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Learn Live Lead

The Authenticity of Disciple Making

Category: stories



I had the opportunity to harvest several cord of oak firewood from a house just up the road from my house. That meant I had the opportunity to run my beloved Stihl 290 multiple times. Many life lessons can be learned while running a chainsaw.

That sick of wood will heat you up three times.

                You will warm up during the cutting of the wood. You will warm up during the splitting and stacking of the wood. And, you will warm up when its being burned.

Sharpen your chain early and often.

                Just do it. Stop what you are doing and sharpen the chain. When the chips flying out of your saw look like dust, its past time to cut. It will save you time to stop and sharpen.

Safety glasses only work when they are on your eyes

                I had my glasses on my head, but not on my eyes. They were perched on the bill of my cap when a piece of sawdust flew into my eye. It happens, and I knew better.

Timing is everything:

                I guess I have learned this in a lot of places and different ways, but timing matters. At the end of cutting and before putting your saw up for the rest of the season, you should drain the fuel tank and run the engine completely dry. The plan is to run out of fuel after you finish cutting, but that is not the way it always happens. Yesterday the blessing of God was obvious. I usually run out, or break down just before I finish up. These untimely break downs cost time usually, but not yesterday. Yesterday I was cutting the very last branch. It was about 14 inches across and hard as a rock. As I held on to the Stihl 290 and guided the cut, the two pieces release from one another, my saw quit. I had run out of fuel…completely out of fuel…just after the last piece of firewood was cut. Perfect timing is not based upon planning all the time.

                I hope I run this race in such a way that I use everything up and run out at just the last moment. I don’t want to run out early and be cranky and unfit for kingdom work, and I don’t want to reserve all my energy for a time that I’ll never get to use it.

1 Corinthians 9

24 Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one receives the prize? So run that you may obtain it. 25 Every athlete exercises self-control in all things. They do it to receive a perishable wreath, but we an imperishable. 26 So I do not run aimlessly; I do not box as one beating the air. 27 But I discipline my body and keep it under control,[b] lest after preaching to others I myself should be disqualified.

The Cute Meter

The Cute Meter

Something is so ugly its cute. HOW IS THAT EVEN POSSIBLE! It doesn’t work in any other area of life. You could never say, “That tastes so bad that its GOOD!” You would never say, “You actions were so wrong, they turned out to be right!” But for a dog…that is really ugly…its not cute…its really just really ugly.

The cute meter sounds like a round dial type of meter that starts out at 12 o’clock with CUTE, then slips to UGLY at 6 o’clock. After hitting ugly, things just get uglier at about 9 o’clock, but by the time things get back around to 12 o’clock its cute again.

I think we treat our sin this way at times, but it doesn’t work that way. Our sin is never cute, and though we try to dress it up from time to time, it will never be cute. Jesus died on the cross for our sins and that is pretty serious. That is the most serious thing any person has ever done. Jesus gave His life, and we sometimes forget that it was because of our sin problem. We love to celebrate the special salvation we enjoy, but we often don’t like to be reminded of our little pet sin that we keep around.

That little pet sin that you keep around is ugly. It is not honoring to God. It hinders your walk with God. But His GRACE is sufficient. Christ gives Great Grace to us, and I am changed by it.

Romans 6:1-14

1What shall we say then? Are we to continue in sin that grace may abound? 2 By no means! How can we who died to sin still live in it? 3 Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? 4 We were buried therefore with him by baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life.

5 For if we have been united with him in a death like his, we shall certainly be united with him in a resurrection like his. 6 We know that our old self1 was crucified with him in order that the body of sin might be brought to nothing, so that we would no longer be enslaved to sin. 7 For one who has died has been set free2 from sin. 8 Now if we have died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with him. 9 We know that Christ, being raised from the dead, will never die again; death no longer has dominion over him. 10 For the death he died he died to sin, once for all, but the life he lives he lives to God. 11 So you also must consider yourselves dead to sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus.

12 Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, to make you obey its passions. 13 Do not present your members to sin as instruments for unrighteousness, but present yourselves to God as those who have been brought from death to life, and your members to God as instruments for righteousness. 14 For sin will have no dominion over you, since you are not under law but under grace.


The Say it OUT LOUD Test

The say it out loud test

When you say something out loud, your ears have the opportunity to assist you in the decision making process. Sometimes we fail to allow our ears the opportunity to assist, and it causes us to make bad choices. Many times when someone has done something stupid I don’t even have to wonder if they practiced the wisdom of the say it out loud test. It’s obvious. They didn’t.

I should have practiced the say it out loud test more often in my life, but no one gets it right all the time. One of the large and more epic of fails in my life could have been prevented if it were for the say it out loud test. One day I thought it would be awesome to honor my wife with a new pet. I bought her a cat.

There is was. I hope you didn’t miss it. I paid money for a cat. Every third sign that I drive past in neighborhoods is a hand written thing on a piece of cardboard, or spray painted on a car hood (yeah, I live in Texas) with the words…FREE KITTENS. But I purchased a cat for my wife. Had I said it out loud, it would have been prevented.

There are many areas of our Christian life that could be assisted with this test:

“I love Jesus but don’t love the church.” Say it out loud test should determine that to be impossible. The Church is the body of Christ.

“I just don’t feel connected to the church.” Ummm, if you are saved, you ARE connected to the church, no matter your emotion of the day. You may not be connected to the church because you have not gotten involved in the vital ministry of the church. Try going on a team to knock on doors and share the gospel. You will connect.

“I’m not going to that church because I don’t know or like these new songs they sing.” This is usually said by the same people that say, “We need to reach young people.” SAY IT OUT LOUD FOLKS! IF YOU DON’T GET THIS ONE, I CAN’T HELP YOU!

Amen, and Amen.

For All the Stray Dogs

For all the stray dogs

We had a Dachshund come into our yard a few years ago. It was a stray that my son and I tried to help, but there was a problem. The dog was mean as a hornet, so we left some food out for it and it went on its way. For many a months…without missing a night…my son prayed for “all the stray dogs in the world.” I think that shows his kind heart and gentle spirit, you know, a chip off the old block, but I did not realize how God was going to answer the prayers of this boy.

 One night I arrived home to a very large and very energetic Redbone Coon Dog. These are beautiful dogs with a voice that will carry for miles. The only trouble with having a dog like this in our yard is that the neighbor’s houses are all “feet” away, and a loud coon dog treeing the cats in the back yard makes a lot of noise. I notice the dog had a collar, but it had no contact info. I let it in the yard and it begins to play with my dog, Rocky, but I’m not sure coon dogs know how to play. She wanted to tree Rocky, but he was too fast and aggravating for her. I let the dog out of the yard and it slept on the front porch all night. I know this to be true because of the whining and crying from the dog (loud enough to hear from inside the house) broken up by occasional loud barking (that could have been heard from inside the next neighborhood).

The next morning the dog was gone. I think the neighbor is going to find a home for it. I really didn’t need the responsibility of finding the owner of this very expensive dog, but somebody was going to miss her. So now I am reminded to pray for all the stray dogs in the world and then be willing to be a gracious host when one arrives in your yard.


If you are going to pray for something, you should also be willing to be the tool God uses to accomplish the task.


Lesson Learned. Now I have to call the fire department to come get the cat out of the Pecan tree in the back yard.

The Princess and the Paper

The Princess and the Paper


A long time ago,

in a far away land,

lived a beautiful princess named Abigail.


The beautiful princess was admired by all for her beauty. She had long blond hair, a stunning smile, fair complexion and a not-so-quiet confidence that suited her well. Abigail did not mind the life of a princess, in fact she felt it was not burdensome at all. All of the subjects in her kingdom would attest to her royalty.


Her parents can remember the first few steps down the road to princess-hood. It would begin with her dear sweet parents having to tip-toe down the hall outside her room in the castle for fear of waking the little angel from her beauty rest. Then it moved to the precious one refusing to sleep anywhere other than on her father’s chest. She then developed the ability to eat at her own pace, regardless of the discomfort to her family. Yes, it is certain, Princess Abigail was born to carry such a yoke of responsibility. Some traits are learned, some are earned, but her royal traits have been obvious from the beginning.


In more recent years the Princess developed a unique ability to smell things that no one else could smell. It was like the her ability to smell was a super-hero trait, yet we know the explanation is much simpler. A Princess develops the ability to find herself uncomfortable when no one else understands. A Princess expects things to be a certain way and reserves the right to change her mind at any point. A Princess can decide she is unhappy, and not need a reason for the decision.


The super sensitive smeller was noticed throughout the kingdom. One smell in particular was the bane of the young princess’ existence. This awful smell would penetrate and permeate the entire castle, but only to be noticed by the Princess. The source of this awful smell: Newspaper! As soon as the paper enters the house the Princess is uncomfortable. Whatever room the paper is in, she avoids. If it is on the bed, she will lay on the floor. If it is on the table, she will eat somewhere else. The putrid smell is so horrid that it causes the little princess to gag and nearly lose her lunch, and that would be horrible for any princess. Sometimes the mean ol’ parents of the little one will sneak up behind her and leave the paper, just to see what happens. When Her Majesty discovers the ruse, someone is destined to pay for their insubordination.


It is difficult being the royalty amongst peasants. It is truly difficult to have to deal with such unlearned folk that can sit at the breakfast table and eat, while drinking coffee, AND READING THE PAPER. Oh the lot this little princess has been dealt in life, but through her inner strength and beauty, she will find a way to carry on.

Science Fair

Science Fair


I have always loved Science Fair week. Today was the day for Jonathan and his buddy Isaac to take their ‘ice melting’ project to school to go head to head with various studies of great significance. I saw a project in which hamburger patties were allowed to rot, with the McDonald’s patty looking really similar to the original pictures. I saw a hand gun experiment in which a 6th grader was learning the potential damage that can be done with weapons. I watch young ladies bring in project after project related to testing beauty products. My favorite could have been a brother/sister team that did a study of the heart rate during video game play. He played video games, she took his heart rate. SCIENCE!!!


After leaving the science fair world as a participant over 20 years ago, and beginning that journey as a 6th grade student at Westlawn Middle School, I had lots of fun doing projects. Though the years have passed, the projects look the same. Three panel backboards, hypothesis statements, journals, neatly place articles in the foreground, everything was there…well almost everything. There were in depth projects on structural engineering, and there were projects determining the strongest brand of paper towel, but what I did not see still amazes me.


There was no Baking Soda Volcano.


 Either the science fair world has moved past the baking soda volcano or the teacher would not allow anyone to choose that topic. I’m going with the later.


A Science Fair without a baking soda volcano is like getting a bowl of soup without having any soup in your bowl. It is like going bear hunting without taking a weapon. It is like having church services without lost people around.


Shouldn’t we be so involved in the world around us that we invite lost people to come to church? I think it should be a emphasis we make, after all, God is being patient in His return so that none should perish. A Science Fair without a Baking Soda Volcano is like having a church service without lost people…something is missing.

Lesson Learned on Basketball Trips

Lessons learned on basketball trips

It is game day! We will be traveling for an out of town middle school basketball grudge match this afternoon. The 15 sixth graders on Jonathan’s team will be facing another school in order to demonstrate the basketball dominance of Texoma Christian School. I hope this goes well…

 I had a love for basketball back in the day, you know, when I could get up out a chair quickly. I have still not been approached by someone and asked if I played basketball in High School. Tall athletic people get asked this question, but not short, tubby, slow people. I can think of a ton of things to apply to life that I learned in basketball. Here are a few off the top of my head:

 Lesson: Never fall asleep on the team bus…just don’t do it, if you have to stay up for three days, stay up

Application: Be vigilant in your Christian walk, to walk circumspectly is the challenge of Paul in Ephesians. Pay attention and be alert.

 Lesson: Always practice and play to the best of your ability

Application: Whatever you are doing, it is worth your best. The way you live your life behind the scenes and the life live in public are connected by the heart of the person.

 Lesson: Sometimes coaches can be hard to deal with

Application: Learn to serve under any circumstance. If you are dealing with difficult people, realize that you are also very difficult at times.

 Lesson: You don’t always win

Application: Work harder and do your very best, but remember, the results are not always up to you.


There is much to learn out of life circumstances and situations. Wise is the person who learns from their surroundings and improves because of it. Wise is the person that who is changed and shaped into the image of Christ. Wise is the person who is transformed by the renewing of his or her mind.

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