It Was Only a Matter of Time

Allan's Journey, Carrie-Anne, Valerie No Comments »

seniordiscountWe ate at the Town Crier here in Abilene last night, a traditional stop in our rotation of local eating joints for us every year while attending the ACU Summit. But it wasn’t until I was sorting through my receipts this morning when I noticed that, for the very first time ever in my short life, I was given a Senior Discount. She didn’t ask. She apparently just punched it in. First time ever. Humiliating. Depressing. The only explanation is that the Town Crier must give the senior discount to those 40-years-old and over.


Our daughter Valerie is posting pictures of her friends and herself attending last week’s Delta-Theta Luau at Oklahoma Christian University. I reminded her that we have a picture of her mom and me at the same Delta-Theta Luau back in 1989. That’s kinda cool, huh? Weird. Seeing the two pictures side-by-side kinda got up in my feels. And I realize maybe the senior discount thing isn’t so far-fetched.



markmclemore3The Rangers’ magic number is 3.



The Sunday Sermon is Brutal

Allan's Journey, Preaching 2 Comments »

preachingbibleI want to share something with you today that’s very personal. This is not sad, it’s not disturbing, this doesn’t depress me in the least. Don’t mis-read or mis-interpret today’s post. This is a reality I’m only just now recognizing in the past two or three years, and I want to simply acknowledge it.

I’m sharing this for two reasons: One, I want all preachers who read this post to fully understand that they are not alone and, two, I want everybody else who reads this post to have a better understanding of something really weird and quirky about their pulpit guy.

The Sunday sermon is brutal.

The weekly homily consumes me every waking moment of my every day. I think about it all the time. Mowing the yard. Eating dinner with the family. Watching a baseball game. During a meeting. When I get up in the morning and when I close my eyes at night, I’m thinking about the sermon. Maybe I need to arrange the points differently. Should I leave out that illustration? Should both of those passages be used or just one of them? Is this truly what the Scripture says or am I making this up? Does this encourage anybody? Do I need a better example? Should I use that person’s name in this story or not? Does the end connect to the beginning? Are they going to hear what I want them to hear? One more word study. Look up one more cross reference. One more prayer begging God to reveal himself to me one more time. It truly consumes me. I can be having a conversation with you, face to face, about your family or your job or the Rangers or the fact that my house is on fire and burning to the ground, and I’ve still got the sermon in the back of my mind: Is there something in 2 Thessalonians about God’s providence? The sermon is this thing that hangs over me, following me, always with me, always there.

The sermon is never finished. It’s 10:00 Friday morning and the sermon for this Sunday is finished. But it’s really not. I’ll be obsessing over it all day today, at several points during the Amarillo – Tascosa game tonight, and all day tomorrow. I’ll be second guessing some key components of the sermon during Bible class Sunday. It’s brutal.

And when the sermon is finally delivered…

I’m almost always disappointed.

I’m telling you, it’s brutal.

It rarely turns out as good as it was supposed to. It hardly ever lives up to what it should. There’s a tremendous sense of relief, but a more pronounced feeling of let-down. It sounded so grand in my head, it felt so inspirational in my prayers, it meant so much to me when I read it from the Bible, but it didn’t come out of my mouth that way.

The words of the 4th century preacher Augustine, who lived with this same agony week after week, resonate in my soul: “I am saddened that my tongue cannot live up to my heart.”

Every Sunday.

Now that I’ve actually written this down, it looks and sounds depressing. But, really, it’s not. It’s just a weird reality for me and, I’m guessing, all preachers except maybe Rick Atchley. To be consumed by and obsessed with something all week long and never have it turn out just right is the reality of this calling.

But so is the beauty of God’s grace.

I experience God’s grace in my preaching nearly every Sunday. This is also a reality of the calling: that through my inadequacies and shortcomings and full-on failures, our sovereign Lord is doing eternal work. He shows it to me every week. He is at work when his Word is being proclaimed. He is doing salvation and reconciliation and sanctification when his Gospel is being preached. He affirms that to me almost every single week in very real and encouraging ways. And I’m so grateful. Most preachers do understand this. I suppose it’s the best reason most of us keep doing the chore.

That gives real meaning and purpose to the terror of the weekly sermon, but it doesn’t alter the terrible cycle for the preacher. So, when your preacher doesn’t seem fully engaged, maybe a bit distant, not totally there, give him a break — he’s thinking about the sermon. And on Sunday afternoon and evening when he’s a bit quieter than normal or even withdrawn, cut him some slack — the sermon wasn’t as good as it should have been.



Throwback Thursday

Allan's Journey, Carrie-Anne, Marriage No Comments »













Throwback Thursday is probably just a Facebook thing or something, I don’t know. I’m probably not even doing it right. But while putting the finishing touches on this Sunday’s sermon about the purpose of marriage and getting the PowerPoint ready, I happened upon this picture of two good looking kids.

Two clueless kids.

Two kids who had no idea what was in front of them, had no way of dealing with some of the trials that would come, but who were very much in love and committed to sharing all the joys and sorrows together.

Carrie-Anne, I can very easily look back at this 26-year-old picture and see how God has been working in you to make you more holy, more blameless, more Christ-like in a thousand ways. The work he started in you, he is bringing to completion. It’s beautiful. It’s glorious. And I am honored by our Lord and by you to be in the middle of it with you. Thank you for letting me share your transformation, your salvation, with you. And thank you for committing to my own transformation, too. You make me better, babe, in a thousand ways.

I love you,


Ode to Big Town Mall

Allan's Journey, Stanglin Family, Texas Rangers No Comments »

It’s been announced today that they’re putting Harriet Tubman on the twenty dollar bill. I would have put Beltre on it, but whatever.











In other news, FedEx has announced they are building a 334,000 square foot regional distribution center on the site of the old Big Town Mall. That means it’s probably too late to return that birthday shirt my grandmother bought at Montgomery Ward.

When it opened in 1959, Big Town Mall was the first and only indoor shopping center in the whole state of Texas. Located right where I-30 and Highway 80 intersect, where southeast Dallas meets Mesquite, it was a marvel in its time and a staple of my childhood and growing up years. Big Town was where I first visited Santa Claus. Driving home with the family from our grandparents’ house in Fort Worth, the iconic Big Town water tower was the landmark sign that we were almost home. I remember my aunt LouAnn telling me stories about teenagers climbing that tower to steal the red lights off the top. I can’t remember if it was her or some other source that told me a teenager had committed suicide by climbing the Big Town water tower and jumping off. Maybe just an urban legend. And there was the huge super slide we all raced down on top of old feed sacks. I remember a rumor, too, that a rattlesnake had once crawled out of one of those sacks, biting a kid and killing him. Again, probably just an urban legend. When I gave friends directions to my house I always started with “Take the Big Town exit.”

Big Town Mall.jpg









Big Town Mall had the wide polished floors and walkways that led to and from the staples of the retail world at that time: Woolworth, Montgomery Ward, J. C. Penny, and Sanger Brothers (before Sanger-Harris). There were lots of huge potted plants and a big fountain. There was a movie theater, a bowling alley, and an arcade. I remember being intrigued by the arcade but never being allowed to go in. I remember the mall was air-conditioned!

It officially closed sometime in the early 2000s, just a couple of years after my grandmother died. In 2005, the government used the Big Town mall to house refugees from Hurricane Katrina. And then they demolished the whole thing in 2006. It’s gone. It has been for ten years. The sign is still there. I think the water tower is, too. It’s still Big Town Boulevard that runs from the highway south until it becomes Prairie Creek Lane. The memories are still there, too. And I might still have probably somewhere a hideous, too-small, too bright, too-colorful, too-puffy sweater from the ’80s with the Montgomery Ward tags still attached. Oh, well. She only paid $3.49 for it anyway.



Israel – You’re Invited!

Allan's Journey No Comments »

BrochureArchI’m leading my bi-annual ten-day trip to Israel for a tour of the Holy Lands this fall and it’s time now to start figuring out a way for you to go with me. Maybe you’ve always wanted to go to Israel but you’ve never had a real opportunity. Maybe you went once many years ago and you’ve always wanted to get back. Maybe it’s on your bucket list. Everybody’s invited. You’re invited! I can only take 30 and I’ve already got six signed up. So if you’re thinking about it, get with me soon for more information and details.

We leave Texas on Monday October 31 for Tel Aviv and arrive back home on November 10. During our ten days in Israel we’re going to do it all from Dan to Beersheba. We’ll enjoy once in a lifetime experiences such as wading through the 2,700-year-old Hezekiah Tunnel, sharing a picnic on the banks of the Jordan River, floating on the Dead Sea, and praying in the Garden of Gethsemane. We’ll spend our evenings together in worship and reflection, processing what we’ve experienced that day and preparing for the next day’s agenda. We’ll cross the Sea of Galilee in a replica 2,000-year-old boat, we’ll see Peter’s house and the synagogue in Capernaum, we’ll tour the magnificent ruins of Beth Shan, and we’ll marvel at the waterfalls and lush vegetation at En Gedi.

BrochureDeadSea2If you want a complete listing of every day’s agenda, all the sites we’re going to see, and the details of the arrangements, click the “Israel Trip 2016” tab at the top of this page for a copy of the brochure. The cost is $3,995 per person, which includes all airfare and ground transportation, all meals, all hotels, all admission to all the sites, and all tips and taxes. You can also email me at If you live anywhere near Amarillo, we’re holding a no-obligation, informational meeting at 1:30 Sunday afternoon March 20 at Central Church of Christ. BrochureSepulchre

Every paragraph of Holy Scripture contains geography, landscape, architecture, people, food, customs, dress, animals, agriculture, and ritual that serve to communicate the history and fact of God’s activity in our world. As you explore first-hand the sights, sounds, smells, and tastes of Israel on this trip, the story of our God’s faithful love will expand and deepen to penetrate your heart and soul like no other experience can.

I hope you’ll consider coming along.




Live From Arlington

Allan's Journey, Stanglin Family 1 Comment »

We made the right call, leaving Amarillo late last night and arriving at Gram’s new house in Arlington at about 3:45 this morning. The wind was raging at 30-40 mph from the north and we ran through a lot of snow between Clarendon and Childress. But after that, it was mostly rain. Talking to our friends back home, it sounds like it would have been impossible to try to make the drive today. I-40 is closed from Soncy on the west side of Amarillo all the way past the New Mexico state line and closed on the east side from Highway 287 to the Oklahoma border. You can’t get in or out right now.

GoliathFenceRight before we left, the winds tore down two fence posts and three fence panels in our driveway/back yard. I just left them there — didn’t even try. It was 24-degrees, the wind was blowing, it was dark. Ted. The way that garage area and driveway work, I’m sure the snow drifts have covered up the gaping hole.




RandyGallowayIt’s good to be in Tarrant County today, to read the Fort Worth Star-Telegram and see my friend Randy Galloway’s last ever sports column. Randy has been writing and talking sports in Dallas – Fort Worth for 50 years. He was writing a daily column for the Dallas Morning News when I first began paying attention to sports. I was eight or nine years old, our family took the Dallas Times Herald, and I was reading Skip Bayless and Blackie Sherrod. I can’t remember when or where I first saw a Galloway column. I can’t remember what I particularly liked about it or why I began riding my bike to the 7-11 on Bruton Road to buy my own 25-cent copy of the Morning News so I could read him. But I do remember going out of my way to read Galloway.

When I started roofing houses with Glen Burroughs in the 8th grade, we listened to Galloway’s “Sports at Six” every evening on WBAP. Randy Galloway kept us entertained during the stretch run of those hot fourteen hour days on those roofs. He knew the players and the owners, he hung out in the locker rooms and clubhouses, he told great stories and painted vivid pictures. He wasn’t doing three minute sportscasts like Verne Lundquist and Dale Hansen, he was doing a three hour talk show! And I loved it. Brad Sham was my hero — I very much wanted to be the next play-by-play man for the Cowboys. But while Brad’s “Sports Central” show on KRLD was just as insightful and inside-ful as Randy’s, I always found Randy to be more entertaining. He told it like it was, just the way he saw it. And he wasn’t afraid to stir things up.

During the early stages of my mediocre radio career, I was blessed to meet Randy on the sidelines at Cowboys training camps and in the press box at Rangers games. He came on as a guest on my shows any time I ever asked. Always accessible. Always open. Always generous. Very generous. And supportive. Helpful. I felt like I had arrived when Randy Galloway knew me and called me by name.

My first official gig in Dallas radio was filling in for Chuck Cooperstein’s “Midnight Run” show on WBAP when he was doing NHL playoff games on national radio. Ted Sorrells got me that job and, a few months later, the interview with KRLD where I finally landed. The “Midnight Run” was the sports talk show right after Galloway’s. Sitting in the break room with Galloway and Ted in-between our two shows and sharing ideas about sports and life with this legend is a career highlight for me.

RandyGalloway2The moment Galloway became a friend, though, was about halfway through the 2003 Cowboys football season. I got myself into a fairly heated argument with Bill Parcells during a very public press conference following a Monday night game in Seattle. I was asking questions about a couple of two-point conversion attempts from the night before, Parcells was talking all around my questions, and I wasn’t getting the answer I needed. I pressed and, as Parcells does, he resorted to insults and name-calling and condescending behavior, questioning my football intelligence, my professionalism, and my motives. I was nervous to be in an argument with the coach of the Dallas Cowboys with all the recorders and cameras rolling. But I was there to do my job. My heart was racing as we went back and forth, but I held my ground. At one point in the proceedings, Parcells abruptly ended things, turned to Jennifer Engle, a Star-Telegram columnist, began to answer her question, and then sharply turned back towards me. “Did you get what you needed?!? Did you get your quote?!?” I said, “I’m not looking for a quote, Coach, I’m looking for a straight answer.” He snorted a final insult and our nearly four-minute exchange had concluded.

Immediately following the press conference, I was overwhelmed with reporters and cameramen congratulating me on standing up to the Big Tuna. You stood up to him! No one’s done that yet! You’re the first one!

I went to the locker room to interview a few players before leaving Valley Ranch for my own show that started at 3:00pm. And my media counterparts couldn’t stop talking about what had happened during the Parcells presser. I started to get nervous. Ric Renner told me he was going to air the whole thing from start to finish on Fox Sports Southwest. What had I done? Was this bigger than I realized? I remember getting into my truck and hearing Galloway’s voice on ESPN Radio taking my side and defending me and my actions in that press conference. Before I even got out of the Valley Ranch parking lot, he was already talking about it. He was replaying the audio from our “incident” and defending me. “I know Allan Stanglin,” he said. “Allan’s a good friend of mine. He was doing his job. He didn’t have any evil intent. He wasn’t trying to stir anything up. He was asking legitimate questions about inconsistencies in the coaching decisions during the game. This is all on Parcells.”

I’ve thanked Randy many times for that. It meant the world to me that he called me his friend and that he defended me and the way I went about my job.

Randy Galloway is a wonderful columnist, a terrific talk show host, and a fabulous human being. I consider it a great privilege to have worked with him and around him, a true blessing to know him. And an honor to call him a friend.