Friday, January 30, 2009

Thinking "outloud"....

I think humans are chronic complainers. 

Reading through a chunk of Exodus this week has convinced me that we no matter what miracle God does, there are always going to be people that will say, "It is not enough."

Think about it... Israel cries out to God and says, "Get us out of Egypt."  God does. He does it in a miracle filled way.  Over and over, God showed his power. He showed His love. He showed the people that he had a plan.  God executed the plan.

On the way out of Egypt, across the Red Sea, and into the land that was promised, it was one complaint after another. There were lots of miracles, lots of very clear examples that if the people would follow God, he would not only take care of them, but bless them. 

But they wanted more...

Today we are in a very challenging time economically.  There is no doubt about that. But we still are the richest country on earth.  We are blessed by God. I heard yesterday that people in Afghanistan average 350 dollars a year in income.  I make alot more than that in a week.  Alot more.  I know it is much worse in other parts of the world.

Bottom line, it is not about not making money. It is not about giving away what people work hard to make. 

It is about complaining when things get tight or when we have to cut back on "necessities" like Cable, DVR, Cellphones, vehicles, eating out, internet and soooooo much more. Is a vacation a necessity? Is it a necessity to be able to have computers, flat screen TV's in every room...

I am not against those things. I am someone who "has" most of those things. But when we become complainers about those kinds of things and some of the "cut-backs" we may need to make, maybe it signal  that we do not "have those things, those things "have" us. 

Be thankful. Be intelligent.  Don't complain. We have alot. Most of us can "give up" many things, if necessary.  Most of us still have a whole lot more than the rest of the world.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Elkins Elks continue to win...

 Last night we watched the Elkins Elks win their game against rival Greenland.  Nathaniel Smith is the coach.  He happens to be my son-in-law. ( I have two phenomenal son-in-laws.). 

I watched the Elks last year.  They were decent, but overmatched most of the time. I only saw a couple games, but it was not pretty.   This year, they have a personality. It is the personality of their coach.  Work hard...take good shots, effort, and consistency. They have learned to win. That goes along way.

They got behind last night...but there was no panic on the players faces... and none from the coach.  It was like, "Do what you do best, and we will be fine."  They were... they won by 12 or so.  That makes them 5-0 in conference.

I told Nathaniel after the game, "Now that you have won that game, the real coaching begins." It is one thing to learn how to win when you are losing.  It is another thing to learn to continue to win when you are winning.   He is up to it.  I like their team alot. They have a nice blend of shooting, inside game.  They defend.  They are not big, but they scrap and play hard. 

On another note...last week I went to Portland. Spent the afternoon with Joel.  It is interesting.  He is a guy who moved across the country with a company from Tulsa. They laid 1/3 of the company off six week later. I would be mad....really mad.  ( I was to be honest with you.)

But not Joel. He is figuring out how to live on alot less...looking for work, doing things to earn money, keeping his apartment, building new friends, working out, and trying to do somethings while he can. He does not have alot of financial commitments, so he just keeps on doing what he does. 

It was good for me to see him. He is fine. I admire what he is doing, because he has not let adversity derail him. That is a good life quality to have.

God is providing for him.

God is providing for my dad.  Although the surgery did not go well, he has a good attitude.  Mom and Dad keep plugging away.

Well, its just Pam and I at home.  Guess what... We are watching figure skating. ( I know girls, you are wondering "where that was when you were at home".)  

Go figure.....Dad watching Figure skating...Hmmmmmm.....

Sunday, January 11, 2009


This and that....

- Got to see Gracie this weekend...  Sooooo fun! She is recognize Pam and me, and giggling... 

- Watched Nathaniel's team win a big ballgame this Friday.  The Elkins Elks are 5-7 and on the rise....  

- Church was incredible today.  So many new people....full parking lots.... people could not find seats... I saw one guy who brought his basketball team to church- they had to sit on the front row.Matt Proctor, President of Ozark Christian College preached... He hit a home run...

- We are in a series called "the truth, laying the foundations of our faith".  Where do preaching ideas come from?  God lays them on our hearts, sometimes they are collaborative efforts with other staff... and sometimes they are tucked in a conversation. This one came from Rib Crib... lunch with Bill Odom... who just shared his heart about people needing to know what we believe and why.  Thanks Bill....

- I love our building...but I am wondering if we built too small. ( Okay I just said it... I know some of you are thinking it.)  Thanks to Eric B... who stopped me and said, "Look at this, it is full!"  It was not what he said, it was his eyes... so excited as he sees God working.  What do we do about it?  Pray, strategically plan , pray some more and remember that God knows exactly what we have, and what we need to accomplish His mission for us. 

- I am heading to Oregon this week... Dad is having eye surgery this week. ( prayers are always appreciated.)  I love his optimistic attitude. I can learn alot from Him.  And my mom...she is amazing...inspite of her own health issues, she is right there for him! 

- Also looking forward to seeing Joel in Portland for a few hours....  He is still looking for work ( prayers please....).  I admire him because he is managing a difficult situation with alot of strength...

- I will be back in the pulpit Sunday ( Jan 18th). It's "the truth about Jesus Christ." 

- On a cultural note- there is a huge battle going on in our culture right now. On the one side are the people who say,  "Pay off your debts and save your money."  The other side says, "the way out of this economic trouble is for all of you to spend the money that you have."  I wonder who will win? There is alot at stake here.

- 8 Days to Inauguration.  I will talk about it later this week.

Sunday, January 04, 2009

"A bit terrified..."

Today, we ( FCC) began a year long quest to go "DEEPER" with God. It come from Luke 5 where Jesus told Peter to "Put out into deep water and let your nets down for a catch."

"Going deeper" can be pretty subjective for most people. For our purposes today we concentrated on "going deeper in the Word, "  and "going deep in our mission as a church." I believe that if we do those two things, all the measurements, goals etc that a new year brings will take care itself.

I was reading a blog by a preacher in I read regularly. He made a statement that got my attention.  Here it is...

"I am excited, and a bit terrified to deepen my walk with God." 

That is a very honest I can identify with.   I relate to it because I know, at least in part, that growth comes from perseverance through hard times.  Is that a prayer that I want to pray? Hmnnnn.... I do want to grow deeper...

Maybe my problem is that I want to "grow deeper" on my own terms...If that is my priority, my life is not totally surrendered.

Do you want to grow "deeper?"  If so, is there anything that terrifies you about deepening your relationship with God? 

IF YOU ARE INTERESTED: Study guides for the previous weeks sermons are online at  Could be a good too for you to "go deeper."

Friday, January 02, 2009

Three Words

Three words that give me hope for the future. 

Take a peak at Genesis 1.   The three words are 


Over and over again, you read the words, "And it happened."   

I thought about this in light of something I heard a long time a go...

"God said it and that settles it." 

No matter what happens in the future, remember that from the beginning of time, God has kept His Word.  There is nothing to suggest that the future will be any different.

Thursday, January 01, 2009


 I am one who looks forward to a New Year.  I know it is just a calendar page and all that...but a new year does a  couple things for me. 

One, it causes me to reflect on the previous year.
Two, it raises my thinking about the possibilities of the coming year. 

Since I have only had 50 or so of these "new years", I feel a little bit like a novice.  Both of the aforementioned items can happen any time, and should not be limited to the end of December or first of January...

Sooooo.... reflections...
* Another year of life...I am 50! ( I already mentioned that )
* A new life in my life- Baby Grace ( See pictures from earlier blogs)
* A year of improving health ( Its slow but progressing)
* A year of massive change at the church ( Relocation was just the tip of the iceberg)
* FCC finished Phase I, and finished Phase II in the same year. ( Way to go church, building 
    team , staff and Mike)
* Joel moved to Portland (kind of ironic when you think about it)
* Lydia and James moved back to Owasso (nice......very nice)
* Abigail grew up .... and has an awesome boyfriend ( She blows me away)
* Elizabeth became a mom...  ( She and Nathaniel are great parents)
* Pam is a natural good to her kids and so loving to me. 
* Broadcasting OHS basketball on the radio with my friend Steve.
* Pam and I went to Israel in May- Amazing trip!
* We ( FCC) gained four new staff members ( Jared, James, Teri and Nancy)
* We (FCC)  lost ( we know where she is...) a wonderful Early Childhood Director ( Cathy).  8 
   years in that position is almost unheard of....
*  We ( FCC) added lots and lots of new people.... some wonderful people who God has touched.
* On a personal note  2008 also saw my parents move from out into the country to the city.  I 
   am proud of them for making a "hard" move...

Soooo.... Possibilities.....
* Preaching messages that move people DEEPER  ( Luke 5:11) - With God's amazing help
* Traveling more in 09 to churches  to learn about vision, processes and leadership
*  Spending more time with Pam....pursuing some of her dreams for the future. 
* Taking the Perspectives class
* Broadcasting OHS basketball ( Blaine's Sr. Year...)
*  Better health... more efficient exercise... learning to eat better, and staying out of bad 
   lifestyle habits (Those closest to me know what they are).
* Watching Gracie grow... ( a secret... she is spending a week with us next summer...woo hoo!) 
* Visiting Joel and my parents in Oregon
* Writing study guides for each sermon in 09. ( I am enjoying this... 10 down, 42 to go!)
* Influencing my neighbors for Christ. ( There are real opportunities there)
* Watching God work in the lives of people I have not even met yet. ( Every year, there are new 
* Going to Florida with Pam for two weeks.
* More love from God.... everyday...

It's shaping up to be a great year...