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Showing posts from December, 2007

Happy New Year!

May the Lord bless your New Year!

I guess we're old now - Julie and I, of our own accord, decided to stay home on New Year's Eve. We made a rolicking trip to Tyler today to trade in a gift we received duplicates of and to purchase a new Bible for my use here at home (my old one took a swim in Florida and has, somehow, never quite been the same!). Wow! What a thrill! Well, for us, it was fun. We we're back before 5 PM, driving quickly past the crowded Beer stores in Coffee City.

It's amazing how much effort some people make in celebrating the entrance of the New Year but make almost no preparation for the actual New year! I hope that's not you! My plan is to read through the Bible at least once this year and to read through the New Testament at least twice. In the days to come, I'll share with you some of the things I do in my personal walk with the Lord to keep it fresh all year long.

One of my favorite Christmas gifts

Christmas day always brings surprises doesn't it? I got one today. My amazing in-laws got me "Manuscripts of the Greek Bible"by Bruce M Metzger, a book I've long sought, even with great passion, but to no avail.I have no idea how they found it but I was surprised to say the least.I also got a great portable air compressor, and a gift card. More later - I'm on the Blackberry right now.

Merry Christmas

Julie and I arrived in Baton Rouge yesterday morning, greeted ever so warmly by her mom and dad, sister Jennifer, brother-in-law Jonathan and their children, Russ and Laura. We had a wonderful day, celebrated with a cajun meal of creole for supper. May the Lord bless your Christmas celebration and grant you a wonderful new year!

Lunch with Santa Claus

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For lunch today, Michael Hicks, member of FBC and Director of Operation Services at the Tyler Salvation Army, took me to a little Mexican place near downtown Tyler. After lunch, he toured myself and Kris Hutchins through the facility. Today at the Salvation Army was not just a Wednesday - it was the Wednesday before Christmas which means an army of volunteers giving away toys, food and bicycles. As I stood there with Michael and the volunteers, the thought occurred to me "I just had lunch with Santa Claus!" It's safe to say many of these children wouldn't have a Christmas without the work of the Salvation Army so it was amazing to get to see it all in action.
There's no way I can adequately describe it, so I used my handy-dandy camera on our new Blackberry and captured these shots. Trust me when I say these pictures don't convey the powerful emotion I sensed while I was there. Such a graciousness among the volunteers. Deep gratitude on the behalf of the recip…

End of the Year

The end of the year is always a time for evaluation for me - did I accomplish what I wanted to accomplish this year? Was I passionate about what I wanted to do? Did I put my whole heart and mind into the service of the Lord? How can I better use the skills God has blessed me with in the next year? Between now and the end of the year, pray with me for God to give us eyes to see ourselves as He sees us and how He intends to use us in 2008.

Finally - a local cell phone number!

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Okay, so we've been here more than 6 months now - I guess we're safe to move our cell phone numbers to a local exchange! I'd grown rather attached to the old one - I got it when I first got a phone in 2001 (had a pager up till then - how old school is that!). It's gone now, however, and if you dial it, I have no idea who'll you'll be calling. Drop me an email if you'd like the new digits or catch me so I can show off my newest toy.

You see, I deeply desired an iPhone - you know, the coolest phone on the planet? But I couldn't stomach the $400 price tag. Nevertheless, we were due to get new phones, so we looked around carefully. Our guy (who helped us through getting a mess straightened out - thanks Dale!) showed me his Blackberry, the newest one. Get this - we caught them on a one-day manager special on the stupid thing, so it was the same price as a Razor. I'm no fool! Give me the Blackberry! It has more features than I'll ever learn to use, b…

Speaking of POWER SOURCE. . .

This family in the Frisco, TX area, surely makes nice with their neighbors most of the year so they can create such havoc during Christmas! Check this out!

A fine Christmas gift for your favorite Pastor

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I haven't admitted it publically here, but I'm an Apple guy. Yes, I'm one of those annoying people who believe if Apple Computers ruled the world, we'd all be a lot happier (except Bill Gates, of course). As such, I keep up with their technology and buy their products (when I can). They just opened a new store in NYC. I can think of no finer gift than to send your favorite pastor to NYC to see this fabulous store in person! Here's a look at the coolest store you're likely to see!
Cool, huh?

A good alternative

Sorry to be so chatty today, but I actually have some time this morning to catch up. I received two emails last week that I thought warranted your notice. The first is a video created by a 15 yr old Lizzie Palmer recognizing our men and women in the military. I've told you of the soft spot I have for our military services - I come from a long line of veterans - so I wanted to clue you in on it. The video is about 5 minutes in length and needs a high speed connection but is well worth your time. I've watched it about a dozen times now. Click here to go to it.

The other thing I got resounded within me. As a pastor, I'm bombarded with emails and requests for protests and boycotts, especially at Christmas. (On a related note, the abbreviation "X-mas" is not "X"-ing Christ out of Christmas, but shorthand for the Greek name for Christ. A Greek X translates to a "Ch" in English). While there is a time and a place for those, many times they lead to Chr…

Another place on Sunday

I don't know if you saw it, but a gunman killed four people at two locations in Colorado on Sunday - first at a Youth with a Mission Center (YWAM - based in Tyler) in Arvada, CO and later at New Life Community Church in Colorado Springs. I'm familiar with both ministries, making it feel closer than ever before. I must confess I learned of the first shooting before I came to church Sunday morning. Throughout the service, I had to struggle to stay on task and not wonder what our security procedures are here at FBC. You can rest assured, we'll be reviewing those to insure we have a plan in the unspeakable event that a problem should arise. Pray with me for those ministries as they struggle to cope with the events of this week. Pray for those who must now plan funerals instead of purchasing Christmas gifts. Pray for Brady Boyd, pastor at New Life - he's been there only slightly longer than I've been here. Talk about a difficult transition! Ask the Lord of grace, mercy …

Sunday Review

Wow - what a full weekend we had! From the parties over the weekend to the Christmas musical Sunday night, it was a plateful of blessing! A special thanks is due to each of you who worked so tirelessly to make our musical happen. No matter your role, your contribution was recognized by the Lord! Thanks to our musicians, our children, our decorators, our organizers, and, of course, Bro. Kern for pulling it all together. Look for pictures on our website in the days to come.

Happy Hannukah!

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Today is the first day of the Jewish celebration Hannukah (sometimes spelled "Chanukah" - Hebrew doesn't translate into English very well). This 8 day celebration means "Festival of Lights" and is celebrated by lighting candles. It commemorates the re-lighting of the Temple in Jerusalem by the Maccabees after it had been desecrated. The Seleucid dynasty, led by Emperor Antiochus Epiphanes (his name means "praise of God." The Jews altered it slightly calling him 'Epimanes' - "mad dog"), had taken the Temple and slaughter a pig on the altar, smearing pig grease throughout the facility. The Maccabees confronted the Seleucids and overthrew them, retaking the Temple, cleansing it and relighting the ritually pure olive-oil lamps contained therein. There was only enough oil for the lamps to burn for a day, but miraculously, they burned for eight days until a new supply could be obtained.
The ninth candle, in the center, is called the "…

Fact or Fiction - "The Golden Compass"

Julie and I aren't movie-goers. Usually, we're just cheap and don't want to spend the money. But more often than that, there's usually not anything worth our time. There's a new movie about to be released that I've been asked about a lot lately. It's called "The Golden Compass" and looks very much like the recent "Chronicles of Narnia" movie or the "Lord of the Rings" series. In a manner of speaking, it shares many common themes - just coming from the other direction. Whereas C.S. Lewis wrote the "Narnia" series to aid children in understanding Christianity, Phillip Pullman wrote "The Golden Compass" to express contempt for God and, at the end of his three book series, kill God off. Color it however you like, it's there and specifically stated as such by Mr. Pullman (here's an article about it). No matter how many ways you put lipstick on a pig, it's still a pig. That's my thought about this …

If that didn't move you. . .

Yesterday's service was a true blessing. It wasn't the preaching or the music. It wasn't the handbells or even the fellowship among believers. For me, it was overwhelming to see so many of our church family surround Taylor Kirkpatrick to seek the Lord to heal him. I've been chided for praying out loud asking the Lord (in public!) to heal Taylor. My response to those who chided me was "Why not? Doesn't God delight in doing good things for his children?" What if the Lord doesn't heal him? Doesn't that mean God didn't answer your prayer? No - it doesn't mean that. It means the Lord healed Taylor permanently by letting him come home. I'm completely not worried. My business is to seek the Lord with passion and zeal - His business is to heal and carry forward His kingdom.
Put it this way - I'm in distribution. God's the management. What He does is according to His good and perfect pleasing will!

Beulah "Boots" McClaren

I got a call yesterday that Mrs McClaren, a long-time church member, is sick. I called on her today in the ICU area of Trinity Mother Frances. You'll be pleased to know she's doing well! This morning, she had a stent installed in her heart today after tests showed she had a 99% blockage of an artery in her heart. Wow. She's doing well and already looking forward to getting home. Please continue to pray for this dear and gracious lady.