Tuesday, January 29, 2008

A cool way to spend Saturday afternoon

I forgot to mention last Saturday afternoon! Through the kind invitation of SMU Lady Mustang Associate Head Coach Lisa Dark (daughter of FBC member Ruth Dark), we received the opportunity to go to the SMU campus and see the SMU Lady Mustangs play. Although they wound up losing in the closing seconds, it was one of the most amazing things I've done in a long time. How so? The seats Coach Dark gave us were right behind the bench - literally. We were close enough to HEAR them sweat! I love sitting with my feet on the hardwood - it makes me feel like I'm still a part of the game. Thanks Lisa for a memorable Saturday afternoon!

A report from the Building Committee

Finally, according to some anyway, we've received proposals from our architecture firm regarding our gym. Our building committee will meet soon and have information to present soon. Continue to pray for our progress asking the Lord to guide our steps.

Sunday, Feb 3

As you might've heard by now, we're re-arranging the schedule for this coming Sunday. We're moving our regular 6 PM evening service to 4 PM for this Sunday only. Why? Because I've learned a few things in the last eight years of pastoring. The most important thing I learned is there's no substitute for spending time alone with the Lord. Another of them is to be gracious to people whether they deserve it or not. Another is if you hold a service during the Super Bowl, people won't come, regardless of who's playing. So, acting on the last of those lessons, we're moving our evening service to 4 PM and encouraging people to hold fellowship parties, investing in each others lives and sharing fellowship in each other's homes. Don't forget our focus: PEOPLE MATTER MOST!

Coming to you live!

Today, I'm pleased to tell you I'm coming to you courtesy of Apple Computers! I received my new laptop MacBook last Friday and have been putting it through it's paces ever since. Of course, we had to chase down George, our UPS man, to get it. We knew it was coming Friday, but normally home deliveries don't come to our house until after 5:00 PM. When I saw George pull into Dr. Larry Lummus' office around lunch time, I decided to take matters into my own hands! We whipped in behind him and pleaded with him to grant us the packages early. (Really, it was a beneficent move since by doing that we saved him a stop later on in the day. Or at least that's what I told him!) Graciously, he agreed and away we went with our new friend, our 13.3" MacBook. For those who've never used a Mac, let me tell you plainly. If I had my way, our whole world would be Mac products. It's a significantly superior machine in my estimation and worlds easier to work on. But I digress. If you'd like to see it, simply ask. I'll be more than happy to show off the Lord's latest blessing to me.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Meals on Wheels Update

I spent an hour or so this morning riding with JC Welch and Gordon "Sonny" Cone as they delivered meals for the Frankston area Meals on Wheels program. What a joy! Talk about meeting a real need! For some of these people, that will be the only hot meal they receive today. They took me to areas of town I'd never been and I had the privilege of meeting some of the finest folks around. It was awesome! I even got to meet Mr Troy Cook, a former state champ basketball player for Frankston in 1960-61, now an expert pull-tab collector. You'll see an article about him on the front page of this week's Frankston Citizen. He's collected thousands of pull-tabs (you know - from the top of pop-top cokes!) and placed them in the great big water cooler type bottles. He estimates he has around 650,000. As I stood in his home today and counted the bottles (he counted the tabs in one bottle at around 53,000 tabs), I estimated it was more like 900,000. He's not just cluttering his home, however, because he's doing this for a purpose. He plans to donate his collection for the benefit of the Shriner's Burn Center. Good work, Troy, and thanks for the great example of having vision to see what others miss.

Meals on Wheels

I'm a MoW volunteer today! I'll drop you a note later today!

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Survey says. . .

A recent article cites a survey done by Lifeway, a Christian organization, to get a non-Christian perspective on the church and what keeps them out. Almost three quarters of those who responded say they haven't darkened a church door in the last six months and believe the church is "full of hypocrites." That lines up with another recent survey done by the Barna Group that said Christian is more about organized religion than about loving God and loving people. Hmmmmmm. Sounds like we've got our work cut out for us, doesn't it? Hang on to your hats for the rest of the survey. Almost three-quarters of those who responded said they believed "God actually exists" and 78 percent said they would be willing to listen if someone they know wanted to tell them about Jesus. Here's where it comes down - relationships. People have been turned off by the church (by that I mean the church at large, not just FBC) - I can understand that. We've made ourselves appear bigoted and small-minded. We've been vicious toward those within our own congregations and even been hard on our church leaders. Perhaps it's time we turn over a new leaf - change - and become the people God intends for us to be by acting on Jesus' command from John 13:35 - "They (unbelievers) will know you're mine by the love you have for one another." Lord, make that true in our lives.

Monday, January 21, 2008

Your Order has been shipped!

Those are the words I'm waiting to hear. If you've been reading with us for awhile, you've already heard about the demise of my beloved little white Mac laptop. One the best I've ever owned, this laptop died in the line of service, specifically it died while broadcasting a picture of Martin Luther during a Sunday night service - I can't think of a more fitting way to go! Nevertheless, now Mac-less, I tried to repair the laptop only to discover the logic board has gone south. It was third-hand when I bought it. So, in consultation with my wife (and following some begging :-), I order a new Macbook laptop last Friday night. Here's a shot of it:
I'm REALLY excited about it's arrival. The truth is I've checked the website where I bought it about every other hour to see if they've shipped yet. I'll tell you a secret - I've never bought a new Mac. Of all the Macs I've ever owned, this is the first one that will be mine first. Milestones like that make me all misty. Snif, snif. :-)


Update on Pete Westbrook

I went to see Pete Westbrook this morning again. When I saw him last Wednesday, he we vastly improved over where he had been prior to the surgery. I'm afraid he's down again. He has regained sufficient strength to get out of ICU, but his response is still not within their guidelines. Pray for Pete.
A sidenote on Pete -did you know he's our longest tenured deacon? Pete was ordained as a deacon in our church in 1949. That's not a mis-print - I checked it twice.

Happy AnaBaptists Day!

My lovely wife spotted this article this morning on Wikipedia's "On this day" section.
"1525 – The Anabaptist Movement was born when founders Conrad Grebel, Felix Manz, and George Blaurock re-baptized each other and other followers in Zürich, Switzerland, believing that the Christian religious practice of infant baptism is invalid because a child cannot commit to a religious faith."

We've been reviewing these guys for the last couple of weeks so it seemed appropriate to give a shout-out to them on the anniversary of their beginning! We're indebted to your legacy Conrad, Felix and George!

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

If an image is worth a thousand words. . .

Yesterday, I got a wakeup call about what's really important in life. Henderson County Constable Rick Stewart came to my office to let me know about Danielle, a single young lady who was about to have a baby boy. She went in for a scheduled C-section, something I'm sure they do hundreds of every day. Something went wrong, however, and Danielle passed away. The baby is fine - but motherless. I visited with some of the family late yesterday afternoon, and seeing their grief is the part of pastoring that hurts me the most. For someone who's supposed to always have appropriate words at the right time, there are no words to salve sorrow so powerful.

To reinforce that thought, this morning I got to my email and found this image:

Mrs. Katherine Cathey, spending one last night with her Marine husband, 2nd Lt. James Cathey, killed in Iraq during his first month there. Although you can't tell it from this picture, she's expecting. Shortly after the funeral, she gave birth to James Cathey, Jr., in December 2005. The passion for life is a powerful thing - sometimes we need reminders of how precious life really is.

It caused me to reflect on the stupid post I placed the other day about my stupid laptop. How inconsequential! How small! How silly! I hope you'll join me in praying for Danielle's family as they make plans for her funeral service and decide what's best for her now-motherless son. Pray for the Cathey family as James Jr grows up without his father. Pray for those effected by tragedy and ask for the mercy of the Lord to be upon them.

Monday, January 14, 2008

Ok, who was it? Which one of you did it?

I need to know who to blame! While I left the Cowboys with a lead to go to Sunday night worship, some of you stayed home just to watch them! One of you let them lose! I was so counting on them pulling that one off, if only to shut up the NY Giants! But it was not to be. In watching the highlight reel, I was struck by one thing - Tony Romo's last pass of the season went to Terry Glenn - a guy who, up till yesterday, had no catches for the season. As we all know, it was intercepted and never got to Terry and Tony was running for his life. But I seem to remember something I was told as a child - You gotta dance with the one who brung you. Terry, as fine a receiver as he may be, didn't brung them.

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

Speaking of technology

When you pray for me this week (I'm making the rash assumption that if you care enough about me to read this dribble, you'll care enough about me to pray on my behalf), please remember to lift up my dearly departed friend. My little Macintosh laptop has expired (snif, snif). It died quietly and without violence, but it died just the same. There were only a few tears and there was some gnashing of teeth, but I'll get it over it. Hmmmmm. Sounds like I need to go to VEGAS to get a new one! :-)

I'm here, but I'd like to be. . .

Okay, I may never say this again, but, for this week only, I'd like to be in Las Vegas and it has nothing to do with the casinos. Before you think I've lost my mind, let me tell you why. This week is the Consumer Electronics Showcase where they introduce all the new technological goodies before they release them to the general public. It was here in 1981 that the CD was introduced and here in 1996 the DVD was introduced (has it really been that recent?). It's a haven for knuckleheads like me. More than 400,000 sq feet of techie stuff. A little too much for you? Stop reading here. If you'd like a little more, click here to go see some of the cool stuff they've just released.

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

Prayer needed for Pete Westbrook

I'm on my out the door to go headed for ETMC in Tyler. Our dear friend Pete Westbrook has been hospitalized. Please pray for Bro. Pete and for the medical staff who are caring for him. I'll drop you an update later this afternoon.
UPDATE on Jan 14, 2008 - Bro. Pete is a scheduled for surgery this afternoon to remove a soft-tissue mass from his abdomen. Please pray for the surgery to be effective and powerful as the Great Physician does his work!

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

Final Lottie Moon Report

"Are you kidding me?" That was my question to Judy Burks, our financial secretary, when she brought me the final report on this year's Lottie Moon Foreign Missions Christmas Offering. Remember, our goal was $3,400.00. Uhhhhh. . . I'd say we met that and then some. Our final count was $8,053. Put THAT in your pipe and smoke it! Praise the Lord for the generosity of our people and for our vision for missions far beyond our sight!

Tuesday, January 01, 2008

Choosing the right Bible to read this year

So you've decided you want to read the Bible this year. May I make a serious recommendation? Get a Bible you enjoy reading. I grew up reading the King James Version and I remember clearly my Grandmother Terrell introducing me to the Living Bible. It really wasn't until I got to college that I was introduced to the other versions. It didn't take long for me to fall in love with them simply because I understood better than I ever had before (this is not intended as a strike at the KJV). After college, I took up reading in Greek, both in the New Testament and the Greek Old Testament. As I studied, I realized the great disparity between the translations and wondered why. I reviewed the translation in comparison to the original languages. Here's what I discovered - there's not a lot of difference.
The real difference betweeen the major translation is readability. As for me, I personally use the New International Version (NIV). Julie uses the New American Standard Bible (NASB). We both enjoy reading The Message. Why do we use these? Because the Bible is God's love letter to mankind and deserves to be treated as such. If my wife writes me a love letter, you'd better know I'm going to read it carefully with great zeal and often. Why do some people treat the Bible any differently? Because we haven't learned to love it (or, sadly in some cases, God either) so we read the Bible to avoid guilt, not to build our lives. Find a Bible that speaks to you and safely ignore those who claim any Bible other than the KJV is substandard.