Cheer Loudly! - 5/21/2015

I am in the season of my life where my wife and I are constantly running from one event to the next for our children. It’s busy, but it’s a blessing. I never take for granted that they are healthy and willing to be involved. While I would love to take credit for some of their skills, I have to say that my wife was a college athlete, valedictorian…and is still to this day one of the most competitive people I know. As a matter of fact, the other day I figured out my role in this “Little League Dynasty.” I am the head cheerleader. I am by far the loudest thing in the bleachers. I make other parents stare, coaches uncomfortable, and umpires sigh. Yes I am THAT guy, and I like it!

There is something powerful about encouragement. It makes people believe that they can accomplish what at first they thought was impossible. One really loud voice of encouragement can drown out a thousand cynics and scoffers. The world can be such a discouraging place at times, but knowing that you’ve got somebody in your corner makes all the difference in the world. One thing I am going to do for the rest of my life, is remind my children that I am in their corner and cheering loudly. It’s not because their performance is going to make the highlight reel on the 10:00 o’clock news, but because they are mine, and that’s reason enough.

I believe, based on what I have read in the Scripture, that God does the same for us. He’s constantly cheering us on, giving us encouragement to do what we thought was impossible. He helps us to overcome all the doubt and doom the world wants us to bear. When the world turns its back on us, He’s the voice that says, “I’m still here.” When others turn on you, He whispers in your soul, “If I am for you, who can be against you?” He doesn’t encourage us because He is impressed by what we can do, He does it because we belong to Him, and that’s reason enough.

God in heaven has even recruited a cloud of witnesses to cheer us on with encouragement. Hebrews 12:1 states, “Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us…” This one verse reminds us that there is a gallery full of saints who are cheering us on with shouts of encouragement. If we could hear them with our natural ears, they’d be shouting, “Don’t quit! Press on! Eternity is worth it all!”

I don’t know where I will be cheering next…maybe at a T-ball game or swim meet. I’ve even cheered at a spelling bee! It didn’t make the judges real happy, but my baby girl heard me. Wherever my children are, I will be there cheering for them…because I believe all of heaven is cheering for me. So when you get the chance…CHEER LOUDLY!

> Click to go back to the top

Embraced - 5/12/2015

Typically I take a moment to write each week about something I have seen in the last few days that has reminded me of an even greater lesson. This past week we celebrated not only Mother’s Day, but also my wife’s birthday. I thought for this week’s blog you might want to hear from her.


Matthew Hagee

Everyone feels a little warmth in their heart when they think about being embraced. Knowing that you are lovingly wrapped in another’s arms gives you a great sense of acceptance and connection. Who hasn’t searched for the covering of a friend, family member, or loved one in a time of trouble and found solace in another’s embrace.

I can remember my teenage years when I questioned who I was and how I could fit in; only to be reminded of what was truly important in life when I was wrapped in my parents’ embrace.

Some of my favorite childhood memories are centered around the days when I would walk through the front door of my house and receive that huge hug. There wasn’t anything in the world that could bother me when I was being held by those loving arms. Even now as a mother of four young children and a Pastor’s wife, I yearn to be embraced; whether it is from my children coming home after a long day at school or by my husband returning from an out-of- town trip.

So many wonderful moments in my life are connected by an embrace. However, when I think about the word “embraced,” I’m often reminded of things that I would rather not personally embrace. Mainly, involving ME! I have difficulty at times embracing myself... the things I see as flaws or personal failures, the weaknesses that remind me I desperately need the help of a loving God, family, or friends. I am certain if you took the time to consider the things in your own life that you wish were different, you would find that they are probably the hardest to embrace.

However, recently I had a revelation. A friend and I were discussing a passage from Proverbs 4:8-9, “Cherish her, and she will exalt you; embrace her and she will honor you. She will give you a garland to grace your head and present you with a glorious crown.” These verses speak about embracing wisdom...and that’s when it hit me! All wisdom comes from God and rather than resist it, I am going to embrace it. In return, wisdom will crown and exalt me as a daughter of the King.

I will embrace what Psalms 139:14 states, “I will praise you for I am fearfully and wonderfully made.” Rather than being repelled by my flaws, I am going to embrace them and believe that God in His wisdom gave them to me for a reason. After all, I was created in His image...a unique individual with a divine purpose. Rather than struggle with questions like “What is my purpose?” and “Why am I here?”

I am going to embrace Jeremiah 29:11 “I know the thoughts that I think towards you… plans to give you hope and a future.” I have chosen to willingly open my arms and wrap them faithfully around what God has for me, why He created me, and what He wants for me because He is too wise to make a mistake and too loving to be unkind.

As wonderful as it is to be embraced by those you love, I want to encourage you to embrace yourself. God has some wonderful things in store for you, if you will only trust Him enough to lead you down a divine pathway saturated with blessings you cannot contain. All He asks of you is to EMBRACE it!

Kendal Hagee

> Click to go back to the top

Can You Tell Me How to Re-boot This? - 5/7/2015

I am the last person that you want to talk to about technology. My “IT I.Q.” gets overwhelmed with words like “giga”, “mega” and “tera.” Personally, I thought “giga” is what they yelled at Aggie games, “mega” was a Mexican breakfast covered with cheese, and “terra” was a Latin word used when referring to the surface of the earth. So, when you ask me about the kind of technology I prefer, Mac or PC, I am very comfortable with a legal pad and a pen.

Thank you very much! Because of my lack of tech skills, I usually keep the IT Department on speed dial, and when they come (regardless of how many hours they spent learning their trade at major colleges and universities) they always seem to start the same way…with a “re-boot”.

They simply walk in, shut the frozen computer off, and then turn it back on again. This seems to work most every time, and while I am one part glad that it did, I am also equally frustrated that this is all it took. I am no computer expert, but I could have turned it off, counted to five, then turned it back on! On one occasion, in total frustration I asked the “techie” staring over my shoulder, “Why does this work?!?” He then explained something that made me believe that I have discovered the solution to more than just computer problems.

He said, “You sent too many conflicting messages at once, and the computer tried to do all of them at the same time. This causes the unit to lock up, because it cannot prioritize what you want to happen in what order; it simply freezes while it tries to figure out what you are asking for and the quickest way to fix it is to just turn it off and start over.” That’s when it hit me. The whole world needs a re-boot! Just like the computer in my office, we have sent too many signals that contradict the way God created us, how He intended us to live and behaviors that are contrary to our nature. The result is the frustration and the standstill, waiting for something to happen…and yet nothing does.

We want the world to improve overnight while we sleep, rather than take an active role on a daily basis to make it a better place, becoming committed to the improvement, no matter how long it takes. We want a leader to come to the forefront that will get things done, but we don’t want to be the people that the leader can count on to help make it happen. We want the church to grow, but we don’t want to tell others what Christ has done for us. We want the economy to get better, but we don’t want to live on a budget. We want people to treat each other with kindness, yet we still yell at each other on the highway while we are in a huge hurry to get…where again? No wonder our world is so gridlocked with frustration. We have filled it with mixed signals that cannot be executed at the same time.

So how do we fix it? I recommend a re-boot. Stop what you are currently doing that is not working, and start over with the very basic things that you know will work. I think one of those essentials is prayer. I am a sixth generation pastor. My grandfather and great-grandfather faced very different issues in their ministries than I have to address in mine. However, there is one tool that they used that I depend on with equal necessity. In every chapter of church history, from the upper room until late last night, prayer has worked and will always work. God promised that it would. So before you try the latest recommendation for solving a problem that you cannot seem to fix, I recommend praying about the matter and see if that doesn’t re-boot the entire system.

> Click to go back to the top

Can Two Walk Together? - 4/30/2015

I'm not sure if you can tell by the picture, but I am a cowboy at heart. I say, "at heart" because I have a great admiration for those who truly do the work of a cowboy and I feel they are often underappreciated for the sacrifice that they make to do the labor they love.

There are a lot of wonderful ethics in the cowboy way of life that I try to instill in my children.

Not so they can ride off into the sunset when they're older; but because I want them to be strong, independent, courageous and faithful no matter what trails life may take them on. Fortunately, my kids so far, like being around anything western, especially horses.

The other day we had some time to ride and as usual my 8 year old J.W. is all "go" and no "whoa!" He had his horse saddled and was picking up dust before his little brother even got his horse brushed. Once Joel finally crawled into the saddle of his very dependable older horse, the horse did what he always does...nothing. There is a reason why he is the perfect kid horse. He won't move unless you absolutely make him, or if he sees a cookie. Now Joel's legs aren't quite long enough or strong enough to push the "old fella" forward and that's when J.W. reminded me of a wonderful lesson.

J.W. rode by his frustrated little brother, grabbed the lead rope of the halter and walked off. Suddenly, the kid who's perfectly content to go as fast as he is allowed, slowed down long enough to help his little brother do what he couldn’t do on his own. That's what cowboys call "being a partner." As I watched with a heart full of thanks at the sight of my sons, I began to think how much better the world would be if some of us would just slow down long enough to help someone in need.

We are surrounded by folks who need just a little bit of help to get started. It may require a little more effort on our part. It may restrict some of our freedoms or our ability to move as fast as we can, but the benefits far outweigh the sacrifices. If you help someone else in need, then you don't have to ride alone, and life’s journey is much better when shared with the ones you love. This is why the Bible says, "Two are better than one." God created us to be relational beings. He made that very clear in Genesis when He said, "It is not good for man to be alone." I'm sure if you took the time to look around you'll see someone that God has put in your path waiting for you to help them down the trail.

> Click to go back to the top

When Is The “Cutting Edge” Too Deep? - 4/23/2015

How much is too much? This debate probably will be one which never ends and usually the tipping point would be determined by an individual rather than the masses. But my question is, when it comes to cutting edge technology, have we cut too deep?

One of the exercises that preaching and sermon preparation requires is people watching. When I am in public, I make a conscience effort to observe how people treat one another. I note what type of interaction is taking place in the room and then consider why this is the case.

Before the phones in our pockets got so smart, you could walk into a restaurant and see people actually looking each other in the eyes and having what used to be called a conversation. Dates consisted of paying attention to each other, not hash tagging the menu item selected. Movie theaters weren’t lit up by the glow of a text message, and homes were places where families sat around a table and had a meal together. Parents actually read books to their children, as opposed to granting them permission to download a novel. Then, when the kids went to bed, mom and dad would speak face-to-face instead of updating their status on Facebook.

Now before you write me off as “that Stone Age guy” who resists all change and longs for the good ole days, I too recognize how many wonderful things cutting edge technology has brought to our lives. Right now, as a ministry, we are reaching more people with the message of the Gospel through our church services than ever before; technology is making it possible. So, don’t think that I am in any way suggesting that we limit innovation and growth. I am simply suggesting that everyone consider what they should do with it, and act accordingly.

I guess it’s like all edges that cut. Consider the scalpel of a surgeon; it is a required tool in the operating room to perform the procedure that will improve your quality of life, and in some cases save it. Even though it did a lot of good, there will always be a scar. From what I can see, looking at the people around me, the scars being left by the cutting edges of technology are on the relationships we should cherish the most.

Because of technology, we are always connected to the office (great for work, bad for the kids who want to play in the back yard). We can find people we went to kindergarten with, reconnect with old friends we haven’t seen in ages, or even find out how “old so and so” is doing. That’s a lot of fun at times, but it also takes time; and that is the scarce commodity that technology seems to be at war with. Technology cannot add one more hour to a 24-hour day. It can give you several options on what you can choose to do to fill the hours, but it will never be able to add hours. When it comes to being on the cutting edge, use it wisely because while technology is incredibly cool, time is truly precious, and it is too scarce to waste.

> Click to go back to the top