Sunday, August 31, 2008

Sunday, August 31, 2008

Today we had an awesome time in worship at Cornerstone. We had a Children & Youth Day Worship Celebration; and the children and youth both did an outstanding job. They, along with the volunteers and directors are to be commended for their faithful service and stewardship in this effort and day. I praise the Lord for these people; they make it happen! Another treat was the preaching of God's Word. Rev. Johnny L. Goff, Jr., associate minister of Greater Friendship Baptist Church (I preached revival there earlier this month) brought the word. He came out of II Chronicles chapter 20 and he did an OUTSTANDING job of sharing God's word. It was a message that proved to be timely as well as convicting. I thank the Lord for using him in such a powerful way. His study and character were evident as he shared with us today. Johnny is a good brother whom I have met this past year through different people, ministers and friends. The Lord is allowing us to cultivate a great friendship and commodoree as co-laborers in ministry. Little did I know that, not only did he graduate from Willowridge High School here in the Houston area in '95, but he is also a '99 grad of West Point and was the starting quarterback for the Army Team. He is now enrolled in the College of Biblical Studies here in the Houston area and it is difficult to believe that this young man (whose father is a Pastor) has only been preaching since 2005. I look forward to seeing great things in the life of this minister and doing all that I can possibly can to ensure that he, along with other faithful proclaimers of God's Word, continues to grow and expand.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

An Historic Evening

I have just finished watching the final speech of the DNC; I just can't seem to hold back the tears. I spoke with our church tonight; and I wish to express it here. We as the Christian Church are to dissuade ourselves from taking political sides - atleast that is what we are advised to do in the 21st century. OF course, I can show clearly a myriad of scriptures that show Christ actively involved in social justice, political change and activism. But whether Republican or Democrat, Conservative or Liberal, Left or Right, Black or White - we can not deny the fact that there are significant strides that have been made. A black man is nominated for President of the United States and a white woman recieves OVER 18 million votes and ALMOST wins the nomination. IT doesn't matter if you like these people or their policies, history IS history.

On another note, we as Christian should learn to know a 'tree by the fruit it bears'. It is dangerous when we play a game and try to suggest or pre-suppose that one particular church, organization, party, family, race, or anything - is AUTOMATICALLY God's choice. If there is no fruit or evidence of your 'evangelical' stance and position - then your 'moral majority' may not be moral at all. The bottom line is this - I ask each and every person to LISTEN to what each and every candidate is SAYING and ALSO what they have done.


These are my required books for the semester.

Old Testament I
· Lasor, William Sanford, David Allan Hubbard, and Frederic William Bush. Old Testament Survey. 2d. ed. Grand Rapids, Mich.: William B. Eerdmans, 1977.
· Matthews, Victor H. and Don C. Benjamin. Old Testament Parallels: Laws and Stories from the Ancient Near East. Mahwah, New Jersey: Paulist Press, 1997.
· Merrill, Eugene H. Kingdom of Priests – A History of Old Testament Israel. 9th ed. Grand Rapids, Mich.: Baker Academic, 2006.
· Walton, John H. Chronological and Background of the Old Testament. Revised ed. Grand Rapids, Mich.: Zondervan, 1994.

Hebrew Exegetical Method
· Elliger, K., and W. Rudolph, eds. Biblia Hebraica Stuttgartensia. Stuttgart: Deutsche Bibelgesellschaft, 1997. NOTE: either the small or large print version is acceptable.
· Scott, William R. A Simplified Guide to BHS: Critical Apparatus, Masora, Accents, Unusual Letters & Other Markings. 4th ed. D & F Scott Pub Inc, 2007.
· Brotzman, Ellis R. Old Testament Textual Criticism: A Practical Introduction. Grand Rapids, Mich.: Baker Books, 1994.
· Williams, Ronald J. and John C. Beckman. Williams’ Hebrew Syntax. 3rd ed. Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2007.
· Andersen, Francis I. Habakkuk: A New Translation With Introduction and Commentary. New York: Doubleday, 2001.
· Robertson, O. Palmer. The Books of Nahum, Habakkuk, and Zephaniah. Grand Rapids, Mich.: Eerdmans, 1990.
· Chisholm, Robert. A Workbook for intermediate Hebrew: Grammar, Exegesis, and commentary on Jonah and Ruth. Grand Rapids, Mich.: Kregel Publisher, 2006.
· Koehler, L. and W. Baumgarter. The Hebrew and Aramaic Lexicon of the Old Testament. Study Edition. 2 vols. Leiden: Brill, 2001.or;
· Francis Brown, S. R. Driver, and Charles A. Briggs. The Brown-Driver-Briggs Hebrew and English Lexicon, 1906; reprint, Hendrickson, 1997.

Baptist Heritage

· George, Timothy and David S. Dockery. Theologians of the Baptist Tradition. Nashville, TN: Broadman & Holman, 2001. ISBN 0-8054-1772-9. $24.99
· Hammett, John S. Biblical Foundations for Baptist Churches: A Contemporary Ecclesiology. Grand Rapids, MI: Kregel, 2005.
· Leroy Fitts. A History of Black Baptists. Nashville: Broadman & Holman, 1985. ISBN 0-8054-6580-4. $34.99.
· Torbet, Robert. History of the Baptists, 3rd ed. Valley Forge, PA: Judson Press, 1973, 2000. ISBN 0-8170-0074-7. $25.00

Systematic Theology
Grenz & Olson, Who Needs Theology?, InterVarsity Press, 1996. Plantinga, Not the Way It's Supposed to Be: A Breviary of Sin, Eerdmans, 1995.
Paul Copan & William Lane Craig, Creation Out of Nothing, Baker, 2004.
Thomas Morris, The Logic of God Incarnate, Wipf and Stock, 1986.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008


Because I took 2 semesters off in 2005, I found myself under a new catalogue requirement in the MDiv program. In starting out at SWBTS in 2001, I was required to take 4 semesters of Greek along with 2 semesters of Hebrew.

Fortunately, because I took 4 semesters of Greek at DBU, I only had to take 2 semesters of Greek at SWBTS which I completed. I also completed the 2 semesters of Hebrew back in 2003. I actually made A's in this course. It was so fun because my friends were in this class with me, including Remus & Mia Wright and one of my best friends, Howard Earle, Jr.. Under this new catalogue, I discovered that a new requirement has been ADDED to the MDiv program: HEBREW EXEGETICAL METHOD. This class is designed to teach students how to continue to maintain and utilize their knowledge of the Hebrew language and scripture.

Here is my problem - I have practically forgotten so much in how to read the Hebrew scriptures through. I am completely overwhelmed with this, when considering my other courses, ministry obligations, and family. Please pray for me.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

A New Semester

This week I've been trying to adjust into the rigors of a new semester in seminary. I both love and abhor seminary life. There is absolutely nothing like it - I can not decipher or determine if that is good or bad. Some have re-named it 'semitary'!!! Fortunately, I am in my next to last semester before officially crossing the state in cap and gown. This semester I am taking 14 hours which, for me, is a full load:

Old Testament II (3 hours)
Hebrew Exegetical Method (3 hours)
Baptist Heritage (3 hours)
Systematic Theology I (3 hours)
Spiritual Formation (1)
Applied Ministry - Mentoring (1)

It has often been said that Southwestern Seminary is the 'best seminary in the world'. I think that that statement is a matter of opinion, though it is the largest seminary in the world. The seminary has produced the likes of Joel Gregory, Ralph D. West, E.K. Bailey, Frederick Haynes - to name a few.

I started at Southwestern in the fall of 2001 after graduating from Dallas Baptist. Due to full-time ministry after college, marriage, children, 'pay as you go', starting a new ministry, etc. - it is 7 years later and I am still going. Add to this, Southwestern has a very rigorous program. It is my understanding that many Masters program require 60 or 70 hours, while SWBTS requires 91. Though I could have finished this program in 2004-2005, I am thankful to have attended such a prestigious school. Whether or not I continue my doctoral work there, the experience has impacted my life and ministry. I shall never be the same as a result.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Go Kai...Kinder!!!

Kai Livingston is my wife and I's oldest son. Today I took him to Kinder!!! His teacher's name is Mrs. Payton. And he attends Carelston Elementary here in Pearland. I shall never forget when I first met him March 31, 2003. I love this boy to death; and praise the Lord each day for his health and strength. He is a daddy's boy, for sure. And, of course, his brother is coming around! He reminds me a lot of his mother in so many ways.

Today was kind of hard for me. I am experiencing a lot of milestones...turning 30 y/o, celebrating 8 years of marriage, my first nephew going off to college, etc. I will not say that I cried, but I did have to go to the designated 'Cry Room', so please go figure! Congratulations son, I am SO proud of you. Be a good boy; and always know that we love you and believe in you. Remember that God is faithful; and honor him in all of your way - He will order your steps and direct your path. (Proverbs 3:5-6). I love you! -Daddy

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Go Cowboys!

I must admit that I am a staunch/die hard Dallas Cowboys fan to the core! Eventually, I will have to indoctrinate myself into the culture of the Houston Texas - being I now live in the Houston area and have so lived here for over 7 years now. I was eating dinner with my family yesterday afternoon in Irving when we noticed many people sporting Cowboy jersey's. My wife attempted, non-stop, to convice me that we should go. I had no problem with going; but paying for it was my problem. I just knew the tickets, though still in pre-season, would not be 5 or 10 dollars. We left there and we sort of gravitated to the Texas Stadium. Before we knew it we had our tickets and we were excited about the game, sort of. They just so happened to be playing the Houston Texans. I must say that we were there. This is my first time being to a professional football game; and I am grateful to have now had the experience.

I did learn a few things, however:
1. It's not all it's cracked up to be (It was very hot (no A/C); we had to walk A LOT. When I say a lot, I mean MORE than Disney; people on your row keep coming and going, so you really aren't watching the game) Interestingly, we were close, but you still get a better view of the game on television in your living room.)

2. Men ARE committed. I have read book after book that has said that there are several reasons why men either hate church or do not attend.

....Men aren't committed (They were committed amid the above mentioned things).....Men don't like to spend money in the offering (The prices at the games are outrageous. I saw enough beer to overwhelm Amy Winehouse)

I will not say that I didn't enjoy the experience. I also will not say that I won't be back - I'll take free tickets any day out of the week. But I WILL say - that was money not well spent...PERIOD!

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Las Colinas

On our way home from Oklahoma City, my wife and I decided to take a few days and spend time with our boys before heading back to Houston. We decided to spend some time in Las Calinas (next to Irving, between Dallas and Fort Worth). We are here at the Omni Hotel and, man, what a place! We are now all in our swimming trunks and, though I'm not much of a swimmer, this is all for the family! This will really give me the opportunity to take my mind and heart off of other things and just enjoy spending time with my peeps. We are contemplating what we will do tomorrow. For now the agenda is open and we will head home Saturday. I am not even preaching Sunday; one of our associate ministers will preach this Sunday morning. Of course, this is not all play. Tomorrow I have to go to the seminary in Fort Worth (main campus) in the morning to handle some business and register. I don't want any problems come May 2009, so these last two semesters will be very 'hands on' for me.

Fairview 3

On the last night of revival at Fairview (last night) I shared from John chapter 11, the story of the raising of Lazarus from the dead. More specifically, I dealt with the story from the vantage point of Christ's glory being revealed in all things, which centers around chapter 11 verse 4. The Lord used the message and He allowed me to minimize my need for the manuscript, though I did use a general summary of the entire message and took it with me to the pulpit. It is my prayer that the people of Fairview were both enlightened and encouraged in their walk with the Lord Jesus Christ. It is also my earnest prayer that God was pleased with my availability to be used by Him this week.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Pastor John A. Reed, Jr.

I wanted to add a word to my blog, aside from Fairview - though they are inter-related. It is about Pastor (Dr./Pop) John A. Reed, Jr. I am always amazed and honored to be in this man's presence. Whenever I am around him, I sense I am in the presence of greatness! If you have EVER had the opportunity to meet this great man, then you know what I mean. Here is a man who has a natural gift for leadership; though I often say that leaders aren't born, they are made. This is the rare exception-he breathes leadership. I have know 'Pop' Reed now for 9 years; and to even see him interact with the members of his congregation, in and of itself, is a spiritual experience. He is truly a 'Preacher's Preacher'. Not only this, but he is a "Pastor's Pastor". It is interesting - I ended up at Fairview and meeting Pastor Reed by 'accident'. The guest revivalist for his youth week could not make it at the last minute. Pop Reed remembered his friend (Dr. R.L. Sanders from Fort Worth) mentioning my name in passing; Dr. Reed, in some way, got a hold of my number the day before the youth day began; the next thing I know, my new wife and I were headed to a place, and state, we had never been-Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. Since then, we have grown to love this man and his family. I praise and will forever be indebted to this venerable sage of a Pastor/Preach, Pop Reed.

Reflections in Proverbs 20

In reading my morning devotion in Proverbs 20, several key verses arrested my attention.

Vss. 4 thru 7 reveal, "The lazy man will not plow because of winter; He will beg during harvest and have nothing. Counsel in the heart of man is like deep water, But a man of understanding will draw it out. Most men will proclaim each his own goodness, But who can find a faithful man? The righteous man walks in his integrity; His children are blessed after him".

These verses are, in my view, a powerful exposition and explanation of a man who is faithful, righteous, and prudent in all of his ways.

There seems to be a theme that runs throughout the entire 20th chapter of Proverbs: Perseverance, endurance.

Verse 21 says, "An inheritance gained hastily at the beginning will not be blessed at the end".

Verse 22 says, "...wait for the Lord, and He will save you."

So often we can become discouraged, whether life or ministry, when we are forced to wait. Sowing and waiting can be difficult to say the least. There are times that the Lord will do us as He did Job - forced to wait without any further information. Often we may see others in life and ministry who appear to make it with such ease and rapidity.

If we remain faithful, prayerful, diligent, and people of integrity - HE will reward our labor. If not on THIS side, in the eternal life that awaits us where we will spend eternity with our Savior.

Of course, I am convinced that the Lord is and has raised up people of integrity - who have not bowed to baal nor surrendered their lives or ministries to the status quo. May the Lord help us as we sow diligently in the harvest - during this time of tricks, gimmicks, ministerial hustlers and suspect credentials. As Pastor Rhone always says, let us continue to, "PREACH THE WORD!!!"

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Fairview, 3

Just wanted to write a quick note and thank all of the persons who sent in your comments on 'Fairview, Part 2' blog. Your words of wisdom and insight really helped me tonight. Tonight the Lord led me to share a story out of Mark chapter 5 regarding the incident where Jesus has a 'chance' encounter with a synagogue leader by the name of Jairus. Many of you are familiar with the story; my focus revolved around the area of listening to the testimony of another; and listening to the Lord's working our similar circumstances. Jairus had a twelve year old daughter; but the interesting thing about the entire story - is that when Jesus heals the anonymous woman who had a 12 year old problem, Jesus interrupts his journey with Jairus to search for this woman and gives her the opportunity to share her story. My entire theme revolved around the fact that - Jesus does not stop for the woman; interestingly, Jesus stops for Jairus!

There are very valuable nuggets tucked away in that familiar story. The 3 words or points I sought to press and illustrate were:
I. Chance: Jesus uses our listening as an opportunity to transform chance into belief. (v22-34)
II. Choice: Jessus gives you the option; but he needs you to make the right choice. (v35-39)
III. Charge: Jesus gives you the opportunity to listen that you will ultimately take charge. (v40)

I used my notes loosely tonight. Most of the message I committed to memory.

Tomorrow night I think I am headed in the direction of John chapter 11 that involves the story of Lazarus.

I am praying and striving tomorrow that I will have enough confidence and boldness and clarity to leave my manuscript in the room or alteast with my wife. Please pray for me.

This is a personal goal for me; and I think it will ultimataly work best for me. Let's just say that tonight at Fairview, I could see the progression if no one else did. Interestingly - D'Ani noticed!!!

Monday, August 18, 2008

Farview, Part 2

The Lord allowed me the ability to make it through tonight's message. Tonight I shared again from Mark chapter 6 regarding the Miracle of feeding the 5,000 men, in addition to the women and children, from the subject, 'Use What You Have'. The Lord spoke this evening; but one thing has grown apparent to me--something I have no desire to admit or even confess. It is also a struggle for me altogether. I can no longer take a manuscript with me into the pulpit. I should say - there is absolutely NOTHING wrong with a preacher using a manuscript in the pulpit. I have done it for 15 years for the most part. In actuality, I have done both. I have always been diligent in typing and documenting my messages. My sermons run anywhere from seven to 9 pages. Most recently - they have even gotten up to 11 pages or so.

Most recently - particularly the past 2 years or so - I have just simply found myself doing more of what Spurgeon called, 'Impromptu speech'. That is, my experiences and studies have given me insights that the Spirit brings to my remembrance 'on the spot'.

Here is what I am finding. My introduction and background, etc. captures me and it flows together - but I notice that I may only be on my 3rd or 4th page - 30 minutes into the message - and HAVE NOT even gotten to my points.

SO...when I realize that my time has been far spent--I find myself shuffling, trying to wrap 7 extra pages into 10 minutes. AND...for me...that is frustrating.

My issue is this. I carry my manuscript with me to the pulpit--because I believe ALL of the information I have written down is VERY important and I dont want to leave anything out because of my 'forgettory'. However, when I end do what I mentioned above - all of the information goes uncommunicated anyway. Footnote: I rarely have this problem at home. Manuscripts work well for me at home; and if I go for an extended period of time, I just continue it for the next week.

I should say that--in my own view--the Lord still blesses the message. But, like any minister of the gospel--when we sit down--we catch something that we left out, know we could have done better, etc.

I see some of the guys--including some of my blog friends here--one of whom I have caught on, who are able to retain their thoughts with what seems to be great ease and flow.

If any have suggestions, I will welcome them here. I would also like to know what works for you.

Lovingly Serving God's People

Unable to sleep in my hotel room, I have found myself reflecting upon the awesome privilege that the Lord has allowed me to be a partaker of. Some have noted that it is the greatest job on the planet. Of course, others have labeled it the most difficult. At any rate, I love it! It is Pastoral Leadership! We are called to sheppard God's sheep. In serving in the role of the pastorate for over 8 years now, I have grown to understand what some of the older Pastors would always seek to convey. Growing up in the home of a Pastor and wife, being a 5th generation preacher/pastor, and a family full of preachers - I would always hear something that the older preaching men would always say and I never gave much thought...'Son/young man/Kraig...we must LOVE the people'.

Admittedly...I DID NOT understand. Kind of always the same sentiment in my head, ' you have to keep saying this' or '...I already know this...we're supposed to love everyone, blah, blah'.

Little did I know that the Lord used those great men to facilitate powerful lessons of inspiration and insight that I would need during my times of testing and preparation.

Since then, I have discovered that those words are probably the third STRONGEST phrases ("love the people") for the Christian preacher. Let me just give my own synopsis:

Most important phrase for the Christian preacher/pastor: JESUS SAVES!
Second most important phrase for the Christian preacher/pastor: PREACH THE WORD!
Third.....: LOVE THE PEOPLE!

I consider myself to be an aspiring theologian, though I know I am not there. However, the Lord has taught me - people don't care how much I know, until they know how much I care.

In sitting here at this desk and in writing, I have discovered that one of the greatest gifts that the Lord gives a preacher/pastor is....A PASTOR'S HEART!

I love God's people! I really do. I don't know that I could have always said that. They are SO precious in God's sight. I didn't understand the words, 'Love the people' THEN...but after being talked about, criticized, ostracized, the center of gossip and slander; being misunderstood, etc. - on a daily basis...I must remind myself that THOSE SHEEP ARE GOD'S PEOPLE; and that as I am the Lord's sheep...he has called ME, of all people, to lead HIS sheep into pleasant pastures. What an AWESOME assignment. I am just in was Paul in First Timothy chapter 1....WOW...He called ME!!!! God's Grace is SO amazing.

Thank You Lord for giving us a love for your precious people.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Fairview B.C., Part 1

I must admit that the Lord redeemed this day from the the horrible day I had yesterday! I woke up at about 8:00am this morning. You must understand, coming out of college, I was immediately thrust into a Pastoral position in 2001 that allowed me the blessed privilege of preaching every week at a 7:30 am service, at a church (Pleasant Hill) that was about 30 minutes from where we lived. I did that for four years each and every Sunday; for the past 4 years, I have been preaching out 8:15 am service. Make a long story short, it is very strange for my wife and I to wake up at a time we are usually entering into public worship.

Today was an awesome day. I look back over the years and realize that we have been with the Fairview family for 9 years for this revival. For nine years I have been sharing with the Fairview family on the 3rd Sunday in August and following with 3 nights of revival. Each and every year I am blown away by the love they share and express toward myself and family. Additionally, I often say that I may have to quit - for it seems apparant that Pastor Reed and Fairview may not be firing me anytime soon. They say that it is better to be asked up than to be asked down - I KNOW there are very gifted and capable ministers who have the ability and gift to speak to youth and young persons around our nation and world. I love them so much and I won't be walking away - SO...we'll just see what the Lord does!!!

Today I was actually led to deal with Mark 6 once again and used the subject 'Handling Life's Storms'. It isn't one of what I would consider to be my 'STICKS'; however, it is what the Lord would have me to share; and I suppose He, in His all wise providence, led me to share from this story because I am dealing with my own personal storms and tests. My voice has been acting strange lately; but the Lord allowed me to make it through the message. I did lose my voice toward the end of the message; and I really have a tendency to lose my trend of thought when concentrating on my allergies and my voice. To see how God works is amazing. I had in my mind to preach something entirely different - period. BUT the Lord kept pressuring me 'You need to share from Mark 6.' I did just that; and midway through it just seemed as if I wasn't getting the kind of 'response' I thought the message provoked. OF course, I have learned over the past several months not to even pressure the hearers to get with me. I fought the urge and just...preached. I shared from the Word; dealt with the story; incidentally, my notes were out of order (one of my sons!!! All I can say); the Lord just took that message beyond myself; stories and illustrations just flowed and it was beyond me. The Spirit just moved; and it was clear that I was no longer the PREACHER (Atleast that is what I gather now; at the time, I just didn't think it went well).

At the end of the entire message, I sat down...kind of in disappointment that my voice wouldn't let me 'close' and 'pull it' the way I would have liked; and in stunned disbelief that the message, in my view, was in complete chaos, dissaray, and out of order. But I continued with the usual closing of my eyes and thanking the Lord for using me. Only then did I notice that about 15 people had come to the altar - and for about 20 or so minutes they shared from their own experiences of going through 'storms' along with many more who came and shared, 'That message was for ME". To top it off, Pastor Reed shared how two or three weeks earlier...he shared with the congregation on the subject of dealing with our storms.

My point it this: I am learning more and more...this is NOT about me, thought it includes me. The Lord will never cease to amaze me. NEVER!

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Safe Arrival

I have made it safely to Oklahoma City where I will be preaching tomorrow at the Fairview Baptist Church. I have had a horrible day. Of course, every day is a good day when you know the Lord. This has been a day of not getting up and on the road when expected, loss of items needed for travel, etc. I could go on and on. Fortunately, I am still here! That is enough alone to be thankful, grateful and appreciative. I am looking forward to preaching tomorrow.

Friday, August 15, 2008

Another Great Read...

One of my professors at the Seminary and one of my favorite preachers so happens to be John R. Bisagno. I have written about him before in some previous blog - he is a gifted preacher and seasoned pastor in his own right. Bisagno has spent nearly fifty years in ministry, pastoring for 35 years. He retired from the First Baptist Church here in Houston, and he continues his preaching itinerary both in the United States and abroad. He is an adjunct professor at the seminary I attend, Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary.
This past week I have taken time out of my schedule to re-read his 'Letters to Timothy' yet again. This book is best known as Bisagno's retirement gift to Pastors and Ministerial Leaders. To quote, it is '....a voluminous and comprehensive work, it is full of useful advice to ministers covering the “things that might have fallen through the cracks in seminary.” This book is a practical manual covering all aspects of pastoral life for clergy in churches of all sizes, locations, and denominations.'

I have been helped and enriched in Pastoral ministry each and every time I have picked up this book and read this sage's words of wisdom and insight. I one day look forward to fellowshipping with this amazing preacher and expressing to him the enormous impact he has had upon my life and ministry. Of course, he is one of many. But certainly, he is one!

Anything Strange this Friday Morning?

As always, I check the news through my account in the morning, if I have the time. I couldn't help but notice a headline that arrested and captured my attention:

Bush to Russia: Stop 'bullying'.
This is food for thought...just THINK about it; maybe we'll come to the same conclusion(s).

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Happy 30th Birthday!

Okay. I don't like birthday attention. But I can't seem to escape someone asking me today why I haven't posted a blog regarding to big 3.0. Well, I was born August 14, 1978. This means that today I celebrate 30 years (3 decades) of life!!! I praise God for this day; and the blessed privilege of celebrating one more year of life. This is a definite blessing; and I praise Him. I pray for many more years to come.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008


I have a concern that I want to address. Some of the names, situations, scenarios, etc. have been changed to protect the innocent and the guilty. Nonetheless, the principle is pretty much the same. This one really bothers me.

There is a preacher/pastor that I know here in the area who--believe it or not--is a VERY gifted preacher, though many may have never even heard of him before. If you haven't, you WILL. He is a solid preacher who not only is one of the BEST expositors I know but can even 'pull it' if led in that direction. Quite often, this Pastor has been offered to serve pastorates in congregations both large and small. Interestingly, he always remained faithful to his present flock. Parenthetically, I KNOW this congregation very well, and have known many in this congregation to really give this leader and previous leaders a very hard time. About 8 or so months ago, my Pastor friend was extended and ACCEPTED the call to Pastor another congregation in a suburb of Houston. Incidentally, the new congregation is MUCH larger than the congregation he served for almost 12 years. When this pastor accepted the call and announced this to his congregation, regrettably the news was NOT taken well at all. He has received death threats (can you imagine?), public and private attacks against his family and children and accused of being an 'opportunist' who 'jumped at a better chance' and just walking away from them and 'abandoning' them without any forewarning, etc. Being good friends with this Pastor; I 'know' he loves his old congregation. And though he has now made the transition to the new congregation, and though he knows that he has followed God's lead and direction; it has and is still hurting him that the people he has loved, pastored and cherished for almost 12 years, has vilified he and his family and continues to accuse him of 'going to the highest bidder' when nothing, in his view, could be further from the truth. He has even contemplated stepping down from his new pastorate, in that it has negatively affected his transition and new church family.

I know I asked a question last week. But I want to ask another - how would you either handle this situation if you were this pastor; OR what advice would you give this Pastor if you had the opportunity to counsel and/or minister to him? I am very curious to know what your thoughts and advice would be to this pastor. Thanks.!

Disney Trip

My wife has been (finally) kind of looking into my blogs and the blogs of my 'blog fraternity' (in the words of Pastor Mann). Her question, after seeing others place pictures of their vacations, etc. is why I haven't posted any pictures from our trip to Florida. Well, I really didn't have a reason, other than the headache of get the card, connecting it to my computer, and uploading. So here are a few shots from the trip we took this time last month to Disney. Surprisingly, I had a BLAST. I was not looking forward to the heat, walking, 'spending', etc. But we had a great time. I didn't even want to leave.

(Note: Kaden was terrified with all of the characters, as you can see.)

I think it is safe to say that we will be going back pretty soon. By the way, we happened upon a GREAT eating place by the name of Mama Nems, it was some of the BEST home-cooked meal I've had besides my mother's thanksgiving and Christmas dinners. I have hundreds of pictures; but this is all I'll share for now.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Today I celebrate one of the most important days in my life - the day I married the loveliest person I have ever encountered in all of my life. August 12, 2000 is a day that I will never forget; the day I stood at Holman Street Baptist Church and stood before the Lord and exhanged vows with D'Ani Teres Thomas.

Happy 8th Anniversary Sweetheart. I could not imagine life without you by my side. You are the wind beneath my wings and the greatest gift the Lord has given after redemption. I Love You.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Sunday, August 10, 2008

I missed being at Cornerstone this past Sunday, though I heard that everything went well and saw some of our members later. I was sharing at a neighboring congregation in the area and had a wonderful time there in worship. The praise and worship was very uplifting, the people there were extremely warm to myself and my family. Most importantly, D'Ani felt welcome and loved - and that meant all the world to me. I shared the word from Mark 6:45-52 (Handling Your Deep Water) at this church, Bethel Institutional Baptist Church in Houston ( Interestingly, the message didn't have much fanfare and acrobatics, though I've never preached at Bethel before. I just stood, proclaimed the Word according to my interpretation of the text, and basically sat down. I think that the people were receptive, they didn't know the difference. I do think I did a thorough exposition of scripture (I hope) and believe that the Lord is well pleased with that exposition. And also that there were stories and illustrations that really threaded well into my overall thesis and theme. Overall, I had a wonderful experience. This Sunday I am looking forward to being at the Fairview Church, in Oklahoma City - with Pastor, Dr. J.A. Reed, Jr. I am really looking forward to preaching on this coming Sunday; and seeing the Fairview Church family.

Saturday, August 09, 2008

New Beginnngs

It is around 2 a.m. and I am unable to sleep....again!!! Interestingly - if you are a stickler for numbers in scripture, you would agree that 8 signifies new beginnings. Of course, this number has been so abused that one is hard-pressed to find anyone not using the number to promote various agendas and objectives. I DO know that yesterday was 08/08/08. I find it interesting that all around me I see signs of New Beginnings. On a personal level in my own life, in our world, in our nation (particularly politics), etc.

One of the things that refreshes me is the ability to connect with persons in the blog world are of like mind and spirit. This alone for me is quite joyful, and knowing that I am not alone in ministry. May the Lord continue to bless and sustain us as we press toward the mark!

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

Hello Blog friends. I want to paste a blog today for today's blog. It was placed in one of my comment boxes, but would like for as many of you to read as possible and respond to this anonymous person. I plan to respond myself when I am able to sit down and do so - but would love to see what many of the experienced and seasoned pastors think as well. Here is the situation....

It is amazing how some things happen. In our Morning worship we had a LONG TIME member to attend that we hadn't seen in church for over two years. We didn't know where he was or how to inquire. No relatives that we knew of.We didn't hardly recognize him. He is a Viet Nam Verteran who returned mentally challenged due to war trauma and very heavy drug use because of his war experiences. While absent from church he has bottomed out. He doesn't even know who or where he is.He sat on the third pew by the isle right behind me. I didn't fully notice at first who he was. But after he started disrupting the service I knew the voice. It was Brother Riley. He pulled his trousers off first. This is when the Deacons were alerted. The Pastor was in full gear of his sermon and didn't notice. By the time two of the Deacons reached him he was very loud with obscenities coming out of his boxer shorts at the same time. He was sweaty, smelly, diseased, frail, just skin over bone.He frightened me.

My Grandson sat next to me and I told him to move with me down to the other end of the pew while the Deacons handled the problem.They finally removed him from the service. I don't really know what was done on the outside. After the service we asked where did he go and nobody knew. I immediately felt very ashamed and quilty. Riley was where he was supposed to be for help.

Did we do what we were supposed to do? I think not.Still having all this on my mind I open this blog and see at the same moment we were dealing with a "lunatick", you were preaching about the one in the multitude who brought his Son with a dumb spirit. As I read I feel even stronger that we should and could have done more for this member.This has challenged me to pray for another opportunity for us as a church body to minister to him in some way to bring about the help and cure that he needs.

Thank you Pastor Kraig for bringing this to me. May the Lord always use you, to challenge those of us to use the power we have as believers to bravely face and conquer the tests God brings before us.As time gets harder we will see more of this. As a church family, a plan should already be in place to handle a situation such as this.Thank you for allowing space for my comment. Sorry it was so long.

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

Last night I began revival at Greater Friendship Baptist Church ( in Houston, where the Pastor there is Rev. Johnny Goff, Sr. We had an awesome time - the attendance was great, God's presence felt, and the Lord allowed me to share from his Word despite my vocal problems last night. Thank you for you prayers! Our focal scripture last night was taken from Philippians 3:12-14. The Lord blessed the entire message; though I struggled with my voice and almost lost it midway through-the Lord was 'very' gracious. This morning my voice is doing much better than it was this time yesterday morning. Tropical Storm Edouard has made its way to Houston. As of yet, there has been a little rain. It is my prayer that the Lord keeps all persons safe and out of harms way. I am looking forward to preaching tonight.

Monday, August 04, 2008

Sunday, August 3, 2008

Yesterday we had an awesome time in worship. For me-the older I get- the more precious First Sunday becomes for me. Though each and every opportunity and Sunday the Lord blesses me to see I thank Him for the sacrifice of our Savior, 1st Sunday is of particular importance.

We had quite a few visitors with us this past Sunday. I felt as if I struggled with the message; but my wife said I did a great job. To God be the glory! My only prayer is that my approval rating with my Heavenly Father was satisfactory. I shared from Mark chapter 9 in dealing with the man with the son who possessed 'a dumb spirit' or what Matthew describes as 'a lunatick'. The entire theme and thesis of the message was the recognition of our own inadequacy and delivering our issues, vices and abnormalities to the Master. Jesus Christ alone posseses the prerogative and ability to deal with the source; not just the symptoms.

It is one of those rare preaching experiences where I thought the message would be exhortative and exciting but it became clear to me that it was a pastoral message. More than this, I saw VERY CLEARLY that the word was convicting hearts and challenging others in their spiritual walk.

My voice has been acting up--I suffer with sinus and allergy issues. So I struggled yesterday to finish the message. Thankfully, we made it through. I am laying low today - I begin revival tonight and trying to preserve what little voice I have for the message.

Saturday, August 02, 2008

Let me say at the outset that this blog is not at all intended to be spiritual or theological. However--I must make an open confession that I don't share over the pulpit. I am intrigued by little mysteries from time to time. I find it quite amusing. BUT...what I just found may have topped them all. It is 1a.m. and I am extremely tired. However, I needed to log on and see if one of our ministers emailed me; need to communicate with some of them about an outreach event tomorrow that is happening in our community (I can't make it due to a funeral at the same time). Immediately I happened upon an interesting picture:

The report is:

A photo of a strange creature lying dead on a Montauk, N.Y., beach, fuels Web-wide speculation and amusement. "It looked like nothing I'd ever seen before," Ryan O'Shea, one of the witnesses, told Newsday. "It looked like it died angry."

I DO NOT claim to know what it is. AND I try to take out of my head images that correlate to our preconceived ideas of biblical characters or persona. (i.e. - Moses had a Big white fro, the Devil has a pitch-fork, Goliath drank Gatorade, etc.) BUT I must admit that something did pop into my head (take note: It is past 1am, I am very tired, and I may not be in my right mind) the story of Jesus encountering Mr. Legion; in that story - the writer(s) report in the historical narrative how Jesus exorcises the demons; those demons enter the swine, etc.

This--to me--is quite amusing. In eternity--it would be so funny if all of my blogging friends here on earth would say to me: is something else. We have found some of the great mysterious since we've been here in glory. We now know what Paul's 'thorn' was; we now know what Jesus wrote on the ground during the event of that woman being caught in the act of adultery; we know now how Jacob felt when wrestling with the angel all night; AND we NOW know that the creature you blogged about was one of the actual swine recorded in Mark 1 along the shore of Capernaum and made it's way to the U.S. -- who would have ever thought.

By the way - I am sure there are some Pastors and Christian Leaders who will swear that this creature's cousin is sitting in the pew each and every Sunday!!! Some would even venture to say that these creatures are alive, doing well, and give them Sheol on a consistent basis.

NOTE: This blog may be deleted soon UNLESS I am bold enough to keep it here unedited. I hope someone enjoys my humor and doesn't take me too seriously this go round. I'll try to do better next blog!