Monday, December 26, 2016

Year Anniversary Tornado Block Party

On the year anniversary of the tornado, we decided to throw a block party for one of the neighborhoods hit hardest by the tornado on December 26, 2015. Over the past year we were able to make some good relationships with many of the families in this part of our community, and it was a pleasure to spend the afternoon with them. We ended the festivities with a candle light vigil around the time the tornado come through our town.

Saturday, December 17, 2016

The Big Christmas Do-Over

We had the opportunity to partner with #RowlettStrong and host "The Big Christmas Do-Over!" The event was planned to replace toys that children had lost the year before. It was an incredible event where the community came together to love on the tornado families!

Sunday, December 4, 2016

Carly's Baby Dedication

 December 4, 2016, we had Dr. Jimmy Draper come and perform Carly's baby dedication. It was a very special event where we really dedicated ourselves to raising her in the fear and admonition of the Lord. It is our prayer that Christy & I live lives where Carly would desire to place her faith and trust in Jesus as her personal Lord and Savior.

Adding to the greatness of this occasion was Dr. Draper. He performed the same service for me when I was a baby and he was the pastor of FBC Euless. It was really cool to have him out to perform this service and preach at our church!

Coleman's Baptism (version 2)

Another Version of Coleman's Baptism!

Coleman's Baptism

Coleman's Baptism: December 4, 2016

Wednesday, June 8, 2016

Rowlett Neigbhorhood Block Parties

Tonight we held two block parties for those in our community impacted by the tornado. Both were really great events, and everyone had a great time.
Our church family was awesome! We had so many people show up to help setup, greet our honored guests, serve food, visit, cleanup, and just help however needed. Both block parties also saw a good amount of people from the neighborhoods show up as well. We distributed gift cards for those who registered, served dinner, had games and inflatables as well.
My favorite part was hearing stories of our members sharing Christ with others. An unexpected benefit for those in attendance was the residents having an opportunity to share some of their experiences in the recovery and rebuilding process. Glory to God for a great night sharing His love with others!

Saturday, March 26, 2016

Relief, Recovery, & Rebuild Partners

Relief, Recovery, & Rebuilding is a journey that no one can do on their own. While it would be impossible for me to properly express my gratitude to all that have helped me and FBC Rowlett throughout this process, I would be doing many of our partners an injustice not to try and mention some of them. Let me just say THANK YOU to all who have offered your wisdom, insight, experience, love, encouragement, and advice during this ongoing process.
Sam Porter with the BGCO Disaster Relief put me in touch with Terry and the Texas Baptist Men. The Texas Baptist Men put in over 1,100 man hours, with over 450 volunteers across the Great state of Texas. The Texas Baptist Men stayed in our church for over 6 weeks. Their team slept on cots and showered in a trailer. They were the first ones in town and the last to leave. They are awesome!
Prestonwood Baptist Church has been invaluable as well. Mike Buster, Joe Perry, Jarrett Stephens, and Pastor Graham have been kind, helpful, and generous to the church and me throughout this process. I am grateful to have worked their during my early days of ministry, and am grateful to still be a part of the Prestonwood family!
Victim Relief Ministries have been incredible as well. Jim was an incredible resource throughout the first 3 weeks of the relief effort, and still serves as an advisor to me personally. He gave us our greatest initial advice in our relief efforts by advising that we not accept used clothing, which allowed our church to have the resources people in our community really needed from the get go. VRM also housed disaster counselors throughout the first 4 weeks at our church.
Guidestone Financial Resources provided us with the opportunity to be Jesus in Workboots to our community. As a result of the insurance they provide, we were able to send out teams from our church to go serve the families in our community to remove debris without having to worry about what would happen if someone got hurt. Not only do they provide this peace of mind, Guidestone actually celebrates the fact that they provide such tremendous services to churches like FBC Rowlett.
Home Depot has been incredible as well. Our local store in Rowlett donated over 1,400 storage bins during the first month of the relief effort. They also sent in corporate executives from Atlanta to Seattle. One multiple days, they sent over 100 workers into the community to do hard work in freezing rain. They were even cool enough to ask me to pray over them before they went out to work!
KLTY was so great to our community as well. They provided 50 families with incredible gifts that went far beyond the monetary dollar figure. For those 50 families, they provided gift cards, crock pots, cleaning supplies, storage bins, and other essentials people needed to get back on their feet.
This is where the list is not long enough. We have been helped by churches not only in Texas, but throughout the United States. We have seen people and donations sent from New York, Michigan, Oklahoma, and beyond. Churches from across the DFW area have sent teams to work in our donation center, to work with our church family in neighborhoods, and have even helped us get the word out. The help offered by so many has been completely and totally humbling. THANK YOU to all who have helped our church in this process, we are grateful!!!

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Rowlett Long Term Recovery Committee

In February, the City Council put together a Long Term Recovery Committee to to provide recovery services to individuals and families affected by the tornado that hit Rowlett, Texas on December 26, 2015. It was an honor to be invited to be a part of this committee, and my hope is to represent my Savior and Church well throughout the duration of my time serving the citizens of Rowlett. One thing I am excited about is being able to serve on the Spiritual Care Subcommittee. We were able to put together a team of local ministers to address the spiritual needs of those in our community impacted by the tornado. Pray for many to find Jesus in the storm!

Sunday, February 21, 2016

Baptist Disaster Relief

I am convinced the greatest disaster relief workers in the world are from the Southern Baptist Convention. My first call after the tornado was to my friend Sam Porter with the Oklahoma Baptist Disaster Relief team who connected me to the Texas Baptist Disaster Relief Team. Within 48 hours of the tornado, we had men and women from across Texas and beyond housed out of or church. Some stayed for a few days, others stayed for a few weeks, it was unbelievable.
One of my regrets was not getting a picture of each disaster relief truck and trailer from all over the state and country that came to help. Each of these individuals were world class workers, world class people. They brought their own cots or air mattress, made their own food, and showered in their own shower trailer.
My goal for those staying in our team was to simply be the greatest host they have ever had. While we gave it our best effort, they deserve way more than we were able to provide. The Texas Baptist Men were the first in Rowlett, and the last to leave by weeks. Even after the last group left, they still sent teams to help our city recover all the way into the summer. I am a huge fan of the SBC Disaster Relief teams!

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Tornado Media Time

Probably the most uncomfortable albeit necessary parts of the disaster relief process was being on television. It is a weird sensation having a camera pointed at you with a reporter asking you question. Most of the time my response left me thinking, "where did that answer come from," but it is one of those times where dwelling on the past will simply drive one crazy. Anyway, our relief efforts drew the attention of several local television and radio stations. I am sure I sound stressed, tired, and confused... which is not news and was accurate! My hope in each interview was to draw some attention to the needs in our city while displaying solid faith in Jesus to get us through the storm!

Saturday, January 16, 2016

Political Relief Aid

Of all the people I ever expected to visit FBC Rowlett, a presidential candidate was not on the list... until Senator Ted Cruz showed up. From the way the news reports on him and other politicians talk about him, I had no idea what to expect. However, Senator Cruz was an extremely nice and personable individual. He came across as kind and genuinely concerned. He was not rushed or impatient, regardless of how many times his staff kept pressing him to hurry up. He shut down the media when they tried to get him to politicize his time in Rowlett, but he did bring attention to the devastation our city has experienced. It was an honor to meet him and I am grateful he stopped in our city to offer his support and help.

Our State Representative has been incredible throughout the recovery process. Cindy Burkett has played the political role she has been elected to fulfill, while quietly getting her hands dirty removing debris like other volunteers. Cindy has been so great to work with.
Our State Attorney General, Ken Paxton has been truly helpful as well. Initially, he offered his help from Austin, but he made an under the radar trip to personally deliver supplies he and other state workers had collected. It was a really cool move by him. Many thanks to all of our state representatives. 

Saturday, January 2, 2016

Rowlett Relief Ride

So, after we got done helping a few families this morning we returned to the church for lunch and saw over 1,000 bikers who had organized a benefit ride for our Rebuild Rowlett effort. It was quite impressive to see such a huge gathering of people who came out to help. I really enjoyed walking through the various groups of people and thanking them for their support. They were all really nice and generous!