Author: Allan (Page 2 of 418)

So Far So Good

It’s about 11:30am Saturday and the suspense is killing us. Carrie-Anne had her second “Red Devil” chemotherapy infusion yesterday and, so far, she’s experiencing the same low levels of soreness and high levels of exhaustion she endured two weeks ago. But her immune booster goes off at 3:00 this afternoon, and that’s when she gets the hurt. Right now the self-injector is attached to her left arm under a huge bandage and it’s blinking a constant green light to let us know it’s working. The needle is already inside her arm – so weird. At 3:00 it’ll beep a couple of times and then begin administering a booster to speed up her body’s production of white blood cells.

See, this “Red Devil” chemo takes her immune system down to almost nothing – it wrecks everything. So, this booster, 27-hours later, works to help her manufacture white blood cells more rapidly than normal, to build everything back up as quickly as possible. That’s her bone marrow, inside her body’s biggest bones. And she can feel it. The injector works for about 45-minutes, then it blinks red when it’s stopped. We check the gauge on the side – like a fuel gauge on a dashboard – and when it reads ’empty’ we remove the injector and wait for the pain.

If it’s like last time, it’ll build gradually. The soreness will be really noticeable at around 5:00-6:00pm this evening, she’ll be moving more slowly and then not at all by bedtime, and tomorrow morning she’ll barely be able to get out of bed. Then, again, if it’s like two weeks ago, the pain will slowly recede Sunday afternoon into Sunday night, and by the time she goes to bed tomorrow, she’ll be fine.

So far, none of the really awful things that typically happen with this treatment. No mouth or throat sores, no throwing up, no loss of appetite or digestive issues, no loss of taste, and she has complete control of all her functions. And, thanks to the Penguin cold caps, she still has all her hair. Praise the Lord. We know it could possibly change each time. It could be better, worse, or the same each time – it’s all different and nobody really knows. But our God is being very merciful to my wife. And we are grateful.

We did go to M.D. Anderson in Houston on Wednesday this week for a check-up and appointment with our plastic surgeon. Carrie-Anne is testing out really well, everything is on track, and her surgery was confirmed for July 13. This is to remove the temporary stuff and install the permanent stuff – and that’s all I’ll say about that. No drains this time, but it’s still going to take two to three weeks to recover. We’ll be in Houston from July 10-15 for that surgery and she’ll definitely miss the first week or two of work, which starts back up July 19.

I want to thank you again for all the kind attention you are giving Carrie-Anne and our family through this season. We are overwhelmed by cards, gifts, phone calls, texts, and food. Overwhelmed. Another undeniable witness to our gracious God who uses his people to take care of his people.



Oh What a Foretaste of Glory Divine!

No one knows the time or the day. It happens in a flash, in the twinkling of an eye. One minute you’re laboring over the final pages of Sunday’s sermon and the next minute your head is spinning with the completely unexpected announcement that Blue Bell Ice Cream and Dr Pepper have teamed up to bring us Blue Bell Dr Pepper Float.

Yes. Let those words wash over you and transform everything you thought you knew about God’s plans for our world.

Blue Bell and Dr Pepper together in the same gold-rimmed carton. How can this be? Yet, at the same time, what took them so long?

This is an act of sacred beauty. A foretaste of the holy coming together of heaven and earth. We are a blessed people and highly favored by God. He has seen fit to combine the best ice-cream in the country with the 23 flavors of the first and best soft drink in the country, and it could only happen in our great Republic.

Today is my monthly lunch and prayer time with my pastor friends at First Baptist, First Pres, and First Methodist. I found it very difficult to talk about school bond elections, Bible translations, and church polity while my brain was locked in on Blue Bell Dr Pepper float. Will we have it here in Midland? Am I driving to Lubbock tonight?

As soon as lunch was over, I rushed over to HEB and there it was – a dozen half-gallons gleaming from the center of the frozen display case. And two of ’em were mine!

I walked into the church offices and excitedly declared an ice-cream party in the break room. Styrofoam bowls and plastic spoons, an ice scoop instead of an ice-cream scoop – it was okay, we made it work. Those of us who love Dr Pepper were blown away. Yes, it does taste exactly like a Dr Pepper float. Yes, it is  authentic. Yes, they did it right. Those among us who do not love Dr Pepper were less impressed. Philistines.








Cory had the beautiful idea of getting some ice cold DP out of the break room fridge and pouring it over the Dr Pepper float ice-cream to make a Dr Pepper Float Float. And, yes, we did. Certainly.

I am thankful to live in a such a place as Texas. I am mindful of those less fortunate who live in places like Illinois or Connecticut or Oklahoma. Blue Bell Dr Pepper Float is a divine glimpse of the promised feast. We’re a little closer to heaven, friends, than we were this time yesterday.



Your Comfort Zone

How do I know the difference between my own voice and the voice of God? My heart, my mind, my conscience – I talk to myself a lot.  And sometimes I lie. I get nudges and impulses everyday. And sometimes they’re wrong. How do I discern when it’s God speaking to me and when it’s just me?

One way is to know that God’s voice will always challenge your comfort zone.

The voice of the self always leans toward safety and security. That’s our default. The flesh always moves to do and say whatever it takes to protect the self. It’s natural for us – we don’t even think about it. So we assume the voice of God will tell us the same thing. We think God will say to us, “Be safe. Be careful. Protect yourself.”

But that’s not true. You’ve noticed that people in the Bible who hear the voice of God are generally called to move out of their comfort zones. They’re called by God to be risky. Our God never appeared to anybody in the Bible and said, “I am the Lord your God. I am calling you to stay put! Don’t change a thing! You’re good!” No. God’s people are called by God to take bold steps and make even dangerous moves for the Kingdom.

In Acts 21, Paul is on his way to Jerusalem when he and Luke stop in Caesarea to stay a few nights at Philip’s house. One of those nights, a prophet from God shows up and relays a message from the Holy Spirit: Paul is going to be captured in Jerusalem on account of his preaching and turned over to the authorities.

“When we heard this, we and the people there pleaded with Paul not to go up to Jerusalem.” ~Acts 21:12

The people interpret the message from God as “Don’t go to Jerusalem.” Stay here. Be safe. Luke says, I was right there with ’em. We begged Paul not to go.

“Then Paul answered, ‘Why are you weeping and breaking my heart? I am ready not only to be bound, but also to die in Jerusalem for the name of the Lord Jesus.’ When he would not be dissuaded, we gave up and said, ‘The Lord’s will be done.'” ~Acts 21:13-14

Why would we assume that when God warns you about danger, he’s telling you to avoid it? Paul says, look, I knew what I was doing when I surrendered my life to a Lord who carries a cross. Paul knew that following God’s voice is risky. It’s dangerous.

That is the voice of God pushing you to witness to a co-worker. That is God’s voice challenging you to trust him with your giving. It’s the voice of the Lord calling you to serve people who don’t look like you or talk like you. God’s voice will always challenge your comfort zone.

Think about it. If your great ambition in life is to have a nice house or two and a big bank account and to put off your funeral as long as possible, why do you need to hear from God? You don’t need God to do any of that. If you’re not on a divine quest, why would you need a divine guide?

Do you want to hear God’s plans for you, or do you just want God to endorse your plans?

If you will grow in your eagerness and your capacity to hear God, a whole new life will open up for you. A life of adventure. A full life behind the leading of God’s Spirit. An exciting relationship with the Creator of Heaven and Earth. The life you were meant by him to always live.



Christian Accountability

We’ve presented the names of four new elders as selected by our congregation – Gary Glasscock, Richard Hatchett, Michael Humphries, and Marc McQueen – to our church family here at GCR and we’ve entered into a time we’re calling Biblical Accountability. Or Christian Accountability. It’s not “Scriptural Objections.” We’re not using that old traditional Church of Christ language. That term never allowed for an objection to a man who was stubborn, closed-minded, or mean-spirited because it’s hard to come up with book-chapter-verse on those things – if you can’t cite the passage, you can’t make an objection. And the word “objection” is just a negative word. It formed us as a people in negative ways. It caused us to look first and foremost for reasons to disqualify a servant-leader who had been selected by the congregation, instead of reasons to support him.

We like Biblical Accountability. Or Christian Accountability. It’s not just these four men who are accountable to Scripture and to our calling as followers of Jesus, it’s the entire church body. We are all accountable in this together.

Now is the time to encourage and support these men and their families, to lift them up to our Father in prayer, and to thank them for answering the church’s call to serve. Now is the time to honor these new elders and to show them respect. Now is the time to determine to “make their work a joy, not a burden.”

If for any reason you cannot support one of these men or submit to his spiritual leadership, now is the time to go to that brother in Christ and make things right. Because this is what Christians do. In a posture of humility and grace, in a spirit of fellowship and love, knowing that forgiveness is Christ’s great work and unity is our Lord’s fervent prayer, reach out to that brother in a faithful effort to exercise the ministry of reconciliation we have all been given by God’s Spirit. Because these are our values, our beliefs; because this is what the Bible teaches.

If whatever is between you cannot be resolved, then you are encouraged to contact the current shepherds to seek resolution according to Gospel principles and biblical teaching.

I believe these four men are gifts to our church by God’s Holy Spirit. I believe this period of Biblical Accountability is a good shift for us and a healthier way to confirm the Spirit’s anointing within our congregation. And I praise God for this exciting and hopeful season at GCR.


We are also thrilled to announce that we have brought on a second youth minister here at GCR! Jadyn Martinez comes to us from Lubbock Christian University and will be working side-by-side with J.E. Bundy to minister to and with our church’s teenagers and their families. Oh, my word, Jadyn brings a ton of energy to this gig. She’s a fireball of enthusiasm and excitement for life and she has a heart called by the Lord to minister to these young people. She’s the daughter and granddaughter of a great family of CofC ministers, she’s living a wonderful story of love and grace, and she’s just going to be terrific! Her husband, Isaiah, is a tremendous source of encouragement and support for Jadyn. And their nearly-two-year-old daughter, Shiloh, is adorable and will soon become our church staff mascot. It’ll take like twelve minutes.

Jadyn will be moving to Midland, hopefully, in the next three weeks and should start full-time with us by June 5. You’ll know when she gets here. She’s fun and loud and in your face. We can’t wait!


There’s nothing better in all of sports than a Game Seven in the NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs. Nothing provides more continuous edge-of-your-seat intensity and tension. Nothing is faster, harder-hitting, or more desperate. Nothing more unpredictable. Every shot, every shift, every penalty, every odd-man rush and near-side faceoff. Heart-stoppingly glorious. Soul-crushingly disappointing. There’s nothing like it.

My faith is in Pete DeBoer tonight as the better coach. So far in these playoffs, the Stars are 4-0 following a loss with a goal differential of +10. DeBoer has never lost a Game Seven (6-0). He flat out knows how to coach.

Go Stars.


Face Off and Peace Out

The Stars just don’t lose two games in a row. Joe Pavelski scored his sixth goal of the series as Dallas routed the Kraken in Seattle last night 6-3 to even up their second round playoff at two games each. The Stars went two-for-three on the power play and dominated the energy and jump on every inch of the ice. Now it’s a best two-out-of-three series with Game Five tomorrow at American Airlines Center. At 8:40pm. Again. The effects of all these late night face offs are beginning to accumulate. It’s not quite a Stars hangover today like what happens when a late start goes into double or triple overtime. But when Carrie-Anne kisses me goodnight and heads to bed before they even drop the first puck, that’s trouble. Thankfully, Game Six has been set for a 6:00pm face off on Saturday. It was just announced. That’s very good news for a Sunday morning preacher.


Our youngest daughter Carley was in Midland last weekend to help out with all the unknowns related to Carrie-Anne’s new phase of chemotherapy. Of course, she proved to be very helpful with meals and dishes and providing all around compassionate care for her mother. But Carley did the family her greatest service by buying our Aerosmith tickets Friday while we were in the middle of chemo. Aerosmith just announced their “Peace Out” tour, their farewell concert tour, and the tickets all went on sale Friday. So we gave Carley the credit card and our TicketMaster account info and told her to get seven tickets for the November 7 show in Dallas no matter what. And she did. It was a stressful and sweaty experience. It was more difficult, she claims, than getting tickets to that Taylor Swift show they attended in Arizona. But working with her sister Valerie via facetime from Tulsa, they slogged through the digital red tape together and got our seven seats in a row in Section 103!

I’ve seen Aerosmith six times, dating back to my first Texxas Jam during the summer of ’85. Carrie-Anne and I have seen the band three times together, including the 2008 show at the Starplex Theater in Dallas – we took a fifteen-year-old Whitney with us to that concert. But Valerie and Carley have never seen Aerosmith. We’ve been trying for the past ten years but, with Steven Tyler’s health and COVID, there haven’t been any opportunities. So, with this last and best chance, we’re making it a family affair – all five of us and the two sons-in-law. Tyler promises this will be their best ever show. Ever. And he is vowing that this is absolutely Aerosmith’s last ever concert tour. Ever.

We couldn’t miss it. And we can’t wait.



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