Tag Archives: Laity Lodge

God’s Inspirations

Dear God, I was speaking to a group of youth yesterday about the nonprofit where I work and I talked about how you take small seeds of ideas and grown them. In 1986, you led a woman to start doing some medical clinics with some missionaries in Northern Mexico. Six years later, you inspired her to start doing a one-night-a-week free clinic for people in the town where she lived. Ten years later, you inspired her and others to build on that and create a facility that would be a medical home for people. Now, 17 years later, what started as going to Mexico to help some people in 1986 has turned into a four-day-a-week clinic that has medical, dental, and mental health counseling services and a million dollar budget. Your blessing has been obvious, and I am grateful that your presence is still there. I wanted to show these high school students that big things can start from small seeds. They just need faith and patience.

I saw this video about the H.E. Butt Family Foundation Camp this morning. It made me think of the same thing—100 years ago a poor boy in Kerrville, Texas, promised himself that if he ever had enough money he would give kids an opportunity to experience nature. As he grew, he grew the family’s general store into a huge supermarket chain called H-E-B. In the early 50s, he and his wife found nearly 2,000 acres to purchase. From there they built camps for children and eventually an adult lodge for retreats. I am one of the beneficiaries of the seed you planted in his mind 100 years ago.

The H. E. Butt Family Foundation has impacted my life more than anything else. If you take away Howard Butt, Sr.’s vision and followthrough on that vision, I don’t know where I am right now.

  1. They hired my dad as a part-time bookkeeper in 1969 when he was in the Army and needing supplemental income to support his family.
  2. Nine years later, when my parents were separated, the man who hired him all those years ago invited him and my mom to a marriage retreat at which my father prayed to accept Christ and my after which my parents got back together.
  1. When I was 12, my dad came home from a retreat there and told me about a man he had med, Henry Parrish, who coached tennis. Through Henry, I got involved in Fellowship of Christian Athletes which had a huge impact on how I came to be a discipling Christian.
  1. When I was 19, I was a camp counselor at one of the youth camps and met my wife there.
  1. I have been to numerous retreats over the last 27 years, and there have been times you have completely inspired me, including the retreat in April 2000 when you inspired me to start this prayer journal.

All of this started because someone had the seed of an inspiration. He didn’t think about how you would use that ranch for discipleship development or anything like that. He just wanted to offer kids the opportunity to experience nature. You took it from there.

Father, help men to heed your little nudgings and inspirations. Help me to not miss the seeds you want me to plant or that you want to plant in me. Give me the faith and the patience to do the work that is in front of me and then watch you grow it into what you have for it to be.

In Jesus’ name I pray,



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Emails to God – “Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing”

“Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing” (Text by Robert Robinson; adapted by Margaret Clarkson)

Come Thou Fount of every blessing

Tune my heart to sing thy grace

Streams of mercy, never ceasing

Call for songs of loudest praise

Teach me some melodious sonnet

Sung by flaming tongues above

Praise his name—I’m fixed upon it—

Name of God’s redeeming love


Hither to Thy love has blest me;

Thou hast brought me to this place

And I know Thy hand will bring me

Safely home by Thy good grace

Jesus sought me when a stranger,

Wandering from the fold of God;

He, to rescue me from danger,

Bought me with His precious blood.


O to grace how great a debtor

Daily I’m constrained to be

Let Thy goodness, like a fetter,

Bind my wandering heart to Thee

Prone to wander, Lord, I feel it,

Prone to leave the God I love;

Here’s my heart, O take and seal it;

Seal it for Thy courts above


I am at a retreat tonight and the rest of the weekend out at Laity Lodge. We aren’t suppose to have Internet access, but I am staying in a place that accidentally provided it (of course, I helped it along by finding a modem and getting it plugged in so that the Internet could start working). So I feel like this is a great power I have, to access the Internet, and I should use it for good and not for evil. I will do my best to stay away from ESPN3 and try to stay focused on God. To that end, I thought I might use my Emails to God blog to share some of what I experience here.

At the retreat tonight we were singing this song. It is one of my two favorite hymns. My favorite is “Joyful, Joyful, We Adore Thee.” The place where I am staying has the old Word Hymnal that I used to sell in my days of working for Word, and would you know that my two favorite hymns are hymns numbers 1 and 2 in the hymnal—and in the right order at that. What are the odds?

But I digress. Sometimes when I am singing a song and I feel like it isn’t hitting me like it should I stop and try to put myself in the mindset of the write while they wrote the lyric. They sat there with nothing and looked for words that expressed how they felt. What then can I tell about how they felt at the time by the words they chose?

I did this with this song tonight, and it really opened it up to me even more. The last verse is too easy to relate to, so I won’t even deal with that except to say that I heard once that the writer of this song, Robert Robinson, struggled with his faith throughout his life. Here is a quote from Wikipedia (so it must be true): “An unverifiable story is widely told of Robinson that one day while riding in a stagecoach a lady asked him what he thought of the hymn she was humming, Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing. He responded, “Madam, I am the poor unhappy man who wrote that hymn many years ago, and I would give a thousand worlds, if I had them, to enjoy the feelings I had then.”

But I digress again. I want to think about the first verse. There is a lot here:

  • “Come Thou Fount of every blessing, Tune my heart to sing Thy grace” – Again, thinking about his mindset when he was writing this, I got the image of someone who so badly wanted for his worship of God to be adequate. Do I have that feeling as I worship before God?
  • “Streams of mercy, never ceasing, Call for songs of loudest praise” – Because God has given me so much love and mercy He deserves for me to get this right.
  • “Teach me some melodious sonnet, Sung by flaming tongues above” – I know that angels know how to sing to God. Teach me how to sing like the angels.
  • “Praise His name—I’m fixed upon it—Name of God’s redeeming love” – My worship is to focus on Him and His Name—really focus.


This is good stuff. If you are so inclined, do your own for the other two verses. Find something in here from God that you’ve never seen before.

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Posted by on January 6, 2012 in Hymns and Songs


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