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Dogs, Serving, and Cancer

Dear Friends,

Bev and I got our first dog on our wedding day. We found the little stray in the back seat of our car eating our wedding cake. We learned that he had been beaten and his hair shaved by his drunk former owner. He was so pitiful looking that we named him Frumpy. For the next dozen years Frumpy was a beloved member of our family.

We always had dogs and our last one passed away just before we moved to Georgia when we merged with Larry Burkett’s ministry. Because of our travel schedule, we agreed that we had had our last canine.

So, you can image how surprised I was when Bev told me a couple of weeks ago that she would like a small dog! She felt she would benefit from the companionship and encouragement during her battle with cancer. Two days later she chose a toy poodle puppy named Fluffy weighing 1 pound 4 ounces . . . who needed to be house trained! Our last dog was a German Shepherd and his paw was bigger than Fluffy!

I am fully convinced that the key verse describing the role of the husband as he relates to his wife is Ephesians 5:25, “Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself up for her.” This is a sacrificial love. A friend once told me, “View every request by your wife as an opportunity to serve her.” So, whether it is Continue reading Dogs, Serving, and Cancer

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Starting from Scratch

“Behold, I am doing a new thing; now it springs forth, do you not perceive it? I will make a way in the wilderness and rivers in the desert.” -Isaiah 43:19

A couple of years ago Danielle and I lost one of our most precious family members- our dog Homer. He was the kind of dog that was just about perfect. He lived to please us. He would rejoice with us when we were happy and pout with us when we were sad. He never left the yard, would never jump on the couch and followed us around everywhere. When we had to put him down because of cancer it was one of the saddest days of our lives. The only way we knew how to ease the pain was to get another dog. And that’s when Barnabas came into our lives.

We were hoping Barnabas would be the next Homer- help heal our pain and be an encouragement (hence the name Barnabas- “son of encouragement”). Well, apparently Barnabas didn’t get the memo because he was a rascal! He ran around like a wild man, never listened to us and acted like we were put on this planet to serve him. The first couple of months were pretty trying to say the least. But as days and weeks continued we began to see a different side of Barnabas. We noticed how playful and goofy he was, how he would sit in your lap and fall asleep in a matter of minutes (all 70 pounds of him), and how he became more and more obedient.

Barnabas asleep on the couch

Our expectations were that Barnabas would be the next Homer, but that was unrealistic. He could never live up to that. We slowly realized he wasn’t the next Homer, but the first Barnabas- and with him we had to start from scratch.

This is very similar to how I have felt during the “start up” year in serving the Lord through Compass. There have been times where my expectations have been over the top, but also times where I have seen God working in ways that I would have never expected- clearing the wilderness and providing rivers in the desert. I have come to the realization that over the past year God has not needed me to help start the ministry of Compass. He has used this last year to help me see how much I need to trust and rely on Him. In some ways I am just like Barnabas- learning and striving to be more and more obedient so I can seek the approval of my master. And just like Barnabas, I am still a pup (although I am 259 years old in dog years) with a lot more to learn. I look forward to this next year of serving the Lord through Compass, to the “new things” and seeing all that “springs forth”!