Sunday, May 31, 2009

St Louis

We're here. We rolled in about 5:45 PM this evening and it's a great place. We almost took a later flight, but were too slow getting to the counter for the voucher! Ah well - we're here!
It's a lot more industrial than I remember. Given that was more than 10 yrs ago since I was here last, that should be surprising.
We didn't rent a car on this trip. Instead, we're relying completely on public transportation - the SUBWAY! I love subways! They take you through parts of the city you don't see in the travel brochures and give you a decent idea of what the city is really like. St. Louis is no exception. Some of our friends in Frankston will think we're crazy since all you see about subways is the murders and such but we've always used it when possible - it's the only way to go when you're not sure about the city.
Tomorrow, we'll visit the Gateway Arch, Busch Stadium and whatever else we can get into. Check our facebook accounts for pictures tomorrow. It's much easier to post them there. We'll get some posted soon here. G'nite.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

I wouldn't do this except. . .

This shot might look like any other ordination going on and, in many ways, it is. The only difference between this one and others is what Donnie Maib (kneeling) does for a living. More on that in a moment.

For most of the time the Lord has allowed me to be in ministry, I've tried to reinforce to people that they can be ministers right where they are. They don't have to quit their "day job" to be active and useful in the ministry of the Lord. In fact, many times they can be MORE useful to the Lord by staying in their present job. The Lord doesn't always call you away from a "regular" job to be a minister. Sometimes (in fact most times!), He plans to use you right where you are.

That brings us back to Donnie Maib. Recently ordained at Promiseland West Church, he says this about his job: "God's given me a platform," Maib said. "I don't want to be offensive or preachy, but for those searching, I'm here to share my life's experience and help (the young men under my charge)." Clearly, he sees himself as a missionary on his mission field. God is using him right where he is! What does he do? He's the assistant Strength and Conditioning Coach at the University of Texas at Austin (here's the link to the whole story). I wouldn't normally emphasize such a sectarian figure, but somethings are greater than rivalries.

Friday, May 22, 2009

A lazy Friday

Today is my usual day off and a welcome one at that. I've been praying, reading and catching up on my TV shows. One story that seems to keep coming up wherever I turn is the homosexual agenda. The power they seem to exhibit is disturbing to me. Exhibit A - voters in California approve Proposition 8 barring gay "marriage" in their state. Immediately, there's a clamor to overturn a democratically approved piece of legislation. Lawsuits are filed and accusations of manipulation, racism, homophobism, etc. Today, I read that the California State Supreme Court (who ruled gay marriage was acceptable forcing the issue to the ballot box in the first place) will rule on Tuesday on the constitutionality of Proposition 8 (here's the link). Any guesses how they'll rule? *snarky smirk*

Let me be clear on this issue: I have friends that I regard as close friends who are gay. Furthermore, I have never (nor do I expect to) feared gays as individuals. Their demand, however, that I openly embrace their lifestyle simply because they say so when it stands in clear contradiction to the Word of God is simply more than I can bear. It's as ludicrous to me as our President Obama stating the "anti-abortion" people and the "pro-abortion" people can find common ground. I'm sorry - what part of MURDER is difficult to understand? What part of the democractically elected "No Gay Marriage" is difficult to understand?

This is a weird time to be alive, isn't it?

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Date Night

For the first time in a long while, Julie and I got to have a full-fledged date day / night. We ended the night at Bernard's Meditteranean Restaurant in Tyler. We wouldn't have gone there had it not been for a friend who gave us a gift certificate to go there. Classy, dark, and expensive. A great combination for a date night! The food was good - I had rack of lamb (never had that before) and Julie had Veal with scampi. We washed it down with some Tuxedo cake - DARN good!
Before the meal, we went to a double feature. I let Julie choose them both. We went to see "17 Again" and "Ghosts of Girlfriends Past." Here's a note on each
"17 Again" - I was shocked - SHOCKED - at how moral the movie hero was. He encoraged compassion, morality and sexual abstinence. WOW! I wasn't expecting that. Good movie for a teen date or a general chick flick.
"Ghosts of Girlfriends Past" - Sort of a re-telling of Charles Dickens "Christmas Carol" only without Christmas gifts. Matthew McConeghy (Hook 'em HORNS!) is a profligate love-em-and-leave-em guy who tries to talk his brother out of getting married. He nearly succeeds in ruining the wedding with his antics the night before, but is stopped by visits from "Ghost of Girlfriend Past", "Ghost of Girlfriend Present" and "Ghost of Girlfriend Future." A changed man, he returns to his senses and retakes the love of his life, Jennifer Garner. Exceptional date movie! Julie LOVED it! A word of warning - show up about 5 minutes late to miss some trash at the front end. Yikes!

MISSION GALVESTON 2009

"The God of Heaven will give us success. We will start rebuilding." Nehemiah 2:20

That's our theme verse for our trip to Galveston this summer. On September 13, 2008 Hurricane Ike struck our Texas coastline with destructive force and devastating winds. We're going to Galveston for the express purpose of rebuilding people's lives by helping rebuild their homes. It's awesome thing to be useful to the Lord like that.

Maybe you've never been on a mission trip before and you're wondering what it might be like. Here's a sneak preview of what a regular day might be like.

6:30 AM - Jim Smith and Phil Parks get up. As our foremen, these guys always lead the way.

7:00 AM - Breakfast - Prepared by our masterful chefs led by Kathy Lummus. (As a side note, let me just say I've been on a number of these trips. Only since I came here have I GAINED weight while on a mission trip - a credit to Kathy's cooking!).

7:30 AM - Out to job site. Depending on where it is, how much work there is to do and how hot it's going to be, we might even get there earlier. The work this year will be rebuilding. We'll probably do a good bit of demolition (my dad always said I was better at that!) and clean up (my true specialty). Some homes will be in various states of repair as there are several groups preceding us on the island. However we find it, we'll leave it better.

12:00 Noon - Lunch - usually brought to us.

1:00 PM - 6:00 PM (or until it gets too hot to be safe!) - Work at the job site. We'll do as much as we can and leave it until the next day. Most likely, these homes we'll work on won't have people living there.

6:30 PM - Supper. Prepared majestically by our cooks. Best meal of the day. Immediately following supper, we'll share a devotional time and debrief on what happened that day (sometimes, the group gets divided into a couple of projects to multiply our efforts).

7:00 PM and following - Free time for cards, dominoes or whatever.

10:00 PM (at the latest!) - Bedtime. We'll sleep at the Family Life Center of the University Baptist Church in Galveston. We'll bring cots, air mattresses or just plain ol' bed rolls. They've got showers and such so we'll be plenty clean.

We'll do that Monday through Thursday. Friday is different - see the post from yesterday for our weekly schedule.

So there you have it - a "typical" mission trip day. I say it that way because one of the most fundamental rules in Mission Tripping is this: Be Flexible. Plans can and will change. You'll have opportunities you didn't plan for. There will be challenges you can't anticipate.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

MISSION GALVESTON 2009

By now you've probably heard we're going to Galveston this summer. In the last two days, I've spoken with them twice and let me say they're excited about us coming! There's really only one problem - they can't tell us what we'll be doing until about a week in advance.

"WHAT?" the planner in me says. "How can I ask people to sign on for a trip when I don't even know what I'm asking them to do?!" I've had that conversation with myself numerous times recently. I've even had that conversation with some of you who are planners too (you know who you are!). At the end of the day, I've come to this conclusion - as soon as the Hurricane went through Galveston, I felt sure the Lord was leading us go there instead of somewhere else. I'm confident, despite the lack of surety in our work, the Lord WILL use us there.

I can't help but think of Hebrews 11:8 - "By faith Abraham, when called to go to a place he would later receive as his inheritance, obeyed and went even thought he did not know where he was going." Now THAT'S Faith! Join us as we step out in faith. Here's our schedule for the week.

Sunday, June 7th - 5 PM - Organizational Mtg after Morning Worship. Meet us in the library as we'll get our heads together.

Sunday, July 5th. - SIGN UP DEADLINE - If you're going, we need to know by then to allow us to plan meals and such. There will be sign-up sheet in the foyer or you can drop me an email.

Sunday, July 19 - 2 PM - Hit the road headed for Galveston. We're staying at University Baptist Church in Galveston. We'll get there with plenty of time to get squared away for the night and get ready for what will be a busy week.

Monday, July 20 - Thursday July 23 - GO TO WORK! There are more than 90 others people from other churches who will be working on projects with us during our stay there. Our partnership with them will be extraordinary! Although we don't know exactly what we'll be doing, we know we'll be working on homes throughout the Galveston metro area. They tell me we may be sent over to Bolivar Point, one of the more hard hit areas.

Friday, July 24 - Decision Day - You can choose to head home, spend another day working, or spend it on the beach or touring in Galveston. Even with the storm, there's no shortage of things to do on the island or on the way home.

Join us on June 7th at 5 PM in the library when we'll discuss this again!

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

I'm not really sure what to say about this

A friend of mine sent me an email regarding another Darin Wood in this world (God help us all!). This one is a home builder who has constructed an. . . .interesting house. . . .that's a good description! Here's the link. I'm afraid to post a picture of it. Go see the story and you'll understand why.

Monday, May 18, 2009

A Scientist's Delight

Our own Dan Blair came to me a few weeks ago requesting I inquire about bringing a gentleman here to do a talk on the Shroud of Turin (information about the Shroud can be found here). Being an fan of ancient Christianity, my curiosity was piqued. I called Dee German and have him scheduled to share his story with us on June 7th at 6 PM.

I gotta tell you, this is no chump who got his info from the internet. Dr. German was a part of a team of scientists in 1978 who performed tests on the Shroud. He taught Physics at the Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs, CO. His expertise and insight are even more poignant given that he was a self-proclaimed agnostic when he was a part of the 1978 team but has since come to faith in Christ. I can assure you this evening will be well worth you time. Join us at 6 PM on Sunday night, June 7th.

Monday Morning Reflections

- First off, let me say how proud I am of us as a church! Our blood drive yielded 65 units! Wow! If all those who had desired to give had actually given, we'd have bumped 80 (we had several turned away for one reason or another)! Thanks to all of you who contributed to the blood drive either by giving blood or by contributing your time to help it go smoothly. We had a CROWD! Thanks.
- The final of our deacon series messages was well received. Please continue to lift those who need to serve in those roles. If you haven't already picked up a recommendation form, please find them on the crescent table in the foyer.
- Please continue to lift up the family of Shelley Burks-White. I've had time to spend with Judy and Johnny over yesterday and today and they're doing as well as can be expected. The single greatest comfort is that Shelley is no longer limited by the body that constrained her.
- This weekend is Memorial Day - one of the poorest attended Sundays of the year. I'm warning you now - if you skip out, you'll miss a wonderful blessing! Rick Stewart, Sr, Henderson County Constable of Pr. 4, will be giving his testimony and I'm telling you it's powerful! Don't skip out by going to the lake. It'll still be there after church and we don't have Sunday night services.
- We've got a family reunion this week with Julie's family, the Browns. While we saw each other at Grandpa's funeral last week, this is chance to get to see each other and celebrate life instead of mourn our loss. We suspicion at least one family member has some big news for us, so check back with me next week!

Thursday, May 14, 2009

About our blood drive. . . .

I've gotten this question a lot this week - "are we still having the blood drive?" The answer is YES! ABSOLUTELY! NO DOUBT ABOUT IT! I can think of no better way to honor Shelley's life and memory than with continuing the blood drive.

Just yesterday, Frankston High School committed their blood drive to Shelley's honor and gave a number of units. Palestine Westwood High School did the same. There's been at least two blood drives in Dallas and at least one in Houston. What a privilege it is to be a part of something so God honoring and so clear in it's premise. While Shelley has gone home, others still need the blood that we will give in her memory and in her honor.

I know some can't give for one reason or another - but if you can, come ready on Sunday morning to give blood - in honor of Shelley.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Shelley Burks-White Arrangements

In case you haven't heard, here's the schedule of services for Shelley.

Thursday
Shelley's funeral service will be at Wilshire Baptist Church (4316 Abrams Road, Dallas) at 3:30 PM.

Friday
A visitation for the family will be held here at FBC from 6:00 PM - 8:00 PM. We'll have doors open

Saturday
A graveside service will be held here in Frankston City Cemetery at 11 AM.

Please pray for Greg, Alyssa and Reed. Pray for Judy and Johnny Burks, her parents. Pray for Susan and Stephanie, her sisters. Pray for her church family at Wilshire Baptist in Dallas. Pray for grace and comfort for the services.

We're back

Thanks for praying for us over the last several days. We got back home last night around 10 PM. In case you're curious, it's a 953 miles round trip from here to Rogers, Arkansas.

The service went quite well. I think Grandpa would've been pleased. He requested one song and Julie sang it beautifully. My father-in-law, David, spoke briefly with a testimony about Grandpa. Bro. Gary Orr, our uncle and Grandpa's son-in-law, did the funeral message. All in all, we had five preachers take part in the service. No wonder it lasted an hour! :-)

Truthfully, it was more a celebration than any service I've been to in a long time. He lived an God-honoring life, leaving a legacy of faithfulness and passion for Christ that we hope we can emulate. Today, we know he's home. Thanks for sharing him with us, Lord - our lives are forever changed as a result.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Shelley White - Home at last

By now, you've probably heard Shelley went home tonight around 7 PM. There were simply too many issues for her to overcome. Thus, the Lord gave her rest. Please pray for Greg, Alyssa and Reed during the difficult days that lie ahead.

BREAKING NEWS: Update on Shelley

The news from Shelley this morning is not good. Overnight, she had a massive brain hemorrhage inducing a stroke. She was rushed back to Baylor Hospital (she has been at a rehab center the last week or so). The family has been called in. Please pray for Shelley, her husband Greg, her daughter Alyssa and her son, Reed. I'll update this as soon as I know more.

Thursday, May 07, 2009

Update on Shelley White - May 7

Here's the latest update on Shelley Burks-White. Thanks for remembering to pray for her on this National Day of Prayer.

"Shelley is now in the Baylor Specialty Hospital. She was moved Tuesday afternoon. As you might expect, Tuesday was a very difficult day - she was so frightened and anxious as well as being in so much pain. The goal for this hospital is to get her off the ventilator and further along with physical therapy so that she can be moved to Baylor Institute of Rehabilitation. Our hope is that that will happen within another four weeks. Please pray specifically for that.

Shelley seems to be doing well from the transplant prospective. Her liver has not shown rejection and her "numbers" continue to improve. The best thing so far - her kidneys seem to be acting again. Coming from a woman who kept her babies's diapers dried, did not allow puppies in the house, and has encouraged her sweet husband to "lift the lid", I have never been so happy to see Pee-pee in all of my life!!!! Shelley is very nauseous and they will probably have to do a scope to determine what may be going on there. I forgot to ask if they will have to transport her back to Main Baylor for procedures such as that. I so hope not because the moves by ambulalnce are so difficult.

Thank you once again, my dear FRIENDS, for your love and support. Johnny and I miss you all so much. We are so grateful for each of you. (Thank you, Ann, for forwarding this to ALL my good friends.)

Love,
Judy"

An unusual birthday

For those who don't know, today I celebrate my birthday. Today, however, the celebration will be a bit more muted.

We received word early this morning that Rev. Ken Brown, Julie's grandfather, passed away sometime in the night. Like the true Christian gentleman I knew him to be, he slipped away quietly into the arms of the Savior he's longed for and served these many years. He just turned 91 this year (last week in fact) and had been in failing health, so it wasn't really a shock. It is, however, a loss to us in a profound way. Shadows of legacy like the one he cast are long. The legacy of faithfulness and Christian service is one I hope someday I can say I tried to emulate.

Please pray for us as we make plans to gather and mark his home-going. Right now, it appears it will be early next week near Rogers, Arkansas.

Tuesday, May 05, 2009

Update on Shelley Burks-White

Here's the latest update on Shelley received this morning. Remember, our blood drive for Shelley is Sunday, May 17th from 9:30 AM - 2 PM.

"As I believed it would, today went so much better than the week-end. Shelley was kept very busy today with physical therapy, etc.
She got a good assessment from the Transplant Team and plans are still underway to move her to the Speciality Hospital either tomorrow or the next day. I hope it is tomorrow so that she will be settled in before her birthday which is Wednesday. The best thing today was that she got to get her dialysis line removed. The doctor said that didn't mean that she might not have to have dialysis later but for now he does not plan it. Her kidneys are beginning to activate!
When she is kept busy she has less anxiety, so, overall, today has been a better day.
Tonight, pray that Shelley will rest and that her move to the other place will not be too stressful. Continue to pray that our move there will be the perfect thing, that we will see improvement soon and that she will get off the ventilator soon.
Thank you again for loving Shelley and our family.
We love you,
Judy"

Monday, May 04, 2009

Update on Shelley White - May 4

Below, you'll find our latest update on Shelley White's condition. Please continue to pray for her as she continues her healing.

Another week-end has passed and as usual, not much was accomplished. On Friday, Shelley was able to stay down to "5" (which is very good) on the ventilator for 2 hrs, but today was not able to withstand any reduction in settings. I think this is partly because the week-end nurses come in not knowing much about what she is able to do and don't work with her very much. She has not received any physical therapy since Friday. I look forward to Mondays when the routine starts over and we see progress.
Shelley has been in a lot of discomfort today and it has been very difficult to watch her suffer. She has had a lot of bloody mucous from her throat which the doctor thinks is old blood coming from her stomach (something they are watching). She is becoming increasingly frustrated over not being able to speak or swallow liquid. I had expected that she would be moved to Baylor Speciality Hospital tomorrow but after this week-end, they may put the move off a day or two. The good news is that her kidneys seem to be stabilizing. She has not been dialyzed in four days now and of course, the doctors will continue to assess daily. They have, as of today, reduced her steriod dosage which should affect her kidney numbers in a positive way.
Thanks again to all of you who have prayed so HARD! Please pray that God will grant me a little extra (He is SO GOOD to me) strength as I have to watch Shelley's pain and anxiety. I know He understands when I ask Him for a "little extra". And please continue to check on Johnny. He is so tired when he leaves here at night to return home.
Judy