By Brian on 05/18/2011 09:01 AM
This year was a good one for Leadership Training for Christ (LTC for short). We participated with the Airport Freeway Church of Christ. Airport Freeway has the best LTC workers in the world. Thanks Edwina, Jolana and the Worley's for all your help.
This year our son Ezekiel particpated in about ten events. He received seven gold medal awards and three silver awards. Some of the events he particpated in puppets, Bible reading, poetry, outreach, service, art, team Bible bowl, individual Bible bowl, drama and website design. Next year, he'll probably add a couple more to it.
Usually, LTC is held at the downtown Dallas Hyatt, but this year we had to go to the DFW Airport Hyatt. It was so much more fun and relaxing. After all, parking was free and it was just down the street from our house.
We were so proud of our son for doing so well, especially at Bible Bowl. His team was one of the best in the entire competition. I really recommend your children be involved in LTC. They sure learn a lot about the Bible and whey they are older, they can win scholarships too.
One of the most fun things for me was just beign around Christians the entire weekend. It really helped build my faith and helped my Christian walk improve.
By Brian on 04/25/2011 08:53 AM
This year has been a good one for feeding the homeless. We have been able to go a few times and each time we take someone new, they are amazed by having the opportunity to help serve others. We include this as one of our small groups, it's a small group of service. After the feeding, those that go with us meet together for prayer in the church sanctuary where we pray for those we've just served. Want to see where this is done, click here and scroll to the bottom to see a video.
At Heartland, we suffered the loss of a valued member. Bessie Thornton went to her home in Heaven last week. She was our last surviving founding member. We miss her so much. The Sunday after she passed, we spent half our church service letting people share their memories of Bessie. It was a good time to begin our healing. Please pray for Bessie's family and for her friends at Heartland.
One of the things we've been praying for most this year is a new place to meet for a Mustard Seed group. Two weeks ago I mentioned to an unchurched friend named Tammy, our desire to find some place to meet here in Irving. We can't meet at our house because we have no air conditioning (gonna be a hot summer for sure). Well, Tammy said, "You can meet at our house." I was shocked. But I shouldn't have been since God works like that. I'll let you know if this materializes. I hope so, and could really use your prayers.
A few days ago, Junior, an unchurched friend with four kids, asked if we wanted to meet at his house some Saturday afternoon for a meal and some Bible discussion. He knows we like to discuss Jesus and lookie there, two possible places to meet.
On a final note, earlier this afternoon, I got an update on my car. We had to take it to a shop and found out that all 16 valves in the head were ruined. We are now going to have to pay Matthew and this shop for working on the car. Total price, a bit over $1500. We should have a brand new 1996 Honda with 212,000 miles on it tomorrow. Unfortunately, we won't be able to get it from the shop until we can find a way to pay for it. Through Jesus, we can handle anything. Some things (like no AC in the house this summer) are easier to handle than others. Having no transportation is a bit more difficult to handle. Please pray for us because we really need it right now. First and foremost, we need prayers. Secondly, we need a little bit of help financially if you can spare a few dollars. Your money will help us get to Heartland each Sunday and into the community the rest of the week. You can see our other activities on our website. The past few weeks have been a financial disaster, but then again, it's an opportunity to see God help us through others. Believe it or not, a man who let us borrow his truck a few days (unfortunately, I've got to give it back real soon) told us it was a blessing to be able to help us. Sounds strange, but I think he's right. It's always a blessing to help others and despite our difficulties this year, each time we feed the homeless or visit with anyone in need of a listening ear, it has made us feel good.
Blessings to all y'all and thanks for reading. Remember to send us your specific prayer needs. Or if not, we'll just have to pray generically for you and let the Holy Spirit figure it out. Either way, it's a good deal.
Yours in Christ,
By Brian on 04/25/2011 08:30 AM
Today’s Open Hearts & Doors Devo
Let Your Light Shine (or else)
At this moment, my car is being fixed by Matthew. The timing belt broke on the way to church Sunday. We now have no transportaton and to make matters worse, the valves may be damaged. That's expensive to fix and we do not have the money to fix it. However, we will be getting a discount on whatever the cost may wind up being. That's because we didn't go to Goodyear, we went to a good friend. Matthew is the son of Javier (my really good friend) and Javier is the brother of Pete. That's what this little tidbit is about, Pete, his time in prison, and his time counseling me, ooops, I meant the other way around.
Pete and I would meet twice a week at a local pizzeria. His appointments with me helped him meet the conditions of his parole. I was wary of meeting with Pete. I only did it as a personal favor to Javier. I'll admit, sitting face to face with a man who committed murder was a bit unnerving. One year later, I consider Pete a friend, we've had a small Bible group at his house, he's been part of our nursing home ministry and he's even taught me a few lessons. I'll share a quick one with you here.
Pete told me a lot about prison life. One day he talked about how the gangs operated inside one of the toughest Texas prisons. "You had to join a gang," said Pete. "Unless you didn't want to join because of religions reasons." I guess that's like being a conscientious objector during Viet Nam. Pete continued, "If you loved Jesus, the gangs respected that. But if they found out you were just saying you were a Christian so you could stay out of the gang, they'd get you." My interest was piqued. I asked, "How would the gangs know you were an authentic Christian or just pretending to be one to stay out of the gang?" Pete smiled slyly and said, "Oh, they'd know. They watch you like a hawk and if you stop reading your Bible, or you stop praying or treat someone bad after begging out of the gang because you love Jesus, they'd jack you up."
That sure puts a new twist on Matthew's words about letting your light shine before men. When you or I fail God for a moment, we don't really have any fear. Yes, maybe an unchurched person (possibly a neighbor or family member) will see us miss the mark and think a little less about God or us, but really, are we fearing being "jacked up" by gang members as Pete related? Maybe if sin always equaled great physical harm, I would sin less often. I know my Christian walk would be much stronger. Praise God for his being so much more merciful than gang members in an East Texas prison.
In Christ y’all,