"The moment the word 'why' crosses your lips, you are doing theology."
—When Life & Beliefs Collide                

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Holy Defiance




Thanks to my friend, Scott Bolinder, for sending me the link to Chris Tomlin's "I will rise!"  I've played and replayed it again and again in the raw grief over the loss of my dad when the victory of Christ is more precious than ever.

In his earthshaking Genesis commentary, Walter Brueggeman writes of the "Easter laugh"—the surprising joy of life-long barren Sarah at the new life that issues from her dead womb. Sarah's  joyous outburst foreshadows the victory laugh of resurrection—the solid hope of those who follow Jesus.

This comforts me.

If you have trouble viewing this video, go here.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Missing My Dad

Last Wednesday, my niece Lara Custis spoke for our whole family when she posted on FaceBook,

"Today there is a big hole in the heart of my family. My beloved, funloving, gentle grandad - pastor (at 92!), prayer warrior, patriarch, and servant - went to be with the Lord. Though we are deeply saddened, we rejoice that he is now in heaven with the One he spent his life loving and serving. What an awesome thought!"

We are grateful for the prayers and comforting words from so many friends who share our grief. Our hearts are all heavy. Already we miss him terribly. I find it hard to fathom doing life without him. Below is his obituary, giving the barest outlines of his remarkable life. It doesn't begin to describe the impact he has had on his kids or the enormity of our loss.


L Dwight Custis
June 21, 1920 - July 11, 2011


After a full and active life of Christian ministry and leadership that has blessed the lives of countless people in the Portland area and beyond, 92 year old Pastor L Dwight Custis died on Wednesday, July 11, 2012.

The Northwest has been home to Dwight for most of his life. Born in Tacoma, Washington on June 21, 1920 to William Granville and Cecil Bertha Custis, Dwight was the first of seven children (5 brothers and one sister).

In 1938, Dwight left Tacoma for Waco, Texas where he attended Baylor University and eventually met his soul-mate and the love of his life, Edith Lucille Mouton of Harrisburg, Arkansas. They married in January 1943. Under WWII provisions intended to prepare military chaplains, Dwight was classified as a "wartime irregular" and allowed to complete his masters work at Dallas Theological Seminary before earning his bachelors degree. He completed his B.A. in Philosophy and Psychology at British Columbia University (1951) and was then granted his M.A in Theology from Dallas Theological Seminary for work completed in 1947. He was deeply influenced by the expository preaching and godly mentoring of the seminary's founder, Dr. Lewis Sperry Chafer.

As a young child Dwight felt called to Christian ministry. His call was recognized when at the age of 19, he was ordained as a minister of the Gospel by his home church, Temple Baptist in Tacoma. He preached his first sermon at the age of 18 and his final sermon in January 2012 at the age of 91 after learning he had cancer. Between those two sermons he pastored churches in Beaumont, Texas, Vancouver, British Columbia, and Santa Barbara, California. But by far the longest stretch of his ministry has been in Portland—on the faculty of then Multnomah School of the Bible (now Multnomah University) teaching Bible (1951-59), at Central Bible Church as Assistant Pastor to Dr. John G. Mitchell (1957-68) and then Pastor (1968-81), and finally as Pastor of Trinity Bible Church (1981-2012). For decades he has been a familiar voice on KPDQ radio.

His legacy of a deep love for Jesus Christ and a passion for the study and teaching of God's Word lives on in the lives of those who will miss him most: Lucille, his beloved wife of 69 years, his brother, Bryce H. Custis of Tacoma, Washington, his four children and their spouses—L Dwight Custis Jr. and Nancy of Southlake, Texas, John Marc Custis and Marilyn of Gresham, Carolyn Custis James and Frank of Boxford, Massachusetts, and Gary William Custis and Martha of Tigard, eight grandchildren, and nine great-grandchildren.

His funeral is on Thursday, July 19, 1:00 pm at Trinity Bible Church, 14333 N.E. Whitaker Way, Portland, Oregon 97230 with a graveside following at the Lincoln Memorial Park and Funeral Home. In lieu of flowers, the family requests memorial gifts be made in Dwight's honor to the Trinity Bible Church Future Ministries Fund, P. O. Box 16732, Portland, OR 97792-0732.

Sunday, July 8, 2012

An Ezer for War Refugee Kids



Stories like Luma Mufleh's can inspire us to think in bigger ways for how God might use us and to pay attention to opportunities God puts in our own backyards. I'm learning from Amy Carmichael, Chai Ling, Jacky Gatliff, Brooke Sulahian, Nancy Mering, and plenty of others never(!) to underestimate what God and one ezer can do.

If you're having trouble viewing this video, go here.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Bound and Determined

"Communities of faith that seek to engage the surrounding culture and empower women and men to serve together are not afraid to ask difficult questions of the text, of their culture, and of themselves. They examine and re-examine scripture closely to determine how to apply it in their particular times and places. They interact with culture to find both the needs of those around them and where God is already at work in the world....They live like pioneers settling new territory, always anticipating what adventures as well as what dangers lie ahead. They live with hope, courage, faith and confidence seeking God's preferred future for their communities."

"Too often, we joke around about our differences. It is much simpler to accept that women are from Venus and men from Mars than it is to work through the complexities of our interpersonal relationships. It is easier to accept long-held traditional views than it is to give attention to what Scripture has to say about how and why we come together in these important relations."

—Jeanene Reese, Bound and Determined 



We need more voices in the discussion of men and women working together, and I am pleased to discover another one.  

Dr. Jeanene Reese is Associate Professor of Bible and Director of Center for Women in Christian Service, Abilene Christian University.

Synergy friend, Sandy Ensley Trotter, read the above quote at the Church of Christ Women in Ministry Conference in Kansas last weekend where I spoke on the Blessed Alliance. This was the first time I'd heard of Reese's book, Bound and Determined. But what I heard was enough for me to quote it here and order it on Amazon.

How have you experienced her assessment that it's easier to settle on Mars/Venus categorizations of men and women and cling to "long-held traditional views" than to ask the hard questions of Scripture and ourselves and "work through the complexities of our interpersonal relationships"?