Category Archives: Musings

Fresh and seasoned thoughts about the practice of Sabbath.

Sign Up for Our Walk Across Texas Challenge

Walk Across Texas Map

I received a message from Dr. David Birdsong over at Southside Baptist Church is Port Neches last week.  He, and his congregation, have challenged us to a Walk Across Texas this summer.

I accepted that challenge and I want to extend it to you.  We have till Labor Day to walk, jog or crawl 838 miles, the distance from here to El Paso.

You don’t have to walk all of those miles by yourself.  We are forming 8 person teams, and each team is responsible for walking a combined total of 838 miles.

You can walk at the track.  You can walk at the gym. You can walk around your neighborhood.  You can walk to the fridge and back.  Just log your miles and turn those into your Team Captain(for Team Captain opportunities, see below).

My goal is to have at least 10 teams.  This is not limited by age or ability.  We are going to cheer each other on and pray for one another along the way.  There will be occasions to learn from one another and to grow closer as a church family.

Sign Up.

Below, you will see the electronic Sign Up Sheet.  Put in your information and we’ll assign you to a team.

Speak Up.

I hope you will share your progress on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.  Be sure to use the Hashtag #WAT2015.

Start Up.

Start walking as soon as you sign up. The clock is ticking.  Time is running out.  Start logging those miles.  Help your team and help your church.

Current Sign-up Sheets

No sheets available at this time.

 Team Captains Needed…

At the bottom of the Sign Up Sheet is a space for 10 Team Leaders.  Consider being your Sunday school department’s leader in this challenge.  Recruit team members from your class.  Pick a team name.  Support our cause as we look forward to a healthier church over the coming months.

Walking Shoes

On This Day 20 Years Ago…

20 years ago today, a couple of kids became a family. They didn’t know what they were getting into. Through the support of their families, and an enormous dose of grace from God, they stuck together and remain together today. 

  

I can’t say I remember the specific vows we took, but I remember being absolutely committed to them. I’m sure they sounded something like this: 

“I, Jason, take thee, Kristi, to be my lawfully wedded wife…”

It starts to sound pretty official when you say it that way. There is a piece of paper in a courthouse in Central Texas that can verify to the world that Jason and Kristi are legally man and wife. 

“…To have and to hold, from this day forward…”

I still have her and I still love to hold her and I don’t see that stopping. 

“…For better or for worse…”

I don’t know if it can get any better than what it’s been. Love drowns out the Worse and makes everything Better

“…For richer or for poorer…”

We’ve always been rich in love. Nothing else has really mattered. 

“…In sickness and in health…”

We’ve been very fortunate in this regard. Nothing more serious than stomach bugs or sniffles have tested our resolve. I think the worst kind of sickness we could face would be the heart sickness that comes from being apart. 

“…From this day forward and forever more, till death do us part.”

I do. I do. I still do! 

Today is day one of the next 20 years. 


A Charge to Our 2015 Graduates

I Charge You…

  

…to be vigilant about your purity before God. 

…to make a priority of participating with God’s people in God’s Kingdom. 

…to abandon all other causes, concerns and ambitions until you have made God’s desires for you, your desires for yourself. 

If you will do these…say Amen. 

“But blessed is the one who trusts in the Lord, whose confidence is in him. They will be like a tree planted by the water that sends out its roots by the stream. It does not fear when heat comes; its leaves are always green. It has no worries in a year of drought and never fails to bear fruit.”
Jeremiah‬ ‭17‬:‭7-8‬ NIV

Sage Words for our Graduating Seniors

In preparation for our graduation recognition service, I asked a good friend of mine, Carolyn Wilkinson, if she would offer our graduating high school seniors some advice. I was so blessed by her words that I felt compelled to share them here.

From Carolyn:

When I was asked to say a few words, I had no idea what to say to you as you begin your life after high school. Then I remembered a Facebook conversation on this very subject. These are some comments from my college classmates—now friends.

Study and be yourself!

Never underestimate the value of a college education. You will be with those who will be making changes all over the globe.

Don’t take yourself too seriously and realize that homesickness affects everyone. Be grateful for the college experience as it’s happening… and study with others.

Don’t be afraid of the faculty. Get to know them and let them know you. (This is much easier with some than others.)They have experiences and expertise that you need not only at school but later in life too.

Get involved and get to know other students. Your life-long best friends will come from college days. Lean on each other, support each other and study together.

Best advice: Give continuous effort to developing deep relationships with as many students and teachers as you can. Next: be actively involved in local church ministry (and or the Baptist Student Ministry) and be a dependable member of the fellowship; not just in a circle of the students, make church a priority, work hard both on and off campus. But, don’t forget to have fun.

Get involved. Stay on the weekends (if you are living on campus). Make friends. It’s a great time to get an education

Enjoy college, don’t stress out on making straight A’s, get involved with sports, music, drama and making friends for life , and you might even find that person you will spend the rest of your life with, and lastly serve and honor the Lord .

Don’t limit your circle of friends to those you are around all the time. Branch out and cross into other groups to get to know a variety of people. Education isn’t just academics. It’s a time to explore possibilities. Don’t limit yourself to your known talents. Try something new. Get involved on and off campus. Enjoy!!

Involve yourself in campus life…pour yourself into the lives of those around you and let them pour into you.

Don’t drop out. Have Fun. Love Each Other.

Have fun and write down the stories (they will be fun to remember years down the road—you may need little reminders then as to what really happened)! Love Jesus and love others with all you are!

Don’t be afraid to try something new and don’t be afraid to change your course. It took 4 years to learn I didn’t want to be a teacher. (Actually, I was pretty sure earlier than that, but too stubborn to adjust my course.) I still learned many things and made many friendships that I treasure. So thankful for my college experience!

Go to class

Take a course you don’t need to take for the joy of learning. Complete an internship or applied course. Ask questions, lots of questions. Don’t ever stop asking questions. Read books you are not required to read. Develop a skill that you didn’t have going into college. Collect memories, this experience will not come again. Make friends for life. Grow in faith.

Do not choose a major your freshman year…you will change your mind a few times. FINISH your degree. Have fun!

Don’t STOP!

Don’t go back home the first day! It will get better, and you will have the time of your life!

Study but take time to meet new friends and don’t give up after just a few weeks. It gets better after 3 or 4 weeks so please don’t give up!!

And lastly as Proverbs 3:5 says, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart. Lean not on your own understanding!”

 

Great words from a great lady to a great graduating class. Thanks Carolyn!

You Must Dig Deep to Grow Tall

But blessed is the one who trusts in the Lord, whose confidence is in him. They will be like a tree planted by the water that sends out its roots by the stream. It does not fear when heat comes; its leaves are always green. It has no worries in a year of drought and never fails to bear fruit.”  Jeremiah‬ ‭17‬:‭7-8‬ 

 

Roots Come Before Fruit

The greater the tree, the greater the roots must be. 

What is above the ground is supported by what is within the ground. 

When the connection between the roots and the branches is healthy, fruit will come in its season. 

Our life in Christ mirrors the life of trees. 

When we lose touch with our connection to God, our life withers. But through spiritual disciplines, especially those that are inward and private, our life grows. 

God causes us to produce spiritual fruit in proper proportion to our faith. 

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.  Galatians‬ ‭5‬:‭22-23‬ NIV

To cultivate spiritual fruit, maintain the disciplines of prayer, study and worship. These disciplines stretch the roots of our soul and feel our heart, our mind, and our Christian imagination. 

Roots and Hidden Disciplines

For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God.  Colossians‬ ‭3‬:‭3‬

Jesus warned against performing our spiritual disciplines for others to see and admire. He chastised the hypocrites’ desire for praise from men through their praying, fasting, and acts of charity.   

Jesus said: 

But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you. ‭

To grow in Christ is to focus on the hidden parts of our lives: the places our true character reveals itself.  

To hide in Christ is not to hide our faith from the world, but to maintain a focus on God. He is the source of our life. 

For in him we live and move and have our being.  Acts‬ ‭17‬:‭28‬ NIV

Strong Roots Keep Us Secure In Difficult Times

The tree whose roots grow deep beside the stream never has to fear the drought. 

Any tree or herb or grass can flourish in the wet years. But only the trees with roots that touch the hidden aquifers will thrive in the dry years. 

Plant deep roots before the wind blows or the clouds hold back their moisture. 

Make God your delight before the times of hardship come. 

 

A Memorial Day Offering

So the three mighty warriors broke through the Philistine lines, drew water from the well near the gate of Bethlehem and carried it back to David. But he refused to drink it; instead, he poured it out before the LORD. “Far be it from me, LORD, to do this!” he said. “Is it not the blood of men who went at the risk of their lives?” And David would not drink it. Such were the exploits of the three mighty warriors.
2 Samuel 23:16-17

Do you remember King David’s Mighty Men? They were fearless in battle. Their feats are legendary.

The Bible records the exploits of the Mighty Men who gathered around King David. We are given vignettes of their adventures to memorialize them.

In a moment of nostalgia, while his force was under siege, David lamented about how he longed for some of the water from Bethlehem, his hometown. David’s enemy, the Philistines, were gathered there in strength.

Lesser men would have heard David’s lament and joined him in pining for the comforts of home. But there were extraordinary men present. Three of them placed their own lives in extreme peril to satisfy the thirst of their king.

When the three Mighty Men returned from breaking through the Philistine line and offered David the water he longed for, he could not drink it. David was so moved by their courage that he offered the water to the Lord. When David considered the risk they bore, he felt unworthy of their offering.

Today, on Memorial Day, we remember the Mighty Men and Women who gave their lives in battle for this country. As David poured out his water to God as a memorial to the blood of his Mighty Men, we join Americans across this land in lifting up prayers to God for our Mighty Men and Women.

We Honor Commitment

We pause today to honor the commitment of our fallen soldiers. Sacrifice begins with commitment: Commitment to our country, Commitment to the cause of freedom, Commitment to convictions.

We Honor Courage

Our freedom hangs upon a thread of courage. May the strength of our courage always rise in the face of danger.

We Honor Sacrifice

Our liberties are not only the result of Patriot Dreams, but of soldiers’ blood. Hallowed is the ground that receives the blood of freedom’s martyrs. Blessed are the people who live because of the sacrifice of others.

 

O beautiful for heroes proved In liberating strife,
Who more than self their country loved,
And mercy more than life!
America! America! May God thy gold refine
Till all success be nobleness,
And ev’ry gain divine!

The Good News about the Bad News

Bad news sells papers.

Consider this bit of bad news I found in last week’s Houston Chronicle:

And guess what: the bad news only got worse as I continued through Section 1 of the newspaper.

Oh My Gosh!

Christians disappearing from America!

Sea levels rising!

Pictures of polar bears in peril!

I don’t know if I can take any more bad news.

I had to throw the paper away after I saw the Rangers were 8.5 games behind the Astros in the AL West. The world just doesn’t feel right.

I think that feeling must be a clue to something bigger.

You can’t trust feelings. Feelings, especially the kinds of feelings you get from reading bad news, leave you desperate and exhausted. Feelings distort reality. Feelings are fickle. Feelings, particularly negative feelings, make me fret and worry.

I can’t control the news, but I can control how I respond to it. I can wallow in pity or I can choose to respond with hope.

Granted, changing the way I feel doesn’t change the facts. But overcoming my feelings helps me to engage the world, and the bad news, in ways that give witness to what I believe.

I don’t believe the world needs more people to say they are Christian. I believe the world needs more people to live like they are Christian. 

There are plenty of Nominal Christians living like Non-Christians to give Committed Christians a bad name. If the dwindling number of Identified Christians would live up to their confessed faith, the entirety of Christianity would improve.

I believe these are exceptional times for Christians to share their faith, values and hopes. 

Christian forgiveness stands out in stark contrast to carnal vengence.

Pleas for peace are heard among calls for violence.

Self Sacrifice is a sharp rebuke to a culture that promotes selfishness.

I believe Christians have to learn to swim in uncharted waters. 

Since the sea is rising, the edges of the map are changing. The world is shrinking. Polar bears are going to invade South America.

Interestingly, the Social Waters we navigate are changing the Landscape of our culture as well. Rather than escaping the rising tide (like I hope the  polar bears do) we must grow where we are planted.

Swimming is not an option!

On a final note….

We are one step closer to Cuban cigars coming back to the USA.

That has very little to do with the previous information, but I took a picture of the headline anyway. I’m trying to make a connection, but every attempt has failed. I may have to publish a follow up post as soon as inspiration strikes.

The sad thing is….as good as this news about the normalization of relations between Cuba and the U.S. might be for cigar aficionados, I can’t seem to force myself to care. I’m too consumed with my plans for a future “polar bear Christian dude ranch.” It’s not a real thing right now. But times are a’changing.

 

God’s Family Tree

After all, if you were cut out of an olive tree that is wild by nature, and contrary to nature were grafted into a cultivated olive tree, how much more readily will these, the natural branches, be grafted into their own olive tree!
NIV Romans 11:24

God Likes Trees.

I like trees, too.

There are things that I didn’t know you could do with trees until just this week. I hope God likes YouTube, because I had to refer to YouTube to find out about Tree Grafting.

Tree Grafting is not a typical biblical subject. In fact, the word for Graft or Grafted only occurs 6 times in the Bible. All of those occurrences are found in Romans 11. I thought this was interesting, so I tracked down further information.

Romans 11 isn’t the only place arboreal terms are used to describe the Family of God. Jesus was somewhat of a dendrologist (thank the thesaurus for that word).

“I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener.”
John 15:1

God used a metaphor of a tree to foretell Jesus’ birth and reign as Messiah

A shoot will come up from the stump of Jesse; from his roots a Branch will bear fruit.
Isaiah 11:1

So what does this mean for us?

We are part of God’s Family Tree through God’s work of Grafting. This is a powerful image to consider.

  • We were broken. God picked us up.
  • We were lifeless. God gave us new life.
  • We were hopeless. God connected us to a source of undying hope.
  • We were fruitless. God’s Grafting makes us fruitful.

    “I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.”
    NIV
    John 15:5

When we come into the Family of God, we are not joining a club, or becoming part of an organization. We are connecting to a living body, a dynamic organism, a life sustaining system. God attaches us to his Family to care for us, nurture us, and bless us.

This weekend at FBC Nederland, we’re reflecting on our place in God’s Family Tree. We’re remembering God’s work of grafting that brought us into the family. And we are celebrating the vitality we have in the Spirit of God that flows through us.

Remember the words of the 1st Psalm as it talks about the man who delights in the law of the Lord:

He is like a tree planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in season and whose leaf does not wither. Whatever he does prospers.
NIV Psalm 1:3

7 Little Gifts for Mom


Mother’s Day is upon us!

You did get the flowers ordered, didn’t you?

You picked up the card on the way home from work, didn’t you?

You went to the jewelry store and bought the just-right piece of bling that says “You Are The Most Awesome Mom In The Universe,” right?

It may be too late for those kinds of gifts, if they are not already in hand.

But that doesn’t mean you have to give up on impressing Mom on Mother’s Day. Moms love their kids more than the stuff their kids get them. Stuff isn’t important.

Did you know that it’s in the Bible that you have to take your Mom to church on Mother’s Day? I didn’t know that either.

As I was studying for the Mother’s Day message, I came across this verse from the book of Leviticus.

Each of you must respect your mother and father, and you must observe my Sabbaths. I am the LORD your God.
NIV Leviticus 19:3

…Respect Mom (and Dad, too)…and Observe my Sabbaths…

…Mother’s and Sabbath Day…

…Take Mom to Church on Mother’s Day…Mother’s Day just so happens to be the Lord’s Day when Christians practice Sabbath.

It’s a No Brainer. You have to take Mom to church on Mother’s Day, if you can.

Whether or not you’ve bought that special gift for Mom yet, or whether you are taking her to church or not, here are some ideas for Little Gifts for Mom. If you adhere to this list, you’re going to score some major Mother’s Day points!

Here’s what All Mom’s want on Mother’s Day:

A Little Respect

Go ahead and plan for extravagant respect. It is Mother’s Day after all. If you will up your respect game just a little, the rewards will be tremendous.

A Little Gratitude

This should come easily. I bet you can make a list a page long in the next 5 minutes of things that mom does that don’t often elicit thanksgiving. Moms are professionals at doing the little things that make our lives easier.

 Her children arise and call her blessed…NIV Proverbs 31:28 

A Little Consideration

Sometimes it’s not just the stuff mom does that is overlooked. Sometimes Mom is overlooked. That doesn’t go over well on Mother’s Day. Mom deserves to be front and center in our thinking on Mother’s Day. Don’t do anything that doesn’t involve her in some way.

A Little Time

Did you know that more phone calls are made on Mother’s Day than on any other day of the year? Would mom prefer you be there in person? Sure. But if you can’t be there with her, at least give her some of your time with a phone call, Skype, or Facetime chat.

Big warning:::Text Don’t Count on Mother’s Day (Unless you have lost your voice and you lives a thousand miles away from your special Mom ladies).

A Little Grace

Moms make mistakes, too. Moms aren’t perfect. Give Mom a little Grace on Mother’s Day of all days!

A Little Prayer

Take a moment to honor Mom through prayer. Ask God to bless her in a special way. Thank God for the blessings that have come to you through your Mom. You don’t even have to tell Mom you prayed for her. Just do it. And keep on doing it regularly. You’ll find many benefits from praying for Mom and all the other important people in your life.

A Little Encouragement

Moms need a pat on the back just like the rest of us. Brag on her. Show her your support. Ramp up the kindness. Go all out. It’s Mother’s Day for crying out loud!

 

Everyone gets a carnation on Mother’s Day at FBC Nederland. Come by and celebrate the blessings of God that come through mothers as we gather for worship this Sunday.

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A Novice Foodie Blog: The Green Molly

You know I can’t pass up a food truck when Kristi and I are out and about. Same is true for a food trailer. And you can include food carts, food buggies, and food tents. 

But now you can add a more exotic food purveyor to your list of things I can’t pass up: A Food Trolly!

I’ve never seen a food trolly until today. 

Kristi and I went to Winnie to shop around at Larry’s Old Time Trade Days. You can find just about anything under the sun there. We loved walking among the vendors, sifting through mounds of antiques and chatting with folks from all over this part of the country. 

The biggest attraction for us, though, was stumbling across this beauty of a Food Trolly. 

   

 

She’s called The Green Molly. 

  

The Redwines of Nederland bought her some time back and equipped her to deliver deliciousness. 

Pat and Trisha Redwine invited us in to see their setup and let us watch as they crafted our feast. 

  

The Green Molly has an eclectic feel. She started out on the streets of San Fransico years ago. She made her way by stages to South East Texas. 

The heart of their menu is the panini sandwich. 

  

Now let me be honest with you, when I hear of a shop selling paninis, I usually pass on by. I like paninis, but they usually leave me hungry for more. What is it with panini shops that serve undersized sandwiches? 

Put any misgivings about paninis aside when you cross paths with The Green Molly. Pat was putting together the sandwiches today. I ordered a ham and turkey on whole wheat and Krisit got the same, but on sourdough. Pat started with THICK cut bread. The sourdough was pre-cut and the whole wheat she cut herself. I could have made a meal of just the bread she put together for our sandwiches. 

My eyes really got big when she started putting together the insides of the panini. Pat piles on layers of American and Mozzarella cheese. Then  came generous portions of turkey and ham. The panini grill was begging for mercy when she placed those two sandwiches in the cooker. 

   

 

When Pat served up the paninis, the cheese was soft and warm, but not runny. The meat steamed just a little as I pried the halves apart. The panini grill puts a nice crust on the bread. 

Did I mention that they were serving these magnificent paninis with fresh made tomato basil soup? 

These paninis were perfect for dipping. The bread was substantial enough to soak in great draughts of creamy awesomeness. This was comfort food on steroids. 

After eating 90% of my sandwich and 25% of Kristi’s, I was about to pop. 

I forgot to mention one other little detail: Trisha was working the smoothie machine today. She served us up cups of Strawberry, Piña Colada, and Vanilla Ice Cream Smoothies. We tried some of all of them in addition to a Chocolate Ice Cream smoothie you can see me enjoying here. 

  

Kristi’s Take on The Green Molly

Jason has blog-hogged leaving only the desserts to be talked about, but I can TALK about the desserts. He got a head start while I changed into my elastic shorts to be comfortable enough to write. Our lunch experience was that serious.  

 Key Lime Pie 

 I’ve accused Jason of loving coconut pie the best because the rest of the family doesn’t…..which means that even if there’s a whole pie, he doesn’t have to share.  That’s the way I feel about key lime pie. I had a slice today. It was smooth and creamy and perfectly tart served with fresh blueberries and strawberries. I sigh just thinking about it. I was good and shared with Jason. It was easy because Trisha was standing in front of me with a slice of chocolate explosion.  

 Chocolate Explosion 

 This slice of love is a crushed Oreo crust topped high with cool chocolate mousse with surprise bites of MORE chocolate. My words are inadequate. Just trust me. The chocolate explosion was an experience.  

 S’mores Panini 

 I’ve saved the best for last. When they mentioned “a chocolate sandwich” I was skeptical. But as soon as the scent of warm cinnamon bread wafted my way, I was a believer. 

The S’mores Panini is two slices of crusty cinnamon bread sheltering a delicious chocolate spread, crushed Oreos and melted marshmallows. I would come closest by describing it as a designer brownie, but I’ve never had anything like it.  

 I know what you’re thinking. We had three desserts today.  It’s really much worse if you count the ice cream drinks we had. But the heart wants what the heart wants…..and my elastic shorts are forgiving. 

In Conclusion

I love eating food served by friendly people in a festive atmosphere. The Trade Days over in Winnie occur every first weekend that follows the first Monday of a month. That sounds a little confusing, but you can click on the link in the top of this post to see their full schedule and find out valuable information. 

Tell the Redwines we said Hi when you go by. They are sweet people and you’ll love the food. 

You never know what you are going going to come home with when you go to a trades day event. Here’s a picture of me and my new friend. I’m thinking she would look good in my yard. What do you think?