Archive for January, 2011

A Visit to Nevrincia

Nevrencia, Romania was a winter wonderland this morning.  Everything was covered in snow.  Even though the village is one of the poorest in the area, the snow made it seem almost peaceful.  Unfortunately, the sub-zero temperatures make it difficult for many to survive since heat is hard to obtain.  Lifestyle here is very different from what I am accustomed to at home in the states.

Most people in the village have no transportation, so walking is the way to get around and on days like today, that is miserable.  The primary economy is agriculture but that is a harder life here than it is even at home.

To make matters worse, the area pastor continues to run into challenges each time he tries to work in the community because the local orthodox church is not very cooperative – making it difficult for Ovidiu to make any progress toward making an impact in the village.  But the need for the hope that only Jesus can bring is certainly there.

After visiting the village, our team along with 32 local students, headed out for a 6 hour drive to Sinaia, Romania.  After arriving here and settling in, we sat down for a wonderful meal and then met briefly as a group for a time of teaching and prayer.

Tomorrow, we begin the real event.   Several of the students speak English but not all of them.  Unfortunately, none of our team speaks Romanian.  So we will have to do everything through interpreters.  But I am excited to see what God will do in the lives of the students.  Please pray for God to move in miraculous ways in the lives of the students and our team members as well.  I would also ask for prayer for health – several of us are not feeling all that well.

God is amazing – follow along each day this week to see what happens!

Be blessed today!

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Journey to Romania

The journey has begun.  Kristi drove me to the airport about 17 hours ago.  And now, I am at Starbucks in the Frankfurt, Germany airport.  In about 2 hours, we board a plane for Budapest, Hungary.  Once there, we have a 7 hour van ride to Susani, Romania.

Unfortunately, I can’t sleep on a plane or in a van – unlike the gentleman who had me blocked in on the plane – he had no trouble sleeping for 7 hours straight.  Did I mention I was trapped?

Actually, it was a great flight.  And as I write this, the sun is coming up in Germany.  Isn’t it an amazing world in which we live!  In just 9 hours, we can fly half way around the world!

I am really excited about what God is going to do through this wonderful group this week.  Here is how you can pray today – pray that even though we will all be dealing with fatigue, that we will be God’s light to everyone we meet.  Also, pray that through the availability of eight people, the students from the Susani area will be impacted by God’s work.

I will update you more when I can.

Be blessed today!

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Headed to Romania

Tomorrow is the big day.  Nearly 24 hours of straight travel.  Destination?  Susani, Romania!

I have the opportunity to go with a group from Abilene to help out with a youth event in Romania – I’ve never preached through an interpreter so I am excited to see how that works.

We will be visiting a couple of different villages along the way to look at the potential for future trips and then we’ll settle down for three days with students.

I will be doing my best to write each day and keep you updated as well as give you an idea of how to pray for us.  I have never been to this country before so I am not sure what to expect, but I am told it is not hard to find internet access.

So pray for us.  Pray for safe travels.  Pray for receptive hearts and teachable minds among the students and those leading.  But most of all, pray that God will use our efforts to impact each and every person with whom we come in contact with love and compassion.

I am ready!  Oh, wait, I still need to pack – OK – almost ready!

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Where You Belong

Last night was our first OnCampus worship service for this semester out at South Plains College.  It was amazing!  We had a good number there – lots of new faces.

The band had a new look and sound and when I heard them, I knew immediately that we are in for a great semester.

One of the songs they sang broke in.  It melted away all the things that were on my mind and reminded me that I needed to stop and rest in God’s arms for a bit.

Here is the song:



Take some time to rest in God today – it is where you belong!

Be blessed!

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Last night, if your TV was on in your home, most likely the images being broadcast into your living room were those of the State of the Union address.  As I listened to the talk about where we are as a nation I began to think about the state of the union of the church.

As a whole, where are the churches of America?  Where do we stand in the area of life transformation?  Are we as Christ followers closer to being who God wants us to be today than we were last year?

How about in the area of caring for the poor and underprivileged?  Are we, as the church, doing our part to care for our communities?

What about in the area of simply showing the love of God to our neighbors?

I believe the church in America is a long way from where we need to be.  It is time that we stop going to church and we resolve to be the church God expects.

It is time we take seriously what it means to bear the name “Christian.”

It’s time!

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Real-Life Video Game

Last Saturday, the wind was blowing from the south at about 40 miles per hour.  The dirt was blowing and so was anything else that was not nailed down.  Kristi and I decided to make a quick trip to Lubbock to do a little shopping.  Now for those of you not familiar with the geographical location of our fair city, we are due west of Lubbock.  So picture, if you will, the setting.  We are headed down highway 114 traveling east at about 70 miles per hour.  The wind is blowing from the south at 40.  Because of the blowing dust, the visibility was not all it could be and the gusts made it interesting to try and keep the car on the road.  And in the midst of all of that, every 30 to 45 seconds, I had to dodge a tumbleweed rolling across the highway.  It was actually kind of fun.  As we got into the edge of Lubbock, Kristi said, “That was like being in a real-life video game.”  (I actually began looking forward to the challenge of driving home).

I love living in Texas.  I have visited many, many other places but I have never lived anywhere but Texas.  In fact, I was thinking about this last night – of my 45 years, I have lived 32 of them in west Texas.  Places like Andrews and Fort Stockton and Kermit – west Texas – these have been home to me.  Now, here in Levelland, I am back in west Texas.  Maybe it’s the sunsets or the warm, dry climate.  Maybe its the lifestyle.  Maybe it’s the people – good, solid, hard-working and caring.  It is actually a combination of all these things – notice I left out the dust storms.

But at the heart of it, as I reflect on my time in the metroplex and other areas, I think the reality is, as long as I am where God wants me, it is a wonderful place.  It could be anywhere in this great state (and even, heaven forbid, outside this state).  As long as I know we are where God wants us, we will grow to love it.

But there is still something about west Texas.  I mean, where else can you live where a simple drive on the highway can turn into a real-life video game?

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Heed the Call

I have mentioned before that I am reading through the Gospels with this specific question in mind:  “What was important to Jesus?”  I have made it all the way through Matthew 4.  As I read of Jesus’ calling of the disciples, I am reminded of the fact that Jesus called common folk.  Jesus didn’t approach community leaders and politicians.  He did not approach the religious leaders of his day and ask them to follow him.  He went to the working class and even to the undesirables – to fishermen, tax gatherers, terrorists.

What do I take away from that fact?  It tells me that what was important to Jesus was not the person’s standing in the community but the person’s character and willingness to follow.

That is still the case today!

I don’t know about you, but that brings great hope and challenge to me today.  Jesus calls each of us, regardless of our position in society.  The expectation of us is to use what we have been given to affect the greatest influence possible.  Each of us has a sphere of influence – and each one is different.  Jesus calls us to impact our sphere for him.

That is his call!

That is what is important to him.

Shouldn’t it be important to us as well?

Heed that call today!  Go make a difference for Jesus!

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All I Ever Needed

I don’t know why, but today I woke up a little down.  It is my day off, so you would think I would be pumped.  As I took the boys to school, I heard this on the radio.  It changed my attitude.  Maybe it will help you today too.



No matter what you are going through today – God’s love is waiting.

If you are having a great day, then your job is to show God’s love to someone who’s day is not so perfect.

Be a blessing today!

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If you are like me, you have a pretty good handle on your world.  You know that at the end of the day you will go home to a comfortable place, probably eat a decent meal and tomorrow you will get up and head off to your job or to school or whatever your day normally involves.  You might even have weekend plans that include some downtime and time with family and friends – who knows, maybe even church on Sunday.

We have grown very comfortable with our lives.  And as long as no one comes in and messes with it we are OK.  We may be aware of suffering on the other side of the world, but it is over there – too far away for me to worry about – heck, I have my own problems with which to be concerned.

We easily go about our insulated lives choosing not to concern ourselves with real needs of others – some just down the street.

Last night I had the blessing to begin a study on the new book, Out Live Your Life, by Max Lucado.  If you haven’t had a chance to pick up the book, I would strongly encourage you to do so but with a warning.

Don’t get it with the thought that it will make you feel good about yourself and your world.  It isn’t that it is depressing but it will mess you up.  It will open your eyes to things that you cannot, as a Christ follower, continue to ignore.

I would also invite you to join us in this journey on Wednesday nights at 6 if you are in town.  But again, don’t come to the study thinking it will be anything but challenging.

Last night I showed the promotional trailer for the video study.  As we watched, this flashed across the screen: “Remember when you thought you could change the world?  Well, you can!”

Come join us as we set out to change the world!


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God Cares

The headlines over the past few days have been depressing.  Floods and devastation in South America, shooting in Arizona and different schools around the country, and if you live in west Texas, the disappearance of a 13 year old girl in a small community in our area and a 15 year old girl from Lubbock.

It is natural for us to wonder – God, where are you?

I wish I had the answer to why bad things happen to good people.  We have talked about the issue before here but for today, I want to give you a passage to hold on to in the midst of trials.

Matthew 10:28-31 says this:

Do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather, be afraid of the One who can destroy both soul and body in hell.  Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of them will fall to the ground outside your Father’s care. And even the very hairs of your head are all numbered.  So don’t be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows.

God cares.  God is in control.  Hang on.

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