Monthly Archives: March 2008

Relationships

I believe that God is all about relationships.  This week has been wonderful when it comes to relationships.  To have been with Jason, Bob, and Sid has been a blast.  We’ve been able to laugh and cry together.  I will never forget all the laughter as we tried to find a local Pizza Hut, only to finally find it and it was closed.  I will never forget my new-found friend Bob praying for Danielle with tears in his eyes–what a heart.

It was great to spend time with the Longs from Texarkana.  We really love those wonderful people.

Even the messages have been focused on prayer and a deeper relationship with God.

Finally, I really look forward to being back with my family tomorrow, God willing.  I really miss my family.  I’m so thankful to be able to say that.  I know of so many people who are glad to get away from their families.  That’s so sad to me.  I enjoy conferences like this one, but I’m looking forward to seeing Ellen, Tabitha, Danielle, Britney, and Brandon.

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Quick Tulsa Update

It is really late so here’s a quick update of the day.  We started the morning off with Rubel Shelly on Divorce and Remarriage.  It was awesome stuff.  Some of the best I’ve ever heard and some of the easiest to understand from Rubel I’ve ever heard.

We then heard Edward Fudge, Jeff Walling, Randy Harris.  The night service was a discussion with Mark Moore from the Christian Church and Jeff Walling on Prayer.  Wonderful!!

One more day of it all.  It’s just flown by!!  God Bless you all.


Tulsa Update

We had a great first day at Tulsa!  We heard Don McLaughlin, Rick Atchley, Edward Fudge, and a father and son-in-law preaching team Patrick Mead & Josh Graves.  There was so much good stuff–way too much for this blogger to tell.  McLaughlin, in my humble opinion was the best.  He did lessons from the book “Unchristian.” it’s basically a book about how the world views us as Christians and how we can take that information and use it to have a better chance to show them Jesus in our lives.

I also am enjoying spending time with the guys we’re staying with and the ride out.  Jason and I rode out here with Larry Kilpatrick.  We had a great time.  I really love Larry and we always have a good time.  Poor Jason could hardly get a word in edge-wise.

We are rooming with Sid Dye and Bob Hamilton one of his members at Southern Hills Church in Salem, IN.  It’s always a party with Sid around and it’s been good to meet Bob and get to know him.

I also ran into some very dear friends, Larry & Vicky Long and their daughter Jessica and her husband.  They are from the Walnut Church in Texarkana.  They were a part of our teen ministry when we worked with that church.  Jessica was in our teen group then and now is married.  Time sure does get away from us doesn’t it?

I’m looking forward to the sessions tomorrow.  If God wills, we will get to hear Jeff Walling and Randy Harris.


West Bound and Down

Pray for me and Jason (our youth minister) this week.  We will be leaving tomorrow morning for Tulsa, OK.  I’ve never been to the Tulsa Workshop before, but am looking forward to it.  Please pray for our families as well.  One of the most difficult parts off being gone like this is leaving them behind.

The line up at the Worskshop looks great.  I hope to blog about some of it this week.  I’ll be letting you know!!


Dreaming

Have you ever wanted to know the future?  In some ways it sounds like and interesting thing to venture into and at other times it might seem the most scary thing to know.  Think about it, to know the future and be able to adjust it or change it would be one thing, but to just know it and not have the ability to do something about it is an altogether different proposition.   

I often have heard people say, “If I had it to do over again, I would do that differently.”  But that’s the past.  All of us have had things in our past we would like to change.  But what about changing our future?

Looking ahead to the future has it’s exciting side to it.  It’s called dreaming.  What do you dream for your life?  I think that we could gain great insight into this by watching children.  Children have dreams and aspirations.  I don’t know their secret, but they are always dreaming.  Just watch their eyes light up as they talk about being a fireman, a nurse, or whatever they are dreaming.  Their body language and voice all give off this confidence that says, “This is going to happen for me.”

I don’t know what it is as we grow up, but somehow we lose some of that aspiration.  We call it “reality” that has “set in.”  Does reality have to “set in?”  I don’t think so.  I think that one of the things that separate people who do great things from those who don’t is the ability to “see” the future through dreaming.  People who don’t look into the future and dream look at those who do and sarcastically proclaim them “dreamers.”

Some might think of dreaming as a waste of time.  Some may say that if the dreamer dies having not realized his dreams, then he lived in vain.  I disagree.  It very well could be that those who stop dreaming think they’ve arrived.  Maybe they have tried dreaming and failed.  Whatever the case, I see people who have lost their dreaming ability as a sad lot.  I don’t dislike them, but I feel sorry for them.

As a husband, father, preacher, or whatever I am to anyone else, I pray that I never lose the ability to dream.  It’s the first requirement of a good leader.  How can we take people into places they’ve never ventured for their good if we don’t dream, test the waters, and try new things?  It’s just not possible.

We have to remember that, as Christians, God is ever working in our lives to bring about His dreams for us. We must allow Him to work.  The Message paraphrase puts Ephesians 3:20 this way:  “God can do anything, you know—far more than you could ever imagine or guess or request in your wildest dreams! He does it not by pushing us around but by working within us, his Spirit deeply and gently within us.”   When we dream along with God’s will in our lives, there’s no telling what He can do with that kind of willing heart.

No matter what the dream, don’t give up on it.  I may die and never see my dreams come true, but if that be the case, I’ll be able to say that I died dreaming, hoping, and aspiring for what God could do in me.

Many of you sports fans remember the famous “Jimmy V Speech.”  On March 4, 1993, Jim Valvano was awarded the inaugural Arthur Ashe Courage and Humanitarian Award at the first annual ESPY Awards.  I remember watching this and could not hold back the tears.  In his acceptance speech he made the following statements that will serve to end this blog. 

“I just got one last thing, I urge all of you, all of you, to enjoy your life, the precious moments you have. To spend each day with some laughter and some thought, to get you’re emotions going. To be enthusiastic every day and as Ralph Waldo Emerson said, “Nothing great could be accomplished without enthusiasm,” to keep your dreams alive in spite of problems whatever you have. The ability to be able to work hard for your dreams to come true, to become a reality.”

Keep dreaming!!


Great Day At Creekside!!

I can’t tell you what an exciting day we had at Creekside yesterday.  It started with a wonderful praise team practice.  We added a new alto singer to one of our two groups yesterday.  Her name is Jean and we welcome her to the group.  We added Paul to our bass singers as well.  He came on board a couple of weeks ago.  Now we just need a couple of good tenors and we’re set.  But I digress. 

The singing was awesome yesterday.  We sang a song that has become one of my favorites over the past several years called “The Greatest Commands.”  The theme of the the day was “3:16.”  Mas Lucado encouraged all of us to make the most of the date on the calendar–3rd month, 16th day.  We focused on John 3:16 and the love God has for us in sending Jesus.  I wonder how many people followed suit.  It was awesome.

We finished out our day yesterday with a meeting with the shepherds to discuss the state of the congregation and the future plans for our family.  It was a great meeting time.  The teens even met with us.  In all of my days in ministry, I’ve never been to that kind of meeting where the teens were invited.  I know that they were probably bored out of their minds, but they were included.  That says a lot for our shepherds.  We discussed many things that pertained to our church family and we dismissed encouraged to get more involved.

Right now at Creekside things are looking so bright for our future.  People are coming seeking a relationship with Jesus.  More and more I hear people grow tied of “religion” and all of its trappings.  It sure is fun to see people come and be set free from that.  Everyone who has been to Creekside any length of time knows that we are striving to do three things–Love God, Love Others, and Serve.  Anyone who’s been there any length of time knows that we are nowhere near where we want to be, but God is blessing us.  We have our faults for sure, but right now things are peaceful and we live in the unity of the Spirit.  It’s a good place to be.

Ellen and I are so excited to welcome some of the new people who have come our way, while our hearts are burdened as some have chosen to move on to other places.  Nevertheless, we are excited to see that we can overcome, through love and forgiveness, even the hardest of times.  That’s one way that the “gates of hell cannot prevail against” the church–through love and forgiveness.  That sounds so easy on paper, but it truly is the blessed life to live.  Forgiveness sets us free and it has set us free.

Thanks for listening to my ramblings here.  I love you all blog family.  Thanks too for your encouraging comments and even those occasional ones that keep me on my toes.  I need all of you.

UPDATE:  Pray for mom.  She is still in lots of pain.  She goes to therapy today.  I pray that her pain subsides soon so that she can start rehabbing in a big way.


In Birmingham

We made the trip to Birmingham yesterday without any problems.  It’s amazing still to me how fast we can travel around these days.  I remember when taking a trip to Birmingham seemed like days.  It now only seems like minutes.

We spent the night in a small hotel attached to the hospital.  It was a small, but quaint little place.  We are at the St. Vincent’s Hospital.  Doctor Andrews is her doctor.  I don’t know his first name, but one doesn’t have to know it to know him.  He is one of the top most sought after orthopedic doctors in the nation if not the world.  he has operated on hundreds of very famous people–mostly sports related folks.  He has autographed pictures and jerseys from lots of people.  I saw a picture of John Smoltz from the Atlanta Braves, Andy Pettit from the Yankees and Astros, and a jersey from Donovan McNabb–all signed by the players with notes of thanks to Dr. Andrews.  I’d say that mom is in good hands.

Mom is having, as I write this, an arthroscope on her right knee to repair a torn meniscus.  She actually injured it on Thanksgiving Day this past November.  She has tried since to avoid surgery and let it heal on its own.  That has not worked.  Please pray for mom that she have a speedy recovery. Mom has had two other surgeries in her life that were supposed to be a breeze and they were not.  I pray this one is.

UPDATE:  Just as I ended this blog, mom has completed the surgery sucessfully.  We haven’t talked to the doctor yet, but the nurse said everything went well and they removed the torn meniscus.  She is now in recovery.  Praise God!!