Category: Central Church Family (page 1 of 43)

The Purpose Behind the Power

We know our God by what he does. God shows us who he is by his actions. And those actions always involve power. If we know anything at all about our God, it’s that he is powerful. He doesn’t do anything that doesn’t demonstrate his power.

Not just any power. Holy power. Power from God. Power to produce miracles and marvelous works. It’s the power that parts the vast waters of the Red Sea, crumbles the mighty walls of Jericho, and rolls the stone away from the garden tomb. It’s the power that shines light into darkness, produces hope in disaster, and brings eternal life out of certain death. This power from above destroys demons, defeats armies, breaks the bars of prison doors, and raises the dead! This is the power that saves us. And changes us.

When we personally benefit from God’s mighty and saving power, we are commissioned to join his redemption project for the whole world. That’s the purpose behind his power.

Our God delivers his people from bondage in Egypt so they can bless the whole world. Our Lord Jesus heals the demon-possessed man in the cemetery and gives him a mission to tell others. The Holy Spirit indwells the disciples at Pentecost for understanding and boldness to spread the Good News. The church in Antioch partners with other Christians to preach and minister and save and turn the whole world upside down. And none of that is accomplished without power.

The power of God to save — that’s the Gospel! The power of God to save two million Israelites through the waters of the Red Sea and the power of God to save you and everybody else on earth. That power is his and he uses it to save.

That’s the Gospel truth and we don’t dare water it down. We ramp it up. We turn it loose in all its power.

We say prayer is powerful; no, the God who listens to prayer is powerful. We say preaching can be powerful; no, the God who gives us the words is powerful. We pray for the sick but our God is the one who heals. We preach to the dry bones but our God is the one who gives life. We send money to Ukraine and PARC but our God is the one who gathers the lost into communities of faith. We volunteer at Bivins Elementary and CareNet but our God is the one rescuing those precious children. We build houses in Kenya, we send bicycles to missionaries in India, we mentor women at Martha’s Home, and we do Let’s Start Talking in Columbia, but our God is the one who saves. He alone has the power to save!

The Kingdom of God is not a matter of talk, but of power!
His divine power has given us everything we need!
This all-surpassing power is from God and not from us!
Your right hand, O Lord, is majestic in power!

Peace,

Allan

 

Dak Prescott in Bad Company

What do Dak Prescott and Quincy Carter have in common? Well, going back to the end of last season, Dak has thrown for under 200 yards passing in each of the past five Cowboys games. The last time a Cowboys quarterback threw for fewer than 200 yards in five straight games was in 2003. That quarterback was Quincy Carter.

Oh, my.

Not only has Dak not broken the 200 yard mark in five consecutive games, he hasn’t done it in nine of the past eleven games.

Oh, no.

It’s not unfair to wonder if this Dallas offense is the worst in the league. Through three games the Cowboys are averaging 13.6 points and only 277 total yards of offense. Dak is averaging 145 yards passing per game, they’re converting less than 24-percent of their third downs, they’ve scored a total of just four touchdowns in those three games, and they’ve given up eleven sacks.

The Giants game was a fluke, not the opener in Carolina or last night’s sluggish loss in Seattle.

The offensive line is missing a piece or two and is nowhere near the “best line in the NFL” from a couple of seasons ago. Jason Witten is gone and Rico can’t even get on the field. You’re not going to win many games if Cole Beasley is your number one receiver. And if the running game’s not going, the passing game will never get out of the driveway. Scott Linehan has proven to be less than creative as an offensive coordinator and Jason Garrett’s never been known for making in-game adjustments. But the glaring thing, to me, is Dak Prescott. He’s not as good as we thought he was two seasons ago.

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A highlight of the annual ACU Summit for me is taking the Central students out for Sharkey’s burritos. Greg Dowell and I were blessed to share lunch last Monday with Chelsea, Josh, Kathryn, and Brooke. We talked together about their favorite teachers, their hot dates, and their parking stickers. We marveled at Chelsea’s double-major class load, Brooke’s landlording responsibilities, Kathryn’s enterprising creativity, and Josh’s unfortunate lime incident. And we shamelessly compared the Abilene Sharkey’s unfavorably to the Amarillo Sharkey’s. I’m so grateful that all it takes is a cheap lunch to get these kids to hang out with us for an hour.

We drove to OKC this past weekend to see Carley for the first time since she started classes at OC five weeks ago. She was performing in the school’s Freshmen Fanfare, something OC does, I think, to appease the freshmen who have to wait until they’re sophomores to pledge a club. As expected, Carley was super-animated, over-the-top with her Spring Sing face and her tasteful choreography. We didn’t see much of Valerie — she was training and working double weekend shifts at her new job, Ted’s Cafe Escondido! (Our whole family is so proud! Ted’s! A colossal achievement!) But we got to chill with the Bear, check in with her roommate, and meet some of her new friends. We also learned that Randy Roper’s kid can sing. Who knew?

Peace,

Allan

Ignite in Action

 

 

 

 

 

It rained an inch last night — praise God! — but that is not slowing down the construction crews at our Central church campus. Pioneer Construction is today using wet saws to cut through the brick on the west side of our building that will become part of the doorway to our new children’s play space. And huge trucks and graders are spreading a bunch of white stuff on the far west parking lot. It’s way too early to start asking, “When are they going to be finished?” Don’t even think about it. We’re just getting started.

 

 

 

 

 

Because of the Ignite Initiative and our church’s commitment to making a positive impact on our local community, we’ve just given another $25,000 to Martha’s Home. The money is being used to fund the salary of the new staff social worker, Catherine O’Day. This new position, initiated by last year’s Central donation, means more women and children are receiving more services more quickly — rehabilitation, counseling, education, and other resources. Women and kids coming out of homelessness, abuse, and addiction are being brought into Christian community and getting more of the help they so desperately need.

God bless Connie and Catherine and everybody who walks through the doors at Martha’s Home.

Peace,

Allan

The Doctor Is In!

Bradd Morgan grabbed me on the way to the bus leaving the waterfalls of En Gedi. The news he had for me was so unbelievably and surprisingly wonderful, I almost got emotional. I’m getting a little emotional typing this right now.

Yesterday morning eight of us climbed the ancient Snake Path up the face of Masada in the Negev Desert. Bradd and I almost died together on that rock. We finished the climb in about 50-minutes, but it was brutal. Reagan Crossnoe told both of us at the top that neither of us will have to take a stress test for the next five years. We passed, but barely.

The weather here in Israel is like it is almost everywhere: about 15 degrees hotter than normal. The highs every day since we arrived have been in the 100s. And even after soaking our feet in the pools under David’s Fall, I was still extremely hot and dry and thirsty. And Bradd says to me, “Hey, they’ve got Dr Pepper in the gift shop.”

He said it casually. Almost a little too casually. So much so that I wasn’t exactly sure what he had said. So I asked, “What?” And he said it again, “There’s Dr Pepper in that gift shop.”

And I thought, “Don’t lie to me now, Bradd. Don’t be messing with me right now, brother. Don’t lie to me. Because if you’re lying to me, well, you know, you and I won’t be able to be friends anymore.”

He wasn’t lying.

They were ice cold, I mean freezing cold, way in the back of the cooler. Twelve shekels each. I grabbed four. And Valerie and I were good all the way to Qumran.

Shalom,

Allan

Yala!

It means, “Let’s go!” in Hebrew. “Yala!” And we hear it a hundred times a day in Israel from our wonderful tour guide Anton and our super-skilled bus driver Gesan. We’ve arrived at our destination, “Yala!” It’s time to load up and go to the next place, “Yala!” We’ve conducted the head count, we’re all here, “Yala!” We’re running behind on our schedule, “Yala!” And by now, day three of our sight-seeing tour in Israel, we’re all saying it. For everything. It’s time for the meeting, “Yala!” I’m going back for more dessert, “Yala!”

 

 

 

 

I may write more about our bus driver later, but I’ll give you this now: Our Lord said it was impossible for a man to drive a camel through a needle; but that was before he met Gesan.

We began our day with a treacherous ride in three taxis to the top of Mount Tabor, the supposed site of Jesus’ transfiguration. I’m increasingly convinced of the authenticity of this place as the true location of the divine revelation of Jesus with Moses and Elijah. Both historical and traditional evidence keeps rolling in. We scoped out the walls of the fourth century church and the baptistry that was built there and toured the current Franciscan church that was erected there in 1921.

 

 

 

 

We also spent some time in Nazareth, ate a picnic lunch under ancient olive trees at Sepphoris, and hit the ruins of Chorazin, the fishing village on the north side of the Sea of Galilee that Jesus famously condemned.

Because today is Sabbath, the roads were mostly empty and we had the sites mainly to ourselves. Of course, that also means the little store next door to our hotel is closed so I can’t find any caffeine. But we had another great day in Israel. We leave the region of Galilee tomorrow for the Negev Desert where, hopefully, it’ll be a little cooler than the 105 and 107-degree days we’ve had up here.

Shalom!

Allan

Shabbat Shalom!

The Sabbath has begun in Tiberias and we are avoiding the far left elevator at our hotel on the banks of the Sea of Galilee. Day Two of our sight-seeing is under our belts and I’m posting pictures here as fast as I’m able. As you know, you can click on the pic for the full size and click again to really blow it up.

 

 

 

 

We began the day at the Church of the Beatitudes on the north side of the Lake and then made our way north to the ancient city of Dan where Jeroboam constructed his ill-advised high place. We spent  a great morning hiking the trails along the headwaters of the Jordan River on the way to one of my favorite sites, Caesarea-Philippi, where Peter confessed Jesus as the Messiah, Son of the Living God.

 

 

 

 

 

We also toured the remains of King Agrippa’s palace and government buildings and drove through the middle of the Golan Heights.

 

 

 

 

Then we giggled as Anton pronounced Jesus’ hometown as Ca-FER-na-Hoom! And we wrapped up the day with a windy boat tour around a choppy Sea of Galilee.

 

 

 

 

Dale is spoiling Valerie rotten, buying her ice cream bars after every lunch. And Anton says she has a happy face. She does.

Peace,

Allan

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