Monday, September 13, 2010

Back in the Saddle

Today is the day!  After 12 weeks today is my first day back in the office.  Staff members have been introducing themselves to me all day long!  I'm grateful because I've forgotten some of their names!  Not really but it is good to be back.  Over the past 12 weeks I have worshipped in over a dozen different churches, written five chapters on what I anticipate will be about a 10-12 chapter book, I have spent a lot of time listening to God and what I believe is His plan for the next several years for our church and I have spent a lot of time recharging my life and recommitting myself to what God has for me and our church.  I am so grateful to our personnel committee and to our entire church for giving me this opportunity.  It came at a time when I really needed it and I believe it will be of benefit to me and to the church for years to come.  I plan to spend the next several months telling you about the last twelve weeks in many different ways including sermons and just one on one.

This past weekend Tami, Alyssa and I traveled to Stillwater Oklahoma to watch Ryan suit up for his first Oklahoma State Football game.  The day was great as we watched him participate in the "walk" where the football team walks about three blocks to the stadium with thousands of fans lining the path.  We watched him run onto the field with 60,000 fans cheering them on and probably the coolest part of the day for me was when we were waiting for him to come out of the locker room after the game.  As he came out a boy who looked to be about seven years of age asked Ryan for his autograph.  Now that was cool!!!

Today is Ryan's 21st birthday.  Hard to believe it was 21 years ago today when God blessed us with a perfect baby boy that has grown into a man of God.  I'm proud of Ryan for so many different reasons.  The fact that he plays football for a Division 1 football program is not even near the top of the list.  The fact that he has become a Godly man who cares for others and who works hard to earn everything he gets is at the top of the list.  I'm thankful for a church that helped Tami and I raise him and shape him into the man he is today.  I'm thankful for a wife and mother that has loved him and molded him into the caring man he is today.  I'm thankful for coaches and Sunday School teachers, friends and family members that have helped us lead Ryan into adulthood.  I told him today he is now a man, no longer a boy, he has earned the right to be called a man and I am blessed to be his father. 

Happy Birthday Ryan!  I Love You and I'm proud of the man you have become!

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

"It's Time!"

This past weekend I visited Mark Campbell and his wife Alesia in Edmond Oklahoma.  Mark and Alesia moved to Edmond from Denton about eight years ago.  Mark was on the search committee that called me to First Baptist thirteen years ago.  Not too long after I arrived in Denton Mark and Bob Modlin convinced me it would be a good idea to go to Colorado and hike up Long's Peak one of fifty-two 14,000 foot peaks in the state.  It was an experience I have never forgotten!

Mark and Alesia joined Henderson Hills Baptist Church in Edmond when they moved there eight years ago.  Mark was working in the pharmaceutical industry at the time.  About a year ago Henderson Hills convinced Mark to serve on their ministry staff.  Mark is the director of their Ministries of Jesus a wonderful ministry of the church that provides medical, and dental care as well as counseling and recovery ministry.  I was overwhelmed at what they are doing there to help thousands in their city and most importantly introducing them to Jesus Christ.

The reason I visited Henderson Hills this weekend was to see the Campbells and to learn about the ministry Mark oversees but also to visit with their pastor.  Eight years ago Henderson Hills was in many ways where First Baptist Denton is today.  They had purchased land and were planning to move their facilities to that land.  It has now been about five years since they moved.  I was able to gain some great insight into the process they went through to make that happen.  It was good to hear from someone who has been right where we are and is now on the other side of that process.

For the first time in years I'm actually still watching the Rangers this late in the season!  It looks like they are going to make the playoffs for the first time in a long time.  If you have been keeping up with the Rangers you know their theme this year is "Its Time!"  I would agree, it's time for the Rangers to do something other than just play 162 games and then go play golf.  All Summer long as I have heard those advertisements on television and at the few games I have attended I have thought that needs to be the theme of First Baptist Church.  "It's Time" for us to move toward the future God has for us as a church.

I'm looking forward to being back with you on September 19th and moving toward that future that God has for us as a church.

Don't miss Dr. Wayne Blankenship this coming Sunday.  He is a significant part of the wonderful history of First Baptist Denton and I know you are going to enjoy hearing him preach. 

Monday, August 23, 2010


This is a year of "lasts" at the Williams house.  It's really already begun and today was a major one.  For the past sixteen years I have taken a picture of Ryan or Alyssa or both of them at the front door on the first day of school.  I asked Tami last night if we had all of those pictures and she assured me we do although I wasn't totally convinced!  This morning I did if for the last time.  Of course it was just Alyssa although we have threatened to drive to Stillwater and take Ryan's picture at the front door of his Frat house!  Today marks the last first day of school at the Williams' house.  Hard to believe really, but another one of those last milestones has arrived. 

Some of the "lasts" that await us throughout this year I'm looking forward to.  Like the last Cheerleader car wash that took place a couple of weeks ago!  Others I'm not really looking forward to like the picture this morning.  Of course they are all a part of life and the transitions that take place along the way.  I'm proud of Alyssa and all she has accomplished and I hope she has a great senior year at Ryan High School.

I went to Grace Pointe church yesterday right here in Denton.  Grace Pointe was started about five years ago by my friend David Smith who was pastor of FBC Corinth for 9 years.  The church meets in the former Heroes Party space on Mayhill road.  David is a great pastor and is leading a growing church here in Denton.

Next Sunday I will be at the Henderson Hills Baptist Church in Edmond, Oklahoma.  I will be staying with Mark and Alesia Campbell, former members of First Denton.  Mark is now on staff at Henderson Hills.  I'm especially excited about visiting this church and spending some time with their pastor and staff because about 8 years ago they were right where we are today as a church.  They have since relocated their entire church facility and are growing and ministering in their city.  I'm looking forward to hearing how they did it!

I'm doing some more writing this week and beginning to prepare for the sermon series I will begin on September 19th "Heroes for Today."  Thanks for your prayers.  I'm looking forward to seeing you on September 19th, don't miss that day at First Baptist!

Monday, August 16, 2010

Only Four Weeks to Go

     Just four weeks from this Sunday I will be back in the pulpit at First Baptist!  It's been a great journey for me and I'm so thankful for the First Baptist Family for allowing me to take it.
     The last two Sundays have been ones of great contrast for me.  On Sunday August 8th Tami and I were in Memphis, Tennessee.  We attended two churches on Sunday morning.  The first was Germantown Baptist Church.  We were there for the second Sunday of their new pastor's ministry there.  We then went to the 11:00 service at Bellevue Baptist Church.  If you are not familiar with Bellevue this is the church that Dr. Adrian Rodgers was pastor of for 32 years.  The street out in front of the church is now named after him!  Do you think they would ever change Malone street to Williams Avenue!?  I doubt it!  Anyway it is one of the great churches of America.  Over 5000 were in worship that morning.  We had a great time visiting with the pastor and his family and then I had the opportunity to meet with him on Monday.  It was a great trip and I learned some valuable things that I believe we can use in ministry here in Denton. 
     I said the last two Sundays involved contrast.  Yesterday Ryan and I attended worship in one of our country churches here in Denton county.  There were about 40 people in the worship service.  As I sat in that service with the memory of being with thousands the week earlier my primary thought was it doesn't matter the size of the room or the number of people, you can worship our great God wherever you are.  Those 40 people in that country church, without all the modern technology and professionalism of the larger church, worshiped God just as fervently and enthusiastically.  By the way the pastor, who is a friend of mine delivered a great message as well.  He has been there for 14 years!  He truly is a devoted pastor and preacher.
     This week I will be doing some more writing and also praying more about God's vision for First Baptist. I'm really getting excited about what God is telling me about the future of First Baptist.  I'll share more about that in the weeks and months to come.  Thank you for your prayers I"m praying for you!