Tuesday, September 30, 2008


The problem with a "blogcation" is that it is really hard to get back into the flow of writing regularly. I have read that the whole phenomenon of "blogging" has peaked. I don't know if that is true, but I do know it takes time and discipline to write regularly. Certainly gives me more respect for authors who write alot. Guys like Chuck Swindoll and Max Lucado have churned out books at an amazing rate. It takes alot of brain power to do that- not to mention spiritual depth.

Soooooo.... what's been going on with Charlie? I find myself on the cusp of October, one of my favorite months. I knew that fall is almost here when I stepped out of the house this morning to walk. It was 49 degrees! Crisp, cool, no breeze... it was perfect.

I have been taking some extra time off lately... trying to take advantage of the great weather (playing some golf, doing yard work etc.) and to recharge for the stretch run in 2008. October will bring about the conclusion of 40 Days of Community. It has been a great success, and promises to be the structure with which we disciple people in the future. Matt and his teams have done a great job. It is a huge undertaking to organize, promote, and track several hundred additional people in small groups and classes. Matt preached the last two sundays. We did the "Cardboard Testimonies " this past Sunday. It was a very powerful example of how God is working in so many lives.

Today, we signed the papers on the sale of our property to Rejoice. i was reflecting about this on the way home and celebrating God's faithfulness. I recall many times when I would walk through the 86th property praying that God would bring someone to buy the entire thing. We tried to keep it. We tried to sell it. We tried to keep again. It was up and down. It was on the market for a long time. One well known realtor told us that there was no way we would sell it, and if we did someone would just bulldoze it to the ground. The building in his estimation was worth nothing. I recall being kind of discouraged, but believing that if God wanted it sold, he would find the buyer at the right time, with the right price and it would happen.

Well it did. Rejoice Church has a great Christian School and they bought it for the Middle School and Senior High School. They have been leasing it back from us for about 16 months. It has been a great relationship. I have been so impressed with their heart. They have worked with us in so many ways.

I have also been so impressed with "our" people. They have been so flexible. They have seen the big picture. Many were inconvenienced by the sale. It was an emotional decision because so many had been baptized there. So many have been married there. So many people have had funerals for their loved ones there. The gospel message has been preached there. VBS grew and impacted so many there. Our Little Saints Preschool began there and flourished there for over 25 years. Young people have been ordained to the ministry there.

As God led us to North Garnett, there were emotional moments. I know it was hard for many. I know that there were tears and struggles for many. But ultimately those great people proved what we knew was true all along. They followed God's leading. It is awesome to see your church family do that in such a personal way.

Today, we were able to sign the papers and take the money to the bank and turn the page on a new chapter for the church. Its a new day. Lots of new people, new ideas, and a new hope for so many people. More than the money, more than the building, the space, the new toys and technology... people did it because they knew that God was in it, and He wanted to touch many new people.

4 years ago we said, "We did not want to focus on building a building, but building Christ in the lives of people." I look around now and I see small groups everywhere. I hear of many men's and women's bible studies. I see friends and church family helping others through really tough times. I see faithfulness every where.

Someone told me recently...." It just doesn't feel like my church anymore." I know that feeling. But it is not "our" church. It never was. It is Christ's Church. And it always will be.

But with all the new comes someone who does not change. Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today and tomorrow. "Jesus is the way , the truth and the life... No one comes to the Father except through him." John 14:6 Thanks to God for that.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Grow up Charlie

Some thoughts rolling around in my head...

* On Wednesday of each week, I start paying attention to the weather for Sunday. Last week, it was apparent that our entire weekend would be windy and wet...all because of Ike. This creates issues for me...( maybe it is just me)

Issue#1- Bad weather on Sunday, usually means lower attendance. Tropical Storm force wind and rain has real potential to "dampen" the worshp services. ( pun intended)

Issue #2- Our new building has leaks. Some are pretty major, some are not. So once again, Tropical Storm force winds and rain present potential issues.

Issue #3- We do not have a covered canopy. So, you figured it out, Tropical Storm Force winds and rain present some uncomfortable issues for our Senior Adults, and families, who have to make a run for it.

I could go on... and then I am reminded that there are 4 million people with no electricity, thousands of people in shelters ( probably for weeks), and some families who are grieving the loss of loved ones... all of that in Texas.

My issues do not seem so bad. I am a baby in some respects.... as a friend says to me, "WHAAAAAAAA...."

Sunday, I got up, and the clouds were gone. The wind was lighter than expected, The sun shined. The water did not flood the worship center. And the SON shined at Church too. It was a great day. Our groups are off and running. The congregation was responsive in all phases of our worship time. There were stories of impact being passed around .

And I was worried about some dude named, "IKE"

Later in the afternoon, I got the call that the brother of a very close friend had been killed in a Motorcycle accident. The two brothers and a friend were out on a leisurely ride ( It was a beautiful afternoon), when a car , going way too fast, lost control and slide into the path of Mark's brother Rick.

I was heart sick for Mark. And for Rick's sons. Their mother had died in the last year of cancer. So they have had alot. I spent the evening with them. Lots of questions...the only answers come from our FAITH in Christ. We just believe that it all will shake out. We believe that this Christian man is in heaven, reunited with his wife and other family, and certainly most of us, in the presence of Christ.

And I was worried about some dude named, "Ike" .

I need some re-direction by the Holy Spirit about what is really important. Weather forecasts are not. God is in control where Hurricanes go. In stead of me being worried about a disruption in my plans for Worship on a particular Sunday, I should pray for those who truly find themselves disrupted. And in some way , try to figure out a way to give in a tangible way to help people who have little right now.

I have alot of spiritual growing to do.

Sunday, September 07, 2008


While on the way back from Israel this spring, I watched movies. Flying on a big jumbo jet, in business class gives you that opportunity. And besides sleep and reading, it is about the best option to past the time on a 14 hour trip.

So, one of the movies I watched was" The Bucket List". The movie, starring Jack Nicholson and Morgan Freeman is about two men who are brought together by the dark diagnosis of cancer. They have lived vastly different lives, but find themselves together rounding the corner toward a finish line that we all must cross some day.

The premise builds around the idea of a list... a list of activities and things that one would want to do before their time ends here on earth.

I suppose that most of us do not bother to think about this alot, until we are given the bad news. ( don't worry, no bad news here for me.) But in our minds, all of us have a list of things that we would like to do before we die. Some are relationship driven... a person we want to see, a relationship we want to repair, or someone that we want to thank, forgive, or just see and recall old times. Some are activity driven... a place we want to go to, a challenge we want to attempt to rise up to, or an event that we want to attend.

I don't have a specific list on paper, or in a computer somewhere. But in my mind, I have some relationship things I want to experience, if God allows. There are some places I want to go and see, again if God allows.

And there are some events. This weekend , one of those things on the list , was crossed off. I am a big Eagles fan. I love their music, harmonies, and creativity. These guys are old... older than me by a long shot. Glen Fry, Joe Walsh and Don Henley have been around forever, both as part of the Eagles, and on their own. Thier work with guitars of all kinds is really something to behold.

The Eagles came to Tulsa to open the new BOK Arena. Tickets were very pricey, and the concert was sold out in a matter of minutes on the internet. So there was no real way that Pam and I could attend. I came to grips with that pretty early, and just thought, "Well I have them on my Iphone, and that is pretty cool."

A friend had tickets and could not use them. So, he gave them to us. All I can say is "WOW." What a concert. It was everything I had hoped for. It was fun, a great crowd of 14,000, new arena, fantastic music for the 70's, 80's, 90's, and whatever you call the present decade. It is not often that an event meets or even supersedes your expectations. This one did!

One of the great things about it is that the concert was 3 1/2 hours long, with about a 20 minute break. These guys, who said, "Welcome to the Eagles Assisted Living Tour," played their hearts out. I knew that late would not be good for me , so we left after 2 1/2 hours... It was incredible.

It was one of those fun things that you want to do, but don't figure you will ever get to do. Thanks to a generous friend, at least one of those things is crossed off the list.

There will be more... but I can't imagine many other things being that fun. Going to Fenway Park was close...but this was better.

All this has me thinking more about my list...both in the arena of relationships and events... Maybe that is one of the good things about turning 50. The kids are gone now, and you can spend some time thinking about that kind of stuff...and maybe even plan to accomplish some of it.

But honestly, one of the best things about the whole deal with the Eagles was that it was a surprise. That made it even more special. THANKS!

Thursday, September 04, 2008

Six weeks catchup

FINALLY.. a few moments to post. One thing about a month long "blogcation" , it is hard to get back into it.

The last six weeks have been eventful...
- Trip to Oregon to see my parents - they are doing okay. I love seeing them, and going to Oregon... Got to see my sister too.
- Turned 50- I am doing okay. Doesn't feel alot different to me...but they tell me I have more gray hair.. Some say it is all
down hill. Others say, "50 is the new 30." I have been waiting for 50 for 50 years... still have alot of life to live.
- Joel is moving to Portland Oregon. He is doing okay...on the road in Wyoming as I write. I will miss Him alot. Want to know
more??? Go to www.vidoop.com and click on blog. When you get there, click on anything that says "Oregon Trail." There are
video's, pics, and comments. Its a bunch of "technodudes" who are relocating to Portland to take over the wold.
- The church is launching a new small group emphasis- that is going great. Lots of cool stories...
- Pam and I shared our Israel pictures with people from the Church- I will write and share more about it as the month carries on.
- Pam started back to school- that has been good
- Abigail went back to college- Ozark Christian College- This is probably the last summer she will be home. She is great .
-Elizabeth , Nathaniel and GRACE visited a couple times. She is awesome! ( They all are). Visit www.elizabeth-
nathaniel.blogspot.com to see lots of pictures
- Lydia started back to school at NSU-Broken Arrow- James is doing great on our staff.
- I had a surprise birthday party- Pam you are amazing. Girls and Joel- nice! Friends- thanks . Lets do it again in 10 years.
-The staff had a party for me too- great fun with everyone, including the undertaker.
- The church finished the summer in great position for the fall. Attendance is right around 1100 each week, offerings are
strong, and there are a ton of new people.
- I finished 3 months in Proverbs this summer. I am not bragging, but I think it may have been some of the best preaching I
have done in a long time. As much as anything, the study really fed my soul...
-The Fall is almost here. I look so forward to September 15th, because that seems to be when the weather changes. Its
changed early this year.
- I have hurricane damage to my mailbox. Yup, Hurricane Gustav blew over my mailbox. In Oklahoma....Hmmmmmmnnn.
- I got a MacBook... Infuriating, frustrating.... all those "ating" things. The "Techies" in my office keep telling me that I will
get used to is and love it. I left my office one day saying outloud for everyone to hear, "Whoever talked me in to a Mac is
dead." They all smiled and then buried their heads back into their Macs. I felt better, until I had to log on.
- Fantasy football is off and running. I think Romo and LT are a strong combination. But we will see....
- I changed the look of the blog... I hate it... so it will change again

On the whole, that is six weeks worth of news from my life. God has been good to me.