Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Update on Stile

A new x-ray on Stile discovered he has a broken arm in addition to his other injuries. Please pray for his recovery. This discovery will slow his progress and prohibit him from beginning his rehab in earnest for at least the next couple of weeks.

Tonight, after church, some of us will gather at Stile's house to build a wheelchair ramp to allow Stile to come home, whenever that may be. The lumber was delivered this morning. Sitting patiently on the lawn, its right where we need it to be. if you'd like to participate, show up at 149 Holcomb tonight about 7:30 PM and they'll put you to work.

Monday, April 28, 2008

I'm an idiot! and other reflections

That's my reflection from yesterday morning. In my excitement and enthusiasm to proclaim the Word of the Lord, I accidentally preempted Mrs. Suzanne Blair's song. What a MORON! The worst part was I didn't even realize it until after the service! Suzanne came to me and said with a wink "I can take a hint - you don't like my singing!" It was then (and only then) that I clued into what I had done. I assured her it absolutely inadvertent and that we'd get back with her next Sunday.

As for last night, what a blessing it was to be a part of the service. We discussed Oprah and her "church." If you'd like to discuss it with me, drop me a note and we'll kick it around.

Are you ready for a secret? Don't share it because I won't be announcing this. We're leaving on vacation on Mother's Day afternoon. We'll be gone two Sundays (May 18th and 25th) as has been our custom since we've been in the pastorate. These will be the first Sundays we've had off since we arrived here last June. We're going to Cincinnati, Ohio to see the Reds play baseball. Afterwards, we're headed to Asheville, North Carolina for a writer's conference. We'll be home on Memorial Day. Pray for us as we get ready and pray for the Lord's blessings over those who'll lead in my place. I'll share that with you soon.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Update on Braden Bean

I'm pleased to tell you Braden, along with mom and dad, are on their way home! Braden was released from the hospital this afternoon and should be home in time for supper. He will be re-evaluated over the next 6 weeks, but fortunately, he knows a good doctor! (For those of you who don't know, Braden's mother Renee is our town physician!)

Prayer needed for Braden Bean

Braden Bean is the most active and happy 3 year old I know. Even when he's injured. Last night, Braden took a bad fall at home, landing face first on concrete. He fractured the orbital bone below his right eye. Of course, they took him to the hospital in Palestine immediately and got x-rays. The doctors believed everything was okay but wanted to make sure so they transferred Braden to Texas Children's Hospital in Houston. As most of us slept last night, Braden, riding in an ambulance on Renee's lap with Bryson following in the car behind them, made his way to Houston.
I'm very happy to report the neurosurgeon has visited with the Beans this morning and given Braden the "all clear." Everything looks good. Because of the fracture and it's placement, it will require surgery so they're waiting for the facial surgeon right now. Check back here or with the church office for more details as we have them.
When Julie and I got the call about Braden's accident, we went immediately to Palestine. When we got there, Braden was watching Animal Planet. As soon as he saw me, he perked up just like he always does with a quite happy "HEY BROTHER DARIN!" His little face was swollen but his spirit is unmarred. He wanted to talk about frogs, SpongeBob and when we were going to go swimming in their new swimming pool. Oh they I could be so happy when faced with his difficult circumstances. Pray for Braden today as well as Bryson, Renee, Justice and Garrett.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Right place at the right time?

I've been reading a piece on Prayer by Phillip Yancey asking one simple question: "does prayer make any difference?" Is answered prayer the result of coincidence or the responsive actions of an omnipotent God? We'll talk more about this later, but I found a story this morning illustrating being in the right place at the right time. A postal worker was delivering mail when she saw a baby about to fall from a second floor window. The baby did fall - right into the postal worker's arms. The funny part is that wasn't the postal worker's regular route. On another day, she would've been in another part of town (click here to read the full story). Hmmmmmm. Was this the action of God or a coincidence of timing? That's a question of faith and one that really, only you can answer for yourself.

Monday, April 21, 2008

Charlie's BBQ opened today

Charlie and Jennifer Rhodes, some amazing friends of mine, opened their restaurant today. It was an adventure, but a fun one! When Julie and I got there, we discovered them overwhelmed. Not wanting to be part of the problem but rather part of the solution, I decided that I had been hired so I went to work serving BBQ. I always wanted to work at a BBQ stand. It was awesome! I still smell of BBQ but to see the joy it brought to people who ate and to the Rhodes on this first day was well worth the time I spent "slinging hash." :-)

Update on Stile

My friend Stile Denton is doing better following his accident yesterday. In speaking with his family (several times) today, they're pleased to report his improvement. His breathing tube has been removed, he's stable and may be moved to a regular room (out of ICU) soon. Please continue to pray for him as he recovers.

Stile Denton

On a personal note, may I ask you to pray for Stile Denton? Stile is one of the finest men I know - gracious and kind, giving and compassionate. He's willing to do just about anything for you, provided he remembers that you asked him. Since his return from Iraq where he drove his truck over an IED-type bomb, his memory just hasn't been what it once was.

Stile was involved in an accident last night that has left him seriously injured. He has a dislocated left hip and a compound fracture in his right leg. He'll be fine, but for now he's in the ICU Ward at East Texas Medical Center in Tyler. Please pray for his healing and for his family: his wife Kristi, and his children; Zach, Meagan and Michael.

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Meet Dodger

Thanks to our friends Ryan and Jensy Bizzell, we've adopted a new dog! He's a 12 weeks old cock-a-poo (half cocker spaniel, half poodle). He looks like a shag rug with legs and loads of energy. So much energy, in fact, it was tough to get a picture to show you.

We got him last night and both of us were a little worried about how he would do the first night. We had bought him a little bed but you know how that goes - we had no idea if he would take to it. It didn't take long to get an answer. We put it on the floor and put him in it and BOOM - he was home. He slept the entire night in that bed and even let us know he was ready to go out! Potty training can't be this easy! Come see us and be blessed by the friendliest and most gentle spirited puppy I've ever seen.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Todd and Jessica Tatum

Todd and Jessica Tatum's home burned last night. Although the house is a total loss, I'm glad to report, however, that no one, not even a pet, was hurt. It's at times like this that you remember what's really important and it's not the STUFF. We're consumed with our possessions until you get a stark reminder that stuff is not all there is. Hmmmmm. Sounds like this might work it's way into our series beginning this weekend.

I spoke with Jessica this morning offering our church's assistance in whatever ways they might need. She assured me they were okay right now, but appreciated our offer. Pray with me for them during this time of transition.

Charlie's BBQ opens tomorrow

Our dear friends Charlie and Jennifer Rhodes are opening their long awaited BBQ restaurant tomorrow. I just came from there and the place looks great. They asked me to come and offer a prayer of blessing over the place so I gladly did so. Pray for their endeavor and go eat some BBQ at Charlies on the Square!

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

My favorite comedians

As a child, I was introduced the the wonderful world of the Three Stooges. The logical opposite of my analytical, careful stepping self, the Stooges are exceptional entertainment! Enjoy one of my favorite clips.

Financial Peace University Begins this week

This week's message begins a new series called "Stuff-Dom" speaking to our insatiable desire for "stuff" and our willingness to do whatever financially possible to get that stuff. Crazy what some people do! Here's a teaser - Did you know, on average, for every $1 an American brings home that same American spends $1.22? We're outstripping ourselves by almost 25%! That's insanity! We're going to discuss what the Bible has to say about money and how the Lord wants us to use what He has entrusted to us! Starting this week!

Monday, April 14, 2008

Monday Morning reflections

- Yesterday was awesome! Welcome Cathy Morvant to our church as our newest member!

- Our study on Pentecostalism was a lot of fun. Thanks to each of you who came to participate in the discussion. This Sunday night we'll discuss the "Success in Life" Churches and what their theology (if they have one) says.

- Bro. Ken Brown, Julie's grandfather, will be celebrating his 90th birthday next week in Longview so it looks like we'll be hosting him for a few days coming up soon. Look forward to meeting one of God's finest servants.

- A bright Monday morning with the sun shining is a great way to start the week.

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

I've always loved April

One of my favorite weeks of the year is this one. Usually, the Final Four ends this week and the Master Golf Tournament begins. Does it get any better? Especially with a high-def tv? :-)
One of the highlights of the end of the NCAA Tournament is the "One Shining Moment" video they compile. A Luther Vandross song, it's cheesy as can be but it genuinely reflects the passion of a basketball tournament. Here's this year's version in honor this year's champs, the Kansas Jayhawks.

Report on my conference

So what was this conference I drove all the way to New Orleans for and got sick in the process? Was it worth it? Absolutely! The Greer-Heard Lectures at New Orleans Seminary covered New Testament Textual criticism - an abiding passion of mine. Several noted scholars in the field had traveled great distances to be there so I decided to join them and participate by listening intently. If you'd like to read a blow-by-blow of the discussion, please feel free to visit this site.
Dr Bart Ehrman (Univ of North Carolina-Chapel Hill), a man whom I've read most everything he's ever written, was there, as was Dr. Michael Holmes (Bethel University - Minneapolis), another man who is absolute rock star to me. Dr. David Parker (Univ of Birmingham -England) who directs the International Greek New Testament Project (a group I volunteer with) and Dr. Bill Warren from New Orleans Seminary. It was a wonderful time of interaction and intellectual stimulation. Ask me about it in person and watch me rant and rave!

A tough way to lose weight

For those who weren't aware of it, I was as sick as a hound on Sunday! I caught something while I was in New Orleans and, mercifully, it didn't hit until we got home. When we arrived home around 9 PM, here it came and there it went! Working out of "both ends," I was not well. Somehow, through the grace of God, I got enough strength to do Sunday morning but even then I knew I wouldn't be well enough for Sunday night. We had some wonderful friends in town on Sunday - friends I'd longed to see and have missed them so badly - so I toughed it out for a couple of hours of spiritual and mental therapy with them. After they left, then I fell apart. Slept for four hours. Woke up just long enough to eat some crackers and go back to bed. Slept for 13 more hours. Laid around yesterday with my Blackberry off and my wife answering the phone (how fortunate you are if you actually got me yesterday!). I'm back at work today, weak and short a few pounds from Sunday, but back on my feet.

Thursday, April 03, 2008

Welcome to Baton Rouge!

Julie and I ran away from home at lunch today, driving to Baton Rouge, LA for a conference beginning tomorrow. The conference is actually in New Orleans, but Julie's mother and father live in BR as do her sister, brother-in-law and their children. As you can see, it's a multi-faceted trip! I'll leave Julie in BR tomorrow (Fri) afternoon and drive to the conference at New Orleans Baptist Seminary. Assuming I've got my internet connection with my Blackberry, I'll drop you a report from here Friday night. It's a great conference and I'm excited to go. I'll bore you with the details on that later!

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

April Fools Day

So today is April Fools Day and with it comes a wide assortment of hoaxes and pranks. I've never really been big on this "holiday", but I found a list today (Hat tip to Elmbrook Church) of April Fools jokes worth repeating. Take a look.

-- In 1957, a BBC television show announced that thanks to a mild winter and the virtual elimination of the spaghetti weevil, Swiss farmers were enjoying a bumper spaghetti crop. Footage of Swiss farmers pulling strands of spaghetti from trees prompted a barrage of calls from people wanting to know how to grow their own spaghetti at home.

-- In 1985, Sports Illustrated magazine published a story that a rookie baseball pitcher who could reportedly throw a ball at 270 kilometers per hour (168 miles per hour) was set to join the New York Mets. Finch was said to have mastered his skill -- pitching significantly faster than anyone else has ever managed -- in a Tibetan monastery. Mets fans' celebrations were short-lived.

-- Sweden in 1962 had only one television channel, which broadcast in black and white. The station's technical expert appeared on the news to announce that thanks to a newly developed technology, viewers could convert their existing sets to receive color pictures by pulling a nylon stocking over the screen. In fact, they had to wait until 1970.

-- In 1996, American fast-food chain Taco Bell announced that it had bought Philadelphia's Liberty Bell, a historic symbol of American independence, from the federal government and was renaming it the Taco Liberty Bell.

Outraged citizens called to express their anger before Taco Bell revealed the hoax. Then-White House press secretary Mike McCurry was asked about the sale and said the Lincoln Memorial in Washington had also been sold and was to be renamed the Ford Lincoln Mercury Memorial after the automotive giant.

-- In 1977, British newspaper The Guardian published a seven-page supplement for the 10th anniversary of San Serriffe, a small republic located in the Indian Ocean consisting of several semicolon-shaped islands. A series of articles described the geography and culture of the two main islands, named Upper Caisse and Lower Caisse.

-- In 1992, US National Public Radio announced that Richard Nixon was running for president again. His new campaign slogan was, "I didn't do anything wrong, and I won't do it again." They even had clips of Nixon announcing his candidacy. Listeners flooded the show with calls expressing their outrage. Nixon's voice actually turned out to be that of impersonator Rich Little.

-- In 1998, a newsletter titled New Mexicans for Science and Reason carried an article that the state of Alabama had voted to change the value of pi from 3.14159 to the "Biblical value" of 3.0.

-- Burger King, another American fast-food chain, published a full-page advertisement in USA Today in 1998 announcing the introduction of the "Left-Handed Whopper," specially designed for the 32 million left-handed Americans. According to the advertisement, the new burger included the same ingredients as the original, but the condiments were rotated 180 degrees. The chain said it received thousands of requests for the new burger, as well as orders for the original "right-handed" version.

-- Discover Magazine announced in 1995 that a highly respected biologist, Aprile Pazzo (Italian for April Fool), had discovered a new species in Antarctica: the hotheaded naked ice borer. The creatures were described as having bony plates on their heads that became burning hot, allowing the animals to bore through ice at high speed -- a technique they used to hunt penguins.

-- Noted British astronomer Patrick Moore announced on the radio in 1976 that at 9:47 am, a once-in-a-lifetime astronomical event, in which Pluto would pass behind Jupiter, would cause a gravitational alignment that would reduce the Earth's gravity. Moore told listeners that if they jumped in the air at the exact moment of the planetary alignment, they would experience a floating sensation. Hundreds of people called in to report feeling the sensation.