Tuesday, March 25, 2008


I had a new experience this morning... a root canal. Not fun. I had a new dentist, a new dental assistant, and the joy of having my mouth held wide open for two hours.

The dentist was good... the assistant was good... root canals - not so good.

Right now the numbing medicine is wearing off. The dentist told me it would hurt when that happens. He is right...It hurts.

I have some pain medicine but I want to wait... I have to drive this afternoon.

I was nervous this morning...but it was not that bad. It just hurts.

Pam will tell you that I do not have a high pain tolerance.She is right. I am a big baby ( thats me saying that... she is too nice to say it.) It is a good thing I was not made to have children. But I am learning that pain is not always bad. It reminds us that our bodies are not perfect. Pain reminds me that I should not take good days for granted. Pain is good because it forces us to face something and work to get better.

I have had a hurting tooth for 4 weeks. It actually had not hurt over the past few days and I was thinking, "Hey, maybe I don't need that root canal." But those close to me who have experience with such things said, "No way." The way to get healthy is to deal with it. If I had cancelled the appointment (which I really thought about doing), it would have started hurting again and I would have had to go on antibiotics for 10 days before I could get the root canal... So it would do little good to push off the inevitable.

Isn't that the way life is? We can ignore the pain, or mask the pain, but if you don't deal with it, it will always be there. Sure, there are days that it seems better. There are days that you go along and there is little if any pain in that relationship you have at work, at home, at church, even with God. But if you are going to see the pain go away for good, you have to open it up, clean out the infection and deal with it.

Certainly that is true of relationships. When we are hurt, we have a choice. Deal with it appropriately , talk about it, and forgive OR stuff it, pretend like it doesn't hurt and become prsioners of bitterness. Too often I see people choose the latter. But the pain is always there...just under the surface. And then it flares up at the most inconvienent times. That is not good.

This is also true of our relationship with God. That is why wrapped up in the gospel are the ideas of confession and repentance. When we come face to face with God, we have to recognize and admit that we have problems. Sin is real. It is terribly damaging. And there is nothing we can do about it on our own. Thus the need for confession and repentance. That is painful. It is also a daily process for most of us. But the good news is God is able to cleanse us from the unrighteous things in our lives. He willingly does this day after day, even moment after moment. How great is the love of the Father!

So, in the long run, I am glad I had the root canal. Two weeks from now I will get a crown...and the dentist tells me that tooth will be better. It sure beats ignoring it and just hoping that it will all go away.

It still hurts...but better times are ahead.

Sunday, March 23, 2008

He's Alive...

Easter services are over... But Easter is not! Tomorrow Jesus will be just as alive as He is today. Isn't that awesome!

FCC Easter was incredible. The power of a choir in a Worship Center bringing the message "He's Alive!" was so amazing. Every part of the day went well. Three services provided us with an opportunity to test some of our "systems" and they went so well. Parking was good... First Touch was good. Early Childhood and Children's programs were very good. And in the Worship service... well that was incredible.. best ever. The staff of our church is so talented and dedicated. And I continue to be amazed by our congregation and how people jump in and serve. Its never been better. They have "bought in" to "helping others know, love , serve and share."

Numbers are not in yet, but estimates put them way above our best ever... We have learned alot through the last three weeks... and experienced some pretty exciting things at the church.

Best of all.... Jesus is alive and we proclaimed the message in every corner of the church...

Some of you have already asked... Three services? How did you do? Well, I got tired... really tired... slept most of the afternoon... and it will take a few days to regain some of the stamina...but that is expected. I am continuing to get better and stronger. Many pray for me every day, and I am so thankful for each of you.

Tonight the house is full of activity. A great dinner at our table with Pam, Nathaniel, Lizzie, Joel and Abigail ( and Shiloh the Dog). Tonight James and Lydia come in from Joliet...long drive for them, but it sure will be fun to have them around a few days. It is always great to have the kids around for a few days...all of them!

By the way have I told you that there will be a grandchild soon? Yah I know...I have. Baby Grace is coming in about 2 1/2 months!

Monday, March 17, 2008

Some Rambling thoughts and questions..

Some questions....( if you want to answer, feel free.)

* Can the common person understand the economy? It seems that in just a few short months (maybe even weeks), the concerns of the nation have shifted from the war to the economy. That makes sense with gas and food prices skyrocketing. It also makes sense when it is all the news media talks about. I know very little about economics. But I do have concerns about national security, immigration, and morality in our nation. Those seems to take a back seat. Are we in a recession or not? Depends on how you define recession... and everyone thinks their definition works.

It does not suprise me that the economy has jumped to the top of the list. After all that has been the pattern for the last 28 years (during presidential election years.) But there are alot of other things to think about too.

* What was Eliot Spitzer thinking? One of the prices you pay for fame and power is that you have to give up your anonimity. People have to lie for you, turn their head the other way, or just ignore the stupid things you are doing. Did he not have ONE person who he was accountable too... who had the courage to confront him and tell him what a stupid thing he was doing.

If you want a great treatment on this, look up Cal Thomas' editorial piece on this ( In the Tulsa World on 3.16). It was masterful.

* Do Americans really care about Easter? We will have record crowds in church. But as the numbers grow, so do the numbers of people who make it only on Easter. We have to be careful that Easter does not just become sort of a marketing tool to get people into the church... and in so doing talk more about our church than we do about Jesus. That is why I preach every Easter. I just believe that the Word needs to be spoken.. the Word about ressurection, sacrifice, victory and change. This year we talk about New Beginnings and how that is wrapped up in the sacrifice and victory of Christ.

* Has there been a year in what is called "March Madness" when the top four seeds were bigger favorites to make it to the final four? NC,Memphis, Kansas and UCLA are the class of the field. There may be some upsets in the lower seeded games...but this is the year that I think all four #1's make it to the Final Four. My pick? Today it is Kansas.


Sunday, March 09, 2008

Big Day

As a kid, periodically we would take long journey's to Grandma and Grandpa's house. That trip from Oregon and Montana was 1200 miles or so... pretty long trips that we often made with few stops. ( A pick up camper is a wonderful thing.)

The trip was fun, but the destination was better... Our grandparents had a cool place next a big viaduct, which was a natural place for us to play and run.( although we were not supposed to.) It was a small town, so we could go places that were pretty cool.

Our church has been on a journey for 10 years... toward relocation. I remember the first days of this journey, when we thought about what the needs of the church would be 10, 20, or 30 plus years down the road. Through the faith and foresight of church leaders we made the move.

Today we moved into our new worship center on North Garnett. All I can say is WOW!

There were lots of people... lots and lots of people. People I had never seen before... people I had not seen in a long time... and lots of people who have been with us every step of the way. There were people from out of town... The city manager of Owasso came... as did some of the guys who have been working on the building...And alot of new people.

We showed a clip from Hoosiers (stole that idea from a church in Joplin who opened a couple weeks ago)...I loved it because it gave us the opportunity to say that even though the building is big,new and wonderful... and even though it will bring lots of changes, some things will never change... We will worship, we will preach,and we will celebrate Jesus! That will never change.

I thankful for the journey. I love the fact that the journey continues. The destination was never North Garnett... The destination is Heaven and we want to take anyone we can with us. Today 3 people were baptized, 5 others joined the church.

Problems? Some.... Some technical, but nothing major. Parking looks to be the biggest issue... We need lots more! What a great problem we have.

Easter is two weeks away. Don't know that we are ready...but we will do our best...and preach Christ.

Some asked if I was tired... The answer is "yes." But it it good tired. And I know of so many others who have worked alot harder on this than I have...So many have been so devoted..

It is great to be a part of something that people say, "You can't do it." ( We didn't, God did.) It is great to be a part of something that stretches you, takes faith and lots of trust. It is great to be part of something that goes far beyond brick and mortar... Life transformation is the real work of God... and we are seeing it.

What fun!

Monday, March 03, 2008

A New Thing....

Ah..... the adventure continues. This past Sunday ( 3.2) we gathered together for the last time at 86th Street for Sunday Morning worship. I had been fretting about how to make this service meaningful.

I landed on a couple things that I think were very cool. One, we allowed members to share memories of how God has worked in this place over the past 28 years. There were lots of stories, some laughs and a few tears. We recalled all the people that were baptized, babies that were dedicated, High School kids that stood on the stage on graduate Sunday, missions trips, VBS programs, Camps, and so much more.

I was most pleased about the participation. We could have taken an hour easy. Young and old shared. It was just right.

I talked about Exodus 12 and how God is in the timing of everything. Exoudus 12 says that Israel was in Egypt for 430 years "to the day." I love that... God had a plan and to the very day, he executed his plan in his timing.

Think about that move.... 600,000 men, plus women and children. That is a real challenge that makes moving 1500 people just down the road look like a picnic.

I love the last words of Exodus 12 ( vs. 51) "And on that very day, the Lord brought the Israelites out of Egypt by their divisions."

God opens doors and then leads His people.

Its been a long journey for us as a church. But I can honestly say that FCC is stronger for it. Our focus is on Christ, our mission is clear , and our future is bright. I am sure there are bumpy roads ahead, but that is where you learn to depend on God, learn to focus your worship and faith on God, not man, and learn that God does not dwell in buildings, but dwells in the hearts of men. For that I am thankful.

First Service is next Sunday... What do I preach? Well I really have focused on Isaiah 43:19 where he writes "Behold, I do a new thing among you..." So this Sunday is about a new worship...from Psalm 40.

It should be fun... More about it later.