Monday, June 30, 2008

Feeling Constrained?

There was so much great stuff last week at Unplugged that it was like drinking from a firehouse (this is an outside view of Ebenezer's Coffee House where we met --- and then inside, Jud Wilhite on the left and Mark Batterson on the right -- and the back of some dude's head!)

One of the nuggets we talked about was the Blessing of Living under Constraint.
Jud called it the Houdini principle . . .Houdini performed his greatest feats under the greatest pressure. He actually wanted the feats to threaten his life because under that kind of pressure he concentrated with every ounce of energy he had.

In the same way it's under great constraint that we are forced to be totally dependent on God! When we're in a situation be it with our finances, or a relationship, or job, or school, or a physical limitation, whatever - where we are at the end of our resources - the blessing is that we MUST trust God.

And constraint not only makes us dependent on God but it unleashes our God-given creativity.

So, if you're feeling constrained today, praise God for a new opportunity to trust Him!

Campin' Out

Our kids (4th-6th graders) are having a great time this week at Camp Zephyr! Here's a shot out at the lake this morning.

Please take a minute and ask God to pour out Truth and Blessing on them. And for Him to give our leaders wisdom and love.

Here's a list of the leaders:
Audie Lawley, Amber Appleman, Shawn McBride, Justin Adame, Sarah Bradshaw, Cecilia Gonzalez, Heather Zdansky, Sabrina Kerr, Jamie Ogden

And Campers: Taylor Aslinger, Rylan Davis, Jacob de la Garza, Jeremy Jackson, Brendan Roe, Michaela Braly, Holly Cazalas, Lexy Taylor Garcia, Railey Gonzalez, Maegan Leeton, Victoria Lichtenberger, Marley Mangum, Abbie Stewart, Annika Bonnes, Meagan Geddes, Paige Harlin, Audrey Mcfatridge, Dorothy Ogden, Savannah Rivers, Sierra Rivers, Amethyst Roe, Xanthe Spofford, Aryssa Perez, Victor Perez

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Matt Beveridge Update - 6-29-08

Great News! Matt got back home today! You can check out his update on his website here and see my last post on Matt here.

You can drop Matt a note here in his guestbook --- and please keep praying for him and his family.

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Missed It By a Boat!

Yesterday in my trek home from D.C. and Unplugged, I think the only form of transportation I didn't use was a boat.

I started off on the Metro (DC Subway) and rode it to the end, where I caught a public trans bus to the Baltimore Airport. I flew to Houston (and in Houston I even rode one of those long escalators through the airport!) - and then flew to San Antonio. In San Antonio I caught a little tram to where my car was, and then I drove a car home from SA! Subway-Bus-Airplane-Tram-Car! And it only took 13 hours!

The exciting news for today is that the Garcia's started getting moved into their new home in Corpus! Yes!
Thanks to Nathan Lindell for leading the moving team and for all of you who helped!

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Emailers Unite!!

We heard your requests for the daily Bible reading to come in an email format as well as the texting . . . and we are responding! (Check out older posts where I talked about this here and here.)

Jason E. (you're awesome Jason!) is working on it tonight . . . so beginning in the morning you should be able to go to the website (click here) and sign up for the verses to come to you every day in a text, email or both!


I've been Unplugged all day . . . was an encouraging and insightful day as Mark Batterson and Jud Wyatt talked about 3 challenges of pastors . . . The Motivation Challenge, The Vision Challenge and the Personal Challenge.

Then we went down to the Mall and ate and played cornhole (if you don't know what cornhole is you can click here and check it out).

Even though I hate being away from my family (and the tourney ball game I'm missing tonight!), God's been reminding me why it's so important (NO absolutely stinkin' necessary!!) for me to get away to renew and recharge . . . If I'm going to continue to give away on a regular basis, there's got to be fresh water in the well. A couple of quick thoughts about why it's so important:

1) It Forces Me to Slow Down! - For me (like many of you), I rarely take my foot off the gas while I'm in my normal routine. Your car can only take only take 5,000 rpms for so long . . . your life can only take 5,000 rpms!
Getting away immediately releases about 70% of the rush (it usually takes several days for the other 30! :)

2) It Helps to Keep me fresh - Rhythms are great and we should fight for our spiritual rhythm - but rhythms over time can easily become ruts.

I've heard someone say that -- Change of Pace + Change of Place = Change of Perspective

How true it is, how different some things look when we just take a few steps back and take a deep breath. A new perspective - especially if you're in a rut - can change your whole life!
But that doesn't happen unless I plan for it to.

3) It Forces me to Think in New Ways - When I'm around other people I hear new ideas, I see how the creativity of God is working through others . . . in the setting I'm in now I even get to talk through stuff with other pastors. New streams of water run through my life! That's powerful!
Some of this I do through conferences like this; a lot of it I do through reading; and some through ongoing relationships with other pastors, business folks and other friends.

The bottom line is that I appreciate the opportunity to get away, and it's a win-win for all our relationships! What are your thoughts about getting away to renew and recharge?

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Texting Stats

You're still invited to join us this Summer in our daily dwelling in God's Word . . . you can sign up here on our website to get the daily texts that I am sending out . . . They're focusing on our current series in James.

An interesting stat about those getting the texts --- There are 38 folks signed up right now, and 31 of them are ladies . . . Hmmmmm . . . . . Where art thou Adam?

Car-Jet-Car Lag!

I left Corpus yesterday (Tue) morn a little before 7am . . . drove to San Antonio . . . waited . . . flew to Newark (5 1/2 hour flight after the extra hour of circling waiting to land) . . . delayed, delayed, delayed . . . finally flew out of Newark at 10:30 pm, arrived in Baltimore at 11:45 where Matt & Lindsay Rerecich (Audie's daughter & son-in-law who it was great to see . . . it's always great to see couple's who you married, who are flourishing!)

We drove to their apartment just across the Potomac from DC and got their at 1am!

But hey it's a heck of a lot faster than driving! And I got to talk to a lot of people and do a lot of reading!

I'm in DC sitting in Ebenezers Coffee Shop (planted here by National Community Church) right now (Unplugged starts tomorrow) . . . gonna go running later down in the mall - that'll be kind of cool . . . thinking about going to the Nationals game tonight :)

Monday, June 23, 2008

Crazy Monday!

The worst thing about going out of town is getting ready to go out of town! Insane.

Tomorrow morning I leave for Unplugged and today has been a crazy myriad of meetings and preparation.

Tonight is our Leadership Gathering and I'm always excited about that . . . and excited about what God is going to teach me this week!

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Saturday/Baseball Update

We won a game last (Friday) night - played well. And then played in the heat of the afternoon today and lost -- didn't play so well. Hopefully we learned . . . that's the point of playing, to get a little better every game.

Then I did a silly (no, stupid) thing and went running this afternoon at 4 o'clock -- Wow was it hot! Summers are tough running in Corpus . . .

About to go pick up my Mom from the airport . . . She's coming to take the twins on a cruise! She takes all our kids on a trip when they turn 16, pretty cool. But she never took ME on a stinkin' cruise!! :)

Looking forward to Celebration in the morning! James and temptation . . . .

Come Hungry!

I hope that you come spiritually hungry tomorrow morning as we gather together to Celebrate God's goodness!

I also hope that you will come physically hungry (and with some extra bucks) as the Student Ministry will be having a bake sale after both the 9 & 11 Celebration - and then there will be $5 BBQ plates for sale after the 11!

So save gas in getting your lunch and support our students who are going to camp!

Think About This Today . . .

"The man who has struggled to purify himself and has had nothing but repeated failures will experience real relief when he stops tinkering with his soul and looks away to the perfect One. While he looks at Christ, the very things he has so long been trying to do will be getting done within him. It will be God working in him to will and to do." (A.W. Tozer)

Like you, I can become so discouraged because it seems that some things continually plaque me . . . but Tozer encourages me to take my eyes off myself, that it's really not about me . . . it is 'Christ in me the hope of glory!' (Colossians 1:27)

Friday, June 20, 2008

Matt Beveridge Update - 6-20-08

Went by Methodist Children's Hospital in San Antonio today to see Matt after dropping Sarah & Laura off at soccer camp at UTSA.

Matt's really struggling right now. Because his immune system is so low I didn't even get to see him, but spent some time with his dad Gary. (You can see past posts about Matt by clicking here.)

Pray for peace and healing for Matt. Pray for his mom and dad - Laurie and Gary - as I can't imagine the agony they are going through.

27 Why do you say, O Jacob,
and complain, O Israel,
"My way is hidden from the LORD;
my cause is disregarded by my God"?

28 Do you not know?
Have you not heard?
The LORD is the everlasting God,
the Creator of the ends of the earth.
He will not grow tired or weary,
and his understanding no one can fathom.

29 He gives strength to the weary
and increases the power of the weak.

30 Even youths grow tired and weary,
and young men stumble and fall;

31 but those who hope in the LORD
will renew their strength.
They will soar on wings like eagles;
they will run and not grow weary,
they will walk and not be faint. (Isaiah 40:27-31)

Slowly Transformed

As I said a couple of days ago in a post, I've been knowing that it's time to really listen to God's heart for the future, and yet it seems like the present is always here!

Then as I was reading Bob Robert's book Transformation yesterday (which I highly recommend!) this quote by Elise Bouding hit me between the eyes:

"If one is mentally out of breath all the the time from dealing with the present, there is no energy left for imagining the future."

I'm sure that I'm not the only one who finds themselves caught up in the urgency of the moment, when what is really at stake is the unseen depths of the future.

He went on to say this: "Faith is a long-term perspective toward others realizing a future reward. In contrast, fear is a short-term, me centered 'now' that gets it all now, but nothing for the future. . . . What happens fast is illusion; what happens slowly is reality."

What do you think? Are you living fast for the now, or patiently for the future?

Thursday, June 19, 2008

a thumpin'

Our baseball team got thrashed tonight . . . made all the worse by the other team squeezing when they were up by 10 (if you're not sure what I'm talking about ask a baseball fan and if they have any savvy they'll go -- 'Oooooh, that ain't cool!').

You could say that I'm a baseball purist - you don't show up the game, or the other team.
Now I've just got to get my heart back to a pure place and not wanting revenge! Ah, humility is such a painful thing . . .

Pray for Me and Unplugged

I'm pumped about an awesome opportunity I have next week to hang out and learn from some experienced and fearless leaders.

I'm going to Unplugged in Washington, D.C. which is hosted by Mark Batterson (one of the guys who mentors me through his blog and who I met last Summer).

It's a small gathering of 20-30 leaders where I'll get to hear their hearts and passions and experience -- and learn. . . Can't wait to get there . . . I'm asking God to open my mind and heart to how He would speak to me. I so want to learn more and more how to use the leadership gifts and opportunities that He's given me!

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Mii Wii

Here you go jealous guys, Laura and I were playing with my Father's Day present tonight, MY Wii!

Isn't it great having kids!!!

Dreaming Together

I had lunch yesterday with Kyle Livingston the Pastor at Southside Community Church. I love the guy, has a great heart and a passion to impact our City. We were talking and dreaming together about ways that we could partner up --- and with other churches --- in blessing our City.

God's really been talking to me about the next gear for Oso Creek . . . With Steve Garcia coming on in two weeks it's going to free more of my time to dream and lead in ways that will help us take our next steps forward . . .

. . . And I'm feeling repentant right now for allowing myself to be passive towards God's moving us forward over the last season . . . God's heart is that we would continuously, fearlessly pursue Him in every area of our lives . . .

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Is It Changing Our Life?

On Sunday I quoted Rick Warren in saying: "We only believe the parts of the Bible that we do." In other words God's Truth is not meant to just be understood but to be digested in our soul in such a way that it transforms our spiritual/emotional/physical DNA and results in a whole new life.

Mark Batterson said this in his blog a couple of days ago:
"The Bible wasn't meant to be read. The Bible was meant to be meditated. Reading without meditating is like eating without digesting." (see the entire post here)

I've been challenging you to meditate on Scripture with us as we go through the book of James (click here to sign up to get the daily texts). And I'm praying that you will chew on it and swallow it in such a way that it speeds up your heart rate for following Jesus.

Mark went on to say in his post: "If we read the Bible but we don't feel a greater sense of intimacy with the author, The Word Himself, has it really accomplished it's purpose?"

Has it?

Reflections on Following Jesus

A couple of more challenging thoughts from Crazy Love by Francis Chan. Let them settle in your soul today . . . What's God telling you?

"Our greatest fear as individuals and as a church should not be of failure but of succeeding at things in life that don't really matter." (p. 91)

"Are you willing to say to God that He can have whatever He wants? Do you believe that wholehearted commitment to Him is more important than any other thing or person in your life? Do you know that nothing you do in this life will ever matter, unless it is about loving God and loving the people He has made?" (p. 95)

Matt Beveridge Update - 6-17-08

Matt had his transplant yesterday (Monday) and even after a week of radiation and chemo, and then the transplant was feeling good. Praise God!

You can check out the update on his website here . . . And post a note of encouragement in his Guestbook here. (Last post on Matt here.)

Keep praying and believing!

"So we have continued praying for you ever since we first heard about you. We ask God to give you a complete understanding of what he wants to do in your lives, and we ask him to make you wise with spiritual wisdom. . . . We also pray that you will be strengthened with his glorious power so that you will have all the patience and endurance you need. May you be filled with joy, always thanking the Father, who has enabled you to share the inheritance that belongs to God's holy people, who live in the light." Col. 1:9, 11-12

Monday, June 16, 2008

Go To The Summit!

One more Leadership Summit plug! The price for the Summit increases again on June 24th.

If you want to be a more passionate, powerful leader . . . AND hang out with me and 30 other Creeker leaders . . . Then click here and let us know that you want to go to Summit with us on August 7th and 8th and we'll get you the details!

50 . . . And Just Getting Started!

I was blessed on Saturday night to get to go to the 50th wedding anniversary celebration of some special Creekers - James & Lynda Stayton!

Wow, 50 years! What an awesome model for the rest of us! I told James & Lynda what an encouragement they are in our lives and the lives of so many others. You should be so very thankful if you know them (and proud of them) . . . and let them know!

(Obviously I have my eyes closed in the pic because I'm praying that I will make it 50!)

Friday, June 13, 2008

Team Queretaro!

This is the Oso Creek team just before heading out to Queretaro, Mexico this (Friday) morning!

Please pray for Tim, Peggy, Clarence, Sarah and Dino.

Pray for the power of God to be with them as they seek to live for the Kingdom and serve the orphans at the Pan de Vida Orphanage.

Pray for the Holy Spirit to be mighty and for lives to be changed!

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Crazy Love

I've been reading a book by Francis Chan called Crazy Love.

It's been challenging me. If you want to be challenged, get it, and read it.

In Revelation 3 Jesus talks about lukewarm people. Chan challenges our half-hearted easy believeism.

Here's a couple of his thoughts about lukewarm for you to think about today:

"Lukewarm people don't really want to be saved from their sin; they want only to be saved from the penalty of their sin. They don't genuinely hate sin and aren't truly sorry for it; they're merely sorry because God is going to punish them. Lukewarm people don't really believe that this new life Jesus offers is better than the old sinful one." (p.68)

"Lukewarm people are continually concerned with playing it safe; they are slaves to the god of control. This focus on safe living keeps them from sacrificing and risking for God." (p.75)

What do you think? Where is your spiritual stream running lukewarm?

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Planes, Trains and Trials

Trials don't just carve out character . . . they also reveal character.

Sometimes they occur over long seasons, sometimes in an instant.

Today I flew into Lubbock for a good friend's father's funeral. As my first flight got to Houston I noticed that we started to go towards, and then went by, the airport. Different.
Shortly there after the flight attendant came on and told us that there was a 'problem.' The flaps on the wings were not working and we couldn't land right now. . . It got quiet. REAL quiet.

"Consider it all joy when you encounter various (read: about to die in an airplane crash!) trials . . ."

The lady next to me was shaken. I just let her talk . . . and prayed. I asked her if she knew Jesus. I'm not sure what her faith was before then, but at the time she was an enthusiastic follower.

I'm thankful that I've been dwelling on the verses about trials. God was gracious. Yes, I had a few heart palpitations, but I knew that it was OK. No matter what, God was in control. What an encouragement . . . I fail so much of the time, but how encouraging to be able to focus on eternity in the midst of the problem.

If we hadn't known anything . . . you would have never thought anything was wrong from the landing. OK, except for the firetrucks and ambulances and police cars that were all streaking out towards our runway. [I took this pic is the few emergency vehicles remaining about 15 minutes after we landed and were finally able to exit on the tarmac.]

Whether it's exciting airplane rides or daily life, God wants to draw us closer to Himself and make us more like Jesus.

What's God revealing about your character? Where is He renewing you?

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

What's Gotten Into Your Life?

Garbage in - Garbage out. What goes in comes out. You are what you eat.

It's so true. Whatever we fill our life with, we become. If all we do is eat ice cream and Taco Bell, we grow to ice cream and Taco Bell proportions (and I confess I got some Taco Bell and ice cream in me!)

If all we fill our mind and soul with is worldly stuff, then that's how we begin (or continue) to think and live.
What are you filling your mind with?

This Summer as we go through the book of James I've invited everyone to read along with us each day. We've tried to make that easy by giving you an opportunity to sign up for a text everyday that encourages you to read and soak in a specific passage that day. Click here to check that out.

We also have another blog called Creek Living Water where everyday there is a passage to dwell on.

I just felt like God was telling me to encourage you today that it's God's Living Word that changes us. It changes us because when we allow it, it goes deep into our soul and through the Holy Spirit it speaks to our heart. If you are truly dwelling on it you CANNOT escape it's power!

The Bible is for NOW, today. Do you want your life to reflect a character of kindness and hope and confidence and love and peace? Do you want to be on THE journey, in THE game?
It begins on the inside of your life, not the outside.

What's gettin' in your life?

Monday, June 9, 2008

Praise God!

I am so thankful for the incredible group of leaders that God has gathered at Oso Creek!
Tonight many of them were at our leadership group. Just simple folks, like me and you, seeking to follow Jesus.

And I left that time so encouraged as I heard them sincerely pray for one another. . . humbly ask God for forgiveness . . . and ask God to give Oso Creek a united, humble, serving, passionate heart.

Steve and Lauren Garcia were also in town checking out a house and we got to spend some time praying for them before they left, it was awesome!
Please be praying for Steve and Lauren and Ben, as they will be transitioning from San Antonio at the end of this month and Steve will be a huge part of our staff beginning in July!!

Energy Opportunity!

OK, gas prices are getting stupid silly! Filled up the Trailblazer three times on our trip to Lubbock last week and had to take out a second mortgage!

It can be discouraging to be spending $300 on gas for what just a couple of years ago was a $100 trip . . . BUT . . . it's not gonna do anybody any good for me to sit around and whine!
[And you can see on this pic Cindy took on our trip that folks in West Texas aren't just sitting around - between Abilene and Snyder there are 'fields' with hundreds of these!]

What are you doing about it? And like Mark so awesomely talked about on Sunday, how do we turn this test into an opportunity?

And yes, we should be thinking of ways to level off our expenses (I've just been driving less!).
But how can this be an opportunity to more fully trust God . . . and not our resources?

And how can we serve others around us who are in incredible financial binds because of increasing costs? Who is somebody around you who needs to be blessed? Needs to see the love of Jesus in action? Maybe you're well enough off that you could buy them a gas card, or help them through another simple act of kindness.

What ideas do you have for the 'energy opportunity' that we're in?

Friday, June 6, 2008

Taco Villa!

OK, I talked about Taco Villa in a past post being my favorite TexMex fastfood joint . . . and here it is!
And yes, I've had a Taco Villa Combination Burrito!

It was a beautiful day in Lubbock . . . 60 degrees this morning and blue (not red) skies! Played golf with my father-in-law and Luke this morning and had a great time!

Thursday, June 5, 2008


We blew into Lubbock yesterday afternoon . . . 102 degrees . . . wind blowing 50 mph . . . just a good ole' West Texas spring day!

Then I went for a run when I got here . . . fun!

My pics aren't the greatest, but if you click on them you'll notice that the sky is red . . . that's dirt!

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Abilene . . .

Made it to Abilene last night . . . 6 hour drive . . . pretty peaceful.
Always great to see old friends -- we are staying with Mike & Donna Walls in Abilene -- great friends from our Lubbock days.

And I slept 10 hours last night!!! Worn out from the last week of excitement . . .

Today we drop Laura off at soccer camp at HSU and then it's off to Lubbock . . .

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Adios . . . and See You Later

Leaving is hard. Very hard. Today Bea & her family left for Spain (after some vacation time in the US). Wow, what a blessing she has been and what an incredible time we had with her family.

As they left her dad (Fernando) told us that the French have a saying, 'au revoir' -- meaning goodbye . . . until we see again. So we said 'goodbye', but confidently saying 'au revoir!'

Thanks God for what you have done in Bea's heart and are going to do in her family's life. Thanks for letting us share her life for this season. Bless her.

Road Trip

This afternoon we are headed to Abilene to take Laura to a soccer camp and then on to Lubbock for a couple of days before we pick Laura back up on Saturday.

Always fun to go back to the old stomping grounds in Lubbock . . . to see Cindy's Dad and some friends . . . and to eat at my favorite - Taco Villa!

Back in Shape

The last couple of weeks have been tough running weeks for me. I was carrying this lingering summer cold and the heat index has been skyrocketing.

Yesterday morning I got back out on the road for only the second time in about a week. It killed me. My hip hurt, my right knee hurt, my left ankle hurt, my head hurt, I couldn't breathe. And that was all before I got off my block! The first mile I wanted to quit so bad. . .

I didn't. I survived the first mile. Second mile was a little better. After that just had to fight to finish.

I was just reminded that it's so very hard to start. It's many times brutal to 'get back in shape.'

And the same that is true for our bodies is true with our soul. I encouraged everyone on Sunday from James that we must intently and continuously look into God's Truth if we are going to be 'doers' and not just 'dreamers.'

And I know that there are those of you who have 'started' before trying to get in spiritual shape and then quit. And then again . . . and again . . . and again . . .

It's OK! God's mercies are new every day! As long as you're breathing there's still hope!
Get back on the road! Forget about the past and press forward to what lies ahead!

I invited all of you to go on this journey through James with us this Summer . . . and to sign up for the Summer texting (see this post). Come on with us.

God's desire for all of us is blessing. He wants you to know the abundant life of a soul that chases after Him. . . . He just asks us if we will get on the road and trust Him.

Monday, June 2, 2008

Matt Beveridge Update - 6-2-08

Matt had some good news last week as his kidneys are in good enough condition to do the 'bone marrow recovery'! (You can check out my last post about Matt here.)

You can check out Matt's update on his website here . . . And leave him a message of encouragement here.

Please be praying for Matt and his family. The plan they have given him thus far is to do radiation on June 10-12 . . . Chemo on June 13-14 . . . and then do the bone marrow recovery on June 16. All of this will take place in San Antonio.
Pray for peace and strength and Matt and his family through the procedures and the recovery that will follow. And pray for the healing power of God to move through his body!


It was awesome to watch Bea reunited with her parents on Saturday!

What an exciting weekend and how fun it has been to be with her family . . . the only bad part is that tomorrow we have to say 'Adios' . . .