Friday, September 29, 2006

I recently changed offices here at Awe Star. My new office is bigger, and has more room to spread out. I like it.

The only thing about my office that isn't great is that my door sticks. When I try to close or open it, it drags on the carpet in one spot. This brings my door to a halt when I am trying to push or pull. It's kind of annoying.

I remember when I was very young, my parents decided to hang a new door at the front entrance to the house. My dad was not handy. I loved him dearly, but he did not pass on any mechanical skills to Brad or me. Even so, I still have vague memories of him setting up saw horses and borrowing a planer to help the door to fit right.

He patiently drug that planer over the areas of the door that seemed to be causing it to fit poorly. He hung and rehung that silly door. He planed and planed. I sat and watched...I got took too long.

How did dad have the patience to keep taking that stupid door down and working it until it fit?

You know what? He did it so well that it has hung at the front entrance for most of my life.

Too many times, while we are pursuing the will of the Father, we hit a snag and stop. We park in that spot and get mired in self pity. Our spiritual hands are thrown up in disgust believing that if we were supposed to proceed the door would not have drug to a pause.

The reality is that just because the door sticks, does not mean we are supposed to stop proceeding.

Clearly, there are times when the Lord closes doors or windows before us. But other times, our weariness is revealed by our lack of pursuit of that which He desires for us.

My office door works, but in time it will wear out the carpet if it doesn't get adjusted.

There are times when we need to look at our method of pursuing His will. Is our current avenue of pursuit going to erode a relationship and do we need to refine our methodology? Yep, sometimes that is the case. It happens to me, and it happens to you.

This is where Beej was effective. He did not bulldoze the path before him. He did not grind to a halt with obstacles. He moved along at a pace that was constantly looking to the Father for cues. If there was a pause, He was already in the Word seeking answers. He knew how to proceed, and if he didn't, he was not afraid to ask for wise counsel.

Just because the way before me seems to have reduced light penetrating the portal does not mean I should stop and plow a new path. I have had to learn patience. Sometimes, I need to slow down and pay attention along the way, because I am about to learn something that will help me pass through the entry with greater ease. I find I am even more effective in my Father's work when I yield in these moments of pause.

God bless you this weekend!


Thursday, September 28, 2006

The Tulsa State Fair begins today. I will be working periodically as a chaplain for this. It will be a new and interesting experience for me. The post is adjacent to the State Police post, so I expect interesting things will occur. I have heard many stories from this position, and do not know exactly what to expect.

I remember when I was young, probably in Cub Scouts. I was at the fair with a number of other boys. When you are young and impetuous, it is easy to get your eyes widened, and fixed on things you are not used to seeing. When that occurs, it is easy to get separated from the group.

It never happens intentionally, it just happens. One minute your walking through exhibits and your attention gets drawn to the little lamb suckling from its mother, and the next thing you know, you are by yourself.

You look around, and no one you recognize is anywhere near you. You move swiftly to the next aisle and throw your gaze down the corridor, bouncing your eyes from person to person trying to find a familiar face. It is a pretty helpless feeling when you are young, and aren't prepared for what to do next.

Not that this has ever happened to me...say five or six times...I would never let my guard down and allow it to happen.

Most of us can relate to having lost a child at the grocery or Wal-Mart or somewhere. Momentary panic sets in, and you break into a sprint, and start working every new aisle with the fervent hope you will find them there! Instantly, you feel like a horrible parent, combined with the desperation of hoping they just wandered off, and didn't actually get "taken."

When you're young, the feeling is a little different. The panic infiltrates a different level...that is, if you realize you are lost.

Back at the fair, it was time to leave. I had somehow (It couldn't have been MY fault) gotten separated from my group, I went to the area I knew the car had been parked.

It was gone!

How on earth could somebody else's mom have so carelessly left me at the fair by myself at such a young impressionable age? Terror seized me!

I spun around, eyes racing for a sign of familiarity. My pirouette would have made any ballerina proud. It was intentional and balanced. The thoughts in my head were not.

Finally, I spied the familiar station wagon driving off. I broke into a sprint that would have set records had I been timed. Didn't matter. No chance I was going to catch that car. That moment of out-of-control fear when I was racing at an appropriate angle to cut off the accelerating car and knew I wasn't fast enough was suddenly replaced by utter thanksgiving!

Someone else saw my plight, recognized my intended destination, and jumped in front of that car.

They stopped.

I was mercifully rejoined with my group.

Over the next two weeks at the State Fair, it will be my turn to be the one jumping in front of the run-a-way vehicle. For the destination of many, however unintended, is separation. Perhaps one or two will be mercifully rejoined...through the blood of the Lamb!

Though I know where he is, and that his gaze is transfixed on that same Lamb...the closest thing I have found to describe his loss is the feeling I had that day at the fair...

I am so thankful that the Lamb saw fit to be slain on his behalf...and mine.


Wednesday, September 27, 2006 NOW HAS THE INTERVIEW POSTED. Just go to their website, then in the left menu screen, click on "Chris and Rebecca and Good Friends," and then click on "The Story of BJ Higgins." The story appears in 4 modules.

We want to thank you for your mighty prayer support! It was a true blessing to hear from so many of you! I must say we were very surprised. We honestly did not expect for many people to remember. We certainly did not expect to hear from so many of you. What a cool thing that each time we checked the site, there was more encouragement, and that went on into the evening. Thank you!

We enjoyed our day together, and the Lord blessed our time. We spent time walking and talking about Beej, about some of our favorite memories, some of our regrets, some of the funny things about him, and how his testimony continues to impact the world. I prepared omelettes for breakfast...well, they were supposed to be omelettes. They looked more like scrambled eggs with meat and cheese. We shared his favorite meal for dinner...ribs, at a local eatery. I don't think he would have been proud of how few we were able to put away, but we blame that on the refill of popcorn from the movie theater. We read through the many text messages, cards, e-mails and blogs. We were blessed by the flowers we received! Deanna received flowers from her former schools (Pleasant View Upper and Pleasant View Lower Elemantaries), and was very touched. We also got them from Aunt Maralyn and Uncle Ray and family. How precious of you all to remember this day in this way.

A college student from IWU (Justin) did something that touches us very deeply. We participated on the front end of his offering, but in all honesty, forgot all about it over the time that has passed since.

When Beej was with us, he had favorite shirts...those he wore routinely. He also had shirts that meant less to him, were but were keepsakes for us. The problem was, how do you keep such things and truly have them bring any element of reminder? Typically, they would be handed out to those they would be meaningful to (which we did with some), or stow them away somewhere in a closet to pull out on special occassions.

Justin had a better idea. He shared it with Lauren, who gathered what he needed, and he went to work.

As we watch the dvd which accompanies the "Die for You" song, we see many of the shirts he wore routinely. Those that were most comfortable, and those that felt the best, etc. When he was a freshman, he played soccer, so his old jersey...#17, is present. When he went to Peru both times, he returned with Awe Star shirts which he wore constantly. There was one from Highland Lakes, where we lived and I worked. Others bore Christian messages through unique means, they are there too.

These shirts that bring such vivid memories of him, are now all bound together in a very unusual way. One that we will use. One that will have to be a substitute hug from him. One that we can take mental journeys with, just by its presence in the room.

20 of his favorite shirts are bound together into a blanket. One side bears soft cotton warmth, and the other, his favorites T's!

I admit, I have never seen anything like this. When we first saw it, we were collectively moved. This single item holds so much of what we see when we remember him. It has not been fought over just yet, but it has been utilized consistanly, since its unveiling.

Thank you Justin!

Thank you to each of you for your consitant prayer support, and encouragement! God has blessed us through your efforts, and we are most greatful!


Tonight, I am sharing BJ's story at the concluding service of a Revival at a church in Okmulgee, Oklahoma. Would you please pray for God's power and conviction to come, His healing to be administered, and for the responsiveness of those who are present?

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

I had gone down for one of the most restless nights I would have. I hadn't been there long when we were awakened. His condition was poor when we went to bed. We had asked the Father to take decision making out of our hands. We did not want to choose for him.

Lauren had gone back to school (an hour away) only a short time before. We had to call her back. Would she make it in time? Please Lord, let her make it back in time. Brad was called and returned. It was the wee hours of the morning.

His skin was mottled, his blood not circulating well. He did not look good. His blood pressure was low, his heart rate too fast, he was fighting, but not as hard as the hospital staff. They had become our friends. How do your friends tell you what is about to happen?

They sped around the room paying attention to every minute detail. The effort seemed to have become futile. Their faces had drawn long, and eye contact harder to give. They had seen this before. We had not, not like this.

Lauren and her suitemates arrived. Thank God, she made it! Her face and fury matched the need of the moment.

We gathered around his bed. Loud, invasive machines were turned off and removed from the room. Space which was always lacking, suddenly was our fortune. We could move about his bed freely, and we did. We clung to every part of him, and we prayed. We implored the Lord to spare him as life seemed to ebb from his body, but only if this was for God's greater glory! We felt selfish, but our hearts wanted to see our Savior receive what only He was due.

The numbers on the monitors were decreasing, the moment drew near. Nurses disconnected him from the significant amount of paraphanalia he was bound to. He was free, he was finally free. No more beeps or alarms to set off, the time was here. He had suffered for his Lord and Savior, and he had done it well. If he was going to make it, it was all up to the Lord. Only a miraculous recovery could restore him.

This was not to be. Shortly before 3:00AM, his heart ceased.

I stared at the ceiling, mouthing the words "I love you," over and over. I had heard enough stories of people hovering at the top of the room after their near death experience, I was hoping his departure included the vision of these words being spoken to him. I know he knew it, but I wanted him to leave us seeing it that last time...

Our room emptied of medical personnel for private moments. These were most difficult. Saying goodbye to your only son... your only brother, how were we supposed to act? What were we supposed to do? There is no etiquette to follow in such moments. We just loved on his body. The thing was, we knew beyond the shadow of doubt that he had been ushered into the Kingdom of God!

Revelations counted him among those who would be robed in white.

He was home. The slowest moving person in our family had arrived first!

The room refilled with medical staff. At 3:30am, staff on duty and staff off duty returned to room 2001 to offer their love and support. They embraced us in a way we neither expected or deserved. They were precious to us! We love them for their incredible efforts.

We love each of you for the hours you have spent on your knees on our behalf. Truly, we are a blessed family. Many have told us what an honor it is for us to be chosen "for such a time as this." We know this to be true. He was an ordinary young man who serves an extraordinary God. One who reigns! He reigns even today, and is sufficient to meet every need.

Before we went to bed last night, Lauren asked if I was going to stay up until 3:00 AM. "No," I replied. Secretly, I hoped to awaken around then, but I did not want it to be contrived.

At 3:20 AM an unnatural alarm went off. My fog-free, suction cup clad, shaving mirror decided to dive off of the wall and onto the floor of the shower...the only room that would echo properly.

I awakened, and I remember...

"Good morning BJ, it must be beautiful there where you are! I love you, son. I am proud of you!"

"Well done thou good and faithful is finished"


Monday, September 25, 2006

I saw something a bit unusual yesterday morning. I was ready for church early, and was waiting for the women in my home to make their final preparations, so I went to fill the car with gas. As I was sitting at a traffic light, a car coming toward me had something unusual stowed on the roof of their car.

At first, I thought my eyes were deceiving me. When the car turned left, and gave me a full view, I saw it for sure. This car was carrying a surf board.

Now this would not be unusual if we were on the right coast, the left coast, or the bottom coast. However, we are without an ocean. Yes, Oklahoma has some beautiful lakes, but those lakes have no tide to bring waves crashing into shore. What on earth would a car in Tulsa, Oklahoma be doing with a surf board?

During his 6 weeks in the hosptial, I remember a lady from California offering to have BJ come out there for her sons to teach him to surf. I remember Beej using a boogie board in the Atlantic, when we visited my sister Lynae and her family. I don't remember there being a way to use a surf board for any effective fun in a land-locked state. It is simply out of place.

Then I got to thinking about how often I feel out of place. I constantly hear television and movies malign Christians, portray us in inaccurate ways, or completely misrepresent our intentions when they speak about us. There is little understanding of our Savior, and less tolerance of His message.

Too often we allow this to defeat us, and we feel there is no way to overcome the growing swell of the world working against us. This is a tool of the enemy. He knows we are easily distracted. We live in an ADD society. Our attention spans are short, and our interest in pursuing the things of God easily derailed.

We walk out of church services motivated, only to reach home, and collapse into an easy chair, scarcely remembering what fueled the flame, moments ago. Something "better" claims our attention, and we are swept into it's current.

Until we understand, are convicted, and are ready for battle we will continue to "surf" in calm waters. There is no challenge there. There is no threat or thrill of the 'big wave.' We are not likely to get hurt or cause a ripple in the stagnant waters of apathy.

Our Christianity will have no dangerous or alluring element to it until we begin to live as Jesus did. When our lives are patterned after His, and we seek to see as He sees, we will begin to impact our world.

Until then, we are just surf boards in Oklahoma.


Spirit 102.3 interviewed me about BJ's song and story on Friday. They are supposed to post the interview in it's entirety on For Tulsa area residents, they are supposed to use excerpts from it this week on the morning show.

Friday, September 22, 2006

A little over a year ago, when we returned home from the hospital, and we were without Beej, I was taken by the depth of his love for Jesus. Through his six week saga, many of you became quite familiar with this as well. Throughout the last year, we have posted some of his writings, and shared many stories about his pursuit of Christ, and his impact on others. Many of you have graciously shared likewise, about how the Lord has spoken into your own life through his.

His surrender, though uncommon, was as it should be for each of us. When we truly make Jesus, Lord of our life, we are so completely sold out to His purposes, that it is evident in all we do.

One such way that this was revealed in BJ's life surrounded the mirror in bathroom. He studied the Word of God diligently. His desire was to be equipped to share at every opportunity. Taped around the oval mirror were 19 Scripture verses that he was memorizing.

I watched these note cards appear one by one over a period of time. Some were short and to the point. Others covered more ground, and would take longer for most to recall. I was often amazed at how he could memorize things.

As an adult, that ability must be courted in order to be effective. For him, it seemed to come easily. His memory was near photographic. It served him well in school, but it served him better in witnessing.

This adopted method Beej used was something I believe he learned from his precious mother. Years ago, when I opened doors to closets, the lazy suzan, medicine cabinets, car visors, etc., there would usually be a note card with Scripture that she was trying to commit to memory.

I was humbled then as I am now. This pursuit should not be unique to them, but should be present in my own life. I have gone through times when memorization came easily. I have committed many verses and passages to memory. However, when not used frequently, they words begin to fade.

Recently, I was made aware of a good friend of BJ's who just finished memorizing the book of Philippians. THE BOOK OF PHILIPPIANS!!! B.D. you rock my world! I am so proud of you! This tool will serve you well in your opportunities to share the Lord.

I am going to begin to memorize again. I will begin with the ones I knew, but have forgotten. I was always amazed at how the Lord would bring someone into my path who needed a particular verse, shortly after I had memorized it.

It's not that I cannot minister if I don't memorize, but if I know the Word, if I hide it in my heart, I will be able to thwart more of the enemies attacks when they come...and they will come!

Thank you my love, for your example to Beej. Thank you BJ for your example for the world. Thank you B.D. for exceeding the ability of your friend, your obedience to Jesus, and your testimony before us all. I esteem you girl, because you honor our Father in Heaven!


We are picking up our daughters at 4:30PM today, and get to hang out with them until that same time on Wednesday, when they will return to Indy. WE ARE SO EXCITED!!!!!!!

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Weeks ago when I took Lauren and Whitney back to Indiana, the question on their hearts was what about September 26th. Are you going to come here so we can be together? Are we going to come back to Tulsa? Are you coming the next weekend to celebrate BJ's birthday?

Those questions weighed heavy on each of us. They were questions we needed to answer, but had no idea how. Deanna is in a new job, for that matter, so am I. How could we take off of work to go to Indiana? It would have to be a quick tiring trip. Yeah, but it would be worth it!

We agreed to pray about it, and see what we could work out.

The thought of being separated on these dates was a very difficult one. Just as we have little clue what to do on these days, we had less clue how to do it apart. How cruel it would be to have to be alone on this first anniversary.

Family and friends began to ask this same question. It was ever on each of our minds. It loomed over us like the approaching squawl (sp?) line of a fierce thunderstorm.

Perhaps we are poor planners because we did not immediately decide. Perhaps we should have made our plans long before I took the girls back to college. When it comes to spending the money it would take, it was clear that it was necessary, but the question was, could we really afford to make that happen at that time? There were so many things to take into consideration.

As we contemplated and prayed, it should come as no surprise that the Lord was making provision in such a unique and unbelievable way. I confess though, that I was not prepared for how His provision would come.

College students are notoriously poor. It is that way for obvious reasons. They need every penny to cover the investment for their future. Their money (or that of their parents) needs to cover the outlandish fees for books, class time, lodging and food. Having extra for "fun" is a luxury. It is true of my daughters and it is true of most students in school.

A few weeks ago, I received an e-mail from one of my "adopted" daughters. Her name is Kim. She was a suite-mate of Lauren's last year. She was with us in the hospital on September 26th, 2005, along with Abby and Megan (Lauren's other roommates). They were there to bring prayer cover, comfort and tears at 3:00 AM that morning. I will never forget them for this kindness!

Kim, who graduated from IWU and has begun working there, had a question. She wanted to know if we would allow Lauren's friends and acquaintances to contribute a little money each to fly not just Lauren, but both Lauren and Whitney to Tulsa. We were overwhelmed!

I did not believe they would have enough for both, so I quickly told her we would make up whatever difference there was, no matter what it was.

I did not hear from her for quite some time.

When I finally heard back, I once again struggled to believe what had occurred. Kim matter-of-factly indicated that people believed so much in this "investment" that they had had no trouble raising the necessary funds to cover both tickets.

How could this be? They don't even know Whitney!

I Praise my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ for His amazing blessings. Time after time he has bestowed upon us that which we do not deserve!

Kim, IWU staff, students and friends, thank you so very much for how you have reached out and touched our hearts. We are so humbled but thankful for how you have blessed us! I just cannot offer enough praise and thanks for such incredible hearts that would give from your poverty, that we might have this time together.

THANK YOU!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


I must update you on another daughter named Lauren. I shared her testimony with you earlier this week. She called me last night to report more exciting news. She wanted me to know that she had gone forward at her student service out of obedience to the Lord...she is getting baptized! She met Joel and Jen, student pastor and wife, from FBC Snellville, and she feels drawn to the Lord in this obedient step. This girl gets it! She is preparing her testimony as she will be sharing it with those students (and I have a suspicion, anyone who will listen) soon. Please continue to pray for her as she seeks the Lord with all of her heart. The enemy will not be pleased and will fight against her. WE MUST cover her with prayer! Her testimony will bring many to Christ!

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

I confess to you that as the day draws nearer, I know less and less about how to mark it. How do you look at the anniversary of the day you lost your one and only son? How do you view the day you celebrated his entrance into the presence of the Almighty? It is bitter, it is sweet.

After all, it is just another day. The world will go on as if nothing happened on this day in history. Deanna and I recognize it as the day BJ was due to be born 17 years ago. He was late (shocking!). I am sure he had good reason, but with no food and no one to talk to, I cannot imagine why he tarried for five more days. Perhaps so that the celebration of his birth would not be the same day as the celebration as his death.

At 46, I did not think there were too many things left for me to be a rookie at. I am as green as I can be at knowing what to do. Understandably, I am hearing from others who are having difficulty with knowing what to do with this day.

We absolutely have every reason to celebrate where he is, and what his view is like. We can laugh at the endless hours of conversation he is likely having with Jonah. Why on earth did he run the other way? BJ will have a low tolerance but a forgiving spirit for this. What is it like on the stinky inside of the fish? What is the view like in total darkness? Did you feel anything disgusting?

How absolutely breathtaking must his line of sight be to the Splendor of the King! What right do we have to begrudge him this incredible honor? How healing it must be to be in the presence of the only Spotless Lamb. Slain for his sin. How humbling to embrace His full presence and glory. I truly cannot imagine the Shekinah brilliance of our Savior. How can the knowledge that he is there with Him, be a sad day?

How can it be that we are in the middle of conversation and suddenly cannot speak a word without quiver and tremble as our accomplices? Where does the endless supply of liquid salt come from, and when will that reservoir run dry? How far is it to the comfort that will truly remove the stabs of intensity which are continuously thrust into our emotional expanse?

Why has the family Bitterness, taken up residence next door? Why do they want to visit us? We have nothing for them. Their promises of replacement comfort are shallow yet all consuming. We want no part of their offering. They are hideous to us...yet there is intrigue on their lips.

Fleeing from that which has been sent to exterminate peace finds us weary of running. The hiding places are few on the barren plain of his absence.

The only way to survive is to face the ugliness head on. The knowledge that He never forsakes His own will bring with it a soothing ointment for the open wound of brokenness. We could not have made it to this day without His grace. Door after door stand open as we are ushered into places we could never have conceived.

Sharing brings healing. But it only happens one small and all but insignificant word at a time.

Please do not grow weary of our offering, it is the only way we know to carry on. We have laden you with much over the last year, yet you walk as though your pack was empty. Blessed are you in the kingdom of God. He will richly reward you for your ministry to us.


Tuesday, September 19, 2006

A year ago today, as I was beginning the hospital version of my morning routine, I was struck by what the Lord showed me.

We had spent over 35 days in these halls, retracing the same steps over and over. We had become very familiar with the sounds and smells that were not home, but temporarily so. We were traversing this journey with full belief that BJ was going to live, and that the Lord was setting up a platform from which he could minister.

People were responding to his writing, to his spiritual depth, his testimony. There were those who had set a plan in motion to buy him a laptop computer, so that once conscious, he could begin to address the faithful to this website. For at that time, there were thousands upon thousands checking in daily.

We were talking about how we were going to protect him from all that seemed to be headed his way. We addressed his future in school, and what to do about it. We saw in those long days what was truly important. We did not want to keep him from being able to minister in the ways our Lord had set forth.

Simultaneously, it had been weeks since either Deanna or myself had been to work. The Savior had provided for us situations and people who were completely understanding. They agreed our focus needed to be with Beej. Truly, that is where we stayed.

When the Lord revealed to me that a change was eminent in my position, I really did not know what to make of it. That morning, a year ago, as I was spending time with the Lord, He spoke into my heart. He used Oswald Chambers writings to do so.

I had been working at Highland Lakes Baptist Camp for nearly two years. I loved the environment of ministry there. I loved the people. What a blessing they were through our journey.

Then the words He used to prepare me for change..."Do you continue to go with Jesus? The way lies through Gethsemane, through the city gate, outside the camp; the way lies alone, and the way lies until there is no trace of a footstep left, only the voice, "Follow me."

I would read and reread these words over and over in the coming days, hoping for additional insight. I had no idea what they would mean. I could only imagine that I was going to be needed to travel with my son, to fully support what the Lord had planned for him. I was scared, but I embraced that reality.

I was willing to do whatever the Lord wanted of me. I envisioned brighter, happier moments when he would be on the platform speaking, and I would have to fight to suppress the pride I had in him as a father. It was going to be awesome!

My plans were not God's plans. A week later, a new reality would begin. One that has been much harder to embrace. One I knew even less about negotiating. One that has been much more painful, and threatens to rip us apart. Surely God's grace would cover us, and though we seemed to lose our way, we could follow the echo of His voice, "Follow me."

One portion has remained true, "...on the platform speaking...I have to fight to suppress the pride I [have] in him as a father. "

I am proud of him. He ran his race well.

A week ago, I wrote of the experience at FBC Snellville. I wrote of being moved by a young family at the altar. This past Sunday night, I learned that later that evening, the nine year old son who was accompanied by his parents and sister, would give his heart to Jesus!

And His voice continues to echo, "Follow me."


Monday, September 18, 2006

I am traveling home most of the day Monday. While I was in Snellville, Ga. this weekend, I spoke to many incredible people. The FBC Snellville body is a very loving group with a major focus on missions! What a precious experience!

One young lady I spoke to has gripped my heart with her story.

Her start in life was unlike anything I can comprehend. She was born addicted to heroine, because her mother used, while pregnant. She has grown up around drugs and alcohol. At an early age, she began using, herself and became an addict.

Her aunt, who is a believer, has a son who was badly injured in an accident. One Sunday while in church, her aunt saw her son trying to lift his hands to praise God during worship. His injury has caused him to be unable to do all he used to be able to physically. He was unable to lift his hands. Broken-hearted but full of faith her aunt prayed, "Lord, I know you are not going to keep my child from lifting his hands to praise you!" When she opened her eyes, her sons hands were lifted in praise to his Savior.

This is the moment this young lady knew there was a God.

Not long ago, her boyfriend died of an overdose (at 3:00). Shortly after, she began to have "strange things" happen at the 3:00 hour. Meanwhile, she got bounced from foster home to foster home...totaling 15 in the last 3 years. At the same time, her mother is dying from Hepatitis C because of her habit.

Finally, she has landed in a home with a foster mom who has it together, and is a believer. She is beginning to hope for stability. She is also recovering from her addiction. Things seem to be looking up.

Last Sunday night she was present to hear the testimony of BJ's life. At the conclusion of this experience she gave her heart to Christ! This is the moment she believed!

I had the privilege of talking to her, but did not get to meet her in person (yet).

She is my HERO!

Her testimony is powerful and will touch the lives of many! Please join me in praying for her as she seeks the will of the Lord for her life. She has already shared her decision with her bilogical mother, her foster mother, and others. What a beautiful story of God's deliverance!

Thank you for your obedience to God's knock on the door of your heart!


Friday, September 15, 2006

Okay, I did not get into too much trouble. More apprehension than actual animosity. Yay!

Seriously, I tremendously appreciate your encouragement Deanna's way. It did make her smile.

While I would never wish for another to have to walk in our shoes, I suppose it is inevitable. One of the things that happens as a result, is how your perspective changes. It changes in many ways I suppose. How you view life. How you view death. How your anticipation of heaven changes. How you view your walk with the Lord. How your attitude towards the time you have left is altered. Even in how your mind shifts a bit when you read and contemplate Scripture.

When the life of your child is so completely sold out to Christ and then they lay it down and make the ultimate sacrifice, or even when you begin to see within them that they no longer are motivated by worldly pleasures, it impacts your own perspective. It causes your foundation to sway a bit, if that foundation is not as it should be.

I remember the words from a little over a year ago so clearly. Even though at the time, I thought he was being overly dramatic. The doctor at the hospital had just delivered the news to us that he was extremely ill, and would need to be transported to a hospital with pediatric intensive care so that he could be put on a ventilator when necessary.

The color drained from my face. My knees went unstable, and I thought I might fall down. In those moments of being exploded into a decimating reality, BJ calmly and lovingly looked at me and said (while struggling to breathe), "Dad, I know you're scared. I believe the Lord is gonna deliver me through this, but if he doesn't, I'm going home to be with Him and that's okay with me."

How could he be so strong when I wasn't? It was his life in the balance. How could he have such peace?

The peace of God is an amazing thing! That peace comes in times of trial and suffering. That peace would come to us in the upcoming tide of hours, days and weeks. It is not that He was not with me in that moment of shock, it was that He was surely carrying me in my momentary unbelief. Not unbelief in Him, but in what I was hearing, in the experience that was coming at us with such extreme velocity.

During the 6 weeks he spent in the hospital, 31/2 of them were spent on ECMO. While on this lung bypass system, his body had to be elevated about 6 feet or more off of the ground. This was achieved by placing his ordinary bed onto a motorcycle lift, and jacking it up to whatever height produced the best results.

This meant we had to climb metal stairs to stand at his side, to stroke his hair, to offer updates on what you, the body were doing in response to his situation.

Every time I walked into the room, I was reminded of a story from the Word I had always struggled with as a father. Each time I approached him, and saw him elevated is such manner, I was reminded of Abraham and Isaac. How was it that Abraham had the strength, the courage, the visceral fortitude to bind his son, and place him on the altar of sacrifice? What kind of father was he anyway?

How could any human patriarch allow such extreme violence to his own hand? What kind of obedience was this? If "obedience is better than sacrifice," what in the world was this? Obedience that is also sacrifice? How could that square?

The first and each ensuing time I saw BJ up there, I thought about the conversation that surely took place between father and son so many years ago. What must Isaac have said as dad began to bind his hands. What form of madness would find a father building and altar utilizing the labor of his son and then boosting his son into the seat of agony? How Isaac much have squirmed and fought against his ropes.

Yes, dad had said, "The Lord will provide." Did that mean He didn't, and so now the only option was Isaac?

The Lord recently reminded me that the evening of BJ's first day on ECMO, a spontaneous prayer meeting occurred outside the elevators, in the middle of the hall of the PICU. During that time, I surrendered him to the Lord. My words were something along the lines of, "God, it appears you are setting up a platform for BJ's ministry. If you will receive the most glory through this, then You know this is what we prefer. However, if you will receive greater glory in his death, then take him home, he is ready."

The more I have thought about Abraham and Isaac, the more I believe I was wrong. My perspective has changed. I believe the peace of God prevailed upon this most difficult of situations.

I believe in those moments atop the rocks, just before the sacrificial knife was raised over his body, Isaac looked deep into his father's eyes and said, "Dad, I know you're scared. I believe the Lord is gonna deliver me through this, but if he doesn't, I'm going home to be with Him, and that's okay with me."

Isaac was delivered, and God was glorified.
BJ was taken home, and God was glorified.

"The Lord giveth and the Lord taketh away. Blessed be the Name of the Lord."


I return to FBC Snellville this weekend to participate in the closing of their Global Impact Conference. Please continue to pray for this body as they seek the Lord in missions!

Thursday, September 14, 2006

When things are difficult it is so very helpful to have people rally around you. It is even cooler when this happens unintentionally. I mean those times when people don't know it is a tough day, but prompted by the Lord they call, visit, or come over. We have been the recipients of these gestures on many occasions over the last year.

This past week has been such a blessing. We have seen many students (Awe Star alum and others) , parents, family and friends call to check in. Just to see how things are going. In the office, I have seen many students over the past couple of weeks and that is such a blessing! Did I tell you one blogger family drove five hours one way to be with us at Snellville last Sunday night? I cannot tell you what joy all this brings.

However, my heart is very heavy for Deanna. She has taken a new teaching position which the Lord provided. Her experience right now is not a good one, and she is hurting. Her forte' is elementary music. The job provided for her is middle school choir, where she has as many as 50 students or more in multiple classes. She is an excellent teacher, but feels rather chewed up and spewed out, just now.

She has contemplated many options, and is trying to fight through. Her administration is very supportive of her efforts and want her to succeed. I know part of her weariness is from battling students who don't care that are constantly in her presence, while the one student she cares most about is no longer.

Body of Christ, you all have been such a blessing and given us so much encouragement. I need to visit this well one more time and ask that you lift her up. Being so far from family and best friends has in some ways crippled her ability to cope. It is not that we aren't with people who care here in Tulsa, we are. But those who know her best and have supported her most are nine hours away. Those miles are not just physical, but weigh heavy, emotionally.

She will not be pleased that I have put this out publicly, but I know she needs reinforcement. Will you please lift her up?

The upcoming anniversary is difficult enough to endure without simultaneous hits from elsewhere. She will survive because she is strong. I just know she needs encouragement.

Thank you,


She cannot access this site at her school and we do not have internet at home, so here is how you can contact her: or

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

My nephew Joshua, "keeper of the sword," was playing in the Atlantic recently, when he got stung by a jellyfish. While this was not a pleasant experience, his desire to share his story came quickly.

In light of Steve Irwin's (Crocodile Hunter) recent unfortunate encounter with the normally docile sea creature that claimed his life, Joshua's story brought a heightened level of curiosity. Steve was recently quoted as saying that he wanted to be remembered for his "passion."

If you have been around boys who are Joshua's age (turning 7 this month) you have seen passion in action! No doubt the retelling of his own sea creature encounter is filled with much enthusiasm! What a badge of honor to share with others!

I have several memories of being with Joshua at the ocean's edge. In fact, my brother has a framed picture series of Beej and Joshua walking along the beach.

The two of them loved each other deeply. Recently, Joshua was telling his mommy (my sister) that he wanted a brother like BJ, who was older, and that would play with him. No doubt he remembers the hours of fun the two of them had together. Beej loved Joshua like no other. He poured himself into that little man, and cared for him endlessly. Who would not want a big brother like that?

One of the pictures Brad has is of BJ 'rescuing' Joshua from the crashing surf in a chilly November stroll along the water's edge. BJ is holding him up just as the salty brine licks at his feet. You remember the picture of a child running from the chasing tide as it comes into shore?
This is similar, only there is no running, just the loving exchange between cousins as they laugh about the cold water trying to soak them.

These two were virtually inseparable on this day. Seeing that picture of BJ carrying him brings such joy and longing.

On that same walk, a Joshua did something else that Brad captured on film. Something that had each of us a bit befuddled. He stooped down just out of the water's reach and began to write in the sand. I recall that they were ahead of us, and we saw him do this from a distance and wondered what he was doing. He could not spell much at that point, he was only 4 or so. He did recognize his letters, and he had obviously been practicing his writing skills.

We arrived on scene and stood for an extended pause looking at his script. Marveling at his skill at such a young age, and being transported by Scripture to a similar picture in our minds. The Word does not tell us what was written. Neither could we decipher exactly what Joshua had penned.

As we stood in silence, each trying to crack the code of what had been written, a little voice rose above the lapping surf. "What does it say," Joshua asked?

Up to that point, we were trying to find deep meaning from the heart of a young sand scribbler. In that moment, the stiffness in each of our postures broke free in the ocean breeze. We realized there had been no intended message... save the joy and love of spending the day with his favorite cousin.

The other picture in Brad's frame set is from this past Christmas, the first without BJ. A bit older and a bit broken, Joshua forces a smile at the camera as he holds up his favorite cousin. In his hands are a picture of BJ and a sword.

Oh how I miss him.

uncle brent

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

August 15th of last year, I took Beej to the hospital to find out what was wrong. We had been told it was walking pneumonia, before that, we had him treated and re-checked for a lump under his right arm. On our way into the hospital my mind was racing... overwhelmed with the possibilities. I had no clue what was wrong, just knew that we had to get him help for healing.

For as long as I can remember, I have walked fast. Easily one would say that I was in a hurry... all the time. I have confessed to the same. When we hike as a family, I am out in front. To be honest, if I wasn't out front, I feel like I am out of place. I cannot explain this. I can say that I know many would believe it was a pride thing, a competitive thing. I cannot say for sure that it isn't. I just know that it happens without my giving it a thought.

In the airport whether with family or with my team of missionaries it is the same. My mind is focused on the details ahead and making sure that we are where we are supposed to be at the right time... early if possible.

The thing is, when I try to walk with Deanna for exercise, I can barely keep up. Perhaps it is the fact that it is exercise, and that we do not have to be anywhere at any particular time, I don't know for sure. I just know that tiny little thing has another gear for exercise, and it makes me tired just thinking about it.

I suppose it is all too easy when my mind gets focused on upcoming plans, to forge ahead without enough thought for those who might need me to pay attention along the way. The result? Without intention, they get left behind... gasping for breathe in an attempt to keep up.

What is necessary here, is for me to release some of the foreword thoughts. To share with those with me, what is ahead, and how we can better face the battle as a team. For far too long, I have been a deep thinker. I am used to having my thoughts race ahead, like my physical body in an airport. Keeping it in check has been like holding back the 11th leak in the dam when my other ten fingers are already occupied.

That day, on the way into the hospital, was no different. I had to get him help. I had to see that he was tended to as quickly as possible. I was on my way to seeing him healed.

Then I heard a meek voice. Panting as he walked, fighting for breath as he asked, "Dad, can you slow down?" I turned to see him several paces behind, hunched forward, and trying to keep up. My heart dropped. How could I have become so otherwise focused that the one in need, the one I was fighting for, the one I was trying to tend to was the one I left behind as my mind and body raced ahead?

I returned to him. I wanted to pick him up and run. I wanted to hold him and offer a thousand apologies for my insensitivity.

I fear that too many times I do this, even in ministry. The Father gives me a task. I race out ahead in an attempt to get it done. Partially because I am unsure how to tackle the issue. I forge ahead sure in my mind that the answers will become evident if I keep pushing forward. Soon, I hear the voice of the Son, calling me back, trying to rein me in so that I will take time for those in need... those I have been called to minister to along the way, but failed to see as my focus was blinded by my attention to hurry.

The embrace of ministry to that one in need is indeed sweet. Unfortunately, too often I attempt to fill my diet with ego-centric thoughts that do more to disrupt the Kingdom than build it up.

It is important that I learn to slow down and count the cost, before leaving those in need, behind! Being first to arrive doesn't make me a winner. Being there to understand anothers need and doing something about it, does.


"Illusion of me"... I am returning to your friends church this Sunday night, and would love to meet you and pray for you.

Monday, September 11, 2006

What an encouragement this weekend was!!! We were humbled at the presence and movement of the Holy Spirit at FBC Snellville. Our God is amazing, and provides just what we need in such a timely fashion.

Deanna's singing was incredible! I was so blessed listening to her. When she sings I am transported to another place. I don't know how to describe it. Just amazing! Her countenance, her beauty, her testimony, her faith, her love for Jesus are so inspiring to so many. What an awesome work the Lord is doing through her! How blessed I am to be a part of her life.

The people of that body are precious. They received us with a humbling amount of honor and respect. It can be a little embarrassing. Not that they intentionally overdo things, they just love on their guests that much. That is no small thing in this day of church life.

Obedience. It all comes down to obedience. Had BJ been disobedient and gone where he wanted to go... Thailand, he would still be with us. Because he was obedient, the Lord Jesus is drawing life after life to His presence, and raising up those who will take Beej's place both on our soil and abroad.

Please pray for the many who surrendered to follow Christ in obedience... to GO!!!

I was very moved by the presence of one young family, weeping at the altar. Dad, mom, and two young children. God was doing a work. I wanted to hear from them, but we had to leave far too quickly.

I heard from a man whose wife lies gravely ill in the hospital with a lung disease from serving as a missionary in Africa.

Please pray for these. God has a plan for both, and they are seeking Him for direction.

We got to hear from many students from this body. I was struck by the number of them present on a Sunday night. I was reminded of BJ when one small young man whose voice has yet to change stepped forward to shake my hand and tell me he was going with me to Peru next summer. We heard from several who said the same. Each one of them is a blessing. This particular young man just stirred my heart a little bit extra.

Thank you Jesus for the provision of this weekend and FBC Snellville. You are an Awesome God!!!

Their pastor is suffering from a spontaneous detached retina. He just had his second surgery trying to correct this issue. Please lift Pastor Russ up in your prayer time as well.

Pastor Terry, Betty and Lucy... you are amazing! Thank you for everything. Terry, you are my brother and I love you.

dad (brent)

Friday, September 08, 2006

The air was stale as evening intruded on the bustling daylight. Perspiration filled any path as city streets emptied theirs. How could it be so hot at evenings entrance? How could there not be air conditioning to ease the rough edge of intensity? This is July in North Africa's largest tourist city.

My room this night was on the second floor. As I stood by the window watching the city fold up for the evening, my attention was drawn to a street sweeper... a garbage collector. His mule drawn wagon boasted of the aromatic refuse left behind by his cities visitors from that day. This lone man had charge of clearing this busy alleyway of it's funk.

He was emptying one more load of trash into his wagon when from it, something caught his eye. He retrieved it, sniffed it, then began to eat. My reaction was repulsion. My stomach was threatening to empty its contents.

In a world which has much, but offers him little, in a city containing the highest number of visitors in his country, his poverty cries out in contrast to their wealth. Here he has discovered a means of survival. This is how he lives.

It is hard for us to comprehend, yet it is not given a second thought in his mind. He ate this day!

There is much we could do with what we assure others is nothing. In our quest to compare ourselves to others in our own society, we fail to realize how great our wealth is. The world around us is starving, and we retreat to air conditioned comfort and plan our next trip to "Frolicland."

How often in our own lives do we fail to realize we are ingesting garbage. We have the "Bread of Life," yet seek to feast on crumbs from the 'upper crust.' We must have what they have. We deserve it. We've earned it!

When I was 16 and employed as a dishwasher at a restaurant, I developed a routine I am not proud of. You see I love cheesecake! At that point in my life, they had the best I'd ever tasted. I loved visiting there with family and being treated to this scrumptious dessert. It was one of the reasons I sought employment there. You know, the idea of fringe benefits? Free cheesecake.

As the dishwasher, the busboys would bring me the bounty from cleared tables. My job was to deposit the scraps and cleanse the china. I found that it was pretty common for patrons to leave part of their cheesecake. This yummy delight would find its way to my humid domain. I felt it was my obligation to make the best of that which their hard earned money had been expended.

I cut away the portion their fork had tainted, inhaled the remainder, all while scooting the dishes through the washer!

Yes, it is disgusting. I was 16. I loved cheesecake. I still love cheesecake. I still find it necessary to help my wife or children clear their plates of delectable delights. BJ was my foe at this. He too, loved cheesecake. It was one of the few desserts he would eat. We would do battle over who got to "assist" our family members in "cleaning their plates."

We live in a society of surplus. Our expectations come at the expense of those who can only dream. We can offer them much. We can replace 'garbage' with Truth. We can even feed them in the process. A shift in our priorities is necessary. We cannot afford the "Let them eat cake" mentality. They are our responsibility. We who have much, need to give up some, so others may eat and be full, so others may know Him!

Let us come to the end of justification for gratification and extend beyond our borders for the sake of Him who gave all.


Deanna and I head to Snellville, Georgia this weekend to share at FBC in their Sunday 5pm service. We would appreciate your prayer support for this body as they hear our journey, and that the Lord would move in their hearts as He sees fit.

Thursday, September 07, 2006

When BJ was very small and could begin to focus, he did this thing where he would not look directly at you, but specifically beside you when interacting. I remember that I began to worry about his eyesight and other things as I could not understand why he did this. I would even ask him to look me in the eyes, to which he would reply, "I am."

This was unsettling as a parent. Why was my son staring at what seemed to be a head on my left shoulder, rather than looking me in the eye? Answers did not come on this matter. However, in time, this seemed to correct itself, at least on occasion. I can still remember when he looked beside me, instead of at me. There were also many times when he would focus directly into my gaze.

As Beej got older and began sharing his faith with people, or when he was sharing about something that he had deep feeling for, this 'stray' look would often accompany his conversation. I know there were times that he looked people square in the eye when he shared with them, but there were those times that he seemingly, lost in another world, would bore a hole through adjacent space.

When BJ's friend Jack shared at his funeral celebration that "when BJ spoke to you, he wasn't just speaking to you, but to the masses," I knew exactly what he was talking about. As a matter of fact, I could recall how he would share in this way and how that 'look' would accompany what he had to say.

What he had to say was important. What he had to say was uplifting, encouraging, and at times, convicting. I think his listener(s) was(were) usually more focused on his words than the direction of his view.

The direction of his view was drawing strength and wisdom from the One who provides teaching, comfort and guidance.

I have a friend who often mimics his mother. While she is telling you something, he has so developed this little gift, that he can literally speak word for word what she is about to say, just as she says it. It is like listening to the conversation in stereo.

In a similar way, I envision Beej drawing his words from the Word as he speaks. Somehow he seemed to know just what to say to people. At times, it was as if the words were being fed directly to him by that seemingly errant gaze.

Because he walked closely with the Lord, and had an affinity for His Word, their are similarities between he and other past people of great faith. Though each of their circumstances were different, those He sent them to were drawn to the Father because of the common thread that the "I Am has sent me to you." (Ex. 3:14)


Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Our Father in heaven created us with passion. When you view all that He prepared you can see that He is one who knows and feels deeply. His creation stirs hearts, and minds. He created us in His image and desires to see us fulfill His plan for us with the same fervor in which He breathed life into us. Each one, individually prepared for specific plans and purposes. That which you can accomplish, I cannot. Those you can reach out and touch are beyond the measure of my reach, but not His through you.

What separates BJ from most of us is passion. It is within each of us to take hold of that which Christ has prepared for us. He has made a path which no one but you can walk. He has prepared stops along the way that will fill you with His knowledge, compassion, and wisdom. His Word will overflow and empty into others through you. But first, you must be filled to overflowing.

BJ recognized at a young age what God was calling him to. His response was to follow that call with everything that he was. Most of us may at times see what God has set before us, but call it coincidence, and retreat back into our own borders and watch to see who might actually lead the way.

The act of actually following that which He has opened to us alone is foreboding in our own minds. We begin to listen to the enemies voice of confusion or complacency, even procrastination. The passion He has planted within us is directed into unintended arenas. We begin pursuits that bring us short term fulfillment and then just a watered seed sprouts and begins to grow, we sit back in comfort and watch our passion develop into something it was never intended to be... obsession for worldly fabrications.

When BJ returned from Peru the second time, God had so prepared and ignited within him a passion for discipleship that he began to pour with great fervor the overflow into others. The amount of overflow was significant, the amount of study and development was also significant. He did not take his time with the Lord for granted, he invested greatly, and drew deeply from his Savior's vein.

God was preparing him for this final leg of his own journey. He spilled out a depth and a determination that has reached into the lives of those close to him and those he did not know. The difference between him and most of us was how he pursued that which God put before him. Christ was/is his passion. It did not begin in Peru, it did not end with his death.

It began when he surrendered his heart and his will to Christ and it will continue for eternity.

Let us not wait until the day of His return or our own homegoing to let the passion He created within us to rise up and begin to spill.


Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Our lives are so full of noise. Some of it white, some of it black, some of it just noise. With the competition for out attention, it can be easy to listen to the wrong cues. We are bound to take a break from what it good and righteous and relax a bit, to listen to what isn't.

Seldom does it sound bad to us in the moments we turn our attention to it. It may even sound like a welcome old friend. One which brings back memories from yesterday. Ones we cherish, or ones that once carried pain but now are softened by time and we look back with fondness rather than true reflection.

Sometimes the din is so loud that we do not hear the timpani of our own minds trying to correct what is obviously ill-fated. In those moments we seem to have lost the volume control... we can't even find the power switch. We listen to words or sounds that stir our ire as if it were a recipe for our favorite homemade cookies. We indulge with no expectation of true fulfillment, but the fleeting hope of a moment of good taste.

Few sounds bring me the joy of one. With it comes the peace of knowing that though the world may be dark around me, there is still hope. It is a noise I am powerless to evoke. One that is foolish to wait for in expectation, but thankfully comes without warning.

It's a sound that was absent for a time. This joyful noise grew violently silent overnight.

It seems to be returning with some promise of being nearer the surface than it once was.

The reprise has begun. It's melody is sweet and it's aroma is reflective of the Master.

It is the precious and joyful sound of laughter from my dear wife in response to one of her children.

Those who know her, know her signature laugh. It draws you in and beckons you to enjoy life. Her laugh in response to her children is the sound of heaven to me. It is somehow different, unabashed. It is singularly unique in its reflection of what is truly important in life.

Though one facet of her laughter has grown temporarily still, it will one day be restored.

Lord, haste the day!


Friday, September 01, 2006

I was on my way to work this morning when I saw a mother walking with her two children. She was clearly escorting them to school. The youngest walked hand in hand with mom, while the older drug his feet a few paces behind. Mom got to the corner and was ready to cross. As she began to step into the intersection, she turned to see that her son was too many steps back for her to safely escort them into the street.

Watching the reaction on her face told the story. She began to speak from the same frustrated tone that had overtaken her body. It didn't help any that it had begun to rain and the son was the only one with rain gear. Mom and sister were getting wet, while the young man clearly had "better" things than school on his mind. He was in no hurry to arrive on this Friday morning.

That scene replays in many of my memories of life with BJ.

Since arriving in Tulsa, I am frequently reminded of how fast I eat. Nicknames are starting to be offered my direction. Questions are asked or inferred about the size of my family and whether or not I had to eat fast to be able to have seconds before they were gone.

I do not have a story like that. I cannot tell you why I eat so fast. It is not even a conscious thought as I "adios" the food from my plate. I just do it. I am usually done before others are half way through.

I have shared with you before that Beej ate slowly. I have also shared that it was not uncommon for the two of us to be sitting at the dinner table together while he chased his food around his plate with a fork, while the rest of the family had disappeared.

This morning as I reflected on the young man dragging his feet, my first thought was how often our children are a reaction to the negative parts of who we are as parents. My second thought was more along the line of, there were times that Beej lived his life slow and deliberate on purpose.

While both of these thoughts can be true, I am struck by the picture in my mind of my Savior dragging His feet and the cross down that painful uphill road. Was it that He was unwilling, or trying to think of ways to escape his plight? No. He had been beaten and weakened beyond the ability to hurry. As I picture this, it seems the more He stumbled and struggled the more He was beaten. There would be no hurrying the One who was weakened and worn. The additional blows were unnecessary and could not yield there intended purpose.

If we do not stop to ponder His slow, painful and purposeful suffering, we will not appreciate the magnitude of His sacrifice. He lived His life with intention so that we could know how to live ours. He suffered on purpose. From this we have a role model for the times when suffering comes our way.

How do we respond? Is our attitude "the same as that of Christ Jesus?"

Jesus, like the little boy, would like to have been elsewhere on that Friday. Jesus, like the little boy, was obedient to the authority in His life.

If you are trudging through this day, do it with purpose, do it intentionally, and do it obediently.