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Showing posts from 2008

Christmas Blessings

I hope all of you have had a wonderful Christmas. The Jones family has. Michael actually slept late today and then went on 6 hours of sensory overload. He is sleeping now, taking a much needed nap. We had a wonderful lunch, with a lot of the food given to us by church members. We have more sweets than we know what to do with! Kim, Michael and I were blessed to have for lunch not only my parents and brother, but also Vic and Marsha Rhoades, who won't get to see family until next week, and also Charlie Williams, who took a break from fishing to spend Christmas with us. We had a good time together.

Kim got another round of test results from her doctor and everything is going very well, and the baby is healthy and strong so far. We are truly blessed. Thank you for all your prayers.

Last weekend our Music and Drama Ministries put on "Once Upon a Holy Night," our Christmas program for this year. We had over 1,000 people come and see it over two days. Praise the Lord!

L…

Our Youth in the News

http://www.kristv.com/Global/story.asp?S=9534631&nav=Bsmj

The above is a link to the story page about the RFHS Cheerleaders earning a trip to the Capital One Bowl in Florida. I am so proud of our young women. If you click on the video links you will get to watch the video report that aired on tv. Several of our youth are featured in the clip, but a huge shout-out goes to "Sarahcuda" Smith for not only knowing who was playing in the Capital One Bowl, but for getting props on the air for killing a buffalo. How many of us can say that?

Santaphobia

My favorite Christmas trend this year is Santaphobia. Do a search on the Internet for "scared of Santa," which is a new book of pictures of children who were, well...scared of Santa. There is a website with over 200 pictures of various children being terrorized by Santa Claus, all for the enjoyment of their parents who caught the moment on film. You can even upload one of your own pictures for all to enjoy. Here's one of my favorites...
Tell me about your santaphobia. I'll understand. Yes, I am a recovered santaphobic. I'll try to get my hands on some pictures of my own frightening encounters with "Father Christmas." But now the big guy doesn't bother me, so there is hope for all the children out there. But my fears kept me from making personal visits to Santa, and I told my parents I would write letters instead.

By the way, santaphobia is not an inherited trait, as this year's picture of Michael proves.

School

This week I am in Arlington, TX to attend a conference on "Culture or CROSS-Culture" and to attend my final orientation meetings before I register for school. The conference is hosted by my school, B. H. Carroll Theological Institute (BHCTI), and we will have our meetings at FBC Arlington. BHCTI is a newer institution you may not have heard much about yet. If you are interested in learning more, I encourage you to check out their website at www.bhcti.org.

There were a lot of reasons why I chose to pursue my doctorate at Carroll Institute, foremost among them the leadership of the Holy Spirit. But they are an innovative and non-traditional school which, I believe, is forging new ground in theological education which will allow many ministers and laypeople around the world to have access to quality education and training in ways unavailable to them before. For instance, my PhD program allows me to remain in full-time ministry in Rockport and further my education at the sa…

Another Jones Update

So we finally got to see the new parasite, I mean baby. The doctor said both mother and child are doing well. They drained Kim of most of her bodily fluids to run all kinds of tests, so obviously we will know more when those results come back. We go back for more specialized testing (due to Kim's age) on the first Friday in December, so we will know even more then.

For now everything seems to be on target. The sonogram know-it-all computer said the baby was 11 weeks and 2 days old. That is exactly what Kim said it should be. Exactly. When we had our first sonogram for the pregnancy we lost earlier this year, the sonogram showed the child was smaller than it should have been, and that was the first indicator that something was wrong. Not so this time. All is well. The baby had a good, strong heartbeat and we got to see it move around a lot.

Michael went with us and put on quite a show at the doctor's office. They even gave him his own sonogram picture that he carried around wit…

A Sinner in the Christian Community... Shocking!

In case you haven't heard, the Gospel/Contemporary Christian Singer Ray Boltz is gay. He has been wildly successful in Christian circles since the late 1980s, writing such beloved songs as, "Thank You," "Watch the Lamb," and "I Pledge Allegiance to the Lamb." If you did a search for Ray Boltz on your computer you will see that the Christian blogosphere is all atwitter with the news.

Apparently Ray has struggled with this all his life. In 2004 he came out to his family and separated from his wife. They formalized their divorce in 2008 and he has chosen to live an openly gay lifestyle. He has now begun preforming in churches that minister to the gay community across North America. He will be performing in one such church in Houston this November.

Now, let me give you complete disclosure: I have never liked Ray Boltz's music. I know, I'm sorry. Back "in the day" there weren't many choices so we all listened to and enjoyed Ray…

Jones Update

Many of you already know that Kim is pregnant again. Right now she is at about 10 weeks. We will go to the doctor for the first time on the Tuesday before Thanksgiving, so we will know how things are going then. So far so good. Except, of course, for the reality that Kim is pregnant. By that I mean the normal hormonal changes that occur in the first trimester. Kim is having a hard time now, but even with that we think the news is good. When she was pregnant with Michael she experienced wild emotional swings and often had terrible depression, but no morning sickness except for some dizziness. After the first trimester that all went away. When she was pregnant earlier this year with the baby we lost to miscarriage, Kim didn't have any symptoms or side effects. Now she is sick all the time, either tired or on the verge of throwing up, but no mood swings. So we hope that is a good sign that this pregnancy is really taking hold.
We wanted to say to all our friends and family, especiall…

Conventions and other things...

Kim, Michael and I got back into town yesterday afternoon. We traveled to north Texas for the annual meeting of the Baptist General Convention of Texas. We stayed at my parent's place in Cleburne so they could have some grandson time while Kim and I attended the convention. Well, we almost made it to my parent's house before Kim realized that we had packed all of Michael's stuff, but had forgotten our own clothes. We had the t-shirts and shorts we were wearing and the t-shirts and shorts we brought to wear home. So...I opted to not go and buy new clothes for two days just to go to the convention. Kim rested, Michael played with my parents, and I studied for two days. Oh well.

I hope you all remembered to give thanks for our veterans on Veteran's Day. Jesus told us, "Greater love has no man than this, that he lay down his life for his friends." Veterans do this for us every day, and we should be thankful for their great love for all of us. They had th…

Poverty

The median household income for Rockport is $38,582. However, 20% of the households in Rockport, 1,726 homes to be exact, have income at or below $15,000 a year. It is estimated that that in five years that number will drop to 1,629 and represent 18% of the households in Rockport. Not a large drop. We all complain now and again about how expensive it is to live in Rockport. My question is, how do these people do it on $15,000 or less a year? The state-wide average for Texas is 14% of the households at or below $15,000 a year.

What do you think of that?

Election Day

Here at last! Kim and I voted early, and I am glad for that. If you have not voted yet, I strongly encourage you to go out today and brave the lines (I hope there are lines) and cast your vote. Your vote is important because you are important - you are a precious child of God and your voice, your thoughts, your opinions, your vote matters. In the church I try to remember that numbers are important in as much as they represent people, and people are always important. Your vote is important also because I have friends and relatives who have sacrificed so much in the service of this country to protect and preserve your right to vote, and to establish governments in this world that embrace the importance of each person by giving them the right to vote. You may be tempted to believe that voting doesn't change anything. Well, it might change you. Give it a try.

While I have been dismayed by the course the national campaigns have run this election cycle, and find myself wondering …

End Times?

A persistent question that people ask me is, "Do you think we are living in the end times?" To which I say, yes. I believe the end times began when Christ ascended into heaven. Many of the New Testament writers felt they were living in the end times. Paul certainly thought Christ would return at any moment. In every age Christians have believed that the return of Christ would be in their lifetimes. Yet the Lord tarries.

The follow-up question is usually, "But...with everything going on in the world right now, all of the signs of the fulfillment of prophecy, don't you think Jesus will come soon?" And my answer is, no, or at least, I don't know. I long for the coming of Jesus and hope for it each day. But scripture tells us we cannot know the time of Christ's return. It will, in fact, come on us unexpectedly, like a thief in the night. We are told to long for it, and watch for it. I do those things everyday.

You are, of course, free to disagree …

Here We Go Again...

While Bigfoot searchers were disappointed by the gorilla suit fiasco this past summer and are hiding somewhere licking their wounds, it seems our Japanese friends have made progress in proving the existence of Bigfoot's Asian cousin, the Yeti.

Here's the link to the story.

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/27294539/?GT1=43001

Stay tuned America.

The news is good, pt. 2

By saying that if I know God, then all the news is good does not deny the existence of my pain, suffering, loneliness, fears, and so forth. I am not viewing the world and my experiences through the lenses of foolish rose-colored glasses that deny the reality of pain and suffering in the world. Nor am I some wide-eyed optimist quoting appropriate scripture inappropriately at inopportune times ("Well you know, God works all things to the good of those who love him!").

By saying that when I know the Lord and walk in His ways then the news is always good, I am saying that my experience with God is better by far than all the pain I have had to endure and all the good things I think I have missed out on in life. I have God, and that is more than enough.

To say that means I am standing on something deeper and more solid than the experiences of this life alone. I am taking hold of a timeless truth and allowing it to shape the way I view this world and all that happens to me. God …

There is news, and it is good!

Here's something the Lord is teaching me right now...when I walk with God, the news is always good. Either God is at work in my long term best interests, bringing about what is right and good, or He isn't. Either I let Him have His way with me, or I try to bring about what is best for me and my family on my own. Some of us have the tendency to focus on what we have lost, how we have failed. We ponder and meditate on our regrets, our wounds, and our questions. We can be haunted by what might have been instead of celebrating what is. In scripture, those who really knew God never mourn what they have missed, instead they celebrated all they had gained. Does your knowledge of God - of His grace, His mercy, His love, His goodness - outweigh all the pain and hard times you have had to endure? If we are not able to say that, can we truly say that we have known God?

Mountains

We are back in north Texas now and will be in Rockport Friday night. We have had a relaxing time away in some beautiful country. We stayed at The Inn of the Mountain Gods just south of Ruidoso, NM. It was a nice place, but the scenery was gorgeous. Every afternoon while Michael slept I sat on the balcony and read and spent some time alone with the Lord. Here are some pictures I took with my cell phone showing the view from our balcony. The mountain in distance is, of course, Sierra Blanca, and they got the season's first snow the night before. It melted by the next day, but still.


One day we drove up into the mountains and hiked to the peak of one where there is an observation tower. Here's a picture of Michael and Kim hiking.
The sun was out when we reached the summit, but then a cloud came up behind us and completely covered us. I have never had that happen before. Here are some pictures I took of the cloud coming around us.



These pictures don't do it justice. Oh well. It w…

State Fair of Texas

Here are some pictures from our trip to the State Fair of Texas. These sculptures were done in sand. The King Tut exhibit just opened in Dallas, so everything around here has an Egyptian theme.The following pictures are of the sculpture done in butter. Very impressive, and cold!

And of course, here's Big Tex..


And here are some pics of Kim, my brother and me eating Chicken Fried Bacon. And yes, it was good.








Where have you been?

OK, so I confess that since Hurricane Ike I have had little time to update my blog. But I haven't been goofing off either. Let's sum up things going on...

Here is a snapshot of life at FBCRockport:
The Winter Texans are making their way back into town these days and it is good to see so many familiar faces. Welcome back everybody!We have started two new adult Sunday School classes this year, and both are doing well.We have baptized 25 people so far in 2008. I baptized 15 of those, and more than half of the folks I baptized have been adults. The ones I didn't baptize were mostly students baptized by Ray.There are SEVERAL adult Bible Studies offered throughout the week. I am especially excited about the one for men on Thursday nights called "Wild at Heart."AWANA has started off well, averaging just over 60 children at the start. We have folks driving the church van to pick up children who otherwise wouldn't be able to come. We need as many adults as we can get to…

Rockport-Fulton See You at the Pole

Yesterday was See You at the Pole, a student-organized, student-led prayer meeting at the flag poles of their schools where they worship, acknowledge God's presence, intercede for the lost and hurting on their campuses, and pray for God's kingdom to come in a place that is all too often Godless. At one time there were millions of students around the world gathered at prayer meetings on this day, but I don't know what the popularity is now.

I went to RFHS and joined with about 70 students and another 15 or so adults as the students conducted their prayer service. I was so encouraged and delighted by the students, and so proud of those from our church who led out. At the Jr. High there were another 35 students praying, and I haven't heard how many adults were there as well. Praise God for the desire of our students to not only stand up and be counted for Christ, but to also claim their campuses for Christ.

I wonder how many of us would gladly face ridicule and accusati…

Evacuation Reflections

So we returned to Rockport without trouble and have been trying to get back into the swing of things. I have seen footage and pictures of the Galveston area, and I am startled and humbled. Everyone in Rockport is thankful that the storm turned north and missed us completely. I have heard people joking about the evacuations in Rockport, calling them "hurrications." I have even endured some good natured ribbing about running from the storm from some of those who stayed behind. I wonder if some people were mentally giving themselves high-fives for waiting until the last minute to evacuate and then "winning" their gamble because the storm turned north. I laughed at that too for a while, until I saw the footage of the devastation from Ike, and then all the light-heartedness seemed inappropriate. I suppose "sobering" is the best word. We dodged a terrible bullet here in Rockport. If Ike had come ashore here as they were predicting at first, our house would h…

All Clear in Rockport

We are still in north Texas as I write this. By the time we got here, forecasters had decided that Ike would turn north and miss Rockport, as it did. The city rescinded the mandatory evacuation but kept the voluntary evacuation. That was canceled today and people are encouraged to exercise caution as they return to the coast.

It was hard to know how to pray about the storm. We all prayed that it would turn north and not hit the Rockport area. But praying it north put others in harm's way. Let's continue to pray for all the folks in the Houston area as they pick up the pieces of their lives. I encourage all of you to find ways to help these folks by working through the American Red Cross or Texas Baptist Men.

More than likely we will return on Sunday and the church will be up and running starting Monday.

We are Ike Evacuees

I've met a few evacuees, those folks fleeing from the destruction of hurricanes, following those blue evacuation route signs, looking for a place to find shelter from the storm. Now Kim, Michael and I are those people!

We got everything squared away in Rockport and got out of town this afternoon. We are now at my parent's house and will stay here through the weekend. Thanks to Mike James who helped me get the plywood on the windows at my house. We put out plenty of food, water and kitty litter for Tennyson, who volunteered to go down with the ship. Brave, noble kitty.

I hope this finds all of you folks from Rockport well. The order for mandatory evacuation went out today, and all non-essential personnel are required to leave. So travel safe and may God go before you, beside you and behind you.

Right now the storm seems to be tracking north of us, which means Rockport will not get the worst of it. Still, I will be praying for all of you staying behind and putting yoursel…

Hopelessness

This has been a most unusual week for me, as so many of our church families are enduring painful and confusing times of crisis. It has been a while since so many tragedies lined up in one week. And to top it all off, we have a couple of storms out there that may or may not come ashore and affect us. What would it take to cause you to lose your faith and become hopeless?

Kim and I were among the many throngs of people who saw The Dark Knight when it came out in theaters in July. I have been asked by many of you if I have seen it yet and what I thought. Truth is, the movie was such a punch in the gut that I haven't been able to write about it. I think it is the best Batman movie made so far, the best comic book movie I've ever seen (sorry Spider-Man 2), and the best movie I've seen this year (sorry Indiana Jones). I came out of the theater stunned and numb, and after all this time I still cannot shake it. Let me explain why without spoiling the movie for the two or th…

Predictable Bigfoot News

Well, I saw this comming. Some of you have sent me this story from various websites. Here's a link to Fox News.
http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,406101,00.html
I thought the evidence would just disappear but the people involved simply admitted it was a hoax.
I still want to believe, but don't.

Exciting Bigfoot News!

Those of you who know me know that I am not a believer in Bigfoot, and never will be. I admit I am not able to explain the impressive body of physical evidence collected over the years that people use to "prove" the existence of Bigfoot. There are a lot of things in this world I am not able to explain and I don't lose sleep at night, nor do I fear camping in the woods because of Sasquatch; javalinas, maybe coyotes, but not Sasquatch. I admit that those of you who are eyewitnesses to Bigfoot have experienced SOMETHING, but I don't know what. As I have always said, if Bigfoot did live in Texas, one of you would have killed one by now and we would have eaten it at our Wednesday night meals. Chicken-Fried Bigfoot. (It helps to marinate the big foot in buttermilk for 24 hours before frying)
It turns out that I was right about Bigfoot not being in Texas! He's been in Georgia all along, and now our friends at the Bigfoot Research Society say that at a press conference in…

Comfort Food, pt. 5

It has taken me a while to write this entry because I have struggled to find the words to do justice to genuine Texas Chili. Eating a bowl of Red is a mystical experience, defying rational explanation or description. A good bowl of Red touches you deep inside, satisfying not just a hunger in your belly but a longing in your soul, and burns brightly within you, like a fire in your bones, or your gut, depending on you constitution.

"Chili heads" are passionate about Texas Chili. Just do a search on the Internet and see what turns up. My addiction to chili formed early in life and I have never recovered. While I am not a "Chili head," I am passionate about the dish and respect others who are as well. One man said that the cook at the diner where he bought chili believed that every pot of chili had a soul. Lyndon Johnson once said, "Chili concocted outside of Texas is usually a weak, apologetic imitation of the real thing." Legendary frontiersman Kit Carson…

Comfort Food, pt. 4

I will admit to being a huge fan of home-made fried chicken. Hot or cold, the stuff is good. As good as it is, I much prefer home-made Chicken Fried Steak or CFS for short. In fact, I never order CFS at a restaurant. My mother has made CFS as far back as I can remember. And, if I had my choice, I would choose her's over just about anyone's.

The origins of CFS are lost to us, although the recipe for various southern versions of county fried steak can be found in recipe books going back almost 200 years. In Texas, and I think CFS is a Texas cuisine, the dish is a combination of a number of things.

First, dredging beef in flour and frying it was common in the antebellum south. As Anglos moved west into Texas, this dish may have come with them. In Texas, however, the Germans brought with them one of their favorite dishes from deutschland: wiener schnitzel, which is a veal cutlet dredged in flour, eggs and breadcrumbs and then fried. Veal never caught on well in Texas, at least not l…

Comfort Food, pt. 3

So here's another of my comfort foods: Tex Mex. And let me be clear, I am not talking about Mexican food, which is very good. Tex Mex is much different, and better, in my opinion.

My roots run deep here, from early memories of El Chico (back when that was a pretty good place to eat) to Jose's Restaurant in Cleburne, to Joe T. Garcia's in Fort Worth, to many wonderful little places in San Antonio (my favorite was Tex Mex Willie's, which moved and changed names). That meaty, cheesy, spicy flavor has left an indelible mark on my life. When I need to reconnect with something deep inside me, it never hurts to have Tex Mex.

So, what separates Tex Mex from traditional Mexican cuisine? I'm glad you asked. There are several answers to this, but two things stand out in a big way.

First, Tex Mex uses yellow cheese. This is the American influence on traditional Mexican fare that made it north of the border. Government cheese was easy to produce, often free, and was bright…

Mystery Man is a Hero in Fulton Harbor

Saturday night there were many from our church gathered at Paws and Taws at Fulton Harbor for a wedding reception. Someone noticed that in the water, maybe 50 or 75 yards offshore, there appeared to be a sunken sailboat. And everyone agreed that there appeared to be dolphins swimming very close to the wreckage in such a way that indicated that they were caught and could not break free. After time someone suggested that it was not dolphins but actually sharks, with black tips on the dorsal fins, that were caught in the wreckage. This made sense because we never saw the dolphins surface for air, which meant they would drown soon if they were, indeed, dolphins. From time to time we could see the dorsal fins break the surface of the water. This went on for about 45 minutes.
Well, no one was in any hurry to walk out there and free the dolphins, or sharks. Eventually we called the sheriff's department, who put us in touch with Texas Parks & Wildlife, who sent out a game warden to as…

First Pro Baseball Game

I thought you all might enjoy this picture of Michael at his first baseball game. Thanks to Bobby and Kathryn Albin for taking us. Michael had a good time but didn't last the whole game.

Comfort Food pt. 2

Another of my comfort foods is pizza. But not just any pizza. Most pizza is good, although I tend to stay away from cheese pizza or pizza with only vegetables on it. Why not just eat quiche? For me, the more meat the better on pizza.

By far my favorite pizza all my life has been from a place called Mama's Pizza. They have the perfect combination of thin crust, great sauce, real cheese, and fresh toppings. They roll their crust at the edge of the pizza to create what is essentially a bread stick you can dip in ranch dressing. When I was seven years old my family started ordering pizza from the Mama's in Cleburne. That was 30 years ago and I am still and ardent fan. The only Mama's left in north Texas I know of are on Berry St. and Camp Bowie in Fort Worth, and there is one on Parker, I believe, in Plano. I've never seen them anywhere else. At lunch they have all you can eat buffets, and I can put away quite a bit. "Haven't you had enough?" Uh...no.

My second…

Comfort Food

All this talk about bacon has made me wonder about your favorite foods. Not just your favorites, but what are your comfort foods? You know, those foods you turn to when you need to reconnect with who you are, with your roots, with better memories, that make you feel as if all is well with the world. I have many such foods and I have much to say about them all. I know that is shocking to you.

Today I'll write about nachos and Rotel Dip. I don't recall the first time my mother made nachos, but I had to have been hooked right from the start. I am fairly simple when it comes to building nachos - tortilla chips, cheddar cheese, and jalapenos. Every now and then some meet is acceptable, but not too often and definitely no vegetables beyond the peppers.

My expert opinion on the matter is that the pepper makes or breaks the nacho. Some peppers taste as if they have been pickled in formaldehyde. And some brands are more reliable than others if you use store-bought peppers. The…

More Bacon

There never seemed to be enough bacon at breakfast when I was a child. My brother and I would often fight over bacon. He is six years older than me and could physically intimidate me. But I got up earlier than him. I figured he could beat me but I still would have eaten all the bacon. The blows raining down on me could never change that happy reality. I ate the bacon. Not long after that he would get up early too and we would watch each other. I neglected to pay attention once and he licked some of the bacon, refusing to tell me which pieces. It was cruel and heartless torture. Looking back now I figure that he didn't lick any of it, he just told me he did.



There is no doubt that I love bacon, but even I have my limits. I was sent this picture yesterday. Chocolate covered bacon cake. I'll pass.


Bacon

I have intended to write a serious devotional piece for a while now, but the fact that it has been so long since I last posted just shows that I couldn't bring myself to do it.

Instead I'm going to write about bacon. Kim actually bought bacon not long ago. This is a rare and wondrous treat for our family. I could eat a pound of bacon at every meal. Kim knows that, and because she loves me she only buys bacon maybe twice a year. Michael loves bacon, which goes without saying since he is my son. We have even been known to fight over bacon. I'm not proud of that, but the boy has to learn to eat his bacon or lose it.

When I was a kid we would take string, some washers and a pound of bacon down to the creek to fish for crawdaddies. I remember vividly the salty, smokey smell of the bacon, the slimy texture, and the way it tasted when I licked my fingers. That's right, children, I never washed my hands after handling raw bacon. And I lived! My grandmother cooked everything in b…

Goodbye Dolly, Good Riddance

Today in Rockport we had some strong winds and rain from time to time, and some reports of tornadoes to our north and south, but I am ignorant of any real damage in our area. It could have been much worse.

I have learned much about hurricane preparation and will know a little more what to expect in the future.

One encouraging thing in all this was my involvement with the city's and the county's Emergency Operations Center. County and city leaders, including area service agencies, nursing homes, and many other community leaders met together regularly to basically do whatever needed to be done for the community in the event of a disaster. It was so encouraging to see these people come together to speak with one voice and help the people in Rockport and Aransas County. I am honored to have been included.

So, now, on to business. I have two weddings this weekend and a full day on Sunday.

Hello Dolly pt. 4

It appears now the storm has turned west and most experts have it making landfall in extreme south Texas sometime Wednesday. The county's Emergency Operations meeting for 4 a.m. today was cancelled.

We are now bracing for a strong storm, but we give thanks that the Lord seems to have spared us the worst of it. Having said that, I realize it could change at any minute.

We are thankful to the Lord and our thoughts and prayers go out for those who find themselves in the path of the storm.

Hello Dolly pt. 3

Gains and I attended the 4:00 p.m. meeting of Aransas County's Emergency Operations team, and listened in to the latest official briefis from the National Weather Service and the State of Texas. Much of this information will be out very soon, but here is a brief summary...

Hurricane Watch still in effect, may be upgraded to a Warning tonight or in the morning

Dolly has not slowed down, currenlty moving at 18 mph; if the store does not slow down it will make landfall Tuesday afternoon and may not have time to intensify

However, all computer models show that it will slow and intensify to a strong Category 1 Hurricane before it makes landfall at about 3 p.m. Wednesday, with winds reaching land at 3 a.m. Wednesday. The storm appears to be getting better organized. The State of Texas is making preparations for a Category 2 Hurricane just to be cautious.

Currently the storm is tracking to make landfall at Port Mansfield. However, computer models show it could come in anywhere between Br…

Hello Dolly pt. 2

It is a little after 10:00 a.m. on Monday and the latest computer models show the storm tracking north, northwest, which places landfall just south of Corpus Christi. The forecasters still say it will go more towards Brownsville, so who knows who's right.

While a strong storm, even a Category 1 Hurricane wouldn't require us to evacuate, but we are still doing what we can to prepare.

Gains has gone to represent our church at a emergency meeting with city officials, state officials, and the folks from the national weather service to be updated and to make contingency plans. We want to be prepared to help our members in case the storm takes a turn for the worst.

Well hello, Dolly!

No one around these parts is as excited as Louis Armstrong was to see Dolly. At least not Tropical Storm Dolly, which is watering the Yucatan Peninsula as we speak (So glad we are not in Cancun right now!).

Kim and I are learning to join with others in South Texas in watching the radar and tracking the storm. It is expected to enter the Gulf of Mexico and strengthen into a category 1 hurricane, at least that is what they are saying right now. Most computer models have it making landfall far south of us, but who knows? So we watch and wait.

Those of you reading from the northern regions can keep abreast of the Jones family storm preparations, such as they are, by checking back here from time to time.

Exile

This past Sunday we looked at Jeremiah's letter to the Exiles living in Babylon, in Jeremiah 29. We learned how difficult exile conditions are and how we are prone to long for deliverance instead of the Deliverer. God told the Exiles to make homes for themselves and live their lives - live deeply, live well, live lives of faith trusting in Him - His presence, His power, and His plan.

At the time we are not able to see the end from the beginning. That is why we live by faith, not by sight. Things were bleak and hopeless for the Exiles from Judah. Many years before, the Assyrians had taken the citizens of the northern Kingdom of Israel into exile and relocated foreigners to the Promised Land. The Ten Tribes of Israel were scattered across the globe by the Assyrians and lost to the sands of time. Jewish communities did sprout up all over the world but they were scattered, disconnected, and only a shadow of the the people they once were. The Jews from Judah expected the same to happen …

Strategic Planning

Several years back, God led FBC Rockport to relocate to the current location, culminating a vision going back perhaps 20 years or more. The Lord provided not only the vision of relocating for the purpose of further kingdom growth and impact, but He then provided the land, sold the old property, got the current building built, filled it full of people from day one, and then provided the funds to pay off the debt. We will be completely debt free in the near future. We have much to celebrate!

I believe God called me here to be a part of what He has in mind next. I don’t know what He has in store, but I am convinced that He has only just begun. For this reason, I propose that this fall we enter into a time of prayer and fasting, and that we earnestly seek the Lord together to get a sense of His leading thus far, to discern His current activity in our church and in Aransas County, and then to follow in faith and obedience as He leads us into the future. I am calling this a time of strategic…

Rivers of Life

I have been reluctant to post pictures of our family on the blog because of the chaotic nature of the Internet - the nature of a pastor's blog lends itself to openness instead of restricting access, so I have chosen to have little control over who can read the blog. So to protect our family's privacy to a certain degree, Kim sends out pictures from time to time via email instead of putting them here on this website.

We had several requests for pictures after I posted about our trip to Cancun, and Kim sent some out to some friends and family. If you didn't get the email but would like to, we didn't intend to leave you out. Just let us know where to send them.

We have heard back from many people who also sent pictures. We have been blessed especially by those of you in Sherman who were having children around the same time Michael was born. Like you, Kim and I have wondered at how much the children have grown and matured in the course of a small handful of years. Each…

Pounded

Kim reports that last week she bought toilet paper for the first time since the church welcomed us to Rockport back in January. For those of you keeping score at home, that is right about six months. Whoever had the over and under on six months owes me dinner.

Miguelito con Cancun

Every bride is entitled to a shot at her dream wedding. I get that. Some brides dream bigger than others. Kim's sister has waited a long time for her bridal event, and she deserves every moment of happiness she can get. I wouldn't have missed her wedding for the world. It was unfortunate for us, for Michael really, that her wedding was in Cancun. Isla Mujeres, to be exact, an island 15 minutes off the coast of Cancun. We stayed at an all-inclusive resort on the north end of the island, and the wedding was at the northernmost tip of the island. It was gorgeous beyond description, with the turquoise Caribbean Sea on three sides of us. I enjoyed watching the minister perform the ceremony in his broken English, but he did it with great joy and compassion. They served a five course meal for us on the beach after the sun went down. We were surrounded by torches and candles, there was a light breeze, and the food was wonderful. Even Michael enjoyed staying up late for the wedding fes…

Some Loose Threads

Yikes! I looked at the date of my last blog and could not believe it has been this long since I last posted anything. We've been busy, but that is no excuse.

So...let me get you up to date.

The VBS video is not formatted correctly for this webpage. However, there was talk of putting it on GodTube.com and on FBC Rockport's new webpage, www.fbcrockport.net, which is currently under construction. Of course, you can always order a copy in the church office.

The Sunday after youth camp we baptized 8 people, 6 of those were youth who made decisions at camp. Last Sunday Gains baptized another VBS decision, and tomorrow morning I will baptize one more from VBS. We should all be thankful for how the Lord is at work in our midst.

The search for a Youth Minister is well under way, and I believe the Search Committee is about ready to solicit resumes. There should be information on the church website.

This Tuesday night I will speak with the Church Council briefly about the process of Strategic…

Scatterings

Here's a little bit of this and that...

If you haven't read Dale Pogue's blog entry for today (June 17), be sure to give it peek. You can find it at www.dalepogue.com. I know many of us have been praying for Dale during the past several days as he has recovered from his heart attack and subsequent heart cath. First Charles Fake moved to Houston, then Walter Knight passed away, then Dale gave everybody a scare - all the ministers I have looked forward to getting to know are endangered, it seems. I told Allen Ray and Gaines they needed to get physicals ASAP and discuss the results with me. I don't want any more surprises.

VBS here at First Baptist was truly wonderful. I can't say enough how blessed I am by all that God has done here in our church. Thanks to Gayle and Margo and all the adult and youth leaders who worked so hard to see the Lord do something special in our children. We are still trying to survey all the "damage," but here are some things we know…

Vacation Bible School 2008

We are in the midst of our VBS and so far I have been truly amazed at the whole enterprise. The other night we had 201 children present and 50 workers, and they are all working towards raising an offering for South Texas Children's Home of about $3,500, which they will reach, of course, with the help of some generous donors. This will then result in some heads getting shaved and me having to hula dance on Friday night (I feel a cold coming on!).

We have handled our professions of faith differently this year with the hope of making certain the children are making real decisions for Christ. Right now there are four new Christians as a result of our VBS, and we have more to talk to tonight.

I have been truly impressed by our leaders and all our workers. They went all out in decorating and preparation. And this has been true in every church I have served in - God has been faithful in raising up leaders who understand the importance of VBS and give it the attention and passion it deserve…

Indiana Jones after all these years

Over the past month I have watched all the Indiana Jones movies again, and recently Kim and I went to see the new one, The Kingdom of the Crystal Skull. I was so very excited to see it, as I have already written about. I tried not to be be distracted by the mixed reviews of the movie and to view it with fresh eyes and take it on its own terms.

Well...I loved it! It was not a great movie, by any stretch of the imagination. Nor was it even a great "Indiana Jones" movie. I used to think Raiders of the Lost Ark was the best, but now that I am a father, I prefer The Last Crusade to the others; it has more humor and warmth, and the relationship between father and son provides an emotional anchor to the narrative. And while I enjoyed "The Young Indiana Jones Chronicles" on TV, the young men who played Young Indy never got it right, in my opinion, not like River Phoenix did in the opening minutes of The Last Crusade ("Everybody is lost but me!"). I think I …

Favorite Music, pt. 4

I have really enjoyed hearing from some of you about your favorite music and why it means so much to you. Isn't it interesting the way some songs connect with us in surprising ways, and that connection lasts a lifetime? I also enjoyed hearing how the Lord has ministered to so many of us through music.

Allow me to say one more thing about music, and then we'll move on (I want to comment on Indiana Jones, and going back to school, plus some other things we'll get to over the next week or so). My best advice about music is to pay attention to what you are listening to, and know why you are listening, or why you like it. This goes for all music - Christian, secular, instrumental, whatever.

I have worked hard to find out as much as I can about the people writing and performing the music I listen to, all music. I have a fairly informed opinion about what I like and why, and what I don't like, and can give reasons. No one should lesson to music or the radio (including tal…

Favorite Music, pt. 3

I never thought I would use an iPod until I received one as a gift a couple of years ago. I have a 30 GB video iPod. I am able to start the music with the first song on a playlist and then have the music going as I drive, work in the yard, go for a walk, or whatever.

The iPod keeps a count of how many times each song is played. If you skip to another song, then it doesn't count. So, you have to play a song through completely in order for it to be counted.

So, here is the list of the 25 most played songs on my iPod. The number in parentheses is the number of times it has been played. Again, this list does not include classical music or hymns, which would dominate the list, except for a couple of hymns by Jars of Clay. Nor does it include Christmas music. I won't comment on the songs that were on my favorites list in the previous posting.

25. "Don't Take Your Guns to Town" by Johnny Cash (14). This is the story of young Billy Joe who thought he was due more excitement…