Happy are those
    who do not follow the advice of the wicked,
or take the path that sinners tread,
    or sit in the seat of scoffers;
but their delight is in the law of the Lord,
    and on his law they meditate day and night.
They are like trees
    planted by streams of water,
which yield their fruit in its season,
    and their leaves do not wither.
In all that they do, they prosper.

The wicked are not so,
    but are like chaff that the wind drives away.
Therefore the wicked will not stand in the judgment,
    nor sinners in the congregation of the righteous;
for the Lord watches over the way of the righteous,
    but the way of the wicked will perish.



Psalms and Poetry, there is already a relationship there. I pray this builds on that relationship. Inspired by Psalm 1, Fork in the Road.


Friend when you come to a fork in the road
One path goes where hardship lives and flows.
The second trail is the way we find life.
The forked road leads us to joy or to strife.

When you find a fork in the road, take it.*
Pray God leads you where to go and see it.
Lord show me your way and help me make it.
When you find a fork in the road, take it.

When we face life’s decisions make a choice
To not decide just takes away your voice
Lord help me find my way, to you this day
Here’s a forked road, help me find your way.

When you find a fork in the road, take it.*
Pray God leads you where to go and make it.
Lord show me your way and help me make it.
When you find a fork in the road, take it.

To live this life for you I’ll find your joy.
To travel on life’s path in your employ
I’ll delight in you each day, and I say
When you find a fork in the road, take it.

When you find a fork in the road, take it.*
Pray God leads you where to go and make it.
Lord show me your way and help me make it.
When you find a fork in the road, take it.

Seeking the Genuine,
Keith

* Quote from Yogi Berra popularly called a “Yogism.” I am thankful for his sense of the quote. He gave a lot of people, a lot of laughs.

Copyright 2020, J. Keith Broyles, All Rights Reserved

Don’t be jealous or proud, but be humble and consider others more important than yourselves. (Philippians 2:3, Contemporary English Version).

I have made it no secret that I love TED talks. I decided on this particular TED talk because I have been talking about kindness for the past week or so and this particular TED talk really spoke to me because I have a habit of talking too much and listening too little.

I know I don’t work or volunteer on any kind of crisis hotline but, I still have people call me during some kind of crisis on a regular basis. One I received a few years ago, a husband and wife were expecting a baby. I heard the exciting news and launched into congratulations and what a blessing this is and all that kind of stuff.

Had I been listening instead of running my mouth I would have, I should have, picked up that something saying that this couple were not joyous in their newly discovered news. I completely missed it because I didn’t leave my mouth closed. Had just shut-up and listened, I would have known the real reason for their call. The baby had Down’s Syndrome.

Even though the doctor had given them advice, it was advice that they did not want to take. Were they making the right decision. I told them they were the ones who would have to make the decision.

In the end they did stick with their original decision. Because they went against medical advice they would be forced to find another doctor. They didn’t and about seven months later, they took home a son. Yes, he had Down’s Syndrome.

I am no longer their pastor. I said it was a few years ago. It is closer to 20 years ago. I have long since lost track of that family. I wish I hadn’t but these things happen.

Have you ever noticed the joy that seems to live within almost any person who has Down’s Syndrome? I like to think that their young man is a person filled with that kind of joy and that he shares it with his family and everyone he meets.

And to think, if it wouldn’t have been for the patience of a couple who were in crisis and calling for me to listen and they ended up doing a good bit if listening, I may never have know. I am thankful I did.

Be blessed.

Seeking the Genuine,
Keith

Copyright 2020, J. Keith Broyles, All Rights Reserved

Don’t be anxious about anything; rather, bring up all of your requests to God in your prayers and petitions, along with giving thanks. (Philippians 4:6, Common English Bible)

Young Timmy had reached school age, and his mother worked very hard to make him enthusiastic about the idea of school. She bought him new clothes. She told him about the other children he would meet. She got him so excited about the project that he eagerly went off on the first day. Timmy came home that afternoon telling his mom everything he could about what school was like. Well, the next morning, his mother went into the bedroom and said “Timmy, you need to get up. “What for,” Timmy asked. His mother simply replied, “You’ve got to go to school.” To which Timmy replied, “What, again?”

That was one of Ronald Reagan’s favorite jokes. I have no idea how many times that joke made it into one of his speeches.

All over the country students are making it back to class (in person or virtually). Some are already there. Some will begin tomorrow. The kids near where I live will start back tomorrow. The kids in Nacogdoches, where the church I serve is located will not start back until after Labor Day, or at least that is the latest thing I have heard.

This year, probably than any year in most of our memories, our kids, our teachers, and our school administrators need praying people in their communities more than any other time in my memory. No one knows how all this will come out in the end.

Growing up on the Texas Gulf Coast and living all my life between here and the East Coast where I served in the Navy, hurricanes seem to be an added attraction to go with the beginning of school. I don’t remember many of the hurricanes of my childhood other than Hurricane Carla and I was a very small child, well before I started to school. I also don’t have strong memories of it.

Still, this is different and we could still face hurricanes squared and it looks very possible that school could get school disrupted by Hurricanes Laura and Marco this coming week.

It seems to me that what we face now is a time to pray. I wanted to take a moment and ask you to consider working with others in your church or community to create an organized prayer effort for your schools during the days ahead.

Pray for students
Pray for teachers, administrators, and school staff.
Put out a list of school staff asking others to be a pray partner for 1 or 2 of them
Have a student of the day/week, staff member of the day/week
Take the time to visit your local school(s) pray over buildings/classrooms
Put out a prayer calendar each month and ask people to follow along

The list of possibilities to lift up prayer for our schools is endless and if ever there was a need for prayer, it is now.

Little Timmy might have thought school was a one (day) and done proposition. We know it takes a day or two more than that and the kids around us like Timmy will, whether they know it or not, will need our prayers. Be a prayer hero for those kids. It will matter.

Be blessed.

Seeking the Genuine,
Keith

Copyright 2020, J. Keith Broyles, All Rights Reserved

28 One of the legal experts heard their dispute and saw how well Jesus answered them. He came over and asked him, “Which commandment is the most important of all?”

29 Jesus replied, “The most important one is Israel, listen! Our God is the one Lord, 30 and you must love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your being, with all your mind, and with all your strength.[a] 31 The second is this, You will love your neighbor as yourself.[b] No other commandment is greater than these.”

32 The legal expert said to him, “Well said, Teacher. You have truthfully said that God is one and there is no other besides him. 33 And to love God with all of the heart, a full understanding, and all of one’s strength, and to love one’s neighbor as oneself is much more important than all kinds of entirely burned offerings and sacrifices.”

34 When Jesus saw that he had answered with wisdom, he said to him, “You aren’t far from God’s kingdom.” After that, no one dared to ask him any more questions. (Mark 12:28-34, Common English Bible)

Years ago I heard about TED (Technology, Entertainment, Design) Talks. The subjects of these talks are varied. They cover topics like recycling, vehicles and traffic, leadership, and many more.

I love TED talks. On Fridays when I taught, my students watched a TED talk. Then I was so mean. I made them write a one paragraph summary.

Until the past week or so, I haven’t watched many but that changed last week. Some lack excitement but some are powerful.

Last night I saw a powerful talk sporting the title, “Everyday Leadership.” Take a moment go online to TED.com and look up either “Everyday Leadership” or “Drew Dudley,” who is the speaker.

The talk is short, just over six minutes, but he packs a lot into six minutes. Dudley talks about leadership is more about small things than large events.

Typically we see leadership in relationship to a position. “The President leads our country, representing us on the world stage.” Or, “The Speaker of the House leads half the legislative branch, keeping things moving and on track.” I left names out to focus on leadership, not politics. These are two of obvious offices in American society.

The quarterback of the football team has an expectation to be a leader. Most carry a “C” for captain on their jersey. But, Dudley argues he is not a leader unless he does things solidifying him as a leader among those on the team.

These “things” are Dudley’s “Lollipop Moments.” He relates his Lollipop Moment,

Dudley begins his story by telling of a female college freshman. Really it is her story. This girl decided she didn’t belong there. She was faking it. She told her parents about her doubts as they moved her into the dorm. They convinced her to stay that night but at any point the next day if she felt the same way, she could go home, no questions asked.

The next day she and her parents waited for registration and her doubts, concerns, and fears were growing. She decided it was time to leave and was about to tell her parents when Drew Dudley walked in carrying a box of lollipops, passing them out while wearing what the girl called the stupidest hat she had ever seen. It was to bring awareness to his favorite charity, the Cystic Fibrosis Society.

Drew stopped in front of her, stared for a creepy few seconds. Then reaching for a lollipop, handing it to the guy next to her saying, “You need to give a lollipop to the beautiful girl standing next to you.” She said she felt sorry for the guy, from him as he turned red, totally embarrassed. She also took the lollipop.

His face became serious, saying to her parents, “She’s been here one day and already takes candy from a stranger.” Then off he went for more fun and games as everyone laughed hysterically. It was a life changing moment for the woman.

With fun and humor, the moment changed the girls life. Her doubts vanished and she was ready. Or at least that is what she told Dudley.

Four years later Dudley was leaving the school and the girl, hears about it. They hadn’t spoken over that four years. She said she wanted him to know he had made a difference for one student. She turned to walk away, then stopped turned back and said she and the young man had dated for four years. A year and a half later, he received a wedding invitation.

At the end of the talk, Dudley said he couldn’t remember the encounter. He inspired this girl to make a life altering decision in less than a minute. Something he can’t remember changed her life. Telling that story is now his mission.

Often it isn’t the big things we do (though it can be) that make the difference. We often aren’t able to do the big things. But we can do little things that make a real difference. A little thing that was so insignificant you don’t remember it, made all the difference for someone else. That is what Drew Dudley did.

Have you made that kind of impact on someone? Has someone made that impact on you? Jesus says the most important commandment is to love God and love neighbor. When we do a little thing that makes a big difference, we show love of neighbor, and in doing so, we show love of God. “For as much as you have done it to one of the least of these, you’ve done it to me.” (Matthew 25:40, paraphrased).

Tomorrow let’s talk about making lollipop moments for others.

Be Blessed.

Seeking the Genuine,
Keith

Copyright 2020, J. Keith Broyles, All Rights Reserved

“Lo, God will not reject a man of integrity,
Nor will He support the evildoers.
21 “He will yet fill your mouth with laughter
And your lips with shouting. (Job 8:20-21, New Revised Standard Version)

I thought we might do something different today. Instead of our regular post, today that we might be able to share some humor. It has been something a tough last three months and we could use lighten the mood. I am only going to share a few and mine will all be jokes about preachers. If you would like to share one, use the comments to do so, and please, remember to keep it clean. It is about our witness and what we say to the world.


A man bought a donkey from a preacher. The preacher told the man that this donkey had been trained in a very unique way, (being the donkey of a preacher). The only way to make the donkey go, is to say,

“Hallelujah!”

The only way to make the donkey stop, is to say, “Amen!”

The man was pleased with his purchase and immediately got on the animal to try out the preacher’s instructions.

“Hallelujah!” shouted the man. The donkey began to trot. “Amen!” shouted the man. The donkey stopped immediately.

“This is great!” said the man. With a “Hallelujah”, he rode off very proud of his new purchase.

The man traveled for a long time through some mountains. Soon he was heading towards a cliff. He could not remember the word to make the donkey stop.

“Stop,” said the man. “Halt!” he cried. The donkey just kept going.

“Oh, no…

‘Bible…Church!…Please Stop!!,” shouted the man. The donkey just began to trot faster. He was getting closer and closer to the cliff edge.

Finally, in desperation, the man said a prayer…”Please, dear Lord.

Please make this donkey stop before I go off the end of this mountain, In Jesus name, AMEN.”

The donkey came to an abrupt stop just one step from the edge of the cliff.

“HALLELUJAH!”, shouted the man. 


One Sunday morning, the pastor noticed little Alex staring up at the large plaque that hung in the foyer of the church. The plaque was covered with names, and small American flags were mounted on either side of it. The seven year-old had been staring at the plaque for some time, so the pastor walked up, stood beside him and said quietly, “Good morning, Alex.”

Good morning, Pastor,” replied the young man, still focused on the plaque. “Pastor McGhee, what is this?” Alex asked.

“Well, son, it’s a memorial to all the men and women who have died in the service.”

Soberly, they stood together, staring at the large plaque. Little Alex’s voice was barely audible when he finally managed to ask, “Which one, the 9:00 or 10:30 service?”


During an impassioned sermon about death and final judgement, the pastor said forcefully, “Each member of this church is going to die and face judgement.” Glancing down at the front pew, he noticed a man with a big smile on his face. The minister repeated his point louder. “Each member of this church is going to die and face judgement!” The man nodded and smiled even more. This really got the preacher wound up. He pounded the pulpit emphatically when he came to the ultimatum: “Each member of this church is going to die and face judgement!!!” Though everyone else in the congregation was looking somber, the man in front continued to smile. Finally the preacher stepped off the platform, stood in front of the man and shouted, “I said each member of this church is going to die!” The man grinned from ear to ear. After the service was over, the preacher made a beeline for the man. “I don’t get it,” the preacher said in frustration. “Whenever I said, ‘Each member of this church is going to die,’ your smile got bigger. Why?” “I’m not a member of this church,” the man replied.


I hope you enjoyed these few jokes. I do hope they brighten you day. And, feel free to share one or two of yours.

Be blessed.

Seeking the Genuine,
Keith

Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me (John 14:6, English Standard Version)

I have always enjoyed pictures of Jesus. The picture above is a particular favorite. It is a favorite because I remember it hanging in our house when I was young. It was my first thought, my first idea of what Jesus might have looked like. I am pretty sure that when I was very young that I thought this picture was exactly what Jesus looked like.

Thou I seriously doubt this was the next picture of Jesus, I have little doubt that a picture similar to this would have been my next understanding of Jesus. While Santa Claus was a regular Christmas visitor in my childhood home, the importance of Jesus’ birth was also an important part of the season.

I remember the first time of hearing of Jesus at the temple I was puzzled about how they could have lost him. I couldn’t imagine a circumstance that my parents wouldn’t know where I was and really couldn’t imagine them leaving me behind.

I remember this picture from Sunday School as a boy. I am sure we didn’t study Jesus Baptism every year but it seems like we talked about it a great deal and this picture was a regular part of those discussions.

This picture and similar pictures were also present in Sunday School as we learned of Jesus carrying his cross.

Another picture from my memories as a child of Jesus carrying his cross.

This picture is part of my Easter memories for many years.

This picture is not a childhood memory. I am not sure exactly when I saw this picture. The pictures I remember from childhood were always from the outside and the stone was rolled away. Seeing the inside of the empty tomb today is much more memorable.

Another Resurrection picture I remember from childhood.

Peter stepping out of the boat. I distinctly remember asking my Sunday School teacher if Peter knew how to swim. I remember he said, “Probably not.” My thought was, ‘If he can’t swim, why would he get out of the boat in a storm.'”

The story of the Woman at the well has been a favorite of the Church for many years. She was an outcast among outcasts. After talking to Jesus she went and told her story, “Come meet the many who told me everything I ever did.

Another story I liked as a kid. I imagined myself as the boy with his lunch. Because of his generosity Jesus did something extraordinary. He fed all those people. Scripture says he fed 5000 plus women and children. 15000 people or even more could have bee fed that way.

I can remember these kinds of pictures even if I don’t remember this particular one. It wasn’t until I was in ministry that I realized the significance of this picture but even realized it was part of the story was even there. There were initially five loaves and two fish. After everyone was served and was full, there were more leftovers than there was food in the beginning.

Leonardo da Vinci could have used the help. From my teenage years I remember this picture. I always found it significant that in da Vinci’s mind, they didn’t use one long side of the table.

I included this picture because it is the first picture I remember seeing that showed me the idea that Jesus may not look like me, a white male. It also demonstrates to me that each of us may have our own image of Jesus in our minds.

Be Blessed

Seeking the Genuine,
Keith

Copyright 2020, J Keith Broyles, All Rights Reserved

Many years ago I was in a used book store. A book got my interest and I bought it. When I got home I put it on my shelf and promptly forgot about it (It happens a lot). A few months later I noticed it and picked it up again. When I opened the book a newspaper clipping floated down. On it was several hymns, about 10 I think. They were all funny. It had a line about the hymn followed by a line about our human condition. For example…

“We sing, ‘There Shall be Showers of Blessing,’ but we won’t go to church in the rain.”

I lost the clipping. It may be in an old box somewhere but who knows where. I can only remember four of them, and hopefully, I don’t lose them too, I have written a song for each. I have used some of them here. This could be one but I don’t find anything that says I have.

So, in honor of the rain here in Deep East Texas this morning, I thought I would share “The Rainy Sunday Blues.”

There shall be showers of blessing
From God a promise we gain,
We hear the blessings on roof-tops
It sounds a whole lot like rain;
 
Showers of blessing,
Blessings God knows that we need
We think we’ll melt just like sugar,
So, from the showers we flee.
 
There shall be showers of blessing,
Today rain will keep me in bed.
More sleep I’ll find it relaxing,
Skip church, read a novel instead…
 
Showers of blessing,
Blessings God knows that we need
We think we’ll melt just like sugar,
So, from the showers we flee.

There shall be showers of blessing
raincoats will keep our clothes dry
wet is my head as the rain falls
lost that umbrella of mine…

Showers of blessing,
Blessings God knows that we need
We think we’ll melt just like sugar,
So, from the showers we flee.
 
There shall be showers of blessing
I pray the waters soon peak.
blessings on blessings around me,
rain hasn’t stopped here all week…

Showers of blessing,
Blessings God knows that we need
We think we’ll melt just like sugar,
So, from the showers we flee.
 
There shall be showers of blessing
The dog tries to shake his fur dry.
He raised his head to the heavens
And barks at the rain in the sky…

Showers of blessing,
Blessings God knows that we need
We think we’ll melt just like sugar,
So, from the showers we flee.

There shall be showers of blessing,
Today I stayed home on a lark.
blessings are gone its just water,
I think I will build me an ark;

Showers of blessing,
Blessings God knows that we need
We think we’ll melt just like sugar,
So, from the showers we flee.
 
There shall be showers of blessing,
Thunder won’t run me away.
We need rain for a harvest
Thank God I’m in Church today
 
Showers of blessing,
Some rain will not keep us away
We will not melt we’re not sugar
Through showers we’ll worship today.

Be Blessed.

Seeking the Genuine,
Keith

Copyright 2020, J. Keith Broyles, All Rights Reserved