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Our work grows out of our meaningful relationships. Our business grows as a result of our attention to and care of these relationships.

Our work reflects the character of God and attracts others with the aroma of Christ in all that we do.

Our business focuses on equipping others, giving them what they need to find their place.

Our financial success blesses others and honors God and his Word.

Ten years ago Boe and I wrote the above statements to help us define our work.  It has been an amazing time working with my friend building Corporate Care and helping hundreds of employees in the businesses we chaplain.  It has been fun, exciting, meaningful, and gratifying.  Most importantly, I believe we have honored God in what we have done.  More to come!

http://www.corporatecareok.com

 

 

 

IMG_1740February 3, 2016. I was standing in my den when it occurred to me that I had held all three of my granddaughters in one day…for the first time! My middle granddaughter Harper was in my arms. At six and a half weeks, she came just before Caroline, who was born yesterday! Caroline’s big sister, Olivia, had played with me at the hospital this morning.

In 21 months our family has changed dramatically as Matthew and Ali had Olivia and Caroline and Emily and Steele had Harper. And they say there are more to come! Sherri and I are thinking this grandparent gig is a pretty good deal. These girls bring such joy when we get to spend time with them. Whether I’m playing with Olivia or just holding the two little ones, their lives add meaning and fulfillment to our hectic and demanding existence.

Today, as I held each of my granddaughters, God confronted me with the opportunity He has given me to make a difference in the lives of these little girls. I worry about the challenges they will face living their lives for Christ in a world that is more and more evil each day. God is faithful and I must also be faithful to him and to three precious little girls. I must pray, and teach, and guide, and listen. I must love and treasure. After all, I am Pops!

IMG_0962Christmas is a great time filled with traditions in the Cookhouse.  Sherri decorates a big nine foot tree we put in the living room.  It is mostly red and white and stunningly beautiful.  I put up lights on the outside of the house.  They have to be red.  Every year.  Everybody gets a stocking that hangs over the fireplace.  That includes son-in-law Steele, daughter-in-law Ali, and granddaughter Olivia.  Sherri is in charge with seeing the stockings filled with goodies on Christmas morning.  Emily makes sure her mom’s stocking is filled.  Sleigh Ride  by Amy Grant gets played on Christmas morning to wake the kids.  When they were little it would start and they would gallop around the house!  The Bible story of Jesus’ birth is read on Christmas morning before any gifts are exchanged.  First things first.  Traditions of all kinds provide some degree of stability in our lives.  They represent what has continued to be important to us through the years.  There is great value in traditions that have past the test of time.

I’m sitting in his chair, in his house, around his things, remembering times when we talked about stuff. He was one of the two fathers God blessed me with in my life. My own dad was my best friend and passed away in 2009. My father-in-law, in whose chair I’m sitting in at this moment, was the other. He passed away in 2012.

I learned different things from each man. Dad taught me the value of people, of relationships, of serving others, of loving my family. My father-in-law taught me the importance of conservative values, integrity, and high moral standards. He was a highly disciplined man with high expectations of those around him. He could also be generous.

Both men grew up very poor. Dad was one of nine siblings. His father died when he was just a child. However, dad enjoyed the blessing of a godly mother and wonderful brothers and sisters. ST was one of seven siblings. His father left the family when ST was just a child. However, he enjoyed the blessing of a godly mother and wonderful brothers and sisters! Do you see a pattern?

While both men struggled to make it on their own, growing up poor, putting themselves through college, and establishing a career path, both of them had help. Help from family and friends.

In a world where family and close relationships seem to mean less and less all the time, each of us could do well stopping for a few moments to consider who and how we could help. No matter if you seem to be the one that needs help, you can always find someone else who needs your help.

Dad and my father-in-law spent their lives helping and serving others. They made a difference. I want to do the same! Isn’t it time you help someone?

“For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve others and to give his life as a ransom for many.” Mark 10:45

She sat on the front porch going through an old trunk that I had brought down from the attic. As we opened the trunk I watched her eyes light up with the memories its contents brought back to her. The wedding dress from the ceremony 68 years ago, the swimsuit she had worn in a beauty contest nearly 70 years befIMG_4213ore, and little dresses she had dressed her two daughters in when they were just babies. Each item old and showing its age but still clear in her mind and special in her memory.

We were finally getting her home ready to sell and part of that process was preparing for an estate sale. On this day my mother-in-law was getting her final look at so many of the things that had been precious to her for so long. All of these items that, not too long ago, had seemed so important and now would be sold to str
angers as they wandered through the house looking for a good buy.

Just the day before all the grandkids had walked through the same house trying to decide what they wanted. Something that would hopefully remind them of the wonderful times they had with amazing grandparents. Old tools, dishes, articles of clothing, military mementos all had special meaning to each grandchild who are now adults and have their own homes.

As each of us nears the end of life we face, along with our family, very challenging decisions that can be painful and divisive.   Families must work together to make sure the memories of our loved ones are not damaged by selfishness and petty attitudes about stuff. Stuff, no matter how special it has been during life, is never more important than meaningful and loving relationships among family.

As my mother-in-law continued throughout the day to look through the things that brought back so many special memories I was reminded how blessed I am to have lived life with her. What a gift she and her husband had blessed me with the day I married her daughter nearly 37 years ago.

There are special places all over your world if you slow down enough to notice.  It could be a rooftop in Bangalore, India, Panera Bread in Edmond, Oklahoma or a Kowloon café looking across the bay at Hong Kong.  This morning it’s the Paris Bakery in Paris, Texas.  It’s old, like nearly everything else in Paris and it sits just off the town square across the street from one of the coolest looking old courthouses I have ever seen!

 Sherri is down the street selling her wares to the local ladies boutique.  This week she travels throughout east Texas and southeastern Oklahoma seeing store owners in small towns that all have some very special places.  I take advantage of her travels to get away and do some writing.  I hang out in places like this one in Paris, the historic public library in Broken Bow, Bob’s Café in Durant, and a bench on the square in Sherman. 

Standing at the counter in the Paris Bakery, I ordered lunch and while waiting on it noticed a distinguished looking fella in line beside me.  He was wearing  a clerical collar so I struck up a conversation.  I asked him about the weather and he ended up joining me for lunch at my table.  Turns out, he is a Lutheran minister who is serving as the interim pastor of the Episcopal church in Paris.  Pretty interesting guy!  My conversation with Terry Germann made my special place this morning even more special!

 You ought to slow down a little and notice where some of the special places are in your life.  You probably walk or drive by them everyday.  Slowing down and spending some time in a special place gives you the opportunity to reflect, journal, pray, or even do some work.  And it’s always more fun and interesting at a place that is special to you.

It is so easy to come up with a reason not to go to church. 

What’s your excuse?

  • “Sunday is my only day off.”
  • “All the church wants is my money.”
  • ” Those people at church are all a bunch of hypocrites.”
  • “I went to church once and no one talked to me.”
  • “I can hear all that stuff on television.”

 

The list goes on.  But frankly, church attendance can be a very healthy habit in your life.  The investment of your time at a good church can be how God chooses to bring great change in your life.  Being a part of a church that effectively teaches the Bible can provide answers to life’s questions.  Regular church attendance can lead you to meaningful relationships that meet needs in your life and ultimately make a huge difference for you.

The church is full of people.  A lot of them are just like you!  And, yes, there are hypocrites in the church.  You may even be asked to give some of your hard-earned money to keep the work of the church going.  And you can hear a lot of that “stuff” on TV, but you will hear it all by yourself with no chance of building relationships along the way.

 Attend different churches until you find the one that is right for you.  How do you decide where to go?  Ask.  Ask your friends at work where they attend church.  Go with them until you figure it out for yourself.  Make a list of the things you want in a church and don’t settle for less. 

 Some things to consider are:

  • Is the Bible taught in a way you can understand and apply to your own life?
  • Is the music appealing to you?  When people stand and sing, does it seem that the experience is meaningful?
  • Are the people friendly?  Does that church seem to be a place where you can make friends easily?

 

Finally, consider this question.  How would you do for church if there were no church buildings or trained clergy?