Completely Love

1 John, Central Church Family, Love No Comments »

It’s Missions Month here at Central — probably my favorite recurring season on our local church calendar — and our focus during these five Sundays is on the purpose of God’s great love.

“If we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us.” ~1 John 4:12
“Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in him. In this way, love is made complete in us.” ~1 John 4:16-17

God’s love is what saves us. The matchless love of God transcends the barriers of time and space to reach into our hearts and draw us in to a righteous relationship with him. God’s love achieves for us total forgiveness and absolute peace. Praise God! But God’s love, which existed for us “before the foundations of the world,” only realizes its true mission, it only accomplishes its eternal purpose, when you and I show that same divine love to others.

That’s the cycle. That’s the ultimate point of God’s great love for us.

This divine love that’s existed for all time comes from God. It is showered lavishly on us through Jesus Christ. We experience that love, we are saved by that love. But that love isn’t complete until we show that same love to other people. Or, to say it positively, like John: The whole point of God’s perfect love is fulfilled — it’s made complete — when we live to love others.

We love completely because we’ve been completely loved.

“We love because he first loved us.” ~1 John 4:19

When the world is hurting, God’s people should be healing. When the world is afraid, disciples of Jesus should be bold. When the world is confused, the Church should be clear. When people are surrounded by hate, we should be where they encounter God’s love. Completely.



Harvey Buckets to Houston!

Central Church Family, Harvey Buckets, Texas No Comments »

Three elders and a preacher are headed down to Houston right now in a huge truck loaded with 130 cases of bottled water, 150 buckets of cleaning supplies, two jugs of hand sanitizer, and a case of granola bars.






We took the truck to Zach’s Club early this morning and loaded up 90 cases of water they had been collecting, grabbed another 40 or so from Brown Automotive, then headed to Central to pack the Harvey buckets our church has been collecting since Sunday.

Bruce, Tom, John, and Carroll left here at just after 9:00 this morning to deliver the relief supplies to Doug Peters and the Grace Crossing Community Church of Christ down in Conroe. Doug tells me they’re handing out around 400 buckets and going through about five hundred bottles of water per day. Some of the supplies are being used to benefit Grace Crossing members and folks in that church’s immediate neighborhood. Some of it’s going to the Impact Church in downtown Houston to assist the families associated with the outreach programs through that congregation. And a lot of it is being spread all over the greater Houston area to help those who’ve been displaced by Hurricane Harvey.

We’re going to keep collecting the buckets here at Central through Sunday September 24 and make at least one more trip down to Conroe. Spread the word!



96 Buckets and Counting

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Thank you so much to the wonderful people of Central and Amarillo who are dropping their Harvey Buckets off at the church building today.










Our goal was to have one hundred by Wednesday morning so we could go ahead and haul a decent load down to Conroe and the Grace Crossing Community Church of Christ. We took in 59 yesterday and they just keeping coming in today.











Thank you to Dale & Karen, Bruce, Clay and Perri, Ted, and John Todd and Kami for manning the doors and receiving the buckets today. The church building will be open until 4pm this afternoon and then we’ll be receiving buckets from 9a-5p Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday and from 9a-12noon on Friday.











We’re probably going to wind up taking three or four trips down to Houston over the next few weeks. So, spread the word. Tell your friends and neighbors. Use social media, word of mouth, email, whatever.

You can get all the details on the Hurricane Bucket Challenge at our church website here.

May our God bless the good people of Houston and Southeast Texas with dry winds, merciful comfort, and enduring peace.


Harvey Buckets Locked and Loaded

Central Church Family, Harvey Buckets, Ministry, Texas No Comments »

Please see the previous post regarding the Hurricane Bucket Challenge. Central Church of Christ is the official drop-off location for the city of Amarillo and the entire Texas Panhandle. C-A and I have completed our buckets and will have them at Central first thing in the morning.

Why don’t you join us?



Hurricane Bucket Challenge

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Central Church of Christ is the Hurricane Bucket Challenge drop-off site for the city of Amarillo and the entire Texas Panhandle. Churches of Christ all over the Southwest are cooperating with the Grace Crossing Community Church of Christ in Conroe, Texas to provide cleaning tools and supplies to help the thousands of displaced families in the Houston area get back into their homes.

To participate, fill a five-gallon bucket with the items on this list and bring the bucket to Central Church of Christ (1401 S. Monroe, Amarillo) any day beginning this Sunday September 3. We’ll collect the buckets and make sure they all get to the hurricane response staging site at Grace Crossing.

I don’t know yet if we’re going to load up a U-Haul and drive it down to Houston once a week for the next couple of months or if we’re going to need to rent a huge semi-tractor-trailer — I have no idea how many of these buckets are going to come in. I know the good families at Bivins Elementary are going to want to participate and some of our high school students at Central are already planning to get their schools involved.

All the details are on our church website here. You can view the Hurricane Bucket Challenge video here (my soul dies a little bit every time I see Doug Peters wearing an Astros cap). And you can share this information on Facebook or other social media by clicking here. If you’re reading this from outside the Panhandle, check the list of churches close to your area.

We’re getting our buckets today, one for each member of our family, and filling them up and bringing them to church tomorrow. Why don’t you do the same? And spread the word.

What a joy to share our resources with those in need! May our gifts bring glory to God and point to his Son, our Lord Jesus! And may God’s will be done in Houston just as it is in heaven!



A Prayer for Peaceful Discourse

Central Church Family, Prayer, Texas, Unity 1 Comment »

The tone needed to be set. The true reality needed to be raised. The eternal perspective had to be introduced. Citizens of Amarillo and other panhandle communities crammed into the city council chambers and a standing-room-only overflow space last evening to offer their opinions on the Confederate Soldier statue in our city’s Elwood Park. Uniformed police officers lined the sidewalks and steps outside City Hall where four or five demonstrators displayed the Confederate flag. Another dozen or so officers patrolled the lobby and doors inside. The director of the local chapter of the NAACP was there to speak. So were representatives from Sons of the Confederacy, Indivisible Amarillo, The Freedom Riders, and the VFW. It was tense.

We needed a prayer.

Greg Dowell, our long-time associate minister here at Central, was on deck to lead that prayer. Greg is in a rotation with several other pastors in Amarillo who lead the invocation at city council meetings and, as luck or God’s providence would have it, last night was his night. He leads the opening prayer once every couple of months, just five or six times a year. But last night’s was his.

The mayor instructed everyone to be seated, called the meeting to order, and then asked Greg to lead the prayer. He stepped to the podium, cleared his throat, allowed the room to go silent, and then boldly called on the Lord of all Creation.

It was truly inspiring. It was Spirit-led. God-breathed. It was beyond perfect in every respect. Every line. Every word. It set the tone. It reminded of THE true issue at stake. It provided the eternal perspective. I’m not sure I’ve ever been more proud of a co-worker. Ever. And more proud to be a guy’s brother and friend.

Greg is very thoughtful with his prayers — it’s one of the many things I admire about him. He doesn’t take prayer lightly. He researches his prayers. He sprinkles them with holy Scripture and with the faithful words of the saints who’ve gone before. Greg’s prayer last night were the first words publicly offered in the meeting. And they were the best.

God of all humanity, you call us to live in community.
Fill us with charity so that we can care for one another.
Fill us with mercy so that we can have compassion for each other.
Fill us with grace so that we can live in harmony.

Father, help us resolve conflicts peacefully.
When we disagree, teach us to communicate respectfully.
When we see things from different perspectives, teach us to listen.
When our convictions are strong, we pray that our love for our neighbors is even stronger.
Teach us how to love.

We pray for those in positions of leadership. Their influence is great and they impact the lives of many in our community.
Equip them with discernment and wisdom.
Inspire them with vision.
Fill them with hope.

Father, we ask you to drive out discontent and strife, anxiety and fear. Reveal to us a better way of life. A life filled with love. Joy. Peace. Patience. Kindness. Goodness. Faithfulness. Gentleness. Self-control.

Father, you have created us in your image. You have blessed us with great diversity. It is only in You where we can find true unity. And that is the beautiful life which we seek.