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Showing posts from 2010

A day on the tracks

I spent the day today roaming Cherokee County with the Jacksonville Leadership Institute, a group that was kind enough to allow my knucklehead to join them for the year as we explore the in's and outs of life in our area. Each time we meet (just once a month), we cover a specific genre or theme of life here. Last month, it was Education. Next month, it's politics in Austin. This month was History and Tourism. We visited the Rusk Heritage Center, the Rusk, Footbridge (547 ft in length!), the Texas State Railroad, the KOA Campground (what a view!), Cherokee Trace Drive-Thru Safari and Love's Lookout.
Without a doubt, the best part was the Texas State Railroad. Although I've never been a huge fan of trains, I, like most, are intrigued by them. Even more so today. We were given the "back-stage" tour of their shop where they work on the trains keeping them operational and rebuilding them back to their vintage glory. Since there's no instruction manual…

The Honorable James P Lankford and a passed bond

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I've never been a political animal. It's not in my nature. Growing up, I was always told to leave politics and religion alone. I messed up the religion one, but I've kept the politics one intact.

Until now. For the first time in my life, I watched the election returns with a deeply vested interest for two reasons:
(1) The JISD bond election. As a member of the facilities committee, we spent hours this past summer working on the proposal that now finds life with the passing of that bond. It surprised me how emotional it was for me to see that it had passed. It's a HUGE step forward for our city and the children of Jacksonville.
(2) James, my dear brother in Christ for all of my adult life, was up for election as the US Congressional Representative for the 5th district in Oklahoma. It was riveting! To see the returns come back with James' lead seeming to increase each time we saw it was thrilling! Today, we wake up to a new world where James is no longer Ja…

Weirdest game I've ever seen

Friday night, October 29 in Nacogdoches, I was witness to the weirdest game I've ever seen. We (Jacksonville) went down to Nacogdoches to play knowing that a win (or even a loss by less than 8 pts due to tiebreaker rules) guaranteed a return to the state football playoffs. A Nacogdoches win by less than 8 pts would give them a victory but eliminate them from the playoffs. Confusing? You should've been there in person. When was the last time you saw a team with a chance to win take a knee just to keep the game going? It happened. Or throwing a ball intentionally almost to the parking lot? Many of us who were there won't soon forget it. I won't bore you with the details. Instead, you can read a full account of the game here. Suffice it to say this: when the game ended after a national record 12 OTs, we'd played more than 5 hours (officially the game began at 7:30 PM and ended at 12:54 AM Saturday morning), seen almost 1,400 yds of offense, 18 touchdowns in…

Julie's Birthday

Today is my beloved Julie's birthday! It's a bummer that it falls on a Wednesday - a work day for me. I'll make it up to her tomorrow.

That's sort of been our method over the last ten years. I'll make it up to her later. My wife has the wisdom of Solomon and the patience of Job, especially when it comes to me. She has more "IOU's" for missed things due to church events, funerals, weddings, Sunday School class parties, fellowships, hospital calls, etc.., than I'll ever be able to repay. At least our vacations have been rather sheltered. Only once have we had a trip get interrupted. But it has happened - and she has ridden through it all with me.

Julie grew up as a pastor's daughter. (sidenote: Her parents are awesome! When I grow up, I hope I'm half the man her dad is.) But Julie knew the challenges of pastoring far better than I did and wanted no part of it for her own journey. Thus, when I asked Julie to marry me, I assured he…

Sunday night reflections

So I'm home and it's Sunday night. Generally speaking, it's a good thing to not do any "heavy lifting" kind of stuff on Sunday night. My brain tends to be a little weak after a full day like we always seem to have on Sunday!
Tonight is a little different. Julie is at Super Summer on the campus of East Texas Baptist University. She's working at the camp this week, so I'm rolling with Dodger this week. It's a bummer, but it's just as well. The only night I have this week without something on it is Saturday. So I'm glad Julie's there. I'll deliver our students there tomorrow with Steve Edwards. Julie and I met at Super Summer 1993, so it's almost like we've come full-circle for her to go back.
- Welcome to Lauren LaFleur and Ellen Maxwell, CBC's newest members! We're thrilled you've joined us in this crazy journey!
- An awesome day of preparation for VBS. It's a good thing - we start VBS tomorrow …

Spirit of the law or letter of the law?

In what has become a regularity, we find a discussion about the spirit of competition and the letter of the law vs. the spirit of the law. In what has to be one of the most repulsive acts of partianship in recent memory, a young lady pole vaulting for her team finds herself in the midst of this debate. Rather than rehash it, go to the Sports Illustrated article and see it for yourself. Warning: I was less than enthused about one of the coaches involved. http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/2010/highschool/05/11/track.controversy/index.html?xid=shareFB
While no one disputes that the rules does indeed exist and that she was indeed outside the bonds of that rule, the spirit of the law should have been invoked. Did her jewelry grant her an unfair advantage? Did it interfere with competition? Was it the reason she was able to clear that pole vault bar? What is fair isn't always what is right.

A tough day ahead

I'm in Corsicana, getting ready for Tory's funeral at 3 PM today. After the visitation last night, I came back to my hotel room alone (Julie's at a retreat in Glen Rose this weekend) and prayed. Thanks to each of you who have sent words of condolence to the family and for promising to pray today for all involved. Coming back to Corsicana got me to thinking about how the Lord has brought me along in my life.
Some of you may not know this, but here's a nugget of truth: I never planned to be a pastor. I was in youth ministry for about ten years when I felt like the Lord sent me to get a PhD and teach college level New Testament or Greek. I prepared myself accordingly, preparing myself with academics and academia. In the fall of 1999, when Memorial Baptist in Corsicana asked me to be their interim pastor while they sought a "real" pastor, I agreed - knowing it wasn't permanent. Julie and I were about to be married the following May (and after she ha…

Holy Moments

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If you've read my FB status, you've seen that I've asked for prayers for 13 year old Tory Cantu. That's her with her mother, Robyn. They were members of Memorial Baptist Church in Corsicana, the church I pastored for 7.5 years. I've known them since 1999 when Tory was just a little snot-jockey. I baptized Tory in 2006. When Robyn's mother passed away in 2006, I did her funeral. On March 29th, Tory was diagnosed with a Urinary Tract infection. No biggie, right? They gave her some antibiotics and sent her on her way. Until it was a biggie. She went into convulsions that same day. They took her via Careflight to Children's Medical Center in Dallas. Since that time, Tory has been in a fight for her life. They've taken extraordinary measures to try to "right the ship" but things are not looking good. There's the background for our holy moment of the day.
When I got to my office this morning, there was a message to call Robyn. Many…
One of the challenges we face as Christians is the perception people have of us. Frequently, we're faced with overcoming people's preconceived notions about Jesus and what it means to be a believer before we can share our faith with them. What do people think about Christianity? Really? Four college guys decided to find out. They took a video camera and went across the US (in their first movie "One nation under God" - click here for that one) and most recently went to Europe with the same premise. They called their new movie "Beware of Christians." When you watch the trailer, I bet you'll understand why I thought it worth our time. They asked two simple questions - Do you know Jesus? What do you think of Christians? While it's not a joy to watch or hear the pained responses, we, as believers, would do well to listen. Here's the trailer below.

Update on the alcohol meeting

It's been a long while since I addressed this issue last and it's high time to revisit it. Yesterday, there was a meeting held at the Hong Kong Buffet on S. Jackson (Hwy 69) to discuss the upcoming alcohol referendum. Progress Jacksonville (the pro-alcohol group) was invited to speak as well as Family First Jacksonville (the pro-family group). It was intended to be a forum where the public could hear both sides of the story and perhaps make an informed decision. I hope it was a beneficial dialog. George Douglass, co-chairman of Progress Jacksonville, presented his case as did Matt Montgomery for Family First. (FULL DISCLOSURE - I'm a board member for Family First Jville). I've collected some of the articles and news stories about it. They are listed at the end.

Just for the record, let me say this is NOT a strictly moral or religious issue for me. If someone wants to have a beer with their mexican food or a glass of wine with their supper, that's between t…

An ode to opening day

I've always loved Opening Day of baseball season. Not just because of baseball but the optimism that it seems to bring to me. The sense that summer isn't far away bringing with it evenings outside with a sweaty glass of kool-aid in my hand, swims in our neighbor's pool, the pleasure of longer days and excitement that comes with students getting out for the summer. I love opening day. There's a certain serendipity to life when Opening day falls on the day after Easter and on the same day as the end of the NCAA basketball season. Speaking of that, what a game between Duke and Butler! Wow! Normally, I would post the "One Shining Moment" video, but for some reason they let Jennifer Hudson do it and it messed up the song for me so no "Moment" video for my blog. Instead, I've chosen a video from yesterday. I could tell you about it, but it wouldn't do it justice. It's about 1 minute long. It's perhaps the best defensive play I'…

Passover has just begun

As I write to you, it's about 7:30 PM on Monday night. The significance of this is that's just about sundown meaning Passover has just begun. Passover always falls at this time of year, moving around slightly on our calendar due to the fact the Jewish calendar uses a lunar schedule as opposed to our solar schedule. See more on this following the description.
Passover is one of the highest days of holiness in the Jewish year. It was the one day of the year when the Jewish High Priest would enter the Holy of Holies where the Ark of the Covenant was placed. He would pour out blood from the spotless lamb onto the mercy seat (the top of the Ark) and thereby atone for the sins of the people from the past year. It was followed by a feast and it was a celebration that was one of the highlights akin to our Christmas celebrations. It's celebrated beginning at sundown tonight until sundown tomorrow (Tuesday).
So here's why this matters to us. When Christ came to Jerusalem…

An athiest takes a "liberal" Christian to task

The conversation in this video is between Unitarian "Minister" Marilyn Sewell and renowned atheist and author Christopher Hitchens. It's a poignant reminder of what we REALLY believe and what truly constitutes a personal relationship with Christ. This video SHOCKED me in how well Hitchens understands Christianity and how poorly Sewell does.

All things beautiful!

This morning, I'm at home. It's Friday and that usually means I'm off for a little R and R. The last couple of weeks have been a little on the crazy side, so I haven't taken my Fridays like I usually do. It's a great day to take time off - watching the rain fall and sitting with my dog while Julie exercises. Thus, here are some random thoughts.
- CBC is a great place to serve the Lord! I'm seriously pumped about this weekend! We've a 6th grade discipleship weekend beginning tonight. We've got the men's ministry "Beast Feast" tomorrow night. We've got a full slate of events coming up Sunday. More on that next. I've been here 5 mths now and I say this with full assurance - I've not enjoyed pastoring this much since I graduated with my PhD in 2006.
- Sunday is the beginning of a journey for our friends going on our Mission: Germany trip this July. For two hours following our morning worship service, we'll train our mi…

I TOLD YOU IT WAS A GREAT DEVICE!

When I got my iPhone a couple of years ago, I got teased mercilessly by some of you. You know who are. To that, I offer the story of Mr. Dan Woolley, a Compassion International worker who was making a film in Haiti when the earthquake came. He was trapped for 65 hours while needed medical attention. He aided himself and kept himself from going into shock - but how? By using his IPHONE! It has a medical first aid application that guided him in what to do. Click here for the full story. Wow. There are some good stories coming from Haiti. Take time to thank the Lord for them.

A wonderful video!

Jonny Diaz did a song a couple of years ago that sums up this week's message wonderfully. I don't think I'll use it Sunday, but I might. One way or the other, here's the song.

Randomness

It's been awhile since we last spoke, so let me just be completely random for a moment.
- We're still living in our Frankston home, but more sure than ever that the Lord is going to sell it soon. We had a couple of "lookers" over the break - one rather serious - but no serious offers on it yet. I've got every confidence we're where the Lord wants us to be right now.
- I'm coaching a Little Dribblers under-14 team this year. We're the Hornets! Good kids! It's been a blast thus far. I think we won last week, but we had such a good time, it didn't really seem to matter.
- Julie and I got our passports over the break. Although we did have some excitement about it (we had to order an original copy of Julie's birth certificate), we're ready now!
- We leave Feb 24th for a scouting trip to Germany. Julie's never been to Europe and I've only been there once and even then I didn't leave the Paris Airport (I was on my way to …

What will CBC look like in 2020?

I've had some time this week to consider what our church will look like in 2020. Thinking that way made me reflect on the last decade, what's changed and what I've learned in my first 10 years as a pastor.
In 2000:
- I had no idea what a text message was.
- I had dial-up internet - and was proud to have it! DSL / high speed internet was just too expensive.
- Until May of that year, I was still a single guy with no concept of the joy of a loving, committed relationship with my wife.
- I had a beeper. Cell phones were too pricey.
- My email address (I only had one - now, I've got three) was with AOL.
- I had done exactly one wedding and one funeral.
- The church I pastored then had less than 75 people. They passionately taught me about loving the Lord and how to serve Him.
- I thought being in PhD work was the most important aspect of my life.
- I had no idea how to leverage a website, a Facebook account, a Twitter account and a blog for the sake of the Gospel.

Pr…