabilities soon and you can check out all the other stuff that is going on with Lisa and me. Thanks for being a follower of the blog and, as always, I welcome your thoughts on topics you'd like to hear about. Take a look and give me your thoughts. God bless!
Thursday, August 11, 2011
I don't think I've talked much about our family pet on here. In fact, I don't think I've mentioned him at all. His name is Tuck (named by Lisa after we first got him because of his affinity for tucking his nose into tight places and going to sleep). He is part Maltese and part Shih Tzu. Did you ever wonder where a name like Shih Tzu came from--did someone sneeze and decide that it would be a great name for a breed of dog? Ah, but that must be the cold medicine talking. Back to Tuck.
Tuck and I have a special relationship that frustrates the rest of the family. You see, like all dogs, Tuck has to be escorted into the backyard throughout the day to take care of personal matters. When others take him out, it's not unusual for them to come back in the door exasperated and sweaty from chasing Tuck into the street, the neighbor's yard, or the field behind our house.
Not so with me. In fact, when one of the kids can't get Tuck to respond, they'll often call me out to get him to come. It doesn't work all the time and occasionally he has run from me. For the most part, though, when he hears my voice, he responds. Whether it is in the house or in the yard, he knows my voice.
He's laid up in my lap right now. Tossed over on his back with all four paws up in the air, he is sound asleep. He almost looks dead. However, if I spoke right now and asked him if he wanted to go outside, I have little doubt he would stand, stretch (yoga-style) and trot to the back door.
It made me think of this verse.
3 The gatekeeper opens the gate for him, and the sheep recognize his voice and come to him. He calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. 4After he has gathered his own flock, he walks ahead of them, and they follow him because they know his voice. 5 They won’t follow a stranger; they will run from him because they don’t know his voice.” John 10:3-5 NLT
A good measure of your relationship to anyone--including God--is how well you know their voice. My kids know when I call them from downstairs. My wife doesn't need caller ID when I call her on the phone. My dog can detect me from across the yard. And those of us who are truly following after God will learn to hear His voice whenever He speaks. Make no mistake about it, He will. I pray you are able to hear His voice when He does.
Tuesday, August 09, 2011
I've got one of those sinus infection "thingies" going on this morning. Actually, it started yesterday and I tried to wish it away. So I got up, went for a run, finished cutting the grass and worked my way through Monday. No matter how hard I tried, I couldn't fight off what seemed to be inevitable. It probably wasn't helped by playing a double-header last night in the Middle Tennessee heat.
So, this morning, I find myself working from my "bed office." I can't stand it. I've always said I'd rather pull a muscle or break a finger than to have a sinus infection. They drive me crazy--raw nose and all. I think it's because when you pull a muscle, you can kind of accommodate the problem...maybe limp a little or limit your use of that part of the body. Not a sinus thing. You can't exactly stop breathing. So, the nose keeps dripping and the body keeps aching from this stupid infection.
Infections are the same no matter where they are. They can sap your energy. They can cause you to operate at half speed (or worse). And they require all the effort of the body to fight them, drawing resources from other areas.
Did you hear me say that infections are the same no matter where they are? Not just in the human body. In your organization, in your family, in your circle of friends. Infections (those people who have negative attitudes or bitter hearts) can rip your family and ravage your church. They sap the energy from the group, cause it to limp along at half speed and require resources from other areas to be concentrated on them.
No matter how hard you might wish them away, they can't be ignored. The only answer--fight them. In my case, it's fluids, anti-biotics and lots of rest. But to fight your own special "infection" you may have to have a hard conversation and stand up to the one who is bringing the organization down. The sooner, the better. Especially when it comes to my sinus "thingy."
Monday, August 08, 2011
I've been reflecting on something the last few days while I was in Georgia with Lisa at my mom's house. It is truly amazing how one person's story effects others. I know that I have spent the last seven years watching as Josh's story has touched thousands of people. I am thankful that God has given me that opportunity. I've also seen how Lisa's story has impacted hundreds of women as she talks about God's grace through very difficult times. This weekend, I was thinking about how my life was touched by the countless stories of the people of Honduras.
A young, single mom who goes weeks without pay to continue to serve these orphan children. She gives and gives when she, herself, is in need of provision.
A young boy whose parents throw him down a well because he is not what they expected in a child. His mild learning disabilities "disqualify" him from being part of their family.
A 14 year old who has come to the home to be away from her family, a family that forced her into prostitution to make money for their drug habits.
A young man who stands in the mud of his village where he is raising his family of 6 in a one room hut with no electricity, no running water. He smiles with pride at me as he shows off his beautiful children.
Two questions I have to ask. What's your story? How are you using it to impact others? All of us have a story. Every day that passes, another twist in the plot unfolds. But stories aren't written to be kept on a shelf. They are shared with others to make an impact. To change the reader in such a way that the story never leaves his heart or mind. What will you do with God's story in your life? Others are watching, waiting, wanting to read. Wanting to be changed by who you are and what God is doing in the pages of your story.
Thursday, August 04, 2011
It is a surreal experience riding through the Honduran countryside in a giant yellow school bus. There is absolutely no telling what your eyes will see. From the menagerie of animals alongside the road (I'm not talking about the fields beside the road. I'm talking about standing at the edge of the road) to the myriad of houses and shacks and lean-tos that dot the landscape. But this is where I found myself with my family on Tuesday.
We were wrapping up the last hours of a nine-day mission trip to the northern part of the country. I can't tell you the full impact of what I experienced last week nor can I adequately put into words how it touched my family. I can simply say we left El Progresso changed. How can you not be? I have a different understanding of many things. I reflected on them as we made our journey on Tuesday.
I know what intense poverty is. It's not having to live with basic cable; it's living without ever seeing a television. It's not having to trust in an unreliable vehicle for your daily transportation; it's walking everywhere you have to go no matter how many miles that may be. It's not relying on the government to give you food; it's going without food because the government is too poor to provide for its people. It's not your inability to pay the water bill; it's having no source of fresh water to draw from at all. I don't make these statements to down play those who live in more moderate levels of poverty. It's just to say that when someone is considered poor because they only have one TV or ride the public transportation or live in a two-room house, we are fooling ourselves.
I also learned the international need of belonging is best met with the international language of love. Like my friend, Pepe. Pepe is a 12 year old young man who lives in an orphanage just outside El Progresso. His smile could light a thousand villages and his heart overflows with love that he wants to give to somebody. For his privacy, I won't share the details behind why he was there at the home. Suffice it to say, he's there. And if it weren't for customs agents and international laws and restrictive adoption policies, he'd probably be here at my house today (at the unanimous pleading of all 6 of the Barrons). He might not be the only one.
Yes. It was a very good week. And it would be a great tragedy for me to come home and be unchanged by the faces and stories of people like Moises and Gabby, Julie and Wendy, Marvin and Luis. But a greater tragedy would be if I failed to tell you that they exist--along with billions of others like them on the planet. And you and I can make a difference. It might be by giving. It might be by going. You choose. But to ignore the "least of the little ones" as my grandmother used to call them, would be a sin in the greatest of proportions.
Anyone who sets himself up as "religious" by talking a good game is self-deceived. This kind of religion is hot air and only hot air. Real religion, the kind that passes muster before God the Father, is this: Reach out to the homeless and loveless in their plight, and guard against corruption from the godless world. James 1:26-27 the Message