Thursday, October 25, 2012

January 2013, a book is coming out by my friend Brad Guice. Brad is a renowned photographer in our country, who is soon to be ordained, and will be pastoring in New Jersey. His book is entitled,
"The Call to Missions, Living the Book of Acts."

He has contributions from many missionaries around the world.

I was first introduced to Brad through a friend named Pat Davila. She was a blogger on this site, whose heart was moved by BJ's plight.

Brad called me early on, after BJ's death. He was working on this project and wanted to use our story. We wanted him to as well, but the timing was wrong. We were working on "I Would Die for You," and our agent was concerned about overlap.

We were disappointed.

However, God had a plan.

Brad's book was held up in production for various reasons. Years passed.

Two years ago, we talked once again, and had the green light to contribute. We are so blessed and very thankful for Brad's journey's and testimony. His story is powerful, of being delivered from drugs. He served under the late Pastor David Wilkerson.

Brad has traveled and photographed the world. You will see his pictures on emotional display in this book. He truly has the ability to cause a stirring in one's heart, with his giftedness.

Brad may be transitioning out of professional photography (which is how he has earned his living) and into full time ministry.

I've had the privilege of an advance electronic copy of his book. It is quite amazing!

I was privileged to author one of the pages, beside one of his photographs. Humbling!

One of the things that moves me most, are the two pages in the back with quotes from missionaries and martyrs.

BJ has a quote that is nestled between William Booth (founder of Salvation Army) and William Carey! In fact, there are quotes from CS Lewis, CT Studd, Mother Teresa, David Livingstone, John Wesley, Hudson Taylor, Charles Spurgeon and others.

Because of a "kernel of wheat," the Lord is being glorified!

Deanna and I count ourselves blessed and thankful for how God continues to use surrendered lives, even when the cost is very great.

Please purchase this book, "The Call to Missions, Living the Book of Acts." You won't be disappointed! As a matter of fact, click on this link and go reserve your copy now!


Thursday, September 20, 2012

I've parked here for many days over the last few weeks, trying to think what to share.

The slate remained empty until now.

Seven years ago, you began your final week of being physically present with us. We had reason to be optimistic. We believed you were going to overcome this illness, and do mighty things for your King.

The reality is, He overcame your death, and used your surrendered life to impact others around the world. He still is.

Your writings, your wisdom, and your devotion,  have impacted generations. Your mom and I continue to hear from people around the world who have read your story, and have seen the Lord do a mighty work in their lives.

We are most thankful!

There are times that I find myself thankful that you are not here to see your friends fail. Many struggle to learn to rely upon Him the way you did. The way you sought to show them, abides with them; but without a friend like you calling them to obedience, they are making choices unbecoming of the Savior.

You were not perfect. You struggled with sin as well. However, you responded quickly to the nudging of the Holy Spirit, to correct poor choices.

Things have changed here.

I'd tell you that Papaw died, but I imagine you were there to greet him.

Lauren is married to Weston Dearman. You would love him Beej. He takes such good care of her, and is just who the Lord set aside for her. They partner together in youth ministry here in Tulsa, and they are employed in local schools, instructing, molding and interacting in the lives of young men and women. Saturday is his birthday.

Whitney and Jared Law married before Lauren met Weston. They now have a son, Tucker. The same name that we planned to give Whitney, had she been a boy. Jared is a youth pastor. Whitney, inspired partially by her experiences alongside of you in the hospital, is a nurse. She works with newborns in the hospital in Denton, Texas, where they live and pastor. Oh how I wish I could see you love on Tucker!

You would be so proud of both of your sisters. They are both so proud of you.

Your Mom. She is just amazing! She is taking care of me (big job)! She misses you so much! She is still teaching music. This year, she has 15 first grade classes and I believe, six second grade classes. She is so good with these children. They adore her! She is also working in Awanas at church. She was my partner again this past summer in Peru. We had our best trip and team, yet.

Tito and Marco still speak of you there.

I've been working for Awe Star for 6 1/2 of the 7 years you've been gone. I've ministered in Mexico (where you told me I was called to go and I've served there nearly a dozen times), North Africa (where you told Lauren she was going with you. Not only did she go, but all of us went with that team you were called to serve with. 3 years after we served there, and left your ashes high on a mountainside overlooking the primary village we worked in as a symbol of hope for Christ to reign, three underground churches have sprung up where there were none!), Peru (a half dozen times), Ecuador, Kenya, Uganda, Cambodia, Venezuela, Panama and more.

I am so thankful to be able to be used by our God. Because of how you lived and died, I am privileged to speak around the country, both in sharing your story, and preaching from the Word. I have several opportunities coming up. I am so fulfilled in Him when I get to speak on His behalf!

I am so very proud of you son! I miss you desperately. One day soon, we look forward to joining you there. Your view and opportunities must be just incredible...but so are ours, until that time.

I do not like these anniversaries. They are difficult.

We are blessed to be preaching on this upcoming seventh.

You have been such an inspiration and encouragement to me. You did it right. You did it well. You are a great example of "daily dying."

Many seeking to follow Jesus are looking at your example.

You have blessed us deeply.

We miss you intensely.

Until then,


Friday, August 31, 2012

This is Dakota, BJ's dog. I know I've referenced him before. I've probably even told stories about him, here.

Dakota is an Australian Shepherd/Basenji mix. He is about 14.

Back in the late 1990's we decided we were going to get a dog. Our family piled into our van and drove to a couple of different humane societies to find the "right dog." We looked at and played with many.

Our last stop was the Indianapolis Humane Society. We walked in and began to look around at way too many abandoned dogs. We had not been there long when BJ sat down in front of a kennel and said, "Dad, this is the dog!"

My reply was something along the lines of, "we're going to look at several dogs, BJ."

We did.

We took dog after dog out into the play yard to get to know them. Each one quickly abandoned us to look at any other distraction that came along. All of them, except for Dakota.

He was 6 months old, and had been named Cassady by his first owners. They moved out of state and could not take him with them.

Their loss was our gain. There was a required waiting period at that time. It wasn't easy to leave without him. He ignored everything but us. He was "our dog."

When the day came that we got to bring him home, we were all very excited!

He quickly became a member of our family. He loved playing fetch, chasing Frisbees and occasionally catching them and bringing them back. He captured the attention of many because of his unusual cinnamon coloration.

Through the years, he became most attached to my son. They were best friends. BJ and Dakota spent a great deal of time together. Dakota waited for him to get home from school, and got antsy when he knew it was about time.

They found great joy in one another.

Dakota had some other favorites in my family.

He went on many trips in the car, and would usually by sense of smell, know when we were near specific destinations. He remembered them by their aroma. He became very excited when we arrived at certain places. Especially my brother Brad's. His whole body would start to wiggle almost uncontrollably when we neared his place.

Sometimes I would tell him, "Brad is coming over," and he would bark then run from window to door, looking for him. He wouldn't stop until Brad arrived.

He has brought us a great deal of joy through the years.

When BJ went into the hospital, Dakota was lonely. Especially since he had just returned from being in Peru for 5 weeks.

It is very emotional for me when I  remember watching Dakota look for BJ, after he had passed. Dakota would walk into his room and sniff the air, then turn and look at me with the question on his face.

Our home in Tulsa has a shelf where part of BJ's ashes rest (some are also on a mountain top in a Muslim nation in North Africa). From time to time, Dakota will walk over to the rosewood box and sniff it for several moments.

I believe he remembers.

When we moved to Tulsa, we left Dakota with Brad. We knew we were going to be gone for 6 week periods at a time. We felt it was unfair to him. Brad has a dog of similar age, and they got along pretty well.

Roughly three years ago, we asked to have him back. He has been a resident of our home in Tulsa, since.

He is getting old.

When Deanna and I were in Peru this past summer, we had Lauren and Weston, and another dear friend look in on him. They did well, with him, but it was a hard summer for him.

When we arrived home, he had been incontinent for the last couple of days. We honestly have struggled to know if it was incontinence or if he was expressing his displeasure at his circumstances.

Arthritis has set in. He struggles to move after he has been sleeping.

I confess I am having difficulty with this winter season of his life. I cannot handle watching him struggle. We have had many conversations about the inevitable.

This past week, he was incontinent (or annoyed with us), again.

Today when I went home for lunch, I watched him struggle for 5 minutes or more to get up.

I bent down to help him and tried to get him to just lay still, while I stroked his coat. He just loves attention, and forced his way up. He is so sweet.

This is the season that tends to be difficult for us to negotiate. It's been about seven years. Somehow, it would seem fitting for Dakota join BJ.

We have once again asked the Lord to take the decision from our hands.

This one will be somehow, easier to make. Still, he is BJ's dog and his loss will be very difficult on many levels.

I just don't want him to suffer.

Seeking His strength even in these details. My God cares about such things and wants us to bring Him glory even in this. We are seeking to walk with integrity and compassion.


Friday, August 17, 2012

Tuckers 1st Birthday celebration

Recently, a major fast food chicken chain was in the news for the beliefs of its owners. Beliefs that have become highly unpopular in segments of mainstream society.

The outpouring of the Christian community to support the chain was significant.

I heard from one franchise owner who relayed how they responded. She conveyed that they tried to love their detractors through this time. They tried to be grace.

Many Christian patrons attempted to do likewise.

There are many stories as a result of this polarizing event.

My question is this.

What would happen if we united to love those who don't know Him, in similar fashion to the way we embraced Chick-fil-a?

What if we each responded to the call on our lives as believers to love people, and to lose our judgmental attitudes?

Jesus had compassion. Scripture describes His reaction:

"When he saw the crowds, he had compassion on them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd." (Mtw 9:36)

He saw their need, but didn't judge. Rather he was moved to love. He compelled His disciples to pray for them. If we maintain His heart and attitude, we would understand that when the Bible says...

"the way of the wicked is like deep darkness; they do not know what makes them stumble." (Proverbs 4:19)

...that our role is not to condemn, rather to surround them in prayer, then love them. 

It is difficult to lead someone into a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ if we are stoning them with our words and attitudes.

We can become so entrenched in what we believe that we fail to recognize the judgmental spirit when it rises up and takes over our witness.

We are to live as Christ lived. We are to represent who He is, and all He stands for. This means we must routinely exit our comfort zones to love.

I am including a story today of what loving someone looks like. This is just one example: 
(I copied this from the facebook page of Gracepoint Church, Denton, Tx)

Listen to these words of a taxicab driver: Because I drive the night shift, my cab often becomes a moving confessional. Passengers climb in, sit behind me in total anonymity, & tell me about their lives. I encounter people whose lives amaze me, ennoble me, make me laugh & sometimes weep. But none touched me more than a woman I picked up late one August night.

Responding to a call from a small brick fourplex in a quiet part of town, I assumed I was being sent to pick up some partiers, or someone who had just had a fight with a lover, or a worker heading to an early shift at some factory in the industrial part of town.

When I arrived at 2:30 a.m., the building was dark except for a single light in a ground floor window. Under these circumstances, many drivers would just honk once or twice, then drive away.

But I had seen too many impoverished people who depended on taxis as their only means of transportation. Unless a situation smelled of danger, I always went to the door. This passenger might be someone who needs my assistance, I reasoned to myself. So I walked to the door & knocked.

"Just a minute", answered a frail, elderly voice. After a long pause, the door opened. A small woman in her 80s stood before me. She was wearing a print dress & a pillbox hat with a veil pinned on it, like somebody out of a 1940’s movie.

The apartment looked as if no one had lived in it for years. All the furniture was covered with sheets. There were no clocks on the walls, no knickknacks or utensils on the counters. In the corner was a cardboard box filled with photos & glassware.

"Would you carry my bag out to the car?" she asked. I took the bag & then turned to assist her. She took my arm & we walked slowly toward the curb. She kept thanking me for my kindness. "It’s nothing", I told her. "I just try to treat my passengers the way I would want my mother treated". "Oh, you’re such a good boy", she said.

When we got in the cab, she gave me an address, then asked, "Could you drive through downtown?" "It’s not the shortest way," I answered quickly. "Oh, I don’t mind," she said. "I’m in no hurry. I’m on my way to a hospice."

I looked in the rearview mirror. Her eyes were glistening. "I don’t have any family left," she continued. "The doctor says I don’t have very long." I quietly reached over & shut off the meter. "What route would you like me to take?" I asked.

For the next two hours, we drove through the city. She showed me the building where she had once worked as an elevator operator. We drove through the neighborhood where she & her husband had lived when they were newlyweds.

She had me pull up in front of a furniture warehouse that had once been a ballroom where she had gone dancing as a girl. Sometimes she’d ask me to slow in front of a particular building or corner & would sit staring into the darkness, saying nothing.

As the first hint of sun was creasing the horizon, she suddenly said, "I’m tired. Let’s go now."

We drove in silence to the address she had given me. Two orderlies came out to the cab as soon as we pulled up. They were solicitous & intent, watching her every move. They must have been expecting her.

I opened the trunk & took the small suitcase to the door. The woman was already seated in a wheelchair.

"How much do I owe you?" she asked, reaching into her purse. "Nothing," I said. "You have to make a living," she answered. "There are other passengers," I responded.

Almost without thinking, I bent & gave her a hug. She held onto me tightly. "You gave an old woman a little moment of joy," she said. "Thank you."

I squeezed her hand, then walked into the dim morning light. Behind me, a door shut. It was the sound of the closing of a life. I didn’t pick up any more passengers that shift. I drove aimlessly, lost in thought. For the rest of that day, I could hardly talk.

What if that woman had gotten an angry driver, or one who was impatient to end his shift? What if I had refused to take the run, or had honked once, then driven away?

I don’t think that I have done anything more important in my life. We’re conditioned to think that our lives revolve around great moments. But great moments often catch us unaware - beautifully wrapped in what others may consider a small one.

What would happen if we each set aside personal agendas for a day, or a week, and just sought to love those He brought into our paths? What if for a time, we went the extra mile?

If we each reached out to meet others needs instead of our own, I believe it would revolutionize our way of  thinking, and ultimately, our way of living.

Jesus is revolutionary.

So should we be.

But first, we must learn have compassion and love.


Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Deanna with some of the children of Huancabamba, Peru

Our lives have been a bit of a whirlwind since our return to the states. Deanna's father passed away on August 4th. We made a trip to Kentucky for services and time with family. We had not all been together with her family in way to long. It was a great time of fellowship and catching up.

That may sound a bit insensitive. It really isn't meant to be. Her father was a minister throughout his adult life. 15 years ago, he crashed into a concrete abutment while making hospital visits. He had fallen asleep behind the wheel.

The family lost him that day. He has been present physically since, but the brain damage that occurred that day, claimed his ability to communicate and function. He has been bed ridden for the last 5 or more years, and Deanna's mom has been formidable in her care of him.

Both of their prayers had been that he would pass in his sleep. While the timing was not of their choosing, the Lord did call him home somewhere between midnight Friday, and 7 am Saturday.

This brought to a close, the difficult grieving over a 15 year journey. It brought a raw, sharp conclusion to any idea that the Lord may miraculously heal him, this side of heaven.

However, family and friends were afforded the privilege of celebrating His 81 years of serving and following Jesus.

He had full military honors at his burial. I found that incredibly moving. It stirred a place and a tenderness in me that I had not visited before. It was incredible.

Our time with family was such and encouragement to Deanna's mom.

For the last 15 years, her life has been about her husbands care. Though she was not ready for him to go home, she needs the rest. She looks forward to being able to serve the Lord through the local body, and she will surely encourage and inspire others through her amazing baking talents, and her heart for Jesus.

I am very blessed to have married into this family. Though the storms of life have brought about hardship along the way, they continue to seek and to serve Him.

Deanna began her new school year, yesterday.

That became bittersweet seven years ago. The first day back elicits many difficult memories.

Sometimes I am not as sensitive to this anniversary as I need to be.

Deanna is an amazing music teacher, and blesses the lives of young elementary students with her love for Jesus and for them. She loves collecting their unsolicited hugs. She won't have students until Thursday. When they return, a fresh sense of purpose will wash over her.

We each need that from time to time. He provides the same, when we are seeking Him.

I have missed being here...


Monday, July 23, 2012

This is the incredible team Deanna and I had the privilege of serving in Peru this summer!
God unified them and then worked through them in power! We are so blessed!

Deanna and I are back from one incredible summer!

We saw the Lord work through this team of 13-23 year old students in amazing ways. Unity does not come easily to students raised in the USA. It required they be humble and transparent before the Lord and each other. This is difficult for so many.

What is accomplished for Him is exponentially greater if each learns to die to self, and serve Him. The team comes together in virtually indescribable ways, when full on surrender happens.

We challenged this team early, to do so. They responded by confessing sin to each other, and allowing the Lord to move and manifest His presence in and among us.

They found that surrender had to be fresh each day, and in each situation. It is so easy to grab the reigns back and start to direct our own paths.

When this began to happen, gentle encouragement brought about a quick correction. This team wanted nothing to get in the way of Jesus being glorified. They worked hard to allow the Lord to be Lord.

He responded by drawing thousands to himself over the course of our four weeks in Peru. We saw the Lord work in miraculous ways.

We are so thankful for the prayer support we have been blessed with by those of you who read here. We hope/trust you were able to follow along at the web address on the writing before this one. If you weren't able to, I encourage you to go back and see what all the Lord accomplished.

Of course, the stories conveyed are only a small portion of all He did. Nonetheless, He receives glory, and rightly so!

I started back to work today, and Deanna will be back in school on Aug 11 (yes, that is a Saturday. I haven't figured out why the staff are starting on Saturday).

That our Lord would take such a broken group of people to Peru and use them in such power and might, proves that "His strength is perfected in our weakness" (2 Cor 12:9).

Our team was made up of those who have abused alcohol, drugs, pornography, relationships and more. One of our number saw their parent murder their brother.

Humility comes quickly when you see the deep brokenness and unworthiness each of us walks in before Christ came into our lives.

Because of Him, we are able to proclaim Truth, both here and wherever He leads us.

Thousands of lives have been forever changed as a result of the obedience of a few!

I praise God for His provision and power! He is worthy of all of our full surrender.

Thank you Jesus! Just, thank you!


Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Our Current Journey

Follow our current journey at We'll return to write here when it's over.