Friday, August 22, 2008

Faithful Man - Buddy Martin

Hello everyone!

I hope you've had a great week! It's Friday and I'm about to head down to Zachary to lead worship and teach a couple of workshops at the Awana Ministry Conference. Before I go I wanted to post something special that happened this past Wednesday night at Christian Challenge.

We are in the midst of a great transition at Christian Challenge. This past Wednesday night was a significant event as we are transitioning away from mid-week services to Community Groups that will meet in people's homes throughout the week. We held a "Community Group Kickoff" to celebrate what God had done in our lives throughout the years through our week-night services as well as to help set the tone for our Community Groups. (We had been meeting with our CG leaders for several weeks and had held two CG orientations for everyone on the previous two Wednesday nights.)

Our goal with the Community Groups is to provide an atmosphere for true spiritual growth in a safe atmosphere where people can ask questions and interact, truly growing roots into God's Word and each other's lives. In our corporate worship services all of our chairs are facing forward and most folks are looking at the back of someone else's head. In the Community Groups everyone sits in a circle facing one another, giving the opportunity for dialogue. This does not replace the important of the pulpit, teaching, corporate worship, etc. But it supplements these important aspects of our spiritual life with the opportunity to dig deeper into the Sunday sermons and learn personal application from God's Word. As you can tell, I'm excited!

Besides our Community Group Kickoff, there was another, ulterior, motive for our gathering on Wednesday night. My dad's 68th birthday was the next day and we decided to give him a surprise birthday party that night. And boy was he surprised!

My mom had found a song that she asked me to sing to my dad as part of the birthday celebration. It was written by Johnny Minick and sung to Howard Goodman to celebrate his life and ministry. With some help from Jenni Baier we modified the song a bit to fit my dad's life and ministry and I sang it to him at the close of our CG Kickoff. I'm not the best singer in the world, but I thought you might enjoy a tribute to my dad, Buddy Martin - a faithful man:

Direct link:

That song kind of says it all, it's definitely what I feel about my dad: "I know that I can always count on him. Lord I want to thank You for a faithful man." Thanks, dad, for modeling faithfulness and steadfastness to all of us throughout all these years. And thank you for being excited about what God is doing at Christian Challenge now and into the future! You're my hero!!!

Well, that's it for now. I've got to head down to Zachary and it's later than I wanted to leave. But I wanted to post this video before to much time got away. I hope y'all have a great weekend!


Sunday, August 17, 2008

More from Steven Curtis Chapman - Larry King

Hello everyone,

This may be old news to some (and I apologize for the delay since the last entry) but I wanted to follow up with posting the interview Steven Curtis Chapman and his family did with Larry King. I think you will be moved as you see what true faith looks like. So here's the interview, in six parts:

Part 1:

Part 2:

Part 3:

Part 4:

Part 5:

Part 6:

This is one of the most heart-rending tragedies any family could ever endure. And yet, with transparency, humility and authenticity, the Chapman family is living out true faith in the eyes of the nation. Let's continue to pray for them and learn from them and thank God for their witness.

Until next time, blessings!

Friday, August 08, 2008

Steven Curtis Chapman interview

Hello again,

I know you might be surprised by such a quick post so soon after my most recent one (two within 24 hours? Unbelievable!!!) but I received the following video in email and just HAD to share it with you. Many are familiar with the story of Steven Curtis Chapman, the Christian singer/songwriter whose youngest daughter died in a tragic accident, run over by his son in their driveway. Like many, I've prayed for them and wondered how they're doing. This interview by ABC gives you a peak into their lives:

(If the video doesn't work you can see it directly on ABC's website at: - there's a brief commercial then the video.)

No one can watch that video and not come away with a sense of awe at the power of faith and God's ability to comfort His people in their time of grief. For those walking through a time a mourning, you'll be amazed at Emily, their teenaged daughter's insights into the journey of grief as she described the winding road. It will probably resonate deep inside. I was also deeply moved by the words Steven yelled to his son as he left for the hospital: "Will Franklin, your father loves you!"

Isn't that the message that we all so desperately need to hear? Your Father loves you! No matter what's happened or what you've done, your Father loves you.

Steven's wife, Mary Beth, was especially moving as she shared the grief that only a mother can feel when having lost a child. This family did not sugar-coat their pain or fake anything. They are a real family walking through a real tragedy with a real faith in a real God.

I pray that the Tarpley family will have a similar testimony of faith. They've walked through a real tragedy but may their real God comfort them even when they feel empty and alone. There will be days when they don't feel they have any faith, but God is big enough for those days too. And when they turn, they will be able to strengthen their brothers (see Luke 22:32).

Thank God for Hope!


In Memory of Margaret Tarpley

Hello friends,

Normally I like to keep this blog light and, hopefully, encouraging. However, today I want to pause to pay respects to a good friend, Margaret Tarpley, who went to be with Jesus on Friday, August 1, 2008.

I can't remember when I first met Margaret but it was a long time ago, relatively speaking. She was very active in the pro-life community and I attended some functions that she organized. Our paths crossed several times at political events, homeschooling functions and other civic activities as we shared a mutual desire to improve our world for our children.

Speaking of her children, Margaret LOVED her children. Nathan, Maria, Megan and Marybeth were her life! She poured herself into them, educating them, cheering them on, constantly believing in them. She was their biggest cheerleader and made sacrifices for them.

Margaret was also a huge fan of her husband, Ed. She fully supported him in all his endeavors, including his successful run for District Attorney in Grant Parish and his unsuccessful bid for Louisiana Attorney General. She looked at him with adoration and believed in him, even when life threw them curveballs. Ed was a blessed man. (I always kidded him that he married up! [G])

The service was incredibly moving. The special songs were perfectly chosen and performed, the congregational singing was worshipful and the ministers each were gracious and uplifting. The pastor who performed their wedding shared wonderful stories of their courtship and their commitment to Jesus. The minister who shared the obituary didn't just rotely read it, but shared insights into her life, her joys, her laughters, her sorrows. She was definitely honored by the things that were shared.

My friend, Bob Vincent, pastor of Grace Church in Alexandria, brought the main message. One thing I really appreciate about Bob is he never tiptoes around sensitive issues. Everyone in the room knew that Margaret had committed suicide after 2 years of debilitating and very painful sickness. Instead of just avoiding it altogether or mentioning it passing, Bob took us to Psalm 73 and walked us through the mind of a person who sees injustice around and begins to doubt the value in serving God. Even a person who has known God as good can find their minds overwhelmed with the unfairness of life - and the only remedy is to find your way to the sanctuary, the presence of God. Bob shared that the medications Margaret had been prescribed interfered with her ability to enter the sanctuary, to find the relief that can only be found in the presence of God.

Then Bob took us to John 10 and shared about the security of the believer. He shared how Jesus came to give us life, abundant, full, amazing life. Jesus promised that those who come to Him would NEVER be cast out - that they are safe in His hands and in the hands of the Father who is greater than Him. He shared that we don't have any promise that when we grow old we won't get Alzheimer's or dementia - we don't have the promise that the end of our life will be easy. But we DO have the promise that He will NEVER leave us, NEVER forsake us. That even if we make sinful choices, His love NEVER fails. It was a very moving message.

Margaret's life is not defined by the last two years of suffering. It was defined by her faith in Jesus, her faith that was lived out through the entirety of her life, and that is still lived out by her husband and children. Her deeds have gone on before her. She has rested from her labors. I'm reminded of the scripture in Hebrews 6:10 that says, "For God is not unjust so as to forget your work and the love which you have shown toward His name, in having ministered and in still ministering to the saints. "

Margaret didn't earn her salvation. She was saved by grace through faith, the only way anybody is saved (Eph 2:8-9). And she lived out her salvation through walking in the good works God had prepared beforehand for her to do (Eph 2:10). I thank God for the honor of having known Margaret.

My prayers go out for her family, for they have a difficult journey ahead to pick up the pieces of their shattered life. But I know God will sustain them. And I know He will use people like me and you to comfort them. So reach out to them and let them know how Margaret's life touched you. Even if you don't know what to say, just say, "I love you and I'm praying for you." That will mean a lot. They don't need to be alone right now. They need community. So CARE for them. Now is our chance to help bring them into the sanctuary of God's love and comfort. We can do it.