Latest  Update 11-22-17

Hello, friends.  It has been a long time since we sent out an update, so we will try to get you caught up. 

CHURCH – We have been experiencing a upturn in attendance, especially among children, in the last couple months. We are moving into more of our authority as God’s people in the city, region, and nation.  Our More Than Enough Food Distribution ministry is growing and thriving. We recently hosted a Regional Kingdom Advancement Gathering.  For a year, we had 24 hour prayer on the first Tuesday of the month. Recently, we changed to 12 hour prayer from 9 am to 9 pm on first Tuesdays. We are steadily making needed improvements to the building. The presence of the Lord is strong in our midst as we gather and the unity and spirit of the church is good.

 CITY – We have seen a lot of good things happening in the City of Rusk.  Susan and I are attending City Council meetings just to pray.  We recently attended an Industrial Development Corporation meeting and heard good reports from all aspects of the city.  We are still very involved in the Rusk Ministerial Alliance activities and Pastors’ Prayer Meetings.  Both of us were on the program for the Community Thanksgiving Service Sunday night at the Methodist Church.  Our Police Department has made huge strides this year earning a distinguished award, and hosted our city’s first Night Out.

 REGION – We have continued our involvement in East Texas Pastors Fellowship.  I was recently blessed with the opportunity to speak at the East Texas Glory Revival in Lindale which is now in its 28th week.  We attended an impromptu prayer meeting with Chuck Pierce in Carthage last Saturday.  

MINISTRY OUT – I will be preaching in Milano at The Master’s Gateway Sunday morning, December 3rd.  Susan is going back to Ireland May of 2018.

 FAMILY – Our girls and their families will all be coming to Thanksgiving dinner tomorrow.  Christi got married since our last update and is now living in Rusk with her new husband Duncan Kern. Duncan is with Susan in the kitchen, now, helping cook for tomorrow.  Jessica is still serving the Lord as an athletic trainer at Waco High, and D.J.’s detailing business is doing well.  Becca is enjoying a good year as a bi-lingual first grade teacher in Jacksonville, and Fredy is staying busy working in the kitchen at Posado’s and Denny’s.  Isaac (6) and Lucas (2) are growing fast.

We appreciate your friendship and your prayers.  

Update 5-21-17

We had a nice meal this afternoon with the leadership team and Mike and Ruth Matthews at our house.  The Matthews were here to minister at the River this morning.  They have a ministry center in St. Joseph, Missouri and minister internationally.  They will be going to Slovakia, Ireland, and Albania this year.  They started the ministry school in Ireland that Susan went to in March.


Last Sunday we had a great Mother’s Day service. I was especially blessed; my 86-year-old mother came up from Belton to be with us Saturday and Sunday. 

Susan finished a dog sitting job for a friend in Cuney, started a weekly weight-loss accountability group, and hosted a ladies meeting in our house Friday.

Christi and Duncan are still living with us and working long and hard at Posados in Jacksonville.  We are adjusting to all sharing our 2 vehicles, but it is going well.

Weekly Update 5-7-17

MONDAY, Susan and I made a fast trip to Waco and back.  We spent some time with Don and Melisa Cooper.  When we returned from Waco, we went to 24-hour prayer beginning at midnight and running through TUESDAY at midnight.  We begin the 24 hours with corporate worship.  Susan did a noon worship set, and our worship team led worship from 5:30 to 6:30.  The rest of the time we have recorded music playing with prayer stations set up all over the auditorium with come-and go pray-ers circulating from station to station praying.  We had 3 or 4 people stay at the church all 24 hours this time. 

24 prayer Susan



TUESDAY MORNING, we attended the Rusk Ministerial Alliance sponsored high school Senior Breakfast at the Church of Christ.  There were 122 students out of the 140 in the senior class in attendance.  After that, we attended the Rusk Ministerial Alliance meeting.

Senior BreakfastSenior Breakfast 2

WEDNESDAY NIGHT we had a great time together at our midweek service.

THURSDAY was the National Day of Prayer.  We met in the County Courtroom of the Cherokee County Courthouse at noon.  I was in charge of putting the program together this year.  Susan sang the National Anthem and led the Pledge of Allegiance.  The county Sheriff, the Rusk City Manager, a local radio personality, a local business owner, the county Veteran’s Service Officer and several local pastors led out in prayers. 

ndop sherriffndop courtroom

FRIDAY, I went to Summit Church in Wylie and met with Randy Hill.

TODAY, we had an awesome service at the River.  God is the God of process.  Do not resist the process.  Trust the process.  Trust the God of the process.  The process is working for you, not against you.  More happening in the process, God is working in the process.  Enjoy the process.  Live daily in love, in hope, in victory, in faith, and in faithfulness.   

Weekly Update 5-1-17

Since our last update, two weeks ago, we have hosted the Rusk Ministerial Alliance prayer meeting, hosted the Young Marrieds at our house, hosted the SALT ladies meeting at our house, done lots of prep work for the National Day of Prayer meeting this Thursday at the courthouse in Rusk ,gone to Waco for the Baylor Spring Football game, attended and participated in the 30th Anniversary of River of Life Church in Kemp, TX last Sunday, spent 3 days and 3 night in Galveston, kept Isaac and Lucas for 4 days, attended Tree of Promise Jobs For Life graduation, had a Men’s Meeting at the Pizza Hut, and had a powerful joint service with Disciple Heart Church yesterday.  At midnight tonight, our 24 Hour Prayer Meeting begins.

Pastor's prayer B U Spring Game Joint Service JFB graduation ROL Kemp 30th seagullsJFB graduationYoung Marrieds

The 30th Anniversary of River of Life in Kemp was awesome.  We saw grown children of children we pastored while in Kemp.  It was encouraging to see fruit from our labors there and to see the church still advancing.  Yesterday’s joint service at the River was awesome, as well.  Steven and Camilla Charles from Bethesda Church in Lindale did a great job and God moved strongly.  God loves unity!!!    

Weekly Update 4-16-17

This is a report on the last 2 weeks.  Since the last update, we held our April 24-hour prayer time which went very well.  At one point we had 16 people there at once, and again we had people attending from 4 different churches. 


24 Hour Prayer - April Susan

At April’s Rusk Ministerial Alliance meeting we decided on the recipient for our $1000 scholarship award to the most deserving Rusk High School senior. 

This month’s East Texas Pastors Fellowship meeting was held at the YWAM (Youth With A Mission) headquarters in Lindale.  We had 4 or 5 pastors visiting for the first time.  Three of us pastors and wives went together.  The worship was outstanding and the unity is always encouraging.

ETPF _ YWAM AprilIMG_20170406_101233915_HDR

On Palm Sunday, we had a good service followed by pizza and bowling with the young singles.  We had lots of fun bowling 3 games together guys vs. the girls.  That night we gathered with believers from all over the city for our annual Palm Sunday Community service held this year at the Rusk Church of Christ.  It was a good time of worship and fellowship.


In the past 2 weeks we have done an unusual amount of marriage counseling with 3 different couples.

Thursday, we went to River of Life Christian Center in Hearne for a Burn Service.  We met in a city park and worshiped and prayed for about 4 hours.  The first set of worship was led by Steven and Camilla Charles from Bethesda Church in Lindale.  Our worship team led the second set, and Jonathan Baldwin from IHOP in Kansas City led the last set. There was a really good turn-out.  We, no doubt, made a difference with our worship and prayer.  Pastors from 5 different church were there, including the Episcopal priest from Hearne.


This morning we had a great Resurrection Service!  The tambourine team did a routine to “God Is On the Move”.  It was Susan’s first time to perform with the team.  They did an awesome job.  We had several visitors and some people we have not seen in a while.         

Weekly Update 4-2-17


MONDAY, TUESDAY, WEDNESDAY I spent time away praying in Tyler and Waco.  WEDNESDAY, I attended midweek service with Donnie and Melisa Cooper at The Bridge in Waco.  Susan and the leadership team handled service here at the River and did an excellent job.

THURSDAY NIGHT, we had a Young Married Meeting at our house.  We had fun eating pizza and hanging out together.

Young Marrieds FEB

FRIDAY, Susan went to the WOW ladies meeting in Hearne. 

WOW generic

SATURDAY, Susan had her Pastors Wives Meeting at the local Coffee Shop. 

THIS MORNING, a big storm with hail hit right before church and we had some people out of town, so our attendance was down.  It was still a good day.

ALSO, here are some of Susan’s Ireland pics.

IMG_20170308_185248919IMG_20170309_174419071_HDRIreland classroomIMG_20170308_102842109

IMG_20170310_102738900_HDR IMG_20170307_163817139

Weekly Update 3-12-17

Ireland Pickup

We had a great 24 hour prayer time between MIDNIGHT MONDAY and MIDNIGHT TUESDAY.  We had 25 people in to pray, with 4 different churches represented at one time or another.  We had a record number of prayer requests sent in this time from all over the country via Facebook.

On WEDNESDAY EVENING Roman and Yoe Montelongo ministered at the River.  They are missionaries in Mexico where they serve as youth pastors.  They led part of the worship and Roman delivered a very good word.

THURSDAY MORNING, it was up and off by 4:30 a.m. to Michael Pierce’s by-pass surgery in Tyler at ETMC.  He is still recovering at the hospital.

TODAY was a good day at the River.  We had a baptism, one of our newest members shared an original rap, and several received ministry in response to the Word.

TOMORROW NIGHT, I will pick up Susan, Sheneigne, and Kaylee at the airport in Houston just after midnight.  

Weekly Update 3-5-17

Susan is on the way to Ireland as I am writing this.  I took Sheneigne, Kaylee and Susan to Houston LAST NIGHT. They are currently in flight to Chicago, then on to Ireland.  They will be teaching at a ministry school for Slovakian Gypsies. They will, also, be doing a ladies meeting while there. 

We had a great service THIS MORNING at the River.  The worship, the ministry time, and our time in the word were good.  We had a big group of children again TODAY. 


The whole week was getting her ready for her trip. Susan had the Pastor’s Wives Meeting SATURDAY MORNING before she left. 

FRIDAY NIGHT, Susan and I went to a play together at our local theater, The Hallelujah Girls.  It was funny and the acting was very good.


THURSDAY, we attended the East Texas Pastor’s Fellowship meeting at Grace Fellowship here in Rusk.



WEDNESDAY we had an excellent Rusk Ministerial Alliance meeting.  The Rusk High School Athletic Director and the new Rusk Police Chief came to address us.  The warden from the prison popped in, as well.  The meeting was well attended and very encouraging.  God is at work in our city.


Our youngest daughter, Christi, has been staying with us THIS WEEK.  Spending time with her has been a treat.   

Weekly Update 2-26-17

MONDAY afternoon, Susan and I went to Waco for a day off and watched a Baylor baseball game. We won!

Baylor Baseball

TUESDAY EVENING, our prayer team and worship team met at Ronda Watson’s house at Lake Jacksonville.  We shared a meal together; and then, we prayed for each other and were challenged by the Prayer and Worship leaders.

WEDNESDAY NIGHT, we had a really good midweek service, again.  God is really moving in personal and body ministry.

THURSDAY NIGHT, we had our first Young Marrieds Gathering.  We met at our house for dinner.  After we ate, we had a Cellphone Scavenger Hunt; then, we will played Pictionary.  Then, we made ice cream sundaes.  We had great response and a wonderful time!  Looking forward to next month!

Young Married FEB 3Young Marrieds FEB 2

FRIDAY, the ladies went to Hearne for WOW, and the men met for supper at the Pizza Hut.

TODAY was another great day at the River.  Worship was awesome, Susan taught the children, and I preached a message on stirring up our deepest, most godly desires.  After the service, we had a New Members Luncheon where we welcomed in 3 new members.


Weekly Update 2-19-17

Great day at the River TODAY.  We had several visitors and the overall crowd was up.  Susan had 12 kids and two helpers in children’s church.


FRIDAY was SALT (Sisters Abiding in Love Together), our ladies group meeting.  They met here at the house and had a good time eating a variety of homemade soups and playing Pictionary!! We have some great artists – and some that are very entertaining!!!   

THURSDAY was our More Than Enough food distribution night.  We are now making food available twice a month and this ministry is in flux.  We are having a daytime and nighttime distribution and are praying about the most effective way to help our folks with spiritual needs too!  We are also working on reestablishing our clothes closet.

WEDNESDAY was a great night with personal prayer from the body to the body and a Word Watch time – when we all look at the same scripture, asking the Lord for understanding and application.  We had a great time sharing what the Lord spoke to each of us.

MONDAY was tooth extraction day for Susan!  A tooth that had broken over a year ago, finally got handled!  Thanks to a great dentist in Palestine had a pain free experience and a filling too!

tooth extraction

Weekly Update 2-12-17


Susan spoke at church THIS MORNING.  She did an excellent job teaching on our “True Identity”.  It was a good day at the River all around. It seems like the Lord is moving more in our services the last couple times we have been together.


 SATURDAY was our first Creativity Roundup.  I have been feeling called to stir creativity in East Texas.  We got off to a good start.  There were people attending from 3 churches.   This is a real passion for me.  I am convinced that since we are created in the image of the Creator and the Creator lives within us we should be the most creative people in the world.

Creativity Rpundup 3

 THE WEEK was full of challenges, but God is good.  People will disappoint us, but in the midst of the trials God remains faithful!  

MIDNIGHT MONDAY to MIDNIGHT TUESDAY was February’s 24 hour prayer meeting at the River.  We had good attendance – though a few people were out for sickness and having grandbabies!!!  God is answering prayers and stirring us up!


 WEDNESDAY NIGHT, we explored James 1:2-3.  It was a night full of joy! THURSDAY, Susan provided the lunch for Jobs For Life.  FRIDAY, Susan and I made a trip to Belton to see my parents

Weekly Update 2-6-17

YESTERDAY was a big day.  Curtis Odom. Pastor of River of Life, Hearne, preached at River of Life, Rusk.  Susan and I ministered at the River in Hearne.  Susan led worship and I preached.  It was really good to be back in Hearne.  We love the people there and have a burden for the city.  As soon as we finished and had lunch, we headed back to Rusk for the Super Bowl Party we hosted at our house.  We had a good time watching the game together. 


SATURDAY MORNING Susan had the Pastors’ Wives’ Meeting. There were ladies from 4 churches this month.

THURSDAY we attended the East Texas Pastor’s Fellowship at the East Texas House of Prayer in Lindale. We had a great crowd and a wonderful time of worship and sharing.  We had some first-time attenders.  The unity displayed was remarkable, and it is obvious God is working in East Texas.


 WEDNESDAY MORNING we had a good Rusk Ministerial Alliance meeting.

SUSAN just went to the dentist this morning.  She needs a lot of expensive dental work.  We do not have the money or insurance, so please pray for wisdom, favor, or provision to find a way to get here teeth fixed.

Weekly Update 1-29-17


MONDAY, Susan and I met with Robert and Lesa Corbell for lunch to catch up!  Had a great time.

TUESDAY NIGHT I went over to First Baptist Church of Rusk to their revival service. 

WEDNESDAY MORNING was Victorious, our joint sponsored ladies bible study.  It alternates weekly between Disciple’s Heart and the River and the speakers rotate between ladies from both churches.  WEDNESDAY NIGHT, we elaborated on last Sunday’s message on establishing a possibility mindset. 

FRIDAY was a busy day for us.  Susan and 9 of our ladies made the trek to Hearne for the WOW (Women of Worth) meeting.  The same night our men met at Kenny Birdwell’s house.  We had good food and a lot of good, much-needed fellowship.  It was good to be back together after the holidays.

SATURDAY, Susan, Rebecca, and I went to Waco to help Jessica and DJ work on 3 D’s Discount Detailing’s new location.  They are opening in the new location on Wednesday so we were busy all day before heading back home last night.

THIS MORNING was Family Service Day.  We had a good time with a message on how the Holy Spirit is like wind, complete with balloons, pin wheels, a leaf blower, and a kite.  The kids participated in the service by taking the offering and danced to “Down to the River”! 

Fan Serv 1-29-17 1


Weekly Update 1-22-17

Rusk Collage

THIS MORNING we had a good service with some first time visitors.  Several of our regulars were missing due to sickness.  I preached on having a possibility mindset and Susan taught children’s church again.  Next week will be our special family service.

FRIDAY NIGHT the ladies had SALT (Sisters Abiding in Love Together) at our house.  They had their usual good time of food and fellowship with 16 ladies and several children present. 

THURSDAY EVENING was More Than Enough night at the River.  We enjoyed seeing everyone for the first time this year. 

WEDNESDAY MORNING at First Baptist Church we met for a pastor’s prayer meeting.  We had a heartfelt prayer time for our city and for revival.

Weekly Update 1-15-17

MONDAY and TUESDAY I went to Waco/Belton for my Dad’s knee surgery.  Papa Jim had one knee operated on about 6 months ago and the other on Monday morning at Providence Hospital in Waco.  Everything went very well and I enjoyed time spent with family. I was able to be there with my Mom and be her chauffeur.  WEDNESDAY, we had a powerful night of all worship.  2017 is off to an excellent start.


THIS MORNING we had another baby dedication; this one for Promise Elizabeth Colon.  Susan taught in children’s church.  It was another really good day at the River.


Weekly Update 1-8-17

This week got off to a very busy start.  From MONDAY at midnight through midnight TUESDAY was our first monthly 24 hour prayer session of the year.  We kicked it off with live worship, and then again TUESDAY from 5:30 to 6:30.  This month, we added 2 additional 30-minute live worship times.  We had 33 people come to pray at one time or another, representing at least 4 churches.



WEDNESDAY, Susan and I attended Rusk Ministerial Alliance.  It was a fruitful and enjoyable time.  WEDNESDAY night, we had a great time together as I shared a word on living from the inside out.

THURSDAY, we attended East Texas Pastor’s Meeting at Victorious Outreach Church in Jacksonville, TX.  We had a great time of worship together, followed by a wonderful time of sharing what we have each been hearing from God.  Then, we ate lunch and took communion together.


SATURDAY morning, Susan held the Pastor’s Wives Meeting at the What-a-burger.  There were four pastor wives and they really enjoyed sharing and praying with one another.  After much preparation throughout the week, SATURDAY night, we held our 2017 Vision Banquet.  We met in the fellowship hall at the First United Methodist Church in town.  We had the meal catered, so no one had to do any cooking – just enjoy.  After eating, we presented the vision, our values, the vision implementation teams, our emphases since becoming pastors, and our emphases for 2017.


Worship THIS MORNING was amazing.  We had a powerful time of ministry.  Curtis Odom came to visit and we spent some time praying over him and blessing his church, the River of Life Christian Center in Hearne.

Weekly Update 1-1-17

CARPE 2017

HAPPY NEW YEAR!  This week between Christmas and New Year’s has been a somewhat quiet, but exciting week.  On TUESDAY, we hosted a dinner for the leadership team and enjoyed fellowship and relationship building with good food!  We have a great team to serve with.  WEDNESDAY NIGHT service was a great discussion on everyone’s thoughts and plans for the new year.  We shared some things the Lord gave each of us regarding specific goals and gleaned new ideas!  FRIDAY was the women’s meeting in Hearne.  We had eight ladies make the trip and they had a great time in the Lord with Sheneigne teaching.  TODAY we had a terrific service and a baby dedication!  What a great way to start off the new year.

Weekly Update 12-26-16

TUESDAY AFTERNOON, we sponsored a Christmas Party for one of the units at the Rusk State Hospital.  Nine of us took lunch to them and sang Christmas carols and songs with and for them. 

WEDNESDAY EVENING, I delivered a short message from the shepherds of Luke 2 followed by a time of open sharing our favorite part of the Christmas story.

THURSDAY MORNING, our praise team went to the Angelina House in Jacksonville.  We were welcomed warmly again this year.  The residents participated and thoroughly enjoyed the singing.  They want us back before next Christmas.


SATURDAY, we went down to see my parents in Belton.  We enjoyed some time with Mom, Papa Jim, and my sister’s entire family.  It definitely makes for a long day going down and back in one day, but it is worth it. 

belton christmas

ON CHRISTMAS DAY, we had a great turnout for our abbreviated service at 11.  Then we came home for breakfast for lunch, followed by opening gifts, a cookie decorating contest, followed by supper together.  Jessica, DJ, from Waco, Christi and Duncan from Palestine, and Becca, Fredy, Isaac, and Lucas were all here.  We are so blessed to have such a close family that enjoys being together so much.

Christmas 2016

Weekly Update 12-18-16

Christmas is rapidly approaching.  WEDNESDAY NIGHT, we had our River Christmas Party. As usual, there was plenty of good food, and Sheneigne led out in several games.  We had fun lots of fun in celebration together as a family.

C P 4C P 3C P 1

THURSDAY NIGHT, Susan and I enjoyed the Tree of Promise Toy Giveaway Dinner night. I was honored by being asked to speak, and Susan helped serve. Tree of Promise does so many good things in our community.

T of P 1T of P 2

THIS MORNING, Susan taught children’s church and I preached on Renewing the Mind.  Since NEXT SUNDAY is Christmas Day we are having a one-hour service from 11:00 to 12:00.  Jessica, D J, Christi, Duncan, Becca, Fredy, and the boys will all be here for church and our time together as a family the rest of the day.  

Weekly Update 12-11-16


MONDAY at midnight, we started our December 24-hour prayer time.  We had about 25 people spend some time at the church praying.  We had live worship to kick things off and then again TUESDAY evening from 5:30 to 6:30.  Bettie and Ronda did a great job getting everything set up and facilitating this month’s meeting again.


TUESDAY, we met with a local call center business and discussed the possibility of “adopting” their employees for the next year.  They currently have about 65 employees and planning to hire another shift by mid-January.  We want to be available when they have difficult times for encouragement and just to bless them at different time throughout the year!  They are checking with their “higher-ups” and will let us know!

WEDNESDAY night we had a great time of worship, word, and praying for everyone.

SATURDAY, our church facilitated the Toys for Tots toy give away for residents throughout Cherokee County.  There were toys distributed for 225 children. 

Susan did a lot of cooking THIS WEEK to raise money for her Ireland trip.  THIS MORNING was another good day at the River.     

Weekly Update 12-4-16


WEDNESDAY, we were allowed into the Civic Center to begin to set up for the banquet.  We set up 37 tables and got things gathered to take over from the church and several had choir practice for Thursday night.  We also got about 300 loaves of bread ready to give as gifts (bag and tag night!)

THURSDAY, I made a trip to Nacogdoches for a hospital visit, then on to Carthage for an East Texas Pastors Fellowship Meeting before returning to Rusk for the banquet.  Susan and Rebecca sang Christmas carols acapella during the meal and Susan helped me emcee.  We had a small choir sing and played a game for entertainment. I did a monologue as the innkeeper’s son in costume.  The banquet was excellent. 




 FRIDAY, Susan and I were able to deliver all the extra breads and cookies to two locations here in Rusk.  E-tech RMS employs about 55 folks and the City of Rusk has about the same amount.  We think there was enough for every employee to have a loaf of bread and enjoy a coffee break with some homemade cookies!  What fun it was to deliver!!!

 SATURDAY, Susan led the Pastor’s Wives Coffee and Prayer at the Daily Grind.  There were 4 in attendance this month.  I went over to Palestine for the Saturday morning session of Jeff Collins’ Campmeeting.

 TODAY was another good service at the River.

Weekly Update 11-27-16

Some of you may not be aware that Susan is planning to go to Ireland in March, 2017 to assist in teaching in a new ministry school for Slovakian Gypsies living there.  She is currently raising funds for this “adventure” and is very excited about it!  She is going with two other ladies and they have had a garage sale and raised over $1,000 toward the airline tickets.  She still needs about twelve hundred more and is cooking some of her specialties for folks to raise some funds.  Also, as a group, they are planning a missions dinner in February to help raise funds too.  So, if you live locally and need a casserole or a pie or cake or cookies – give her a call!  If you would like to make a donation to this cause, you can donate through our website PayPal or send a check to our house!  Our new address is 278 E. 7th St. Rusk TX  75785.  Her phone number is 903-948-1135. 

We had a great time with family on Thursday and Friday with family and a very good service this morning at the River.

Weekly Update 11-21-16

YESTERDAY was a very busy day.  It began with an awesome service at the River with Tricia Miller.  She brought a timely word for our church, and she stayed and ministered to every person individually.  She did not finish ministering to individuals until 2:20.  What a blessing she was to us all.  LAST NIGHT, I preached at the Rusk Ministerial Alliance Community Thanksgiving Service at Eastside Baptist Church.  In between, we went to lunch in Jacksonville for Susan’s birthday.


FRIDAY NIGHT the ladies took Susan to dinner at Red Lobster in Tyler for her birthday.  There were 17 ladies there, and Susan came home with lots of gifts.  We are so blessed to have such supportive friends at the River.

Susan b-day 16Susan b-day 16 2

We had a good time at our midweek service on WEDNESDAY NIGHT and at More Than Enough THURSDAY NIGHT.  After More Than Enough THURSDAY, Susan and I went to The Disciple Heart Church’s midweek service.  We really enjoyed the time with our friends there.

TUESDAY, Susan and I went to Buffalo for a lunch meeting with Curtis and Andi Odom, Pastors of River of Life Hearne

Weekly Update 11-13-16

YESTERDAY, I spent the morning service at home in bed with stomach issues.  I heard that Susan and our awesome leadership team did an excellent job in my absence.  Feeling much better TODAY.

SATURDAY, our men took a trip to The Bass Pro Shop in Shreveport, LA.  We had a great time hanging out together and eating lunch at Saltgrass Steakhouse on the Boardwalk. 


WEDNESDAY, we dismissed our midweek service and joined with Alto Community Fellowship for their Passionate Pursuit ’16 Conference.  Great time with our brothers and sisters at ACF.


Weekly Update 11-6-16

We had a wonderful Family Service THIS MORNING at the River!  It was a multi-generational interactive time.  The kids sang with choreography and Kaylee Birdwell delivered a powerful original Spoken Word.  I am so grateful for amazing people God has linked us with.


This week Susan and I spent MONDAY THROUGH THURSDAY at the Federation of Ministers and Churches International conference at Camp Copass in Denton, TX.  The week was full of excellent worship, relevant teaching, powerful times of intercession for America, and lots of fellowship.  Susan and I knew more people than we thought we would and met many wonderful people we got close to fast.  We heard from Dutch Sheets, Jim Hodges, Nathan Isaacs, Patti Amsden, Rodney Lord, Hope Taylor, and an awesome prophetic panel including Barbara Wentroble, Marty Gabler, Cheryl Ballard, Tricia Miller and Sam Brassfield. 


FRIDAY NIGHT Susan and I went to my Uncle Del Austin’s 80th birthday in the president’s box at McLane Stadium in Waco.  There was a tremendous turnout and we got to see family we haven’t seen in years.


SATURDAY MORNING, Susan had her Pastor’s Wives gathering at the Daily Grind with two new faces.

TONIGHT, many of us went bowling to celebrate Cedric Denson’s birthday.


Weekly Update 10-30-16

Great day at the River TODAY.  Oral Hardin, pastor of The Gathering in Bloomfield, New Mexico was preached and ministered.  He delivered an encouraging word and was a tremendous blessing to all of us.  The church, also, honored Susan and me today for Pastors Appreciation Day. 

FRIDAY night, Susan went to Hearne with several of our ladies for the WOW meeting.

SATURDAY morning, we had a men’s breakfast at our house.  The kitchen was crowded; almost everyone who came cooked something.  The eggs, sausage, bacon, biscuits, and pancakes were good, and the fellowship was even better. 


After the breakfast, I headed McGregor for a Central Texas Regional Meeting. Most of the leadership from the Colorado Coalition for Regional Transformation were sharing at the meeting.  I brought Oral back with me for today’s service.  TOMORROW, Susan and I are going to the Federation of Ministers and Churches International conference in Denton, TX.



Weekly Update 10-23-16

Week before last, I was able to spend several days praying.  I spent two nights at Lake Jacksonville, three in Comfort at the River Haven Inn, and one night in Killeen.  Every night but 2 were free. It was great to be away long enough to relax and get perspective.  The week ended up in Belton last Saturday for my mom’s 86th birthday party.


Thursday was our More Than Enough food distribution day.  I got a chance to speak to them again this month.

Yesterday, we had a huge church wide garage sale at the State Farm Insurance parking lot here in Rusk.  It was a fund raiser for and Susan, Sheneigne, and Kaylee’s Ireland Mission trip in March.  They raised over $1000.


We had a really good service today at the River, with one family and a single lady visiting for the first time.   

Weekly Update 10-9-16

From midnight MONDAY to midnight TUESDAY was our October 24 hour prayer time at the River.  This was our second month to have 24 hour prayer.  Eleven of us kicked things off at midnight with an hour of worship.  We had 28 people come to pray at one time or another during the 24 hours.  The 20 + prayer stations scattered throughout the sanctuary looked even better than last month. 


WEDNESDAY morning, we hosted the Rusk Ministerial Alliance meeting in our recently renovated conference room.  It was great to host the pastors of the city at our place.  WEDNESDAY night, Susan did an excellent job teaching on communion with God.


THURSDAY morning, Susan and I went to the East Texas Pastors Fellowship at the YWAM headquarters in Lindale.  The meeting was outstanding, and we had 4 pastors attending for the first time.


FRIDAY and SATURDAY, Susan made the 665 mile round-trip to Moore, Oklahoma to see her long-time friend, Meri, for her 60th birthday.  TODAY, we had a great time worshipping together at the River.  I am planning to go off for the week to pray and hear the Lord.  Your prayers are appreciated.

Weekly Update 10-2-16

MONDAY, Susan took me to Waco as a continuation of my 60th birthday celebration.  When Susan was honored earlier this year at the Night of Pearls Banquet for pastor’s wives she received a free night’s stay at the Hampton Inn and gift certificate at 135 Prime Restaurant.  So, we went over to Waco use them both.


WEDNESDAY night, Susan led worship, and I preached on being constrained by the love of Christ.  FRIDAY, several of our ladies went to Hearne for the WOW ladies meeting, while the men gathered at our house for our monthly men’s meeting. 

YESTERDAY in Jacksonville, we celebrated Isaac’s fifth birthday with him.  I was a nice party at their new house.  He got lots of good stuff and had a blast. 


THIS MORNING, we had a good service in which I preached on getting our expectations in line with our true identity.

Weekly Update 9-25-16

Just finished my 60th birthday party here at our house.  Great turnout and lots of fun.  It was a Baylor football theme. 


We got our new sign at the church this week.


Susan spent the week house/dog/cat sitting in Cuney.  She was here for all her normal responsibilities, but spent the nights out there. Wednesday morning we had a good pastors’ prayer meeting.  Wednesday night was the Tree of Promise night at the River. Jason Hoffman came to share with us what this local ministry does in our city. Tree of Promise impacts and inspires the ever-expanding concentric circles of family and community.  Their many endeavors include a Community Garden, Community powered Renewal, Jobs For Life, Dream Tree, and More Than a Backpack.  

Susan is going on a mission trip to Ireland in March.  She has begun fund raising.  Susan and the two others going with her will have a combined garage sale on October 22nd at the Austin Young insurance Agency in Rusk across the street from Brookshires. She is also catering main course and desserts to raise funds.

Found out this week I will be preaching at the Rusk Ministerial Alliance Community Thanksgiving Service.   

Weekly Update 9-18-16

Monday, I went to Temple for my mother’s back surgery at Baylor Scott and White Hospital.  The surgery went extremely well, and she went home that day. I headed home from the hospital to get back to Rusk for our 24 hour prayer meeting.  At midnight, we kicked things off with 13.  We worshiped for the first hour; then, took communion together before separating to pray on our own at the prayer stations.  We had 22 stations set up in the sanctuary with prayer points.  The stations covered topics ranging from social issues, to aspects of the church and society and the 7 spheres of influence. Throughout the 24 hours, we had a total of 35 different people come to pray.  Tim and Karen Millers, leaders from the East Texas House of Prayer, came Tuesday afternoon to visit, pray, take pictures, and interview us about how we were doing it.  We were the first to join the East Texas House of Prayer 24/7 chain of prayer around our region.  At least 31 churches will take one day each month to form non-stop prayer in East Texas.  

24 hr 324 hr 5

Wednesday night, we continued praying at the stations for a while, had a great time of worship followed by lots of sharing what God spoke to us during the 24 hour prayer time.  Thursday was More Than Enough food ministry night. I shared a short message with the clients telling them they were the apple of God’s eye.  Because of our two new freezers, and some additional giving to the food ministry this month, the food boxes were better than normal.

Friday night, the ladies met at our house for their SALT (Sisters Abiding in Love Together) meeting.  There were 24 ladies and 4 children.


Yesterday, Susan started house/dog sitting in Cuney. It is about 25 miles from Rusk, so she will continue all she does here, just spend the nights there for a week.

Weekly Update 9-12-16

Made a quick trip to Temple and back today. My mom had back surgery at Baylor Scott & White. They put cement in a couple of her vertebras. It went smoothly, and she is back home already

Yesterday was a really good day. The morning service at the River went well, and last night I had the opportunity to preach at Grace Fellowship in Rusk for their in Revival Incubation Service. We had a great turn out from Grace Fellowship and the River. It was a great night of worship and fellowship together in unity. Thanks to Keith and Shelia Hassell and their congregation for the invitation.


Last week was pretty busy, but this week will be jam packed with activity. Tonight at midnight, we begin a 24 hour prayer session.

24 hr

Weekly Update 9-4-16

MONDAY NIGHT, Susan taught for 2 hours at the Victorious Women’s Bible Study.  She really enjoyed the opportunity.  Victorious is a ladies’ ministry of River of Life and Disciples Heart Church.

Susan teaching victorious

TUESDAY, we spent most of the day helping some church members move. . This week’s Wacky WEDNESDAY was very enjoyable and uplifting.  The goodness of God was so evident in the worship, the fellowship, and the testimonies.

THURSDAY, Susan and I went to the East Texas Pastors Fellowship meeting in Lyndale.  For this month’s meeting, we joined in a session of Calvary Commission’s Annual Conference.  Following the 10:00 to noon session, we had lunch together.


FRIDAY, night we had all our daughters over to celebrate Christi’s 24th birthday.  We had a great meal together and enjoyed our time with our awesome girls.

SATURDAY, Susan and I were involved in a funeral for Gail Pitt held in Sand Flat, north of Tyler.  I officiated and Susan sang

Weekly Update 8-28-16

ON THE COMMUNITY FRONT – I had a great meeting with the new Methodist pastor here in Rusk.  During the week, Susan and I had a meeting with the mayor and the president of the Chamber of Commerce.  I was asked to preach on Sunday night September 11th at Grace Fellowship here in Rusk.

ON THE BUILDING FRONT – We have been getting several things fixed around the large building.  The next project will be a remodel of the conference room.  We ordered a new church sign this week and a couple banners.  We have 2 brand new freezers coming for the More Than Enough Food Distribution Ministry.  We got a new air conditioner for the More than Enough produce room. 

the signMTE Banner

EVENTS OF THE WEEK – This morning our time of worship was the best since we have been pastoring here.  The presence of the Lord has been becoming more and more tangible in recent weeks.  Friday, several of our ladies made the trip to Hearne for the WOW meeting.  That same night the men met at the Hillis’ home.  We divided into two teams and had a cell phone scavenger hunt for Wacky Wednesday.  After the game we had a lively discussion on outreach and evangelism.  

A thank you to Bacon Auto Country. Enlarge this and read the story.


Weekly Update 8-21-16

I spent the first couple days of the week at home, mostly in bed.  Susan was busy keeping everything going.  In fact, she led worship and taught this week for Wacky Wednesday. 

Susan teaching

Thursday was More Than Enough day at the River.  Susan sang, and I got to share a word with the people.  We are currently giving out food on the third Thursday of each month.  Each week that we distribute takes three days to get ready!  On Tuesday some volunteers go to Tyler to pick up food.  On Wednesday morning Susan joins other ladies to sort the food and load the boxes for Thursday night.  Then on Thursday a whole team comes to check in the clients, finish the food boxes with the frozen and fresh food and get the cars loaded!  Next month, we are going to begin distributing food on the first Thursday from 10 am to 1 pm as well as the Thursday evening distributions.  This awesome ministry is expanding.

MTE Banner

On Friday, the ladies met at our house for a time of fun and fellowship.  They had a good time eating together and playing Pictionary. 

We had an awesome time of worship today along with the message about being “fire compatible”.  Don’t avoid the purifying firel!  School starts tomorrow!

Weekly Update 8-14-16

The week started off with an opportunity to serve the teachers and employees of the Rusk ISD on Monday.  The Rusk Ministerial Alliance served lunch to everyone in the fellowship Hall of First Baptist Church.  It was the school’s convocation day and the Rusk RMA does this every year.  It was a great opportunity to bless these very deserving people as they prepare to get back into full swing.


Tuesday evening our worship team and our prayer team combined for strategic purpose.  We divided into four groups and went to the four gates of the city to worship and pray.  We went representing the body of Christ in the city exercising our authority delegated to us by God.


Wednesday the first meeting of Victorious, a Women’s Study co-sponsored by the River and Disciple’s Heart Church.  They met at our church this week with Sheneigne Cummings teaching.  Six women gathered for this first meeting.

Wednesday night was movie Night at the River.  We had plenty of popcorn and cold water available and we watched Home Run.  The movie is about an alcoholic baseball player getting set free by Jesus.  Everyone had a great time, and we were all moved by what we watched.

Movie Night

Thursday Susan and I went to a Texas Rangers day game in Arlington.  We were given free tickets, so we made the trip over and back.  It was lots of fun.


Friday Susan and I were invited by Don Cooper to a small meeting with Jim Hodges in Duncanville/Dallas.  There were six of us.  We shared our hearts with each other, and then went to lunch.  It was a good time of mutual encouragement.


Saturday was a shopping trip to Houston for our ladies.  Several had to back out of going for various reasons, but 8 made the trip for lunch at Pappadeaux’s, then shopping at Sam Moon’s and beyond.


Ronda Watson is in Florida, so Susan led worship today, and I spoke on the Parable of the Good Samaritan.  Lots of people are making last minute trips before school starts, but we had another really good day at the River.

Weekly Update 8-7-16

Tuesday we participated in a backpack/school supply giveaway at our local library.  This was an event sponsored by The Tree of Promise, a local ministry to the city.  The Rusk Ministerial Alliance participated, as well as many businesses and churches around town.  We had 540 back packs ready with all the school supplies for each grade.  The people received a backpack at the front door and proceeded through the line from table to table throughout the library collecting supplies.  Our church purchased and distributed color pencils. 


Wednesday, Susan and I attended the Rusk Ministerial Alliance at First Baptist Church. The RMA will be sponsoring an appreciation luncheon tomorrow for the teachers and staff of the Rusk School District.  All the churches in town provide the food and we will greet and serve the teachers.  Wednesday night we divided into groups and discussed Matthew 6:25-34. 


Thursday, we went to the East Texas Pastors’ Fellowship meeting at Church of Living Waters in Tatum, TX.  It was an outstanding meeting.  There were several new faces, and the meeting was characterized by an increased momentum and growing sense of expectancy. 


On Saturday, Susan attended a city-wide ladies conference held at the Rusk Civic Center.  Around 90 ladies gathered from many church for a great day of ministry and encouragement.

Today was another great day at the River.  We are finishing up the summer stronger than we started.  Numbers are up, unity is strong, expectancy is building, and family atmosphere is flourishing. 

Weekly Update 7-31-16

Wednesday, Sheneigne Cummings taught on the prophetic, and then led us all in some prophetic activation exercises.  It was a very effective night of encouragement for all attending.

Prophetic Activation

 Friday, Susan and 8 more of our people made their 120 mile monthly trek to Hearne for the WOW (Women of Worth) Meeting. 

Yesterday was a big day at the River.  We hosted a Territorial meeting.  People gathered from Tyler, Carthage, Palestine, Jacksonville, Lake Whitney, Valley Mills, Waco, and Temple.  Our worship team led worship, and we provided the meal for around 70 people.  It was a good day of fellowship, prayer for breakthrough in our region, and Don Crum delivered a timely, excellent word. 

 IMG_20160730_120738025 IMG_20160730_130729020

We had an Eat-Up-All-The-Leftovers Meal after the service today.  This was another good day at the River. 

2528[1] 2558[1]2558[1] 2540[1] 2549[1] 2528[1]


Weekly Update 7-25-16

Yesterday was the best day so far at the River.  We had 79 attending, the most since we have been pastoring here, and worship was great.  Things are really building.  Participation in every aspect of the service was great.  There is such a positive atmosphere of unity and expectation building.  Ronda Watson and the worship team are such an amazing blessing. 

Logo 2

My stepdad, Jim, had knee surgery this week in Waco.  He and my mother live in Belton, so I sent down there to help out for a couple days, so I missed Wednesday night service and More Than Enough Thursday.  Susan led worship and spoke Wednesday night in my absence, and she led worship Thursday night while I was away. 

Susan red and white

Friday night, the ladies met at our house.  There was another good crowd and they had lots of fun getting to know each other better.  Giving has been great in the church through the summer and we were able to do some much needed plumbing, electrical, and A/C work at the church.


Weekly Update 7-17-16

Wednesday night, Ronda Watson and Susan taught and served as a panel for a discussion on worship.  We all benefitted from their wealth of experience. It was very informative and inspiring.  Afterward, we had a time of worship to finish out the evening.  This was the latest of our Wacky Wednesdays of Summer.

panel1 - Copy (2) - Copy panel 2 - Copy (2) - Copy

Yesterday was a big day for the River.  We held a Family Block Party from 10 – 1.  We served hot dogs.  We had a bounce house and a booth for horseshoes, bubbles, sponge toss, sponge wars, toilet paper toss, face painting, basketball shoot, and water bottle bowling.  We gave out tickets to the kids at each booth which they redeemed for prizes.  The worship team sang three times and the tambourine team did a routine.  We had almost 30 helpers and the Harvest Now made free tee shirts for all of us. 

fbp1 - Copy fbp2 - Copy - Copy fbp4 - Copy fbp3 - Copy fbp5 - Copy (2) - Copy

Friday night, concerned citizens met on the square to show support and pray for our local law enforcement and city officials, as well as, for our nation. 

IMG_20160714_191742060_HDR IMG_20160714_192204031_HDR

Today, we had a great service.  Even with 4 families out of town, we still had a good crowd with some new faces.  The day was brimming with life, hope, and celebration. 

Weekly Update 7-10-16

The week began on Lake Jacksonville at Howard and Ronda Watson’s for the Fourth of July.  They are amazing hosts and their place is so nice.  Cedrick Denson fried fish and Terry Tilton smoked a brisket and sausage.  It was a fun day with lots of great people. 

For our midweek service we had a game night this week.  We had Scrabble, Farkle, Dominos, Rummikub, and Phase 10 games going with plenty of good fellowship. 


Thursday we hosted the East Texas Pastors Fellowship meeting.  Susan and Ronda led worship before our time of sharing.  As host, we provided the meal for the group.  There were people here from Tatum, Jacksonville, Carthage, Lindale, Whitehouse, Tyler, and Rusk. 


Saturday we went door-to-door inviting the neighborhoods around the church to next Saturday’s Family Block Party at the River.  This promises to be a busy week getting ready for the big event.


Today was “Honor the Corbells” Sunday at the River.  It was a special time of remembering the tremendous impact of Robert and Lesa on all of our lives.  Everyone brought cards expressing their appreciation to the Corbells, and there was a designated time to bring the cards to them and speak words of encouragement and thanks.  It was a great day.


We kept Lucas from Thursday morning through tonight.  He has been so good, a real delight.


Weekly Update 7-3-16

We had company all week.  Susan and her sister, Jenifer, returned from Alabama on Monday.  We squeezed in as much work as we could on Tuesday and Wednesday; then, on Thursday morning Susan, Jenifer, Christi, Jessica, and I headed down to the Galveston area until Saturday afternoon. 


We had a really good Sunday morning service with several visitors today.  Then we took Jenifer to Madisonville to meet a friend.  She flies back to California Tuesday.



Weekly Update 6-26-16

Tuesday was a very special day for me.  I got to spend the day with my oldest daughter, Jessica.  Today is her actual birthday, but we celebrated it Tuesday.  I took her to Razoo’s in Tyler for lunch, to see a movie, shopping at Old Navy, to Papacita’s for chips and queso, then home to cook out for DJ, Susan, Becca, Fredy, Isaac, Lucas, Christi and Duncan.  It was a great day, topped off with playing games with Christi and Duncan until pretty late.  Wednesday was spent preparing for our midweek service that night.

Thursday Jenifer, Susan’s sister arrived from Tehachapi, CA arrived for a visit.  First thing Friday morning, Susan, Jenifer, Becca, Isaac, and Lucas left for Selma, AL for her family reunion. 


Friday night was our men’s meeting here at our house.  We had a great time of fellowship and prayer for each other.  Saturday, I made the 300 mile round trip to Valley Mills for a Central Texas Regional Meeting with Donnie Cooper and Craig Godby.  We will be hosting a Territorial meeting here at the River in July. 


Today was amazing day at the River.  Worship was so good, and the presence of God was strong.  We had tons of people out of town, but we still had an excellent time together.  Our friends from Kemp, Donald and Tonya Kyle, were visiting with for worship today.  At 3:00 this afternoon, I spoke at a memorial service at the River for Jennifer Townsend followed by a graveside service. 

It has been a blur since Susan left for Alabama, but I am still ready to see here when she returns tomorrow night.  This week I will be completing 6 months od daily devotional thoughts.  You can find all of them on this sight and on face book.

Weekly Update 6-20-16

Tuesday, after leadership meeting, I went down to Waco for a Youth Camp planning meeting.  Wednesday morning, we hosted the pastors’ prayer meeting for the Rusk Ministerial Alliance.  It was a good time of heartfelt prayer for our city. 

Wednesday night service went well.  Thursday, I spoke at a funeral in Corsicana for my step dad’s step mother.  We had to rush back to More Than Enough, our food distribution ministry evening.  Susan sang, and I spoke again this month. 


Then, Friday night We hosted the Ladies Meeting at our house.  It was well attended and lots of fun. 


Father’s Day was excellent!  We honored 15 fathers, had 15 in children’s church, and had over 70 people in attendance.  Jessica, Rebecca, and Christi were all here.  It was a great day.

IMG_20160619_104810788 IMG_20160619_114035275


Weekly Update 6-12-16

IMG_20160611_121809454 13441911_1159417954109324_2030554565_o

We had a busy week, keeping our grandchildren and preparing for our church picnic.  The week ended with a beautiful flurry of good, positive family fun and fellowship.  Yesterday, our fellowship had a great time of interaction at Jim Hogg Park.  Thanks to Terry Tilton for grilling the hamburgers, sausage, and hot dogs, and thanks to Jan Parrott for making and bringing 5 containers of homemade ice cream.  We had 9 freezers of homemade ice cream in all. (Yum!)  The interaction of the family was so good to be a part of.

13405090_1159417880775998_1592283533_o 13405664_1159417960775990_125163872_o

Then, this morning from pre-service prayer through the final amen was exceptional.  The service was very interactive and everyone participated eagerly and cheerfully.  We partook of communion with one another in an atmosphere of unity and mutual goodwill.  We are blessed to be a part of the lives of such awesome people.

IMG_20160611_123747970 13410857_1159417934109326_514345971_o


Weekly Update 5-6-16

We spent Memorial Day at Howard and Ronda Watson’s lake house at Lake Jacksonville.  Ketrich Steger was still with us, and he enjoyed the day with us and some great friends from the church.  The Watsons served donut burgers for lunch, complete with a fried egg and bacon.  It was a great day filled with lots of visiting, swimming, boat rides, and jet skiing.

Memorial DayJet Skiing

Tuesday morning, Ketrich ministered to our leaders at our weekly leadership meeting, then Ketrich and I left for Waco to spend some time with Donnie and Melisa Cooper.  We spent the night with Jessica and DJ in Waco.  Wednesday morning, we spent more time with Donnie discussing the work in Colorado, Central Texas, and East Texas. 

Cooper Steger Haines

Wednesday evening, was River of Life School of Ministry graduation.  Six students graduated, and Ketrich was the speaker for the evening.  It was a great ceremony, and we are so proud of the students that graduated: Paul Stewart, Ashlee Whitaker, Marissah Healey, Tonya Beall, Alex Miguez, and Hannah Hale.

Grad 2016

Thursday, Susan and I went to Church of Living Hope in Tyler for the East Texas Pastors Fellowship.  Pastors from all over East Texas come together to worship, share the word of the Lord, visit, and share a meal together.  Next month, we will host the ETPF Meeting at the River in Rusk.


Friday, we took 25 people to the Texas Rangers baseball game in Arlington.  It was a wonderful evening with NO RAIN!  The Rangers won against the Seattle Mariners and took over first place in the American League West.  The game was followed by an impressive fireworks show.  We made it back to Rusk around 1:30 AM.

Ranger Game 2 Ranger Game

This morning, Susan ministered to the Children in Children’s Church.  She taught the kids on the fruit if the spirit, patience.  I preached on God’s strong desire to express Himself through us.  We need to redefine humanity in view of the life of Jesus Christ.

Weekly Update 5-29-16

This was another very busy week.  One highlight of the week was Bill Morrow’s memorial service on Thursday.  It was an awesome time celebrating Bill’ life, in the sweet presence of the Lord.  I cannot remember sensing the Lord’s presence more at any memorial service I have been involved in.

 Bill Morrow

Friday night was the most powerful men’s meeting we have had since we started.  John Hillis was a wonderful host. 

Ketrich Steger, pastor of Telluride Christian Fellowship in Telluride, CO, was with us today at the River.  It was a great service, and we are enjoying our visit with our good friend. 

Ketrich 1

Weekly Update 5-22-16

On January 1st, I began posting Daily Dave-otionals.  Honestly, I was not certain how long I would keep it up, but today was the 143rd morning on which I posted a devotional on this website and on Facebook  It is hard to believe we are this far into 2016. 

Dave-otional slider 2

We are happily settled into our new house.  God is so good to us.  We are so blessed; we made it through all of the added expenses you incur when moving. Whenever we needed extra He provided it.


This was More Than Enough week, so we had an awesome time on Thursday night with our other congregation.  We love the special people we have the privilege of serving in our food ministry once a month. 

This morning’s service was at another level from start to finish.  Worship was awesome and the response to the word was great.  We are who He says we are, and we can do whatever He says we can.  It was an encouraging day.

IMG_20160522_110903953 IMG_20160522_110907146 IMG_20160522_113204843

Weekly Update 5-15-16

What a busy week! We had Tom Scarella in for the weekend at the River. He was here at the church last year while we were in Colorado, so this was the first time Susan and I met him. We hosted healing services on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday evenings. Tom is currently living in Fort Lauderdale, FL. He ministers all over the world, and we were blessed to have him in Rusk. He met with our leadership team on Saturday morning at our house. He was very encouraging, helpful, and caring to all of us.


On Saturday night, Susan was honored at An Evening Anchored in Pearls in Waco. This was an event sponsored by The Anchor News in Waco. It was an evening designed to honor 19 pastors wives in the Waco area. They branched out to include Susan even though we live over 2 hours away. We had a nice meal, entertainment, slide show of the honorees, and a short message. Susan was given a gift bag including a necklace, earrings, a free night’s stay at a nice hotel, and a gift certificate to a nice restaurant. It was an impressive, genuine tribute to the pastor’s wives.

Pearls 2 - CopyPearls 3pearl 1

Weekly Update 5-8-16

Tuesday morning, I taught Grace vs. Law class at the ministry school. That night, we had a special wedding reception /shower/ time of worship for Adam Beall and Tonya Beck. It was a special time preceding their wedding on Thursday in Tyler at the Rose Garden.


Wednesday evening, we continued our study on Philippians, and our youth performed a skit.

IMG_20160504_195024560 IMG_20160504_195109367

At noon on Thursday, we met at the Cherokee County Courthouse in Rusk for the National Day of Prayer.

IMG_20160505_115748605_HDR IMG_20160505_122317570_HDR

On Saturday, we went to Belton to visit my mother for Mother’s Day. On the way back home we got to stop in Waco and see Jessica for a while.

Today was an excellent Mother’s Day service day at the River. Susan counted 14 ladies who were out of town today and we still had a decent crowd. We have so many awesome women of God at the River. We are so blessed. Then, Susan Becca Isaac, Lucas and I went to Lufkin for a Mother’s day lunch at Olive Garden.

IMG_20160508_144927434 IMG_20160508_113834337

Weekly Update 5-1-16

We have been moving things over to our new house since April 18th, but on Monday we got all of the furniture and big stuff moved in. We have been so blessed! Someone rented a truck and hired some guys to move everything Monday. Susan was here with them, but I had plans to be out of town when they scheduled the help. A pastor friend from town invited me to go with him to Austin for the Decision America 2016 prayer rally at the state capitol with Franklin Graham. We drove down on Monday and did some sightseeing and spent the night. We attended the prayer rally on Tuesday. It was awesome being at such a strategic location with thousands of others gathered from all across our state. We are so grateful for the amazing favor we were shown this week with the help moving and the hotel and gas covered on the Austin trip. I only paid for 3 meals.

Capitol Franklin Prayer rally

We spent lots of time this week getting the house unpacked and set up. Wednesday we continued our study of Philippians. Friday evening 16 men attended our monthly Men’s Meeting at the Birdwell’s house. It was a stormy evening. After we ate a great meal together, we gathered into the living room when the electricity went off. The lack of lights did not hinder our time together, Ralph Nichol, a missionary from Mexico shared the word with us. We had 3 people from Mexico and one from Argentina; it was a good night for the men. While we were meeting here, 8 of our ladies made the long trip over to Hearne for the WOW (Women of Worth) meeting.

IMG_20160429_194204198 IMG_20160429_195252912

Saturday we celebrated Becca’s 30th birthday at Texas Roadhouse in Tyler. It was a surprise party with 24 people from Palestine, Jacksonville, Elkhart, Tyler, Belton, Waco, and Rusk. This morning was an excellent service – the worship was great and I shared a message on bulldog persistence.

Beccas party 1Beccas party 3Beccas party 2


Weekly Update 4-24-16

Monday three hard working ladies invaded our house like busy ants packing all day. What a blessing! We took several loads over to our new place that day. On Tuesday, our daughter, Christi, and her boyfriend came to help for a while and we got more moved over.


Wednesday night we continued our study of Philippians, and Thursday night was our More Than Enough food distribution night. We had a great crowd this month. Susan sang, and I shared a message on forgiveness. The More Than Enough crowd are like a second congregation that we get to see monthly.


Friday night was our monthly ladies meeting. Two ladies came to teach about Bible Journaling. We had a great turnout. There were roughly 40 people there for fellowship, food and fun. The week was interspersed with more packing and van loads and pickup loads. This morning was another good day at the River with a baptism. Susan taugh children’s church and I preached on Overcoming Distractions.

Tomorrow is the major move. By tomorrow night we should be completely out of 211 Academy and into 278 E 7th.

Weekly Update 4-17-16

Good news on our upcoming move! We found a house to rent, signed the lease on Saturday, and got the keys today. We plan to do the major move on Monday, the 25th. We got a huge surprise a little while ago; someone offered to pay for a truck some people to move us. Wow! What a blessing! We start packing tomorrow, and we will take a few loose things over next few days. We like the new place a lot.


Today, Jonathan and Theresa Baldwin were at the River. Jonathan and Theresa are Intercessory Missionaries at IHOP (International House of Prayer) in Kansas City. They have a heart for worship, prayer, the unborn, the elderly, and Haiti. They spent the night with us last night, Jonathan led worship and they ministered. It was a blessing to have them with us.

Weekly Update 4-10-16

Wednesday, Susan and I attended this month’s Rusk Ministerial Alliance Meeting. The Alliance gives two $500 scholarships to graduating Rusk High School Seniors. At our meeting we looked at 9 applications and decided which two students would get the scholarship. We are enjoying working with the local pastors here.

On Thursday we went to the East Texas Pastors Fellowship at the Twin Oaks Ranch YWAM (Youth with a Mission) base near Lindale TX. We were treated royally by the staff and students there. We had our meeting at 10, followed by a very nice meal at their cafeteria. After that, we went on a tour of the campus there. We were amazed by all they are doing and deeply touched by their passion.

IMG_20160407_103409543 IMG_20160407_142652621

Saturday was the dedication for our newly established prayer room at the church. Susan met with the prayer team at 10 to pray over the room. I had to be at a funeral in Palestine for a friend who died this week.

Prayer Room

This morning was a great service at the River. We are waiting to hear if we are going to get a rent house we looked at this week. We definitely want it. We were declined in our attempt to get qualified to purchase a home, so we switched to looking for a place to rent. And we believe we found it. More info will be forthcoming soon. We have 18 days to be out of this house, but we are not worried, because God is faithful.

Weekly Update 4-3-16


It was a great day this morning at the River. Worship was amazing; we had 16 children in children’s church, several visitors, and there was good response to the message.

IMG_20160403_104451651 IMG_20160403_105213994


Tuesday evening, we had open mic night. One person played French horn and 8 to 10 people sang. Everyone had a good time sharing and listening, then fellowshipping afterwards.

Wednesday, we continued our study of Philippians, covering Chapter 1, verses 3-8.

Phil 4

We found out Monday the house we are currently renting here in Rusk sold. We have till the April 28th to find a place and move. Needless to say, that news affected our week. We went to look at 2 houses on Tuesday, went to the bank on Thursday, and Friday we submitted paper work. We find out tomorrow or Tuesday if we qualify for a loan to purchase a house. We are praying for favor, and we have an eye on a house we really like.

Weekly Update 3-27-16

Highlights of the week

Wednesday, we continued our study of the book of Philippians, covering the first 2 verses of the epistle.

Thursday, we got the crater in our parking lot fixed. Thanks to Kenny Birdwell and his crew for their hard work.

Friday night, we hosted our monthly Men’s Meeting here at our house. 10 men came together for food, fellowship, worship, and the word. Curtis Odom, the pastor of River of Life Hearne, came to Rusk to minister to us. He delivered a good word and prayed over each one of us.

IMG_20160325_195328814 IMG_20160325_205447617

While the men were meeting here, 12 of our ladies went to Hearne to Women of Worth Ladies Meeting there. It was a great time of fellowship – there and on the trip!

This morning, we enjoyed a great Resurrection Day Service. Our Tambourine Team ministered this morning. I delivered a monologue as John, the Apostle. In the middle of my message Susan and Becca sang Via Dolorosa with a power point. Today we had 81 people celebrating the Resurrected Lord and enjoying His presence.

IMG_20160327_112049591 IMG_20160327_113226849

Weekly Update 3-20-16

Things are going well at the church. This was another week full of counseling for Susan and me.

Wednesday night, we continued the study of the Epistle of Philippians. This was our second week and we actually finished the Introduction to the book!

Thursday evening was our More Than Enough food distribution ministry. I got a chance to speak to them again this month. Susan did the worship. It is always great to be with the wonderful people we get to serve that night.

Friday night, 22 women gathered at Rhonda Birdwell’s house for this month’s Ladies’ Meeting. We had ladies from Athens, Hearne, Malakoff, and Palestine. I heard they had lots of fun again.

IMG_20160318_222658119 IMG_20160318_222833899 IMG_20160318_222903616

Today was another great day at church. I preached on different facets of the cross. 19 of us attended the Community Palm Sunday Night Service at First Baptist Church sponsored by the Rusk Ministerial Alliance. Robbie Arrington from the Church of Christ preached an excellent message, and we had a good time of fellowship afterwards with people from several churches.

Facets of the cross

Weekly Update 3-13-16

Great morning at the River today with a big crowd, awesome worship, good atmosphere, and great response to the word. This morning’s message was on shame. Thank you Jesus for bearing our shame!

We planned on going camping this week while Jessica’s and Rebecca’s schools were on Spring Break, but the weather did not cooperate. We did get together with family a couple times, even though we did not get to camp.

Ministry wise, the week was very full of counseling, more than usual. On Wednesday, I began teaching a series on the Book of Philippians. No pictures this week because my phone got run over yesterday. If you need to reach me, call Susan at 903-948-1135.


Weekly Update 3-6-16

This week we attended the Rusk Ministerial Alliance and the East Texas Pastors’ Fellowship. The RMA was well attended, there were was a room full. We had to bring in extra chairs. The Rusk school superintendent and president of the school board came to update us on the upcoming bond election. The ETPF was well attended too we even had people there from India, Peru, and the owner of a local Christian radio station. Our next meeting will be at YWAM in Lyndale.


I taught the Harvest House guys this week on being “In Christ” and having “Christ in us”.

In Christ

Today was another great day at the River. Awesome time of worship followed by a message on the joy.


Weekly Update 2-28-16


This morning was our first Family Service. It went very well. After a good time of worship, we had a baby dedication. Children, also, read scriptures and took up the offering. I broke the message into 3 sections. After the first section, the children did motions to the song “Down to the River” by Jordan Feliz. After the second section, three families competed in a Scavenger Hunt game in the sanctuary demonstrating families working together as teams. The last section of the message was parenting tips. It was a lot of fun for everyone and everyone was blessed.


Wednesday, Susan and I finished the Marriage and Family Class for the School of Ministry. We taught on parenting and blended families. We enjoyed teaching the class together and, and it went well.

Parenting Tips

Friday night, 9 ladies from Rusk went to Hearne for a ladies’ meeting. Susan and Becca led worship and Becca translated for Sheneigne’s message into Spanish. While the ladies were in Hearne, the men were at our house for our second Men’s Meeting. It was a good time of fellowship, food, and sharing in unity and peace.

men's meeting

Of course, we had several meetings with individuals throughout the week interspersed with other commitments.

Weekly Update 2-21-16

Tuesday was full of meetings as usual, and Wednesday was extremely busy. I taught the Harvest House’s Wednesday afternoon class. I shared on regeneration, the tri-part nature of man and the two levels of reality. Then, that night Sheneigne Cummings spoke at the main church service, and I took the youth to our house and taught them there.


Thursday was another big day culminating in More Than Enough, our food distribution ministry. A church full of people attended our service, and I got to speak to them again this month. It was followed with a family viewing and an individual meeting with a member.

Friday we attended a funeral for Tommy Pitt in Sand Flats north of Tyler. That night, Susan hosted a Ladies’ Fellowship at our house. There were 19 ladies here, and they had a lot of fun playing games.


Saturday, we made the trek up to Douglassville for another funeral. We took the day to be there for our dear friend Ketrich Steger and his family, for his mother’s funeral. It was great to see him, Suella, Jerrica, and Shellanie.

KetrichSuellaSteger girls

This morning, we had an awesome time of worship. I preached on being Christ centered, and Susan taught children’s church.

Weekly Update 2-14-16

Susan and I are loving ministering together here at the River. We had several meetings with individuals and counseling sessions this week. We are enjoying working with our amazing leadership team here. We are so blessed to be teamed up with such wonderful people.

We taught Marriage & Family at the Ministry School again this week. We shared on Communication and the 5 Love Languages. Wednesday night was a great time of worship and the word.

God's Design

Christi, our youngest daughter came and spent a couple days with us. I went to T. Boone Pickens Cancer Center in Dallas on Thursday to visit the son of one of our members.


This morning was a wonderful time of worship. I shared a challenging message concerning being a multi-generational church.  Thanks to all of you for your prayer and financial support.


Weekly Update 2-8-16

We had lots of meetings and counseling on Tuesday.


On Wednesday, Susan and I went to the Rusk Ministerial Alliance Meeting where it was decided that we will begin to get together to pray. That night, we had a wedding as part of our Midweek Service. It was an outstanding evening at the River.  Oh yea, that morning we taught Marriage & Family at the Ministry School.

IMG_20160203_195950220God's Design

On Thursday, Susan and I went to Tatum for the East Texas Pastors’ Fellowship. It was a good meeting with 33 of us attending from all over East Texas.


When we got home from the pastors’ meeting, we headed to Waco where I was asked to do a funeral for an old friend’s mother, Florene Morgan. The funeral was on Friday afternoon, but we went down on Thursday to meet the family and learn more about Florene. We were blessed to meet the family and get to share this special time with them.

Sunday morning, we continued presenting vision for the River.


Last night, we hosted a Super Bowl party. A living room full of us watched the Broncos win. It was great to have all 3 of our girls with us last night.


Weekly Update 1-31-16

This was a busy, fruitful week. The week was sprinkled with our meetings with individual members. Tuesday night, we hosted a flag seminar. It was well attended by male and female worshippers.

Wednesday, Susan and I began teaching a Marriage & Family Class at the ministry school. Wednesday night, was a powerful service.

Marriage class

Friday night, our worship team went to River of Life Hearne for a ladies meeting. Nine of our ladies made the long tip to Hearne.


Saturday, Susan and I attended a regional meeting in Valley Mills at Hope Ministries. Sam and Nancy Brassfield ministered. It was a great meeting attended by 85 people from all over Central Texas as well as a couple from Muleshoe, TX and some folks from Arlington, TX. Valley Mills is around 2½ to 3 hours away.


This morning, we continued sharing the vision of the church

Weekly Update 1-24-16

Wonderful day today at the River. We had more people this morning than any Sunday morning since we have been back here. We had several visitors and 70 in attendance. We relaunched weekly children’s church this morning and re-established a nursery. I began a series on vision. There is such an air of freshness and expectation.

Saturday morning, Susan and I met with the intercessors of ROLCC. We are so blessed to have a team of such amazing, faithful pray-ers in action. I cannot say enough about their support and cooperation.

Friday night was double good. 22 women and 4 kids came to our house for a ladies’ meeting. They enjoyed salads and played Pictionary. I hear it was fun with lots of laughing. 17 men gathered at Kenny Birdwell’s house. The men encouraged one another in love and the presence of the Lord was sweet.

Ladies meeting 2 ladies meeting 1 IMG_20160122_183647210 IMG_20160122_182938186

Wednesday night, Darren Canning spoke. He taught three days in the Ministry School.

IMG_20160120_205346898_TOP IMG_20160120_205952526_TOP

Thursday evening was our More Than Enough food distribution night, and I was the speaker. It was great to minister and visit with folks from the community.

This week was filled with pre-marital counseling and our meetings with individual people, finding out what their heart is for ministry.

Weekly Update 1-17-16

Wonderful morning at the River today. Our friend Ketrich Steger from Telluride, CO made a trip down to check on his sick mother in Dallas. So, I asked him on Friday evening if he would come minister here today. He did, and it was great. He was praying for people in the altar till 1:30.


We had our first Leadership meeting on Friday night at our house. We began with supper together followed by a good time discussing the business of the church and a powerful time of prayer together.

Wednesday night was an outstanding midweek service with 63 people who showed up ready to wordship. The last 3 services have gone to a different level.


We began meeting with each member of the church for a one-on-one meeting to discuss gifts, interests, and dreams.

Lucas was sick this week and we kept him 3 days. He had RSV and an inner ear infection. Thankfully, he is getting better.


We just finished our second week of an eating overhaul. Eating healthy and at home!!

Weekly Update 1-10-16

Today was our best day yet at the River. It just seemed like a fresh beginning from pre-service prayer all the way through. Attendance was up, the atmosphere was expectant, and response to altar prayer time was good. We concluded by observing communion together.

Tuesday, we had an annual board meeting, then went to Waco to use the basketball tickets Christi gave us for Christmas. We enjoyed watching Baylor beat Oklahoma State.

Wednesday night, Mike Matthews from St Joseph, Missouri delivered a great word for 2016. We enjoyed Mike and Ruth’s visit and were blessed by their input in the church and the school.

Mike Matthews

Thursday, I taught for 4 hours straight at the Ministry School. My topic was the Person and Work of the Holy Spirit. It was my first time to teach since we came back. In a couple weeks Susan and I will team teach a Marriage and Family class.

P & W of H S

On top of all that, we started an eating change this week. It is a drastic change but has been going well. The year is off to a healthy start.

Weekly Update 1-4-16

As you know, the week between Christmas and New Year’s Day is a hard time to get much accomplished. We did some counseling and had some one-on-one meetings. Tuesday, we went to see some of our family that we did not get to see at Christmas. Here is a picture of my mom with her great grandchildren, including Isaac and Lucas.

mom and greats

On Thursday, we had probably the best church New Year’s Eve celebration I have ever been associated with. We had a progressive Dinner going to 3 different homes for salad, then, for soups and chili, then, for dessert. We ended up back at the church for a time of enthusiastic praise and worship, followed by a powerful time of making decrees and declarations.

Haines nyebirdwells nyerondas nyechurch nye

Weekly Update 1-1-16

On Monday, we were invited to one of our church member’s house for a Christmas lunch. It was delicious and lots of fun. There were about 10 of us. After that Susan and I went to Nacogdoches for a night out using a gift certificate and some movie passes we won at a Christmas party last week.

sharons food

The praise team from our church did a mini-concert for the residents of Angelina House in Jacksonville. They did an awesome job; the people were extremely blessed. We also got to visit a couple from our church who live there now.

IMG_20151222_103528548_TOP IMG_20151222_103551500

Wednesday was a really good service, followed by a busy Thursday finishing getting ready for Christmas day. Christmas morning we had our family over for brunch and a gift exchange. DJ and Jessica came over from Waco, Christi Anna from Palestine, and Fredy, Becca, Isaac, and Lucas from Jacksonville. We had lots of good food and a wonderful time of visiting throughout the day. We are so blessed to be close enough to get together and to get along so well.

christmas brunch 1 christmas brunch 2

In spite of the holiday we had a great time Sunday morning with 55 people attending, with good worship and response to the word.