Sunday, February 28, 2010

A New Theological Liberalism...

A dear friend of mine in ministry is Nathan Lino. Nathan pastors Northeast Houston Baptist Church in Humble, Texas. He is a great biblical expositor and an amazing church planter. He has recently posted some thoughts on a new theological liberalism encroaching upon the church, words very similar to that which I have said many times from the pulpits God has called me to preach. Because I believe it an encouragment to read things from others who are biblically sound, I strongly recommend you read and follow Nathan's blog. You will be blessed.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Long Range Plan for FBC...

This Sunday in both AM services the body of Christ at FBC will vote to affirm the Long Range Plan that has been presented and discussed over the past several weeks. The Long Range Planning Committee spent many long hours in 2009 dreaming about an incredible future at FBC-Odessa. On January 31 the plan was unveiled at the Commemorative Air Force Base on what was truly one of the greatest days in the history of our church. The plan has been bathed in prayer and promises to meet the physical plant needs of FBC for the next 50-75 years. I am convinced it is God’s plan for our future as we determine to do everything we can to maximize our effectiveness for His Kingdom.

Some have said that we are voting to build a new sanctuary this coming Sunday. That is not correct. We will only be voting to affirm the Long Range Plan. Moving into a building program at FBC will come at a future date as God leads.

Make every effort to be present Sunday. It will be a great day in the life of First Baptist Church of Odessa.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

My Valentine...

“Andi this is Byron; Byron this is Andi. Y’all talk” were the words spoken when my high school friend Steve introduced Andi and me. We started talking on that day 29 years ago and have been talking ever since. For 27 years Andi has been my bride; for 27 years I have been married to God's perfect Valentine's gift for me. I am supremely blessed to have this beautiful, loving, caring, gifted and devoted woman in my life. On this day and every day, I renew my commitment to never take her for granted and to love her with a supremely devoted love that honors her and honors my Lord.

Andi, I love you darling! You are the very BEST Valentine I could ever have and the only one I ever want! I choose us - always!

Thursday, February 11, 2010

American Idol and Life on the Edge...

Last night my family was watching “American Idol” (tell me that name doesn’t typify American society) when I noticed a recurring pattern. Several contestants interviewed were in dead-end, no-win situations in life and they were seeking to become the next “American Idol” so that their circumstances could change. Clearly they should be applauded for their willingness to sing as the world watches. They also should receive some congrats for having stood before Simon Cowell and received their fair share of criticism as to why they will not be the next “American Idol.” However, I could not help but wonder why they would rely on such a long-shot for life improvement and would give so little thought to more tried and true methods – namely EDUCATION and HARD WORK! As I pondered this, the following thoughts came to mind…

Most people do not like to be challenged in life. The path of least resistance is the most trodden trail. They do not want to push themselves beyond what is comfortable and common. They are unwilling to embrace the struggle and sacrifice necessary for change to result and goals to be achieved. As I have observed, many routinely reject new challenges and remain in dead-end jobs with little reward and even less future. They refuse to struggle so that they might do something they love and instead opt for a bland life of stagnation. Oh, they may gripe and complain about their miserable circumstances and some will even pray for God to bring about changes for the better… but they put forth zero effort to embrace the challenge of change themselves. Singing on a stage and expecting instant gratification is one thing; sitting in a classroom for four years where tests are utilized to objectively measure achievement quite another. Finding a few minutes of stardom is a quickly fading sense of accomplishment; starting a new career when you hit 35 because life is to short for moss to grow over your dreams is a lasting achievement.

Risk avoidance is a common characteristic of those who are stagnating in life. The common stumbling block for many is the question “what if I fail?” This fear lurks in the shadows of everyone looking to embrace a new challenge. It is natural and warranted, but it must never be what stops personal growth from taking place. Whenever a challenge is met and a risk is taken that stretches a person beyond the normalcy of living, they win regardless. Win or lose the one who steps forward and gets in the game is always a better person. Their self-esteem has grown. Their life has taken on a freshness that rejects the repugnant stagnation so prevalent in so many. Risks are not for the faint of heart, but they are for those who seek to live life on the edge, draining every drop of goodness from the precious few days they have.

Psychologists have identified “controlled trauma” as a means of one embracing a challenge so that their life can shift upward for the better. Controlled trauma is the willingness to incur pain, sacrifice, and hardship so that a greater goal can be achieved. When someone purposefully steps out of their comfort zone and into a challenging and demanding situation, they are employing controlled trauma as a tool for personal growth. An example of this would be my son’s recent activities. Because he has some very specific and challenging goals, he willingly submits to an incredibly demanding fitness routine that brings daily trauma into his life. Regularly do those training with him hang their head over the trash can and lose their breakfast. There is intense pain involved, but the controlled trauma promises a greater possibility that he will achieve his dreams and therefore it is totally worth it. In a similar way, those who diet incur controlled trauma when they willingly put aside food so the scale gives the desired result. Controlled trauma is necessary at times in our lives – regardless of the pain and sacrifice involved.

My encouragement is that you submit to a total examination of your life. Are you achieving all that you have dreamed of or are you walking the path of least resistance? Are you embracing new challenges in your life and taking risks? Are you willing to submit to some controlled trauma to see your goals become reality? Nothing will change until you submit to this reality check and demand change from yourself. So what will it be – bland monotony or the thrill of living life on the edge? Me personally, I choose the edge!

Monday, February 8, 2010

The Tim Tebow Story...

Tim Tebow has been making headline news for several years. As a former Heisman Trophy winner and an amazing college quarterback, he is a very public figure. With his size and strength, Tebow will have a promising future in the NFL should that be the direction God chooses for his life. Recently, Tim and his mother came under sharp criticism for a commercial to be aired during the Superbowl describing the choice Mrs. Tebow made to not abort her son. This is a powerful story of love and trust in God. Why don't you check it out at

Friday, February 5, 2010

Off We Go...

If you were part of our services last Sunday morning at the Commemorative Air Force Base you experienced a rarity in the life of FBC-Odessa. The entire church came together at one time for this important worship event. Based on the 1,100 chairs - excluding choir and orchestra - and counting the children that were present in our preschool, we had well over 1,300 total in worship. It was a great experience, one that will not soon be forgotten.

This Sunday afternoon at 2:00 I will show the PowerPoint presentation again for those who could not attend last week. A question and answer period will follow that will provide additional details regarding the Long Range Plan. The following Sunday, February 14, at 5:00 PM we will have the final Q&A and will vote at the conclusion of both of our AM services on February 21 to affirm the Long Range Plan.

As I have said before - and you will hear again - this vote is not to enter into a building program, it is simply to affirm the Long Range Plan that the committee brings forth as a recommendation to the faith family at First Baptist Church. The implementation of Phase 1 of the plan will come at a future date as the Lord leads.

I hope you are excited about all God is doing at FBC-Odessa. It is incredibly exciting to follow Him by faith as a family of believers. Remember, let's trust God and do something larger than our individual lives that will touch the next generation for Jesus Christ.