Sunday, December 18, 2011

Monday, December 12, 2011

Why We Don't Eat at Luby's

    After church yesterday, the kids and I got to the car before Leslie and decided to go Bush's, the local chicken joint.  When Leslie got in (not knowing what we had decided) she asked, "Girls, what do you want to eat?"  When the girls answered, "Bush's!", Leslie said, "No, we're not going to Bush's."
I wasn't sure what to do so I just started driving southbound on 35.
As I usually do in a moment of indecision, I made a bad decision.  I said, "Hey, let's go to Luby's."  Leslie said, "Okay." and the girls asked, "What's a Luby's?"

    Here's a little context...  We are a go out to eat after church family.  Leslie and I covered it in our pre-marital counseling.  We know that we're going out, we're just not always 100% sure where.  86% of the time we go to a local taqueria.  My whole family can eat and I can leave Maria a 20% tip for under $25.  There are chips and salsa to keep the kids occupied as soon as we sit down.  Everyone likes the food.  I don't know why we don't go there 100% of the time, but recently we've been trying some other options.

    As we pulled into the Luby's parking lot I explained to the girls that it's a cafeteria, kind of like at school.  You get a tray, tell the lady what you want, they give it to you and you take it to your table.
We got inside and there was no line.  No time to check the menu or prices or plan ordering strategy.  We're up to bat at the salad bar as soon as we walk through the door.  I took the point followed by Georgia and Jonesy.  Leslie was riding drag.  Georgia requested cucumbers and oranges at the salad bar.  The guy gave her a funny look, but complied with her request and we moved on down the line.  She and Jonesy have trained for months in the school cafeteria for this occasion so we soon made our way efficiently to the end of the line.  I looked back to see how the rest of the herd was progressing.
    Annie's tray was empty and Leslie was exasperated.  Annie was in a "I want to get it myself" mood and had refused to allow the Luby's servers to serve her anything.  By this time the blue-haired Baptists had arrived and the line was getting long so we couldn't back up to get her any food.  Annie got to the bread selections, which are self-serve, and served herself a roll.  Next came the dessert selections.  I told the girls they could each pick a dessert, and each of them chose a dish of strawberry shortcake.

    A little more context... I love Furr's Cafeterias where you can get all-you-can-eat of all 23 food groups for one low price.  I have many fond memories of Sundays after church at the Slide Rd location in Lubbock being gluttonous with my college buddies.  At Furr's I used to have two or three desserts with every visit.  After all, it was all-I-could-eat for one low price.  Well, Luby's ain't like that. 

    As the checkout lady looked across our trays with a ciphering look on her face I remembered that Luby's charges for each individual item.  When she told me what the damage was, I told her that I remembered why I didn't eat at Luby's.  She chuckled, said, "Yeah, it is kind of high", and made me pay up.
We got a rolling high chair for Little Brother and made our way to our table and unloaded our feast.  Well, most of us did.  All Annie had was a roll and strawberry shortcake, but I was okay with it by that point as I thought about how much higher the bill would have been if she had gotten anything else. 
    About five minutes into the meal I heard Jones holler, "Annie!", and Annie say, "Uh-Oh."  I looked over and found that Annie had spilled her strawberry shortcake all the way down her dress and into the floor.  As I moved in for the clean-up I noticed the receipt on the table, and saw that each of the desserts cost $3.48.  I rounded up and declared, "Annie, you just spilled five dollars all over the floor!"
    When I got back to my seat, West was hanging his head over the side of the high chair like a -whatever the PC term for waterhead is these days- drooling okra onto the floor.  I pushed his chair back from the table and cleaned it up along with the other things he had dropped.  When I was done I pulled him back toward the table, forgetting that Luby's high chairs are wheeled.  He was still slumped over like a retard at table level, the chair moved easier than I thought it would, and I whacked his head against the table's edge.  He started hollering and I gave up.  I excused myself from the table and took him outside and let my girls and all of the blue hairs finish their meals in peace.
    While we waited in the car I prayed for peace and patience, and decided that next week we are going back to the taqueria!!!

Monday, November 28, 2011

Word of the Year


[lev-er-ij, lee-ver-] noun, verb, -aged, -ag·ing.
power or ability to act or to influence people, events, decisions, etc.; sway. advantage, strength, clout, pull.
the use of a small initial investment to gain a very high return in relation to one's investment.
verb (used with an object)
to exert power or influence on.
to use a quality or advantage to obtain a desired effect or result.

I've heard a lot of my favorite preachers using the word leverage lately.  It's a word I'd not heard much in church before, but alas there is nothing new under the sun.  The idea of leveraging what you have and where you are to further the kingdom of God is found throughout the Bible.  

*Remember the parable of the talents?
*Think about Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael and Azariah: "To these four young men   God gave knowledge and understanding of all kinds of literature and learning.  And Daniel could understand visions and dreams of all kinds." -Daniel 1:17
*Remember Nehemiah?  He was cupbearer to King Artaxerxes and leveraged that position to begin the rebuilding of Jerusalem.
*Esther leveraged her influence on the King to save her people.
*Preaching from the parable of the shrewd manager a couple of weeks ago Scott Meyer said, "I don't care how wealthy you are or how young you are, in God's eyes we all have just a little bit of time and a little bit of money.  The question is how will you leverage that on behalf of the Kingdom?  And the encouraging, powerful thing from this parable is that you can leverage your temporary worldly things to actually affect the population of eternity.  How's that for an investment?" 

And what of those who squandered their position?  10 of the 12 who came back from spying out Canaan died wandering around in the desert.  Saul lost the throne, Judus leveraged his position to betray Jesus. 

So the question comes to you...
How can you leverage your home, your money, your car, your radio show, your blog, your job, your time, your influence with family and friends?  And where you can, will you???

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

At Work Today

Let me start by confessing that I believe that names are important.  I believe they can prophetically speak into a person's future and can connect them to the past.  That's Biblical.  Old and New Testaments. 
Okay, that's all the preaching I'll do for today.  Here's the rest of the story.....

Seatrain Lines was the name of a shipping company most responsible for the introduction of the standard international intermodal container.  One of their containers is pictured below.

In 1980 a pregnant woman in Louisiana saw one of these containers and thought, "Hmm, I'll name my son after that."  After further consideration or maybe she just forgot how it was spelled, she dropped the "i", and on the day her child was born gave him the name Seatran.  With the 1st syllable having a short "e" sound and the 2nd having a short "0" sound with emphasis on the 2nd. (se-tron)

Thirty years later....Seatran has changed the pronunciation back to the original and now calls himself C-Train.  Yes, that's how he spells it now too, C dash Train, and today C-Train was my conductor.   The baby who was named after a shipping container on a passing train is now a railroad conductor. 
Ain't life funny sometimes.

Monday, October 31, 2011

Go to Church

For various reasons I haven’t been very preachy here on Time of the Preacher lately, but there have been things on my mind that I feel compelled to get out, so bear with me through this bit of preaching......

If you read this and think, “He’s writing this about me.”, you’re probably right.  But before you feel too special or get your feelings hurt, realize that I’m probably also writing about someone else.  
I see a lot of young couples around me struggling with the same things.  Who feel like they are beating their heads against a wall while trying to do everything right.  Taking care of various responsibilities with their jobs, marriages, homes, and children.  It gets overwhelming and because of their frustration and time constraints they withdraw from the church rather that run toward it.  They choose a kind of Oprah spirituality rather than the gospel and it leaves them wanting.  I see Christians being beat up by the world, tossed around our culture like a ship with no rudder, sail, or anchor.  My heart aches for them.

My advice to young and old is simple.  Go to church.  I don’t mean just show up at a church building.  I mean go to the church, the bride of Christ, the community of believers.  “And let us consider one another in order to stir up love and good works, not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as is the manner of some, but exhorting on another, and so much the more as you see the Day approaching.” -Hebrews 10:24-25
I’d like to challenge you to invest yourself in your local church.  Bless others and make yourself available to be blessed by others. Make it a priority.

Jeremiah 29:11 has become one of the most popular “coffee mug” verses in recent years:  “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you a hope and a future.”  I’ve seen lots of folks claim this as their favorite verse believing that it means that God plans for everything to eventually be wonderful in their life, that in time He will make them healthy, wealthy, and wise.  However, many of you may dismayed to find out that this was not a promise of God to an individual promising a great job, a perfect spouse, and obedient children.  Read the whole chapter, or the whole book of Jeremiah if you dare, and you will find that it was a multi-generational promise to a community of exiles.  Though exiles in Babylonian captivity, they were told to build houses, plant gardens, marry, raise children, and to seek the Lord while living in community as they awaited delivery from their captivity.  They were told to live in peace within the culture, but not to conform to it.  As it was for those Jewish exiles, I believe that it is through community and through generations that the Lord will bless us with hope and future.

I’ve seen the benefits of this in my own life.  I’m thankful that Leslie and I both had mothers who took us to church whenever the doors were open.
I’m thankful that Frank Daniels continually presented the gospel to me during my teenage years, and that he encouraged me to grow in maturity and leadership.
I’m thankful that James and Cindy Gray were there to model healthy marriage and mentor Leslie and I during our first couple of years together.
I’m thankful that Bill Vaughn held our babies (and hundreds of others) and for all of the meals we got to share with him and Helen.
I’m thankful that Lou Ann helps us teach our girls to be ladies and that Irv teaches me to be patient and gentle with my wife and children.  

I wouldn't have the blessings of these relationships without being plugged into the church.

Is your precious baby about to make you pull your hair out?  Take him to church and let your blessing be a blessing to someone else.  Let someone else hold him for a while.  He will be a blessing to them and you will get some relief and perhaps some new perspective.  

Has the shine worn off of your young marriage?  Are you wondering how to love each other?  Scared of adding to the divorce statistics someday?  Go to church and let people who have been married for 50 years teach you how it’s done.  Find out why that old man still has his arm around his bride who hasn’t been considered “hot” by anyone in 40 years.

Have you complained about worship, a Bible class, the singing, or home groups or the by using phrases like, “I just don’t get anything out of it”, “they just sing old songs”, “they just sing new songs”, “it’s mostly old people”, or “it’s just for young people”?  Perhaps you need a change of perspective and should seek first to bless others with your presence and participation rather than going in as just a consumer.

I know that living out this life of community may not be easy or comfortable for a lot of people.  Our culture is opposed to it.  We are greedy with our time.  We are fearful of exposing our imperfections and quick to complain about the imperfections of others.  I’ve seen a lot of congregations where generations are just tolerating each other, sharing space but not sharing their lives.  If you find yourself in this situation, maybe you should be the one to make the first move.  To borrow phrasing from JFK, ask not what your church can do for you, but what you can do for your church.  “...for whatever a man sows, that he will also reap...and let us not grow weary while doing good, for in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart.  Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all, especially to those who are of the household of faith.” -Galations 6

May you bless and be a blessing through the church and so much the more as we see the Day approaching.

Prayer of Saint Francis of Assisi

Lord, make me an instrument of your peace.
Where there is hatred, let me sow love;
where there is injury, pardon;
where there is doubt, faith;
where there is despair, hope;
where there is darkness, light;
and where there is sadness, joy.

O Divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek
to be consoled as to console;
to be understood as to understand;
to be loved as to love.
For it is in giving that we receive;
it is in pardoning that we are pardoned;
and it is in dying that we are born to eternal life. Amen

“There is no other context for your faith as a Christian than to be in community with other people.  I’ve heard a lot of people say to me over the years, “It’s just me and Jesus and that’s all I need.”  Well, that’s not the gospel in scripture.  If you are going to be those who claim to love Jesus then you will be compelled to love also the things that He loved.  And He not only loved, but came and gave Himself up for the church and that makes it our concern as well.”   -Derek Webb

I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God. For I say, through the grace given to me, to everyone who is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think soberly, as God has dealt to each one a measure of faith. For as we have many members in one body, but all the members do not have the same function, so we, being many, are one body in Christ, and individually members of one another. Having then gifts differing according to the grace that is given to us, let us use them.  -St. Paul , Romans 12:1-6

Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.  -Jesus, Matthew 11

Books to Read:

Proverbs-  In your Bible.  Right in the middle.  Timeless wisdom.  Most of it was written by Solomon, known for being a pretty smart guy.  

Romans-  Also in your Bible.  New Testament.  Written by St.Paul.  I’m not against “Bible study”, but try reading it without studying it.  Just read it straight through.

Stop Dating the Church By Joshua Harris.  He’s better at presenting this idea than I am.

A Song to Hear and Consider

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Fishing With Woody and Luke

Had a good time camping and fishing with Aaron and his firstborn.  Jazbo even got to spend the night at the lake with us. 
"....a boy don't get to be a man with clean britches on." -Elmer Kelton


Saturday, October 1, 2011

We Have to Drag Them Out of Bed on School Days

The girls were up at 6:15 this morning.  They had John Denver's "Thank God I'm a Country Boy" playing on repeat and turned up as loud as it would go while they hillbilly tap danced around their room.  So loud they rattled pictures off the wall.  Leslie had told them last night not to come out of their room until they could see sunlight through their window.  They obeyed. Made their daddy smile and their mother groan.

Monday, September 12, 2011

This Morning at the Lake

These videos are from my trip to the lake this morning.  Spent more time looking around than I did fishing.
The first video is of my favorite springtime crappie spot.  Where I was standing to shoot the video is usually about 6-8 ft deep.  The rocky bank is like crappie heaven in the spring.  The little bit of water you see in the video is only inches deep.
The next video is of the first beaver I've ever seen in the wild. I've seen evidence of them before, but this is the first one I've ever come across. At first I couldn't tell what it was. Thought it might be a gator. Then I thought it might be a nutria until I saw its tail. I chased him some with the trolling motor, then he slapped his tail against the top of the water and dove. He resurfaced a bit later and seemed to be doing the same thing I was this morning, just wandering around dismayed at the low lake level and wondering when it was going to rain again.

Friday, September 2, 2011

What's Influencing Me?

I guess it's because of the beginning of a new school year, but I've been thinking a lot lately about who is influencing my kids.   Thinking about that has led me to think about who's influencing me.  It's healthy to take stock once in a while, examine what kind of stuff you are putting into your life.
"...for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap."  Gal 6

Andy Stanley- Pastor of North Point Church in Atlanta, son of Charles Stanley of "In Touch" and First Atlanta Baptist fame.  I've been subscribing to the podcast of his sermons.  Not a lot of fluff like a Joel Osteen (no offense to you Osteen fans), but lots of meat and practical spiritual lessons.

Garrison Keillor-  Another podcast subscription.  Up to a year of his "News from Lake Wobegon" monologs from the "A Prairie Home Companion" radio show are available.  Just made up stories about his made up home town, but I like them.

I read Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar's second book, "A Love That Multiplies", a couple of months ago and I'm  still thinking on it most everyday.  Whether you have one child or nineteen, both of their books are full of practical marriage, parenting, financial, and spiritual influence.

For the last several months I've mostly been reading Elmer Kelton, Louis L'Amour, and Zane Gray.  Novels about the last half of the 19th century and the first half of the 20th.  Sometimes I think I would have fit in better back then.

Dave Ramsey-  It's been a year and a half since Leslie and I graduated from Financial Peace University, but we are still being influenced by what we learned.  Living on a budget, faithful giving, and having cash money set aside for car repairs, doctor visits, and new shoes really does bring financial peace.

Break the Chain-  When I visit Albuquerque I'll know where and what to eat, but will I have enough time and money to try them all?

What's influencing you???

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Sad Situation

It's hot.  It's dry.  Very dry.

West and I went treasure hunting at the lake this morning.  We didn't find much, but we had a great time.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Mayborn Museum

Our lunches were packed, the Northrups were loaded, and we were off on N. I35. This was Wests' first trip to the Museum where he was able to participate. He loved it! And so did all the girls.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Vegas Pictures

July 19-22, 2011

Mirage pool, Karaoke night, Southwest flights, Mandarin Oriental High Tea, Strip view from our room, Breakfast of champions, Curved escalator at Caesars.

Witnessing in Las Vegas

I've been a lazy blogger lately and have heard your complaints and requests. I have a backlog of posts and will try to do better, but those of you who are late with your subscription payments need to do better too.
Jones and Georgia need new shoes for school.

Bear with me.  Some of the upcoming posts may not be in chronological order, but twenty years from now when my kids are reading this stuff it won't really matter.

Last month was the Brown/Scott Vegas Vacation 2.0.  We had great times, ate a lot of great food, and made good memories. 
Some of you have seen the "I Love My Wife/ I Love My Husband" t-shirts that Leslie and I got a few months ago.  Well, I wore mine the day we traveled to Vegas.  I wore it on purpose.  Armed with my shirt and a story about how it was the first just-the-two-of us get away my wife had had in almost three years (true story) I had the intention of getting an upgrade to a suite at check-in.  We didn't get a suite, but we did get upgraded to a strip view room and the desk clerk surprised us by sending a chilled bottle of champagne to our room along with a nice card.
Later that afternoon Ryan and I sat down at a blackjack table.  I was still wearing my shirt.  As we sat down the dealer said to another player at the table, "I like his shirt better than yours."
We looked over at the other player, a guy in his early 20's who was wearing a t-shirt that said "I Recycle Women".  I asked him what it meant and he said, "You know, I just hook up with them, use them, and put them back into the pool."
All I could say was, "Hm."
Then the dealer asked me if I really did love my wife.  Ryan and I both told her that we did love our wives, and that we had each been married for 8 years.
From the table chit-chat it was revealed that the recycles women guy was in town with his family for his cousin's wedding.  I asked him if she had been recycled.  He didn't say much in response.  "Well, what about your sister?", I asked.  He kind of backpedaled as he stumbled through his response to that, but I think he got my point.  All women are special to someone.  They are sisters, daughters, and mothers and are to be honored.  Not recycled.
After he left the table it was just Ryan and I with the dealer.  She told us that she appreciated our response to that guy and that she was happy that we were there with our wives and were proud to profess our love for them. 
Soon after, she dealt Ryan a Blackjack.  As she paid him, Ryan said,  "The Lord bless you and keep you, the Lord make his face to shine upon you..."  
She said, "Thank you for that blessing.  Numbers 6 right?", naming the book and chapter that Ryan was quoting.
"Yes, it is." he said.
"Are you believers?", she asked.
We told her that we were, that we had met at a Lubbock Christian University, and a little more about ourselves and our wives. She told us how refreshing it was to see Christians in her line of work who were not so uptight that they couldn't come to Vegas and have a good time, but were not ashamed of their faith while there either.
I hope we brought a little bit of blessing into her life that day.  I know she brought a lot into mine.  

*Leslie will share Vegas pictures soon.
**To hear about some of the food we ate, check out Break the Chain.  Break the Chain is a new radio talk show that is taking the New Mexican airwaves by storm.  Some of our food experiences were featured on the July 31st episode.
***If you're interested in getting your own, we got our "I Love My Husband/Wife" t-shirts from Francesca Battistelli's website.  I'm not into pushy/preachy t-shirts, but these have been great conversation starters.

Friday, August 12, 2011

Butler Fun!

A day hanging out and swimming with the Butler family. Good times.

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