Pastor's Blog
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May 2, 2011, 9:48 AM

Sweating Together

Wow, I'm tired! We had a late night last night because as a church we went to Corpus to catch their minor league team play a game. 35 people from FBCKC caravanned down for the fun, and together we did something most churches never do, we sat and sweated! Game time was at 6:05 and we had seats that stayed in the sun unitl at least 7:45. Man it was hot. We all just sat together and baked in the sun until it mercifully dropped below the grandstand and a slight breeze finally came. I have never been happier to see a sunset in my life as I was yesterday!

But there was something cool that happened as I talked with people after the game. I'd ask them, "What did you think of the game?" And the responses were great. I heard how people enjoyed talking and sitting with people they don't normally hang around with and how much they enjoyed getting to know them. I heard people talk about how fun it was to watch all our kids mingle and dance to the songs blaring over the PA system. I heard people complain goodnaturedly how they almost had to sell those same kids to have enough cash to buy any food at the game. I heard people talk about how they enjoyed the trip down and how people were cracking jokes and telling stories. And after telling me 2 or 3 things they enjoyed, then they would mention how hot it was, but that it got better when the sun went down. 

Isn't it amazing that we all sat through the same intense sun with its searing heat, what everyone remembered and talked about was how fun and good it was to be with each other? The more I thought about this the more it made me think how it really was a picture of life. We all get cuaght out in the sun and have to sweat things in life. Situations arise and we find ourselves in the hot seat with no immediate escape. And what is it that allows us to survive those times?  Friends who can go through the experience with us and make it bearable. By just being there and listening, by laughing at the craziness of it all, by loving us just for being us, and by praying for us. Believe it or not God had this in mind when He made us. That's why He made the church, to be there for each other in life and to help us to make it through. God made us to be in groups that will love on each other and help them through hard times as well as rejoicing  together in good times. We were not made to go this life alone, but to live together in community.

Check out this passage in that talks about this: Ecclesiastes 4:9 Two people can accomplish more than twice as much as one; they get a better return for their labor. 10 If one person falls, the other can reach out and help. But people who are alone when they fall are in real trouble. 11 And on a cold night, two under the same blanket can gain warmth from each other. But how can one be warm alone? 12 A person standing alone can be attacked and defeated, but two can stand back-to-back and conquer. Three are even better, for a triple-braided cord is not easily broken.

So here's my advice: get involved with your church. Not for any other reason than this, you need a community, a body of people around you who will help you when you're baking in the sun, to still enjoy and appreciate life. Doesn't mean you won't get sunburned and stink sometimes, but it's just not as bad when everyone around you is sunburned and stinks too! So find a body and get involved. As for me, I'm pretty happy to be with the body I'm in! They are some good people, even if they are a litte sunburned and tired today!  
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May 2, 2011, 9:47 AM

Break a Leg!

Got a call last Friday that a sweet friend of mine was being taken to the hospital. Turns out LaVon had been feeding her horses and they got a little frisky. As she backed away from them to be safe (get ready for some irony), she tripped over her feet and fell right on her leg. Long story short she broke the upper part of her femur into 3 pieces, and had to have surgery to put her back togehter like Humpty Dumpty. The next day I found myself in the surgery prep room with LaVon, her husband Buddy, and her son Will (yes, that Mr. Will that Landri watches). LaVon was a trooper, hardly complaining about the pain which was really intense, but she was sacred as any of us would be going into a surgery where they are going to use plates and screws, some of which in the words of the Dr. were, "As big around as my pinky!" So we stood around her, not saying much but just holding her hands and being there. We prayed before they wheeled her off, and then a group of us sat in the waiting room until the surgery was over to make sure everything was ok, which is how it turned out.

Now as a pastor I sit in lots of hospitals for lots of surgeries, and being there last week made me think. We really live in a world of wounded people, people who are broken. Lots of things may have done it to people; failed marriages, death of a loved one, work stress, trouble with drugs or alcohol or sex, feeling alone and unloved. People are broken, and broken people aren't all tough. As a matter of fact they often act out in their pain, lashing out at those around them with words and looks and attitudes and destructive behavior, and these people really need God to do some surgery to put their broken souls back together again.  But here's where we fall short I think, unlike how we treated LaVon, gathering around and silently being there for her and praying with her and sticking with her until the end, we often simply abandon the wounded we come into contact with. Because as the wounded lash out in their pain, we don't see hurt people, we just see our bruised feelings and we walk away instead of sitting and being there for them when no one else will. We don't pray for them, we talk about how we can't believe the way they are acting. We don't wait around until God is done with them, we leave them where they are saying things like, "Well I hope they learn they can't treat people this way!"  

What we need to realize is that these are broken people who are in pain, and they don't know how else to act. They're acting in the only way they have found to cope with their pain. Our job is not to judge them, or fix them, or to be driven off by them. Our job is to see through their pain to their brokeness, and to love them like Jesus does. And to decide to refuse to be offended by them, to refuse to walk away and leave them alone, and to refuse to quit praying for them until God pieces them back together. We do it for our people who are hurt physically, now it's time to start doing it for our people who are hurt emotionally and spiritually. Let's get invovled with some ministry, and reach out to those broken souls around us! And if you're one of those broken souls, know that you are not alone! Jesus loves you, and we are learning to! 

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May 2, 2011, 9:45 AM

Need a Hurricane?

I am so sleepy this morning! Just got back from a week of youth camp at Alto Frio, and am feeling the desperate need for some rest! However, thought I'd share some observations from camp:

1)  Camp showers are small. Really small. And the water pressure is like a slight rain shower. Not to mention that getting into a shower just used by 15 teenage boys is not so sanitary!

2) Camp beds are not comfortable. I'm not looking for the Ritz or anything, but I mean can't we at least get something that will cushion the plywood we're sleeping on?

3) Camp food is bad. Anytime you go to camp and they serve "Salsbury Steak," be afraid, be very afraid!

4) Camp spirituality seemed kind of low. I'm not talking about the level of passion, or emotion, or committment. What I am referring to is the level of openness to the Holy Spirit to do what it wants with our lives and us holding nothing back. Kids and sponsors were really into worshipping the worship, and cheering the rec, but going deep and opening themselves to the Spirit? Not so much. We're called to let the Holy Spirit have free reign in our lives and to change us, but all too often spiritually we want to do what we want when we want to and just leave the Holy Spirit out of it.  That's why I was so glad when the camp worship leader Jimmy Needham  started off worship one night by talking to the kids. He said that we often desire God to be comforter and friend and peace-bringer in our lives, and that's all ok, but that we really need more. That we need God to get to the core of us and tear us down until all that we've built up and made of our lives spiritually gets torn down and is replaced with what He desires for us. So with that in mind he'd written a song called "Hurricane," and some of the lyrics go like this.

"I need you like a hurricane, thunder crashing wind and rain, to tear my walls down. I'm only yours now. I need you like a burning flame, wild fire untamed, to burn these walls down, I'm only yours now, I'm only yours now."

Wow. That's what I want. God to rip through my life like a hurricane, tearing down all the things I build up that don't agree with what He wants for me, and leaves me only His. Not easy, not pleasant, but necessary for me to know and love and serve my God the way He wants me to, and in my deepest heart I want to. God, I need you like a hurricane!!!!

So there you go, my observations from camp. Think about serving God by going as a sponsor next year, it's worth it! And maybe between now and then, you could think about praying a bold prayer, and opening your life up so God can tear through it like a hurricane so that you could really be fulfilled and know Him. Meanwhile, I think I'm going to try and hunt up some Salsbury Steak somewhere. 

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May 2, 2011, 9:43 AM

Keeping An Eye on Mr. Will

After church this Sunday we went out to eat with some visiting family and a friend from church, Will. My middle child, Landri a very precocious 3 year old, who likes Will a lot sat next to him. All throughout the meal though I noticed that Landri acted very shy towards Will and didn't say a whole lot to him, and kept glancing at him out of the corner of her eye. When we got home later that day, she came up and sat in my lap and I asked her about it. Here's how the conversation went: 

Me: "Landri, how come you didn't talk very much  to Mr. WIll at lunch?"

Landri: (In a very serious tone) "Because I was keeping an eye on him."

Why she felt a need to keep on eye on Will I don't know, but it made me laugh...until I started to think. Landri is always watching me as well, keeping an eye on me to see what I'm up to, and learning how to act and treat people by the things I do and say. And I talk a lot to people about loving God and loving people as being our purpose and priority, and I wonder if Landri is seeing that in the things I do. Because I have learned that children will act and talk as they see their parents do. And I don't want to end up like the Dad in this story.

A kid tripped and fell and let loose a 4 letter word that shocked his mother. She jerked him up and asked him, "Who taught you to talk like that?" He sighed, looked at his father and said, "Should we tell her Dad?"

I want my kids to keep on eye on me, and to see someone  who is living a life of obedience to God faithfully worshipping and loving Him, and making it a priority to love others around me. I want my kids to keep an eye on me, and for them to see a replica of what Jesus looks like. And the only way for that to happen is for me to talk less, and to keep on eye on Jesus. With that in mind I'm going to end this blog and go spend some time in the Word to see how Jesus acted, and then spend some time praying that I could act like He does. You should think about doing the same...after all you never know who is keeping an eye on you! 

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May 2, 2011, 9:41 AM

Plucking Blackberries

I was walking into my office this morning, and in between my yawns and morning routine I happened to glance up at my office wall. On that wall  I have taped the following quote from Elizabeth Barrett Browning's poem "Aurora Leigh." 

Earth's crammed with heaven,

And every common brush afire with God:

But only he who sees, takes off his shoes,

The rest sit round it and pluck blackberries.

I think the point she was trying to make is that God loves us so much and has given us an amazing world to live in and amazing people to love and care for, that He is very much present in all that we do and say and experience. However, we get so caught up in the living of life, in the details and problems, that we often lose sight of the greatness and reality of God. And instead of seeing God's greatness and love for us in this world, instead we just see the things of the world. Instead of seeing a burning bush, we see a blackberry bush. We miss the forest for the trees. We miss God in the humdrum of life because we forget to look for Him in people and circumstances.

So let me encourage you this week to look past the "normal," past the everyday to see God's love for you. Notice the sunset and how God made it just for you. Laugh with your children and hear God laughing with you. Grieve with those who are hurting and hear God crying with you. Don't just go through life, but experience it, and experience God. Realize that every day is not just another day at the grind, but that every day is an adventure with the Creator of the Universe who loves you so much!

Don't settle for picking blackberries when you could have the one who made the bush!

Loving  God...Loving Others 

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