Daily Archives: August 6, 2012

James Semple: A Texas Baptist

This afternoon I heard the sad news for Texas Baptists that one of our giants went home to glory. Dr. James Semple passed away on July 22 after a long battle with esophageal cancer. When the news sank in my mind raced to a handful of conversations I had with Dr. Semple over recent years that shaped and changed my life as a leader.

One of my favorite sayings attributed to Dr. Semple is:

“You cannot run a revolution on spare time and spare change.”

He had an amazing gift for cutting to the chase and getting to the point. Dr. Semple was far more than a simple man–he stood tall as a man of God noted for his character, courage and leadership. He will be greatly missed.



Filed under BGCT

Intended Consequences

One of the most famous laws of human nature was named after Captain Edward A. Murphy who worked on the Air Force as an engineer who worked specifically on a deceleration project. Murphy’s Law as it has been called states:

“If anything can go wrong—it will.”

I suspect most of us can identify with this timeless principle more than we want to admit. However, when it comes to the work of the Kingdom of God we discover a force that curves if not crushes the gravitational pull of “Murphy’s Law.”

This summer we have found ourselves caught up in a “wave” of blessing as we have witnessed time and time again the power of God at work all around us.

A few months ago Carmen Estrada and Edgardo Martinez prayerfully envisioned a ministry opportunity aptly entitled “A Spiritual and Nutritional Summer.” The genius of the plan revolved around provided supplement groceries to low-income families with children at home from school for the summer months.

Many children in our neighborhood depend upon the breakfast and lunch served at school to sustain their diet, but during the summer months these children from “food insecure families” face a food shortage in their kitchen at home.

The simple plan of providing supplemental food would have been a worthy endeavor, but Carmen and Edgardo along with a wonderful team of volunteers envisioned far more. God planted a dream in their hearts of establishing relationships around the dinner table. As the old saying goes:

“Offer a hand up not a hand out!”

So twice a month on Thursday mornings, these families and children have been invited to share a morning together spending time making friends and learning more about what it means to have a growing personal relationship with God.

You may recall Jesus knew instinctively that a growling stomach often silences the whisper of God, but after a satisfying meal the heart tunes in with clear focus. Jesus also knew that “man shall not live by bread alone.”

After the feeding of the five thousand when He was chased down by those who wanted to miraculously feed them time and time again He declared:

 “I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never go hungry and whoever believes in me will never go thirsty.”  (John 6:35 NIV)

 Jesus came to not only put daily bread on our table, but to satisfy the deepest hunger and longings of the human heart. He alone quenches the thirst of the soul. He alone offers us all we really need. Through the “Spiritual and Nutritional Summer” ministry twenty-one mothers found in Jesus a Savior who satisfies.

One Thursday morning during the summer program Edgardo heard the voice of a young boy calling his name. He turned to find a boy chasing him down saying “Pastor, I want to give my heart to Jesus. Will you help me?” With a big smile on his face, Edgardo guided this young man to Jesus–the “Bread of Life.” Sometimes you get just what you hoped for—“A transformed life!”

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Filed under El Paso Journal, FBC El Paso, First Look

A Quiet Mind

A few days ago I attended a funeral service for a dear saint of God who worships as part of the family at St. Clements. As part of the service, we recited a series of petitions from the Common Prayer Book.

I was struck by the supplication from the following petition.

Grant, we beseech Thee, Merciful Lord, to Thy faithful people pardon and peace, that they may be cleaned from all sins, and serve Thee with a quiet mind; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

So what does it mean to serve the Lord with a “quiet mind?” Based on the context of the prayer, clearly one aspect of a quiet mind rests in knowing and claiming by faith that your sins have been cleansed and forgiven. Guilt and shame created a constant troubling noise in the soul and mind.

I also would liken a “quiet mind” to experiencing the “peace that passes all understanding” that Paul championed in his letters. The very peace that Jesus promised those who followed closely after Him.

In our highly connected digital age finding a quiet peaceful place has become increasingly more challenging. Too often I long for a dead spot where my cellphone has no reception so I can escape for a moment from constantly being in touch.

This morning I long for a “quiet mind” by which I can ponder the grace of God, rest in His goodness, and hear the “still small voice” of His Spirit that guides by thoughts and steps.


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Filed under Devotion