THE HAIRCUT THAT CHANGED MY LIFE

THE HAIRCUT THAT CHANGED MY LIFE (Written on July 10, 2015)

A couple of weeks ago, Zoë suggested that we watch the movie “Signs” with Mel Gibson. I had seen it before, but it is fun for her to want to watch one with us so we agreed.

I say I had seen it before, but I remembered about as much as if I had only seen the previews. Something about the movie was stirring me on the inside. You know, that feeling you get when you see a movie that is so inspired, it touches you, and stays with you. If you haven’t seen it, watch it. I won’t ruin it for you. Suffice it to say, that I began to ruminate on small events in my life that had life-changing impact.

After my second year in college, I came home for the summer. My sister, Elaine, had just graduated, and I was looking through her Yearbook, hoping for an idea of someone that may be willing to date me. There were 600+ students in her graduating class, probably more than 300 girls. So, I began turning the pages, looking.

Now, I was not a “player” and, for me to have the courage to ask a girl out, I had to have a little encouragement first. So, I poured through the entire senior class pictures, and, when I got to the W’s, one photo grabbed me. The first thing I noticed was the beautiful hair. Wendy Wright was her name. I knew her a little. When I had worked at Safeway in Orchard Hills, she had gotten a job there in the snack bar. She was always friendly, her hamburgers tasted incredibly good, she knew how I liked my coffee, she had a boyfriend, I had a girlfriend.

As a matter of fact, my senior year, her locker was right next to my girlfriend’s locker, so we talked occasionally, mainly just chitchat. The idea of dating her just never came up.

But, that hair in the picture grabbed me!

I told my sister, “I looked through your Yearbook, and, of all the girls, I only found one I would like to date. Wendy Wright.”

I had pretty much given up on church at that point in my life, but my family was active, and I stayed home. But my sister was in the youth group at our church.

The next Sunday, when my sister went to youth group, Wendy Wright walked in, a guest of Cathy Cooper. Now, she and Cathy were really just more acquaintances than close friends, but that Sunday, Cathy decided to ask Wendy to go to youth group with her. Wendy had always had a boyfriend, and her free time was always with him, but she had just broken up with him, and decided to go.

Elaine saw her, and said, “Wendy! Hi! Randy was just talking about you the other day!”

Wendy smiled politely and said, “Oh, how is he doing? Tell him to call me sometime.”

Elaine passed on the message.

Encouragement received.

So, in true stalker fashion, I learned where she lived, and began to drive by as often as I could, usually on my way to work.

I had had to cut my long hair in order to take a job on the night crew at Kraft Foods, where my mom worked during the day.

Anyway, I was just hoping for a glimpse of the this girl. Instead, every time I drove by, there were 8-10 kids playing in the driveway. I remember thinking, “Oh great, she has a ton of brothers and sisters.”

One day, I mustered the courage to stop, and I walked to the door, rang the bell. A woman answered ( I thought she may have been an older sister (did you catch my compliment, MaryJane?)) but she was not smiling, she had a black beehive hairdo, and she seemed a little mean.

“Uh, is Wendy home?”

“No, she is at modeling class. Who are you?” Still seemed mean.

“Uh, just tell her, Randy Epps came by.” And I practically ran to the car to get away.

When Wendy got home, her mom said, “Some boy came by today.”

Wendy, “Who?”

“I don’t know, Randy something.” ( they were kinda having the typical mom/19 yr old daughter war)

“Epps? Randy Epps?”

“Yeah, that might be it.”

I found the nerve to call. She was wonderful! We talked for four hours. That is when phones were plugged into the wall.

She asked me to come see her, so I went a couple of hours before I had to go to work. I worked from 10:00 PM to 7:00 am. When she opened the door, I was a little shocked. (A lot)

She said, “You cut your hair!”

She stood in front of me, and she had one of those Twiggy short short haircuts.

I said, “Yeah, you did, too.”

We talked again for a couple of hours, then, at 9:30, I told her I had to go to work. (she told me later, she thought I was just making that up to get away, because I hadn’t told her what my job was.)

So, my point.

Our lives are made up of countless small, seeming inconsequential events, that have to be ordered in some way. God has a plan for us. He gives us countless opportunities to come along for the ride, but he doesn’t force us to do things His way. But he is always moving the pieces around.

By the way, Wendy and I were married four months later.

Perfect match.

God knew me, knew I needed her.

.

Five years later, her mom finally decided that maybe I was okay.

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NOT DENYING SCIENCE

NOT A SCIENCE DENIER

sci·ence

ˈsīəns

noun

the intellectual and practical activity encompassing the systematic study of the structure and behavior of the physical and natural world through observation and experiment.

I’ve got no problem with this.

I guess I could say, ” Well, I guess I do believe in science!”

So many people have told me that I didn’t, I guess I was starting to believe them.

I observe a lot of stuff in the physical and natural world.

I have been known to experiment, that is try things in different ways to see if they work, or to see if there is a better way.

Those that tell me that my beliefs are wrong because science says otherwise maybe don’t understand what science is.

I even read a blog by an atheist today who said,

“Science doesn’t find truth, it understands change.”

Then he, quoting a guy named David P. Barash, said, “The public distrusts science because it appears to change…but, (he points out) it’s only our paradigm that is shifting; not the actual truth, just our understanding of it.”

THAT’S WHAT I HAVE BEEN SAYING!

THE TRUTH IS ALWAYS THE TRUTH!

So, here is my premise for you to consider…

Is it more important for you to find the truth

Or to prove you are right?

Be careful….This is tricky.

You may think what you believe is true, so, of course, you want to prove you are right.

But, what if what you believe is not true?

I think, what you conclude when you are doing “science” depends a lot of the time on what you believed when you began.

For example, if you really believe there is no God, no creator, and the gradual billions of years evolutionary process is your starting point, then your observations will show you how all these little things you observe line up to prove that what you believe is true.

But, what if you had an open mind, and you were willing to consider any and all possibilities.

What if someone suggested that the world and everything in it was created by an all powerful intelligent being?

You decided to check out this possibility.

Do you know, that all the things you believe about billions of years would also work out over thousands of years, especially if a huge catastrophic flash flood was thrown into the mix?

Plus an all-powerful, almighty God….

Then, I think about how long it takes science to learn some stuff, because they keep finding new information as the “paradigm changes”.

So what was once “settled science” evolves into what we have now.

Constantly evolving, adjusting…

Now, imagine if the Creator we were talking about were to “talk” to His creation, revealing secret things to the minds of those who could “hear His voice” and giving insight that science was yet to consider.

Maybe science isn’t necessarily doing it wrong…

Maybe science is just taking the long way to figure it all out.

There is a book that helps more than science would admit (though some in science would consider it) but it is not allowed inside our public schools.

There is wisdom to be found.

Through wisdom, maybe truth.

If you really want to know the truth.

“To the Jews who had believed him, Jesus said, “If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples. Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.””

‭‭John‬ ‭8:31-32‬ ‭NIV‬‬

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“…AND WHEN I RUN, I FEEL HIS PLEASURE.”

Three Years Ago (2015)

“… AND WHEN I RUN, I FEEL HIS PLEASURE.”

I have made a friend on Facebook in the last few months, Anand, and he is probably one of the kindest men I have ever met. He asks me hard questions about my beliefs, about the Bible, and really challenges me to examine my faith.

Yesterday, he asked me if I could ever accept beliefs from other religions, and I gave him a short, terse answer. “I could if they lined up with the Bible.”

I have thought about this for a couple of days.

I would like to add this to my answer.

I grew up with the Bible as a church book. I never read it on my own, didn’t really care what was in it, had no concept that it held any answers to life. I always believed in God, believed what the church said about Jesus. But my life was not affected. I did what I wanted, considered myself good by standards of comparison to others.

Unlike Anand, I was not searching for God, or truth.

And yet, God called to me, and in a moment of deep need, I said, “I’m yours.”

I didn’t have the sense to examine the Bible to see if it was genuine, or translated correctly, or contradictory. It suddenly became impossible to resist. I would read it with a ravenous hunger, feeling life grow in me with every bite. I just accepted it, and it satisfied this deep longing, and led me to know the God I had never known before.

Everything began to change; the way I thought, the way I saw things, the way I spoke, the way I lived. Everything was changing. The effort wasn’t mine.

I was never diligent enough to search things out, or to be disciplined in my efforts, so honestly, I can take no credit for changes happening to me.

But this I knew.

God was indeed real.

For 37 years, I have heard challenges to the Bible, and some of them were tough.

Funny thing is, in my new life, when I have applied the knowledge that I had of the Bible to my life, it has always proved true.

Always.

One final thing:

My all time favorite quote:

When Eric Liddell’s sister asked him why he spent so much time running when he knew he was called to be a missionary,

he said, “God made me fast, and when I run, I feel His pleasure.”

I have been asked many times how I can prove God exists.

When I spend my life pointing to Him, sharing my love for Him, and trying to introduce His life to those I love, I FEEL HIS PLEASURE.

I call that JOY.

Many are looking for the answer.

I wasn’t looking, but The Answer found me.

Journal • Wednesday, Jul 8, 2015, 6:48 PM CDT • 2278 S FM 2869, Hawkins, TX, United States • 88°

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WHEN I WAS A CHILD…

WHEN I WAS A CHILD…

I needed someone…
to feed me,
to clothe me,
to house me,
to teach me right from wrong,
to teach me respect,
to teach me to be kind,
to teach me to take care of things,
to teach me to care for other people and their property,
and on, and on, and on….

The reason I needed this teaching was because I pretty much only thought of myself
when I was a child.

I wanted what I wanted, when I wanted it.

I could shut down conversation by screaming and crying and throwing a fit.

I could go along with a crowd without thinking of the rightness or wrongness of what the crowd was doing because going along with the crowd appealed to a part of my nature to “be a part” of something.

When I was a child, I had parents who loved me enough to discipline me when I didn’t pick up on the self-centeredness of my own actions.

They taught me the quiet joy of doing something for someone else.

I didn’t become a man when I left home.

I didn’t become a man when I got married.

Or when I had a child.

You have all heard me go on and on about this being “born again” thing, and you are probably getting a bit weary with the same thing over and over and over…

So, I’ll try to say it differently.

When I realized that my own self-centeredness was keeping me from finding my life’s ordained purpose, I began to feel a sense of despair.

I turned to the only One who could free me from that emptiness.

When I gave myself to the Creator, asking for His forgiveness for my choosing my own way for all those years,

I got a chance to begin again.

That day, I began to become a man.
________________________________________________________
I hang around a bunch of men these days, and I see them consistently acting like men.

That’s why, it’s a little bit hard for me to accept all these five year olds in bodies of adults who never became men (and women) but remained as they were…

Children.
___________________________________________________________

When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put the ways of childhood behind me.
1 Corinthians 13:11

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PURE FICTION (but possible)

Two Years Ago

PURE FICTION

BUT I CAN HOPE, CAN’T I

PROBABLY, TOO LATE FOR THIS CYCLE

CAMPAIGN SPEECH I WOULD LIKE TO HEAR IN 2019

Hello, my name is (name withheld to protect the non-existent) and I will be 69 years old on my next birthday.

I am placing my name on the ballot for president of the United States.

Actually, I am neither Republican nor Democrat. I have been both.

I have worked all my life, some good experiences, some not so good, but all were very important in molding me into the man (could be woman, not being sexist, just simplifying the writing process) I am today.

In a lot of the jobs, I had fair success, gaining promotions, working hard. But, to be honest, I have probably been fired many more times than I was promoted. Most of the jobs were just so I could have a car, gas, food and money for beer, not to mention a few times of buying drugs.

I was pretty popular in high school, star athlete, on the student council, even elected president my senior year. I can’t remember anything that we accomplished in all the years I was on the council, except, maybe, really good proms.

I was given a scholarship to X University because of my athletic prowess. I joined a fraternity, partied every weekend, and, probably only graduated because I was a good athlete.

After college, I married_________, had three kids, and, after seven years, nearly destroyed my marriage and my family by being unfaithful.

My wife was a Christian (a real one) and she forgave me, but said she would only stay if I got counseling.

She chose the counselor. He was just an ordinary guy that lived down the street. Didn’t drink or cuss, always doing stuff with his family. I think he went to my wife’s church.

We started meeting for coffee three mornings a week. He always brought his Bible.

After a time, I kinda marveled at how peaceful he always seemed to be. Once I asked him about this, and he told me a long story about how he used to be kind of a jerk, kind of self-centered and always doing everything to make himself happy.

That was me, to a tee.

He told me, that when he started to see himself as he really was, he began to hate those things about himself, and one day one of his neighbors started telling him about how his life had changed. Something about being born again.

He opened his Bible, showed me a story about some dude who talked to Jesus about getting eternal life, and Jesus told him, “You must be born again.”

My neighbor shared with me how he was born again.

I had to leave. Getting a little too religious.

But I couldn’t shake it. I had no peace. I was not happy. Without alcohol, life was an empty boring struggle.

The next time I saw him, I said, I want what you have.

He said, he couldn’t give it to me, but he could introduce me to someone who could.

WHAT?

He told me to bow my head, close my eyes, and confess my sin and selfishness to Jesus. He said that he was still alive, in fact, even though I couldn’t see him, he knew for a fact that Jesus was right there in the room. Right now.

Honestly, I had never prayed in my life. But something compelled me to do what this guy was telling me.

I prayed. Everything changed. I felt clean. I felt forgiven.

That was thirty years ago.

Since then, I have been living a quiet life with my family, learning how I could hear the voice of this invisible, but real Jesus, learning how much better life was if I obeyed that voice.

Six years ago, I started hearing that voice tell me to get ready to run for president. Now that was crazy. I did not want that. I did not think I was capable of that. That was crazy. How am I supposed to do that?

I obeyed. I began to study. I began to seek out wiser men to advise me.

So, I am standing here today to tell you, that I think I have been called to run for president of the United States. I will not do anything rude to anyone that runs against me. I will only share with you what my experiences over the last six years have taught me. I will take every problem that arises first to my invisible LORD, then tell you what I would do, what steps I would take to help repair this country.

You don’t have to vote for me if you don’t trust me. I wasn’t told that I would win, only that I should run.

This country started because people trusted Jesus for some impossible stuff. Maybe it can regain that trust.

May God bless America again!

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