find out what is going on inside my head. i know it is a little scary, but you will be safe. i promise.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Margaret Collier

Margaret Anne Johnson Collier, age 59, died Monday, August 24, 2009, at Christus Spohn Shoreline Hospital in Corpus Christi, Texas. Margaret was born October 17, 1949, in Tupelo, Mississippi. She was the third of seven children. Margaret was a devoted wife, mother, grandmother, and Christian who faithfully served in all the churches of which her husband was pastor. Margaret was a retired employee of the Texas Department of Criminal Justice and was employed by Windham Independent School District as a teacher.

Margaret had two great passions, learning and loving her grandsons. She returned to school later in life and achieved her dream of earning her college degree and teacher certification. She graduated with honors in 2007 from Texas A & M University – Corpus Christi. At the time of her home-going, she was six hours from her Master’s degree. She was also the proud grandmother of four grandsons. The joy of her life was spending time with “her boys.” She was eagerly awaiting the birth of two more grandchildren.

She is survived by her devoted husband of 41 years, Warner Collier; five children, Warner (John) Collier, III and wife Catherine of Tyler, Texas; Jason Collier and wife Angela of Alvin, Texas; Melissa Seal and husband Eddie of Corpus Christi, Texas; Elizabeth Collier of Beeville, Texas; and Matthew Collier of Beeville, Texas; and four grandsons, Warner Collier, IV, Jacob Collier, and Aaron Collier of Tyler, Texas, and Luke Seal of Corpus Christi, Texas. She is also survived by three brothers and two sisters, Bert Johnson, Jr., John Johnson, James Johnson, Sharon Ellis, and Brenda Collier, all of Lee County, Mississippi. In addition to her parents, Margaret was preceded in death by one brother, Frank Johnson. She is further survived by many nieces, nephews, other relatives and friends.

Services will be Wednesday, August 26 at 10 AM at Galloway and Sons Funeral Home in Beeville, Texas. Additional services will be pending at W. E. Pegues Funeral Home in Tupelo, Mississippi, with Rev. Warner Collier officiating. Burial will be at the Union Cemetery in Lee County, Mississippi.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

A Tribute to Mark

Our youth pastor, Mark, is a hunter. He really seems to enjoy shooting things. I think that is pretty cool. I also know he likes to bow hunt. I am certain he is almost as good a shot as the young man in the video below. This is a tribute to my friend Mark. Enjoy!

Friday, August 21, 2009

Anti-Lutheran Tornado

This past week in Minneapolis, the nation’s largest Lutheran denomination has been having its convention. The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America was meeting in the Minneapolis Convention Center, which is downtown and across the street from Central Lutheran Church. Wednesday afternoon at 2:00, the delegates were scheduled to debate and vote on their stance on the open practice of homosexuality among members of the church, including the clergy. At just before 2:00, a completely unexpected storm came through downtown. It included a tornado. The tornado damaged the roof of the convention center and broke the steeple of the church.

John Piper, who pastors in Minneapolis, posted some interesting commentary on his blog yesterday. In it he claims the storm was a warning from God given directly to the Lutherans meeting there to abandon their acceptance of immoral behavior. I am not one to find a spirit behind every bush. I try not to over-spiritualize things. This is pretty hard to ignore. I realize that sometimes a storm is just a storm, but this may have been something more. I don’t always agree with Piper, but this time he makes a great case.

What do you think?

Sunday, August 16, 2009

What's He Really Thinking? by Paula Rinehart

Paula Rinehart has attempted a difficult task in her new book, What’s He Really Thinking? She is trying to explain men, what goes on in their heads, what makes them do what they do. Perhaps the only more difficult topic would be to explain women!

First a disclaimer: This book was written for women to help them relate to the men in their lives. I am not a woman. I am the man in a woman’s life.

I found the book to be easy to read and understand. It would have been very easy for Rinehart to get highly technical in explaining the differences between the sexes and how to better relate. I also got the sense that she is qualified to handle that technical conversation. But she successfully avoided that trap.

Most books that deal with the relationships between men and women only consider the marriage (or at least unmarried romantic) relationships. This book is about women understanding men. She applies these principles to husbands, sons, brothers, and other male/female relationships.

At the back of the book is the “Relational Genius Guide”. This is a series of chapter by chapter questions. To me, they seem especially good for groups of women to discuss. The questions appear to be well thought out and well written, leading to fruitful discussion.

As a man reading a relationship book written for women, I have to say it was reasonably accurate in its descriptions of how men think. I would definitely recommend this book.

More information about What’s He Really Thinking can be found at Thomas Nelson’s product page. I am a member of Thomas Nelson’s Book Review Blogger program.

Monday, August 3, 2009


I have read the book of Habakkuk many times over the years. I took my first really close look at the book about a year ago when I helped develop a discussion guide for my LIFE Group. After our group completed our study of the book, I had not given the book much thought. That is until a little over two weeks ago.

You see, the book of Habakkuk is about a man who followed God and had a strong faith in God. But he also struggled with God. There were things going on in the world around him that did not seem fair. There was great injustice in society around him. He knew God was there but God seemed to be silent.

A little over two weeks ago, my mother was diagnosed with a brain tumor. After consulting with a neurosurgeon, we came to realize that the situation was bad. The MRI showed a tumor that measured about 2.4 centimeters. The doctor told us that it appeared to be a highly aggressive, malignant tumor. After surgery, we found out that the tumor was much larger than anticipated. It was about the size of a tangerine. The pathologist confirmed our worst fears. It was a grade four (highly aggressive) glioma (malignant) tumor.

My mother is an active 59 year old woman. She just completed her bachelors degree a few years ago and had just taken a new teaching job a few weeks earlier. She is one semester away from completing her masters degree. She has had an almost perfect 4.0 GPA through all that. She has four grand-sons. She derives as much joy from “her boys” as any grandmother I have ever seen. She has a set of twin grandchildren on the way. They will no doubt be as precious to her as the others. I could point out many other things, but I am sure you get the idea.

This should not have happened to her. She has followed Jesus for a long time. She has given much of her life to service along side my dad in the church. Her trust in and reliance on God has been unwavering through circumstances both good and bad, easy and difficult. As far I can understand fairness, this is not fair. Not even a little bit.

But I need to rethink fairness. When I do, I realize that I don’t really want fairness. If God were completely fair, he would completely punish all of us. God does not always treat us fairly. He does much better than that. He treats us graciously. He has graciously kept my mother for 59 years. He graciously let her tumor be diagnosed in time to operate. He graciously gave her a skilled surgeon and others to provide medical treatment. He graciously gave her a large family that loves her and supports her completely. The Bible says that every good gift and every perfect gift comes from God and only God. There are some gifts from God that we would deem as not being good. Again, I think this is due to our not having a complete understanding of what “good” is. The Bible also says that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them. That perfectly describes my mother. I cannot comprehend how this awful illness will work for her good, outside of taking her to heaven, but I trust God and his word that he will somehow work things together for her good.

It is the last few verses of the book of Habakkuk that bring me the most comfort and peace during this time. Even though the prophet still does not understand the mysteries of the way the Lord chooses to work, he still has confidence in God. He describes the devastation that he sees coming and expresses his faith. I pray God will grant me that faith as the storms of confusion and doubt come. Habakkuk 3:17-19 says: “Even though the fig trees have no blossoms, and there are no grapes on the vines, even though the olive crop fails, and the fields lie empty and barren; even though the flocks die in the fields, and the cattle barns are empty, yet I will rejoice in the Lord! I will be joyful in the God of my salvation! The Sovereign Lord is my strength! He makes me as surefooted as a deer, able to tread upon the heights.”

Saturday, August 1, 2009


I am currently reading Tony Dungy's book, Uncommon. There is a chapter in the book called "Failure" in which Tony describes his "success" in the NFL. He says he is often introduced as one of only three people to win a Super Bowl as a player and as a head coach. "What they don't always say is that there were twenty-seven straight seasons that ended in disappointment between those two Super Bowl wins."

If I were to be totally honest, I would have to admit that I often feel like a failure. I suspect this is true for most of us at some level. There is a difference between failing and being a failure. I need to work harder to keep this in perspective. I will fail often, but I am not a failure. It is alright to fail. In fact, it should be expected. This does not make me a failure.

I think God often allows us to fail. We can learn so much more from our failings than from our successes. There is a spiritual "urban legend" that many of us get sucked into believing. It tells us that God will not give us (or allow us to be burdened with) more than we can bear. I suspect this is a misquotation or misinterpretation of the passage that tells us God will not allow us to be tempted beyond the degree he gives us the power to resist. Please don't be confused. They do not mean the same thing.

I believe God specifically intends to give us more than we can bear. This is so we can fail on our own and learn to trust him. Would we learn it any other way? Really? When you fail, and you will, take time to learn from it. First remember that failing does not make you a failure. We all fail. In fact, failure simply sets us up for future success. To accomplish our goals, failing should be seen as part of the process. It has been said that Thomas Edison said that he didn't fail repeatedly; he merely found ten thousand ways not to make a lightbulb.

As I prepare to enter into ministry, I want to have the freedom to fail. I want the freedom to try things and learn from what works and what does not. I want to fail so I will not rely on myself. I want to fail so I will rely only on the God who gives me the strength to succeed through him. There is an old English proverb that says, "He who never makes mistakes, never makes anything." What are you making?