Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Staying In Love

A friend came to see me last week, then told me he would be heading to Atlanta for the weekend, and he was going to attend North Point Community Church for the first time.

I was somewhat surprised that he had not already visited North Point, so I asked him if their pastor, Andy Stanley would be speaking? He was not sure. I offered to find out for him.

To my friend's disappointment, Andy was actually speaking that Sunday at Willow Creek Church in Chicago, IL.

I happen to follow Andy on Twitter, and he sent this on Sunday morning.

"I am speaking at Willow Creek this morning - filling in for John Maxwell who is filling in for Bill Hybels - being 3rd string ain't bad"

So, I decided to see what Andy had to say as "3rd string" at Willow last Sunday.

If you are married, and you care about the person you are married to, you MUST take 35 minutes to watch THIS

1. Once you click on the site
3. Andy's Sermon Information will appear
4. Click on VIDEO and enjoy....

Powerful stuff!

Monday, July 13, 2009

Texas Family Reunion

Having traveled some 1,800+ miles, spent 30 some-odd hours in the same vehicle, and had a wonderful time with my "Texas" family as well as getting even more acquainted with my own family, I thought I would take a few minutes to share some photos and look back on the past few days.....

1 - My mom (Alice Ruth) and her sister (Faye)
2 - These (3) guys belong to my sister - (L-R) - oldest son, Brian - son, Kyle - husband, Sam
3 - Ben Worley - (who spent most of his time at his computer composing music or being with Elliott - see photo below!)
4 - Elliott and Seth
5 - Matt - (over his left shoulder is my first cousin, Rodney McGee - Rodney's son, Stephen was just drafted by the Dallas Cowboys - made for quite a stir at the family reunion!!)
6 - Stopped by the cemetary so Arley could see my Dad's gravesite. I am so grateful that God took him in April. If he had lived into the summer, we could have never had a beautiful grave-side service because of the extreme heat - honestly, with 3-digit temperatures, we could barely stand to be outside for any length of time...
7 - These guys (E and Ben) has SO MUCH FUN together on the whole trip!!
8 - All the kids have to perform as part of the program - Elliott preferred to watch from down front!!
9 - My mom bought this toy for my nephew 37 years ago - Fisher Price would be proud!!
10 - My brother-in-law gave Matt a kayak - all we had to do was "get it home".....

A most memorable trip in so many ways - Arley, Seth, and Karla all captured the trip in their own unique ways as well. I am still amazed that you can drive for hours and still never make it out of the state of Texas!!!!

Wednesday, July 01, 2009


Getting away this week from the regular-ness of my life and work has been personally and professionally much needed and greatly valued.

Being at Ridgecrest is a rich tradition of the strange combination of heritage and sentimentality. There are people here who have been coming to this place every year for 40 or more years. I'm not sure what I think of that - I guess if it has helped them deepen their ministry, and encouraged them to "stay the course", then I supposed that's a good thing. If on the other hand, it has become a place for purely reminiscing, then I am not so sure we can afford to sit around for too long pondering the "good ole' days!"

It has been interesting to see how this place has evolved through the years. (The last time I was here for this particular week was 15 years ago.) I applaud LifeWay for working hard to continue to be a ministry resource and equipping center for churches all over America - that is no easy task these days.

I am also noticing how tough it is to be in ministry these days. Everyone here is dealing with the stuff of life, and how to minister to people who seem to be hurting more now than ever before (not sure that that is necessarily true, but it seems so), while trying to lead ministries with not nearly enough resources, attempting to manage/balance their ministry and family - all the while dealing with pastors who are being told by every person with a book deal, website, and a conference how they are supposed to grow their church - often times at the expense of some wonderful men and women who merely want to help people worship God more genuinely and effectively. Many of these folks are dealing with churches who have made the questionable decision to "market" worship services based on a style of music.

These are indeed difficult days for many, many local church Music & Worship Ministries.

I can't help but think about this tunnel that we drove through to get to the mountains. So often, we think of a tunnel in terms of "well - just remember, there's a light at the end of the tunnel" or my favorite even more stupid line - "there's a light at the end of the tunnel and it's a freight train!"

I choose to look at this tunnel in a different way - someone, somewhere, at sometime determined that the only or best way for someone to get from point A to point B with a mountain in the way was to "tunnel" through or under that mountain. No easy task, and probably the person or people who thought that up were severely criticized and questioned. But, they persevered, and as a result, we have a nice, smooth ride "through/under" that mountain on our way to a glorious destination like Ridgecrest.

So, for myself and my new friends I am making here this week, I encourage us all to look at wherever we are in the tunnel of our ministry - not so much that there is light at the end as much as what is it that God wants us to learn from where we are right now.