When you work side-by-side in ministry with a guy for ten years, things are bound to get moist.
For the past six months, anytime we’ve wanted a blizzard or a polar vortex or an incredible system of thunderstorms and rain to move into the area, we’ve only had to plan an outdoor church event. Now, it seems, planning an outdoor church event results in the hottest most humid day of the season. It was 101-degrees in the shade yesterday. And our Central section at the downtown ballpark was not in the shade!
Our annual Central night with the Sod Poodles was a sultry affair, but we had more than 230 of us sweating it out together. As always, the baseball game was merely the backdrop to an evening of hanging out with people we love. The dollar hot dogs and the souvenir cup refills are not what bring Central folks to Hodgetown. It’s the joy of just being together.
The joke was that it was Allan Stanglin Appreciation Night because the Corpus Christi Hooks were wearing their Wednesday Whataburger uniforms. I’m telling you, it was hard rooting against a team wearing those orange Whataburger stripes and numbers. As the game wore on – it was still the 7th inning at 10:00pm – Ira told those around him he was staying until it was over or until Allan jumped into the dugout and stole a jersey.
Myrl wins Sticky Buddy of the Year for the fifth straight year after treating the Love clan to the air-conditioned suites above home plate. Greg gets points for cramming two wieners into a single hot dog bun. Twice. Gail’s innovative neck-fans kept her cooler, but not enough to allow her to smile. All the high school students are to be commended for arriving home from the float trip and getting to the ballpark in about an hour. And after watching the Hooks in those sweet unis, I’m feeling an urge to move to Corpus Christi.
Carley’s dog did not sign our group covenant, but he somehow managed to sneak into the team picture we took at our house Sunday night. Man, is this a good-looking group, or what? We love these people and cherish our friendships and are so thankful to our Lord for bringing us together the way he has. We still have a couple more dinners and a lot more prayers to share over the next several days. And, Andrew, I’m going to need about a case of your family salsa to take to Midland.
My great friend Jim Martin posted this in his weekly email encouragement to a bunch of us ministers who rely on him for regular shots of wisdom and strength. I’m re-posting it here word for word.
I was getting ready to officiate at a wedding in Central Texas. Preparing for this event caused me to think about marriage in general and my own marriage in particular. Beyond this, I had already been thinking about some of the fragile relationships within congregations and the relational challenges we have faced over the last year.
Some of these challenges have resulted in the fragmentation of relationships within congregations. Church members argued about the pandemic, wearing masks, getting vaccinated, the presidential election, racial issues, etc. For many, this has been quite painful.
Yet, as we look to the future of our congregations, it is important that we recommit to one another by loving with a rugged commitment. By “rugged commitment,” I mean a love that is willing to do what is hard and messy. This is a love for another that is much like the steadfast love of the Lord toward his children. This is a love that is willing to go the distance for another.
Can we love each other with a rugged commitment so that we forebear one another in love, even when we strongly disagree?
Can we love each other with a rugged commitment so that we seek to lighten the load of church leaders instead of making life so difficult for them?
Can we love each other with a rugged commitment so that we put our identity in Jesus above any other identity?
This rugged commitment is necessary for a lasting friendship, for a growing marriage, and for any congregation that wishes to stay together, in spite of the pressures that threaten to rip it apart.
Our outdoor movie night set for tomorrow at Bivins Elementary has been moved because of all the rain – more than five inches in the past seven days and more on the way. Our Children’s Minister described the field at the school today as “swampy.” It looks like a playa lake. The event has been moved now to our west parking lot here at Central. We’re inviting the entire Bivins Elementary community and our whole church family to park on the south side, bring your lawn chairs and blankets, and enjoy Disney’s Moana at 630pm. We’ll be passing out the candy and popcorn and hoping that whatever is forecast for Friday night misses us.
Lesson learned: If we ever want rain in Amarillo, we need only to schedule an outdoor church event.
It’s Sticky Buddy Challenge Week here at Central and our precious little friend Evie is taking off today for Las Vegas to participate in a regional gymnastics championship. (I don’t even know why they bother with these things; they should just mail the trophies directly to Evie.) Since she’s out of town for four days we can’t do a movie together or go to Cinergy or some place cool – she did not offer to fly us to Vegas with her – so we showed up at her house last night with some “Good Luck” cookies from Mrs. Piggy’s and a couple of posters.
We wish you the best of luck in Vegas, Evie! We’re looking forward to hearing the good news of your utter domination! Again!
Our precious niece, Maryn, had their baby late last night in Memphis: a beautiful little girl named Joanna Madelyn. Joanna is the first-born grandchild in this generation of our family, making my sister, Rhonda, a grandmother right on time. Joanna looks like her mom so I’m assuming she’ll have a fabulous singing voice, an exquisite ability to play piano, a sharp and funny wit, and she’ll shoot about 80% from the field.
The initial photo and text I received from Rhonda merely said “8lbs 5oz.” I wondered if that was the weight of the massive bow on Joanna’s head!
Congratulations to Logan and Maryn! May you give thanks daily to God for Joanna and the joy and love she will bring to your home. May you earnestly seek our Lord as you raise her in the community of faith. And may our Lord protect her and bless her with his grace and peace.
As part of our “Meals with the Messiah” sermon series, we’re asking everybody at Central to take pictures of shared meals around the table in their houses and post it using #amarillocentral. I don’t know what Kevin is going to do with these, but you can bet it’ll be significant. We took this picture of our covenant group in our dining room last night somewhere in between the chili and soups and Paul Brown’s Frito salad. We were missing Dale and Karen – maybe Kevin can photoshop them in.