Monday, December 31, 2007

What a week!

Hello everybody! It has been quite a week for me (Joel). This Sunday I preached my first sermon in front of the church (my first time in any church). I had the opportunity to challenge our congregation to set their priorities in 2008 in light of an eternal perspective. I think it went well, and I know that God used my words to challenge at least one man in the church to make some changes this year. If you are interested in hearing the sermon it should be posted on our website sometime later this week (not sure when with the holidays and all). The site is

There is a lot more to the week that I have yet to tell. On Friday morning I decided to leave the house and find a quite place outside somewhere where I could get away from all of my normal distractions so that I could spend a few hours in prayer and preparation for my sermon. At first I drove around some of the back roads of my little town and just prayed for the people of Hutto. Then I drove to a low water crossing that I know about that is away from much of anything. I parked on the side of the road and hiked in a little ways to get away from the road to a place where I could just focus on my sermon and prayer. It was a great time, and I really got some good prep work done for Sunday. At a little after 11:00am I headed back towards home because I knew that I needed to stop by Wally world to get a DVD-R so I could burn a video that I was using for the sermon. After I left Wal-Mart I headed toward home. I decided that I would go by McDonald's and grab a quick bite to eat as I headed home in time for Laurie to call during her lunch break (I left my cell phone at home). I didn't make it to McD's, however. As I approached the biggest intersection in Hutto a woman made a left turn in front of me and in a split second tires squealed, and airbags deployed. I had about a half second to hit my breaks before my 6000 pound Suburban plowed into the passenger side of a Chevy Tahoe at 50+ miles per hour. The lady in the other SUV thought that she had a green light (the intersection has just undergone some major expansion so it can be a bit confusing), but it was red for the turn and green to go straight. It took a few seconds to regain my bearings and realize that, by God's grace, I wasn't injured. I quickly hoped out and went to make sure that the other driver was ok (there were no passengers in either vehicle). Despite the force of the collision neither of us were injured. I have been pretty sore, and I am sure that she is too, but nothing serious. The impact was so strong that one of my headlights was stuck in the side of her SUV. There was extensive damage to the front of my vehicle and I found out today that it is totaled (I have had it for only 3 months). I did end up going to an urgent care facility on Saturday to get something for the pain that I was having, and for some muscle spasms that resulted. My insurance company is handling the details for now, but it will still be a couple of days before we can get a copy of the police report (I'm not sure why it takes so long but maybe that's just the way that do it in a small town). Laurie and I just went to get some things out of the Suburban, but we forgot to take the camera so I had to take pictures with my cell phone, so they probably aren't that good. Please pray for a fair settlement and a quick resolution to all this mess. Also pray that I will be able to find another replacement vehicle soon. Thanks! Here are some pictures, God bless you all!

Glad I decided to leave Ranger at home!

I think it's broken

Driver side

Passenger side

Thursday, December 13, 2007

God loves details

Hey everybody, I just wanted to share with you all something that happened to me about a week ago. It was God working in amazing ways. I already typed the story out in a concise manner so that Bo (our pastor) could use it as a sermon illustration so I am going to just paste the text from that in for you all to read. You'll have to imagine all my quirks like I am telling the story. Hope you enjoy! Remember that you are God's beloved and He is in tune with even the smallest details of your life. He has a plan for you. Praise Him!!

God Planned my Day
Events took place on December 5th 2007

On Wednesday morning I woke up early as usual to get ready for Journey Men [this is a Bible study at our mother church on Biblical manhood]. After having been sick for the past 4 days though I was very tired and seriously considered just going back to bed. I figured it wouldn’t hurt to miss one Journey Men session, besides I could listen to the pod cast later. Still I decided that it would be best to go even though I didn’t feel like it. After the meeting, Cody Pope [youth pastor at HCBC Pflugerville (our mother church)] had an appointment canceled so we were able to get together to talk about our upcoming high school retreat. Because of this unexpected meeting I got home about 2 hours later than normal. When I did get home I decided to take my puppy for a short walk. We have a normal routine; we walk to the end of our street, and then turn right for 3 blocks, take another right, walk 1 block and then head back home. That morning for some reason though I decided that we should walk to the end of the street, another block down. In between my normal turning point and the end of the street I met a man who wanted to pet my dog. The man began telling me about how he always feeds biscuits to dogs when they are walked by his house. Talking to my dog he said that if he came by 223 on the next street he could get a treat. My planned walking pattern, however, would never take us by that man’s house. He also told me a story about how he and a neighbor found a little lost dog and were caring for it. The dog was deaf, and although they had called the phone number on the tag many times were unable to reach the owner. With that he drove home, and we continued on. At the next street, where I had intended to turn and head home I felt compelled for some unknown reason to continue on a little further. This time I walked past the man’s house and onto the next street where I finally turned toward home. It was then that I noticed a little community bulletin board that until then I didn’t know existed. Out of curiosity I turned to check it out. It was there that I saw a posting for a lost dog that matched the description the man I just met gave me, including that the dog was deaf. At the bottom of the paper it said, “new to this neighborhood.” They weren’t able to reach the owner because the number had changed. With a little excitement I pulled out my cell phone and dialed the number. “Hello?” “Is this Cheryl”, I asked? “I think I know where your dog is.” Just hearing the excitement in the woman’s voice as I explained what had happened that morning was such a joy. Within a minute or two I knocked on the door of house # 223, the biscuit man. He answered the door and I put him on the phone. The woman would soon be reunited with her lost friend, whom she thought she would never see again. As I turned to walk home with my little buddy I just praised God that when I woke up that morning he had a plan for that day. He loves that woman so much that he orchestrated the events of my day to help reunite her with a beloved pet and friend. I couldn’t help but smile for the next 4 blocks as I thought about how loving our God is that even the smallest details of our lives don’t escape His notice.
Have a blessed Day!

Thursday, December 6, 2007

Sad Saturday

Well, last Saturday was a sad day for us as we had to say goodbye to one of our family members. Let me explain, nobody died. We had always been told that if you get one dog you should get two so that they aren't so lonely when you have to leave them at home. Apparently that advice isn't good for litter mates. As we were adjusting to having two new puppies everything seemed great, until we tried to train them. The were so close to each other that we couldn't keep their attention for any period of time. We enrolled them in a puppy training class at a school in Hutto that is very well known for their training. After two weeks, our head trainer told us that the puppies were too bonded to each other and so we should isolate them from one another for a month. If we didn't, then they wouldn't bond with us, and would be very difficult to train. We agonized over what to do because we had already grown to love them so much, but in our little house, there was just no way for us to be able to separate them completely from each other. We finally decided that the best thing for both of them would be to find one of them a good home. Little did we know that God had been orchestrating these circumstances. I was talking to one of the ladies that works in the office about our situation, and she suggested the I let a family in our church know. The Spencers (Greg is one of our elders) had a German Shepherd for a long time (11 years), that had recently died. With hope I sent an e-mail. The long story short is that they came to meet the puppies and adopted our Sydney. We had never seen Sydney warm up to anybody as quickly as she did to Christina, the Spencer's 9 year old daughter. They were delighted, and this is about the best possible situation that we could have imagined for having to re-home one of our puppies. We know she is in a loving home and we will be able to see her sometimes and find out how she is doing. Lisa Spencer said several times that this was an answer to prayer for them as well. Even in situations where we least expect it, God is already working. All praises to Him!!


Well, I hope that you all had a great Thanksgiving. It was a little sad for Laurie and me as all of our family was on the East Coast this year. As many of you know, Thanksgiving this year was also our 4th anniversary. Praise God that he provided a "foster family" for the holiday. Our Pastor and his family had us over for most of the day and it was a great time (especially watching football on Bo's 53" HDTV; that was Laurie's favorite part =). We ate a lot of good food, and we passed on an tradition to a new generation. One thing that I (Joel) was sad about it not getting any of Grandma's world famous (well at least family famous) gingerbread man cookies. Growing up that is one thing that always made Thanksgiving seem right to me. We would gather at Grandma's house and she would make gingerbread men and icing for us to decorate them. Oh the great times we had around that table decorating those cookies! Thanks GRANDma! That is one of my favorite growing up memories. Laurie and I decided that we would try to carry on the tradition so we got Grandma's recipe and tried our best (of course we couldn't make them as good as G'ma, but they were still pretty good!). The fun part was that we took them too the Thompson's house with us and I was able to pass my tradition on. The Thompson's have 3 girls (8,10, and 13 I think). Bo's best friend Bobby and his family were also there and their 11 y/o daughter Emma also got to participate. It was a little different with me and a table full of girls, but it was fun, and the girls absolutely loved it! The sad part is that during the night their dog snuck (is that a word? Sneaked? whatever) downstairs and pulled all the cookies off the table and bit all the legs off and licked the frosting and the got sick and threw up on the floor...Ah memories...

We are very thankful to our Lord for ALL the things that He has done this past year. He never ceases to amaze us! We miss and love you all!!!

Here are some pictures from our Day:

The Taylor Thompson

Abbie Thompson

Dani Thompson

The girls and their cookies