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Archive for May, 2013

This Sunday, we will see all the work of the last few months come to fruition with our children’s musical drama here at 1st B.  We are dedicating the entire morning service to children.  I am excited to see and hear their message.Boy Singing

Last night, during their rehearsal, I watched from the doorway for just a minute as the children sang and spoke their parts.  I was caught up in the importance of children being involved in leading and living out the truth they have been learning since their beginning.

Parents – you have no greater responsibility in this life than to provide for and raise your children.  And the top priority within this calling to be a parent is raising your children to trust in God.  The church is here to help.  The purpose of a healthy ministry to children is to partner with parents to make sure our children grow up to be spiritual giants.

Did you catch that – the church is here to help – to partner with parents.  The responsibility rests with the parents – not the church.  What our culture needs is parents who are committed to being parents.  Parents who will do the hard work of raising up their children in the way they should go.  Parents who will instill a Godly example.

This is not a job for the faint of heart.  But when you see children on a stage, singing their hearts out to praise their king – you realize – it is all worth it!

Stay strong parents!

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Kristi and I celebrated our anniversary this past Sunday.  23 years ago we began a journey together that has included three wonderful sons – each of which we are extremely proud – a couple of relocations, and a lot of joy.

The way we celebrated our special day was to spend the long weekend working in the yard.  Yes, I know – I am such the romantic!  (We actually did have  nice dinner one evening).

Our middle son is graduating from high school this Friday and we have family coming for the big occasion, so we had some things around the house we wanted to get done before company arrives.

One of those things included reworking some flower beds in the back yard.  We put in a patio and added some plants.  All in all, the “remodel” was a success.  We have a back yard that is a bit more welcoming now.

This morning, I ran across a quote about remodeling as it pertains to our spiritual journey and I love the images it evokes.  A. W. Pink, in talking about holiness said this: “Holiness . . . consists of that internal change or renovation of our souls whereby our minds, affections, and wills are brought into harmony with God.”

The “renovation of our souls.”  What a great way to describe transformation or the progression of becoming who God wants us to be!  As followers in The Way, we are to be in a constant state of renovation.  Our souls, due to our sin, have become something less than God’s perfect desire for them.  So our commitment to follow Jesus is a commitment to be formed into his likeness.  It is a decision to allow God to renovate your soul and bring your entire being into harmony with God.

So what will God be renovating in you today?

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Do you ever get worn out?  Just reach the end and think “I could not do another thing”?

We stay busy.  In fact, the most common thing I hear when I ask the question, “how are you doing?” is this, “I’m doing good – just busy.”  In the game of calendar bingo, we have bought into the fallacy that the objective is blackout.  We need to fill every block on the calendar to win.

Wrapped up in this sickness is our self-worth.  We have decided somewhere along the way that we have to keep up the pace or become irrelevant or worse – worthless.  We look to others who seem to have it all together and think, “Well, he can do it, I just have to suck it up and get it done.”

This week I have been preparing to speak this Sunday on rest.  My reading has taken me on a self-reflection journey that has enlightened me to some things.  Things like tying my value as a person and believer to my accomplishments instead of to God.  Things like disregarding God’s commandment to practice a Sabbath.

So today, I ask you the question.  Where do you find your value?

God loves you because of who you are and who you are becoming – not for your busyness.

Take a moment to rest in the arms of God this week.  All those things pressing on you will not go anywhere.  In fact, maybe, just maybe, the time of rest might just help you realize that those things aren’t that important anyway.

REST.

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Not Home Yet

Last week I spent four days with some amazing college students working in West, Texas, offering our help to those who could use it in recovering from the devastating explosion that rocked that small community.  We saw, first hand, the destruction and we looked into the eyes of some of those who were there and listened to their stories.

Before I could even return home, tornados ravaged a town where we started in our ministry. Parts of Granbury, Texas were flattened last Wednesday night – leaving hundreds of people homeless – some of them, friends of ours.

Now, this morning, we listen to the reports coming out of Oklahoma and we sit with mouths open as we look at the pictures of the catastrophic damage that the tornados left in their wake.

All of these instances have claimed more than property.  These occurrences have taken lives.  As I sit here this morning, I find it hard to even think, much less put thoughts into words.  I struggle with anything meaningful to say.

But one glimmer of hope that I often cling to when faced with tragedy close to home is this:

This world is not our home – we are just passing through.

Paul tells us that we are looking into a mirror dimly but one day will see clearly.  He also says that “our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all.  So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.”  2 Corinthians 4:17 – 18.

So take heart today.  Even in the face of tragedy, we can remember that there is so much more going on in this world that we can’t see.  Keep your focus on God and remember that this world is not our home.

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West Chair

This week I have been working with a group of college students from Levelland.  We have been working with the Texas Baptists beginning recovery efforts in West.  I have been dumbfounded by the sheer devastation that can be seen as you drive down street after street.  But the most amazing thing about all of it is that s

o few lost their lives in this horrific explosion.

I am not downplaying the 14 that did lose their lives – that fact is heart breaking.  But when you look at the houses and the apartment complex and the schools and the nursing home – it is amazing that there were not more who died in the tragedy.  350 homes were damaged – 140 of which have been condemned.

Yesterday, our group had the blessing of meeting Margaret.  She told us her story of the day of the blast.  She was sitting in her living room in her favorite chair when her patio doors blew past her.  One of the doors hit the chair and destroyed it but she was not injured.  Her house has been declared a total loss but she is fine.  As I looked at the chair, I was overwh

elmed with the fact that God’s protection is real.

Before we left, we gathered as a group on the back patio and held hands and prayed with Margaret.  It was a touching moment.

God is at work – even in the midst of tragedy.  We must never forget that God is present regardless of our circumstances.

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For those of you who could not be in Littlefield last Thursday night, you missed a huge event.  Everything with our Hope For The FYOUture event with Bob Smiley went extremely well.

The bands were on top of their game and Bob was perfect.

Everyone that was there had a great time.

Bob shared with me after the event that several people approached him after the show to tell him that this event was exactly what they needed personally.  They added that our community needed it as well.  He was very encouraged and in turn, encouraged me.

I cannot say thank you enough to all of you who prayed for this event.  I also cannot say thank you enough to the 40 plus volunteers who showed up to make this event a reality.  You all played an amazing part in this Kingdom work.  May God richly bless you for the gift of yourselves!

I pray that this event will just be the beginning of a renewed hope in our community.  God has not given up on us – we must never give up on God!

God has a plan and each of us are a part of it.  Continue to do your part every day!  Together, God will use us to change the world – starting with your little piece of it.

Be blessed today!

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One Day Till Bob

 

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Here we are!  Tomorrow is the big day!

The food is ordered, the stage will be set.  The volunteers are signed up.  Now we move into our final stages of preparation.

And there is a couple of ways you can help.

1.  Pray!  Pray that God will bring the people that need to be there.   My prayer is that the building will be full!  Pray that God will touch lives and bring hope.  Pray that God will start a revival in our community.

2.  Spread the word.  Help us fill the seats.   Share this post with your friends, co-workers, followers, Twitter audience – however you can think to get the word out.  If you are close to Littlefield tomorrow night, come on by and join us!

We will start serving hotdogs and nachos at 5:30 or so.  The doors will open at 5:45 and We As One will take the stage at 6:00.  At 6:45 Soldiers of God will go on and then at 7:30 we will turn it over to Bob.

It is going to be an amazing evening and I can’t wait to see what God is going to do!

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