Sunday, May 20, 2007

Busy times

It has been an extremely busy couple of weeks for me, and our family.

In the last month, I have had three major funerals ( I suppose every funeral is major...), but two of them were of young men who died at the hands of cancer. Another was an elderly lady. Each of them took alot out of me.

In addition we have been going through a mini series on our Building For Christ :Finish Campaign. It has been more than just preaching... The lead up work to it has been demanding, as have answering the questions.

I also have attended three graduations. Joel's was at OSU...Way to go big boy! He is looking for a job.... Abigial's high school graduation was last Thursday. Once again, the Curran kids left their mark on the graduation ceremonies. Abigial and her friend Whitney sang the Rascal Flats song, "My Wish" at the commencement. She said she was not nervous. And she did not look like it at all. That is amazing especially since she sang in front of 7500 people. They were amazing! And of course we have been so proud of her accomplishments in high school. All of our kids either sang, spoke or prayed at the graduation ceremonies... That is pretty cool.

Then James Summers ( Lydia's Husband) graduated from Ozark Chrsitian College. He is such a fine young man... we are proud of him and his desire to serve the Lord.

Now, on top of that we are dealing with the emotions of James and Lydia moving to the Chicago area. It is hard to let them go, but we know that God has a plan for them. In three months Abigial will be at Ozark. Joel will be off on his career... and Lizzie and Nathaniel are busy making their life in Fayetteville Ark.

So it will soon be Pam and I. No dogs, cats, or fish... just Pam and I. I think we are looking forward to it...but we know that it will demand some adjustments for both of us.

On the church front, we have had some interesting things happen. We invited Woody Wilkinson to come on Wednesday Nights to share with us on some study of Isalm, Mormonism and Jehovah's Witnesses. He is amazing... a man of both great knowledge and a great spirit.

The interesting thing is that we have advertised this on our marquee. It has caused a bit of a stir. The Marquee says, "I want to know about... Mormonism ( Or Jehovah's witnesses.). Last week, the phone rang several times at the church. It was people wanting to know more about the topic of the week. On Wednesday night, several men from the Mormon church showed up, as did a woman with 4 children. She talked with Woody afterwards...but the men did not. They quiet sat and listened. One man seemed to be deep in prayer during the presentation.

This morning ( after we had changed the marquee to Jehovah's Witnesses) I received a package from the local Kingdom Hall. There was a note attached, bascially saying that if we wanted to know more, we needed the right materials. ( Thank you). The note was very kind, even complimentary of our desire to know more about the Jehovah's Witness. It even mentioned their appreciation for our using their name on our marquee. I don't know whether they will send anyone Wednesday night or not... but I have found out something... People read the marquee!!!

By the way, in the middle of all this I went to the Nureologist... She said I am doing well... see you in 6 months. That is good news.

God is good, even in really busy times and times of transition

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Big Crowds..

Preachers are often conditioned to think that big crowds are a validation of worth and significance. We go to meetings and get asked the question , "How's it going?" That is code for "how big is your church," or "are you on the rise or decline", or "are your offerings up or down, "and are the people behind you or are you getting creamed by some hypercritical person or persons.

The answer is usually, "Things are good." We try to be as vague as possible. If we are growing and things are going great, we don't want to sound egotistical. If things are going bad, we don't want to whine.

But it goes beyond Sunday morning attendance. For instance, today, I spoke at two events that were not well attended. One was the Tulsa area Ministers Fellowship. We combine with the local Church of Christ preachers for lunch once a month. One of the guys asked me to talk about the stroke and some lessons that I had picked up through this last year or so. So I showed up. Problem was that most of the guys that attend it did not. There were only 3-4 guys from Christian Churches and about 10 from the Cof C. That is a pretty low crowd. We ate, someone lamented about the lack of attendance ( after all, we are all preachers), and then they turned it over to me. I talked for about 30 minutes. Then we did something special. They put me in the middle of a circle,laid hands on me and prayed. It was a very powerful moment for me. And so meaningful. Most of the guys I did not know, but the encouragement of those moments were very important to me.

Then I had to scoot to a graveside service in Tulsa. I did not know what to expect. I did not know the lady, but her sister, who I had not seen in 10 years or so, called me and asked me to do the service. Davida was 90 years old. Never married. She has two sisters, one in her mid 80's, whose husband passed away 25 years ago ( no children), and another sister in her early 80's who has never been married. They did not live here, but in the OKC area. But she wanted to be buried in Tulsa.

So I went not knowing what to expect. It was the smallest service I have ever done. There were 4 people there. 2 sisters, one cousion and a sorority sister of Davida's.

Prayer, scripture, obituary, remarks and prayer. Took about 15 minutes ( that was me stretching it a bit). But then what happened after was so cool. The two sisters and the cousion and sorority sister started telling stories. That went on for 30 minutes. Then as we left the younger sister said, "That was a great service... I hope you stick around so you can do mine some day." ( I hope so too.)

I thought about both those events on the way home. Both were small in numbers, but powerful in impact. They were personal. They were spiritual moments of encouragement . They were both uplifting. And they both were important.

Sometimes its not the big gatherings that produce the most important moments. I like that about God.... What did Jesus say? "Where two or three are gathered together in my name, there I will be also."

I like that about God. He wants everyone to be saved... He would love Heaven to be populated with people from every nation, tribe and tongue. But it is not the number that counts. It's the soul.

Good lesson for me to remember as well.

Monday, May 07, 2007


Some thoughts about this and that...

On Saturday May 5th, we journeyed to Oklahoma State University to watch Joel recieve his degree. We have been so proud of him. He has worked hard for four years to get to this point. He had some scholarship money, but he worked 30 plus hours a week for the last 3 1/2 years to be able to make it to this point. That fact alone makes me very proud of him. He maintained a 3.0 grade point average, and graduated in 4 years. That takes alot of dedication and work.

Joel is a great young man...everyone says that about him. We are blessed to have him in our lives. Now, if you want to pray for him, pray for a good job for him. That is the next big step.

On Sunday May 6th, I shared the vision for the building of our new campus on North Garnett. It is something that I was not comfortable with, but I felt like ( along with others) that it was the right time and right place to do it. So it was Building for Christ: FAQ's. The response from almost eveyone was overwhelmingly positive! I am finding people want to know. And they want to know that there is a vision for the future. Our church is full of people who really do want to make a difference.

We have seen God work in some really significant ways at FCC. Each step in this process has seen the need for a lot of faith. Our leaders have been faith filled believers who know that what we are attempting is far beyond us. We can not do it... but God can.

I think there is a constant lesson before me. Attempting great things, means leaning on someone besides myself. God is my help and my strength.

Rain.... boy are we getting rain. Thunder, lightening, rain and more rain. People complain about it... just as they complained for the last two years when we were getting no rain. It all makes me wonder if God doesn;t just put his fingers in his ears and go, "WAH WAH WAH WAH..."

It sure is green.... and I like green