Words for today

Consider it a sheer gift, friends, when tests and challenges come at you from all sides. You know that under pressure, your faith-life is forced into the open and shows its true colors. So don't try to get out of anything prematurely. Let it do its work so you become mature and well-developed, not deficient in any way.

If you don't know what you're doing, pray to the Father. He loves to help. You'll get his help, and won't be condescended to when you ask for it. Ask boldly, believingly, without a second thought. People who "worry their prayers" are like wind-whipped waves. Don't think you're going to get anything from the Master that way, adrift at sea, keeping all your options open.

When down-and-outers get a break, cheer! And when the arrogant rich are brought down to size, cheer! Prosperity is as short-lived as a wildflower, so don't ever count on it. You know that as soon as the sun rises, pouring down its scorching heat, the flower withers. Its petals wilt and, before you know it, that beautiful face is a barren stem. Well, that's a picture of the "prosperous life." At the very moment everyone is looking on in admiration, it fades away to nothing.

Anyone who meets a testing challenge head-on and manages to stick it out is mighty fortunate. For such persons loyally in love with God, the reward is life and more life.

Don't let anyone under pressure to give in to evil say, "God is trying to trip me up." God is impervious to evil, and puts evil in no one's way. The temptation to give in to evil comes from us and only us. We have no one to blame but the leering, seducing flare-up of our own lust. Lust gets pregnant, and has a baby: sin! Sin grows up to adulthood, and becomes a real killer.

So, my very dear friends, don't get thrown off course. Every desirable and beneficial gift comes out of heaven. The gifts are rivers of light cascading down from the Father of Light. There is nothing deceitful in God, nothing two-faced, nothing fickle. He brought us to life using the true Word, showing us off as the crown of all his creatures.

Post this at all the intersections, dear friends: Lead with your ears, follow up with your tongue, and let anger straggle along in the rear. God's righteousness doesn't grow from human anger. So throw all spoiled virtue and cancerous evil in the garbage. In simple humility, let our gardener, God, landscape you with the Word, making a salvation-garden of your life.

Don't fool yourself into thinking that you are a listener when you are anything but, letting the Word go in one ear and out the other. Act on what you hear! Those who hear and don't act are like those who glance in the mirror, walk away, and two minutes later have no idea who they are, what they look like.

But whoever catches a glimpse of the revealed counsel of God—the free life!—even out of the corner of his eye, and sticks with it, is no distracted scatterbrain but a man or woman of action. That person will find delight and affirmation in the action.

Anyone who sets himself up as "religious" by talking a good game is self-deceived. This kind of religion is hot air and only hot air. Real religion, the kind that passes muster before God the Father, is this: Reach out to the homeless and loveless in their plight, and guard against corruption from the godless world.

Attorney General Gonzales: Resign, please!

Mr Attorney General,

You have done some great things in your professional life. You educated yourself, became a very successful attorney in Texas, and was even on the Texas State Supreme Court. You were asked to come to Washington DC with all the other Bush clan in 2001. You worked in the White House, and you were nominated to be the Attorney General of the United States.

In the last few months, you have lost complete control of the Department of Justice, which you were confirmed to run. You have no idea what your staff has been doing. You allowed eight good United States Attorneys to be fired--and really for no apparent reason--other than politics.

You have been "asleep at the wheel."

It's time for you to go.

You made a fool of yourself in Chicago yesterday, by walking out of a press conference that was supposed to last for 15 minutes. You cut it short at 3 minutes...

That's neither adult nor professional.

If George W Bush doesn't have the fortitude to ask for your resignation, you should offer it...and do it today. Don't take "no" for an answer.

Go back to Texas, set up a law practice, and make the big bucks.

You have continually proven you are in over your head at the Department of Justice.

Do the honorable thing now: Resign!

Parents, please raise your children!

I was abandoned by my parents when I was just an infant. They abandoned each other--and then abandoned me.

My paternal Grandmother raised me, for all intents and purposes. She had already raised 10 children of her own, and was caring for her invalid husband (my Grandfather). She should have been able to enjoy the "golden years." But alas, she wasn't afforded that opportunity.

I grew up in abject poverty: no designer gym shoes, $200 jeans, iPods, computers, or any of the other stuff that "teenagers" take for granted today. Most of the time I didn't even have the "essentials"--meaning more than two pairs of dress paints, and more than one pair of shoes--dress shoes, at that.

But I did have this:

I grew up learning good manners. Respect. Class.

I knew better then (and still to this day) than to "smart off" at an adult, for any reason. I knew that "Yes sir" "Yes ma'am" "Thank you" "Please" "You're Welcome" and all the other vocabulary in this seemingly foreign language were absolutes in our home, in our neighborhood, and in my life. There were no excuses for not using these phrases all the time.

Repercussions were swift and certain if I didn't use them.

Teachers in the public schools where I attended knew that my Grandmother was their absolute best ally---and I knew that too. I knew that I would never "live" to be a problem student, so it was out of the question at an early age....it never crossed my mind.


It is a rare thing to find good manners in the current generation--and occasionally I do. These fine young people are sadly the exception--not the rule.

And really, I can't blame them. I can certainly blame their parents though.

This "travesty" on society can be approached from several viewpoints, but I'll tackle only one of them today: Parents, raise your children!

I personally have nothing against sports, extracurricular activities, and all the "stuff" that children and teenagers have today. What does bother me a great deal though is when these "things" are given to kids, teenagers as a poor substitute for good parenting.

Parents, your children deserve and must have your attention! You made the decision to take on the responsibility of being a parent. God gave you the blessing and honor being a parent, and now isn't it time to "honor God" by raising your children?

Don't let XBOX, video games, iPods, Cellphones, and all the "stuff" raise your children. That is your responsibility. "Smart mouths" can be corrected...and MUST be corrected. We called it "attitude adjustments" when I was growing up.

Sure, Senator Clinton was right: It does take a village. But that "village" must start in your living room, long before it ever starts in the public school classroom. It is not reasonable to expect school teachers to "raise" your children. And they shouldn't ever have to do your job.

The Church can certainly help you in this regard. But then again, the church can never be the "parent" for your children--even though many wonderful, godly people helped to raise me, and bless them for doing so.

I'm not coming down hard on anyone...but I want to see a far better generation than the ones I'm currently seeing.

Parents, raise your children.

Mr President, Let them Testify!

President Bush has promised the Senate of the United States a bruising fight if White House Advisor Karl Rove and the former White House Legal Counsel (and jilted Supreme Court nominee) Harriet Miers are subpoenaed to testify before the Senate.

What a travesty!

This President, if he is the "ethical" man that he claims to be, should follow the mandate of the subpoenas--if they do occur--and insist that both Rove and Miers testify about the firing of the eight United States Attorneys back in December.

Mr President, stop your political posturing--the same thing you are accusing the Senate of doing!

If the Senate calls for sworn testimony under oath, then so be it.

And Mr President, should you "put up a fight" I hope you lose...and lose big!

General Peter Pace: You are Absolutely right!

I'm a military veteran, having served in the United States Air Force for a little more than ten years. I was active duty when the whole "gays in the military" hullabaloo blew open in January 1993, after President Clinton took office the first time.

I remember all the hypothesizing, theologizing, demagoguery, etc from every side and every angle of the issue.

The Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff of the Armed Forces, Marine General Peter Pace, recently did an interview with the Editorial Board of the Chicago Tribune. The newspaper editors obviously asked General Pace about the "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy that was adopted by the Pentagon more than a dozen years ago.

General Pace gave his personal views that "immorality" does not belong in the military services of this country. He said that "heterosexual immorality" and "homosexual acts" are both wrong, and they are both IMMORAL...and have no place in the military.

I couldn't agree more...and thank you, General Pace for stating your personal convictions.

As a Christ-follower, I have to view "immorality" for what it is: Sin.

It's nothing less, and nothing more. Sin will destroy any and everything it touches. Sin is an offense to a holy, righteous and loving God--who gave His Son to conquer sin.

General Pace, thank you...thank you!

And finally....

Happy Birthday to me....Actually, I'm wishing myself a happy birthday a day early.

Forty-five years ago on March 13, 1962 I was born in Huntsville Hospital, Huntsville, Alabama!

It's been quite a journey over the last 45 years....and God has kept me safe and sound (at least I think so) over all those years.

There have been SO many people who have loved me, cared for me, and made sure that I was headed in a good direction, or at least in some direction.

I owe a tremendous debt of gratitude to alot of people, and I would be terribly remiss if I started naming them all, because undoubtedly I'd miss some one who means the world to me.

So, I guess it's Happy 45th Birthday to me!

I am a very fortunate, lucky, and blest man! Better than anyone else, I truly realize and appreciate that.

He's 59--Happy Birthday, Jim Moses!

My wonderful friend, Jim Moses (Kevin, Regina, and Cynthia's dad) is FIFTY-NINE years old today!

Jim is one of the smartest and most gracious people I know. He's an engineer in the Lexington, Kentucky area. He and his wife, Luvadia, are "family" to me. Their son, Kevin (whose birthday we celebrated last month) is probably my very best friend.

Jim grew up in the church, since his parents were in full-time ministry. Jim is still faithful to God's work and will in his life. He is a marvelous example of what it means to love God, love family, love people, and still strive for "excellence."

I think his humor is great--most of the time....

His children don't always agree with me. Actually, most of the time they think I'm just as "wacked out" as their father...at least I'm in good company.

Happy Birthday, Jim!

"The Rock"--take a listen.....


A good buddy of mine sent me an email a few days ago, telling me about this wonderful Internet station playing "southern gospel songs, just like we used to sing in our churches..."

It's called "The Rock"--and it is great!

I'm hearing the wonderful songs that hallowed my childhood from people who have always been my heroes:

The Speers
The Downings
The Goodmans
The Hemphills
The Talleys

And so many more....

So, go ahead, tune in, and see what you think.....

Twenty years ago this month...

I had my very first encounter with the Denver First Church of the Nazarene. (www.dfcnaz.org)

I had just made a permanent change-of-station (PCS) move with the United States Air Force to Lowry AFB, in nearby Aurora, Colorado.

Having been a pretty much lifelong "Pentecostal" I wanted to find a great church where I could become a regular part of the congregation, worshipping God, and serving as needed.

I visited several congregations in the greater Denver area...and just didn't feel at home in any of them. I began to get discouraged.

One Sunday afternoon, I just happened to be reading the Rocky Mountain News, and saw an advertisement for the "Winter Campmeeting" at the Denver First Church of the Nazarene--and the Speer Family would singing....I was gonna be there...

I grew up loving, loving, LOVING the music of the Speers (one of the premier family groups in Southern Gospel Music), and so I had to go.

I wasn't prepared for what would happen to me when I got the Denver First Church facilities that evening.

As soon as I walked into the breezeway, I sensed the Holy Spirit telling me that I was "home" while stationed in the Denver area...that I would not have to search any further for a church family. I had found it..and them. Senior Pastor Doctor Donald Wellman and the entire congregation became my family from then on...

The evening meeting was tremendous. Reverend Jim Diehl was the guest speaker. At the time, Rev. Diehl was the District Superintendent for the Colorado District of the Nazarenes. Some two years later, he would leave the District Superintendent's office and become the pastor of Denver First Church. He now serves as one fhe General Superintendents of the Church of the Nazarene.

I was only part of this congregation for a few months, but these precious, precious people loved and cared about me...and from all indications, still do.

I still have the "Worship in Song" (old Nazarene hymnal) that someone gave me, when I told them I needed a good devotional hymnal to use. I treasure that precious volume.

If you are ever in the Denver area, please visit the Denver First Church of the Nazarene. You will treat yourself to a wonderful blessing.

Tell my friend, Pastor Tim Stearman, that Phil Hoover sent you.

When brave Americans die...

One of the things that I have disciplined myself to do over the last few years is to watch the Newshour with Jim Lehrer (I've always loved that show anyway), and particularly at the end of the broadcast when the Newshour staff honors those service personnel who have been killed in either Iraq or Afghanistan.

I am profoundly grateful to the Newshour for honoring these brave men and women who answered the call of duty in the face of danger.

I always read each name carefully, and at the end of the listing I ask the Lord to be near the loved ones who are left behind to grieve this brave person's death.

I served in the United States Air Force for ten years. I was very fortunate to have the opportunity to serve God and country in the military. In hundreds of ways, it was a life-changing experience for me.

I know many people who are serving now, and I pray for them all the time.

As Americans, we owe an infinite debt of gratitude to these people. And in some small way, we must be ready to repay it.

Cleaning up the "Rumsfeld" mess...

When then President-elect George W Bush nominated Donald Rumsfeld to be the Secretary of Defense in December 2000 (after a very contentious election), I was just horrified....

Even though I was a child when Rumsfeld served in the Nixon-Ford administrations, I can still remember the debaucle that we call the "Vietnam War."

Why on earth would then President-elect Bush nominate someone who had been a "failure" in a previous administration in the Department of Defense? Were there no other choices?

Of course there were.

And six years after Donald Rumsfeld bumbled and fumbled every action he took as the Pentagon Chief, he finally had the fortitude to insist on his own resignation. By his own accounting, he had offered the President his resignation at least three times before, and George W Bush refused to accept it.

Thus, Bush-Cheney didn't get my vote in 2004.

The current Pentagon chief, Secretary Robert Gates, is now in the process of cleaning up the debris at the Department of Defense.

And thanks to the Washington Post, Secretary Gates is starting with the Department of the Army, and more specifically with Walter Reed Medical Center. Two generals and the Secretary of the Army have already been "relieved" of their duties.

Bob Gates means business.

He has my eternal gratitude.

"The Long Road Home"

Martha Raddatz, the ABCNews correspondent who covers the White House (and has reported from Iraq 12 times since the war began) has authored this wonderful book. I want to encourage everyone to get a copy and read it:

The Long Road Home

Martha does this nation a great service is giving us an otherwise unreported perspective concerning what our brave military service personnel are enduring.

I plan to read it very, very soon.