Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Against the Tide!!

THIS is exciting! This weekend there are 33 Creeker students involved in Against the Tide! Awesome!
In Matthew 5:8 Jesus said: 'Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God.'
It's a weekend devoted to encouraging the students to 'dare to live like no one else' when it comes relationships, dating and sexuality.

And even more awesome is the dedication of the volunteers who are pouring their lives into these students!
About 20 of our adults will be hanging out with, teaching or leading music for the students during the weekend . . . and in addition to that four other families will be hosting the groups. Way to go Creekers! That's what it's all about!

I'm gonna post another blog with the students names but here are the leaders . . . Please pray with me that the Holy Spirit will lead and guide them and bless them!

Cindy Bradshaw, Gil Carranza, Tiffany Carranza, Melissa DelaGarza, Jason Evans, Chris Gregory, Jessica Gregory, Eddie Guzman, Beau Hufstetler, Julie Hufstetler, Cindy Jimeniz, Jenny McDermott, Andrew Nycum, Charlie Ogden, Nathan Payne, Jade Payne, Matt Rohlack, Rebekah Roseland, Brigetta Thornton

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Giving Our Lives Away

Central to what it means to follow Jesus is losing ourselves . . . and putting great value on those who are in need and hurting. James the brother of Jesus even asked the question: 'What good is it if you claim to have faith but have no actions to express that faith?' (James 2:14 my translation)

And it's amazing how this tendency to 'keep ourself' - instead of 'lose ourself' - blinds, or at least stiffens, us to those who are in need.

I have also observed that it many times takes radical acts of 'getting lost' to break out of self. It's like the deeper in ourselves we are the more 'lost' we've got to get.

This Summer all of you have an opportunity to lose yourself amongst the poor and hopeless in Mexico. The first of two trips is to Queretaro, Mexico and the Pan de Vida orphanage (see pics) on June 13-22. This is where Richard and Ximena Roseland serve with Orphanos.

This Sunday (May 4th) immediately following the 11am Celebration Dino Roseland will host an informational meeting about the trip. ANYONE even remotely interested is encouraged to come and check it out - men, women, students, children.

Monday, April 28, 2008

Major League Basics

This Sunday we begin a new series called Major League Basics!

Man, it's hard to believe that it's taken me nearly 9 years to do a baseball series!

My heart is to connect through the great American past time and show folks how God desires us all to have a great life! And just like in baseball there are certain fundamental truths that lead to a great life!

Connection cards are at the building - who are you going to invite to be with us on Sunday?

Praying . . .

In thinking towards the National Day of Prayer on Thursday, I asked a couple of our Prayer Team Leaders to share their heart on prayer and the NDP.

Here is what Lynda Stayton shared with me to share with you:

After reading Pastor John’s blog regarding the National Day of Prayer I opened my bible to the theme verse for this year - “The LORD is my strength and my shield; my heart trusts in Him, and I am helped. Psalm 28:7. “---- I am helped”. If ever there was a time our Nation needs to be “helped” it is now.

As I read these verses I noticed on that page and on the opposite page in my bible were a number of verses where the Psalmist is crying out to God for His help, His mercy.

“Hear my voice when I call, O LORD; be merciful to me and answer me. My heart says of You, “Seek His face! Your face, LORD, I will seek.” Psalm 27: 7-8

“To you I call O LORD my Rock; do not turn a deaf ear to me. For if You remain silent, I will be like those who have gone down to the pit. Hear my cry for mercy as I call to You for help, as I lift up my hands toward Your Most Holy Place.” Psalm 28:1-2

“Praise be to the LORD, for He has heard my cry for mercy.” Psalm 28:6

We have an opportunity Thursday to join our voices with millions of others who feel this is a critical time to be calling out to God on behalf of our nation, for its health, its leaders and its future.

God’s promise: 2 Chronicles 7:14 “If My people who are called by My name will humble themselves and pray, and seek My face and turn from their wicked ways; then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land”. God’s answer depends on our repentance and our prayer.

I urge you, if at all possible, to join with others in our city at one of the locations Pastor John listed in his blog. If that is not possible, please do not let the day go by without taking a few minutes, knowing that your prayer along with millions of others, is going up as sweet incense before the Lord our God who is sovereign and in whom we put our trust.

Will it make a difference if we pray? If we pray, God promises to answer. If we don’t pray, He promises nothing. We can choose to ignore this day and treat it like any other. But I ask you, should we? Dare we?

Encounter Report

Men's Encounter went incredible this weekend --- God was there and men's hearts were challenged and refocused!

Praise God for our leadership team - Greg Richmond, Chris Burns, Mike Ilse and Chris Gregory and their commitment and passion for seeing lives changed!

Every time we do Encounter it's another step on the journey towards begin conformed to the image of Christ. Way to go guys!

Friday, April 25, 2008

National Day of Prayer

The National Day of Prayer is next Thursday May 1st. This years theme verse is Psalm 28:7 - "The LORD is my strength and my shield; my heart trusts in him, and I am helped."

It is a time for us to unite as followers of Jesus and cry out to God for mercy and revival!

I encourage you to check out the NDP website and to ask God how He would want you to pray. How would He have your family, and your group to pray together?

Below are just three of the places that folks will be gathering to pray in Corpus:

1) City Hall at the Flagpole (Leopard St. Side)

1201 Leopard Street

Corpus Christi, TX

TIME: 12:15 p.m. to 12:45 p.m.

Coordinated by: Debra Hamaker

2) Nueces County Courthouse at the Flagpole (Leopard Side)

901 Leopard Street

Corpus Christi, TX

TIME: 12:00 p.m. to 1:00 p.m.

Coordinated by: Barbara Molina

3) Prayer at Annaville Baptist Church

In Prayer Garden/Prayer Chapel

4025 Violet Road

Corpus Christi, TX 78410

TIME: 6:30 a.m. and 6:30 p.m.

Coordinated by: Sandy Stokes


"Come, all you who are thirsty, come to the waters. . ." (Isaiah 55:1)

Had a great time yesterday being still. It was a beautiful day and after sitting by the lake all day reflecting on God's Word, I came away feeling filled up!

Thanks to those of you who prayed.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

A Quiet Place

"Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you'll recover your life. I'll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won't lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you'll learn to live freely and lightly." (Matt 11:28-30 Message)

Do you ever need a quiet place to rest from life. I know I do. (By the way I borrowed this picture from Mark Beeson's blog.)

I'm leaving in a few minutes to spend a night and day of solitude at Lake Mathis. My soul needs it.

When do you rest? Where do you rest?

Living Hope

"Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In His great mercy He has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead!" (1 Peter 1:3)

I was reading John Ortberg last night and and check out this great thought from Reinhold Niebuhr that he shared that draws a distinction between optimism and hope:

'Optimism believes in progress, that circumstances will get better. Hope, however, is built on the conviction that another reality, another Kingdom, already exists.'

Life can be hope draining. But our hope is not just in this life. It's in a King and a Kingdom. As followers of Jesus we are part of a reality that is way beyond this life and yet is buried deep within the belly of this life. It is in us. He is IN US. The Kingdom is IN US. Christ in us the Hope of Glory!

Whatever is going on today, in Christ you have hope! Pray that His reality and His Kingdom will prevail on earth and in our lives.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

The Legend of Big Head

On Sunday the girls and I were kicking the soccer ball in the field behind our house when out of nowhere we were joined by a scraggly puppy. With a very big head.

He was cute for a few minutes while he chased the kids, but then we couldn't kick the ball because he was chasing it down. We finally we gave up and headed home and 'Big Head' as he was now semi-affectionately known, followed us.

We were nearly in the gate when Big Head's big tooth sliced through the soccer ball I just bought on Friday. He was getting less cute. But finally we got in and shooed our friend off.

About 10-minutes later one of the kids came in yelling 'Big Head's in the back yard!' Sure enough. He had finished breaking a picket on the fence and then squeezed in. Happier than a june bug in July.
OK, now Big Head cost me a soccer ball and a trip to Lowe's for a picket. An hour later Big Head was back out in the big world.

But not for too long . . . About 9 o'clock I was walking by the back door and there was Georgia (our dog) and . . . yes, Big Head. He had dug under our stinkin' fence!
So, another 15-minutes of filling in dirt and placing bricks and off to bed.

Do you think he gave up on Monday? Well here's his picture yesterday afternoon . . . what do you think? And as I look outside this afternoon (Tue), for the moment, he's resting in my backyard!

You know, most dogs want OUT of the backyard! Big Head wants in. And I'm pretty sure that he just wants to be loved. He just is looking for somebody that cares.

How many people like Big Head live all around us? [Look at him sticking his head under the fence.] Maybe those folks around us are just as awkward as to how they go about it, or aren't even sure how to express their need. But bottom line, they're looking for hope, for a new start, they're looking for friends who give a rip.

When Jesus was on the planet He attracted the 'Big Heads' - the hurting and lonely.
How about us?
Jesus said that our most attractively quality as His followers would be our friendships. That He put us on the planet to love the unloved, and to be shelter for the broken.

Who around you is wandering in the field? Who do you need to invite into your backyard?

And, oh yeah, do you need a dog?

Men Encountering God

Men's Encounter is this weekend. For those of you who have never been to Encounter it is all about knowing more and more of the Freedom that God made us for. It is about getting rid of the junk that keeps us from all God wants us to have in this life!

Would you stop for a couple of minutes and pray for these guys who are leading and those who are going as participants? Simply ask that God would meet them there and that they would experience Him and have new vision for their lives.


Davey Dockens
David Yokers
Jeff Vignery
Matt Rohlack
Jerry Shepp

Greg Richmond
Chris Burns
Mike Ilse
Chris Gregory
Tim Lawley
Dino Rosleand
Gill Caranza
Rick Welp
Beau Huffstetler
John Bradshaw

Monday, April 21, 2008

Fellowship One

Pretty soon you'll see a cool new kiosk in the foyer every Sunday morning with 2 stations to check kiddos (birth through MS) into their classes.

It's part of a web based people management program (Fellowship One) that we purchased and have been slowly bringing online the last 3 months. What you see in the lobby - an interface to check-in children/students and track them on Sunday mornings - is only the tip of the iceberg.

At this point we have about $4,000 and at least 300 man (and woman :) hours invested into Fellowship One. It will have every piece of information possible for every Creeker or guest. Demographic info yes, but much more -- Communication info with all guests; Connection info - decisions they've made, if they've been to Discovery Dessert, a Life Group; Spiritual Journey info - classes, equipping; etc, etc, etc . . .

I tell you all of this so you'll understand a little more about the big kiosk -- but more importantly so that you'll see how much people matter to us!!

This ISN'T just a system, but a tool to help us care for people in more consistent ways. We found over the past couple of years as we grew that more and more people - both guests and Creekers - were 'falling through the cracks.'

Fellowship One is going to help us to be God's hands and feet . . . to connect folks more quickly to others who can care for their needs and invite them to a Group. To connect everyone to serving opportunities that match our passion and to learning opportunities that match our season of life.

I'm pumped about the many ways that Fellowship One is going to help us help you - and many others - connect with God! And I'm so very thankful that we have leadership and staff with the vision to do what it takes to make people - and their eternities - our priority!

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Different Kind of Weekend . . .

I was supposed to take my girls (Sarah & Laura) to play in a soccer tourney this weekend in San Angelo. Then last minute it didn't work out and so we were at home . . .

While Cindy was at Women's Encounter (which I've heard from many went awesome!) -- it's always strange when she's not around . . .

And then not to be preaching is always different! I'm thankful for weeks off to catch my breath and focus on other needs (it makes a huge difference in my passion and energy!) -- and praise God for Dino R. filling in -- but it's always kind of surreal to be sitting out in the audience . . .

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Advent Conspiracy Update

Remember how we conspired with other churches around the country to express less consumption and more compassion over the Christmas season?

Here's what happened. Collectively over $2.5 million was redistributed around the world to those whose needs are greater than ours!! And those of you who participated were a huge part of that!

Check out this link out for an Advent Conspiracy update . . .

And get ready because 2008 is gonna be bigger and better!

Hello San Antonio . . . Goodbye Food!

I spent yesterday (Tuesday) with a pastor friend/mentor in San Antonio. Was a great day . . . just good to get away and get filled up some.

I know that my 'passion tank' is largely filled by being around others who are passionate! Being with them is best, but I also am filled by reading passionate folks.
I've also learned that nobody except me is responsible for filling my passion tank.
What fills your passion tank?

And then this morning I woke up with some kind of bug . . . have had to stay near (way near!) the bathroom all day. I feel like a pass-through entity if you know what I mean . . . haven't felt puny like this in some time . . . not fun!

Super Soccer Players!

If you looked (closely!) in the Caller Times Sports page on Monday morning you saw this:

District 27-5A Girls All-District Soccer Team:

1st Team - Laura Bradshaw (was also 2nd Team All South Texas)
Honorable Mention - Sarah Bradshaw (she didn't even start playing until the 2nd game of district!)

I'm way proud of my girls for using what God has given them and giving their all! Way to go beautiful twins!

Monday, April 14, 2008

Who said, last minute?

OK, I confess, I did my taxes early this year! O yeah early is April 14th! Just finished (well actually almost technically, but for all practical purposes I finished).

Why wait till April 14th -- it's just the rush of waiting until the very end -- enjoying the entire season. Whatever.

Friday, April 11, 2008

Great Question?

Here's a question that I read recently and I've been thinking about the implications . . .

"Did you accept Jesus into your life, or did you give your life to Jesus?"

What difference does it make?

Thursday, April 10, 2008

New Season!

Baseball season finally began tonight for the Tigers! That's Luke at shortstop.

We opened with a doubleheader -- lost the first game and won the night cap. Luke had a good night - pitched 2 innings and had 5 strikeouts.

2 more games in the next 2 days . . .

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

All the Parts Are There

We all ask the question - probably daily - 'Are all the parts really there?'
Is it true what I've been saying the last two Sundays in the Family Circus messages that God has made all the parts available (i.e. Apollo 13 clip) so that our families can experience the hope and oneness that they are made for?

In a word, Yes. Is it easy, No. Is it worth it, Heck Yes!

I obviously don't have all the answers. I do know we have to fight.

There are many people who have influenced me (and Cindy) in our fight for our family, I wanted to share some of the advice of some of our mentors with you. Specifically these are folks who have mentored us - as parents - through print. These are books I would highly encourage you to read as you look for the parenting parts [After putting the books in below I realized how often I said 'awesome' or 'great' or 'powerful' . . . because these are the very best of what we read and they ALL ARE awesome!]:

- Shepherding a Child's Heart by Ted Tripp - This was the genesis for Cindy and I in understanding that it's not about controlling, or even just guiding, our child's behavior - but it's all about seeing their heart's changed! If you don't 'get it' here - you won't get it.

- Bringing Up Boys by James Dobson - All I can say is 'Read it Dads!' And read it as soon as you can! And then read it again (I think I've read most of it 3 times)

- How to Really Love Your Child by Ross Campbell - Simple and powerful

- God's Design for Sex - by Stan & Brenna Jones - Series of 4 books that you read with your child and were awesome in helping us talk with our kids about sexuality. And parents if you ignore this area, somebody else won't! These are great - first start at age 3-5 and all are very appropriate for their age development.

- Ready for Responsibility by Bob Barnes - This book speaks so practically about helping our children to learn responsibility in critical areas. He's the first one who made me think about: 'Are we raising our children to be children, or to be adults?' Again, awesome stuff.

- Raising a Modern Day Knight by Robert Lewis - A game plan for raising our sons. Do you have a plan Dad or are just gonna 'wing it'?

- The Five Love Languages of Teenagers by Gary Chapman - Has (and is) really helped us in recent past . . . Awesome in helping to understand transition to adolescence and the different needs of teens. Has sections for single parents and blended families.

- Choices by Mary Farrar - For women wanting to make God's priorities her priorities, inlcuding but not limited to being a mom. [by Cindy and one of her all-time 'top of the list' books!]

- And Then I had Kids by Susan Alexander Yates - A great dose of encouragement for moms! Filled with honest, practical, Biblical wisdom for moms with young children. [by Cindy]

FPU Highlights - Week 4 & 5

Because of a week off (Spring Break) and a missed week, it's been a while since I've done an FPU update . . . but it's still incredible stuff and worth every moment . . .

And let me remind you again to check out What If We've Got It All Wrong - the Gregory's (Creekers) all out their on the table chronicle of their financial journey. Good stuff.

OK, here's the highlights:

- Myth: You need to take out a credit card or car loan to "build up your credit score."
Truth: The FICO score is an "I love debt" score and not a measure of winning financially.

- In 1970 average person had 560 ads flashed in front of them every day . . . today it's 3000-4000!

- Those 90-day 'Same as Cash!' contracts? 88% of them convert to payments - usually at 24% APR! In the same vein only 1/3 of car buyers qualify for that "0% Financing!" . . . the others . . . well they buy the car and fund the other 1/3!

- "He who is impulsive exalts folly." Proverbs 14:29

- No amount of stuff equals contentment or fulfillment. Don't medicate dysfunction with spending.

- You'll never catch happiness with money.

- How to develop power over purchasing:
1) Wait overnight before making a purchase.
2) Carefully consider your buying motives.
3) Never buy anything you do not understand.
4) Seek the counsel of your spouse (or someone you trust)

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Your Encounter

In just a week and a half our Spring Encounter retreats kick off! (Women April 18-19; Men April 25-26)

I can't tell you what an incredible time Encounter is . . . one of the best things that we have ever done at Oso Creek!
It's a weekend (Fri @ 6pm -- till Saturday @8pm) of learning more and more about encountering the Living God and allowing Him to change our lives! And the best part is that it's just regular folks (Women at the Women's Retreat -- Men at the Men's Retreat) talking about how they have experienced life change in the midst of real struggles.

We only do Encounter twice a year . . . Fall and Spring . . . so if you haven't been, sign up NOW before it's too late. Ladies email Susan (click here) and men, Greg (click here) to sign up or get more info.

How about a few of you who have been to Encounter hitting the comment button below and telling everyone about your experience . . .

KU Rocks!

What an incredible game last night! It's every 'worth their salt' athlete's dream to take and make the shot that Mario Chalmers made at the end of regulation. Wow! Jeff Vignery is flying high today -- he's a Creeker from Kansas and he and his family were at the game . . .

I love the NCAA basketball tourney, but I think my favorite part is where they play the Luther Vandross One Shining Moment song (last years) while they show all the highlights of the tourney. Cool stuff.

As I was laying in bed last night after watching the game and One Shining Moment (couldn't go to sleep -- still replaying that shot!) I was thinking what if a video of my life highlights was played? What would it look like? How many moments of 'shining' for The King would there be? What highlights would there be of me giving all I had?

Monday, April 7, 2008

MONday Thoughts

MONday - It even sounds like a heavy day . . .

Had a great Sunday . . . Awesome to see parents responding with such a desire to be visionaries for their children!
And we had a great Discovery Dessert . . . our first time doing it this way . . . was great to have Discovery back in our home.

Watched a great on-line interview of Tiger Woods today (can check it out here if you're interested). Most powerful line I heard was in response to a question about if he ever was tempted to 'hit the snooze button in life' or 'just coast for a while.' He said that the thought never even crossed his mind. That his life philosophy everyday was that 'tomorrow he was going to be better than he is today.'
As I read the gospels, I think Jesus was in some ways like Tiger Woods. (Yes, actually the other way around) He lived life to the fullest! He LIVED every moment! What if we did that? What if you were a more powerful follower of Jesus (or Dad or homemaker or salesman or teacher or coach or you name it) tomorrow, than you are today?

Looking forward to watching the hoops National Championship game tonight. My prediction - Kansas by 4 (OK, it's more of a hope!)

Saturday, April 5, 2008

Saturday . . .

Luke & I (w/Beau Hufstetler) started our Saturday early by running in a 5k down on the bay. It was a beautiful morning with uncharacteristic 55-degree weather. And it was most awesome to do it with my son!

We have pretty quiet day . . . and then this afternoon I'm heading to San Antonio to watch a potential worship pastor lead worship and then take him out to eat. I'll get back late . . . but I'm excited about week 2 of Family Circus tomorrow!

Friday, April 4, 2008

7 Months!

I just hit 7 months of blogging! My first blog was September 4, 2007 . . . 213 days ago - wasn't sure when I started how long this would last! But I've really loved it!

Since then I've posted times 234 times - many more than I thought I would. I began thinking 3-4 times a week and it's been more like nearly 8 times a week on average!

In 7 months there's been 16,998 page hits on the blog! Wow!

The most viewed blog to this point (meaning in a feed reader or that the user actually went to the page . . . doesn't count reading it on email) was New Creek Website on January 24, 2008. Closely followed by Never, Ever, Ever Give Up! and Easter Expectations.

My goal has been to share some of my life with you; and to use it as another tool to lead Oso Creek and others who would read.

And I would love to hear from you . . . What have you enjoyed the most or has been most beneficial? What would you like to hear/see more of?

Thanks for reading!

Thursday, April 3, 2008

Matt Beveridge Update - 4-3-08

Matt is resting at home after his last round of chemo and feeling better . . . thanks Lord.

He had a PET scan earlier this week that showed his body to be free of cancer . . . thanks again Lord.

If another test of his internal organs goes well this week, he will go to San Antonio for the Bone Marrow Transplant in the next couple of weeks. Pray for Matt as this procedure is preceded by a week of incredibly tough chemo --- and then a couple of weeks of isolation and recovery.

And pray for his family for peace and hope --- hope in the Living Christ!

Remember that you can go to Matt's website here and leave him a note of encouragement in the Guestbook.

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Come On, Let's Go!

All right, am I gonna have to call you out? So far only three folks (and, guys, they were all ladies) have responded to the Beach to Bay Challenge. (See this post)

So what's up? Are you scared? :) And yes, I know all your excuses --- your knees hurt, you have a hang nail, you have an iron deficiency . . . yada, yada, yada! Come on, get off the couch, it's 4 stinking miles!

Alright, that's my rant. But seriously, whether you walk, or jog, or whatever - Beach to Bay is a great way to create an exercise goal. It's just another way to care for what God has given us.

And until you commit to a vision to do something, it's nearly impossible to give yourself to achieving that goal. Email Collen here and let her know you're ready to give it a try!

April Fools Girl . . .

Today is Cindy's birthday - what a day to have your birthday! My wife has been through all the jokes, so don't bother.

It's hard for me not to be sentimental on these days . . . this is Cindy with the kids shortly after we moved here. Wow, how time flies . . . and what an incredible Mom - and wife - she is!

I Love You!!!!