Saturday, June 30, 2012

Do You Want To Be A “Second"?

Hello Friends,

Last weekend Cecil and I took a road trip. As a Father’s Day gift, I purchased tickets to the Houston Astros baseball game against the Cleveland Indians. If you know Cecil AT ALL, you know he is a HUGE baseball FANATIC. Now of course his favorite team is the Texas Rangers and they are who he follows. However, one of his dreams is to see a game in every Major League Ballpark. If I can, I will help make that dream come true. So our quest began. 
Cecil in front of Minute Maid Park, Where the Astros Play

We did a few other things while we were in Houston. We went to the Houston Aquarium, and we visited some family in the area. Cecil’s brother is the pastor of First Baptist Church of Clute, TX. We had a great time with them too!

Me and an Eel....Nasty
Cecil and a Puffer fish 
Cecil, Lyndon, (Cecil's brother) and Anne (Lyndon's wife) 

I am leaving out one thing that to me was the highlight of the weekend. After the baseball game, we attended a concert by Third Day, a Christian band.

Mac Powell and Third Day

What an amazing event! Not because I was seeing Mac Powell and the other members of Third Day in real, life! AND Only 20 rows in front of me! But because I was being led in true worship to my Heavenly Father! Because the man in front of me leading us loves my Jesus just like I do. And his purpose there was to share Jesus with all the people gathered in that ballpark. If there were some who did not know Him on a personal level, Mac was willing to tell them about Him right there. For those of us who know Jesus, Mac invited us to get to know Him better and to tell others. Then we just praised Jesus for who He is and what He has done for us! Wow! I don’t know about you, but THAT makes for a pretty awesome weekend in my book.

One of the things Cecil and I love to do as we travel, is read. We choose a book and I read as he drives. So fun, it allows us to talk about it as we go along and I get to use my own inflections and interpretations, instead of just listening. This trip we started a book it is “I AM SECOND” by Doug Bender and Dave Sterrett. This book is full of stories of people who have discovered that we cannot live the abundant life until we fully turn our lives over to Jesus Christ, putting Him first and acknowledging “I AM SECOND”! You can also find these stories at I want to encourage you to check out some of the stories at the website, but to also find the book. Whether you are a Christian or not, it will impact your life for Jesus.

If you don’t know about “I AM SECOND”, let me tell you just a bit about them. It is a ministry founded by the chairman of Interstate Batteries, Norm Miller. He felt like God was calling him to start some thing based on the verse John 12:32.

John 12:32 And I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all people to myself.

Norm got together with some business associates and shared his burden. Together they came up with the following concept. Ordinary people willing to “lend their names and stories” so that others can see that through real life and real situations, God can give you peace and purpose. These people are known as “Seconds”. Though some are well-known, others are just like you and me. All “Seconds” have the same goal. That as one watches or reads his or her story, that person will be able to relate to the struggle, they will see their need of Jesus, and turn to Him, just as the “Second” did.

John 10:10 “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.” (ESV)

I want to leave you with a synopsis of 2 of these stories. Hopefully to entice you to watch their films and get this book! So I will try to give you like a trailer. Haha

Brian “Head” Welch-
If I know my audience like I think I do, most of you have NO clue who this person is. “Head” was the co-founder and lead guitarist of the band KORN. If you still don’t know who I’m talking about, it’s ok, it just means you have not been a part of the heavy metal, rock or what is called nu metal scene over the past 15-20 years. Don’t despair, I don’t think you’ve missed anything. hahaha 

Anyway, once “Head” picked up a guitar and began to play, that was his passion. He new that was the only thing he wanted to do in life. He and a friend made that dream come true. But, like many rock stars, “Head” got involved with drugs, alcohol, sex and other things that typically come along with that lifestyle. The thing was he had something nagging at him, 2 things really. First of all, “Head” had daughter in California that he never saw. He hated this and knew his little girl needed a dad. Second, he didn’t understand how he could have all he ever dreamed of and still be miserable. He went to church with his realtor and accepted Christ. Because he was a junkie, he went home and did crystal meth. After he snorted a line he looked up to heaven and asked God to search his heart. He told God he didn’t want to do drugs anymore. At that point “Head” surrendered to God. The next day he threw out all his drugs. He says in that moment of surrender “God changed me”.  I love this story! This is a miracle of Jesus’ love for the unlovable.

I have left SO much out please watch the video.

One more…

Daniel Montenegro-
Daniel, like so many unhappy, empty, searching teenagers, turned to drugs. He went to school and became a mechanic. He was successful at his job, but he was disgusted with his life. One night he wanted out of life. So while being drunk and high, Daniel sped down the highway in a car. All of a sudden, a billboard stopped him. Ironically it was a man he used to look up to, and now hated. It was Brian “Head” Welch. When “Head” was with Korn, Daniel could relate to him and his music. But now “Head” had left Korn and the band was no more. According to what Daniel heard, “Head” found God. He felt like that was a lame excuse for quitting rock and roll music. Then Daniel noticed the words on the billboard, “I AM SECOND”. He knew it had to be religious, but he had to find out for himself. So Daniel drove home, typed in the web address and began to watch “Head’s” story. He watched it over and over again. He cried. It was Daniel’s story, his life, so out of control. He knew he wanted that life. So Daniel went to church. He felt like the preacher was talking directly to him. The preacher spoke on Psalms 92:7.

Psalms 92:7 that though the wicked sprout like grass
 and all evildoers flourish,
 they are doomed to destruction forever;

Daniel knew that he was “the wicked” and an “evildoer”. He knew he was doomed to destruction.  Two days later someone from the church called and wanted to meet with Daniel. He agreed, but while he was still on the phone he remember the heroine in the refrigerator. He couldn’t decide, the heroine or the door? Daniel finally grabbed his keys and walked out the door. He went to the church, met with the man, and accepted Jesus! From that point forward Daniel’s life has been changed. He now lives for Jesus.

I’m sorry to say that Daniel’s story is not on the I AM SECOND website. In order to see it in its entirety you must read the book.

I don’t know about you, but the one thing I get out of that amazing story of redemption is that as a Christian, we NEVER KNOW who is watching us, or what our story will do for someone. So follow what God tells you to do and let him worry about the rest!

So I challenge you this week to share your story with someone. It doesn’t have to be how your were saved necessarily. Maybe share a spiritual turning point in your life. Let’s see what God does with our stories when we live as “Seconds”.

Living in Grace,

Sunday, June 17, 2012

A Father's Day Tribute

Hi Friends,

I know it has been a VERY long time since you have heard from me. That doesn’t mean God hasn’t been working. He has, I just haven’t been sure what He has wanted me to write. Well, this morning God and I had a little conversation it went something like this:
Me: “God, I know you want me writing, I just don’t know what you want me to write. Do you have a subject? There are so many things you are teaching me personally right now. I just don’t know what you want me to share with others.”
Then I waited…
God (in my spirit): “Your dad, write about your dad. Write about me. How am I your father?”

I have to confess, this is very hard for me. Not because I had a bad dad or a bad relationship with my dad, but because 3½ years ago my daddy took his last breath on earth, and walked into the presence of Jesus. This is not a difficult subject because I’m sad for my dad, quite to the contrary! I KNOW that he is in God’s presence. Praising, Worshiping, Singing (he had a gorgeous voice), Listening to, and Loving our Savior! My sadness is for me. I miss him every day. Let me tell you a little about my daddy, Bill Dunn, and why I miss him so much.

My daddy, Bill Dunn and his dog, Rocco

To some Bill Dunn was a music director, to others an insightful Sunday School teacher, to others a savvy salesman, and still to others he was a loyal friend. There are many other titles he held, prayer partner, husband, brother, and even Papa. I could go on and on with the different aspects of my dad’s life, but to Angie, Becky and Billy he was simply known as dad or daddy.  As you can tell from the titles and rolls he held, he was a very intelligent man. My dad had a photographic memory. It was crazy, he would give us statistics that he had read and you could count on it being fact. The thing was he was never arrogant about his intelligence. He never flaunted it, or tried to prove to anyone how smart he was. He just went about his life, quiet, and unassuming. Then he’d speak and blow your mind! Because when Bill Dunn spoke, you knew it was going to be profound! The thing is that was public Bill.

Now I don’t want you to think my daddy lead a deceptive or double life. He simply behaved more casually or relaxed at home. We didn’t always listen when he spoke when we were at home. Now that may not have been a good thing, but it IS the truth. Especially when you’re talking about 3 females and 1 male in the house (before Billy came along). Poor daddy!

From the time I was little, I knew my daddy was there to protect me. I never had a doubt that when I went to bed at night, if anything happened, my daddy would be there to confront the boogieman! When I needed a hug or felt insecure, I knew I could climb in his lap and snuggle up with him. I remember being very little and singing for him. Even waaaaay back then, it didn’t matter what I did or how good I was, he was always there to encourage me and tell me how proud he was of me. Do you know what made my daddy so great? He never stopped doing these things! In fact, after I moved away from home, I think he was more protective, more affectionate more encouraging and more proud of me than he had ever been when I was at home.

There was one other quality that made Bill Dunn an amazing daddy. He was always there ready to guide me to Jesus. As I said before, he may not have talked a lot, but there was one thing I knew for sure. He loved God and would do anything for his church. That included climbing around in the attic of the our new church building, as it was being built, and putting air conditioning in it. I also knew the whole family would be in church every time the doors were open. Even after I had my own family he was still guiding us. Sharing his written lessons. Wow! God sure did bless me!

Now let me make one quick Bible application. I could not be more thankful or feel more blessed for an earthly father! However, my precious daddy was human and fallible. Though I don’t like to think of him that way, but my daddy pointed me to the ONE who is perfect, will never leave me, will never disappoint me, will protect me, will give me security, and will always encourage me. I simply have to turn to God when I need Him and He is there to meet those needs.

I hope you will remember, whether your dad is here or not, whether you have a relationship with him or not, God longs to be your daddy. Just go to Him in faith and trust Him to forgive you of your sins and ask Him to come in your heart and be the Lord of your life.

Living in Grace,