Wednesday, December 29, 2004

I went to a late movie last night with JV, Philip Henry and Dan Henderson. We saw "Lemony Snicket's A Series of Unfortunate Events". I have heard mixed reviews on it, but I LOVED it. It was just weird enough to be really great! The only downside, and for me it's a huge downside, was that one of the sections of the movie featured snakes. Lots of snakes. Huge snakes. Small snakes. Snakes, snakes, snakes. I HATE SNAKES! When the huge snake jumped at the kids I jumped and I think I might have screamed. I just lost it--popcorn and all on the floor. Did I mention that I hate snakes? No amount of peer pressure can change this. I realize it's dorky. But hey--it is what it is.

Before we put the girls in bed last night they were playing so sweetly. Maddie had her new princess night gown on and her pink play high-heeled shoes. She and Ella were walking around hand in hand pretending to be on some exciting journey. I was thinking yesterday as we were at a play area at the mall how much our lives will change if this new baby is a boy. I just had to laugh as I watched the boys at this play area. They thought very little of jumping from the tallest slide or tackling someone. Boys are just more active. Our girls are pretty active, but in a different way. It will be interesting to see what is to come. We find out in a week and a half!

David and Becky Rubio had their baby today. We are so thrilled for them--especially Becky. Her name is Charity Ann. YEA, RUBIOS!!

Tonight we are having a service centered around testimonies and thankfulness for what God has done this year. It should be a great night.

Please be praying for my mom. She's still feeling really awful and needs to be feeling better very soon. Thanks!

Monday, December 27, 2004

Maddie's prayer tonight:

"Dear God, thank you for everything and for church and for Jesus. Thank you for my toys and Mommy and my jumpy thing. Thank you for my friends and for Indians and pilgrims. Thank you that Jesus loves me. In Jesus name we pray, 'ay-meee-an'"

The minds of children! Precious times. Have a great night!

I think the service yesterday went well. The choir sounded great, the kids did well (Caleb Carney read scripture with gusto, and Julianne Cox and Abby Brown sang "Away In A Manager" with the choir backing them up and sounded PERFECT!) It was a great morning to celebrate the meaning of the gift of Jesus. I'm not sure I still fully understand that gift.

Last night we went out to Cool Springs and had some pasta at Macaroni Grill. It was a nice change of pace from Christmas food. We got home and just enjoyed having the house to ourselves and crashed after a long weekend.

Today we braved the Galleria with a million other people trying to return gifts. The highlight of the day was lunch with the Rubios at the food court. David is our youth minister and Becky (his wife) is one of Sheryl's favorite freinds. Madeline and Benson are favorites of our girls too. Becky is really ready to give birth. REALLY ready. Only a couple more weeks, hopefully.

It's hard to believe that Ella will be two next week. We're having a New Year's Day celebration for her birthday. Maybe we'll have a black eyed pea cake. Gross.

Everyone is beginning to feel better after being sick all of Christmas week and weekend. (Ella barfed all over her stocking Christmas morning) My mom is really the last one to recover. She's staying in bed one more day to try and beat this thing. This particular cold that has gone around has been especially nasty. Coughing spasms and lots of snot. Sara, thanks for the word on "airborne". I already had some and have been taking it like crazy!!

I am only working Wednesday of this week. I am so thankful to have the time off! I hope you all are enjoying some time off too this week. Happy holidays!

Friday, December 24, 2004

Luke 2...from the message:

"Glory to God in the heavenly heights,
Peace to all men and women on earth who please Him!"

As the angel choir withdrew into heaven, the sheepherders talked it over. "let's go over to Bethlehem as fast as we can and see for ourselves what God has revealed to us." The left, running, and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby lying in the manger. SEEING WAS BELIEVING! They told everyone they met what the angels had said about this child. All who heard the sheepherders were impressed.

Mary kept all these things to herself, holding them dear, deep within herself. The sheepherders returned and let loose, glorifying and praising God for everything they had heard and seen. It turned out exactly the way they'd been told.

Later in chapter 2...

Simeon went on to bless Mary, Joseph, and Jesus saying to Mary,
"This child marks both the failure and
the recovery of many in Israel,
A figure misunderstood and contradicted-
the pain of a sword thrust through you-
But the rejection will force honesty,
as God reveals who they really are."

As I read this today, it struck me--Simeon's words are as true for our generation as they were then. The beauty, majesty, servant-like spirit, and calling of Jesus cause our true hearts to be revealed. Do we "adore Him" only, or do we also follow him? Do we proclaim "Joy to the world, the Lord HAS come" only? Or do we also "receive our King"--and all He means, realizing that the Lord is here? Even at his birth, there was foreshadowing of the hard road ahead.

This gift brings with it ultimate healing, complete forgiveness, restoration, Life, and hope. As we fully adore Him and receive our King, let us also let go of all that isn't of Him. His gift of love has caused a revolution in our hearts against the chains and plans of the enemy. In Jesus name we bind all oppression. We bind all addiction. We call on His power to break all strongholds and cause His servant love to be poured out in our hearts and in our world. Grudges can be softened and loosened. Negativity can be replaced with mercy. Marriages in trouble have hope. Lost family members can be treated with love, respect, and mercy--as Jesus has treated us. This gift of love has changed us, changed our world, and changed our way of living forever. We can not live as though we are our own. Jesus came. He really lived and really died. What a wondrous gift of grace!

Tonight and tomorrow as we open our presents and share our love with each other, let's remember how profound the gift of Jesus is in our lives.

Lord, may that gift re-define our lives in 2005!

Blessings to all of you this weekend! Love you guys! BST

Wednesday, December 22, 2004

I just laughed out loud at the thought of playing Christmas Vacation on Sunday morning--awesome. Maybe a scene from Elf?

The Spirit really put this order together for Sunday. Last week Lee camp talked about the song "Silent Night" and how ironic that thought was. There was nothing silent about what Jesus came to do. Although he was like a lamb led to the slaughter who didn't open his mouth (as Isaiah tells us), in truth, his message was extremely earth shattering, especially for the religious folks among us. Lee said that Jesus seemed to be completely intolerant of anyone who might lord over others. "The first shall be last, the last will be first." We must become as servants! Silent night--yes and no.

We're talking about the gift of Jesus to the world this Sunday. We'll have some readings by members of the choir, we're showing the clip of Linus from "A Charlie Brown Christmas", and we'll consider this notion of "silent night". During communion we'll think about the profundity of this gift. World shattering. Chain breaking. Empowering the weak. Restoration. Hope. Healing. No more "impossible". And the communion thoughts will be centered around "Mary Did You Know". Sheryl and Phil Henry and I will sing that together. Julianne Cox (Clarissa's daughter) and Abby Brown (the daughter of Melanie--one of our children's' ministers) will sing different verses of "Away in a Manger" with the choir ooohing under them. We'll book end the service with the "Hallelujah Chorus" at the beginning and "You Are Holy" at the end. Those lyrics proclaim the names of the Lord so well! I am excited about it. In spite of the horrible weather here we had almost 40 people at choir practice tonight. I was thrilled!

My idea for the morning came two weeks ago when the breakfast with Santa folks decorated the stage in the fellowship hall with huge wrapped presents. Here's the catch--we were going to transport them to the sanctuary as our backdrop...BUT, our janitor, Drew UNWRAPPED them. All of them. Bless. I wanted to kill him. All in Christmas, Christian love of course. All in fun, people. All in fun.

As I write tonight, it is raining ice. I just finished wrapping some gifts and I am on a vacation high knowing that I don't have to work the next few days and Christmas time's a comin! (It was fun to see cast members at choir rehearsal tonight. It felt like a family reunion!)

Thanks for the great ideas today--that Charlie Brown Christmas idea was awesome. I wouldn't have thought of it. Have a wonderful night before the night before Christmas!

Here's a cast picture from "A Sanders Family Christmas" taken Sunday night after the show. Pictured left to right are:
Amanda Brooks McKinney--Denise
Johnathan Vest--Uncle Stanley
Laura Troup-- June
Brandon Scott Thomas--Pastor Mervin Oglethorpe
Philip Henry--Dennis
Sonya Colvert--Vera
Steve Speake--Burl

What fun we had!! I think we're all experiencing that post show thing of being glad to have the time back but being sad it's over. I know we're all looking forward to doing "Smoke on the Mountain"!

Well, sickness has come to live at our house again. Sheryl's mom has an inner ear infection. Ella is coughing and has to be sedated with cough medicine, Maddie is snotting all over everything and everybody, and Sheryl has now come down with the cold symptoms (as has my mother). YUCK!!! Run away! I DO NOT want this.

I am working today, Sunday, and next Wednesday and those are the only work days for me over the holidays. I love vacation.

I am finishing up some plans for Sunday. We'll have the choir sing and we're going to be talking about the "gift" of Christmas. Anyone have any suggestions on dramatic readings or a children's book with this theme? (obviously, I am getting a late start here with everything else that's been going on.) I'd welcome the suggestions. I'd bet some of you children's ministers have some ideas.

Our choir this Christmas will have a neat age range--from around 5 years old to 70. It should be a special morning. Send those ideas or post them. Thanks!

Monday, December 20, 2004

It's Monday night and I am still flying high after a weekend of such fun! The show was a huge success. We all had a blast and I think people really enjoyed it. We had it professionally videoed and will have them available if anyone wants one. All three performances went really well and we had great crowds. A friend of a cast member even put up posters at a local Marriott resort and there were a couple of families who showed up as a result. It was a widely diverse crowd. Very, very much fun. Thanks to all of you who came out for the show. It was fun to see some faces of old friends.

My mom is still digging out of her one million boxes. Thanks, Deanna, for going to get some of them tomorrow. I think the hardest thing about moving is wanting to feel settled immediately. It takes a while. We went to my mom's house after church Sunday for lunch. That has never happened in my married life and I haven't even lived in the same town as my mom since 1992. It was a great moment to realize that we'll have many more times like that.

Sheryl's folks are here. We are all having fun. Tonight we played cards and laughed. It was a welcomed break after a very long week.

Mom, Maddie and I went shopping this morning and found her a table and chairs (really pretty) and a TV at Best Buy. She's getting all squared away--slowly but surely.

Tomorrow morning I am heading to the dentist. That'll be a load of fun. Tomorrow night we're going out to Opry Land to see the lights and Christmas decorations. It's really a great place to take guests around Christmas.

Sunday morning I got to go to Lee Camp's class--really awesome. You know, the message of the cross is really so offensive and wonderful. It sets worldly authority on it's ear. It takes our primal nature and turns it upside down. It begs of us that which often seems impossible. But I think it only feels that way because we are so completely immersed in this world and it's values. What I long for is to have that new heart created in me so that my actions really reflect that upside down Kingdom.

Friday, December 17, 2004

A Sanders Family Christmas opens tonight at 7pm at the Otter Creek Church in Nashville, TN!

We had a great dress rehearsal last night in front of our first audience. It went well! We are all excited and ready for this weekend. I hope some of you can make it.

My mom's moving truck didn't get here today--that means tomorrow is the official unpacking day. Mercy.

Thank you, Lord, for the past few months I've spent with these dear, hilarious people. You have gifted so many people at OC. I love seeing your creativity displayed in the lives of your children. Please help us to bring You glory tonight. Thank you for allowing us to be in a place where we can have the freedom to do things like this.

Thursday, December 16, 2004

Rehearsal last night went so well. We are really ready and excited. Now--if the weather will just cooperate! The band is blowing my mind. They are so amazing!

I got home and into bed and Maddie began to cough--cough, cough, cough. Every 5 seconds. After gagging herself and lots of other things that you don't want to hear about, she came to be with us. At 1am I ended up downstairs on the couch. It was a sleepless night for most everyone in our house.

Maddie had her Christmas program this morning. I must say, she wasn't her usual animated self. She looked like a zombie. Bless. She is so tired. It was fun having my mom there--the first of many programs and events she'll get to be a part of! Here are some pictures of the events this morning.

Have a great Thursday everyone! The moving truck comes tomorrow. They will unload boxes. If anyone wants to stop by, let me know!

Wednesday, December 15, 2004

Join us for the hit musical comedy
Sanders Family Christmas!

December 17-19, 7pm
Otter Creek Church
Free Admission. Nursery Care Provided.

For directions or more information call 615-373-1782

Tuesday, December 14, 2004

Sunday night rehearsal was just tedious. 3 1/2 hours spent on sound and EQ. ARGH!! However, last night made up for it. We had a good solid run-through. The band guys are really awesome. The cast is doing such a great job. We're getting really excited about our weekend. Having full costume, lights, sound, and instrumentalists really helps make it seem real. Here are some pictures from rehearsal last night.

Steve Speake and Sonya Colvert play Burl and Vera Sanders--the patriarchs!

Amanda plays one of the twins (Denise) and I play Pastor Mervin Oglethorpe.

Bobby Colvert plays mandolin, accordion, etc. Bennett Rye plays rhythm guitar. (Not pictured in the band are the banjo, fiddle, and upright bass players.)

More pics to come this week. My mom is on the road even now--somewhere between Dallas and Texarkana. They hope to make it to the east side of Memphis tonight. My uncle Mike is driving her. I wish I could be a fly on the wall to hear their conversations for 12 hours. He has been such a sweet man to my mom. Mike has taken great care of her. I know he'll miss having her in Abilene. (My mom's other brother is living in Kansas--hi guys!)

More rehearsals tonight--all week. Last night as I was leaving Maddie said, "Daddy, please don't leave. I want you to stay here and play with me." After I removed the knife from my heart I gave her a big hug and promised to kiss her when I got home. I miss my family! Sheryl has been so amazing through all of this. She knows what Christmas and Easter are like in my job. She is a great support and encourager. I can't wait to have a night to take her out on a date!

My mom's moving truck gets here Friday. (as if there isn't enough going on this weekend!) Anyone want to come unpack a box?

Have a great Tuesday everyone!

Sunday, December 12, 2004

I hope you all have had a great weekend! We have enjoyed being together. Yesterday was a day of great productivity. This is my version of a weekend filled with "Fear Factor". I borrowed a ladder from a friend and climbed up into the nook above our front door. (We have a two story house and the entrance goes all the way up with a chandelier up top and a nook above the door with a large kind of bay window.) I bought some of these little pine trees recently that were pre-lit and wanted to decorate up there AND clean it. I managed to wobble up the ladder and begin the process (I am EXTREMELY afraid of heights. EXTREMELY.) While I was up there I noticed that if I reached out a bit I could grab the chandelier. I had been lamenting that there were about 8 bulbs out and had no way to get up there to change them. So, a few hours later after buying new bulbs, I climbed back up and changed all 16 of 'em. While I was standing there on the nook leaning over holding on to the chandelier, it hit me--where I was, what I was doing. I immediately broke into a sweat(think Airplane--the movie) I managed to get them all changed, but by the time I got to land I was completely wet with sweat. Is anyone else scared of heights? Good grief--it's ridiculous. It would definitely be my task on "Fear Factor" (which we DO NOT watch--it's disgusting and stupid.)

We completed our "Fear Factor" Saturday by heading to Cool Springs Mall ("Coo Sprangs Mawwl") where every other family in middle Tennessee, northern Alabama, and 50 different countries had decided to go. The hustle-bustle was kind of fun in a way. But for a guy who likes to run in and get what he's after and run like the wind, it was a tad bit overwhelming. The girls got to see Santa and they were glad for it.

This morning we are talking about community again. I am so grateful for community. I am thankful for all of you. I am thankful for all those who've been family to me for so many years. Last night Maddie was praying and out of the blue prayed for "Abbaba" (Ronnie Lorenz in Abilene). It made me almost cry. She told Sheryl on Friday that she had figured out what Poppie (my dad) looked like...he looked just like Abbaba. How do people make it with out community? I am so thankful for people at Otter Creek like the Shaubs (my Nashville family since 1995), Bernie Arnold, Scott Owings, JDS, the Williamsons, Julie and Tim, Amanda, JV, the Speakes, Lea Brown, the Englands, Jason Mc. and so many more. When I stop to think about how much God has blessed us in that regard it makes my heart leap. Thank you, Lord!

Here's our order of worship for today:

Welcome--Tim Woodroof
Family Prayer--Don Stanford/ Kyle Shepherd
Meet and greet

Praise and Worship--BST
--Praise to the Lord the Almighty
--You Are Holy
--We Fall Down/ Holy Holy Holy
--Lord You Have My Heart
--The Greatest Commands

Teaching--Tim Woodroof
--More Like You
--Christ Above Me

Supper/Offering--Tony Ross
--Blest Be the Tie That Binds

Shepherd's Close-Jim Butler
--We Shall Assemble

Have a great Sunday, everyone. I'm grateful we are bound together by the precious blood of Jesus. This season we are mindful of gifts. The gift of Jesus is especially on our hearts. I'm so thankful not only for his death and resurrection, but for the human life He lived among us. What an amazing gift!

Friday, December 10, 2004

These are a couple of pictures sent to me compliments of Debbie Riggs at the Highland Church in Abilene. Highland had their big 75th anniversary celebration last week in Moody Coliseum and Mom got to address the crowd regarding her dreams for Highland's future. I wish I could have been there. I heard it was a great day.

The walk through of the house went well yesterday. Things are looking good. For some of you old ACU folks, her realtor is Jerry Jennings--father of Christopher ("Topher"). He is such an amazing help! Thanks, Jerry! I think my mom will really be pleased with her new place.

Last night Sheryl was a co-host at the big fund raising dinner here for Rochester College (where she went before transferring to ACU). Rochester, which is in Michigan for any who didn't know, is a good school. I've been impressed with their openness to the Spirit and their new President seems like a really great man. I had a lot of friends at ACU who transferred in from Rochester (then Michigan Christian).

I stayed home and put the girls to bed and wrapped presents. The gift wrapping thing seems funny to me this year. I enjoy making the wrapping look nice and seeing the presents under the tree, but this year we have opted so far to keep the gifts in the closet...little elves love to UNwrap presents. It struck me as funny last night when I walked into the closet and there were all the gifts--nicely wrapped. CRAZY!

We begin the major rehearsals this weekend. Sunday we have a full dress rehearsal with the body mics and the band (except for the stand up bass player who can't make it). Monday the lights load in. It's all downhill from there! What a fun and exhausting week it will be. All the while, my mom will be arriving on Wednesday with my uncle. Whew!

Have a great Friday, everyone! Word of advice, check your coat pockets, always double and triple check when you write the front page bulletin article, and just go on and steer clear of everyone who's name is George Buck. He's just trouble. Ain't that right, George?

Thursday, December 09, 2004

OK--another embarrassing moment to share today. I had lunch with Phil at Baja Burrito--the MOST AMAZING PLACE! That's for you, Troy. Thanks for looking at the blog. (Troy owns Baja and is the son of Doug and Nan Smith. He went to ACU a little ahead of me)

Baja tends to be extremely crowded...lines out the door, etc. I was trying to hurry and get situated (Phil, I think you missed this part while you were getting drinks). I had a coat on I hadn't worn in a while. I reach in the pocket and felt something like a hanky or something. I pulled it out to see what it was--Maddie's Barney panties. Nice. I tried to shove them back into my pocket before anyone could notice. I saw one guy look at me and just shake his head like he was thinking, "sicko". Please...3 years ago I could barely say the word (pant***) and now they're in my pocket with Barney all over them (another creature I had at one point sworn I'd have nothing to do with). My how life changes.

Maddie had another funny this morning. She had an accident yesterday and fell on the driveway and bruised her leg. Of course--she was THRIlLED to be wearing a bandaid. She came in this morning and told me she had a bruise and that it was black and blue and smelled like blueberries. That girl!

We had a great rehearsal last night. The show is really cooking. It's set in the 1940's, right? It's a different time and place. The characters resemble the time and period. It was World War II. There are some pro-war sentiments that are potentially troublesome for a couple of folks. But--hey, this is history, not revisionist history. It was what it was. Otherwise, it's really going well.

I have meetings most of the rest of today. We're bringing in the little pin microphones that are typically used in theatrical productions. I am about to see how that will impact our technology ministry. I hope we have the volunteer ability to handle it. All lighting is loaded in on Monday. We hope to have a dress rehearsal without tech on Sunday though. Getting everyone's schedules together around this time of year is impossible. Especially now that we're adding band members and tech folks.

It continues to rain here. Schools are even closed. Wow--imagine if this were snow! I have a final walk through of my mom's house later today. I'll let you all know the update. She is supposed to move in next Wednesday!! WOW!

Names--great suggestions so far. Keep em comin!! Again--we are only looking for girl names. "Sam" will be our boy name. Have a great day, everyone!

Tuesday, December 07, 2004

Thanks to everyone for your kind comments! We are really excited. Maddie's eyes were so big when we told her. She and Ella both got to hear the heart beat. Maddie's been asking questions like, "Is the baby going to stay overnight? Will the baby live with us?" and this morning..."Mommy, do you still have that heart in your tummy? Did you sleep with it?"

Sheryl is officially due June 10, but we're betting more on around May 25th considering our other two. Thank you for your continued prayers.

So, today was my huge visit to the Vanderbilt Allergy/Sinus clinic. I knew it would be long, but had no idea what I was in for. I think Sheryl had tried to explain to Maddie before I left why I wasn't taking her to school today. When I came downstairs to say goodbye Maddie asked me, "Daddy, are you going to the doctor cause your boogers hurt?" Yeah. Pretty much.

I checked in to the clinic and about 5 minutes later a nurse called me back. She was standing there with reporters and a producer from ABC. The Nashville ABC affiliate is doing an hour long special on the Vandy clinic which will air in March. She asked me if I'd be willing to let them follow me around all day. Now I am allergy reality TV boy. I agreed and we began the experience. I was fine with most of it except when they had a camera in my face as I was being weighed. Hello? I am NOT ON "The Biggest Loser" although, perhaps I should be. It actually made the day pass quite fast. I found out that I am severely allergic to certain trees and mold. I also found out that I have rhinitis, or rhinoitis, or something. I'll have a CT scan in January (thanks to deductible) to find out what the heck that is. I left with meds and a long term prescription and plan for help. I felt good. What a great place and nice people! So, be watching March 7th for my allergy debut. (why me?)

Sheryl has a girlie party tonight. I get to hang with Maddie and Ella. I always love that time. We'll play, watch a movie and probably do baths. They are so extra funny in the bath tub. We just need a splash guard for the rest of the bathroom when they're in there!

I'm trying to recruit members for our Christmas Chorus. Since the show is completely different this year with a very small cast (7 actors, 5 musicians), I am recruiting a larger group to sing on Sunday the 26th. Anyone want to come over and join us? EVERYONE seems to be leaving town. We're not! YEEEEEEEEEAAAAAAAA!

Have a great day, everyone. Keep those name ideas coming. Sam is definitely our boy name (after my father). We need a good girl's name that goes well with Madeline and Ella. Classic, but cool. Ideas? (we find out in 5 weeks!)

Monday, December 06, 2004

OK--yesterday morning I needed a self-censor button. For the love! It was way worse than "feeling full as a tick". I had worn this funky denim shirt and during second service when one of our comedic elders did his closing he borrowed a shirt from the room in the inn closet and pretended to present it to me since I "clearly didn't have anything to wear." It was humorous.

Then I had to respond. I began by apologizing for the blooper in the bulletin. Bobby Colvert's name is NOT spelled "booby". Then I had to make reference to Tim's recent sphincter comment in his "we are the body" sermon. That should have been enough right there. However, in getting George back (the elder) I went on and jumped right over the edge WITHOUT realizing it. I think my comment went something like this, " Next week, I'll be writing the front article about George Buck. We'll just see how I mess up YOUR name." Yeah--It was somewhere about mid way through the last part of that sentence that I realized how that might sound and wanted to physically reach into the air to grab the words. Wow. I need a muzzle. As the laughter roared and the praise team looked at me like I had lost my mind I concluded by saying, "Maybe we should just sing our final song now." The final song? "We Are the Body of Christ". It was just a wrong 10 miunte segment no matter how you slice it.

Highland Church in Abilene, my home church, celebrated their 75th anniversary last weekend. Lynn Anderson and Mike did a great job, so I heard. What a special place that is! we went down to have fresh Krispy Kreme donuts before hitting the doctor's office. It was Sheryl's appt. and the entire family went with us. Why would you think an entire family might go to the doctor's office? Hmmm? Sheryl is 13.5 weeks pregnant!! We heard a good strong heartbeat today. We've been waiting a long time to tell until we heard the heartbeat. It's been really hard not to spill the beans to you all. God is good!

Marilyn Switzer came up to Sheryl yesterday at church and said, "I just heard about your good news! You and Brandon are the kinds of parents who SHOULD be having more babies! Congratulations!" That might be one of the coolest comments anyone has made. AND--it's way better than the typical, "Are you CRAZY?" "WOW." "Oh my--bless you." or, my favorite, "Was it on purpose?" Thanks for being so encouraging, Marilyn!

Well, that's my big news for today. Thanks for rejoicing with us. Stay tuned for "Guess that name." Have a great day, everyone!!

Sunday, December 05, 2004

Breakfast with Santa was awesome yesterday. Sheryl's idea for the front of the room on stage was really cool. There were huge boxes wrapped like gifts all over the stage as tall as the ceiling. The Santa chair was right in the middle. Maddie was marginally impressed by Santa and the event in general. She was just happy to see friends. Ella, however, truly embraced the moment. Upon walking in she put her hands into fists and leaned back and said, "Whoaaaa!" She was pumped! Maddie only shook Santa's hand as she was glued to Sheryl. Ella virtually had to be peeled off Santa's lap (or Ho-ho as she calls him). It was fun to see and visit with so many.

Immediately afterwards we went to work building the stage. Russ Carney has made this happen every year for almost 9 years. He is such a pro and a giving man. Thankfully, there were enough men to make it happen quickly. Since people were there I decided that it was a great time to get my piano from my office and haul it on stage. It's a spinnet-upright. HEAVY. We got it there, mostly undamaged. As people are coming in this morning, they'll see my piano sitting on stage in all its glory. Wonder how many will do a double take. It's not the first time, but the shock value is always there. I am debating getting a table cloth and covering it. Isn't that funny? It's as if the piano doesn't really exist if there's something covering it. Church people can be so silly. I remember a couple of years ago when we were doing a big concert for Christmas we had the drum set sectioned off with the plexi glass thing. That time I opted to cover the entire monstrous thing. In the middle of worship--it was if the hand of God came down and "ripped the veil". In one swoop, the entire thing pooled off and onto the ground. Someone even remarked afterwards that it had to be a sign. I laughed. We are so kooky about those things. CofC is my family and heritage, but that deep fear and sensitivity is still something I don't get. Never have.

We spent last night cleaning the house. Life Group at our place tonight. Decorating for Christmas can be so messy!

This afternoon we have rehearsal--a full run through off script. I am excited to see how it goes. Christmas time's a comin'! Oh...and one little thing on the show. I wrote the front page article for the bulletin this week. At the end, as I was thanking people, I thanked "Booby Colvert" for leading the band. Booby. Not Bobby, Booby. I'll never hear the end of this one, and I'm afraid "Booby" won't either. Spell check failed me.

Here's our order of worship for today. We're talking about what it means to be in community with each other.

Welcome-Tim Woodroof
Family Prayer-Chris Sanders/Scott Schwieger
Meet and greet

Praise and Worship-BST
--Because We Believe
--At the Name of Jesus
--Holy Spirit, Rain Down
--Holy Ground Medley


--What the Lord Has Done In Me

Supper/ Offering-Jerry Collins
--We Are the Body of Christ

Message--Tim Woodroof
--How Sweet, How Heavenly

Shepherd's Charge
Birthday Sunday-Bob Enkema
--We Are the Body of Christ (from last time of "and to this" to the end)

Have a great Sunday, everyone!

Friday, December 03, 2004

OK, so "potential new family member" is now NON-potential family member. An 8 month old Cocker is so not what we need right now. Not to mention that in her short visit to our house she immediately gobbled up Ella's PB&J sandwich right out of her hand. Major drama, as you can imagine. Nope, Libby will find a happy home with someone else who doesn't have small children.

What a day! I had lunch with an old family friend. Her parents where some of my main Spiritual influences at ACU. She and her husband were huge influences on me when I was here back in 1990 doing my internship at Reunion Records. Although she is 15 years my senior, she's always been like a big sister to me. She went through a difficult divorce 2 years ago. The "church" really treated her horribly. Friends pulled away, conversations became awkward, close friends believed the gossip that was spreading. She is good buds with Amy Grant who told her at the beginning what to expect from Christians. She was right. Amy has had to endure all kinds of ridicule and judgment from people who have no clue what her situation was. It's so much easier to judge than to walk through difficult times with My friend shared with me today that her faith is still in tact, she loves the Lord, she just can't stand Christians. How many of us have felt that way before? (I'm raising my hand.) I wish I had had a video camera with me and taped our two hour conversation. I wish people who warm the pew on Sundays could get a glimpse of how others view social Christianity. Dan Kimball (author of Emerging Church and Emerging Worship--two MUST reads) did a video interview of random people in his city asking their views on Jesus--almost 99% positive. When he asked the same people their opinion of Christians, it was the exact opposite response. We live in a culture that is shifting--we're not just in a generation gap. People are craving real, authentic faith. Hearing my friend speak of her pain today only reminded me and convicted me all over again that if we are to be about Kingdom business, it will look very different than what we're doing these days.

One last interesting moment happened tonight. After I got the girls in bed and asleep (Sheryl is decorating for Bfast w/Santa) I went outside to continue draping white lights over bushes...something that once you begin you're sort of committed to seeing through to the bitter end. Camille, our neighbor across the street lost her 33 year old husband last year to Lou Garrick's disease. Her mother who had moved in to help with Jeff found out she had cancer and died within a few months. Needless to say, it's been a rough year for her. As I was slaving away covering bushes, Camille appeared in our driveway with a warm, fresh out of the oven, coconut pie. She apologized for not being a "good neighbor" and not being around so much lately. I wanted to crawl under the pavement. I've had a lot of great intentions there and have had very little follow through. Here she was being Jesus to me. We had a great conversation and I hope she's coming to our life group soon on Sunday night. I was convicted of Kingdom again tonight. We need to make time to be with her.

It's been one of those days where the Lord speaks in strange ways. I needed to hear His voice like this. He is good to show himself in unlikely places. He is good to strip me of self absorption and wake me up to the real hurts of those right under my nose. He is good to remind me AGAIN of what we're here to do and be much of which happens OUTSIDE the church building. Thank you, Lord for your mercy!

Let's see...what to talk about TODAY. Politics? Sex? Gay Marriage? Nah...I think I'll hold off on those topics. (sorry to all the anonymous commenters out there) Overall, some really great discussion yesterday. Thanks for contributing to it. I really appreciated the spirit of people like JDS and Notgonnatellya. Why can't we talk about all difficult things with that kind of approach? Thanks, guys.

Christmas Time's A Comin!! That song opens the show--Sanders Family Christmas. I was singing it in my head at 4:30 this morning after Ella woke up crying and eventually, unlike her father, went back to sleep. "Can't ya hear them bells ringin', ringin', joy, joy to hear them singin'! When it's snowin' I'll be goin' back to my country home." OVER and OVER and OVER. ugh. Then when that one finally subsided (I tried to use the tune of Jesus Loves Me to wipe my mental pallet), my mind made a medley of "Christmas Time's a Comin" and "I'll Be Home With Bells On"--also in the show. If I could have found Dolly to strangle her, I would have at 5:30am.

I hope those of you in the Nashville area are planning to come. (Dec 17, 18, 19 @7pm) I don't think I've been as excited about something in a long time. It's really been fun.

My mom is having a very emotionally draining week. The Highland Elders asked her to come to their meeting on Wednesday night where they blessed her with words and with prayer. It was overwhelming, I'm sure. (What a great practice! Do any of your elderships bless those moving?) Yesterday, she was at the Abilene City Council meeting (she's helping with the building of the new and improved Abilene Public Library). Norman Archibald who is now Mayor had her stand and they gave her a real send off there too. Today she has a going away party at the NCCIL National Center for Children's Illustrated Literature). Mom has been very instrumental in getting it up and going. The other board members will miss her greatly. After that party, she is going to Sam Thomas Elementary (the school named after my father). They are taking a panoramic picture of the entire student body with my mom standing in front of the school. Pretty cool! (Christopher Paul and Lauren--2 of the Lorenz's grandkids) will be standing right beside her. These are precious, precious people and memories.

I told her last night that she's really receiving such a gift. Most people never get to hear such accolades while they're living. She is so loved. It makes my heart just spill over to think of the friends and family we have in Abilene. Thank you, THANK YOU to all of you in Abilene who have loved us and will continue to love us. It will always be home. I can't imagine what it will be live for Mom to get in the car with her brother, Mike, and drive out of town knowing that she is leaving.

Last night was so much fun. I rented Elf and we spent our night in the den decorating and watching Will Ferrell. What could be better? There are so many great moments in that movie. The girls were just giddy with excitement. Ella ran around saying "I want Ho-Ho" and Maddie helped hang decorations. At one point both girls were wrapped in the colored lights I was trying to strategically place on the tree. It is an art, you know. We had a great time.

Tomorrow is breakfast with Santa at OC. Sheryl will be up here late tonight decorating with some other moms. We're also meeting a potential new family member... Libby. She's a beautiful black cocker spaniel. We'll see how everyone gets along.

Have a great weekend! Enjoy the best of this season. In spite of the commercialism, selfishness, and greed--there are so many great things about the Christmas season. New Life, hope, the spirit of giving, realizing God's gift to us in Jesus Christ, laughter, an excuse for families to be together, hot chocolate, peppermint ice cream...yes, I still eat ice cream in the winter! May God bless you all this weekend.

Thursday, December 02, 2004

Isn't it interesting that when a sensitive topic is raised and people have strong feelings about it, there tend to be mostly anonymous posts? What is the deal with that? Come on, blog family--if it's worth saying, it's worth signing. None of the comments were offensive--I enjoyed hearing all the perspectives. It seasons the conversation. But--anyone in ministry who has received the lovely anonymous letter will agree with me. If it's worth saying, it's worth signing. I even got a note once on one of our yellow "encouragement" cards that was anything but encouraging. I guess the writer felt justified in using that card by starting the admonition with, "Let me encourage you to...." It was mean spirited and of course, anonymous. Anyway, say it with me bloggers out there, "If it's worth saying, it's worth signing."

Now, on to better things. We had a great rehearsal last night. I didn't think we'd need all three hours for music, but we used every last second. It really helped to get that music into our physical blocking and action. I am getting so excited about this show. It's something completely different than we have ever done. I hope people enjoy it.

My sinus infection continues to rage. I think I have had this for 7 months now. Seriously. It goes away and comes back...every other week or so. I am going to Vanderbilt on Tuesday to spend 4 hours with doctors who will poke me, stab me, etc. in an effort to find out what is going on. I am also convinced that these problems have exacerbated my vocal issues. I am hopeful that there might be a solution that will help both things. I'd really appreciate your prayers.

Speaking of problems being exacerbated (just had to use that one more time), my office looks like something off of "Clean Sweep"! Seriously, I need some major help. It's disgusting. I haven't seen the top of my desk in months. I have costumes all over the place, sombreros, coats people have left after rehearsals, coffee cups, water bottles, music--maybe close to a million sheets here and there, my to-go salad container sitting on the floor next to me, books not in bookshelves, CDs not in cases and not on shelves, pictures, bills...IT IS DRIVING ME CRAZY!! The thing is, with everything going on with the show right now it's virtually impossible to keep order, but as much as I'd like to blame it on that, this has become the norm in here. NO MORE! Come December 30th it's CLEAN SWEEP in BST's office! Stay tuned.

Anyone watching "The Real Gilligan's Island"? I've admitted before, we love some dumb shows like that. Last night while I was at rehearsal late, Sheryl watched "Nanny 911". Maybe someone could come do a reality show on the building campaign. It would have strong characters, a lot at stake, strong opinions, deep emotions, and the future of OC weighing in the balance. I appreciate the time and energy people like Becky Cowart and others have put into this. No one is paying them. They have gone the extra mile and paid the price. Becky is one of our ministry coordinators (what we call our deacons). No matter how we feel about the project itself, she deserves our thanks for all her efforts and for her deep love for this place. Sometimes I think, just like in politics, it's difficult to step outside your strong opinions and treat each other like human beings. What did CS Lewis call it...our almost but not yet glorified selves? Seeing each other as children of God and not as an issue or an opinion. Really hard to do, isn't it? I'm working on it. I have a long way to go, but I am working.

Have a great day, blog family. We will be at home tonight putting up the "Santa tree". I'm so looking forward to just being home! The Santa tree is a smaller, skinnier Christmas tree that goes in the den by the fireplace. The girls will enjoy putting more ornaments on the tree. You can tell where they have decorated--there are usually like 30 ornaments on two limbs.

Peace of Christ to you today!

Wednesday, December 01, 2004

Great staff party last night! The white elephant thing is always fun with that group. Counting spouses, there were thirty one of us there last night. The gifts ranged from a wall hanging of an old boro to a Santa Christmas ornament that everyone fought for. I ended up with a lego racing car and Sheryl ended up with cook books--another fought for item!

I am definitely in the holiday spirit! We will have Sheryl's parents and my mom at our house this year. So fun! We're counting down the days now until Mom moves. I know so many of you in Abilene will be sad to see her go. I am sad to see her leave Abilene. But--my excitement for her being here certainly outweighs it. What it means is that all you friends who've been promising to come see us in Nashville will finally have to make good on your promise!

We've just been in a discussion about how to create head room here over the next couple of years. Ultimately, it will mean going back to the dreaded 3 services. YUCK. One idea is to have a Sat night service. We could do all sorts of neat things there. We've had it before, but this would be more of a permanent thing--at least until we get to our new place. Can someone just wake me up when the "Reach" campaign is over? While I am mostly on board now with the move, the campaign is still bothersome to me. My brother-in-law told me that their church in Arkansas is doing the same thing...except theirs is called "Realize the Dream" or something like that. Did I totally screw it up, Chris? It all has that same "slick" feel to me. It's no secret I have felt that way here. God works in spite of us--thankfully. No one needs that more than I do.

It seems like it's always either Wednesday or Sunday. Sheryl and I joke about that around the house--it seriously does seem like that. It's Wednesday again--that means loooong days and long nights. Rehearsal tonight is aimed at music. We need it. It will be nice to have a 3 hour music rehearsal.

I'm headed over to John Catchings in a minute. John is one of our very accomplished artists here at the Creek. We're all proud of him. Just about any Christian music CD you pick up will have his name on it as the cellist. He's played for the Symphony, on Letterman and Leno, with Michael Card for MANY years, and is just a great man of God. He's selling his keyboard and I am hoping to buy it for the Creek. So--off to test it out! Have a great day, everyone!

Feliz Navidad. Noche de paz and all that.