Friday, December 23, 2011

Is it Christmas Yet

Thursday morning was the first morning that I got to relax and do nothing.  That was nice Kim fixed a good breakfast and I messed around on the computer, blogging and what not.  By the Time lunch time roled around I was full force again with phone call and meetings.  I had the opportunty to be with Jay Grimwood the missions Director for Graceway as we enjoyed a conference call together for the BKA.  Jeff Adams popped into Jays office long enough for me a share a Christmas greeting with him and then he was off doing Jeff stuff. 

After spending some good fellowship time with him I headed back home to pick up the girls and we turned right around and headed over to Chris and Jennifer Rozicha's house.  Kent and Kim Liles were there.  Many of you will meet Kent when he comes to preach the Youth conference in a few weeks.  Chris had also invited Jim and Kelly Lee and there boys over so we had the old gang back together again.  I love those guys so much.  They are all sold out to the mission of helping and training people for the work of the ministry and building the kingdom of God.  It was a great night of cashue chicken, stupid (funny) youtube videos, and some great conversation.  I even was able to pick Jim's brain a bit on the restructuring of our Discipleship process at Fellowship.  It good to have friends on the same mission as you are. 

We ended the night by swinging by Wendy's to pic up some late night frostys.  Not a bad ending to a pretty exciting day.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Merry Oil Change

Kim and I were out yesterday monring getting breakfast a Panera Bread.  It was so good and the coffee was right on time.  After breakfast I noticed that Jiffy Lube was running an early bird special: if you came in before ten it was $10 off.  so I took Kim home and went back to the store.  as I was waiting I checked my android to see if the books I bought from amazon would be on my phone and my tablet and they were.  I had purchased the book "Heaven is for Real" before I left just because I was afraid someone would ask me about it and I want to be able to talk inteligently.  So I started reading and I quickly realized that most of the book is a setup for meat of the Story.  I've read to the 10th chapter and none of it has been about his experience in heaven, but more about the stuggle of the parents through the sickness of their little boy.  That isn't bad I just feel like the book is alittle deceptive in its concept.  I am hoping the book changes course shortly.  I'll keep you informed.  So, the guys at Jiffy Lube saw that my running lights were burned out on the Yukon and wanted to change them for me for $12.50 a piece.  I declined and they dropped it to half price so I agreed.  This meant more time to read. Once they got the lights changed I paid and was ready to go, but they had left the lights on the entire time they were changing the lights and ran the battery down and had to give me a jump. Last night we had a great time celebrating my nephew Nathan's 13th birthday. After we made him walk through the ring of fire we welcomed him into manhood. (that was a reference to the movie, "Finding Nemo" for those of you that missed it.) We had pizza and one of the best Ice cream cakes I have ever had.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Christmas Vacation

When we were planning our vacation we always take into consideration the girls and what they have going on at the time.  We were going to take the girls out of school on Monday and head up to Kanas City but Katie had a basketball game on Monday night and so we were going to delay leaving until Tuesday morning.  Then the rumor of the storm was coming on Monday night and Katie decided it was best for the family if we headed out on Monday morning and off we went (she made a good choice because the game was canceled anyway).  It was raining when we left and it rained the entire 8 1/2 hour trip.  It was crazy!! there were times when visibility was almost none.  There were a few times I wanted to pull over because I could barley see the car in front of me, but we pressed on.  We made it without event which is always good.  If you prayed, Thanks, we needed it.

We got to KC at about 5:30 p.m. and spent the rest of the evening catching up and getting ready for bed.  I was so tired that I went to bed at about 9 and didn't wake up until 8:00 a.m.  If you know me that is crazy.  I never sleep 11 hours, but I guess that is what vacation is for.  We got up Tuesday and pittled around until we were ready to run errands.  So, I put on my drivers cap and started getting instruction on where to go and what was next.  I did have an opportunity to sneak into Bed Bath and Beyound and buy a few last minute things for Kim.  (She has no idea what they are).  I spent the rest of the afternoon tieing up the last few loose ends from the ministry and tasting some of the wonderful goodies that everyone gave us for the trip.  And to top off Tuesday I went to see Sherlock Holmes.  This theater was amazing, the screen was one of the clearest that I had ever seen.  We went with my brother in-law and nephews and they sat at the very top seats and I am more of a middle type guy, but I wanted us all to be together so I headed to the top.  Man, did they get it right.  We had the best seats in the house.  As for the movie, it was OK. 

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Snow Angels

Well, we woke up yesturday to the first snow of the season here in the Panhandle.  It was cold outside and the snow began to fall about midday and didn't stop until almost dark.  We ended up with about 3" or so.  Well, enough about the weather.

Last week I started meeting with the various ministries of the Church to discuss the new changes that are coming in January.  Everyone is so excited about the new structure and ready to contribute to the work.  It makes me proud to be their pastor.  In the midst of all the excitement there is also a darkness.  Obviously the devil is not going to be happy with the new structure or the excitement of the Church.  So we are fighting spiritual battles along the way.  That's what happens when you go to war.

I have also been counselling many of my leaders that have fallen into a state of anxioty for a lack of a better word; depression would be to strong a word.  They are feeling the preasure of growth from the Lord and are being stretched in their faith and in thier walk for the Lord.  The flesh is a curious animal.  There are times when we want to grow with the Lord and so we make the changes that are necessary to get what we want.  But, there are time when the Lord wants us to change or demands that we grow and change for the task in which he has called us, and our flesh is not ready or doesn't want to make these changes.  So we fight it.  We don't know why we are fighting it, but we do.  Sometime even when we know and are excited about the changes that are coming.  The difference is it wasn't our decision to make the change.  Change was thrust upon us, and we don't like being told what to do, so, we fight it.  What I have learned is that it is better to trust the Lord and allow him to make the changes and bring the direction that he wants for our lives no matter how painful and unwanted the changes might be.  The bottom line is simple: we don't have a clue what we need or when we need it. We must learn to trust the Lord and let him mold us into the image of his dear Son.  In doing so, we can accomplish the task that has been set before us and run the race for the glory of God. 

Naturally when God is doing things that we have never done before reality begins to set in, and we start feeling overwhelmed with the responsibility.  It reminds me of Moses as God came to him on the backside of the desert and told him to He was going to deliver His people and he was sending Moses to Pharoh to demand the relese of his people.  Moses' response was much like ours.  Who am I that I should go before Pharoh and deliver this people.  We want to take on the job of the supernatural and that is overwhelming everytime, because that is impossible for us to do.  We must remember that God does the impossible and uses his people to do it.  There is a big difference between the two.  God is doing the Work, and I am just along for the ride.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Black Thursday, Friday, & Saturday

When we moved to Borger we moved away from all our family.  Mom & Dad are 17 hours East.  Kim's mom & dad are 8 hours to the North.  We tried traveling at both Thanksgiving and Christmas, but we found it to be too expensive and too taxing on us.  So we made the decision to stay home for Thanksgiving and travel over Christmas.  This seems to work out just fine we have had family come and be with us on Thanksgiving which is just an added bonus. 
We don't normaly do a lot of Christmas shopping on Black Friday so, it has just become a lazy day for us to sleep in or maybe put up Christmas decorations  but nothing to tiring.  Thanksgiving night Kim and I were sitting watching TV when we heard that Walmart had just opened and begun their black Friday sales.  I look at her and she looked at me and I said you wanta go?  and She replied, "Why not?"  The girls were downstars playing board games with their friends and we told them we would be back in a bit.  So off we went.  When we pulled up in the parking lot at Walmart my mouth literally fell open.  I had never seen som many cars in this parking lot.  I had to park four stores down in the strip mall just to find a place.  So off we go into the craziness that is called Walmart.  We didn't go in looking for anything but it turns out that we got some really good deals.

After a late moring on Friday we picked up Shawn and Mickey Dunigan and headed to Amarillo for our second dose of crasy.  And again we ended up coming out really well on things on our list.  God was good to us (as always).  We spend the whole afternoon shopping and having a good time.  Talking over dinner about the wonderful things going on at the Church and how excited we are for the new year to start.  We finally pulled in the drive way about 8:30 p.m. 

Friday, November 25, 2011

Thoughts of the Family

I have been having some new, strange and wonderful thoughts as I enter into this season of thanksgiving and also this new era of Fellowship Baptist Church.  I remember when I was 18; young and alive and ready to make my own way.  I always had a good home life but for some reason I was ready to get out from under the family and do my own thing.  I have always been pretty independent or aragant depending on how you look at it or how old you are.  So I left the family never to return but for short visits.  Here is my new thought.  Through my experiences with God and Church and the meditation is God's Word, I find that God has made us to function together.  Every institution of God (Family, Government, and Church) has always been based on the fact that people are meant to be together.  I look at families in the Bible and I see sons that stay home and help to raise and support the family.  I look in other countries and the idea is that home is with the family.  You can go to Egypt today and see 3 and 4 generations living under the same roof.  Even if the children go off to school and what not, they always come home and help the family once more. 

So, what's the conclusion to the very obvious thoughts?  Simply that maybe, we have messed up one of the greatest strengths that God has given us.  Unity in the family.  A very natural togetherness that should carry us through the hard times and never leave us alone.  But, in our araogence we have left our families and become individuals that are supposed to weather all the storms of life on our own, and in the process have made ourselves shipwrecked in the sea of life; hoping that someone will come along and save us from our individualness and give us a since of belonging.  Why did we ever leave?  Why are we pushing our kids out to do it all on their own?  Why must we reinvent the wheel with every generation instead of using the wisdom of our fathers. 

I look at our Church and I see that we have become a life boat for people that have become shipwrecked and are desiring to be a part of something bigger than ourselves.  But isn't the Church just a picture of what the family is supposed to be?  No wonder we have to start all over with the Gospel in every generation.  The family unit is broken down with every son that is born because he is a freeloader if he stays home.  Now, I'm not one for laziness (that's a whole different blog) but I do beleive the family should be tighter, closer, sharing, and caring for one another.  That we might grow farther than our ancesters and smarter because we were spared from the stupidity of our youth, and protected by the ones that know better.  But we are content to throw our young into the deepend and yell, "Sink or Swim!" with no instruction or guidence.  Sometimes they swim and sometimes they sink.  Is that acceptable.  I don't know.  Maybe I had to much turkey yesterday and it is clouding my vision, or maybe I'm just getting older and can see clearer in spite of the dimming of my eyes. 

Love your family this holiday season.  Draw close to them.  Love them.  Teach them.  Guide them.  There is always a storm on the horizon, but there is safty amidst family and friends.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Last Long Day of Travel

I was so excited with the way the trip was going until I hit the airport this morning.  When I left Keiv I told the guy behind the counter that I needed my bags to go all the way to Amarillo and he said he could only check them to Houston because my flight was the next day.  That happens when you trip home is more than 24 hours.  But you do what you can do.  The problem came this morning when Contenental tried to make my flight a domestic flight which would make my bag limit 50 pounds instead of when I started the trip at a 70 pound limit.  It weighted in at 54 pounds and they were going to charge me for the overlimit $100.  I refused to pay becuase they should have checked it all the way through.  Nevertheless, they waisted enough time until I missed the flight talking to this superviser and that superviser.  If you know me at all you know that I don't mind going to the top on things.  I ended up buying a small bag to get under the weight limit and then paying the $35 second bag fee.  And since I had a few hours to kill I called Contental and filing a formal complaint.  The customer service rep confirmed that I was right (you know how I like to be right) and filed all the necessary paper work for me to get the money back.  What a hassel.  Since I have been back n the State I've been taken by a cap driver and misteated at the ticket counter.  America is supposed to be better, Right!!!  It just goes to show the decline in this country.  I love the USA, but we need to be famous for more than just hambergers and fries. 

On a mental and spiritual note I'm still on a high for all the things the Lord showed me about myself on this trip.  Some of which, in all honesty, is a bit to personal to share with the entire world, but just know that I am forever changed.  I'm sure that these problems are to try and detour my thoughts from the Lord and all the goodness he is doing.  It won't work.  The ministry that God is doing in me is to important to be sidetracked.  It is amazing when the Word of God becomes real in your life.  I am experiencing 2 Corinthains 3:17-18 being set free from myself and being changed into the image of my Lord Jesus Christ.  Thank you for all your prayers for me.  As I am asking God to do a work in your hearts, I think its import that you realize God is doing a work in mine.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Thoughts from the Air

As I'm writing this blog, I'm on my first leg of a four leg plane ride.  But this was not the beginning of my journey today.  I woke up with the rosters (there were literally rosters outside my window), so that I could be ready to take the four hour trip from Revne to Kiev to be two hours early for my international flight.  In 2012 the Euro Games (soccer or Futbal, depending on where your from) is going to be hosted by Ukraine.  This is a blessing to me because in order to host these games they had to get their road ready to recieve the traffic from all over Europe.  One of the first roads that they improved was the stretch from Rivne to Kiev because of nearby Polland.  So, the ride this moring was nice and smooth and we got to the airport in great time.

I'm always amazed how the Lord uses me on these mission trips, and it's always an adventure.  It takes me a while to defrag and wrap my head around all the wonderful opportunities that God has presented.  I made more ministry connections on this trip to Ukraine than what I've ever made before.  This is the first time that God has opened doors to do true missions work around the world with the people of Ukraine and myself.  There is no doubt that the missions program of Fellowship Baptist Church has not only a world wide scope but world wide personel as well.  There are some major opportunities to help in some other places that Ukrainians will be much more effect at accomplishing.  This is not to say that we won't be joining these endevors, but it might mean we can expand the minstry without having to take all the trips ourselves; as well as partnering on some trips and make them truly international. 

On Sunday I will be outlining these opportunities and reporting to the Church on the huge success of this trip.  You won't want to miss it.  And remember it more than likely will not be published due to the sensitive information that we will be discussing so make sure you are in your place.  I have pictures to share and name to remember not only for Sunday, but truly for the rest of my life.

I've been able to keep up to some degree through email with the activities going on at home which seem to be just as busy as I was overseas.  I'm so proud of the ownership level that our Church body is willing to take on so that we can further the gospel around the world.  I can understand now the feelings that Paul must have had when he looked at Barnabus and said, "Let's go see how the churches are doing."  When you pour your life into a place it's hard to keep it off your mind and heart.  You want to protect the investment and watch it grow and I believe I'm seeing some real growth and expantion in Ukraine.

The one thing that completely took me off guard was the personal relationships that I formed on this trip.  I expect to meet people, no doubt, but to feel the love in my heart for people like Victor and Marina that took care of me in Lugansk or Tanya that administrated the class there.  I feel like a gained family members.  I'm hoping Tanya gets the opportunity to come and visit us in the States.  She has expressed the desire to do some missions work around the world and I believe that the Lord has brought us together for that reason.  You will be hearing more about her as we go forward.  I also met a Ukrainian Man that is missions work and is the pastor of two Churches there.  He also travels to the same part of the world that I do for some front line missions work.  I am sure that he will be someone we partner with in the future.

Two weeks into the trip I went to Zdubolnev and Rivne to work with some Churches that I have taught through the College in the past few years and again God showed himself to be mighty.  When I arrived the Pastors wanted me to talk with a young woman named Lena, or Helen in English, that has been in the process of making a decission to follow Christ.  As we met with the 17 year old girl I was immediatly impressed with her confidence and strength of character (not a trait uncommon among Ukrainian young women).  We talked about the basic meaning of becoming a follower of the Lord and she was very polite and even was willing to speak English with me.  As we got up for Church the next moring I realized that Lena was a neighbor to the family that was keeping me.  They had invited her to breakfast to translate for me and the family (a real treat and blessing).  As we got to Church Lena pulled me aside and said, "Mr. Sizemore,  I have been thinking a lot about what you were saying last night and I want you to know that I have truly decided to follow Christ and make him the Lord of my life."  I couldn't have been any happier.  I know that God has been bringing many witnesses into Lena's life, but I felt very prividged to be another one.  She came to the class that I taught on evangelism and helped me with the family all week long.  Again, God had formed a friendship that I didn't expect.  You can find Lena and Tanya both on my facebook friends.  I think it would be so cool if some of you would give them words of encouragement from the Lord.

I realize this is a long blog entry but you must understand that this is just a quick summary of how God had molded my life through this trip to Ukriane.  I feel revived and refreshed.  The Lord knew exactly what I needed.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Class Dismissed

Well last night was the last lecture for the class here in Lugansk or "Luhansk" (depending on what map you look).  The class was strong every night.  What I love more than anything ae the new relationships that I form.  I met a missionary couple named Yuri and Andrea.  I am so excited about the possiblities and doors the Lord is revealing. 

We have the final exam tonight and I have been telling the guys that all the questions on the quizes would be on the final.  Now they are so nervous that they will not do well with a 54 question quiz.  I remember that feeling, but I also remember it driving me to study to pass the course, and the feeling of accomplishment when I did well.  They also need these experiences. 

Every time I come I and humbled and reminded that the Ukrainian Baptist Churches have some things down better than we do.  They are not near as far behind in Discipleship as we are in America.  They simply need a little focus on what they are already doing.  Last night we were discussing the difference in a goal, objectives, and the tactics that accomplish the objectives and goal.  I was sharing the blessing of Fellowship Baptist that the people have taken ownership of the goal and objective and we hold very loosely the tactics by which we accomplish those goals.  Tactics are where the rubber meets the road, where things get done and not just talked about.  Taking an idea from the idea stage and putting it to practice according to the world around at the present time.  And because the world is always changing there are times we need to change the tactics to be successful in the minsitry.  Thanks Fellowship for being the example that can be immulated all around the world!  You all are aewsome!!

I am about to start my second leg of the trip here in Ukraine.  Tomorrow, I will get on a train and travel about 24 hours to the other side of Ukraine to Zdolbuniv.  this will be the first time I have traveled by train.  I will be in a simi-private room but at least I will have a bed so that I can get some rest.  We have been working with the Church in Zdolbuniv for the past 3 years as they continue to impliment their discipleship process.  This week we will be focusing on personal evangelism.  I am excited to share with them some of the new ideas I have on evangelism and how it should flow into the natural course of life.

For a Christian who has fallen in love with the lover of my soul.  How can you not share and talk about such a relationship.  Yet so many keep silent.  Jesus is the best thing that has ever happend to me and He is the very reason I am who I am and do what I do.  To know me is to know Christ.  To fellowship with me is the fellowship with Christ.  To learn of me is to learn of Christ.  If this was the way people viewed God's children many more would come to Christ.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Why Do We Disciple?

Sunday was such a busy day.  I was up at the crack of dawn reading studying and preparing for the two messages I was going to preach in a few hours.  Saturday night Urie asked me to challenge the people with the reason why we disciple in the Church.  I had another message I was going to preach entitled "Seeking the Lost" but God had other plans.  If you know me at all you know that I love the question, "Why?"  Why also seems to get to the bottom of things even to the point of revealing motives about a certain situation.  So, as I was asking the Lord to answer this question of why we disciple people; God opened up a whole new understanding of Ephesians chapter four.  I love the book of Ephesians and have preached throught and studied through the book on many occations, but, as happends so many times, there's always a little bit more.  The context of Ephesians 4 is defined in verse 3 when the church is told to "Endeavor to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace."  The rest of the chapter is an explaination of how to do that.  Jesus is gracious even today in the Church to give gifted men that will know how to keep unity in the Body.  It is these ministers that 'perfect the saints, do the work of the ministry (reconciliation), and edify the body of Christ.' I had always seen these as the three goals of the Church, but that is not the total answer to the "Why" question.  The minister does these things in the body to keep the unity of the Spirit, the unity of the Faith, and the unity of Love.  Needless to say I had a great time challenging the Church to become unified and win their community with the love of Christ.

As normal, I preached at the Church where we are holding the college.  This is the larger of Urie's two Churches, and located in Lugansk.  The second Church is about 30 minutes outside of Lugansk in the town Where Urie lives.  It is a smaller congregation, but in all honesty I felt more power of the Spirit there.  Needless to say, I had some great fellowship with Urie and his wife Andrea (she's an American).  Urie has spent some time studying in the States and speaks great english.  He's been serving as my translator which is nice, becuase of his education in Seminary, he understands some of the terms I'm using in the scriptures.

As Monday morning rolled around I was excited about going back the little cafe/pastry shop I had found that provided free wifi for customers.  They make the best capachinos (excuse the spelling, this app doesn't have spell check).  I should have taken a picture of the design in my glass.  It was the coolest cup of Joe I think I've ever had. 

I have been so impressed with the reception of discipleship among these pastors.  Last night the class almost turned into a counseling session as the pastors were getting serious about implimentation and what that really looks like.  I look for that night as I teach the class because if we never get to that point, then I know they are just shining me on.  Tonight we are talking about how to start the discipleship ministry from scratch.  It should make for some interesting conversation.  I'll let you know how it goes.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

First Week Down

This has been a good week in the Lord and with the Class here in Ukraine.  I've been teaching a class on Biblical Discipleship, one of my favorite subjects in the world.  I was just discribing to the class last night how wonderful it is to be apart of God's work as he changes a life for all of eternity due to your investment through the Holy Spirit.  And how wonderful it is to be able to share that ministry with others in my congregation.  I am learning that when Jesus said "if a man would lose his life he would save it" not as a salvation passage but as a call to find the true meaning of life.  There is always a night that we end up discussing Church discipline in great detail as we talk about hold people accountable to the Scriptures, and that was last night. 

I was introduced to a wonderful cafe called Vienna Paistories.  It is an Italian style cafe that makes me feel right at home.  It blows a Starbucks away.  The coffees are supurb, not to mention I am writing he blog on the free wifi for customers.  It's my little piece of heaven here in Lugansk. 

It's Saturday and I actually slept in a little today (8:30).  We don't have class on Saturday which has given me a chance to hang my laundry out to dry, litterally.  I have a great opportunity to preach as two different Churches tomorrow so I would ask all to pray that God moves the hearts of the people in each service.  I also had an opportunity to call Vitaly my pastor friend from Rivna yesterday.  He plans on making the trip to Stolbunov and being apart of the conference there.  I was happy about that.

Well, there is a flower festival in the market place today.  So, I guess Tanya and I are going to walk through on our way to do some shopping.  I'm praying for the service tomorrow at home.  I know it will be good with Sam Gill in the pulpit.  Blessings to all.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Getting the Gospel Right

If you've been reading my blog, I had mentioned that I was reading a book entitled "Getting the Gospel Right, A Balanced View of Salvation Truth" by C. Gordon Olson.  I started diving into the book because of the renewed interest of the old arguments between Calvinism and Arminianism.  I have taking some time everyday to read some of this 300+ page book basiclly to better be able to clearify to others my personal understanding and stance on the scriptures when it comes to the doctrine of salvation.  I must say, this book has been a great help in defining my terms and knowing how to systematicly put the arguments together and sometimes take them apart.

The more I study both Calvinism and Arminianism the less I like both.  It is sad to me that people would think that you must be one or the other in the fact that both ideas are lend to the extremes of their respective views.  There is a chapter in the book that I have found to be a great help in my discipleship class and that is chapter 11, "Are we saved by discipleship."  I found this to be very helpful even in the midst of teaching this discipleship class.  There was a major clearification that was made.  There are many passages like Luke 14 where Christ is laying out ground rules for being his disciple. One must be careful not to take these as salvation passages because to do so is to have a works based salvation.  Therefore, salvation must be a separate event and conclusion drawn before the level of commitment discribed by the Lord in this passage and others like it.  I do believe and preach that salvation is the beginning of discipleship, but understanding that not all will reach this level of commitiment with the Lord.  This also helped to clearify the statements of Christ such as, "If a man would lose his life, he will save it."  Understanding that this is not a salvation passage brings the conclusion that a person doesn't know true life until it is given totally to the Lord.  "For He is our life!" 

I would encourage all that have questions to order a copy of the book from Amazon and give it a read.  A word of causion.  This is not a picture book.  This is a book of inductive study that can, at times, get pretty weighty.  If you have a hard time swimming in the deep end of truth.  This may not be the pool in which to dive.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Attention Class

I had spent quite a bit of time and effort this summer making sure I was ready and prepared for this upcoming discipleship class in Lugansk.  I completely reworked all my notes to enclude basicly all I have learned about discipleship over the past 15 years (I'm sure it will be a book some day).  Because of this preparedness I did have to run around like crazy on the first day of class making sure all was in order.  Tanya, my assistant and administrator for the class, and I were able to run some arrands and spend some time getting to know the city around us.  That basicly means looking for places to eat and finding the free WiFi in the area.

It is always exciting to teach in a new area because I know that new relationship will be built that will last for all of eternity.  As the first class session ended (which was basic introductory material) I was feeling a stong connection with the pastors in the class.  We have a class of about 12 to 15 and there are about 10 churches represented in the group.  They are all dealing with the same thing: how to make the Bible come alive in everyday life.  We have had two sessions now and many tears have been shed betwee us as we have discussed the ministry roads God has taken us down. 

Urie, my translator, is pastoring two churches in two different towns and doing some wonderful missions work in the same areas that Fellowship is involved with.  It is so cool to sit and discuss partnering in missions trips outside of Ukraine.  I would ask that you would pray for wisdom and direction as I try to bring Urie and Jacob together next month.  (If you don't know who Jacob is; I could tell you, but then I would...........)  Nevertheless, there is a movement of the Spirit that is happening in that part of the world that is much bigger than just our desire to go.  There are major connections that are happening between me and my new friend and co-laborer.

I am amazed at the fuctionality of the poverty in the area of Lugansk.  What I mean is: I know that no one has any money yet life seems to just go on and everyone lives, breaths, and makes due.  I am afraid if americans found themselves in this situation that they would just sit at home is protest.  I see these guys going to work and working as hard if not harder than anyone in the States but yet they get just a fraction of the compensation.  Its not that the boss is mean, that's just all they have to pay.  One might ask about the cost of living and so forth.  Lets just say that the only house your going to live in is the one you build.  Strangley enough, I don't feel that the people are mad about this way of life, it's just life.  I find myself wanting to be mad for them, but then I realize I'm the one with the chip on my shoulder and I need to change.  And with the way things are headed in America,  we might just find out before to long.

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Planes, Trains, and Automobiles

It's one thing when you watch the movie.  It is something else entirely when you live it.  I left the house on the 9-2 and drove to Amarillo to catch my first leg of the international flight to Kiev.  When Pastor Don, a friend of mine from Washington D.C., came to visit; I was appologizing for our small airport and he said, "No, you don't understand.  This is like and executive Airport.  No lines. You just go right through."  He has a way of putting things into perspective for me.  So, I left from the executive airport there in Amarillo and it was easy.  It is nice that they book my bags all the way through to Kiev.

So, I get to Houston and forgot to call my mother back before I left (and it's her birthday, I won't hear the end of that). Hi Mom!  And I had a little bit of a layover in Houston.  We took off on time at 4:00 p.m.  Now if you are of the conservitive nature you might want to skip to the next paragraph.  We had dinner on the plane about 6:00 p.m. and I have not been feeling well on day.  So, I got a glass of white whine to help settle my stomach and help me sleep (It's scriptural people, look it up).  And sure enough about 7:00 I was out.  I slept for a solid 4 hours, which for me on a plane is a big deal.  If you know anything about international travel: you always loose your night hours.  So, it is important to get as much sleep as possible to help your body adjust to the new time zone.

We get to Frankfert right on time and I have an hour layover which is perfect.  I find my gate and head to the bathroom to wash my face.  I have been traveling now for 16 hours straight.  We get on the plane headed to Kiev and we are delayed due to some people and luggage problems, but the seat they have me in is directly over the cargo door for all the luggage, and so I pray, "Lord, it would really cool if I could see my luggage being loaded onto the plan.  And sure enough,  A new trailer pulls up and I watch both my suitcases get eaten by the planes belly.  Good stuff.  I didn't by anyone on any flight that spoke conversational English.  So, I haven't said more than two words to people all day long.  I keep reminding myself that Americans are loud and it causes me not to stand up and yell, "Does anybody speak English."  I figure the Lord is saving my voice or my testimony for another time.

I arive in Kiev about 20 minutes late but that is no big deal.  I was going to have to wait on Ron's assistant Tayna anyway.  She has been riding a bus all day to meet me at the airport so that she can lead me on the Lugansk.  Luckly the airport had free internet (which is new) and I was able to call Ron and let him know that I had arived and where I was waiting to meet up with Tayna.  It all worked out well I was only waiting for about 15 minutes we she showed up.  She says she is starving and we need some food before our bus departs at 5:30 that evening, which is a few hours away.  So we get aquanted around some pizza in the airport and she tells me that I am like all the other professors showing pictures of my wife and kids.  What can I say, I'm proud of them.

We board the bus, that is late and Tayna informs me that this is about a 15 hour bus ride and we will be there in the morning.  I have already been traveling 24 soild hours.  My american side started to kick in and say, "Isn't there a faster way. This has got to be poor planning."  But as I was running the sinario through my "fix it" brain I remembered the last plane ride I had from Kiev to the interior (the Indiana Jones story many of you have heard) and I realize this is just what it takes to get where I'm going.  So, off we got into the bumpy but steady ride to Lugansk.  We arrive after watching the sun come up again at 7:00 in the morning Sunday morning.  Our ride is not there and after an hour and me preaching to Tayna about the need for patience, we are finally picked up by a man named Victor.  He takes us to his home and shows us where we can get some rest.

At this point I am excited about two things: Food in my belly and my head on the pillow.  So, after a quick run to the grocery store I was able to take a shower while breakfast was being prepared.  And while I am drying off Tayna yell's through the door.  Are you ready to preach this morning?  I said, "Of course I'm ready to preach."  she replied, "You Are?"  to which I replied, "I'm a preacher!  That's what I do."  So the pillow will have to wait.  We got to Church that has been converted from a old house (very common in this part of the world) and had a great service as the pastor preached a wonderful message on sanctification and I followed it up with a message on the love relationship with the Lord.  We got back to Victor's about 1:30 and it wasn't long after until I was finally getting a much needed Sunday afternoon nap.  The Church here is excited for the class tomorrow and I know the Church at home is praying, so I know it will be a good class.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Living Water

I had the opportunity to preach at Living Water Ministries this morning, which is the food and clothing pantry here in Borger.  I always enjoy preaching there because, for whatever reason, I feel no pressure.  We dove off into the book of James this morning talking about the reality of our faith and that faith will always be shown by our actions.  And though many people say they have faith in God, they tell on themselves with their actions.  After I had finished the message I went to the back and grabbed a donut that I had eyed earlier before I started (donuts are a weakness of mine).  When I came back to the auditorium there was a lady waiting on me that I didn’t know.  She handed me two pieces of paper and said.  I wrote a poem about you while you were preaching.  I asked if she was giving the poem to me and she said, “Yes.”  So I glanced at it not thinking much about it until I got back to my office and really had a chance to read it with intent.  I would like to share it with you.

Bill Sizemore is on fire.  The Lord is blazing in him too.  He is made I your image, God. He is full of You.  We can feel the Spirit of God when the Word he preaches, and we can tell he practices everything he teaches.  He is super pastor. He is a super hero.  If we were to count his flaws we’d have to count to zero.  Every word that comes out of his mouth ministers to us all: convictions and correction and edification help us to answer God’s call.  Keep on doing God’s will telling us the truth from Genesis to Revelation to the book of Ruth.  Thank you God for Bill Sizemore we really appreciate him today.  God bless him and keep him and use him in every Christian way.  In Jesus name we pray, Amen.

She didn’t sign it so I don’t know her name, yet.  This was a great honor that someone would take the time to write such kind words.  Praise the Lord for his blessing through the lives of His redeemed.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Ready for Routine

I love the summer break that the girls get from school.  We had a great time this summer going White rafting with my family and just hanging out for the summer.  I have to admit, I look forward to the time that the girls have a curfew and a reason to go to bed so that I can get some sleep.  I am finding that the older I get the more I like my daily routine.  I am a morning person and I like my cup of coffee and my prayer and Bible time before the sun comes up. This seems to be the time that it is quit enough for me to hear the still small voice of the Lord coming through the pages of his Word.  I am take a trip through 1 & 2 Samuel right now.  I love to read of the integrity of David as he watches over God's announted.  I was noticing today how many times God would step in and do what needed to be done to guard the integrity of David, his servant, and realizing how many times, I am sure, God has done the same for me.

It seems that lately my days are filled with counseling.  We have such a busy Church that the people are in the office all day.  Some for counseling, some for ministry, but all for the work and edification of the Lord.  There are times when I am counseling that I feel it is a waist of time when I don't believe the person is going to make the changes neccessary, but I have not felt that in these counseling sessions.  I really believe God's people are heeding the advise and making the changes.  That is a beautiful thing to me.  I love seeing God's people freed from the bondage of this world and the people in it.

I do have a lot on my plate with Ministry Training, Marriage Retreat, and Ukraine all starring me in the face asking for material to be produced, but I know the Lord has something to say and he knows just how to say it.  I have to be careful not to add to the load by thinking I have to produce all this stuff.  I am very excited for this fall season because I believe we are going to experience some major growth in every way.  The wave that we have been riding is now made it to D2.  We should have a class of about 25 people if not more when it is all said and done.  This is a special class if you will because I have many of the people that have taken ownership of the ministry and the Church going through this class.  It should make for some deep discussion and discovery into God's Word.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Turning Fourty Two

It was so cool when I celebrated my 40th birthday.  The Church had prepared a big surprise birthday party, and Kim had got my whole family to come and be with me on that special day.  In all honesty it felt like the right of passage from "dude" to "Sir" and I kind of liked it.  Today I turned 42 and there is the same love in the air from all my family and friends, and it has been one spectacular day.  There was no surprise party, no right of passage, not really that much fan fair.  Just a nice day running around Amarillo with the one that I love to be with the most.  My wife.  There are some men that hit my age and have a day like I had today and say, "Is this it!  This is what I have to look forward too."  And they begin to try and right the wrongs that they feel have been done in their life or maybe set a new course for what they really want out of life. 

I praise the Lord that is not my life.  All I know is I enjoyed today.  I look forward to what life has in store for me on this journey, on this path.  In so many ways I feel life is just beginning.  One of the stops we made this morning was to the hospital to see a new born babe of one of our members, relizing that stage of my life is over but taking joy in this moment was them.  And just after lunch I was making funeral arrangements for another member that had just lost her grandfather.  I know that God does things on purpose.  There might have been a time that I would have said, "God, why today, can't I just enjoy my birthday;" but I never had that thought.  This is life.  We take the joys with the heartaches.  We take the ups with the downs.  You see I have experienced both of those events in my life.  I like the fact that I have lived enough to rejoice and weep in the same day; to congradulate and comfort in the same instant.  I like having friends that are just taking off in life and those that are seasoned in it.  This is a good place to be.  This is a good time to be alive.  This is a good time to be me.  So I say Happy Birthday 42.  I pray there are many more special days like this one.

Ok, so now that I've got the centimental stuff out of the way.  Let me tell you what happened.  I need to get my bike tuned up so Kim was going to follow me to the shop in Amarillo.  The bike is not running that well so my max speed is 65 mph.  Now the speed limit is 70, so I'm trying not to be a hazard to the rest of the world traveling on 136 hwy.  I told Kim I needed to get some gas but I decided I would just see if we could make it all the way to Amarillo.  We didn't!  Half was there I run out of gas.  That's not that big of a deal as the bikers with know because I have a reserve tank on the bike that should get me the rest of the way.  But, because the bike isn't running well it isn't getting good gas milage either so I get a mile from the nearest gas station in Amarillo and I run out of gas again.  This time, I'm out.  There's nothing in the tank.  So, Kim has to run up to the gas station, buy a gas can, buy the gas and bring it back to me sitting on the side of the road with the bike.  I wish I had stopped for gas like I said I was going too in the first place. Se La Vi!

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Windermere Wednesday

If you have been around Church camps at all you know that there is one day where the kids just shut down.  It not because the don’t care or their not listening, it’s because they have wore themselves out in everyway: spiritually, physically, and mentally.  That day was Wednesday.  By the time we got to Chapel last night the young people were glazed over.  Brandon Briscoe brought another great message from the book of 1 Samuel.  It was the story of David and Goliath.  A well known story no doubt, but I love the take that Brandon brought.  The lesson in a nut shell was simple.  Good things in life will cause you not to do the right things.  And it’s better to be right than to be good.  I loved it.  Anytime a man stands up and preaches about Character and responsibility, count me in. 

As I was talking to Shawn’s small group after the service, they were describing the  fear of going home and being a hypocrite around their friends.  The answer to hypocrisy is a simple one: make the choice and don’t do that anymore.  Choose righteousness!!  Forget all the pier pressure and just make a stand and make a choice.  The harder answer is the real struggle how do I stand by myself.  This is a lie from the Devil and from our flesh.  “I’m the only one that wants to serve God.”  No you’re not.  You just might have to make the stand to find the others that are wanting to stand with you.  When God called a man in the Bible he always calls someone along side that man.  God never intended for us to be the “lone Ranger” Christian and change the world all by ourselves.  This is why a Church, a youth group, and school club are so important and necessary in the life of a Christian.  You should find someone that is striving to be what you are trying to be and stick to them like glue.  Proverbs 27:17, “Iron sharpeneth iron; so a man sharpeneth the countenance of his friend.”  Notice he doesn’t make you better, he keeps you uplifted in the midst of life.  Who is your friend?  who is the one that uplifts you when the world is closing in around you.  Everyone needs someone.

I know the youth will be ready to receive what God has for them on Thursday.  As for me I have been able to do a lot of preparation for Ukraine and finish writing all of my quizzes for the discipleship class, as well as some other items on the to-do list.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Tuesday at Windemere

The second day at camp was a great day.  The food has been really good.  I was able to finish writing all my quizes for my Discipleship class in Ukraine.

One of the things we are trying to do at Fellowship is to focus our missions efforts on the things we believe God has called us, as a church to do.  One of the areas we believe God is focusing us on is the country of India.  The morning session was a missionary from India that was sharing some wonderful stories of the miricles God has been doing to bring the Indian people to the saving knowledge of Christ.  India has the biggest percentage of the worlds lost population.  I had an opportunity to share our burden for India, and I believe God is going to do some amazing things through this new partnership. 

The youth are having to walk literally 15 minutes from their cabins to all the activities of the day.  So, I had an epiphany.  We have a 72 passenger bus sitting in the parking lot.  As I gave the kids a ride to dinner, I have never recieved so many "thank you"s in my life.  Remember, its been over 100 degrees everyday.  I think we improved the camp experience today. 

Last night Brndon Briscoe brought another great message from the book of I Samuel.  It was based on the story of Dagon the godof the philistines when the ark of the covenant was brought into the temple.  I'll let you read the story for yourself.  The point was God doesn't need you to accomplish his will or magnify his name.  He can do that all by himself.  God chooses to use those that are broken to the point that they cry out to him.  This is what we saw in Hannah, and the children of Isreal in order to defeat the Philistines.  God is speaking so loud, pray that it not fall on deaf ears.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011


Sunday night we loaded a bus at 8:30 p.m. and started on an 11 1/2 hour treck to the middle of Missouri to a place called Wendomere.  It is a beautiful camp nesseled in a cove on the Lake of the Ozarks.  There were 40 people on the bus, some Jr. High and some High School students and the couselors and bus drivers (thats me).  I, being a morning person and Shawn being a night person, let Shawn take the first shift.  I was catching some zzzzzzz right after we got out of Pampa.  We had made a little spot in the back for us to sleep, but remember, we are on a school bus and the roads made you think you were in a war zone.  The widows were ratteling, the luggages was boming with every bump, and the High Schoolers are mapping out the next horor movie in the seats in front of me.  Needless to say,I didn't get much sleep. 

As camp got underway we could tell that God has some great things in store for us. One of the things that God has been doing in my life is allowing me to see past the exterior of flesh and see the soul of a man.  This is important, and for some it is scary because they have workedso hard at making a fortified wall so no one can get in.  Brandon Brisco is the High school speaker this week and he was talking about the neccessity of believer having the heart of God toward people.  I belive this camp is changing the lives of our kids.

Monday, June 6, 2011

The Great Adventure of 2011

When I was in the process of planning our vacation, I kept everything a secret from Katie and Kellie about what we were going to be doing.  We took off Thursday morning for the Ocoee river in Tennessee for a wild adventure whitewater rafting.IMG_4518  This is something I have always wanted to do and I wanted to experience it with my girls.  We had such a good time.  This river has some class III and IV rapids on it and you would have thought we were pros.  I would highly recommend this river for anyone feeling froggy. (That’s me in the red shirt and white legs)

After we finished our rafting we headed over to Bryson City, N.C. were we stayed at the base of the Smoky Mountains at a wonderful little cabin. (  I had the opportunity to take my nephews on their very fist tubing experience.  It was priceless.  They were scared to death the first time down, but just like ducks in the water they were ready to go again and the second day we had a blast.  By this time Mom and Dad had met up with us at the cabin.  Mom has always wanted to take the train ride that leaves from Bryson City so that’s what we did.

Rafting 2011 044

We got up on Friday morning and boarded the Great Smokey Mountain Railroad.  it was a good time for all as we went by some mountain lakes and waved at people rafting down stream.  it was slow paced but that’s why I enjoyed it so much.

After some more tubing and a trip up through the Smokey Mountains we were ready to head back to good old Georgia,  but we weren’t done yet.  We had to stop by the Amicalolla Falls, the most beautiful water falls that I have ever seen in my life.  We all got adventurous and hiked up the side of this wonderful mountain  with the water falling right next to the path.  A picture is worth a thousand words!

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Well this has been our great adventure of 2011.  I believe it is one for the history books in the Sizemore family.  I have more pictures and stories on tap for those that are interested.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011


AS we checked out of the hotel of the Radisson Tuesday morning the clerk behind the counter asked, “And how was your stay?”  I said, “Well it was alright.  The bathroom was to small for four people trying to get ready. (I do have three girls I’m dealing with.)  Because we were on the top floor we were listening to all the motors and fans operating on the roof.  The beds were full size which made them a little small for comfortable sleeping, and they were sleep number beds (which I don’t have) and didn’t know what my number was supposed to be so we got up with back aches.  Needless to say, her smile and have a nice day was of very little consolation.  The good news is we only had a 3 hour drive to get to Mom and Dad’s after breakfast.

We got to the house about 12:30 eastern time and had some lunch with Mom and Dad.  I didn’t realize how exhausted we were until I turned around and everyone was taking a solid nap all over the living room.  So I joined them in Mom’s recliner and caught some Z’s.

After a nice dinner with all the family, My brother Chris invited us over for a run around his neighborhood.  My brother is preparing for his first marathon in October and is up to a solid four miles.  I, on the other hand, am a casual runner and run about two miles with stops.  So, off we went.  The hills were crazy.  I was literally having to stop myself from tumbling down the street.  The trails that we were running on were beautiful.  Then we walked up to the top street in the neighborhood and there was a beautiful view and the houses were amazing.  But the best thing about the run was that I was running with Chris.  I enjoy our time together. 

After the run.  We went back to Mom’s. I took a shower.  And I was out for the night.

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

The Fast Track


What an amazing Sunday we had for Memorial Day at the Church.  I’m sure when I say that many of you will be wondering how we honored our war heroes of the past, but there was just one hero we honored yesterday and that was Jesus the Christ, the Son of the Living God.  The One that was willing to take our shame and die for our freedom and bring us back into a loving relationship with God.  Last Sunday being a fifth Sunday was a time of celebration at Fellowship Baptist Church.  It is the time that we introduce all the new members to the Church.  We had two new adults join the Church through believers baptism and two families join by letter.  It is good when God adds precious souls to the mix.  Our evening service was filled with praise and adoration for our God as the praise band took us to the throne. Then we communed with the Lord as a family. 

Monday morning we got up and finished the little bit of packing we had to do and we were on the road to Nashville.  We are taking our family vacation to spend some time with my mom and dad in Atlanta, but it is a two day trip.  So, we decided to knock most of it out on Monday.  We took off about 8:20 (after getting a Jesse’s Burrito of course) and arrived safe and sound in Nashville at 9:50.  this was our first time to travel all together in our new Yukon and it was nice.  The travel was so comfortable that I felt refreshed when we got to the hotel.  It was weird how fast the time went.  it was like people were praying or something.  So we are getting around this morning and will finish the trip today with about a 3 1/2 hour trip.  I will fill you in on the vacation as it happens.  It seems like the only time I find to blog is when I’m out of the office.

Friday, April 29, 2011

Stuff To Do

I am amazed at how much stuff we have to do.  I remember as a kid sitting on the couch in the middle of the morning saying, “I’m board.  There’s nothing to do around here.”  I would be so excited when summer was coming to a close and school was about to start.  Of course I made sure that no one knew that about me, but it was true.  I just wanted something to do.  Now it seems that there’s not enough hours in the day.  Here’s the strange thing.  If I’m not careful and purposeful I can work all day and not really accomplish anything.  I find myself tired and unfulfilled.

A wise person once said, “Live everyday on purpose.”  I have tried to take that thought to heart.  I have come to understand and appreciate that everyday we have is truly a gift from the Father of lights and should not be wasted.  We are so good at becoming “busybodies.”  Running here and running there; and after all the running we really haven’t gone anywhere.  I say life is to short.  What did you do today?  Did the day count?  Was there purpose and meaning?  Did the World change because you got up this morning?  We do have that power you know.  We have the opportunity to change the world simply because we are in it.  It’s 10:30 at night and I have been running errands all day long for my family: Shopping, cleaning, mailing, filing.  I even went to the DPS and scheduled a time for I first born to take her driving test next week.  And with all that, I still didn’t clean off my todo list.  But that’s O.K. because I have tomorrow, or I don’t.  That’s not my call.

Today was an odd day for me, because in the mist of all my business I really didn’t interact with people that much today.  Scott and I had a conversation about Revelation and the men that write about it. (One of the highlights of my day by the way.)  Other than that I didn’t talk much.  I went to several stores doing what I had to do.  I was in a sea of people, but just kind of doing my own thing.  I called Kim several times today (because I miss her like crazy.)  But for the most part it was just me.  The ironic thing is today is my day off.  I don’t know; maybe for a minister that’s what a day off means.  I don’t have very many of those to be honest with you. I must say except for the 2 hours it took me to change the spark plug in my motorcycle, I had a pretty relaxing day. 

One of the things on my todo list was to clean the downstairs bathroom.  I think I will knock that out real quick and then enjoy it by take a nice hot bath.  If that sounds feminine to you,  You don’t understand the therapeutic nature of a long hot bath and you’re missing out.  I might even top it off with bubbles, because I like bubbles.  I have to be ready to change the world tomorrow.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Bad Things, Good People

One can’t help but think as you look at a person like Kathy Umholtz, Why would she have cancer?  Kathy has always been a God-fearing woman; she’s gone to church all her life; she reads her bible through “The Daily Bread” everyday; she gives to the church and others, and has always taken care of her family.  It would seem that God would have favor on her and spare her from any harm that this world would bring.  It would seem this way if God was a control freak and did everything His way.  The truth is harder to handle than that.  God is not a control freak.  The Bible tells us that God created the World to be inhabited (Is. 45:18).  That means that the whole purpose for the Earth is for Mankind to live on it.  When God created mankind, He gave Man dominion over all the Earth.  Man had the ability to do with it whatever he wanted.

Adam had a choice to walk with God and in the righteousness of God, or to follow the ways and whiles of the Devil and turn from God.  Making the choice would not only determine the fate of Adam and the human race, but also the kingdom which he controlled.  When the King is cursed so is the creation.  You can’t have a corrupt King in a perfect kingdom because the king will corrupt it.  It’s no secrete that Adam chose to walk away from God, and as God promised, he died, and the world died with him.  The corruptness of Adam  corrupted all the creation for Adam.  Think about it: What if death came into the world but there were no flies to take care of the carcasses.  There would be rotting flesh everywhere.  My point is that the king (Adam) cursed his kingdom with death. 

If we look at this issue from God’s perspective, we see that God created the world and Man for his pleasure.  And we know that God created man in his image.  So we can look at ourselves to understand God is some respects.  I get much pleasure out of being around people that want to be around me.  My friendships do not consist of people that are forced to be around me.  As a matter of fact, when I find out that people don’t want to be around me, I will give them the opportunity to go and do whatever they want to do, because I take no pleasure in forcing people to be with me.  From what I gather of the character of God, He also takes pleasure in those that take pleasure in Him.  He desires friendship, partnership, and fellowship with those that desire such things with him.  What kind of God would he be to force us to love him or be with him.  He would be a insecure kidnapper that had to control his creation.  This is not God.  God says “Whosoever will may come.”  We all have a choice to be with the one who created us for himself; or we can continue to turn from God and do our own thing.

There has never been a time in scripture that God promises to take away all sickness, pain, and/or death in this time of the Earth.  There is coming a day when He finishes his redemptive work on the Earth that he will redeem it and restore it with those that decided to be with him.  As for now you will have trouble in this world.  There has never been a time that the children of Adam have escaped the death that we chose.  There has never been a time that the children of God have been exempt from that trouble.  Our hope as Christians does not rest in this world but in the world to come.  Paul describes a longing for the hope of the restoration in 2 Corinthians 5:1-14.  But in this hope Paul state that it is better for him to stay in this world and share the hope with others (Philippians 1:20-24). 

If you begin to ask the question why you must go back to the very beginning.  Why was Abel killed by Cain? Why was Esau beguiled by Jacob?  Why was Joseph sold into slavery?  Why was Job chosen to suffer?  Why did Jesus take stripes and the cross?  Why did the Prophets of God die?  Why did John the Baptist get his head cut off?  Why did Peter get crucified upside down?  (What’s the matter with you again, I forget?)  Why are people being murdered for their faith all over the World, today?! 

the blessing and conclusion is this: our hope rests in the world to come and God will be faithful to translate us from this place of darkness into his marvelous light.  Don’t be suppressed with dark things happen in a dark place.  That is just par for the course.  But rest assured light is coming.  the light that God has shined in your heart will one day consume this world in the brightness of the Lord Jesus Christ.  Then our faith will have become sight and we will live in the glory of the one who has saved us from this death.  Take joy, take comfort,  in the fact that God has not left you or forsaken you.  He will finish what he started!  And the time of our redemption is close at hand.  I love having the light in a dark place.  I would hate to be in the dark in this dark world.  God is good all the time.

P.S.  While I was writing this, the chair I was sitting in gave out and I hit the floor: not because God is mean, but because man produced a chair that was faulty.  It’s just the way of the world.

Friday, April 22, 2011

KC Bound

At the beginning of the week, I was getting many invitation for Easter meals with people at different times; which was wonderful since I had no idea what I was going to do for me and the girls.  In the course of those invitations it came to my attention that the girls were getting out of school early on Thursday and would be out all day Friday.  In my business I had failed to be privy to these essential facts.  The wheels started turning in more ways then one.  I thought, What a great opportunity to break up some of the monotony for Kim by going up to KC and spending Easter with her family.  I was a little worried that we would be in the way of the routine that Kim has fine tuned with her Mom, but after discussing it with her, she thought it would be a good change of pace as well. 

I had to make sure all my bases were covered at the Church and in ministry.  Here’s God as work for ya.  I was scheduled to be on the drums for the program this Easter.  (Yes, if you didn’t come to Church Wednesday, there is a special Easter program at the Church beginning at 10:30.)  So, Pastor Shawn was doing all the speaking parts already.  Then, Monday night Shawn has the opportunity to lead a professional drummer to the Lord and he was excited to get to play for the Lord.  I don’t know, maybe a “God thing.”  I know this the program just improved.  This was a green light for us to get packing and get on the road.

I spent Thursday morning in the office tying up some loose ends.  One of the rules that I have learned about time management and stress is to always do the tasks in which others are waiting on you first.  This gets the monkey off your back and you can breath (That was free).  I had been talking to Tim Dunigan about what success looked like in the life of an individual that comes to Celebrate Recovery.  From that conversation we mapped out the entire process by which a person comes off the streets of Borger and becomes productive for the Kingdom.  I needed to type this up for him.  After I finished my piece of that puzzle it was time to start preparing for the trip.  I had received a call from one of the Church members telling me that they were bringing food to the house for me and the girls (That’s the kind of family we have at FBC). I though, “What am I going to do with this food,” know that we were leaving in a few hours.  When people bring stuff like that it usually can feed an army, but I just couldn’t steal the blessing and say no.  The cool thing was that when they brought it over it wasn’t cooked yet and had instructions on how long to bake it in the oven.  I was so excited because I could put in in the freezer and save it for next week. 

The Yukon had been in the shop all of Monday and Tuesday getting a gas leak fixed (scary) and the front end allied.  When I got it back on Wednesday the ride was so smooth I thought I was in a new vehicle.  This made the trip to KC very easy and pleasant.  We made it in record time.  The girls are traveling machines.  They very seldom ask to go to the bathroom.  They can outlast Mom and Dad any day of the week and twice on Sunday.  So, If I can hold it, we can keep going.  I had a good day yesterday.  We arrived early enough that Kim could come and meet us at the hotel.  She was a sight for sore eyes.  I know this my life is not complete without my bride by my side. 

Sunday, April 17, 2011

A Beautiful Sunday in the House of the Lord

I woke up early this morning as I do every morning to have my time of prayer and finish looking over my notes for the message I’m about to deliver.  I got a call from Kim with an update on her Mom.  White blood cell count is up and that is good.  Prayer does work.  The doctor was amazed at how fast the numbers were coming up. 

I arrived at Church on time for Sound Check and I just knew it was going to be a good day.  We had a full house for prayer meeting at 9:00 and prayed for some of our 10/40 ministers and the rest of the kingdom opportunities that are coming our way.  As we entered into our worship service the Spirit was active in the Body.  There were tons of visitors and members all ready to meet with God.  After we shouted Hosanna to the Lord I was moved to call the Church to prayer.  What a beautiful sight to see so many come to the alter and worship the Lord together.  Husbands and wives, and friend with friend praying together before we opened God Word. 

The message today was entitle “The Word made flesh.”  We were looking at the way Jesus came to manifest the Father by living out the Word of God.  Just as Jesus did, we have the power to manifest God to the world by fleshing out the Word in our lives.  I felt that God spoke and lives were truly changed.  I had ever intention on making a big stake lunch for the girls but the preacher was long winded and we didn’t get out until 12:30.  So, the girls opted for the Plaza instead of eating at 1:30 or 2:00.  That just put me a mean ahead.

We came home and I turned on the TV for some background noise for my nap and I was out.  I woke up to an explosion in the Sherlock Holmes movie.  Talk about a rude awakening.  This was alright though because I needed to get up and head to the Celebrate Recovery meeting at the Church.

I love watch Celebrate Recovery take shape the way it has.  It just gets better and better.  We are going through another leadership change and I’m excited to see what Tim Dunigan is going to do with the ministry.  We don’t change leaders because of problems but because of spiritual growth in all that are involved.

After taking the girls to class it was just me and the laundry at the house, and I had plenty to keep me company.  I have put off the ironing all week long and today was reckoning day.  I ironed for two hours and got through have the stack and realized I had earned a piece of cake.  Needles to say, I was done for the night.  I am sure that when I get up in the morning the ironing board will still be waiting for round two. 

Monday, April 11, 2011

Dinner Anyone

As I woke up this Monday morning I immediately know that things were different.  All the weight of the day was resting on my shoulders.  With Kim around I know that the girls are going to be taken care of and that she has a plan for the day, but Kim’s not here.  She’s taking care of her Mom in Kansas City for the next three weeks.  I’m so glad that she can do that.  I know it is a blessing to our family.  So, I hit the ground running.  While the girls are still sleeping, I fall on my knees and praise my Savior for a bit, Lord knows I need his help today.  I’m watching the clock for me and for the girls as there is a very delicate time schedule with two teenage girls in the house sharing one bathroom (not to mention, neither of them are morning people).  Nevertheless, somehow we manage to get up and dressed and out of the house ahead of schedule.  I guess prayer really does work.

Every Monday morning we have a staff meeting at the coffee ranch to set the course for the week, and this week is no different especially with Easter just around the corner.  We have some wonderful things planned for the Church body on Easter.  Then it was time for me a make a quick trip to Amarillo and have the windshield replaced in the Yukon.  Luckily it was covered in the contract when I bought it and I didn’t have to pay.  So, I tried to run some errands while I was waiting on the work to be done.  I found myself at a Chinese restaurant in a strip mall for lunch.  The food was good and the entertainment was heating up.  about midway through my mean someone turned on some Karaoke videos and people started singing.  I felt pretty confident in was time to leave, besides the singing wasn’t that good.

I made my way back to the office about midafternoon to try and get ready for Win-Your-World, which is a visitation program here at the Church.  I began getting calls from my girls that were needing rides here and there, and money for things that had to be turned in today!  I left the office a little early unsure of my abilities to actually put food on the table for other people.  For me, I can just have a sandwich or snack on something, but this was something altogether different.  When it was all said and done we had baked pork steaks with carrots in a brown sugar glaze, mashed potatoes, and a side of rice.  Not bad for a newbie.

The night ended on a spiritual note as we went out building the Kingdom of God and reading the scriptures together in our “You’ve Got The Time” bible reading program from Faith comes by hearing.

Friday, April 8, 2011

God's Providence

As we were traveling on the long flight from Istanbul on Wednesday, all I could think about was wanting to be home. I had scheduled my flight back to Atlanta to spend another day with Mom and Dad.  But, after being gone for so long, I just wanted to hug my wife and sleep in my own bed. 

Scott and I got to my parents house a little past 12 in the morning completely exosted from the trip. We found our places to bed down and we were out.  With the time change we had been up for almost 20 hours and I was feeling all of it.  I just knew I would sleep until noon the next day; not so with jet lag.  At 5:30 my eyes opened and I was wide awake.  I heard a soft rap on the door and it was Scott.  "Are you awake? I can't sleep."  I got up and started washing some clothes.

Mom and Dad had left for the hospital before I got up. Dad was having a procedure done on his leg to get the proper blood flow down to his foot.  It should have only taken the morning, but little did I know, we were going to be all day at the hospital.

After a wonderful breakfast at Shoney's with my brother Chris and Scott we headed over to the hospital to sit with my mom.  Dad was just about out of surgery when we got there.  After a bit the nurse came and got us and told us that the procedure went well and we could go and see him. As we were visiting with him, he told mom that he thought he was bleeding.  With further examination we found out he was.  The stint had torn the artery and Dad was in trouble.  They rushed him back to the emergency room for a second 4 hour surgery.  Mom was worried about him being under for so long but he pulled out of it just fine.  With Dad now in recovery we decided to take a break and head for the house for a few hours.  Little did we know that Dad was awake and asking for Mom.  You would think in the world of technology that we live in, that they could have called Mom on the phone, but that didn't happen.  So Dad was left with no one there for a few hours.  All that to say, he was happy to see us when we got back to the hospital.

I'm amazed at the provision and timing of God.  He knew that I would need to be with the family and made a way for that to happen. This is so impressive to me because I live 1100 miles away and don't have the opportunity to be there at the drop of a hat.  But God worked it out so I could be with my family in our time of need.  It is good to be a child of God.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

The Long Road Home

After a great night of food and fellowship, we got up ready for the long trek to Istanbul. As we were eating breakfast we were discussing the guys that live in danger for the gospels sake. When you are in this kind of situation you must have already determined that you would give your life if necessary as Christ did for us. That is not really the concern when you have this level of commitment there are two things that become the most important in life. We must finish the task that God has given to us. And while we finish this task we want to complete it with honor. It is hard to think in these terms when you are faced with this level of danger on a regular basis. I believe this is one of the major problems with American Christianity today. We are at play, and therefore are simply doing what we have to do to get by. Those days for the committed Christian are long gone.

So, we all piled back into the taxis that we came in originally and headed back for Irbil to catch our flight. There was a brown out on Sunday night as the storm blew in. I felt right at home when I noticed that it had rained dirt on everything the next morning. So off we go. The van is quiet as people are sleeping or zoning off into the great nothingness of the land that surrounds us. The trip is not long, just two hours. As we arrive at the airport the security checks begin. Before I get on the plane I have been checked at least three times. I had a great time on the flight getting to know one of my brothers from Mexico as he shared pictures of his family and what God was doing in his ministry, while my brother from home provided comic relief to my right. As we were coming in for a landing I hear, “he’s coming in hot!” and we bounced off the tarmac and landed safely (PTL).

Now it’s time for Passport control and we are out the door headed back to the hotel. I must say the hotel here in Istanbul was a well-received sight. We were able to do a bit of souvenir shopping before we took off for dinner at the mall. It turns out that Istanbul has some malls that make American malls look like strip centers. It is amazing to see how the rest of the world desires to imitate the very thing that I am trying to get away from. My choices to eat were Moe’s, Arby’s, Pizza, and the like. Everyone was dressed just like I was. If I had awoke in this mall I would have thought I was in America somewhere. The food still wasn’t as good but they tried. We then sat down in a place like Starbucks and had some great discussion on world strategies for finishing the task. I was honored to be a part of the conversation.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

A Village Run

Sunday has been an interesting day. Because of the place that we are this is the first day of the week. There are no churches to speak of; therefore there is no time for Church. We got up this morning and ate breakfast at the hotel. Breakfast consisted of veggies, boiled eggs, bread with honey, and Nescafé that they were passing off as coffee. The BKA guys came and met us for a short business meeting that was very enlightening for me. It was invaluable for me to hear both the positives and the negatives of the meeting.

We then all loaded up in a van and took off toward the villages were the guys spend time with people. We met a man that had recently come to faith. He exposed to the gospel in Chicago and after he came to faith he had a heart for his people and moved back into one of the villages to share what he had learned. He runs a bee hive for a living and makes a pretty good gar of honey. We are hoping to duplicate this business in the villages to generate income. We ended up in one of the villages looking at Syria, and Turkey for our van in Iraq. (If I lived here that would be a tourist spot and I would sell souvenirs. There is so much opportunity for this beautiful country. Most of the people in the villages live under the poverty level. Any help that we can give them is much appreciated by the government here in Duhok.

I had a wonderful opportunity to sit in the office of the Vice Governor of Duhok; He is the one that is in charge of organization like ours that come to help the people of Duhok. He seemed very encouraged by what we are doing in the villages and encouraged us to do more. It was a very warm and friendly visit. We all left with the feeling that a good partnership had been established.

After the meet the people that were in the meeting found a pizza place for lunch. The pizza was just like you would get in the states. The only difference was they served it with French fries and hot ketchup. We ordered and waited for a bit only to be surprised when they brought out a medium size pizza for each one of us. We almost didn’t have enough room on the table for all the food. Somehow we managed to get it all down (there’s much P90X work to do)