Monday, January 31, 2011

January 31 – “Melancholy Monday”


Great day at church yesterday morning.  The praise team did a remarkable job.  They are getting more and more confidence in themselves even without Lanny being there for them.  I had many compliments on them after worship.  I even talked to a new guy who is interested in joining up with them.  Sounds like he has been in a choir before.  Great way to respond to ministry opportunity.


Speaking of ministry opportunities, in the last two days I have heard four different ideas people have had for serving others.  The first one was in the playground after Jachin's basketball game Saturday.  A group called Galveston Urban Ministries has recruited a bunch of Texas A&M Galveston students to come to that playground every Saturday.  Maybe we could supply them with some refreshments every so often.  Or better yet, maybe some of our kids and adults could go out there and join them in a mini-mission experience.  The second one involved a guy who is interested in doing some kind of ministry to nursing homes and assisted living facilities.  His first step is going to be talking to the directors to see what would really help them specifically.  That one might fit in nicely with a third one Chris heard this morning.  Something about a quilting ministry, but I'm not sure what that would look like.  The fourth one involved trying to get permission to do block parties in apartment complexes.  He had a vision of using the Galveston Baptist Association's new block party trailer.  Then maybe develop ongoing Bible studies.  Oh, and someone even said they felt called to work on a marketing team for Seaside Christian Academy.  I even got a call from a lady in Tyler who wanted a Galveston phone book so she could send a tract to everybody in Galveston.  Looks like some folks are getting outside of themselves and looking outward.  Bring on the ministry.  Be creative.  God is an awful big God.


Honestly, in spite of the excitement about ministry, today began as one of those Melancholy Mondays that are so common in the life of a pastor.  We (pastors) pour everything we have into preparing for Sunday and then carrying out the teaching, along with any meetings we are expected to attend.  Our entire life and that of our family is wrapped up in the church and how we can get the people equipped for ministry.  All our energy is focused intently on touching people for God in what for some might be the last or only moment they will ever have to hear the Gospel.  That part is exhilarating, yet often exhausting.  Add to it the roles we have to play in people's lives.  Father, husband, son, friend, counselor, host, sounding board, moral conscience, and the list goes on.  Then add on the extra expectations people have of us.  We should be perfect in every way.  So should our children.  We should be available to do whatever it is that no one else wants to do.  We should do all the confronting.  We should be the CEO of the church organization.  We should have our hands in every tiny aspect of the church organizational life.  For me the most tiring thing is being the "spin doctor," listening patiently and in love to each of the farthest apart factions on issues facing the group, and then coming up with a middle ground that includes points of satisfaction for each group yet still glorifies God in its end result.  Sometimes that comes easy.  Sometimes it takes a long time to really hear people through the passions and emotions they operate from, and even longer to work through a solution.  They are all convinced that they are in God's will, therefore anyone who disagrees must be under the influence of Satan.  In the meantime impatience abounds all around.  Makes for a very stressful situation.  But the pastor can't lose it.  He must be the calming factor.  He must model the life of Jesus.  Humility.  Patience.  Peace.  Unity.   Love.  Hey, all you pastors out there.  I understand.  Hang in there.  Joy comes in the morning.  Just not always Monday morning.


Psalms 25:8-9 says, "Good and upright is the Lord; therefore he instructs sinners in his ways.  He guides the humble in what is right and teaches them his way."


Father, I know joy comes in the morning.  On Mondays could you please wake up the rooster sooner?  Amen.

Sunday, January 30, 2011

January 30 – “Basketball treats”


No workout yesterday.  Break time.  Instead we started the day with a trip to a basketball game.  Jachin's.  Always a treat to see 6-year-olds playing smash-ball.  It was a lean day as far as players were concerned.  Each team only had four players each.  That meant they had to play the whole game.  Crises arose several times.  One little guy had a cut on his finger, and he kept walking off the court to show it to his Mom.  One time he even showed it to Christina.  Jachin was tackled one time and he left to be consoled by his Dad, who was coaching because the regular guy didn't show up.  Kel had to call a time out.  The final score was a rousing 12 to 6 I think, but the boys didn't seem to care.  They were more excited about snacks and getting out to the playground.


I left after just a few2 minutes on the playground.  I only got to go down the slide once (with Cailyn, of course).  I headed up North into Texas for the CHSA homecoming weekend alumni basketball game.  It was the Christian Home School Athletics basketball team I used to coach.  It was great to see the guys I used to coach running up and down the floor and getting winded.  They had fifteen guys on their team.  They played against the current varsity.  So the old guys traded out whole teams every three minutes.  That gave them six minutes to recuperate before they had to go out again.  Great fun.  I think they were going to have a game between the parents and old coaches after that one, but I politely bowed out after the group photos.  They even asked me to be in one of the pictures, though.  


Some friends of ours we knew in Colorado, Randy and Janet, came to Galveston to go on a cruise.  Aftyer some arm twisting they stayed with us last night.  They now live somewhere in Arkansas near Missouri.  They treated us to Casey's seafood last night, and Randy got in some good-natured teasing of Mom.  She loved the attention.  We will take them to the boat today and babysit their car until they get back. 


Old home weeks are great.  I even have a high school reunion coming up on April 30th at Mario's on 61st street.  Hope some more folks come this year.


Psalms 25:6-7 says, "Remember, O Lord, your great mercy and love, for they are from of old.  Remember not the sins of my youth and my rebellious ways; according to your love remember me, for you are good, O Lord."


Father, thanks for the chance to remember with Randy and Janet and with the basketball guys.  Help me remember your mercy and love too.  Amen.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

January 29 – “Retrieving storm stuff”


Here's the first update on the nerve pain medication cutback.  I may have to go back to the original dose.  When I got into bed I realized that the tops of my feet felt like they were sunburned.  At first I thought it was because it had been a long day or something.  But it slowly dawned on me that I was feeling that unusual, hard to describe sensation that is nerve pain at work.  I'll give it a few days to see if it continues.


I got a call from a friend we made two years ago after Hurricane Ike.  He and his wife were gracious enough to let us stay in a home they owned in Omega Bay just north of Galveston until our house could be repaired.  He wanted to donate some teacher desks and a conference table and chairs to Seaside Christian Academy if we want them.  I checked with our headmaster and he said they would be happy to have them.  He was especially happy about the conference table.  Next week I need to go look at them, then set up a time to pick them up.  


I went to a prayer and share time with two guys in the church.  It looks like that will develop into an accountability group for four men as well as a catalyst for growing a core group of folks committed to love, trust and truth.  I'm excited about it.  It's one more thing in a series of events that seem to be showing God really at work down here on Gilligan's Island.


After the meeting Chris met me for a burger and some tater tots.  Then we began pulling some of our "storm stuff" out of storage in a friend's garage.  We were able to come away with one pickup load and one carload.  But then had to find a place to put it until we can go through it again.  Three or four boxes ended up going straight into the attic.  There is not much room up there any more.  I'll probably have to crawl up there one day and rearrange things so more stuff can fit.  That seems to be a never-ending project, kind of like cleaning out the garage periodically.  Move everything out.  Sweep the floor.  Move everything back in a slightly different place than it was before.  Although that won't be so easy in the attic.  There you have to consider those places that aren't yet floored, and make sure the box adequately crosses beams so nothing falls through the floor.  Not to mention the fact that it all has to be done while on your back, trying not to fall through yourself.  Can't wait.


Psalms 33:13-15 says, "From heaven the Lord looks down and sees all mankind; from his dwelling place he watches all who live on earth — he who forms the hearts of all, who considers everything they do."


Father, thank you for being there when we have to teeter on attic beams and when we try to rearrange our lives on our own, never really changing anything.  Amen.

Friday, January 28, 2011

January 28 – “Two for Two”


OK.  That's two for two.  The rheumatologist said everything looks good pending the results of the blood test.  They have to see if the Celebrex is messing with my liver like the last anti-inflammatory drug did.  If all goes well, I don't even have to go back to see him for four months.  I did ask about cutting back on some of the other medications (most notably the steroids).  He responded with a grin and said, "You have been in pain for more than a year.  You deserve to have at least three or four months of relative peace.  Let's not change anything right now."  Chris mouthed to him, "Thank you."  I guess she looks forward to the peace even more than I do.  


We stopped at "our" Saltgrass Steak house on the way home.  We missed the exit the first time, though, and ended up having to drive clear to Highway 3 to turn around.  Then we missed got back on the freeway instead of staying on the feeder street, and the exit came out just past the restaurant.  Chris figured it out, though.  She turned into the Hobby Lobby parking lot, which clearly reestablished her bearings.  Then she took the back roads and ended up right where we needed to be.


Since Star Furniture was right next door, we decided to check out some home furnishings.  We are still trying to replace the stuff we lost in the flood.  Don't get me wrong, the things people donated are great and are fine.  But I guess they don't match each other.  We roamed around for awhile, trying to avoid the salesman.  He only found us twice, though.  It's a pretty big showroom.  Chris was looking for a sleeper sofa, a cabinet for her Precious Moments collection, and a chair that goes with the couch, though not necessarily in that order.  She wants to see if we can repair the antique table we salvaged from Mom's house first.  That would determine the color of the cabinet.  She also wants an oval rug in there like we have in the office, but she can't get that until she knows it will match the sofa.  It feels like I'm back right after the storm when Chris and our contractor were talking for hours about stuff that matched and didn't.  It'll be great looking when she gets done, though.


Psalms 33:10-11 says, "The Lord foils the plans of the nations; he thwarts the purposes of the peoples.  But the plans of the Lord stand firm forever, the purposes of his heart through all generations."


Father, we want to get in on your purpose.  Keep us from getting distracted by our own.  Amen.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

January 27 – “The Russian command”


I got a great report from the neurologist yesterday.  Everything was hunky dory as far as my back was concerned.  He even cut back the medication I take for nerve pain to see how I do with that.  And he sternly said I should be exercising.  He's from Russia, so it was pretty impressive to hear him command with that accent of his, "I can't stress enough the importance of exercise, especially for someone with rheumatoid arthritis."  I told him I was exercising – again.  Didn't know if he would pick up on that or not.  But Chris jumped all over that one.  She made sure he knew that I have only been exercising for two weeks.  He said he did gather that from the careful way I framed my answer.  Hey, it's kind of like flossing just before you go to the dentist so you can tell him, "Yes, I flossed," and not be lying.  This morning I head back to Houston for a visit with the rheumatologist.  Can't wait to tell him I've been exercising.


Speaking of exercising, Chris and I went for our walk this morning, and then I was doing the weight sets.  The last part of each set I'm supposed to do ten situps.  "Supposed to" is not exactly the right way to say that, I guess, since I made up the sets myself.  Who would care if I do them or not?  Today they didn't get done.  The first time I tried them I realized that my tailbone is bruised.  Or at least the muscles right around it that roll across the floor every time I do a situp are.  That's quite the unpleasant experience.  I guess I'll delete the situps from the routine for awhile.  No problem here.  They are my least favorite thing anyway.


While we were walking Chris told me about a weird dream she had last night.  Somehow her cousin and her brother took down a guy attempting a home invasion of the house she grew up in.  She even saw his face but didn't know him.  The two guys got shot.  They were taken by separate ambulances to the hospital, as were Chris and her little brother who was still a child.  She remembers her ambulance driving on the seawall, but it didn't end up at UTMB.  And then a parade of her cousins showed up at the hospital to visit.  Our thing is to pray for anybody we have dreams about, so my comment was, "Wow.  You had a lot of praying to do."  The more I thought about it, I began to wonder about the intruder.  I'll have to ask if she prayed for him, too.


Psalms 33:4-5 says, "For the word of the Lord is right and true; he is faithful in all he does.  The Lord loves righteousness and justice; the earth is full of his unfailing love."


Father, thanks for the part of that unfailing love that you let us in on.  Amen.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

January 26 – “Keep on stepping”


Chris and I made a change in our workout yesterday.  We walked 2 miles instead of just one.  Then I did 5 sets of 10 each of the weights exercises I have been doing.  I used 3 pound instead of 2 pound weight.  Chris started with the 2 pound.  I know nothing about weight lifting other than what I have learned through physical therapy, so I started there.  I guess if I get really into it and it doesn't mess with my "rheumatiz" I could always ask our school headmaster for some tips.  He used to be Mister America in weight lifting competitions.  I also added 10 situps to the end of each set.  That's where it got tough for me.  That's a total of 50 situps. 


I got some great phone calls yesterday.  Kel called and said he had been talking to several different people who all said they wanted to be involved in leading worship, but their churches are already set.  He knew Lanny just left, so he wanted to know if we needed some help.  I told him I would be happy to talk to them.  The guy who we hoped to be taking over has a very strange work schedule.  He has to go offshore 4 weeks, then is home 4 weeks.  And that schedule changes off and on as well.  Maybe someone can come help our guys out on the weeks Ryan can't be here.  Could be God at work. 


Then one of the new guys at church called.  He wants to get together with a small group for prayer and focusing on love and truth and trust.  Then we can build a core group from there that is committed to being the Church for each other.  He said a group that grows from those beginnings can't help but honor God.  Wow.  How's that for an answer to prayer?  We start Friday.  He and his wife are also doing a Beth Moore study at his house on Wednesday mornings.  They are open to anyone coming, but they were worried that they would be stepping on toes of already existing home groups.  Keep on stepping.  Could be God at work.


I see the neurologist today (about my lower back bulging disc).  It hasn't bothered me in awhile, but I am on medication for the nerve pain, and it has been a year since he officially examined me, so they won't refill the meds until he does see me.  I guess it makes sense.  Either that or they just want another shot at me with their MRI machine.


The rheumatologist is tomorrow.  This will be the first time since I have been seeing him that I am doing better.  Maybe I can get rid of the steroids this time.  I also want to see if he will change the Nexium prescription to something that has a generic equivalent. 


It's amazing how much easier it is to deal with all that stuff when God is obviously working around us.  Bring it on.


Psalms 32:10 says, "Many are the woes of the wicked, but the Lord's unfailing love surrounds the man who trusts in him."


Father, keep moving.  We have no other hope.  And I don't want any other hope.  Amen.


Tuesday, January 25, 2011

January 25 – “Little Guy Distractions”


I was worried whether I would have something to write about today.  Yesterday all I had planned was to work on the sermon and on consolidating the comments from Sunday's meeting.  I got the consolidating done and the emails sent informing everyone about it.  Now we wait for people's responses.  And we already have some of those.  Several folks have emailed back that they will be sending donations to the youth camp scholarship fund.  It's always been exciting when the whole church gets together on a ministry project.  I can't wait to see what happens this year. 


So then we got a text from April, and everything changed.  Cailyn would be here around 1.  That meant no matter how much I tried to focus on the teaching, there would always be those little feet pattering around and that voice calling out, "DadDad," followed by whatever the babbling meant.  I have found that listening to her and Caleb talk is a lot like listening to anyone else talk when I don't have my hearing aids in.  I can often hear the sounds, but unless I have a context to draw from and some lips to look at, I have a terrible time making the sense of the noise come together.  With those two I can clearly hear the sounds, but making sense of them is always a challenge.  Like Cailyn's words, "Bopple Juice," that confounded us last time she was here.  I figured out that juice meant something to drink.  She uses that to refer to water or tea or real juice.  It was the Bopple that took awhile.  We finally made the connection that should have been obvious, "chocolate."  Sounds just the same now, right?


Chris convinced her to play with some toy dishes.  Chris had a whole tea party thing set up, and she was pretending to drink from the cups and eat from the dishes.  At first Cailyn looked at her like she had lost her marbles.  She wanted to go to the sink and put some of the real stuff in those cups.  Apparently she finally got it, though.  They brought me a plate full of something and two cups of some kind of pretend drink.  And when I pretended to eat, Cailyn thought it was the most exciting event of the decade.  Then she wanted it back.  I guess if I thought it was so good, she wanted to try it one more time.  Cailyn always has some scenario going with a baby doll that we have here.  It's not usually all that involved.  Yesterday after her Mom got here and while Mommy was talking to Nana about nursing stuff, she took me by the hand to take the baby to bed.  She was very cute.  We placed the doll carefully in the bed, covered it with a blanket, patted it on the tummy, turned out the light, tiptoed out of the room with her finger to her lips saying, "Shhh," and finally closing the door and saying, "Night night, Baby."  Sweet.  At least it was the first two or three times.  But when we did it the eighth and ninth time I began to wonder what was the appeal. I lost count soon after, because I began to try to insert minute changes to the routine.  Adding a stuffed animal.  Tucking her in a bit differently.  Saying, "Sleep tight, don't let the bedbugs bite."  That was always a frightening thought for me.  Kind of like the line from that "Now I lay me down to sleep" prayer, "If I should die before I wake."  Who could get to sleep when the last thing you hear is that you might die in your sleep?  I thought that might be little extreme for a two-year-old, so I tried the bed bug thing instead.  Didn't matter.  Whatever I tried, she just looked at me in frustration like I was some old guy who couldn't remember anything.  And very gently she would correct me, "No, DadDad."  I think we must have played "night night baby" a million times.  Don't they have softball or something for girls? 


Psalms 31:23-24 says, "Love the Lord, all his saints!  The Lord preserves the faithful, but the proud he pays back in full.  Be strong and take heart, all you who hope in the Lord."


Father, thank you for the "little guy" distractions you have blessed us with.  I love them.  Amen.

Monday, January 24, 2011

January 24 – “God-storming”


Big day at church yesterday.  First I did an overview of the history of Seaside.  That sounds kind of funny after being at First Baptist Church San Antonio the day before.  We don't have a 150 year legacy, but it sure feels like God has done a lot just in the fifteen years I have been there.  Then I asked the folks what they would say if a friend asked them. "What is so special about your church in Galveston?"  That brought out some great comments about love and family and even one that said we have gone though some tough times lately, but we are in a transition period now.  The last section was my vision of where Seaside could go and the kinds of things I hoped for.  The bottom line for me would be for the people to be so equipped that they could still be the Church for each other even if they weren't living in a protected society like America.  


Then after worship we had a discernments meeting.  That was a time for everyone to share where they have been seeing God at work and how we could join him.  It was kind of like brainstorming, but instead of coming up with a bunch of ideas and asking God to bless them, we tried to see things that were obviously his will and already his work.  I called it God-storming.  It was obvious some folks had thought through the question for a long time, and they brought their agenda of items to talk about.  Others reacted like it was their first time to think about it.  But it was a most incredible time of coming together in unity.  


It was fascinating to see the specific ideas begin to center around ministering to "orphans" (the myriad of kids God has sent to us over the years who come on their own with little or no parent presence), to "widows" (there was a great deal of interest in doing ministry at assisted living centers or nursing homes, a ministry our school kids are already involved in), and "aliens" (who else would that be in Galveston but tourists).  We also had a letter from our missionary contact to Mexico that he needed some Spanish Bibles, and I found out that we had a guy visiting who has a regular ministry to the Monterrey area of Mexico.  (That would be some actual "foreigners." 


One guy has already begun to develop a relationship with some people who have a ministry to bikers.  Another guy called later and said he was going to contact the owner of the RV park next door to our other land and see if there was a way to have a mutually beneficial relationship with them.  Mom was even trying to verbalize ways we could do more intergenerational activities.  One closing concern was raised that we don't just talk about doing stuff, but actually get started on doing something.  That resulted in an appeal to provide scholarships for some kids to get to camp this summer.  Their deposits are due next Sunday, so several people kicked in some deposit money right then.  Some others gave money toward buying some of the Spanish Bibles.  Sounds like God is on the move at Seaside.


2 Chronicles 15:2 says, "The Lord is with you when you are with him. If you seek him, he will be found by you, but if you forsake him, he will forsake you."


Father, keep us in tune with you.  Amen.


Sunday, January 23, 2011

January 23 – “Anniversary extravaganza”


I had an unusual experience while in San Antonio.  We were being given the grand tour of the facilities at First Baptist Church.  That is an amazing building.  It was built in the 1920's.  Instead of the usual, for the time, God-church architecture (That would be a building that makes you want to look up and toward the altar), this one was a domed building with a semi-circular arrangement.  Now there are some beautiful stained glass windows, but the feel is more horizontal that vertical.  It is a great combination of "look up to God" and "look around at the people Jesus died for."  The whole facility, including educational buildings (oh, and they have a full gym on the third floor of one of them), covers two or three city blocks.  And they keep it locked.  I understand keeping the outside doors locked.  It is in downtown San Antonio.  But I mean every door is locked, inside and out.  Doors to offices, doors to hallways, doors to elevators, doors to Sunday school rooms, doors to storage closets, doors to janitor closets.  Everything is locked and needs either a key or a code to open.  And the whole place is quite a maze as well.  If a crook did get in, and was able to unlock all those doors, he might never find his way out.  Christi made the comment that she felt sorry for the custodian who had the responsibility of locking all the doors every Sunday.  Hope he didn't have to do anything else, like actually clean the place.


They are having their 150th anniversary extravaganza this weekend.  Yesterday was a big picnic at a dude ranch near Seguin.  Today is their big worship service.  They are having as many former staffer in as can come.  I noticed that the one guy I know who is a former staffer will be there.  Lance was the youth pastor in Denver who went up there at the same time I did.  I told Josh to tell him I said hi. 


Now for my unusual experience.  As we walked into one foyer area we had to go down three steps.  Not very big steps.  And just three of them.  I only made it down two.  Now two out of three is not all that bad as a batting average.  But to effective maneuver down stairs, it's pretty well set in stone that you need to cover 100%.  Somehow I missed the final step.  I don't know if my heel just caught it or if my special relations capacity was suddenly diminished.  But I missed the last step.  And as a result I fell.  It didn't hurt or anything.  And I don't recall any joint difficulty as a contributing factor.  But I fell.  Hopefully I got it out of my system.


On the way home I decided to try out the new device I bought.  It is a converter to change the car's cigarette lighter into a regular outlet.  I'm typing this while hooked up to it right now, so I guess it's working.  Maybe next time I'll watch a movie or something.  Now I have to find out if our air card is still working.  Haven't used it in awhile, and there is certainly no wireless signal in the middle of nowhere out here.


Psalms 37:23-24 says, "If the Lord delights in a man's way, he makes his steps firm; though he stumble, he will not fall, for the Lord upholds him with his hand."


Father, thank you for allowing us to get back up when we fall.  Amen.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

January 22 – “Grab his thumbs”


I finally took apart my old laptop – which is actually newer than my new laptop which I got from Bo and Nancy.  The monitor went dark awhile back, and a friend told me all I had to do was unscrew it and replace the bulb.  So I did that.  There is no bulb.  Nothing that even remotely resembles a bulb.  I'm gonna try emailing the company and asking how much it would be to replace the monitor.  Or maybe I won't do anything.  We're actually using it hooked up to a different monitor now.  I  guess I should just transfer the Norton Utilities account from our dead desktop to that computer and live with it.  See how much longer it lasts.


Speaking of laptops, my friend Brian fixed the new older one up so we can use it to see the words to songs at homegroup.  It was a simple selection on one of the windows that I never knew existed.  I figured it had to be there somewhere. 


We did our trial run to San Antonio.  We had to find out how to get to Josh's house for future reference.  We are tentatively planning a more extended run in February around Josh's birthday.  We have to cancel home group on the 17th anyway.  It's the Gideons' pastors' banquet.  This year it's at Gaido's.  Always a good event, made even better by location.  Maybe we can leave for San Antonio that Friday and stay a few days.  I'd like to ask Mike to preach again, anyway. 


This trip resulted in some great roughhousing.  Most of it was between the boys and Josh and me.  We even had a time while Caleb was still asleep that we had one-on-one time with just Zakary.  Chris did get a few minutes in, but not so much with the boys.  She reverted back a few years to when our boys were getting to be teenagers.  She discovered that all she had to do to get control over a situation like this was to grab the thumbs.  For some reason that was an incapacitating move.  So she stepped in and grabbed Josh's thumbs.  You should have seen Christi's eyes light up when she realized the import of that simple act.  She promised to store that knowledge for future use.  Josh and Christi were also the stars of our trip to a playground near their house.  Zakary challenged everyone to a game of chase.  At one point it was Christi's turn to catch Josh.  And she never gave up.  She pretended to several times, but always in her eyes was that look, that searching for an advantage.  No matter how long it took, she would get him.  And always in Josh's eyes was that look of fear and determination.  She would not catch him.  Never.  They finally collapsed in each other's arms.  Christi claimed victory.  Josh assured us he had deliberately approached.  No certainty either way.  But the entertainment value was priceless, especially for their children.


Hebrews 11:1-3 says, "Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see. This is what the ancients were commended for.  By faith we understand that the universe was formed at God's command, so that what is seen was not made out of what was visible."


Father, thank you for some great examples faith.  Gives me a lot to look up to.  Amen.

Friday, January 21, 2011

January 21 – “Blue Norther”


I got to see Kel's new church yesterday.  I helped him move some of his books from his office at First Baptist.  Well, my Dad's hand truck helped him a lot more than I did.  We just piled the boxes on and wheeled them in.  He was supposed to start there on February 1st, but that's a Tuesday, so they asked if he would come a Sunday early and preach on the 30th.  He seems excited about all the challenges.  And he already has a laundry list of ideas. 


I did something yesterday that I haven't done in a long time.  I ran.  It wasn't far and it certainly wasn't fast.  I just wanted to see what it felt like.  I haven't even made an attempt since I started having trouble with the rheumatoid arthritis, so I approached the whole thing with fear and trembling.  And I waited until Chris was gone.  She went over to Kel's to babysit while Jachin went in for allergy testing.  It wasn't near as bad as I expected it to be.  Our route for walking takes us up all four streets in our subdivision.  That's one mile.  I made it one whole street before I stopped to walk.  No real serious pain.  Then I ran almost one more.  This time I started to feel some twinges in my knees, so I walked the rest of the way.  Lord, thank you for Celebrex.


I also saw a real blue norther blow in.  I was on my way to Randall's to pick up a prescription.  The dark clouds filled the Northern half of the sky, and they were slowly advancing toward the causeway.  I knew I had to hurry or risk being trapped in the oncoming attack.  And of course there was a little old lady in line in front of me at the pharmacy counter.  She had called her doctor's office on her phone because there was some insurance problem.  She finally handed the phone to the pharmacist and everything was straightened out.  My transaction didn't take all that long, but I still had to get gas and go to WalMart.  The temperature was still the same when I got into the car, but by the time I drove across the parking lot to the gas station, the wind hit.  It was hard to open the car door, and there was just enough rain mixed in to make it hurt when it hit.  I debated about whether to even make the WalMart stop, but finally decided to brave the storm.  The only thing was, it didn't really rain all that much.  But it sure was cold when I came back out of WalMart.  It's supposed to be in the low 30's tonight.  Now that's a Blue Norther.


We're heading to San Antonio today to see Josh and Christi and their boys.  The plan is to come back tomorrow.  We have a big day at Seaside Sunday.  Planning for the future.  It should be exciting.


2 Peter 1:3 says, "His divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness." 


Father, thank you for the chance to see another of your natural wonders yesterday.  Weather is amazing.  Amen.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

January 20 – “A pleasant surprise”


We had a pleasant surprise yesterday.  At least it was a pleasant respite for me from working on Sunday's teaching.  Cailyn showed up.  Apparently April had been texting to arrange for Cailyn to be cared for while she was in class.  On her phone Chris is right next to Christina, so she thought she was texting Chris, but some of them were going to Christina.  I guess she got confused.  They showed up like we would be expecting them, but we had no idea what was going on.  When they arrived I was talking to Kel about coming over to his house to get some of our stuff out of their shed, so I told him they were here.  He said they were supposed to be there.  So we were "forced" to keep her.  Gee, that was really tough.


Chris and Mom went to their Wednesday Club meeting, so Cailyn and I went over to Kel and Christina's.  I figured she was supposed to be there anyway, so maybe she could play with her cousins.  As it turned out Christina had taken the boys to the library and then to the park.  Didn't bother Cailyn, though.  She found their stash of bubbles and was quickly engrossed in that strange phenomenon.


I was going over there to get some of our Ike stored stuff from Kel's shed.  He's cleaning up in preparation for their move to LaMarque.  I wasn't even sure what of our stuff was still in there.  The mirror that used to hang in our bedroom was there, but it was broken.  Our telescope was falling apart, but it had already made great pirate toy for the boys.  I'll have to see if it is salvageable for its intended use or if they now have a permanent pirate miniscope.  There was a dog gate.  Well, I guess it was technically a child safety gate, but we haven't needed one of those for a long time.  And a TV tray.  That was an exciting find.  It was just what I needed for home group to put the laptop on for our singing time.  I left the surfboards there for the time being since Kel said Nathan might be the one renting the house anyway.


After we were done with the scavenging, I helped Kel carry up some leftover Ike donated insulation to their attic.  He's planning to stick in the some of the walls up there to regulate the upstairs temperature a little better.  I suggested he save some for the hole in the floor downstairs where their old floor furnace had been.  Not that there was a gaping hole there.  It had a piece of wood attached to the furnace grate in it.  But air still flowed fairly freely through the cracks.  He took that to heart, and while I helped April load Cailyn's carseat, he actually did it.  You could tell the difference right away.   Ah, home repairs and restoration.


1 Peter 5:10-11 says, "And the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast. To him be the power for ever and ever. Amen."


Father, thank you for being the Master Restorer.  Amen.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

January 19 – “The Green Hornet”


So yesterday was tax day because of that Washington, D.C. holiday.  All of our home insurances as well as one of our estimated tax payments were due this month.  We have already sent our stuff in, though. 


Back when we bought our house we were trying to get in under the gun and close in December.  Just didn't happen.  Now we have flood, homeowners, and windstorm insurances due on January 8.  Then estimated tax is due on the 15th (18th this year).  Then our property taxes are due on the 31st.  January is– how can I say this? – a depleted month.


Chris and I actually had a date yesterday.  We went to one of the matinee showings of The Green Hornet here in Galveston.  We probably should have gone to the theater in Texas City.  It would have been a lot cheaper.  The theater here only picked up the 3D version, and they add $3.00 for the glasses, even if you bring your own.  But at least we didn't have to drive into Texas.


I am glad we watched a few of the reruns on TV before we went to the movie.  It helped me remember just how silly the show really was.  In fact as we watched one of them I was thinking how much they reminded me of the old Batman TV series, with all of its Bops and Pows and Bams and with Batman and Robin in the tights and capes.  In Kel's words, very campy.  Anyway, as I was thinking that, the Green Hornet character turned on his TV set, and there were Batman and Robin, climbing up the side of a building.  Cute.  Well, back to the movie revue, we thought it was really funny but it had lots of unnecessary language.  The language had absolutely nothing to do with character development or plot.  They should have kept it like the old TV show and just let it stand on its own merit instead of trying to spice it up. 


Now I have to do some confessing.  I remember when I was in junior high going through a phase where I was the Green Hornet.  I had no particular reason for it.  I didn't wear green clothes and a mask and make friends with a karate guy and drive around Galveston in a modified tank car taking out gangs and mystifying the local police.  I don't think I even knew the Green Hornet lore or watched him much on TV.  I was always a Superman guy.  But I remember signing cards as The Green Hornet.  Totally random.  Maybe I'll try that again.  I'll have to choose a different insect, though.  I know.  The Purple Phasmatodea.  Coming soon to a theater near you.


Rom 8:38-39 says, "For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord."


Father, thank you for making me me.  Amen.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

January 18 – “Random life updates”


Chris and I went walking yesterday.  It was the first time I have felt up to it in quite awhile.  Actually, I have felt pretty good since I started taking the Celebrex.  That was about five weeks ago.  To be honest the difference has been like night and day.  My fingers have been tight and somewhat sore since the weather changed, but I only had to walk through a couple of twinges in my knees and ankles.  After the walk I even did some very light weight lifting (2 pounds) to start getting my arms back in shape.  This morning I expected to be extremely sore, but so far it hasn't been too bad.  Guess I'll give it another go if Chris is up to it when she wakes up.


Speaking of exercise, I took Mom to water therapy again yesterday.  Some days she really balks, but she knows it's doing her some good.  She is of the generation that will pretty much do whatever the doctor tells them because he is, after all, the doctor.  And her doctor insisted that she keep up the water therapy.  I went back to get her after her allotted hour.  I waited in the car for about ten minutes, and she still hadn't come out.  So I went in to check on her.  She was still in the pool.  Looked like she was about half way through a lap of some kind.  She didn't see me, and I didn't want her to stop, so I snuck back out to the car and went over to Randall's to pick up a prescription.  When I got back she was just coming out of the changing room.  That meant she spent an hour and a half in the water.  I couldn't wait to tease her about her new found stamina.  She told me they had added some new exercises, so it just took a little longer than usual.


I got started on the teaching for Sunday.  I think it's going to be kind of a state of the church address.  Actually, I'll try to follow the old Moses way.  Like present some history of how God has dealt with his people here at Seaside over the years, then maybe move to some ways I see that God could be working around us now - my vision and stuff.  Should be fun.  Then we have a discernment meeting after the worship service.  The plan is to continue the visioning process for awhile and see what people are thinking about what kinds of ministries Seaside can be involved in this year.  The Experiencing God study this week is about missions around the world, so that works out well with looking for ways to be the Church this year.  I hope it all comes together in an exciting way.  


John 5:24 says, "I tell you the truth, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life and will not be condemned; he has crossed over from death to life."


Father, thank you for the life you gave me.  In spite of my tendency to complain, I like it.  Amen.