Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Showers are great thinking places...

So I'm in the shower getting cleaned up to head to the church for tonight's event outreach. I begin thinking what if we lived in reverse.?.?.......I'll finish my thoughts later. Tiff is going to kill me if I don't get a move on!!

Reverse Living...hmmm.

Quick thought

Sunday I preached, "Becoming a Messy Church". I was reading Mark Batterson's blog and he was writing about a the A2 Conference he had been at and he said, " It seems like one of the subplots of A2 was a simple reminder that church is messy!" Man that just jumped out of cyberspace and got in my spirit. That's what I've been trying to say for months now...I finally got it when I read it. Church is messy! Jesus' associations in this life were messy! The issues of those who came to Him were messy! It's a natural inclination of everyone to "avoid" messes. We don't like them and we're taught and trained from our childhood that messes are ugly and need to be avoided. Wow, Jesus never learnt this lesson! As I said Sunday, "Jesus welcomed the mess". He didn't avoid or ignore it, he welcomed and invited it. Why did he do this? Because the mess represents people. People are messy and their issues aren't always fun to work with. But then again, neither are mine.

So the thought that dominates my mind is this, "If Jesus were the Lead Pastor of LSC, what would it look like? What would the theme of this church be? What kind of people would fill the auditorium every week that maybe aren't right now?" These are all questions that are stretching my mind and pulling on my spirit.

Here's the thing, you don't have to create a mess, just look around. Talk to anyone long enough and you'll see the signs of a mess. Messy people are everywhere, the work of clean up is unlimited. I told my church Sunday to find a mess and help clean it up!

I want LSC to be a messy church! Bandera needs a messy church!

Hallelujah Festival, Tonight!!

Tonight is the night of our Hallelujah Festival at our church. I'm looking forward to it. It should be a lot of fun. Every year we have a great turn-out I don't think this year will be any different. I think it's really important that the church do things like this. It takes money and the dedication of a lot of people but it's worth it! It gives us the opportunity to show who we are as a church to those who might not otherwise ever come to our church. We have a great support base of local businesses that sponsor this event every year and they came through again this year with some new ones to boot! It's nice to see business owners getting involved to promote church events. We don't charge anything for this event, as a matter of fact, we never charge anything for any event we do at LSC and I'm thankful to God for that. We'll be having a Community Christmas Dinner and Angel Tree Outreach in Mid December. Our church will be transformed into a huge restaurant...the best thing about this restaurant will be the food is all free with bags of gifts for the kids. I can't wait for this event outreach.

I know Tiff is going to have me busy preparing for tonight so I better get after it!

Shannon out!

Monday, October 30, 2006

Getting geared up....

This weekend I'm flying to Lexington, Ky. I have a brother who lives there and he called me a couple of weeks ago and asked if I would be willing to come up for a few days. He said he would cover the airfare so I become interested rather quickly :) He has begun attending a church that he is highly excited about. Southland Christian Church to be exact. He knows what we're doing here at LSC so he thought I could get some great ideas by coming up there and going to church with him. It's a good thing I'm all for getting good ideas. I love to see what other ministries are doing and being effective at. LSC is a relatively young church in Bandera with a huge amount of potential. So I'll be flying out this weekend and be gone for 2 weeks.

Part of why I'll be gone for 2 weeks is because I'm going back to my birthplace and where I was raised. I was born in Janesville, Wisconsin and moved to Rockford, Illinois when I was two. My family was in Rockford until I was 13 and we moved to Alabama where much of my family still lives, including my parents. I feel a spiritual call to go back to Janesville and Rockford. In large part for reasons I can't go into in this blog post but I will soon. Suffice it to say, I'm going to go and bury some things for good and visit some places of monumental significance in my life. It was in Rockford at the age of 12 that I began following Jesus. I want to go back to the church and say thank you to Tommy and others who helped me start this wonderful journey! I don't even know if I'll be able to find them but I'm sure going to try. This trip back is going to be, I'm sure, an emotional and spiritual experience for me. I'm so looking forward to it. A pilgrimage of sorts I guess you could say.

I'm going to visit some places where I spent so much time as a kid. I'll probably get in the creek and catch a few crawfish again, I'll park my car and walk the same path from home to school and back to our old home again. I'll visit the same creeks my brothers and I had so much fun fishing in. I'll visit the places where I remember so vividly times of struggle as a family. God has been so faithful and so good to my family that words fail to describe it appropriately.

I'm going to visit El Faro Mexican Restaurant in Chicago...not because I've been there but I've heard others talk about how good the burritos are and there is no distance too far to travel for a good burrito, right?

On the way back to KY, I hope to be able to stop by Granger Community Church for service on Sunday! Wouldn't that be totally sweet?!!? GCC is an amazing church doing amazing things for God!

Well, I'm just getting geared up and can't wait to go back. In going back, I'm going forward!

Monday is my FAVORITE day of the week

I take Mondays off! I love them, they love me and I do as little as possible on Monday. I'm achieving this worthy goal of "nothingness" today!

Excuse me while I continue doing NOTHING!

Clergy Appreciation Month

October is Clergy Appreciation Month so my church took time last night to honor all the Pastoral Staff. I happen to think that I'm the Lead Pastor of the best church in America. I know some pastors that wouldn't "attend" the church they pastor if they weren't the pastor. I can honestly say, I would! It's a great church with a great vision.

In addition to food and other desserts last night, one of the men in the church, Thomas, baked a very special cake in recognition of the Pastoral Team.

This cake not only looks good, it was delicious. I'm not sure where Thomas learned to bake like this but with no exaggeration, it was the best cake I had ever eaten! It was tops! It was a split chocolate cake with an icing layer in center and oh so moist. I've got a couple of pieces in my fridge....I think they're calling my name :)

Thanks Thomas, you da man!

Sunday, October 29, 2006

Goldfish and Pajamas

I love what my kids say so I blog it to document it :)

So we went to the Alkek Elementary School Festival yesterday and I'm slowly recouping from it. One of the games yesterday was a "net toss" and the prize was a goldfish. We are now the proud owners of 5 goldfish.

So, last night I'm lying in bed and my 4 year old son, Chase, comes into my room and asks, "Daddy, do fish sleep?" I said, Yes they do. I realize it's more like entering into a state of rest for fish but I wasn't about to get into this with a 4 year old at 11:45p.m.! You know what I mean? :) I think I've satisfied his childlike curiosity but I was wrong. The next question for me really made me laugh. So the next question was, "Daddy, how do them put pajamas on?
Now, you may be wondering about how I responded. Well, I did as any loving parent seeking to nurture the creative genius in their child. "They just slip them on son." It was the best I could do on such short notice :)

I love the fact kids aren't creatively handicapped like many adults choose to be. Stay a child and think like a child. It's good for you!

Oh yeah, FISH FRY at my house next weekend!!!

Saturday, October 28, 2006

Annual Alkek Elementary Carnival...

I'm tired! We just finished with my daughters School Carnival. It was a great time but at the end of the day, you're exhausted. Our team was the first to arrive and the last to leave. Some how it always seems that way. Anyone else know what I'm talking about? Anyway, each booth is judged and placed. We were certain of getting first place again this year. My wife usually heads Gracie's class booth up every year and we take first place every year. Not so this time. The theme this year was "Disney" so we went with "Space Mountain", the ride at Disney World. We came in second place. Pirates of the Caribbean came in first. They really did a great job! Here are some pictures.

Friday, October 27, 2006

Just look at this mess!

I love the fact that everywhere you look, you can discover creativity. Creative thinking, creative living, creative planning, creative everything. The cool thing about creativity, is it isn't limited to just what I come up with. Creativity abounds everywhere..literally. One of my favorite things to do is look for creative ideas or creative thoughts. I love to permit my mind to think creatively on something that catches my attention.

I was reading another pastor's blog today and he was talking about messy churches. Think about that. It goes against so much of what we think we are supposed to do as pastors. Isn't our highest aim to have a clean, well groomed church that the Lord will be pleased with? Isn't that the overarching aim? I'm not so sure. I know the Bible speaks of Christ's return for a bride without spot or wrinkle so that automatically denotes a clean and "mess free" church. I think perhaps the work of the church should be messy though....I mean after all, we're supposed to be reaching out to "messed" up people. Right? Maybe to become a clean, wrinkle free church means to become interested in the messy issues of people's lives. Maybe that's the true means of becoming spotless and without wrinkle.

I think of a church where Jesus Christ is the Lead Pastor and I wonder what kind of church that would be. I wonder what kind of people would feel comfortable there. What would the theme of that church look like? I' m not exactly sure but if the way Jesus lived His life on this earth is any indication, I bet it would be a pretty "messy" church!

Man, I want to be the Lead Pastor of a "messy" church! You know the kind of church I'm talking about? A church where people have problems and aren't afraid to be honest about those problems. A church that isn't afraid to be who they are regardless of who other people think they are. The kind of church that isn't ashamed at the mess but thankful to God for the mess that He brings us out of.

I think the aim to be a mess free church is in many ways contrary to the Church Jesus had in mind. No doubt the goal of the church is to develop mature Christ Followers but the more mess, the more potential for mature Christ Followers....right?

I think we need a fresh dose of mess in our churches! If there is no mess, there is no work. It's like a messy house....if the house is not a mess, there isn't any work to do (my wife likes that part of it). But the church should be a place where work is done constantly. Helping people clean the mess out of their lives because of the hope given through the cross of Jesus Christ.

Look for a mess to help clean up! Jesus was always helping to clean up a mess in someone elses life...

This will be the focus of the sermon this weekend!

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Plans, ideas, and crazy thoughts...

My mind is going crazy with plans, ideas and thoughts of how to better promote our church and ministry in rural America. Our Church is located in a rural county in the Hill Country of South Texas just 30 minutes from San Antonio. Our entire city population is only 957 people and our County population is around 22,500 people. Brainstorming on how to reach such a spread out demographic can be quite the task. I know our church is strategically placed where we are. We're in the epicenter of growth. My sister asked if everything was "ok" with me today. She said my countenance looked heavy. I guess I look that way when my mind is going ninety to nothing. I just have so many things going on up there that I'm not sure how to process what's really viable and what's simply crazy, random thinking. Maybe it's the crazy, random thinking that deserves the most attention!

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Practice what you preach!

Isn't it just like God to put what you preach to the test immediately after you've preached something? Tonight I spoke on the subject, "Circumstantial Living Leads to Circumstantial Worship". Many times we allow our circumstances to determine our level of praise we give to God rather than the simple fact He is God and He deserves it. My overarching theme was to never let our circumstances rule over our praise but to let our praise rule over our circumstances. Well, I need to practice what I preach, here's why....

We have our Annual Hallelujah Festival coming up in less than a week so I ran a $90 ad in our local paper to advertise the event. The problem is, I stopped in a service station on the way home from church to view our ad but to my surprise, the ad isn't in the paper. Now I must admit, this sudden circumstance worked on my frustration side real quick. We've put a lot of money into this event to make it a huge success and advertising it to draw as large a crowd as possible. I had a choice to make. Will my attitude be sour or sweet? I choose sweet. I'm going to take this in a matter of praise. I'm thanking God that He's greater than the paper and that He can spread the word of this outreach event better than any paper could. I'm believing for a great turnout, even greater than what may have come with the aid of a newspaper ad. God be praised!

I'm still here Daddy!

In my attempts to lose a bit of weight, I've begun walking/running at night. I do this at night as to reduce the risk of my neighbors seeing me and laughing at me :) Chase, my 4 year old is always asking me if he can go walking with me now. The first time he went with me I instructed him that I would be running and if he couldn't keep up, he would get left behind. Well, this was no problem for him he said. This is the same 4 year old that when asked if he was going to drive the golfball 250 yards responded with a confident, "yes". So we set off and we're running around the block and we get to the corner of our block and he's beginning to fall behind. I'm just jogging, but he's giving it all his little legs would give. As we turn the corner, I'm beginning to lose him. He's about 10 yards or so behind me now. I keep running and Chase keeps trying to catch up. Out of the darkness and quietness of the night as we're both running around our block, Chase says to me, "Daddy, I'm still back here, I can still see you, I'm not going to lose you, Daddy."

When he said this, my heart smiled. It was an aww, he's so cute moment. He was trying his best to keep up with me. He was working double time to make sure I wouldn't lose him in the darkness of the night streets. Where I live in the country, there are no street lights around my block...it gets real dark, real fast. But there he is, running with everything he has to keep up with his daddy....as long as he could see me, he was safe. Even if I was 30 feet in front of him. Every so often, he would remind me that he was back there and that he wasn't going to lose me, he could still see me.

So I had a thought. I'm much the same way with God, my heavenly Father. He leads me into a place that I'm not familiar with. I've never been here before. It's hard to see and things are a bit dark around me. Things are fuzzy at best. But I must keep going. I can't stop now. I'll lose sight of Him. I can't lose sight of where God is leading me because that could spell disaster for me. He knows the way, I do not. So I keep reminding him that I'm here. I'm still following and I'm not going to let you out of my sight. I know God will not leave me just as I would never leave my son. But God does lead me. I will work to keep up with God as hard as my son worked to keep up with his Daddy. I'll remind Him all the way....."Daddy, I'm still back here, I can still see you, I'm not going to lose you, Daddy."

Tuesday, October 24, 2006


This is the name of the latest book authored by Mark Batterson. I got this book about a week ago and was going to wait to begin reading it as I was trying to finish a couple of other books I had started.

Being a Pastor doesn't exempt me from days of struggle, stress and uncertainty. Well, today was one such day. I was just feeling sorta bummed out today. No specific reason really, just cumulative things I guess. Anyway, I told my wife I was heading back up to the office to just do some reading. I decided I would begin "In a Pit with a Lion on a Snowy Day". I'm sure glad I did....it really helped me get a better perspective. I cried a bit and laughed a bit but by the time I had finished the first 3 chapters, I was feeling much better. It's amazing how a good book can help to re-frame your thoughts. I thank God for Spirit-Led writers who have a true gift of re-framing!

Monday, October 16, 2006

I Just left another great Board Meeting

I know it's hard to believe that a person can actually enjoy a board meeting. But it's true. I did. We had a great board meeting. We're exploring strategies about how to make our church even more effective. I'm in the process of creating a new CONNECTIONS ministry. I believe it's incredibly important that every person that chooses to visit our church feel connected to us in some way. If a person doesn't feel a connection, they easily go somewhere else looking for connectivity. Connection Groups...as in small groups or life groups are on the sketch pad as well. What does all of this look like? Well, I'm not sure yet but I'm sure to find out....

Always changing it up....

I know some churches that totally change their stage about every 2 months or so, some with every new series to reflect the "big idea" of the series. That's not easily done for us at our church. :) But I do like to change our online presence every so often. Which is what I'm doing now. I love working on websites. My goal is to create a site that serves as a vital part of our overall ministry.

Check it out here

Keep in mind it's not finished :)

Saturday, October 14, 2006


You now it's really amazing how it all comes together. I mean there is so much to say about God that once you start, it's difficult to find a place to stop. So, 11 pages of notes later, I'm finished. I hope I can get it all out tomorrow. :)

My notes for your viewing pleasure :)

I'm not finished yet!

It's late Friday night and I'm trying to get my sermon for Sunday finished. I've been sick since Monday and I can't seem to shake this thing. I went to the office today in an effort to push through and get some thoughts on paper. Well, I did, sort of. I got about a half page of notes down. I'm doing part 2 of a sermon series titled Clockwork. I got the idea of a Clockwork series from Mark Batterson. It explores several different dimensions of time management. I hope I feel better tomorrow because time is slipping away. If I have about 4 hours, I know I can do this!

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Cookie Night!!

Ok, so Mom is out of the house tonight. She is at a Women's Conference in Kerrville. A couple of weeks ago we purchased some cookie dough from a girl in our neighborhood. Today it came in :) So, Gracie, Chase and myself are baking Sugar and Chocolate Chunk Cookies!! I can't wait til they're done....

12 minutes later....

Gracie thinks I put them too close together....I think it matters not. I've still got this severe cold thing beating me down but it's not going to stop me from enjoying these cookies!! And, if the kids can beat me in an arm wrestling contest, I'll let them have some too....

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

I got the blah's

I'm feeling pretty puny today...I've got this Nose and Throat thing going on that just won't go away. Yuk! I've asked another minister in my church to preach tonight. She said she would so I'm going to drink lots of Orange Juice and try to get better. It's nice to have those in your church that are willing to step up when it's necessary. Not too long ago, we were so small, that was not the case. God has been good and now we do have those capable of taking the service. For the pastor, that's a dream come true!

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Events of my day.....

I got up at 7:00a.m. this morning. I was to go and help a man in my church roof a house. He was short on help so I offered myself. I showed up and began working but about an hour and a half into it, the sky began dumping rain on us. We waited for a bit to see if the rain was going to let up but it appeared it was here to stay. About 10:30, I decided to head to my office to begin preparing for Wednesday church service. On the way, I was feeling kind of hungry. I decided to go into a local Mexican restaurant for an early lunch. I've never gone in this early but my hunger was calling.

I'm in the restaurant and waiting on my carry-out. Burrito Jalisco! mmm....mmm...good! While I was waiting, I man I have known for several years but see very little of came in with his wife. Just a few months ago, he called me and asked if I could counsel with he and his wife. I agreed to meet with them but they never showed up. I never knew why. So I asked him how they were doing today and he responded by saying, "We're doing alot better". I was glad to hear that but not wanting a God Opp (opportunity) to pass by, I asked him if he and his wife were interested in coming to church with me this weekend. He said he wasn't "feeling" it right now. I just said ok, when you do, I'll be there. I didn't pressure him but by the end of our conversation, he told me that his children really wanted to go to church so that was another opp for a quick invite....They're supposed to be in church with me on Sunday. I sure hope so. He walked with the Lord in the past, but sometimes life seems so big and distracting, it's hard to keep up. I'm just hoping, he'll begin "feeling" it again. And start following Jesus again. His life is full of untapped potential for God!

You know, the Bible promises, "The steps of a good man are ordered by the Lord..."
I didn't think alot about getting lunch that early but God did....God knew that this man would be coming in the restaurant with his wife and He planned my steps accordingly.

I truly believe that God brings about opportunities in our lives that many times go unnoticed. Opportunities to help someone, give to someone, smile at someone, touch someone or simply listen to someone. Keep your eyes peeled for these valuable opps! If you're not continuously looking for them, they'll easily pass you by.

Wouldn't that be tragic...?

Monday, October 09, 2006

The Conference was great!

We had a great time at the SOAR Leadership Confrence....at Teen Mania Ministries. What an awesome ministry! Not only did we learn a lot of interesting approaches to reaching out to teens, we had a great time acting crazy. We have a lot of video of the craziness..I'll try and get some of it loaded. I will say this..one of the funniest things we did was going through the McDonald's drive through...backwards! :) That was funny! The workers didn't know whether to laugh or act totally shocked at our level of immaturity.

A day at the Course

Mondays are my day off so I thought I would take my son and go golfing with him. Over the summer, I had bought him a set of golf clubs and have yet to take him to the course with me. It's getting a bit cooler here in South Texas so I figured today was a great day to do it. We went to the Flying L Golf Course here in Bandera. It's really a great course which I love to play. I didn't think Chase would be able to handle a full 18 holes his first time on the course so we played 9 holes. He did a terrific job! He's only 4 but he hit the ball extremely well....I'd like to think he's a chip off the old block. Of course, I'm the old block :)

Here are a few pics of our time on the course.

Chase getting ready to leave me behind as he takes off in the golf cart!

Walking to his ball on the first hole.

7th hole, Par 3....look at that form!

View of the 7th hole....my favorite hole on the course.

We both had a really good time....on the way home, Chase said, "Daddy, I had fun."
That was the goal. :)

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Checking out...

Til Late Saturday....My Youth Pastor, his son, my nephew and myself are headed to Garden Valley, Texas for a Youth Leadership Conference. The conference is hosted by S.O.A.R Ministries. It sounds like we're going to enjoy this conference! The purposes of attending these kinds of conferences is to gain new perspective, valuable ideas and tools to further ministry where ever you serve. I'm going to be a sponge...a big ol' sponge!

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Winter Vacation BOOKED!!

I love Winter! It's probably my favorite season of the year. I don't know if this is because I was raised much of my childhood in Southern Wisconsin and Northern Illinois. I have fond memories of the fun we had in the snowfalls that the cold, grey, winter skys gave us. I loved looking into the sky on cold cloudy days. You could always tell if a cloud was a "snow" cloud. They just had a different look to them. Like this:

However, we don't see this too much in South Texas. :( So, every year, we try and take a winter vacation. The past several years we have gone to Pagosa Springs, Colorado. We love this place. It's small, quaint and very family friendly. Plus it's absolutely gorgeous! The town is surrounded by the San Juan National Forest. We rent snow machines and ride in the mountains which I really enjoy. We also go skiing in Wolfcreek and Durango/Silverton. Shops enough to keep the most dedicated shopper busy and people that are genuine. This year we're going to be in Pagosa from January 05 - January 12....Up to this year, I've only let Gracie ski at the resort on some small hills behind the condo. This year, she'll graduate to the 1600' vertical drop Oh yeah!! I just hope she'll hold my hand on the way down. ;)

A fun game.....

This past weekend, we were in Houston for a wedding. My wife's niece got married. Whenever we go to Houston we generally stay with my wife's Grandparents. I really enjoy staying there. It's a very warm and welcoming home. While we were there, we were taught a new game. A game that I'd never heard of before. It's kind of a knock-off of horseshoes but much more fun...to me. It's a game called "Ladder Golf". You can even play it online . I decided to make a "homemade" version of this game for us to enjoy here at home. I went to the local lumber company and bought all of the 3/4" PVC pipe, 90's and T's I would need to accomplish this task. My neighbors probably think I put in some weird type of a vertical sprinkler system. Here are some pics of our new fun.....!

Remember your first.....

Wallet as a little boy or your first purse as a little girl? I do...it was a black Velcro tri-fold wallet!
I was da man! Today, Tiff and Chase went to do some shopping at Wal-Mart. The first thing he showed me when I walked in the door was his new wallet. His first ever. He was so excited about it! I love the excitement of children. It's pure. It's not hyped up or exaggerated. It's pure unadulterated excitement! I think many times we as adults loose the pure excitement that children possess. If a child gets excited about something, it's because they are genuinely excited. They don't pretend to be excited for the sake of another.....I wish I could have recorded his excitement to post here!

Monday, October 02, 2006


Many times we create nicknames for our children....It sort of just happens. You call them cupcake, angel, bubba :) or whatever. Some of the nicknames I've dubbed my children are: Grace is, sweetie, princess and baby among others....Chase is, buddy, chaser, bududy(I don't know where or why I came up with this one :O) and champ among others. These are all terms of endearment. What's really cool though is when your child or children create nicknames for you. For the last month or so, Chase has referred to me by a name other than Daddy. Daddykuns. I'm not sure how to even spell daddykuns but that's the way it sounds :) I get a real kick out of hearing him refer to me as daddykuns. I even smile and laugh just writing it out....

It's 3:00a.m.

I can't sleep. I find that I do some of my best thinking in the solitude of night. My family is having no problems sleeping :) I guess it's a good thing I don't go to the office on Mondays. My mind is wondering....I'm chasing it....the word CREATIVITY has captured my attention. We'll see where it leads.......