Monday, June 29, 2009

God's Protection . . .

Cindy and Emily had a wreck a couple of hours ago in Abilene (Cindy's there for a few days hangin' out) . . .
Kind of scary when your 7 hours away . . .

Praise God they are both OK . . . although telling me they are getting sore . . .

A guy ran a stop sign and knocked them into a guard rail, after which they spun around 2 or 3 times and ended up on the other side of the road -- one wheel away from going into the ditch. Thanks God for Your protection!

First pic shows where they get hit in the back, then where they hit the guard rail in the front --- then the third shows where they ended up . . .


If you haven't been to the Oso Creek Facebook page yet, then come and check it out and join the group! (You can click the icon)

We're gonna do our best to keep it updated with the latest Creek info and pics of what's going on . . . And we'll need your help . . .

And if you were a part of Serving Sunday yesterday we would love to hear about your experience on the Discussion Board . . .

Rock on . . . .

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Way to Flow!

Wow! Awesome! Cool! What a great experience this morning (and afternoon for many of you!) getting to see people blown away by a new version of 'church.' I'm proud of the way that you served through the heat!

Here's a few shots of how you were taking the Kingdom to the streets!

In the pic below Bo Kratz is being interviewed by a Caller Times reporter . . . I also tweeted more pics this morning, you can see them at my twitter account . . .


Yesterday morning Audie forwarded me a blog post with these verses from Amos 5:

"I hate all your show and pretense--
the hypocrisy of your religious festivals and solemn assemblies.
I will not accept your burnt offerings and grain offerings.
I won't even notice all your choice peace offerings.
Away with your noisy hymns of praise!
I will not listen to the music of your harps.
Instead, I want to see a mighty flood of justice,
an endless river of righteous living.
(Amos 5:21-24)

As we go out this (Sunday) morning to scatter instead of just gathering, I've been reflecting on what God wants us to learn from this Sunday Serving experience. I hope that it's so much more than just a Sunday off from the routine and an opportunity to 'do our duty' to the less fortunate around us.

I think that what God is saying in this passage, is NOT that gathering together and praising Him isn't important -- But that if we are truly being changed, if we are truly worshipping, it is reflected in our posture towards others and the stream of the Kingdom through our life.

I love that last sentence, 'an endless river of righteous living.' A river doesn't struggle to flow. A river doesn't even think about what is around the next bend, it just flows man.
That's the Kingdom! That's the life God offers, that we would flow in Him and live differently. Not because we're trying to be different but because His power makes a difference in our lives.

Let's flow this morning . . .

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Tomorrow 10am!!!

One final reminder that we will meet for Celebration at the building at one time tomorrow (28th) morning -- 10am -- and go from there to serve others who are serving our community!

If you haven't signed up yet --- that's OK --- just come at 10am ready to have a blast serving our community!

Friday, June 26, 2009


From tonight (Friday) at 10pm until Saturday night at 10pm at Gateway Church in Gregory (202 East Highway 35) --- There will be a BURN

Burn is a monthly time of worship for the entire body of Christ in the Corpus area.  You can check out Burn's facebook by clicking here. . . . And you're invited to come & go anytime you like.

Check out how Rachel Miller, the Burn CC director describes it (then go check it out this weekend):

Come to abide- let that be your only agenda. 
What a perfect place to abide in.

Burn is not about hype or songs or shows...
guys really the musicians are there because that's how they (we cuz I'm a singer) abide! We love lifting our songs to Him! Its how we connect the best! But we're not there to perform or even lead anyone in worship. We're just there to abide and sing to our awesome great big God and tell Jesus how cool He is and how much we're falling in love with Him.

Artists are there to paint and play cuz again that's how they pour themselves out to their King.

Dancers are there cuz their feet never stop moving and who better to dance for than the God that delights in watching His creation dance.

And we are all called to pray-

Again why not abide together- corporately- where God is in our midst?

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Leaving the Building

"Serve wholeheartedly, as if you were serving the Lord, not men."

This Sunday we have the privilege of partnering with four non-profit organizations in our City who are meeting needs that there is no way we could meet on our own. And at the same time we get to be the expression of the Kingdom of God everywhere we go! Wow!

I wanted to be sure that you had met the four non-profits we are serving and how they impact lives. I've shared below who they are.

Remember we meet at the building at ONE TIME on Sunday 10am. If you have not yet signed up for one of the four opportunities please click here to email Audie asap.
And we now have a 5th group that is going to stay at the building to cover our efforts with prayer while we are out (there will not be childcare during that time). Let Audie know as well if you want to be a part of that group.

Here are the incredible non-profits we are coming alongside:

Operation Paintbrush
For 25 years Operation Paintbrush has painted homes for low & fixed income elderly and disabled citizens of our community. We have committed to helping them paint 2 of the 79 homes they are painting. Operation Paintbrush provides the paint & coupons for lunch. We provide the paint brushes/rollers, paint trays, scrapers, wire brushes, ladders & most importantly the labor!

Child Advocacy Center of the Coastal Bend
The Children's Advocacy Center of the Coastal Bend is a non-profit organization that works with sexually and severely physically abused children, child witnesses to violent crime, and their non-offending family members. The Center sees children whose ages range from 2 to 17 years of age. The Center is in need of a lot of TLC. They need our help to do some heavy landscape work: trim oleanders, trim trees & trim the hedges. There are two picnic tables in need of new table tops & 9 screen vents on the roof soffit that need replacing. The Center will provide the lumber of the tables and screen vents. We need to bring the loping shears, leaf rake & hedge trimmers for trimming. Low mower & edgers for the yard work. A ladder for the soffit repair, cordless screwdrivers for the table repairs and of course trash bags to clean up after ourselves! We will also need a few trucks w/drivers to haul the clippings to the dump OR one truck with a trailer.

Corpus Christi Pregnancy Resource Center
The mission of the CCPC is to share God’s gift of eternal life through Jesus Christ with women in crisis pregnancies by ministering to their physical, emotional and spiritual needs, and encouraging them to consider God’s purpose for their lives and that of their babies. The CCPC is in need of some organizational help and some help tidying up a bit! We will clean, organize a storage shed and install a lock on the door, paint the ceiling in the reception area and do a thorough spring cleaning of the office. The CCPC will supply the lock, we need to bring our own cleaning supplies.

Food Bank of Corpus Christi
The Food Bank of Corpus Christi is dedicated to eliminating hunger and changing lives. They have been recognized nationally for their innovative approach in educating the families of the Coastal Bend about good nutrition with their mobile kitchen. We will distribute flyers on Saturday, June 27 to a few southside subdivisions and the revisit those subdivisions on Serving Sundays to collect non-perishable food items for the Food Bank.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009


We are super excited that Beatriz, our daughter from Spain (ok, technically she was our exchange student who lived with us through the Spring of '08 - but now she's our Spanish daughter!) is coming back to stay with us for the month of July!

We were blessed to watch her come to know God in a new way - and now we get to be with her a year later.
She's such an incredible reminder to me of God's grace. What a great gift from Him! She get's here July 4th . . .
"Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we rejoice in the hope of the glory of God." (Romans 5:1-2)

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

(Much) Belated Thanks!

A few weeks ago at the end of Celebration I was surprised by getting an awesome gift that many of you participated in!

As of July 1st we will have been leading Oso Creek for 10 years! Wow! And for those who weren't there, our family was given a trip to Chicago!! Complete with Cubbies and White Sox games!
Thanks for the privilege of being your Pastor - and thanks for what will be a great family time!
And thanks for allowing God's goodness to work through you . . . without sounding trite, but believing what is true, I want to praise Him for this blessing . . .
"Whatever is good and perfect comes down to us from God our Father, who created all the lights in the heavens. He never changes or casts a shifting shadow." (James 1:17)

Vietnam Update . . .

We are moving forward in exploring how God might want to use us in Vietnam . . .

In July - Dennis Jeffares, the International Director for Glocal Ventures is going to come to Corpus to meet with our leadership and then with anyone who wants to know more about GVI's vision for Vietnam and how we can be involved.
He is going to share about GVI, but then also want to find out about us - our gifts and passions and skills, and commitment to helping people around the globe.

This week we're working on a date for Dennis to be here and I will let you know as soon as we've nailed one down.

I just noticed that there is an article on the GVI site about the trip I went on (click here to read it) . . . it might help you get more of a vision for the mission there.

I'm excited about the possibilities of God using us to bring hope around the world!

Monday, June 22, 2009

Cool Father's Day

All of my kid's (on their own :) gave me some awesome Father's Day cards! (& even a Keva gift card!)

It reminded how blessed I am to have 4 incredible kids (and a super awesome wife!) . . .

It was also pretty cool to open the Caller Times sports page on Father's Day morning and see that Laura (1st team) and Sarah (2nd team) had both made the High School All-South Texas Soccer Team! Awesome, you can check out the article here . . .

Friday, June 19, 2009


Cool. Just did a phone interview with K-Love radio as they were interested in what Serving Sunday (28th) is and why we are doing it.

She told me that the brief story will air on Thursday the 25th on the :40's (but not all of them).

It affirmed to me that what we are doing on the 28th to tangibly express the Kingdom of God to our City is a much longed for drink of fresh water.

I don't want us to just be a vague impression of God as people drive by our building, but to be the very expression of Jesus as we give our lives away!

"For we are to God the aroma of Christ among those who are being saved and those who are perishing." (2 Cor. 2:15)

And for you Creekers who haven't signed up yet, be sure and do so this Sunday. There are 4 different places that we are serving and there is a place for you to give yourself away!

Thursday, June 18, 2009


Make It Count!

I want nothing more than for my life to count.

We've been focusing much on being On Mission the last few months. And we must. If we're not on mission then we're not following Jesus.

But for us to go further, we must go deeper. Beginning this Sunday we are going to examine the life of Nehemiah and see inside the life of someone who changed the world!

I've been convicted that we need to go deeper on Sunday morning - and we are. We're gonna focus on God's Word in some fun ways and some challenging ways. I'm praying that God will help me to equip you to leave your fingerprint on the world.

It's up to you . . . We can waste our lives chasing other things - or we can leave a mark on eternity chasing Jesus!

See you Sunday . . .

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Fuge Heroes

The folks in this picture with me are the real heroes of Fuge Student Camp 09'.

Next to me are my wife Cindy, Lauren Garcia, Jessica Gregory, and Beau Hufstetler.

Week in and week out they give their time and their lives to Oso Creek Students.

Last week they left their families and the comfort of their homes behind, gave up a week vacation time, had few showers, a cramped room, and tolerated camp food . . . And all simply to invest in the eternity of these students. That's sacrifice. That's awesome.

Beau and Lauren lead the Middle Schoolers.

Cindy and Jessica are part of the team that lead the High School Girls.

Right now I'm helping a group of guys lead the High School Boys.

We need more of these heroes. Are you next?

The MS'ers meet in their Groups on Sunday mornings at 11am; the HS girls meet at our home on Saturday nights at 6pm; and the HS guys meet on Sunday nights at 7pm at the building . . .

Is this an investment that God is asking you to make for the next season? Respond to this post or talk to any of us if you want to check it out. It's worth every sacrifice!

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Fuge Reflection

I preached a couple of weeks ago about how Jesus is ALIVE . . . and has made the way for us to live in the Light and not the darkness . . .

"For he has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son he loves, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins." (Col 1:13-14)

And how we must 'resettle' our lives in the Kingdom of Light . . .

"So then, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live in him . . . Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things." (Col 2:6; 3:1-2)

At Student Camp last week I failed. Miserably.

I was tired (4-5 hrs of sleep a night - and yes, Cindy took this pic of me as I was dozing in the cafeteria), dirty/sweaty, in a wicked smelling room, way out of my element w/900 wired teens, and the food was . . . camp food . . . and did some permanent intestinal damage :)

But the point is that when I got out of my 'comfort zone' I began to get selfish and irritable. I started to focus on John and somehow recovering some of my desires and dignity.

And then God reminded me: 'It's NOT about YOU!'

That's always a bummer to hear.

I was reminded that I really know nothing about the suffering that Paul talked about in Colossians (1:24-27) and elsewhere . . . until I get out of that place of comfort and security and see what's inside. It wasn't good.

But now, I'm thankful that I had the opportunity. By Day 3 I had to agree, 'OK, God this isn't about me. It's about You and these students. Now you gotta help me!'

It didn't really make it a lot easier physically, but it helped me to retrain some of my focus on God in the midst of everything, and move maybe a little more towards Him -- and what it really means to deny myself and follow Him.

As I took my eyes off myself, it also gave me an opportunity to watch and see how God was moving in the student's lives . . . Wow!

And it makes me want to live more of my life in the Light . . .

Help me God to keep my heart - and my mind - on things above . . .


Wow, it's been a journey the last week! We got home from Glorieta late Sunday night and it's been catch-up mode ever since.

I apologize for not blogging more as the internet options for me at camp were pretty limited (as was the sleep :)

We had an incredible time at camp . . . I was reminded how God can change lives in a very short period as we are focused on Him without distractions. (What an awesome concept, huh?)
I got to watch as all of our students (and adults!) had powerful encounters with God. The three guys who drove home with me told me that their spiritual lives had grown 40%, 100% and 200%! And they weren't just making up numbers -- I saw it!

Attached are just a few of the many incredible memories . . .

Wednesday, June 10, 2009


We're in our second full day of Fuge Camp with the students. After 2
long days of driving we made it to beautiful Glorieta, New Mexico in
the mountains (7500 feet!)

Camp is awesome - and exhausting for a 44-year old! But the kids are
loving it and God is really speaking into many of their lives. (And
most importantly the food is pretty dang good!)

The theme of the camp is 'MOVE!'

Please pray with us that God will keep moving the students, and
leaders towards Him . . .

'Yet those who wait on the Lord will gain new strength . . .' (isaiah

Thursday, June 4, 2009

In the Zone

If you're a baseball fan you may have heard about what University of Texas pitcher Austin Wood did in the NCAA baseball tournament this past weekend.

If you're not a baseball fan you probably wouldn't even of cared if you did hear.

What he did was nothing short of incredible. In relief he pitched 13 innings of a 25-inning game against Boston College (the longest NCAA game ever!).

13 stinkin' INNINGS! 169 pitches! The first 12 1/3 innings he pitched without giving up a hit! 12 1/3 innings!

Let me give you a little perspective . . . An entire game is normally 9-innings, and for a guy to throw a 'no-hitter' (give up no hits) for an entire game at this highest level of college baseball in the NCAA tournament, is probably a once in a decade thing. And he did that -- and then 4 more innings without anybody getting a hit!
And I can tell you from experience - I pitched against Texas in college at Disch Falk several times - and never went more than about 12 PITCHES (much less innings) without someone crushing a ball and nearly decapitating one of our fielders :)

Incredible! He was as we say in athletics . . . In the Zone.

Eric Liddell in Chariots of Fire talked about being In the Zone when he said: "I believe God made me for a purpose, but He also made me fast. And when I run I feel His pleasure."

Now . . . here's my point. I think it's great that Austin Wood pitched 13 shutout innings (Not that I really care that UT won :) --- But I believe that God has made us ALL to live In the Zone!

I believe that He has called YOU to do something great AND eternal! But we don't just accidentally wander into the greatness zone.

We find it as we seek to know God more through His Word . . .
As we are still enough to hear His voice . . .
And as we are open to God possibilities and willing to take great risks to get there . . .

Baseball is awesome, but few folks have been built for baseball greatness. All of us who live with 'Christ in us' have been built for eternal greatness!

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

What's Your Claim?

Someone sent me this verse yesterday:

Ask of Me, and I will give You
         The nations 
for Your inheritance, 
         And the ends of the earth 
for Your possession.
(Psalm 2:8)

And they added this: We are to reclaim what Adam lost and Jesus purchased back for us.  That should be where we are, but also those people groups he has laid on our hearts. 

Is this what God means when He talks about the Kingdom of Light overcoming the kingdom of darkness? Is this the hope of being salt and light in our neighborhoods?  Is this much of the reason for Him telling us to be devoted to prayer? Are we really to make disciples of all nations? Is this why we're on earth?

What's your claim?

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Surrender . . . Kind of . . .

For the last couple of days I've spent most of my spare moments inhaling an awesome book by Richard Sterns called The Hole In Our Gospel.

Stearns is the President of World Vision and paints a convicting picture of how our American gospel is so void of giving ourselves to those trapped in poverty, disease and injustice. I encourage you to get it and read it. It will be hard to be the same afterward.

He talks about his own life . . . and my life. He paints a great picture of being a disciple of Jesus being like enlisting in the army. When a soldier enlists, he or she immediately surrenders control of his or her life. Where the enlistee lives, what clothes they will wear, what they will eat, when they will go to bed, how they will behave . . . all these things are immediately given over to the commanding officers to decide.

Truly following Jesus requires a similar surrender. Except that no one is ever drafted, it's always voluntary.

Surrender is hard. But without it a soldier is not useful to the army. And a Christian is not useful to God.

Stearns say: "One of the most powerful reasons we don't totally surrender our lives to Christ is that we don't want to sacrifice the things we possess; they have begun to possess us. These things can include our jobs, our material assets, our money, our communities, our friends - even our families. We cling to them often out of a desire for security, comfort and happiness . . . "

And it's amazing how much more vivid this is after visiting a third-world country where most of these options don't exist.

Stearns goes on: "God can't give you the blessings He has for you until you first put down the other things you are clutching in your hands."

Back to (Real?) Life . . .

Some of you may have think that I disappeared! But I did survive all of my flights back home with little incident. At this point I could care less if I saw another airplane the rest of my life :)

Just a strange transition being plunged back into America and the way of life that was so normal 2 weeks ago and now seems, well, different. My last post was made from an internet kiosk in a crazy airport in Bangkok where everyone was speaking a different language and now this one from my quiet desk in Corpus where everything is in English . . .

And even though I'm fully here in body my internal clock still hasn't fully made it back! Woke up again at 4:00am this morning ready to go . . . but slowly I'm getting readjusted . . . And still sorting through the incredible experiences that I had . . .

This pic (which I already shared) is probably my favorite of the trip of the young Vietnamese boy and his bird in Ta Phin . . .