Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Two Great Athletes

Yesterday the golf world, sports world and world at large lost a great man. Byron Nelson was the real deal on and off the course. He holds a record in golf that even Tiger will never break - 11 tour victories in a row - and he is responsible for more charitable giving than can be counted. Nelson played golf to make some money to buy a ranch for his family. He accomplished that goal and retired at the age of 34. He loved his family, loved the Lord and loved his neighbor. The word used most to describe him by everyone is "gentleman." Although I didn't know him well, I was honored to meet Mr. Nelson on several occasions and he was always warm, gentle and kind. In short, he was a man of God and a wonderful role model for children of all ages.

This morning I awoke to the news that Dallas Cowboy wide receiver Terrell Owens allegedly made an attempt to take his own life last night. Whether that is true or not, Owens is an incredible athlete, but has had a difficult life. I've never heard anyone use the word "gentleman" to describe him. He is a selfish, selfish man who seems to only look out for himself. He is rich beyond his wildest dreams, but seeks attention in the most unhealthy of ways.

The death of Byron Nelson is sad news, but the way he lived his life is reason to celebrate. The life of Terrell Owens has been overwhelmingly sad and the only things he's had to celebrate are touchdowns. Maybe while Owens is recovering, he could study the life of Byron Nelson and learn something about what it really means to live an abundant life.

Monday, September 25, 2006

The Painting

Once there was an artist. Not the best artist in the world, but an artist none the less. She painted a picture. Not the best painting ever created, but a painting none the less. She hung the painting and invited anyone who would like, to come and see it on a particular day. No one was forced to come. No one was forced to look at the picture. She even provided cheese and wine to all visitors free of charge.

Many came to see the painting.

Some appreciated its beauty. Some appreciated the brush strokes used to create it. Some were moved by it simply because it sparked a pleasant memory in the recesses of their minds.

Some were challenged by what they saw.

Others did not like it at all. They claimed it was too simple, not creative enough and were not moved by it in any way.

Still others went so far as to say they were offended by the painting and insisted that it be taken down while they helped themselves to some more cheese and wine.

One painting. Numerous responses.

The only truisms about everyone who saw the painting were these: They all saw it through their own eyes. They all brought to it their own experiences, histories and baggage. And they all thought their opinion of it was the right opinion.

I'll leave the morals and analogies to you.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Jesus? Can You Hear Me Now?

Last night I received a phone call from someone who needed, no I take that back, wanted a favor. I receive those calls a lot at my office, but this lady had somehow laid her hands on my cell phone number. It really put me in an awkward position. The only way to help her was to leave my family that I had barely seen in two days, get money out of my account and be gone for the next two hours. This was not a life or death situation. It was sad and difficult, but again more of a want than a need. I had the money. I own a car. I was capable of helping, but I was EXTREMELY frustrated that she had my cell number. After some thought, I gave her a couple of alternative options to me helping her at that very moment, but I didn't hear back from her.

That got me to thinking. Not what would Jesus do to help that lady, but what would Jesus do with His cell phone? Would He turn it off at night? Would He only answer calls from recognized numbers? Would He think the world was going to come to an end if He were unreachable for a few hours? Would He go up on the mountain to be alone and throw His phone into the Sea of Galilee?

I mean, I love technology (but not as much as you, you see. But, still I love technology), but I feel trapped by it. I have become a slave to my phone and my computer! It's like a bad sci-fi movie! My printer that keeps jamming is laughing at me behind my back! The World Wide Web Wizard is controlling my life from behind a fire wall somewhere!

I'm mad as hell and I'm not going to take it anymore! Are you with me?

If so, shoot me a text message or an email and let me know. Or call me on my cell at home tonight. Talk to you soon!

Monday, September 11, 2006

Five Years Later

Five years ago today I was on a train commuting from Fort Worth to my office in Dallas when my cell phone rang. It was my friend and business partner David Needham asking me if I had heard the news. A plane had just crashed into the World Trade Center. David has his pilot's license and his first thought was that some poor private pilot had made a terrible mistake or lost control of his aircraft at the worst possible time. This thought was chilling to David, but not nearly as chilling as the truth we would discover as the morning unfolded.

I made it to the office in time to see the second plane hit. Our company - Reel FX Creative Studios - produced special effects for TV and film. I remember thinking that watching the reality of an airplane crashing into a building somehow looked fake to me. Like if we had created the scene using digital effects, we might have thought it didn't look real enough. Our minds eye didn't know what it really looked like until that day.

I called my wife and told her to turn on the TV. She was busy starting the day and tending to our daughter Rainey who was exactly one month and three days old at the time. I knew that our world had just changed in one morning and that she would never know the world before 9/11/2001. Just like I will never know the innocence of a time before 12/7/1941 or 11/22/1963.

We debated about sending our employees home for the day, but opted instead to leave it up to them. As I recall, most stayed. We had a lot of young, single people working for us and I think the sense of community was therapeutic.

Five years later we remember. We tell stories. We pray for peace.

And community is still therapeutic.

May the God of love and peace reign in your heart today and in the hearts of men everywhere.

Monday, September 04, 2006

Biscuit Brothers in Dallas

The Biscuit Brothers are coming to Dallas for a live show at Old City Park! These wonderful musicians are fun for all ages, but focus on inspiring children to go make music. Please click on the link below for information and if you are in the D/FW area this Saturday, Sept. 9 come out to Old City Park for an afternoon of music and fun! Or email me, call me or simply leave me a comment if you want to carpool or caravan!

You can also learn more about the Biscuits by visiting their website:

Their TV show on PBS is in production for a second season and has been picked up to air in several markets in Texas, North Carolina, New York, Florida, Georgia and Oklahoma, but it's not airing in Dallas...yet. Here's what you can do:

1. Come to see them this Saturday and let Channel 13 know they have fans in Dallas.

2. Wherever you live, write or call your local PBS affiliate and let them know you want the Biscuit Brothers on your PBS station.

3. Support the effort to inspire children to go make music by supporting the Biscuit Brothers. You can find information about how to do this on their website. One idea is to buddy up with CEO's of big companies and have them contribute to the effort (it's tax deductible!). Anybody know any heads of industry out there?

Obviously, I believe very strongly in what these guys are doing. I'm not on the payroll, I'm just passionate about their mission. I'm open to any ideas about how to get the word out and get PBS affiliates across the country to stand up and take notice of The Biscuits!

Let's start a grassroots effort!