Friday, August 31, 2007

One of the Greatest Words of All Time

Are you busy? Are you stressed and troubled? I want you to do something with me right now. Close your eyes and clear your mind. You are no longer in your office, your home, or your school (where you should NOT be reading this!) You no longer have homework, deadlines, phone calls to return, an office to clean up, a boss breathing down your neck...

Say the word with me: "VACATION." It just rolls of the tongue, doesn't it? Ahhh, just saying it brings to mind the sight of the road through my windshield and the taste of sweet tea as I relax. It brings my heart rate down. My wife would probably say it makes me easier to live with! :)

Yes, we are FINALLY going on vacation! Well, my wife has already traveled this summer, but summers are off-limits for vacation (for me) because that's when the teens are out of school and available.

It was an awesome summer. Teens grew closer to each other and closer to God. Their faith was strengthened. We had awesome participation.

Now it's time for Franklin to go away for a little while.

Vacation. Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaahhhhh.

Friday, August 24, 2007


Here is a pic of my new niece...Esther Sue Wood! Her mom and dad are relieved that she's finally here. She was born earlier this week, so I'm sure they are all getting adjusted. We are excited that Fischer has a cousin!

Esther, we have already been praying for you a bunch! And we will continue to do so as you grow. I pray that you will come away with the faith that your mommy and daddy have. May God always bless you!

Wednesday, August 22, 2007


It's interesting and confusing when you teach others, but hit a roadblock along the way.

Tonight, I was encouraging a new 9-year old Christian the importance of prayer. I dug up one of those old worksheets that has several scriptures about prayer and then has Yes or No written out to the side for the student.

Of course, we studied Matthew 6, one of Jesus' prominent teachings on prayer. I was doing fine until I came to this passage:

"7And when you pray, do not keep on babbling like pagans, for they think they will be heard because of their many words. 8Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him."

Here's the struggle:

On the one hand, I have heard (and probably taught) that you should be able to tell God ANYTHING! That the conversation should be open and honest, and that you should be able to tell God everything about your life, even the smallest of details (like David in the Psalms!)

And then, Jesus says, "Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him."

This makes it sound like I should NOT share the smallest details of my life. It makes it sound like God already knows, and therefore does not need me telling Him about my life.

This is both comforting and frustrating. Comforting because God already sees what is going on in my life, and He knows what I need. I don't have to tell Him, or make requests all the time because He knows. He is a good Father who knows me inside and out, and wants to take care of my needs.
But, it's frustrating because, as a human, I badly WANT to have someone with whom I can share the details of my life!

I need to study this passage more. Any insights?

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Dad's Song

Planning for our August 26th worship service (theme: Growing Older) made me start thinking of older hymns and memories of songs that older Christians love to sing.

One of my dad's all-time favorite songs is "It Is Well With My Soul." Dad would get up to lead it, announce the number, pinch his pointer finger and thumb together (other three fingers extended), smile across the crowd, and start it.

At this point, as a teenager, I would shrink down about three inches into my seat and hold my songbook in front of my face. You see, Dad would get to the second and third verses and be practically yelling the words as he waved his arms (and most of his body) in gigantic circles. The other kids would smile as they glanced at my blushing face, but were mostly glued to the action up front. Later in life, I would discover why...

My parents came to visit me when I was the youth minister in Ponca City, OK. One particular Sunday night, we had a 5th Sunday singing, where the podium was open for any man who wanted to lead a song or two. Of course, my dad could not let such an invitation go unanswered, so as he strode up to the front, I knew what was coming.

"Turn to number four-hundred and ninety. Four. Nine. Zero."

The smile came and the hand went up, but this time I didn't bury my face in my songbook. I watched my father lead a song that was dear to his heart.

As he came to the second verse, he sang as LOUD as possible, waving his arms back and forth to emphasize the words. And during that moment, I heard these words that I had heard all my life, but never really noticed...

My sin, o the bliss of this glorious thought
My sin, not in part, but the whole
Is nailed to the cross
And I bear it no more
Praise the Lord!
Praise the Lord, o my soul!

As Dad yelled/sang these words, my voice cracked and I put my hands over my face to hide the tears. Now that life wasn't about me and my embarassment, I understood my dad a little better...especially why he liked that song so much.

What about you? Anyone have funny or fond memories of an older Christian and an old song that they LOVED to sing?

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Baptistery Guard

A 9 year-old young man came to me last Wednesday wanting to talk about baptism. His mother told me that he had been contemplating it for well over a year.

As I sat down with him, I had a list of things in my mind that I thought most people should know before they are baptized. Please understand, they are more like guidelines than "stop signs." In other words, I wouldn't use "lack of knowledge" as a reason to prevent someone from becoming a Christian.

Listening to him talk, I could tell that he had been thinking about this decision for quite a while. And he had been thinking about it hard. But there were a few things I felt like he wasn't grasping, so I told congratulated him for mulling over this topic, asked him if he wanted to meet again next week (with any more questions he could think of), and told him to ask himself, "Am I willing to give 100% of my life over to God?"

We gave each other a high-five and I escorted him back to his mom. We spoke for a few more minutes and she was very appreciative of me taking time to speak with him.

I hurried back to my office to get some things and headed to the Wednesday night devotional in our gym. Standing in the hallway looking concerned was the mother I had just encountered.

"Isaiah is pretty upset," she said. "I found him around the corner crying. He kept saying, 'But, mom, I AM ready! I AM ready to give 100% to God! I don't need to think about it any more!"
At that point, Isaiah shuffled over to us. I crouched down and put my hand on his shoulder.

"I am so proud of you!" I whispered. "Listen, buddy. If you are really ready to do this, then who am I to stop you? If you're ready to do it, then let's do it tonight!"

His teary eyes brightened and he smiled at his mom.

I straightened up and apologized to her. "It's not my job to guard the baptistery. If he says he's ready, then let's do it."

Now I have a new little brother in Christ. Isaiah Mallet. What a cool kid! By the way, he's very forgiving, too...we're meeting again tomorrow night (a week after his birth into Christ!)

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Erased a post

I just wrote a whole post and erased it. Wasn't sure that it was "proper" enough to be posted...hahahaha.

In case you're wondering, it was about youth ministry in the United States and the pressure to perform as a youth minister. The pressure to provide results, even though you can't force people to do things!

Oh, the post was not brought on by any discontent in my job. A friend of mine called recently to tell me he was getting out of youth ministry because of the pressure.
In some ways, I understand. Some days, I think it would be easier to do a job where I could see tangible results.

At the same time, however, I'm sad. We've lost another good man. Oh, he won't leave the church or anything, but he has been wounded...wounded by family.

Encourage your ministers today, will you?

Let them know that you love them. Tell them that sometimes you get mad at them, disagree with them, think they're immature, don't see results from them, etc...but tell them YOU STILL LOVE THEM. That's family. That's what I believe God wants.