Thursday, January 31, 2008

Off to Texas this Weekend

Well, just letting you guys know that in the morning we are flying out to Texas. We will be hunting for houses/builders in McKinney. Then on Sunday, I'll speak at High Pointe as part of their "Harvest Sunday." This is the Sunday where all of the giving for local evangelism and foreign missions is purposed. Kim, I'll be telling part of your story and that of your family. Becki will come back on Monday, and I'll be back on Tuesday night. See you guys soon!


In today's Sertoma meeting (a local civic organization I'm a part of), the presenter was a local mental health official who spoke on suicide. Here are a few things of note from her presentation:
  • Asking a person whether or not they have had suicidal thoughts actually helps the person talk about this, and decreases the chances of suicide
  • More women than men attempt suicide
  • More men than women actually succeed in their suicide attempts
  • Alcohol abuse can increase suicidal thoughts and attempts
  • Eight out of ten teens who attempted suicide gave clear signals that they were considering suicide

Here are some warning signs:

  • Suicide threats
  • Previous suicide attempts
  • Alcohol and drug abuse
  • Statements revealing a desire to die
  • Sudden changes in behavior
  • Prolonged depression
  • Making final arrangements
  • Giving away prized possessions
  • Purchasing a gun or stockpiling pills

The biggest thing I got from the presentation was the need to talk with the person who seems to be suicidal, confronting them with their thoughts and taking them directly to someone who can provide help.

Do you know of anyone who has tried to commit suicide? What warning signs did you see?

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Our Starbucks Group

Here is a picture of our Starbucks group. I'm going to get a picture of us with the workers there the next time our group meets. On the left are two of our elders, Steve and John. I am close to both of them. Third from the left is Janet, a county judge, who was converted about eight years ago. Next to her is Birgit, who was baptized about four years ago. I'm in the middle, leaning over. Next to me is Mark, who is about to move to Wichita. Second from the right is Kim, who was converted two or three years ago. On the far right is Ellyn, who is a friend of John's from work, and now our friend. Ellyn suggested that we read our current book, Amish Grace. She is planning on visiting and worshiping with us before I leave.

This group has had a lot of young adults in it. Many of them are working or going to school right now, or they have moved away recently. But we have been able to help them upon their journey, and have learned a lot from them as well. One of them asked, why can't church be like this? Certainly, the table, communal atmosphere with good drink and fellowship appeals to many in this age group. For suggestions on how to start a Starbucks group, see

Unless your church and community has a tremendous number of young adults, you will probably need some "older members" (40+) to give a group like this (or a young adults class) some stability and consistency. At times we have been packed with young adults, while at other times we haven't had any. And yes, young adults like being around this group, so long as the older members are open, willing to listen, non-dogmatic, and willing to truly befriend them. Many are looking for role models and mentors.

Monday, January 28, 2008

Connecting with people today in sermons/worship

In the January/February 2008 issue of Discipleship Journal, there is an article by Chuck Broughton on how to better communicate the truths of the Bible. He points out that most everything on Bible study materials seems to be geared towards educated, suburban, evangelical churchgoers. Then he gives some shocking statistics on learning:

- 58 percent of US adults never read another complete book after high school

- 42 percent of college graduates never read another compelte book after college

- 80 percent of US families did not buy or read a book in the previous year

- Only 32 percent of the US population has ever been in a bookstore

-Each day people in the US spend 4 hours watching TV, 3 hours listening to the radio, and 14 minutes reading magazines

In truth, I find these statistics to be unbelievable. I hope someone can disprove them. But if they are even halfway right, they are disturbing to a reader like me. But his point was that people learn in a variety of ways, and if we just approach truth like it is an academic course to be learned, then we will miss a lot of people. Most people today can read, but they choose to learn in a lot of other ways.

He went on to talk about how one minister sought to connect with a predominantly 20somethign congregation:
  • He played music to introduce the sermon

  • He displayed on the screen visual images that corresponded with his sermon topic

  • He quoted a poem, told a story from the Bible, and related a personal experience

  • He used his whole body, including facial expressions, tone of voice, and drama (acting out the story)

  • He used metaphors from the Bible

  • He summarized his main points with short sayings and had the audience repeat them

  • He encouraged participation by asking the audience, "How many of you have ever felt like this?"

  • After the service, food was served as people talked with one another, combining the sense of taste with the need to connect relationally.

This hit people on many levels, and created a memorable message/experience. In my own preaching, I have sought to include a lot of these different elements. I have visual slides. I ask questions. I interview people and have them share testimonials. I use video wherever possible. Many of these things I do not necessarily because they are my preferred learning style, but because it is the learning style of so many others.

We really need to think of communicating the message as storytelling--an experience where we gather around and hear the stories that shape our lives. According to Flavil Yeakley, story is the one type of communication that hits all personality types and learning styles. Stories have structure, details, big picture ideas, and they evoke imagination and emotion.

What kind of learning/communication helps you learn the most?

Saturday, January 26, 2008

More information on upcoming tax rebates

Here is a new news release on the upcoming tax rebate. See Most middle class tax payers with two kids who pay taxes would get about $1800, while those with two kids who pay little to no income tax would get about $1200 (unless they earned less than $3000, which would cause them to get nothing).

Having Friends Over for Dinner

Last week we began having friends over to our house whom we want to spend some time with before we go. Last week we had Kevin and Faith and Matt and Jen and their girls, and then last night we had John and Lori, Debbie, and Mark and Cheryl over. We enjoyed dinner together, shared life, and then watched "Mr. and Mrs. Smith" on our home theater system. A pretty funny movie, with tons of action--something for everyone. We had a good time. Our fast-paced world needs to recover the gift of hospitality, for when we invite people into our homes and lives that is where true friendships develop.

We have two showings of our house today. We hope they are swept off their feet!

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Tentative deal reached on tax rebates--what does this say about our society

It looks like we are all getting tax rebates soon. Congress tentatively agreed on a plan to give anyone who made over $3000 a tax "rebate" (even if they did not pay income taxes), with an additional $300 per child. This is in an effort to stimulate the economy and prevent or get us out of a recession. See the story at Congressional leaders and economists want people to spend, spend, spend this money.

My prediction? This will be wildly popular. Since when has giving money away not been popular? And yes, if the government wants to give me a $900 check, hey, I'll take it.

Economists seem to think this is a good thing, so I won't argue with them. I do kind of wonder what this says about our society, though. We are in the middle of a war, people are losing their jobs, and we sacrifice by . . . spending money? I know that spending fuels the economy. It just sounds strange. Back in WWII, people scrimped and rationed and bought war bonds. When are we going to be called to sacrifice? Do we even know how? How about in the Christian life?

But I do vow to do my duty as an American to spend that tax rebate check. What about you?

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Happy Vallatimes Day, Dad-I forgive you

Last week, my 6 year old daughter, Gina, spent a lot of time making a card/drawing for me. When I was leaving to go to work, she asked me, "Dad, don't you want to take it to work with you?" I said sure, honey. So I took it and put it in the car.

I returned home in the evening and was sitting on our bed. Becki came in and said, "Your daughter spent a lot of time and effort making you that card. And when she went out to the garage, she found it on the floor in a pile of mud." Then Gina came in, with giant tears streaming down her face, crying very hard.

I felt just awful. Awful. It didn't matter that the card had fallen out accidentally. I had crushed her feelings. So I held her in my arms, hugged her, told her I was sorry, and asked her to forgive me. She said she would.

Later that day, she asked me what my favorite colors were. I said blue and red. She said that she would make me another card, in blue and red. The picture you see is the card that she made me. "Dear dad. Your the best dad in the world. I love you so much. Happy Vallatimes. From your datter. Gina Nored. I love you. (heart, heart, heart."

What a sweet, precious child. I'm glad that she forgave me. It also made me think about God's forgiveness. We often take his gifts and throw them on the floor. But he continues to forgive us. And he makes new gifts for us everyday.

What gifts from God do we take for granted? Why does he keep giving us gifts?

Where did our religious traditions come from?

I am adding Pagan Christianity: Exploring the Roots of Our Church Practices, by Frank Viola and George Barna, to my reading list. The authors seek to take a historical look at many of our church practices, including dressing up for church, pew arrangements, and the like. It should be interesting. Far too often we mistake tradition for gospel, which limits our effectiveness and ability to reach out to the world.
Does this work/topic interest you? What practices would you be interested in knowing the historical origin?

Monday, January 21, 2008

Great site for photos

Images and art work are so important for today's generations. Here is a great site for getting photos: Each picture comes in different sizes, based upon price. You can buy a picture for $1 for a 300 pixel picture, which is big enough for a lot of applications. For a picture that you want to fill a whole slide, I usually buy the $2 size pictures. For a banner of billboard, I'll buy the $5 version. You can search for pictures by keyword. You have to filter through a lot of junk sometimes, but it is relatively easy to find some really good ones.
What kind of Spiritual images do you like?

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Discovering truth--Choosing to do God's will

One of the major differences in today's world and that of the Enlightenment era is how people come to discover and acknowledge truth. Rene Descartes, one of the fathers of the Enlightenment, based truth upon thinking. His famous phrase is, "I think, therefore I am." In the Enlightenment worldview, one knows truths through thinking, accepts truth through thinking, and only then moves towards action.

In today's culture, truth is approached much differently. People are more likely to accept truth through experience than through accepting intellectual propositions. This is in part due to the failure of all of this great "thinking" to produce consensus, bring about peace, or engender unity. Experience is all that can really be trusted or believed. "Theories" are just that, theories. No scientific method or "hermeneutic" has produced clear, unequivocal results which everyone can agree upon. So what one is left with is one's own experience.

Many Christians have been afraid to jetison the old approach of "proving" our faith through propositions (three point, deductive sermons, "steps" of salvation, etc.). However, experience is just a valid way to discover truth. Jesus said, "17 If anyone chooses to do God’s will, he will find out whether my teaching comes from God or whether I speak on my own."

In other words, we can know the truth of Christianity by trying it out. We can discern God's will by living the Christian life.

So if we are trying to "discover" truth, discover God, then we need to not just sit around and intellectualize this. This might mean that you could:
  • Join a discipleship group--and discover the friendship and joy that comes through this.
  • Become a sacrificial giver who gives at least 10%--and see if God blesses your life.
  • Love and forgive your spouse--and see if this is really a better way to live.

In addition in sharing our faith today, we need to invite people to serve, live, pray, etc., even before they become a baptized beliver. As they serve, their thinking will be transformed, and they will begin to accept the truth of Christianity.

Do you learn more from thinking or from experience?

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Checking In, Our media/family room

Sorry for the delay! We have been working to get our house up on the market. It will be on the market on Friday. Here is a picture of our newly finished media room, a 28x29 foot room. Less than half of the room is shown in the picture. The other half has our pool table. With incredible sound and video (100" screen), it really is a great room.

In addition, most of the house is wired for sound, video, and communication. Here are the specs.

Audio Wiring
There is 14 and 16 gauge speaker wiring throughout most of the house, including writing for:

  • 7.1 Surround System in Media Room/Family Room
  • 5.1 Surround System in Living Room
  • Audio distribution system in living room, kitchen, master bedroom, media room, stair landing area, front porch, back deck) with audio control knobs at various locations

Video Wiring
There is component, composite, HDMI, and RG6 Coaxial (cable/DirecTV) wiring throughout most of the house.

  • Media Room (2 locations - plasma TV location, video projector location)
  • Kitchen Composite
  • Media Room
  • Stair landing area
  • RG6 Coaxial Wiring for Cable or DirecTV Media Room (2 locations, 2 cables at each location)
  • Stair landing area (2 cables)
  • Kitchen (2 cables)
  • Living Room (2 cables)


  • Media Room (plasma TV location)

Communication Wiring
Cat5e wiring, which can be used for Internet and phone access is found in most of the house, including:

  • Media Room (2 locations, 6 wires)
  • Stair landing area (3 wires)
  • Kitchen (3 wires)
  • Living Room (3 wires)
Pretty cool, huh? If you know someone interested in this, let us know. Someone is going to get a great house. I heard a commercial recently that said every guy's favorite words: "Honey, I think it's time for us to get a new TV." How about a whole system for the house?

Monday, January 14, 2008

Monday Reflections

A lot has happened over the weekend and today. Do you remember the funeral service that I told you that I attended a week ago Friday night in the inner city of Kansas City? Well, the surviving partner of the person I visited, Yyonne, came and worshipped with us on Sunday. Her daughter, Eloise, was so proud and excited. And Eloise's neighbor, Sharon, continues to visit with us as well. They all are attending our New Community class. In Sunday's class, we talked about the family. One passage we looked at was the passage where Paul speaks of the role of Timothy's mother and grandmother in shaping his faith. In this strong matriarchical family, where grandmothers are raising the grandchildren, this passage resonated with them.

We also had a young couple visit with us on Sunday who was very open. I spoke on following the Spirit of God and his leading in our lives. Becki went and visited them, and they talked about how this spoke to them and how they had a great experience and planned on coming back. It is always encouraging when you are able to help people connect with God. It is hard to make connections with people and then tell them that you are leaving--it is sort of living between times. But there will obviously be a ton of these young couples in High Pointe whom we can try to help.

I met today with Matt and Kevin, working on handing off to them the outreach advertising. They will do a great job on this. Seeing people like this step up and use their gifts for God is so rewarding. Matt also joined us tonight for our Starbucks gathering. Matt and I go together to Sertoma each week, and we have become good friends.

When it comes down to it, the only things that matter in life are God and people. I am blessed to be able to serve God and to have people whom I care about and who care for me.

Friday, January 11, 2008

Flexibility needed in "church services"

A recent news article stated that 37% of US companies offer some type of flexible work arrangement, such as telecommunting. Back in the 1980s, companies still insisted on 9-5, on site work schedules. However, with the advent of families with two working parents and single parents, more flexibility has been worked in. In addition, Gen X workers are more family oriented and have insisted on this arrangement. With these talented workers in high demand, they have received it.

It struck me that despite the massive changes in our society regarding time, flexibility, and fast pace of life, churches still operate as if everyone always has off Sundays and Wednesdays, and that we must all meet together all the time. Churches need to discover what companies have discovered, that that flexibility is needed in today's world.

So we need to give members our blessing in meeting on "non-church" nights (or days), like a Monday for a book club outreach or a Friday night for a life group, and still have this "count." What we typically do is discount these other times as "extra," and that real Christians meet on Wednesday. This must change.

This kind of flexibility will open the doors to more creative thinking, which has the potential to reach more people. As the article warns, however, those left "at the office" at regular times can feel overworked and stressed. This can be overcome, the article's author states, by meaningful face time when everyone is together at the office.

Would you like the blessing of church leaders to be more flexible in what, when, and where "counts" for a mid-week serivce.?

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

LOST - ABC's show represents our lost world

ABC has put together an eight minute trailer of its hit show, LOST, which summarizes the show since its beginning. As they list off the various characters, who range from addicts to doctors to pregnant women and on and on, I was struck that this group well represents the spiritually lost of our world.

Check it out at: This theme idea would make for a good evangelistic series, wouldn't it?

Monday, January 07, 2008

Reflections on Tonight's Starbucks Gathering-Amish Grace

Tonight we started back our Starbucks group after taking the holidays off. We started a new book, Amish Grace. Wow, it really is a great book that generates a lot of thinking and discussion. It tells the national news story of the gunman who went into an Amish schoolhouse and murdered five children and critically wounded five others, then committing suicide.

When the oldest Amish girl, age thirteen, figured out that he was planning on killing them, she tried to protect the other children. She told the gunman, "Shoot me first."

As the father of two daughters, I choked up while reading this. It also made me think about Christ, who died for us, seeking to protect us from our own sin and from Satan's clutches.

Why would someone go into one of our most "sacred" places--an Amish school--and kill children? The Amish are opposed to violence. School are supposed to be safe places, with fingerpaintings, chalkboards, and laugther. Besides the sickness of mind, it seems that this must be in part due to the notoriety that is involved in something this shocking. In our 24 hour cable news cycle with media saturation, this act is sure to gain attention.

We also talked about the Amish way of life. The Amish have diversity, but they have some things in common. They are communal. They help one another. They have a slower pace of life. They are non violent. And of course, they believe that they must forgive, even someone who comes in and kills their children.

Most everyone tonight agreed that a slower pace of life would be attractive. Technology promises to make our lives simpler and easier. But in reality, it increases our pace. We are constantly on call and can work around the clock. Why is it that I cannot imagine life without my laptop? We send messages and we and others expect a return message within hours, if not minutes. We apologize for waiting a day or two. A week is an eternity. Are we made to live live at this pace? Coffee is the drug of choice for American Christians.

I have to admit, I am starting to feel the stress right now. I'm seeking to finish well, training people to take my place and responsibilities, continuing to try to set up Bible studies, praying with people, attending funerals, visiting hospitals, doing Strengths and Spiritual gifts assessments, helping people find connections, and preaching and teaching. I want to try to shore up and have continue as many things as possible after I leave. There is a committed core that very much believes in our direction. In fact, I was talking with one of these committed core tonight after our Starbucks gathering. She wanted to make sure that life groups were geared so that she could invite her non-Christian friends and they would feel welcome. God bless her! I told her, you must be one of the ones to carry on this legacy. And I suggested a group to hook up with that was very much oriented towards making non-Christians welcome.

We are also working on getting our house up for sale. And looking at new houses. And planning for and working on things already for our upcoming ministry in Texas. It is a busy time, and something probably will have to give soon. I have either the blessing or the curse of working however hard and long to get the job done. The problem is, sometimes there is more to get done than there is time. Please pray that I have enough faith in God to trust that he will find others to do what I cannot do.

Do you remember the Amish shooting? Could you forgive someone who shot and killed your son or daughter?

When not to send email

I recently gave some suggestions on when not to send email in a talk, and I was told that this was helpful. I thought I would share with you a few thoughts on this.

Email is great for information and instanteous communication. It is a good way to share positive ideas. It is helpful in staying in touch with people who are far off. It has a lot of benefits. But email can be misused.

Here are some things that email should not be used for:
  • Anything that is controversial or could generate heated discussion. There is simply too much room for misunderstanding. You can't read tone of voice. And it takes much longer to communicate.
  • Anything which is hurtful or critical. One line of criticism can stick in a person's mind for days or even weeks. If you get these emails, I suggest deleting them so that you don't read them over and over.
  • Anything which you would not be willing to say in person. Some use email as a "dump," telling a person off without having to face the person and see their reaction. This is less than human.
  • Anything which will keep people up late at night. For instance, if you have to crush someone's dreams, then do it in person or at least by phone.

I get jittery if I don't have access to my email for more than a few hours, I must admit. I think that many of us are addicted to information. However, I also often dread opening my email, particularly when something controversial is going on. We learned in our leadership circle a long time ago that discussion of controversial subjects by email was not productive. Say it for face to face time, where you can read human reaction and can dialogue in a spirit of trust.

What do you think are the pros and cons of email?

Saturday, January 05, 2008

What the Obama and Huckabee Wins in Iowa Mean

Barak Obama and Mike Huckabee won the Iowa caucuses this week. For Huckabee, a virtual unknown three months ago, to win on a shoestring budget is quite amazing. But the bigger story is Barak Obama's win. Obama, an African-American, won in overwhelming white Iowa. This just shows how far Americans have come on racial issues. Fifty years ago, fifty percent of Americans said they would not vote for someone who is black. Today, that number is around 6 percent. Whatever you think of his politics, the fact that Americans in at least one state were willing to nominate an African-American is a good thing and a feel good story.

In fact, the news of Obama's stunning victory over Hillary Clinton, who had been the frontrunner and finished 3rd, was the shot that was heard all around the world. This coverage has been reported worldwide. Here are a few examples.

Many commentators have said that Huckabee's and Obama's nominations are a sign that the country is ready for a change from the divisive politics of the past. They both spoke of bringing political parties together. Obama spoke of a "purple America," not blue or red states. Of course, we have heard this from other politicians in the past who were running for president, but they got to Washington and the status quo remained.

I report on this political event to make a cultural obeservation. One thing is for sure. Young people came out in droves in Iowa. Turnout was about 50% higher than normal. Whether this is sustainable, or will stay in Iowa remains to be seen. But clearly, a message of hope, inclusiveness, and honesty resonates with younger generations. They want someone to inspire them. They want to be color blind. They want to see people who are different holds hands together and serve together. They don't want to bicker about minor matters, or live in an atomosphere of derision and division. We need to remember this as we seek to reach out to the world.

What trends have you seen in younger generations?

My experience Friday night at an African-American funeral service

We recently converted an African-American family, Eloise, her son James, and her four grandchildren. They have become very dear to me, and I have been continuing to study with them most every week.

This past week, Eloise' mother's long time friend and companion, Charles, passed away. I had met Eloise's mother at Eloise's baptism, and so I called her and offered to help in any way that I could. The funeral was last night way downtown in Kansas City. So I left my parents who had just come in to go and be with this family during their time of sorrow.

It was 8:00 PM. As I walked into the auditorium, I could not see Eloise and her family. So I sat down towards the back middle. I could not help but notice that I was the only white person in the group. I'm sure that Eloise and her family can't help but notice when they worship with us that they are one of only two other families in our congregation that are African-American.

There were many testimonials, and it was clear that Charlie had been well loved. He passed away after a long illness. Then the preacher, who was someone in the family, spoke. He had that typical African-American cadence and sing song type voice--very much like T.D. Jakes. He gave a very impassioned plea for everyone there to accept and follow Jesus. Whereas most times this kind of preaching at a funeral (directly trying to convert people that are there) is off-putting to non-Christians, this one may not have been. It was focused on Jesus as being the source of our hope. Then he closed with talking about Charlie's life.

As I sat there, I thought that it would be good for the different races to worship more together. I experienced this at Wilshire, and I've missed it at Liberty. Our community is 92% or so white, so we are pretty reflective of our community. But Kansas City is nearby, and there is a greater ethnic diversity there. Hopefully Eloise and her family can help us make additional inroads in the racial diversity.

After the funeral, I talked with the family, and they were so appreciative. I hope to be able to serve them more in the future.

I got in my car, and I saw that I was almost on empty. Not good, because I was in an unfamiliar part of town late late at night. But fortunately I had a Garmin with me, and it took me to a gas station.

I got out of the car to get gas, and I saw people staring me down. And--I have to admit--I felt a bit of a surge of fear come up through me. Would I have felt this in suburbia? No. Was it justified? Probably not. I usually deride those who express such feelings. But involuntarily, in that time, that place, and that part of town, I felt it come up. I decided that the need for the church to worship and service together with all races was essential in us overcoming fear and prejudice and becoming one humanity. We all probably have a long way to go. But I am glad I went Friday night. I hope that I was able to bless them, and it is an experience I will not soon forget.

Why do we not worship and serve together more with other races? How can we help change this?

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

Hardball with Chris Matthews, Americans and happiness

I'm sitting here tonight, watching a bit of one of my favorite shows, Hardball with Chris Matthews, with the OU-West Virgina game mixed in. Chris Matthews worked for Tip O'Neal, but I like watching him. In general, he's tough on everyone, which I like, and despite working for O'Neal, he is more of an independent. In fact, he voted for Bush in 2000. Tonight he identified himself pretty much as an independent, which I found interesting.

I am a bit disturbed by the political trend in our country of every listening to, watching, and reading people they already agree with. It's just not healthy. This applies to the Christian faith as well. Christians need to listen to what people out in the world are saying about us. Those on the left and the right need to listen to people with whom they disagree with as well.

Anyway, Chris had an interesting stat tonight. 92% of Americans say that they are happy. I'm dumbfounded by this. For instance, 90% of American men say that they do not have a single close friend other than their spouse. Weekly church attendance is 18-23%. People are missing both God and community, and yet they report that they are happy? What gives?

I'll have to think about this, but my first instinct is that Americans are living in denial. Their lives seems fine--"happy"--living in their materialistic world, with a lot of stuff. But when tragedy hits, when they really take a break from the rat race and actually think, it all comes crashing down. In studying with non-Christians, I have seen this pattern time and time again.

Why do you think so many Americans report that they are happy? Are they? How do we share the gospel with such a "happy world"?

Tuesday, January 01, 2008

Our New Year

Happy New Year, everyone!

I finished up one of my research papers yesterday on Spiritual gifts and evangelism. I'll post some of the interesting results a little later. It was good to get it done, along with the practical work, Using Your Spiritual Gifts: Serving Like Jesus, which is filled with some great stories of how people at the Liberty church have used their gifts for God and others.

Last night we got together with our neighbors for a New Year's party. We get together regularly with them during holiday times, so it was one of the last times that we would be able to do that with them. We'll miss them, and they expressed how they will miss us as well.

Today I have a wedding to do, and then we'll be doing house things. In the next few days we'll be cleaning up, thinning out, finishing out some remaining house building in the basement, and doing research on pricing. We really have a great house--all fixed up for the next family.

This will indeed be a new year for us. In March, we will have been at Liberty for six years. We will soon be moving to the Dallas area, as you know, to work with the High Pointe Church of Christ. We have been so warmly received there. Many people have contacted us, expressing their joy at our coming and well wishings during the transition. To all of you who have sent us greetings, thank you! You are making us feel well loved already and excited about the upcoming work.

What did you like most about this year? What did you like the least? What are you looking most forward to in 2008?

P.S. Aren't we supposed to have been wearing silver jumpsuits or something in 2008 and have floating cars or something?