Category: Central Church Family (Page 2 of 53)

With Evie in Lubbock

Our favorite gymnast was competing in Lubbock Friday night, so Carrie-Anne and I made the quick drive up to watch her completely annihilate the competition in three different events. Evie Granado is our sticky buddy from our time at the Central church in Amarillo and she absolutely dominates her age group and even those above her in every single category of tumbling and gymnastics. Friday it was tumbling, trampoline, and some kind of vault thing. Three events, three gold medals. That’s Evie.

It was so great to get caught up with Andrew and Stephanie while we cheered for their sweet daughter. Lonnie and Debra were also there, as expected. But Paul and Kristin Brown also showed up with their young son Michael, a very pleasant surprise and a reunion of half of our covenant group in Amarillo.

Keep your eye open for Evie. She’s a nine-year-old fourth grader and she rules. Carrie-Anne and I are making sure we stay on the Evie Granado train. Thank you to all the Granados for allowing us to intrude and root on your dynamo daughter and granddaughter.

Keep killin’ it, Evie. We’re looking forward to seeing you compete/dominate here in Midland in March!



Doing What Jesus Did

Five years ago I was privileged to spend ten days in Israel with Millie Burgett. It was a bucket list trip for Millie, a once in a lifetime deal. As a military wife, Millie had traveled all over the world. She had lived in England and Germany, in California and Hawaii; she had been to Italy and Pompeii. But she had never been to Israel and she just had to go. She wanted to walk where Jesus walked. She wanted to see what Jesus saw. I’ve got the notes I took during our pre-trip meetings. Millie said she wanted to experience what our Lord Jesus experienced.

So we celebrated Millie’s 80th birthday on a boat in the middle of the Sea of Galilee. We sang Happy Birthday together. And How Great Thou Art. And It Is Well.

We walked all over the Holy Lands together and this thin, frail 80-year-old woman never missed a step. She was all into this thing with everything she had. She was following in the footsteps of Jesus.

Millie wanted to be baptized in the Jordan River. Our plan was to worship on the banks of the Jordan on Sunday and enjoy a communion meal and picnic lunch. But Millie wanted to be baptized. We talked about it in the weeks leading up to the trip and even the night before in the hotel in Tiberias. “You’re a faithful, lifelong Christian. You’ve already been baptized. You don’t need to be baptized again. Why do you want to be baptized in the Jordan River?”

Millie said, “I want to do what Jesus did.”

And she did. Not just that Sunday morning in Israel. Every day in every way for 85 years, Millie did what Jesus did.

Millie was the troop leader every single year her three daughters were in Girl Scouts. She did all the campouts and took all the trips, starting the fires, setting up the tents, organizing the meetings, and selling the cookies. And making sure every single girl felt included and that she belonged.

Millie sewed almost everything her girls wore: dresses and skirts, blouses and shirts. She made prom dresses and wedding dresses, the fancier the better, not just for her daughters, but for anybody who needed a dress.

She made coffee every day, sometimes two or three times a day, so she’d always have a fresh cup to offer a neighbor who dropped in or a friend who stopped by.

If she found out you liked books, she’d buy you all the latest authors and read the same books you were reading so you could talk about them together. If she found out you were into the movies, she’d wipe out the five-dollar bin at WalMart and flood you with sacks of DVDs. Those kinds of gifts are intentional. They prove that she’s paying attention to you, that she really knows you and loves you and wants to connect with you.

When her son, Jeff, told a friend last week that his mom had died, this guy told Jeff that Millie always made him feel like part of their family. When I asked Jeff’s wife, Brenda, what it was like to have Millie as a mother-in-law, Brenda responded, “Mother in law? Millie became my mom.”

With Millie, it’s an intentional, unconditional love. Just like our Lord’s unconditional love. A love without limits. A boundless interest in the well-being of others ahead of her own. Just like Jesus. Just like our Lord who came to this earth to unite all people together into one universal family in him. Just like Jesus who lived and died to tear down the walls that separate us, Millie was willing and eager to do whatever it takes, to move heaven and earth, to bring everybody together.

You could really see it in the passion she developed for genealogy. All those family reunions in Floydada. All those relatives looking forward to seeing Millie’s charts and diagrams. Millie wants to point out all the connections. She wants everybody to know how we’re related.

She helps the Daughters of the American Revolution with their certifications. She’s calling courthouses, writing letters to lawmakers and libraries. She gets really excited about finding a new line, discovering some new connection that proves somebody else belongs.

When a new group of immigrants passes the test and receives their U.S. citizenship, Millie is there for the ceremony. She doesn’t know these people at all, but she’s there celebrating with them, encouraging them, making them feel welcome.

I feel so blessed to have spent those ten days in Israel with Millie. I witnessed her generosity and hospitality first hand. I experienced it, I received it from her gracious heart. She spent those ten days buying stuff for everybody. She bought gifts for everybody at almost every stop. She took in every moment of that trip. She soaked it in, she lived it. Walking where Jesus walked. Seeing what Jesus saw. We were talking together on the bus during one of those days when she told me that I could be her son for the rest of the trip. That’s classic Millie. Making sure I felt like I was part of her family, even on the other side of the world. Doing what Jesus did. All the time.

Millie Burgett passed from this life to the next on Wednesday. Loved and cherished by our God, forgiven and redeemed by the blood of Jesus, and filled to overflowing with the Holy Spirit of our Lord.

Her passing leaves a heavy void that we’re all going to feel for a long time. But she’s also left a lasting legacy: a brilliant and shining example of a life well-lived in connection with Christ and with all his people, all together in Millie’s family.

May we remember in Millie the ways her love and generosity and hospitality reflect the glory of our Lord. May we encourage Elaine and Jeff and their whole family by reminding them often how much Millie impacted our lives. May our gracious God bless Millie’s family with his divine comfort and peace. And may God receive his servant into this faithful arms.



Wiener Wednesday

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.



The Gang

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.



Rugged Commitment

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.



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