Showing posts from 2016
As promised, here's the link to read more about my story from this morning.  Trusting God is always better than trusting ourselves!

An end of one chapter, a beginning of another

Last Wednesday, Julie, Joshua, our dog Dodger and myself loaded up and went back to Jacksonville.  We went with a mission: prepare to exit our Jacksonville home.  We've got a contract to sell it and it looks like we'll be out of it no later than Friday, August 5.  In order to make that happen, however, we had to go pack the things that meant the most to us.  Movers will come soon and they'll load it all up in a big truck and drag it to Midland.  But before they do, we were in our beloved Jacksonville home one more time.        It's funny how attached we get to houses.  But so much happened in that house.  We moved in there when Joshua was 9 weeks old.  He rolled for the first time on the living room floor.  His first steps were there.  His first tooth was lost there (he wouldn't let us pull it so when Julie brushed his teeth one night, it fell out and he spat it out in the sink!)  I't's where we learned to be a family in a whole new way.  It's where we …

Humility - the hardest character quality to keep

One of the most challenging parts of my job is also a blessing.  Constantly, people come to me to tell me what a fine message I brought or what a fine funeral I did or what a fine wedding I performed.  I'm not saying I don't like it - it's always nice to be liked.  The problem is that it's not about us.  It's tempting to believe all of the things people say.  That you're God's gift.  That people should always say such kind things and hang on every word you speak.  That your gifts extend far beyond mere mortal capacity to receive or even understand it!  Believe me - I've been there.

The reality is when we believe things like that about ourselves it leads us to the wrong conclusion.  it leads us to believe that it's about us and our calling.  As if God can't use anyone other than me.  Or us.  Or as if our gifts exempt us from our own humanity.  Don't believe it!  Satan will sell you that lie as long as you'll buy it.  
So how do you avoid…

Remember why you exist

Last night, Julie, Joshua and I decided it was a great night to go out to eat!  Who DOESN'T like that?  So off we go to a Mexican restaurant - a part of a chain we've enjoyed before.  We even found a front-row parking spot!  On a Friday evening!  How about that!  Sadly, that was as good as it got.

I let Julie out to go get us in line.  When Joshua and I joined her a few minutes later, she greeted me with "The hostess will be right back - and I don't like her."  My gentle and gracious wife isn't often like that.  She likes everyone!  We stood there - no joke - at least five minutes with literally no waiters or hostess in sight.  At 6:00 PM on a Friday.  I thought I was on a funny video show - "how will people react when there's no one to help them!"  Hahahahaha.

Finally, a new hostess shows up.  She's just as surly as the one before.  She leaves too.  We're at the head of the line which has grown behind us now.  The first surly one came…

My friend Don

I'm glad to say Don Cornelius was my friend.  He blessed me with his kindness, wisdom, grace, generosity and strength more times than I can count.  For the last six years, every single time - EVERY SINGLE TIME - I saw Don, he would hug me and tell me "I love you preacher!"  He meant it with every fibert of his being!  It wasn't just words for Don.  It was a way of life.  Even with all of that, however, I'll never get over what happened in the 10 months between August 2010 and June 2011.  Let me tell you a story only Julie, Don, Carolyn and I know. . . . .

It was a Sunday morning.  Early.  Deacons meeting day.  We had been at Central right at a year, all the while seeking to sell our home in Frankston.  It wasn't that far back and forth, but we knew we were leaving a lot on the table by staying there and working in Jacksonville.  Thus, we made a decision that we would seek temporary housing while we tried to sell.  Seeking help in that department, I asked the …

Sunday Evening reflections

For those new to the blog, this Sunday night talk is a sporadic review of random thoughts from the day.
- For the first time today, I preached all three of our morning services.  While there wasn't a difference for the 8:25 service, the 11:05 traditional service got a non-traditional order - I preached there first and then dashed across the hallway to preach in the auditorium contemporary service!  I knew the timing would be tight - We're going to work on doing this monthly.  God is so very good to give us these opportunities so let's view them as the blessing they are.
- For those who are tired of hearing about where we've been and the struggles we've endured, I say GOOD!  February was our month to cope with our past - we're not going to mention it again unless we need to.  It's time to move forward!  We've got an incredible future and that's where we're going!
- Prayers for Moses Caesar in his new adventure!  We'll miss his service and …

To my new FBC Family

Grace and Peace to my new FBC family!  I'm humbled to be your new pastor and I eagerly look forward to transitioning to in your fine church!  You have big shoes to fill - serving at Central has been one of the greatest blessings of my life.  They've loved us and walked with us through some wonderful, difficult and just plain weird times.  We'll never outrun the mark they left on our lives. Thanks for allowing us this time to leave well.

That said, we're humbled by your overwhelming vote to call us.  (The picture attached here is one Jim Cawthon took last week on Sunday night.)  Wow!  We were so blessed by your kindness and grace when we were there last week.  We have been so blessed by the kind notes of welcome and encouragement we've received this week.  Thanks for all of your hospitality and thanks in advance for the wonderful journey we will share.
Via email, I talked with your former pastor Dr. Jim Denison this week.  He told me "FBC is an exceptionally …

To my beloved CBC family

Despite my best efforts to keep this until Sunday, the news has leaked out of the new calling on our lives.  Julie, Joshua and I are leaving.  Last Sunday, we went in view of a call as the senior pastor of First Baptist Church, Midland, TX.  With a unanimous vote, they called us and we've accepted.  After consultation with our personnel committee and deacon leadership, we've set our final Sunday here as January 24.

I want to dispel the notion that Julie and I are leaving because of any particular situation or because we're upset.  Quite the opposite.  I'm more confident now about the direction of CBC than since I came here.  No, we don't feel badly about CBC.  Nor is our choice linked to the "bigger is better" idea.  Instead, it's rooted in what I believe is the calling of the Spirit of God, just like it was when we came here.  I operate on the idea of being called TO, not called FROM.  Our departure is rooted in the firm conviction that we're no…

A Reading plan to get through the New Testament in a month

Reading Plan
1. Matthew 1-10 2. Matthew 11-20 3. Mattthew 21-Mark 2 4. Mark 3-12 5. Mark 13-Luke 6 6. Luke 7-16 7. Luke 17-John 2 8. John 3-12 9. John 13-Acts 2 10. Acts 3-12 11. Acts 13-22 12. Acts 23-Romans 4 13. Romans 5-14 14. Romans 15-1 Cor 8 15. 1 Cor 9-2 Cor 3 16. 2 Cor 4-13 17, Galatians and Ephesians 18. Philippians and Colossians 19. 1 Thess and 2 Thess. 20. 1, 2 Timothy and Titus 21. Philemon – Hebrews 9 22. Hebrews 10-James 23. 1 and 2 Peter 24. 1-2 John 25. 3 John – Jude 26. Revelation 1-10 27. Revelation 11-22