Category: Golf Course Road Church (Page 1 of 7)

Making Waves

130 kids from the 5th grade down.
77 church volunteers.
52 beach balls.
10 buckets of confetti.
5 experiential learning and doing stations.
3 exciting nights.
1 crazy shark named Davy Wavy.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tonight is the last night of Vacation Bible School at the Golf Course Road Church and it has been nothing less than a smashing success. I’m so proud of Kristin and Ashlee and Shannon for whipping up a wonderful plan to get our kids and their friends worshiping God, learning to trust Jesus, participating in local missions, and just having a blast together in the name of following our Lord. And I’m so proud of our church family. Those 77 volunteers don’t count the couple of dozen or so who helped decorate the church building on Saturday. So, in my view, this is a genuine all-church event. Our entire church has come together so beautifully to pull this off for the sake of our kids. And we’ve had a lot of fun doing it.

 

 

 

 

 

I’ve received so much joy watching Mark do his thing. He is a supremely talented teacher who connects so well with the children, and they love him. To watch Mark physically involve the kids with the Gospel stories about Christ, to see the boat he built for our stage, to be in the room when Mark is ad-libbing with a six-foot-tall walking and talking shark named Davy Wavy, is to appreciate not only his gifts, but his eagerness to share them with God’s Church. What a true blessing for all of us.

By the way, Brandon’s Davy Wavy is really the hit of the week. Why it takes him a full night to memorize a simple ten-word memory verse is beyond me. And I can’t decide if his voice sounds more like the Cookie Monster or Redd Foxx. But his energy and enthusiasm for the gig is making him the star of the show, no doubt.

 

 

 

 

 

Thank you to Kristin and Ashlee and their incredible group of teachers and volunteers. I’m so grateful to belong to a church and a ministry team that values teaching our kids how to love like Jesus. Each night has featured a different non-profit organization that’s doing Gospel work locally in Midland – Mission Agape, Reflections, and the MISD’s Family Support System – and our kids have  spent some of their time during each night working with that ministry. They’ve packed food for needy families in the Permian Basin, packed gift bags of socks and makeup and other essentials for women rescued from sex trafficking, and tonight they’re packing hygiene kits for at-risk students in our schools. Our kids are making waves in our community that will continue to have significant impact for weeks and months.

 

 

 

 

 

This has been an important week at GCR. We’re connecting together. We’re coming together for a common purpose. We’re teaching our children and worshiping God and serving our city in Jesus’ name and meeting a lot of new people and having a fantastic time doing it. May we have a terrific final night. May God’s name be praised and his grace be received. And may our Lord’s will be done in us and through us in Midland just as it is in heaven.

Peace,

Allan

Kristin and Our Kids

We celebrated a wonderful milestone at GCR Church today by ordaining Kristin Rampton as our new full-time Children’s Minister. It’s a no-brainer: Kristin has been serving excellently as one of our children’s coordinators, she already loves our kids and loves our families, she’s already sold out for the vision and mission here at GCR, and she has the passion for it. And the energy. Kristin will engage our kids and their parents, she has the confidence of our shepherds and ministry team, and we are blessed by God to be able to make this official today.

Congratulations, Kristin! We promise today to love you and support you and Ryan and your sweet children. We will encourage you, serve with you, and be family to you. And we commit to the best of our abilities and by the grace of God to love you like Jesus.

Peace,

Allan

 

 

Take Me Out to the Ballgame

More than 300 of us from the Golf Course Road Church are enjoying GCR night at the ballpark this evening as our local team takes on the Springfield Cardinals. The weather forecast has been downgraded to the upper 90s instead of 103-degrees, and there’s even a slight chance for some rain – perfect for an all-you-can-eat picnic at the stadium and a ballgame with family and friends.

It’s going to be all GCR all night long for everyone in attendance.  Our church worship team is going to perform the national anthem. Jase Owen is going to yell “Play ball!” on the big screen to get us started. I’m going to throw out the ceremonial first pitch, wearing a GCR T-shirt and praying to the Lord I can throw it 60-feet-6-inches and relatively straight. Some of our church elders will be participating in the on-field in-between-innings promotional events like the sack race and the steal third base race, leaving the dizzy bat race and other of the more risky events to folks like Jennifer Crawford and Bryce Williams.

GCR Church members can pick up their free tickets at the stadium’s main gate between 6:00-6:30pm – look for a GCR minister wearing a GCR shirt. The dinner is from 6:00-8:00pm and the game begins at 6:30pm.

Peace,

Allan

Holy Land Recap

It took fifteen years and a little peer pressure from her new friends in Midland, but my wife Carrie-Anne finally went with me to Israel and it was a blessing that defies description. Our youngest daughter, Carley, accompanied us along with 23 beautiful Christian friends from Midland, Amarillo, Henrietta, Fort Worth, California, and Hawai’i. What a thrill, personally, to share my love of the Holy Lands with Carrie-Anne and Carley, to show them the places that mean so much to me, to experience it in brand new ways through their eyes.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Carley endured the twelve-hour flight from JFK to Tel Aviv with earplugs, an eye mask, and an old Nike hoodie pulled together around her face. But once we arrived, she was all in. She would give our trusted guide Anton about 25-seconds at each site and then she’d be off with her camera, climbing the walls, going behind the ropes, breaking international laws. She never was as interested in what was happening as she was in what else might be happening. And her mood was a little too dependent on the kind of food that was available. So we were all much better off as a group when we found real Dr Pepper at that store in Jerusalem’s Christian Quarter (where else?) and that delicious Papa De Pizza. Carley marveled at Caesarea on the Sea, hiked the ancient Serpent Path to the top of Masada, took the obligatory picture with an IDF soldier, climbed all those steps to the top of the tell at Beth Sha’an, and ate a lot of Slim Jims. We laughed a lot. We watched a generational storm together on the Sea of Galilee. And she read the Christ hymn aloud while we worshiped on the banks of the Jordan River.

 

 

 

 

 

 

I was a little worried about Carrie-Anne. She doesn’t like to sweat. Which is to say, she doesn’t like to be outside when it’s 73-degrees or hotter. And her hair requires an abundance of preparation and maintenance. But she did it. And I love her for it. She floated the Dead Sea, waded through Hezekiah’s Tunnel, and tried falafel. Once. We sang “It Is Well”  together at St. Anne’s Church next to the Pools of Bethesda and wiped the tears from each other’s faces when we were through. She was disgusted by the garbage at the Tomb of the Patriarchs and enthralled by the view of Jerusalem from the Mount of Olives. And she helped keep me organized and calm.

Carrie-Anne reminds me how to worship. And how to relax. And how to love Jesus. She is my partner. She reminds me how to receive and give the Lord’s grace. And I praise God that we finally did this together.

 

 

 

 

 

Doug never let up in his enthusiasm for the water and for the climb. Penny made sure we stopped at every single restroom from Dan to Beersheba. Elaine from Hawai’i brought the Macadamia nuts. Dale made sure we didn’t lose anybody. We never even lost Andy, whose motto must be: a picture is worth a thousand words and ten more minutes of everybody’s time. Betsey took a licking and kept on ticking, twisting her ankle and banging her leg up at Dan, but trudging on with grit and determination. Shelley never got her hair wet. Never. Kyle kept reminding us of the Scriptures and the Story. Kara showed us the kind of guts it takes to climb the Snake Path to Masada. Joe and Sara inspired us with their obvious love for each other and the Lord. Gary kept us laughing. Hans became everybody’s favorite fellow-tourist, within about two minutes of meeting him. Martha brightened the bus and every site with her gracious smile. Nanette showed extreme patience while we kept mispronouncing her name. DeAnn rode that camel as well as Kyle rides a horse. Gaye broke her foot the day before we left, but that boot didn’t slow her down at all; it just added a degree of difficulty to all her costume changes.

And Elaine was Elaine. As always, my dear ministry partner wisely and faithfully handled the schedules, the hotels, the keys, the tips, the luggage, the communion meal, the meetings, the brochure, the reservations, the COVID protocols, the questions, and the preacher. For ten years Elaine was at my side in Amarillo, keeping me from blowing my leg off, reminding me of names and dates, bailing me out of trouble, managing my impulsive behavior, and deserving so much more credit than she ever received. I miss her terribly and appreciate her very much. It was so much fun going to Israel with her again.

 

 

 

 

 

 

More than a couple of times, Anton told us that no tour group does more than we do in ten days. Kyle counted up at least 41 different sites we explored together, from Dan and Caesarea Philippi to En Gedi and Jerusalem and Jericho and Nazareth. We prayed at the Western Wall, recited the Apostles’ Creed in the Jordan River, sang at the Garden of Gethsemane, and ate more than our share of ice cream and shwarma,

 

 

 

 

 

Every paragraph of Holy Scripture contains geography, landscape, architecture, people, food, customs, dress, animals, agriculture, and ritual that serve to communicate the history and fact of our God and his activity in our world. And now we’ve been immersed in it – physically, emotionally, spiritually. We’ve explored the sights, sounds, smells, and tastes first-hand. We’ve embraced the story of our Lord’s faithful love as it swells and deepens to penetrate our hearts and souls in brand new ways.

And I can’t wait to go back.

We’re doing it again in November 2024. We’ll start taking reservations in October 2023.

Shalom!

Allan

Until Then

By God’s grace, more than 800 volunteers showed up here at GCR Friday night and Saturday to pack 260,000 meals for Ukrainian war refugees. Most of the workers came from dozens of different Midland area churches, but some were representing a few regional non-profit groups or local sports clubs. We bagged and stacked the rice and dehydrated vegetables, boxed and taped up the meals just like we were instructed, and loaded the pallets onto a massive semi-tractor trailer that took off immediately for Houston. All the food should arrive in Poland along the Ukrainian border by the end of this week.

I’m so thankful to God to belong to a church that steps up to help out. I’m grateful to belong to a generous community out here in West Texas that cares so much about others. And I praise God for the cooperation we experience in Midland, the mutual love and partnership between churches and organizations in doing Gospel work together.

Someday, there will be no more war. Someday, there will be no more violence. There will be no more hunger. No more fear.

Until then, we want to be the ones who provide the food. And bring the peace. And express the love and share the grace of God.

Peace,

Allan

Resurrection Rejoicing

The great biblical scholar and writer N. T. Wright asks, “Is it any wonder people find it hard to believe in the resurrection of Jesus if we don’t throw our hats in the air? Is it any wonder we find it hard to live the resurrection if we don’t do it exuberantly in our liturgies? Is it any wonder the world doesn’t take much notice if Easter is celebrated as simply the one-day happy ending tacked on to forty days of fasting and gloom?”

Yes, the Resurrection of Christ is our greatest event. Yes, Easter is the Church’s greatest day.

And we had a good one today at the Golf Course Road Church. The energy and enthusiasm for worship and fellowship was electric as 664 of us came together to praise God and remember the life and power we share in the resurrection. The morning began with an Easter Brunch – breaking my Lenten fast with that spread of breakfast casseroles and pastries was almost overwhelming. We sang songs together with gusto. We ate and drank the Lord’s Meal together in celebration. Three of our young people were baptized into Christ and experienced their own resurrections as we witnessed and participated with them as a community of faith. I met lots of our members for the first time, folks who hadn’t been to church in months – in some cases, years – but had decided that Easter Sunday would be the day they came back. I met several guests, people who have just moved to Midland and are looking for a church home. As far as this preacher is concerned, praise be to God, it was an absolutely perfect Easter Sunday at GCR.

But it can’t just be Easter Sunday. It can’t be a once-a-year thing. Easter has to be an every day, every week, every Sunday thing.

Take Christmas away and, in biblical terms, you lose two chapters at the beginning of Matthew and Luke. That’s it. Take Easter away and you don’t have a New Testament. You don’t have Christianity. As Paul says, our preaching is worthless and so is your faith; we are still in our sins and are to be pitied among all people.

We should rejoice in our Lord’s resurrection today and every day. Every Sunday should be Easter Sunday – the same expectant crowds, the same exuberant worship, the same careful planning and rehearsing, the same enthusiastic participation, the same commitment to be in town so we can be in church.

Let’s rejoice in our Lord’s resurrection next Sunday, too. Let’s celebrate his current and eternal reign at the right hand of the Father every week. Let’s declare the gracious gift of everlasting life that comes to all those who share in Christ’s resurrection every Sunday. And let’s live – man, we should live! – into the resurrection, through the resurrection, because of the resurrection.

Peace,

Allan

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