Thursday, July 30, 2009

Coach Wooden feted

Perhaps you missed it last night - I did - but I found it this morning. Coach John Wooden was honored last night by the The Sporting News as the greatest coach in American Sports history. I'm not sure how you can measure that, but I think they choose properly. He was near retirement when I was born yet only one other coach has had the kind of influence on me that Coach Wooden has had (Coach Tom Landry). He's now 98 yrs old but still has the clarity of man much younger. Take a couple of minutes and watch the interview he did with ESPN.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

A true ROLE MODEL!

This is Tim Tebow, quarterback of the University of Florida Gators Football team. While I'm not a fan of the Gators, I'm a BIG fan of Tebow. He's used his stature and platform (Heisman Trophy and National Championship ring) to the forefront as a platform for sharing the Gospel of Jesus Christ! It unsettles many of those who have become jaded, like media members. It causes them to wait for "the other shoe to drop." I can't blame them - we've seen this before. But Tebow is different. When you have time, read this column about Tebow and it'll explain the details!

Saturday, July 25, 2009

By now, you've heard

By now, you've probably heard that I've been invited to come to Central Baptist Church, Jacksonville this coming Sunday, August 2, in view of becoming their pastor. For my dear friends in Frankston, please know that this has been one of the most difficult choices I've ever had to make. The path we've walked together these last two years has been one of challenge and joy and I've loved you for them both. You've loved my family in ways I simply cannot express and welcomed us as one of your own. My gratitude to you is deep.

Please allow to dispel any notion that we were in some way dissatisfied at FBC or that we were "shopping" around for a place to go. The truth of the matter is that the Lord opened this door and we're simply walking with Him through it.

For many days and nights, I laid awake thinking and praying about this choice and its ramifications. At the end of my debate, I felt like to stay would be disobedience to what I felt like the Lord had called me to and what I've asked you as my FBC family to be called to - complete and total surrender of rights to make your own choices and choose your own path. Obedience is the key issue. If I failed there, then would I be any good to you as your pastor anyway? I must follow, even though I don't know where it will lead.

Mission Galveston 2009 - Final Report

We're home and exhausted. That's why I didn't get to you yesterday. We completed our work on Thursday by lunch and some of us turned for home. We finished sheetrocking the ceiling and the upper half of the walls. Where we left it was where someone else could come and really knock it out! We left them with sufficient supplies to complete the job.

As for the rest for the rest of us, on Thursday we went to the beach! We played for a while in the sand and the warm Gulf of Mexico. It was a great time! Look forward to tomorrow night and the report!

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Mission Galveston 2009 - Day 3

Our work here continues! Our Variable group uncrated donated furniture today, preparing it for it's transition to people's homes. Much of it was donated through a drive spearheaded by the "Today Show." Ask Julie and Duane about it!

As for the Project group, the sheetrocking continues! I learned today that I really don't need to try to make a living at it - I'll starve! The 100th missed stud or broken sheetrock screw told me all I needed to know! We're at about 75%, but I really don't think we'll finish before tomorrow night. The good news is that even if we leave tonight, there are sufficient materials to finish the job. Whereas what we've spent is a fraction of our mission trip budget, it's a fortune to the homeowner!

We're headed home Friday so tomorrow is it for us. We're saddened at how quickly this week has passed, but we're exhausted and ready to see home. We're going to try (again) to go to the beach tomorrow evening, but it's been red-flag warnings all week (meaning swim at your own risk). The waves have been HUGE! Picturesque, yes - good for swimming, no! One way or the other, we'll see you Sunday!

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Mission Galveston 2009 - Day 2

With the insulation finished, we got started on the sheetrock today. Let me just say - and I realize this will shock many of you - I don't know anything about sheetrocking! In reality, I have one skill: being tall. Fortunately, it works for me. With a sheetrock jack, several drills, countless screws and a seriously large pile of sheetrock, we got almost all of the ceiling done in the project house. We'll be finishing that up tomorrow morning and then get cranking on the walls. I'll try to get you some pictures tomorrow, but for now, I'm tired and going to bed!

Before I go, I did have some time this evening to look for stuff for Sunday. I'm not sure I can use it, but here's something interesting.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Mission Trip 2009 - Day One

Here we are in Galveston! Finally, we're here and working! The weather was unusually cooperative and moderate for late July in south Texas (low 90's) and we even had a short shower to cool it off even further. We split up into two groups - here's a report on each one.
GROUP 1 - Led capably by Duane and Julie, this group took on a home on Avenue L near the eastern end of Galveston. They painted the exterior of the house, the bathroom inside, mopped the floor, cleaned up the yard and generally loved on the lady who owned the house. Some of our ladies bought her some new things for her home (new towels, sheets, a mini-blind) to make her home feel more like home.

GROUP 2 - The BIG one - Ms Belinda's home was under 6 feet of water for several days last year after Hurricane Ike. The house was gutted of all insulation, sheetrock and flooring in the fall. After she filled out the paperwork to have us come and help her, our contact told her it would be a long time till someone came. As the Lord would have it, we were selected to work on her home after only a short wait. A lady in her late 40's, she wept when we arrived to get started. After spending some time getting organized and preparing a strategy, we got after it. We spent the day re-insulating the house, a job that wears down even a strong man who isn't used to doing it! After going to McCoy's Building Supply, we received our shipment of 150 sheets of sheetrock and (gulp!) unloaded them into the house. Thank God we were all together for that part! Tomorrow morning (around 7 AM), we'll get rolling again slapping up the sheetrock. Pray for us as we get serious. Pray for us since NONE of us like to do sheetrocking! Pray for us as we share the love of Christ with Ms Belinda (yes, she is a believer - we asked!). Pray for opportunities to share the love of Christ with wherever Group 1 goes tomorrow. As for us, we're going to bed. See you tomorrow!

Sunday, July 19, 2009

We're here!

We rolled into FBC LaMarque about 6:30 tonight and we're all set up! We get to work tomorrow morning. Look for more tomorrow!

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Final Mission Trip Preparations

Okay, so here it is the day before we leave for Galveston. After tomorrow morning's worship service, we'll be on our way. We got word of our project and it's a good one! I was concerned about being outside, but they've assigned us to a house that has a good roof. . . .and nothing else! It's completely gutted inside, down to the studs. We're moving a bathroom, re-framing walls, electrical work, plumbing work and drywall (if we get that far!). We're PUMPED! Finally, a project we can dream about, plan for and execute. I'll be taking lots of pictures and will be posting them as I'm able. Check our facebook page if you're interested since I can post from my phone to there.
IF YOU'RE GOING: Get excited! Get prayed up, packed up and ready to go!

IF YOU'RE NOT GOING: Get excited! Pray for our safety, our work, and our safe return on Friday. We'll use Sunday, July 26th as our report time. Join us as we show pictures and tell of how God used us while we were there.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

MISSION GALVESTON 2009 UPDATE

I spoke with our friends in Galveston yesterday. They're excited about us coming. They sounded tired, but excited. While it's a new opportunity for us, they've been at it since Hurricane Ike came through last summer. Construction projects are in various stages of construction and thus, they can't tell us much yet about what our projects will consist of other than basic construction, landscaping, painting and loving people through our actions. We'll pick the projects up where the teams working this week leave them off.

Here's the real deal. If you're going with us and you're a planner who simply must know what we'll be doing, check back here on Friday afternoon / evening (or call me Friday night or Saturday). They recommended I call back then to find out what we'll be working on next week. Pray for our projects (whatever they may be) and for the opportunities to work in people's lives while we work on their homes / churches.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Away they go. . . .

Our students left for youth camp this morning. Julie went with them which means I'm on my own this week. Just the boys in the house. That can't be good. If the house is still standing on Friday, she'll be home to clean it up - or hose it down. It's a long story about why I didn't go with them, but let's just say Mission Trip leaves on Sunday and somebody has to make sure to prepare for it. I was a bachelor for a long time (we didn't get married until I was 31) so I can make it okay, but it's not the same. She left me with a meal plan, prepared food and clean clothes, so we'll be fine - it's just that the heart of the house is gone. Pray for us this week as we prepare to leave for Galveston this Sunday afternoon. Fortunately, Julie will be going with us! :-)

Thursday, July 09, 2009

Keno Fitzgerald's Funeral Arrangements

Many of you knew Keno. He was a congenial, warm-spirited man who somehow never married. With a host of friends, Keno was a wonderful part of our community. Yesterday afternoon, the Lord took him home, too soon in many eyes, at a young 35 yrs of age. Please pray for his family during these difficult days. Pray for his friends. Pray for our community.

VISITATION - Autry's Funeral Home in Frankston, July 10, Friday evening from 6:00 - 8:00 PM.

FUNERAL SERVICES - 2 PM on Saturday at the United Methodist Church's Family Life Center here in Frankston.

Wednesday, July 08, 2009

Mission Trip preparation

So I've been getting ready for Mission Trip this week. We leave one week from Sunday! I'm excited about going but in a strange sort of way. I can't help but wonder what the Lord has in store for us. The details for work are sketchy at best. We know this: we're going to work at whatever the Lord places before us. When we get there, we'll be passionate and work hard at whatever we do.

I like to think of myself as a planner, so not having a plan is forcing me to rethink things - and forcing me into a dependence on God's directing hand, not my capacity to plan. It's forced me to get my thoughts together and say "I'm going even though I don't know what I'll do once I'm there." In a way, it's reminscent of Hebrews 11:8 - "By faith, Abraham obeyed the Lord and went, even though he didn't know where he was going."

If you're going with us, prepare your heart by preparing your mind to be flexible. Flexibility means the ability to bend as necessary. It's not a sign of weakness, but rather a sign of willingness. We'll talk more about that later, but for now, let's say the Lord is going to use us and we'll be ready when He is!

See You in Galveston!

Monday, July 06, 2009

A wonderful resource

One of the things I enjoy most is studying the Bible, esp in it's ancient forms. Thus, with the release of the final digital version of a 4th century Bible, I'm pumped! Although it's appearance online may be a new thing to many, it's hardly new to scholars. Codex Siniaticus has a history akin to an Indiana Jones story, only it's too wild to be made into a movie - it's too unbelievable. And yet, it's true! Take a minute to read about it in the ABC news story about it and then go HERE to see it for yourself.

Written on animal skin with a primitive ink, it's a wonderful example of an ancient text. It hasn't been all in one place in approximately a century so having it all at one's fingertips is unbelievable. It was written by hand, one letter at a time, one word at a time, one line at a time. Some have suggested it may be one of the 50 copies Roman Emperor Constantine ordered his church historian Eusebius to create in 317 AD. At any rate, this excellent copy was found in the Sinai desert (thus the name) at St. Catherine's Monastery (yes, you can still visit there).

For those who are from Texas, I had the privilege of meeting one of the curators for this priceless manuscript a few years ago while I was in Washington, DC attending a symposium discussing these documents. Although he was living in Sinai, Egypt, he had a decidedly Texas accent. I chalked it up to hearing what I wanted to hear. Afterwards, I met with Father Justin and discovered he WAS from Texas and is a University of Texas Alumni! Hook 'em!

If you'd like to read more about this amazing manuscript and see it for yourself, visit this site for more info about it.