Jul 31, 2009

No, Mr. President

more about "No, Mr. President", posted with vodpod

Jul 29, 2009

Greetings from Alex City...

Well, after a very busy hectic last few weeks, I have finally arrived at my new post as Senior Pastor of Sixth Street Baptist Church in Alexander City, AL. I've unloaded the books and set up the office. Now, I am spending some moments getting to know the staff, enjoying the occasional visit from a church member coming to say "Hi" to the new pastor, and trying to understand the culture and ministry of my new ministry home. Alison, the boys, and I have been so warmly greeted and welcomed by a great group of wonderful people. We are in a temporary housing situation until our home in Alabaster sells. Please pray for a timely sell so that we can establish a more normal routine as soon as possible.

Also pray for me to establish a new, healthy ministry routine. I now need to find the balance between crafting sermons (Sunday AM and PM), visiting members and hospitals, leading a staff, leading my family, and becoming a pastor. I am looking forward to it.

I hope to be able to make more strategic posts to this site about the lessons that God is teaching me as well as use it to help communicate with the members of my new church. I'll also continue to post my usual rants and raves about the Bulldogs and the Red Sox. Right now, I am not too happy with either of them, so in the interest of being "pastoral", I will keep my opinions to myself for a while.

Jul 18, 2009

Updates On My Crazy World

Hey guys. Been a few weeks since I last posted. Basically because I have spent the last three weeks totally changing much of my professional and family world. On June 28, I preached at and accepted the call to become the next Senior Pastor at Sixth Street Baptist Church in Alexander City, AL. It's been a long and emotional journey the last 9+ months. Last fall, I spent some time in prayer and consulting several mentors about some discontent in my spirit and calling to serve God's kingdom. I was affirmed by many others that God was possibly calling me to step out and seek to serve as the pastor and chief shepherd of a local church. After months of prayer, telephone calls with friends and mentors, and several interviews with a number of churches, God has now opened a new door for me to serve the Kingdom.

This transition was huge for me on a number of levels. First, I am leaving behind a church family and group of co-workers at Westwood that I have served alongside of for twelve and a half years. When I came to Westwood in 1996, I prayed that God would allow me to have a ministry of longevity. It has been a dream come true. The people of Westwood invested a lot in me, allowed me to work though my own maturation process in ministry, and gave me a forum to develop my leadership and communication skills. It is one of the best churches in the state of Alabama. We've seen phenomenal growth over the last 12 years. I have had a lifetime of ministry experiences at summer camps, building houses in Mexico, doing mission in Honduras, visiting people in hospitals, and doing weddings and funerals. I have had relationships with hundreds of students and hundreds of other church members who trusted me and sought out my spiritual insights. Westwood will always have a fond place in my heart. Last Sunday, July 12, was my last as a member of Westwood. I had a huge moment driving off the campus for the last time. This past Thursday, I packed my books and locked my door for the last time. It was a difficult, but rewarding experience.

In addition, this transition is huge for my family. My tenure in Alabaster brought me a wife and three boys. Alabaster is the only home they have ever known. Alison and I have had great relationships with the neighbors on my cul-de-sac. We've also met dozens of other parents through our involvement with kids sports. I didn't get to say goodbye to most of these people from the community. I regret that deeply and if you are reading this, please know that I will miss you.

Now my kids have to learn a new school system. They will have a different experience on Sunday mornings at church. My wife is walking away from her job as a NICU nurse and will probably be working at something else soon. We've spent the last three weeks doing a lot of work to prepare our home to sell. Now, on the verge of moving my family and assuming the pulpit for God's church, I find myself filled with a mix of excitement, anxiety, awe, and gratitude. My prayer is that my family will find Alexander City to be as much of a home as the one they are now leaving. I also pray that I will be a faithful steward of God's Word, a leader of His church, and proclaimer of the gospel. Don't know what the next few years will have in store, but it should be quite a ride.

More updates coming soon...

Jul 1, 2009

Most Memorable Sports Moment #4

Team USA Beast Russia

Do you believe in miracles? Yes. Now I know that there is a theological understanding of miracles that would never apply to a hockey game. However, given the scope of the United States upset over Russia in 1980, that is the closest thing outside of an act of God that can be considered a miracle. Most people would consider this to be one of the top sports moments on any list.

At the time of this event, I was 12 and didn't fully understand the global hockey situation. As a teenage boy from New Hope Mississippi, we didn't see much hockey in those pre-ESPN days. As a matter of fact, I didn't watch it on TV and really didn't think it was a huge moment the first time I saw the highlights. It wasn't until I heard the background story and later saw the movie Miracle that I really began to understand what this group of college kids was up against in the professional Russian hockey team. The Russian hockey team had won all but one Olympic ice hockey gold medals since 1956. The year before the Olympics, the Russians defeated an NHL All-Star team 6-0. In addition, the decades of the Cold War tension between the US and Russia and the potential of the later on US boycott of the Summer Games in Moscow added a lot of fuel to an already brewing fire. The US Olympic coach, Herb Brooks, had played on the 1964 and 1968 US hockey teams and almost made the 1960 team, the only one who had won the gold medal. Brooks had a consuming passion to beat the Russians which translated into a fiery determination that pushed his young college guys harder than they had ever worked.

The week before the Olympics, the Russians defeated the US kids 10-3 in an exhibition game. No one gave the US a chance, except them. The US fought back from a 2-1 deficit to tie it at the end of the first period. The Russian coach pulled Vladislav Tretiak, the best goaltender in the world, at the start of the 2nd period. The Soviets scored again to take a 3-2 lead. The US tied it again at 8:39 into the third period and team captain Mike Eruzione fired the lead goal with 10 minutes left to play. The US goaltender, Jim Craig, made a series of incredible saves to keep the US lead and secure the victory. The most incredible upset, potentially in the history of sports, had just taken place. Few remember that this was actually not the gold medal game, but got the US in the medal round game against Finland later on to secure the gold medal. However, the real scoop was the incredible upset that will forever live on in sports lore.

Now excuse me. I have to go put "Miracle" in the DVD player.