MainKids Camp Out 2016: Part 2

June 23, 2016

By Dolores Rader, Minister to Children

Camp Out is coming to a close and we are filled with sadness to leave our
friends and this beautiful, beautiful place! It has been such an amazing
camp filled with God’s presence at every turn. Here are a few highlights
from me and then highlights from the boys!

Since worship is our central theme to Camp Out, we have one worship
service each day we are here. On Tuesday, Rachel Moore was our preacher
for our midday service and the girls lead in every aspect of the service
from tolling the hour to singing “Little Lamb” as the offertory anthem to
praying, reading scripture, and ushering. On Wednesday, Suzann Herrmann
and the boys led the evening service at the water. Suzann preached on
looking up and finding God wherever we are. The boys sang Amazing Grace
and ended the service with a joyful “I’ll Fly Away”. As is our tradition,
on the morning we leave, we will have our final Camp Out worship service
outside at the giant cross here at Artesian Lakes. Anna Rader is our
preacher and the camp counselors lead in worship. All of our worship was
based in Psalm 92 this year.

MKCampout2016FWe played at the playground, played capture the flag, hiked, swam, flew
down the slides into the lake, and shopped at the gift shop for candy and
souvenirs. In between all of the fun, we talked about and practiced
different disciplines for personal worship. Amanda Villasenor talked to
us about what the Bible says about personal time with the Lord and how
she practices journaling. We made our own journals and journaled
throughout camp. Emily Westerburg talked to us about the importance of
devotion time and how she and Mr. Trey do this together and separately.
We also talked about ways to ask for prayer from our friends and ways we
can pray when we can’t find the words and when we only want to share our
thoughts with God. We made teeny, tiny prayer boxes, lit candles, and
prayed for each other.


And now highlights from the boys:

I loved everything about this camp. My favorite parts though were playing
with my friends, swimming, free time, and seeing wildlife. –TrevorMcLaughlin

I love camp because we can have fun. My favorite part in camp is the
slides and seeing wildlife. -Ulysses Paredes

I liked naming the wildlife. That is my favorite thing. -Cody Sawyer

I love swimming with my friends and spending time with my friends. For
swimming, I love the slide! -William Fowler

My favorite thing here to do is Circle Time and free time. -Timothy Kutz

Quiet time is my favorite time at camp. -Marco Campos

My favorite part about MainKids Camp Out is hanging out with my church
friends. I love playing tag, swim, and do a bunch of other stuff. -Lee


Peru Mission Trip Summer 2016 Day 1

June 12, 2016

By Anna Rader

Today, we got the opportunity to visit OSA’s new church, Luz de Esperanza, and meet some of their youth as well as participate in their worship service. As returning youth, we saw some familiar faces and encountered new ones as we passed through confused faces and broken translations with silly games, from finger jousting to Gigantes, Magos, y Duendes. Sharing some of our own youth group game traditions, we got to know the other youth and break the ice. After these games, we sang for them in both Hebrew and Spanish and listened to a heartwarming story told by Kevin and translated into Spanish by Dennis. As we worshipped together, we realized that while we may speak different languages, sing different songs, or pray in different ways, we all worship the same God. Our faith unites people from Houston, Rome, Collique, and many other cities around the world, which is a very comforting and humbling feeling.perusummer2016Day1.jpg

Anna Rader is a recent graduate of Manvel High School. In the Fall she will be attend William & Mary.

Give Grace…by Erin Conaway

December 3, 2010

By Erin Conaway, Associate Pastor, South Main Baptist Church

There seem to be these tiny pockets of grace that jump out at us and sometimes we are fortunate enough to catch them and other times we sail right by without even blinking.  It was at the end of a long day; Carmen was at a choir rehearsal so I was on daddy duty.  We ate dinner and had the usual dinner struggles, played games and laughed and cried, read books and bargained for just one more, changed into jammies and brushed teeth and used the potty and it was finally time to turn off the lights and go to bed.  I was spent and not in any position to negotiate through any more questions or requests.  Sam was stalling like professional sports agent.  I finally kissed him goodnight, told him I loved him and walked to the door.  He said in a voice that I knew instantly was sincere, “Dadda, please come lay with me in the dark…I’m scared.”  I turned off the light and lay down next to him.  He’s had a few dark issues lately and we’ve talked about how he’s brave and strong and how his stuffed animals will help keep him safe and most importantly, how God is always with him.  He anticipated what I was going to tell him and asked, “Is God here?”

“Yes, buddy, God is here.”

“How tall is God?”

“Well, God is taller than anything you can imagine—even taller than the stars.”

“No way—if God was that tall he’d tear up our roof.”

I laughed—so in love with the combination of his little mind at work and his sensitive spirit.  “Good point…God has a way of being with us without breaking our houses all apart.”

“How old is God?”

“God is as old as anything there is—even older than dinosaurs—God was around before all of that because God is the one who made it all.”

“I sure wish we could see God?”

“Me too…and we can—when we do things the way God would do, sometimes we see God in each other—like when we are kind to other people and love other people.  And sometimes we see God in the beautiful things around us—like beautiful flowers and sparkling stars—because God made all that and in the same way I can tell when you’ve colored a picture—we can tell that God is here because we see the wonderful things God made.”  Doh!  I went too far and lost him…I thought…because he asked me about taking the manna bags to the homeless on Sunday.

Then he said, “Do the homeless get to play in the snow when it snows?”

“Yes, but they also have to sleep in it, which is very cold and no fun at all—snow is mostly fun when you have a warm place to go.”

He was quiet for a minute and I know enough not to mess with his contemplation or try to rush him in these sacred moments.  He held up his little puppy and was doing something with him, but I couldn’t tell what it was in the dark.  I asked, “Sam, what’s puppy doing?”

“He’s trying to look in his heart so he can see God.”

“Good for puppy…in his heart is the best place to look—yours too.”

Sam made it to sleep that night without any further assistance on my part.  I almost missed it…almost just turned the light out, told him he’d be fine and closed the door.  I am confident I have missed more of those wonder-filled moments than I have taken in, but what a blessed gift they are.  I heard a song on the radio by Lady Antebellum that echoes a similar sentiment and want to share the lyrics with you:

Traffic crawls, cell phone calls, talk radio screams at me

Through my tinted window 
I see

A little girl, rust red minivan

She’s got chocolate on her face, got little hands,

And she waves at me,

Yeah she smiles at me.

Well hello world…

How you been? 
Good to see you my old friend

Sometimes I feel, cold as steel broken like I’m never gonna heal

I see a light, a little hope in a little girl,

Well hello world…

Everyday I drive by a little white church,

Its got these little white crosses like angels in the yard

Maybe I should stop on in, say a prayer

Maybe talk to God like He is there

Oh I know he’s there, yeah I know he’s there

Well hello world…

How you been? 
Good to see you my old friend,

Sometimes I feel as cold as steel and broken like I’m never gonna heal

I see a light, a little grace, little faith unfurl.

Well hello world…

Sometimes I forget what living’s for,

And I hear my life through my front door,

And I’ll be there, 
oh I’m home again

I see my wife, little boy, little girl,

Hello world…

Hello world…all the empty disappears

I remember why I’m here

Just surrender and believe

I fall down on my knees

Oh hello world, hello world, hello world…

Grace Remembered…by Amy Grizzle Kane

October 20, 2010

By Amy Grizzle Kane, Minister to Adults

Will Kona remember us? I was worried our own dog wouldn’t remember us after we sent her to four weeks of obedience camp in Brenham. We’d owned her only a month before we knew we needed help training her and found puppy camp heaven.  She loves playing with other dogs, gets to chase chickens every now and then, and is learning so fast she’s at the head of her class. That’s our girl.  So on our way to visit Kona we discussed, not our worry at how she is, but our worry that she had forgotten us.

We arrived and watched with beaming doggie parent pride as they showed us everything Kona learned.  After she had done everything they asked of her, they let her free to come see us.  We were standing with a few other doggie parents and she approached slowly and with caution.  She sniffed the couple next to us with a bit of disinterest, keeping her distance.  Next, she moved towards us.

My heart sank as it was obvious she didn’t recognize us immediately.  I knelt down so she could smell my hand… a quick sniff and instantly the world changed. Her ears and tail perked up and happy wagging, excited jumping, and joyful licking pursued.  She’s not lapdog size, but she bounced between my lap and Sean’s, covering us with happy doggie kisses.  Even after weeks of separation, she remembers us!  A week later, I’m still happy and smiling like a goof, telling everyone who will listen that my dog remembered me.  I know it’s silly and I know she’s “just” a dog; yet, when my dog remembering me brings a smile to my face weeks later…it makes me realize how much that joy multiplies when humans remember each other…and when we are reminded that God remembers us.

There is powerful grace in remembering and being remembered. I wonder who in our lives needs to experience the grace of being remembered?  A loved one who feels taken for granted, a church member in a care facility, an employee who feels unnoticed, a newcomer who feels out of place?  Some of us may think grace is always as big as the story of the Prodigal Son.  Grace, even when it seems “little,” is just as powerful.  Whether someone remembers your birthday or that it was a year ago today you lost a loved one.  Whether a friend remembers and shows up with your favorite ice cream flavor after a bad day or a “stranger” remembers your name.  Take note of when you feel the grace and joy of being remembered and find ways to share it with others.  The hearts and lives we touch, and even God, may still be smiling weeks later.

Give Grace.

Give Grace…by Thomas Coker

October 15, 2010

By Thomas Coker, Minister of Music

This is a story of how grace is given and received in unexpected ways when one is following the Spirit through inspiration – in this case, the inspiration of text and music written by John Rutter and being rehearsed by the South Main Sanctuary Choir.

At the end of July this year, I completed a two year stint as Church Vice President of the Texas Choral Directors Association, a wonderful organization which brings together choral directors from all over the state and beyond to encourage choral singing in our state.

One of the duties of the Church Vice President is to plan and execute a worship service for the convention.  We were remarkably fortunate this past year to have Mr. John Rutter of London, England reprise his visit of 30 years ago to TCDA.  We built that worship service around the three anthems, For the Beauty of the Earth, Open Thou My Eyes, & Lord, Make Me an Instrument Mr. Rutter had written for TCDA in 1980.  I asked Mr. Rutter if he would be so good as to write a new anthem for us in 2010 to complete the service we were planning.  Mr. Rutter agreed to this even though he no longer accepts commissions and keeps an incredibly busy schedule as composer/producer/arranger.  The anthem he wrote for us, With heart and hands is being prepared in October and November for the South Main worship service November 21 just before Thanksgiving.  Our choir loves it, and you will too.

A little background for those who do not know Bruce and Kristy Wade and the twins, John and Christian:  Kristy lost her husband, Bruce, to brain cancer – the same kind of brain cancer that took Senator Ted Kennedy.  Bruce was in his early 40’s and in spite of his relatively young age, had accomplished much.  He was a geo-physicist who was a very important part of the discovery teams for Exxon (10 years) and Shell (13 years).  He was instrumental in uncovering oil reserves in the Gulf of Mexico, in Oman, and natural gas reserves in Malaysia.  These discoveries have helped make energy reserves available to many more people in different parts of the globe.

In 2008, Bruce’s cancer was discovered and the Wades relocated to Houston – Shell’s US headquarters and the location of the Texas Medical Center’s MD Anderson hospital, one of the world’s finest cancer treatment hospitals.  Just before the cancer was diagnosed, Bruce & Kristy had decided to begin their family.  Bruce’s very first question to his neuro-oncologist after arriving in Houston concerned the effects of the chemo and radiation on fathering a child.  In the midst of beginning treatment, the plan to start a family paralleled the treatment.  Following several disappointments, Kristy and Bruce wound up with “a miracle or two.”  Kristy conceived twins!  She was “great with child” – children actually – as Bruce was rapidly declining.  The twin boys (Christian and John) were born shortly before Bruce died.   We (South Main) and numerous friends from across the globe walked with them through this terrible and blessed time.  I remember Bruce’s coming to the Christmas Eve Choir rehearsal with Kristy last year and sitting on the side near the tenor section.  It was to be the last time he would do that.  During Bruce’s illness, Kristy chronicled his progress and her thoughts on the Caringbridge web site during treatment.  She continues to post her thoughts there following Bruce’s death.

Fast forward to this month and the choir’s rehearsing With heart and hands. I had noticed three weeks ago that Kristy left rehearsal when we began rehearsing the anthem.  The next week she remained in the room and wept and sang when she could.  That night, she talked with me following rehearsal and told me part of what she would post later that evening.  Below is an excerpt of Kristy Wade’s post in Caringbridge September 29, 2010.

So…after all that, tonight at choir rehearsal we practiced a piece composed by John Rutter, With heart and hands, for the Texas Choral Directors Association Convention in July of this year.  Last week I only tried to sing the first two lines before exiting the room for the duration.  This week I stayed and listened — and occasionally tried to sing a line here or there.  Hopefully I’m not infringing on any copyrights or anything, but Rutter’s text is as follows:

“For all the blessings you have granted us, Lord, give us thankful hearts, we pray:  For life and health and happiness, And for the gift of each new day;  For all our families and loved ones, The friends we meet along our way, We thank you, Lord, they are your gifts: Lord, we praise you, In your service let us all your love repay.

“Look all around you:  You’ll see a miracle or two; Ev’ry valley, hill and mountain is calling to you.  For all the wonders of creation, a world whose marvels we behold:  Where winter turns to spring again; The changing scenes of life unfold, But there is One who never changes:  Through all eternity the same:  Be with us, Lord, for evermore, alleluia, Lord, we praise your Holy Name.”

That first section is like going back in time and hearing again nearly every prayer I and others heard Bruce say from the time of his diagnosis until his death.  And the second part is like hearing his voice right now.


I have written Mr. Rutter to let him know of the grace given and received through his text and music.  My prayers are that grace will continue to abound through the life of Kristy, Christian and John and the music and life of Mr. Rutter.

Give Grace.




A Measure of Grace

October 7, 2010

By Tom Williams, Church Administrator and Minister to Senior Adults

I admit that it is difficult to think of ourselves as graceful in our daily life.  It is easy to assign gracefulness to a woman but not easily applicable to men.  Therefore, we are challenged to think of gracefulness as an action word and not just a visual practice.  Also, it is hard for us to recognize our own gracefulness because it feel uncomfortable and a bit self glorifying.

So, perhaps one way that we as Christians can”Give Grace” is to state and applauded it in the lives of others.  Let us commit to acknowledge gracefulness in the life of others and tell them what a blessing it was to see me sharing, caring and giving.

Each day we are blessed by seeing others live a graceful life in front of us.  Let them them of their gracefulness so that they are encouraged to continue to be God’s channel of grace to others.

Have a graceful day!

Give Grace

October 4, 2010

Dear South Main Family,

Grace may be the single most defining characteristic of Christian life.  We read about it in the Scripture, “for it is by grace you have been saved, through faith, and this not of yourselves, it is the gift of God – not of works – so that no one can boast.”  We sing about it in worship, “Amazing Grace, How Sweet the Sound that saved a wretch like me.”  We say grace before a meal and ask for grace to be excused from a place.  Grace makes everything it touches beautiful: dancers are graceful; manners are gracious.  As a child I learned to define grace as, “unmerited favor.” In my growing up,  I am less convinced I can define grace.  I have grown to prefer a description to a definition, “a gift which costs the giver everything to give and the receiver nothing to receive.”  Lots of Christian words have been sullied in a secular context: charity, once considered the greatest love one person could offer another has become a thing which, in order to receive it, one must have failed; pious, which once pictured a life rooted in faith, has become a byword for a person who is snooty or hypocritical.  But no matter how much the world touches grace, grace holds its wonder.  There is something both incredibly strong and amazingly gentle about grace.  And still I wonder – how much does grace characterize the living of our days?  Do we live in the gracious bliss of gratefulness for the grace we have from God?  Does having received grace make us more gracious?  What would our lives look like if we who have received grace were to Give Grace?

This fall we are going to take the month of October to Give Grace.  Each week in worship we will examine a grace event.  We will read about grace together from the pages of Philip Yancey’s book, What’s So Amazing About Grace?.  We will Give Grace in acts of mission.  Each of us will have an opportunity to reflect on God’s grace in our own lives and in our interactions with the people in our lives.  And in all these things I pray we will develop a stronger sense of the grace in which we stand and that newfound sense of grace will shape the way we talk our talk, walk our walk, and grace God’s world. I look forward to the month and the way that living it changes us.

Grace and peace,


Steve Wells, Pastor, South Main Baptist Church

Work and Word

July 2, 2009

Lord, we pledge our truth by giving someone our word.  You pledged Your Love by sending us the Word, but unlike You, our word doesn’t always match our deeds.

Lord, help us to speak and live in Your Word.

There are people who say one thing and then do another, we don’t like “those people,” especially when we realize with all that we sing and all that we say as followers of Christ, we are “those people.”

Lord, help us to speak and live in Your Word.

God, forgive us when we don’t act like Your children and give us courage to overcome our own hypocrisy and to roll up our sleeves and start again at the task of growing Your Kingdom.

Lord, help us to speak and live in Your Word, that the world might see our lives and hear our words and come to know Your Loving Grace.  Let us begin…