Thanks, Dad! You taught me “stuff”

Manny Donna and Tim in Hawaii - 1959

I remember watching my father while growing up; wanting to copy him and learn how to do “stuff”. He knew what to do when things needed to be done. The important stuff like … fixing my trike/bike, building a Pinewood Derby racer, planting a garden or hunting for night crawlers, teaching my brothers & I various skills like how to throw a ball and catch a pass or dribble a basketball.  He also made sure that we understood that God loved us; so much that his Son died for us.  For me.  You see, he and my mother came to a personal faith in Jesus Christ as early 20-somethings in the ’60s and they made certain that us boys knew Him too.

Gpa Harry, Manny and the four boys at a Father's Day reunion around 1967

Raising four boys through that decade (as two young adults themselves) had to have been a challenge!  (And having four/five teenagers through the ’70s! And another two teenage boys through the 80s!)   Sure, he had Mom and Barb AND your dad, my Grandpas Harry Art to help with the summer time activities like fishing, bee-keeping, camping and playing in the woods.   Don’t forget there was the Cub/Boy Scouts, tennis and gymnastics meets, concerts, Bible Quiz, ball games and tournaments AND oh yeah … he had to work in there, too!!

   Grandpa Manny                                 Tim & Manny

Gotta hand it to ya, you’ve raised us well.  You’ve given all of us kids (and others) an example of how to “finish the race” well.  Appreciate you serving in the Navy for a couple of years just launching from high school, all the activity in-between then while lately serving in the SD House for the past eight years.  Even dealing with life’s setbacks (cancer) and learning how to parent and grandparent “on the job” I’m still watching you to see how you do “stuff”.  🙂

Manny being sworn into office - SD House of Representative

Most of all, Dad, I want to let you know I love you and I am very proud of you.

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Tragedy strikes at the heart of FamilyLife

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We learned earlier today that several FamilyLife coworkers have damaged homes and property when last night’s tornado (4/27) blew through central Arkansas. Worse, a co-worker (Rob) tragically lost his life along with two of their nine children in the storm.  Along with the 3 deaths the storm’s winds flattened their home. Four of the children went to ER with broken arms.  Pray for the aftermath as this family deals with how to live without husband, dad, older siblings.😦  We hold tightly to the promises of God in times like these; promises like those found in Psalm 31.  In the midst of life’s turmoil we either believe in God or we don’t.  It would be crazy to live “in between”. God is sovereign.  When tragedy strikes in this fallen world with it’s storms we cling to an eternal perspective that allows us to grieve; yet we hope in the time “after time” that will allow us a reunion with loved ones that have crossed to heaven’s shores before us.  Rob, see you “in that time after time”.

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In times like these our first thought is to PRAY.  That should be our first thought!  Please intercede for these two FamilyLife families (Tittles and the Gaffneys who also lost their home last night).

Secondly, you may feel led to help financially.  If there’s any interest in helping Kerry and the kids monetary gifts are being collected for the family. Checks can be made to “The Bible Church of Little Rock“| 19111 Cantrell Road, Little Rock, AR 72223 | with “Tittle Emergency Fund” in the memo.

If you’d like to send a gift that can be put in a general fund to assist other victims contact us and we will help you do that.

 

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Love it when a cartoon makes my day! Thanks Johnny (and Ken)

BC comic strip about the Star & the Son.jpg

This morning I received a blog update from author/speaker, Ken Davis whom I have been following for years.  I’ve admired Ken’s enthusiastic wit and his ability to creatively tell a story (with a twist) that made me think differently about everyday life while laughing my head off.  You’ll have to check out his website and his shows soon.

In this recent blog/tribute Ken referenced the cartoon above recent drawn by nationally syndicated cartoonist, Johnny Hart, creator of the popular comic strip B.C. and co creator of WIZARD OF ID.  Now I knew that Mr Hart was a follower of Christ who has chosen to periodically and subtly weave a message of faith in his strips.  (Again, another creative mind making me pause and think.)

Thank you gentlemen for creatively presenting Truth in bite size pieces, whether a creative sound bite or a thoughtful six panel picture.  It truly does make my day.

 

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Yes, there is good news about marriage! :-)))

A few weeks ago I had the privilege of taking Shaunti Feldhahn to the airport here in Little Rock after her interview with Dennis Rainey & Bob Lepine on FamilyLife Today. I am SUPER excited about a book that she has co-authored coming out next month titled “The Good News About Marriage“. Got a sneak peek. What I read made my day!! There IS good news about the state of traditional marriage! Endorsed by many of the names you might recognize; Jimmy Evans, Bob Lepine, Jim Daly, Emerson Eggerich, Tim Clinton and others with a foreword by Andy Stanley.

Shaunti’s desire, has stated on the jacket cover, is in “Debunking Discouraging Myths About Marriage and Divorce”

  • the fallacy of the 50% divorce rate
  • the surprising truth about divorce among churchgoers
  • how most marriages are happier and healthier than we’ve been told

Here are a few of the statistics that may make your day like it did mine:

  • In the U.S. – first-time divorces are in reality at between 30-35%
  • Among active Christ followers the divorce rate is UNDER 20%
  • 80% of the married couples surveyed reported that they are happy in the marriages.

Interested in a “sneak peek” at the book?
WaterBrook/Multnomah Publishing Group are making a sneak peek available.
You can download the first chapter by clicking here.

Image   Enjoy!!

 

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Phil’s duck stand…

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Last weekend I had the privilege of listening to Willie and Korie Robertson share a bit of the history behind their celebrity lives, and the family’s life, at a fundraiser here in Little Rock.  The family has been catching a lot of flack because of some statements Willie’s dad, Phil, made during an interview with GQ for their January 2014 issue.  His comments, based on scripture, were right on the mark and yet, in the arena of “polite society” most of us “water down” those passages of scripture or neglect to point out the obvious as Phil did.

willie and korie robertson in LR at spark of life fundraiserDuring Willie and Korie’s funny and “all over the place” storytelling I picked up a few things I didn’t know; Phil actually holds a Masters degree in Education and he left the college athletic limelight as a starting quarterback for Louisiana Tech to return home to follow his first love; duck hunting.  Those two comments alone prompted me to do some research on this “Patriarch from West Monroe, LA“.

Listen, I’m not gonna comment on all the media hooplah over Phil Robertson’s statements (A&E suspending him from the Duck Dynasty show’s lineup, the backlash from viewers and his subsequent reinstatement).  What I will do is ask you to listen to the backstory of some of the clan’s lives.  Phil, his wife Kay, his son, Jep and grandson, Reed share a brief soul-searching glimpse into what life has been like growing up in small-town America and what now holds their attention.

What was life like before all the success?  And who gets the number one slot now?
Here’s that story…

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Fathers of daughters “En Garde!”

The fencing term “En Garde!” (or “On Guard!” in English) was to signal to your opponent that you were ready to battle / compete. I’m using it here as well for you fathers, like me, that are raising daughters. Too many fathers are being hesitant, or even indifferent, about their responsibility to protect, prepare and propel their daughters into life beyond their childhood homes.

Several months ago I attended a day long event in Baton Rouge, LA with about 180 other men of all ages who were challenged to engage their family, friends, coworkers and acquaintances with God’s Truth graciously but intentionally. I was reminded again that I must be praying for our daughters earnestly and often. I must also plan ways to creatively “engage” with them about life issues that they are encountering.  Especially now that they are young adults with decisions

Angel & JennFor instance, we released our youngest, Jenn (on the right) into the big wide world recently. She’s now a college graduate with her nursing degree, job lined up with an apartment and roommate ready to go. She’s ready to leap…scratch that…she’s leaped!  Now, I have to figure out what this next stage will look like and still hold onto the father / daughter friendship we’ve grown to love.

Or our oldest daughter, Angel and her loving husband, Orenzo who gave birth to our first grandchild five months ago.  I’ve been trying to figure out what this stage of life will look like for my relationship with all THREE of them.

Angel Little O & OrenzoYou see, Orenzo is now wearing the mantle of Protector, Provider and Leader of their home.  I presented it to him as I gave him the hand of our daughter at the altar almost 4.5 yrs ago.  (You can listen in on that exchange by clicking here.)  How do I best serve him as he learns to serve his wife and his namesake, L’il Orenzo IV?  If I am going to aim for a life of significance I gotta be looking for opportunities (or create them) to reveal more of God’s heart to each of them.

That’s a legacy worth living for!

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A Modern Marriage that seems to work!

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A Open Letter to the producers of “White Collar“,

I have been thinking of writing this post for several months now, especially after watching  the last couple of episodes of this show.  For those of you who are not quite as addicted as I am to the current barrage of detective shows on network TV (NCIS, CSI, Elementary, Blacklist, Almost Human, etc.) this particular USA Networks drama is a well scripted, engaging look at something unique.  Entertainment Weekly even describes it as “Satisfyingly Slick“.  I agree.

Here’s the plot in a nutshell; FBI Special Agent (Peter Burke played by Tim DeKay) finally caught elusive white collar criminal, Neil Caffrey (Matt Bomer).  Later Peter arranges for Neil’s release from prison under the stipulation that he assist the FBI in apprehending other “white collar” criminals.  Over the last four seasons I’ve watched Peter reach out to Neil almost as a mentor; cautiously optimistic but with a maturity that recognizes Neil’s propensity as a con artist.  Through the creative scenarios and the ethical dilemmas written in the storyline we find Neil has come to respect Peter almost as the absent father he didn’t know until season three.

The reason for this “letter” is not to highlight the “detectiveness” of the plot but rather to applaud Executive producer,  Jeff Eastin and the writers of this series.  The uniqueness of this show is that they have chosen to portray Peter Burke as an intelligent, mature professional with an equally competent and engaging wife Elizabeth (Tiffani Tiessen).  Yeah, there’s the almost obligatory nod to the homosexual movement with one of the supporting roles. HOWEVER, the writers and producers have chosen to explore how a married man and wife can actually be committed to one another for the long term and address issues common to many relationships and make it work because they choose to make it work.

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We see Peter and Elizabeth continue to reach out to Neil with honest hospitality and concern AND accountability with an implied challenge to be more than the con-man that he sees himself to be.  They do it with such poise that it seems natural.  Plus, as a husband and wife they are put in situations that require full disclosure with one another.  That partnership appears to have established an authentic trust that has come
through years of commitment (there’s that word again!)

Again, my compliments to the White Collar production team for pulling together an engaging story, a great cast AND for allowing a married couple to thrive in the midst of a challenging career and lifestyle.  Kudos to you all!

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From veteran to farmer to legacy builder

Duane and Minnie's wedding picture croppedDuane was an ordinary young man from the plains of South Dakota who chose to serve his country in a time of need. He enlisted in the United States Army toward the end of World War II and his infantry unit (19th) was called to serve in Japan for the two years of his enlistment. He distinguished himself as a marksman (having spent his formative years hunting in the ravines and shelter belts along the Missouri River). He also served as a chaplains assistant while finishing his two year enlistment. Returning home at the age of 24 Duane began his farming career back on the family farm that continued for another 60+ years. Soon after he returned he met and married a wonderful young woman named Minnie Rose, a teacher that taught elementary age children in a one room schoolhouse in their township until they began their family of five kids.

As they settled into the Midwestern farm life, raising kids and livestock, planting and harvesting crops, engaging in church life as a Sunday School teacher, choir member and elder and helping their neighbors. And there was always hunting …year round. Over the years they learned what it meant to live sacrificially for one another and the family and to lead lives of committed contentment.

Gpa Duane reading bible after dinnerThat’s the family heritage I married into. You see, my wife Sheila is the youngest of those five children. I have watched Duane and Minnie Rose Hubregtse serve their growing, extended family over the past 30 years that I’ve known them. One of my favorite memories is watching Duane pull out his bible after dinner to read some scripture and to share what it meant to him.  This man lived simply, but deeply.  When he chose to share his opinion it wasn’t a long drawn out explanation or argument.  It was just his opinion.  However, it was an opinion forged under a wealth of time spent communing with the Father, listening to His words and meditating on it.  He didn’t flaunt his humility but rather wore it comfortably.

My father-in-law, Duane James Hubregtse is a man that I have come to admire and to respect. I will miss this humble man of God, his soft-spoken ways and his unwavering faith. While the world recognized the efforts and life of one of America’s icons of faith, Billy Graham last Thursday evening another soft spoken giant of the faith stepped from this life into the next releasing his tired and worn out earthsuit to don his promised incorruptible heavenly garments. He has joined many other saints including his wife of 60 years, Minnie Rose. As believers in heaven and an afterlife in the presence of God I am looking forward to giving Duane a hug when I see him next.

Thank you Duane,  serving in our nation’s military and for living a godly life. Thank you for equipping my wife to become the godly woman she is today.  Thank you for showing all of us, including my children, what a real man does as he “loves God with all his heart, mind, soul and strength”; and how to “love our neighbors as we love ourselves”.

Hubregtse clan July 2013

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Questions to ponder

So far, it’s been a wonderful experience here at FamilyLife’s / Cru’s biannual conference!
Moby in panoramic style
From Allistair Begg to Steve Douglas to 10th Ave North the theme I’ve been hearing has been “How we can truly help EVERYONE in the WORLD meet someone that knows Jesus Christ?”
What do you think about these three questions?  Or just pick one to ponder today.
1)  How has my life experience prepared me for the unique purpose to which God has called me?
2)  How can I escape from the safety of my personal program and into the supernatural power of God’s agenda?
3)  In what areas of my life and ministry can I step beyond my own ability and into something that only God can accomplish.
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Almost to Cru 2013 conference @ CSU

Click here for our 1" video :-)

Every two years Cru (Campus Crusade for Christ) hosts its conference on the campus of Colorado State University in Fort Collins, CO.  This will be our fourth conference and we are looking forward to a wonderful week of getting reacquainted with ministry colleagues for all the different ministry arms of Cru: Military Ministry, City Ministries, Josh McDowell, Jesus Film, Corporate HQ, Story Runners and others.  Alongside some great general sessions each morning and evening there are numerous workshops to help us hone our ministry skills and “catch the vision anew” of starting movements everywhere so that everyone will know someone that knows Jesus.  Here’s our first video montage of the front end of our trip to CSU 2013.  More to come.

 

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