News and views of the First United Methodist Church in Cross Plains, Texas

Monday, August 28, 2006


I appreciate Judy posting the photo of the parsonage. Those like the Chaffins on the road will appreciate this. We got the roof on before the rain came. I guess God was waiting on us.

I am asked about the church building progress and have to apologize for the delay. We made a decision to have the engineering plans completed so that possible contractors will have the proper information in plans and specs to obtain more accurate estimates on all aspects of the building construction. Initial estimates were close to but over our budget. However, getting all the engineering work done takes time and we were promised last week but still don't have the completed plans. They will be sent directly to the contractors we have contacted when they are finished. Being a professional engineer I believe that doing the engineering first is the proper way to go.

I hope everyone is planning to come to church Sunday September 11 when our preacher will be Rev. Hubert Austin, who pastored our church under difficult circumstances with failing health and heart problems. Since his retirement he has had his health improved and is looking forward to preaching to this congregation again.

I hope everyone will participate in the next three week Sunday School emphasis by the Central Texas Conference to focus on our charge to take Christ to everyone in the world. Including Cross Plains.

And we all thank God for the healing rains, even though CP gets a lot more than Halsell Hill.


Sunday, August 27, 2006


This is a picture of our parsonage as of Sunday, Aug.27th. I'll try to keep updated pictures on here as work progresses. The roof and windows were added last week.


Saturday, August 19, 2006


We had a good week. Started with Rev. Bennett filling in for Rev. Senkel. He preached on what I suggested, but hadn't read the blog at the time. Love your neighbor. Turns out this is his favorite Bible passage. His son, Bryan, did a good job as Worship Leader and we had one of the better attendances. Wednesday night we had a Finance Committee meeting and found out that we are just breaking even on operating expenses. That was good news when we thought we were in the hole. The committee recommended to the Administrative Council that we allot $900,000 to the church building. We then had a fairly well attended Administrative Council meeting. We were all disappointed to get a resignation letter from Vicki Dillard as chair of the Worship committee.

Have I explained my theory of expectations to you? About 35 years ago I made an observation about a professor in the Aero Dept at A&M who complained about our boss not giving him enough direction. I told him I had worked for bosses who were always telling you what to do and he was fortunate not to have one of those. But he got really worked up about it. The way expectations work is person A expects B to do something or say something. When it doesn't happen A gets really angry with B. Poor B has no idea what is going on because he/she has no idea about A's expectation. Things can then get really ugly because of the lack of communication. So don't expect someone else to be perfect when you aren't. And forgive them when they don't do what you expect them to do.

I like the Bible verse that I read this morning: "each man should give what he has decided in his heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver." 2 Cor.9:7
That is my stewardship message as Finance Chair.


Thursday, August 10, 2006


August 13 we will have Rev. Wallace Bennett as our preacher as our pastor, Rev. Jim Senkel, enjoys a well deserved vacation visiting his daughter in Washington, D.C. where she will be undergoing a somewhat complicated surgical procedure at the Walter Reed hospital. They will have time to visit our nation's capitol and see the sights.

Rev. Wallace is a distinguished retired military chaplain, who received his call to become a minister during the difficult fighting in Korea. He was a specialist in Army communications and had served in the Navy. He later became a chaplain and during the last part of his ministerial career served as editor of the Methodist Reporter in Texas.

I think our congregation must be a lot like Snuffy Smith in the comics. His pastor had the bulletin board stating LOVE THY NEIGHBOR and Snuffy comments that he can't do that. The best that he can do is tolerate his neighbors. I hope that Rev. Bennett's sermon will stress that Christ told us to worship God by serving our fellow man. I should have made that point last Sunday when I served as worship chair. You think of those things later and I wish I had said that. It seems the most difficult aspect of being a Christian is being able to forgive those who we think have transgressed against us. Even if they haven't said anything, we know what they are thinking. We all need to work on that aspect of our relationship.

Tuesday, August 01, 2006


The Cross Plains Food Pantry had it's annual audit/inspection this morning and we passed with flying colors. Glen Byers, head of the Abilene Food Bank, was very impressed with our facilities and how well we were stocked with food products, especially the frozen meat. We are very fortunate to have such great support from our church and from the community. It certainly makes my job as director much easier. Thank you all for giving to the food pantry.
Judy Porter