Monday, December 31, 2007

New Beginnings in 2008!

I've been thinking about what I'm asking God for in 2008. In doing so I was reminded of what Paul told Timothy:

"For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline." (2 Tim 1:7)

What new possibilities, what new breakthroughs, what new experiences does God have for you in 2008?
What about new passion for Jesus? New lions to chase? More courage than ever? A better marriage than you've ever known? Pouring into others in ways you've never imagined?

Don't be shy. I encourage over the next few days to boldly pray and ask God for more of Him and more of His power and love and motivation in 2008!

Jesus said: "I tell you the truth, anyone who believes in me will do the same works I have done, and even greater works, because I am going to be with the Father. You can ask for anything in my name, and I will do it, so that the Son can bring glory to the Father. Yes, ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it!" (John 14:12-14)

Sunday, December 30, 2007

One More Day!

There's one more day left in 2007 for you to give!

Just a reminder that the Oso Creek office will be open tomorrow (Monday - 31st) from 9am to Noon for any of you who need to catch up on 07' giving or just to bless as you've been blessed!

It will also be the last day to give to Advent Conspiracy.

Friday, December 28, 2007

A Week Away From Celebration

A couple of folks have asked me why we don't have our regular Sunday Celebration on the last Sunday of the year.

Rest and family. Those are two of the primary reasons. We want to give our staff time to truly enjoy their holidays. There is no way to give support and pastoral staff the week off if we are planning, preparing for and pulling off Celebration.

And just as important is time off for our volunteers. Many of our volunteers in many different areas - Praise Team, Greeters, Children's Ministry(that right there is 30+ !), Sound, Multimedia, Creek Reps, and many others I've missed - give their time nearly every week! We want every single one of them to have time to rest and be filled.

So enjoy the holiday and your family. And if you want to worship on Sunday morning, I encourage you to check out another Corpus church and see what God is doing there!

21 +

Yesterday (27th) was our 21st wedding anniversary! I am so very blessed to have such an amazing wife!
And 4 amazing children!

Thursday, December 27, 2007

7 Mile Mark

I hit a big running milestone on Christmas Day -- 7 miles. I'm increasing my 'long day' by a mile each week (which happened to fall on Christmas).

To be honest I was a little nervous. I haven't run that far in many years (15 ish!) and it also marked being over the half-way point for the half marathon.

It was hilly (out by Lake Corpus Christi) and a little windy, but I made it!

Pressing on . . . Chasing the lion . . .

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Christmas Slow Down . . .

We had a great time spending a couple of days without internet and cable, etc at Lake Corpus Christi. Just playing games, watching movies, eating, hanging out and sleeping (a lot!) .

The highlight was probably just watching our kids play - haven't seen that in a while when we were all together with no distractions.

It was just like old times here as the girls roped poor Luke into some kind of cheerleading game! (But I think he secretly loves the attention!)

Praise God for my family. They grow up so quickly . . . .

What did your family do for Christmas?

Monday, December 24, 2007

Merry Christmas & Checking Out!

Merry Christmas from our family to yours! We pray that your days are filled with His joy!

I'm checking out of the blogosphere for a few days as I'm going to go spend a couple of days away with my family. It's gonna be great to get some down time with all my kids and my Mom who is in town with us.

Eve Eve Thanks!

Thanks to our 'fantastic five' quintet of Tom Adams, Bo Kratz, Chris Gregory, Clif Johnson and Will Thornton who rocked out 'old school style' at our Christmas Eve Eve gathering. Thanks for leading us guys.

We were also blessed with a great crowd on such a busy weekend with so many folks out of town.

Friday, December 21, 2007

Bible Reading

It's impossible to deal honestly with God's Truth and not be changed (or flat out reject change).
As I've been continuing to read in the book of James here is some of what God has been showing me:

James 2:14-16 - Is it possible to have real faith in Christ and consistently look past the very real needs of those around us? Hmmm......

James 2:17 - Jesus said that a tree would reveal it's true nature by the fruit it produced. No matter how much makeup you put on it and how nice of clothes you dress it up in, a corpse is still dead!

James 2:18-19 - There is a cerebral - or theoretical - faith that never travels beyond mental assent and into the realm of abiding in Christ and obeying His commands. This is no different than Satan's belief in God (i.e. mental assent in the reality of).

James 2:26 - I take it that since he said it about 10 times in the last couple of hundred words that God isn't real excited about folks who talk about Him (and/or show up at church) and whose lives don't reflect Him.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Possibly the Best Video Ever!

Alright, I showed this video in worship back in January and probably watched it 10 times then. But someone just sent it to me again and I watched it and got inspired tears in my eyes again!

The combination of the story and the video may make it the best video ever. If you've got a better one please send it to me!

Check it out and be inspired!

New Family Pic

Here is this years new family pic . . . it seems like we rotate between serious one year and silly the next!
Emily looks like she could be in pain and poor Luke just wants to escape (it's tough being 13)!

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Christmas EVE EVE!

A few years ago when Christmas Eve fell on a Friday and Christmas on a Saturday and we found out that half our church would already be gone on Christmas Eve, we said: 'Hey why not do our 'Christmas Celebration' on Eve Eve!' Brilliant!

And so this Sunday night (23rd) the untraditional tradition continues as we Celebrate the birth of Christ together at 7pm!

And I want to encourage you that this is a once-a-year opportunity to bring friends, neighbors, and co-workers to a time when they can be re-connected to their spiritual Christmas roots. So many folks are looking for a way to renew what they once knew or maybe just witnessed. And as we sing the traditional music and worship in uplifting ways, you're going to give them an opportunity rediscover what they've been missing.

And, oh yeah, if they come, I promise that they'll have more fun than this guy!

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Tuesday Thoughts

Really loooooooong, busy day.
Then tonight both our girls King teams (JV & Varsity) took it on the chin to our rival Carrol. Ouch. Maybe winning isn't everything . . . . .

But my YCA boys beat Annapolis!

Please pray for families . . . this holiday season is a really hard time in the lives of many families because of broken memories and/or the stress and pressure of the season. I've seen lots of evidence the past couple of weeks and many folks around you are hurting. How sad in what should be such a joyful season.
Be watching . . . and praying for the peace of Jesus to break through hearts.

Monday, December 17, 2007

Chasing a Lion!

A couple of months ago I told you that one of the lions that I wanted to chase was running a marathon. Well I have officially moved towards that lion. I'm starting with a half-marathon and I'm now signed up to run the AT&T Austin Half-Marathon on February 17th!

For the past 3 weeks I've really picked up my training - thanks to the guidance of my cousin/trainer John Wilson, an avid tri-athlete and marathoner. Today I went over 6 miles for the first time and ran almost an hour (56 minutes). It's been a looooong time since I've run that long. Nearly half-way to 13.1!

What lions are you gonna chase this next year? Tell us about it . . . .

Giving More!

I can't wait to sit next to the leaders of the ministries that we are going to bless through Advent Conspiracy and hand them the checks that are going to blow them away! That is going to be a blast!

And I'm excited to hear about the lives that are blessed with fresh drinking water, and a hot meal and clothes, and a new start in beating an addiction, and a new thirst for the eternal water that Jesus gives . . . because so many of you made the decision to spend less and give more!

As I told you in yesterday's message, I want to share the websites of those ministries that we are going to bless through our giving - here they are - please check them out:

Living Water International

Mission 911

The Wenholz House

Remember, for the compassion giving that you want to pour out as you spend less - please write 'Advent Conspiracy' on the check memo or envelope - and 100% of those dollars will go to these ministries.

Saturday, December 15, 2007

A Foreign Country?

Like most Saturday nights as I'm going to bed, I'm excited about what God is going to do tomorrow and wonder about the folks who will come - maybe for the first time - seeking something, seeking change in their life, seeking hope.

And I wonder what will someone who lives completely outside 'church culture' think about when they come to Oso Creek? Will it be weird or inviting? Confusing or comforting?

Tim Stevens has a great blog on this subject after going to a India and then wondering if people who come to our churches feel like their going to a foreign country. Click here to read it.

Do you remember what it was like for you when you first showed up at church? If so, please hit 'comment' and share those feelings and how people's response to you affected those feelings? If it's been so long that you don't remember, then you probably really need to go back and read Tim Steven's post again.

Boys and Guns

I've had a great Saturday -- met with the Lion Chasing men this morning . . . had a good but tough run in the 100mph wind . . . and then Bo Kratz took Luke and I out shooting guns this afternoon.

Luke had been wanting to shoot my guns (sorry, it's a boy thing if you don't understand) and we had a great time just plinkin' at bottles and cans and telling stories (I can't say for sure if any of the stories Bo told were true :)

While we were out there I was thinking about, as I do often, my 13-year old boy and how quickly he's growing up. I also thought about how young boys are in some ways like guns. Guns can be used in positive and productive ways when they're properly cared for, but when they're not handled with wisdom and discernment they can be equally dangerous.

How our young boys need us. How they need our time, our wisdom and our care. And how if we don't supply those needs, they'll be met somewhere. And 'somewhere' may not know how to handle guns (or boys). And we already see so many young lives that are dangerous.

This is a battle I refuse to lose. I'm gonna fight for that boy. How about you? How are you fighting for your boy?

Be Careful of Too Much Holiday Fun!

My sister-in-law baked a cake last night for a neighbor and while it was cooling off in the kitchen their dog helped himself to a holiday treat.
Looks like puppy needs some Rolaids!

Friday, December 14, 2007

God's Prophetic Call to the World

I've been reading in the book of James the past couple of weeks as we've been in the midst of Advent Conspiracy and the holiday season.

James 1:22 says: "Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says."

How easily we just become spectators - listeners - of truth. And the truth is we're just fooling ourselves. Thinking that because we show up to church - or to a small Group - or drop a few bucks in the basket - or go to a Christmas Eve (Eve) Service - that we're living the life. God says, 'DO IT!' Do it man! God's not looking for our vote of confidence, He wants our lives!

And as we journey together through this holiday season, we want to do it! To be those who are pointing the world to the Risen Christ. To be those who are celebrating this season in a way that honors a King.

To that end one of the ways that I'm going to encourage us this Sunday to give ourselves away sacrificially is by giving to Living Water International.

How are you going to live it out? Will we BE God's prophetic call to the world?

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Merry Christmas from My Kids!

If you wanna watch something funny then click on this video and watch my kids dance! (Their gonna love their Mom for doing this :)

They All Made it Here Last Night

Emily made it home last night and the cool North winds finally hit . . . life is good!

Isn't it amazing how a 30 degree drop in temperature can change your outlook?

"Now the Lord is the Spirit and where the Spirit of the Lord is there is freedom."
How much more God's Spirit changes our lives as we allow Him to control us.
I pray that the fresh winds of God's Spirit are blowing over you today.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Spend Less!

Last Sunday Nathan Lindell did an awesome job bringing the latest message in our Advent Conspiracy series - Spend Less. (If you weren't there, you can click here and listen.)

Our heart is to focus this holiday season more on Compassion and less on consumption. And Nathan encouraged us to find ways to spend less on gifting by being creative (and personal!).

My wife has done awesome at this for several years. Just yesterday she finished up a DVD of our kid's year - some video, some pics of them playing sports, hanging out, working, etc. She sets it to awesome music and the grandparents love it! It gives them another way to be part of their grandkids lives and collect memories.

Another thing she has done is make calendars for an upcoming year with pics of our kids above each months calendar. She just cone binds it and again the grandparents love it as they get to look at their (genetically driven) beautiful grandkids all year!

The Advent Conspiracy has some other great ideas - click here to check them out.

But now we want to hear from you. What great gifts have you created for folks? Please help us and inspire us!

Emily's On Her Way Home!

As I type Emily is driving home from Hardin-Simmons and getting close to San Antonio! This is her first time to drive by herself on the road and I've talked to her about every 30 minutes! (Any of you other parents ever done that?)

It was snowing this morning when she left Abilene and she better be bringing the cold with her . . . I for one am tired of our stinkin' hot & sticky winter!

Monday, December 10, 2007

What a Week!

What impact a week of solitude can have! I praise God that I was able to spend last week in the Hill Country listening to God.

For the second year in a row I stayed at an awesome bed & breakfast that gives free nights to pastors, but is an incredible place for anyone to stay. Because of how they have impacted me I want to encourage you to check them out (take your wife their for a weekend guys!) - it's the Haven River Inn in Comfort, Tx.

Here's just a few of the places that God was speaking to me during the week (I'm sure that I'll be talking more about these in the future):

- Mark 4 - What kind of soil are you?
- Romans 15:13 - Am I missing joy because I'm not able to trust?
- Luke 1:46-55 - How is my soul glorifying God?

Thursday, December 6, 2007

Guest Blog - Tim Lawley

Today's guest blogger is Tim Lawley. Tim is on our Elder Team, the husband of our Children's Pastor Audie, and a leader on our Greeter Team.

I'm always amazed at the reaction people have to the greeter's waving in the parking lot on Sunday mornings. Something as simple as a wave and a smile can brighten someone's day! Every one of us is a greeter, every one of us have the opportunity to bless another with a kind word or helping hand. What's stopping you? Go ahead, loosen up and say hello. I guarantee you'll feel better for it! Have a great week and I look forward to seeing you in the Oso Creek parking lot!


Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Guest Blog - Mike Ilse

Today's guest blogger is Mike Ilse - one of our Elder Team members and a leader on the Praise Team. Here's what's on Mike's heart and mind:

What’s the most money you have ever spent on a Christmas gift? Or, how about this, what is the greatest gift you have ever given or received?

This year Nancy and I seem focused more on getting to Germany to visit our daughter Jessica and son-in-law Phillip than we are Christmas shopping. The thought of crowded malls, traffic, and salesman peddling their wares is especially unappealing to us this year. Most of the time you don’t even see God and compassion beyond the glitz.

As you’re faced with giving gifts and following Pastor John’s message of More Compassion, Less Consumption, consider this:

Our good friend’s Greg and Erin Richmond introduced us to a ministry called “Gospel For Asia”. Through this organization you can purchase, for an underprivileged family or missionary in another country, an animal ie.. pair of goats, pig or milking cow, in the name of a friend or family member. Gospel For Asia will send a card to that family thanking them for the gift you gave in their name. (How about a Pig for a Pastor). How awesome to bring a Christmas to a family that might not otherwise have one and replace the Glitz with a Savior.

There are other ministries that do the same as Gospel For Asia. More Compassion. Less Consumption. Check it out!!

Monday, December 3, 2007

Guest Blog - Audie Lawley

This week as I'm away listening to God, I've asked several of our staff and elders to be guest bloggers. We start today with our awesome Children's/Creativity Pastor Audie Lawley.

Last week as i was pondering a question for the nametags....i was reading and rereading the paragraph about the shepherds on the night of Jesus' birth when a thought crossed my mind...How far where the shepherds from Bethlehem?
I knew the NIV says nearby and i then thought how cool it was, that not only where they 'nearby' physically, but they also must have been 'nearby' spiritually, because it was an immediate response they made... somehow they had to have had hearts that where primed to receive the news of the birth of Christ, because it says they ran, not walked or thought about it they said let's go and then took off and then 'told everyone' in ways that amazed people after seeing Him....
And what was it that so impressed them when they arrived and say just a tiny newborn wrapped in dirty stable rags, and two young dirty tired parents who had just had a baby. What was so amazing about that scene, that would cause these shepherds to leave that stable unable to even contain the wonder of what they had seen? What did they see that actually affirmed the message of the angel...that this little baby was the Savior that they had been waiting all their lives for?
So it made me think again.....what a weird conversation that must have been between Mary & Joseph & the shepherds.

M & J resting, or trying to in a nasty stinky stable with their little fella and then some shepherds come running in wanting to know if he was the promised Savior, is this the Messiah. Then taking a look and seeing how it really was just a little itty bitty baby....i'm sure then M& J told their story and it amazed the shepherds and affirmed the angels message and of course we know it affirmed for Mary what her heart all ready knew...her son was indeed going to Rock this World!
So it made me think close am I to bethlehem or even how far am i from bethlehem? am i like the shepherds who are ready to to receive an unexpected and strangely delivered message from God? would i drop everything and run towards that message or would I drop everything and run away? the honest answer is I don't really know!

I hope if while I was dragging my nasty green trash can to the street tonight, you know just doing a normal chore in my normal life, and an angel came and said I got some news your gonna wanna hear and i got a place your gonna wanna go check out, cuz there is something you need to see....that i would take off running to the message. my normal every day life, i need to be prepared to hear such a message, by staying in His word, by seeking His will, by doing all i can to draw nearer to Him so that I am ever ready to run when asked!

Sunday, December 2, 2007

This Week

I've expressed to you before my rhythm of having time to be in God's presence in solitude.

I need it every morning.
Monthly, I need a day and night away to clear my thoughts and focus on Him.
And yearly, I need a week to go away and remove all the distractions and reconnect with God in a deeper way.

This next week is my annual week away. I've done it the first week of December for 3 years now. I'll be gone to a small place in the Hill Country, leaving all my technology behind (OK, I take my cell phone but only turn it on at night to call my wife).

Just the other day I was emailed a great little article on the discipline of solitude. I encourage you to read it - click here - because it's something that not just pastors, but ALL of us need.

And I ask you to pray for me this week. That I will humbly listen . . . and hear.

Saturday, December 1, 2007

Golden Compass - The Right Direction for You and Your Kids?

Over the past several weeks I've received many emails about a much advertised movie that is going to hit the theaters on December 7th - The Golden Compass.

As you know, I normally don't spend time critiquing cultural events. Largely because if they emanate from popular culture we should expect them to have the perspective of the world. And then depending on our conviction, we should either use them to better understand our world and those around us; or leave them in the newspaper.

That being said, from the perspective of a Father and a Pastor, I am concerned about what I've read about the underlying direction of this movie. And much of my concern has to do with the target audience being children.

We cannot and MUST NOT bury our heads in the social sand when it comes to our children whose young hearts and souls need our guidance.

With that in mind I have collected several articles below that talk about Philip Pullman himself (author), the trilogy of books which this movie is based on, and the movie itself.

I encourage you to be as 'wise as a serpent' and use the below before 'inhaling.'

The first three links are different websites and then the last portion is part of an email also with links in it.

And then, please comment back and let us know what you think . . . . .

There is a new movie coming to theaters December 7. You should be forewarned about The Golden Compass. The target audience for the movie is children, and it is being promoted in some schools. The Golden Compass is based on a book trilogy that promotes atheistic views, likely to be reflected in the movie.

For more information on The Golden Compass, click here to read the column by AFA's Rebecca Grace. You might also want to read an article from Chuck Colson's Prison Fellowship. Click here for the article.

Friday, November 30, 2007

Don't Miss It: Advent Conspiracy!

I'm excited about the Christmas season series that we are going to begin on THIS Sunday -- Advent Conspiracy! It has the potential to change Christmas for every single one of us!

Don't miss it. And don't let anyone around you who needs to hear the real message of Christmas miss it.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Irish Wisdom

I can't imagine much more earthly pressure than being a big-time college football coach. On some levels you've got to appease players, parents, administration, teachers, alumni - and 100,000 fans every Saturday.

I've posted several times lately on perseverance/continuing on --- and Lloyd Carr who just resigned as the Michigan football coach after 13 years -- persevered with dignity and character.

In an article about his retirement, I loved this quote of an Irish Poet (Pakenham Beatty) that he said helped to guide him:

By your own soul, learn to live.
If some men thwart you, take no heed.
If some men hate you, have no care.

Sing your song. Dream your dream.
Hope your hope and pray your prayer.

Some powerful thoughts. Click here to read the entire article.

What Are You Expecting Today?

It's so easy to live life in a rut, or at a pity party, or in front of the stinkin' tv/internet/email. What are you expecting God to do today?

Read Ephesians 3:20: "Now glory be to God! By His mighty power at work within us, He is able to accomplish infinitely more than we would ever dare to ask or hope?"

Read it again.
No, really, read it again.

It just struck me today. Why so often don't I dare to ask or hope? Why are we just content living in this place apart from God's fullness?
What are you thinking can't be fixed or can't be healed or can't be done?

Expect God. I dare you.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Way to Go Creekers!

Wow, I can't believe that time got away and I forgot to give you the Operation Christmas Child count. You filled and wrapped and prayed over at least 198 boxes! (If you delivered them directly to the pick-up station you may not of made our count . . . but you did make a huge difference!)
Those boxes are now in route to children's homes around the world who need Jesus. Keep praying for those children and their families that they would experience the power of the risen Christ!

In addition to that in the past 3 weeks we've sent at least 55 coats to Georgetown Community Church that are being given out to the homeless in the metro DC area! One Creeker couple was even heading to a conference in DC and packed two extra suitcases that were hand delivered to grateful folks at GCC!

Way to go Creekers! It's awesome to be a part of Church that is willing to give itself away!

The Hurting and Needy

This morning I took my daughter Sarah and a friend to visit another of their friends in the hospital. Every time I'm in that situation it reminds me so powerfully of God's heart for the broken and hurting.

I'm convinced that ALL of us who are Christ followers should intentionally - and regularly - put ourselves in situations where we are confronted with the hurting and needy. It takes us out of our little bubble and reminds us of the needs all around us. It draws us back to the mercy of God and what it means to follow Him.

"I want you to share your food with the hungry and to welcome poor wanderers into your homes. Give clothes to those who need them, and do not hide from relatives who need your help." (Isaiah 58:7)

"And wherever [Jesus] went--into villages, towns or countryside--they placed the sick in the marketplaces. They begged him to let them touch even the edge of his cloak, and all who touched him were healed." (Mark 6:56)

Monday, November 26, 2007

Post Thanksgiving Thoughts

Hope everyone made it back from Thanksgiving . . . I'm just getting over the travel hangover after the 8 hour drive from Frisco to Corpus on Saturday night. Got in at 1am and it was in the rain ALL the way! My shoulders are still a little tight.

I do think that Thanksgiving is the best holiday . . . all the food and family and football of Christmas, without the social and financial pressure of gifting and re-gifting.
Speaking of re-gifting how many of you will confess that you are going to re-gift something this Christmas?

Thanks to Wes, Jason and Gil for sharing your 'Thanks in All Things' yesterday in worship - that was awesome. I really like that worship phrase we came up with for Sunday 'Thanks in All Things.'

'Boys or The Pack on Thursday night?

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Wow, It's Cold!

Drove to Sherman today to spend Thanksgiving with Cindy's sister and her family. About Waco we hit the cold front and the temperature dropped about 40 degrees! It's supposed to be an icy 33 degrees tonight. Great sleeping weather.

Spent 9 hours with the family in the car on Texas highways - we had a good trip. About half the State's population traveled with us . . . in our lane. One thought: If your gonna go 60 in a 70, then please stay out of the stinkin' middle lane! :)

Looking forward to sleeping late, turkey, hanging out with family, and watching the Cowboys tomorrow! Have a great Thanksgiving!

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Advent Conspiracy

Get Ready Creekers! This Advent Season we are going to substitute Compassion for consumption . . .

We are joining many other churches around the country in Advent Conspiracy.

We are conspiring to return Christmas to it's right place of worshipping Jesus and changing the world!

I'm pumped about how God is going to bless this Christmas as we focus truly on why Jesus showed up on earth!

Coming December 2nd . . .

Oso Creek PEACE Plan - Part II

P - Pray.

E - Every Person is a Divine Appointment.

How many people have you accidentally crossed paths with today? Did you know that every person you meet, you leave your fingerprint on in some way?

What if we started looking at every single person that we came in contact with as a Divine Appointment? I mean it really is true if you are a follower of Christ. The Divine lives within us through His Holy Spirit. And if we're there and they're there, it must be an appointment.

What if we lived out every divine appointment so that we could in some way help that person move nearer to God.

"Be wise in the way you act toward outsiders; make the most of every opportunity." (Colossians 4:5)

Today. Today I dare you to ask God to show you all the divine appointments that He's set for you. It will change forever the way you look at others.

Monday, November 19, 2007

Thanksgiving Dreams

This week we are going to get spend Thanksgiving with one of Cindy's sisters and her family in Sherman (we also get to see Emily as she meets us there! :)

Here's what I'm looking forward to:

1) rest
2) hanging out with my family
3) watching Laura play soccer (she's also playing in a premier tourney in Dallas over the weekend)
4) pumpkin pie
5) Cowboys game
6) dressing & mashed potatoes

What are you looking forward to this week? Or, what Thanksgiving traditions does your family have?

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Keep Running!

". . . But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus." (Phil 3:13-14)

God keeps impressing on me this this need to courageously persevere. Pressing on to what's ahead.

Just the last couple of days I've been sent two links that illustrate this so powerfully:

First a young female runner in Ohio finishes the State Cross Country meet with a leg broken not once, but TWICE! This is a powerful story & video - story & video

And then Sherman Jones - a wartime hero from Spade, Texas - wow this is awesome! video

How is God encouraging you to press on today? Let us know and encourage us . . . and keep going!!

Friday, November 16, 2007

Church Sign Terrorists

When we were moving onto our land several folks approached me about getting a church sign that we could put little sayings on. I would rather have an AC/DC concert on Easter Sunday.

I think that many church signs have been as instrumental in pushing people away from God as the loving 'Christians' who carry the 'God Hates Fags' signs (Don't believe me check out their website - click here - wow! and yes, sadly, it's for real!)

OK, maybe a slight exaggeration, but check out admissable evidence A: Perry Noble's blog on bad church signs :)

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Sending Out Mercy

Only three more days until we bring our shoeboxes filled with hope to be sent out as gifts of mercy around the world.

This Sunday is Operation Christmas Child Dedication Sunday.

And don't miss the opportunity to get your children involved in loving other children around the world who have never had the privilege of hearing about the Christ of Christmas.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Oso Creek PEACE Plan

Jesus said that He came to bring God's peace. It's been a while since I've talked about the Oso Creek PEACE Plan and God has had heavy on my heart the simplicity of what He has called us to as followers of Jesus.

I had a one-hour conversation yesterday morning at the coffee house with a man named Richard who is desperately searching for answers in his life. So many around us are. And God has given us the privilege of sharing with folks how they can be filled with Peace . . . for eternity.

You may (or may not) remember that PEACE is an acronym for:

Every person is a Divine Appointment
Ask questions
Communicate the hope of Jesus
Expect changed lives

I want to begin in this blog by talking about Pray. Then I will follow it up in the coming days.

Pray. Do we really believe Jesus when He said that we have not because we ask not? I wonder.

It's much easier to try to accomplish things on our own, then to kneel before the Savior and ask Him. But remember this: Everything eternal that happens on earth begins in heaven.

I've encouraged Creekers to always be praying for their 'Top3' - three people around them who need to know the hope of Jesus.

And to pray the 3-Open Prayer from Colossians 4:3-4 :

1) Pray that God will open the door of opportunity (2 Peter 3:9)
2) Pray that God will open the door of their hearts as only HE can do (John 16:7-8)
3) Pray that God will open our mouths (Romans 10:17)

Pray. Pray right now. Pray desperately for God to use us to change our City.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Reveal! (ONE more time!)

OK, for you Creekers with a guilty conscience because you didn't get the Reveal Survey done . . . you have found GRACE!

We have been given another week extension to collect as many surveys as possible. If you don't know what I'm talking about then click and read this blog.

If you're just ready to take the survey, click here: Survey Link:

Help us help you - and many others - navigate the deeper waters of the Kingdom of God!

Monday, November 12, 2007

Freedom Experience!

Last week there was something called Freedom Experience at the American Bank Center that was targeted at bringing youth to Jesus!

Over the 3 Night event - which was lead by Brock Gill and Vertical Ministries - 11,000 people attended and 1,170 decisions were made for Christ!!

Praise God for these Creekers who were part of loving those who came to FX: Kelly Schumaker, Connie Bures, Tanya Soto, Megan Rangel, Michelle Robbins, Brigetta Thornton, Pam Teel, Rachel Wranosky & JT Wranosky. I apologize if I missed some of you who were there, but way to go for the Kingdom!

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Long - But Great - Saturday!

Long day . . . 2 basketball tournaments (now finished) and a baseball game still to go.
I was so proud of Sarah in the JV basketball tourney as she played great and made the basket to put away the last game.
And Laura made her first varsity points yesterday! (4 actually!)

Can't wait for worship tomorrow to see what God does!

Thursday, November 8, 2007

OCC Opportunities!

One week from this Sunday (Nov 18th) is Dedication Sunday for Operation Christmas Child and sending boxes around the world filled with the Hope of Christ for Christmas!

And that means you have one week left to use OCC to love your neighbors and co-workers. Again, it's an incredible opportunity to invite your neighbors to be involved with us in loving hurting children around the world -- and letting them see God's grace through you and Oso Creek!

On my block I invite everyone to prepare boxes and let them know that we will be dedicating them on November 18th at our 9am and 11am services. I tell them that we would love to have them as our guest that Sunday, but if they're not able to make it they can drop their boxes off at my house before the 18th.
Here's a CHALLENGE! If anybody can get more OCC shoeboxes on their block than us, I'll buy you dinner!

Another cool OCC note is that our own Tammy Conolly is doing live interviews on TV for Operation Christmas Child. One around 7:30 am this Sunday morning (Channel 3) and another at noon on Monday on Channel 6. Pray for Tammy and praise God for these opportunities!

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Athletics & Jesus

The King Girls Basketball season began last night and we smoked the Mathis Lady Pirates! I'm excited about my daughters having the opportunity to play JV & Varsity basketball this year, but I'm just as excited about the opportunity God has given me with the Varsity Girls.

The Coach has asked me to come before every game and share a devotional and pray with the team. Last night I talked about one of my favorite verses, Proverbs 4:23:

"Above all else guard your heart. For it is the wellspring of life!"

I told them that the heart is the seed of life - and that most importantly the spiritual life begins with a heart focused on Jesus.
I went on to relate it to basketball - and life - in that those who live from the heart (and not just on their physical talent and/or intelligence) are those who find fulfillment and victory!

Please pray for me as I relate God's truth to these young ladies and coaches. This weekend we have a tournament and I plan on spending each pre-game talking about courage.
My hope is to be salt and to unwrap the Hope of Christ through the season.


On Sunday I talked about how we decimate our life with Christ when we get mesmerized on our perceived inadequacies instead of seeing the 'God Possibilities.'

This Summer when we were in Pennsylvania, as I was running one day, I discovered an interesting phenomenon among Pennsylvanianites. They're egomailiacs. Almost every single house where I was had these HUGE mailboxes! Like the size of 4 of my mailboxes. I mean huge! You could get a turkey AND dressing, or a medium sized dog in there! (maybe both!)

I guess in Pennsylvania people EXPECT something BIG to come in the mail. Wow, I thought, shouldn't we have BIG spiritual mailboxes? Didn't God say that He could do more than we could ask or imagine? Are you expecting big things from God?

When we quit looking at ourselves and look at the God of Creation and expecting HIS possibilities, watch out! Your box is gonna get BIG . . . and FULL!

Monday, November 5, 2007

Chasing Lions

As I said on Sunday, beginning this Saturday I'm going to lead a men's journey through the book: In A Pit With a Lion on a Snowy Day.

Men, if you're a Creeker or not, would love to have you come. We've got a few books left at the building (most were snatched up yesterday) but you better get by quick to grab one. Then read chapter 1 and show up at the building Saturday morning at 7:30am.

We'll have the coffee brewing and go for about an hour.

Sunday, November 4, 2007

Men's Awesome Encounter!

What an awesome Men's Encounter we had this weekend!! Thanks to Mark Patterson, Greg Richmond and JT Wranosky for leading! And thanks for all the men who shared their heart and their stories of victory (and continuing struggle) in Christ!
And a special thanks to Chris Burns for humbly sharing this morning in worship. Wow, powerful.

That's what I love about Oso Creek and about Encounter . . . . the willingness to be transparent for the sake of the Kingdom. That's why Encounter never gets old because it's about us sharing our lives so that other lives can be transformed!

Thursday, November 1, 2007


I've been blogging for 2 months now. Quite honestly I'm having a blast with it. I feel as if it is another venue that I can use to communicate quickly and honestly with a large group of people -- and then have the power of interaction and community.

The intention of my blog is to talk about life and to lead others (and specifically Creekers and anyone else who tunes in) into the deeper waters of following Jesus.

You ever thought about blogging? The Swerve Blog that I read just posted a whole series of blogs on blogging. Check this out on Why Consider Blogging? And you may want to check out that whole series of posts.

And then let me know, what do you think about this blog? How has it impacted you?

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Jesus For Kids Around the World . . . & Around the Block!

This year we will again look to bless children around the world through Operation Christmas Child!

It's all about packing a shoe box for a needy child (click here for more info) and then filling it up with hope as we pray for children and families to know Jesus!

Last year many of us also began using it as an outreach to our friends and neighbors. Cindy and I discovered that many people on our block were more than willing to fill a shoe box for a needy child around the world. And then we had the opportunity to invite them to Oso Creek on Dedication Sunday (November 18th).

Wow, what a great opportunity to express to our friends and neighbors how God loves people (and let them participate!) while blessing children all over the planet!

And God smiles!!

Don't miss out! Pick up some brochures on Sunday morning and start spreading Christmas!

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Launchin' Out

Cindy and I just had lunch with a couple who are about to leave their comfortable Corpus world to join a church plant in Austin.
It was awesome just to spend time hearing what God is doing and encouraging them! I love to be around people who are finding their place in the Kingdom and on fire for what God is doing in their lives.

And isn't that where God wants all of us? Are you listening for God's next steps in your life? What's He calling you to today?

Monday, October 29, 2007

REVEAL Survey Time is Running Out!

Just a reminder for you Creekers who haven't had a chance yet to take the Reveal Survey. If you didn't see the prior post about this awesome opportunity then check it out here!

If you just need to take the survey then click below and rock on . . .

Reveal Survey

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Never, Ever, Ever Give Up!

I posted on this earlier in the week. Whatever you're going through today, whatever frustration or challenges or hills you are facing . . . whatever is in front of you . . . remember this - God will NEVER give up on you!

He will never leave us or forsake us! His ways are higher than our ways and His might is greater than anything on this planet!

For a great picture of never giving up check out this awesome video from a Division III football game this weekend.

Awesome Video - Dang stinkin!

Friday, October 26, 2007

Future of the Church

Craig Groeschel, one of the pastors and bloggers that I read, recently posted THIS in a series of blogs about the future of the church.

Read it and tell me what you think? Will there be growing persecution in the Church? Are we going to grow more missional and passionate in America about following Jesus? How does that possibility make you feel?

Women at Encounter

Just a reminder that many Oso Creek ladies leave today for Women's Encounter (going to Zephyr Baptist Encampment). Please pray for God to bring hope and healing. Pray for relationships to be strengthened. And pray for Jesus to overflow the banks of their lives as they return tomorrow night and that the fruit would be lasting and eternal!

Thursday, October 25, 2007

You Version

Hey check out this new online Bible called You Version. It allows you to personalize an online version and also collaborate with a community of folks . . . and a lot of other cool stuff that I don't understand yet . . . What possibilities do you see?

And one of the awesome things is that it's been developed and implemented by a church - Life Church - for the purpose of blessing the Kingdom ..... Awesome!

Letter to a Gay Guy

Below you'll find a link to a post by Tim Stevens called 'Letter to a Gay Guy.' I encourage to read his letter and then answer the questions below.

'Letter to a Gay Guy' link

What do you think about his response? Does this reflect Jesus' heart? Is this the heart of Oso Creek? Isn't this how we should express our mission to anyone - regardless of their issues - who is far from God? Why or why not?

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Encounter and Hell Night!

I gotta tell you about some exciting God-events happening in the next week!

This weekend is Women's Encounter! For those of you who are unfamiliar, this is a weekend of ladies experiencing the power of God and renewing their passion in Jesus! (Men's Encounter is the next weekend.)
It is all about experiencing the FREEDOM of Christ! Please be praying for God's protection and that the Holy Spirit will pour out on the leaders (Pam Teel, Nancy Ilse, Susan Klaus, Cindy Bradshaw) the coaches, and the participants.

And then next Wednesday night (Halloween) one of our college students - Melissa Del Prato - is leading Hell Night on the TAMUCC campus!
In short, Hell Night is a creative way to use the Halloween celebration (and the campus!) to share the hope of Jesus with students!
Melissa asks that we would pray for the protection of the students involved, and the hearts of students who will come that night. If you want to know more you can email Melissa here: Melissa Del Prato . . . Or how about just emailing her a note of encouragement!

Don't Give Up!

Another confession. I said a few weeks ago that one of the lions that I was chasing was running a marathon. Well lately I've allowed life to get in the way of my running and I haven't been picking it up like I need to.

It's easy to get discouraged and frustrated when life gets hard or isn't being directed according to our plan. BUT, we must not look back! God has been telling me that I can't live life in the 'what ifs' . . . it's defeating. That I must press ahead in Him!

Paul said: "Brothers, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus." (Philippians 3:13-14)

The following is great encouragement from Billy Graham about confidently moving forward:

“When we come to Christ we begin reading the Bible and praying and having fellowship with other Christians, and we start to grow. Many times our growth will be so slow and so infinitesimal that after a while we become disgusted with ourselves. For the first two or three years after I came to Christ I had some terrible moments of discouragement and despondency. When I was in Bible school in Florida, I had a little hideout in the woods that nobody knew about. I would go there alone and spend hours, and I’d have it out with the Lord on subject after subject and problem after problem. Perhaps growth was rapid, perhaps it was slow, but always it was in the grace and knowledge of Christ. Listen: if you are not all that you want to become immediately, don’t give up. Two or three or five years later you can look back to that moment and say, ‘Well, I’m actually growing.’ It’s a gradual process, like physical growth.”

Let's keep pressing into Jesus . . . and encouraging one another to press on!

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

YCA Baketball Team -- 1-0!

Thanks to those of you who prayed for the young men on my Hooks baseball team this Fall.

I told you then that soon I would tell you more about the YCA Middle School Basketball team. We played our first game last night and won! They did awesome!

Here are the names of those boys and I would be grateful if you would ask God to pour Himself out on them and their families:

Dylan T.
Grant B.
Hunter B.
Hunter F.
JJ Jones
Luke B.
Nathan J.
Peyton P.
Ross B.
Tucker G.
Walker G.

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Homecoming Refelections

We made it to Hardin Simmons and Emily is doing great! 10 weeks since we had seen her . . . it was awesome to hold her again. She took us on the grand tour and we also met about 50 girls named Ashley or Lauren (and a couple of guys but I'm gonna ignore that!) . . . was lots of fun . . . I'm just already not looking forward to leaving her again tomorrow. . . .

This is Homecoming weekend and also is Cindy and I's 20th graduation celebration. We went to a gathering last night of folks we graduated with and I tell you what I had no idea that some of those people we graduated with were so old! They must of been about 30 when we were in college cause their stinkin' old now. I'm just glad that Cindy and I aren't that old :)

Being back in these places of life history send me into life reflection. Is my life really counting? Am I pursuing Jesus with everything or just happy to get down the river? How can I make the next 20 count?

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Off to See E!

Long Thursday . . .

About to leave in a few minutes though to head to see Emily! We go to San Antonio tonight and then on to Abilene in the morning to see our Sweet E at HSU!
I'll let you know how it's going . . .

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

"A person standing alone can be attacked and defeated, but two can stand back-to-back and conquer. Three are even better, for a triple-braided cord is not easily broken." Ecclesiastes 4:12

I spent the day in San Antonio today with a friend and church leadership mentor, Jeff Harris. Jeff pastors Grace Point in SA and is a few years ahead of me in the church leadership journey. (You can check out his blog here.)

Sometimes I think I'm crazy driving 5 hours in one day just to spend 3 hours with a mentor. But I need it. Jeff asks the right questions that help keep me sharp and focused. He's a great outlet for those issues a pastor must plow through. Sometimes we talk about some hard things, but I would summarize by saying that when I leave my soul and my vision are both a little sharper.

Who sharpens your soul? Who helps your vision stay clear? Who are your 2, or 3, who help you stay focused on Jesus and His calling for your life?

Tuesday, October 16, 2007


The Reveal Survey that I told you about a couple of weeks ago is an incredibly unique opportunity for us to partner with over 500 other churches around the world to discover how we can more powerfully follow God! I am so pumped that we were chosen to take part in this survey . . . and now it is TIME!

Here's the scoop:

There’s nothing more important to our church than your spiritual growth. Whether you’re just starting to explore the Christian faith, or you’re a long-time Christ-follower, we want to do everything we can to help you on your spiritual journey. That's why we need EVERYONES help.

We’re asking ALL CREEKERS (members, attenders, everyone!) who are 18 or over (per survey -- their target audience) -- AND have been at Oso Creek for at least 3 months (or have been gone from Oso Creek for 3 months or less) to click on the link below to take the REVEAL Spiritual Life Survey. It asks questions about your spiritual life and the role Oso Creek plays in it.

The Survey touches on a wide range of thought-provoking issues and will take approximately 20 minutes to complete. So plan accordingly before you begin. I've been promised by Willow Creek Church (who began and are sponsoring the survey) and Reveal that:

* This survey is completely anonymous. An expert third-party research organization will aggregate your input with responses from thousands of other people, so your survey will not be viewed individually.
* You will not be solicited for any products or services as a result of taking this survey.
* Your email address will not be distributed to another party.

I just ask you to honestly answer the survey as best you can so that it can be used for God's greatest purpose! The survey will close in only two weeks so please take it as soon as possible.

Survey Link:

If you run into problems with the survey, please email Reveal by clicking here

Who Needs to Know Him?

How are you loving those who are without Christ?

In my own life - as with you - I deal with what Mark Mittleberg calls 'evangelistic entropy' - that creeping forgetfulness, in mind-heart-and hands, about giving our lives away for the sake of eternity.

Why God, why? THE most important activity we're called to on the planet besides dwelling with God, is sharing our lives by serving and loving those who need hope. Why do we slide . . . God help us. Burden us.

I've been inspired by various others recently. I encourage you to first read this blog by Mark Batterson . . . click here

Then read the below which is an excerpt from the Man in the Mirror email:

Many people are convinced they are going to heaven, but are content to let the world go to hell. Jesus said we are “in” but not “of” the world, but He didn’t stop there. He also said, “As you sent me into the world, I have sent them into the world” (John 17:18).

If Christianity is lived inside cultures, then what is our responsibility to our culture? Jesus wants to send us to improve our culture. We are ambassadors who bring the civilization of the gospel. Christians stabilize culture. Consider Daniel, Joseph, and Mordecai—three Jews (true believers) who rose to high positions in non-Christian cultures. They were ambassadors for God—and stabilizing influences—inside their cultures.

It is not our assignment to create a Christian culture. Our assignment is to represent God within the culture. To do that, we have to go “into” the culture. On matters not specifically commanded or prohibited by Scripture, we adapt to the culture. We don’t require the culture to adapt to us. That’s how Paul did it.

Paul was such a chameleon. He knew that by becoming all things to all men, he might save some. That’s why you and I should be chameleons too.

“Christianity is lived inside cultures.” What implications and opportunities does this concept present to you in your church, ministry, home, language forms, work, and as a family?

New Oso Creek Administrative Assistant(s)!

Praise God that we've got a new Administrative Assistant (or assistants)!
We're trying a new platoon system. Linda Davidson will be the manager of the office and primarily working in the mornings, while Peggy Murphey will be filling the afternoons.

I praise God for these ladies and their willingness to be used by God in this role. You can click here to email them both a word of encouragement!

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Monday & Hobbies

Ouch! What the Pats did to the Cowboys is kind of depicted to the right. Marked em' up pretty good . . .

My Monday morning will start at 6:30am with Yorktown Christian Academy (YCA) Jr. High Boys Basketball practice. You know when people ask me what my hobbies are these days, I tell them mostly coaching my kids.
I love it. I love being with my kids. I love being around sports. And I love the opportunity to have eternal impact on these young men and their families.

Right now I'm coaching the YCA Boys basketball and a Fall league baseball team. I just wanted to share with you the names of the boys on my baseball team tonight and just ask you to whisper a prayer for these boys and their families as you read through them. (At some point later I'll share the basketball team names.)
Pray that through our interaction that Jesus will be more and more real in their lives. Thanks for joining with me.

Hooks Fall Baseball Team:

Anthony G.
Brady T.
Brandon B.
Dillon M.
James R.
Joe H.
John P.
Jordan S.
Josh E.
Luke B.
Will P.
Zeke R.

Friday, October 12, 2007

Hard Day

Today was a long, hard day. Started early but never really got off the ground. You ever have those days when it just feels like you drag your chin on the cement all day?

In the midst of it somebody gave me 1 Cor 15:58: "Therefore, my dear brothers, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain."

Stand firm. Let nothing move you. God is faithful. A great word for the hard days.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Confession Thoughts

Sunday's sermon was one of the hardest I've ever preached.

Not so much because of what I publicly confessed (most of you weren't surprised), but more so because of how God is still dealing with the edges of my heart in those areas. It seems that the nearer we get to Jesus - and believe me I'm not trying to profess being very near - but with each small step towards Jesus, the darkness of our own heart becomes more vivid in the Light of the King.

I find myself more and more searching for mercy like David: "Have mercy on me, O God, because of your unfailing love. Because of your great compassion, blot out the stains of my sins. Wash me clean from my guilt. Purify me from my sin." (Psalm 51)

But something else about confession itself that becomes more clear to me is this: Confession creates Covenant. I read that a while back and wasn't too sure . . .

But it's true. When we confess the darkness of our hearts to others, we are initiating a covenant. In confession what we are really saying is: 'This is who I really am, and I desire to change. I don't want to live there anymore. I want my life to change.'

"Confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed." (James 5)

Not ever easy. . . But freeing.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Still Before God

In a few minutes I leave to spend a night and day being still before God. I need it.
I've discovered that I need a regular rhythm of being quiet before God or the chaos of life scrambles my mind and heart.

This is the rhythm that restores me:

Daily - As the psalmist I, at the very least, need a Repentant heart before God.
"Search me O' God and know my heart, try me and and know my anxious thoughts. See if there be any hurtful way in me and lead me in the way everlasting."

Monthly - I need a day and night (or at least a day) away to find Rest and Renewal.

Yearly (for me in December) - I need a week away to add to the above, Recreation (and that's not golf, but RE-Creation, getting in a place to allow God to break down and reform hard places in my soul) and Revisioning (revisioning my life on Jesus' vision).

This is what I need for continual restoration. Let me know, how are you finding continual restoration in Jesus?

Pointing to God

As we read through the gospels we see that Jesus' primary occupation was pointing others to the Kingdom of God. He simply called us to follow Him.

Colossians 4 tells us: "Live wisely among those who are not Christians, and make the most of every opportunity."

And yet when we're honest, why is that so difficult? Why do we struggle with caring about others enough to point them to God? . . . . . .

Obviously it begins with a heart full of the Spirit's hope. And asking God to give us a desire to give that hope away. And we must begin to live wisely . . . .

Click Here to read a great (and short!) article on paying attention to others and pointing them to the Kingdom of God.

What are ways that God has used you lately? Please encourage us by sharing with us.

Monday, October 8, 2007

Twins Birthday Today!

It's Sarah & Laura's birthday today . . . sweet 16! The years go by so quickly . . .

Our birthday tradition is a eating at the restaurant of your choice.

Tonight we went to Aka Japanese Steakhouse -- where they cook at your table . . . and those dudes are good!

Sunday, October 7, 2007

Home From Catalyst

Wow, 8 hours on the road Friday and -- then 3 Cross Country meets (beginning at 7:30am!) and a baseball game on Saturday -- followed by a full day of Worship and Small Group training today!

I'm about ready to hit the hay but I want to share from one of the impacting talks at Catalyst by the leadership guru John Maxwell.

He told us that the most important responsibility in our ministries and lives is to: Intentionally add value to people every day. He said that in every interaction we have we are either adding value to people or subtracting value from people . . . and that left to our human nature we are subtractors! Wow, that's powerful and convicting!

He gave us 4 ways to help add value to people:
1) You have to truly Value people (If we don't value them, we devalue them)
2) Make yourself more valuable (Keep growing and developing so you can help others)
3) You must know and learn to relate to what others value (What's important to them?)
4) I must do the things that God values (What else really matters?)

What a great goal . . . to add value to every person that I interact with this week . . . and that you interact with this week.

Thursday, October 4, 2007

Great News for Oso Creek!

We heard some great speakers today at Catalyst and I will tell you more in a later post but now I want to tell you about some great news we got just before I left for the conference.

In 2004 Willow Creek Community Church began an in-depth survey of their church to discover if what they were doing was really having lasting spiritual impact. What they found was disturbing.

So then they took 30 other churches and surveyed them as well. At the Leadership Summit, which about 30 of us went to in August, their findings were summarized in Reveal. And Reveal is not just a book, but an ongoing study of how we can make a difference. When I read it, I was stopped in my tracks. I've been thinking about it ever since . . . with the rest of our leadership who has been reading it.

At the Conference Willow Creek announced that they were going to pick 500 more churches around the world who would participate in the next phase of the study. And for no cost because an individual in seeing it's incredible value, had completely underwritten it.

Well we found out earlier this week that WE WERE CHOSEN!! Of the thousands of churches who signed up, God is allowing us to participate in this journey!

I can't tell you how excited I am! We won't get to just read the data from the outside - but survey our church for the sole purpose of seeking how we can help people know Jesus more and more!

You can even click here and see a short video that shows the heart of reveal. And then get ready Creekers! In just a few weeks we'll begin what could very well be a revolutionary process in the Kingdom of God in Corpus Christi!

Gone to Atlanta!

Been off for a day . . . . long trip yesterday to Atlanta (3-hour flight delay :)
Audie, Aaron, Mark Patterson and I are at the Catalyst Conference - with about 11,000 of church leaders! More later . . .

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Confessions of a Soiled Christian

I'm excited about this Sunday and this new series we are beginning! Who have you been putting off inviting to Oso Creek? Whose ready to hear about the hope that we can have in Jesus? THIS IS the Sunday to invite them!

Someone has said that: "Evangelism is nothing more than one beggar telling another beggar where to find food." And that's exactly what I'm going to do on Sunday.

Thanks to those of you who have migrated to the 9 o'clock service! This Sunday let's fill up both Celebrations!

Monday, October 1, 2007

Monday Random Sports Thoughts

How bout' them Boys! Tony Romo is a playa! Get your wallet our Jerry.

And the Red Raiders scored 75! That's ridiculous . . .

One cheer for my Mom . . . How bout' them Rockies!

World Series Prediction: Cubs vs. Red Sox . . . Cubs win their first WS since the Civil War! Ok, maybe a dream more than a rational prediction. But IT COULD HAPPEN!

Check out this story about Allan Houston and his NBA comeback. He doesn't want to leave any regrets on the table. He's chasing his lion.
A couple of excerpts:
When asked about what he was looking forward to: "Just playing again. The feeling of doing what God has blessed me to do."
He went on to say about his decision to come back: "In the end, prayer is what will determine everything. After all, we will only take our faith to work if we know that our work is valuable to God!"

Sunday, September 30, 2007

Pray Blessing!

It's how God has been telling me to pray for those around me who need Him. How to pray for my neighbors . . . . and my friends who are in pain.

Pray blessing. Just ask God to bless them.

Try it this week.

For the folks who you know need Christ and you want to bring to Oso Creek this Sunday - pray that they will experience God's blessing.
For your spouse and children - pray for the power of God's blessing.
For the people that you are struggling to be around or work with - pray for God to bless their socks off. (It's very difficult to pray for God to bless someone and stay angry at them :)
For the clerk at Stripes or the teacher at school - pray for God's blessing.

This is how God told the leaders of Israel to pray over the people, and then He would pour out His blessing:

"The Lord bless you and keep you;

the Lord make His face shine upon you and be gracious to you;
the Lord turn His face toward you and give you peace." Numbers 6:24-26

Our world needs the blessing of God.

Saturday, September 29, 2007

Saturday Night Thoughts

Last (Friday) night our new Ladies 'Entry' Group had about 15 ladies at the first meeting! That's an awesome victory! (The heart of our 'Entry' groups is to engage people who aren't yet in a group, serve real needs, and also give them a hunger to be a part of a Life Group.)

There's another Entry Group - Homebuilders for Couples - that begins tomorrow night! Email Joe Sengler for more info.

Rained out our Cross Country meet this morning (spent an hour 'just standing in the rain' & waiting).

Rained out our baseball game this afternoon.

Had a great run this morning . . . awesome 'cool' running weather!

How bout' them Cubs!

Had a great bike ride with Luke this evening, we went way down to Yorktown and Everhart. Every time I do that it reminds me of being 12 and riding my single speed mutt bike with the banana seat all over southwest Ft. Worth . . . great memories . . . those were the days . . .

Can't wait for Oso Fun in the morning, it's gonna be fun and full of Jesus!

Thoughts on Chasing Lions!

I've had incredible feedback this week on chasing lions and I praise God that many of you are turning and facing lions for the first time! (And if you're not sure what I'm talking about click here and check out the message from Sunday.)

As I was running a couple of times this week God pushed me further about chasing lions . . .

On Monday as I was running some guy (about 20 yrs. my younger) blows by me. (Jerk!) Well, shame & pride took over and for about 4 minutes I picked it up, a lot. Know what happened? I died -- barely finished my route.
I was chasing the wrong lion. Don't chase someone else's lions!
Be content chasing the lions that God has given you. I can easily try to be like some other hip pastor, just like you can try to emulate some other Mom or salesman, teacher or student. Don't settle for that. Go after what God is calling you to go after!

And then on Wednesday because of some evening obligations, I had to change my schedule up and I ran after a morning meeting instead of in the evening. I was kind of shocked when the sun was in my face in the second half of my run instead of the first half. Sucked it out of me.
Don't be surprised when you start chasing lions that the enemy, who 'prowls about like a lion' and who is the author of deceit and lies, will start trying to make sure the sun is in your eyes. ANYTIME that you are taking ground for the Kingdom in your soul, there will be a battle!

"So let’s not get tired of doing what is good. At just the right time we will reap a harvest of blessing if we don’t give up!"

Thursday, September 27, 2007

The 3 A's

Last night Cindy and I had the privilege of going to the Coastal Bend Fellowship of Christian Athletes Coaches Appreciation Dinner (you know I'm a wannabe real coach!).

Les Steckel who is the National President of FCA and former Head Coach of the Minnesota Vikings spoke. As he was talking about raising our children (and anyone else around us that we are 'coaching' to grow) this really stuck with me. He talked about the 3 A's:


How desperately our children need these. How desperately our world needs these. How Jesus desires the 3 A's to flow through us in the power of His Spirit!

OSO Family Fun!

Hey Creekers this Sunday is Oso Family Fun! This is kid/family driven worship and a GREAT opportunity to invite families around us to experience the joy of God.

There are many folks around you who grew up in 'church' or have been to 'church' but have never experienced anything like Oso Family Fun. We have seen Oso Family Fun speak to people about the joy and fun we can have in worshipping God in ways that we could never express in words. (Not to mention that I believe it's a much more accurate picture of eternity than yawning angels sitting around on clouds playing harps in minor keys!)

So who are you going to invite for Sunday? Don't miss the opportunity!

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Vision in Action . . . Connect!

Your Family for Life's Journey

The last 3 weeks I've talked about the process of our Vision being fulfilled . . . . . Connect, Navigate, Discover.

Now let me show you what it looks like beginning in a Connect post!

In the first 3 weeks of The 'Dock' and the awesome Creek Reps - we've had 26 new guests (or family units) on Sunday morning and 20 of them have made it to the Dock and spent time with our Creek Reps. That's 20 families that we've connected with and we've seen many of those connect with God in significant ways.

Now that excites me because that represents your friends that you are connecting with and inviting to Oso Creek! Our heart is that God will use us to connect those around us to the hope of Jesus!

"May your ways be known throughout the earth, your saving power among people everywhere. May the nations praise You, O God. Yes, may all the nations praise you!" Psalm 67:2-3

I've told the Creek Rep Team to hold on, because the next few weeks are going to be a wild ride . . . . Let's ALL be committed to bringing our friends and keeping them swamped!

Save Your Shoeboxes!

Just around the corner is an opportunity to fill hurting lives with the HOPE of Christmas!

Operation Christmas Child has become an Oso Creek passion and this year we want to do it bigger and better than ever!

So ladies, it's the time of year to start buying shoes and saving boxes! (OR, just asking your friends for boxes!)

Monday, September 24, 2007

Thoughts on Sunday

Wow, Praise God for powerfully being there on Sunday!

I talked about stepping out and taking the risks that God calls us to in order to Discover our God Destiny! The alternative is staying the same and possibly missing the 2nd half of what God has for us in life. [Click here for the sermon]
God has called us all to chase the lions that keep us from the lives He's created us for!

It was super awesome to see two-thirds of everyone come down front at the end of both services saying that they wanted to chase the lions that have kept them from God's future! I'm praying that you will follow Benaiah!

If you feel like you weary and need strength or need to be dusted off to make your run at your destiny, read Isaiah 40:28-31.
If you're feeling timid toward the direction God is calling you read Joshua 1:7-9.
If you need to be reminded that it's in God's STRENGTH that lions fall read Psalm 20 or Psalm 27.

It was awesome to have Clif back leading the worship team --- ALL of you guys did a marvelous job leading us!

To keep you thinking about what you are willing to risk in order to follow God, check out this great post by Perry Noble.

And thanks to all of you who are making the switch and coming at 9am! 9 o'clock is getting close to as full as 11am . . . but we still have empty seats at both times. God didn't give us seats for them to be empty! Who are you going to invite/bring this Sunday??

In 2 weeks - on October 7th - I'm beginning a series called Confessions of a Soiled Christian. I'm going to be very candid about my struggles and yet how God will redeem those areas of darkness in all our lives! So be praying like crazy and bring everyone you can who doesn't know Jesus. He will be lifted up! And people will be drawn to Him!

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Eating Frenzy!

I saw part of The Biggest Loser the other night and one of their trivia questions said that the average person makes 200 food related decisions a day! 200? Wow!
Well I like to eat, so I'm at least average -- so if I'm going to talk about life in this blog, then I can't go too long without talking about food!

Now, these are not your typical food/eating categories, but this is my blog! So here you go, enjoy - and be sure to let me know what I missed/messed up.

Favorite Sandwich - Jason's Deli - You don't know me very well if you don't know this one!

Best Fast Food Texmex - Taco Villa (Lubbock, Tx) hands down on Taco Bell - nearest location to Corpus is Big Spring, TX - sometimes my car just goes there when I hit West Texas

Favorite Cold Drink - Strawberry Slush from Sonic - I'm doing it about 3x a week right now - I figure if I'm gonna have a vice it's good to have one that costs $1.59 and has fruit involved in it

Favorite Hot Drink - Coffee w/sugar and cream and caffeine - I don't drink that fufu $4 a cup stuff man --- just give me coffee

Favorite Snack - Pretzels and peanut butter - Don't knock till you've tried it!

Favorite Team Place to Eat on College Baseball Trips
- Pancho's Mexican Buffet - The flag never went down! (All you-can-eat!) And imagine doing this with your team and then getting on the van with 15 guys for a 4 hour trip home . . . entertainment all the way . . . And even though it's been 20 years I still have nasal cavity damage from these trips.

Favorite Restaurant that Rotates - Reunion Tower, Dallas - OK, this is the only restaurant I've ever been to that spins, but it is cool!

Favorite Deep Dish Pizza - Uno's - Chicago - Don't even think about it . . . This is the original stuff!

Favorite Breakfast Restaurant - Cracker Barrel - Biscuits n' apple butter :)

Favorite All Around Restaurant - Beamers - Corpus Christi - And it helps that we have come to love the family who owns it!

Best Dessert - Key Lime Pie - Water Street Seafood Company - Corpus Christi - INCREDIBLE! (Mom, I promise that your lemon pie with Ritz Cracker crust is so close in 2nd that you can't get a credit card between the two!)

Best Bar-b-que - Silverado Smokehouse - Corpus Christi - Now, I've gotta confess that I'm not sure if this has anything to do with the food, or a terrifying memory I have there of watching my friend John Richerson eat at least 15 lbs. of beef, sausage and ribs!

Greatest Cooks - Even Draw - Cindy & My Mom - And no, I'm not suckin' up - I've been blessed to be loved by two ladies who can 'dish it out' and love to do it! (Dottie Kratz & Jay Worley, you're both in the top ten . . . And if you invite us over to eat, who knows you might make my next list!)

Best Meal Ever - The one I eat every time right after I fast for over 24 hours!

OK, what are your favorite categories that I missed? What do you agree with? Disagree with? It's your turn, let's hear it?