"His Music"...

I am a huge fan of Cynthia Clawson's music and ministry. Here's the last song from a recording titled, "The Way I Feel" released in 1978--thirty years ago:

A simple gift is all I have to bring to Him
To sing to Him, my love song.
To share as best I can about His blessing every day
How He hears me when I pray,
and He never turns away,
To use the very voice He gave to praise Him thankfully,
To put in words the way I feel and what He means to me:

When it's "spring" in my heart,
My Lord's the season,
And love's the easiest part,
He's the reason!
Whenever the sounds that often surround me
fall like sadness on my ears
I close my eyes till I hear HIS MUSIC.

When I'm lost and afraid,
My Lord's beside me
And though my direction has strayed
He will guide me.
Whenever I chance to dance to the piper
Who only brings me tears,
I look to Jesus and hear HIS MUSIC.

His music is the truest love song ever sung
It's for everyone, all children, old and young.
And if I reach a hundred I know there will never be another melody,
that's like the one HE sings to me.

For when I'm in the day
My Lord's the sunrise
For there's no clouds in the way
He's the strong and gentle wind,
And I'm so glad that He has given me
Much more than wealth or fame
He's called me by His name
And that's why I proclaim
The message of His grace....
Through HIS MUSIC!
Cynthia has this to say about "His Music":
George (Gagliardi) said he wanted to write a song to help me express how I felt about singing "His Music." I am grateful to have a friend who understands--I remember George had just snashed his finger in the car door and was really in pain. But he wanted to play this song for me. He played the right hand and sang--I played the left hand and wept. Black and white keys, red stains, friends clustered around a studio piano sharing "the way I feel and what He means to me."
I've been a fan of Cynthia's music for many years...and I feel like weeping tears of great worship every time I hear this particular song.

Let it minister to you. Visit her website...www.cynthiaclawson.com

Dear Senator McCain...

Dear Senator McCain,

Congratulations on winning the nomination of the Republican Party for the Presidency of the United States. I have every intention of voting for you in November. You were my choice for the GOP nomination in 2000, before you were "hi-jacked" and "side-swiped" by all the "Bushies" that were running rampant across the country.

Right now, Senator, it looks like the General Election is yours to lose. But, please don't. I'm not sure I would be able to hold my head up if we get another "on-the-job training" President--a "President Obama". We have already had the "OJT" President, and he's about to return to Crawford, Texas. And not a moment too soon.

I applaud you for your wonderful service to this country. Your years as a Marine, as a congressional representative, and as a United States Senator give you far superior experience to either of the Democratic potentials for the Oval Office. While I admire Senator Clinton's knowledge, tenacity and ability, I admire yours even more. You have my vote...

Unless you royally screw it up between now and the General Election.

I don't anticipate you doing that.
Senator, we have lots of problems in this nation...and the Iraq War is only a tip of the iceberg. Our infrastructure is pretty much in shambles. Our national debts and deficits are absolutely INSANE and UNCONSCIONABLE (except to the Bush Administration, of course). Our obligations to our military personnel must be met...and without delay, or bureaucratic boggling.
I know and trust your ability to help us "wade" through these issues.

Please pick someone as your running mate who will actually listen to the nation....unlike the current Vice President. No one says that "political leaders" have to "agree" with everything. As we all know, the "Richter scale" of public opinion is fickle at best. But those same elected leaders must be willing to "hear" and "listen"---or at least give us a believable pretense of listening.
The current administration hasn't even pretended to "listen." Sad, indeed

Senator McCain, I will be proud to call you "President McCain." Good luck, and God bless you.

Welcome Home, Paul!

One of my "real life heroes" "Major" Paul has safely returned from his tour of duty in Iraq! I got the text message from his wife very early this morning--about 1:45 a.m. (CST).

God heard my prayers and pleas for Paul's safe return. He is a wonderful, godly man who loves people, loves his country, and loves his Saviour, Jesus Christ. He continually inspires and encourages my heart.

Almost a year ago, I found myself crying out to God on Paul's behalf--for his safety, for his family, and for his tour of duty in the troubled land of Iraq. While Paul was anxious to go "to the front lines", most of his friends and family were less excited about his departure. I've kept all the emails that I was fortunate enough to receive from him during his time in the Middle East.

"Major" Paul continues to amaze me, and inspire me with his devotion to God and country.

In the borrowed words of Ty Pennington (somewhat less of a hero, but famous nonetheless), "There's only one thing left to say: Welcome home, Major...welcome home!"

"Getting on with life..."

My wonderful friend and mentor, Dr R Hollis Gause, and I were chatting on our cell phones for a good while on Saturday night. This was the first time in a very long time that Brother G and I had the opportunity to just "talk about stuff" without alot of time constraints. It was so good for me, and very refreshing as well.

Even though he has known me for many years, I had the opportunity to share alot of the "personal pain" from my early childhood years--much of which he had no knowledge. Being the marvelously attentive listener that he is, Dr Gause demonstrated his wonderfully pastoral/fathering heart during the course of our conversation.

Afterwards, I realized just how much God has brought me through over the years. Even with the pain of an absentee father, a horrible mother, and abjecct poverty, God still brought me through it all! And now, many years later, I see just where I could have been, had it not been for the mercy and grace of our Lord!

On more than one occasion I have been reminded that love and mercy of Christ is far greater and more powerful than the "temporary" and "light afflictions" of this life.

Praise His holy name!

Four thousand and counting...

According to the recent reports from the United States Department of Defense, more than 4000 service personnel have now given their lives in the Iraq war. On March 19, 2008 the world marked the fifth anniversary of the invasion of Iraq by the United States and a small group of allies.

Now more than five years later, the United States is:

1) Engaged in a very heavy Presidential Election process
2) Engaged in the debate as to whether we should withdraw from Iraq and
3) Engaged in the lives of men and women who have so bravely served this nation in the military uniform.

From those FOUR THOUSAND men and women who have died in this war, 98% of them are men, 75% of them have been caucasians, and only 9% of them have been military officers. New York City has experienced more loss than any other city in the USA where military service personnel have called home.

I have two very, very dear brothers (not blood-related) who are currently serving in Iraq. Not a day goes by that I am not praying for their safety and protection.

I am praying for a very peaceful resolution of this awful situation.

May the Lord grant us His favor and peace.

Oprah's BIGGIVE...could you do it?

Here's the scenario:

You are placed in a large city, where you are mostly unfamiliar with your surroundings. You are handed $100,000.00 (that's one hundred thousand dollars). You must spend it all within 24 hours. You can use any of it on yourself or your family.

You must:

1) Not give any recipient cash.
2) Not spend more than $500 on any one person's needs.
3) Not spend more than $10,000 at any one establishment.
4) Use this money to "enhance" or "better" the situation for someone, or a group of "someones."

Could you do it? You have 24 hours.....

What is your plan?

"Precious in the sight of the Lord" Dr Charles W Conn goes to glory!

Church of God officials, members, and friends are mourning the passing of Dr Charles W Conn, who was promoted to glory last night!

A prolific author, tremendous preacher, able administrator, and doting father/grandfather/great-grand father, Brother Conn was a genuine "original." I first became aware of this "giant" of a man when I was a teenager, and someone gave me a copy of Like A Mighty Army, his seminal volume on the history of the Church of God. Years later, I would have the opportunity to tell him personally how much I appreciated his views on early Pentecostal history. I remember Dr Conn and his Edna coming to the Pentecostal World Conference in Oslo, Norway in 1992. What a treat it was to see them.

Known as an able pastor, and better yet, as the father of twelve children, Brother Conn, brought his many gifts and abilities to bear on the Church of God, and Lee College (now University) in particular. From 1970-1982, he was the very able president of this fine institute (of which I am a staunchly proud alum). He served the Church of God as state overseer, headquarters official, General Overseer, Pastor, College President, and prolific historian and author. I have several of his books in my personal library. I often re-read "The Anatomy of Evil" and the "Rudder and the Rock" when I need to be informed and encouraged.

His son, Dr Charles Paul Conn, (the current president of Lee University) is one of my heroes. When I last visited Cleveland TN, I had the wonderful opportunity to chat with Dr Paul, and his wife Darlia. I will always remember his words, "Well Phil, the 'Brother Conn' that you knew and loved isn't with us anymore...he's in his own little world right now." Alluding to his father's bout with Alzheimer's I could see the pain and sorrow in my good friend over the condition of his father.

The Scriptures tell us that the "death of a saint of God" is precious in the sight of the Lord. While this will be a very painful (though expected) loss for the Conn family, in time it will become a very precious gift to them.

Dr Charles was preceded in death by his wonderful wife Edna, and some of their children.

Dick Cheney is on DRUGS!

From 1989-1993 I was one of then-Secretary Dick Cheney's biggest fans! He was a marvelous leader of the Pentagon.

My, how times have changed him. He has been one of the absolute WORST Vice President's of my life time. He made unspeakably horrible assumptions about the "Iraq invasion"--telling MEET THE PRESS host Tim Russert that our troops would be "welcomed as liberators"....How wrong he was!

Now he has the audacity to say that our "mission in Iraq" has been a success.

Tell that to the families of 3,987 military personnel who will never share another day with their families. Tell that to the grieving husbands, wives, brothers, sisters, fathers, mothers, and friends.

Mr Cheney, I can hardly wait for you to leave office, and get out of Washington! The sooner, the better.

The Funniest people on RADIO

For years, I have listened faithfully to "Car Talk" with my never-have-met friends, Click and Clack....not their real names of course.

Very few people in the "broadcasting world" make me laugh as much, and as hard, as these two characters. I never drive...and as a matter of fact, I hate driving! Being behind the steering wheel makes me very nervous....honestly, it does!

But I absolutely will not miss "Car Talk" if I can help it. I laugh at these two for the entire hour! Listening to their recitation of the closing "credits" is worth the effort. National Public Radio got a real "winner" when they brought this show on board.

Listen at least once...you'll love it. I promise!

Manifold Thanks..."the day after"...

Okay, Okay...I lived through the big "46th" birthday. Everyone in my workplace was very gracious to me. I want to publicly thank my immediate supervisor, Peter Pauletti (Director of Admissions) for taking me to lunch. He is a joy to work with and for.

And in no particular order, I want to thank the following people for their greetings, and other forms of "good wishes" on my birthday:

Jim M
Phil P
Jim P
Mitch and Lisa
Aaron and Kristy
Dr Gause
"Dadda" (I know who he is...LOL)
Jane and Jim
Fay and Ray
And all the others...
I just went "all out" for my birthday celebration. I left work a bit early, went home, and had a magnificent dinner: some unsalted cashews (straight from the can), and a couple glasses of caffeine free Ginger Ale.

Yep, me...the big-time spender....so I don't have to worry about this type of "drama" for another 364 days...

"Sixteen things"

I'm not sure where I found this one (many years ago), but here it is:

Sixteen Things it took me 46 years to learn:

1. You will never find anyone who can give you a clear and compelling reason why we observe daylight savings time.

2. You should never say anything to a woman that even remotely suggests you think she's pregnant unless you can see an actual baby emerging from her at the moment.

3. The most powerful force in the universe is gossip.

4. The one thing that unites all human beings, regardless of age, gender, religion, economic statusor ethnic background is that, deep down inside, we ALL believe that we are above average drivers.

5. There comes a time when you should stop expecting other people to make a big deal about your birthday.That time is age _____.

6. There is a VERY FINE line between "hobby" and"mental illness."

7. People who want to share their religious views with you almost never want you to share yours with them.

8. If you had to identify, in one word, the reason why the human race has not achieved, and never will achieve, it's full potential, that word would be"MEETINGS."

9. The main accomplishment of almost all organized protests is to annoy people who are not in them.
10. If there really is a God who created the entire universe with all of its glories, and He decides to deliver a message to humanity, He WILL NOT USE, as His messenger, a person on cable TV with a bad hairstyle.

11. You should not confuse your life with your career.

12. A person who is nice to you, but rude to the waiter is NOT a nice person.

13. NO matter what happens, somebody will find a way to take it too seriously.

14. When trouble arises and things look bad, there is always one individual who perceives a solution and is willing to take command. Very often, THAT INDIVIDUAL IS CRAZY.

15. Your friends love you, anyway.

16. Nobody cares if you can't dance well...Just get up and dance.

Forty-Six.....that sounds really old!

Tomorrow, March 13th, is my forty-sixth birthday....

I'm not sure how I feel about this one. My fortieth was very traumatic, and thanks to my innate acting abilities, very dramatic. The only people more glad to see #40 pass than myself were all my friends who were tired of the whining, moaning, and theatrics that I put them through, leading up to the fateful day. I took the "fortieth" really hard, to say the least...cried for three months leading up to it....ate lots of chocolate cake, and went to bed early that night...

Tomorrow's will not be anywhere near that "dramatic." One of my closest buds, Mark Brucato, has already told me, "Tomorrow has enough troubles of its' own." Fine time to start quoting scriptures to me, huh?

I have the very best friends on the planet. These people mean the world to me. I am Exhibit A that no man "is an island." Everything good thing that I may have received, or become, or contribute is due to all the wonderful people who have loved me, nurtured me, corrected me, laughed and cried with me, and have embraced me--so much that I truly haven't deserved--but am profoundly and profusely thankful that it was so.

A verse that I used often when I was in college and then in the Air Force seems very appropriate today: "Greater love has no man than this, that he lay down his life for his friends." (John 15:13).

For all those people who have "laid down their life" for me over the last many years, I am eternally indebted. I will do my best to "repay."

"Father" issues.....

I've not posted for a while, and for those of you who like to read SOMETHING TO CONSIDER, I beg your forgiveness.
It's been a tough few weeks for me. The demands of work have been somewhat crazy, and I've not been particularly inspired to write a whole lot anyway.

My parents divorced when I was just a baby. I was later abandoned by both parents, and was rescued by my paternal grandparents. My father never, never played any type of active role in my life...

And thus...the "father" issues. Even though I will be 46 years old in a few days, I still feel like I was robbed...Cheated....abandoned.

Even though I've been a follower of Christ since my earliest years, I've always felt the "emptiness" of not having a "father" who loves me, cherishes me, and deeply cares for me. I know my Heavenly Father does...and that's not really the issue in my life.

I've not seen or had any communication with Bobby Hoover in almost 16 years. The last time I saw his face was at his mother's funeral....the woman who loved and raised me when her son refused to carry out his responsibilities.

I never learned to toss a football, dribble a basketball, or even hit a softball--all things my father should have taught me. I never learned what it would mean to be a "man"---mainly because the "important" men in my life (or those who should have been important in my life) were absentees....dropping in and out at their own convenience.

I'm not sure that I have ever learned what it means to be a "man"...except what I've learned in my military service, my seminary training, and from watching those "men" who have become such important people in my life.

Father's Day is always a hard holiday for me. For a long time I hated it...now I just tolerate it...and keep moving on with life. I've never married, and sometimes I wonder why. I don't know if it was something subconscious that warned me that I would be "no better" than my own parents...but I've never pursued marriage.

So yes, there are "father issues" in my life. But I am glad that my Heavenly Father is nothing like my biological one. And I'm also glad the Heavenly Father has given me lots of "fathers" who care about me, encourage me, instruct me, and love me....