Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Report from Sick Bay

I'm back in the saddle today, albeit a little weak. I spent a good part of yesterday sleeping. I hadn't realized how tired I really had allowed myself to become. As much as I tell others to practice stewardship of self, generally I do a terrible job of it with myself. I find myself pressing my physical self too far and then paying the price for it later. You can pray for me with regard to that.

Monday, November 26, 2007

Report from Sick Bay

Obviously, I am working today, but not for long. My wife made me promise I would only work a half-day. I'm feeling better, but I still sound awful. I slept a good part of the day yesterday and slept like a zombie last night. I suspicion I'll be over this by tomorrow.

Kirkpatrick - Final

The Kirkpatrick home took us a little longer, but we finished it Saturday afternoon. To say it was as broad as the Tippetts would be fair. It required re-plumbing the tub, tearing out the existing bathroom almost entirely, recutting two doors, repainting, new flooring and new tile for the walls. All inside of a week. It makes you tired just to read it, doesn't it? No wonder it took so long. A special thanks to Glenn and Katrina Holmans who rode herd over the project, supervising it with expertise and compassion, especially the decorating of Taylor's room. Here are some shots. We'll post more later.

Taylor's shower, complete with bench. Notice the band of Cowboy blue and silver around the tub. A nice touch, no?

The men behind the mission. L to R, Tile cutter Ryan Davis, Glenn Holmans, Dalton Bruton, Master tiler Dean Bruton and Chad Davis. Notice the picture on the far left edge of this shot - it's an anonymous donation. A 2003 team picture of the Dallas Cowboys autographed by Tony Romo.

Tippett's Final Day

So we finished the Tippett house. We did it a lot faster and less expensive than we'd planned! The weather cooperated and, with the help of a number of fellas, the roof is finished as is the inside with the broken sheet-rock and door frame with nails on the inside. We had planned to take more than 2 days to get it done - with all of our help, we finished in a 1.5 days, a fact aided by the impending weather system. The Tippett's called me yesterday (Sunday) to let me know they were dry as a bone and thrilled to death about it! Freedom from fear of the rain is a beautiful thing! Enjoy the pictures from the week of work at the Tippetts.


Bryson Bean (l) and Dwayne Parrish (r) place the roof together.

Bryson (front) and Andy (rear) on the frame.

How many Aggies does it take to put a roof on? Apparently at least five - L to R, Chuck Goocher, Monroe Menke (on ladder), Dwayne Parrish, Jim Smith, Phil Parks and Andy McLaughlin.


Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Kirkpatrick House Day 3 and 4

Progress has been slow, but it's picking up steam and quickly! We notched in for the shower drain and moved the shower supply lines. James Griffith and Glenn Holmans (aka the "sawz-all brothers" - I've never seen either of them miss a chance to use a sawz-all!) did the dirty work. On Wednesday, our tile man, Dean Bruton, arrived with his crew and boy did they hit it hard and fast! Before we could whistle "Victory in Jesus", they had the custom-made shower pan installed and a custom-fit bench built for Taylor's use in the shower. Somebody showed up with Dallas Cowboys paint and a star stencil and away we went with that! I promise - it's amazing what a group of people who committ themselves to being useful in the hands of the living Lord can do. A special word of gratitude to McCoys (for being ready for us at 7 AM this morning), Burks Hardware and especially Johnny Burks (for taking care of his knuckleheaded pastor!), Monroe Menke for supplying the breakfast, Dean Bruton for the tile work and Jay Graham of the Frankston Citizen for supplying our lunch today. We're still hopeful we can finish this week - check back tomorrow and Friday for the big reveal!

Tippett House - Day 3 and 4

Sorry for the delay - I had a meeting last night. By the time I got home, I crashed out! Progress on the Tippett house was remarkable! I'll have pictures to post tomorrow (Left the camera in Bryson's truck!) Essentially, we finished their house today! We've got a little cleaning up to do, but we got it done! Unbelievable. We trimmed it out, put up the siding, hung some sheetrock and waferboard (to match the rest of a room). Before we left, we said a prayer of blessing over the house, asking for the mercy and peace of God to guide them. Mr. Tippett, owner of the home, confessed that they would build a house out of their new pole barn and tear the other house down! Joking, of couse, but it did say something about how he felt about our work. It was signifcantly less $ than we budgeted thanks to McCoy's Lumber Yard and Burks Hardware.

Monday, November 19, 2007

Tippett House - Day 2

With the Tippett home, the first step was setting our posts to hold the structure up. With help from McCoys Building Supply (manager and church member Mr. Brandon Wall and exceptional delivery driver Dennis), we had our supplies when we got started. You'll be glad to know when we quit around 4:30 PM, we had all our posts set, drying in place and ready for us to hit it again come the morning.




Kirkpatrick House Day 2

No progress today on the Kirkpatrick house. We're waiting on our tile guy to get to us. We're patient people so we'll happily hold on.

Tippett's Day 1


We didn't get nearly as far with the Tippett's on the first day. In fact, we didn't do anything other than make our plans and get our materials order. Here's where we started. As is clear, the roof has multiple issues. You can see the space between the existing mobile home and the addition on the right. I can't even tell you how long we debated or how many times we stomped around the house and up and down the ladder before we settled on the pole barn idea. It'll be a lot of work, but I genuinely think it's the best fix. No shifting of the mobile home will create a problem and the issues inside are repairable by making the house water-tight. Pray for us - this is a big job and will probably consume most of our week. Praise the Lord we're meeting real needs for this family.

Kirkpatrick - Day 1

So here's where we started with Taylor's (aka "Tay-Tay") bathroom. As you can see, although there was a handicap chair in the shower, it was of little value given that the curtain could not be pulled around him. He needed help to get into and out of the shower. That's why we removed the tub - see picture below of three men in a tub (how many Aggies does it take to get a bathtub out of the house?). We took out the toilet (handicap one coming back in), the faucet for the tub (new one of those on it's way - special thanks to Glenn "John the Baptizer" Holmans) and the flooring will be replaced (new tile being laid). All told, it was about three hours worth of work tearing it up. With all the laughter and hoo-hawing going on, it was hard to tell if we were actually working. Suffice it to say we had a great time being useful to the Lord on behalf of this family.



I'll

Saturday, November 17, 2007

End of the Line

I've just gotten home from our last football game for the year and I'm not yet sleepy, so I thought I'd visit with you for a moment. I was in hopes football season could stretch out another week or two, but alas it was not to be. Our kids played hard and with passion - it just didn't work out this time. We lost a hard-fought game to Elysian Fields. 20-6. It was closer than score indicates, believe me. They scored a late one, I think to make themselves feel better about it. Elysian Fields has been to the playoffs annually for a long time and their experience showed. We started off a little tight - they didn't. But if you had told me in August we would go 9-2, win a share of the district championship and give our playoff opponent all they wanted and more, I'd have taken it in a heartbeat.
It's been thirteen weeks since we started and it's amazing how much changes in that time. I didn't know a single student on the team when we started. Now, I know them all and some of their families. I've never been more proud to be associated with a group of young men than I was this season. We're blessed with some of the finest boys in the state. I hope you'll let them know that when you see some of our high school students around town.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Final Report on "Come Thirsty"

"Come Thirsty" weekend was too short for me. I'm sorry if you missed it - what I took away from it challenged me in some fresh ways. Our worship band, Reese Dean and Kris Hutchins, did a fine job of leading us musically. Although they were quite different from our norm, that's one of the things weekends like these are for. If we did it just like always, what fun would that be? Why do a special weekend to do what we always do?
By far, the best part of the weekend was my dear brother James Lankford. James brought challenging messages, bringing the Word of God in truth and power. I knew he would - that's why I invited him to come. I knew you'd be blessed by getting to share fellowship with him and hear his heart. Pray for his family. Pray for his work in Oklahoma. Pray for the various ministries he's involved with, like IWitness Ministries. Caleb Hilburn went with IWitness to Cologne, Germany the last several summers.
My favorite part, however, was the time you never saw. We spent Saturday afternoon watching the Longhorn game, after worship Sat night just talking about where God has us and how God is using us and Sunday afternoon just doing what we've always done - sharing a friendship that has endured the distance between us. James and I were just pups when we met. It didn't seem that way. We thought we were so grown up when we got started. As I've reflected on that time in life, it seems clear that while it was a surprise to me to have joined the ministry where James and I met (I hadn't planned to, but felt the Lord's leadership that direction), it was clearly ordained by God. It's funny - we only get to talk a few times a year, but when we do, it's like we pick up right where we left off.
This is off-topic but while I'm here. . . there's one other commonality James and I share - a deep indebtedness to Mr. Charles "Chuck" Flowers. For whatever reason, Chuck poured himself into us (and others). His selflessness and love for the Kingdom of Christ made a deep impression on me. His constant challenges to use all that God has given us led me to do PhD work. I'll never outrun his shadow. That's why when you read the preface to my dissertation, you'll find Chuck's name listed prominently. Thanks Chuck!

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

When 1 kilogram isn't 1 kilogram

Yet another reason to be thankful for the unchanging God of the universe. I found a story today about the standard cylinder with a mass of exactly 1 kilogram. It's kept in Paris and every year they measure other similar standards against it. It's THE standard used to measure everything from our medicine to buildings. Anything measured in grams or kilograms is measured against it. The problem is it seems to be losing mass. (Here's a link to the story from BBC news.) Not much, but nevertheless, it's losing mass - about a grain of sugar every so often simply disappears. The problem herein is clear - by definition, it can't change. Yet it does. Isn't it comforting to know that our God doesn't change. He is as timeless as the ocean tide and as secure as the sunset. He stands over time and above all changes. We don't have to worry about him changing because "Jesus is the same yesterday, today and forever" (Hebrews 13:5).

A WWI Vet

As I've mentioned before, I'm a big fan of veterans. I found a story this weekend about a WWI vet still alive and well at 107. I thought you'd like it too! Here's the link.

Friday, November 09, 2007

Christmas cards

Although it may seem a bit early to discuss this, Christmas card season is nearly here! I've always enjoyed getting Christmas cards and generally enjoy sending them (except licking the envelopes! yuk!). This year, however, I got an email requesting we send one to some of our wounded soldiers recovering at Walter Reed Army Hospital in Washington, D.C.. An email from a church member alerted me to this special need. Surely in all the other things we'll do this holiday season, we can find time to write a card to a brave man or woman who was injured while defending our nation. No matter your political slant, here's a chance to send a note that's sure to lift their spirits. Here's the address.

A Recovering American soldier
c/o Walter Reed Army Medical Center
6900 Georgia Avenue, NW
Washington,D.C. 20307-5001

Thursday, November 08, 2007

MISSION FRANKSTON Update

After work yesterday, Michael Hicks and Phil Parks, both experts in the field of construction, went with me over to the home of Mindy Kirkpatrick and her son, Taylor. Taylor is a 6th grader, physically challenged due to the cruel disease of cancer. He is limited to his chair most of the time, but that hardly dampens his spirits. Typical for a boy his age, he's active and interested in most everything. He's just limited in his home by some of the problems anyone with a wheelchair would find while living in a mobile home. The purpose of our visit was to make plans to restructure the house to make it easier for Taylor and his mother. We've received a donation from a local company (more about that later) to provide for some of the materials, but what we really need now are people not afraid to work and get their hands dirty. People with expertise in carpentry, sheetrocking, tape and bedding - you get the idea. Join us Saturday, November 17th at 9:00 AM at FBC and we'll caravan to our two locations and get started!

Hold onto your hats!

Have you ever heard of the Aleppo Codex? Probably not. But I bet you know what it contains - the Old Testament. According to tradition, it's the oldest copy of the Hebrew Old Testament in the now-standard Masoretic text. I had the privilege of seeing it last year at this time at the Smithsonian Museum in Washington, D. C. While it may not sound like that big of a deal, trust me when I say it is. Whereas we have more than 5,500 Greek manuscripts that comprise the New Testament, we have less than 100 Hebrew manuscripts of the Old Testament. Any find related to that is significant.
That's what makes this story so significant. Mr. Sam Sabbagh has had in his possession since 1947 a page from the Aleppo Codex (here's a link to the full story). Eight centimeters square, it contains a citation from Exodus 8. This is it in the picture. Mr. Sabbaugh said he rescued it from the Aleppo Synagogue when it was burning down. We know it did burn about that same time, so it's plausible. Why now? Where has it been? Mr Sabbaugh kept it with him for the last 60 years, sort of as a good luck charm. He moved it with him when he left Israel and had it with him when he emigrated to the U.S. to live in Brooklyn. So why is he surrendering it? Mr Sabbaugh passed away recently so he's no longer in need of it.
Stories like Mr Sabbaugh's make Indiana Jones look pretty tame, don't they?

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

MISSION FRANKSTON Update

I just came back to the office from one of the homes we're looking at for MISSION FRANKSTON. Geographically, it's less than 1/2 mile from my house, but in terms of lifestyle, it might as well be a world away. Literally, I had to catch my mouth from hanging open. It's a trailer house that has been added onto. While the flooring is sufficient, the walls are skeletal. Insulation board on the outside (without any siding), rolled insulation on the inside (without sheetrock). Of course, the wall I'm speaking of is the north wall. Light sockets drooping from the ceiling and numerous areas in need of just being touched up. Shocking that it's that close to me. MISSION FRANKSTON can't start soon enough for some.

Monday, November 05, 2007

Veteran's Day 2007

Veteran's Day is November 11. It's my opinion that too little is made of this important day. By ignoring it or passing it over, we've forgotten part of our heritage. My father is a Vietnam veteran. My grandfather was a WWII veteran. My great-uncle is Korean Conflict veteran (and a bronze star winner!). Clearly, I've got a soft place in my heart for Veterans. That's why I'd like to invite you to join me Friday morning, 10:00 AM at Frankston School Auditorium for a Veterans Day Service. We'll be addressed by Vietnam Vet and VFW Sergeant Al Amundson. Here's a blurb from the school about it:
"Included in the program will be the reading of elementary, middle and high school compositions on Veterans Day related themes, the recitation of the pledge of allegiance by elementary students, the singing of the National Anthem by Eric Spears, a musical performance by Adam Johnson and Abbey Thomas and a patriotic medley by the Methodist church Men's Gospel group."

Friday, November 02, 2007

A true artist at work

My man Brink Bizzell is at it again! Now that he's 5 yrs old (happy bday!), he's drawn me a butterfly. I've got several others he's made for me, but this is one of my favorites. Enjoy!

Thursday, November 01, 2007

Noah's Ark Fall Festival




An unbelievable night. Absolutely unbelievable. We're not entirely sure how many showed up at the Park last night, but we registered 183 children. We're relatively sure there were some who didn't register and we know that many families came with parents, grandparents, aunts and uncles. Our best guess at total attendance is somewhere over 400. We ran out of hot dogs, popcorn and some of our soft drinks - but we didn't run out of candy! :-)
We owe a special thanks to several: Irene Goocher did a great job in coordinating the entire event. Delight Bristow and Diane Beard (aka the penguin twins) did a great job with the gazebo / Noah's Ark. Cody Bristow was an outstanding Noah! Dr. Larry Lummus made a great clown. The Pairs and Spares (Ed and Francine Paris, Chuck and Linda Moore, Lorraine and Luther Ray Doughty, Johnny and Judy Burks) class with the ring / bottle toss and the football throw was exceptional. The Young Couples class with the fishing booth and the sucker pull were awesome. The Lydia Ladies made sure we were all well fed and watered. J.C. Welch, Charles Garner, Luther Doughty and Will Hinkie made sure our hot dogs were hot, slaving over a BBQ cooker all evening. Julie Bacon and Jerri Hinkie kept the cakewalk going while Britt Bacon, Bryson Bean and Mark Chalk kept the hayride running smoothly. Mark Bostick and Pinnergy, Inc. provided the light (and when I say light I mean LIGHT!). Katrina and Glenn Holmans made the pirate booth look exceptionally cool. Jennifer Rhodes and Ruth Dark kept the bean bags tossing while Barbara Railsback, Flo Bussey and Lorraine Doughty got everyone signed in. Tammy Bostick played the music and acted as emcee. Julie Wood took everyone's picture who sat still while Chelsea and Valerie McLauglin wandered to and fro snapping pictures on the fly. If you missed it, go to our church website (after 4:00 PM today) and you'll see pictures of our evening in the Park. Above, meet the winner of our 24" gumball machine - I can say with certainty he'll enjoy that!