Saturday, December 8, 2012

Caring for the Community

Over the last few years there has been a huge push to love the way that Jesus loves.  Books like "Crazy Love" by Frances Chan and David Platt's books "Radical" and "Radical Together."  The basics of the books is that by loving people the way Christ loves people they will see the love of the Father and become followers of Christ.

When I first read "Crazy Love" I was moved by it beyond words until I got to the fifth chapter.  In that chapter he began to use the reference at the end of Matthew 25 to say that our mission was to help our brother with physical needs: clothing, feeding, giving drink, and visiting in the prisons.  Any serious Bible student should understand the context of Matthew 25 is post tribulation after the second advent of Christ and He judges the nations for there activity with Christ's brothers, Israel.  But no one seems to take the time any longer to check on such things.  Now, I do believe that the scripture teaches us to be generous and to help our neighbor.  I just would use that passage as a proof text.

As I read "Radical" by David Platt, I noticed that he made sure to say that every instance in which the Church would help the community there was an opportunity to preach the gospel and see people respond to Christ's message of salvation.  This made more since to me in the fact that "It profits a man nothing to gain the whole world and loose his own soul."  Then as I read "Radial Together," and Platt put this concept of the love of Christ in its proper context of the Church I knew that this was some truth in which to cling.

The longer I'm in ministry the more simple things become.  God, life, people, and Church all revolve around one thing: relationships.  God is a relational god that desires to be in relationship and has built all life around relationships.  As we left Katie's game last night we drove by a Church at had made an elaborate light show for people to drive through.  I sure the light show was free, and I know it took numerous man hours to pull it off.  but I wonder, out of all that activity for the community how many lasting intimate relationship will be built that lead someone to the saving knowledge of Christ and encourages them to build the kingdom of God.  Activity as no value in itself it is not attached to some type of relationship.  All you have done is put on a free light show.  I liked the light show!!!  I thought it was cool.  But is that what we as the Church has been called to do.

New Season Church is about to have a big community day in which we provide food, clothing, and toys for the surrounding community.  I think this is a great idea to draw a crowd.  it is a great reason for people to come together.  But if we are not intentional in building new relationships with the people that come, all we will have done is provide food, clothing, and toys. I see so many church gimmicks that are done to make the church member feel good about themselves instead of accomplishing the work of the ministry.  Jesus was so effective because the relationships he built while he was here and the relationship he has built in my heart.  Let's give like Jesus gave! Let's love like Jesus loved!  But in doing so, Let's build deep meaningful relationships that will cause people to be more like Jesus.  God speed to you in whatever you do for His kingdom.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Borger Here We Come

This morning, the girls and I got up to get ready for our flight back to Borger to pick up the last of Katie's things and move for the final time.  For those of you that don't know, when we moved at the end of August to Georgia Katie decided she wanted to finish out her senior year of high school in Borger.  Who would blame her right?  Kellie had already moved to Atlanta to start school and Kim and I were pulling out of Borger after a great 12 year ministry at Fellowship Baptist Church.  On Halloween Katie hopped a plane to surprise us and it worked.  We had no idea she was coming.  We knew that she was struggling being away from us as we were being away from her.  But I was taken back, when in the middle of trick-or-treating she looked at me and said, "Dad I'm ready to move here."  We worked it all out the next registered her for school and she started the next Monday.  While we were in the counselors office getting her classes arranged to coach of the girls basketball team came to meet us and began recruiting Katie for he girls varsity team.   I was so glad because this was the one thing she was leaving behind in Borger: the comfort of her team.

Because the move wasn't planned she left her car and clothes and everything else in Borger (not to mention the airline lost her bag that was never found).  So we needed to fly back on last time to get all our stuff.  We decided we would take the Thanksgiving holiday to make the trip with the Church office closed and the girls out of school.  Kellie and I had a credit with Southwest so our tickets were paid and we just changed Katie's flight.  Kellie was so excited to go because she has has been dieing to see all her friends in Borger.  So tomorrow we will pack up all Katie's stuff in her car and Thanksgiving we will head to Arkansas.

Kim had already planned to fly to KC and take her mom to Arkansas to be with her family in Ozark.  So, we will meet up with her in Arkansas and have Thanksgiving dinner together.  I just love it when a plan comes together.  Then the girls and I will drive on to Memphis to spend the night and then home to Atlanta.

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Choose Your Primary Care Giver

In just about any health insurance plan there comes a time that you must choose your "primary care giver."  At New Season Church we are about to enter into a new series if not a new campaign on stewardship.  As soon as you read the word stewardship, I'll bet you immediately started thinking about your responsibility to give to the work of God and do your part.  This would be a correct direction of thinking because the word stewardship is all about your responsibilities to God, your family, and the Church.  The problem with this thinking is it puts you in the drivers seat instead of just along for the ride.

In Matthew 6:24 through the rest of the chapter, Jesus says that in this thing called life you must pick your primary care giver.  There are basically two options in front of you.  The most popular doctor that people choose is money.  The interesting that about the doctor of money is that he has no brain and can't make a decision to save his own life much less yours.  So, he always turns the questions and responsibility back on the individual to make all the choices.  Therefore, when you choose the money doctor you are the one that's in control and in charge of your own destiny.   

The other doctor is the Lord God Almighty, the Alpha and Omega, the King of Kings, the Great Physician, and the Lover of our souls.  He has all the resources and all the know how to provide all the care we need.  Not only does he know the struggles your going through, but has already prepared for it.  He doesn't practice medicine He is the medicine.  Money is something he plays with.  He can put it in a fish's mouth or throw it in a mailbox.  He is not governed by it, but is the Governor of it.  When he directs your path you don't have to worry about anything.  You can have faith that God will take care of you.

So, why don't people choose him?  Why do we, the patients, think we know better than the Great Physician?  He has all the knowledge and all the skill to properly diagnose and set us on a path to recovery.  All we need to do is trust Him, believe Him, put our faith in Him, and everything will work out right.  When we put the responsibility on the Lord all we have to do is be obedient to his commands.  We don't have to manage the process because we don't even have enough understanding or information to make the right choices in the first place.  Obedience is our stewardship.  When the Lord says give, you give.  What the Lord says give, you give.  He will manage your money, if you will just turn it over to Him and follow is instruction.

(Brought to you by the offices of J.C., G, & H) 

Monday, September 24, 2012

Vacation in Florida

I'm sitting here on the beach in Perdido Key watching the sun come up and right of the shore line there is a school of dolphins playing right in front of me.  This is a pretty place.  I was so excited to come down here and finally have a moment to relax, unplug, and unwind.  My intention was to come to Atlanta and stay with my parents for a month and do nothing but clear my mind and rest in the Lord.  But, instead I found myself in a Church planting class the first week and Global Focus training later in the week I was given some office space and was setting that up.  Needless to say, I have been going non-stop since we got here.  I have met so many people and made such good friendship.  God has blessed in so many ways with great confirmations of our move.  I am at peace with every aspect of my life right now.  The opportunities for ministry are overwhelming and in all honesty I'm just trying to keep it simple, watch, and listen to what God is showing me and saying to me.  The world can get pretty noisy at times. 

So it is nice to come and be with family for a week, chill out, and watch the sun so faithfully rise over the ocean.   No matter how bad things get or confusing the world is around me I am always reminded of the faithfulness of God because the son always comes up in the morning (or as the scripture would say, "His mercies are new every morning).  I just a little bit my nephews and nice are going to be wanting to go down to the pool and swim before we go and play in the big pool.  I love being a part of their lives like this.  This is a new life for me.  It's like I just came back from the war after being MIA for so long.  I am having to learn the family dynamics and all the characters of people.  people are different when you come to visit then when you live together.  That is not to say it is bad, but just different.  I felt it as soon as I was here for a week.  Before everyone made sure that they came to Mom's house to see me and spend time with me.  Now, everyone is living there life and doing there thing and I have to find my place in the midst of this life that is already established and happening around me.  Don't get me wrong, I love it.  But, it is interesting the way people mesh together. 

I am feeling some of this at Church as well.  We haven't yet joined a Church, so we have been visiting around (which is a first in our lives).  We don't know anybody so again we have to find a place to land in the midst of other peoples lives and begin to mesh.  This process is exciting and scary all at the same time.  If you have any insecurities (and I do)  they all surface at this time.  What if they don't like me or love me?  How do I prove myself?  How do I fit in?  I'm sure these are the same questions my freshman daughter is asking herself as she attends a brand new school in a brand new place.  But, it's not just for teens.  I think we all have those feelings when we make a life change the way that we have.  This is the third life change that I have experienced and it has always been a step forward for me.  God is faithful in all things.

Monday, September 10, 2012

Whirlwind Weekend

I have been so blessed with some the contacts that the Lord has put in my path and some of the new friends I have met here already.  I think back to the early years of my ministry at Fellowship, and I can see God working out his plan for this moment in those moments.  I remember when I first met Ralph Canada on the mission field of Juarez. When he pushed me beyond my comfort zone in evangelism and changed my life and ministry forever.  Fellowship Baptist Church became the world influence Church that it has become because of those seeds that were planted in my heart so long ago.  Ralph and I have been partners in ministry from that day forward.  One of the reasons for moving here to Atlanta was because of this partnership with Ralph and others.  Many think it was just because my family is here, but in all honesty this is just an added bonus. 

Last Friday night Ralph invited me over to his house to meet the fonder and president of Global Focus, Larry Reesor.  We had a great night, eating and talking about the possibilities in ministry.  It was so refreshing as Larry shared with me his testimony of leaving everything he had to follow the will of God that has impacted so many churches and missions around the world.  He seemed excited about the direction Kim and I are headed and the possibilities in front of us.  If you are a church leader I would highly recommend clicking the link on Global Focus and getting more information on how your Church can impact the world for the Kingdom at home and abroad.  I will be going through some training myself at the end of this week.

Kim and I went to First Baptist Church Woodstock this Sunday where I was able to meet Johnny Hunt, the pastor.  We found out this morning that we went to the traditional service and that there is a contemporary service at 11:00 so we will check that out this coming Sunday.

Today we attended the Woodstock Church Planting School.  It was a good first day as we talked about personal integrity as a must for any new minister. More to come on this subject tomorrow.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

The Move is Complete

WOW!  I looked at my last post and it was August 12.  That means I was in the middle of Ukraine teaching ESL and getting ready for a wonderful marriage retreat.  When we got back to Borger we had one more night with the Church and said our final farewells.  Then Thursday morning Kim and I climbed up in the U-Haul and started our journey to the East. We wanted to get as far as Memphis but were unsure of the weather that the Hurricane would be throwing our way.  We were able to stop and see some of Kim’s kin-folk in Arkansas and have dinner with her Aunt and Uncle.  We then made it to Memphis through the rain at about 11:00 pm. 

We made it to our new home in Atlanta just in time to celebrate My belated birthday with my Mom on her birthday.  That is the first time I have been home on my Mom’s birthday since I was 18 years old.  The ministry has taken me away from my family all of my adult life.  That is one of the reasons I am so excited about spending time with all of them.  I can be the son, brother, and uncle I’ve always wanted to be.

When we pulled in, my brother’s helped Kim and I get all our stuff into a 10 x 20 storage building (I wish I had sold more stuff).  Then we used the truck to move one of my brother’s into his new house while we had it.  That was a lot on this old boy.  I had bruises on my arms and legs from all the lifting (another reminder of the need to work out more).  But, we got it all done.  Tuesday, I had a chance to just relax and start to get organized.

The whole time I’ve been thinking about what the Lord is going to do with me; which has been nerve-racking to say the least.  I purposely began to read Genesis 12 (the calling of Abraham).  I can’t tell you how much this has ministered to me at this time in my life.  Today I was reading Genesis 15 and 16 when both Abraham and Sarah, at different times and in different ways, had their moments of doubt and worry.  This made me feel normal because I have a tendency to come up with a contingency plan just in case the Lord decides not to come through.  (Embarrassing but true). 

I am praying for God to show me himself in new ways, to reveal his plan through miracles, and to maximize my efforts for His Kingdom.  I would ask you to join me in this prayer.  Thanks for all the prayers during our move. 

Sunday, August 12, 2012

It's good to see old Friends

It was a bitter sweet moment on Wednesday night when after my last sermon the Church asked me, Kim, Scott, and Hayley to come to the front so they could lay hands on us, pray, and send us out to minister in Ukraine.  It was definitely the close of one era and the beginning of another.  The plane ride was uneventful, uncomfortable, but uneventful none the less.  I had been warning the team of the long car ride to Rivne after the flight and how hard it would be to stay awake but that we needed to try so that we could get over our jet-lag as soon as possible.  It didn't work we were all zonked out at one time or another, literally unable to keep our eyes open.  When we finally got to our guest homes we all slept like babies wrapped tight in their blankets for about the next 8 to 10 hours.

We all got up and around and went to pick everybody up and found Scott out in the deacon's garden putting pantihose on the sunflowers. I knew, right then, this was going to be a good trip.  God blessed Hayley by letting her stay with one of the pastor's daughters that is also a college student and about the same age.  And Kim and I have the privilege of staying with Pastor Valerie and his family.  They are all sweet people and taking care of us very well.

We went to a pizza shop for lunch and again we couldn't escape the American media that is always playing in the background.  It was not until I started traveling that I realized the power of suggestion that media has on the rest of the world.  I hate the fact that American is the instructor on subjects like materialism and promiscuity, but that is in fact our gift to the rest of the world.  The pizza was good however, and the conversation even better as we talked about how the Lord moves a heart and gives direction to his people.

We came back to the Pastor's house to find ladies mashing potatoes in the kitchen and men firing up the grill.  All the leaders of the Church were gathering for a special meal for us and to talk about some possible changes that are coming to the Church.  The Church is a part of a Brotherhood of Churches and it is hard from one Church to step outside the box and do something different. It causes many questions and sometimes ridicule from the other Churches.  We talked about the reason for change; that it should not be just for the sake of change but for the furtherance of the gospel or goal of the Church.  Traditions are not bad until they hinder the growth of the Church and at that point must be changed for the furtherance of the gospel. We discussed for about 3 hours and with full bellies when to our respective homes for the evening. 

I know there are good things to come as tomorrow we will be speaking in the Churches and encouraging them with God's Word.  Please pray for a moving of the Spirit as we preach and teach this coming week.

Sunday, July 29, 2012

A Week in GA

I have spent the last week in Georgia with Kellie getting her ready for school and getting myself ready to move.  I went to the Drivers Licence office and got my new Georgia D.L. That was stranger than I thought it would be, good but strange.  I guess it was just a final step.  I had a wonderful interview with a Church in the area and am excited to see what the Lord will do with me.  I even got my Kroger's plus card and book club card from the local book store.  Now I know I have moved. 

Kellie and I are going to check out a Church this morning I believe the Spirit is going to move on the people and I want to be in that group.  I've had a great time with the family.  We have cooked out and gone to the pool together.  These are things that I haven't got to do with them since I left home when I was 18.  This will be the first time in 25 years that have lived around the family.  I am so excited for that.  I got the house bug while I was here.  There are so many amazing deals on homes right now, it is a bit overwhelming.  I believe God is pointing me to the right one.  Tonight we are supposed to go and look which should be a fun time (if you like that sort of thing). 

With all of the move, my mind is still on Borger and the last bit of details that need to be worked out there.  I have a few more messages to preach as we make the transition from me to Pastor Shawn, and I am excited to preach them.  The Ukraine trip is the last big deal with the team in Borger.  We will be flying out on the 9th of August and returning home on the 27th.  Kim and I are teaching a marriage retreat for the last week of the Trip.

I'm trying hard to stay focused on the tasks at hand.  It is hard to believe that I won't just be visiting here anymore.  In some ways it changes the dinamics of the things you do and the things you say, knowing that these are the people you are now going to live and work with; all of which is healthy.  I hope and pray that everyone has a great time in the house of the Lord today.  I know Scott Cooper will do a fantastic job in the pulpit at Fellowship.  As we say here in Georgia, "Come On Wid It." :)

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Let the Lord Guide your Steps

When a person has a stable job in an environment where people love him and he turns in his resignation with no job lined up, people will think that you're crazy.  The only time this would make any since to some would be when God himself comes down and says it time for you to move.  This has happened to me several times now in my journey with the Lord and I am in the midst of one of those times now.

I'm at Signing Hills Youth Camp this week with the young people and it is such a wonderful place for me.  I grew up coming to the camp since I was in Jr. High.  Yesterday, Kim and I were walking around the grounds and I was showing her the trees that I have cried under when I was moved by the Lord in different times in my life.  I preached my first sermon for for a preaching competition here at the camp.  I won awards here.  I was playing basketball on the court one year slipped on the rocks and my shorts turned to shreds.  Pretty funny when there's girls all around and you're 15.  I received my first kiss here from a girl named Kim (not my wife).    I worked up here for a summer after I graduated High School (one of the best summers of my life).  And on this day, June 18th, 24 years ago, I met Kim Umholtz here, my bride for the past 22 years.

Chris Ruzicka is the camp speaker this year.  He served as my associate at Fellowship for 8 years has we were setting the direction and vision of the Church.  He and I were sitting in the counselor's meeting just as proud parents watching the people that we trained not need us anymore.  They got it.  They understand it.  They can do it.  I realized while I was sitting there that it didn't matter if I was there or not.  I have no responsibilities and no one is asking me questions.  This didn't hurt my feeling but rather excited me to no end.  They got this!

While the kids were praising I took a stroll on the nature walk behind the camp.  I have been asking the Lord to guide my steps through this move and he have been faithful to do so.  There is an opportunity that presented itself in Atlanta that I am feeling good about pursuing.  I don't know all the details yet and I'm not sure if it will turn into anything at all but I know God is in control.  As I walked I just shared with Him again how important it is for me that he guide my steps.  I don't want to scramble around trying to make something happen.  That has been my M.O. in the past and I have learned that I just get in the way and muddy the waters of His will.  No, I just want to here from the Lord and follow his command.  His Word promises me that when I put my trust in him that He will direct my path.  These are exciting times in my life.  I feel closer to the Lord than I have in years.  I feel as if I have been born again, "again."  I guess what I'm trying to say is, "My spirit is renewed."  

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

The Long Trip Home

Have you ever noticed when you go on vacation that the trip home seems a lot longer than the trip going.  I think it is because of the anticipation one feels when you are going to a new place or going to do something different and exciting.  Home is just that; it's home.  You know what it looks like you know what you are going to do and the people you are going to see. 

I started this morning drinking coffee at Panara Bread with my pastor Jeff Adams.  I have had two pastors in my life that have helped to mold, shape, and guide me.  The first was John Gross the pastor of North Park Baptist Church in Humble, Texas where I grew up.  I was saved and called to preach under his ministry and leadership.  Brother Gross gave me a heart for people and the desire to reproduce myself.  The second has been Jeff Adams the pastor of Graceway in Raytown, Missiouri.  Jeff taught me how to study my Bible and join God in his mission of reconciling the world unto Himself.  Both of these men are invaluable to me not only for the past for also for my future.  Jeff has one of the greatest missions minds that I know, and I know God is calling me to do greater things in the way of missions around the world.  It was good to share with my pastor and friend all that God is doing in my life.  He has been suggesting that I take the Perspectives class for about a year, but it hasn't been offered anywhere near Borger or Amarillo for that matter.  So I was excited to learn that there are 4 classes that will be offered in Atlanta at the beginning of next year. I will be sure to grab that class as soon as I can.

After the wonderful time with Jeff, we packed up and loaded up for the long trip home.  I spent a moment assuring Kim's Mom that I would make every effort for her to see her little girl as much as possible.  I tried to explain that it's actually easier and cheaper to get a flight from Atlanta than Amarillo but I don't think I was doing much good.  It will be a "show me don't tell me" kind of thing. 

I decided on the way home that I would drive Kellie to Atlanta on the 24th instead of fly so that we can pack as much of her things as possible and take the dog to Mom's.  She has graciously decided to watch Zach (we named him Zaccheaus because he is just a wee little man) while we are in Ukraine.  So Kellie and I will take off on our first adventure in Atlanta of enrolling her in her new high school.  I will also take advantage of getting my Georgia licence, and storage building and the like while I'm there.

We pulled into town and the girls all had somewhere to go and someone to see.  They are teens: what do you expect.  So, we dropped them all off and Kim and I grabbed a subway sandwich and headed to the apt.  We sold our kitchen table so we ate on our coffee table that rises to serve as a tv tray (if you've seen one you know what I'm talking about).  Then we unpacked and continued getting this place livable for the next month.  Now it time to retire before the rat race starts in the morning.  I have mixed emotions about it, but it really doesn't matter.  There are still things that must be done for the Church, the Kingdom, and the Sizemore's that will not wait another day.

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Unexpected Blessing at Graceway

Saturday night was a great time over at the Ruzickia's.  (For those of you who don't know: Chris was my associate for the first 8 years of my ministry in Borger.)  He invited Kent and Kim Liles over for some wonderful apple pie and Ice cream.  He know what I like.  He topped it off with coffee and I thought I had died and gone to heaven.  This was the first time I had got a chance to recount all that God has done and is doing in my life with the move from Borger.  There was discussion about what the Lord has for me in the future and things I might like to do.  As I was thinking along those lines; I think I would love to be a part of a ministry team that was a bit more mature than I am spiritual so that I could be challenged to go to the next level of ministry for the Lord.  As crazy as it sounds: I want to be apart of a movement that changes the world for the glory of God and his kingdom.  I know it sounds lofty but that is in fact why we are here.  I am not thinking high minded, but at the same time I am remembering that we have a mighty God that has chosen me to be in his ministry and he wants to change the world with his gospel message of Love and reconciliation.  I want to join God in this endeavor and I know that mean change, growth, more wisdom and understanding about how the world works and how we, Christians, work in it.  I am ready to take whatever steps that are necessary to make that a reality.  As I am sitting here typing this I realize that I have never been so bold or transparent with my thoughts but I don't see any reason to keep these things close to the chest at this point.  I'm looking for direction, advise, spiritual wisdom, and most of all direction for my Lord and King on how he wants to use me in his mission.  I also realize the discipline, and righteousness that is necessary for this type of ministry and I want to achieve that discipline in my life.

Then we went to Graceway in Kansas City, MO Sunday morning.  We went to the High school class because we all love to here Kent's passion for the Lord.  He preached a great message on living a life that means something for the Kingdom and how not to waist your youthful years.  Then we went to the main service and was able to hear Jeff Adams as he taking the Church through Luke.  I was reminded of the simple fact of why we do ministry at all.  There is a day of judgment coming and God is doing all he can to warn and guide people out of danger and into his salvation.  It is not for money or fame or any other reason.  People need the salvation of the Lord and we are the chosen ones to bring it to the world.  It was good for my soul.

Many of you know of the our friends in Turkey.  He and his wife were here this morning to be ordained and sent out by Graceway.  I was able to introduce Kim to his wife whom she prays for often but had never met. I was excited to see them and catch up with all that is going on in their lives and ours.  I can't wait to go and visit them in there home.

We then went to lunch with the Whitwood's at a Mexican restaurant on the Kansas side.  The food was decent but the fellowship was divine.  I then spent the afternoon with my father in law catching up on "Ice Truckers" on the History channel.  I had never watched a full episode but now I think I'm hooked.  I'm rooting for Austin: kid's got made driving skills.  Finished up with a bowl of ice cream and here we are.  

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Family and Friends

July is going to be a very busy month.  We had a great time with Scott and Lori watch the big fireworks production in Amarillo.  It’s nice when you can just sit back and watch for free with no mess and no clean up.  I highly recommend it for all those in the Panhandle.

We headed out Thursday on a little vacation to Kansas City to visit Kim’s Mom and Dad and see some friends while we are here.  we found out last Sunday night that the family that was going to take Zach (my little puppy) was not able to take him.  I was relieved because I really didn’t want to give him up.  So, we got to find out he does on long car rides.  He was right at home slept most of the way and went poddy in the grass just like he was supposed to.  Anywho!  I was so excited just to get to KC and rest, literally.  We have been so busy with the move from the apartment and the selling of the house that Kim and I were exhausted.  The trip on Thursday was easy.  We have made that trip so many times that we can knock down 8 hours like it was nothing.  This was the first time all the family traveled in new Acadia, and it was so comfortable and smooth: it made the trip very easy. 

We spent all day Friday just chilling out and resting napping until the evening when we were going to meet up with some old friends of ours: John, Kellie, and Kathryn Whitwood.  We first met John and Kellie through the discipleship process at Graceway.  We were there mentors and watch them grow in there spiritual walk with the Lord.  They have been walking with us ever since.  They have been cheering us on the entire time we have been in Borger, knowing that it was a call of God for us to go and share with Borger what had been done to them.  They were excited to here of the new changes that are coming to us, so we found ourselves at Chilies recounting all the blessing and miracles that God has done to get us to this point and decision.  We also have daughters the same age both about to graduate from High School, so that made for some interesting conversation as well.  You know we parents have to stick together!!  It is amazing, awesome, and frighting to watch the girls grow up, but I must say how proud I am of them as I watch them both turn into spiritual young women that put Jesus at the top of all they do.

It is the start of a brand new day, and Zach is begging me for a walk. 

Friday, July 6, 2012

Independence day

I believe that one of the main reasons, if not the main reason for me to still be here in Borger is to finish establishing the Biblical Wellness Center.  The BWC is a men's home for those coming out of addition and wanting to begin a new life in the Lord.  We were able to purchase an old nursing home and remodel it into the men's home.  On Monday we had our board meeting and were discussing the need for an open house as well as the fact that we need to start moving by faith and asking God to bring some residence to the house.  I am glad to announce that we have our first man in the house as of last night.  I am still in the process of writing budgets and mission statements, daily activities and the like, for the 501(c)3 paper work, but that will all get worked out in time. 

In my last blog I was telling you all about the miracle of God giving me an SUV for the move to Atlanta.  I just got it back from the shop yesterday and it runs great.  I feel so blessed ever time I get in and turn the key.  The mechanic was telling me that the transmission might need to be rebuilt and if that is the case I will get that done in Atlanta, as for now it is running great and I am blessed.

Last week so one of the craziest weeks of my life.  God sold our house and we were needing to vacate so the next owners could move in on their closing date which was the 2nd of July.  So, we needed to find a place to live and find it fast.  There is a man in the Church that owned some apartments in town and had one and only one available but it had a major leak from the upstairs apartment and was a total wreck.  I told the owner that I would help him get it ready if he could get us in.  This meant that we would paint and clean and replace some sheetrock in the bathroom, etc.  I have to be honest with you all.  When you move from a 4 bedroom 3 full bath into a 2 bedroom 1 bath; it messes with your mind a bit.  As I was diving into cleaning the bathroom (which was horrible) I had a moment of "What in the world are we doing, and What am I leading my family into?"  I wasn't questing the Lord as much as my own ability to lead and follow.  I know the Lord doesn't make mistakes, but I do all the time.  Was this one of those times that I made a huge error in judgment.  It is so good to have a godly woman is there for me in those times of doubt to gently remind me that God is the instigator of these things and we just need to be obedient. 

Between cleaning the apartment and cleaning the house we both got a bit sick.  We were exhausted from the move.  I was worried I wasn't going to be able to put two sentences together on Sunday for the message, but as always the Lord was faithful and it was all good.  I'm sitting in the apartment living room writing this blog feeling like a missionary on his way to the field (not trying to be prophetic).  I am so sure that this is the moving of the Lord. 

Today we have our annual 4th of July picnic.  I started this 12 years ago out at the first house we lived in because we had an acre lot in which we could play games.  After we moved, we moved the picnic to Huber park and it has been there ever since.  We always have fun, food, and games.  It is a good time for all.  This is the first year in which I have no responsibilities and I am so excited about that.  I will be a helper, of course, but I'm not in charge.  It looks like the weather will be perfect for the event, so I'm sure we will have a good time.

Tomorrow we are headed up to KC to visit Kim's family.  We are celebrating a late birthday with Kim's Mom.  We had to move our trip because of the selling of the house.  I am excited to see all my ministry buddies and share my heart with them of all that God has been and is doing in my life right now.  It is always a comfort when you can share with people that have been through what you are going through.  I guess that is all for now.  I left out a ton of stuff for time sake, but I didn't want to bore you.  Please keep praying for us.

P.S.  I got to keep my little dog, which adds a whole new adventure to the mix, but he is doing great.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

The Everlasting June

In so many ways I feel like I have lived a lifetime just in the month of June.  It was at the end of May that I turned in my resignation and let it be known that God was moving me from Borger to a new adventure beginning in Atlanta.  We (the Church) had already planned and baught Mine and Kim's ticket to Ukraine in the month of August so I knew I was staying until then.  So, then as June rolled around we had our plan set and in motion.  I would promote Pastor Shawn as the new Lead Pastor.  He candidated and the Church has voted and he is ready to take my place when I leave.  (He is filling a lot of the role now, as he get oriented to the new responsibilities. 

I told Kim how cool it would be if God would sell this house before we left.  And in the last two weeks God provided a buyer, we showed the house, signed the contract, had our moving sale, moving on Friday, and closing on the 2nd of July.  This presented a whole new set of challenges.  We had to fix the gas leak that the inspector found: Done!  We had to rent an appartment to have a place to live: Done!.  We needed a storage building to store the stuff we don't need in the appartment: Done!  We need to paint the appartment before we move: Almost Done.  And most importantly We had to pack and pack like crazy.  If your wife is like mine you will understand this next statement.  I spent a few hours gathering, combining, sorting, and packing the cleaning supplies that we have in every room of the house.  That is not a complaint, just a reality. 

Kim went Ninja on the kitchen cabnets.  She took care of all the dishes and cups.  See, I've got this thing about buying a new coffee cup from each new place I visit and the Lord has blessed my life with much travel, so, needless to say; I have a few coffee cups.  She packed them all with a sweet, "If we never spend another dime on coffee cups it will be just fine with me.!"  She's probly right but I won't stop: I love my little coffee cup friends.  And now they're all bedded down for the long ride to Hotlanta safe and sound.

Before we really got cranked up tonight Katie came over to see us.  How wiered is that!!!!  (For those of you who don't know, she moved in with the Cooper's where she will be staying as she finishes out her senior year of High School.  It was good to know that she could find her way home if she needs too.  About 30 minutes before Wally World closes Kim yells out, "Where's my stool?"  She got the same reply the rest of them have been getting from me; "I sold it."  "I need a stool."  So, off we go to get there before it closes.  We made it and got back to the house.  So, now I'm sitting at the bar in the kitchen (because we have no table, you guessed it, I sold it) eating some trail mix and blogging with you fine folks.  Isn't life good.  And what in the world will July bring.  Game on!  Game on.

P.S. Oh yea, God gave me a car, but that miracle will have to wait until next time.

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Watch the Movement of God

I have always been intrigued by the story of Moses when he asked to see God.  God said he would put him in the cleft of the rock and pass by and allow Moses to see him after he passed by.  What a glorious moment that must have been, Moses was fully protected as God passed by and was able to see him after he moved.  This is much the way I feel during this movement of God through our Church and through my life.  God has taken me and placed me in the cleft of the Rock and in complete assurance and safety I'm watch the Lord as he moves through my life.

Here in Borger, a town that is about 6 miles squared, I chose a motorcycle as my second vehicle.  Katie wanted a car and I didn't want another car payment.  So this was a better option for us at the time.  As I think about Atlanta (or any big city for that matter), I am a bit more concerned with the everyday commute on a bike.  I think it would be more of a recreational vehicle at that point.   So, I have been asking the Lord what I should do.  And low and behold, an opportunity comes up for me to by a Ford Explorer for almost nothing. He put a car right in my lap.  I didn't go searching for a car, he just gave me one.  I was just hanging out in the cleft of my Rock and I watched him pass right by with a car.  AMAZING!!!!  It is obvious that the Lord is working it out for me to sell my bike.  So, I'm not worried about that either. 

Kim and I were having our moving sale and we just asked God to bring the right people to the sale.  We were selling some stuff that not everyone would want it had to be the right people at the right time and place.  Needless to say, we sold it all.  God blessed in more ways than I have time to describe in this blog.  But, one interesting thing did happen.  A lady came to buy some Christmas lights (which we had already sold) and noticed the bike in the drive.  She stopped and took pictures and said, "I have a friend that works at the plant, and he was just telling me he wanted to buy a Honda Shadow."  I'm expecting a call from him on Monday as God just continues to take care of this moving business. 

We have got one week left in this house.  The closing is happening on July 2nd (another miracle of God).  We never put the house on the market people.  God is moving.  I just want to stay in the cleft of the Rock and behold the Glory of the Lord as he passes by.  This gives me such great hope for the future.  As I watch God move, I know that he moves for a reason and I know he has got my entire future mapped out he has proven that to me over and over in the last month.  One of my favorite songs growing up was "His Eye is on the Sparrow."  (I know I'm dating myself).  If God cares for the sparrows of the world how much more does he care for his children.  I don't know what the future hold, but I know who holds the future.  My job is to stay in awe of his wonder and majesty, and watch as the Lord moves right in front of me.  I see him from behind because he is in front, and I just follow in the light of his glory and the path that he creates.  

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

The Time of Transition

There is a fraise that has been coined for those that know they are going to be leaving a job and going somewhere else: they are called short timers.  Short timers have a hard time keeping there mind on what is in front of them instead of looking forward to the things that shall be.  I must say, fighting the short timers decease is a very real thing.   I am doing my best to stay focused on the task at hand for there is still much to do before I leave.  I feel my role changing as people are starting to look to Shawn for vision and even instruction.  This is a very positive change, but a change none the less.  I find myself focusing more on getting the new Recovery Center up and going and off on the right foot.  We are in the process of finishing all the policies and procedures and the handbooks that will be distributed to the guys coming in to the center.  So I find myself very busy as I am managing these two organizations, but that is good for me.  We are hoping to have the Open House for the community to come by and see the center in the next week or two.  We are looking for people that will partner with us in prayer and support of this new community ministry in Borger. So, if you would like to donate please contact the Church office 806-273-7127 or you can donate on the web by clicking here. (This is a shameless plug, but I don’t mind asking because I know we are going to help a lot of people.)

Kim and I have been busy packing up the house as we are trying to sell it before we leave town.  Kim has been quite the sales person on “For sale in Borger” (basically a huge online garage sale on Facebook).  We have been selling as much of our stuff as possible.  It is a bit strange to see bedroom suits and kitchen tables, and the like going out the door, but in all honesty, I don’t miss any of it.  The girls have started to pack up there rooms which is making the move very real for them.  Katie is getting ready to move in with Scott and Lori (some dear friends of ours) because she will be staying here for her Senior year of High School.  Kellie will be starting her freshman year of High School on August 1st in Georgia ( I personally think it is a crime to start school that early but they do get a few more breaks during the school year). 

With all of this movement, I have been so proud of the Church Body as they have embraced the moving of the Lord and risen to the task at hand.  Sunday is the Church wide vote to see is Shawn Dunigan will become the new Pastor after I leave.  This is a very exciting time for the Church as well as Shawn’s family.  I know that he will lead this congregation in the ways of the Lord according to God’s Word.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

A Family of Faith

Every time someone has called to ask me about us stepping out on faith, the question is asked, "How is your family handling this?"  I am so blessed to have a wife and two girls that not only know the Lord but are sensitive to his moving and call.  The voice of the Lord is kinda like love: When you know you just know.  On Mother's day, Kim and I were sitting watching TV and I just looked at her and said.  The Lord is moving us.  I had been dealing with the voice of the Lord for a few days and Kim had asked me at lunch how similar this calling was to the one I received to move to Borger.  When she asked me that I just began to weep because I knew it was the exact same voice.

That evening we jumped on the xbox and video chatted with Mom and Dad and the rest of the family in Atlanta and they were just as excited as they could be.  The girls were at the youth class so I couldn't tell them yet.  I called Shawn and Mickey to the house and told them and we cried together and then shared in some comforting words, as I told him I believed that he was ready.  Then the girls came home.  I didn't anticipate how hard it was going to be to tell them we were moving from the only place they have ever called home.  Katie was 5 years old when we moved here, and Kellie was only 2.  Kellie has told me that her first memory was us pulling up in the drive way of our first house here in Borger.  Needless to say about half way in to the words coming out of my mouth, I got very uneasy about how this deal was about to go down.  For a split second I thought, "They're going to hate my guts. I took a big gulp and finished my spill, and then just stared at them as they stared back at me.  Then with tears in their eyes they agreed, "if this is what God is doing, it will be alright."  I'm not saying they were rocks because I defiantly through them a curve ball, but all in all I was so proud of them. 

We immediately had to address the issue of Katie being a Senior next year.  She said "I don't want to move!" and I assured her that was a decision I would let her make.  I just asked her to pray about it and we would trust the Lord for whatever he told her. (She's still praying about it.)  Kellie was having mixed emotions about the whole deal.  She is a lot like me and loves to try new things and see new places, but know she had some relationships that were going to be hard to give up.  I guess the thing that impressed me the most is that everybody in the family was willing to follow the leading of the Lord in our lives.  There is no bitterness or anger.  There is a bit of anxiety, but that is to be expected in any life changing situation.  We have learned that you are always happiest when you are right in the middle of God's will, and I believe that is right where we are.

I, being the control freak that I am, was even surprised at myself because I haven't been without a job since I was 16 except for a 3 month transition when I switched colleges.  But I just know that God has got this all figured out, and to have my family stand with me in faith is a priceless treasure.  If God be God then serve him, If Bail be God then serve him, but as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.

The End and the Beginning

I remember the day in October when I pulled into Borger, TX with my family and many of the Church members were at the house waiting for us to help us unpack.  We were sure that the Lord had called us to this place to make some major changes and do some major things for the Kingdom of God.  Being 31, I had not yet learned the timing of God or of a man’s heart to change.  We had a long “row to hoe.”  When God sends me to a place, I know that I am there to stay until he says otherwise.  I have been moved by the Lord on many occasions and become accustomed to digging in for the task at hand.  And now almost 12 years later, I have heard the voice of the Lord again calling me to a new place and a new adventure.  I realize I just skipped over a huge amount of activity as the Lord took this little country Church and turned it into a powerhouse for His Kingdom’s sake.  We have been called “The little Church that does Big things for God.”  I have often thought of writing a book of how God transformed this place, and still might, so I will table all that discussion for now.  Discipleship has been and continues to be our strong suit, and so it should be no surprise that I worked myself out of a job.  I believe God has raised up a man that will lead this Church in the ways of the Lord and into the next era of growth and expansion.  This is a blessing to my heart.  This transition is the way it is supposed to be.  No scandal! No sin! No hard feeling!  No secret board meeting! No running out of town!  Just God’s people watching God at work. (If you are hearing rumors to contrary, don’t believe them.)  The Church is sound and the timing is the Lord’s.  I knew that I was called here for a specific time and task, and I believe we have accomplished the desires of the Lord for me in this place.

I will say this is the first time God has called me away from something without giving me clear direction on where I am going, but just I Abraham I will go and he will show me the land in which I am to dwell.  God has always been so faithful to me, and there is no reason for me to doubt him now.  I am excited about all that God has for Fellowship, and at the same time excited for whatever God has for me and my family.  We will be moving to Atlanta where my family is until we receive clear direction from the Lord.  I haven’t lived in the same town as my family since I was 18.  So, I’m looking forward to spending to time with them, even if it is just a short time.  I would ask that you would pray for direction and clarity in the will of the Lord.  I have not been know for patience which is probably the reason the Lord sent me to Borger in the first place.  I am hoping I have learned to wait on the Lord and seek his face.  I know that he will guide me in all his ways as I seek to follow him.

God Bless.  (to be continued)

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

A Day in Georgia

If your a Georgia peach, I had to disappoint but that is not where I was.  There is a country just to the east of Turkey that is called Georgia and a boarder city called Batum.  One of our new friends was born across the boarder and so we took her home for her birthday.  There was a two fold plan.  1) Show her a good time for her birthday while showing her the love of Christ.  2) Go and see this beautiful country while getting another stamp in my passport :).  It only took us about 45 minutes to get there and maybe 20 minutes to get through the border.  Those of you that travel will know that is an amazing time to get through the border.

This place was amazing.  Everything was lush and plush.  I thought to myself, someone has been pumping some money into this place, and then I saw all the American company names.  Sure enough, it us.  We, USA, have turned this place into a tourist attraction to say the least.  It was truly beautiful.  So we enjoyed the coastline for a bit and then went and ate some authentic Georgian food.  "Wonderful!"

Now, this is the good part.  We were driving around looking at the bay and then we saw a Church.  We couldn't tell if it was a catholic or Orthodox church, but nevertheless we wanted to see inside.  The front doors were locked so we went around to the back and found a man to let us in.  My Armenian brother asked the man through the Russian interpreter, if he knew of any baptist Churches in the area.  The man said, "Yes, we have a Protestant Church that meets in our basement every Sunday Night."  So we gave the pastor a call and before you know it we are over at his house sitting in his living room.  The reason why this is important is because he also has a heart to reach the Turkish people, and we happened to have one with us that was of the same tribe.  Now we are freaking out as we're watching the Holy Spirit put this thing together.  Then the Ukrainian asked if the Pastor would share his testimony and as luck would have it he had it on video on the computer.  He was a former Muslim and drug addict and Jesus Christ.  As our new friend sat and watch the video and heard the testimony she began to weep and at this point there are tears all over the room.  After the video we shared the love of Christ with her and she said that she was not quite ready.  I'm sure there are family issues that need to be worked out.  (God will do his thing.) 

This was a huge connection for the Armenians and a huge blessing for us as we were able to share our faith with no fear.  As we took our new friend home conversation continued in the car and then she invited us in.  Her husband and kids were waiting for her, because we had kept her out all day.  We ate cake and had fruit, shared pictures and the kids played with my tablet.  The husband told us that there was no need to stay in a hotel the next time we come, because they wanted us to stay with them.  This is a big step, especially since we just let the cat out of the bag. 

I stand amazed in the presence of the all knowing God that is at work around us all the time.  If you could have just seen the look on the Georgian Pastors face when he had a surprise visit from other pastors with the same heart and vision.  It was like we dropped out of the sky for him and he for us.  This is our God: faithful, mighty, all knowing, all seeing, supernatural, great adventure God.

Sunday, May 6, 2012

How Majestic is Your Name

The weekend was an amazing time to see the Lord at work. I must be honest with you.  I had some of the greatest adventures of my life on Saturday.  Some I can't share with you know but I will in time.  The mountains that surround us just die into the Black Sea, so there are many beautiful rivers that filter into sea.  So we headed west a bit and began going up into the mountains to find a family that we had met on a previous trip, and on the way we found many village people that were willing to talk with us and we were able to give them the amazing book.  We were stopping all the time so that the tourist, that's me, could take pictures of this wonder place.  I must say this is one of the most majestic places I have seen thus far.  We did find the family we were looking for in a little village closer to the top of the mountain.  They're restaurant had burned down and they were in the process of rebuilding it.  We had a great time talking and sharing stories with them and others that were coming by on the street.  There was an older gentleman that came up to us with a younger man with him.  He stated that he was a Christian and that he came from Armenia.  This was very exciting to us because we know of know Christians in the area at all.  Upon further investigation, he was referring to his nationality not his beliefs, which is very common over here.  We were able to take these two men to the top of the mountain and share with them our hope.  This was truly a blessing to me as the team let me take the lead in the conversation.  The old man then took us to his old Turkish house that was build about 180 years ago.  I wish I had the time an space to describe this place, but you will just have to wait until I get back to the Church.  It was a life changing experience and memory that I will never forget to say the least.

Sunday we got up and went down to the sea shore to spend some time with the Master.  There are no Churches, no fellowship, no place to come together in this area, so we just chose a pic-nic table and began to break spiritual bread together.  It was first international Church of H. yesterday.  We thought we would just relax a bit in the afternoon but the Boss had other plans.  We made a brand new friend at the mall and spent about an hour talking with this man.  We had met his wife earlier and she had brought him to us.  I have no idea how she knew we would be there.  (So cool)  We also had a good strategy session for the future.

O Lord our Lord how Majestic is your Name!!!!!

Saturday, May 5, 2012

He Opens Doors No Man Can Shut

As I recap in my mind the work of the Spirit yesterday I am amazed at the strides that were made for the cause.  We were talking to several people about spiritual things and everything had a positive response.  Obviously I will give much more detail in person, but I am not able to share in this forum.  God has so knit my heart together with my new brother and his wife.  I believe this will be a lasting relationship with many opportunities in the future.  We were able to sit in a businessman's office for about an hour and share with him the blessedness of our hope and salvation.  He was very receptive and listened intently to every word.  Pray for this man.  I believe he will make a decision very soon, maybe even before we leave.  There was another man that was listening in our another conversation we were having and when we passed out a book he said to his friend, "What did they give you."  Yuri said I have on for you as well and he gave him a copy of 'The Love of God'  He took the book sat down on a bench and read about 5 pages while we were standing there.  I would like to go and talk to him again in a day or so and see it there is a seedling sprining up.  We must be earnest in our prayers.  These are real situations that are happening as most of you sleep at night.  Pray for laborers in this place.  Those that will be hear to reap the harvest.  We are the sowers.  We need Laborers.

Last evening we were sitting talking on the balcony of our hotel and I could tell that the sun set was going to be amazing.  So I crossed the road and went to the sea shore of the Black Sea and sat on the rocks praising God and praying as I watch the sun go down.  This is a very pretty place.  I am blessed to be here.  Many of you are praying that I would be refreshed on this trip and I must say that the most refreshing thing for me is to serve my Lord with all my heart, soul, mind, and strength.  We are rounding the corner of the trip and I am looking forward to being with you all again.

Friday, May 4, 2012

Freedom of Mind

Yesterday was a wonderful day in th Lord.  We were able to travel to a nearby villiage where a person had repented a year ago and see how he or she was growing in the Lord.  We were pleasantly surprised to find this person truly repentant and following the Lord.  The biggest problem that we have encountered here both for the lost and for the saved is the overwhelming fear of the people.  They are not afraid of God, or the Bible.  They are afraid of what the community will do to them if they are caught practicing such things.  It sounds so much like the book of Acts when Peter and John were persecuted for their faith.  And as they stood before the Sanhedrin for judgment they responded; "Is it better for us to obey God or obey men."  And they rejoiced when they were beaten for the name of Christ.  The hardest thing for people to realize is the power that comes in the times of persecution.  I do believe these are lessons we will all learn as we approach the coming of Christ. 

I believe one of the greatest commodities we have in the US is our freedom of thought and expression.  We can openly talk, share, and feel without worry of ridicule, imprisionment, or even death. This is the way  of life over here.  If you go against the grain of society, you are sqaushed like a bug.  The community in some ways polices itself lest the government step in and do it for them.  So it is a very fearful and closed minded place, not only to the gospel, but to any kind of new thought or idea.  I believe this is one of the reasons that Americans are misjudged as being arrigant and loud when we go to other countries.  We don't understand the lack of expression, or even the lack of thought that the rest of the world just is not allowed to have.  To ask someone to bold in their faith is this part of the world is synonomus with taking a beating or going to prision.  I know this first hand now as I lay in my bed at night know that at any moment the door could be smashed in and we all be arrested for our faith.  Even then it is somewhat different for me as I would begin to yell out "American! American!"  This could be an advantage or disadvantage depending on the arresting party.  But I would still feel like I had recourse to take and people would begin looking for me.  No one would look for these people.  No one would come to their aide.  They would just simply become another martre for the cause of Christ.  The sad thing is, I beleive that is exactly what needs to happen for the enterance of the good news in this place.  It is a high price to pay.  But someone will have to pay it. Praise God that Jesus was willing to pay this high price to bring the gospel to this lost and dieing world.    

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

First Day on the Job

Here I am sitting on a balcony over looking the Black Sea.  I was surprised to find that this place is a subtropical region.  The Black Sea butts into some beautiful mountains that are full of tea leaves.  These tea leaves are what keep this place alive.  The are harvested about 5 times a year and that is what brings life to the region.  It's pretty foggy this morning and we have heard it is supposed to rain all day.  This could be to our advantage as it will cause many not to be working.

Yesterday, our first day on the job, we started out the morning get ourselves organized and mapped out for the week.  This is easy to do when you are planning on being led around by the Spirit.  We went to the market place here looking for some old connections that some of the team had made over a year ago, but we were told that they were no longer interested in our endeavor.  Fear is a major driving force in this place.  It is not fear of God but fear of rocking the boat.  The one thing no one wants is trouble.  I am reminded of the scripture in which Jesus said, "I bring not peace but a sword."  There are times we must get out of our comfort zones for the greater good of mankind even if they don't understand it or want it.  We are determined that the Holy Spirit of God is already at work in this place and that eyes will be opened to the truth; not because we force open a door, but because he will open one for us.  As we were walking around the market, we were cased for the first time in my life.  This guy would make a horrible spy or FBI agent, but I think he just wanted us to know that he was watching.  Interesting to say the least.

We did have a chance to meet up with an old friend that we were able to find in a near by town.  This was a good meeting and we will meet with this person again later in the week.  About this time I am really feeling the jet lag.  I was struggling to keep my eyes open mid sentence while people were talking to me.  It wasn't good.  I knew what the problem was.  I hadn't had any food since breakfast and my body thought it was night time.  I can make it through if I have a constant energy source.  So we went and ate dinner at a market not far and I recovered nicely with some wonderful rice and chicken soup.  I also had a bowl of the same soup that Jacob sold to Esaw for his birthright.  It was good but it wasn't birthright good.  We met a man in the Restaurant that wants us to come back tonight and speak with him some more. Pray for this meeting.

As you pray, pray that the Lord will speak to someone in a miraculous way.  In Luke 10 Jesus told the disciples that as they went to a new town that they would pray that God would send forth laborers in the harvest.  We are praying for those laborers here.  Those that will stand the test of time and opposition. I will explain more of what God is teaching me when I get back.  

I can't believe it is Thursday already.  Let's see what the day brings.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Up Up and Away

One of the most interesting, and sometimes scary, things about any flight is who God will put you next to on the plane.  This really comes into play when you are going to be sitting next to this person for a solid 10 hours.  As an American I'm spoiled to pick my seat before I fly, but that is not always the case when you fly a non-American airline.  That was the case on my flight to  Frankfurt.  When I got my seat assignment, I realized it was the very last row on the plane.  Not something I would choose in a million years.  And, if you can imagine, the plane is completely packed (there is no changing seats).  So, I gave it to the Lord and boarded the plane.  as I got to the back of the plane I realized there was no wall behind me so the seat would still recline and because it was the last row there were only two seats with extra room.  I had won the lottery and I didn't even know it.

So, who's it going to be.  I watch the faces as people board.  Will we talk of spiritual things.  Will I make a new friend.  Maybe a ministry connection.  I was blessed when a Swedish lady named Monica sat down beside me.  I could tell she lived in the States but she had a strong accent that I couldn't place.  When I think Swedish I stereotype blond hair and blue eyes, but she was dark haired with brown eyes.  We talked a bit about professions which I always use to my advantage to talk about the Lord.  The rest of the trip was pleasant as I mostly tried to get some sleep in lue of the coming jet lag. 

As I'm writing this (offline) in the Frankfurt Airport, I'm sitting in a nice little dinner trying to keep food on my stomach for energy because I still have a whole days worth of travel before I get to my destination.  I'm hoping the hotel has internet so I can post, but that is another 12 hours from now.  I do love the fact that I have entered the real coffee zone.  A normal cup of coffee over here is gourmet at home.

I called my Dad before I left the country and had a serious heart felt discussion of what it means to give our lives for he cause of the good news.  I'm sure that will be better when I make the return call on the 10th.  It is nice to know that people are praying and concerned and excited about this wonderful opportunity that God has placed before me.  I will try and post every day if possible.

God bless.

PS: We made it to the hotel with no problems.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Sweet 17

Today is my daughter's 17th birthday. I remember going to the hospital seventeen years ago around eight in the morning. Katie was two weeks late (an issue she is still trying to remedy today). Kim and I had been married for five years, and I had just graduated college. I was about to take my first pastoral job, and we were all excited about the new baby coming soon. But the time had come, no more waiting. As they gave Kim the epidural, I watched her fade into lala land. This was the only time I have ever seen my wife on drugs.

Everything started happening rather quickly about 12:00. And a little after 12:30, Katie Kathlynn Sizemore was crying on the seen. She was supposed to be a boy. My dad had four boys. But God had other plans for us. I had already raised my brothers. I knew about boys. What was I going to do with this sweet little girl. I called my mother to find her overjoyed with the news. Mom had never had a girl that she could dress up and go shopping, so Katie was doomed right from the start. Not only was she the first grandbaby but a granddaughter as well.

Some of my fondest memories are laying in the floor of her room playing with her toys as we pretended to be all kinds of things. When she was five, we had just moved to Borger and that is where she started school. We would go to her plays and eventually go to all her sporting events. We are the proud parents in the stands cheering for every shot or run she was in.

She's getting older now. We had our first serious talk about college, dreams, and life for my not so little girl. These are such exciting times and scary times. I want to let her go as I pull her close. (If your a parent you'll understand.) There are so many things I want to teach her; so many things she needs to know. Sometimes she calls me Dad and something she calls me Pops, but when she calls I am here, ready to love, ready to encourage, instruct, guide, or just listen. Katie deserves that. She's my daughter, my first born, my pain in the butt, and my pride and joy all wrapped up in one very special person.

Happy birthday Katie!
Love, Dad

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

The Tuesday Grind

With all the activity at the Center on Monday I wasn't in the office at all.  I normally use Monday's as my catch all day.  I try and get all the things out of my way that would take away from the ministry of loving and helping people. Sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn't.  Needless to say, I had all of Monday's and Tuesday's junk to take care of.  Like for example, I install our new credit / debit card reader at the Church so that we can use debit cards for payments of workbooks and even tithe if someone so desires.  In the age in which we live very few people use checks or even checkbooks to keep their finances.  It's all done electronically.  I've gotten to the point that I use for all my finances and don't even need to balance my checkbook anymore.  Everything is done in real time or maybe a day behind.  We live in an amazing time. 

If you missed Sunday's message you can catch it online (click here).  I was explaining the gap and restoration process that is found in Genesis 1:1-2.  There have been many questions coming across my desk, which I love.  Anytime I can get people excited about studying God's Word, I'm a happy camper. For those of you that are in my D2 class tonight.  I will take some time and answer any and all questions you have on the subject (to the best of my abilities).  It does make for so interesting conversation.  This would be a great time for you to come and visit the Church as Genesis establishes all the truths in the Bible (shameless plug :). 

I had a wonder conversation with a pastor friend of mine in Central Ukraine.  Kim and I will be traveling over to teach and preach in a family camp, as well as, helping with an ESL class in a town close by.  I believe we will impact some lives while we are there. This trip is in August and it will be the first time Kim has been to Ukraine.  I'm so excited to introduce her to the friends that I have made in my travels over there.  I know that the ladies will love to meet her. 

God is opening up so many doors for the recovery ministry here in Borger.  I found out yesterday that we don't have to rezone the church building that was donated to us for phase 2 of our recovery ministry.  That means we will be able to use the building as soon as we take ownership of it.  Please continue to pray about the recovery ministry as this is a major leap of faith.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

North Dakota University Rocks

I can't believe it's the middle of March already.  I was looking at my blog activity and realized that I haven't posted since before Christmas.  Wow!!  Then I looked at the activity and noticed that many of you are visiting my blog.  Well, I'm not dead.  All is well in Borger.  God has been doing some amazing (I mean miraculous) things in the Church and with our new Recovery Center.

For those of you that don't know, last November we purchased a building and began to renovate it to become the first Recovery Center in Borger for Drug and Alcohol addition.  The whole town has been excited to see the progress of the center. Let me share one of the miracles that I am talking about.  A few months ago out of the blue, I received a call from a college student from North Dakota University.  He began to share with me opportunity for some 40 college students to come and work on the Recovery Center as a spring break project.  I was beside myself. He explained how they were taking a tour to "pay it forward" and was going to be passing through Borger.  He had called the Chamber of Commerce and asked if there were any worthy projects in Borger of which they could be a part.  The Chamber told them about the Center and gave them the Church's number and we began to make plans for them to come.

On Sunday (March 11th) a big tour bus rolls up to the Church and 40 eager college students exit the bus with smiles on their faces ready to work.  After sleeping on the floor in the basement of the Church they got up on Monday morning and took the Recovery Center by storm.  by 9:30 they had almost the entire center painted.  They then began to cut in all the walls and trim, as well as, clean up all the outside.  They cleaned dishes and installed appliances; all with love and care as if it were their own center. I was so proud of them.

By the time they left at 12:30, I felt as if I had gained some new friends and advocates for the work we are doing here in Borger.  They loaded up and headed for their next job and blessing in Roswell, New Mexico.  God speed and thank you North Dakota University.  May we learn from their example of what it means to give of ourselves for the betterment of others, and may we also "pay it forward."