Henry Loftin Legacy

I recall meeting Henry Loftin for the first time at Pacesetters Camp in High School. Some family friends invited me to come to camp, and I found myself with a close family of college students in a ministry called Glowing Heart. It was not by chance that God led me to Pacesetters Camp at Dallas Baptist University my Junior Summer in High School. I had many thoughts about my life in Christ, but for some reason Pacesetters was like the fertilizer to the seeds of passion God had been placing in my heart. I found a camp experience that challenged me and stretched me to not only talk about Jesus, but take action for Jesus. That first night, I remember Henry speaking to our group and challenging us to get our relationship right with Jesus at the front end of camp, so that Jesus could work in us for the rest of the week. I remember that God impressed on me His compassion for the lost and the lowly so much, that I was literally WRECKED for Him. What God had been planting in me had risen up as a Passion to follow Christ. From that point forward, that Passion turned to many steps of action at my church. I saw the vision for my life. I began to understand that God could use me to help the lost and the broken where I lived. He had begun framing me to become a Servant Leader.

DBU Memorial Day Celebration

Little did I know that the Lord had a plan for me to join Glowing Heart Ministries in 1998. Henry became more than a camp director or speaker to me. He invited me and everyone on the team to be his family. That family is one that has experienced many days of traveling from church to church, leading to serve as Christ served, love with all our hearts, and experience the life-changing power of the Name of Jesus across the ends of the Earth.

Israel Trip 2001

Not only that, but Laura and I met at DBU and spent many days learning the same ministry through Glowing Heart Ministries. Henry counseled Laura during our “famous break up.” We worked hard to not let our “love life” interfere with the ministry we were doing. Henry taught us to be above reproach and serve others in all that we did. HOWEVER, when the stuff dropped and Laura and I had that time of separation, Henry said something to the sort of, “Next time, give me a heads up when you are about to do something like this.” Henry was someone safe that Laura could run to in a time of trouble. That is why, when we did realize we were meant to spend the rest of our lives together, we had no doubt that Henry would be the one to officiate our marriage. That was right here in New Braunfels, Tx, by the way! We brought the whole Glowing Heart team to do the music, many were bridesmaids and groomsmen, and we knew Henry would be the right person to share the Gospel to our friends and family attending our Holy Matrimony happening at First Baptist Church that hot day of August 3, 2002.

August 3, 2002

I have personally been thankful to the Lord that my place as the Middle School Pastor at Oakwood has given me the ability to continue to share that same legacy Henry shared with me. The blessing is the legacy of Christ passed down from generation to generation. As we remember Henry’s life, we cannot move far from the Good News of Jesus Christ. That is because he was a remarkable example of what Jesus looks like in today’s time. Here are some clips we had from Middle School Pacesetters Camp this past Summer. #henryloftinlegacy

Middle School Camp – June 2021

Second Step – GROW

OUR MSM Second step is GROW.

As we work to connect the amazing SHIPLEY DO-NUT to Spiritual steps in the MSM, we take the second step to think through and realize that this one is a process.

Think about all the brain changes, hormone changes, brace-face changes, school/educational changes, on top of all the cultural and world-wide changes that hover over us on a daily basis. Just the body alone is a growth process and seems to have intentionality within it.

Much like a GOURMET RECIPE for a SHIPLEY DO-NUT, God has a certain WAY of moving in our lives and a PATH for GROWTH spiritually.

1 John Chapter 2 speaks to those who keep HIS WORD as those who find the perfection of GOD’S LOVE. If we live in HIM and walk as JESUS walked, we begin the process of growth.

THIS RECIPE comes with GOD’S WORD or HIS TRUTH. WE GROW WHEN WE KNOW GOD’S TRUTH. In fact, John goes on to say that the “anointing” as reference to the Holy Spirit is what teaches us THE TRUTH.

ARE YOU GROWING IN YOUR RELATIONSHIP WITH JESUS?

Growth is a process

Need Wisdom… JUST ASK

As we hit the MID-SUMMER mark, we stand with one foot in the laid back, vacation mode, and another foot leaning toward the start-up mode for the new school year. School practices of various kinds begin, sales for school supplies remind us that new times are coming (even if we try REALLY HARD to put that thought off). As I look forward to meeting new faces that enter into the Oakwood Student Ministry for the first time as well as seeing everyone back home after trips and adventures of the Summer, I come back to something that is BASIC, yet easy to look over.

WISDOM IS FROM GOD.

We seem to run to Google or ask Siri what time the game is, how the weather might be, or how to spell that SAT word that we keep forgetting. We tune into the 24 hour news and gain insight on world happenings and wonder how we can live our lives in reaction to the circumstances around us. We choose to find what works best for our kids and ourselves when it comes to education. That might be working on study habits, worrying over getting a certain teacher that seems to be a great match for our kid, or choosing to take a whole new adventure of learning (didn’t we do that during the shut down?). The point I am all too easily revealing is that we have so much information at our disposal, that we may forget the need for the most simple ASK.

ASK GOD FOR WISDOM.

With all the information at our fingertips, we still find ourselves stepping in holes, repeating mistakes or even offenses, and wonder how such an educated mind of a human being that we are can slip down the slippery slope of life as fast as we can. Again, WISDOM is from GOD and the key is, that we must take time in our daily comings and goings to ASK FOR IT. Maybe it takes some time for you and me to realize that WE LACK WISDOM. Quite possibly, those repeated circles you are running in remind you of something. ALL OF US LACK WISDOM. WHY? WISDOM IS FROM GOD.

GOD GIVES WISDOM GENEROUSLY.

God is no device that we must subscribe to. He is not a podcast to listen to. He is not a news anchor on location somewhere, waiting for the next chaotic storm. He is the Maker of Heaven and Earth, and He contains this stuff called WISDOM. Wait a minute? He holds it, but does not desire to keep it! He GENEROUSLY GIVES without the added disapproval for asking. He is ready and willing to pour out WISDOM on YOU if you just ASK.

Of all the things this world has to offer, and you have sought after, HAVE YOU ASKED FOR WISDOM?

No matter how much society changes, the container of WISDOM is still GOD. He helps us know what to do with the overload of information and chaos we consume on a daily basis. The simple fact is IF YOU NEED WISDOM, JUST ASK.

OAKWOOD VBS SERVE OPPORTUNITY

CALLING ALL STUDENTS AND PARENTS!!!!!!

Monday, July 26, 2021, 9:00 AM – Friday, July 30, 2021, 12:00 PM

WE NEED YOUR HELP!!!!!!

We need Crew Leaders to help lead children to their various stations each day.

We need Outdoor Games leaders to help Pastor B bring the energy outside during Recreation Time.

We need your prayers as Oakwood invests all our creative energy to provide a place for children to hear about the love of JESUS each day.

Psalm 86

‘Teach me your way, Lord , that I may rely on your faithfulness; give me an undivided heart, that I may fear your name. ‘ Psalms 86:11

This week we are at MIDDLE SCHOOL CAMP. I am so excited to say YES to things this SUMMER that the shut down put a halt to last year. With the changing season in mind, and the hope to move forward, I cannot help but look back and THANK THE LORD for HIS FAITHFULNESS.

Psalm 86:11 has been on my heart since Pastor Ray shared it in his sermon. Speaking about purity of heart and getting to the root of what our humanity deals with reminds me that one strong way to combat temptation and falling back into “old habits” is to daily surrender our hearts to the Lord. The Psalm is a simple reminder that the Lord has only been FAITHFUL during the unstable and unprecedented times our world has faced. That FAITHFULNESS is something we MUST RELY ON moving forward as well. The rock that we build our lives on starts in the foundation of the Lord and His great love for us in Jesus Christ. Choosing to rely on the FAITHFULNESS of GOD, and put that into action, is the same as walking in GODLY WISDOM. We stand secure in God’s Word and who He is and TRUST that what He asks us to do in our lives is what is right for us today.

The second part of Psalm 86:11 reveals something that must take place beyond the outside appearance. Don’t get me wrong, signing up for Camp, going to Camp, and taking actions to serve one another are all great actions to take, but the motivation, energy, and true power comes from something deeper. A personal decision to surrender our hearts to the Lord and allow Him to guide our steps in our daily lives leads to the purity of a life in Christ. My prayer is that the Lord engages in and speaks to the heart of our students on a personal level. That His still small voice will grow into a strong relationship that goes beyond only taking action out of duty to truly knowing God the Father. When we truly KNOW the FATHER, we find that fearing Him is a joy. The access that Jesus gives us to the Father places us in a position to honor and glorify the ALIMIGHTY GOD, while at the same time, rejoicing in the fact that WE KNOW HIM PERSONALLY. He calls to the depths of our hearts because that is what He desires. He wants our undivided love and affection given to Him because He created us to long for Him. The problem is that we naturally give our love and affection to other things, and we end up unsatisfied. When we stop dividing our hearts up and give them totally to the Lord, we find true satisfaction.

Father, we rely on your FAITHFULNESS from generation to generation. We willingly give our hearts to you to find satisfaction and live the rest of our days glorifying your name. In the NAME OF JESUS, we ask for your hand on our Middle School students and all that are participating at Camp to hear from you, and find full satisfaction in knowing you personally.

AMEN!

Jesus Does the Impossible

Our OSM GAME NIGHT before Spring Break involved a simple game called IMPOSSIBLE SHOT. We went “big time” with the huge logo print out and a board backing to set up the target. The prize?

One full year of all OSM EVENTS paid!

Check out the Video Below

OSM Night Impossible Shot

The simple game involves a nerf bow and arrow, a long distance, and the perfect shot… that’s why it’s called IMPOSSIBLE SHOT!

We tied in IMPOSSIBLE SHOT with MISSING THE MARK referenced in Romans 3:23.

23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, 

and are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus,”

‭‭Romans‬ ‭3:22-24‬ ‭ESV‬‬

We can literally insert the greek word hamartía into the text to pull out the word picture presented and end up with:

“for all have [missed the mark] and fall short of the glory of God,

Reality is, we have all missed it. The accuracy required to perfectly hit the target of the Godliness expected from the Father is unobtainable or IMPOSSIBLE.

Take the Rich Young Ruler that encountered Jesus and seemed to have a successful life with wealth to back up his claims. He seemed to hit the target with resources and following the guidelines setup by the Ten Commandments. You could say he was a “good guy.” However, Jesus challenges him to give up all his wealth. It seems that the ask to follow Jesus went deeper than outer appearance. Jesus was going for the Rich Young Ruler’s heart.

Even the disciples questioned Jesus about eternal things. It seems that they could not wrap their minds around what Jesus was aiming at. What they saw with their eyes and heard with their ears seemed to make salvation itself… IMPOSSIBE.

Jesus comes back with a key statement that we can all take to heart:

“What is impossible with man is possible with God.”

Reality is, it is IMPOSSIBLE for humankind to reconcile with a Holy God.

That is why we need Jesus to take the bow and arrow, line up the shot for us, and nail it right in the target. PERFECT SHOT!

As fully God and fully man, Jesus aimed at the target of the cross. He lived as a perfect example and died in our place on the cross to pay for the overwhelming debt of sin that makes eternal salvation impossible. What seems to be impossible for mankind to pay, Jesus took care of by not only dying, but raising again to give us hope for eternity.

Will You Allow Jesus To Do The IMPOSSIBLE for YOU?

Can You Hear Me Now?

CAN YOU HEAR ME NOW?

Okay, so the Verizon guy… wait the Sprint guy… whoever he is with, gave us a simple phrase that sticks out in my mind all the time. Our family totally changed services here in New Braunfels in order to HEAR ONE ANOTHER. From where we live currently to where we go out and about, we continuously found certain areas where our calls were dropped. Then, as we moved out of the “dead spot” we magically connected again. Needless to say, we made a move TO BE HEARD.

As we are looking at PRAYER or CONNECTING WITH GOD as a church, our Middle Schoolers are going back to the basics of what it means to connect with God.

That same question, “CAN YOU HEAR ME NOW?” seems to come up as we focus on prayer as well.

The BEST example we have is JESUS HIMSELF, as he preaches His first (and need I say LONGEST) sermon that cuts to our hearts, even today. In this Sermon, presented on a mountain, he directs His people to think about the “WHY” when it comes to prayer.

“Don’t be like the hypocrites, for they love standing in the synagogues and on the street corners to be seen by men. I tell you the truth, they have received their reward in full” (Matthew 6:5 NIV).

 “But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then, your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you”  (Matthew 6:6 NIV).

WHAT IS THE REWARD?

When we create a space and a place to CALL ON the Lord, we get more than an instant download code for 20% off on a flash sale. When we make time to focus on the person of JESUS and call out to HIM, we get more than three wishes for all our dreams to come true. Our REWARD is far greater than a “good day” or a material possession.

OUR REWARD IS A DEEP RELATIONSHIP WITH JESUS.

Isn’t that what our hearts truly call out for? I believe we are moved to choose a payment plan and upgrade to a new cell phone because we value the close relationships in our lives. We desire to connect with others on a deeper level, and we want to guarantee a secure connection.

How does the value with our Father translate to our daily lives?

I believe that an intentional TIME and PLACE builds a foundation for a deep encounter with the God of the Universe through Jesus Christ. How have you created an intentional time and place this week to connect? How have you seen the ultimate reward work out in your own daily walk with Jesus?

Pray This For the New Year

As we begin the New Year, Oakwood is beginning 40 days of Prayer to kick things off.

I don’t know about you, but many times, I want to pray, have the desire to grow in my prayer life, but I don’t know exactly what else to pray after about… 30 seconds. I think this problem leads to giving up on connecting with God in this way on a consistent basis. I mean, with all the distractions of raising kids, getting them in the right place with the right things at the right time, sometimes I turn around and realize I missed getting ME in the right place with the right things at the right time. Then we have technology, the game to watch, and oh yea, that source of income is good to invest in as well. It’s not that we don’t want to connect with God that’s the problem. I think its the fact that time is always slipping away through our fingertips. Before you know it, you are laying yourself to sleep and throw up a, “THANK YOU JESUS… FOR MY BED!”

So as not to WASTE TIME, maybe we need to build confidence to use our time WISELY. That is where the question begins to be:

If I’m going to pray, how can I do it right?

You want to do it right? Literally COPY A GREAT PRAYER!

‘And so, from the day we heard, we have not ceased to pray for you, asking that you may be filled with the knowledge of his will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding, so as to walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing to him: bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God; being strengthened with all power, according to his glorious might, for all endurance and patience with joy; giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of the saints in light. He has delivered us from the domain of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of his beloved Son, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins. ‘ Colossians 1:9-14

What better example do we have than Paul and his prayer out of God’s Truth in Colossians?

My challenge for myself for the NEW YEAR is to just PRAY THIS.

I am taking whatever time I have in the morning, after lunch time for a moment, as my mind wanders in the evening, to basically copy and paste most of Paul’s prayer for individuals that come to mind. The easiest way to start is to find those right in front of you. Pray for your family to be filled with Spiritual Wisdom and Understanding. Pray for good works and fruit from God Himself. Ask for strength according to His might. Do you need endurance, patience, and joy anytime soon? How about the consistent reminder that we have a Father through Jesus Christ that delivered us out of darkness and qualified us to be saints in light? Needless to say, I have found my own joy and connection with God as I have used a great prayer guide in Colossians Chapter 1.

HOW ABOUT YOU?