Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Galveston here we come!

I just got off the phone with our friends in Galveston. While they don't have us assigned a specific spot yet, we're officially confirmed! We've been waiting for that to get serious about our planning. When we know with certainty where on the island we'll be working and what we'll be doing, we'll convene a meeting of the Mission Trip-minded and discuss it.

We're going July 19th -25th. We definitely won't be the only ones there that week. There will be a veritable flood of people coming this summer to help put the place back together. The list of needs, both private homes and church buildings, is long. Amenities will be few. It WILL be hot! But one the best feelings I know of is to be useful to the Lord. Even better when you can stand back and see it at the end of the day.

Strange how it all seems to fit together. When I was a brand-new college graduate, way back in 1990, I spent the summer doing revivals across the island and the Texas City area. It was awesome and a great way to spend the summer. University Baptist Church of Galveston was one of the church I served that summer - and they're the ones heading up the coordination of all the teams.

Prayerfully consider going with us. I know some only get a short measure of vacation time per year and each day of it is precious. Even still, I ask that you consider going with us to help our brothers and sisters in Christ who are in need. It won't cost you anything except personal expenses (the church covers the cost of fuel, lodging and food) and you can take your family, like a couple of families have done. We'll be there - pray about joining us.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Clearly, we're headed in the right direction

Our "Financial Peace University" has helped numerous people in our church and community. While it's nothing earth-shattering in it's foundational principles, it's powerful because it works. Churches across the US are using this to help people get on their feet financially. Even CNN has taken notice. One of their lead articles today is about a family in Michigan getting direction on their money from their church. CNN! Check out the story here.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Jesus shed his blood for you. . .

A good friend of mine, Todd Hinkie (yes, he's the son of Jerry and Will Hinkie, FBC members) asked to meet with me sometime last fall. As we talked he told me about his work with the Carter Blood Center in Tyler. He gave me startling information - there are many days when the blood center has a one or two day supply. Even more surprising, that seems to be standard procedure for them! Wow. Think about this - when you need blood or blood product, you expect it to be there. Even more so with your family. But HOW will it be there if no one gives? That's where we come in. Over the course of this year, we've said repeatedly we want to reach the people of 75763. Oft times, one of the most powerful times to reach them is in their time of need - like a sickness or an injury - like when they need blood. So we're organizing a blood drive, spearheaded by the churches of our community. You'll hear more about it soon, but I've got a question - have you or someone in your family received blood as a part of your medical treatment? If so, would you be willing to allow us to use your story as we encourage people to participate in the blood drive? Contact me or the church office if you're willing!

Monday Morning Reflections

I realize today is President's Day and many people are off for the day - even our school took the day out - but I'm saving a day by working. Here are some random thoughts about yesterday and the weekend.
- We had a great time at the Valentine Dinner Saturday night. Our students worked exceptionally hard and did a fantastic job! All told, the students cleared about $1,400 after expenses, an amount that expresses just how generous our church really is.
- If you haven't seen the movie "Fireproof," you should. It's exceptional. When I heard Kirk Cameron was in it, I wasn't sure - the last time I saw him in something was "Growing Pains" - but he was unbelievable! A pertinent well-told story befitting our time.
- We had a great service yesterday morning. A full house never hurts, but the spirit of the service was terrific. A special thanks to my lovely wife, Julie, for her wonderful song. I didn't speak to it during the service after she sang because I didn't trust myself to not get emotional while doing so. The song she sang is a favorite of ours.
- We had a great time last night! Our study, "The Person of the Holy Spirit", was a welcome time of study for all of us. I was challenged by the dialogue we had and grateful for those who came with such an enthusiasm for the study.
- Now, our attention shifts to Public Servant Sunday this week. If you're an FBC member, remember we're planning to feed all those who show up so please plan to bring a little extra to cover our guests. Pray for this important day as we honor God's servants who serve us.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

For my bride on this Valentine's Day

My wife thought she was marrying a professor. I sold her on that because she had already told me she didn't want to marry a pastor - she'd grown up in a pastor's home and had seen that first-hand - yet she married me anyway. This song is for her. Written and performed by my favorite musician Keith Green, he wrote it for his wife, Melody. You can enjoy it, but remember - it's for my Julie.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Business Meeting Tonight

From time to time, I get a question from vendors and people trying to sell the church stuff - how does your church make financial decisions? Policy decisions? Decide what's important and what isn't? My answer is simple: Our monthly business meetings. Their sole purpose is stewardship. God has blessed us in some amazing ways - using the business sessions means we have the opportunity to decide how to use those blessings. Not all churches handle business that way, but we do.

Tonight, we'll be discussing some important issues and if you're a member of FBC, you should choose to attend. We'll discuss
(1) the purchase of a new copier. Our 10 yr old current one is on it's last legs.
(2) A change to our wedding policy dictating no Saturday weddings later than 6 PM. Any later and our janitor is here until the wee hours getting the building back together for Sunday.
(3) Deacon qualifications and procedures for bringing in new deacons.

As you can see, all three are important issues - and that doesn't even address the everyday stuff like reviewing the budget. I'll see you tonight at 7 PM.

Monday, February 09, 2009

5 minutes

By now, you've heard the story (probably many times) about US Airways flight 1549 landing in the Hudson River of New York City. Stunning in that no one was hurt or killed, much of the credit has been given you Captain "Sully" Sullenberger. A career pilot and veteran of the Air Force, I watched "60 Minutes" interview him last night and was amazed at his demeanor. It should be no surprise he's from Texas. Nor that his training is what made a world of difference. What struck me is his statement "My whole life was a preparation for this moment." Wow. Talk about poignancy (Click it below to see the interview. If Katie Couric weren't doing the interview, it would be even better!). The recognition that a lifetime of preparation came down to less than 5 minutes of work.

5 minutes.

I spend that long brushing my teeth.

I've spent that long assembling this little note.

I guess the trick is you never know when those 5 minutes are coming.

By all accounts, the early stages of the flight were completely normal - nothing exceptional, nothing unusual. And yet less than 3 minutes into the flight, things had gone from normal to catastrophic. Amazing how fast that happens, isn't it? Less than 3 minutes later, they were in the Hudson River - soggy but largely unharmed. Shocking, isn't it? A lifetime of passion for 5 minutes of sheer terror. Hmmmmmmmm. . . perhaps there's a sermon series in this somewhere.

Wednesday, February 04, 2009

A man of influence

There are a handful of men I never met who have had a profound influence on me - Keith Green is one of them. His passion, conviction and clarity in Gospel presentation have provided a powerful example and a keen portrayal of God's desire for humanity. Be blessed by "Make My Life a Prayer To You."

Tuesday, February 03, 2009

The proper motivation

As a former poor college student, I can attest to the nutritional qualities found at Denny's. I've eaten more than my fair share of Grand Slam Breakfasts within their walls, and plan to do more of the same. Thus, it was with a great deal of excitement that I watched their ad touting "Free Breakfast from 6 AM to 2 PM on Feb 3." (To be honest, I jumped out of my chair and shouted "Let's GO!" when the commercial aired. Fortunately, my wife's cooler head prevailed so we didn't get up and drive to the nearest Dennys - wherever that is). Kudos to Denny's ad guys for selling the idea to their executives. As I've read the news today, I've seen nothing but long lines and praise for Denny's. All those customers needed was the proper motivation.

Likewise, perhaps you saw the Jack in the Box ad where Jack was run over by a bus. The story wasn't completed but rather a web address was provided for you to check on him (Here's the link: Hangintherejack.com). When the commercial aired, within minutes the site had crashed due to the crush of web traffic placed on it. You can go there and write Jack a get-well note or post a video wishing him well. All people needed was the proper motivation to go to that site.

It's got me thinking about how to motivate people for the cause of Christ. If we can motivate people for free food or to visit a website, why can't we motivate people to care about other's eternal destiny? If we're going to reach 75763 for the cause of Christ, we've got to find motivation to care about people in a deep and profound way. Pray with me we'll find that!