Blogging for the Next Few Weeks

My blogging may become rather sparse for the next couple of weeks. There are a few reasons for this.

1) I have a New Year's Eve Lock-in for teens tomorrow night. I pretty much hate lock-ins (even when I was a teen), but all the other youth pastors of Lebanon seemed to think this would be a good idea. I didn't want to be the only jerk who said, "No way!" So I'll be staying up all night Sunday night, recover Monday, and then...

2) On Tuesday, I will be departing on an 8-day mission trip to Panama. I am going with a group of other Free Will Baptist pastors here in Missouri. We will be attending and teaching at the Panamanian National Association of Free Will Baptist Churches. I've been given the task of teaching the teens at the convention the topic of Knowing and Responding to God's Call on Your Life. No pressure or anything. We will also be traveling around the country and visiting churches, assessing needs, and planning our church-wide trip back to Panama next summer. I'll return the following Tuesday. Recover Wednesday and Thursday and then...

3) On Thursday night, we'll drive to St. Louis so we can fly to the San Francisco Bay Area on Friday morning. One of my buddies out there is getting married, so we're going for the wedding and visiting all of our long-lost CA friends. I'll also be preaching at the Bay Hills Community Church in El Sobrante that Sunday. We'll return to MO that next Tuesday.

I believe that puts me back on a normal schedule sometime in 2009. I'll blog when I can and hopefully share some great pics of our trips.


"Lord-Willin' and the Creek Don't Rise..."

I was talking to a friend today and we were discussing this great mysterious thing called God's will. Like a lot of people, I used to be guilty quite often of feeling impressed to do something and calling it God's will. Many times those projects would fail and I would look pretty stupid because I told the world it was God's will. I've come to believe that in most of life's situations, God's will cannot be known until after the fact.

I think we overly spiritualize our lives by calling everything God's will. Many times if we simply don't want to do something we will say something like "that's not God's will for my life." Many people have justified sin by calling it God's will. I've had a few people inform me that God directed them to divorce their spouse. I've also seen several guys in bible college inform young ladies that God told them it was His will that the two of them be married (when God had not yet informed the young lady of this fact.)

This is what I know based on observation and life experience. God can strongly impress on people what his will for their life is. My experience is that it is usually in the broad strokes and rarely in the details. For instance, there is only one thing in my life that I can say difinitively was God's will for me. That was God calling me to preach. I felt so strongly about that decision that it was almost as if I had no choice in the decision at all. I have never felt that strongly about anything else. How I've used that calling to preach, has not always been as clear. I've made some good career moves and a few bad ones, but I've always felt I was in His will if I was preaching.

I know some people will disagree with me, but I would even say the same thing about my decision to marry Jamie. Jamie is the girl for me and I love her very much, but I think it boiled down more to a decision based on emotion, chemistry, and compatability, than one based on whether it was God's will or not.

I believe people would be much wiser to not be so quick to label their choices as God's will. We all are presented with a series of decisions in life. Decisions about relationships, careers, purchases, and a million other things. Christians have such a strong desire to please God, that we want all our decisions to be "God's will". I think God just wants us to live our lives for him and make the best decisions we can based on guidance from the Bible and our circumstances. Sometimes we'll make the wisest decision and sometimes not so much, but it doesn't necessarily have to mean we are out of God's will. If it's not sin and it doesn't go against the one or two things you know are God's will for your life (i.e. - preaching or being a great husband and dad or reaching the lost or giving to the poor or whatever), then it's probably OK.

What are your thoughts on God's will?


The Legendary Shack Shakers

We had a great Christmas! All of my family came to our house. We had 16 people here. It was lovely and I thoroughly enjoyed it.

After everyone left yesterday I got on ye ol' internet for a little surfing session. I thought about a question I had about one of my old favorite bands, This Train. This Train is not together anymore, but they were truly great. They had a rockabilly sound with a touch of punk - which they called punkabilly. They gained some popularity in the late 90s by opening for Rich Mullins on his final tour. Their lead singer and bass player, Mark Robertson, was also a member of Rich Mullins' Ragamuffin Band. After Rich's death I brought them out to the little church in California I was youth-pastoring at. Everyone loved them and they were super-nice guys.

Anyway, when I googled This Train, a wikipedia entry came up about them and it said that Mark Robertson had gone on to co-found a band called The Legendary Shack Shakers. I did not know this and they have already put out 3 CDs. After doing a little research on the Shack Shakers I quickly found out that they had some incredible reviews and a pretty strong underground following. So I downloaded their latest album, Pandelerium.

WOW!!!! This is one of the most incredible sounds I've ever heard. There is very little in the music industry that sets itself apart from anything else. These guys have a truly unique sound! Their music is exciting and ballsy - I can only describe it as "This Train on acid". This is the music you might expect to hear if you were having a dream of walking through a demented carnival. It's awesome. Vocally, it's very unique too. Lead singer and blues harpist, J.D. Wilkes, has this deep, gravelly, half-carnie/half-traveling evangelist voice that is unlike anything you've ever heard.

Despite Mark's roots, this is not technically a "Christian" band. I don't believe there's anything un-Chrisitian about the stuff they sing about. In fact, there are plenty of spiritual and biblical references. But if the occasional profanity gets to you, then this might not be your cup of tea. If you like fun, interesting, unique music that will rock your face off - check out The Legendary Shack Shakers. You won't regret it!


Top 10 Ways the Amish Like to Party Like It's 1699

10. Wet bonnet contest.
9. Chug maple syrup until you blow chunks.
8. Cram as many dudes as you can find into a buggy.
7. Buttermilk kegger.
6. Burn past the square dance on a seriously rad Clydesdale.
5. Sleep until 6 a.m.
4. Churn butter in the nude.
3. Consort with the witches off of the cover of a discarded "Which Witch?" game.
2. Squeeze cats to make the "wicky-wicky" sound like rap DJs.
1. Burn Thomas Edison in effigy.

(from the May/June 1999 issue of The Door magazine)


Isaiah's Review of "The Nativity Story"

Our church dismissed service tonight and went to the theater to watch "The Nativity Story". Overall, I thought it was good and quite moving. I got a little tired of Elizabeth's King James English and Mary came off a little to stoic and serious for my taste. But all in all, I'm glad I saw it.

I was moved to tears when it came time for the actual birth. It really made me thankful for Christ's sacrifice. Isaiah and Mollie sat across the aisle with some other church kids. When the credits started rolling and everyone got up to leave, Isaiah ran up to me laughing and said, "We saw Jesus's booty!"

I guess everyone takes away something different.



I have posted about my favorite game, Settlers of Catan, before. Jamie and I first started playing this last summer when our friends, Micah & Becky Derby, introduced it to us. Tonight, we were playing with our friends, Jay & Naomi Burns, and on the third game, I FINALLY WON! I am so excited. I've played this game many times now and have never won until tonight. So how do you like them apples, everybody-who-I've-played-in-the-past-that-has-beat-me-multiple-times? That's what I thought!


Mollie the Bard

Mollie has become quite the poet. She's been tinkering around writing poetry for a couple of years now, but she's really starting to get good! Her school prints a monthly newspaper and one of her poems was featured on the front page. For a 4th grader, she's quite brilliant. Here it is.

I Love Christmas

by Mollie Myers

I love Christmas,

It's the best!

Oh yes, oh yes, oh yes.

Oh Christmas, you are so near

Oh Christmas, you make children cheer.

You see the snow,

You see the lights.

At Christmas, there are so many sights.

Oh Christmas, you are so near,

Oh Christmas, you make children cheer.

Christmas, Christmas

I love you, Christmas.


Jewelry is the Gift to Give...

Since I was but a wee lad, one of my favorite things about Christmas was the BC Clark's Anniversary Sale Christmas jingle. This is an Oklahoma thing. Every Okie knows exactly what I'm talking about. It kind of ushers in the holiday season in Oklahoma and I don't know very many Oklahomans who don't have it memorized.

Well, this year is the 50th anniversary of the jingle and BC Clark has a great website set up to commemorate it. You can view the commercials over the years and even download the jingle from iTunes for free. Check it out at www.bcclarkjingle.com. If you've never lived in Oklahoma, you especially need to check it out and see what you've been missing!

Grandma Teague

We just returned from Wichita, KS. We were attending my Grandma's funeral. She had been ailing for quite some time, so it wasn't unexpected or anything. It was a very quick trip - we were there less than 24 hours. It was great seeing everybody, though. My favorite cousins, Stacy & Raina, are on that side of the family. I hadn't seen them in 7 or 8 years. Seeing them and everybody else really made me miss Wichita.

We moved to Wichita my senior year of high school. That's where I graduated and where I would come home to in college. Even though I only spent a couple of years there, I really loved it there. I made friends quickly in high school, loved the river and downtown area, and enjoyed being closer to that side of my family. I've always thought I'd like to move back there some day and start a church, but God has always had other things in store.

I didn't expect to be as emotional this week as I was. The whole thing made me feel very nostalgic. My Grandma Teague always went all out at Christmas - lots of decorations, food, and presents. When we drove up to the house, my mom and Aunt Char had it all beautifully decorated. I wasn't expecting that, but I was so glad they did it. In fact, it was the most decorated house on the street. From the outside, you'd never know there was mourning going on. My Grandpa Teague died a few years ago while we were living in San Francisco. We couldn't afford the plane tickets so I had to miss his funeral. I had never really dealt with his loss, so for me this week was sort of like a double funeral. I miss them both and wish I would have made it more of priority to keep in touch with them. I need to do that with the grandparents I still have living.

Anyway, thanks everyone for your thoughts and prayers!


Good Interview

I've mentioned before that I like to read Scot McKnight's blog. He's a thologian and commentator and I enjoy the things he has to say. Anyway, he was recently interviewed on Eye on Chicago about the Nativity Story, his new book about Mary, and the Emerging Church. It's worth watching.



First Snow

Mollie and Isaiah got to make snow angels today. We have lots of snow and ice. In fact, we're having a little trouble getting in/out of our driveway.