Category: Whitney (page 1 of 9)

Hope in What’s Up

“We have heard of your faith in Christ Jesus and of the love you have for all the saints — the faith and love that spring from the hope that is stored up for you in heaven and that you have already heard about in the word of truth, the Gospel that has come to you.” ~Colossians 1:4-6

It’s interesting that Paul tells the Christians in Colosse that hope is the source of their faith and love. Their hope doesn’t come from their faith — it’s the opposite. Their faith is grounded in their hope. That means hope, at least in this setting, is not about their mood or their attitude. It’s about the thing that is hoped for. It’s the thing that is stored up in heaven. This future glory with Christ, these eternal promises of God we know are coming true.

Not hope in the things of this world. Not hope in our careers or family, not hope in degrees or scholarships, not hope in elections or supreme courts, not hope in science or technology — hope in what God is holding for us in heaven. That kind of certainty is what gives birth to a faith in Christ Jesus, a faith that our God has acted decisively in his Son as our Savior. It generates a deep love for all the saints, a love that’s increasingly for others instead of self. This kind of biblical hope is a strong knowing, a confident conviction that impacts our every thought and deed.

Christian hope is not blind optimism with no foundation to it. It’s not, “I hope the Cowboys win the Super Bowl.” That’s just baseless positivism. Like when George Lloyd addressed the House of Commons on Armistice Day in 1918: “I hope we may say that on this fateful morning came an end to all wars.” That’s just wishful thinking. It just means, “I hope so.” It’s not really based on anything concrete.

That’s what led Alexander Pope to write: “Blessed is the one who expects nothing for he shall never be disappointed.” In other words, don’t get your hopes up and you’ll never be let down.

For Christians, our hopes are always way up! We expect everything!

We expect that our God is at work in this world through Jesus Christ and that he is reconciling all people and all things together in himself. We expect that God is right now fixing everything that’s broken and making right everything that’s gone wrong. Our hope is secure because God himself has sealed it by placing his Holy Spirit inside us.

“All over the world, this Gospel is bearing fruit and growing, just as it has been doing among you since the day you heard it and understood God’s grace in all its truth.” ~ Colossians 1:6

That Christian faith and that mutual love and that common hope is changing our lives and changing the world and connecting us together forever.

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Whitney and I took a quick road trip to Austin over the weekend to see our nephew, Isaac, play cornerback for the Brentwood Christian High School Bears. We also paid our respects at the Stevie Ray Vaughan statue at Auditorium Shores, ate some famous Austin barbecue at Oakwood BBQ, cruised the shops on South Congress, climbed Mount Bonnell for the amazing views of the Colorado River, and enjoyed a pre-game meal at the Chuy’s on Lamar. Isaac dominated and the Bears beat some Catholic school 24-0.

 

 

 

 

 

That’s a good weekend.

Go Cards.

Allan

A Quarter Century of the Whitster

Our oldest daughter turns 25 today.

Whit-Pit’s beautiful eyes are just as blue today as they were when she FINALLY decided to be born late, late, late that Wednesday night in Austin. Her enthusiasm for all things related to any sports team in Texas is just as rabid as it was when she was three-years-old and would cuddle up with me on the couch in our first house in Marble Falls to share a bowl of popcorn and cheer on the Rangers and Mavs and Longhorns and Stars. Her love for others is just as infectious, her spirit just as sweet, her joy just as contagious as it’s been her entire life.

When we shared a birthday breakfast at Calico County this morning, we talked about the Rangers’ starting rotation and Dennis Smith, Jr being in the All-Star dunking contest. We re-capped the Stars’ win last night over St. Louis and calculated the ‘Horns’ chances this afternoon against Zero-U in Norman. But we also discussed things you talk about with 25-year-olds: her car, her job, what we’re doing with our/her health insurance, why the breakfast “special” at Calico County comes with a drink but the breakfast “traditional” doesn’t.

So many things about Whitney are exactly as they’ve always been. Her personality, her voice, her speech patterns, her physical features, her unbridled exuberance for others — all of that is exactly the same. Watching a video from when Whitney was eight-years-old is like watching her today. Talking to her on the phone, listening to her voice, it’s easy to imagine you’re talking to a seven-year-old Whitney. She’s different, but it’s subtle. She’s older and more responsible, but it’s nuanced. Her loves are deeper, her concern for others is expressed more outwardly, her tastes are more broad.

And as long as she lives, nobody will ever have a hard time loving Whitney.

Happy Birthday, Whitney. You are a tremendous blessing from our Lord to every person who’s graced by God to know you.

I love you.

Dad

Road Trip with Whit-Pit

We waited until it was a million degrees outside and the Rangers were four thousand games out of first place, but Whitney and I finally made our annual road trip to Arlington to take in a game together this past Friday night. As always, we hit the Golden Chick in Childress, grabbed some chocolate covered pecans in Chilicothe, and enjoyed a huge dinner at Pappasito’s before the game. Cole Hamels went six strong innings, hit the showers with a 6-0 lead, and then Texas held on in a nail-biter 6-4. Thanks to the Rangers’ train wreck of a bullpen, the Astros brought the tying run to the plate in each of the last two innings. And, due to the above-and-beyond efforts of the staff at the pro-shop with their walkie-talkies, we tracked down the very last Joey Gallo t-shirt/jersey in Whitney’s size in the whole stadium!

We were treated to a wonderful bonus when Chuck Morgan announced that the actual Pudge Rodriguez Hall of Fame plaque from Cooperstown was available for viewing and pictures in the first base concourse. Apparently they very rarely ever take a plaque from the Hall of Fame. But with Pudge’s number being retired by the Rangers in an on-field ceremony Saturday, they allowed it to be brought down for the celebration and put on display the night before. We waited in line for a half-inning to see it up close. Very cool.

And this surprising revelation: I’ve come to the conclusion that it’s OK for the Astros to be in the same division with the Rangers.

When Bud Selig ramrodded this thing five years ago — MLB paid the Astros’ new owner $70-million to switch leagues so every division would have the same number of teams — I was more than a little upset. As a baseball fan growing up in Texas, you dream of a Rangers-Astros World Series. The Rangers are your favorite team, but the Astros are your second favorite team. You root for Houston. You want to see them do well. You keep up with their players. Bagwell, Biggio, and Berkman. Larry Dierker. The rainbow unis. The dreadful dome. Enron and Minute Maid Park. It was always good to cheer for the Lastros because, being in the other league, they posed no threat to the Rangers. And they were a Texas team. You always root for Texas teams.

That all changed in 2013. You can’t root for a team in your own division — you need them to lose every night. What do I do with these old Astros’ shirts and bobbleheads and ashtrays and commemorative cups? Major League Baseball claimed it would ignite a fierce inter-state rivalry. I didn’t see how.

Now, I do. The past four seasons, as the Rangers owned the ‘Stros and won division titles and dominated the Silver Boot, it felt kind of flat, kind of one-sided. This season, though, as Houston has run away with the West and put up football scores on all their opponents, it feels different.

It’s no secret that the cities of Dallas and Houston have a long and storied rivalry. People from both cities insult the people, the culture, the food, the music, and the sports teams from the other city. Coupled with the Rangers’ early dominance, this surge by the Astros has fueled some sincere animosity. Have you noticed? Rangers-Astros games get chippy early. It was so one-sided on the diamond for those first four years and the Houston frustration was so built up that now it’s exploding into something noticeable. The frustration is being expelled and expressed with an exuberance that causes players and managers from both teams to want to pitch inside and slide into second spikes-up. You can feel it.

There are enough people from North Texas who have transplanted down to Houston and enough folks from the Bayou who’ve made their way to Dallas-Fort Worth that, when the Rangers and Astros play each other, the stadiums are almost equally split between the two teams. Rangers and Astros fans work together, live in the same neighborhoods together, go to church together — they see each other all the time. So the rivalry is fierce, yes. But we all live in Texas. We all have our history and culture and love of the Lone Star State in common. So we can get really worked up during the game, and laugh about it, take pictures together, and wish everybody well when it’s over. I love that.

My Astros shirts have remained in the back of my closet for the past five years. I haven’t worn them at all. Not once. Not since 2012. But with the Rangers 16-games back and out of it and with Houston making a run for their first ever World Series title, it’s going to happen. I’ll be rooting for the ‘Stros all the way. And, yeah, their success makes the rivalry even a little better.

Peace,

Allan

Joy in the Lord

You don’t necessarily have to turn on the evening news. In fact, do people even turn on the evening news anymore? All you have to do is not have your head buried in the sand to know that there is a great deal of anxiety and worry in our society. The state of things right now can very easily drag you down and steal your joy. How is it that the Bible commands children of God and disciples of Christ Jesus to always rejoice?

Well, where are your eyes? What are you looking at? What or who are you listening to?

As followers of Jesus, we are very well aware of all the things God is doing in us and through us. We can always rejoice in the knowledge and experience of God working among us. And that’s always constant. That never changes. God is always at work. We see the evidence of his great work, we sense the working out of his redemption and reconciliation plans, we feel his hand at work in us and through us, saving and changing lives all around us. The Lord is always at work among us and that is always reason to rejoice.

I see it in the Central teenagers who stop by my office on the way to Chick-Fil-A for a free promotional sandwich. Ellie and Justin are pouring into those kids the same grace that God has shown them and the kids are eating it up. I see it in the 30 men from Canadian Church of Christ with whom I had the great honor of hanging out with in Angel Fire this weekend. God is on the move with these men — moving in them and through them — and they are on fire for God’s mission in this world. I hear it when Valerie, our middle daughter, calls me from Arlington to tell me she’s changing her major from childhood education to youth ministry. God’s Spirit is changing Valerie forcefully and beautifully into a dedicated servant of the Gospel. I sense it when Carley, our youngest daughter, shows up in all the pictures from the Sao Paulo mission trip — painting, laughing, serving children, worshiping, leading. She’s finding her gifts and settling into her place in the Kingdom.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I see it when my brothers and sisters at Central join forces to do good deeds for people in downtown Amarillo. We’re making gift bags for the staff and clients at CareNet and Gratitude House. We’re cleaning the carpets and painting the doors at PARC. We’re painting the storage shed and spreading new wood chips on the playground at Elwood Park. We’re giving away 200 books and reading the children at Bivins Elementary. We’re treating the ladies at Martha’s Home to a dinner out at a nice restaurant.

 

Our God is working in and through everything that’s going on around us. That knowledge and that experience gives us a stable and deep-rooted joy — an inner joy — that enables us to not only cope with disappointments, but to see things as they really are. In any and all circumstances God is always at work among his people. And that is always reason to rejoice.

Peace,

Allan

Hat Trick!

Adam Cracknell scored his first career hat trick last night to help the Stars cruise past San Jose 6-1 at American Airlines Center and Whitney and I were there to see it! Thanks to Brenda we had just a really great night together. Until we settled into our seats at center ice during the warm up, I had forgotten how much I really, really love NHL hockey. For grace and speed and skill and tension and pace and athleticism and teamwork and pure non-stop action, nothing beats the NHL. I forgot. I forgot how much I love hockey. Thank you, Brenda! We had a blast.

We wrapped up our quick weekend trip to DFW this morning by meeting some of our oldest and best friends from Mesquite for breakfast at the Pioneer Restaurant in old Arlington. It turned into a two-hour deal and it easily could have gone until past lunch. Carrie-Anne and I and our family feel so blessed to love and be loved by the Reeves, Millers, and Moores for so long now. Our Lord has faithfully brought us all through so much over the past seventeen years. Together.

Peace,

Allan

Whitney is 24

WhitneyDrinks (768x1024)To my oldest daughter:

For your cheerful personality that brightens up every room,
for the loyalty you show all your friends,
for your selfless acts of service for others,
for your dedication to your job and your co-workers,
for the ways you live and die with your stupid Cowboys,
for your richly embedded competitive nature that lives to win and hates to lose,
for your unquenchable love for our Lord and his people,
for your little quirks that crack me up and bring me so much joy,
for your patience and perseverance when things don’t go your way,
for your deep blue eyes, your tiny ears, and your quadruple-jointed fingers,
for your loving heart and your generous spirit,

I am so very proud of you.WhitneyPinkHat
I’m so blessed to be your dad.
And I love you more than I’ve ever been able to express in words.

Happy Birthday, Whitney.
Dad

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