Skip to main content

Posts

Showing posts from 2009

Favorite Songs on My iPod

More challenging than it looks! Here is a current list of my top 25 favorite songs on my iPod. In the next post I will have the list of my REAL top 25 songs - the ones played most often. The songs here are not presented in alphabetical order. Let me know what you think and tell me the stories about your favorite songs.

"40" by U2. This song is based on Psalm 40, David's testimony of God's saving action, causing all people to sit up and take notice. May all God's people be able to sing a new song every day of what God has done for them.

"A Kiss to Build a Dream On" by Louis Armstrong. I love New Orleans Jazz, and Satchmo is one of the greatest. This song reminds me of all the wonderful memories Kim and I have of our time in the Crescent City, either on vacation or on mission trips. Good memories.

"All Because of You" by Kate Hurley. This song was included as a bonus track on some random collection of Christmas music by Christian artists, and now i…

Music Revisited and Some Pictures

It has been a while since I blogged period, even longer since I blogged about the music I am listening to these days. Over a year ago I gave a list of the top 25 favorite songs on my iPod and then a list of the top 25 songs I actually listened to. I have been asked to do it again and I will do so as I have time during the next week.
My approach to music is much the same as my approach to all art: it should be experienced with a critical eye. Not critical as in putting it down and finding fault, but as in closely examining something. As Christians especially it is our responsibility to consider well what we expose ourselves to. Therefore we ask questions: Why do I like this song? What does it tell me about life, people, myself, the Lord, etc? What can I learn from it? What do I think about the way it makes me feel? And so on...you get the picture.
What I will do is post a list of the top 20 or so songs on my iPod that are my favorites. Last time I did not include Christmas music or clas…

Discerning

Simon Peter writes to us in 1 Peter 5:8-9, "Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. Resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know that your brothers throughout the world are undergoing the same kind of sufferings."

As a pastor, I am sensitive to the trials and sufferings of those in our church. As of late I have been troubled by the sharp rise of hardships among our people. As a church, and in the lives of many individual members as well, we have chosen to go down a path we believe will allow us to continue to be shaped by the love of Christ and then be the servants Christ created us to be as we lead all people to be shaped by the love of Christ. There is a renewed interest in worship, engagement with the body of Christ, Bible study and discipleship, serving, missions, and evangelism. In response to all this I believe the enemy has been actively at work in the lives of many. The resul…

Convalescing

I'm beginning to feel more like myself again after battling swine flu for two weeks. Apparently I had a nondescript infection in my intestinal tract that would have gone unnoticed had my body not been worn out by fighting the flu. I won't bore you with the details of my illness and how it progressed, but I narrowly avoided hospitalization because Kim helped me to stay hydrated. The two issues combined have really done a number on me, but I am now six days with no fever and no other serious symptoms. I am slowly getting an appetite back, but it is taking a long time to get my strength back. It has been very nice to be back around my family again instead of quarantined in the bedroom, and I will preach both services today and probably work a half day on Monday and try to slowly re-enter life without overdoing it and having a relapse.

I want to thank everyone for the phone calls, cards, emails, and prayers. My family is truly blessed to have so many people who love and care …

Micrurus tener

It finally happened this weekend. I was mowing my backyard when I saw some movement out of the corner of my eye. I knew right away it was a snake. I have had several encounters with the MANY ribbon snakes living in my backyard. I even found the skin of one who is rather large. But this time I came face to face with my first coral snake. There was no mistaking the markings - red on yellow kill a fellow! This was no red on black venom lack or friend of Jack or however you learned it. This was a real dangerous snake.

Now I have encountered dangerous snakes in the wild before -- rattlesnakes, copperheads, even a cottonmouth or two - so I am no snake newbie. But did you know that the Texas Coral Snake has the second most deadly venom of all North American snakes, right behind a very nasty rattlesnake? It just so happened that I knew this, and that little tidbit of info flooded my mind as I watched the killer slide along the ground.

He was about a yard long, maybe less, and was par…

Pictures!

Advancing

For several weeks I have been preaching on "spiritual leadership," which is a much different concept than the definitions of leadership put forth by the world. In a nutshell, here's my understanding of spiritual leadership: God is the leader, God calls His servants, servants obey the Lord. That's it. Anything you read on strategies, mission and vision statements, and creative and skilled leadership in churches is dangerous because it could distract us from the truth. God already has a plan, He has revealed that plan to us in scripture, He has promised to accomplish His plan, He has already given us everything we need, and He demands that we trust and obey. Period. There is an inherent humanism in all of our well-intentioned plans and schemes, but the focus remains on us and our good ideas instead of on the Lord and His word. Let's stop dreaming big dreams for God and envisioning a bold future for God's kingdom and allow His word to capture our imagina…

Withdrawing

One of the hardest things to accept about being the pastor of a church is becoming the focal point of church decisions when there are good people you love on both sides of the issues involved. Whether deserved or not, the pastor personifies the issue and becomes the recipient of hard and hurt feelings from those who disagree, and unfairly receives the credit and is lauded for "good leadership" from those who do agree. The reality is often much different than the appearance of things.

As a pastor I spend much, if not most, of my administrative time seeking "win-win" situations for everyone involved, and encouraging people to see things from a larger perspective. On those rare occassions when a "win-lose" situation does emerge, either by design or by insistance from church members, I am usually on the losing side because of the heartbreak involved in seeing hurt feelings and because of the way those feelings are expressed.

I was told long ago that I needed…

Marveling

Today I am feeling pensive yet in wonder about life, which has a definite ebb and flow. We continue to hear good news and bad news from all of our friends and loved ones. The reports of cancer, disease and death are always balanced by reports of new life, new beginnings, and grace. We have one friend who is newly engaged and planning a wedding, another who has been fired by a church and attempting to transition into new life. One family endures the heartache that comes from fundamental disagreements over homosexuality, while another friend is leaving for Israel to work with a foundation providing care and support to some of the most hated and marginalized people in the world: Palestinian homosexuals and abused Palestinian women. Wherever the darkness advances, there is the Light pushing back.

For us the news has been good lately. Kathryn just had her two month doctor's visit and they could no longer hear her heart murmur. At the same time, Kim has yet to consistently feel normal ag…

Redirecting

There is change in the wind. One of the things that non-linear mathematics and Applied Chaos Theory teach us is the design hidden in systems of living things, including our lives. At first there seems to be nothing but instability and chaos. It seems everything is about to collapse and fail. It appears there is no rhyme or reason to the things happening and that our lives, families, churches, relationships, businesses, etc. are spinning out of control. Over time, however, a pattern emerges and takes definite shape. Not all at once, but given time it will emerge. The pattern has been there all along defining the chaos and confusion, we just could not see it until enough time passed and more shaping took place. Chaos Theory calls this the "strange attractor": the pattern that was always there but could not be seen at first. Even within apparent chaos there is order and stability. We must live by faith.

I wonder, what is shaping your life? What pattern emerges as you…

Excavating

I have a professor who is constantly telling us at this point in our studies we should be leaving behind the fruit of things to get to the root of things. In our studies we need to get to the root. "We are all about the root, gentlemen."

So I have been attempting to get to the root of some things in my walk with the Lord. In studying 1 Samuel we see that the people asked for a king, and one of the reasons they wanted a king was to be like the other nations. Throughout the Old and New Testaments this is a constant battel within God's people -- the desire to be like the rest of the world. Scripture constantly calls us out to be holy because God is holy.

If we are truly God's people, why do we have such a hard time with this? Why this strong pull to be like the unbelieving world? Last night at Prayer Meeting we discussed many possible answers. I shared what I feared was close to the root of the issue for my life, and perhaps the lives of others.

I wonder if the iss…

Trusting...

Kathryn had her one-month check-up this morning and the news was not great. The doctor detected a heart murmur. She said she sees this in about 25% of her patients, and because of Kathryn's good weight and size the murmur must be one of those that closes up on its own or is "functional," meaning she will always have it but it will be of no consequence. The doctor was not concerned, but said if it continues to show up they will send us to a cardiologist.

They also commented on how alert Kathryn is for her age, which is good until she starts driving next week. I can't help but wonder what is next. But I am convinced that God knows what He is doing.

Reassuring

My son, Michael, calls me into his room tonight after he has been asleep for a while. He tells me he is scared. This is a familiar routine. We discuss what has him afraid (nothing, it turns out) and I assure him there is nothing to be afraid of. Noticing the superheroes on his pillow I say, "The Super Friends are here to watch over you." Then remembering that I am also the PASTOR I add, "And Jesus is here too."

Michael looks at me very seriously and says, "The superheroes can't come off of the pillow."

Recognizing the truth and wisdom of the three year old's logic, I ask, "Is Jesus still here?"

Michael nods and says, "Yes."

I tuck him in and he goes to sleep.

Processing...

Kim has had a difficult time this week and not felt very well. So I have have taken Michael with me the past several mornings to give Kim some down time. Thursday Michael and I bought a new office chair and then he helped me put it together. Friday morning we went to the beach (our usual Friday routine) and we caught the biggest blue crab I have ever seen at Rockport Beach. He was at least four to five inches across. He was also quite crabby -- aggressively crawling out of my net, pinchers reaching for me, spitting on me, calling me foul names, and stealing my Bible -- all in front of my son! Well...he did try to pinch me and then jumped in the water and ran off. I couldn't let that stand so I chased him down and caught him again just to show my son that his father was better than some old blue crab.

Michael allowed me to take him out into the deep water, past the last sand bar where it is up to my shoulders. The waves were not rough and he was able to enjoy it. He does n…

Ok, so I signed up for Facebook

There are many reasons, primarily related to church members and the outrageous amount of communication people do online. Communication that, I have humbly observed, is incredibly personal and alarmingly impresonal at the same time. Perhaps some of the appeal of maintaining a Facebook or MySpace account is getting jazzed by writing all about yourself, your family, your interests, your opinions and posting your photos (said the man who has been doing these things on his own blog for some time now -- oh shut up). But, you know and see only what I want you to know and see about me! So we can interact online all day long and have a great time in a very measured, controlled, and strangely, selfishly impersonal manner.

Anyhoo...it is funny how you sign up for something like that and find all your friends and family who have been there for some time. You kind of feel like the new kid in school. So, I need all of you to become my Facebook friends so it will look like I am popular and cool…

Michael the Photographer

Kim got Michael a digital camera when Kathryn was born. Here are samples of his art...

I took this picture to show him how the camera worked.
Mommy and Sissy


Grammy with weird sticky thing on her face.


Tennyson the cat


Popa saying "cheese"


Self portrait of the artist and the video camera


The First Bath

Daddy in the Hall

Spiritual Leadership in the Home

This past Sunday at FBC Rockport we continued our sermon series on images of spiritual leadership from 1 Samuel. For two weeks now we have looked at what spiritual leadership in the home might look like. We have some good images from Elkanah and Hannah, the parents of Samuel. We have some poor images from Eli, the priest at the Tabernacle who raised Samuel. Yahweh’s accusation against Eli was that he honored his two sons more than he honored God. Eli’s sons, Hophni and Phinehas, were terrible priests because they did not do what God wanted, they did as they wanted. Their poor public behavior was actually hindering the worship life of Israel and keeping people away from God. God held Eli responsible, at least in part, for their sin, and promised dire consequences for Eli’s entire family. At the same time, Yahweh promised to raise up for Himself a faithful priest who would do what was in God’s heart and mind. I am telling our people that this is the essence of spiritual leadership: God …

More pictures...

Here's more...

Both mother and daughter are doing well. Kathryn is eating well now and has aced all her diaper exams! Kim has been up and moving around for over 24 hours now. They tell us they should be discharged on Wednesday afternoon. Those were the only new pictures I had on my cell phone. I'll try to post some better ones later.

Her Own Woman

Kathryn is here now. She was born Sunday night, 5:57 p.m., and weighed 7 pounds, 10 oz., and measured 20.25 inches long. Kim was in labor since about 9:00 a.m. Saturday. After hours of waiting and miles of walking around that hospital, Kim never progressed beyond 6 cm. Every time we came close to making a decision about what to do next, it seems Kathryn would change the game on us and we would have to wait for another couple of hours to see what would happen next. We almost went to the OR at least twice before we finally did because Kathry would do this or that. She was letting us know she was in charge. After whe was born I stood with her in the nursery while they cleaned her up and checked her out. She cried for a while and then got real calm and collected. I watched her as she sized me up with her eyes, took a good look around the room, and then looked at me and kind of smirked knowingly. I got the distinct impression that she was very much amused by everything that had gone on the…

Still no news..

Kim's doctor told her that she has had no change in two weeks. Kim has another doctor's appointment next Thursday, a week from today. If she has not progressed by then they will likely schedule a c-section. If she has progressed by then, it is likely they will induce labor.

It is also possible she is going into labor at this moment. So there won't be any new news for another week unless the baby comes before then.

By the way, 231 children heard the gospel presentation during our VBS the other night! Please be in prayer for these little ones and for our adults who are working with them.

No News is Good News

We are still awaiting for Kathryn to indicate that she is ready to emerge. Kim has the nursery ready, Michael has helped her finish all the thank you notes, and so we wait. Some men from our church came and helped my father put together a swingset/slide/fort for Michael while I was away at school last week. He has been too busy playing to be impatient for his little sister to show.
And it is just as well. Our Vacation Bible School is this week. On our second night, a Monday, we had 218 children, another 15-20 in the nursery, plus about 110 or so adult and youth workers. All I can say is that I am glad I am not in charge. I am so thankful for Gayle and for her love of Jesus, our children, and for all our workers. She has done an amazing job. So have all the adults and students who have put this thing together. It is a wonderful thing to behold.
Technically I have finished my first term for school, but I still have four books to read and write critical reviews on before I am done for the…

The Latest Baby News

Kim now starts her weekly visits to the doctor. As of yesterday both Kim and Kathryn are doing well. The doctor determined that Kathryn has not dropped any, nor does Kim exhibit any of the signs of going into labor any time soon. That was good news to Kim because she has convinced herself she still has too much to do to have a baby right now.

The doctor also determined that Kathryn weighs a little over six pounds right now. Michael was just under seven pounds when he was born. The doctor estimated that Kathryn would be over eight pounds by her due date. I have several thoughts about this. First, apparently we are going to learn just how big and uncomfortable Kim can get. I feel so bad for her because she is now becoming miserable. Second, this changes the dynamics of our desire to NOT have another c-section. The doctor said we have about an 85% chance of a successful delivery without a c-section, maybe a little less. We are now trying to decide what to do. Third, don't …

This and that...

Here are some random quick thoughts and updates...

Kim continues to do well. We have another sonogram this week and then she begins the weekly doctor visits until Kathryn is born. Although we are a month away from the due date, I am convinced she could come at any moment. Every time Kim moans I start boiling hot water and collect clean towels (although I do not know what to do with them). We have been so blessed with baby stuff! Kim has almost got things squared away, which has been no small task.

Michael is doing well. He has developed a passion for Veggie Tales and praise music, and he continues to enjoy all sports. Plus, he enjoys fixing things and helping out with chores. How long will that last? He has an active imagination and is just plain silly at times. He gets that from Kim, who is terminally silly, and not from me, as I am consistently sober-minded. Oh shut up.

Our church just called a new Minister to Youth, Jordan Mims, who will begin next month. Jordan and Hollie…

Michael's 3rd Birthday

Here are a couple of pictures from Michael's birthday party. It was a small, understated affair with some of his friends from church. Thanks to Laura Groseclose for the pictures.

Kathryn Jones Update

So, Michael was right. This is not an April's Fools joke. We are having a girl, and there is no doubt. I say that because the doctor showed me several graphic Four Demensional sonogram pictures of our baby's you know what, and I supose it was that fourth demension that left no doubt. So we are so excited to be planning Kathryn's arrival in June. The doctor said she and Kim and doing very well. We got several pictures from the sonogram. There are several where she is laughing and smiling, but it is hard to tell. Here is one the most clear pictures we have. Kathryn spent most of the sonogram smashing her face against Kim's belly, which was not attractive. I kept expecting her to stick her tongue out. Still, I think she's beautiful.

Resurfacing

After almost two months away, I have chosen to resurface. I have been swamped with school work, but hopefully I am to a point where I can breathe again.

Since I last posted many things have happened. We named our baby girl, who is due to make an appearance on June 15. Her name is Kathryn Michelle Jones. In a couple of days Kathryn is having her first photoshoot, via 4-D ultrasound technology (just what is that fourth dimension, anyway?). I'm certain that her close-ups will reveal what I have known all along, that she is indeed a boy. Don't buy pink just yet. I say this not because I want a boy instead of a girl, which is NOT true. I say it because Michael was sooooo sure we were having a girl that...well, I can't stand for him to be right and me wrong. It is the principle of the thing, you see.

Speaking of Michael, he turned three this month and it seems that we celebrated his birthday for weeks. His party with his friends was very fun, and he has seen friends and …

Bigfoot Update!

We have breaking Bigfoot news, and this one hits a little too close to home! Someone posted this information and picture on a local fishing website: Big foot sighting near Rockport. Saturday evening ducking hunting.... This monster walks out I got a quick picture before it notice us and ran back into the marsh. The low tides may have brought him/her out of the marsh.

Here's the picture:
I know what you are thinking, "That could be anything!" You are right of course, which is why I am not worried. To date, the "official" Bigfoot Research Society does not recognize any sasquatch sightings in Aransas County. So we may all sleep soundly tonight.Thanks to Bobby Albin for info! I'll keep everyone posted on further developments.

Baby Jones Update: Gender Determined

So we went to the doctor this morning and sat through a 20 minute, extremely thorough sonogram. They measured every part of the baby and took all the necessary pictures for the doctor to examine. Right away the child spread its legs to give us a shot of the goods. The nurse told us the gender and then qualified it by saying that she was one of the most accurate technicians around. While she would be not be 100% sure, she was pretty reliable. Kim went into a story of how she heard that determinations could be wrong about 50% of the time, and how she has known several people who were told one thing and it turned out be something else entirely. I think this rattled the nurse who then back-tracked and refused to make a determination, after she had announced here initial findings. She didn't want to throw off her batting average, apparently.

The doctor looked everything over and said that both Kim and the baby are doing extremely well, and everythink looks good, is in the right p…

Christmas Morning

So the day began with Michael coming out and finding all the gifts under the tree. We was, surprisingly, very restrained. We even had time to eat breakfast before we opened presents. Just a guess, but I don't think we will be able to do that next year.

Michael opened his stocking first. My mother puts things in all our stockings.



Here's one of my favorite picture. Michael insisted that my father read his new Bible story book to him right on the spot. Everything shut down until they were finished.



Here's Michael and Daddy putting the finishing touches on his new work bench. The Blevins family in Sherman once got Michael a set of tools and a hard hat. Since then he has been quite a worker. He is more handy than Daddy at this point. Bring us your work, but he isn't cheap.


Here's Michael and my mother decorating Christmas cookies. I want include pictures of them being devoured. Some things are better left to the imagination.


Here's Michael attacking my brother. They …

A New Year

In Psalm 139, David elaborates on the humbling reality of how well God knows us. Consider these verses from the psalm...

O LORD, you have searched me
and you know me.
You know when I sit and when I rise;
you perceive my thoughts from afar.

You discern my going out and my lying down;
you are familiar with all my ways.
Before a word is on my tongue
you know it completely, O LORD.
All the days ordained for me
were written in your book
before one of them came to be.
How precious to me are your thoughts, O God!
How vast is the sum of them!
Were I to count them,
they would outnumber the grains of sand.
Search me, O God, and know my heart;
test me and know my anxious thoughts.
See if there is any offensive way in me,
and lead me in the way everlasting.


It occurs to me that because God knows us so well, as we begin this new year we should humbly seek Him the way David did and ask Him to lead us into His perfect will. Rather than make your typical New Year's Resolutions, why not ask God what He has in mind …