While the gift is free, it cannot be earned, there is the condition that one must have the faith to accept the gift that has been offered.

Two prerequisites for that faith to be there:

1. A person has got to believe that God does indeed exist.

2. A person has to believe that God will reveal himself to the One who truly desires to find Him.

(Hebrews 11:6, my paraphrase)

An atheist cannot do that.





I am glad that you see my daughter’s true beauty. Please don’t be upset if I do not trust you right away.

It’s not you. It’s me.

I have very vivid memories of my life at your age.

My purpose in life, then, was to avoid hardship, and to make myself happy.

I have poured my life into your girlfriend from the moment of her birth.

I have tried to model for her what a man should be.

I have tried to give her every opportunity to receive the Life that God offers.

If you would like to gain my trust, I only ask two things:

1. Care more for the well-being of my daughter than you do for your own life.

2. Live your life, make all your decisions in such a way that will move my daughter CLOSER to Jesus because of His life shining from you.

With great hope for the future,

(daughter’s name)’s dad




The Freezer was full.
“Wendy, I cannot get this chicken and ground beef in here. There is no room! We have twenty bags of the enchilada sauce you made in March.”

(Now, that was an experience! Red enchilada sauce on the walls, the light fixtures….)

Before I knew it, she had offered to share some of the enchilada sauce on Facebook. I would carry it to church with me on Sunday.

After church was over, I had successfully shared with all the prospects. Except one. Vicki had slipped out before I could catch her.

I called her.

“Oh, Randy I looked for you, but I didn’t find you,” she said.

I told her I would bring it by her house.

She met me at the door, thanked me with a smile. “You want to come in and say hi to Jim?”


When Wendy and I started going to Hollybrook in 2001, we joined a Sunday Bible study class. Jim was one of the teachers. When we had the accident in 2002, the one that took Chelsey to her eternal home, Jim and Vicki were among the first to show up at the hospital.

Jim took me to the cafeteria to get a cup of coffee. He told me the story of his son that had died a few years earlier, on his way home, in a crash.

“ I was so mad at God…’Why would you let this happen?’ I cried out in anger. This anger wrapped me up for quite some time. I believed in God, heaven, even that my son was there…but I was angry that he wasn’t with me.”

He told me how he reached a point one day, where he was thinking about heaven, thinking of the Life that is there, that his son is experiencing.

Someone asked him, “If you could bring him back, right now, would you?”

Jim looked at me across the table. “Randy, at that moment, I was totally aware that that would be the most selfish act I could ever do! I realized that I could not do that, that I would not do that. From that point on, my healing began.”

Jim was sitting in his recliner, a blanket over him to ward off the constant chill. He was so thin, pale.

“How are you doing ?” I asked. “I mean, I know you aren’t feeling good, but how are you doing?”

He smiled. “Randy, one thing I know. Chemo is not gonna be what decides if I live or die. If I live, well He still has something for me to do here. If not, well, I’ve got a lot of people I’m really looking forward to seeing.”

Vicki was standing beside him, smiling. “We don’t know how long any of us have. Jim could outlive me…. “

Jim told me of the cancer in his esophagus that caused him pain every time any kind of food had to navigate its way through. “Even oatmeal. I’m 6 feet tall. I used to weigh 215. I’m down to 135. “

We talked on. I told him of my memories of that day in 2002, how important that conversation was to me, how God had used him and Vicki in our lives.

Now, I’m going to try to describe something.

As we were talking, I looked at Jim’s face, and it appeared to be glowing. The smile was a smile of complete freedom, a peace that cannot be described. He appeared to be someone who, in his pain and struggles, was finding a comfort that soars above the physical, that touches deep inside.

JOY! That is what I saw!

It looked like cancer was winning the battle, if you couldn’t see what I saw.

But, I knew.

Jim was winning this fight!

He had already won!




A funeral of a believer is a mixture of tears, memories, and laughter.

My brother, Jeff, lost his wife of 31 years, Ann, to an 8 month battle with brain cancer. It seemed like the cancer had won, until we remembered the promise of a place prepared for us.

Jeff had Ann’s favorite songs playing in the background as he stood and proclaimed the love that they had shared. Remembering moments, and times.

I was proud of my little brother.

He opened the service up to others.

There were several. People who knew her. Really knew her. And loved her. And cried because she was not to be in their lives any longer.

My cousin, Clay, stood up. “Jeff was the one who led me to the Lord. I had always loved music, and I had begun to be interested in classical guitar. I couldn’t afford a new guitar, but I was told I could put nylon strings on my steel stringed guitar.
“Jeff, did you know, Ann gave me her classical guitar?”

Jeff, smiling, said “No, I did not!”

“Yep, it was a Yamaha!” Clay was beaming. He had always been a musical prodigy: harmonica, guitar, banjo. I figured he could play any instrument he wanted to.

He came up to us afterward and we spent some time catching up. We ate lunch together with several of the friends of Ann at a restaurant my brother had reserved. His sister, Holly was there, too.

“Do you remember your house in Lubbock?” I asked. “We went there one time. I musta been 8 or 9. Mom and Dad had told us you had a pool, and we could hardly wait to get there. “ A swimming pool at a house? I hadn’t seen one of those since I had “drowned “ when the inflatable horse threw me when I was tiny.

Clay and Holly both smiled with the memory.

“ When we got to Lubbock, I still remember seeing the house on the hill, a swimming pool in the front yard, and, there, right beside the pool, was a windmill, a big, wooden windmill. That was even better!”

Clay chimed in, “Yeah, my dad had found out that to fill the pool with city water would cost a fortune, so we used that windmill.”

“I can’t remember anything about the house…all I remember is wanting to get into that pool, and wanting to see that windmill up close. I remember getting my swimsuit on, jumping in, and getting out! Fast! That was the coldest water I had ever felt!”

Clay and Holly were smiling in agreement. “Remember the boat?”

I did. We spent most of our pool time paddling a rowboat around in that frigid pool.

We are all so much older now, each of us dealing with symptoms of an aging body that long ago lost its youthful vitality.

Yet, as we remember these moments we shared , we find ourselves transported back to a time when life was simple, fun, exciting.

And life becomes simple, fun, exciting. Again.

And Ann can see again, walk again, with the One who made her, as He says to her, “Well done…well done!”