Sunday, March 2, 2014
Friday, June 14, 2013
|LD Cannon circa 1947|
Saturday, March 30, 2013
Saturday, November 10, 2012
Last week, we said goodbye to one of the dearest men I've ever been blessed to know: my Dad. Dad went home to be with the Lord last Saturday after a long illness. I had the privilege of eulogizing him. I wanted to share this in honor of LD Cannon today.
The LORD is the portion of mine inheritance and of my cup: Thou maintainest my lot.
The lines are fallen unto me in pleasant places; yea, I have a goodly heritage.
Psalm 16: 5, 6
As I considered how to best eulogize the man I call Dad, two things came to mind. The first was this verse in Psalm 16:6 The lines are fallen unto me in pleasant places; yea, I have a goodly heritage.
When Steven Jobs, the founder of Apple Computer passed away he was one of the wealthiest men in the world. Someone asked, "How much did he leave?" The reply came back, "All of it!"
The second thing was a conversation I had with dad in which he told me about a chat he had with my niece, Jennifer. I think Jen was about 10 years old. She asked dad, "Grand dad, are you rich?" Then he said he thought about that question; "are you rich?..."
I have a goodly heritage.
I heard about a man who actually believed the purpose of the funeral was to read the will. We'll not do that today. But let me share with you today what LD Cannon did leave for us.
First, he left us a very rare and very valuable work ethic.
Dad was born into abject poverty the son of a share cropper on a cotton farm in Arkansas. My grandfather died when dad was only three years old. He was raised by a step father who, by all accounts was a very harsh man. Dad dropped out of school in sixth grade to work the cotton fields. At 15, he moved to Dallas, Texas to live with his older brother. He worked in job shops by day, and went to trade school by night. He worked! Dad was never one to lay around. He always had a job; often two jobs to take care of his family. He was blue collar, working class people. He passed that work ethic on to us. That's how two people who didn't even graduate from high school raised 3 kids; all with college degrees, all in professional fields. Years ago, during a phone call, one of his cousins was asking about the family. He said, "Well my oldest daughter is a high school teacher, my middle daughter is in the insurance business and my son Pastors a church in Kansas City. She replied, 'It's no surprise your kids did o.k. LD. You and Alma always worked like Trojans. And work, they did!
That brings me to the second thing LD Cannon left us; a priceless set of family values.
Dad was working in a machine shop that was across the street from a hat factory. There was this girl working at the hat factory that caught his eye. She was asked if she would go on a date with him, she told a friend, "That boy's a smart alleck he'd be the last boy on earth I dated." True enough, He would be the last boy on earth she dated. They were married April 29th 1949. Mom and Dad dedicated sixty three years to one another in marriage. The thought of my family splitting up never crossed my mind. I never wondered when dad was coming home. He was a husband and a father who took his commitment seriously. We learned that marriage is a commitment. Its really not a surprise, and its not a coincidence that their three children have had strong long-term marriages. We came by it honest. Mom said one time, "We never considered divorce ... murder, maybe, but never divorce
Yes! The third thing we inherited was a valuable since of humor.
We laughed as a family. Times were not always easy, but we had our laughs. Dad had a dry kind-of back handed since of humor. I remember asking him one time if I could borrow a chain saw. He said, "I don't have one, but what do you need one for?" I said we were clearing some land at our church to build a parking lot. Being a protective mother, Mom said, " YOU"RE not gonna be using a chain saw are you?" I said yes. Dad blurted out, "Boy, you better be careful with those things. You're only 21 and I didn't use one o' them 'til I was 12." Mother gave him that look; the look only mom can give; the look I'm probably getting right now. We grew up knowing how to laugh.
You see how, there was wisdom in his back-handed wit! When I turned 40, I spoke to my dad about it. I jokingly said it was too late for me to become a famous country singer. He said, Aw, son, you could have made it big if you had stuck to that."
I said, "Really? You think so?" Dad said yeah! Yer 40 years old now. If you had gone into country music, by now, you'd have 5 gold records, 3 ex wives and you'ld already be out of drug rehab! Then you could go sing Gospel in Branson!
See, there was perspective in that humor.
I believe the most important thing Dad gave us, was a his beautiful simple faith.
My dad was raised in a very legalistic religion; a religion that would send you to Hell for the slightest infraction. He found, as with all religion based on works, is always impossible to merit. But that girl he married was a Baptist preacher's daughter. When the time came, Papaw shared with dad the simple truth of the Gospel of Jesus Christ and His death on the cross for our sins. It was not a religion, it was a relationship! I have a picture in my office of my grand father baptizing my dad in a river. I have a recording of my dad testifying of how he, as a young man placed his faith and trust in Christ. He shared that simple faith with us: the Faith that teaches, "For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life."
His favorite Bible verse was Matthew 11:28-30. I heard him quote it many times.
Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.
Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls.
For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.
That is the Gospel that I preach today. He gave us that faith.
"Grandad, are you rich?" He told her this: "Well, I got a nice place to live; I got food on my table, I don't want for anything. I got great kids, and wonderful grand children. I got more than most people I know, so in that since, I guess I am rich."
Dad left us so many things: a strong work ethic, a since of commitment, a since of right and wrong; a dedication to family; a since of humor, a strong and simple faith. This is what my dad left to all those who's lives he touched. And if this is what we have received as the children and loved ones of LD Cannon, then we are truly very rich indeed.
Sunday, June 10, 2012
Sunday, April 22, 2012
Before I formed thee in the belly I knew thee;
and before thou camest forth out of the womb I sanctified thee,
and I ordained thee a prophet unto the nations.
For He knoweth our frame; He remembereth that we are dust.
For He remembered that they were but flesh; a wind that passeth away, and cometh not again.
In the 1800's men went out west and built their farms and ranches. Many times they would do this as single men, or they would go as married men and lose their wife in this rugged new world. So to get a wife they would go to organizations located back east to help them find a bride. Thus the advent of what came to be known as the "Mail order bride." Now if you think the idea of meeting a spouse by mail is odd, consider the following statistics (sources sited):
5% of Internet users have paid to use an online dating service. (Pew Internet Cash for Content Study - December 2010)
17% of couples that were married in the last three years met on an online dating service. (Chadwick Martin Bailey Study - April 2010)
1 out of every 5 singles in the United States have dated someone they met online (Chadwick Martin Bailey Study - April 2010)
Online Dating is the third most popular way for singles to meet, behind school/work and friend/family member. ( Chadwick Martin Bailey and Match.com Study - April 2010)
Imagine what it was like having a wife show up you had never met. Imagine travelling across the country, which took weeks back then, to meet your husband! Would you go through all that not knowing what you were getting?
Now let me translate that illustration into this truth about your relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ. On this day, this date, God wants to do something great an wonderful in your life. He wants to use you. He wants to forgive you, bless you and give you victory over the trial you are in. Ultimately, God wants to be glorified through your life. Some would say, "But my life is not what it should be. I have failed. I've messed up. God cannot do with me what He has done with others. I have too much baggage." God is not surprised by your baggage. He knew where He would find you!
My wife and I have six children; all adopted, five of which came out of foster care. When we took custody of our first sibling group of three, the state of Texas sent us a banker's box full in files of information on these kids and their background. We had medical records, court records, police reports, psych evaluations, (mostly wrong) placement hearing records and state reports. Under the laws of Texas, the Department of Protective and Regulatory Services, (TDPRS) had to divulge all information they had available to adoptive parents. This box of nearly 2000 pages of info on the kids was all they could tell us. I learned in the first year, that was about one tenth of what there was to know about my children. We had no idea the "baggage" with which they came.
When you come to Christ He knows all about your "baggage." The word of the Lord came to Jeremiah the prophet. God told Jeremiah, "Before I formed thee in the belly I knew thee; and before thou camest forth out of the womb I sanctified thee, and I ordained thee a prophet unto the nations."
He knew from the beginning your condition, your past your failures , your sin, your experience. In other words, He knows what He is getting. God knew where He would find you. He knew what He was getting when He called Jacob the "con artist" and changed his name to Israel, "Prince of God." God knew what he had when He used Rahab the harlot and Ruth, the gentile Moabite widow. Look closely at Scripture and you will see both of these gentile women in the lineage of Jesus Christ. He knew what he was getting when He found Saul hiding behind the cattle; when He found Gideon hiding in the threshing floor and when he found Moses hiding in the wilderness.
God knew what he was getting when he reached out to the crippled man at the pool of Siloam, to the woman at the well and to the thief on the cross. God was not caught off guard by the arrogance of Peter, the religious zeal of Paul, the fearfulness of John or the doubtfulness of Thomas. And God knew what He was getting when He reached out to you.
The late Dr. Curtis Hutson used to say, "Did it ever occur to you that nothing ever occurred to God?" God knows us! He knows our failures, our past, our sin. God knows what He is getting.
This is all part of God's divine plan for you!
He found you in sin with a plan to forgive you.
He found you in your grief with a plan to comfort you.
He found you in your sickness with a plan to heal you.
He found you in you loneliness with a plan to walk beside you.
He found a you in your weakness with a plan to make you strong.
God knew where He would find you. Now let Him take you where He wants you to be. Let Him do the cleansing and the healing. Let Him change you. One Pastor I know will say to the congregation, "Come as you are, but leave changed." That is the work of grace in the life of a sinner. As a Pastor, I might be surprised by what I find in the life of a person, but God is never surprised. God knew where He would find you.
Thank you for reading.
Sunday, March 18, 2012
And what shall I more say? for the time would fail me to tell of Gedeon, and of Barak,
and of Samson, and of Jephthae; of David also, and Samuel, and of the prophets:
Who through faith subdued kingdoms, wrought righteousness, obtained promises, stopped the mouths of lions,
Quenched the violence of fire, escaped the edge of the sword, out of weakness were made strong,
waxed valiant in fight, turned to flight the armies of the aliens.
"There is so much more I would do for God if I were ..." and you fill in the blank. So often, God's people are stymied, dettered, even crippled in this thing we call faith. "I desire to walk closer with God, do more, do greater but I can't because of ...." and you fill in the blank.
There are two things in play here: the objective and the obstacle. Whatever the objective is, I want to focus on the obstacle.
The obstacle might be a past failure, a sin habit or simply some perceived inability. Whatever the obstacle, we can refer to it as our "weakness." We know our failures. We know what stands in our way. People spend thousands of dollars going to "motivation speakers" trying to figure out how to overcome their weakness. That may have some positive results but there always seems to be another "weakness" crop up that needs to be conquered. I have good news! Being a faithful, faith-filled Christian is not about being strong! Its about being weak!
Hebrews chapter 11 is often referred to as the "Hall of faith;" a chronicle of great people of God doing great things because of their great faith. But these are not great because of their faith. I read the names in this chapter and think, "great faith? Really? Abraham lied about his wife to Abimelek to keep from being killed. Moses killed an Egyptian and ran off in the desert for 40 years. Noah got drunk! David ran from his own son and hid. Gideon gave us the phrase, "putting out a fleece" because he did it repeatedly after God spoke to him. Now, before you think I'm judging, let me say these were all great men; not because they had great faith, but because they had faith in a great God! These were men of weakness and flesh just as we are. The key is not overcoming weakness, but rather what God did in it. Let me give you a few facts to help change your outlook.
God knows how weak we are.
For He knoweth our frame; He remembereth that we are dust.
Our Creator deals with us as we are. We are fallen creatures. We have nothing to bring to the table and say, "Here ya go LORD! This is what You need to do great things!" No. We are dust. I know the positive thinkers won't like it, but we are nothing outside of the grace of God. He knows our weakness and He is o.k. with that! That IS good news!
Our weakness, not our strength, shows our faith.
My former Pastor, Dr. Bob Smith used to say, "If you can figure out a way to do it on your own, it's not faith. Faith is not the lack of doubt or weakness. Faith is when the doubtful and the weak act, trusting God. Four times in the Psalms, David the great fierce warrior prayed, "Help me." 15 times, he prayed, "save me." And four times in the Psalms he prayed, "hide me." Does that sound like a man without weakness. No. It sound like a man who has God as a source of strength. The father of a sick child came to Jesus asking for healing.
Jesus said unto him, If thou canst believe, all things are possible to him that believeth.
And straightway the father of the child cried out, and said with tears, Lord, I believe; help thou mine unbelief.
Lord, I believe; help thou mine unbelief. To me, that is one of the most moving statements in Scripture! Isn't it great to know that there is help for our unbelief; that unbelief is a qualification and not a disqualification for crying out to God?
God relies on our weakness.
The Apostle Paul was used or the Holy Spirit to pen 13 books of the New Testament. He was highly educated. God used him in great ways. But Paul does not glory in his abilities. He glories in his weakness.
And lest I should be exalted above measure through the abundance of the revelations,
there was given to me a thorn in the flesh, the messenger of Satan to buffet me, lest I should be exalted above measure.
For this thing I besought the Lord thrice, that it might depart from me.
And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness.
Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.
1 Corinthians 12:7-9
God's strength is made perfect (completed) in our weakness. That is why Paul says, " Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me." What good is an all powerful God if He has no one to for whom He can be strong. Where is He glorified in the lives of His children if we would "rather do it ourselves?"
You can have faith because you are weak.
Jesus said in Matthew chapter 6:25-30
Therefore I say unto you, Take no thought for your life, what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink;
nor yet for your body, what ye shall put on. Is not the life more than meat, and the body than raiment?
Behold the fowls of the air: for they sow not, neither do they reap, nor gather into barns;
yet your heavenly Father feedeth them. Are ye not much better than they?
Which of you by taking thought can add one cubit unto his stature?
And why take ye thought for raiment? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they toil not, neither do they spin:
And yet I say unto you, That even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these.
Wherefore, if God so clothe the grass of the field, which to day is, and to morrow is cast into the oven,
shall he not much more clothe you, O ye of little faith?
When I am convinced that I cannot do it, then I can more easily depend on Him. We find ourselves weak while trying to be strong. If we would lay our weakness before God the He becomes our strength and the Object of our faith.
You cannot understand faith unless you are weak.
Faith is depending on Him. You will not depend on anything else if your own strength is sufficient. The danger of our own strength is the inability to see our weakness for what it is. If I know I am weak then I know I need help. When I am weak, trusting God makes more since to me. That is when I know I must trust God. It is necessary to be weak to show my faith, because if I am weak, then I am compelled to lean on Him.
You cannot be saved unless you are weak.
For when we were yet without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly
If you think you can be good enough, or religious enough, or generous enough to earn Heaven and the forgiveness of sins, you are sadly mistaken. Christ died on the cross to redeem us from sin's penalty. There is no other way to attain this thing we call salvation. We are too weak! If you have never trusted Christ as your personal Savior you must come to Him; not as a good person, or a church member or by some religion. We must turn to Him and Him alone for salvation. Have you trusted Christ as your Savior? Come to Him right now. Repent and confess your sin to Him. Pray trusting only Christ for forgiveness. Only in Christ will you find the strength to be free from sin's penalty. If you have any questions about this, e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Thank you for reading