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May 28, 2011

Husband Gives His Life to Save Wife from Tornado

From Brent

Very touching video below. A recent survey showed an alarming percentage of Americans were not will to give their up their life for something outside themselves.

I can think of many things: my faith, my wife, my family, to defend the weak, to stand for truth... and the list could go on.

If you can't list what you would die for, you don't truly have anything to live for.

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May 25, 2011

The Day After

From Brent

I went out this morning to see who needed help and got some photos of some houses in our community. I can't imagine the disruption and hardship of having everything you own destroyed in 5 seconds.

You can clearly see the path of the sidewinder through this field.

This was a nice house last night. That is not a pile that
has been bulldozed into a heap... that's the pile left by the tornado.

This twisted chopper was tossed out of someone's garage.

It's hard to imagine that these "piles" were standing homes 12 hours ago.

Last night we saw construction material and objects flying hundreds
of feet in the air. No matter how big, they were like picking up feathers.

Trees, phone poles, fences, concrete... nothing gets a pass.

This house was across the road from homes that had little to no damage,
and the house before and after it looked barely touched.
There was probably a hundred yards between houses on this road.
Evidently that was a house and barn or garage. It was leveled.

May 24, 2011

Holy Cow! Close Call... Tornado Scare

From Brent

Once it became obvious a monster storm was bearing down on us, I got the family in the car and screamed up the road through golf ball size hail to the Baptist Church basement where a lot of people take shelter in our little town of a few hundred.

Michelle and the kids went to the basement while I (of course, idiot) stayed up in the parking lot to watch out. A big tornado spun up right in front of us... all I had was my iPhone camera, but here's what happened... the news is now saying it was an EF4 tornado (for you non-enlightened, that is a HUGE violent tornado).

(I'm watching news video of it right now on TV... unbelievable):

A small funnel (white whisp in the photo) spun up
and roped out. I thought maybe that was it, and then...

This monster appeared behind it. My house is about two
hundred yards in front of where I'm standing directly
towards this tornado.

At this point, it sounds like a jet engine and a freight train
coming down the road and I thought for sure our house
was going to be destroyed. I was about 5 seconds from
hauling my butt into the shelter but I realized quickly it was
going to pass west of us but just barely. We could see
construction debris flying through the air and it was
extremely windy.

I ran around the church building out into the open street.
What you see here is literally "downtown" in our small
community of a few hundred.

The tornado is probably a several miles away
at this point and it still looks huge.
The news was saying it was an F3 or F4.

Look at the debris field at the base of the twister.
It was churning up everything.

It looked like it was going to spin out at this point...

But then it restrengthened and went a few miles further
and made a direct hit on a town called Goldsby
about 7 miles from us. Lots of friends have lost homes.

Got back home and half my tree was on the ground.
The tree looks awful now, but not as bad as a destroyed house.

Please Pray!!! Getting Hammered By Tornados!

From Brent

Tornado's all around... large dangerous storms headed right for us... we appreciate your prayers. If the sirens go off, we'll go up to the basement of the Baptist Church up the street in our little town of 500.

We pray a tornado doesn't hit us (or anyone!). I can't even imagine the hardship of having your entire house and contents destroyed.

May 16, 2011

My Hurtful Son

From Brent

We had two kids graduate this week, one from college, the other from high school. We'll get some pictures up pronto.

A reader asked:

Our 27 year old son has pursued his ministry calling for 15 years. He got married and since a short time after, he has not been the same son. A lot has happened but bottom line is, we feel he now says and does hurtful and disrespectful things to the rest of our family. We have not spoken with him in 6 months. He attends a Christian graduate school. I have sent presents and cards to try to mend the situation. Should we try to contact him or just keep praying that God will do His work in their lives. We are ready and willing to forgive their behavior. I want my family to be whole again. What's your advice?

My answer:

Having ongoing family discord is always tough. It's something that you are constantly reminded of every minute of the day. It can really eat at you, and I'm sorry you're dealing with it.

First, other than extreme situations, it's never wrong or bad to continue to be kind (sending gifts and cards), to try and contact the disenfranchised family member (as long as it is not aggressive, comes with strings attached, or for the purpose of continually rebuking them or putting them on a guilt trip) and to gently and consistently try to restore the relationship.

I would continue to try and contact him at the same times you would NORMALLY contact him if things were normal and happy. If he sees that you still continue to love him and treat him as a son even though he is not reciprocating, perhaps he will be convicted of his unloving behavior.

Now, it may very well be that there are things going on in their marital relationship that are causing him to avoid you. It might be embarrassment over the state of the marriage; it might be pressure from the spouse or spouse’s family; it might be some sin or situation you are unaware of that affecting his behavior.

It could also be that in his mind YOU are the problem. Obviously I don't know anything more about you than what is in your question, so I urge you and your spouse to be very honest about your own contribution to the situation and make sure that you are not at fault somehow as well.

Assuming you are not, I would continue to treat them as if you would treat any of your children in a normal situation. Let him, and her, know that you love them, you miss them and you are there for them if they need you.

Human nature being what it is though, you must emotionally prepare yourself to accept that he is an adult, he struggles with sin, he has pressures and stresses... just like you, just like me.

So he may not be responsive. It may get worse. It may never resolve.

You are not in control and no matter how much you long for the restoration of your family, your children are not robots. Just like we do all the time with God, your children may not choose to be "good" to us.

My advice is to continue to call just to say you love them and are thinking about them. Send cards, send gifts. Expect nothing in return knowing that God will honor your loving sacrifice. Trust that God will get into their hearts and restore the relationship with you BUT know that even if that doesn't happen, God will cause the situation to work for your good and His glory. He promises that (Rom 8.28).

Should you keep praying? Well of course you know that answer to that.

What are your questions for me?

WIN A PRIZE! If you ask a question that I answer on one of my blogs, email me (, and I'll send you a FREE ebook copy of my latest book - "SeriousFaith Questions & Answers - Volume One" (almost 500 pages of questions and answers about life, the Bible and Christianity)

May 10, 2011

Marriage Annoying?

From Brent

A reader wrote and asked me:

My wife and I seem to always be annoyed or irritated with each other, just on the edge of arguing or getting mad all time. We love each other, and divorce is not an option (or something we want) as Christians. Any advice on how to change this part of our relationship?

My answer:

I'm so happy to hear someone say, "Divorce is not an option." That doesn't mean it never could happen or that a Biblical divorce is always avoidable... but it does mean that divorce is hated (like God hates it) and is a last resort.

This should be the norm for Christians, but sadly, is not. Having a foundation of lifelong commitment puts you in a good position to make some changes in your relationship that will help with these feelings you are having towards each other.

We Get On Our Nerves

There is truth in the saying "familiarity breeds contempt." People are people. We get on each others nerves. Living with someone all the time gives plenty of opportunity for it.

Half the reason for being irritated is justified (fleshly speaking) in that the other person can be thoughtless, unkind, inattentive, selfish, impatient, sloppy, lazy, etc. The other half of the reason is our own fault: I am impatient, I am selfish, I am easily irritated, I am looking out for my own interests first.

Put the two halves together, and you are experiencing something that is very common in marriage and eventually happens to most all of us: we find ourselves impatient and with a low level, underlying "annoyed" feeling towards our spouse.

Change You Can Believe In

We cannot change the other person directly, only ourselves. I say "directly" because I believe that INDIRECTLY we can influence our spouse to change simply by the change that occurs in us.

So, if you want your spouse to stop being irritable, you stop. If you want your spouse to stop being easily annoyed, you stop. If you want your spouse to be loving, patient and kind, YOU be loving, patient and kind. If you want your spouse to be affectionate, complimentary, encouraging and happy, YOU BE ALL THOSE THINGS FIRST.

As humans, our relationships and spiritual life fall prey to the 2nd Law of Thermodynamics: things deteriorate unless some outside organizing or improving power reverses the deterioration (I know that's a loose definition, but appropriate for this discussion).

Since we are sinful human beings, our spiritual life and Christian walk will deteriorate if we are not actively working to improve it. As well, our marriages and relationships will degrade if we aren't actively seeking to improve and strengthen them.

Do Nothing To Get Results

For our marriages to go bad, we don't have to do a thing. They will go sour all by themselves. We can help the deterioration to occur faster by our negative behavior, but even in "neutral" things will decline in quality.

Our marriages (or any relationship for that matter) are a series of repeating and clearly defined CYCLES... either good or bad. Whatever type of cycle we are in tends to feed itself. Let me explain.

If you are impatient and sarcastic, it will cause your spouse to have hard feelings, bringing out similar bad behavior. Their increased level of negativity will only cause you to sink further into destructive attitudes and behavior, in turn causing them to be worse. And round and round it goes. It will not stop until one or both spouses choose to change the cycle.
  • A negative cycle in a marriage tends to get started and become a "problem" before either spouse even recognizes that it is occurring.

  • A positive cycle on the other hand, usually is something that has to be a willful, purposeful choice by both parties. We have no problems being negative. We have to work at being positive.
My advice?
Determine that you will begin a "positive"
cycle in your relationship

Change yourself regardless of what your spouse does

SAY and DO those things that you would normally say and do when your FEELINGS of "being madly in love" are present. In other words, regardless of how you FEEL, say loving things, do loving things, talk affectionately, be romantic... ACT (words and actions) like you are madly in love and that your spouse is the most wonderful, patient, caring, loving person on the planet and you cannot stand to be apart from them one more minute.

(Act? Isn't that dishonest? NO!!! When you first fall in love with someone, it's because both of you choose to ACT in such a way that causes the other person to fall in love. Magically, tragically and stupidly, AFTER the wedding, we reverse the process and declare that we must FIRST feel like we are in love BEFORE we will act in such a way as to create an atmosphere of "falling in love.")
  • Make sure that you are both working on your spiritual lives, individually and as a couple, or it's going to be next to impossible to create any lasting positive change
  • Pray together; the percentage is sky high that couples who pray together are happier and dramatically FAR less likely to divorce.
  • A positive cycle feeds on itself just like a negative cycle. In my experience, positive cycles actually intensify and repair a relationship FASTER than a negative cycle tears it down.
Say words, choose behavior and plan things that will cause your spouse to feel good, feel loved and cause them to "fall in love" with you. It may take them a little while to "figure out what's going on," but give it time, be consistent and don't give up. In a typical relationship, your spouse will begin to warm up to this new development and the "seeds of love" you are planting will soon begin to grow.

Here are a few things to do for your wife on a regular basis, daily if you really want to make a difference (hey wives, you should try this too!):
  • Of course, say "I love you" many times a day
  • Say "I'm sorry" often and quickly; and mean it!
  • Tell her that she is beautiful and that you are physically attracted to her
  • Tell her that you are happy; it's very important for your spouse to know that you have a happy life because they realize they are big part of that
  • Tell her specifically that you are happy to be married TO HER, and that you wouldn't want life any other way
  • Tell her that she means the whole world to you and that there is no one else you would rather be with
Life Gets In the Way

Now, given the stresses of life, do I always FEEL, I mean literally FEEL this way? Of course not. I get sick, I get tired, I get too busy, I get overwhelmed some times. Oh yeah, and sometimes I'm selfish and not very thoughtful (shhh... that's a secret). But regardless of how I FEEL, I know all these things are still true, so I need to say them even if my feelings don't happen to be all ooey-gooey at the moment.

By saying these things, I cultivate the emotions and so I end up actually feeling this way even if I didn't start out with them. When I do NOT have these feelings, it becomes even more important to say them so that it creates an atmosphere that will rekindle them.

A Good Marriage is a Choice

It is my very strong personal opinion that married couples can quickly and definitively get out of a period of frustration and irritability by choosing to say and do those things that they would do if they were in that "falling madly in love" period of their relationship.

Try it and see if you don't notice a big difference quickly (once your spouse gets over the shock!).

What are your questions for me?

WIN A PRIZE! If you ask a question that I answer on one of my blogs, email me (, and I'll send you a FREE ebook copy of my latest book - "SeriousFaith Questions & Answers - Volume One" (almost 500 pages of questions and answers about life, the Bible and Christianity)