Category: Whitney (Page 1 of 12)

The Gospel at the Table

Whitney and I took in Myles Hill’s final Little League game of the season last night and delighted most of all in seeing both Myles and his dad, Brandon wearing Texas Rangers logos. Brandon and Myles are both massive Astros fans and over-the-top Rangers haters. So it’s been a funny bit all season to poke fun at Myles for playing catcher for the Little League Rangers and Brandon coaching at first base. They wear the Rangers’ “City Connect” uniforms, those horrid Friday night home game black and red monstrosities Texas threw at us last year. But, those are Rangers logos nonetheless! Myles did an expert job handling things behind the plate and lined a sharp single to right field in his last at bat in a tough one-run loss. And I’m certain those two Rangers caps are already at the bottom of a dumpster somewhere between Butler Park and Briarwood.



If the Lord’s Supper is the place to experience the real presence of Christ and the real fellowship and community we have together with God’s people–if the purpose of communion is, well, communion–then the way we do it matters. The form of the Lord’s Meal serves the function. In fact, the form IS the function. The medium IS the message.

You can’t hold a Weight Watchers meeting at Golden Corral. Why? Those rolls, man! You can’t ask people to pay for Financial Peace University with a credit card. That defeats the purpose. The form matters.

That’s what’s wrong with the Lord’s Supper in Corinth. That’s what so concerns the apostle Paul: the form, the way they were eating the meal. The form of the meal was working against the purpose of the meal. In fact, Paul tells these Christians in Corinth, the way you’re eating it, it’s not the Lord’s Supper at all.

“When you come together, it is not the Lord’s Supper you eat, for each of you eats his own supper without waiting for anybody else. One remains hungry, another gets drunk.” ~ 1 Corinthians 11:20-21

The original Greek text makes this much more clear. Paul says you’re not eating the Lord’s Supper (kuriakon diapnon), you’re eating your own supper (idion diapnon).

It’s important to remember that the Church’s Lord’s Supper started out as a full meal. For the first 300 or so years of Church history, the communion meal was a potluck. The Greek word diapnon is translated as supper, dinner, feast, meal–the word most commonly means the main meal, the biggest meal of the day. We call that supper. And Scripture tells us if we eat the meal one way, it’s the Lord’s Supper, and if we eat it a different way, it’s not.

So, what’s the problem? What are these Christians doing wrong?

“When you come together, it is not the Lord’s Supper you eat, for each of you eats his own supper without waiting for anybody else. One remains hungry, another gets drunk. Don’t you have homes to eat and drink in? Or do you despise the Church of God and humiliate those who have nothing? What shall I say to you? Shall I praise you for this? Certainly not!” ~ 1 Corinthians 11:20-22

The problem here is the breakdown of community during the Lord’s Supper. You’re not waiting for others, you’re not sharing your food with others; people are going hungry, people are being humiliated. The rich Christians are getting full and drunk while the poor Christians are starving and being singled out as not really belonging to the group. People are going back for seconds before everybody’s been through the line once. Some are saving seats. There is selfishness and division, Paul says. Even if they had no idea what the Lord’s Supper is all about, common courtesy demands they don’t get stuffed and drunk while their brothers and sisters in the same room go hungry.

The Gospel of Jesus Christ is breaking down barriers and tearing down walls and uniting us together in his holy community. Only thinking about yourself, only worrying about your own needs and feelings at the meal, denies the very Gospel the Lord’s Supper is intended to demonstrate. Paul says it makes a mockery of the Church.

So, what’s the corrective? How does he fix it? By pointing to Jesus. He reminds them of Jesus.


I found out at lunch today that my friend Steve Schorr, the pastor at First Presbyterian, is a big Colorado Avalanche fan. This afternoon, I am re-evaluating our friendship and this whole “4Midland” thing.

Go Stars.


OT in Big D

Our oldest daughter, the precious blue-eyed angel, turned 31 on Saturday (YIKES!) and we celebrated by attending the Dallas Stars game at American Airlines Center. It was supposed to be a surprise but she ruined it about three weeks ago, Whitney was snooping where she shouldn’t have been and discovered something she wasn’t supposed to know. To her everlasting credit, she quickly confessed. But then she spent the next 20 days worrying about which Stars socks she was going to wear to the game.

We got to Dallas Friday evening, early enough to spend some quality time with our youngest daughter Carley and our son-in-law Collin. Mexican food at Christina’s in Lewisville hit the spot and a Saturday birthday brunch at First Watch was exactly what we needed to get us through to the pizza we were planning to eat during first intermission.

It was our first time to see the recently installed Dirk Nowitzki statue outside the AAC. Magnificent. Loyalty never fades away. Perfect.








We splurged for really good seats at the top of the lower level, near the face off circle on the visitors side. Four young men from Canada sitting behind us had flown in Friday from Ontario to watch their Edmonton Oilers. Beauty, eh? The rest of us in our section were Stars fans and we were reminded again why there is nothing in all of sports like NHL hockey. The first period was eerily quiet as 20,000 people almost silently watch the two teams size each other up. The whole crowd is locked in. Nobody moves. Everybody’s eyes are on the ice. The anticipation is building. It’s really remarkable. Then the explosion of six goals scored in the wild second period had us on that roller coaster. Dallas up 1-0, then gives up the equalizer in about 40-seconds. Dallas down 2-1 and then ties it up on a power play goal. It’s 3-3 heading to the final period. Dallas killed off a crazy five-on-three power play late in the third, and it felt like Game Seven of the Conference Finals. The whole place was going nuts, you couldn’t hear yourself think. The Stars hit the post twice on shots at the other end, and wound up going to overtime. Less than 30-seconds into the extra frame, Wyatt Johnston got out of position and was whistled on a very tickey-tack hooking penalty. Edmonton went on the power play and, seven seconds later, it was over. Edmonton won it 4-3.

Hockey is the only sport that gives you a true sudden death overtime. And it always feels like death when you’re on the losing end. It’s so sudden. That arena instantly went from a million decibels to zero. In a flash. The whole thing is a three-hour heart attack.

I blamed Whitney for choosing the wrong socks.



Disaster in Arlington

A bad day at the ballpark is still better than a good day just about anywhere else. And yesterday was a very bad day at the ballpark.

The Texas Rangers bullpen is destroying the most promising season in a decade. It’s a disaster and it’s impacting the whole team and threatening to knock us completely out of the playoff picture. Yesterday’s demoralizing loss to Houston will probably be remembered as the game that ended the Rangers 2023 chances.

Whitney and I are taking two days to see a couple of games in this pivotal Rangers-Astros series. And yesterday started out good enough. Andrew Heaney began the first with a 1-2-3 inning. Semien worked a leadoff walk to start the Rangers’ firstĀ  and Seager followed by hitting the first pitch he saw for a two-run homer. Garver added an RBI single to make it 3-0. Things went back and forth. It was tied 5-5 going to the seventh inning. And that’s when the bullpen imploded. Again. By the time we got to the stretch, Texas was down 11-5 and the game was over.

The worst part about it was that by the 8th and 9th innings, there were 20,000 Astros fans in the stadium and 43 Rangers fans. It was brutal.

Six weeks ago, the Rangers were uncatchable in the AL West. Now they’ve lost 12 of their past 16 games, the bullpen has blown late leads in ten of those losses, they’re in third place, and just a half-game up on the Blue Jays for the final wild card spot. It’s likely now this team doesn’t even make the playoffs after spending 139 of the first 140 days of the season in first place.

The bullpen is killing this team. Since no amount of runs scored are enough, the offense is pressing instead of just taking what the game gives them. Too much pressure. The starters and defense are just as stressed, afraid to do anything the least bit risky and playing tight. It’s a recipe for failure and that’s exactly what’s happening.

Of course, the Rangers are playing meaningful baseball games in September. They’re losing those games, but they are meaningful games with a lot at stake, and nobody thought this was possible back in April. This team has lost 90+ games in each of the past three seasons. So, in one sense, we’re enjoying a division race down the stretch for the first time since 2014 — that’s fun. But, what a disappointment. There was so much energy in that sold out barn yesterday. For six innings there was tension with every pitch, every swing, every throw. It felt like a playoff game. Rangers and Astros fans side by side, giving each other a hard time, cheering for their team, hanging on every pitch. And then it blew up.

Whit and I are back at it tonight. And we keep reminding each other that a bad day at the ballpark is still better than a good day just about anywhere else.



In Honor of Kim Scott

Kim Scott probably knows 500 preachers and each of them – all of them! – would have jumped at the chance to do his funeral. That I was the one to officiate that memorial service yesterday in Amarillo is one of the great honors of my life.

In some ways, it was a tough spot. I felt like I needed to tell a bunch of jokes. I felt like Kim would be disappointed if everybody wasn’t laughing the whole time. And you might say, “But it’s a funeral.” And I would say, “But it’s Kim!” The guy died in the church building during a Bible class on Wednesday night! He would want somebody to point outĀ  the humor in that!

So we did. We covered the fact that Kim is right now probably bragging about dying in church on a Wednesday night and how that moves him to the front of the line to get into heaven. We covered the loud neckties and the outrageous family Christmas cards. We talked about Farm & Ranch Shows and Water Board meetings and LCU. We highlighted his sense of humor and his great joy. And I told some jokes. Straight out of Kim’s book.

Did you hear about the big truck that overturned on I-40? It was carrying peanut butter. Jars of peanut butter spilled out everywhere. But it went so well with the traffic jam.

What sound does a limping turkey make?
Wobble, wobble, wobble.

What do you call a cow who just had a baby?

I hear that membership in the Flat Earth Society is falling off.

People who identify as cake are really conscientious; they’re always running around saying, “You want a piece of me?”

I would love to write out all six pages of my eulogy to Kim Scott in this space. Instead, here’s a link to a video of the service. If you want to hear 650 people gut-laughing at a funeral, you might check this out.

On top of presiding over Kim’s funeral, it was a rich blessing to be back in Amarillo. It was great to see so many of the people we ministered with during our ten years there. I got to town early enough to stop by The PARC and hug Shelley’s neck and get caught up with Valerie and see the plans for their new building. I got gas at “my” Toot N Totem and visited with my longtime early morning friends Stacy and Gary and just missed Daniel, who I learned is Stacy’s new assistant manager. I found out the hard way that Burger Bar on Polk Street is now permanently closed so we had to move our lunch with Greg, Steve Nordyke, and the Coopers to the original Blue Sky on Western. (That Blue Sky has crispy fries, which we don’t have at the Blue Sky in Midland!) And I got to spend a couple of hours in that sacred Central church building.

Mixed emotions, man, I’m telling you. Tougher than I thought it would be. And much more of a deep-rooted joy than I anticipated. I thank God for that great church and the years we spent there with those wonderful disciples of Jesus.

And I praise the Lord for Kim Scott. Kim reflects our God’s glory in his kindness and generosity, his patience and grace, his love and great joy. I am a better man, a better follower of Jesus, because of my connection with Kim. I know God better, I see God better, because of Kim. I’m a little ticked off at him right now because he left without saying goodbye – that’s very unlike Kim. But I’m looking forward to seeing him soon. Sooner than I think. And I’ll see if he’ll let me cut in with him in line.


I made it home last night just in time to change clothes, grab C-A and Whitney, and make it out to the ballpark for the Midland RockHounds home opener. It was a beautiful night, the crowd was energetic, the nachos had a little extra cheese, and the RockHounds gave us a win over the Tulsa Drillers. They were down 3-0 in the first inning before they even got up to bat. But Midland exploded for six runs in the bottom of the seventh to win it 10-8 and maintain their first place position in the Texas League South.



A Night with the Greatest

I’ve got three or four pretty good Emmitt Smith stories from my mediocre sports radio career and I added to the list last night with our oldest daughter Whitney. The all-time greatest running back in NFL history was in town for the Davidson Distinguished Lecture Series at Midland College, and our favorite math professor, Lori Thomas, got us a pair of VIP passes for the event.

Emmitt stopped by the pre-event reception to take pictures with us and he was kind enough to pretend like he remembered me from my time at KRLD. Maybe. There were a lot of us in and out of Valley Ranch back in those days, but the longer we talked, the more he seemed to recognize me. He was mostly surprised to hear that I’m preaching. Most people are. And he was kind enough to autograph my press pass from the day he broke Walter Payton’s all-time rushing record against the Seahawks at Texas Stadium. It was the first and only time in my 16-years in sports radio that every person in the press box stood and applauded an athlete on the field. A special day.

Whitney doesn’t remember Emmitt Smith’s playing days. When he left the Cowboys the season before Bill Parcells took over for Dave Campo, she was nine. But she’s seen all the highlights and heard all the stories. She laughed out loud several times during Emmitt’s talk and her eyes lit up when he talked about Troy Aikman and Michael Irvin, when he mentioned familiar names like Jerry Jones and Roger Staubach. She was especially locked in while listening to the story about the separated shoulder game against the Giants – an expertly delivered first hand account. I guess it was her first time to hear about that legendary performance and she was riveted. We debriefed it all the way home – she asking questions, me telling her my memories of that afternoon.

They don’t make ’em like Emmitt Smith anymore. Three Super Bowl victories, league and championship MVPs, Cowboys Ring of Honor, Pro Football Hall of Fame. His rushing records for most ever yards and most ever touchdowns in NFL history will never be threatened. He was durable, dependable, tenacious, and focused. Not the biggest, not the fastest, not the strongest. Just the undeniably best to ever do it. And still a really nice guy.



Round Seven and Zach Williams

We bought the Zach Williams concert tickets before Carrie-Anne was diagnosed with cancer, before we knew that, when the date rolled around, we’d be in the middle of chemotherapy and cold cap treatments every Friday for twelve straight weeks. When I ran into a friend in the lobby of the Wagner-Noel last night he said, “Didn’t Carrie-Anne have her chemo today? She must be doing really well.” Truthfully, nothing was going to keep her from that show – Zach Williams is by far her favorite artist. And, by the way, she is doing really well.

Yesterday was Round Seven of the sixteen total infusions Carrie-Anne will receive as part of her treatment. And, so far, the side effects have been minimal, if at all. She is generally only having issues with the even-numbered infusions, and that is only some nausea and minor bone and muscle aches that usually begin overnight Friday and run through Sunday afternoon. We met with Dr. Manny on Thursday and all of C-A’s blood tests and lab numbers are perfect. As far as they can tell, everything is working exactly like it’s supposed to. In addition, the cold caps are doing their job, too – she hasn’t lost one strand of hair! The frozen gloves and slippers are also proving effective as her fingernails and toenails are not just holding their own, they’re growing! There is a cumulative effect on her energy we’re noticing. It is taking her a few hours more every week to feel back to normal. But Carrie-Anne is working four days a week and, overall, we both feel very confident and grateful for where we are and how things are going.

As for the concert, Zach Williams always puts on a good show. Four guitars, three horns, keys and drums, background singers, and steel guitar gives the whole thing a really full sound. It’s kind of a Southern Rock / Country sound like Lynyrd Skynyrd meets Dierks Bentley. I like the lyrics to most of his songs – fear really is a liar and we really could use a little more up there down here – and he seems to be a sincerely humble guy who wants to help people connect to our Lord through music. Carrie-Anne and Whitney both know every word to every song and I had a blast just enjoying my wife and my first-born daughter having so much fun.

Near the end of the show, Williams led his band and the whole crowd in a sharing of the communion meal. We were forced to use those terrible little rip ‘n’ sip communion kits, but it was okay. It was really good, in fact. Zach spoke about how the Church has distorted the communion meal, how we’ve conditioned ourselves to be silent and somber during the bread and cup when it was always intended by God to be a time of fellowship and sharing, a time of celebration and praise. At that point, Carrie-Anne leaned over and said, “He’s preaching your sermon.” I know. I was all in. So, Zach encouraged us to consider the Body, to remember the unity we share in Jesus, and to be alright with smiling and celebrating during the meal. And we did. The Body of Christ broken for you. The Blood of Christ given for you.

The only thing missing is for Zach to write a song based on Isaiah 25:6-9 or Exodus 24:8-11. I think I’ll send him a letter.




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