Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Open Ended Questions???

Great fun! I was sipping on coffee with a friend this morning and we had one of our very transparent and inspiring conversations about life (A side note: How important it is to be around people who inspire you to think and live better!) . . . . .

At some point we slipped into a conversation about questions - closed-ended questions vs. open-ended questions.
It made me think out loud about how I'm really comfortable with closed-ended questions -- they're either (most of the time) easily answerable or easily dismissible.

On the other hand open-ended questions leave a lot of wiggle room - and much of the time make me wiggle. They take time and thought, aren't as neat and tidy in their process or their answer, and may not even have a 'right' answer.

But then we talked about how vital it is that our life is filled with open ended questions. How important that the we dream and wonder. How necessary it is that we DON'T have all the answers and are OK with that, but are always seeking what's over the next horizon.

So . . . What open-ended questions will you begin 2009 with? Maybe just being open to open-endedness will be a good way to start?

Another New Years Eve Audie Update

Praise God that Audie is doing incredibly better as of noon today and hopes to go home this afternoon!

She and Tim are so thankful for your prayers and kindness!

I give you thanks, O Lord, with all my heart;
I will sing your praises before the gods.
I bow before your holy Temple as I worship.
I praise your name for your unfailing love and faithfulness;
for your promises are backed
by all the honor of your name.
As soon as I pray, you answer me;
you encourage me by giving me strength. (Ps 138:1-3)

Update on Audie

Yesterday evening Audie had some relatively minor surgery (although as a wise person told me long ago, the only 'minor' surgery is surgery on someone else!) to correct the blood loss issue and it went well --- even though post-op was painful.
Her fever was also down yesterday and she was feeling more like her chipper self. Today they also hope to have the infection under control.

Praise God that she is improving! Please keep praying for her and her family --- for God's strength and power!

Monday, December 29, 2008

Mexico Mission - Pray . . .

A group of Creekers left last Friday and is in Queretaro, Mexico at the Pan DeVida Orphanage. God has made their entire route smooth to this point.

Tim Klaus is leading the trip and emailed me asking for you to pray in this way: "Please pray for us during this week that we will reflect God's love well to these orphan children as we spend time with them and get things fixed up around the orphanage."

Please Pray for Audie

Our Children's Pastor - Audie Lawley - has been in the hospital a couple of days now fighting an infection and dealing with issues that are preventing her from producing blood to fight the infection.

The Dr.'s still aren't sure of the cause of the infection and are running many tests . . . Please pray for healing and peace . . . and pray for her husband Tim to be encouraged and blessed.

"I will extol the Lord at all times; His praise will always be on my lips. My soul will boast in the Lord; let the afflicted hear and rejoice. Glorify the Lord with me; let us exalt His name together.
I sought the Lord, and He answered me; He delivered me from all my fears.
Taste and see that the Lord is good; blessed is the man who takes refuge in Him.
Fear the Lord, you His saints, for those who fear Him lack nothing. The lions may grow weak and hungry, but those who seek the Lord lack no good thing." (Psalm 34:1-4, 8-9)

Finishing the Conspiracy!

I'm excited and thankful about all of you who have given to Advent Conspiracy!

And even more excited about how God is going to spread compassion in our City and around the world with those resources!

If you still haven't had an opportunity to give your Advent Conspiracy funds . . . . . Or, need an opportunity to finish your regular giving for the year to Oso Creek - the office will be open Wednesday (Dec 31st) from 9am to Noon just for you!

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Best Decision I Ever Made!

OK, spiritually speaking my decision in 1982 to follow Christ was the decision that has impacted my life the most for eternity . . .

But the decision that I made in 1986 to marry Cynthia Jean Barnett was right behind it. Today we celebrate 22 years together.
It's kind of funny, we're staying in the same hotel that we stayed in on our wedding night (hey quit it, we got 4 kids with us OK!)

Has it always been easy? No. Has it been worth it? Heck yes! And it gets better and better every year.

A couple of thoughts of encouragement after 22 years:

1) Fight for it - When I've wanted to give in or quit - or just be jerk - nothing makes me fight harder than to think about the generations of influence we can have as we seek to be faithful in the good times and bad

2) Keep Dating - We do that on Thursdays at lunch right now - Find regular time for just you two alone - keep it fresh, keep it real.

3) Stand in the gap for your spouse - Nothing brings me back to thankfulness for Cindy more than when I pray for her - for God's power and blessing in her life.

Friday, December 26, 2008

Amen Dan

My friend Dan Morris blogged about an encounter we had a few days ago with a lady in Starbucks.

I couldn't say it better . . . so click here and go read Dan's post.

It's what life is really about.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

To The Hub

That's Lubbock's nickname . . . . We're off to West Texas today to be with Cindy's family . . . and to see some old friends . . . It's awesome to have Emily with us and be traveling again with all 6 of us! The things we so easily take for granted . . .

Have a blessed Christmas!


OK, I have a confession to make. I haven't posted again about our new dog that we were trying to name because I didn't want to be named 2008 Bad Dad of the Year. I was feeling sad and a little ashamed.

Here's the story. We had the awesome little dog for one night and Laura and I woke up the next morning and couldn't breath and had noses running full bore. We both have asthma and allergies, although mine have been under control for quite some time. I knew I was allergic to cats but wasn't aware of what dogs could do to me.

As Cindy started looking the next day, our little dog was a Jack Russell Terrier and she found out that they are one of the worst kinds for allergies because of their continual shedding. (Go figure, intuitively it would have made sense to me for short haired dogs to be better for allergies . . . but no, they actually shed more - and ours was a smooth coat which sheds the very most.)

So Cindy & I felt terrible, but yesterday we had to take our little just named ('Dash' had won) doggy back to Pee Wees Animal Shelter. O' man did that stink. He had slept with Luke and Luke loved it. But all the kids were great sports and understood.

Now the good news is that Pee Wee's had a cute Westie (West Highland White Terrier). Westies are one of the best dogs for allergies and we took her! (She even came named - Abby)

This is her although I was having a hard time taking a good pic as she isn't feeling too good - long day as she not only got a new home but got 'fixed' at the vet today :(

So we are thankful . . . and now I feel confessed up.
And if you need a last minute Christmas present, Pee Wees has a great little Jack Russell Terrier.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Thanks Lord!

What great Christmas Eve Eve Celebrations we had tonight! Several folks told me that it was the best Christmas service they had ever been to! Great music and reading -- and a great heart.

And I'm proud of all of you who brought guests to introduce to Christ! Way to go!

Give a big high five to Steve when you see him . . . He coordinated it all tonight!

Monday, December 22, 2008

One More Day!

Tomorrow night we celebrate Christmas Eve Eve at Oso Creek!

2 Services -- 6:30pm & 8pm

I'm excited to share how One Night can change our lives, with our friends and neighbors.

I encourage to keep inviting those you care for . . . or you can forward this page.

If you received this from a friend, Fellowship of Oso Creek is located at 7402 Yorktown (Yorktown at Rodd Field). Click here for our website.

Criticize or Create?

I really think what Mark Batterson is saying in this quote is so true. Let it sink in. What do you think? Is he right, or not?

One reason Christianity has a perception problem is because we tend to criticize culture instead of creating culture. We are more known for what we're against than what we're for. We need to aspire to something Michelangelo said: criticize by creating. Let's not just complain about what's wrong. Let's celebrate what's right.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Your Vote Please . . .

Today we got an Advent Conspiracy dog for the kids for Christmas! All the kids got one gift together -- this pup (actually 1 1/2 yrs old) from Pee Wee's animal shelter . . .

Now we need your help. We haven't yet decided on a name and decided to take a day to pray and think . . . and get your input .
The two nominees at this point are:

1) Raider
2) Dash

What's your vote? Or do you have some other spectacular name??

Friday, December 19, 2008

Emergency Relief

This afternoon I got a call from our oldest daughter Emily that she had a blow out on I-10 between Junction and Kerrville - a desolate stretch of road. And I couldn't get there to be with my daughter and help her. That's a sick feeling. Very sick.

I was so thankful for the TXDOT service vehicle that changed her tire and got her going (I had already called the State Troopers to come to her rescue and was about to call the Marines!)

The entire episode reminded me of a friend in Dallas who had a passion to love people and share Christ with them - and mechanical skills. So he equipped a truck with all kinds of supplies for fixing tires, batteries, etc and a cooler of soft drinks . . . and he would cruise I-30 and LBJ in Dallas on the weekends searching for stranded motorists. He would fix their car, give em' a cold drink, and let them know how much God loved them!

That's awesome!

What's your 'Service Vehicle'? How are searching for the stranded?

Wednesday, December 17, 2008


We're in the last week of giving for Advent Conspiracy and I pray that you still seeking to give all you can to compassion.
What a blessing to be able to bless those in need!

And the impact of living compassionately is contagious. Check out this story of one of our Creekers - Jenny McDermott - when she shared AC with her family . . .

Over thanksgiving we had gone home to Chattanooga to spend time with our family and I began to tell them all about how our church was doing this advent conspiracy thing. I went on to tell them how we were spending less on presents this year and having more compassion on those who need it the most. I told them how were giving the money we saved to living water international and to mission 911, a local shelter. I also told them that Matt and I were going to give money in all our families name's instead of givng presents to them. They were all fine with this and we soon came back to TX. About a week or two ago I got a phone call from my sister telling me that she thought that what we were doing was awesome and let me know that she and her family were giving money in our names to samaritan's purse. My mom also called and my parents are now doing the same for us and her brothers. My sister in law (Matt's sister) also called and told me that they are giving money to the local homeless shelter in Chattanooga in all our names. And this is all from me spreading the news about advent conspiracy to them. So, we are now all giving the money we would have spent on each other to different ministries. It feels great that we all are in this together.

Way to go God!

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Christmas Funny

OK, this is funny . . . Thanks Lauren Garcia for creating such a great show(and making fools of us!)

Click here to check out the staff elf dance and then see if you can outdo it!

One Week!

One week from tonight is our Christmas Eve Eve Service . . . We want everyone around us to hear how One Night can change our lives.

I'm asking God to make me a 'courageous inviter' this next week and give everyone I know an opportunity to experience the King!

Who are you bringing?

"And there were shepherds living out in the field nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night . . ." (Luke 2:8)

Monday, December 15, 2008

Staffed Up!

Took our staff to lunch today to celebrate with them and let them know how much they are appreciated.

We are blessed that every single one of them is a part of what God is doing at Oso Creek!
Give them a high five when you see them and thank them for sacrificially giving of themselves for the Kingdom of God!

Christmas Love

Michelle Needham leads an Oso Creek outreach to expecting and new Moms and families. She is an incredible blessing!
She also faithfully sends them an encouraging email every week and I thought that what she said last week would be great encouragement for ALL of us during this season . . . So I challenge you to check out her email below . . . and follow her encouragement this week!

Hi Ladies,

I know this is somewhat late in the week to be receiving this, but I didn't want you all to think that I had forgot. This week has been filled with much busyness. It is so easy to forget the reason for the season when your running around like a crazy person trying to find that one item that is sold out everywhere. I'm sure God is looking down at me thinking, "O.K. Michelle, there are people who could us your help right now, but you are busy hunting down a toy that you will probably have to pick up at least a hundred times before it ends up in a garage sell." As always he quickly helped me to put things in perspective when I received a call for help from an expecting mother.

Christmas doesn't stop the troubles that we encounter everyday. I think sometimes we think that during Christmas all is Merry. It is a beautiful season we celebrate and I believe that satan gets jealous of the attention Christ gets, so he works twice as hard to make some peoples lives miserable. I believe that as women of God we are blessed with the gift to encourage others. If we use it or not is another question. Sometimes it's hard to find the right words to say, so I try to leave that work up to the Lord.

In Hebrews 10:24 it says, Think of ways to encourage one another to outbursts of love and good deeds.

If there is someone in your life, be your children, neighbor, spouse, friend or someone you casually meet out and about, or maybe someone you don't even know, think of this verse and try do what it says. By doing so, you will be a blessing to others in this blessed time of year. God will look down on you and smile, because you are doing his will.

Lord, I thank you for your son Jesus and for bringing him into this world to be with us. May we be willing and obedient participants in your plan for our lives. May we cease this opportunity that you so loving put in our paths, to be an encouragement to others. Help us to keep our focus on you, Lord. Show us your ways of love and good deeds. May we honor you in doing so. If we are the ones that need the encouragement, Lord, may you so loving provide us those needs. Help us to think...pause...then speak, so that your words will come forth. Thank you Lord for these women and the precious little lives they carry. I pray that you will be with them all the days of their lives and that they seek you first in everything. We love you Lord and praise your glorious name. In Jesus name we pray.

I love you all and continue to pray for you regularly. I am hear for you.

Your Sister in Christ,


Sunday, December 14, 2008

Living Hope

I had an awesome time away last week for rest and solitude. Every time I'm away - whether it's for a day or several days - I'm so powerfully reminded of my need to take time to be still. My life tends to get so cluttered that I don't hear God like I so desperately need to.

I was at this great camp called Living Hope Retreat. It's part of Westwood Ministries . . . you can check it out here, they're open to individuals or families or groups.

It was also awesome to be back this morning . . . The week away recharged me, but it's always great to be back . . .

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Spend Less . . . Give More

I pray that you are still seeking ways to spend less on consumption and give more to compassion!

If you missed Sunday's message on how we are going to redistribute the resources you give to those in need, you can click here and listen.

I'm excited about giving all we can - locally to Mission 911 - and globally to Living Waters International! (Click on them and check out their websites)

How are you going to enter the Great Reversal?

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Eve Eve!

We like to be different. At least if it means a greater opportunity to tell the story of Jesus to those who need Him.

Several years ago when we we're talking about a Christmas Eve service we started thinking about how many folks like to spend Christmas Eve with family, or are already traveling. And also how there are already many opportunities for Christmas Eve services.

So . . . we said how about Christmas Eve Eve . . . why not! And so this Christmas we'll have our annual Christmas Eve Eve services (2 identical services) on Tuesday, December at 6:30 and 8pm!

The theme is One Night . . . and we'll explore, with great music and a traditional flair, how One Night can change our lives!

Start praying now about who you are going to invite! They're ready for you to ask!

Monday, December 8, 2008

Away . . .

I'm heading out this morning on an annual trek of solitude.

I've talked about the rhythm that I need in my life to stay centered on Jesus: Daily I need to begin with time of solitude. Monthly I need to take a day to go pray and listen. And then Yearly - as I'm doing this week - I need to spend a week away retuning my soul to Jesus.

It usually takes me a day or so just to decompress and get still . . . I appreciate any way you can join me in prayer while I'm away . . .

Great Stuff!

Discovery Dessert last night was awesome! It's always fun to hear the excitement of new Creekers . . . And to hear the stories of their journeys . . . to hear how they found Jesus and how other Creekers have had huge impact on their lives!

I will teach you hidden lessons from our past—
stories we have heard and known,
stories our ancestors handed down to us.
We will not hide these truths from our children;
we will tell the next generation
about the glorious deeds of the Lord,
about his power and his mighty wonders. Psalm 78:2-4

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Great Job Staff!

What a beautiful Saturday! For all you poor suckers up north somewhere, it's 70 degrees, sunny, and barely a stitch of wind. Amazing . . .

And we had an amazing Volunteer Banquet last night! Thanks to our great staff . . . Audie was the glue in putting - and holding - things together, Steve did fantastic with the music and video, while Jenny, Jason, Amber and Linda did incredible amounts behind the scenes. Way to go!!
And all to honor our incredible Creeker volunteers!! I'll have some pics coming later . . .

Friday, December 5, 2008

Love and Discipline

I read something earlier this week that is so true:

Discipline does not produce love. But love produces discipline.

Think about it. You don't start loving your spouse through 'discipline' (I'll just think good thoughts about him, I know he's a jerk, but if I just think love thoughts three times a day . . . . .)
No! But if you truly love your spouse, then you discipline yourself in finding ways to communicate that love and in caring for them in ways that matter.

Same with our relationship with God.

We don't 'discipline' ourselves into a relationship with God. Nor does grinding out discipline alone bring back the fire when we're in the valley.

But, in the midst of that love relationship with God, we seek those disciplines that increase the depth and width of our love. It's those disciplines that help to continually move our journey to new and exciting levels.

"For God did not give us a spirit of timidity, but a spirit of power, of love and of self-discipline." 2 Tim. 1:7

Meet Roger!

Roger picked a cold day to start his job . . . and was a little reluctant to let me take his pic . . . but he was a good sport.

The City of Corpus Southside Recycling center is open at Oso Creek and Roger is working 4 days a week to help care for God's creation!

Come and give some Oso Creek love to Roger and bring your recycleables!

Thursday, December 4, 2008

What's in You?

Check out this video . . .

'Christ in you, the hope of glory!'

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Economic Problems . . . or Possibilities?

"Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is--his good, pleasing and perfect will." Romans 12:2

One of my core convictions is that God has called us to live differently. So much of the way we live is just reflecting the substance and style of the world. That's not following Jesus. That's not being salt and light in the world. That's just having Christianity as a side bar to access when it's convenient.

On Monday night at our Leadership Meeting I talked about the current economic crisis and the opportunity that God has given us to respond in a way that honors Him AND blesses others.
I am full-on excited about what God is going to do in this season as we seek Him in the ways that I talked about.

We recorded my leadership talk from Monday to make it available for you to listen to. (It's around 25 minutes) I hope you'll listen to it. I also copied the fill-in-blank outline that I gave the leaders below . . . you can click here and listen to audio and follow along with the outline.

1) Ask God to give you ______________________________

“I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do everything through him who gives me strength.” Philip. 4:11-13

2) S________________

“But I am afraid, lest as the serpent deceived Eve by his craftiness, your minds should be led astray from the simplicity and purity of devotion to Christ.” 2 Cor 11:3

3) G__________ G______________________

“Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. Test me in this," says the Lord Almighty, "and see if I will not throw open the floodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessing that you will not have room enough for it.” Malachi 3:10 NIV

4) Get out of ___________________

“The borrower becomes the lenders slave.” Prov 22:7

5) Expect _______________________

“For I can testify that they gave not only what they could afford but far more. And they did it of their own free will.” 2 Cor. 8:3

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Islam and Prayer and Me

Wow, I was convicted and inspired by the post below!
(It came from here:

What do you think? Where are your priorities? What are you sold out to?

Take it like a Man


Posted November 8, 2008

This evening after watching Clemson get so far behind the Seminoles it no longer mattered, I headed over to Target for some bibs for Ella.
Nothing spectacular. Just a random Saturday evening errand.
Little did I know I was in for a sight that very nearly knocked my flip-flops off.
As I was leaving the Target/Lowe's ginormous parking lot area, I noticed a small man, curled up on a towel on the driver's side of his small car.
At first, I thought the man was sick, or perhaps even injured. Or, perhaps he'd dropped his car keys and was groping around in the fading light in search of them.

Pulling closer, I realized this small man was not sick, injured, or searching for his car keys.
He was praying.
He was facing east. It was dusk. And, he was praying.

Obviously, the man was muslim. The towel was his prayer mat.
He was following the muslim ritual of evening prayer, facing Mecca, before the sun fell below the horizon.
It was undoubtedly the fourth of five prayers this man will pray today before he turns in for the night. Muslims pray at first light, at noon, in the early afternoon, at dusk, and once again after full darkness.

As I sat in my car and watched him, I noticed he paid no attention to anyone, or anything else. Cars passed, gawkers gawked, and this simple man prayed until his prayer was done.

I was at Target to buy bibs. And, he had obviously been at Target to buy something, too. But, when the time came, he stopped dead in his tracks to pray.
I was just hoping to get home in time to watch Alabama finish off LSU.

As a Christian, I do not agree with the theology behind Islam; however, as a man of faith, I cannot help but respect this man's discipline, purpose, and total disregard for what other's might have thought of him.

He was going to pray. Location, circumstance, and outward appearances made no difference to him.

I guess you could say that it had a profound impact on me.
I hesitate to raise my hand during worship. Don't wanna look stupid.

If I dropped to me knees in the Target parking lot and began pleading for the souls of my lost family members, I bet my wife would call 9-1-1 thinking I'd had a stroke.

Yet, this man's wife sat quietly in the passenger's seat. She was not the least bit surprised her husband was stopping everything to pray.

I guess what I'm getting at is that, while I do not envy this man's belief system, I'm somewhat envious of how much he is sold out to it.

And I struggle to come to grips with the fact that, while this man believes he must work his way to heaven, I am freed by the work my Savior has already done. And yet, it's that man who is willing to act out his faith in the parking lot of Target.

What would happen if I stopped in my tracks in the parking lot of Target, fell to my face, and prayed for the guy here in my apartment complex whom I know is searching for the Truth?

God help me. I'm worried about what people think and how it might look. And my friends are dying spiritually.
Lord, help me. My knees are weak. My priorities are completely whack.

Thanksgiving Video

Some of you asked about the great Thanksgiving video that Steve put together with the kids . . . you can check it out again - or for the first time - by clicking here

Monday, December 1, 2008

Discovery Amnesty!

Maybe you've been coming to Oso Creek for a while and have NEVER been to the Discovery Dessert!
Then this is the week you've been waiting for! We're offering complete amnesty from any and all guilt and judgment this week!

Kidding aside, if you haven't been to the Discovery Dessert, then you need to come so that you can get to know the staff up close and personal and hear our hearts and vision for Oso Creek.

You get to Discovery Dessert by completing Discovery Online . . . just click here and start reading and at the end you'll submit your info and then receive your invitation to Discovery Dessert.

Volunteer Rich!

We are blessed at Oso Creek to have so many people who give their time and energy so that Jesus will be glorified and lives will be changed! From the nursery to the parking lot to the praise team to the prayer team --- and everywhere in between --- we have over 200 folks who gave of themselves this last year!

This week we are doing something that we've never done before to bless our volunteers. On Friday night we're having a Volunteer Banquet!
The staff has been working hard to put together a time that will bless all of those who have given of themselves . . . it's gonna be awesome! I'm thankful to Audie who has continued to push this ball and encourage us to do it. Those who selflessly give of themselves need to be thanked and blessed!

And one more appeal to the blessee's: If you've volunteered this year (whether or not you received an invitation) we need to know asap if you are going to be there! We have a great meal that's gonna be catered and we need to get the numbers in to the caterer. So if you haven't given us a thumbs up yet (or regrettably a thumbs down) please give the office a call at 993-4463.