Wednesday, July 30, 2008

White as Snow

Yesterday I was driving in another state and listening to the radio. I came across a station that was broadcasting the Wheel of Fortune--on the radio. I couldn't stop laughing.

I'm reading a book called, "White as Snow," by Paul Tripp. It is a series of reflections on sin and grace, based mostly on portions of Psalm 51. I highly recommend it. I'm reading and re-reading sections because of how it reaches the innermost parts of my own heart.

It is fun to keep on the lookout to see how it will be that God provides the finances that will be necessary for supporting our families in August. He is faithful.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Back in the Saddle

It has been more than a week since my last post. Sorry. I just finished traveling after a trip to Cleveland, MS in the part of the country affectionately called the Delta. I'll write more about my experience in the next day or so. I'll also try to get up a video of the mosquito spray/smoke trucks by the end of the week. If you've never seen one of those you won't want to miss that.

I'm looking forward to meeting some of the guests to worship from this past weekend with City-Wide Redeemer. There were several first-timers. I can't wait to hear some of their stories.

I can't remember what I've said about Glenn thus far. He is a homeless man with whom we've become good friends over the past three weeks. He has so incredibly much to offer. On top of living on the streets, Glenn is also an amputee. Last week someone from City-Wide Redeemer was able to take him to the doctor for a consultation for a new prosthesis. The appointment went well. The doctor should be calling him this week to talk about beginning the process. Within three weeks we should have the joy of seeing Glenn walking again. Tell me that isn't a picture of the kingdom. I'm amazed at how close God allows us to sit to the stage of his incredible redemptive works.

Sunday, July 20, 2008


Today we celebrated our first two baptisms at City-Wide Redeemer. What a day! I was most taken by the courage that it took for a man nearly 60 to come forward for his baptism. He is certainly committed to following Jesus in the years of his life that remain.

We also accepted new members today, three of whom joined upon profession of faith, as opposed to a transfer from another congregation. This is an encouraging signal.

We continue to settle into our new digs at Goynes Elementary. (Side note: the school staff there has been absolutely phenomenal. We could not have found a better group of people with whom to have this kind of relationship for facility rental.) We just about have all of the sound kinks worked out. The spacing for seating is great.

We had several guests today, along with some return guest from last week. That is fun to see. Neat people!

The skies are threatening rain today. Well, maybe threatening is too strong. It is. I'll say that the skies are teasing rain today instead. We still haven't had any rain at our house this year. I'm praying for rain like never before in my life.

Monday, July 14, 2008


I left the house this morning at 5:00 to play a round of golf with some guys who have become great friends. I nearly broke 80 for the first time on a par 72 course. Maybe next time. The morning, though, was perfect. There was no wind, only green grass that gave way to the brown and gray mountains that surround this valley. Hardly a noise invaded our tranquility. I could have shot 120 and had a great time.

Yesterday's worship was the second week in our new facility. We are continuing to work out a few kinks with respect to sound. The trouble comes in the fact that we are using some of the equipment from the school--a great provision--along with some of our things. Getting everything set up isn't yet efficient because we aren't sure how the school's system will be left for us, but our sound man should have things smoothed out by next week. We didn't experience any glitches during worship.

Several guests joined us for the first time yesterday. It seems like we are about to experience another surge of growth. Eric and I were talking today about what that will mean in terms of discipleship. Following Jesus in this is fun.

We looked at our finances for the remainder of the year. We have got huge holes in our budget for the months of August, November and December. I can't wait to see how God provides so that we can continue the work here without major interruption.

Our oldest son is in AZ with his grandparents. He's been there for more than two weeks. I miss him. I think he is enjoying the time absent from two little siblings that often require much patience for him.

We are going to try and paint our front room tonight. I love painting. No I hate painting. I love the results. I was going to rent a spray gun but that would mean multiple trips to Home Depot. I'll just try and cut in things by hand and see what we get. Tape is good.

I'll be going to Cleveland, MS next month. I'm looking forward to the opportunity to share the vision for our work here with a church there. Hopefully God will place provision in their hands and a desire on their hearts to partner with us. I continue to be amazed at what God has already done here. My faith factor is up 1238 points since we arrived in Las Vegas.

Our regular server at Chili's told us today that she might be miscarrying her first child. This is very sad. We'll pray for God to be gracious to her and their child, and for Him to produce an increase of faith in her life through this difficult time. Death sucks.

I'm looking forward to the renewed earth more and more.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Clouds and Rejection of Christ

It has been over six months since clouds covered most of the sky over Las Vegas. It is a nice change. Don't get me wrong. I love the clear skies here. I enjoy not ever thinking about alternatives when planning an event in case of rain. Golf never gets rained out.

We are supposed to get some showers later today and tomorrow. I would love to see the dust cleaned off of our street in front of the house.

Today I'm preparing to preach on Luke's account of a "sinful woman" who came to anoint Jesus' feet when he was a guest at Simon the Pharisee's house. What an incredible Savior we have!

I've been thinking this week about what people hear when we invite them into contexts of worship or discussion about God's Word. Last week I heard someone from City-Wide Redeemer asking a friend if she would like to join them for the women's study on Tuesday mornings. The answer was quick: "No. I'm not religious."

Well neither are we--at least in the sense that she means.

We are a people who are being transformed into new creatures, true image bearers of the living God. We are a people who have come to a profound sense of being spiritually dead and separated from our Creator. We have met Jesus. We have found forgiveness and adoption because this Jesus took the penalty/punishment for our sins and gave us his record of perfection in exchange so that we can stand blameless and totally accepted before our Holy God. This is the history that has captured and changed us. We want to introduce people to Jesus.

When engaging others with our faith it is critical that we don't simply offer them access into our "religious program." We must ensure that they are not rejecting our schedule of fellowship, but rather that they know they are rejecting Jesus Christ, God's Anointed Savior of the world. This will look differently in almost every conversation and relationship with non-Christians. Hopefully we can begin to help people feel the weight of saying, "No."

I think that this helps us as Christians who are trying to live out the message of God's gospel. This releases us from taking any rejection personally. We had nothing to offer them in the first place. It is only Christ who has salvation and new life to offer. It is only Christ that they reject. I'm not finished thinking about the matter. These are just my rambling thoughts today. Leave a comment if you have another take.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

More New Life

This week has brought a few more things to do related to our transition into Goynes Elementary. Last Sunday's worship was a joy to our hearts, and we trust by His Spirit, pleasing to God. It was a luxury to be in such an open space with air conditioning that works. The children's ministry rooms worked well too.

Eric preached on Luke 7:11-17. He highlighted several things that were helpful. He challenged us again to see people the way that God has seen us--as people. Eric said that often for him the person at McDonald's taking his order is just an order-taker, not a person. He fails to see that this person has hopes, dreams, family, fears, and disappointment just like we do. I felt this in my own life yesterday when I was on the phone with the representative from Dell Computers. Jesus looked at the widow and had compassion on her. It was a bit more difficult to look at the man in India through the phone, but I gave it a shot. My heart was changed in an instant and the frustration with his inability to understand what I was asking about faded quickly.

Our set-up crew on Sunday did an incredible job. I'm thankful for the way so many people in this community of Christians love to serve others with smiling hearts. We'll have a few more items to set up this next weekend, but I don't expect any problems. (Actually I always expect problems, but none that God won't work out in his way and his time.)

Yesterday I had the privilege of seeing another one of our new friends here in Vegas come to living faith in Jesus. It was so evident to her husband that God was at work last Sunday in our service of worship and into the week. Last night she told us that for the first time in her life she is now not afraid of dying. I cried coming home from their house at 12:45 this morning. I'm so incredibly humbled at the work of Christ in this city.

Tomorrow I'll be rising with the sun in order to get a quick round of golf in before a morning of study for this weekend. I'm going to be with a friend I haven't seen in two months and I'm really looking forward to the time with him. Hitting golf balls will be great too. I'm glad that the doctor told me to get out on the golf course once or twice a week for a couple of hours in order to fight off the stress that was causing the pain in my head. That's homeopathic medicine at its best.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Happy Feet

It just occurred to me, as I looked at the new picture that has been added to the blog today, that people might think those are my feet and not Angie's. If you were misled, please take this as a gentle correction. This may be an overreaction, but I couldn't go to bed thinking that someone might wonder why I'm using up valuable time on the mission field painting my nails--if that were the case--which it is not. Enough said.

And, yes, I love my wife's feet.


Whenever we talk to people outside of this geographical region we sometimes alert them to the stats that give further shape to the brokenness that dwells in this city. Because of what "happens in Vegas" Nevada ranks number 1 nationally in suicide, high school drop outs, divorce, and homicide against women. Nevada is also in the top five for categories like rape and teen pregnancy. Sometimes these are only numbers to us.

Today I received a call from a man I've never met. We spoke for a few minutes before he abruptly told me that he was going to kill himself as he hung up on me. Thankfully I was able to reach him by phone (caller ID) shortly thereafter and we spoke three more times throughout the day. The pain in this man's life, both present and past, is evident. I'm hopeful that in time I will be able to see the gospel flourish within him. For now, I hope to be able to refer him to someone who can specifically help him in other areas of his total health. We are planning on speaking again tomorrow.

The numbers are staggering. The realities are even more heart-wrenching. The gospel rolls on.

Me and Angie

Me and Angie
December 2010