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Anne Lamott to ministers: “We don’t need hassled bitter ministers. We don’t want you to talk the talk about this being the day the Lord has made and rejoice and savor its beauty and poignancy when secretly you’re tearing around like a white rabbit; we need you to walk the walk. And we need you to walk a little more slowly.”

Anne Lamott to ministers

Jacob Taylor is 16

Jacob and I after the 2012 Tulsa Run. He had just completed his longest run to date and in an unexpectedly quick pace.

Jacob and I after the 2012 Tulsa Run. He had just completed his longest run to date and in an unexpectedly quick pace.

The moment captured in this photo is seconds after Jacob ran his first Tulsa Run, a grueling 15K race that I ran when I was his age. OK, I ran the two mile fun run in about the same time he ran the 15K. I was so proud of Jacob that day to see him appear on the last sprint to the finish line minutes before expected.

I was so startled that pleasantly surprised doesn’t describe it. I was proud enough to run down the sidewalk yelling wildly, “That’s my son! That’s my son!!

When I got to him, Jacob was ragged and worn but so happy he’d completed his longest race to date. Jacob’s running began in 2011 with a 5K our church held to raise funds for our kids camp. I thought I’d hang with Jacob, who was 12 at that point, but the race started and I couldn’t catch him. He ran with Steve Martin and Jeff McIlroy, and those guys will always have my admiration for the way they’ve encouraged Jacob’s running (and still run with Jacob, even as recently as last night!).

Jacob’s life, however, is not about running. Jacob’s life is about pleasing God, learning to be like his savior and Lord Jesus Christ, and enjoying family and friends. He knows that running is not for himself but to glorify God. He is using his gifts and working hard to develop them.

Happy Birthday, Jacob. I’m very proud of you.

How Deep the Father’s Love for Us

Greg Taylor:

After speaking with our nephew, Drew Taylor, about a horrible accident he was in, my brother and Drew’s uncle Bubba (Brent) wrote a much better account than I could have written, with some memories I had forgotten at least to correlate. Brent, thank you for using your gift to share what is a important perspective: that we can’t explain what happened at 1:15 am on a Kentucky interstate, but we can “explain” — as Bruce McLarty put it — what the body of Christ does when we can’t reach our loved ones. We rally and come together in the great love the Father has for us.

Originally posted on Bespoke:

Sunday morning during communion while the church sang, “How deep the Father’s love for us,” I sat and listened unable to sing, because I had a softball stuck in my throat. I had just read a text from my brother Toby, “Played a little chess Drew is beating me without even looking. Washing his hair this morning. The truck on top of the car dripped oil all over him…he is still hurting. On IV pain meds.”

While the church sang…

“How great the pain of searing loss, The Father turns His face away, As wounds which mar the chosen One, Bring many sons to glory.”

…I thought about not being able to reach my own son, of Toby not being able to reach Drew, and of my own Father God, who could have reached his own Son, but used Divine restraint and only watched and saw the pain of searing…

View original 502 more words

By Greg Taylor Posted in God
John Barton speaking recently on how we share Christian faith in honest yet humble ways with Muslims and others who have different views of Jesus Christ

At the Foot of the Cross in the Middle of the World by John Barton

Recently my college roommate, Uganda teammate, friend and brother in Christ John Barton gave this talk at Rochester College. John and his wife, Sara, have radically committed their lives to Christ. They were the first of our friends to huddle us up and call a play that would change our lives. They said, “We’re going to Africa to do mission work. We’d love for you to come. But we are going with or without you.”

None of us could bear the thought of them going without us, and John in particular would surely need some help paying for several basketball courts in our future home. So we decided to go along.

Since that day, John and Sara, have continued that “play” and have been blazing a trail that others have followed. In particular, John is interacting in the U.S. and encouraging our Ugandan friends through Kibo and other ways to interact in loving, honest, and humble ways with Muslims and others who do not share our same view of Christ and the cross.

In this talk, linked below, you will find a view of Christ and the cross that is a powerful contextualization for today of these words of Apostle Paul:  “but we proclaim Christ crucified, a stumbling block to Jews and foolishness to Gentiles, but to those who are the called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. For God’s foolishness is wiser than human wisdom, and God’s weakness is stronger than human strength.” (1 Cor 1:23-25)

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Eat This Book

Eugene Peterson’s Eat This Book inspired — of course — the title and some of the content in the following two sermons. There is more in the series that we’ll be posting at www.garnettchurch.org.

Eat This Book 1

 

Eat This Book 2

Saw this truck on 169 in Tulsa, Oklahoma with the intended warning, "Not *Responsible* for Broken Windshields" but it read, "Not Reasonable for Broken Windshields"

AAA Driving Experience

Jill and I are teaching our third and maybe last person to drive. We’ve taught each of our children to drive with AAA’s Parent Taught driver education system. They study the book, we sit in the passenger seat and help them get 55 hours of driving experience before taking their test.

We originally latched on to AAA because this reduced expenses for the driver’s ed and lowered our insurance premiums when we got insurance through AAA. With a teenage boy driving now, our insurance premium is sure to go up.

If I had a chance to do it over, I’d repeat the same process. There is nothing like being right there for each moment of your children’s learning to drive. This is a huge rite of passage in our culture, getting your license, and these captive moments are often some of the key places our pre-driving teenagers are still listening intently to soak up what they can about how to be safe and make it from one place to another.

Half way through the training, you can actually begin talking about something else besides the driving, with only the intermittent, “Yeah, there was a curb there, and you found it, yes” comments from the parent. Walking along a path, jogging, driving, the act of going somewhere together prompts us to talk, and I don’t know all the reasons why. I do know that I want to be there for these times with my children, when they realize what they’ve been watching us do is not as easy as they thought, takes much practice and eventual muscle memory that must proceed being full-enough aware to achieve frogger (that’s an old parent reference for you) status when turning left into a busy street.

If you are considering teaching your children to drive and weighing this versus sending them off to a driving instructor, consider this: who would you rather teach your children to operate the most deadly invention since the dawn of creation? I know there are some experts who can do better at the techniques or know the road rules better, but there is no one who cares more for your child than you do. Do you have the patience, the fortitude or courage to watch without sucking all the oxygen out of the inside of the car every time your child has a close call, or flat out screaming? You’ll never know until you try it.

You will have to be in the car for some of the practice hours of driver’s education anyway. You might as well be called the teacher as well as the parent.

By Greg Taylor Posted in God

Watching Our Autumn Sons

Greg Taylor:

My brother, Brent, wrote as always poignantly about our most recent guys weekend.

Originally posted on Bespoke:

I once saw a list of things Dad’s should teach their sons. How to balance a checking account, how to ask a girl out, how to change a tire, and so on. But as I think about my failure to teach my son these skills, I realize how much nurturing help I’ve had.

Saturday I was playing golf with a group of Dads who have met annually since October 4, 1997, when we prayed prostrate under the shadow of the Washington Monument at a Promise Keepers rally along with half a million other men gathered near the Capitol of our country.
Stand in the Gap
We prayed for our children, those born and unborn, and prayed for fatherly perseverance. We’ve met every autumn since 1997, except the year of the 9/11 attacks in 2001. We eat, laugh, and play, like when we were boys. We pray for our families, reminding ourselves of the stone…

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By Greg Taylor Posted in God

“The only way to eat a hot chapati is hot.” — Deron Smith, former missionary with Basoga people

A few years ago I filmed Richard Bozanoona and his daughter making chapatis. First, you make a bread-like dough from flour, water, baking powder, shortening. Second, you make balls and let them rise. Third, you roll them out into round tortilla-shape. Fourth, put a tablespoon of oil on a hot skillet (in this case a “sigiri,” a small charcoal stove). Fifth, turn back and forth until golden and not doughy; if your hands are made of asbestos you can flip by hand or with a piece of the flour bag paper as Richard’s daughter is doing here. As Deron Smith says, “the only way to eat a hot chapati is hot.”

By Greg Taylor Posted in God
old woman face

Thumbs up for Jesus

In Uganda, hitchhiking is right as rain. But don’t picture a hippie with a joint in the 60s. Think of an old lady with creaky joints in her 60s. A lady of this description flags me down one Sunday on a rural dirt road. We greet each other through a cloud of rolling dust. “How did you sleep?” I ask.

“Fine. Take me to the church!”

“Which one?”

“The church up there.”

“Where?”

“There! UP THERE!” she points with her lips and hits every syllable hard.

“Huh? Wha? Wher–? Ok, just get in and show me.”

She’s not sure how to open the door to get in. One time a Ugandan tried crawling in my driver’s side to get in. Seeing that she wouldn’t fit between me and the steering wheel I suggested she use an alternate route.

We drive a quarter mile ahead. “Here’s the turn to my church,” the hitchhiker exclaims, pointing to a road which leads to the Catholic Church.

“Why don’t you go where I’m preaching today?” I ask her.

“You mean you’re not the Catholic priest!?? I thought you were my priest!”

“No.” I nonchalantly pass the turn to her church.

“I thought you were taking me to my–” she protests.

We drive another half mile to a mango tree, where I have been meeting weekly with a group to teach them about Christ.

Faced with sitting through my sermon or walking back, the hitchhiker sits on a woven mat under the mango tree while I begin the sermon on the Passion of Jesus.

The meeting ends and the lady asks, “What do you call yourselves anyway?”

“Call us by whatever we preach most,” I tell her. “If we preach politics, call us ‘Politickers’. If we harp on church buildings, call us ‘People of the Building’. But if you hear us preach Jesus Christ, call us ‘Followers of Jesus’.”

“Yeah, yeah, I get your point,” the hitchhiker sniffs, as if to say, ‘I’ve got your number, smart aleck.’

The host serves beans and rice to the old lady and me.

“Want me to give you a ride home?” I ask the lady. She nods approval.

The hitchhiker didn’t know what she was in for when she thumbed a ride with me. She likely returned home telling stories about the crazy white preacher who hijacked her church plans.

I hope she also tells her friends about the followers of Jesus.

Greg Taylor
1998 in Jinja, Uganda

By Greg Taylor Posted in God
Marvin Phillips and Greg Taylor talk September 7, 2014 on the occasion of the Garnett Church of Christ mortgage burning.

Greg Taylor talks with Marvin Phillips September 7, 2014

On the occasion of Garnett Church of Christ burning the four-decades old mortgage on the building, I asked Marvin Phillips to come and talk with me. The reason I wanted him to come is to promote this idea: our decision to sell our building was just as much a pathway of discipleship as the decision in the 1980s to build the building. The church then made a good decision, however imperfectly, and the church now is making a good decision not to be in this building, however imperfectly we’re living it out. Just as the church did then, so also we believe now that God is leading us as we prayerfully try to wisely discern next steps.

Where are we going to re-locate? We only know where we’re not going: in debt. As far as specific location, we don’t have that yet, but we are looking at a wide range of possibilities. For example, we might lease a place or find an existing place that we could purchase. Just as we have said we will not go into debt, so also the elders have stated clearly that we are not planning to build a new facility right now.

Enjoy the interview, and as you do, please say a prayer for us and join us in continuing to center our lives on Christ. That’s our goal, to live Christ centered lives and invite all people into Christ centered lives as well. May God bless you and keep you, the Lord lift his face toward you. The Lord be gracious to you and shine upon you, and give you peace.

By Greg Taylor Posted in God

My Journey with The Great Commission

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Photo by Don Kreutzweiser http://www.donsimages.com/

This audio is a long double session in the Perspectives Course where I told a story about my journey with the Great Commission, how I’ve come to understand it and follow to the best of my ability. I hope you enjoy listening and learning as I did that the Great Commission goes back to Abraham’s calling. This is a major teaching in the Perspectives Course.

Cattle Piper

Often through the years I worked in Uganda, I would walk with villagers to see their gardens, to a lake to fish or to baptize people, and so I saw and heard many amazing things. One day I was walking in a remote village and heard a man playing a piece of pipe like a flute while he watched over his herd of cows. He had bored holes in the pipe and made a crude mouth piece, and what he played was melodic, and the cows seemed to like it. It’s a 30 second clip. Listen.

By Greg Taylor Posted in God