There is now one more Mrs. Sprague in the world! On June 11th I had the privilege of presenting my son, Jonathan, and Patricia…husband and wife. The wedding took place outdoors in Mesquite, Texas on the Florence Ranch Homestead that Patricia’s great, great, great grandfather built in 1871 when he founded the city. It was a spectacular day, filled with the goodness of God, family and friends.
I had done many a wedding, but never one for a son. This one had to be special. I knew a fellow pastor who officiated at his child’s wedding. You know the line in the movie’s where they say, “If there is anyone who has an objection why this ceremony shouldn’t happen, let him speak now or forever hold their peace?” You rarely hear that in weddings today, but this pastor had a plant in the audience. When he said, “Speak now or forever hold your peace” his plant stood up and said, “Actually, I’m Laura’s parole officer and I have an objection.” I decided Patricia would kill me if I did this, soooo I went with Plan B. When we got to the devotional part of the service, as the father of the groom and the pastor, I said to Patricia, “Patricia, I have one thing to say to you, with God’s help you be the very best friend and wife you can be to Jonathan. Now Jonathan, I have a bunch of stuff for you!” Then I pulled a scroll from my pocket and let it unwind and roll all the way to the ground and beyond with a long list of counsel. (You should have seen his face.)
No, Jonathan didn’t need any more sermons from me. He heard enough in his life. He’s all grown up and I’m so proud of the man he has become and is becoming. We gave him roots and we give him wings. When Jonathan was growing up, I’d often put him to bed and told him on a thousand evenings, “Jonathan, if we could line up all the little boys and all the little girls in the whole world and I got to pick out just one little boy…I’d pick you out every time!!” And if I had to pick out one little girl, I’d pick out Patricia every time. Patricia is wonderfully sharp, bright, and beautiful with a heart of compassion.
Oh yes, I did have to share one piece of wedding advice. It came from John 2 from the wedding at Cana that Jesus attended. Remember they ran out of wine. This would be the social and etiquette faux pas of the season. Mary came to Jesus and as only mothers can do, she told Jesus to do something. Mary came to Jesus and as only mothers can do she told Jesus to do something. Jesus knew that his time had not yet come. Mary was persistent. She huddled with the servants and said, “Do whatever he tells you to do!!” That was my only advice for Jonathan and Patricia to have a successful marriage. “Do whatever Jesus tells you to do!!”
It was the grandest of days for us. We prayed for over 24 years for this one. The memories will always be cherished.
MINISTRY TO LEADERS
The ministry continues to blossom and multiply. There are Bible studies on every day except Saturday and on some of the days there are multiple studies. It is absolutely thrilling to see leaders get into the Bible for the very first time. I see a spiritual hunger and know that is certainly from God. I yearn for these leaders to know Jesus more and make Him known.
One-on-one appointments are especially important to get to know leaders and drill deeper into discipleship, outreach and friendship. Not many people are aware of the extent of the demands, challenges and burdens that leaders carry. This month I am especially sensitive to the load of spiritual leaders who often endure a lot of junk but persevere in their callings. Pray for my appointments this month with new political leaders and pastors as I invite them to greater relationship and connectedness.
SUMMER BOOK RECOMMENDATIONS
1. Unbroken: A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience and Redemption by Laura Hillenbrand (Author of Seabiscuit), 2010. Spectacular!! The powerful survival epic of Louis Zamperini…Olympic hero, and WWII hero and POW. A page turner, or in my case, the perfect book on tape to drive over a thousand miles to a wedding and back. A man’s man book about courage, perseverance and ultimately amazing grace. This is scheduled to be made into a major motion picture, hopefully while ninety-one year old Louis is still alive.
2. Bonhoeffer: Pastor, Martyr, Prophet and Spy by Eric Metaxas, 2010. The definitive Bonhoeffer biography. If you want to understand the coast of discipleship, read this one. Against the backdrop of WWII, the German pastor takes on two devils: Hitler and “cheap grace.”
3. Radical by David Platt, 2010. Platt powerfully calls Christ-followers to surrender the American Dream if necessary in order to embrace the bigger dream of the GREAT COMMISSION. This book will give you an “ouch” and an “Amen” for sure. That is what powerful and Radical books do.
4. MY BOOK!!!!! Coming SOON. It is at the publishers now. I hope to have it out by August 1st in time for the 6th anniversary of Hurricane Katrina. If you are aware of a potential preaching, retreat or speaking opportunity after the book is published, let me know. I could use your help in getting the word out.
JULY 2011 NEWSLETTER