It's Friday, but Sunday's coming
I hate to see friends experience pain, but I appreciate it when I see them willing to use their pain to help other people. Monday morning I received word that a friend of mine in our congregation lost his job. He is the second, upper-middle-class member who has lost a job in the last two weeks. I am delighted to say that both are using their pain for ministry. Both see God at work, in spite of adversity. It is this kind of spirit that can grow a church. I do not wish anyone to lose his job. However, if all of us can maintain the mentality of allowing God to use our pain for the glory of the kingdom, much good can be accomplished.
Closing out Texas Stadium -- and I am there!
It always helps to have friends who are in China. Last week I received a call from Gigi Womble. She and her husband, Brian, had been friends of ours for years. Brian has a job that takes him to China several times a year. It just so happened that he was going to be in China when the Dallas Cowboys played their final game in Texas Stadium. It would also be the last football game ever played in Texas Stadium. So Brian graciously offered me his ticket and the ticket of his son who was attending a state championship game. My oldest daughter and I traveled to Irving for the ballgame.
Jerry Jones marked the occasion in style. Dozens of former cowboy from their history were present. The Wombles have great seats and I found myself within a few feet of guys like Bob Lilly, Tony Dorsett, Michael Irvin, Emmitt Smith, and the hero from my childhood (and in all honesty, my hero even unto this day) Roger Staubach. The game was an exciting game and was marred only by a lousy ending. In the final minutes, the Ravens ripped off two runs of over 70 yards to destroy the Cowboy comeback.
After the game, longtime cowboy announcer, Brad Sham, emceed a ceremony that was both joyful and sad. It began with Hank Williams, Jr. standing on the cowboy star at midfield shouting out, "Are you ready for some football?" The other fans and I were thrilled and excited, waiting for him to sing his Monday night football anthem, but he left midfield for the bench. I don't know if ESPN has a copyright of the song, but it was a let down when he left the field.
Great moments in Texas Stadium were marked as members of each decade of cowboy history walked onto the field through the victory line formed by the Dallas cowboy cheerleaders. At the conclusion of the ceremony, the giant screen displayed a clip of Dandy Don Meredith singing "turn out the lights" from an old episode of Monday night football. And then they turned off the lights of Texas Stadium, except for a very few. It was, in a lot of ways, a sad moment, and some my friends were teary-eyed. My oldest daughter, Haleigh, was with me. Even though she is only 15, the ceremony made her feel quite emotional.
Everything finished after midnight. Haleigh and I did not get home until 3:30. Even though I had to preach the following morning and had to get up about 6:15, I felt energized all day. When you receive grace, you're always inspired to share the good news. A big shout-out to Brian and Gigi, thanks for the grace.
Traveling to the In-Laws
I am about to embark on a short trip to see various members of my wife's family. I always enjoy being with them, and I look forward to relaxing with them, their families and Judy and the kids.