by Robert Earl Houston
SOMEWHERE OVER TENNESSEE – I’m in mid-flight preparing to land in Louisville in about 30 minutes. My body is really tired. My plane was delayed for two hours (it was coming from the west coast and was delayed from both Orange County, CA and San Francisco, CA.
But my heart is not tired, but excited about Sunday. If there was ever a time I need a good, solid word from The Lord, it’s tomorrow. God is providential. He knew everything this week and how everything would turn out and that I was not scheduled to preach in the morning – it’s Ushers Day and we have to capable speakers – Rev. Anna Jones and Dr. Cheryl Walker.
There is a time when the preacher who preaches needs to be preached to. My spiritual battery is admittedly very low – but not so low that it couldn’t receive a jump or a jolt. I come to the worship tomorrow weary, beat-down, and without going into a lot of detail, disappointed. But this is what Sundays in worship are for – to hear a word from The Lord.
I’m in need for a word badly. You won’t hear too many pastors say this, but i will – I couldn’t preach tomorrow if i could – i’m too pained, I’m too damaged, and I need to be ministered to. No pastor should show up just for the sake of preaching, when he’s troubled in spirit of his or her own self.
I’ve stood in times of divorce, church issues, death in my family, and other issues – but this week I just can’t do it. And I’m believing God that after hearing two dynamic sermons, I’ll be ready to get back to living again.
As of now, I just want to hear a preached word!
by Robert Earl Houston
ATLANTA, GA –
I have been in Dallas, Texas for the past few days on a “missions journey” that went horribly, horribly awry. I don’t want to bore you (or those viewing this) with details, but let’s just say this was one of the worst, painful, and traumatic weeks of my 52 year old life. it was horrible.
Yesterday, I took advantage of an idea and went on the tour of the Dallas Cowboys stadium. To call it a stadium is a disservice. I have visited several football stadium but there is nothing like the Cowboys facility in Arlington.
First, I’ve never stood in a $1.5 billion dollar facility – and yes, it is all that! It is an engineering marvel. Not ONE obstructed view, wider seats, a jumbotron screen that is almost the length of the football field, a nightclub on premise, the largest NFL fan shop in the country, an art gallery, the home base for the Cotton Bowl organization, an art gallery, the Cowboys Cheerleaders locker room, home and away lockerrooms, 2,000+ Hd screens in the facility, a standing room area that will accomodate 12,000 extra persons – this is truly the 9th wonder of the world.
The hospitality that I encountered was amazing. I met a sister in the pro shop who attends Pilgrim Rest Missionary Baptist Church where Dr. Curtis Wallace is the pastor, and she befriended me and mothered me like I was her long lost child. She kept on telling folk,”he’s just a big old teddy bear” with the sass of a country church mother. i believe if i had asked her for some collard greens and cornbread, she could have reached into her purse and pulled them out.
To hear the details of the construction of this facility is amazing. Also to learn that Arlington, TX is the largest city in America that does not have mass transit was disheartening. it would be great to get a hotel in the area and catch a trolley to the stadium.
When i heard that just last weekend you kindly opened the doors of the facility for a sleepover of cub scouts in the DFW area was very impressive. This arena has hosted the Cowboys, the Super Bowl, monster tractor pulls, bowling tournaments, boxing championships – and it’s only three years old. What an impressive start.
Thank you Mr. Jones, This visit lightened a very burdened heart. I have been a Cowboys fan since I was a teenager and to stand on the star at the fifty year line, with a football in my hand, and to have a photo made of it – it will be on my funeral program.
When I realized that it takes a small army just to maintain, prepare and serve during a game – again it is even more impressive that a facility of this kind exists in our country.
Thank you Mr. Jones!
Robert Earl Houston
p.s. Now about the team on the field . . . .
by Robert Earl Houston
HOUSTON, TX – I’m en route from Dallas to Louisville by way of Houston. It’s not my preferred routing, but when you fly Southwest Airlines, choice is not a primary word for this carrier. But the people are nice and they do a great job of serving you (hopefully one day they will get beyond peanuts and pretzels).
I am wearing a pair of black and white jogging pants and an Alex Rodriguez authentic New York Yankees jersey. Needless to say after the week that he and the Yankees have had, I’ve had complete strangers walk up to me and strike up conversations – some expressing delight in their demise; others saying ‘wait ’til next year;’ others even saying that I must be a true blue fan; others who wanted to make comments on Rodriguez’s alleged flirtation with fans during his benching.
But as i was walking through the terminal of Dallas Love Field, I heard a couple of guys say while I was walking through, “that takes a lot of nerve to wear that uniform after they were put out of the playoffs.”
I got to thinking (it’s the preacher in me), after the week I’ve had personally – a week that I was expecting great things of God, only to be really disappointed – only to discover that obedience doesn’t always mean victory – that it does take a lot of nerve to wear the uniform of defeat publicly.
It’s akin to wearing the uniform of the Christians in the Roman Empire days of the lions.
It’s akin to wearing a “Team Adam” tee shirt after the expulsion from the garden of Eden.
It’s akin to wearing a “Santorum for President” tee shirt at a Romney Rally.
Very few of us want to identify with defeat. However, I want to suggest that there is something that is beneficial by identifying with a loss.
First, it teaches us that sometimes things are out of our personal control.
Second, it teaches us that life is not always a win-win scenario.
Thirdly, it teaches us that trusting God may mean He reserves the right to say “no.”
So, I want to applaud all of those who have had their heart broken, scarred by abusive relationships, shell-shock by dramatic events, aged by physical and emotional issues.
That takes a lot of nerve, but it also takes a lot of God to walk with you through it.