Sunday, August 31, 2008


It looks like, again, our community will be spared the impact of a hurricane.
What about those who will not?

God tells us to 'carry each others burdens and in this way we will fulfill the law of Christ.' Jesus said that we have a responsibility to the hungry and thirsty and naked and sick.

How does that work itself out in situations like these? And no, this isn't about guilt, and we aren't responsible to meet everyone's needs. God is. But He uses His people.

My encouragement to you is to begin to pray as we did in Celebration this morning for those who will be affected. Pray for protection and provision and for God to be glorified in the midst of this event, and in the aftermath.

And then pray that you will be available to respond to God, and those in need, as He would lead you.

Friday, August 29, 2008

The Missing Pieces

"If community transformation became the measure of our success, how would our churches and our communities look different? How would we look different?"

"We have allowed ourselves to separate believing the truth from it's impacting the way that we live."

"Programs did not carry the enthusiasm of the gospel in the early church. People did."

These are a few thoughts from Bob Robert's book Transformation, which myself and the leaders have been going through. I highly recommend it!

I'm also pumped that this Sunday I begin 3 Sundays of leading us in what this kind of transformation looks like in our midst! And one of the awesome elements is that it will not just be my voice, but also the voices of Creekers whose lives have been transformed!

I know that there are people around you who are curious about the Kingdom of God . . . invite them to come and hear about transformation!

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Conspiracy of Compassion

I'm pumped about how God is going to use Advent Conspiracy this Christmas season in our City!
Today I met with several other pastors to cast vision for how we as the Body of Christ can together impact our city and world!

If you weren't here last Christmas season - or don't remember AC - then you can check out the posts here, here and here as an intro/reminder.

I'm hoping that at least 10-15 churches will join us this year as give up Consumption for Compassion . . .

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

fiRsT dey of skool

Yesterday was the first day of 8th grade for Luke (big man on campus!) , 11th grade for Sarah & Laura (UPPER classmen!) & Sophomore year at Hardin-Simmons for Emily. (This is Sarah, Luke, Laura and the girls great friend Elle . . . sorry you couldn't be in the pic Mimi)

And the twins drove off to school on their own for the first time . . .

Wow parents it's ABSOLUTELY amazing how fast it goes! Draw on every day . . . it's only 18 or so short years, make every moment count!

THAT was Church!

Still recovering from a long Monday . . . but I forgot to tell you what an awesome Discovery Dessert we had at our house on Sunday evening!

Over 20 adults were here and about a dozen kids!

And all night as I answered questions and then we hung out, I heard story after story of how folks have been impacted at Oso Creek by YOU!

Many of them talked about how they instantly felt accepted.
One man talked about how he had never been at a church where you could 'come as you are' and there were no perfect people, only sinners!
A couple of other folks were open about how they are still 'seekers' on this faith journey and how through the incredible love of folks they were experiencing something supernatural!

It was an awesome Spirit-filled night, just sitting around hearing people's stories - their pain AND victories - and sharing about God's grace with those just beginning the journey.

When everyone was finally gone I told Cindy (in the spirit of Bill Hybels who I've heard say this) . . . now THAT was church!

Monday, August 25, 2008

One Thing

It was a loooong Monday with some lengthy, but profitable meetings.

All day I was reminded from Sunday's message that we are ALL God's perfect masterpiece - newly and powerfully created IN Christ Jesus, so that we can live out God's world changing purposes that He has prepared for us to do! (my version of Ephesians 2:10)

What's the One Thing that He has for you in this next season where you can have the greatest Kingdom impact? (see Sunday's message for further explanation :)

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Warren, McCain & Obama

Some of you may of had a chance to see the 'Civil Forum' hosted by Rick Warren at Saddleback Church last weekend. I didn't get to see it live on FoxNews but thanks to Nathan L. for tivo'ing it for me!

I'm amazed at the influence of Warren, that a pastor has been the only person, to this point, to get the candidates to speak at the same venue! And it was awesome. I encourage you if you haven't seen it to watch. I've since found where you can view the entire forum on line - you can check it out here.

Part of our responsibility to the Kingdom of God is to be responsible citizens and stewards of this world.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Silent Thursday

I'm heading off to the Sengler's cabin on Lake Mathis for a day of solitude. My once a month day of trying to be still and just listen to what God wants to tell me.

Appreciate your prayers for 'quick stillness' and an open heart and mind . . .

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Pushing Towards the Weekend!

Man, God is good and I am pumped for Sunday! I had a great day of hearing from God about what I'm supposed to talk about.

And let me just say don't miss . . . especially you students and teachers, we are going to bless you as you begin this new semester!

And then Sunday Night is Discovery Dessert! This is one of my favorite times as I get to meet and hang out with the folks who are new to Oso Creek.

If you haven't been to Discovery Dessert yet, then click here and on go to Discovery Online on the left side of the screen . . . . as soon as you finish with it you'll get an invitation to hang out with us on Sunday night and learn more about myself and the staff and what Oso Creek is all about! (And eat great Dessert :)


One month from today we begin the Safari!

On September 20th we'll launch a catalytic event! A catalyst is a 'change agent' --- something that helps cause change to happen.

The Safari on September 20th is just the beginning of the adventure.

We're asking you to begin praying NOW for friends, neighbors, co-workers that you're going to invite to this Saturday event.
The event itself (which we'll unfold more of soon) is designed to bless our community, help us build life-changing friendships, and be a blast!

But the event is just the beginning!

That week I will begin a new series on Sunday called: Elephants in the Church -- What We Don't Talk About at Church. For 6 weeks I'm gonnna hit hard subjects people are talking about like politics, sex and the environment.

And that week we're also going to be launching New Groups -- and asking everyone to find a group and to check it out for those 6 weeks.

And all of those are just the catalysts! You know folks God calls us to run hard. Not to be comfortable, but to be dangerous!

I'm praying that as we give ourselves away there will be changed lives -- People connected and re-connected to God. And that as we push forward and navigate God's next steps in our future we will discover new mission and adventures!

I'm praying that you will get on board and go for it with me!

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Chasing Wild Geese

"You'll never finish what you do not start. And that is where so many of us get stuck. We fail to take the first step, so the wild goose chase never begins. Instead of seeking our adventure, we settle for the routine. Instead of playing offense with our lives, we play defense. And instead of living by faith, we let our fears dictate our decisions." (p.164 Wild Goose Chase)

Does that sound like how you wanna be remembered? Me either.

Today a new book by Mark Batterson (one of my favorite bloggers) came out. It's appropriately named Wild Goose Chase . . . and the editor gave me the privilege of doing this blog review (and a FREE advance copy!)

The title comes from the Celtic Christian's name for the Holy Spirit - An Geadh-Glas - "the wild goose." And from there the chase is on!

The book is pedal to the metal - just like Mark's passion for followers of Jesus finding their adventure in Christ. Throughout I was continually reminded about how the life of chasing the Wild Goose is dangerous, scary, challenging, unpredictable and world changing!

Mark talks about the six 'cages' that keep us tame and how we break out.
I'm always amazed at his ability to condense life truth into bite size chunks, like: 'Stop repeating the past and start creating the future.' And, 'Quit living as if the purpose of life is to arrive safely at death.'

I challenge you to get it and read it - the chase is on!

You can click here to order the book . . . and check out the website.

As an additional bonus to somebody who actually reads these blogs to the bottom I've got an extra book to give away - they gave me two copies!
You gotta agree to read it in the next 2 weeks and then review it on your blog or send the review to me to put on my blog.
First one who 'comment's' on my blog (emails don't count) wins!

Swimming for Gold or Watching from the Deck?

It took all of Michael Phelp's teammate's to help win the golds in the two relays.
And it takes all of us - together - to fulfill God's purposes for Oso Creek. One person not swimming the full length holds the entire team back.
On the other hand, every person using what God has uniquely given them, as passionately as possible - wins awards that blow gold medals away!

I was reading recently about how children don't make assumptions about what they can't do - they just swim in the seas of possibility.
They believe that they can be or do anything!

And then at some point in our lives we stop dreaming about the possibilities - and start making assumptions about our limitations ('I'm too old', 'I'm not educated enough', 'I'm not ready', 'I don't know enough about God or the Bible')

When the Truth is, no matter where or what or who you are, God has made you in His image, and the possibilities for your life and impact are only limited by HIS power!

So what are you waiting for? We need you on the team. If you know you need to jump in the pool then click here and send Audie an email.

There is also a specific need that I know God has designed and equipped someone for:
Recently the individual who was doing our graphic designing for print media moved off (and to Oklahoma of all places :)

And we are in need! So if God has given you some graphic design skill and you have the desire to use that skill for the Kingdom, then please click here and email me. (Or just comment on the blog)

I challenge all of us: Let's get out of the safety of the deck chairs, and get into the adventure of following Jesus!

Monday, August 18, 2008

What Will We Do?

What a crazy time and economy we are living in! Gas prices (even though down a little these last couple of weeks) are skyrocketing, food prices, milk prices, toilet paper prices - you name it are battering us.
At the same a record number of mortgages are failing, utility costs are rising, taxes are rising . . .

Wow, it can be discouraging! Overwhelming!

But that's only when we live our lives based on limitations and fail to see opportunities!
For many of us it really is an opportunity to reorder our lives and put our resources into what truly matters. I must confess that I am stealing the heart of this blog from a post written a month or so ago by Mark Beeson (you can check it out here if you like.) But it's just been pounding on my mind in that month and I had to talk to you about it.

So, what is truly important? Where do we make our most impactful investments? Just like you, our family has a choice with our limited resources - and here is how we choose to invest:

1) Our tithe to Oso Creek - The Church is the greatest hope in the world. I say this - not just because I'm a pastor - but because I believe it! God commands us to give to Him first and says that He will pour out the blessings of heaven. For 20+ years Cindy and I have taken Him at His Word.
I don't say this to point to us but to God's willingness - we've had several years where we have given over 20% of what we've earned back to Oso Creek. And God has provided for every meal!

2) Our Family - God tells me that I am to provide for my families needs. (Notice I said needs, not frills :). And I will do that. Whatever it takes. (And bless them as well with some of those 'frills' as God gives opportunity!)

3) Saving - It's important for us to look to our families future and to be like the ant who stores up for lean times . . . Proverbs 6:6-8

4) For the Kingdom - As God provides we will look for ways to give above and beyond to bless others in need . . .

So what do you think? Where are you?

If you are struggling - or just know that you need to ratchet up your financial skills - I want to encourage you to check out the opportunity to go to Financial Peace. We had this class for the first time last spring and it transformed some folks financial lives!
And one of the cool things is that we are partnering with other churches to do it - and this Fall it will be at Yorktown Baptist.
Just click here - and send an email to Linda to get more info.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Semper Paratus

Rick Thornton is one of our faithful men on the Leadership Team at Oso Creek. He has also courageously and faithfully served our Country for the past 30 years.

Yesterday I had the incredible privilege of being a part of his retirement ceremony as he ended his military career. (Pic w/Susie his beautiful bride)

One of most meaningful and powerful things I have gotten to do here at Oso Creek is to interact with, serve, and serve alongside many incredible men and women who sacrifice their lives for the sake of our country. There are none more honorable.

The Coast Guard's motto is: Semper Paratus . . . 'Always Ready'
My prayer for you Rick is that in this new season of life you continue to remain 'Always Ready' to serve the King and the Kingdom!

Friday, August 15, 2008

Still Hard

About 2 hours ago I said 'goodbye' to my little Emily for another year of college at Hardin Simmons . . .

Dang it!!! I thought this was gonna be easier this year . . . I thought that since I had been through the trauma and angst that it would be like sending her to HEB for a gallon of milk.

And then as she and her Mom pulled out of the driveway that some flood of emotions spilled over again.

It's not easy being a parent, but it seems even harder to try not being the parent that you've been for so long . . . or at least letting go of so many of the parts of parenting that have become so much a part of your life. Not to mention physically letting go - as you must - of a child that you love so much.

I don't guess that it will never get easier . . . And this is only year 2 of college of the first of 4 kids!

Dang it!!

Astros and Crofutt's

We had a great time in Houston yesterday . . . And the Astros even won!

'We' even caught a ball during batting practice . . . . But I need to explain the 'we' ---- the ball hit off Luke's glove and then ricocheted off another guy's hands, then it deflected off my hand and Cindy was standing behind me and she caught it!

And then on the way home we ate at Crofutt's in Bayside --- if you haven't ever stopped there to eat, then you need to sometime . . . they have incredible baked goods and some pretty good hamburgers.

Messed Up!

How awesome were those two young American ladies in gymnastics last night! But I tell you, the Olympics are messing me and my sleep up!

I'm wondering how much longer I can keep watching till' 11:30 every night . . . but it's addictive . . .

I'm glad that they're only every 4 years!

Wednesday, August 13, 2008


Thanks to many of you our entire family is headed to Houston this afternoon!

A few weeks ago ya'll surprised us on our ninth-anniversary at Oso Creek and gave us tickets to tomorrow's Astros game, along with hotel rooms for tonight, and a very generous sum to eat and play on!

It's perfect timing to give our family one last Summer fling as Emily leaves again for Hardin-Simmons on Friday!
We are so very thankful and blessed to be at Oso Creek!

So thanks again . . . and go Astros!

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Will You Live Like They Compete?

Did you hear the US Men's Gymnastics Team mantra last night:

No Fear, No Regrets!

Wow, sounds like something Jesus might say!

Let's do it!

Monday, August 11, 2008

Monday . . .

The desk and email were muy full today after being away . . . and I'm trying to figure out what order I'm gonna read my 7 new books in!

Thanks to Nathan L. for bringing it home on Sunday (and yes, I listened this morning!) --- and I here that Steve & co. were rockin! Way to go guys!

The last few years - after listening to some wise counsel - I've tried to take 3-4 weeks off during the Summer to vacation with my family, rest, and also to prepare for the upcoming year. My first few years I went straight through without ever going to the bullpen and I almost didn't make it.
It also gives others an opportunity to use their gifts more than once or twice a year . . . and it let's Creekers hear other voices . . . a win in every direction!

And I tell you what I'm excited about getting back in the box this Sunday . . . It's going to be an incredible Fall!!

Are You On the Problem Side or Solution Side?

This was on Joel Comiskey's e-letter this week . . . Give it some thought and let me know what you think:

Criticism comes easily. Solutions are far harder.
D.L. Moody once responded to his critics by saying, "I like what I'm doing better than what you're not doing."

Saturday, August 9, 2008


Did you see those incredible opening ceremonies . . . The official official Olympics website has a lot of cool info about what's going on . . .

Adrian Gonzalez and I were talking tonight (still at soccer tourney in San Antonio) about what our favorite Olympic sport to watch is . . . I wanna take a little poll . . .

What's your favorite Olympic sport to watch?? I'll report what sport gets the gold in few days . . . and tell you what mine is . . .

Tourney Time

Cindy and I stayed in our second San Antonio hotel in 3 nights last night as we stayed here after Leadership Summit for a soccer tourney that Sarah & Laura are in. (And for the record the Hampton Inn we stayed in last night beat the snot out of the Drury Inn we stayed in the last couple of nights.)

Looking forward to hanging out with my family (and the Gonzalez' as Cecy is on the team) and watching my girls play a couple of games today . . .

This is also one of the richest grounds for me in having the opportunity to hang out with and love other parents. I pray that my mind and heart are focused on Jesus and that I seize every opportunity to be the compassion of Christ . . .

Friday, August 8, 2008

Day 2 at The Summit

Wow, it's incredibly hard to describe the firehouse of wealth that we received today at Leadership Summit!

All I can tell those of you who weren't here is: Don't miss it next year!!

One of the church leaders from Corpus that we brought with us this year has been in ministry for 30 or so years and told me this afternoon that he had never been to anything even close to as awesome as this!

I'm going to try to find a way over the next week to share more of it with you, but for now I want to share one quote from Craig Groeschel that speaks to us as individuals and a church as we are called out to be light in the darkness and see Kingdom transformation in our world:

"In order to reach people that no one is reaching, you're going to have to do things that no one is doing . . . but in order to do things that no one is doing you can't do things that everyone else is doing."

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Day 1 at Summit

Leadership Summit was awesome today! A couple of highlights for you to chew on . . .

Gary Haugen of International Justice Mission said:

"Leadership that matters to God is leadership in endeavors and issues that matter to God."

And . . .

"Just because we are leading and others are following - doesn’t mean that we're leading them in ways that matter to the Father."

So a question to ask ourselves is: Are Jesus and I REALLY interested in the same things??

One more by Haugen . . . As he talked about how following Jesus many times leads us into scary places he said:

"Jesus did not come to make us safe, He came to make us brave."

So, is your faith making you more comfortable . . . or more courageous?

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Summit Time!

30 of us from Oso Creek will be at The Leadership Summit beginning tomorrow morning!
We'll be at a video venue at Grace Point Church in San Antonio.

I'm gonna try to give you updates from the conference so that you can hear about some of the awesome stuff we are going to experience.

Please pray for our ears and hearts to be open as God speaks . . .


Yesterday I met with the Assistant of the CC Sanitation Dept and the head of recycling. We were talking about the possibility of us hosting a recycling drop-off location on our property. There's not one the south side of town at all, and they were excited about the possibility.

It was awesome to be able to tell them that our motivation was just to bless our City and to spread the Kingdom of God! That God cares about our city and our environment and we do too!

Looks like it's going to happen . . . I'm so thankful that God is allowing us to move into new domains and influence new people . . .

Monday, August 4, 2008

Major Contribution

Here's a baseball story that all of you should like!

Fernando Tatis was a Major League baseball player (and a Texas Ranger for 2 seasons) until 2004 when he quit.

Then in 2006 his church in a small town in the Dominican Republic needed land and a building. Tatis decided that the only way they could do it is if he went back to baseball.

So last year he signed with the Orioles and played in the minors. This year he's starting in left field for the Mets and having an incredible season . . . and in May his hometown church - in San Pedro de Macoris - was completed!

You can check out the story on the New York Times website here.

It got me thinking . . . What is it that God has chosen you to do? What contribution can only you make to the Kingdom???


It's awesome to watch folks moving out into their mission for God!

Michelle Needham (yep, that's her!) had a vision for serving Mothers and Fathers who are trying to become pregnant, who are pregnant, who have recently had their babies, or who have lost a baby.

After seeking God's wisdom, and sharing her vision with the staff - SEED's has been born. Seeds has a vision to come alongside our Life Groups (and leaders) and help to care for these families . . . . as well as reaching out to those who are not yet in groups and showing them God's love and the power of community. Michelle also has a further vision to involve the community and impact our City!

Seeds stands for:
S Serving
E expecting mothers with
E encouragement
D dedicated prayer and
S support

I can't wait to watch the impact that Michelle and her mission will have on not just Creeker Moms & Dads - but on our community - as the Seeds of Jesus are planted in the lives of parents in this vulnerable season.

Way to go Michelle!

Sunday, August 3, 2008

Saints and Soldiers

Luke and I watched a movie the other night that I have to talk about. As with most young men, he likes war movies (or anything with guns). I've struggled in finding war movies that tell good stories with appropriate amounts of gore & violence, and not all the stinkin' gratuitous sex and language (I always have had a hard time buying that just because your in battle you use six - 4 letter words in every sentence!)

We happened upon an awesome one in Blockbuster last week --- Saints and Soldiers. It wasn't a 'Major' film, but as you'll see if you check out the film's website it won a lot of awards on the 2nd tier level.

It told about a true story in WWII, and yes it had some war violence, but it talked in real terms about friendship and faith -- and had great pictures of courage and sacrifice -- without unnecessary language and sex.

So if you're looking for something in this genre, check it out.

Let us hear from you: What movie have you seen lately that you would recommend and why??

Saturday, August 2, 2008

Be a Life Giver!

This week on the creek texts (click here and here if you don't know what I'm talking about) --- we've been focusing on the power of the stuff that comes out of our mouths (and a big thanks to Nathan L. who brought the message last week!) . . . . .

'Pleasant words are a honeycomb, sweet to the soul and healing to the bones.' Prov 16:24

'The tongue has the power of life and death, and those who love it will eat its fruit.' Prov 18:21

'An anxious heart weighs a man down, but a kind word cheers him up.' Prov 12:25

And then yesterday, someone who I respect sat down with me and just for a couple of minutes (just a couple of stinkin' minutes) told me how much he appreciated me and how well he felt like I was leading Oso Creek.

You know what, IT WORKS! I'm still living off the power of those words today!

Now, I'm not talking about insincere chatter, but if we will only choose to see God in the lives of those around us and then pull what we see to the surface -- then we speak LIFE and HEALING into people's lives!

I challenge you to see how many more times you can do it this weekend!

Friday, August 1, 2008

Is It Fall Yet?

First day of August.

How many of you are thankful that Summer is a month away from being over??? Summer is great in many ways, but around my house it's so hard to find any rhythm in the Summer - it seems like we're going a new direction every week!

And the Fall (and I know . . . there is really NO climate season of 'Fall' in Corpus . . . but I'm talking about the moving of the calendar to September :) brings: a fresh start, a new semester, new relationships, new adventures, new opportunities.

In just a couple of weeks Emily leaves back to college and before then I'm hoping to sit down with each my kids and talk with them about goals for this next year in 3 different areas: spiritual goals, academic goals, and physical/athletic goals.

I know that many times we only think of life goals in January . . . but I have found that moving forward in this journey is much of the time easier when I break it down and bite off smaller chunks of time.

You may not of thought about it yet -- but as we enter a new season, what would be goals for you in growing in your relationship with God this Fall? Or, how about in building relationships with those who need to know Jesus? Or in stepping out in risk to serve the Kingdom?

What do you think?