Saturday, December 29, 2007

Pictures from the Holidays

Whitney, Corbin, Caylub & me.




Whitney and me.

Katelynn, Whitney, me.

Katelynn, Whitney, Mom and me.

Katelynn and me.

Thursday, December 27, 2007

A Wonderful Christmas

I had a wonderful trip to Texas this past weekend, my heart is still full of thanks to my God.

I left my office around 1:00 Friday afternoon and began the journey across Missouri. About an hour into my journey I called Elder Adam Green for a visit while on the road. While visiting with him he invited me to stay over at his home on Friday evening. At first thought I said no, thinking it was too much out of the way. After I hung up I began to think about it and realized I'd save an hour on Friday and add it on Saturday so it really wasn't out of the way at all. So I called him back. It'd been about 3 1/2 years since I'd last seen the Green family and I'm ashamed of that! Adam and I have been together a couple times during that time, but I haven't seen his wife and children. It was such a joy to be in their home again and to catch up.

On Saturday morning I awoke bright and early, had a wonderful breakfast of french toast prepared by Adam. I had fun with the kiddos one last moment before I had to hit the road.

I left their home around 9:00 and drove across to Dallas and arrived at Mike Montgomery's about 3:00. I learned on the way that David and his family wouldn't be able to make it until after my departure, so I was a bit disappointed. But since I had the nice surprise of seeing the Green's I couldn't complain too much!

I had a wonderful visit Saturday afternoon/evening/night with Mike, Judy and Caitlin. We laughed, told stories, recounted memories of times past in the great state of Texas. We watched a Dallas Cowboys game, talked more, ate, then went to bed. On Sunday morning their son Daniel arrived and he and I rode to church together. Daniel is a lot of fun and it was good to catch up with him!

Services at Old School were refreshing. It was good to see folks that I hadn't seen in half a decade! I need to get out more! Actually I need to get back to Texas more. Alas, there's no time for that though!

The singing was wonderful, good old gospel standards that I raised singing. Then I attempted to preach on God's faithfulness to deliver us out of all our afflictions (Psalm 34:19). I was thankful that several were encouraged from the message, two sisters in particular have suffered great burdens recently and their minds were comforted and relieved. I love when that occurs, it makes all effort worthwhile. May the Lord be praised.

I ate lunch with the folks and had a fun visit with Mike, Caitlin, Daniel, Mark Rowell & Carol Strayhorn. We heard more stories (very funny ones) from past times, and it was great!

Then I departed and headed to my Dad's. I arrive around 4:00 and we went shopping! Then we went to his house and spent the evening together with my brothers, sister and niece. We told stories of my Papaw (Dad's father) and it was very touching to remember him again.

Monday, my sister, brothers and I went and had pictures taken to give to parents and grandparents. It is the first time ever that the four of us have had a picture taken together. It was fun and I'm glad to have them!

After the pictures I went to my Grandma's and loaded my Great-Grandmother's things to bring her back to IL. Then we headed to Mom's for Christmas dinner with all her family. It was a very good evening of food, family and gifts. I went to bed around 11, then Grandma and I left at 5:30 to come home. We arrived around 5:30 in the evening and were thankful to be home safe.

It was a wonderful trip, but as always, it is good to be home. I was happy and thankful to be back with my flock last night for services, and look forward to the weekend of worship together with them!

I hope you all had a wonderful holiday and look forward with joy and optimism for the year to come.

Friday, December 21, 2007

Going Home to Texas

When I moved to Edwardsville in the fall of '03, I very quickly felt at home in this community. I was thankful and remain thankful that God has so well provided for my wants in every way. As I was leaving St Louis in December of '03 to go to Texas for Christmas, about an hour from Edwardsville I was ready to turn back and go home. I'm such a homebody! I love spending time at home, it's the place I like to be the most. I love to travel, visit friends and family, fellowship with saints in various locations, but as soon as I arrive at my destination I'm ready to go home.

This afternoon, about 1 o'clock I'll be leaving the office and hitting I-44 for the long drive to Texas. I've got a busy weekend ahead of me and will see lots of family, but also friends in the faith. I hope to make it to Oklahoma City tonight and sleepover at a hotel. Then I'll get up early and drive on to Dallas. I hope to arrive in Dallas at around noon and go to the home of Elder Mike Montgomery. It has been nearly five years since I was last in him home and attended his church, so I am very excited. To add to the excitement, Elder David Montgomery and his family (I lived with them for two years) will also be there Saturday and Sunday. Sunday I'll get to see Elder Mark Rowell who is courting a sister at Old School Church so we're looking forward to a very big day together on Sunday. I just can't wait!

Then Sunday afternoon I will drive to my Dad's and he and I will go Christmas shopping together. Then on Christmas Eve I'll have time with my Mom and her family. Christmas Day I will leave to head home and plan to have my Great-Grandmother with me. I'm very excited about her return, and she's planning to be with me at least until May!

I'm looking forward to a wonderful weekend and time with my family, but I'm already missing home. I will miss my flock this Sunday and worshipping together with them. I will miss my Sweetheart, too! I imagine Tuesday's trip home will be lightning fast!!! :-)

I hope all of you have a wonderful Christmas with your families, friends and loved ones. May the Lord Jesus Christ be exalted, and bless you as you praise Him. May we remember the sacrifice of His life to cover our sins, and let us give thanks unto His name!

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Web Link Detailing My Earlier Story...

Exciting Commute

This morning my commute from home to the office was a little out of the ordinary to say the least. Brother Jerry and I generally carpool as we only work about a mile apart from one another. As we entered St Louis by the MLK (Martin Luther King, Jr) bridge and entered the downtown area, a horn sounded at me. Now, I am usually the one sounding a horn and don't take too kindly to being honked at. But as I hear the horn sounding, I also hear the screeching of tires! I braced for impact and was ready as I could be to have my new car smashed, hopefully not to too many pieces.

What happened, you ask?

Thankfully I was not hit...but just a moment later a car sped by. I thought, "well, he's obviously late to work!" I'm sure I probably thought some other not-so-nice things about him, only to find out my negative thoughts of him were justified.

Why, you ask?

Well, a split second later I hear the sound of sirens, then I see a police car speed by. Then another, then another, then another. I think a total of 4. They were chasing this guy through downtown St Louis on Broadway! I wanted to speed up to find out what was happening!

I dropped Jerry off, then proceeded down to Market (you can look at a map of St Louis if you wish) to see two more police cars speed by, so now we're up to 6...Wow, I thought!

So then I see nothing more and come on into the office. A few minutes later I hear the rest of the story...

This young man (17) had kidnapped a 14 year old girl at knife point and was evading the police. An Amber Alert had been issued and they were chasing the criminal down. They caught him! Now the crook is going up the river to spend time behind bars. I thought while he was speeding through downtown that he should be hung in Keiner Plaza for nearly killing I think something even worse should occur. Either way, I hope the judge throws the book at him and sends him to the clink!

So, you see, my commute was extraordinary today, and now I figure the rest of the week's drive will be back to the boring hustle and wait of early morning rush (lol, no rushing about it) hour commute.

Thankfully the young girl is OK, all is well except for the young crook, he'll be sorry...I hope.

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

The Announcement of the Angels

"Luke 2:8-14 describes the angel chorus who appeared to a group of shepherds outside Bethlehem. Do you know why they lit up the entire sky with their presence and their antiphonal voices? They had the incredible honor of announcing the long-awaited arrival of Israel’s promised Messiah and our Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ.

Now consider this: heaven had been silent for four hundred long years before that first Christmas. Can you imagine it? Not a word from God. No fiery revelation from a mountain. Nothing . . . except the deafening echo of “Thus saith the Lord.” If you open your Bible to the page before Matthew 1:1, you’ll probably find a decorative insert or some kind of historical chart to mark the break between the Old and New Testaments. But that small gap in your Bible is huge in terms of history. Four centuries elapsed between God’s final word to the prophets and the birth of Christ.

Because the angels’ announcement broke that long silence, I believe those heavenly messengers couldn’t wait to cut loose! After all, they had been rehearsing since eternity past when the Godhead first designed their plan for the redemption of mankind. They had been told, “Wait.”... “Not yet.”... Finally, God’s command came: “Sing!” Ever since, God’s people have joined in the songs of Christmas, and we haven’t stopped singing yet. I, for one, don’t plan to stop!"

Quote taken from an email from Chuck Swindoll, pastor of Stonebriar Community Church in Frisco, TX, and founder, CEO and speaker on Insight for Living.

Monday, December 3, 2007

…And Fly to Unknown Lands

My soul, come and meditate the day,
And think how near it stands,
When thou must quit this house of clay,
And fly to unknown lands.

This morning, as I am working, as often is the case, a hymn comes to my mind out of what seems to be nowhere. Or, perhaps it is from some “unknown” places, thoughts or meditations. However, such musings are often the joys of my days, in them I find myself often praising my Lord.

How often do you think of death? More importantly, the joy of our Lord that death brings us to? Is it something you meditate about, or do you try to avoid it, and perhaps in your mind delay it?

The scriptures teach that “it is appointed unto men once to die.” Unless we’re alive at the time of the second personal appearing of Jesus Christ our Lord, we will meet the appointment of death.

The hymn-writer invited his soul to spend its meditation immersed in the day that he would quit “this house of clay,” but not necessarily about the manner of death, or state of bodily death, but more than that…he meditated about flying “to unknown lands.” Have you ever let your mind meander along the path of the freedom of quitting this house of clay? Meaning dropping this tabernacle of flesh that influences so much sin in our lives, to pick it up at the last day glorified. Ridding ourselves of this “body of death,” that weighs us down from proper Master service. I love to think of what it will be to let our spirits soar in praise to heights previously unknown. I love to meditate upon a time when my soul will not be bound to this body that prevents perfect praise.

I like the phrase “and fly to unknown lands,” but it is not quite accurate. It’s a land unknown in the sense we’ve not been there, but it is a known land. It is known in the sense that our God is there, our Lord Jesus is there, we will be immersed totally in the Holy Ghost there. Our families are there, our friends, our companions in the brotherhood of Christ. It is home. It is our home. John told us in his gospel that we’ve been born from above, or receive a heavenly birth when “born again,” so we possess a heavenly life, a heavenly nature. In that sense, it is a known land.

Come, my soul, and meditate the day … what a sweet meditation it is!