Friday, July 31, 2009

One Time This Sunday at 11am!!

This Sunday we will be Celebrating Go Week!

Remember that we have ONE CELEBRATION time 11am!

And then afterwards stay and hang out with us and eat hot dogs and sno cones!

It's also going to be a great time to hang out with the new families who participated in BBC's this week! These are a couple of pics of our BBC's.

See you Sunday!

What are you waiting for?

C.S. Lewis wrote in The Weight of Glory: "It's not that we have too much ambition for ourselves; it's that we don't have nearly enough."

What's your eternal ambition temperature?

In just two weeks we are hosting an event that has the potential to help propel you into new places. Don't let it go by!

Leadership Summit will be filled with an absolutely incredible amount of encouragement, challenge and powerful teaching! Last year we took 30 Creeker leaders to the Summit in San Antonio and I would love to see a hundred Creekers there this year since it is on our home field!

THIS SUNDAY we will have a table in the lobby to get signed up - Don't miss it! And if you won't be there Sunday, then drop by the office to save your spot!

If you have any questions about the Summit call Audie (960-9551).

Thursday, July 30, 2009

A Fan or an Experience?

I started watching the Chicago Cubs on WGN in 1980. I was a fan. In some seasons a huge fan.

But before last Friday I had never actually been to Wrigley Field and been part of the excitement in the stands, the aura of being part of Wrigleyville and the Cubs family.

For 30 years I had been a 'fan' in the shadows, I even bought a couple of caps and shirts, but I had never experienced the Cubs!

Alright, some of you are thinking: 'He's really freakin' out on this whole Cubs thing!'
Hang on a minute because I think it's a great picture of how we can fool ourselves into becoming a 'fan' of God but never experiencing God!

There are so many folks who like the whole idea of God and His Son Jesus dying for us and the power of the Holy Spirit. Maybe it's the comfy smell of family church traditions that keep them engaged. They enjoy talking about the Bible and spiritual trappings . . . But they never experience God!

What a waste.

In John Stuart Mill's 1859 essay "On Liberty" he was trying to explain how words lose their meaning. He then offered Christians as the best example of this phenomenon. He observed that Christians 'seem to have the amazing ability to say the most wonderful things without actually believing them.'
Like: 'blessed are the poor and humble' . . . 'love your neighbor as yourself' . . . 'he who is faithful with little is given much' . . . 'He must increase and I must decrease' . . . . . .
Mills concluded: "The sayings of Christ co-exist passively in their minds, producing hardly any effect beyond what is caused by mere listening to words so amiable and bland."

It took some effort to actually finally go to a Cubs game. And others had to help us as many of you provided the trip for our family. But in the end we had to go! Now I'll never watch a Cubs game the same.

Some of us are still waiting to 'go'. And what I mean is that you're content with watching God from the shadows, with buying a goofy Christian t-shirt and having the latest Christian-fad Bible . . . and you're missing the whole stinkin' game! Your missing the power and experience of God right in the here and now.

"The Kingdom of God is not just fancy talk, it is living by God's power!" (1 Cor 4:20)
The Kingdom of God is now! The Power of God is now!

What is God saying? Where is He asking you to follow? Don't settle on being a fan. Go.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Go Week!

Pray with me this week as we have Backyard Bible Clubs happening in neighborhoods around Corpus!

Pray that God will give us a 'salty' presence that will be irresistable.

Pray that the leaders will have a winsome love of Christ that overflows into the kids and parents who come.

Pray that people will experience the Living Christ and put their trust in Him.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

An Event or a Reunion?

Two Major League Baseball games in the last two days was pretty cool . . . . But I've been thinking about one contrast that stood out . . .

Going to Cellular Field (White Sox) on Thursday was (as expected) like going to an event. It was an awesome event that was somewhat transformed by it becoming a historical game, but still an event.
Everyone individually worked their way through the crowd to their seats . . . You stayed in your seats and watched the game in your little group. . . The stadium was modern and functional. It felt a little like going to Dillards.
When the game was over, everybody filed out quickly and courteously. A really good time.

But in contrast going to Wrigley Field (Cubs) was more like going to a family reunion.

When you walk up to the historic ballpark in the middle of an older neighborhood, there's this homey feeling - like your going to the little league park.

From the time we got there we were talking to people like the kids on Waveland Avenue trying to catch home run balls during batting practice and the crazy excited family behind us in line. EVERYBODY (except me) was in Cubs gear (except for a few poor Cincinnati fans).

Once we went through the gate I walked about 5 steps and some dude high-fived me and said 'We're at the Cubs game baby!' like I was at the game with HIM (or I even knew him! :)

And the section where we sat was like Cheers (the sitcom!). By the second inning it was like I had 8 or 10 new friends. Everybody was laughing and yelling and razzing each other.
And when the game was over everybody went crazy - the dude in front of us even pulled out this huge flag with a 'W' on it and had Luke help him hold it up while everybody danced. It was crazy! And fun!

And the party had just begun. On the streets surrounding the stadium afterwards everyone was just hanging out, high fiving, watching the 'street drummers' . . . nobody wanted to go home. I didn't want to go home.

NOW, here's what I kept thinking about and couldn't escape . . . . Which of those do we look like? Our groups? Our gatherings on Sunday? And what makes it that way?

And which does God intend us to be more like?

Which would you rather go to? I know where I'd be . . .

Friday, July 24, 2009

Day 3 in Chicago

Another great day and we all are dreading having to leave Chicago tomorrow but are blessed like crazy being able to be here together!

Luke and I went to the Cubs game and watched them beat the Cincinnati Reds 8-5. An awesome time in incredible seats that some of you gave us. The whole gig - hot dogs, cokes, soft pretzels, sun and a crazy crowd . . . Wow, what a cool afternoon in maybe the funnest baseball atmosphere I've ever been in.

These pics are of Wrigley Field . . . The second showing how close we sat (6th row from the dugout!) and the last one being the street drummers out on Waveland Avenue being part of the post-game party.

The girls spent the afternoon in all the shops on Michigan Ave (Luke & I were glad to be at the game :)

Then tonight we connected with an old friend/Creeker Hugh Beresford - who some of you might remember . . . it was great to see him!

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Chicago - Day 2

Pretty incredible - we started off the day being a part of sports history!
We went to the White Sox - Tampa Bay game and the White Sox pitcher Mark Buehrle threw a perfect game! That means no one from the other team got on base in any way during the game.

Now to give a little perspective, it was the 18th perfect game in the history of Major League Baseball (since 1880). Which means it happens about once every 7 years (or once ever 17,000 games). Wow, and God allowed us to be there for all the fun. It was intense. (This pic is of the melee at the end of the game.)

Also had the fun subway adventures all day -- this subway pic is Sarah & Luke giving some love (& cash) to a great street musician.

Later in the afternoon we went to the Skydeck observatory on the Sears Tower (actually now called the Willis Tower - tallest building in the US). It's 103 floors up (and the elevator made it up in ONE minute!) and has these glass balconies that hang out over the building. Cool stuff. My Iphone pics don't really do it justice.

This pic of the flags is also at the Willis Tower - just a continual reminder of what a global world we live in. People from all over the world are here - today I talked to folks from Brazil, India and China. . . . Now for some sleep . . . And O' yeah Corpus Christians hate to rub it in but the sleeping weather is low 60's!

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Chicago - Day 1

We had a great first day of vacation . . .

This first pic is on the 'L' - the Chicago subway system - from O'Hare to downtown . . . a great way to experience the Chicago culture

The next pic is Luke at NikeTown . . . the girls were at some foofy girls store

Then two pics from tonight - in front of the best deep dish pizza in the world - UNO's . . . .
And then at the really cool McDonalds where we finished off the night with ice cream

Tomorrow it's the White Sox game!

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Chicago, Chicago . . .

Yes! Headed off this morning! Hello Sox! Hello Cubbies!

Great Time . . .

Had a great time hanging out all day yesterday with Dennis Jeffares from Glocal Ventures! (We even had a quick tour of the Lex which is where this pic is from)

We had two awesome meetings about their movement in Vietnam . . . . One with our Staff and Leadership Team, and then another last night with anyone who wanted to come.
Thanks for being there all of you who came!

Dennis did nothing but affirm the incredible heart and passion that I had already seen amongst the GVI staff. They are doing incredible things to bless the people of Vietnam!

Monday, July 20, 2009


Vietnam meeting at 7pm @ the building Monday night!

Everyone welcome to come and find out more about God's vision for Vietnam and/or how you can be involved!

Saturday, July 18, 2009


Emily's car ended up being totaled by the insurance company . . . so now we are shopping for a medium or larger sedan or SUV (Emily don't need a compact car :) probably 4-8 years old . . .

So if anybody has one for sale or knows of one for sale, please let us know!


We were blown away by everyone's kindness last night as Creekers hosted a 10-year dinner for us.

I've thought several times about writing down my 'What I've Learned in 10 Year' and it's been difficult to get started . . . But tonight just brought back a flood of memories as you spoke words of encouragement and we looked at old pics.

Wow, thanks for the relationships that we relived tonight and the ones that we will get to relive in the future.

I was reminded how important it is to slow down and reflect. How important it is just to spend time absorbing the humorous ways life has worked, the unknown ways we affect one another's lives, and the incredible things that God has done. It encourages me to do it more with our family and friends . . .

We are just so very blessed that ten years ago God planted us in Corpus, among all of you who are on this incredible journey with us!

Thought you might appreciate these pics that chronicle the seasons of our journey in Corpus!

Wednesday, July 15, 2009


Celebrated Luke's Birthday today. . . . actually still celebrating as we've got a bunch of young teenagers over here taking testosterone out on ping pong paddles, wi paddles, each other, and anything else that moves . . .

Wow, where did 15 years go . . . but I'm blessed!

"My son, give me your heart and let your eyes keep to my ways." Prov 23:26


Seems like so much of what keeps intersecting my life has to do with calling and courage . . . Watch and be inspired . . .


I've had a slow posting week after a wild and crazy but awesome weekend!

I spent Friday afternoon through Sunday evening with our Elder Team at Lake Corpus Christi and they are an incredible group of guys. Tim Klaus, John Richerson, Greg Richmond and Mike Ilse are all guys chasing Jesus and on board with God's mission for Oso Creek.

We prayed and planned a lot about God's vision for us and how we express that and flesh it out --- you will see much fruit of our time together in the months ahead.

It's just awesome to have men who are willing to walk alongside me in this journey . . . without it we will never reach our potential!

"A man of many companions may come to ruin, but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother." Prov 18:24

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

God Dreaming

Someone came into my office yesterday with a dream. A pretty big dream to impact hunger in our world. That excites me!

As we continued to look into Nehemiah's life on Sunday, I presented this truth from his life:


Nehemiah had a dream to change the trajectory of the situation in Jerusalem. And in verse 11 of chapter 2 it says this: "I went . . ." He did it, He lived His dream! And changed the course of history in the process.

What dream has God given you?

Someone just sent me the Rick Warren email pasted below . . . it reminds me that if God gives us a dream, He will provide the means for it to be accomplished . . .

July 13, 2009
by Rick Warren
"Now glory be to God, who by His mighty power at work within us is able to do far more than we would ever dare to ask or even dream of—infinitely beyond our highest prayers, desires, thoughts, or hopes" (Ephesians 3:20 LB).
Faith is like a muscle: it can be strengthened. It can be weak or it can be strong, depending on how much you use it.

How does God build your faith? He uses a very predictable pattern that we will look at this week, and, if you understand it, you can cooperate with Him in developing greater faith. It's like when the father, seeking help from Jesus for his son, said, "Have pity on us and help us, if you possibly can!" (Mark 9:22 TEV)

Jesus replied, "What do you mean, 'If I can?' . . . Anything is possible if a person believes" (Mark 9:23 NLT).

The first thing God does to build your faith is give you a dream. When God wants to work in your life, He'll always gives you a dream—about yourself, about what He wants you to do, about how He's going to use your life to impact the world.

There are many examples in the Bible of this.

• God gave Noah the dream of building an ark.
• God gave Abraham the dream of being the father of a great nation.
• God gave Joseph the dream of being a leader that would save his people.
• God gave Nehemiah the dream of building the wall around Jerusalem.

How do you know when a dream is from God or when it's just something you've thought up yourself? The Bible tells us that God, "by His mighty power at work within us is able to do far more than we would ever dare to ask or even dream of—infinitely beyond our highest prayers, desires, thoughts, or hopes" (Ephesians 3:20 LB).

In other words, if a dream comes from God, it will be so big in your life that you can't do it on your own. If you could do it on your own, you wouldn't need faith. And if you don't have faith you're not pleasing God, because the Bible says whatever is not of faith is sin (Roman 14:23).

God starts to build your faith by giving you a dream. He may be speaking to you now, but you just don't recognize it for what it is. That dream you have—the idea, the concept, that thing you've been thinking about doing that would be of real benefit to other people—where do you think that idea came from?

God will never tell you to do something that contradicts His truth. In other words, He won't give you a dream of leaving your family and kids and moving to Hollywood to be a movie star. If you've got that dream, then you can know it is not from God.

God starts with a dream as He works within your life to build faith.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Sleepless Summer Nights . . .

I couldn't go to sleep last night. And it wasn't because I had drank (drunken? that's confusing) coffee too late, or because the Rangers lost again . . . I was lying in bed thinking about all the incredible ways that the Kingdom is beginning to flow out of us! And it's Summer time when churches are supposed to lie 'dormant'!

I was smiling. I think God was smiling.

And then I was thinking this morning about it being Summer and many of your schedules have you in and out, plus I know that many times I'm aware of what God is doing in ways that others aren't. So I wanted to share with you why I couldn't sleep.

And this isn't to show you that we have a bunch of activity going on, activity alone is worthless. But that God is moving! In all these instances not only is it about the Kingdom, but God is also using the awesome leadership of many different people. . . .

- Serving Sunday was incredible! 4 local non-profits got blessed like crazy and countless individuals got to rub up against the Kingdom of God. Way to go Creekers!!

- BBC's (Backyard Bible Clubs) are rolling the week of July 27. Talk about spreading the Kingdom. We are going into some of our neighborhoods, spending the week sharing Jesus and fun with the kids and families!

Nehemiah - I am jazzed about what God is showing us in Nehemiah's life about how to Make our Lives Count! This is going to be a great journey!

Vietnam - Our next step in is Monday July 20th at 7pm! Dennis Jeffaries from GVI is going to be speaking to us and answering all your questions about Vietnam and how we can be involved. Don't miss it!

Leadership Summit - Aug 14-15 - This is a world-class way that we are getting to help equip Creekers, other churches in Corpus, AND invite ANY leader around us to come and learn the greatest leadership principles on the planet from some of the world's best leaders!

Groups On Mission - It's so encouraging to see how many of our Life Groups have connected with ways to serve our community in the last few months. Our vision is that every single group will be centered around continually giving themselves away somewhere in our City! Your Kingdom come, Your will be done!

And that doesn't even mention Student Camp the first week of June that was incredible and Kid's Camp that is happening right now!

Leadership Prayer . . .

This evening our Elder Team is going to Lake Corpus Christi to pray, seek and dream for a day.

Please pray for our team: myself, John Richerson, Tim Klaus, Mike Isle, and Greg Richmond.

Pray that we would have wisdom, discernment, unity, and most of all ears to hear and eyes to see what God is telling us. This is an awesome group of men and I'm excited to be with them and see how God speaks to us!

"Remember your leaders, who spoke the word of God to you. Consider the outcome of their way of life and imitate their faith. . . . Obey your leaders and submit to their authority. They keep watch over you as men who must give an account. . ." (Hebrews 13:7, 17)

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Kid's Camp . . .

Pray with me for the Creeker campers and leaders at Kid's Camp this week . . .


Tristan Alpers

Mia Barerra

Hannah Boring

Moriah Boring

Michaela Braly

Holly Cazalas

Brianna Flores

Brooke Flores

Lexy Garcia

Megan Geddes

Anessa Helsel

Marley Mangum

Dorothy Ogden

Jesse Ogden

Victoria Lichtenberger

Joseph Paradise

Aryssa Perez

Amethyst Roe

Brendan Roe

Alina Williams

Anya Williams


Laura Bradshaw

Sarah Bradshaw

Jason Evans

Cecy Gonzales

Bea Lopez Mourin

Darren Miller

Jamie Ogden

Gabe Perez

Kelsey Schumaker

Ellie Seno

Amber Appleman

Audie Lawley

A Wednesday Thought

"Expect great things from God, attempt great things for God."
William Carey

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Death of a Hero . . .

There's been a rash of people with lots of notoriety in the obituaries recently.

At least one person who recently died is the kind of hero that we all need. The kind who is willing to make heroic decisions in epic moments, because they've prepared for those moments all their lives.

You see heroes don't just happen, but they are forged in the small decisions and quiet moments of life when no one is looking.

I read the story about Michael Grady in several different news sources, but below I've pasted Patrick Morley's account from his weekly email.

The question this causes me to ask myself . . . and the question that I would challenge you to ask yourself after you read the article is this: Based on my quiet daily choices, what kind of hero am I becoming?

A Regular Guy Becomes a Hero

What a sad week in Maitland, FL.

Little League coach, Pop Warner coach, Boy Scout leader, and member of Asbury Methodist Church Mike Grady and his family were on vacation in North Carolina.

His 12-year-old son, Austin, was sliding down some falls, when his foot got wedged by a boulder. The current, exerting some 400 pounds of pressure, pushed his face underwater.

Grady plunged into the river, positioned himself upstream and held his son’s head above water by using his body to shield Austin from a torrent of water that would eventually rip Grady's shirt off his back.

Bystanders who heard their screams for help worked from the surrounding rocks to free Austin's foot. Soon professional rescuers arrived and went into action. Forty minutes later, rescuers were finally able to work his foot free.

At that point, Grady, suffering hypothermia, summoned his waning strength and lifted his son to the rescue workers who carried Austin to safety.

Mike Grady, age 52, saved the life of his son.

Unfortunately, by this time Grady himself had become stuck in the rocks. Several rescue workers were swept downstream in vain efforts to free the father.

The icy water that pounded him was just too much for Grady. The rescue workers just couldn't keep his head out of the water. He passed out and died moments after saving his son.

At Mike’s funeral, his son Tyler, 9, read a tribute,

Dear Daddy, you will always be a memory in all of our hearts. You were the kindest and smartest person I ever knew. You risked your life to save Austin…. I love you very much, and I will never forget you. You are a hero.

The father gave his life for the son. A hero has fallen here, but not it vain.

Vietnam Update!

On Monday July 20th at 7pm we will have a Vietnam update meeting at the building.
Dennis Jeffaries from Glocal Ventures (who we will potentially partner with in Vietnam) will be there with us.

Dennis will be sharing their vision for Vietnam as well as answering any questions you have.
This gathering is for ANYONE and EVERYONE even vaguely interested in just knowing more, or jumping in however you can.

Don't miss it! Come and hear about what God is doing!

Monday, July 6, 2009

Caller Times . . . Follow Up . . .

Just following up my blog this morning about the article in the Caller Times . . .

Jade Payne brought to my attention the online comments after the article . . . Wow, I encourage you to go and check them out . . . click here (and scroll down below the article):

It just affirms again how when we truly give ourselves away it has impact beyond what we can imagine! We never know how one small Spirit-led act of kindness can change someones whole perspective about God and what it means to follow Him . . .

It's ALL Part of His Plan

The Caller Times had an article yesterday about Serving Sunday!

Pretty cool . . . They even called me 'Reverend' :) They don't know me too well if they call me Rev!

What it reminds me of is that we never know who God will impact as we give ourselves away. We never know who is watching, who is hurting and seeking. Who will read the article and know that they need to seek a place of refuge.

God said this through Paul:
"So, my dear brothers and sisters, be strong and immovable. Always work enthusiastically for the Lord, for you know that nothing you do for the Lord is ever useless." (1 Cor 15:58)

It was also kind of cool that there was a couple at Celebration this weekend who were on vacation from Austin. They heard the spot on K-Love last week and just came to check it out . . .

You can check out the Caller Times article by clicking on the link below:

Sunday, July 5, 2009

The Bea is Back in Town!

Bea made it back to Corpus last night and we were pumped! I think we were all nervous to see each other again.

We're looking forward to the next 3 weeks of her being our daughter . . .

Thanks Fernando & Fe for letting us 'borrow' her!!

Friday, July 3, 2009

Lessons in the Vines

When we go and give ourselves away - around the world or across the street - we not only express the Kingdom of God, but a little more of the Kingdom get's carved into our souls.

Denise Rizzo sent the following in an email and it shows again how we truly begin to understand the Kingdom as we live in it's flow and give ourselves to it. (And thanks to Jade Payne for the great pics! The first one is of Denise and her Dad, John)

My dad was awesome in finding lessons in the simpleness of pulling out vines... it was an experience that he and I will treasure of time we were able to spend together, doing something for our community and being "sent out" instead of "sitting in" and hearing what we should do...we were actually doing what we as followers of Jesus were called to do!

While we were "being the church", we felt like in some ways we were still "having church". We were finding parallels to life in what we were doing. At the Children's Advocacy Center, there was an area behind their storage building that was severely overgrown. What we didn't realize is the lesson that was behind that storage building. We started to rake and noticed that there were vines keeping us from pulling up the grass and other plants. When the single vines were pulled one by one, they were fairly easy to yank out of the ground but when the vines grew together all intertwined they were nearly impossible to remove.

We found that at every group of vines there was a huge vine that all the others stemmed from. We compared that to how Jesus is our "anchor" and that when we are rooted in Him and with others in the community we can not be defeated. By ourselves we will surely get plucked out but only when we are in a community of followers and more importantly anchored in the word of God, do we stand strong.

Thursday, July 2, 2009


Light shining in darkness is able to penetrate every crevice and crack. But in order for that to happen it has to go to where it's dark.

That's the whole idea behind us doing a VBS in the neighborhoods this Summer. We're calling it Backyard Bible Clubs and they are going to happen the week of July 27th.

It's gonna happen in backyards in YOUR neighborhoods, where YOUR neighbors are, where God's Kingdom can come and His will be done.

Audie is still looking for homes, teachers and helpers who are willing to give away a few hours of time to be the light on the streets. Call her at 960-9551.

"You are the light of the world. A city on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven." Matthew 5:14-16


Rereading through Search & Rescue by Neil Cole this afternoon:

"So many leaders, especially men, wait on others to take the initiative in life."

I hear it too often. 'I don't have the time.' 'This place isn't doing it for me, I'm not being fed.' 'No thanks, I've never done anything like that.'

Whether you realize it or not, those statements are more about God than about you. Is He not the One who hung the moon and stars and owns the cattle on a thousand hills? Did He not craft you in your Mother's womb into a 'masterpiece'?

Where is God asking you to take initiative for the Kingdom? Where He presents, He prepares.