Thursday, July 7, 2016

Two More Minutes, Papa!

This week I have been busy preparing for a mission trip to Brazil. Over the past 10 summers I and other ParkwayHills members have traveled there with P70, a church planting and strengthening initiative founded by Jairo Campos. Long story short - during this time we have seen many new churches begun, thousands come to Christ, and a host of young pastors called and trained into ministry in the north part of the Brazilian State of Minas Gerais, and -... it has been amazing. 

Of course, before leaving I also wanted to see my grandchildren, so, I did a quick 48 hour road-trip to Oklahoma City and back. It was good - but, I do confess to feeling a bit pained when my daughter said, "looking forward to when you can stay more than a day, Dad." She didn't mean to pick, but, it did hit home nonetheless.

As I was preparing to leave, I went in to say goodbye to Cannon, the oldest, just turning 29 mos. (2 yrs. 5 mos.) He was on the floor of his brother's room, Colt, and playing, so I bent down to kiss him goodbye.  As I did he shook his head, NO. Then, as if rehearsed, he patted hard on the floor indicating he wanted me to lay down beside him, and said, "NO! Play me! 2 more minutes, Papa!"  His intention was clear.  He didn't want me to leave, He wanted me to stay and play. To get on the floor right then, and, all this with the negotiation for just... '2 minutes more."

Now Cannon is young and the chances of him comprehending what 2 minutes really means are slim.  Still, it was a phrase he'd heard - and one he'd learned to use in appeasing his desire for continuance.  A desire God has given us all.  With the capacity to feel and love comes a desire for more.  And, Cannon, well, he'd been bit with the bug, too, so... '2 minutes more, Papa', became his sturdy appeal.

Well, I gave Cannon his 2 minutes.  In fact, I gave him another 10. And, when I did leave it was much harder on me than him. As I drove off I could not help but think of how we all do this very same thing - how we all come into this world (after a a fashion) and go out - often asking for just 2 minutes more.  

Back in Texas one of the Godliest women I know is about to see Jesus face to face. She is dying. Or, as I have often said, leaving the land of the dying to move on to the land of the living. Her name is Adele Glensky, and our church, especially her LIFEgroup, has been praying for her for months.  First, for her healing, and now, for mercy and peace in her passing.    

In each of my many conversations with Adele over the last weeks, I have asked what she might want me to pray for.  Early on it was for healing, but, of late, it has been for strength.  I have come to realize, though, that Adele was asking me to pray for more than strength to live - she was asking God for strength to carry on, peacefully, even in the midst of this thing we call dying. And though she has never asked me out loud for more time, she has spoken about the joy she feels in seeing her husband, her daughters, her grandchildren and her friends - each and every time, perhaps just one more time - or, in her case, just 2 minutes more.

This afternoon I stopped by Adele's on my way home from Oklahoma, as I realized the likelihood of my seeing her again this side of glory was not high. And, though the visit was not long, it was good.  She was comfortable and at peace. As I returned to my car to drive the rest of the way home, I thought about both she and Cannon. Just 2 minutes more, Papa! I thought about all our negotiations with God in this life. How we ask Him, over and again, for more of this and more of that, and then, finally, often, for just some more time. Then I realized. Our desire - the desire for time, itself - is something given us by God (Ecclesiastes 3:11) And this - that what He has given us is realized ultimately only through Him. In the moment we step into His presence we receive that for which we have always pined - we receive from Him, not just 2 minutes more - but all the time of eternity. A perfect and lasting satisfaction in the thing we can never have otherwise outside of receiving it from HIm. More time, all of time, forever, with Him.

2 more minutes, Papa, indeed!

Pastor Sam

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Kathy, Karen and the Gospel

In the past 24 hours I have been asked more than I can count two questions, "Pastor, how do you cope with the horror and heartache life throws at you and the people you pastor?" And this - "And what do you say to people when they face such?" My answer, though thoughtful, comes quick - "sometimes I cry, and always I remind them of the gospel."

As I was finishing our Board of Trustees meeting Monday evening, my cell phone lit up. Belinda was calling. Already in the middle of another call, she was insistent - calling back again and again, which meant something important was up and she needed me to answer. I called her back, and she blurted, 'you need to call Tim Boobar,' stating his wife Kathy had been shot.  She knew nothing else. My heart raced to high gear - Kathy, Tim and daughter Carly have been members of ParkwayHills for years, and had just been part of our trip to Israel this past Christmas. One of our finest and more faithful families. I braced myself for what might come and called Tim's cell phone.  Sitting in my truck, Carly, Tim's daughter, answered the phone sobbing. I asked, "Carly where are you?"  "In McKinney," she said.  "Is your Mom OK?" She sobbed deeply, then cried the words I dreaded, "Pastor, she's gone." "Mom has been killed." I groaned. Holding back my own shock and pain. "Where are you," I asked. And, as she was giving me the address, I turned my truck north toward McKinney, TX. and my next hours, which were to be as horrific as any I'd ever known. Kathy and her sister Karen had been killed by Karen's estranged husband. Two victims of the violence and pain becoming far too familiar in the culture in which we live.

Pastor's are not supposed to have favorites, but if I did, Kathy would be on my list. I cannot recall anything from her but kindness. Something true of the entire family. She and Tim had been sweethearts since they were 16. And Carly, their daughter, now a student at TCU, had proven a model child in our youth group and a standout student at her school, Prestonwood Christian Academy. Kathy had served on our church's Finance Team, she and her husband were faithful attenders of both worship and LIFEgroup, and a whole list of other charities and civic causes were supported by her through her work with our Collin County Chapter of Junior League. Kathy was special.

But, if you knew Kathy at all, you also knew that she loved her twin sister. They were inseparable.  She had told her husband when they married that she never wanted to live more than 10 minutes from her sister.  And... that became so. When the horror occurred Kathy was playing the role she so often played, that of support, as her sister was going through a difficult separation from her husband. He had suffered with substance abuse, had become erratic, and Karen had decided it was over. The two sisters were together when he came to end Karen's life. No doubt, both pleading one for the other.

In ministry, if you are a pastor, you shepherd people. Real people. You lead them, pray with them, love them, and, sometimes... you cry with them. Kathy and Karen's lives were cut short - not by any fault of their own, but by the brokenness of our world. They loved each other deeply.  Coming into this world together, they left the land of dying and entered the land of the living together, as well. For a while - a long while - we will all reflect on the horrific nature of how their lives ended. But eventually, even for the family, thoughts will turn otherwise. They will be remembered for who they were, what they gave, how they loved and how they lived. And, for we who are in Christ, we will cling to the truth - the gospel - which becomes ever more real. In an instant Jesus received them to Himself. Their savior - the One whom both had placed their trust in - welcomed them home. John 14, 1st Corinthians 15, and the entire record of God's Word promises us this.

So I told the young reporter from Channel 5, Meredith, when asked - 'pastor, what do you tell people in times like this?"  "I remind them of the gospel, Meredith" - "that Jesus loves them, and that, if we know Christ ourselves, we will see them both again."  "And, then... sometimes I cry.  For pastor's cry, too."

Love,


Pastor Sam





Kathy, Karen and the Gospel

In the past 24 hours I have been asked more than I can count two questions, "Pastor, how do you cope with the horror and heartache life throws at you and the people you pastor?" And this - "And what do you say to people when they face such?" My answer, though thoughtful, comes quick - "sometimes I cry, and always I remind them of the gospel."

As I was finishing our Board of Trustees meeting Monday evening, my cell phone lit up. Belinda was calling. Already in the middle of another call, she was insistent - calling back again and again, which meant something important was up and she needed me to answer. I called her back, and she blurted, 'you need to call Tim Boobar,' stating his wife Kathy had been shot.  She knew nothing else. My heart raced to high gear - Kathy, Tim and daughter Carly have been members of ParkwayHills for years, and had just been part of our trip to Israel this past Christmas. One of our finest and more faithful families. I braced myself for what might come and called Tim's cell phone.  Sitting in my truck, Carly, Tim's daughter, answered his phone sobbing. I asked, "Carly where are you?"  "In McKinney," she said.  "Is your Mom OK?" She sobbed deeply, then cried the words I dreaded, "Pastor she's gone." "Mom has been killed." I groaned deeply. Holding back my own shock and pain. "Where are you," I asked. And, as she was giving me the address I turned my truck north toward McKinney, TX. and my next hours, which were to be as horrific as any I had known. Kathy and her sister Karen had been killed by Karen's estranged husband. Two victims of the violence and pain far too familiar in the culture in which we live.

Pastor's are not supposed to have favorites, but if I did, Kathy would be on my list. I cannot recall anything from her but kindness. Something true of the entire family. She and Tim had been sweethearts since they were 16. And Carly, their daughter, now a student at TCU, had proven a model child in our youth group and a standout student at her school, Prestonwood Christian Academy. Kathy had served on our church's Finance Team, she and her husband were faithful attenders of both worship and LIFEgroup, and a whole list of other charities and civic notables were supported by her through her work with our Collin County Chapter of Junior League. Kathy was special.

But if you knew Kathy at all - you knew too that she loved her twin sister.  They sere inseparable.  She had told her husband when they married that she never wanted to live more than 10 minutes from her sister.  And... that became so. When the horror occurred Kathy was playing the role she often played, that of support, as her sister was going through a difficult separation from her husband. He had suffered with substance abuse, had become erratic, and Karen had finally decided it was over.  The two were together when he came to end Karen's life. No doubt, both pleading one for the other.

In ministry, if you are a pastor, you shepherd people. Real people. You lead them, pray with them, love them, and, sometimes... you cry with them. Kathy and Karen's lives were cut short - not by any fault of their own, but by the brokenness of our world.  They loved each other deeply.  Coming into this world together, they left the land of dying and entered the land of the living together, as well. For a while - a long while - we will all reflect on the horrific nature of how their lives ended.  But eventually, even for the family, thoughts will turn otherwise. They will be remembered for who they were, what they gave, how they loved and how they lived. And, for us who are in Christ, we know the truth - the gospel becomes ever more real. Jesus received them to Himself. Their savior - the One whom both had placed their trust in - welcomed them home.  John 14, 1st Corinthians 15, and the entire record of God's Word promises us this.

So I told the young reporter from Channel 5, Meredith, when asked - 'pastor, what do you tell people in times like this?"  "I remind them of the gospel, Meredith" - "that Jesus loves them, and that, if we know Christ ourselves, we will see them both again."  "And, then... sometimes I cry.  For pastor's cry, too."

Love,


Pastor Sam





Kathy, Karen and the Gospel

In the past 24 hours I have been asked more than I can count two questions, "Pastor, how do you cope with the horror and heartache life throws at you and the people you pastor?" And this - "And what do you say to people when they face such?" My answer, though thoughtful, comes quick - "sometimes I cry, and always I remind them of the gospel."

As I was finishing our Board of Trustees meeting Monday evening, my cell phone lit up. Belinda was calling. Already in the middle of another call, she was insistent - calling back again and again, which meant something important was up and she needed me to answer. I called her back, and she blurted, 'you need to call Tim Boobar,' stating his wife Kathy had been shot.  She knew nothing else. My heart raced to high gear - Kathy, Tim and daughter Carly have been members of ParkwayHills for years, and had just been part of our trip to Israel this past Christmas. One of our finest and more faithful families. I braced myself for what might come and called Tim's cell phone.  Sitting in my truck, Carly, Tim's daughter, answered his phone sobbing. I asked, "Carly where are you?"  "In McKinney," she said.  "Is your Mom OK?" She sobbed deeply, then cried the words I dreaded, "Pastor she's gone." "Mom has been killed." I groaned deeply. Holding back my own shock and pain. "Where are you," I asked. And, as she was giving me the address I turned my truck north toward McKinney, TX. and my next hours, which were to be as horrific as any I had known. Kathy and her sister Karen had been killed by Karen's estranged husband. Two victims of the violence and pain far too familiar in the culture in which we live.

Pastor's are not supposed to have favorites, but if I did, Kathy would be on my list. I cannot recall anything from her but kindness. Something true of the entire family. She and Tim had been sweethearts since they were 16. And Carly, their daughter, now a student at TCU, had proven a model child in our youth group and a standout student at her school, Prestonwood Christian Academy. Kathy had served on our church's Finance Team, she and her husband were faithful attenders of both worship and LIFEgroup, and a whole list of other charities and civic notables were supported by her through her work with our Collin County Chapter of Junior League. Kathy was special.

But if you knew Kathy at all - you knew too that she loved her twin sister.  They sere inseparable.  She had told her husband when they married that she never wanted to live more than 10 minutes from her sister.  And... that became so. When the horror occurred Kathy was playing the role she often played, that of support, as her sister was going through a difficult separation from her husband. He had suffered with substance abuse, had become erratic, and Karen had finally decided it was over.  The two were together when he came to end Karen's life. No doubt, both pleading one for the other.

In ministry, if you are a pastor, you shepherd people. Real people. You lead them, pray with them, love them, and, sometimes... you cry with them. Kathy and Karen's lives were cut short - not by any fault of their own, but by the brokenness of our world.  They loved each other deeply.  Coming into this world together, they left the land of dying and entered the land of the living together, as well. For a while - a long while - we will all reflect on the horrific nature of how their lives ended.  But eventually, even for the family, thoughts will turn otherwise. They will be remembered for who they were, what they gave, how they loved and how they lived. And, for us who are in Christ, we know the truth - the gospel becomes ever more real. Jesus received them to Himself. Their savior - the One whom both had placed their trust in - welcomed them home.  John 14, 1st Corinthians 15, and the entire record of God's Word promises us this.

So I told the young reporter from Channel 5, Meredith, when asked - 'pastor, what do you tell people in times like this?"  "I remind them of the gospel, Meredith" - "that Jesus loves them, and that, if we know Christ ourselves, we will see them both again."  "And, then... sometimes I cry.  For pastor's cry, too."

Love,


Pastor Sam





Kathy, Karen and the Gospel

In the past 24 hours I have been asked more than I can count two questions, "Pastor, how do you cope with the horror and heartache life throws at you and the people you pastor?" And this - "And what do you say to people when they face such?" My answer, though thoughtful, comes quick - "sometimes I cry, and always I remind them of the gospel."

As I was finishing our Board of Trustees meeting Monday evening, my cell phone lit up. Belinda was calling. Already in the middle of another call, she was insistent - calling back again and again, which meant something important was up and she needed me to answer. I called her back, and she blurted, 'you need to call Tim Boobar,' stating his wife Kathy had been shot.  She knew nothing else. My heart raced to high gear - Kathy, Tim and daughter Carly have been members of ParkwayHills for years, and had just been part of our trip to Israel this past Christmas. One of our finest and more faithful families. I braced myself for what might come and called Tim's cell phone.  Sitting in my truck, Carly, Tim's daughter, answered his phone sobbing. I asked, "Carly where are you?"  "In McKinney," she said.  "Is your Mom OK?" She sobbed deeply, then cried the words I dreaded, "Pastor she's gone." "Mom has been killed." I groaned deeply. Holding back my own shock and pain. "Where are you," I asked. And, as she was giving me the address I turned my truck north toward McKinney, TX. and my next hours, which were to be as horrific as any I had known. Kathy and her sister Karen had been killed by Karen's estranged husband. Two victims of the violence and pain far too familiar in the culture in which we live.

Pastor's are not supposed to have favorites, but if I did, Kathy would be on my list. I cannot recall anything from her but kindness. Something true of the entire family. She and Tim had been sweethearts since they were 16. And Carly, their daughter, now a student at TCU, had proven a model child in our youth group and a standout student at her school, Prestonwood Christian Academy. Kathy had served on our church's Finance Team, she and her husband were faithful attenders of both worship and LIFEgroup, and a whole list of other charities and civic notables were supported by her through her work with our Collin County Chapter of Junior League. Kathy was special.

But if you knew Kathy at all - you knew too that she loved her twin sister.  They were inseparable. She'd told Tim when they married that she never wanted to live more than 10 minutes from her sister. And... that became so! When the horror occurred Kathy was playing the role she so often played, that of support, as her sister was going through a painful separation from her husband. He had suffered with substance abuse, had recently become erratic, and Karen had decided it was over. The two sisters were together when he came to end Karen's life. No doubt, both pleading one for the other.

In ministry, if you are a pastor, you shepherd people. Real people. You lead them, pray with them, love them, and, sometimes... you cry with them. Kathy and Karen's lives were cut short - not by any fault of their own, but by the brokenness of our world. They loved each other deeply.  Coming into this world together, they left the land of dying and entered the land of the living together, as well. For a while - a long while - we will reflect on the horrific nature of how their lives ended. But eventually, even for the family, thoughts will turn otherwise. They will be remembered for who they were, what they gave, how they loved and how they lived. And, for we who are in Christ, we who know the truth, the gospel will become ever more real. For we know that Jesus received them to Himself. Their Savior - the One whom both girls had placed their trust in - welcomed them home.  John 14, 1st Corinthians 15, and our entire record of God's Word promises this.

So I told the young reporter from Channel 5, Meredith, when asked - 'what do you tell people in times like this?"  "I remind them of the gospel, Meredith" - "that Jesus loves them, and that, if we know Christ ourselves, we will see them both again."  "And, then... sometimes I cry. For pastor's cry, too."

Love,


Pastor Sam





Wednesday, May 4, 2016

A PASTOR'S REMINDER: National Day Of Prayer, May 5

Dear Church, 
This past Sunday I announced to the congregation my heartfelt desire that we (the parkwayhills church) commit to make this years National Day of Prayer – not just a political event – but an actual day in which we stop to pray for our nation and our nation’s leaders.  

Now I do not have to tell you that the prayer from 2 Chronicles 7, oft quoted on this occasion, is not intended as a prayer for the US as some form of replacement theology positioning America as the new Israel.  The answer to that is, of course, no. This view is a faulted hermeneutic, and we have talked about this. But, the prayer of Chronicles was, and should still be, understood as a message to the people of God about the importance of our own repentance and God’s ability to do what He will, when He will and as He will – through us – as we humble ourselves before Him. This said, we should always pray for such among God’s people.

Beyond this, however, is a clear Biblical call that we, as God's church and Christ's followers, be faithful to recognize His authority and Kingdom plan over all creation, and that we remain faithful to pray for and bear witness to our fellow citizens and leaders  - first to sense and then to follow His lead. Why wouldn’t we pray for this?  

So… let me encourage you to pray - not only tomorrow but on everyday thereafter. For If ever exists a time when such is needed from God’s people, it is now!
The following link will is shared as a help to you.  http://www.wnyprays.org/prayer-guides/
Blessings, 
Pastor Sam 

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

REDEEMED

This Sunday I will begin a new series titled, REDEEMED. The series, taken from the Book of Genesis, will focus on the account of Joseph – and walk through his fascinating life-story of being blessed by God, suffering under trials and discovering redemption through becoming a source of blessing to others.

In preparing these messages I have found much inspiration by watching many of you. Not surprisingly, I have discovered story after story of the very same redemption seen in Joseph. Indeed, a lifetime of pastoring has taught me that what Jim Denison says is true, ‘God will always redeem what He allows.’ Though, I would humbly add - ‘if we let Him." And, of course, that, ’if,’ is a big one. Joseph, like us, had a choice. In the pit, under Potiphar’s service, in prison, and as he faced his former foes.

But – I cannot say too much now or I’ll peach the sermon. So… I invite you to join me at parkwayhills this Sunday as, together, we begin this series. For, after all, redemption is something we all need. And our Redeemer, Christ, is ready!

Till Sunday, then

Pastor Sam