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How Can I Navigate the Tensions in My Relationship Systems, Part 1?

In my last entry, I noted the lingering tension people are experiencing in their families and other relationships, tension exposed after the presidential election of 2016 that continues to the present. If it is true that Jesus called me to be in some kind of relationship with people who are different than me, perhaps even hostile towards me, and if this relationship is to be redemptive and reveal the love of Jesus Christ, then how can I accomplish this when they don't like me much and the feelings are largely mutual?

Bowen Family Systems Theory describes tension relationship systems (such as families, churches, friendships, and even workplaces) as the result of anxiety: an emotional response to a sense of threat. That threat can be real or imaginary. Anxiety can be chronic: the system may feel threatened all the time - a constant crisis. Anxiety can also be acute: temporary elevation in anxiety that will subside in time.

Some people's relational systems are always tense. It m…
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Confederate Statues and My Relationships

The alienation and conflict experienced in many families and personal relationships after the presidential election of 2016 appear to persist in American culture as the summer of 2017 draws to a close. The topics are somewhat different (Confederate monuments, illegal immigration, race relations) and in addition to the President of the United States, people are focusing on other players (the alt-right or alt-left movements, for instance), but the emotions seem familiar: anger, anxiety, paranoia, outrage, dismay, and so on.


As a Christian, how am I to manage myself and my relationships during these tense times? Is it possible, or even desirable, for me to engage in conversations about tense topics without experiencing further conflict or alienation?


In Luke 6:27-49, Jesus gives moral and ethical instructions for his followers.

·I am to love my enemies and do good to those who hate me.
·I am to bless those who curse me and pray for those who mistreat me.
·I am to practice nonretaliation an…

A Eulogy for Dan Smith

One of my oldest and closest friends, Dan Smith, has lost his battle with cancer, but is now experiencing victory over death in the presence of the Lord. I am feeling so much as I write these words, but I want to capture some of what he meant to me…what he still means to me.

I met Dan in August of 1989, the Fall Semester of our freshman year at Howard Payne University. We were both outsiders, of sorts, who were thrown together in one of those “get to know you” small groups they put you in at college boot camps. For some reason we clicked, and became pretty close very quickly. It must have been Dan’s cool Tom Selleck mustache. I couldn’t grow a mustache. For about two years we remained inseparable.

Dan Smith taught me how to live in Christ. When I met Dan I was at a sort of crossroads in my life. I spent most of my teenage years as a juvenile delinquent, running from the Lord. By the time I wandered in to Brownwood to go to college I had stopped running and surrendered my life to Christ …

New Sermon Series: Commencement

On May 23 we will honor our graduating seniors. In preparing my message for that morning I realized I had more to say than could fit in one sermon (even one of mine!). So, starting on May 16, we will have three sermons on commencement: answering the call to be in but not of the world. I will ask three questions I think are vital for those who intend to spend any amount of time engaged with the unbelieving world, either on the college campus or in the workplace. Here are the three questions:

May 16: Do you have a story of your own?
May 23: Are you capable of living for someone other than yourself?
May 30: Are you interested in giving your life to something larger than your hopes and dreams?

The answers to these questions could determine how the unbelieving world responds to us and the person we claim to worship.

FBC Rockport in the Spring of 2010

Our strategic plan called for a lot of action in 2010.While we are not meeting all the anticipated deadlines, we are at work on a number of important and exciting things.In the midst of this activity we can see the Lord producing fruit as we seek to accomplish His purpose for our church.In fact, there is so much going on that it is possible to miss the forest for the trees, so to speak.So I have put together some information here that will hopefully allow you to get an overview of all that God is doing at FBC Rockport.Worship·In 2010 I have preached through the book of 1Timothy, and we are winding down our series on “Family Dynamics.”After Mother’s Day I will begin a new series called “Commencement,” which will be for our graduates and for every Christian who wants to follow our Lord to be in but not of the world.This summer I will preach through the book of Romans.·Attendance so far in 2010 peaked at 900 on Easter Sunday.We are back to a regular mid 500s in attendance since the Winte…