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!"