Friday, February 29, 2008

Two great stories of reaching people for Christ

Remember Eloise, the young grandmother who was converted (along with her whole family) and is raising both her kids and grandkids? Well, on Monday we were able to get a Bible study going with her mother. Yyonne, and her neighbor, Sharon. We went over to her home, and they joined us there. We had a great first lesson as we went through part one of The Story of Redemption. Both Yyonne and Sharon have had many difficultities in their lives, and this story helped to start to make some sense of these things. We also had many laughs, enjoying this fun loving family. Roger, one of our elders, joined us for the study. He will be taking the study over. He is a good teacher, and it was his son who played on the same basketball team of Eloise's grandson, Hosea.

For four weeks we had planned to do some additional follow-up on the families that we have helped with school supplies and then during Thanksgiving and Christmas. Unfortunately, we have had snow storm after snow storm. It really has been unbelievable. But yesterday, Eloise and I were finally able to go and do this follow-up.

We went to the doors of eight of the twenty-seven families that we had helped. Four were not home, and we left a coffee mug and a signed card telling them that we loved them and were praying for them. Two were rather non-commitmal. But the last two were very good visits, the last one in particular.

We met a woman named Ruby. She had so many similarities to Eloise--African-American, a grandmother raising both kids and grandkids, a sweet spirit, kids who go to the same schools. One of her daughters is 17 and works at a QuickTrip--with Aarica, Eloise's granddaughter who is also 17. Ruby said that her husband had struggled with belief in God, but an illness had made him more receptive lately. Some Jehovah's Witnesses had been coming by their house, though they had not made inroads.

All throughout this Eloise was sharing how the church at Liberty had blessed her and her family, and how they had blessed her family. She really has a gift for evangelism, for telling her story of faith. Ruby really listened. So I asked her if she and her husband would be interested in a Bible study. She said that she would, and we are going to start a study next week. Dennis, our associate minister, will join us for the study and then take it over. Dennis is going to be even more busy when I leave, but he has a good heart and wants to help them.

I will be handing over the rest of the follow-up on these families to Matt. Matt is the State Farm agent who gave his testimony on Sunday and will be taking over a lot of outreach responsibilities. He will go around with Eloise and visit the rest of these families. I feel so good knowing that he is in place and can fill this role on the team, and I look forward to hearing the stories come back of people who are reachedf or Christ. I could not be more proud of what God is doing with people like Eloise and Matt, and that established leaders like Roger and Dennis are lending incredible support to these efforts.

A great week for outreach in one of the busier times of my life!

Aren't these great stories?

A second showing on our house!

Good news! We got a call this morning about a second showing on our house. This will happen tomorrow, along with an open house.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Guarding against using the word "I"--struggles in humility

I remember reading in an interview book several years ago about things to watch for while interviewing a prospective employee. One of the things the book noted was repeated use of the word "I," rather than "we." The author indicated that this was a sign of a self-promoting attitude, rather than a team attitude.

Last night on American idol I noticed that one of the singers said twice that he was "self-taught." Then he had a couple of "I did this or that" in regards to accomplishments. Most people might not analyze it, but hearing him, they would probably think, "He's a bit full of himself."

The sad fact is, when we speak like this, it is because we have a low self-esteem, we feel like we have not received the attention and acknowledgement that we deserve, or we place self-worth in our accomplishments. Obviously, we will talk with "I's" all the time in other contexts, but we need to avoid this language when we are trying to impress people. I caught myself saying something like this the other day, unnecessarily telling something that I had done. I cringed at the sound. It is best to say, "We did this." Or, "God worked through me to accomplish this."

It is better to let others notice these things, or tell them to our spouse, who will cheer us on and want to be proud of us. Achievers, who are accomplishment oriented, need to especially remember this.

Other signs that we have a problem with this:
  • If we are always giving people our resume
  • If we are thinking, If I say this, this will impress them.
  • If we are always steering the conversation back to what we have done.
  • If we are constantly worrying about what other people think.

Do you notice the "I's" in your own life or in others?

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Study finds one-half of Americans change religion when they move

A recent study finds that about half of Americans change religions when they move. See For decades, Americans had been very loyal to a particular denomination. There were many reasons for this. A slower, more stable pace of life did not encourage as much change. There was a greater emphasis upon what a person believes and having that be correct. There was a "brand" loyalty mentality in the culture, with a person being a lifelong "Ford" man or "Chevy" man. (Now it would be "person" rather than man.)

Things, however, have changed. As people live farther away from family and the people with whom they grew up, they are able to more easily "change religions." Because people move so much, they are likely to respond to the first group that shows them warmth, kindness, and friendship. People are dealing with problems in life, and so they will gravite to churches that provide practical help in relationships. And younger generations are much more concerned about lived out truth--moral living, ministry to the poor, care for the earth, service to the community--than propositional truth. (Right living vs. Right thinking)

While many are disturbed by this shift in the culture, I view this as a great opportunity. Think about this--50% of people who are not Christian will consider becoming Christian when they move! Fifty percent of those who have different belief systems--including those who seem to have some wrong beliefs--will consider becoming a part of a church if they are only shown love, kindness, and real Christianity.

It is up to us to be a part of this kind of church, to be this kind of church. Christianity ought to be more than a set of beliefs. It ought to be real. Authentic. Lived out. Show people Christ, help them to start living like Christ, and the beliefs will come.

What do you think of this study? Are you encouraged or discouraged by these findings?

Monday, February 25, 2008

Only Two Weeks Left

We now have only two weeks left at Liberty. My "Achiever" strength is acting up right now. I have way too much to accomplish and too little time. Too little time to meet with all of our friends and family members. Too little time to finish documenting many of the wonderful stories here at Liberty. Too little time to finish packing. Too little time to finish the prepartory work that I'm doing for High Pointe (such as work on the website, getting a computer, planning for Easter Sunday, etc.).

One thing I am glad of is that I feel that there are people who can carry on a lot of the work which we have been involved in. Matt, one of my friends who is a State Farm rep, is just on fire for God now. On Sunday I interviewed him during my sermon and he shared how he had discovered his Strengths and Spiritual gifts and was now using them for God. He and Kevin will be taking over the advertising/outreach promotion and communication, and they will do a great job.

Today I started an evangelistic Bible study with Eloise's mother, Yyonne, and her neighbor, Sharon. (Yyonne, as you recall, was the one whom I went to see at a funeral in down town Kansas City for her long time friend, Charlie.) Both Yyonne and Sharon are very open. They have been touched by the church here, with their warmth, prayers, visits, and cards. We had a great study, going through the first lesson in the Story of Redemption. Roger, one of our elders, joined us for this study. He will be taking it over next week, as we would not be able to finish. Roger and Judy's son Kyle had played basketball with Eloise's grandson, Hosea, and so there is already a connection there.

Well, I was going to share more, but I'm off to Starbucks. Matt is joining us, as are a couple of new young adults. Talk with you soon!

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Hope and the Obama Effect - What We Can Learn in Sharing the Gospel

Barack Obama continues to win primary after primary. In order for Hillary Clinton to win the democratic nomination, she would have to win Texas and Ohio at about a 60-65%. Considering that Obama's average margin of victory in the last ten contests has been 33%, this is virtually impossible. Her only hope is to get to the Democratic convention being close enough to be able to plea her case to the "super-delegates" that she would make the best candidate.

With overwhelming crowds everywhere he goes, this Clinton strategy seems doomed for failure. Barack is bringing in many, many new voters, younger voters, and independents. It seems hard to make the case that Hillary would be a better candidate in the general election, particularly when she has negatives in the 40s+. Many conversatives do not like John McCain, but Hillary would be certain to bring most of them out to vote. Some have a personal dislike of her that is so strong, it borders on hatred.

The amazing thing is, Obama and Hillary have virtually identical views on virtually every issue. If anything, she is to the right of him. Obama has been noted as one of the most consistently liberal votes in the Senate. And yet, I have not spoken with a single conservative who in any ways "hates' him. Most I know actually kind of like him, for what that is worth, despite disagreeing with him on almost every issue.

What, then, is the secret of Obama's appeal? Yes, he is a gifted speaker with good rhetoric. But it is the broad, overarching themes and tone of his speaking that so captures people. He inspires. He talks about hope. He talks about tolerance. He talks about people working together. He talks about cleaning up Washington. He talks with civility and grace. He stays positive most of the time. And even people who disagree with him are listening. Some will even vote for him, despite his positions.

What does this tell us about people today? They want to be inspired. They want to hope. They want to dream. They want civility and graciousness. I find Hillary's strategy of saying, don't be inspired. Don't be fooled. Don't hope--you can't believe him--to be fatally flawed.

The gospel message is at odds with the world. It calls people to give up their lives, their money, their selfish desires, their sinful ways, to worship a crucified Savior. It is an offensive message in many ways. But if we will inspire people, offer them hope, and speak with civility and graciousness even to those who oppose us, we may gain a hearing. We may find large numbers of people responding. We may even have people who are totally opposed to God on many things coming over to Christ.

What do you think? Would the Obama type of tone and themes work with sharing Christ with people today?

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Is Christianity a Myth? You Tube Video posted by atheists challenges the Christian faith

One of our teens, Corey, asked me to watch and comment on a YouTube video (here is the link which says that Christianity is just a bunch of myths drawn from Greco-Roman and other religions of the 1st century. Here is my response.

I can remember when I first learned about some apparent parallels between Christianity and religious myths, the thought did pass through my mind, Is all of this made up?

Here are some things to consider:
1. The authors draw upon parallels in Greco-Roman culture to try to prove that Christianity is just borrowed from the culture of the 1st century. However, the roots of Christianity go back to the time of the ancient Hebrews (and before), which are far further back in time than Grecro-Roman culture. Note the following:
- Gen 3 - prophecy about the son of the woman (Jesus) crushing the head of the serpent (Satan)
- Gen 12 - through one of Abraham's descendants (Jesus), all people will be blessed
- Check out Psalm 22, which describes in amazing detail many of the events at Jesus' resurrection--crying out, "My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?", division of clothing, mockery
- Isaiah 53, which again has striking parallels to Jesus' trial and crucifixion
- There are many, many more "prophecies" in the OT from which the NT could draw its material

2. Just because there are parallels, this does not mean something is derived from these parallels.
Even if you want to say that something is made up, people around the world come up with the same invention at the same time, independently of one another. This is why we have patents. A direct link must be proven, not assumed. This is a fundamental truth of historical-critical analysis. And scholarship in recent years attributes Christianity's roots to Judaism, not Hellenistic thought. For instance, the emphasis upon light and darkness in Johannine thought was once thought to come from gnostic dualism. Then the Dead Sea scrolls were found, and it was discovered that this dualism was found in the Essene community, a form of Judaism.

Furthermore, it is possible that other religions derived certain elements from the faith of the Israelites or historical reality, rather than vice versa. For instance, flood accounts can be found in many different cultures. Does this mean that the biblical flood story is made up and borrowed from these other accounts? Or was there a large regional flood or universal flood as recorded in Genesis, which people took with them as they scattered into different parts of the world? Parallels in themselves prove nothing.

3. There is a uniqueness to Christianity that cannot be denied. No other faith has a crucified Savior, who is God in the flesh, who sacrifices himself out of love for humanity. Justin Martyr is quoted in the video as saying that Christianity has parallels in other religions. Here is the quote: (see

"And when we say also that the Word, who is the first-birth of God, was produced without sexual union, and that He, Jesus Christ, our Teacher, was crucified and died, and rose again, and ascended into heaven, we propound nothing different from what you believe regarding those whom you esteem sons of Jupiter. For you know how many sons your esteemed writers ascribed to Jupiter: Mercury, the interpreting word and teacher of all; AEsculapius, who, though he was a great physician, was struck by a thunderbolt, and so ascended to heaven; and Bacchus too, after he had been torn limb from limb; and Hercules, when he had committed himself to the flames to escape his toils; and the sons of Leda, and Dioscuri; and Perseus, son of Danae; and Bellerophon, who, though sprung from mortals, rose to heaven on the horse Pegasus. For what shall I say of Ariadne, and those who, like her, have been declared to be set among the stars? And what of the emperors who die among yourselves, whom you deem worthy of deification, and in whose behalf you produce some one who swears he has seen the burning Caesar rise to heaven from the funeral pyre? And what kind of deeds are recorded of each of these reputed sons of Jupiter, it is needless to tell to those who already know. This only shall be said, that they are written for the advantage and encouragement of youthful scholars; for all reckon it an honourable thing to imitate the gods. But far be such a thought concerning the gods from every well-conditioned soul, as to believe that Jupiter himself, the governor and creator of all things, was both a parricide and the son of a parricide, and that being overcome by the love of base and shameful pleasures, he came in to Ganymede and those many women whom he had violated and that his sons did like actions. But, as we said above, wicked devils perpetrated these things. And we have learned that those only are deified who have lived near to God in holiness and virtue; and we believe that those who live wickedly and do not repent are punished in everlasting fire."

Yes, Justin Martyr says that there are parallels between Christianity and religions of his time. He is seeking to do so, ironically, because Christians are being charged with atheism! This in itself points to the uniqueness of Christianity, at least as it was viewed by those in the 1st and 2nd century. And in this quote he points out one of the fundamental differences between these two faiths. Jupiter was a monster who killed his parents and went around violating women. Christ was the sinless son of God, who sacrificed himself for humanity. Despite some parallels (which of themselves, prove nothing), the two faiths are not even close in substance.

4. What is the alternative? The authors of this clip offer no alternatives to our universe, how we came to be, why we are here, what the purpose of life is, or any of the other great questions that we must ask. They have no answers. None.

In the end, however, I believe that in a postmodern culture the "truth" of Christianity can only be found in experiencing it, trying it out, and seeing if it rings true. I would encourage anyone to try living the Christian life, and see if they are not blessed.

Thanks, Corey, for asking good questions and helping us respond to atheists.

What do you think of the video? Was it challenging to your faith? Did the above commentary help you deal with these challenges?

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Story of Redemption Website--New Design! New Content!

Hey guys. I wanted to alert you to the updated, new website design for my site, Story of Redemption. I've been checking out various web sites and learning from some good designers more about content layout and design. This is a creative outlet that I enjoy, as well as being something that helps promote ministry tools.

Check out the "What's New On This Site" for the new content that has been added as well. There is research on Spiritual gifts, and two new products available for purchase, Using Your Spiritual Gifts and Spiritual Gifts Inventory 2.3. I am pretty excited about all of this, and I'll highlight some of this in another post sometime soon.

How do you like the new design?

Friday, February 15, 2008

Should the church shut down for a week? Lessons from Starbucks

An interesting article came out today stating that Starbucks close down its stores, nationwide, for 3 hours on Tuesday, February 26. See

The reason? Emergency re-training of workers. According to the article, some of Starbucks quality has begun to slip, with automated machines that burn the coffee and workers who are not as fully trained in the past. (While I like Starbucks' specialty drinks and the atmosphere, I often dislike their regular coffee, which does taste burnt to me.)

This got me thinking. Should the church shut down for a week to do retraining for things that we do poorly? How about emergency training for evangelism? How to treat your spouse? How to run the projector? How to greet visitors with a warm welcome? We could worship that Sunday, but shut everything else down that week for this retraining.

What do you think? Would this shut down and retraining be a good thing? What do you think we need retraining in?

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Take your wife/sweetheart out for Valentine's Day

Just a reminder to all you guys out there--it's Valentine's Day. So take your wife or sweetheart (hopefully you only have one of these, not both) out tonight. Turn off the crackberry. Go out to dinner. Watch a romantic comedy. Light some candles. We actually are celebrating Valentine's Day on Friday, but you get the point.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

How to engage seekers who are living homosexual lifestyles

Here is an interesting news story of a Forth Worth Baptist church which is having a controversy over homosexuality. See . Homosexuality is not God's will, though we should not single it out above all other sins. This only makes it more difficult for those who struggle with this to find loving help.

It would appear that the church was trying to welcome gay couples, but when they showed up for a picture directory picture, controversy exploded. The church did not want to appear to condone homosexuality, so the senior pastor decided on not including any family pictures in the directory.

The criticism of Jesus was that he "welcomes sinners." And yet, he also called them to a moral lifestyle. Where does one draw the line? We cannot exclude anyone who is struggling with a sin from our assemblies--no one could then come! We want to be welcoming to seekers who do not fully know Christ but are wanting to know him more. But putting homosexual couples in a "family" picture directory does seem to cross the line. Consider these questions though:

- Could a church take any pictures (like a group picture) that include those living a homosexual lifestyle?

-- Would we also exclude from these pictures seekers who were heterosexual, but pursuing materialism full force (which is just as idolatrous) For instance, would we exclude a doctor with a beautiful wife and three wonderful children who help the church open a medical clinic serving the community, but who is not baptized but still in sin?

- Would Jesus have taken pictures with a homosexual couple whom he was trying to befriend? What would be the difference between this and enjoying table fellowship with them?

- Does it matter about the seeker's attitude (an openness to change), or only his current lifestyle?

These are the difficult questions that missionaries must face on the mission field. Love and holiness. Both must be considered. And if we ever stop wrestling with this, then we probably are likely to get off on the wrong track.

What do you think of this church controversy? How should we approach seekers who are living homosexual lifestyles?

Monday, February 11, 2008

President Bush and church attendance in US--How many times a week should we attend?

Today's USA Today contained an article that commented on church attendance among prominent evangelicals. See It found that only 60% of those that they put into this category actually regularly attended a local church. This includes President Bush, who apparently rarely attends church services on Sunday. (In contrast, Presidents Clinton and Carter regularly attended on Sunday.)
This might have come as a surprise to people. This revelation was surprising to me, considering that Bush has been so open about his faith. I remember being similarly surprised years ago when I found out that President Reagan, so supportive of evanglical causes, also rarely attended.

What does this revelation tell us? I thought about this story from many angles. One would be the insincerity angle, that talking about one's faith but then not worshipping regularly shows a lack of commitment. Another is the bemoaning of the "privitization" of the Christian faith, where people say "yes" to being "spiritual" and living a Christian life, but refusing to be a part of "organized religion." (I know what people mean "organized religion"--a lifeless, rote, faith--but I have always found the obvious alternative, "disorganized religion," a humorous concept.)

Certainly, I wish worship attendance were higher in the US. Weekly worship attendance is 19-23% and falling. I do not want to do anything to accelerate this fall. But here is the point that came to me. We place too much importance on "church attendance." Consider that when we define "faithful Christian," we define this only in terms of whether a person attends. And a really faithful Christian is a person who attends 3 times a week. This is the perception regardless of whether a person lives a moral life, gossips, is divisive, shares his or her faith, or a host of other spiritual indicators.

This is often true when we are looking at people who can serve in the church. I know people who attend only on Sunday morning. But they give 10% of their income, live great lives, attempt to instill Christian values in their family, and regularly share their faith. In fact, if I had to choose, I would take this kind of person over the person who attends 3 times a week and has a lot of biblical knowledge, but rarely reaches out. And yet, despite these people doing tremendous things and often having great leadership ability, their abilities are discounted because they don't fall into the "really faithful" category.

Consider this. If you really want to reach the world, where do you want your people? Out in the world, at soccer games, in neighbors' homes, at recitals, coaching kids, etc. If I were doing a church plant starting from scratch, would I hold 3 assemblies with myself? Of course not. I would be out with people, seeking to serve them and share Christ with them. The reason why church planting is so effective evangelistically is because time, energy, and resources are devoted to reaching lost people.

This is a challenge for older generations to understand. It is true that people sometimes create their own schedule headaches. But as a member of a younger generation, I can testify that younger families are desperately rushed and run ragged most of the time. Usually both parents work (if there are two parents), commutes are longer, grandparents live in another state, they can't trust their kids with anyone, they never have time to themselves, and it takes 10 minutes to get kids in and out of car seats.

In the future, churches will assembly less, and it will be more balanced. Life
groups will replace Sunday PM attendance. Wednesday night will be replaced with outreach and service and seminars. And these other meeting times will be flexible as to day of the week. This is already happening in younger congregations. Why? It is not because people aren't committed. It is because this makes for a more balanced church life. And very few have time to attend 3 worship and Bible class assemblies, and do weekly outreach and service and build up relations with people outside of the church. No one has this time, and so consequently, few people are reached.

In people's personal lives, the key is to help people see the soccer games, recitals, etc., as mission fields.

What do you think of President Bush's lack of church attendance? Would you rather have a president who attended but did not support Christian values as fully, or who did not attend much and more fully supported these values?

Thursday, February 07, 2008

More kids or more things-what do our choices say about us?

A news article came out recently that reported that Norway was considering using robots to help care for the elderly. The reason? A shortage of care workers. See

Norway, like most European countries, has had a declining birth rate for years. The only thing that has reversed the trend has been offering cash for kids. Every family who has a child receives a $3000 check, an amount which is soon set to go to $4000. In fact, all across Europe, countries are offering financial incentives to have children.

One news story says that "recent evidence from Germany suggests that women may actually want fewer children than the two so often seen as the desirable norm - indeed some are happy with none at all."

What does all of this say about us as a people? It would seem that we are trading material things for kids. This is why we have fewer children, and cash is the reason some people are being enticed to have more. To be fair, part of this is also due to strains on time. In suburbia, we live, worship, work, shop, and attend children's activities in different places. It would be hard to do all of this with the nine kids that my grandmother had and not run yourself into the ground. (In fact, the seat belt laws are biased against big families.)

How many kids will we have? I don't know. I'm thinking 2.5. That .5 kid is just about the right size. :) I do want to raise the children that we have well and have enough time to devote to each one. As a minister, there are many restraints on my time. But with the incredible joy that children bring into our lives, I wonder if our society is trading away joy for a bigger house or a new SUV or more in retirement savings. In the end, it is God and people who bring us happiness.

Why do you think people are having fewer children? Is this good or bad or neither?

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Prayer is an adventure

Here is an excerpt from Philip Yancey's excellent book, Prayer: Does It Make Any Difference? It is the thoughts of a man named Harold.

"For me, prayer is the key to making life an adventure. In the Lord of the Rings series by Tolkien, poor Frodo only gets enough direction for the next lap of the journey. As he looks back, it all works out, but most of the time he wanders around confused and helpless. Only occasionally, and in subtle ways, does Gandalf actively give assistance and guidance.

Like Frodo, we live in a world of opposition, one saturated with sex and full of evil, violence, and poverty. This is my Father's world? I come to God with my complaints and laments. I grapple with God, call him to account. And I believe God welcomes that dialogue. In the process, I learn who I am. Someone asked the Swiss counselor Paul Tournier, 'What's your definition of a hypocrite?' and he repliecd, C'est moi--It is I. Prayer reminds me of that truth."
Does our relationship like God seem like an adventure story? What are the dangers along the journey? What are the high moments?

Tuesday, February 05, 2008

Juan Gonzalez seeking comeback--should he be forgiven?

Today it was reported that Juan Gonzalez, former Rangers star, is attempting a comeback with the Cards. See

My first thought--yeah, right. He just wants another paycheck. When he came to Kansas City a few years ago, he clearly did not want to play. At his first at bat, he pulled a hamstring or some such, and never played. I don't think he ever wanted to.

I can remember when Juan Gone was in his prime with the Rangers. There was speculation that he would break Hank Aaron's home run record. He had a sweet swing, was young, and incredibly talented. Then he blew it both on the field and off, with his entourage of hangers on and six marriages. I still get a bit irritated thinking about the 2 year, $11 million dollar contract that Rangers GM John Hart wasted on Juan when he came back to the Rangers. Again, it seemed that all he wanted was a payday.

As my feelings of irritated resurfaced, however, I thought about forgiveness. Jesus is radical about this stuff. He doesn't say forgive people who really deserve forgiveness. He says forgive--and keep on forgiving. Forgive the same person seventy times seven! This is beyond my imagining. Frankly, I don't want to give someone that many chances. Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me.

Albert Pujols is pushing for Gonzalez to be given a shot to make the team. In the baseball world, that is a pretty good person to have on your side. We have Christ on our side, who makes our continual forgiveness possible. But that means that we must extend this forgiveness to others. Who do we need to forgive--again, and again? Our spouse? Our boss? Our leaders? Jesus said, if we do not forgive, we will not be forgiven. I suppose that includes baseball players too.
Man, this living like Jesus stuff is hard.

Sunday, February 03, 2008

A Fabulous Harvest Sunday

What a great Sunday it was at High Pointe! The initial target goal for Harvest Sunday was $138,000. The amount given? $77,000 in contributions today, with $102,000 pledged to be given within the next six months. This makes for a total of $179,000, which well exceeds our goal. I could not be more thrilled. The congregation really responded and clearly was touched. This will give us the jump start that we really need to get started in our evangelistic outreach to the community. To all who gave today, thank you, thank you, thank you. And Kim, people loved hearing the story of you and your family.

This weekend we looked all around for houses. We have many factors to consider, including the cost of the home, neighborhood, gathering places to reach out, proximity to the church, proximity to other memebrs, school districts, a floor plan that will allow us to entertain a lot of people, resale, and a lot of other factors. We are still undecided. Right now we are looking at builders. If our house sells, then we can look at established homes too.

One struggle will be living in the neighborhoods of "the Jones." who make up so much of McKinney, in order to reach out to them, while not submitting our children to brutal, unrelenting materialism. I grew up in Edmond, which was highly affluent, so I can help our kids through some of this, but would hope to spare them from some of it.

We have been so warmly received. Clearly people are excited about us coming. One family, the Fosters, have generously offered to let us stay in their home for 4 months while they are in their home in California. They have a lovely home and were so nice.

Sunday at lunch we ate with a lot of the young families, and in the evening we went to two Super Bowl parties. I was glad that the Giants won. It made the Cowboys loss to them look better, and I was getting sick of hearing about "the best football team of all time."

Becki goes back to Liberty tomorrow morning, and I will stay here until Tuesday. I have several meetings lined up, and some more house hunting. To our Liberty friends, we will look forward to seeing you again soon. To our High Pointe friends, thanks for a great weekend!