Tuesday, November 30, 2010

How Deanna feels experiencing another Birthday (yesterday)...

Well, since I last updated, I have seen Lauren get married and leave for her honeymoon, Jared harvest a buck, preach in a local church, celebrate a worship experience with over 20 family members in our home, host two Thanksgiving feasts, seen Lauren return, and attend the funeral of a dear friends father, and become aware of another friend losing her job.

Goodness, life is full of twists and turns. Some are joyful, and others are less so.

We truly had a wonderful time with family! It was great to all be together to celebrate!

We experienced a spontaneous time of worship that was so refreshing and filled with His presence. We are so blessed to have believers in our family that are truly focused on Him and bringing Him glory. That even when we take a deep breath from life, that our focus doesn't waiver on what is important...Jesus!

We had family here from both coasts and points in between. What an amazing Thanksgiving season!

Deanna and I will be leading a team to Mexico over Christmas Break, so we spent a bit of time exchanging gifts.

One of the gifts I received was something I needed for hunting.

It is a "suit" that blocks human odor from escaping. It allows you to remain relatively undetected by animals (whose sense of smell is much keener than our own).

In usual fashion, I began to think about this "suit" and it's purpose.

If a hunter wants to get close to game, he doesn't want his scent betraying him.

The same is true in our Christian walk.

Too often, who we represent ourselves to be on Sunday, is not who we are on Monday.

In effect, we are betrayed by our scent. It is nearly impossible to squelch the 'real you.' Try as we may, those close to us recognize who we really are.

It is one of the reasons that a "prophet is not recognized in his own home town." People know us well, and we try to fool them. It doesn't work.

The converse is also true. When we are Christlike, others see it in our thoughts, actions, attitudes and responses.

When things get hard, what do we smell like? The world? Jesus?

A "scent-blocker suit" is useless in living for Him. He knows all about us. We cannot hide, though we continue to try.

He smells our true aroma. He wants it to be His. Too often, it isn't.

I am so thankful to be surrounded by family who smell like Jesus. I am aware that our circumstances are unusual in today's world. Most families are filled with unbelievers. Often, if you are a Christian, you are the only one in your family. That makes things so very difficult!

Still, if your aroma is that of Christ, then when others struggle, they will have taken note of the real you, and will come knocking, to ask questions!

In the real world, a "scent-blocker suit" is relatively useless. Strive everyday to be more like Him! He is worth your all!!!

I will be speaking this Sunday afternoon at Marquez Baptist Church at 2pm. This event is open to the entire community and all who would like to participate. The church is located at 138 South Trinity Street in Marquez, Texas. Please come and join with us!!!


Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Years ago, Lauren graduated from high school... then college... and Friday, she steps through a new door, into marriage!

This evening (Tuesday), family begins to assemble in Tulsa for the upcoming wedding! We are very excited for this major event in our lives!

When Whitney and Jared married, two years ago, they had to move things around in such a way that not as many family were able to come as desired to.

This time, many more are able to make it. Deanna has been busy meal planning, Lauren running down one errand after another in preparation, cleaning fairies have been hard at work, and I have been fighting to keep it all together... a full time job about now.

I am not sad, I am thrilled!

Lauren's wedding will mark the official end to children at home. Though she lived apart from us for most of the last few years, she has been home since the end of August.

Our house was transformed into a workshop as projects in preparation, took over one room after another. Now those are concluding, and the wedding will commence.

The arrival of family marks the official end of one journey and beginning of another.

To have it so close to Thanksgiving is very special. On Saturday, we will host a special Thanksgiving dinner for those who can stay. Then later in the week when the actual holiday comes, we will still be blessed with abundance of many members who have been able to make an extended trip!

We are so excited for this to begin.

I know many new stories will result from this time together. Many new memories will be bound into our hearts. Truly we are most thankful for this most special time!

Amid this, I have the privilege of bringing the morning messages in the church of a nearby community. How incredible to be able to serve Him in this way, at this time!

During this season, my heart overflows with blessing! I am abundantly grateful for His provision. Family, friends, food, fellowship (and some hunting) are gonna make this a great week and a half.

I pray you have a very Happy Thanksgiving with those the Lord allows you to be in the midst of!

Celebrate Him!


Friday, November 12, 2010

a moment with Marti (Ghost Writer of "I Would Die For You")...

Getting ready for Lauren's wedding has been a blessing. Of course I am a dad, and stay out of things as best I know how.

Lauren has taken this on with a great attitude and she and Weston have done much of the planning themselves. For the most part, she has enjoyed the journey. Nothing like the "Bridezilla's" one can see portrayed on television.

There have been some significant blessings along the way. Actually there have been many, but when I am here, I tend to think of things through the filter of my son's memory.

As most know, we named him Brent Allen Higgins Jr., or "BJ," as he is affectionately known. I've written of many encounters and stories regarding not only his name, but unique interactions that have come as a result.

Like the time that Deanna and I were having dinner with Afshin and Meredith Ziafat in Dallas, and they were driving and selected a restaurant without forethought, called "BJ's". Both Afshin and I received free "BJ's" glass cups because it was their Father's Day promotion! Amazing!

We are a week away from this wedding, and I wanted to share a couple of things that have been an "encouragement" to us.

First, Lauren was talking to my younger sister, Lynae, whose son Joshua is the keeper of BJ's sword. Lauren asked her if she was going to be able to bring the sword to the wedding so that it could be carried down the aisle (as it was at Whitney's wedding) in remembrance of her brother.

Lynae kind of gasped and laughed simultaneously and said, "Oh Lauren, I have an alarm set on my phone, just to remind me to pack the sword!"

We laughed together, but found such blessing in this anecdote.

Another story is this. Lauren decided she wanted sparklers to be used to usher she and Weston to their car in place of other things like bubbles, bird seed, or rice.

I had a friend who worked for a fireworks company in Arkansas. I contacted her to see if she could help us out. After her research, she discovered that they were available, but could not be shipped. We did not want to drive to Arkansas to pick up sparklers, so Lauren began to research on-line.

She found a company and ordered just what she wanted. When she printed out the receipt, she was moved as she discovered the name of the fireworks company she had just ordered from was: BJ Allen's!

On the wall of our great room at home, hangs a photograph taken, matted and framed by my brother, Brad. The photograph was taken on the evening of July 4th, and pictures BJ painting designs with fire, in the dark of the night holding... a sparkler.

We are so excited about their union. We have been blessed on this journey as they prepare to get to walk the aisle!

We praise God for His matchless provision!


Tuesday, November 09, 2010

Me, Brad Guice and Walker Moore

This past weekend was absolutely amazing!

We held our annual missions conference in Tulsa. We had speakers in from Cambodia, Latvia, Mexico, Uganda, as well as those who have ministered in over 80 countries around the world!

What incredible testimonies and perpectives we have seen. The common theme was that God gives His obedient children, many stories!

Those same stories are used to inspire and stir the passion of others. If we have no stories, we need to look at what we are doing with our lives. He fills us with stories of radical change and obedience when we walk as He calls us to!

Our stories don't have to be from foreign soil, just from surrendered lives.

One of the things the Lord did, was allow me to finally meet a man He brought to me about 6 years ago.

A faithful blogger from this website had contacted me to let me know that a friend of hers from church (in NYC) was a professional photographer by trade, but his passion was missions.

He had been around the world and had used his camera to capture the plight of the least of these. Each photo induced an emotional response. Not just emotional, but ones that stir you to action.

In his work he is highly sought after by top ad agencies and major actors of today.

In his heart, he completes 2 months of missions each year and God has called him to assemble a coffee table book on the topic. This book will be complete with missionary testimonies, quotes, and pictures from around the globe.

He began working on it years ago. He contacted us to see if BJ's story could be used in his book. At the time, our agent advised us against it. In the literary world, you don't want anything to dilute your story. The agents fear was that if this book told our story before we did, publishers would lose interest.

Our book ended up being published first.

Even though we were not able to give permission, the Lord connected my heart to this brother. His name is Brad Guice. We have stayed in touch through the years. From time to time, we've caught up on how the other was doing, and how God was working.

Through a series of events, the Lord drew my heart once again to Brad's when we were planning our missions conference. He agreed to come and speak for us. My ministry partner, Walker Moore and I grew in excitement and anticipation over how the Lord would use him.

When I picked him up at the airport, we exploded into dialogue of our incredible Savior!

So much has happened. So much was discussed.

He spoke with passion at our conference. He was one of our main speakers and then also conducted two seminars compelete with many photos and stories from around the world!

In our private time, my heart was filled with friendship and the warmth of the Holy Spirit. As we discussed many things, he asked us one more time for permission to use BJ in his book! We excitedly agreed this time!

We are so excited to see what the Lord will do with his project. I know I want his book in my house! I wanted it even when it wasn't going to include my son!

Few have his eye to capture our Savior's heart, through a lens. Few have his passion! Few have been saved from drugs and alcohol abuse/addiction and then set on fire for the Lord!

His transformation is radical, His Savior is mighty! His heart is surrendered, and his life glows with the fervency of Christ!

Thank you Brad for revealing more of Him to me, more of Him to us.


Thursday, November 04, 2010

This picture was taken in the summer of 2006 when I met this young lady. She had been a faithful blogger during my sons hospital stay. Her name is Katie.

Our lives would become intertwined.

A few months later, she would join our missions staff. She worked here for several years while finishing her college degree. We led teams together. We planned mission trips together. We laughed and cried together. We worked shoulder to shoulder.

Deanna spent many months in Bible Study with her. The two of them grew in their relationship for many reasons. One of them was that Katie lost her Spirit filled mother to cancer, when she was a young teen. She and Deanna grew close.

She and my daughter Lauren became roommates. They lived together for a couple of years.

She is like a daughter to us. I have written about her before. Her father took me hunting a year ago and on his land I harvested a huge buck. Katie and I led her father on his first mission trip, prior to that. He and I have become good friends. We catch up routinely, and share stories.

I got to talk to her on the phone today. That is significant because she now lives in the Central Asia. A land many would believe hostile. She is on a journey for her Savior that will not be denied. Her father knows it, her brothers know it, we know it, and she knows it.

There is an anointing on her life. It is unmistakable!

She has been in this mission field for a couple of months and God has flung open the doors of opportunity for her to share her faith in this "closed" land! Her opportunities are amazing! Even one of her supervisors expressed a tinge of jealousy over the amazing ways God is allowing her to impact this culture for Him!

She is doing what she was created to do... bring honor and glory to her Savior!

When we don't walk in that sort of obedience, we don't experience the fullness of His joy!

I am not saying we are all called to Central Asia. I am saying we each need to approach the throne of Grace with the attitude of submission and obedience. When we do, the life we lead will be one reflecting His glory to those around us! We will be selfless and focused as He is, on meeting the needs of others over meeting our own desires.

She is, and will remain one of my heroes of the Faith. She is 30 years my junior and has claimed the fondness and affection of my Savior... and me!


Monday, November 01, 2010

Lauren and Weston will be getting married November 19th!!!

I am blessed and amazed at how the Lord provides for us!

When Lauren was a toddler, I remember Deanna and I praying over her as she slept in her bed. We asked the Lord to provide a godly man, one who pursued Jesus and was in love with Him!

I remember weeping as we prayed, at the thought of this innocent young girl, ever finding a man I could approve of. Was it even possible? Could I allow my heart to be riven in such a fashion?

I've had the privilege recently of taking God's provision in Lauren's life, hunting for his first several experiences. We've had much time to bond on many outings.

As I reflect on these recent experiences, I am moved by God's Spirit. He has blessed her beyond our expectations! No prospective father-in-law could be more pleased with what God has done!

This past Friday night, we hunted together once again. We were blessed with a harvest! It was such a privilege to work together with him as we brought the harvest in! The memories will last for the remainder of my lifetime.

Our time, traveling to and from the farm have been significant in terms of conversation and relationship. He is pursuing the Lord with all of his heart, and I am so blessed to know him. Our conversations have been gratifying and encouraging both spiritually and relationally.

God had a plan. We took advantage of the privilege to pray for our daughter, having to wait years to see what the outcome would be. It would be a prayer we often breathed on Lauren's behalf.

No man could ever complete or complement my daughter, better than he. I honestly believe this!

I've had many conversations with other dads, who wonder how we ever allow men to enter our daughter's lives. It isn't an easy task.

The beauty of this is, that our daughters have pursued Christ first, and found their identity in Him, not their men.

Then when the right man came along, they were in a better place to discern this.

Having the peace of the Lord regarding this issue, is huge in my life!

I will gladly stand beside my bride to give Lauren to the man God has raised up, that we have been praying for, throughout her lifetime!

Welcome to the family Weston!

We are humbled and honored at God's provision! That you are wedding during the Thanksgiving Season, only makes sense!

Praise God!!!