Saturday, November 29, 2008

Flowin' in the Holidays . . .

Steve Sjogren either invented, or just uses a lot, the term acts of random kindness.

And in his - and my - theology they are only random in who they may impact . . . but they are very intentional in their purpose . . . to be the Light of Christ in the world.

Do you know how much incredible opportunity we have during the Christmas Holiday season? It's all designed to be out me/me/me, but the possibilities are huge when we make it about HIM (Jesus) and THEM (others)!

Click here and check out some of Sjogren's ideas for spreading the hope of Jesus during the Christmas season. He inspires me to to give myself away!
Get inspired! Get your group inspired!

While so much of the 10 o'clock news is bringing people down, let's be great news and lift people up!

Friday, November 28, 2008

Thanksgiving & Football (& Futbol)

Yesterday Luke and I drove down to Austin (we're in Sherman w/Cindy's family) and compliments of my Dad went to the UT / A&M game . . .

It was fun and huge --it was the largest crowd EVER at a football game in the State of Texas - 98,621 stinkin' people!
(That's my Dad and Kai, my step-brother's son, with Luke & I)

Then we got up early this morning to get back to Dallas to watch Sarah & Laura's soccer games --- and they got rained out today :(
More futbol games tomorrow . . .

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Thanks . . . With Anticipation!

"Enter his gates with thanksgiving and his courts with praise; give thanks to him and praise his name." Psalm 100:4

There's a lot of room for thanks around here. For grace and hope. For family and friends. For incredibly abundant provision.

I've been thinking how real gratefulness should lead to generosity. God's been generous to us . . . SO THAT, we can be generous to others.

The last couple of days as we've been visiting friends and relatives it seems that everyone is talking about the economy. I hear a lot of concern and some fear.

A couple of weeks ago when I was talking to Tony Reyes who leads Mission 911 (an outreach to the homeless and hurting in Corpus) -- he expressed a deep hope for the resources to impact those in need. He told me that in hard times what many times happens is that the need multiplies (more homeless and hungry) and the support decreases. A double whammy.

What a great opportunity! I pray that in the coming months of need that we will double our support. That we will live wisely and generously, and give more away than ever before! It's in the deepest darkness that the light shines the brightest.

So instead of thanks mixed with anxiety or fear. Let's give thanks with anticipation! Anticipation for what God is going to do as we give ourselves to Him!

"We thank you, O God!
We give thanks because you are near.
People everywhere tell of your mighty miracles." Psalm 75:1

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Avoiding 'Weird' Relationships

Our family went through some hard stuff together last week. It was about relationships outside our family and how without communication - and real gut level honesty - things can get weird.

It wasn't fun (at all) - but God taught us some great stuff.

Here's one of the main things was driven home and we got to talk about: To live with one another as Christians does NOT mean that we are called to live perfectly with one another, but to have a commitment to reconciliation and renewal.

Sometimes I hear Christians express this expectation that when followers of Jesus live with one another - whether at a church or a Christian school or in a Group or whatever - that we should all be perfect. (i.e. 'Your kid should ALWAYS be like Jesus to my kid!')


The difference in 'Christian community' and any other 'community' is NOT that we don't sin and hack each other off. No. Remember 'No perfect people allowed at Oso Creek.'
But the difference is how we deal with our relationships. It's the willingness to be lovingly honest and talk & pray with one another, and to work through struggles together!

Because THAT's how we grow! The fruit grows in the valley, not on the mountain top! We grow as we see the darkness in our hearts, humbly repent, and ask God to change us!
When we do this we grow into being more like Jesus and into unity with one another.

When we are not willing to do this, we separate ourselves and create that layer of weirdness between us and others.

"Therefore, my dear friends, as you have always obeyed--not only in my presence, but now much more in my absence--continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling." Philip. 2:12

Baggage Handling

We're leaving in just a little while for Cindy's sister's in Sherman for Thanksgiving.

As the father and 'packer' I'm about to go through the same ritual that many men in this country have endured for decades.

This is some of what I'm expected to cram in a very small space in the car. I know that this doesn't include at least Luke's 'checked luggage' (and maybe more) . . . nor does it include the 6-8 'Carry Ons' per person! I should somehow charge extra for 'carry ons' as they seem to produce the greatest amount of stress.

I'm praying for little stress and much Jesus as I go pack the car now . . . I pray the same for you this week.

Monday, November 24, 2008

On Mission . . .

God has mission for every one of us, right where we are! I know it. He says it. It's just a matter of whether or not we're willing to look at life through our spiritual eyes, or if we only see through our earthly eyes.

My good friend Dan Morris (preached for me just a few weeks ago) had an awesome post the other day about a divine appointment, and God showing him that he was 'on mission' right where he was.

I encourage you to click here and read it . . . and to keep your eyes on 'things above.'

Way To Go Creekers!

Yesterday we blew away our Operation Christmas Child record for boxes - 275 boxes of the hope of Jesus . . . and counting!! Way to go!

I'm so proud of the way you gave of yourselves and to be your pastor! Awesome!

"Let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in Heaven."

btw . . . If you forgot, it's not too late . . . they will be collecting boxes at Second Baptist Church until 9pm tonight (Monday)

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Creation Care - Part III

"Yours, O Lord, is the greatness and the power and the glory and the majesty and the splendor, for everything in heaven and earth is yours. Yours, O Lord, is the kingdom; you are exalted as head over all." 1 Chron. 29:11

It's ALL His. The question is how can we be the best stewards possible of all His creation?

When I started digging, it seems overwhelming. The issues are huge. I think we know that there are so many ways that we are wasteful and destructive - we just like our conveniences to much to do anything about it. Our environmental policy is 'Don't ask, don't tell.'

Take bottled water. (Which my grandad who died about 20 years ago would roll over in his grave about . . . 'You buy what? When you can turn on the faucet and get it practically for free!')

Not only is it crazy that we pay a buck for a few ounces of water . . . not only do we use 1.5 million tons of plastic each year to bottle water . . . not only is their the environmental cost of manufacturing and transporting 100 billion liters of water each year . . . but 80% of the plastic used ends up clogging up our landfills.

And all of this for water that 25% of is simply re-processed municipal water. Interesting.

If you want to check out some stuff yourself, you could start by clicking here or here.

Remember I'm not in this to start worshipping the earth. But just to ask the question, how can we most honor God in caring for His creation.

Some of you have much better ideas and thoughts than me . . . Why don't you hit 'comments' and share em' with us . . .

OCC Dedication Tomorrow!

Don't forget your Operation Christmas Child boxes tomorrow as we'll have our OCC Dedication!
Who are you bringing with you to show what it looks like to love families around the world?

We're also going to begin Advent Conspiracy tomorrow! It's gonna be an awesome day of Celebration! Don't miss it!

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Beveridge Family Fundraiser

Just a reminder that this Saturday (22nd) there will be a waffle breakfast at Monclair Elementary School (on Alameda behind St. John's UMC) between 8 and 11am to benefit Matt Beveridge's parents and the costs they've incurred in the past two years.

The tickets are $6 and you can get them at the office on Friday or at the door on Saturday morning.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Creation Care - Part II

Re*cy*cle [ree-sahy-kuhl] - to treat or process (used or waste materials) so as to make suitable for reuse.

As I said on Sunday, in the past I've been a
recycler only when it's very convenient, or there's a lot of peer pressure (like my neighbors seeing that I never put my green bin out :)

I'm rethinking how a lot of my small efforts will go a long ways in caring for God's creation. I think for many years the evangelical church has disconnected following Jesus and blessing our society. But again, it's not just that - it's worship to care for what God has given us.

I mentioned Sunday that there are over 130 million cell phones retired every stinking year!! I'm also told that can also "potentially create 65,000 tons of dangerous electronics waste.”

So why needlessly waste? There are recylcers on the internet that will give you cash for your old phone. I plugged in my year-old Samsung in the website today and they would give me $13.78 - and they would pay the postage!

What if . . . someone at Oso Creek took on collecting old cell phones - wherever they could be found - and made it a ministry. Collected them and sent them in and then the resources were used to feed the poor or build water wells or pour into an under resourced nation.

That's just one example -- but as we recycle we're not JUST good neighbors - but if we're creative we can find ways to create inroads to the Kingdom of God coming to earth!

[These are the new signs that will go out by the recycle bins at Oso Creek!]

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Creation Care

"Yours, O Lord, is the greatness and the power and the glory and the majesty and the splendor, for everything in heaven and earth is yours. Yours, O Lord, is the kingdom; you are exalted as head over all." 1 Chron. 29:11

On Sunday I preached for the first time ever on caring for the creation. It was long overdue.
Adam & Eve began in a garden where they were charged to keep it and care for it. Our role is that of stewards - to return the creation better than we found it. I hope that you are asking God what the small ways are that you can care more for God's creation.

Below is the website I promised and this week I'm going to blog about more practical ways to live in the blessing of this kind of obedience:

Monday, November 17, 2008

Weekend Runoff . . .

Wow, what a long - but good - weekend we had . . . and it's run over into Monday . . . it's nearly time for my leadership meeting tonight and I don't know where the day went . . .

Here's the weekend numerical recap:

- 4 hours with friends on Friday night
- 5 kids stayed at our house on Friday night
- 1 carwash on Saturday morning (KHS soccer!)
- 2 Grandparents came and visited us Sat & Sun (thanks for coming!!)
- 2 sermons preached (the elephants herded away for now . . .)
- 5 baseball games! (fun . . . but whew!!!)
- 3 meals at ballparks or Whataburger (because of the above)
- 1,000 (approximately!) tamales made in our kitchen for the student's camp fund raiser
- 0 times mail box visited (we decided this morning that we were too busy when Cindy went to put something in the mailbox and figured out there was about 3 days worth of mail we had never retrieved)

Saturday, November 15, 2008


This is the logo of our new select baseball team . . .
We're hoping to SURGE through a tourney that we're playing in this weekend!

Friday, November 14, 2008

The Herd is Moving On . . .

This is the last week of the Elephants in the Church series . . . This has been an awesome series and this last week I'm gonna tackle this: 'Is God Green?'
Who do you need to bring with you on Sunday?

And don't forget that NEXT WEEK - November 23rd - is Operation Christmas Child Shoebox Dedication Sunday!!!
Are you inviting your neighbors and co-workers and classmates to join us in blessing the world?
You've got one more week!

Thursday, November 13, 2008


Our beautiful Emily. I love her. I miss her.
And I am so thankful to God that she loves Him and follows Him with all her heart.

My heart is steadfast, O God;
I will sing and make music with all my soul.
Awake, harp and lyre!
I will awaken the dawn.
I will praise you, O Lord, among the nations;
I will sing of you among the peoples.
For great is your love, higher than the heavens;
your faithfulness reaches to the skies.
Be exalted, O God, above the heavens,
and let your glory be over all the earth.
(Psalm 108:1-5)

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Mission 911

This afternoon I had the privilege of hanging out with Tony Reyes for a couple of hours and hearing his heart for Mission 911.

I love this guy because he's doing it! He inspires me. He gave up his hat as an Office Depot executive 9 years ago when God called him to care for the homeless and hurting and love an entire broken neighborhood. He's on mission - it's written all over his life.

Mission 911 is one of the ministries we are going to support as we give to compassion through Advent Conspiracy. I'm pumped that we get to engage with guys like Tony as they seek to change the world right where they are!

Treasure Principle

"Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also." Matthew 6:19-21

On Sunday I talked about the elephant of greed and how it rots away our soul - from the inside out. BUT, how generosity loosens the grip of greed. How investments in eternity transfer our interests from earth to heaven, from self to God.

At the end of Celebration I gave everyone a book - The Treasure Principle by Randy Alcorn. One of the best, most concise, books I've ever read about our resources. One of my favorite sections says this:

"'Store up for yourselves.' Doesn't it seem strange that Jesus commands us to what's in our own best interests? Wouldn't that be selfish? No. God expects and commands us to act out of enlightened self-interest. He wants us to live to His glory, but what is to His glory is always to our good."

When we use our treasure for God's good . . . it's ALWAYS for OUR good!

If you weren't here on Sunday and want a copy of The Treasure Principle, stop by the office - or ask on Sunday - and we'd love to give you one.

Waffle Breakfast For Matt Beveridge's Family

On Saturday November 22nd at Monclair Elementary School (on Alameda behind St. John's UMC) there's going to be a waffle breakfast to benefit Matt Beveridge's parents.

The costs associated with Matt's sickness and death were astronomical and this act of generosity will be a huge blessing to Gary & Laurie.

The tickets are $6 and we'll have them available on Sunday . . . or during the week at the office.

"You are generous because of your faith. And I am praying that you will really put your generosity to work, for in so doing you will come to an understanding of all the good things we can do for Christ." Philemon 1:6

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Make Em' Cry!

OK, I just got this and it's admittedly a little late . . . but I just couldn't help myself!

(If you don't get it, look at their jerseys!)

Surfside Update - 11/11

Did you know that Ike was the third most destructive hurricane to ever hit the US?
It killed 164 people - with still over 200 people missing in the US - and did an estimated $31.5 billion in damage!

It's been nearly 2 months since it hit and has faded from the frontal cortex of many of our minds.

And yet folks so many folks are still hurting and digging out.

Some of you knew Maren Harding and may have seen her at Oso Creek on Sunday. She lives near Houston (Shoreacres) and took a direct hit and she is just now getting any construction started while living in a trailer (and she's one of the first!)

All that to say, the need is still great and we are still seeking ways to help in Surfside!

The next stage of reconstruction at Surfside is helping with home repairs -- tearing out sheet rock, cleaning, painting, etc . . . Are you or your group ready to go?

We will be taking another group either this Saturday (15th) or the next (20th). Please email Rick Thornton (click here) if you need more info or are ready to go!

"Never let loyalty and kindness get away from you! Wear them like a necklace; write them deep within your heart."
Proverbs 3:3

What Are You 'Showing Off'?

It's been a busy couple of weeks, packed with some good things, and packed with some things that can be a distraction from the great things. I battle just like you with making my life count for eternity . . . and I tell you this just to try to stay real.
Below is a journal entry I made a couple of months ago that I was reading again this morning and reflecting on. I thought that it might speak to some of you:

It seems like being sick - as I've been over the past week - always lends itself to contemplation. I don't know if it's the reality of wrestling with my mortality, the drugs that mess with my head (and make me feel tingly), or just the insecurity in not being able to 'do something.'

It's seems like recently as I've skidded towards my mid 40's I've dealt with this general malaise of being at (or beyond) the half way point of life . . . not necessarily the Billy Crystal kind from City Slickers of feeling the need to use Grecian Formula or buy a red Vette . . . But more of a spiritual discomfort.

This statement by Jesus jumped off the page at me today as I've been reading through Matthew and sent chills of reality up my soul: Matthew 10:32-33 "Whoever acknowledges me before men, I will also acknowledge him before my Father in heaven. But whoever disowns me before men, I will disown him before my Father in heaven."

As I reflect on my own heart condition, my continual stirring is a great desire to glorify God - to 'show Him off' in every circumstance and moment. And yet it's so easy to live and breathe for self. What am I 'showing off' before people? Me? My strength & wisdom? My hard work and busyness?

O' how I want the next years - and remaining years - to count for the Kingdom of God! Help me God to resist the pull of the distractions of this world and the panderings of self that lead to isolation and darkness . . . and help me be firmly planted in the Vine and in the power of Your Spirit's control!

I pray that all of us would fight . . . that we would fight to 'show off' God to the world and for every moment of our lives to count for eternity!

Hog Chasing!

Last night Luke & I (along with John & Connor Richerson and Tim Klaus) were driving in the Lakes (neighborhood in Corpus for you out of towners) and up the street I saw something(s) in a yard and said, 'What are those, pigs?'
Sure enough three feral pigs rooting in a yard! They had come out of the wild around the Oso and torn to shreds about 5 yards!

But here's the cool part, we started chasing em' in the car and we were all laughing so hard I almost wrecked . . . We chased em' up and down streets and finally back out into the wild by the Oso. Almost ran over em' near the end because they got tired and stopped in the road. Great male bonding time!

Kind of like being back in West Texas - hog chasin' on Monday night in the car!

Friday, November 7, 2008

Rummagee or Rummagor?

King HS Soccer (where Laura & Sarah play) is having a very large rummage sale tomorrow (Saturday) from 8am to Noon. (click here for map to King HS).

If you have some rummage you want to get rid of and bring it by the school between 5pm and 8pm tonight (Friday), we'd love to get rid of it for you!

And if you want to find some good rummage the sale is Saturday morning!

Cell Phone Challenge

How many names of people who don't know Christ are in your cell phone?

Another blogger challenged me to put 2 new folks in my phone this week who don't know Jesus. If we put them in our phone, chances are greater that we'll give em' a call or text em' when we have a few extra minutes.

Living for the Kingdom is about giving God all of ourselves and every piece of our lives (including out technology). Asking Him to use every moment and every contact.

So I challenge you - Put 2 people in your phone this week who don't Christ. Pray and call.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Bringing the King to Earth

Dan shared a verse on Sunday that's been rattling around in my mind since:

"Then at the resurrection of the godly, God will reward you for inviting those who could not repay you." (Luke 14:14 NLT)

Jesus is talking here about those we reach out to bless. Those who we invite to the King's party.

My heart has been burdened the last couple of weeks with how much of the time I stay in my selfish world, and I miss opportunities to tell people about the King.

Paul said, "I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation. . . "

I'm asking God this week to put people in front of me who need Him. . . And to give me the wisdom and courage to love them. I so want His heart to be my heart.

How about you?

Tuesday, November 4, 2008


Did you vote? I did. Waited . . . zero minutes! I was in and out in 6 minutes! Sorry for those of you who I've heard are waiting an hour . . .

Keep praying as we wait, and remember that God is sovereign and in no way is His power furthered or diminished by any man or woman who holds an office or leads a government . . .

"Some trust in chariots and some in horses
[i.e. the power and strength of a kingdom], but we trust in the name of the Lord our God [i.e. the power and strength of THE King and THE Kingdom]. (Psalm 20:7)

Pray and anticipate how God might use those who are elected today:

"I urge, then, first of all, that requests, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for everyone-- for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness." (1 Tim. 2:1-2)

Monday, November 3, 2008


We had an awesome time at the Men's Retreat this weekend!
We spent the weekend digesting 1 Samuel 14 (and Jonathan's courage) together --- and also just having a lot of fun.

Great job, to the guys organizing and leading --- especially Greg Richmond and Steve Garcia -- way to go guys!

Thought might enjoy some of these pics of your warrior heroes!

Survey Says?

Thanks to my good friend Dan who served us in an awesome way yesterday as he filled in for me and hit it out of the park!
He encouraged us to 'hang tough' and keep our hearts and minds focused on our future and the reward that God promises in eternity. I could hear that every week. (Minus the snot! OK, you had to be there!)

This week I'll g0 back to the Elephants --- 2 more to go . . .

I've really enjoyed the Elephants and gotten a lot of great feedback. I can see us talking about other 'Elephants' in the future and so I've got a question for you while it's on our minds . . .

What other Elephants in the Church would you like to hear about? What else is lurking out there that no one is talking about?

Your 'comments' on this post will really help me to plan in the future!

Sunday, November 2, 2008


Did you see the Red Raiders and Longhorns! What a game!

And now the Raiders are #2 in the Nation!!! Go Raiders!