Category: Legacy Construction (Page 2 of 6)

One Church, One Assembly

We announced to the Legacy congregation yesterday our intentions to go from two Sunday morning assemblies to one single weekly assembly once we move into the new worship center in late July / early August. For the Pipeline-Legacy Church of Christ, it’ll be the first time in over 18 years that the entire church family will come together on Sunday mornings to worship God and encourage each other.

It’ll be the first time:

that the whole church family will regularly worship together in the same room at the same time.
the whole church participates in the baptisms
the whole church is introduced to new members
the whole church participates in baby blessings / dedications
the whole church participates in special events such as Senior Sunday and missionary send-offs

I’m excited to be able to regularly participate in a thousand-member choir, joining with so many brothers and sisters in raising our voices and our hearts to God in song. I’m looking forward to the energy and the excitement and the enthusiasm of the larger crowd. I’m glad for the lowered utility costs, the uniform start times, and the increased flexibility in planning special events.

But mostly, I’m looking forward to an abundance of opportunities to sacrifice and share and learn from one another.

Right now, we are two different churches. To ignore that fact is to ignore the truth. Our 8:30 assembly is much different in style and dynamic and approach than our 10:45 service. We sing the same songs and do things in the same order for each service. But they’re different. Very different. Sometimes the clock will determine that we leave out a song or two during first service. Different people will pray differently, read Scripture differently, approach communion differently, and even react to the sermon differently. Not only that but, especially since we meet in 37 homes now on Sunday nights in Legacy Small Groups Church, there are huge groups of people who don’t ever meet or converse or interact in any way with their own brothers and sisters who attend the other assembly. We never see each other. As a result of all those things, we really are two different churches.

The first-service people could learn a whole lot by spending more time with the second-service people.

And the second-service people could learn a whole lot by spending more time with the first-service people.

If we were to stay with two separate assemblies, we’d each be able to stay completely comfortable. No change. No sacrifice. No bending. No thinking about others.

Now we’ll all, every one of us, have to make some changes and have to sacrifice a little to make this happen. Some of us, as was mentioned yesterday, will have to wake up a half hour earlier. Some of us will have to get used to not being the very first ones in line at Luby’s. The good news is we all will have to put the needs of others ahead of our own. We’ll each have to consider others better than ourselves. We’ll have to share a pew. We’ll have to get re-acquainted. It’s a win-win situation for growing spiritually with each other as a family.

And when our Lord blesses us with more baptisms and more families and more people and we’re forced to move back to two services, it’ll be that much more wonderful. Whether it’s in six-months or six-years, we’ll do so with an increased unity and a renewed sense of community and family within our body of believers at Legacy. And we’ll look back fondly on whatever period of time we met in one single assembly, glad for the experiences, happy for the memories, and more selfless and sacrificial servants because of it.

Here are the very latest pictures of the inside of the worship center. As always, click on the pic to get the full size.

LookingLeftFromTheBack  LookingCenterFromTheBack  LookingRightFromTheBack

LookingLeftFromFront  LookingCenterFromFront  LookingRightFromFront

ScrapingPillows   ScrapingCeilings  

The Legacy Quilters met for the first official time this morning in their area of the brand new Youth & Benevolence Center. When Kent wasn’t harassing them about no-parking lanes and I wasn’t bugging them to pose for pictures, they actually got a lot of work done today.

QuiltingLadiesHardAtWork   QuiltingTeam



Now Where Was I?

I know. I know. It’s been a while. A full week now as I look back. Thank you for your emails and your phone calls. All four of you. Since Virgil Fry was scheduled to preach yesterday and present the vision for Lifeline Chaplaincy’s Tarrant County mission to our Legacy family, I seized the opportunity to take one of my vacation weeks. And, no, I wasn’t on the beach somewhere in South Texas or in the mountains of Colorado as some of you have suggested. I spent the week painting the exterior of our house. Six days of hanging off a ladder, 24 feet up, with a paintbrush in my hand. I couldn’t be happier to be back in the study today.

Today’s been filled with a ton of catching up. So allow me to just post a bunch of pictures, give you a couple of quick-hit updates, and resume the full-time blogging tomorrow. As always, click on the pic for the full size. Except the one of all the tongues near the bottom. Gross.

Since last we blogged, I’ve performed my first ever wedding ceremony, joining Jim & Elvera (Long) McKillip in holy matrimony. And it was so low-stress for me. They have 120 years of marriage experience between them. And they WeddingBellscouldn’t have cared less about the ceremony itself. It was absolutely a piece of cake for me. They told me to write the whole thing and just show up and do it. No rehearsel dinner. No pre-marital counseling. I asked them if they wanted to at least write the vows and Jim said, “Why don’t you write them and email them to me.” Great wedding. We ate barbecue and peach cobbler at the reception. Whitney, Valerie, and Carley: I hope you’re taking notes.

We were also duped and deceived into attending a PTA meeting. You know how these schools do it. They say your fifth grader is performing in a concert or a play at 7:00 Thursday night when, in actuality, the PTA meeting starts at 7:00 and your fifth grader performs at 8:00. But you don’t realize it until the gavel bangs at 7:01. After they elected next year’s Green Valley Elementary PTA Officers (I almost nominated Whitney for Third Vice-President of Recruiting) Valerie and her class wowed us with their rendition of “We Go Together” from Grease. I hate it when movies I watched as a kid are presented as “classics.” Carrie-Anne’s mom made the poodle skirt. Way to go, Gram!

Val’sLines  ValInGrease

PlayoffLogoNow, about those Stars! I keep having flashbacks to ’99. The Stars keep winning and they keep advancing and we’re so surprised. How do they keep winning? Nobody was really expecting this. They’re playing so well right now. Modano looks like he’s 27 instead of 37. And they’re dominating the 3rd periods. If you’re playing the Stars and you’re not up by two or three goals heading to the third period, you’re going to get beat. Last night’s whipping of San Jose puts the Stars up two games to none in the second round, the second time now Dallas has taken the first two games of a series on the road. That’s only happened four other times in NHL BradRichardsTiesGameInThirdhistory. And all four times, the team that’s started 2-0 twice on the road has made it all the way to the Stanley Cup Finals.

DejectedDirkAnd then there are the Mavericks. Yuk. The Jason Kidd trade, made out of desperation almost two months ago, is killing them. He can’t score like Devin Harris. He can’t defend like Harris. And he can’t block shots like Diop. Man, they’re missing Harris and Diop. More than that, though, they’re missing Josh Howard. So far in the four games against New Orleans, Howard is averaging only 12.8 points per game on just 25% shooting and 6.5 rebounds. Yuk. And while Mavericks fans probably have huge issues right now with everything from the Kidd trade and Avery’s coaching to the ManiAACs shirts and Laura Green’s hair, my biggest issue—an insurmountable issue for me—is with Josh Howard. And I’m facing a serious dilemma right now in my own house over it. I’ll have to share all this tomorrow and maybe even solicit your opinions and advice.

NewRoofThey’re finally putting the steel roof on our new worship center here at Legacy. The north side was finished Saturday and they’re working on the south side today. By this time tomorrow, I think, everything will be dried in and they can start really working on the inside. The air-conditioners and duct work are in, the rock at the front of the worship center above and around the stage is set and a lot of the interior walls are taped and bedded. I’m still hopeful this can all be done and we can be in the new building by our next 5th Sunday on June 29.

Matt&ElizabethI also want to share with you this picture of Matt and his daughter, Elizabeth, in our living room last night during our Small Groups Church meeting. She’s reading from Romans 15 and I can’t resist the picture. Passing on the faith in our homes. Our children singing with us and reading with us and watching their parents and other adults worship and study and pray. I love the picture and the way it symbolizes one of the key things Legacy Small Groups Church is about. Apply the Word, Connect as a Family, and Evangelize the Community. And do it together.

After last night’s Small Groups meetings I/we hosted a come-and-go ice cream deal to celebrate Carrie-Anne’s 40th birthday. It was a surprise right up until the moment I walked in the door with six half-gallons of Blue Bell. The jig was up. And she knew something was going on. But she wasn’t quite sure what. By the time it was over, we must have had close to a hundred people, mostly from Legacy, through the doors with well wishes and tacky birthday cards. It was a fantastic night with great family and friends. These pictures are of the friends we couldn’t quite run off.

StraightPic   FunnyPic  TooManyTongues

No comment. Thank you, Tonia, for the pics.

And thank you to everyone who came last night. We are so blessed to have made such great friends in such a short amount of time. We love each of you very much. We especially love Jean for washing spoons, Beth for leading us in a rousing rendition of “Happy Birthday” in Portuguese, and Kevin for taking out the trash. And Jill for waiting until they got in the car to ask Kevin why he never does that at home.

Carrie-Anne, I love you. You are the perfect partner. I love you forever.


$209K and Counting…

“God calls things that are not as though they were.” ~Romans 4:17

A red-letter day yesterday for the family of believers here at Legacy and in our history as a congregation of God’s people. The goal for Missions Sunday was to collect $150,000 to fund our local and foreign missions budget for 2008. And our Lord blessed us with over $209,000 in cash and pledges. And the number is still going up.

What a thrill it was to watch our little children parade with their Bible classes down to the front to announce and then to dump the money they’ve collected over the month of March for our missionaries. How amazing it was to be joined by our brothers and sisters at the Centerpoint church in Bagiuo City, Philippines via video and audio hookup and to see them and talk to them and wave to them and sing “We Love You With the Love of the Lord” to them, half a world away. And then to experience our Father opening our hearts and our spirits to sacrificially give like we never have before was beyond description.

Our God always out-imagines us. He always out-dreams us. We can’t think too big or plan too big for him. He always gives us much more than we can ever ask or imagine. How wonderful to consider the lives that will be saved, the souls that will be won, the people who will be reconciled to our God as a result of yesterday’s blessings.

And our Lord continued to pour out his blessings on us as he held back the rain and kept us high and dry at last night’s fellowship / assembly in our new, not-quite-finished-yet worship center. Nearly 700 of us ate dinner together in the new building and then worshiped our God in song and prayer. We read Scripture together. We confessed Jesus as the Christ and as Lord together. We imagined together all the baptisms that are going to take place in this building, all the weddings, all the singings, all the sermons, all the laughing, all the crying, all the seminars, all the love that’s going to be shared in this building. And then we asked our God to, again, blow us away.

Click On Picture To Get Full Size  FillingUp  SettlingIn  MiddleTables  FrontLeft   FrontRight   Click For Full Size

I saw the Legacy church transformed yesterday. I saw all our same people, all our same brothers and sisters. But I saw us differently. There was a different spirit about us yesterday. The Lord was in our midst yesterday and he was working and blessing and inspiring and planning for things I can’t even begin to see yet. But he sees them. They already exist in his sight. Our God calls things that are not as though they were. And we’re beginning to see and to think like him more and more. And it’s exciting.

After we prayed together for all of the future things that would be happening for our Lord and for the Kingdom in this new place of worship, we wrote on the foundation. We wrote our favorites passages of Scripture. We wrote our prayers. We wrote our dreams for our church family. And we wrote the names of our children.

     Marshalls Floor   

What an incredible day. What an incredible God!

It’s 10:30 pm Monday, my computer’s been down most of the day, and I’m still riding yesterday’s high. I just got out of a Small Groups Church Co-Leader training session with a bunch of couples who are leading new groups beginning this Sunday—new groups that are all multiplications of original groups who’ve grown beyond their capacities. And they’ve all experienced the love and the ministry and the sharing and the fellowship and the connection and the evangelism that takes place in a small group. And they’re all inspired to take what they have and spread it out into our congregation and into our communities.

And we give God the glory. He alone is worthy of praise for all the wonderful things that are happening here. He alone. In Romans 4, when Paul writes about our God who “gives life to the dead and calls things that are not as though they were,” he says Abraham’s faith was strengthened and he “gave glory to God” because he was seeing the impossible-to-deny truth that our God has “power to do what he had promised.” Amen.

May our Father use us in his Kingdom. And may we submit our lives and our church family and our wills to him. May we be blessed with his Spirit and his vision. And may his will be done in the Legacy church as it is in heaven.


LoveUCLAAnd may UCLA beat Memphis Saturday night.

The only way I beat Whitney outright in my NCAA tournament bracket is if the Bruins beat those impossibly-loaded Tigers from Memphis State AND Kansas beats Carolina. I can salvage a tie if the Tarheels win and Tiger High loses. I can salvage a tie if Kansas and Memphis win and Kansas then takes the title. But if Memphis wins the championship or if Memphis and UNC both win their semi-final games, I’m toast. And then, I’m probably done. You can’t lose to your daughter in a college basketball tournament pool. I need Kevin Love to score about 40.


OpeningDayBluesMichael Young drove one deep to put Texas up 1-0 in the Rangers half of the first inning in Seattle. And Millwood looked good into the 6th. But the Rangers lose their opener (SHOCKING!!) 5-2 to the M’s. Now, Kipi, they’re tied for last place in the American League.


Tomorrow (Tuesday) is my day in Waco with Jim Martin and some of the other central Texas preachers down there. So I probably won’t write again until Wednesday morning. I’ll reflect a little bit on this year’s Tulsa Workshop then.



March Sadness

Thank you, Georgetown.

My champion didn’t even make it through the first weekend. I still have three of my Final Four alive. But the second-seeded Hoyas choking against Davidson cost me 20 points in the Stanglin family pool. Peeps and malted chocolate Whopper eggs are soothing me somewhat. Heading in to the Sweet 16, Carrie-Anne’s actually leading the house with 45 points. My reign as Bracket Champ continues. But the throne is teetering.


Kidd’sKillingUsWhat if Mark Cuban trades his entire kingdom for Jason Kidd and the Mavericks don’t even make the playoffs? The Mavs are 9-8 since trading for the troubled point guard. And they’re 0-8 against teams with a winning record. Since trading for Kidd, Dallas has slipped from 5th place in the Western Conference standings to 7th, just a half-game out of 8th and only two games out of 9th. That means they’re just two games away from missing the postseason.

DirkDownAnd Dirk’s injury yesterday during their third consecutive loss doesn’t help. He’s gone for at least two to three weeks. And they have a couple of games against Golden State and Denver during that stretch. Wow.

I’m not celebrating the fact that Cuban’s Mavs have fallen apart since they acquired Kidd. OK, maybe I am just a little…


Easter photos from Sunday afternoon at Vic and Kathryn Akers’. As always, click on the pic for the full size.

CarleyCounting CarleyHunting ToughHunt ValerieCounting WhitneyHunting


And the stone is up around the stumple on the new worship center! We really don’t know what to call that short, stocky, outcropping on top of the new building. It’s certainly not a steeple. It’s too wide and stumpy. One of our elders suggested “stumple” a few weeks back. And it’s stuck. Here are pictures of our newly stoned stumple.

Stumple StumpleStone StumpleWork



Shepherd or CEO?

“I will search for the lost and bring back the strays. I will bind up the injured and strengthen the weak, but the sleek and the strong I will destroy. I will shepherd the flock with justice.” ~Ezekiel 34:16

SheepsIn the contemporary church, as we increasingly borrow our leadership styles and ideas and methods from the business world, the Scriptural image of preacher and elders as shepherds is becoming endangered. A preacher is generally seen as a CEO and the elders as a board of directors charged with keeping the plant running smoothly and efficiently.

But the theological cost of viewing ministry as management and elders as decision-makers is great. The shepherd image, not the CEO image, is the overarching and pivotal analogy for leadership of God’s people in the Scriptures. Thomas Oden in Pastoral Theology: Essentials of Ministry wonders if “we have traded in the vocation of handcrafting saints for the business of mass-producing sheep.”

To be a preacher or an elder —I believe pastor is a proper word to describe the biblical activities of both—is to truly comfort the afflicted and afflict the comfortable. Ezekiel 34 speaks to both sides of that common idea. The bad shepherds were criticized because they ignored the fat sheep who were oppressing the other sheep, while they lived comfortably off the products of the flock. In contrast, the good shepherd both confronts the fat sheep and tenderly cares for the weak sheep.

In his commentary on Ezekiel, Dr. Ian Duguid brings it home:

“Most of us who are shepherds fall far short of this standard. Sometimes, we don’t challenge those who are comfortable for fear of stirring up conflict—after all, the fat sheep are often big givers who underwrite the church’s budget (and pay our salaries). Nor do we always comfort the weak sheep as we should. Taking care of the weak sheep is hard, painful, time-consuming work, and we have been told that there are more important things to do with our time. As a result, we gradually turn into managers of the flock, and as long as the flock is growing in numbers, no one around us complains. God is against such shepherds, however. He is the one to whom we are ultimately accountable, and what will it profit us if we grow a sizeable megachurch, yet neglect our calling to shepherd the sheep? We will stand under his condemnation.”


LoveTheTournamentI love the NCAA basketball tournament. Wall-to-wall games, all elimination games, upsets, buzzer-beaters, meltdowns, courageous comebacks, crazy coaches, cinderellas, heroes & goats—March Madness indeed. And the TV coverage is part of what makes the next four days, starting today, the greatest four days of the year in sports. They stagger the tip times for the games, making sure we get to see the last four or five minutes of every contest. Every dramatic finish is seen live. Coast to coast. Wherever and whenever the game is being played. If that game is better than the one you’re watching, they switch to it. It’s beautiful. Love the tournament.

It’s especially entertaining to me to hear the made-up words the studio analysts use. Billy Packer does it some. But usually it’s the guys in the studio who keep inventing these gems on the spot. Inevitably some team will “outphysicalize” another. Some big center will be praised for his “strengthability” and “post-upness.” A point guard will be lauded for his “court visionacious.” A coach will be recognized for his halftime “manueverization.” Love the tournament.

And the brackets. I have Carolina (sorry, Steve, I have your Vols going down to the Heels in Charlotte), Georgetown, Memphis, and UCLA in the Final Four with the Hoyas “outstrengthening” the Bruins for the Championship. A young, inexperienced Texas team will lose to Stanford in the Sweet 16. The Aggies get by BYU but get outrun by UCLA in Anaheim. Kansas makes it to the Elite Eight before getting punched in the nose by Georgetown. And UT-Arlington’s Movin’ Mavs can’t even get the license plate after getting demolished by Memphis. You can take those picks to the bank. Or fill out your bracket in pencil and make the necessary changes when you need to. My bracket’s never won the office pool. But I’m undefeated at home against my girls. Love the tournament.


The “dummy-wall” is up on the west side of our building (insert your own line here, just not at my expense, please). Once the roof’s up on the new worship center and the thing is dried in, they’ll start tearing out the existing wall to tie in the new building with the old, hopefully by early next week.

                     DummyWallLeft DummyWallRight

Don’t call me today after 11a.



He Is Not Here!

ChurchOfTheHolySepulchre“Because I live, you also will live.” ~John 14:19

TopOfChurchIn the northwest corner of the city of Jerusalem stands the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, the traditional burial place of Jesus. Very early Christian tradition, ancient writings, and archaeological evidence points to this being the location of the tomb where Jesus was laid after his crucifixion. I spent a couple of hours there a little over a year ago, milling around the inside of that massive building with probably 300 other people.

And we were all very quiet. We tiptoed. We whispered. There’s a true sense of awe in that place. Reverence. Holiness. A genuine feeling of sacredness. It’s consecrated. It’s highly significant. And it doesn’t take long to realize the glaring truth that overwhelms the impressive backdrop.

Jesus is not here.

InsideThe beautiful 900 year old paintings are here. But he is not here. The 800 year old church building is here. But he is not here. The 2000 year old tombs are here. But he is not here. The chapels and candles and altars and shrines and worshipers and pilgrims and disciples are all here. But he is not here.The rock and the tomb and the caves and the songs and the stories and the history; it’s all here. But he is not here.TombEntrance

I’ve been to Elvis’ grave. He’s there. I’ve been to Stevie Ray Vaughn’s grave. He’s there. John F. Kennedy. Abraham Lincoln. I’ve never been, but I’m certain Grant is still buried in Grant’s tomb.

I’ve been to Jesus’ tomb. And he’s not there.

And because of that, we have hope. And confidence. And courage.

Yesterday our dear brothers Ken Phillips and Sam Hughey both passed from this life to the next. Two great warriors for Christ. Two great soldiers of the cross. Two great followers of Jesus. Leaders. Examples. And as disciples of the King, they have died. Just like Jesus. This weekend they will be buried. Just like Jesus. And just like Jesus, they will be raised. And they will reign at the right hand of the heavenly Father in the eternal Kingdom of God forever and ever. Just like Jesus.

Obviously, I didn’t know either one of these brothers very well. Ken was the very first song leader for the Pipeline/Legacy church back in 1959. I heard from a couple of people last night that Ken taught so many of our boys—boys my age and older—how to lead singing and how to pray and read Scriptures publicly. Sam always had a huge smile on his face and a smart aleck comment on his lips. He was so funny. I remember clearly the day he brought his baptismal certificate to me on the 50th anniversary of his new birth in Christ. Both of these men were so happy all the time. And both encouraged me every single time I talked with them. Both of them told me more than a couple of times, “Just keep doing what you’re doing. Just preach the Bible.”

I was struck yesterday in both hospital rooms by the faith and confidence and courage exhibited by Opal and Bernice. Both of these strong Christian women faced the moment of death with tremendous faith, truly happy for their husbands, each at peace in the knowledge that her beloved is basking in the presence of God, confident that her husband will live. What an encouragement. What a testimony.

Paul tells us in 1 Corinthians 15 that all who are in Christ will be made alive. Jesus goes before us. He leads us. And we follow. In his death. And in his resurrection.


They’re beginning to lay the bricks around the new worship center. Perfect match.

               AnotherBrickInTheWall  Bricks


CherokeeParksCherokee Parks was drafted #12 overall.



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