Tribute to Bro. Gary & Mrs. Judy Coleman

Standard
Screen Shot 2014-01-23 at 10.13.22 AM

Dr. Gary Coleman delivering his last Sunday morning message as Sr. Pastor at LDBC

After nearly 50 years as Senior Pastor of Lavon Drive Baptist Church in Garland, Texas, my childhood pastor and his sweet wife are retiring.  I was able to be there this past Sunday (January 19, 2014) for his final sermons as Senior Pastor.  This past week, I have been reflecting on all that Bro. Gary and Mrs. Judy have meant to me and my family over the years and I wrote them a letter.  I know that their ministry has affected and blessed so many people so I wanted to share this on my blog for you all to read.  LDBC IS HAVING A SPECIAL RETIREMENT CELEBRATION FOR THE COLEMAN’S ON MARCH 2ND, if you can, please plan on being in attendance!

Bro. Gary & Mrs. Judy,

Screen Shot 2014-01-23 at 10.12.41 AM

Mrs. Judy & Bro. Gary

  I was so glad that I was able to make it to Lavon Drive this past Sunday to be there for your final day as Senior Pastor.  My thirteen-year-old nephew Reid was hoping that the title of your sermon was, “I’ve Changed My Mind.”  Selfishly, I was hoping that too.  I am sure that you’re getting so many cards and letters right now, but I felt the need to write some of the things that are on my heart.

My family and I moved from Oklahoma City to Garland, Texas, in 1986.  As an adult, looking back, I know now how difficult that move must have been for my parents.  Back then, however, I was oblivious to any hardship – in fact, I was fine with the move.  I was only 6 years old, and I thought it would be a new adventure.  Plus, since Randy and Linda Brown and their daughters were moving to Garland as well, I had my best friend Randa moving with me.

I remember starting school at GCA.  Mrs. Vicki Littleton was my second grade teacher.  I always loved Great American Day at GCA. I remember being terribly intimidated by Miss Avery and Dr. McCartt, which I see now, was a good thing. I remember all of the Vacation Bible Schools where you, Bro. Gary, led us in so many fun songs.  My favorite, as I am sure it was most kids favorite was “There Was A Mighty King.”  To this day, singing is such a huge part of my life and my worship to the Lord – you helped set the foundation for that.  I remember going to Awana and saying my verses that I had memorized, many of which I still have memorized today.    Mrs. Ondrusek was my favorite teacher at GCA, and I loved singing in the school choir.  I enjoyed winter camps and Sunday schools and all the in-between.  I still remember crossing that stage to get my diploma from GCA and you and Bro. John standing there to hand it to me.  I watched in line as my classmates received their diplomas, and I watched as you shook their hands.  Bro. Gary, I was so privileged to be able to hug your neck; instead of just shaking your hand because I knew that you were my friend!

As I got older, I truly loved LDBC and GCA.  Miss Avery intimidated me less, but Dr. McCartt still shook me up J.  I know now that I took so much for granted, but now I am so appreciative that my parents moved us to Garland and saw how important it was to place Brian, Jana and me in a Christian school and in a God honoring church under your direction.  I met lifelong friends at LDBC & GCA like Abby Lowery who came to GCA in tenth grade and we are best friends to this day and Denise Peters who I met almost the minute we moved to Texas.  She would babysit us and is now a dear friend and mentor for me!

Screen Shot 2014-01-23 at 10.13.51 AM

Bro. Gary and my Dad

I remember many meals shared with you both.  Many times after Dad would preach at LDBC and other times when you would come to Mom and Dad’s house for a Christmas party or a get together.  Mrs. Judy, your stories always made me laugh, and you always had a word of encouragement for me.  I cherish those memories and look forward to more!

I’ll never forget the special day that LDBC planned for my dad and our whole family.  It was while the church was under construction and we were meeting in the gymnasium.  Somehow, the church found Dr. Robert Bailey and we were able to meet the man who saved my dad’s life in Vietnam.   The church had so many other people there as well that were a complete surprise to us.  Our family and our friends were all present and it meant the world to us.

Bro. Gary and Mrs. Judy, I cannot say “thank you” enough for all that you have done.  You have enriched my life and your ministry has impacted every single person in my family.  Mrs. Judy, we have never viewed Bro. Gary’s ministry as just his.  We know that you have stood next to him and encouraged him and you have played a major role in the life of LDBC for the past 49 years.  Bro. Gary and Mrs. Judy, I want you to know that my Christian walk has been greatly impacted by you both and I am beyond grateful that even though it was difficult, my parents packed the truck and moved us to Garland, Texas, all those years ago.

I love Lavon Drive, and I am praying earnestly for the future of the church.  I am praying that God’s will will be done and that the legacy of the faith, the legacy of the church and the legacy of their amazing pastor for 49 years will be well protected.

Bro. Gary and Mrs. Judy, it has been a privilege to call you pastor, heroes and friends for all of these years.  I cried tears of joy, sadness and gratitude as the church gave you a standing ovation this past Sunday.  My seven-year-old nephew, Case leaned over and said to me, “We are clapping forever, this is awesome!”  I agreed with him that it was awesome, but I know that it is nothing compared to the applause and crowns that await you both in Glory.

Screen Shot 2014-01-23 at 10.29.30 AM

With Bro. Gary in 2010

I love you both and you’re in my prayers.

In Him,

Amber Lee

WARNING: Crafty blog

Standard

Okay, when I created this blog, I never thought I would be posting a craft project or some home improvement thing because I am not crafty and most home improvement things that I attempt turn into me makes 16 different trips to Lowe’s and I think a lot of bad words (I don’t say them, so it’s ok ;)

A while back I noticed that someone was throwing out some pallets, so like any good pinner (unsure what this means, visit http://www.pinterest.com) I stopped and loaded them into my car.  This weekend I finally got around to doing something with them.  I’ve never really liked my coffee table – it’s okay I guess, but I thought that this was the perfect opportunity for me to fix that, so I made a new coffee table (eat your heart out, Bob Villa).  Okay, I realize that this makes me sound a lot more crafty and industrial than I actually am, but I’m okay with that.  Here’s what we did:

Items you’ll need:

-Pallets – we used 2, you could use 3 or maybe even 4 depending on how high you wanted the table to be
-Sander & sandpaper – I used my automatic sander which is definitely the way to go with raw wood – we used a 120 grit, which is medium
-Paint & brushes – choose your color, we used brushed to apply and we did a thin coat because we wanted some of the raw wood to show through
-Wood glue
-LONG screws
-Drill & drill bit
-Caster wheels
-Rubber Mallet

Instructions

-Start off by making sure your pallets are clean and that there’s no rotting wood – if any is rotting, I probably wouldn’t use that pallet
-Next-sand the wood down so that it’s smooth and there’s no raw pieces – pallets are very raw usually and can give splinters
-Clean off saw dust – we used the vacuum to make sure we got it all
-Paint or stain – we painted because we wanted it to be a lighter color and we wanted it to match another piece in our home
-Allow paint to dry – ours dried very fast because we did a light coat of paint so that some of the raw wood was still visible and because pallets are so raw, they absorbed the paint very quickly.
-Glaze – there are many options for a finishing glaze out there and you really can’t go wrong.  We used a satin finish shellac.
-Wood glue the pallets together and allow that to dry – make sure you get them on as straight and even as possible.
-Screw pallets together – we used 7 inch screws from Lowe’s – had to also purchase a LONG drill bit.
-Turn piece over and screw holes for caster wheels – there are many options for wheels out there so follow the instructions that came with yours.  Ours involved screwing holes, putting casters in holes and securing with a rubber mallet.

And your done – you just made a coffee table :)  This project took us about 6 hours.  Thanks to my handy, dandy assistant, Corrienne Bottom for all of your help, hard work, blood, sweat and tears during this project.  I respect the fact that you wore pants to church on Sunday to cover up the paint that you couldn’t get off your legs.

Image

Image

Image

Image
Cool burn stamps on the side of the pallets (came like this)Image
Love the matte gold screws we found at Lowe’s

Back to the Future

Standard

A little over a week ago I was put in a terrible situation.  I hated it and I’ve hated it ever since.  I don’t understand why it happened and I just want it to make sense.  However, no explanation will work and no answer will be good enough.  For me I guess you could say that I was just in the wrong place at the wrong time.  If I could go back and do things differently, I definitely would.  I would be in a different place at that time.  Isn’t that just like us?  We cannot see the big picture, we cannot see tomorrow, or a week from now, or a month down the road, but we say things like, “If I could go back and change it, I would.”  But what makes us feel that if we cannot see the future, we should somehow be qualified to changeScreen Shot 2013-09-11 at 11.08.38 AM the past? What if we had the power, to go back and change things, what if we could, during the span of our lives, go back in time and change three things?  Would that be enough?  Would we want to change 5 things or 10 or get a new quota every decade?  How would it work?

There are reasons why we are here in time and space and why God is not.  Time and space are not barriers to Him.  Not only does he know all about yesterday, he can see tomorrow and not only can he see tomorrow, HE’S ALREADY LIVING IN TOMORROW.  Wow, thinking about that too much could make your brain hurt.

One of my favorite all time 80’s movies is “Back to the Future”.  Marty gets into his DeLorean and with the help of Doc Brown, Imagetravels through time and space.  He meets his parents in high school and inadvertently attracts his young teenage mother to him.  YIKES – can we say awkward?  At a few different points in the “Back to the Future” trilogy Marty has to be careful not to bump into himself-surreal, Michael J. Fox, surreal.

Well, God does not need a DeLorean, or Science Fiction, or quirky Christopher Lloyd playing Doc Brown, He can just move through time and space.  He also doesn’t have to worry about bumping into Himself – that could be weird since He’s everywhere.  I get a mental picture of God the Father, Jesus and the Holy Spirit asking one another to mind their own personal space – hard to do when you’re three in one.  He can see your future and He’s already in your future and He knows how He’s going to make the bad things, the hurtful things and the sins of your past work in your future.  He is holding your tears.  He is healing your hurts.  He is forgiving your sins.  He is taking the tattered pieces of your past and he is weaving them into a beautiful masterpiece – HIS MASTERPIECE.  Child of God, you are loved by Him more than you can ever imagine and He knows how to take those “would change it if I could” times and make them something of beauty.

Why Do I Cry?

Standard

Why Do I Cry?Image

I am self-admittedly a crier.  As my close friends and family are reading this, they are probably shaking their head in agreement so to them I say “Stop That Now!”  So what is it that makes me cry?  Yesterday my friend, Kristi offered me the kindest compliment and as she was talking, I started to cry.  Tuesday, I received a beautiful card in the mail from my friend Claire and yep, you guessed it, almost immediately, I started to cry.  Both of these times were what I would consider “good crying”.  They weren’t sad cries.  Crying is a little strange when you think about it, I mean a certain emotion hits you and water starts to pour from your eyes let’s face it, it’s weird. 

The act of crying has been defined as “a complex secretomotor phenomenon characterized by the shedding of tears from the lacrimal apparatus, without any irritation of the ocular structures”.  Thanks Wikipedia, for whatever that means.  All I know is that when I am sad, really sad, I cry.  When something hurts, I cry.

Bombs at the Boston Marathon
Ricin sent to the President and Senators
Flooding in Grand Rapids
Suicide
Huge explosion in West, Texas
Kermit Gosnell & his sick ways of murdering babies
Marijuana legalized in some states
Our 2nd amendment in jeopardy
Murder
Legalization of gay marriage in some states
Pornography
Sandy Hook
North Korea

It seems so bleak in America, maybe more so than ever before.  It appears that this world could not be further from the Lord.  Things seem dark, sorrowful, and like perhaps Sodom & Gomorrah had nothing on the United States of America in 2013.

Christians, it’s time to cry for our Nation.  It’s time to get down on our knees before the Lord and cry out to Him to heal our land.  It’s time to pray like never before for people to wake up and turn to Jesus.  The Democratic Party is not going to save America.  The Republican Party is not going to save America.  The only hope that our Nation has is true repentance and a turning back to God! 

“I strongly suspect that if we saw all the difference even the tiniest of our prayers to God make, and all the people those little prayers were destined to affect, and all the consequences of those effects down through the centuries, we would be so paralyzed with awe at the power of prayer that we would be unable to get up off our knees for the rest of our lives.”- Dr. Peter Kreeft, Professor of Philosophy Boston College

Last week I had the privilege of praying for Boston with hundreds of friends from my church, ImagePrestonwood Baptist Church in Plano, Texas.  It was an honor to lift this city up in prayer to the Lord.  This is the kind of praying that we need to be doing every day for our neighborhoods, our cities, our states, our country, our elected officials, our judges, our president, etc.  Christians, God is calling us to prayer, and He is also calling us to action.  This is not the time to back down, this is not the time to cower or retreat, this is the time to charge with the Gospel of Jesus Christ.  This is the time, more than ever before to spread the Good News.  You see while we do mourn and cry over things that are happening in our country, we do not cry as though we have no hope.  We have a hope in Jesus that surpasses every heartache and every fear. 

Romans 8:18 “For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us.”

I love this verse.  The Bible is telling us that no matter how dark and sorrowful things might get on this earth, the sorrow cannot even compare with the joy that we will have in Heaven! 

ImageBelievers, I urge you to cry, cry like never before for the people around you, for the lost who are dying and going to hell, for the injustice in this world.  Then, get up.  Dry your tears.  And CHARGE with the love of Jesus Christ!  We have the hope for this world, we have the ONLY hope for this world and that hope is the Good News of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.  It’s time to be bold, it’s time to stand together and it’s time to be strong.  You’ve heard the phrase “Go big or go home.”  For the Christian it’s “Go big THEN go home.”  Once our work here is done, then and only then can we enjoy the Glory of the Father and all that He has for us in Heaven!

Image

Run and Pray for Boston at Prestonwood

 

 

 

Socially Acceptable

Standard

Screen Shot 2013-03-25 at 10.47.16 AMI love social media! I seriously love it.  Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, MySpace (haha, remember, MySpace, poor Tom!) the list goes on and on.  Everywhere we look we can connect with people from all over the world.  Social media has helped the world become a much smaller place.  I have friends online from China, India, Brazil, Vietnam, Germany and other countries.  There are people that I am friends with or follow online that I haven’t seen in years but because of social media I feel like I know what is going on with their lives, kudos Zuckerberg.

However, like any loving relationship, there are some things that drive me absolutely crazy about social media but it’s not social media itself as much as it’s the users of social media!  Here are my top 9 things about social media that drive me bonkers!  I was going to make it an even 10, but hey, I like to be different.  See if you can relate:

1. Game Requests – I do not want to plow your virtual farm (there are times when I hope that birds overtake your farm and it turns into a virtual Hitchcock movie).  I do not want to be in the matrix mafia with you or visit your digital island, but hey, this is just me.  If you would like to invite me to your actual farm or if you have a private island in reality, I would be more than happy to go horseback riding with you and I would be ecstatic to come to your island.   I doubt however, that I would be willing to join an actual mafia with you, but one can never tell.

2. Your status update/tweet is not your diary!  There are certain things about your life that all of your social media friends simply do not need to know.  There are things that should be kept personal and private.  Your social media outlets are also not venting sessions with your therapist!  We also do not need to know if the doctor lanced your boil or if your boss is still a major jerk, you told us yesterday and the day before and the day before that.  Basically you’re letting us know that a boil and your jerk of a boss are more interesting than you.  Let’s keep it classy, people!

3. “If you love Jesus re-post this picture.”  One like equals respect, one share equals love!”  “Re-post this if you lovScreen Shot 2013-03-25 at 10.46.56 AMe your country!”  “Bill Gates is giving away $1M – like this to be entered in the drawing.” Seriously people, I mean, seriously, enough with this already.  I actually saw one of these the other day that said, “Like & repost if you love Jesus, keep scrolling if you love Satan.”  ARE YOU KIDDING ME, C’MON!  Yes, I kept scrolling and guess what, I love Jesus and He loves me.  Last time I checked His love is not contingent on what we do for Him, which most definitely includes reposting a picture to social media.

4. Let’s all stop living life through social media.  It’s there to enhance our lives not overtake them!  If you’re at the gym having a great workout, enjoy the workout but it will still “count” even if you do not post about it.  If you’re having a great meal, enjoy every last savory bite, but we really do not need to see an image of your casserole.  Your baby is adorable and I commented that in the last 97 images that you posted of them, but enjoy the time with your child and put the camera down once in a while plus your baby is filling up my news feed!

5. It is not necessary to like/comment on everything.  For example “I lost my job today.” – probably shouldn’t hit like on that one!

6. I do not want to have to study and decipher your status update/tweet.  If you’re going to post make it easy for us to understand.  Example: “I’ve been waiting and waiting and still nothing guess I’ll keep moving and take what I’ve learned.”  WHAT ARE YOU WAITING FOR?  I’m glad you learned something from this, because I haven’t got a clue!  Or, when someone ends a status update/tweet with “…you know who you are.”  I don’t know – is it me, is it someone else, help me please!

7. There is no need to let everyone know that you are deleting people from your friends list or followers.  Example status/tweet “Cleaning out my friends list, click like if you want to make the cut.” or “It’s time to purge some people from here.” or “I’ve just cleared out my friends list, so if you’re reading this, you made the cut.”  Made the cut??  Is your friends list a team now, and if so what are we playing?  Are you going to post a list of the team in the locker room?  If you feel the need to clear people out of your friends list or followers, then JUST DO IT ALREADY and quit acting like we’re all on the edge of our seats, biting our nails wondering if we made your team.

8. There’s virtually no accountability on social media.  Social media allows us to post things and say things but these things are never said/posted face to face.  However, we must all remember that they are still our words and actions that we are putting out there for the whole world to see.  If you wouldn’t blow up at someone in person, why do it on Twitter?  If you wouldn’t walk around all of your 1,200 friends (parents, pastor, old lady Sunday school teacher, your kids, your kids friends) in a bikini, why post it on Facebook?  Everything that we are putting on social media is seen by the world (your boss, your parents, your kids, your friends, your pastor, etc.) we need to watch our words and actions and have some accountability to our selves.

9.  Nobody likes a stalker, just keeping it real, people!

What do you love or what drives you crazy about social media?

Don’t Judge a Book by Ally Hooten

Standard

This was written by my 12 year old niece, Ally Michelle.  She is a very talented writer and a girl with a sweet heart.  Enjoy!

ImageIf you have ever heard the phrase, “Don’t judge a book by its cover,” you obviously know what that phrase means. Don’t go to a library; pick up a book and say, “This book looks STUPID!” You haven’t even read the abstract!! Judging a book by its cover would be like judging a person by their outward appearance. I totally agree with this phrase! 

The Bible says that only God knows the heart. We only see the outside appearance. For instance, one year my family had a family reunion. There were quite a few people there that I had never seen before in my life! But there was one man that really stood out. He had long hair and a beard. All I could think about was, “That homeless guy is related to me?!” I didn’t even know if he was homeless. I just looked at his outward appearance. Then I talked to him and I found out that he was really a delightful and friendly person!

So don’t judge anything by its outward appearance. Read the abstract of a book before you say that it is a piece of junk, or get to know the person before you judge them by their outward appearance. You will find out real quick that it will help you get through life and you will have amazing friends!

 Image

Flowers by Emma Hooten

Standard
Image

Emma Nicole Hooten

My beautiful & hilarious niece, Emma had to write a poem about flowers for school and since Valentine’s Day is nearly here, I thought I would share these beautiful & thought provoking words.  Enjoy!

Flowers
by Emma Hooten

Flowers are a wonderful gift
They are fantastic gifts to give someone who is sick.
You could give them to a person who has had a face lift
Or to someone who

Image

Yeah her aunt is hot and single!!!! WOO HOO!

choked on a carrot stick.

Roses, lilies, tulips, and such
They can all help someone who is down on their luck.
Flowers could cheer a pal who recently fell in a rabbit hutch
Or help a poor soul who was hit by a dump truck.

Maybe your friend is very grumpy.
Maybe they’ve had a very bad day.
Maybe they’ve had some milk that was lumpy.
Maybe their lunch was thrown in the Hudson Bay.

These people need at least one flower
So they don’t do something crazy like jumping off a high tower.

Image

Me and Emma