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Anxiety and Truth in the 2018 Hurricane Season

Last night I had my first panic attack related to the onset of hurricane season. I have not had a panic attack like this since before Hurricane Harvey. Yesterday I spent a lot of time listening to more recovery stories from people in our community and helping as many as I could with their financial situations. Last night I went to a support group for those wanting to talk about their fears and anxieties related to the storm. We spoke about hurricane preparedness and what the community was doing to make ready for hurricane season. The consensus between me and those who work for the county was that regardless of what happens this hurricane season, we will be ready to begin the recovery effort over again if necessary. I even said my go-to line, "Everything will be ok." I do believe that, by the way. Everything will be ok.

But then it happened, a little after 1:30 a.m. I woke up and my mind started racing. My house isn't completely ready for another storm just yet. If we had…
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Remembering the Church that Shaped Me: Recollections of First Baptist Church, Cleburne, TX

“My Heart Leaps Up When I Behold” By William Wordsworth
My heart leaps up when I behold A rainbow in the sky: So it was when my life began; So it is now I am a man; So be it when I shall grow old, Or let me die! The Child is father of the Man; I could wish my days to be Bound each to each by natural piety.
When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put childish ways behind me. Now we see but a poor reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known. And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love. 1 Corinthians 13:11-13
What difference does one church make? First Baptist Church of Cleburne is celebrating 150 years. It is natural on such an occasion to reflect on what difference the congregation has made in the community after so much time. It would be hard to say how Cleburne or Johnson County would be …

Racing with Horses, Walking on Water, and Accepting My Weakness

I am tired of Hurricane Harvey. I am ready for all of this to be done and for things to settle down. I long for the routine, familiar, and predictable.

I have had enough of trying to limit or mitigate the effects of Harvey on my family and property. I have become worn out trying to control and make sense of how my church is recovering from the hurricane. I am just about through with the ongoing, and seemingly never ending, management issues related to hundreds of volunteers funneling through my church on a weekly basis to assist our community in the recovery efforts. The logistics of making it all work week in and week out, the delicate dance of being the pastor to all the personalities involved, is exhausting.

Add to this my broken heart for our community. I receive gut punches every day as I listen to the stories of evacuation, recovery, and rebuild. I steel myself to being able to do what I can each week and letting everything else go.

I am sick of people saying the Lord will not l…

Seven Questions Facing FBC Rockport in 2018, part 4

I think our church is a work in progress right now. We are in a process of discovery, learning how and what kind of church God is making us into. The process is far from over. I think we will know much more by the fall of 2018. Until then, I ask for patience, courage, and commitment from all our members. Please join me in seeking the Lord concerning the answers to the following questions. I have included my thoughts as of right now, but nothing is final or written in stone.
Here are the seven questions I think are facing us as we enter 2018:
1. How will we be connected to one another? 2. What will our worship and weekly schedule look like over the course of a year? 3. How will we reach out to and serve our community? 4. How will new people be connected to our church and what will that mean for our space usage? 5.  What kind of volunteer base and financial resources will be available to us as we plan for ministries, outreach, mission endeavors, personnel needs, and developing our phy…

Seven Questions Facing FBC Rockport in 2018, part 3

I think our church is a work in progress right now. We are in a process of discovery, learning how and what kind of church God is making us into. The process is far from over. I think we will know much more by the fall of 2018. Until then, I ask for patience, courage, and commitment from all our members. Please join me in seeking the Lord concerning the answers to the following questions. I have included my thoughts as of right now, but nothing is final or written in stone.
Here are the seven questions I think are facing us as we enter 2018:
1. How will we be connected to one another? 2. What will our worship and weekly schedule look like over the course of a year? 3. How will we reach out to and serve our community? 4. How will new people be connected to our church and what will that mean for our space usage? 5.  What kind of volunteer base and financial resources will be available to us as we plan for ministries, outreach, mission endeavors, personnel needs, and developing our phy…

Seven Questions Facing FBC Rockport in 2018, part 2

I think our church is a work in progress right now. We are in a process of discovery, learning how and what kind of church God is making us into. The process is far from over. I think we will know much more by the fall of 2018. Until then, I ask for patience, courage, and commitment from all our members. Please join me in seeking the Lord concerning the answers to the following questions. I have included my thoughts as of right now, but nothing is final or written in stone.
Here are the seven questions I think are facing us as we enter 2018:
1. How will we be connected to one another? 2. What will our worship and weekly schedule look like over the course of a year? 3. How will we reach out to and serve our community? 4. How will new people be connected to our church and what will that mean for our space usage? 5.  What kind of volunteer base and financial resources will be available to us as we plan for ministries, outreach, mission endeavors, personnel needs, and developing our phy…

Seven Questions Facing First Baptist Rockport in 2018, part 1

At FBC Rockport, we’ve experienced an awakening. Not the awakening we thought we would get, but we are awakened nonetheless.
When we first worshipped after the storm, we talked about how the process of moving from one understanding of God and his ways to a better understanding of God and his ways, the process of moving from being blind to truly seeing, the process of awakening, is not always fast, pleasant, and joyful. Jesus also works in ways that are frightening, confusing, difficult, painful, humiliating, and unpleasant. This has not been easy, but we are being awakened. I am seeing everything differently: myself, my family, my church, and my community.
Then we talked about the future. We have the opportunity to rebuild, to renovate, but what will that look like? What will be different? How will we be better and stronger? I think very little will ever be exactly like it was before the storm. I think making everything the way it was before Harvey is not Rockport Strong, it’s a miss…