Category Archives: Musings

Fresh and seasoned thoughts about the practice of Sabbath.

Daddy/Daughter Day 2014

Earlier this week I published Hallie’s photographic journey through the church. We enjoyed a wonderful day together of ministry. You were able to see her unique perspective of the church and hear her words of inspiration about what the church means to her. If you didn’t see her article, click HERE to go there now.

I had my own picture journey in mind. I hope you will forgive the “Selfies” the follow. I’m proud of my daughter and the woman that she is becoming, so I can’t help but shamelessly brag a little bit.

We started our day a little bit early. There is always a lot to do on a Monday morning.

We left the house while the shadows were long and the sun still low on the horizon. There is always much ministry to be done on a Monday after a good weekend of worship and service.

Our text for the previous Sunday was from Isaiah 40: “Comfort, comfort my people,” says your God. Our goal for the day was to share the comfort we’ve received from God with others.

 

 

Since the moment Kristi and I moved to Nederland, we felt the sense of small town warmth. When you run to the store, you get to visit with people you know. When you are at the bank, you’re liable to meet folks you go to church with. In the shops and on the sidewalks, smiles and pleasant greetings abound.

That’s the kind of culture we love.

Culture is not an accident. A community’s culture is tended and protected by its leaders.

I had the privilege of introducing Hallie to Mayor Nugent Monday morning. He has always been an encouragement to me personally, and a supporter of the churches in Nederland.

Scripture calls us to pray for our leaders, so I encourage you to join with me in praying for the leaders of our community, or county, our state and our nation.

It’s hard to do good ministry on an empty stomach. We made a pit stop at Happy Donuts on our way to make some visits in the hospital.

 

 

There is an important connection to prayer and presence and touch. Outside the Medical Center (our local hospital), there is time capsule. The plaque you can see on the top honors the founding staff, and I suppose the handprints are impressions left by those being honored on the occasion of the grand opening of the hospital.

There is a deeper reminder here for all of us. Healing does not take place without the presence of the Healer. God uses doctors and nurses, friends and relatives, and even preachers and daughters in the healing process. Everyone has a contribution to make. Hallie and I held hands with people we love, we read scripture and we asked God for his blessings.

 

 

You knew food was going to come up again. Just like we did last year on our Daddy/Daughter Day, we went to Ghengis Grill. There is something about the liberty of putting all of our favorite ingredients in a big ole bowl and handing it over to someone else to cook that get’s me and Hallie excited.

The rest of our family members are not big fans of the Grill, so this is mine and Hallie’s special spot.

 

 

The day can’t be all about eating! After lunch we headed back to the office to do our mental and spiritual work. There were email piling up in my Inbox, call on my phone, notes on my desk, and tasks on my To-Do list.

Hallie had a specail project for the afternoon. While I returned calls and answered emails, she toured the church taking picture with Kristi’s camera. I asked her to give her perspecitve to the features of our church campus that have become so familiar to most, that we pass by them wihtout even noticing them.

I think she did a great job, but you can judge for yourself. If you didn’t visiter her article at the beginning of this post, then click here to go there. http://pastorburden.com/?p=1404

 

 

 

It’s wasn’t all work. There was enough play to make it interesting.

 

 

 

 

 

It’s says in the scripture that the Laborer is worthy of their wage. Having that in mind, I warned Hallie that she would not get paid for her serivces for the day, citing some child labor laws that prohibit the paying of minors to do work. That’s my personal interpretation of the law.

Anyway, I felt like she make a good partner for the Monday ministry so her just reward was a trip to Sonic.

I don’t know how much longer Sonic treat will serve as a wage, but I’m going to try to keep that going for as long as possible!

As I was going through my computer picture the other day, I found this one, and remembered the importance, and deep significance, of sharing this time with my Hallie. It’s not just that I love her and enjoy her company. I’m hoping to pass on a spiritual legacy that will live long in her heart. I love this little girl.

 Send me your comments, questions and suggestions to: pastorburden@gmail.com

Hallie’s Picture Journey

I brought Hallie to work with me this morning. She’s been asking to join me for a day of ministry for weeks now. I guess we started this tradition last year. We’re keeping the tradition alive and well this year, as well as throwing some new projects into the mix.

This year I sent her around the church with a special assignment. She took pictures of places and scenery throughout the church campus. I’m glad she did. Coming to work here every day and worshiping here every Sunday, I forget to look at what’s around me. I forget that this place is filled with beauty and meaning. Her insight brings our building into a new light for me, and I hope it does so for you as well.

Here’s what she found:

Stained Glass

These stained glass windows show beauty in worship.
The light that comes from them reminds me of the Light that comes from God.
Without the light of God’s revelation, we would never find salvation.

Church History

The church history is very important because it shows how we are where we are today.
We are thankful for our past and we have learned from it.
Remember from where we came makes us able to find purpose in the present.

 

Fountain in the Courtyard

For with you is the fountain of life; in your light we see light.

Psalm 36:9

 

Flowers

Let the desert and dry region be happy; let the wilderness rejoice and bloom like a lily!
Isaiah 35:1

 

Elevator

The elevator is one of my favorite features of the church. Kids enjoy it, and it makes it easier for the older people to get upstairs.

Show me the way I should go, for to you I lift up my soul.
Psalm 143:8

 

Steeple

Even our steeple point to God!

In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.
Genesis 1:1

 

Holy Place

“Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come, your will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Give us today our daily bread. Forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one.”
Matthew 6:9-13

 

Youth Department

The Summit is an excellent program for teens 7th through 12th grades.
There is worship on Sunday mornings at 9:00 AM and Wednesday evenings at 6:39 PM.
It’s a great place to make friends.

 

Flag

I pledge Allegiance to the flag
of the United States of America
and to the Republic for which it stands,
one nation under God, indivisible,
with Liberty and Justice for all.

Mirror

So God created man in his own image,
in the image of God he created him;
male and female he created them.
Genesis 1:27

 

Resting Place

By the seventh day God had finished the work he had been doing; so on the seventh day he rested from all his work.
And God blessed the seventh day and made it holy, because on it he rested from all the work of creating that he had done.
Genesis 2:2-3

 

Wisdom

…therefore wisdom and knowledge will be given you.
2 Chronicles 1:12

My dad went to seminary for 9 years and gained much wisdom to teach you. Come to Sundays’ services at 10:15 AM!

 

 

Back to Dad….

I’m so proud of Hallie. I hope you enjoy her Journey through the church as much as she enjoyed creating it!

Hallie the Write

You can send Hallie a comment through my email address: pastorburden@gmail.com.

“To bless God is to acknowledge gratefully what he is; but to bless man, God must make of him what he is not, and give him what he has not.”

From David Kinder in the Tyndale Old Testament Commentaries on the Psalms

To Bless the Lord, and Be Blessed By Him

We are called to Bless God. When we Bless God, we do nothing more than speak of who he is and what he does and what he has promised us. When we speak of who he is, in perfection and righteousness and justice and glory, we can’t help but grow in our adoration of him.

It’s hard to talk about God clinically. I remember times in school where we had to discuss a topic or a historical figure, and it all seemed stale and abstract and distant and impersonal. When we speak of God, our God, the God who saves us, the God who created us and loves us, there is nothing clinical or impersonal about Him. He is present to us.

When we Bless him or praise him, it’s difficult to do so without an emotional response. I think that’s why so much of our theology finds its way into our hymns and our music. I think that’s why the book of Psalms, a book of poetry, is the longest book in the Bible. Songs and poetry are better mediums for carrying the weight of emotions and for communicating affection. Sure, they use words and information, just like a magazine article or a newspaper, but magazine and newspaper articles don’t turn into hymns and songs and poetry.


Behold, bless the LORD, all servants of the LORD, Who serve by night in the house of the LORD!
Lift up your hands to the sanctuary And bless the LORD.
May the LORD bless you from Zion, He who made heaven and earth.

Psalm 134

 

Join us tonight at FBC Nederland to savor the poetry of the Psalms.

 

Comments or questions? Drop me a note at pastorburden@gmail.com

An Epidemic of Unity

I started a new book last night called The Tipping Point. It’s about why some things gain great popularity and some things don’t. It’s not exactly a business book and it’s not exactly a social psychology book. Frankly, I’m not far enough along in the book to tell you what it is. BUT, there was an interesting metaphor in the first section. The author says that social phenomena spread like viruses. The things that catch on and gain popularity become sensational hits because they are contagious.

I’ve never heard the word contagious used in a positive way. It always seems to be used in the context of colds and flus and stomach bugs.

Evidently there is another way to use the word contagious, and it’s positive. Good things (ideas, attitudes, habits, etc.) can be contagious. That’s why celebrities get the big bucks to make product endorsements. When we see a sports star use a certain product, let’s say Old Spice Deodorant, it makes people want to go try that product.

Hey, if that sweaty football star uses is it, maybe I should, too!”

Other things catch on at a more grassroots level. Have you ever heard of a shoe company called Zappos.com? I hadn’t either until they were bought out by Amazon.com for $1.2 billion a few years back. They purposefully did not advertise much so they could focus their money and their energies on making customers crazy happy through great service. It paid off, BIGTIME. They sell over a Billion Dollars in shoes every year, and I’ve yet to see an advertisement from them. It’s all word of mouth. One customer will brag to their friends about the awesome experience they had with this obscure online shoe company, and then those friends try it out. The business has grown almost entirely from word of mouth recommendations.

In our Psalm for this Wednesday night, there is an image of something that I hope can be contagious. The Psalm is about Unity and compares Unity to the oil used to consecrate priests.

If you read through the Old Testament, you’ll come across many reference to oil. It’s used in all sorts of religious acts and many of them require oil to be poured on people.

I’ve never had an anointing with oil. There was one time that I drank some cooking oil by mistake and spit it back up on myself, but that was about as close as I’ve come to being anointed with it.

When I read the part about the oil running down Aaron’s head, onto his beard and then down his robes, I thought, “What a mess!” It was a messy thing. AND it wasn’t a mess that stayed only with Aaron, either. I’m sure everything, and everyone, he came into contact with got a little bit oily, too.

I think that’s a point the Psalm is trying to make: Unity, like oil, is transferable. It’s Contagious. It has the potential to start an epidemic of Unity and Harmony.

When you are working with people who see themselves as a team, it inspires a team spirit. They can do just about anything they set their minds to. When you have to work with people who are only concerned about themselves, it hampers the enthusiasm of the group AND it limits what they can accomplish together.

There’s no big secret to how to have Unity in a church. It simply takes people who choose to work together. When we choose to work with others, we inspire Unity in the group and we encourage others to join in as well. Our Unity is Contagious.

As an added bonus, the Apostle Paul talks about Unity this way: “May the God who gives endurance and encouragement give you a spirit of unity among yourselves as you follow Christ Jesus, so that with one heart and mouth you may glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.” (Rom 15:5-6)

When we work together, in a Spirit of Unity, God gets the Glory.

On a little side note, there is a place on our church where the first verse of Psalm 133 is inscribed. It’s in a strategic spot, but unless you were around when the church was being constructed, you probably haven’t seen it. It’s written on the very top of the steeple, on what is called the Plumb Bob. At the top of our steeple is a Plumb Bob, a carpenter’s tool that helps keep walls straight up and down. Instead of pointing at the ground, like ever other carpenter’s plumb bobs, ours is pointing straight to heaven. It’s a witness that our true course is not derived from the things of this earth below, but from the maker of heaven and earth above. We can’t pursue God’s will together unless there is Unity amongst the church family.

Church at Sunset

How good and pleasant it is when brothers live together in unity!

It is like precious oil poured on the head, running down on the beard, running down on Aaron’s beard, down upon the collar of his robes.

It is as if the dew of Hermon were falling on Mount Zion. For there the LORD bestows his blessing, even life forevermore.
Psalm 133

 

A Legendary Beast Found in Nederland, Texas. (And Promptly Eaten)

What’s more elusive than Bigfoot?

What’s more dangerous than the Chupacabra?

His Name….

Megahippopotomonstrosastacoidea Robustus. Or in layman’s’ terms, “The Biggest Crawfish I’ve Ever Seen!”


His closest mythical relatives are Leviathan and the Kraken.

I assume by his size that his diet consisted of small alligators, large fish, and Volkswagen Beetles.

And I ate him.

I had reservations about consuming such a glorious beast.

I thought about having him stuffed and placed on the wall in my office. I decided against that since I didn’t want to deal with the hundreds, or even thousands, of people per day who would come by to admire this crawdad and take pictures with him.

I did with him what I had done with his innumerable smaller relatives: I peeled him and I ate him.

Crawfish are best enjoyed when they are hot. Let them get cold and they just don’t taste the same or peel as easily. You have to enjoy them and savor them in the moment.

Some things in life are best enjoyed in the moment.

We had one of those moments at FBC Nederland Sunday night. It was a moment with friends. The crawfish only provided an excuse to get out and get the conversations going.

I think we experienced something Sunday night that the Early Church experienced quite often. In our parking lot, there were people from all walks of life, sitting side by side, sharing life together around tables filled with good food. (The tables were full at the beginning of the night; the people at the end of the night.)

Let’s keep that vision in mind as we gather together, in the name of Christ, for work and worship.

They ate their food with a joyful and humble attitude, praising God and having favor with all the people. And every day the Lord added to them those who were being saved.
Acts 2:26-47

Congratulations! A Season Ends and A New Season Begins.

There is an excitement in the air today that we only experience once a year. For the students in Nederland, it’s their last day of the school year. It’s time to hang up the backpacks and embrace summer vacation!

Congratulations Teachers for another year of hard work!

Congratulations Parents for bearings with your kids through homework and sports and activities and projects and countless other ventures that go into a school year!

Congratulations Students as you proceed to life’s next level, whatever that may be for you!

There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens.
NIV Ecclesiastes 3:1

The Quintessential Expression of God’s Kingdom

Joy is the quintessential expression of the kingdom of God!

There is something about the presence of the Lord and his salvation that evokes joy.  Just like giggles from a tickled child, joy springs forth from the life of a person who has been in the presence of God.

You can’t tickle yourself.  Nor can you Joy yourself.  Joy originates with God. The Joy God gives removes anxiety and pain. It alleviates stress and concern.  Joy strengthens us and fortifies us for the work at hand.

Laughing Child LACMA AC1992.152.144
When the LORD brought back the captives to Zion, we were like men who dreamed. Our mouths were filled with laughter, our tongues with songs of joy. Then it was said among the nations, “The LORD has done great things for them.” The LORD has done great things for us, and we are filled with joy.
Psalm 126:1-3

A Testimony By Jay Hanson

A Brush with Death

Back in March, my friend Jay Hanson had a brush with death.  I can’t relate his story nearly as well as he can.  That’s why I’m thankful Jay shared with the church Sunday morning about his experience.

There are times we assume God is near us, and  times when we absolutely know He is right there beside us.  If God had not been with Jay, Jay would not be here today.

Click on the image below to hear from Jay himself.  I know you’ll be just as encouraged as I was when I heard him share this for the first time.

Jay hanson Testimony

The One My Soul Loves

A long, long time ago, in a land far, far away…


That’s one of the thoughts that float through my mind when I see this picture.

The other thought is, “Who are those kids?” I say that, but Kristi doesn’t look any different to me than she did the day we married! She’s still the one I love.

I’m going to keep her for another 19 years, if she’ll have me. She stole my heart over 20 years ago. She can keep it. I still have hers, and I’m not giving it back.

I have a verse inscribed on the inside of my wedding band. Song of Solomon 3:4, “I have found the one my soul loves.”

That verse is just as true today as it was the day we said “I Do.”