Sunday, July 31, 2005

We had such a fun Saturday! After braving the mall yesterday morning, we went out to Opryland Hotel last night to see my friend, Lindy. I always forget how overwhelming that place is and how fun! The girls were so excited.

We rode the boat through the Delta, we saw the dancing waters and we got to be a part of the Mardi Gras family night. They had a band and a big dance floor open out in the Delta section. There were living statues, dancers with feathers, kids everywhere and a fantastic live band. The girls were in heaven. (Sheryl was there--she just didn't want to be photographed. Although, she was having a lot of fun cutting a rug on the dance floor with Lindy and the girls.)

Ella was quite taken with the living statues. She thought they were really funny. She would stand there and laugh out loud really hard like it was the most hilarious thing she'd ever seen. Maddie, on the other hand, was not so amused. She was more freaked out by them. Who could blame her?

The climax of the evening came when we revealed to Maddie that Lindy had been in Peter Pan with Cathy Rigby and that, among other roles, she played grown-up Wendy. Maddie almost passed out. Lindy also toured with Cathy in South Pacific. They are good friends now. It was fun hearing stories about her experience. She told us that when they recently went to see Cathy in this latest tour they went back and spent some time with her in the dressing room and Cathy gave her girls some of the magic fairy dust that Peter Pan throws as he flies. She said she almost brought some for Maddie. Maddie would have had to been life-flighted. At several points in the night Maddie leaned over and said something to the effect of, "Daddy, SHE was in Peter Pan!" or, "Daddy, tell her that I like to watch Peter Pan every day! You tell her." Lindy made a friend for life.

Lindy is casting the musical, "BIG" in Arlington next week. It should be a fun show. She's also musical director for "A Christmas Carol" at Dallas Theater Center this Christmas. Go check out those shows if you're in the Metroplex.

I couldn't leave Baby Sam out. He had a good weekend too. So cute. So sweet! He enjoyed the music last night too.

Thanks for your prayers for Sheryl and her brother. I know she's anxious to get this over with Tuesday. We go in about 9am. I'll keep you posted--with the approval of Sheryl. :)

This morning our youth minister, David Rubio, is preaching. I know it will be awesome--it always is. David is such a blessing to serve with here.

Tonight we have life group. Tomorrow Sheryl's parents arrive. Seems like there's always something crazy going on. This week I am packing up my office to move upstairs before we move to our new office on the new property. Then there's the Williamson County Fair where we're singing next Sunday. CRAZY! I've just gotten to the point where my favorite thing is being home playing with the girls and Sam. Instead of that being another thing on my plate--that's my respite. I know that can only be God's doing. Thank you, Lord! You are good!

Friday, July 29, 2005

Wow. That is all I can say about the Michael Buble concert Wednesday. UNREAL! It was possibly the best concert I have ever been to. His band was incredible. The horn players were amazing. He was hilarious too. We had such a great night with the Speakes and we're SO thankful to Katey for keeping the kids. Thank you, KATEY!!

Regressing to funny Maddie moments...the other day I was driving them to lunch and I just had a burp that had to come out. It just had to. It was a very satisfying, long, sustained burp. I was quite proud. Now, mind you, I don't do this in front of the children very often (don't believe anything Sheryl says). But it was one of those that had to be expressed and savored. HA. So--from the back seat I hear Maddie exclaim, "Whoa! You better get that out, boy!" I don't know why it did, but it cracked me up so hard that I almost had to pull over. "Boy"? Funny.

Yesterday I got to spend an hour or so over lunch with some old friends from TX. Lindy Cabe was my vocal coach while I performed at Six Flags Over Texas back in 1993. Later we worked together performing at Casa Manana Theater in Fort Worth. She and her husband, Jakie, live in Fort Worth and I never get to see them. It was so fun seeing Lindy but we missed seeing Jakie. My other friend, Gary Floyd, lived here for a while before moving back to Dallas. He is such an amazing singer. Both of them are. They are here doing a show with "Incredible Productions" out at the Opryland Hotel. We had such a great time laughing and telling stories. It was a real blessing to get to be with them again.

The latest on Sheryl is that we're still waiting until Tuesday for her procedure. Her mom and dad are coming in on Monday. I'm glad they're coming. I know they're concerned. We just can't even go there. We're trusting that this is a small thing that can be easily fixed. Please continue to pray for her.

The news on Sheryl's brother, David, is not good. We're waiting to learn more. Thank you for your prayers about him.

And, finally, I spent the day mastering the recording yesterday with Jim Falzone at Venus Mastering. Praise the LORD! It is done and ready to be duplicated. I hope you'll order one from the ZOE site. I feel really good about the project this year. I feel even better now that it's done!

Have a great weekend, blog family.

Wednesday, July 27, 2005

Here's sweet little baby Sam getting a bath. He's just been doing so well. I have been taking the 11pm feeding and I am loving holding him and watching him. He's a little cuddle bug.

He doesn't even mind the bath. He'll sit there and just look up at us with those huge eyes. What is he thinking? He's probably long til I get my first taste of Blue Bell Ice Cream???

Here's another one of Sam in his bed. He's transitioning nicely to his new room all by himself. For some reason, now that he's actually in his room it makes it seem so much more real. 3 kids. Goodness.

Thanks for the comments yesterday. It's always interesting to see what you're thinking out there.

Please be praying for Sheryl's brother, David. He needs our prayers right now. He has a huge cancerous place on his kidney and some cancerous spots on his lungs. He is 56 yrs old and Sheryl's oldest sibling. He's extremely down right now.

Tonight is a big night for us. We're so excited to be going to the Michael Buble concert at TPAC. I know it will be amazing.

Meanwhile, we'll be missing another amazing night at the Creek. Don Finto is speaking tonight. I HATE that I am missing him. If we hadn't had our tickets for months, we might reconsider. TJ is leading worship and the 5th and 6th graders have a special skit that they're doing as a part of worship time. If you're in town, come see us.

Monday, July 25, 2005

The mini-series "Into the West" ended this weekend. Did anyone else watch it? I couldn't wait for the next one. I love history stuff and have always been fascinated with Old West history. Was anyone else struck with what Brian McLaren has called the "racial cleansing card" feeling? McLaren has said several times that if he were a non-Christian, one of the first questions he might ask a Christian neighbor would be, "Do you carry the racial cleansing card?" We've done a lot of ugly things in the name of religion--which is bad enough, but actually, we've done a lot of ugly things in the name of Jesus--even worse.

Imagine if Iraq decided to come to the states right now--present day--with the motive of colonizing America and cleansing it of it's savagery. What would we do? We would rise up, feeling offended. We would say, THIS IS OUR LAND! We would fight. It would seem unthinkable. Isn't that akin to what we did to the American Indians? We viewed them as savages and completely immoral. (Aren't there a lot of people in other countries who see us as completely immoral? Twin Towers??) We did not even consider their rights or the fact that this was their land. Instead, we felt justified because we were doing it in the name of God and a "new way" and we murdered and slaughtered thousands of Native Americans. Racial cleansing.

I remember about 9 years ago or so going to the Promise Keepers Pastors' convention in Atlanta. There were 20,000 ministers there or something crazy like that. It was amazing. We all pledged to serve the Lord together. We all pledged to put aside the walls that hinder the message of Christ. And in one of the most poignant moments ever, chiefs from the remaining Native American tribes stood before this vast crowd as we asked their forgiveness for the way we've treated them. I'll never forget it. I'll never forget their tears--and ours.

I've never been quite so struck by our past with regard to the Native Americans as I was while watching "Into the West". Did anyone else watch it? Did it strike you?

Here's the prayer we said at church yesterday. It seems appropriate to print again.

O God, you have made of one blood all the peoples of the earth
Grant that people everywhere may seek after you and find you
Bring the nations into your fold
Pour out your spirit upon all flesh
And hasten the coming of your Kingdom
Through Jesus Christ our Lord we pray

Sunday, July 24, 2005

Michael Ewing's wedding last night was really beautiful. I could not get over how many people were there. I just kept thinking how much cake it would take to feed all those people. (You know me, always thinking of things in terms of cake.)

I sang "Come What May" with Martha Ann Brewer. It was a really challenging song. I told Sheryl that after singing in literally hundreds of weddings, this song was kicking my booty. Plus, I remember when I wasn't the "old guy" singing. I remember being right out of college like Martha Ann and singing with older folks. WHAT HAPPENED?? Geez-o-pete.

I am enjoying my John Chisum CD this morning. His new one is called "A Table in the Wilderness". I've sung on a few of his CDs but this time I got to take some of the ZOE folks with me. The project turned out great. Chiz has been a faithful friend to me for almost 10 years now. He's coming to be a part of our Nashville ZOE Conference. He's also touring doing the Integrity Worship Conferences. I'm glad we'll get to do some things together this fall.

Friday night we went to Houston's. Can I just say again how sad I am about it closing in Nashville? The Nashville restaurant was the very first Houston's. It's such a shame to be losing it. We saw Amy and Scott Westerman. Again, I was reminded of how good God has been to us through the years of traveling and ministering with ZOE. Those people and their families have become family to us. Never would I have imagined how God would have used us or how much we would experience together. We have literally experienced valleys and mountain tops. Praise you, Lord, for your faithfulness and generosity in the gift of relationships.

Scott's preaching this morning. Here's our order of worship. The prayer comes from a modified version of one found in the Book of Common Prayer. I like that it's a little more missional than most.

Intro new members
Family Prayer—Jordan House/ Jadie Fuson
Meet and greet

raise and Worship—BST
--Lord Reign In Me
--You Are Worthy of My Praise
--Send Your Rain

Teaching—Scott Owings

--Hear Our Praises
-- All Who Are Thirsty
--Christ Above Me
Congregational prayer
--People Need the Lord (second vs: "We all need the Lord"))
--Wonderful, Merciful Savior
Supper/ Offering----John Roberson

Ministry Moment—Pat Ward
Shepherd’s Close--George Buck
--Hear our Praises (chorus)

O God, you have made of one blood all the peoples of the earth
Grant that people everywhere may seek after you and find you
Bring the nations into your fold
Pour out your spirit upon all flesh
And hasten the coming of your Kingdom
Through Jesus Christ our Lord we pray

Friday, July 22, 2005

YEEE-HAWWW! Donald Miller is officially coming to Otter Creek on August 22nd. We will be printing tickets and advertising in the community, but pass the word out to your friends. The last time he was here he sold out the Belcourt Theater twice in one night. I know it will be a wonderful evening.

His topic will be Romeo and Juliet and the Gospel of Jesus. We'll begin with worship with the band and he'll speak for a while and he wants to end with communion so we're planning to do some stations like we do on Wednesday nights. Afterwards, he'll take Q&A. Stephen--you should come.

Last night we went to the new Target in our neighborhood. The girls have been so excited to go. We got exciting things like dish washing soap and rear view mirror adhesive. (Yes, it's still in my back seat) Ella still says, "This little piggy went to 'Target'" I love it.

Sheryl and I have a date night tonight, thanks to Kiki! WE are going to one of our favorite places--Houston's. We are SO bummed that it is closing next month. We'll have to find a new anniversary place.

This weekend Michael Ewing gets married and I am singing. Another wedding and more time away from what I truly love to do on the weekends--spend time with my kids. However, I know it will be a special day and I really love Michael. I wouldn't want to miss it.

Have a great weekend, everyone!

Thursday, July 21, 2005

register for the ZOE CONFERENCE HERE!!

Phil Ware was awesome last night. Oh my goodness. I think the best thing to do if you're interested in his talk is to go on the Otter Creek website (link over there to your right) and order a CD or call the office to order one 615-373-1782.

Phil's message was powerful and convicting. He talked about the dangers of the internet neighborhood--not in a doom and gloom kind of way, but in a very forthright, honest, confrontive way. All kinds of Christ followers--men AND women--are finding themselves stuck in addictive behaviors as a result of internet abuse. And--there is no such thing as being anonymous. There are codes on your computer that allow people to track every site you've ever visited. Phil said he went to a site last week that showed him every single website he had visited since 1994. Now that's intimidating. It's important to have accountability. I was very encouraged.

Our friends, Jaz and Jamie, were there again last night. I think this was Jamie's 3rd time and Jaz's 2nd. It was great to have them with us. I got to visit some with Jaz over dinner in the fellowship hall. They are both really struggling--not like you and I struggle with the mundane things in life. They are struggling to hang on each day. You know what? They aren't the only ones. There are marriages suffering silently, there are friends dealing with issues of addiction and brokenness--and they're all out there (I should say, we're all out there) sitting right next to you each Sunday. Some wear their struggles plainly because they haven't learned yet that most church people don't do that (asinine). Others are finely dressed, full of smiles and greetings, but if you'll take a moment to look into their eyes--to really notice them--you'll see the hollow eyes full of hurt and secrecy.

Scott is speaking this Sunday on the woman at the well and what we can learn from Jesus about outreach. One of his main points will be that we have to become aware. Simply that. When we REALLY become aware of others and aware of God's love for them, it will transform us. I want to be more aware. I want to take time to notice people and look into their eyes and really see them instead of moving from one to the next on Sundays like we so often do. I want a greater awareness accompanied by action. Please, O Lord!

On a different, and funnier note--after seeing the Broadway tour of Peter Pan with the girls, I decided to order the DVD from Amazon (instead of paying $40 that night for one). They have LOVED it. Cathy Rigby really is amazing. However, towards the beginning of the show, Peter is poking fun at Wendy and says "You silly ass". In fact I think he says it a couple of times. I remember my eyes getting big when we were watching it live. Well...and you can see where this is going...a couple of nights ago I overheard Maddie trying to get around Ella in the bathroom and she said, and I quote, "I need out, you silly 'ask'". Yeah--she thinks he's saying "ask". Well, in the moment, ass and "ask" don't sound that different. I don't know when I have done a double take like that. So, now, thanks to you, Peter Pan, we're having to explain why that's not such a nice thing to say. Silly ask!

And on a sad note, I found out that Hollis Talley died this week after battling cancer. His son, Thomas, was a good friend in high school and college (my roommate my first semester of my freshman year). His daughter, Tiffany, is scheduled to be married in a couple of weeks and he was really hoping to make it and walk her down the aisle. I know that family is really sad right now. Would you include them in your prayers?

Lord, thank you for the gift of fathers. Hollis was a great father and a great example to his children. We don't understand why you give and take away. But we ask that you give comfort during this time to the entire Talley family.

Wednesday, July 20, 2005

register for the ZOE CONFERENCE HERE!!

I didn't write about this last week because we weren't really sure of what was going on and didn't want to make too big of a deal out of it. On Monday of last week Sheryl went in to get some things checked out. She could feel a mass in her abdomen on her right side that was concerning both of us. The doctor was also very concerned after feeling it. It was quite large. She sent Sheryl to the hospital for a CT scan. While she was there, they ordered more tests and Sheryl became very concerned. Meanwhile, I was at home with the kids and Kiki and we were praying and trying not to freak out.

The short of it is that Sheryl's kidney was actually the mass they were feeling. It is roughly the size of a football and has pushed all her other organs to the left side of her body. IT'S CRAZY!! The doctor isn't sure if it's functioning or if it will function again. And while this all sounds very serious, we felt like having a party that it wasn't a football sized tumor. It's funny what perspective does, isn't it?

We have an appointment at the urology surgery center on August 2nd. At that time they will try and figure out what's really going on. Meanwhile, Sheryl continues to walk around with her gigantic kidney. The amazing thing is (and this is a very good thing according to the Dr.) she is in no pain.

Please pray for her healing and that the doctors can figure out what to do for her. We really feel blessed that this is all it is.

Tonight at TGIWednesday, Phil Ware will be speaking on how to navigate the WWW with integrity and wisdom for your kids, etc. I'm sure it will be great.

I found out today that my friend, Lindy, is coming to town next week to do a show. I am really excited to see her. Lindy was my voice coach at Six Flags Over Texas and we worked together at Casa Manana in Fort Worth. I'm so excited for her to see our kids too. Sheryl and I will have so much fun with you, Lindy! Jakie--we wish you were coming too.

Have a great day everyone!

Tuesday, July 19, 2005

Here are some more pictures from the weekend for your enjoyment. I am still floating from being with friends and laughing so hard. Thanks to Rob Thomas for a couple of these.

Jason and Alisha

David Stotts, BST and Rob (and baby Sam)

Emily and Sheryl with Maddie and Ella (we loved getting to visit with Emily and her new husband, Dave after the wedding)

Jason with the girls at the reception (Maddie and Ella LOVED dancing and the band was terrific!

Maddie eagerly watches as Jason and Alisha leave in a cloud of bubbles

We had such a blast over the weekend. We missed you, Nika. It wasn't the same without you. Being around Rob, David and Jason reminded me of a time about 7 or 8 years ago when David came to town and Rob was still living here. The 4 of us went downtown and stood on second ave and put a hat out. We sang everything from Michael Jackson (with Jason making up percussion noises) to commercial jingles to old TV show themes. We made enough to all go eat ice cream and laugh about how retarded we are. Now, Jason is an A&R director for Provident working with all kinds of bands and singers, Rob is producing the Igniter Videos and a bunch of other stuff, and David is hosting a show on TBN (Yes--you heard me) called Drive By History with David Stotts. It is on Saturday nights and is as crazy as he is. Check it out.

On a different note, we're all recovering from a cold. It is SO sad when infants have colds. Poor ol' Baby Sam is snorting and choking and having the hardest time. Pray for his rest today...and for Sheryl as she attends to him.

So many exciting things are happening with regards to people at Otter Creek. We had some really cool people show up to our potential new members lunch Sunday. One Lutheran couple who said something like, "We live a mile from here and haven't found a church home. We've driven past your building every day and we always see people walking out smiling so we decided to come check it out." They've been coming now for several months. I love stories like that. That so rarely happens.

As for the recording, we're closer and closer every day. Yea, Chris! It's so close I can taste it.

I pray that your day is blessed. Don't forget that every single--EVERY SINGLE--interaction is an opportunity. I had a friend ask me last week about someone from our church. He's (the friend) the owner of a business in Nashville and a member here treated one of his employees very rudely. He asked, "Hey, doesn't that guy go to your church?" (I've been trying to encourage the business owner in faith matters for several years now.) He was really willing to cut the guy some slack thinking that maybe he was having an off day or something. But--the point is, and I need to hear this most of all, every single interaction is an opportunity and will make an impact in one way or another. I just hope all of us make a positive and loving impact on those we encounter today.

Sunday, July 17, 2005

The wedding was so beautiful. It looked like something out of a bridal magazine. It was such a fun weekend. I am sad it's over. I loved getting to be around Rob Thomas and David Stotts again. It's great how some friendships can just pick right back up. God blessed all of us this weekend. I'll share some more pictures later this week but here are a couple for this morning.

ZOE with Jason and Alisha

Jason and Alisha cut the cake

David Stotts, BST and Rob Thomas

Last night we visited with Emily (Trice) and her new husband, David. They came over and we laughed and talked for a couple of hours. What a blessing! I am so happy for Emily. Dave is really a great guy.

This morning I think Jonathan Shaub will be with us. I think. It will be the first time since the accident in NYC last winter. I know it will be an emotional thing for all of us. Praise God that he's doing better. He still has such a long road to recovery ahead.

This morning we're talking about the blind man who was healed in John 9. All of us are blind in one way or another. I pray that God will keep peeling back those scales from my own eyes. Here's our order or worship:

Welcome—Tim Woodroof
Family Prayer--Jim Glisson/Ben Wilkins
Meet and greet

Praise and Worship—Brandon Scott Thomas
--Firm Foundation
--Come Thou Fount
--Ancient of Days
--What the Lord Has Done In Me
--Had It Not Been the Lord
--Open Our Eyes

Teaching—Tim Woodroof

--I Worship You, Almighty God
--There Is None Like You
--I Want to Know You/ I Worship You, Almighty God (chorus)

Supper--Joe Haubenreich
--When I Look Into Your Holiness

Ministry Moment—Singles/Dodge Ball
Shepherd’s Close
--Had It Not Been the Lord (chorus)

Friday, July 15, 2005

We had so much fun with Rob and Haley and their kids last night at dinner. It was just the beginning of a weekend full of laughter with old friends. Here's a picture of Rob with his mini-me son, Cobb.

Chris and I finally finished mixing the recording this morning. I can't believe it! Now, I only have to get it mastered and it will be ready to go. Chris has been such a blessing to me. Thanks, Chris, for all your late night hours and amazing ears. We're all thankful for you!

The wedding rehearsal is tonight and the rehearsal dinner is at Provident. Since Jason and Alisha both work there, they made an exception and are allowing them to have their dinner in the Provident building. It will be lots of fun!

Wedding tomorrow, time with friends, Sunday morning, New and Perspective Members' luncheon, and Celebration Sunday that night--a long, but fun weekend ahead. I pray that your weekend is full of fun too.

Thursday, July 14, 2005

What a blessing to have Joel Quile here yesterday! The girls loved him. Maddie called him "George". We had a great day hanging out together. He suffered through some mixing with me yesterday afternoon and we finally got a chance to really talk last night. It was a blessing. Thanks for coming up, Joel!

Last night at TGIWednesday, Matt Duncan shared his vision and film with us. It was powerful!! What an amazing film! And yes, this is the same Matt Duncan from ACU days. He splits his time between Nashville and NYC and is very involved in the film community. He did a great job last night.

Today is the pre-school "Fun in the Sun". Here's a pic of Maddie with her best buddy since birth, Mack Young. Too cute! (side note--the boy in the background is Chris and Amy Welch's son. Some of you know them from ACU.)

Working on Jason's wedding ceremony today. Yes, Dogget, I am MARRYING them. Yes--CRAZY. Believe it or not, this my 7th wedding ceremony to officiate. It's always an honor, but I'm really excited about this one. So many good friends are coming into town. We're having dinner tonight with Rob Thomas (Igniter Video guy) and his family. I always love being with Rob...but add Rob AND Jason AND Emily AND Nika to the mix and it's all out madness. Emily and her new husband, David, and Nika will be here tomorrow. We're going to have a blast!!

I know MANY fo you have asked about the ZOE conference. I asked Eric if I could reprint this email. He agreed.

Unfortunately we have been having difficulty getting our website up and running. All of our website work is done gratis (AND WE ARE SO GRATEFUL!)which puts us at the bottom of the totem pole. Being a non profit organization we have to rely on a lot of gratis work and this is one of them.

The dates are October 6 - 9. The cost for both conferences is $170 with an early registration discount of $15. The cost for each conference is $85.

Leonard Sweet and many others will be joining us for the Leadership Conference and Michael Card will present a concert and teach a class for the Worship Conference.

We hope to be live for registration this week. If you have any further questions please don't hesitate to contact me at the Zoe office.

We will be sending a mass email to everyone when registration is live. So if you are not on the email list and want to be notified, please write us at

Blessings, Eric.

I hope that helps! Have a great day, blog family.

Wednesday, July 13, 2005

This morning I went to pick up Joel Quile from the airport. He's here to hang and share some time with us today. I am so glad to see him. We're about to head out to the Bennett House to sit with Chris Yoakum and do some mixing on the recording.

Tonight at TGIWednesday we have Matt Duncan talking to us about the importance of artists in our churches. He's going to talk about how the Church can support film makers and show a short film that won an Academy Award a few years ago. Melanie Brown, one of our children's' ministers, will be leading worship with the kids. It should be a great night.

ZOE is meeting this afternoon to rehearse for Jason's wedding this weekend. I am marrying them and really looking forward to our participation in this huge event.

Have a great Wednesday!

Tuesday, July 12, 2005

Sunday mornings are always a crazy time for me. But, one of my joys is getting to work with so many different praise team members. Here's a candid shot that Phil Wilson took during rehearsal. We had a great morning. This series in john has been very challenging and encouraging in ways I can't even express.

Sunday night we had life group. The Cox family has joined us and in one move has more than doubled the amount of children. Our kids couldn't be happier. And--Judson Chaudoin couldn't be happier to have a boy his age to play with. He's been so sweet to Maddie and Ella. These pictures crack me up. The girls were all standing in their pool screaming at the top of their lungs, and the boys, well, they just look like boys, don't they? (Chloe Cox and Sam are missing in these pictures) The funniest thing about these pictures is that it appears they were practicing a no-mixed-bathing policy that night. I think it probably had more to do with the fact that they just migrated that way. But, funny still.

Yesterday was completely terrifying for us. I can't even blog about it, but only to say, praise the Lord for health. Every day is a gift.

This week I HAVE to get finished with the recording. Since the Bennett House sold, everything has been up in the air. But, hopefully, we'll finish this week with mixing.

Also, Joel Quile is coming in tomorrow to hang with us for a day. We are really excited to see you, Joel. Safe travels to you.

Have a great Tuesday, everyone. The Lord is good to give us mercy and the strength to walk every path. No matter where you are today or what you're dealing with, let Him help you.

Sunday, July 10, 2005

We spent most of yesterday playing outside. It was such a nice day here, we had to get out of the house. Here are a few pictures from yesterday. Sam was even soaking it up! The girls were displaying their new matching swim suits.

This morning at Otter Creek we're talking about the claims of Jesus in John 8. I anticipate it being another great day. I pray that whereever you are, the Lord will cause you to feel His presence this morning.

Here's our order of worship:

Welcome- Tim Woodroof
Family Prayer—Bill Harlin/Brad Forrister
Meet and greet

Praise and Worship—BST
-Worthy Art Thou
--That’s Why We Praise Him
Reading--taken from the Book of Common Prayer
--Be Unto Your Name
--Here I am to Worship
--In Christ Alone

Teaching—Tim Woodroof
--You Are Holy
--Crown Him with Many Crowns

Supper--Jamon Martin

Ministry moment—Mentoring Ministry/ Jackie Vickers
Shepherd’s Close—
--Who Can Satisfy (chorus)

Friday, July 08, 2005

Last night went well at Lipscomb. It was fun to have the ZOE folks back together. (Peter, Jeff did a great job filling in for you--but we always miss you!) I was surprised at how engaged people were last night. I really, really enjoyed it. Here are a couple of pictures.

I had lunch with JV today at this hilarious place called the "White Trash Cafe".

The hostess wore a bouffant blonde wig with big pink rollers and tied up with toilet paper. She was an older lady who had the attitude to go along with the costume. There were all sorts of tacky things on the wall (all for sale, no less) and they displayed a T-shirt at the front that was also for sale that said something like, "If you make fun of this T-shirt I'll slash the tires on your house". I decided I might need one of those. (don't worry, honey, my better judgment won out today.)

I've been in discussions all day long with people about the state of "church". When will we ever be what we're supposed to be? I guess my own personal answer to that is the church is made up of individuals and we can't expect something from the corporate body that we aren't doing ourselves. Preston Shipp and I talked this afternoon about this very thing. We agreed to help each other look for ways to get our hands dirty. I'm sick of talk, aren't you? We put way too much emphasis on that Sunday morning hour. I'd rather spend my energy trying to figure out how to engage the world with the other 98.9% of my time and life. Maybe then, if we all started helping each other do that, we'd see a change in the corporate church. I dunno.

God, help us be a light. Forgive me for being so unmoved and so stubborn. Please open my eyes to the world around me.

Thursday, July 07, 2005

How devastating to wake up to the carnage in London. I just don't understand what makes people think they have the right to destroy innocent lives like that. I pray that God will provide peace and comfort for all those families. Lee Camp from Otter Creek has a bunch of students from Lipscomb over there this summer. All were on their way to different internships and jobs. Most were traveling the transit system. All are accounted for and ok. Thank the Lord!

Jim Williams had some good things to say last night. It's always good to be reminded of what our kids need from us. It made me thankful to be married to Sheryl who is constantly looking for tools and ways to be a better parent. She's an inspiration to me.

We're preparing to sing at Lipscomb tonight. We'll still be doing stuff from our Desperate theme from this year. It was great to be with the full team last night (except for Peter). We haven't all been together in a couple of months.

Another upcoming ZOE event-- this will be the first year for the Williamson County Fair. At least, they're making a big deal about it being the inaugural year. Anyway, on Sunday night August 7, there will be a big night of worship. Diamond Rio and others are involved and ZOE will be leading some worship as well. Worship at the fair? With cotton candy? What could be better? (Actually, I have no idea how that will work--we'll see.)

The girls went to their Nonnie's house this morning and then were going with Sheryl to play with Lea Brown at the pool. It's one of those days that I'm wishing I was on vacation and could go with them.

Wednesday, July 06, 2005

We had a blast last night at Rosepepper Cantina celebrating Katey's birthday (and Maddie's too). We're so thankful for good friends. God has blessed us over and over again with friends who have become like extended family here. Happy birthday to you today, Katey! You young chicken, you.

Mollie, Katey and Maddie

Amanda and Maddie

Lea and Ella

Tonight at TGI Wednesday we have Jim Williams, the author of the book Parenting on Point. Click here for more info on him. ZOE is leading worship tonight in preparation for our first Lipscomb Lecture appearance tomorrow. We're doing a late night thing. I don't even know if anyone will come, but we're glad to be doing it.

Have a great day, everyone.

Tuesday, July 05, 2005

4 years ago today we got up very early and drove to the hospital with such a sense of anxious expectation. We couldn't wait to see the face of our daughter, but we had never gone through this experience. Maddie waited a long time to decide to be born that day. When she arrived, we were instantly in love. She had the perfect cherub face. She was soft, pink and very cuddly.

This morning something happened that rarely, if ever, happens. Ella slept until 8:45am. That has to be a serious record for her. Meanwhile, it gave me time alone with Maddie. I told her the story of the day she was born. I couldn't help but cry a little. She has been such a blessing to me (as have all our kids).

As I was preparing to make her breakfast she said, "Please daddy, may I have some oatmeal?" I said, "You've got a deal, birthday girl!" She then made sure that I had noticed how she asked for it. (I've been telling her that big 4 yr old girls are polite and don't whine.) She said, "I'm 4 now and I know how to ask." Too sweet. This gives some comfort for all the 1000's of times Sheryl and I have said, "Can you think of a different way to ask instead of 'I want, I want'?" (I know we'll keep saying that another million or so times, but it was nice to see at least some recogition that it's getting through this morning.)

We had a great night at the Rubio's celebrating the 4th with their family and the Woodards. God's blessed us with special friendships. I am so grateful.

I'll leave you today with some pictures from the party this weekend. HAPPY BIRTHDAY MADDIE!!

Sunday, July 03, 2005

The kids with uncle Chris (Fajita) and Kiki

What's a celebration without cotton candy??

Last night we went to Smyrna to their 4th of July celebration with bands playing and fireworks exploding. It was really fun. Though we got home late, it was fun to see the kids' faces as the fireworks broke into multi-colors in the sky. Maddie and Ella loved it--except for the "noise".

I always love a celebration. I like celebrating birthdays too. Yesterday we celebrated 2 birthdays--Maddie's and our country's. I don't have to love the USA more than God. I don't have to approve of our government's policies. I don't have to debate whether we can or can't burn a flag--in order to enjoy a good 4th of July celebration.

Having said that, I got an email from a friend this week (who was equally as gagged) with a picture of Jesus draped in an American flag. YUCK! It wasn't the presence of the American flag with Jesus that disgusted me. It was the ABSENCE of the flags from every other nation. Jesus is King. His Kingdom is not of this world. He is Lord of all nations, all tribes, all people. His love crosses boundaries we have never even considered. Praise His name!

Here's our Order of Worship for this morning. In John 8 we see Jesus pretty angry. We see the religious leaders pretty frustrated. Here's a question--how did God's Son...who was so controversial, holy, and convicting...end up having so many tepid followers?? Sometimes I wonder if the term "Christian" isn't completely offensive to our Holy Father who gave His Son for our freedom. We wear that title so flippantly. In the Bible belt it can even be more of a social or political title.

May God bless us all as we lift up His name today. None of us are perfect. Praise Him for accepting imperfect offerings. I am so thankful that He does not treat us as we deserve.

Order of Worship

Welcome—Tim Woodroof
Family Prayer
Meet and greet

Praise and Worship—BST
--Praise to the Lord, the Almighty
--A New Anointing
--Days of Elijah
--I Will Never Be the Same

Message—Tim Woodroof
--Jesus Lover Of My Soul
--I Will Change Your Name


Ministry Moment
Birthday Sunday
Elder’s Close
--Lord, You Have My Heart

Saturday, July 02, 2005

The know-it-all at the first Sprint place obviously didn't know it all. I went to the Sprint Center in Cool Springs were they informed me that it was a very easy process to transfer my phone book--even with my phone being broken. YEA!!!

My rear-view mirror is sitting in my front seat. Help me, Tony.

Sheryl's sister, Gail, and her family (including Fajita) are here. We had Maddie's birthday party this morning. It was a lot of fun. I'll post some pictures next week. I am exhausted though. Maddie is appropriately Tinker Belled. She and a few of her buddies had fun playing in the pool and swinging outside. I think we have enough hotdogs to last for a week. gag.

Tonight we're going out to Smyrna to a 4th of July festival. It should be fun, and dirty, and sweaty, and exhausting.

Peg--you are so right. You deserve first dibs so email me and I'll reply with the clips. The prize is the free CD and as soon as it's ready, it's yours.

One last thing--most of you may have heard about Clarissa's mom, Ruby. The surgeon found cancer in one of her lymph nodes. Let's pray hard for her and her recovery. Hang in there Johnson family.

Friday, July 01, 2005

I was half way afraid to touch my computer this morning. It seems everything I touch is falling apart over the last 24 hours. My flip phone flipped out and completely broke in two. I went to the Sprint place this morning and begged them to help me retrieve the information on it...146 business and personal contacts. The guy smugly chirped, "Yeah, right!" (BAMMA) I said, "If I were some international criminal with spy contacts on this phone, you know there'd be a way." He laughed and said no. "Well, if Marshall from 'Alias' were here, he'd know how," I said under my breath. UGH!!

Then, it was hotter here yesterday than it's been in years, according to the news. I crawled into my Blazer after work yesterday just wanting to get home and crawl in bed. It was like 250 degrees in my car. Apparently, the rear view mirror's adhesive melted. Yeah, melted. There's some cord that goes into the mirror to keep bright lights soft or something--I've never used it. That cord is holding the mirror up there. It looks like I have some big thing hanging and swinging from my mirror, but no--it's the mirror itself. Nice. It bangs around on the windshield when I drive. Here's a picture for you. (notice the Thomas Texans sticker in the front right corner!)

On a different note, Maddie had some fun at the Williamson's this week but had a collision with the swing--just in time for her 4th birthday party pictures. I took this of her this morning after breakfast. Notice the nice green and blue bruise on her head. (At least it's a bruise that goes away quickly and she didn't cut chunks of her hair off or something weird--although this morning hair picture may look like she did that too.)

Since I'm sharing pics--here's one of Ella from this morning too.

Tomorrow's the big birthday party day for Maddie. She is having a small get together in our backyard with a few friends and Tinker Bell. Tinker Bell is her character of choice right now. Chris (Fajita) and Gail are driving in with Sierra and Canaan and we're planning a fun holiday weekend. I'll have pictures to share next week.

Here's one last picture I've leave with you. I think I mentioned earlier in the week that some of our Life Group went to support one of our group members, Geof Vickers, in a bike race in Cookeville last Sunday. Geof had a major accident on his bike. He's fine now--and because he's fine, I can show this amazing picture. I like to call it, "Screaming Geof". He was mangled in a mess of bikes and riders--his bike isn't even in this picture. It had flown over his head. Notice that his arm is about to be caught in the spokes of another bike--they thought he broke it, but thankfully, it was only a sprain. If you're wondering which one Geof is, he's the screamer.

Have a great weekend, and for heaven's sake--drive safely.