Sunday, November 30, 2008

More Pictures

Each of our children are a blessing to Pam and me.  
Grandparenting is cool...
It is really something to see what a blessing Grace has been for Lizzie and Nathaniel... and the rest of us.
Both of our Son in laws are tremendous people...Our girls are blessed.  It is so good to see men in both of our girls lives that complete them in many ways. 

We had a great Thanksgiving! Everyone was home. Lots of turkey, sports, fun, and laughter.  

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Baby Grace's First Thanksgiving

Not so happy....
That's better. 

What a blessing to have Grace in our lives... We are thankful. 

Friday, November 28, 2008

Rapping at Thanksgiving Banquet 08

The staff convinced me to pursue another career  at the Thanksgiving banquet!  LL COOL CHARLIE is my name... and rap is my game.

Rapping with Tim... He is cooler than me. But I am still his boss.

Groovin and movin'.... The crowd went crazy

More Pictures






Family pictures

This is our happy family....  Nathaniel, Lizzie, Gracie, Joel, Me, Pam, Abigail, Lydia and James. 

We are very blessed!  

Happy Thanksgiving!


Wednesday, November 26, 2008

My Opinion on Playoffs

I live in Oklahoma.

I have a son that graduated from Oklahoma State

My closest friend graduated from Oklahoma

The church I serve is full of Oklahoma and Oklahoma State fans.... many of them serious...far too serious.

With all that said.... here are some observations about College football. ( I know you did not ask for them, but it is my blog and I can decide what I want to write about.)

#1- A playoff is the only thing that makes sense. And in the days leading up the election, it was about the only thing either
one of that candidates said that made sense- WE NEED A PLAYOFF. If the President of the United States wants to get
started on the right foot, he should use his executive order power on something that counts.... Ordering the College
Presidents to get the dollar signs out of their eyeballs and create a PLAYOFF.

#2- This year, the Oregon/Oregon State game means something. Both are 8-3. OSU ( Not cowboys), is playing for a chance to
go to the Rose Bowl. That is due to the fact that they smashed USC early in the year.

#3- This year the OU/OSU game means something. OU wins and they go to Big 12 championship ( if tiebreakers break right).
If OSU wins, they get to say all year long, "na, na, na, na! We won! We Won!" Prediction? One of the two teams will win.

#4- It is tough to see teams like Michigan, Notre Dame, Auburn, Tennesee, Texas A&M, go through tough seasons ( Not
really- remember coaches, Adversity makes us better. You may not get to keep your jobs for long, but you will be better
for it)

#5- There are several "one loss teams" screaming for a playoff. ( OU, Florida, Texas, Texas Tech, USC). To them I say,
"WAAAAAAAAAHHHHH." What about Boise State, Utah, Ball State and Alabama? They are undefeated at this point of the
season. Maybe the playoff should be the 4 undefeated teams meeting in a warm weather site...Now there is a playoff.

AND BEST OF ALL... It is feast week on ESPN... which means there is basketball galore! Now there is a real sport.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Commitment Sunday

This month we have been talking about "the offering." The study is from II Cor 8-9. Its been a good study. As is usually the case, our congregation welcomes Bible teaching that challenges us to a deeper walk with Christ.

I used to dislike this month every year. But more and more I enjoy the challenge of teaching this subject, and the encouraging response of the people. I don't get alot of negative for talking about resources/money/stewardship. The practical nature of the Bible and its simple approach to how we manage what God lets us use, helps with this. But our people have such good hearts. Most of them are givers, not just consumers. The vast majority of people coming are grateful for what God has done in their lives. Even those going through tough times know that God is providing for them.

Today was Commitment Sunday. We take cards given to us and make a commitment for the coming year. It is between each individual and the Lord. It is as the Lord leads and blesses. In the past we have had a large cross at the front of the stage and people would pass by and lay their cards at the cross.

This year, new building and all, we had to do it different. Tim and his creative team came up with a very good idea, having stations across the front which would include the cross, communion and a basket for the cross. It worked very well. Connecting the commitment that Christ made with us, to the commitment we make to support the work of God across the world made sense.

It was a good day. I was encouraged as I saw hundreds and hundreds of people come to the front.

I love our church.

Thursday, November 13, 2008


Barak Obama has been President-Elect for eight days. In those eight days, He has met with President Bush, been criticized heavily by Iran and their crazy president, seen the economy get significantly worse, and had his national security briefings (there is no doubt that he learned alot there), and had his first press conference.

The press conference was interesting in the fact that somehow he managed to work Nancy Reagan into the conversation. Even being the great communicator that he is, he has a lot to learn about not saying exactly what he is thinking to the whole world, being very careful about his words and all that. With no tele-prompter and speech writer at his side, things can get a little dicy.

The press conference actually encouraged me. Everyone talks about Him being "on message." He is known to be incredibly disciplined in many areas of life. When it comes to words, that is very useful, especially when every one of them is scrutinized by the entire world. So these small gaffe's that he made in a fifteen minute press conference actually made him seem a bit more human, less robotic, and a little more like me. You could be sure that when he said "Nancy Reagn and seance" in the same sentence that there were "handlers" that were cringing behind the curtain.

When I am preaching, many thoughts "scoot" across my mind . They are not in my notes. I don't preach from a manuscript any more, so I am a little bit more free to "catch" one of those thoughts and use it. But in a split second I have decisions to make. Does it fit? Is it really something that God would want me to say? Is it something that "someone else" wants me to say? Even if it is the right thing to say, is it the right time to say it? All of that comes at once, and then it is gone. I have made the decision. Either I say it, or I let it go.

Most weeks I have a list of those things in my mind at the end of the morning. And I play the game. "Oh, I should have said that!" Or, "Did I really say that?" It is a challenge to turn off my mind and move on. What was said is said. If I need to clean up something, I am usually pretty good at that. I have trusted friends who tell me, "Hey Charlie, that did not come out they way you intended." What is not said, is not said. I can't call all 1100 people back and say, "By the way I forgot to say something very would you meet me at the church at 2PM?

The difference between the President Elect and me is that I have help. I pray that the Holy Spirit will guide my words. And when I play the "what if " game at the end of the day, I rest in the fact that I have prayed and believe that God is guiding my words. I also rest in the fact that many people pray for me every day, asking God to guide me as work to prepare messages from His Word each week. That is so reassuring. I am not saying that God guides the President Elects words, or that he doesn't. I just know that I and others ask Him to give me the words to say. And somehow, each week, there is something to say.

The President Elect Obama made a big deal about "change you can believe in." I think he was very wise to tap into the restlessness of our country. He knew that the "change" was going to be the big deal. And now, instead of campaigning, he has to deliver. And that is a totally different deal. He is no longer playing on the sandlots of Chicago illinois... he is the big leagues now. The White House is a long way from the Illinois State House or even the Senate Chambers in Washington D.C. Which means that for the next four or eight years, there is not a word that will be forgotten. There is not a word that will not be examined. Every single word he says and writes will be under scrutiny.

So he needs to watch what he says.... and in that way he is just like the rest of us. Words convey powerful messages. They have many unintended consequences.

I see that in the church . We go through seasons where people, myself included get a little "chatty." And most of the time it is not a big deal, but sometimes it is. But I also see that when things get out of sorts, most people are willing to clean it up.

That is one thing that I will give Obama credit for. . He called Nancy Reagan that night and apologized. I thought that was a pretty good deal. You see, whether you are a preacher, a parent, a principal, physician, President, or President-elect, our words do hurt people. Written, spoken, even thought, words can hurt people. So along with the joy of getting to speak them, sometimes you get the joy of cleaning up the mess too.

As long as you are willing to do that, you get the privilege of speaking some more words...and probably making a mistake or two along the way.

So some advice from Proverbs for all of us... "When words are many, sin is not absent, but he who holds his tongue is wise." ( Prov. 10:19) .

I think I have said enough for now.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Economy hits

One week ago, we got the news that Joel had gone into work and was laid off, along with 25% of the company. It was a shock for him. He had just moved up to Portland 6 weeks ago. Almost immediately he started networking and has two meetings scheduled with people who make be able to hook him up with potential careers.

His spirits are high. He is a very confident person, He loves Portland and has every intention of staying there.

I on the other hand, did not have high spirits after that call. I told him it would be okay... God would take care of Him. I loved him. All of those things I believed and still do. But after I hung up the phone, I had a tear or two. And I struggled to understand the decision of the higher-ups... and the plan God has for him. This economy is tough. And it has hit us. ''

I found myself thinking, "I wish it had been me." I would rather have to go through it, than him. I have never been without a job since 1981. But I would have taken it rather than him.

I guess that is what a parent does.

I am proud of all my kids. they have high character, good work ethic and a love for family and God. But they are not immune to hard times... layoffs, and other things. That is why parenting never stops. For those of you think , "Man, they are out of the house, and out of my hair." Surprise, they really dont go away... and you dont want them to. the last thing I said to Joel tonight was, "Let me know if you need anything." It is really code for, "if you need to come home, there is a place here for you."

My gut is that he will land on his feet...

I am glad I get to his Father... a father for all of them.

What we do as parents is just a touch of what God does as our Heavenly Father. I am amazed at what He does for us..

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Real Life

I am watching election results. Crazy stuff. I love politics , so it is interesting to see the reactions as the numbers come in. Lots of change in the air.

But along the way... real life is happening to:

- the couple that I visited today who lost their little baby at birth.

- the lady I talked to today whose husband said, "I don't love you any more."

- the friend who called me last night because he has a family member who has lost the will to live.

There was more.

All in the last 24 hours.

That is real life. Its where people live.

I said to a friend, "I am constantly reminded that so many people have so much to deal with in life."

I am thankful that God is a personal God who love people where they are, comforting, strengthening, and moving in their lives.

I believe that.

I also believe that tomorrow will be a better day.