December 2014

When wedding plans go awry

I'm planning a wedding. My wedding to be exact, which is coming up very quickly. I am counting down the days as every bride does, but I'm also continually reminding myself of the significance of not only my marriage, but also my wedding.

I've been to a lot of weddings, and I used to roll my eyes when another pastor turned to Genesis 1 or Ephesians 5. I felt it was "so cliché." The older I became though, I began to see the importance of these passages - marriage is ordained by God. It has been put in place to reflect His glory. John Piper writes,

"Marriage is patterned after Christ's covenant relationship to his redeemed
... [continue]

CLC shines the light of Christ

"The people walking in darkness have seen a great light." Isaiah 9:2

Just as the wise men were led by a bright star, we too are led by the Light. We are no longer in darkness, but we live in a world surrounded by suffering, famine, sickness, hurt and chaos. During the holiday season, we focus on the gift of Christ to a dying and dark world, but this gift keeps giving and growing because we are Christ's messengers sent to bring hope and light into a broken world.

Before the baby was laid in the manager, the entire world was shrouded in darkness. We are thankful for the the light of the world who came to take away darkness, sin... [continue]

What you can't see pastor

It's Monday morning. Yesterday was a long hard day. In some ways it was a good day, a little boy from the neighborhood came to church for the first time and gave his life to Christ. However, a teenager spent the entire service talking behind Mrs. Smith and of course this bothered and she let you know about it.

In the last few years, your church has made the commitment to get on mission in your community, yet it seems some days this decision is one you would like to reconsider because well, it just gets tough sometimes. You are reaching new people, but the work is hard and sometimes you cannot see the results. Take a minute and... [continue]

Joy in suffering

"Christianity teaches that, contra fatalism, suffering is overwhelming; contra Buddhism, suffering is real; contra karma, suffering is often unfair; but contra secularism, suffering is meaningful. There is a purpose to it, and if faced rightly, it can drive us like a nail deep into the love of God and into more stability and spiritual power than you can imagine." -Tim Keller

My phone rings. On the other side, I hear a voice - sometimes panicked, other times dejected, defeated or anguished - informing me something terrible has happened. The calls have included the unexpected death of a close friend, the news my younger brother... [continue]

Lessons from A Christmas Carol

On my way out the door to the airport last week I realized I needed a book to read on my plane ride to New York. I quickly glanced on my shelf and Charles Dicken's classic A Christmas Carol caught my eye. I must have bought it several years ago when I was on a classics kick at Barnes & Noble – I purchased one almost every time I went in the store. Since it's Christmastime and my mom and I were headed to New York to enjoy all of the holiday festivities, I thought this was the perfect time to read it.

Prior to opening the book, my knowledge of the classic Christmas story was mainly what I learned from a Muppet Christmas Carol... [continue]

$6,000 of Hunger funds reallocated to help bring jobs during Ebola epidemic

Commissioners of the Christian Life Commission (CLC) unanimously approved a reallocation of $6,000 of Texas Baptist Hunger Offering funds in Sierra Leone because of the Ebola crisis.

The funds, originally intended to aid school fees and meals for students will instead help rehabilitate the school, which has been closed for nearly half a year due to the Ebola epidemic that has taken and is taking away many lives and jobs in West African countries.

The request to reallocate the funds came from the Baptist Convention of Sierra Leone as they foresee a better use of the money is to open up job opportunities for residents.

From the... [continue]

I want the love of the Father

The author of Hebrews writes, "Let us leave the elementary doctrine of Christ and go on to maturity," from which we have pulled inspiration for H6:1 Nights, held once a semester for the last few years at the UTD BSM. These nights are meant to be a time of digging deeply into the Word of God, going even farther than time allows during a typical Wednesday night small group.

We were privileged to have as our speaker this semester Jordan Stone from Imago Dei Church in McKinney, Texas. Jordan met us on a Friday night to teach on the book of 1 John for about three hours, titling the message "A Fellowship of Light and Love."

This... [continue]

‘Tis the season—for refugees—to merely survive

For many in the United States, 'tis the season to cozy up by the fireplace with family and friends. 'Tis the season to sing merry Christmas tunes and to be grateful for freedom, relatives and Grandma's cooking.

But for Syrian refugees who have had to flee to safety in Lebanon, 'tis the season to fight brutal winter temperatures in their houses made of plywood, tarp or tents and hope they can find food to eat each day. 'Tis the season to survive.

A writer from Tearfund, a charity passionate about tackling poverty, recently recorded his eyewitness perspective of the situation in his blog:

We visited one extended family of
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Mustaches for missions

November was a pretty busy month for the Howard Payne University Baptist Student Ministry(BSM); it is the month of the much anticipated NoShave November! This year we started selecting teams the last week in October to get everyone hyped up for the month that is ahead. We work very hard to incorporate students who are not specifically involved in BSM activities.

The idea behind the Mustache Wheel of Doom is that we separate students into teams, then we ask the guys to grow out their facial hair all month. Throughout the month teams do fundraisers and encourage others to sponsor their "face" through giving. We also sell t-shirts with... [continue]


If prayers were answered the way I wanted them to be, you probably wouldn't know me.

Why? I'd be sitting on the beach, that I'd own or in a mountain cabin, which I'd also own. Without truly confessing anything, perhaps I've prayed to win the lottery. Well, not in so many words, but bought a ticket thinking God was on my side for the win.

Prayer is an interesting thing, and honestly something I feel that I (and a majority of other Christians) get wrong. Sure, intercessory prayer is an aspect of prayer as our Father wants us to take our concerns to Him. However, we often come into prayer from the wrong angle.

A recent study by Adam... [continue]

Political leaders still need to address immigration issues

Recently, President Obama announced steps he is taking to help undocumented immigrants living in our country. The executive action increases border security in addition to providing temporary relief for some families and individuals.

Despite the President's actions, the immigration system remains broken and in need of significant attention. We still need a permanent, holistic immigration bill that secures the borders, affirms families, treats people with dignity, and gives clarity with regards to status in this country.

My hope is for our legislative leaders to work together with the President to bring resolution to the immigration... [continue]

Breath of Heaven

Christmas. The time we celebrate the perfect gift from God to us. "For unto us, a child is born." Think of that for a moment - someone sacrificing so much of himself for you. Even deeper, think of God, fully divine and infinitely superior to any human, giving part of self, through sending His Son leaving the throne and putting on a finite, injured, vulnerable flesh and succumbing to all its limitations and pain.

I know a lot of people around this state, nation and world, and love you all as much as I can. But, I cannot imagine giving you my son, especially if I know you would mistreat him, reject him and kill him. Nope, I'll keep... [continue]

Machseh Orphanage & Academy

Texas Baptists Disaster Recovery is partnering with the Haiti Orphanage Project which sponsors Machseh Orphanage and Academy in Pernier, Haiti. The academy currently has 60 children enrolled. The tuition is free as most children in the area would not be able to go to school if it were not for the academy. In addition to the academy there is an orphanage with 14 children. This is not an orphanage like we would think, where children can be adopted. It is a group home, where the children are cared for and have family nearby who visit them on a regular bases.

Recently, the Haiti Orphanage Projects was asked to move out of their... [continue]

Social Media Success

Last week Texas Baptists Disaster Recovery experienced an example of Social Media making a huge impact on people's lives, real time. Gerald Davis and I were in Eagle Pass, TX on a vision trip for our March 2015, Spring Break TBDR Mission Trip. We had seen several really great projects when Miguel Omana, of "Mission Border Hope, Eagle Pass" asks us to visit a special case that had been close to his heart.

He took us to the home of a 75 year old Grandmother named Guadeloupe, raising five grandchildren. This family was first discovered by Mission Border Hope living outside, behind the public library. They had been living in a burned... [continue]

Light it up

Returning home from the D.C. area after Thanksgiving, I noticed a certain glow about the DFW area and know that TXU will have another green Christmas.

The Christmas lights are up and on houses, trees, bushes, walkways, driveways, shingles and blades of grass. I've even found a few cars, children and animals with portable Christmas lights strung about them. This reminds me of one of my Christmas traditions – watching Christmas Vacation at least once. Along with that tradition, from Black Friday through Christmas Eve, I daily post on Facebook a random quote from that movie.

"Is your house on fire, Clark?" –Aunt Bethany

The... [continue]

School and church work together to help build stronger families in their community

FORT WORTH—Parents in a community on the north side of Fort Worth are spending one hour a week for 13 weeks in their children's classrooms, gaining a unique education of their own.

This is the second term for what is called Parent University, where parents learn skills for raising their children, held at Manuel Jara Elementary School. Last April, 29 parents graduated from the program. This November, 21 of those came back for a second course, and 44 parents signed up for the first.

A little over two years ago, Primera Baptist Church in Fort Worth, which is located just a few blocks down, adopted the elementary school and... [continue]

Filipino pastor to serve as Houston area representative

One of the most diverse regions of the United States, the greater Houston area, is home to a variety of ethnicities, creating a great hub for ministry and evangelism.

Texas Baptists welcomes Dr. Ernest Dagohoy, former pastor of First Philippine Baptist Church in Missouri City, as the new Area 5 representative, covering Greater Houston.

"As one of our nine area representatives, Bro. Ernest will be working to build relationships with pastors, key church leaders and directors of eight associations in southeast Texas and the greater Houston area," said Joe Loughlin, director of connections for Texas Baptists. "He will also be... [continue]

East Texas Cornerstone Assistance Network

We realized our old methods of helping were not really providing people with the help they truly needed. In fact, some of our solutions were creating problems because they made people dependent on us.

Church: Green Acres Baptist Church, Tyler, TX

Pastor: Dr. David O. Dykes

Initiative: East Texas Cornerstone Assistance Network

What is one thing your church has had success with in the local community?

We have completely revamped our method of helping people in poverty. Instead of operating a clothes closet, a utility payment program and a soup kitchen, we now operate an 8,000 square foot store, a meals... [continue]