28 November 2007

"Being Five"

I recently found this hilarious comic strip on the net and thought I would share this particularly funny one about Thanksgiving! Enjoy!


23 November 2007

Turkey Day Bonus

As if a plethora of turkey wasn't enough for one weekend, for two years in a row I have received the best Thanksgiving present an Aggie can get! I am not sure how I feel about Mike Sherman (mostly because I don't know who he is) so maybe I'll comment on that later. Either way, I am excited about the victory and look forward to seeing what Coach Sherman can do with the Ags.


Texas Showdown

I don't want to get ahead of myself here, but the Ags are leading at halftime and I would love to see us take 2 in a row from t.u.

Keeping my fingers crossed and two eyes on the game!


22 November 2007

Groggy Afternoon

Just an FYI -

I just woke up from my tryptophan induced coma to watch the Cowboys dismantle the Jets! Good times!



Deb, Caitlyn, and I are spending the weekend here in Lake Jackson with my folks and my sister, my brother-in-law, and our niece (Torrance). We just finished our tasty turkey lunch and I am sure that the turkey enzymes will kick in soon.

I pray that you and your family enjoy a blessed and joyful Thanksgiving. Here is a picture from today's festivities.


Here's Caitlyn ROTFLOL at Grampy

16 November 2007

Going All the Way: Chapter 2

“Finding the One”
I have read several other books from Craig (this one and this one) and he always seems to be the master of “the turn of a phrase” and this chapter is no exception.

I can remember dating to find “the one” and feeling empty when it didn’t work out. I can remember meeting my “two” and being amazed when we clicked and she actually agreed to marry me (will wonders never cease!). It seems that people are continually seeking for “the one” to complete them (dang you Jerry McGuire!!) when we should really be seeking “the One” who claims us as his own and makes us ready to love our “two”.

The insights about making Jesus our first priority are nothing new to a seasoned Christ-follower like me, but putting that in conjunction with preparing for marriage is new to this not-so-seasoned pre-marital counselor. I believe I will begin using this imagery as I lead couples thru the pre-marital process (I have two weddings next summer).

I’m not saying you’re perfect. Neither would you. You’ve experienced your share of failures. You have your own little quirks that get on some people’s nerves. You certainly won’t hit the mark every time. But your standards are different. Your target is higher. And you hit it more often than not. You’re not perfect, but you are being perfected. (19)

That’s the road to marriage intimacy and fulfillment. It starts with putting God unalterable first, and it ends with two people giving each other 100 percent. (21)

Loving the One is critically important to finding happiness with your Two. And loving your Two is one of the best ways to love the One. (22)

Sin is like a good sneeze. It feels good coming out. Then you get snot everywhere. (23)

More Thoughts for Sunday

I was working on my sermon for Sunday at Faith Church and I have decided to expand my scriptural support to include a passage where Jesus shows the power of God by having compassion on someone whom the religious authorities set up to entrap Jesus. I am using it in conjunction with Isaiah 54.2-5 (expanded from previous thoughts) to talk about the bias God has toward restoration (the Isaian passage refers to Zion's restoration and the Marcan passage refers to the restoration of a man with a withered hand).

Both passages show God's love for the people who need to experience healing and wholeness in their lives. Zion is returning from Babylonian exile and God promises to be her husband and challenges her to "enlarge the place of your tents" in order to fully experience the restoration that will come as they return to Israel. The man with the withered hand experiences restoration of his hand even though he was placed front and center by the Pharisees to try to trick Jesus into breaking the Sabbath command.

Oftentimes, it seems like churches need to experience the restoration that comes with a renewed relationship with God. A renewing that comes when they fully understand that God has created and purposed them for a unique calling that only they can fulfill. A calling to grow to the fullest extent of their mission - growth that can only happen when they remain fully surrendered and fully in tune with God's plan for the church.

I am going to share a story of my missed opportunity to play football in Jr. High and relate it to the fact that the regret I feel for not seizing that moment in time could be played out in hundreds of small membership churches if they fail to remember (or identify) what God has called them to do.

I will talk about different kinds of church growth, not just numerical because a proper understanding of what it means to grow a church and what actually constitutes a church (see Andrew's comment on previous post) is key to following God's plan for the church. I am going to ask some hard questions of Faith Church and I pray that they will rise to the challenge.

Please pray for me as I continue to refine this message for the people of Faith UMC and be sure to pray for me on Sunday morning when I get up to preach the gospel of Jesus Christ. Pray that their hearts are open and receptive to what the Spirit will say thru me. Pray that the worship time is truly about preparing their hearts to hear this message. Pray that I don't screw this up because I am just a sinner who needs to hear this message as much as they do.


15 November 2007

Book Review Posts Coming

I am reading Craig Groeschel's new book, Going All the Way and I will be blogging my thoughts about each chapter because I agreed (quite enthusiastically) to do so in order to receive a complementary copy of the book. I'll post my thoughts as I finish each chapter, so keep watching for new posts during the next few weeks.


14 November 2007

Processing Thoughts for Sunday

This weekend I am preaching on the theme of "does God want me to get bigger?" at Faith UMC and I am wondering if you had some thoughts on growth.

There is often resistance to church growth as a whole because the thought that when a church grows to a certain size then the members of that church get uncomfortable with the size that their church has become and then begin to work against further growth. Do you find that to be true? Have you seen this in your church?

There seems to be great need for true spiritual growth in our churches today - i.e. we need to grow spiritually "bigger" as a result of our Christian walk. I think some Christians use this growing bigger as an excuse/reason for looking down on other Christians (and others who may not even yet profess faith in Christ) in order to make themselves feel better. I don't think that is helpful, healthy, or Christian in any way, shape or form.

I believe that God created humans with the capacity for growth and that capacity transfers into his church so that the church that is made up of humans is called to grow bigger each and every day. I believe we are under a mandate from heaven to grow each and every church to the fullest extent of its potential. Church leaders must understand that growing larger is not to be done for self-promotion or self-aggrandizement, but must be done for the glory of God and for furthering the kingdom of God on earth as it is in heaven.



13 November 2007

Tuesday Afternoon Insights

This weekend in Celina was great! I enjoyed preaching in a sanctuary built in the 1920s that still had ceiling fans to help circulate the air (even though they have retrofitted with A/C). This was my first Commitment Sunday sermon and I am proud to say that I was able to talk about giving to the church without preaching on a text that directly deals with finances...b/c we all know that giving only includes finances [he says sarcastically]!

No really, the idea that Jesus calls us to give what is in our hand and allow him to do the work of multiplying it makes giving truly a spiritual experience. If we trust only in ourselves to provide for the ministry of the church, then what do we need God for? If it's all about what we give, then why in the world would God show up? I believe that if we don't have enough faith the dream dreams bigger than our pocketbooks can bear, then we are not yet dreaming God-sized dreams! And if we are not willing to dream God-sized dreams, then we are not truly trusting in God to grow our churches to what he has called them to be.

Up next...preaching on "does God want me to grow?" at Faith UMC in Denton/Corinth using Isaiah 54:2-3 as the text.


09 November 2007

Weekend on Commitment

This weekend I am preaching at FUMC Celina on the last week of their annual stewardship campaign (a.k.a. Commitment Sunday) and I am trying to figure out how to inspire the people at First Church to respond faithfully to God's call to give of their financial resources.

I am thinking about using Mark's account of the feeding of the 5000 to talk about how God uses what we have in our hands to bless those around us in ways that we cannot fully comprehend in the moment that we give it. This passage shows how the disciples wanted to send the people away (who had gathered to hear Jesus) in order for them to find food, but Jesus challenged the disciples to gather up what food they had on hand and bring it to Jesus. Jesus then takes those five loaves and two fish and feeds 5000 men (and probably at least that many women and children as well). Jesus takes a sack lunch and turns it into a banquet that 15,000 people went away stuffed from - that is awesome!

The coolest thing about that story is that we can have that too...when we are faithful to give when God calls us to give (no matter what is in our hands), then miracles can happen that will blow us away.

Has God blown your mind lately? When? How?