February 1, 2011
After living in dozens of different addresses (literally), who would have thought coming to Houston 3 years ago would be one of three times of life-changing personal growth. Leading up to my coming to Houston I, to my shame, had been resisting God in a specific area of interpersonal relationships. Enter Dolores Rader. Without knowing anything that was going on in my life she broke down all of the barriers that I had constructed and forced me to deal with this issue in my life through her persistent, gentle persuasion. Result –freedom from the prison of my disobedience; from the anger that churned within my soul that boiled over into hurtful sarcasm that tainted relationships. My wife continues to express surprise at the change she sees.
During the 8 months that these events occurred I spent my time here in Houston mostly alone while going to different churches on the Sunday’s I was in town. But not getting involved beyond attending Sunday morning service. Enter Steve Rader. In the caring way that he interacts with people so effortlessly, Steve invited me to spend time with the Rader family. What a wonderful gift that has turned loneliness into fulfilling relationship that comes from becoming an extension of a loving family. I continue to rely on Steve’s guidance in my interaction with the family so that I don’t overstep my welcome.
Then God called Dolores to become the Children’s Minister at SMBC. I wanted to show my appreciation to Dolores for what she had done for me by going to see her be introduced to the church. Not knowing exactly how long it would take to drive to the church I gave myself plenty of time to find the church and arrived at the end of the first service in time to hear some of Dolores’ testimony. Enter Perryman and Miriam Collins. Their genuine welcome and interest in me was a pleasant surprise. Even more pleasing was their continuing interest each week that made me feel more welcome. A bonus has been the opportunity to get to know my cousins Nancy and Dave McNeil. Nancy and I grew up in different parts of the country and only saw each other 3 or 4 times before now. What a special couple I’ve grown to love.
While attending Bible school I studied for a career in Christian Education with special interest in children’s ministry or camp ministry. Although I didn’t follow this career the Lord has used children’s ministry to bring me back into His service when I wander away that I have historically done with depressing regularity. So it seemed natural that I would work with Dolores in the children’s ministry. Problem – I need to be a member. Say what? OK, but I don’t want to leave my home church in Omaha since I’m still active there when I’m home and expect to be in Houston for only a time before returning home. Solution – become a Watch Care member. Enter the Family of God at SMBC. What an amazing feeling to stand at the front of the church and hear you commit to be the family of God to me in this place. I’ve never experience such an overwhelming feeling of support. But even more, you have kept your commitment and shown that it’s more than words that are recited. To anyone feeling like you need a place to belong and be loved; I recommend you commit yourself to this SMBC family. You’ll not regret your decision.
I don’t know how long I’ll be here. But when it’s time for me to go I’ll leave a truly enriched man; so grateful to Dolores and Steve for your love, for your input in me as a person, for inviting me into your life and family. I’ve seen you at work, in your home, at church, in fun times, in struggles. You’re real. Simply saying thank you seems inadequate. So I’ll continue “doing” to try to express my appreciation.
Blessings on each of you, my family away from home.
December 7, 2010
By Steve Wells, South Main Baptist Church Pastor
My son Joshua is our Christmas child; his birthday is December 27th. From March until December of 1997, our lives in the Mississippi Delta were focused around his coming into the world. His timing was perfect: Missy’s brother Wes was working at Ole Miss and was leaving for their bowl game in Phoenix (where Missy’s parents live) on the 28th. Wes was able to see his most recent nephew and deliver pictures to proud grandparents the day after his birth. Hardly impressive in the age of Facebook, but quite an accomplishment in the olden days of the late 20th century.
There is something about good news that we just want to share. And there is no better news than in the perfect timing of God, “the fullness of time” as the Scripture calls it, Jesus came into the world. Advent is an opportunity to Share the Miracle. Advent is a call to let our lives focus around the coming of Jesus into the world as we anticipate His birth. Advent is an opportunity for all of us to remember the Hope, Love, Joy, and Peace that our faith offers us. Just like Missy and I prepared our hearts and home for the coming of Joshua, we should prepare our hearts and homes for the coming of Jesus. So we will decorate the sanctuary and dedicate our time to hearing the story, cherishing the traditions, worshipping the Christ child, and following Him as He grows up to become the king.
I hope our Advent book becomes a significant devotional partner for you this season. More than that, I hope Advent gets deep inside you and you experience the wonder of the season afresh. If you do, why not Share the Miracle and invite someone you know to faith in Jesus this year at His birth…
grace and peace,
July 8, 2010
By Erin Conaway, Associate Pastor
Sam recently became fascinated with hiding things. He’s three and a half now and just loves to find the perfect spot for one of his cars or a bouncy ball. That’s all fine and good until he hides his puppy and it’s bedtime and we can’t find it. Then the whole house goes into search and rescue mode and we leave no pillow, cushion, chair, drawer, or cabinet unturned or unopened. I remember being enamored with hiding places when I was little. There’s just something wonderful about finding a spot out of the way, where one of your G.I. Joe men will fit or where a special Lego creation can rest without fear of being destroyed by a big brother or sister.
Now, I am finding little signs of Sam all over the house. When I put my shoes on in the morning, there is usually a T-Rex taking a nap in one of them. A few times I’ve opened my computer bag at the office to find a little alligator or a race car carefully perched just beneath the flap. Sometimes I open the drawer to get a fork and there’s a dump truck sitting with the spoons. I love it and know that when this season of hiding gives way to something else, I will miss these little signs of Sam all over the place—maybe even the occasional marble in my shoe.
The Psalmist writes in Psalm 119:10-12:
I seek you with all my heart; do not let me stray from your commands. I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you. Praise be to you, O LORD; teach me your decrees.
I love the idea that when we hide God’s word in our hearts there are signs of God all around our hearts. When we go to that place in our heart that is overwhelmed with joy and gladness, we find “Rejoice it the Lord always, I will say it again, Rejoice!” or when we visit the place of sadness in our hearts and open a drawer of memories we find, “You do not know what I am doing now, but later you will understand.” It is imperative that we continue to read and study Scripture, and hide verses in our hearts in various places because we need those signs of God’s presence in every nook and cranny as we journey through life.