Wednesday, June 24, 2009

A teaser for Sunday

I've posted videos of Keith Green before but he's back today, this time in tongue-in-cheek fashion. In conjunction with our ECHO series be blessed today by his "So You Wanna Go back to Egypt!"

Thursday, June 18, 2009

A counter-cultural movement

Father's Day is Sunday. I realize that may not sound like it, but that's a counter-cultural movement. If you join us on Sunday at FBC, you'll hear me say this again, but our culture has repeatedly expressed the lack of desire for fathers, their leadership and their wisdom. Single mothers are glorified and fatherhood viewed as an uncomfortable and unfortunate position. Spiritual leadership by the father is even more laughable.

I contend it's exactly opposite our culture needs. Instead of less fathers, we need MORE! Our role is needed more now than ever before. While we may not have the genius displayed by "Ozzie and Harriet" or "Father Knows Best", we can certainly do better than Al Bundy on "Married with Children." One of the points I'll be making Sunday morning is this: Affirm the value of your children, exactly where they are. In our society that calls for us to live up to some unattainable standard somewhere off in the distance, let's allow our children to know their value in our lives by what we say AND do. Here's a great video emphasizing that.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Through new eyes

Yesterday, Julie and I took our FBC kids to Super Summer at East Texas Baptist University in Marshall. Nothing unusual there. Julie and I both love Super Summer. From 1991-2001, I didn't miss a summer of working with this wonderful ministry. Yesterday was different, however. In the past, when I showed up at Super Summer, it was as a worker. Workers get there on Saturday, prepare all weekend for the students and greet them with great fanfare (that's what you see - and believe me when I say this picture does NOT do it justice!). In the past, I knew everyone else working at Super Summer. Yesterday, I knew only a few.
It caused me to look at Super Summer in a new way - or with new eyes. It caused me to see things in a new way. I didn't know where to go, or what to do. I didn't know very many people. Truthfully, the only people I knew yesterday were either my age (which would be the "old" people at this camp) or were the grown children of my friends coming to serve as a "second generation" servant. Wow.
On the same token, in the shift of generations, this was a wonderful moment in time! Super Summer had changed - there could be no doubt about that - but it had changed to survive and thrive in a new way. Rather than mourning the old way it was, I began to celebrate that it was an organism that would grow and become something far beyond what I could make out of it.

The timing was unbelievable really - I mean, here I am in the middle of this "Echo" series on generations and how they communicate and the Lord brings it right to my FACE! Wow. I'll revisit this when I have time to.

Our Food Pantry workers are awesome!

A word of congratulations is in order! Twice a month, several members of FBC work at the East Texas Food Bank in Tyler. Under the leadership of Charles Garner, our workers bag rice and beans for distribution to those in need. It's a tedious job. A literal TON of rice and a TON of beans are sitting on pallets. They must be bagged into 2 lbs. sacks to be distributed. There are 12 bags to the case. In a four hour time span, they bagged and boxed 117 cases of rice and beans! WOW! Now that's a lot of work! Thanks for taking Jesus' command to feed the hungry so seriously!

Tuesday, June 09, 2009

Flash Mobs put to good use

Have you heard of flash mobs? It's where a group of people decide in advance they will gather at a particular time and then just as fast, disappear. Sometimes they just stand there. Other times, they dance. Like this time. Enjoy the insanity of a random flash mob dancing to MC Hammer's "Can't Touch This." Make sure to pay attention to the people who aren't in on it and their reactions.

A sobering reminder - we're all human

I get lots of newsletters, both through snail-mail and email, from churches all over the country. I use them for encouragement, ideas and just keeping up with my friends serving the Lord elsewhere. Today, however, brought a sobering reminder of keeping myself pure.

Gary Lamb was pastor of Revolution Church in Canton, GA. A strong church with a bright future, Gary appeared to be a guy who had it won. Appearances are often deceiving. On Sunday, he notified his church he had been involved in a 6 wk affair with his personal assistant and was therefore resigning immediately from the church. Wow.

What it speaks to is this: don't focus so much on what others THINK as much as you do on what God KNOWS! If God's not pleased with your life, does it really matter what others think? If you're living in disobedience to God, does it matter if you've found success?

Perhaps Gary struggled with a complex of feeling superhuman. I'm especially culpable to that, as most pastors struggle are: the idea that somehow, because we're superhuman, we don't need the same kinds of things we tell our congregations they need. As if we impervious to needing our days off, or family time, or a date night or our vacation time. We come to believe the entire kingdom of God hinges on our capacity to keep up the charade of "everything is fine." Satan would like for us to think that so we wind up falling. Don't think for a minute Satan won't attack and do so as viciously and destructively as possible. Pray for me. Pray for Duane and Kern. Pray for our deacons. Pray for our friends leading churches elsewhere. Pray for Gary Lamb and Revolution Church. Pray for each of us to find purity and holiness that keeps us humble enough to remember it's about God and his kingdom - not us.

Wednesday, June 03, 2009

We're home

After a whirlwind tour of St Louis, we're home. On a note of praise, American Airlines got us home more than 20 minutes earlier than the gate time! On a note of "boo", the people who run the airport security in St. Louis Lambert Airport were not nearly as nice as the people at DFW Airport. Fortunately, we held our tongues - the people I've read who have really had trouble with the security people are the ones who want to hold the TSA to their own printed standards, a mistake we did not make. We smiled nicely, obeyed their instructions and got home.
The picture you see is us on top of the Gateway Arch, the iconic symbol of St. Louis. If you go, don't miss it unless you struggle with a fear of heights or claustrophobia. The elevators are about 6 feet in diameter - more like a port-a-john than an elevator. It's quite a view from up there, 630 ft about the city. We could see for miles all around through the portal windows. It gave us a perspective to see things we otherwise might have missed because we (or they) were too close. That's tonight's Word for prayer meeting - adopting God's perspective on life.
While it was great to get away, we love coming home. There's something cozy about that, isn't there? There's something inviting about the thought of home. More on that later.