Thursday, September 25, 2008

Recently released

I was sitting at my desk at school at the end of the day, when I looked up through the window in the door and noticed a familiar face. It was a student I had last year. I went out to greet him.

"Whassup!" he said as he greeted me with outstretched hand.

"Hey, Jarold (not his real name), how are you doing?"

"Good. Where are all the other teachers at?" He was expecting to find teachers that he had last year.

"Oh, this section has been turned into a different school. All the other teachers are upstairs." We walked together to try to find some of his other previous teachers. "How have you been?"

"I just got out of jail today," he informed me. "I was in a little over three months." I wasn't surprised. He had been one of the more challenging students. Having ministered in a jail for a while, I could relate some to his situation.

Having brought him to one of his other previous teachers, I went back downstairs to start my tutoring session.

"Lord, touch Jarold's heart. Transform him and make him new."

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Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Balloon Festival

We attended the Plano Balloon Festival last Saturday. It was a great day to watch balloons take to the sky.


That's a lot of hot air.

There were some pretty interesting balloons.



This one's in honor of National Talk Like a Pirate Day.

Couldn't figure out if this was a dragon or dinosaur. It doesn't matter. It deflated in the parking lot soon after take off.

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Sunday, September 14, 2008

Ike evacuees at Grace Community Church

Our church is housing about 100 evacuees from Hurricane Ike. Some drove their own cars, others came by bus. Pray for these folks that God would meet all their needs according to His riches in Christ Jesus.

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Saturday, September 13, 2008

Are we nearing the end?

Has anyone else noticed that natural disasters seem to be on the rise? Earthquakes, floods, tsunamis, hurricanes have all made the news recently. Are they increasing in frequency? How about armed conflicts? How about the state of our world, in general? The Bible talks about wars and rumors of wars, and an increase in natural disasters as a sign that the end is approaching.

I noticed that for two weeks in a row, my pastor indicated his belief that the return of Christ would be in our children's lifetime. Of course no one knows the hour when He will come back, but He did tell us to take note of the signs.

Many past generations of Christians believed that Jesus would come back in their lifetime, but of course He did not. Is this another false alarm? Or are these "birth pains" as the Bible calls them, indicating the time is drawing closer?

So what do you think? Post a comment. I'd love to hear your thoughts. If you believe we're nearing the end, why do you believe so? If you don't think the time is approaching, what signs would make you think twice? If you're a Christian in a country other than the U.S., do you believe that talk of the end times is an American thing, or have you or some you know thought about this recently?

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Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Contentedly discontent

I'm getting into a pretty good groove at school. I love my students more and more each day. The environment has a genuine family feel to it. I'm definitely being stretched, but I'm not stressed. I'm content with where I'm at. There are an abundance of opportunities to be a witness for Christ at my school by how I interact with and "father" my students.

But I do have a longing in my soul, a feeling of discontent. Even as I find myself enjoying teaching, I can't help but think about my friends in West Africa. Most of the time I go about my merry way, but when I have time to think about or pray for them, the desire to minister there returns.

I have gone through periods of feeling guilty for not just being happy where I'm at. "Why can't I just be grateful for what I've got and quit thinking about moving on to something else?" I would say to myself. I would feel guilty for praying that God would allow me to go back to West Africa.

But then a few days ago, I read something that the apostle Paul wrote that encouraged me. He wrote to the Roman believers that in his prayers he always asks "that somehow by God's will I may now at last succeed in coming to you. For I long to see you..." (Romans 1:10-11). Paul had an intense desire to spend time with the believers in Rome that he might minister among them, and that he and they might be mutually encouraged by each others' faith. Though he had never met them, he had a love for them.

Paul's words resonated with me. If he could pray constantly that God would allow him to go to Rome—and he eventually made it—then I can pray every day that God would allow me to return to West Africa. There are pastors there whom I have never met, but have grown to love through our email correspondence. I would also love to reconnect with pastors I met and ministered with while there.

In the meantime, I and my family will continue to plug in to fellowship here and prayerfully seek ministry opportunities where we're at.

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Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Two down, thirty-four to go

I finished my first two weeks of teaching, and I'm happy to report that things seem to be going pretty well so far. I'm enjoying my students, laughing and joking with them, and generally having a much better year than last year. My first year teaching was a major trial. There were many days I wanted to quit, but I knew I had to keep going. This year is very different. Smaller class sizes, motivated students and supportive parents are a great combination.

It isn't all a cakewalk as I am teaching three different courses: Algebra 1, Geometry and Algebra 2. I do feel the pressure of being the only full-time math teacher at the school. I'm under the microscope in some respects. Many people are watching closely to see how the students will perform on the state math test for 9th graders. I need to remind myself that my job isn't to worry about who's watching me, but to teach my kids to the best of my ability and to trust that God has me exactly where He wants me.

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Thursday, September 4, 2008

Prayer meeting for my school district

I just got word that there will be a prayer meeting specifically focusing on my school district, Cedar Hill ISD, Friday, September 5 from 7:00 p.m to 12:00 a.m. It will be held at High Pointe Baptist Church. The public is invited to be a part.

What an encouragement that that is taking place!

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Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Where's Aim?

Dozens of you have asked, "Brian, how come you're doing all the posting? Where is your wife?"

OK, "dozens" is a slight exaggeration....Actually, nobody has asked, but some of you were probably thinking it. Anyway, the answer to that question is that Amy has resurrected her previous blog and doesn't have time for us "little people." So I guess it's up to me to hold down the fort.

Some of you are saying, "This fort is not going to be held down if Brian is doing the holding." That may be true, but I will still do my best to post at least once a year to keep y'all—(that means "you all" in non-Southern)—updated.

In the meantime, visit Amy's blog and plead with her to post over here at least on occasion. Because you really don't want to read through another entire post of mine and discover, once again, that there was really no point to it.

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Shelter from the storm

Our church was designated a shelter for those who left New Orleans because of Hurricane Gustav. People left with their pets, and since many shelters do not accommodate animals, our church decided to set up an area for them. The grassy area just to the east of our building has been dubbed "Poop Park."

In his sermon this past Sunday, our pastor was talking about taking action and not being slothful. In the middle of his message, he got word that our shelter was to be activated. It was a perfect illustration when he called the shelter volunteers into action, and 20 or 30 people got up out of their seats to set things up for our guests from New Orleans.

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