Sunday, April 20, 2008


Our services today were really cool. Tim sang the song "Cinderella" ( Steven Curtis Chapman). We had pictures of dads and daughters on the screen, along with three dads and daughters dancing at the appropriate time. Steve Oliver and his sweet little girl, Sydney, Wayne Hill and his graduating daughter Gloria, and then Gary Jones and his married daughter Lacey, added just the right touch for the song.

This is an example of how we can use media, and music to really bring home a point for the sermon. These things are not the sermons themselves, but they engage people emotionally. And I believe that at those points, many of the barriers that people bring to church are broken down.

The point is that we want to prepare people to listen to God's Word. Tim and his creative team do a great job of coming up with things... and then working them out so that they are presented with quality and clarity.

Considering some of the things we have done in the past, we have come along way. I love those who serve in so many ways. Just for the service alone (not counting First Touch, Nursery, Childrens etc.) we had about 30 different people involved on the stage and in the sound, video and lighting area. That does my heart alot of good. I look at some of those people and know where they were 5 years ago. Some were far from God. Others were just chomping at the bit to serve and use their gifts. Some were strong 5 years ago and still are.

It was a special as we talked about "Parenting in a Chaotic World." Elizabeth and Nathaniel were here... It is their last visit until baby Grace comes. Lizzie will not be able to travel after the first of the month. She looks great... and I am so proud of both Nathaniel and Lizzie.

Abigial was home too, which is a delight. She has had such a great freshman year at Ozark... It will be great to have her home this summer.

Joel had to work today...a first at his new job. But that happens. He is enjoying his job and his apartment.

Lydia will be back in Oklahoma in a few weeks, and she and James join our staff in the Children's Ministry area. Can't wait!

Pam and I have been so blessed by God through our kids.

I got some great comments on the blog and in email about parenting. Thanks to all of you. I settled on 4 things Parents have to provide their children. Affirmation, Discipline, Attentiona and Spiritual Guidance.

We are having some issues on getting the messages up on the website. But hopefully that will be remedied....check out in a few days and we will see.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008


This Sunday I am preaching about the subject "Parenting in a chaotic world."

I was wondering...... In 2008, What do you think are the most important qualities a parent needs to have?

This is called participate and let me know

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

He is enough..

Well, the NCAA is over. I had all four #1 in the Final Four, both winners in the semi's and Kansas in the final. Additionally I picked Davidson to win their first three games and Sienna to beat Vanderbilt. I did miss a few in the early rounds, but played it pretty conservatively (except for the Sienna game). Best bracket ever for me.

That's the good news. The bad news is that the NCAA tournament is over. Tonight the women's team fight it out ( Tennessee and Stanford). Actually the women's game has improved dramatically. Its pretty good basketball. But after tonight, we are left with NBA.... ugh!

Some ramblings about church...

At church... we have seen a dramatic jump in attendance since moving. Our goal was to follow God's leading in this journey. Some want to make "success" about the number of new people coming, and all that. But even now, as I reflect on the journey of over 10 years... I am reminded that it is really not the number. I have always believed that. But in this part of the journey, I have learned that it is the next step which God uses to shape me.

Buildings are tools for this culture. Without God's people, any "church" building is just bricks and mortar, empty shells that cost alot to build and maintain. But have "the temple of the Holy Spirit" (I Cor 6:19)walk into that building and it is transformed into a place where people can connect to God.

Certainly this happens beyond the walls of church buildings. It happens in gyms, on ballfields, at work, in neighborhoods, anywhere. At FCC, we call it "rubbing shoulders." Life on life, pointing people to Christ , telling people of the difference Christ can make in their lives... that is what interests people.

Today, we hosted area ministers from the Christian Churches in the area. I was struck by how similiar we all are. Even though we serve churches that are different in size and methods, we are very strongly connected by one person. That is Christ. Theirs is a good work.... so is ours, because we are doing it for the same person.

Our community has dozens of churches. Some larger than ours, some smaller. All of them are different in methods and points of emphasis. But for those who preach the Word, focus on Christ, and desire to reach people with the truth of the Bible, we are more alike than we even realize. Some don't like that, thinking that thier distinctivness is what makes them special in God's eyes. I think he is not impressed with that kind of thinking. He is impressed with faithfulness to the Word, love for Him and His Father, and loving others. Each of these churches in our community is a good work. Some are dramatically different than ours, but they are still good. What makes it a good work? I believe it is Jesus.

We can never believe the that we are the only ones right... that we are the sole ambassadors of the Kingdom of God. While some would like to criticize other churches, different approaches, methods, personalities, and leaders their views are extremely short-sighted. Usually such talk is not about truth or mission. It is ego and self righteousness. The Kingdom of God has never been about those things. Jesus said his mission was "to seek and to save the lost." (Luke 19:10)

Ultimately it is the Word of God, which brings about fruit in a person's life. It was Peter who said to Jesus, "To whom would we go, you have the words of life." ( John 6:68). Peter knew Jesus and His Word was enough.

I am thankful for the opportunity to teach the Word of God to more people. I am thankful to sit down with people and hear thier story. Last night I talked with a young woman who had been led to Christ by a member whom she met at the gym. She said she saw something in that person and wanted what she had. When she found out that it was a relationship with Jesus Christ she "bought in." And in the weeks that have followed she has started to grow spiritually.

We are hearing more and more about how people are connecting to Jesus through various ministries and members of the church. There is one consistent thing in all of it... Jesus.

That is what gave me comfort today at a funeral of a former member of our church. He was a great guy. He was described as a man of integrity, a man who loved his wife and kids. He was a man who worked hard, had lots of fun and always seemed to have a smile on his face. He loved our church, and loved the church he was attending in Tulsa.

But all of that, while they are great qualities... are not enough at judgement. Only Jesus is. And He "knew" Jesus.

That is what we are trying to do...pointng people of all ages, of all walks of life to Jesus. He is enough.

I am good with that.

Thursday, April 03, 2008


Two years ago today, I had a stroke...It was a pretty major deal. I am glad to be two years down the road from it. I feel better most of the time, but still have some "reminders" from time to time.

This morning I went to the hosptial for some follow up tests. They are the kind of tests to make sure the blood is flowing through my heart to my head. Of course, the techs are trained to say "nothing." (kind of like the Seargant Shultz on Hogan's Hero's- "I saw nothinnnnnnnng!). They smear you with gel, run machines over it, and then hand you a towell and say, "You may go now."

Neither tech had much personality and offered no results, but I figure the results are okay, since last year when I did this, they sent me to the emergency room for 8 hours. At least this time I got to walk out of there.

I took a book because I knew there would be some down time. John Ortberg is a favorite of mine. His new book is called "It all goes back in the box.." It is pretty good stuff about life management..If you know Ortberg, its pretty standard stuff for him. There are rare surprises, but he makes me think and the same time.

I read Chapter 11 this morning...He quotes a man by the name of Lewis Smedes, in talking about time, our days gone by and the ones coming up. Here is a portion:

"I bought a brand-new date book yesterday, the kind I use every year; spiral-bound, black imitation leather covers wrapped around pages and pages of blank boxes. Every square has a number to tell me which day of the month I'm in at the moment. Every square is a frame for one episode of my life. Before I am through with the book, I will fill the squares with classess I teach, people with whom I ate lunch, everlasting committee meetings I sit through and these are only the things I cannot afford to forget. I fill the squares too with things I do not write down to remember; thousands of cups of coffee, some lovemaking, some praying and I hope, gestures of help to my neighbors. Whatever I have to do, it has to fit inside one of those squares in my date book. The four lines that make up the box are the walls of time that organize my life. Each box has an invisible door that leads to the next square. As if by a silent stroke, the door opens and I am pulled thorugh, as if by a magnet, sucked into the next square in line. There I will again fill the time frame that seals me- fill it with my busy-ness just as I did the square before. As I get older, the squares seem to get smaller. One day I will walk into a square that has no door. There will be no mysterious opening and no walking around into an adjoining square. One of those squares will be terminal. I do not know which square it will be."

Well, maybe you can see why that would have struck me this morning...There is a day(square) for all of us that will be our last square. What will matter the most will be not the appointments, meetings, big deals, sermons and all that. What will matter is our relationship to God and the people that we have touched and influenced. All the stuff in life we accumulate, all the accolades, the power, the fame, all of that does not go into the last square. The old phrase could not be more true. "How much did he leave? All of it."

Makes me think two things...

One, I am thankful for 730 more squares to live in...and I am hopeful that there will be more.

Two, I do not know when the last square appears, so I better be ready NOW.

Later today, I am going to a funeral in a little town west of here. The man who died is the father of a friend. His has been a long struggle. He finally got the last square. It's inevitable for all of us. Some just get more squares than others.

I will be reminded again to be thankful for the square I woke up in today, and to do my best to make it count for something that lasts.