Wednesday, January 24, 2007


Shalom - the way things are supposed to be. Well, things aren't the way they're supposed to be. I was reminded of that today in a huge way when I received the news that one of Anita's co-workers had a little 7 year old daughter die of some weird blood disorder. This past weekend the family went camping without a care in the world and today their little girl dies - for no reason - other than the world is broken.

As Christians what do we say to folks who suffer stuff like this? "It sucks" is about as good an answer as I can imagine. The world ain't right and needs to be made right ... and I can't fix it. I can't say anything to this grieving family that makes things better ... I can't do anything to make Jerry Boyer's cancer go away ... I can't say anything that makes my children consistently show respect to one another and everyone else ... I can't do anything to end the suffering of millions of suffering people in Africa ... etc. I don't like thinking about all this - I'd often rather just turn on the T.V. and veg watching some mind numbing program. But the stuff just won't go away. I can ultimately do but one thing and that is run to Jesus in tears - for myself and on behalf of the others suffering in and from this broken world.

I'm grateful Jesus came for the broken people like me, that He heals the broken/shattered hearts, and that He uses wounded folks like me to help bring healing to others. He calls me to bring a bit of shalom wherever I encounter brokeness ... and that's everywhere.

wiping my tears,

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Dane and Basketball

My oldest son is one of the best, most natural athletes I've ever seen. Probably could have excelled in any sport. In fact, one summer at a football camp at Samford University here in B'ham, Rush Probst (the head coach at Hoover High) saw Dane play some and commented on the radio, "that quarterback from Moody has the most potential of any high school quarterback I've ever seen." Not a bad endorsement! But after two ACL surgeries resulting from football he decided to retire from the game.

But not to worry ... basketball was and always has been his true love. He was the varsity starting point guard as a 9th grader. Because of the first knee injury he missed his entire sophmore year; the second time he missed half of his junior year. Yet he still fought through rehab and ended up having a strong high school career; in his senior year leading Moody to the state playoffs for the first time in a number of years.

He was recruited to play college ball at a few places - nowhere really significant - he'd missed too much in high school and had a questionable knee. But he did end up going to Huntingdon College in Montgomery to play and was one of only two freshmen to make the varsity team that year ... was probably going to be the 2nd team point guard until he broke his foot a couple of weeks before the season began!

For various reasons Dane decided to transfer to Covenant College after his freshman year. The shocking thing was that he was even willing to risk giving up basketball. He was transferring to a school that already had their team in place for the following year and Dane wasn't even on their radar! But he made that choice.

As a parent I couldn't have been more pleased! Covenant is the official college of our denomination, the Presbyterian Church in America. I knew Dane would have the opportunity to develop some strong relationships there and as well as be taught from a Biblical perspective and worldview. But I also wanted Dane to play ball - I knew how much he loved the game and how much fun I've always had watching him play.

Well, in God's providence Covenant just happened to start a JV team Dane's sophmore year and he did get to play ... not at the level of competition he wanted, but he was playing nonetheless. That just seemed to be a fun thing to do for a year - he really wasn't even that interested in playing JV ball again. And with his junior year shaping up to be incredibly hard academically, he came to the realization that he would be a spectator this year. Again, in God's providence, the new coach at Covenant saw Dane play early in the school year, commented that he "could hold his own" on the court, and asked him to play on the varsity team if he was academically eligible for the second semester. So Dane studied hard, went to every basketball practice just to sit and learn the new system, and also learned how to balance his time between ball and academics.

Dane is now a member of the Covenant basketball team! He doesn't get a lot of playing time but he is doing what he loves to do.

To me this is a story of God's grace shown through my son's perseverance, dedication, determination, and desire. A teammate of his recently told Dane,
"Just wanted to let you know that I continue to appreciate your attitude towards ball and even towards life in general. You are an encouragement to me. You are bearing fruit...evidence of the Spirit's work in your life. It's fun to see."

It also shows God's grace demonstrated through the doctrine of vocation. God calls and gifts each one of His children to do something, to be a part of His big plan of redemption, to work toward the renewal of all things He has created. God made the game of basketball to be played and enjoyed in order that humans might get a taste of the goodness of God ... that God's pleasure in Himself might spill over into those who play the game and that they might also feel His pleasure. I'm grateful that God has given Dane the opportunity to play a little longer - I'm grateful that God is allowing Dane to feel His pleasure and be a part of redeeming the game for the sake of Christ's eternal Kingdom.

playing ball for Jesus,

btw, if we do get to play basketball in heaven (which I'm pretty sure we will be able to do), I want to be on Dane's team.

One more thing - tonight I'm going to Ragland to watch Yates' Jr. High basketball team play in the county tournament. Do you suppose the above story will be repeated in some manner?

Monday, January 01, 2007

Holiday Thoughts

The Boykins enjoyed a pretty good Christmas and New Year's celebration. Here are some of the highlights!

Dane was home for the holidays. It's good seeing how the Lord is working in his life. He and I had some good times looking into the Scripture together - went thru the first couple of chapters of Philippians.

We all called Addison on his Christmas Day - it was actually Christmas Eve afternoon here! He seems to be doing well. He'll be traveling a good bit over the next month or so. That should be much fun for him. I remain thrilled that he is having this opportunity.

Anita's parents and sister came here for Christmas. It's always good to see them. MeMa (Anita's mom) is continuing to get worse with her dementia. It's very sad - but God remains good to give us time with them.

The Christmas Eve service is absolutely one of my favorite times of the year. I'd probably boycott Christmas if I didn't have that opportunity to worship!

Christmas day we all traveled up to Statesboro, N.C. to visit with Anita's cousin and her husband - Susan and Meredith. They live in a Civil War era home that they have restored and furnished with tons of antiques. A beautiful place ... but somewhat uncomfortable for a family traveling with 6 boys! While there we went to one of their friends home for a yearly "day after Christmas" party. It was at a cattle farmer's home - big and nice. The party was at night, outside, and there were probably 150 + people there. Plenty of food - lots of oysters - raw, fried, steamed, stew; also had plenty of other food for the wimpy non-oyster eaters.

eating some good oyster stew!

While in N.C. we watched Florida State's bowl game vs. UCLA. To be honest I was dreading it - FSU had a horrible year and I expected to get whupped by the team that had just beaten USC. But a whole different team showed up for the bowl game. FSU handled UCLA rather easily and came out with a big win. So once again we'll go thru the summer with some optimism ... particularly since we're getting a new offensive coordinator!

Cobi and I left N.C. with Cindy (Anita's sister) to go down to St. Simons to drive back in the car she gave us - a 1999 Chevy Cavalier convertible!

Anita, Dane, and I went to see "Pursuit of Happyness" - the new Will Smith movie. I really liked it ... it made me cry! If you ever think you have it bad and need to give up, go see this movie.

Today we had the traditional meal (one of my favorites) - turnip greens, black eyed peas, onion, tomato, cornbread, country ham (no hog jowls). Earlier I spoke with Potts, my friend in Minnesota. He said he was jealous about our meal ... they typically don't get such good food like that up there!

It was a good break - many reminders of God's faithfulness, goodness, blessings, and love.

getting ready to go back to work,

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

A Rich Experience

Tonight we went Christmas carroling to the home of Jim and Lois Rich. They're both getting older, struggling with Parkinson's disease, Lois recently broke her collar bone, and Jim's had problems getting his medicines balanced. But just going to their home is such a blessing. I'm sure we blessed them by going, but they are such an encouragement to everyone else.

Old age and sickness isn't something anyone really looks forward to, but if God can use me like He does Jim Rich for His glory, then I'd like to live to be 150 years old! He's such a man of God just sitting there shaking on his sofa ... telling us that the important thing to remember about Christmas is that God sent His Son Jesus to save us so that we might have eternal life in Him. I needed to hear that tonight!

thinking of Jim and Lois ... and Jesus,

Tuesday, December 19, 2006


Last night as we're eating supper, Yates asked Seth why one of his classmates was so mad coming out of the lunchroom. And as only a Down Syndrome child can say, "my teacher said his armpits smell; he needs to take a bath."

All of us at the table almost had to go take a bath after that comment!

Though he may be a special educ. student Seth's classmate didn't like to hear the bad news about his stinky self! But neither do I ... I don't like it when people point out my sin and stench. I'd much rather them just tell me how good, how attractive, how well mannered, how wonderful I am. Sure, they'd have to lie to do it, but at least I'd feel better. Why isn't God all about making me "feel better" about myself? Maybe he's more concerned with me embracing the thing that really is "better" - that'd be Him!

So feel free to remind me of my stinkiness and foul sin. I'll get mad and run out of the lunchroom, but God will meet me there and once again offer me the cleansing of Christ's blood and the sweet aroma of His Spirit.

smelly, but loved,

Monday, December 18, 2006

A New World

I told Anita to get some new shampoo next time she went to the store. Well, this morning I used the new bottle of Suave for men. It says it's a "deep cleaning" shampoo. What does that mean? The back side says it's "the right tool to thoroughly clean and remove build-up ... penetrating lather removes dulling residue left from the strongest gels and hairsprays."

My mom used gels and hairsprays and now my shampoo especially for men specializes in removing gels and hairspray. It's a new world out there!

Even sharing the Gospel ain't what it used to be. There was a day when all you had to do was give a guy a Gospel tract and assume he'd understand the concepts of sin and redemption. Those days are also just about gone ... presenting the Gospel is a total lifestyle of word and deed.

going to deep clean my hair,

Thursday, April 27, 2006


Do you ever just get to the point where you feel you just can't get it all done? I know you do - we all do. This is one of those times for me! Regular church ministry is enough to keep me busy, but now add my schoolwork (I'm behind in two classes and am struggling to catch up), yardwork (my mower is needing some repairs, thus we're behind in the yardwork category as well), home maintenance (I have 3 attic vent fans that have all burnt out at the same time and need to be replaced, and also a plumbing leak in the basement), baseball (which I guess I could cut out ... but right now that's my primary means of being involved in mission to the community), and most importantly I'm a husband and a dad (which must involve "quantity" time, not just "quality" time.) There's absolutely no way I'm going to be able to get all this done - unless God shows up and does something amazing.

While everything around me changes and gets in a mess, chiefly because of own doing, the one thing that remains constant is God's faithfulness. So as I face the impossible mountain of stuff I must do, I will believe that God's grace and strength is sufficient for me and that in my weakness He will be strong.

So if anything actually gets done in my life these days, realize that you better give God the credit ... I'm overwhelmed, immobilized, and inept ... God is gracious!

dependant on my dad,