Monday, December 29, 2008
It was so enjoyable to have proper time with my family during the holidays. There is no ministry more important than the one I have to my family and I only get to raise them once.
Of course our family is loving the new member whose name is Titus. I am so happy to have a house big enough that I can not only have an inside dog but a big inside dog. I am looking forward to the walks we will have together and the car rides, etc.
We are really loving living in the Valdez area. The people here are just wonderful. We are now beginning to meet people from other churches and are having times of fellowship with them. I have never enjoyed a place more than I have here. Not that other places of ministry were bad or the people were bad, there is just no other way to describe it but that this place is just different and we love it. I pray that we can make this a place a ministry for 20 or 30 years and build a ministry that will make an impact on this town.
Tuesday, December 16, 2008
Man I had the time if my life today as I went Snowmachining in the wide open country of Alaska. Unfortunately, I only had my cell phone with me as I needed to have a good camera to take the breathtaking shots. But my camera would have to suffice. Enjoy the views of the wide open.
This was the most beautiful view I have ever seen. We were a good ways up with valley below and mountains behind.
It was fun going wide open up this hill. All of the clear area is where the pipe line runs. It is all underneath in this region which makes good trails for snow machines to go on.
The area below is a river area that we were having to find a good way across without busting through the river ice. You learn to pucker every where you can hoping that you do not hit a thin area.
That was some of the best fun I have had in a long time. Ministry was designed to be a time to spend time with people and ministering to their needs. I can do ministry like this all the time.
Jesus spend his time with people and occasionally withdrew himself to be alone. We have ministry today backwards. Modern day ministry is done in the 4 walls of the church. We spend more time in meetings and planning sessions than doing real ministry. We talk more about what we are going to do rather than doing it. What Jesus say if he were here on earth today about the modern day minister and how he tends to his flock? It is a good question to ask and do some serious reflection on.
Monday, December 15, 2008
Saturday, I took Victoria and Brittany to the town Water tower, which is the place most people go to do simple snow boarding and sledding. It was lots of fun spending time with them and sledding down myself.
But I have to say there is nothing worse than a snow wedgie. Boy that is a cold feeling but it sure was fun.
Wednesday, December 10, 2008
Here is a picture of half the driveway depth. I had already cleared of half of it and thought it would be neat to show a clean side vs. 1 ft. of snow.
Boy it is fun to use a snow blower. It gives you a sense of power as you attack the mean nasty snow. ARGH ARGH ARGH.
The great thing is that after you are all said and done, it looks like you didn't get anything accomplished. So the next best thing is to do the following.
That's me sliding down the driveway on my backside. Using a disk designed for a child, I'm sure but my rear end fit in it all the same. The first pass is kind of slow but the second pass allowed me to have a packed down track to follow which made it a lot more fun and much more faster.
Anyway. We are really enjoying the beauty of it all and the Lord has been so good to us.
Thursday, November 27, 2008
"I'm dreaming of a White Thanksgiving" is the song of the day as we have received over 1 foot of snow overnight. When the snow is that heavy and then snow the falls off of your roof it makes for an interesting morning. The great thing is, is how the Lord blessed us this morning to overcome the amount of snow that fell, without killing my back shoveling. This morning we had delivered to us, a snow blower. What a blessing as we were beginning to save for this very item as it is a major NEED in Valdez.
NEED as in milk, eggs, bread, etc. Snow blowers, studded tires, and ice melt are NEEDS here as well. They fit into the same categories as the food items needed to survive. LOL
Above you can see how high the snow can actually get, as this is what has accumulated since we have been here. It is amazing to think that we have been here 3 weeks already. Time just flies by so fast.
I do not believe I have ever had a better Thanksgiving as I have had today. We had the opportunity to celebrate with our church family this wonderful holiday. I have never been to a church that has a true Thanksgiving meal together. Everyone is so busy doing their own thing and I found it to be a better time spending it with my heavenly family. There was less hustle and bustle as everyone pitched in to bring side dishes as the meat was provided by the church. In most families, you have 1 or 2 people doing everything while everyone else sits on their backside. I was blessed more today by celebrating it this than ever before.
I know many of you have been wanting to see some pictures from around town as well as the ones from the family. So here you go:
These are some of the pictures on a sunny day which there is not a lot of.
I cannot wait to experience the many traditions of this town in the coming weeks approaching Christmas.
Until next time.
Sunday, November 23, 2008
This past Thursday we finally received our things from Horizon Lines all the way from New Orleans. What a blessing to be able to open up the container to find everything in place except my car (no damage to it). One strap broke on the front end and the front end slid into the side of the container.
What was even better than having my things arrive, was to have the amount of support to help me unload this 40 foot container. We had it lined up to be a 2 hour live unload instead of having them drop it there for 72 hours (lots of money saved). I was a little concerned about getting it unloaded in that amount of time, but with the amount of help we had, we got it unloaded in 1.5 hours. Praise God.
We had to opportunity to experience a town tradition this week on Friday evening called Moonlight Madness sale. Many stores open a little later with various sales to take advantage of. Great way to go into stores that I probably would not have ventured in otherwise unless I needed something specific that they sell. Got to meet a lot of good people and get a few good bargains.
Snow, snow, and more snow is the story of Valdez but it is not even winter yet. On Saturday, we shoveled in the morning time and Dawn shoveled in the evening time and we woek up to find more snow on Sunday morning. But I cannot complain as I love the look of snow and you can not pay for a more beautiful view than what Valdez has to offer.
Looking forward to some of the traditions of this coming week.
Friday, November 14, 2008
It has snowed more here in the last 7 days than I believe I have ever seen in my life between Louisiana, Texas, and North Carolina, but it sure is beautiful. I love the fact it is cold enough for snow to fall, stick, and shine and yet I can walk outside in a windbreaker and take a nice walk with my wife or walk to the church instead of driving. Shoveling however is not that fun. I have had to do that everyday save one and sometimes multiple times per day.
I believe we have around 20 inches since last Friday and is just keeps coming, but we love much better than the sands of West Texas, and the swamps and humidity of south Louisiana.
One thing I have got to say is that now I understand a lot more of why God has brought Dawn and I here directly from New Orleans. Yes, it is to pastor and cast vision and all those wonderful things but it was to fight darkness. We realized that the physical darkness is only the tip of the iceberg because it represents here a spiritual darkness that hovers over this town. We have had to fight a lot of darkness in New Orleans over the years and I believe God has prepared us for times such as these to turn this town upside down for Jesus.
It love it when people ask me where I am from and I tell them New Orleans and it never fails that they are going to ask me what brought me to Valdez. My first answer has been, JESUS. Then when their eyes get the deer in the headlights look, I follow it up with, I am the new pastor of First Baptist Church. Some people continue the discussion some people change subject. But that is what Jesus is all about. His name may be salvation but the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing. My targets are those that are perishing to help them no longer be fools.
Saturday, November 8, 2008
Man, what a long journey to get to our final destination in Valdez, AK, but it has been wonderful. We spent Thursday night at Wal-mart where Wally got more from me than I had ever spent before. The next day was spent between being introduced to COSTCO (a wonderful warehouse style of shopping experience) and traveling back to Valdez. I praise God that we had people from the church in Anchorage while we were there to help load some the items we had to bring back. We actually loaded a Ford Excursion and a Ford 12 passenger van with luggage, food, hygiene, cleaning products, 2 turtle doves, and a partridge in a pear tree.
We arrived last night to about 4 inches of snow and I had my first experience at shoveling snow from my driveway. Boy what a workout and it isn't even bad yet. And then we had the opportunity to walk into our new home that was equipped with a welcome sign from the youth and kids, beds for us to use until we got our furniture here, and few few warm but chilly faces to greet us. I do not believe I have ever been received this way in my entire life. Not that other ministries have been dishonoring or anything like that but I have never been honored in such a way like that.
All over town, people have been so wonderful to greet and our family is really excited about being here. We know it will be a wonderful ministry and an opportunity to change a town for Jesus Christ.
Friday, November 7, 2008
This morning I woke up at 4:00 am (7:00 am) Central Standard Time, as my brain has not adjusted to the time change here in Alaska, but I know by Sunday my mind will be back on track. We had real smooth travel yesterday, although you get a little stir crazy after being on a plane for 9 hours. The great thing is, is that the weather was absolutely beautiful as we could see Mt. McKinley from right side of the plane.
We did our first shopping last night to stock up for Valdez. I do not think I have bought so many hygiene and cleaning products in my life. I dare anyone to ever say my house is not clean or I am not clean. I think that is the first time Wally has ever given me sticker shock, not that the prices we high but rather I don't think I have ever purchased that much stuff before. My wife wanted to be sure that we had enough for a year, I think, no just a couple of months.
Today, we go and get our stock of food to bring back with us, as we will make our first trip to a Costco. Then, we will make the long trek to Valdez, our new home, to begin the new chapter in our life. We cannot wait.
Sunday, November 2, 2008
This chapter of my life has come to a close as I finished my last day at Celebration Church. What a way to go, as I had to opportunity to be a part of Fall Family Festival. I can now say that I have served in every area of ministry in the church. I have cleaned the church, taken offering, served as youth minister, worked in children's ministry, music ministry, administration, education, Information Technology, Audio/Visual, Cell Pastor, Senior Pastor, Associate Pastor, and now I have parked cars. Of course my wife would not be very happy if I were to serve in Women's ministry as that would require close constant relations with women outside the marriage.
I also had the priveledge of leading the Lord's Supper for the three services. What an incredible day to be a part of as we also celebrated 19 years as a church ministry.
This evening there is to be a farewell party for us. This is always the sadest time as those that you love and care for come to see you off. You become torn over excitment of new adventures and leaving close friends and family. The sad thing is, I know that I will not see everybody I want to see today as many have their own schedules to follow and there will not be any other time to spend with people as we have family to say goodbye to the rest of the week.
Now it is time to focus on the next adventure and vision that God has for First Baptist Church of Valdez, AK. I hope they are ready for me as I'll be coming armed and ready with excitment and vision to lead this church to do great things in the Kingdom.
Saturday, November 1, 2008
Last night, we had our annual Fall Family Festival and man I have never seen so many people in my life. It gave me an opportunity to serve with the Westbank people one last time before my departure. I believe we made a great showing as we parked cars in places that they have never been parked before where no one would get stuck or blocked in as has been the case for the last few years. Then came the daunting task of cleaning up, which was our assignment as the Westbank as well. We got done and it looked great. As one company around here says, "Our job stinks but it is picking up."
Today, we are going to see more family and celebrate two birthdays. One for my nephew and one for my baby Brittany. Again, I know that it is going to be another tough day to say goodbye for a while from people we love. But then I am looking forward to celebrating the birthdays and eating a little cake. I also get to lead the Lord's Supper for this weekends three services. It will good to be in my normal place as I lead a service and it will get me back into practice again as I will be taking my place soon at First Baptist Church of Valdez.
Friday, October 17, 2008
It really was a great ride. We also got to stop at the former pastor's house for some lunch and I had the opportunity to speak with him some more and meet his lovely wife and even his grandchildren.
Then came time for the LLOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOONNNNNNNNNNNNNNNGGGGGGGGGGGGGGG plane ride home. But it made it worth while when on the leg from Salt Lake City to Los Angelos David Archuleta (runner up for this last season of American Idol) came aboard the plane with a friend of his. My girls went nuts as well as everyone got whiplash from turning their heads so fast to get a glimpse of the superstar.
His was very kind to give my girls an autograph and pictures with him after we landed in Los Angelos.
Well now for the hard part of resigning one ministry, packing up, saying goodbye to good friends, and moving to another chapter in my life.
Until next post.
|On The Way To Anchorage, AK|
Wednesday, October 15, 2008
We found a few souvenirs there to take home with us and had a fantastic breakfast.
Brittany had the privilege of going to school in Valdez as a visitor with a young lady from the church and got to experience the Valdez school system. She came back that afternoon saying she had a great time, which is a first since she never has fun at school.
We had lunch at the interim pastor's home with he and his wife. They are a fantastic couple and have done a great job here. They have already become good friends and I hope to stay in touch with them even when they move on.
Victoria got a chance to tour the JH and she seemed to like the school and the things they had to offer.
We had a chance to visit the Valdez Glacier area where the ice from the glacier drifts to a little pond area that is frozen over. It was a great 4x4 ride as we all like to got concussions from banging around like pin balls.
Finally the time came that we have been waiting for all week. Time to face the firing squad and answering any questions before making a decision that will change the course for the church and for our family.
After sharing a little of my testimony and taking questions, I was requested to sing Old Rugged Cross and thankfully I had someone to help feed a couple of words to me and my mind went blank singing a song on the spot. After I made it through, my family and I went to the library of the church and awaited the decision from the people.
Waiting, waiting, waiting, finally the decision came.
The church voted unanimous. I am the new pastor of First Baptist Church Valdez Alaska. We could not be more thrilled as there is such promise for this area from ministry and missions.
Pictures will be on the next post and we are going to bed as we have a long to trip to Anchorage, AK to make a long flight home to New Orleans to begin the final chapter of our lives in Louisiana.
Tuesday, October 14, 2008
Today, I had lunch with some of the senior adults at Fu Kung, the local Chinese restaurant. The food was good and the fellowship was sweet. I sat across from a sweet lady named Irene. She cannot see very well but was so pleasant to talk to.
We left there and went to sign up for our first Valdez, AK phone number. I now own an ATT phone and will soon be dropping Alltel (so sad as they have been a good company but not supported up here) and will have to begin giving out the new number which is always fun to make sure everyone has the new number.
We then had an opportunity to visit one of the local gift shops to pick up a few things to commemorate our trip to Valdez.
The evening was topped off by a wonderful dinner at a young couples house in an area the locals refer to as 10 mile. As we drove out there, we saw some of the most amazing sites I believe we have ever seen.
Tomorrow is the big day as we will have a special called meeting to vote to receive as our family as the next pastor of FBC Valdez.
We had a great dinner with two families and just absolutely enjoyed the food and the fellowship. It also began snowing while we here and it is just breath taking to see the white on the ground and such big flakes falling.
Pictures will soon be posted.
Sunday, October 12, 2008
This morning I delivered my first message at FBC Valdez and I cannot believe how nervous I was. Everything went well but it was not my best sermon. I believe my nerves made a difference. The place was packed and the first thought that came to mind was that we are immediately going to have to two morning services to accommodate the growth from young families. It was also very refreshing to see such a blended age group, as many churches that are older, do not have a diverse group of people.
Valdez is a place that no one is from. Everyone is from somewhere else. I had dinner with people from Texas, California, Louisiana, and many other places.
The morning service was followed with a potluck dinner. Boy I have missed those. And man was it a spread of food. That got some good cooks.
We had dinner with a great couple that had just moved up from California and what a wonderful time we had.
Tonight's service had a great attendance. We had probably half or more of the attedance from Sunday morning which is very unusual as most churches have either done away with Sunday nights or attendance is very small. Man the sermon tonight was a homerun and had a great response from the people afterward. We cannot wait until tomorrow, as we get to go out on the Prince William Sound and look for wildlife.
Saturday, October 11, 2008
It started off by getting woke up my wife at 5:30 am. Followed by meeting the XO (second in command) of the Valdez Coast Guard.
We had an incredible visit over a very good breakfast. It was very interesting to see the background he was raised in, theologically speaking, and to see where he is today.
That was followed by a good Junior High basketball game at 9:00 am and then an opportunity to go and see what we would be dealing with in grocery prices.
It was not as shocking as I might have expected in the grocery isles. I had sticker shock when I went from West Texas to New Orleans and went from paying $3 a gallon for milk to $4 a gallon.
Here the milk is the same price as well as most everything else I would buy at somewhere like Rouse's. The meat prices were the sticker shock. It is nearly $5 higher on many of the items we purchase on a regular basis.
We then met with the pastor search committee at 3 and had a fantastic time with them although as soon as we were done I got back to the B&B and saw my Tigers were stinking up the field. But a good meal with the committee tonight made it all worth it.
We had a chance to see a bald eagle, more mountains with snow, where we would potentially live (which was an awesome house), and had great fellowship with some great people.
Well, I will be preaching in the morning and am looking for to the Word of God flowing. I am praying that even though I will be on display for all to hear and see that the Holy Spirit will fall fresh on each person and we have a great awaking that these people have never experienced in their lives.
I also had some incredible food tonight. Many dished that seem to be native to this area that were awesome.
Well until next time.
Friday, October 10, 2008
It is amazing that the type of ministry we are doing in New Orleans is very accepted and is being embraced by the people of this region. We can't wait to get to Valdez and see what the area is like there.
Tuesday, October 7, 2008
As I look back over my years of ministry, I have noticed that God has always led us to places we have never been and we have loved every minute of it. We are so excited about the prospect of pastoring the people of Valdez and the opportunities that await us there.