Archive for February, 2007

Well, we made it back from Dallas yesterday evening.  A one and a half day conference turned into five days!  In the morning, it didn’t look like we were going to make it back yet again.

We got to the airport around 7:00 a.m.  and there was a mammoth line of people who were trying to rebook flights that had been cancelled.  You should have seen all the people who were exhausted from their ordeal.  Many of them having to have slept in the airport, some with little children. 

After some shifting around, we got in line and waited and waited.  We had a flight we were supposed to catch from Dallas to Cincinnati and then in Cincinnati one to Chicago.  The flight was to leave at 8:30 a.m.  So we waited and waited.  We waited in line so long we missed our flight at 8:30 (it turned out to be a good thing because the flight from Cincinnati to Chicago was cancelledand we would have been stuck in Cincinnati).  We finally got to the ticket counter and there was no tickets available back to Chicago.  So the dude placed us on standby for a flight leaving from Dallas to Chicago (direct!) at 10:15 a.m.  We rushed to the gate; waited and…no avail. 

Then we got transferred to a new gate – A16 – with a flight to Chicago leaving at 11:00 a.m.  Again, we were on standby.  Here was our main problem…Jim Counts (whose dad is also Jim Counts and is a Platinum card holder with American Airlines) automatically gets placed on the top of the standby list (because they think Jim Counts, Jr. is Jim Counts, Sr. – I didn’t ruined the gig).  Sam Barrington (who does not have a dad by the same name; nor a dad who is a Platinum card holder with American Airlines) is placed at the bottom of the standby list.  So Jim could fly out, but I would be stuck (and at the moment Jim had the family in Dallas, the van keys, and no guarantee that I would even be getting to Chicago that day).  We talked to the lady at the counter and said that we were together (not in a gay sort of way … but I might have resorted to kissing Jim in front of her if she would have got us on the flight!…O.K.  maybe not…I’m sure a church in Dallas could use a pastor) and one couldn’t leave without the other.  She said there was nothing she could do and gave us little hope that I would make it on. 

I left the ticket counter doubting we would be leaving that day (again).  I headed off to the bathroom, when I got a cell phone call from David Kneip who had placed me on speaker phone so the Living Stones Church could say “Good Morning Sam!”  That was a highlight in the otherwise miserable morning.  If David had called ten seconds later I would have been standing at a urinal and would have answered because the phone said “David Kneip” on the caller I.D.  What I didn’t know was David had put me on speaker with the whole church.  That could have been one embarrassing moment.  If he had called 30 seconds earlier he could have heard us plead with the ticket counter lady to let me on the plane!

Now get this God thing.  When I came out of the bathroom – my name had been cleared to fly off the standby list!  In fact, I was the first one cleared!  Debbie, who worked at gate A16 for American Airlines, while saying there was nothing she could do – actually placed me on the top of that list!!!  So – I don’t know who she is – but if you do – tell her I love her

We made it back!  Just by the hair of my chinny chin chin… which by the way seems longer…I need to go manscape.

Dust Storms and Airports

Posted: February 25, 2007 in Personal Reflections

Well, I was supposed to be home by now.  Didn’t quite work out.  Jim Counts and I are still here in Dallas, Texas.  We arrived at the airport only to find out that our flight to Chicago had been cancelled.  We were placed on standby for another flight to Chicago.  Cancelled.  Then we were placed on a flight to Des Moines and then on to Chicago…cancelled.  Finally, every flight to Chicago was cancelled.  And then everything around Texas was cancelled due to high wind gusts.  So, our luggage is somewhere in the DFW airport (or on its way to Chicago from a flight that got out?) – all I know is it isn’t with me.  I’m sure I still smell good.

There were a lot of angry and frustratedpeople at the airport.  What’s the point?!  It isn’t any ones fault.  And really – do you want to fly in this?  A woman talking on the phone behind me told a loved one that her flight into DFW was the most turbulent and rough flight she had ever had.  I don’t think I would do well with that…so, I’d rather be on the ground safe and sound (relatively speaking – I’m still driving with Jim!).

The news this evening quoted a DFW spokesman who said that it was the most difficult day the airport had since 911.  They are also estimating that 5000 people will be sleeping in the airport tonight!

When we left the airport Dallas was experiencing a bad dust storm.  Jim’s dad said it was the worst he could remember.  It was weird to see such a wall of dirt coming at you.  West Texas blew into central Texas. 

Thankfully, Jim Counts’ dad came back to the airport to get us and then we ventured out to Spring Creek BBQ and to see Astronaut Farmer.   

I’m hoping to be home tomorrow evening.  That is the plan.  We had to cancel our combined Visionary Service with Kingdom Life Christian Cathedral.  We’ll reschedule for another time.

O.K.  Final highlights:

  • The conference ended well.  It was a day and a half.  At first I was disappointed wondering if that was too short to justify the trip, etc.  But it was perfect.  Usually at conferences by the end there is “conference fatigue.”  Not so here.  Always best for people to leave wanting more.  Very good.
  • Sir Earl from Cool and the Gang finished the conference with Celebration (you know…Celebrate Good Times…come on...) …isn’t that funny?  I couldn’t believe it.  But, there he was…leading thousands of pastor in the singing of Celebration.  He had great dreadlocks.
  • First stop after conference, Pappasitos Mexican Restaurant.  Jim Counts and I both ordered the “large” fajitas.  What we didn’t know was that the “large” is FAJITAS FOR TWO.  Which means we had fajitas for four on the table.  We were confused by the menu (which worked out to our favor when the manager dropped the price for us because it apparently happens often).  The sad part – I almost finished the platter of fajitas FOR TWO!!!
  • Spent the late afternoon and early evening getting some work done and relaxing.

I’m really excited to come home.  I miss my wife and kids like crazy and I’m ready to be back in the swing of things.

All right – the highlights continue:

  • Incredible worship this morning.  Listening to 3000 + pastors worship…wow! 
  • I just finishing hearing Bishop T.D. Jakes from Potter’s House Church.  I have never in the history of my pastor conference experiences ever said to myself, “I have to buy the DVD.”  After T.D. Jakes spoke I have committed to buying the entire DVD set of this conference.  Unbelievable talk on Moses as leader and specifically – his source, his spirit, his staff, and his stutter.  I am going to buy this DVD and loan it out to everyone!  Incredible.  I am leaving a huge T.D. Jakes fan.
  • I also just got a massage.  I know…weird huh?  They have a relaxation room set up with bean bags, special teas, soothing music, etc. and about half a dozen massage chairs with professional massage therapists!!  I have never seen this at a pastor’s conference.  But I took advantage.  That massage therapist found a spot by my shoulder blade and oh man…hurt so good!  I haven’t seen Jim Counts the entire conference.  I kept wondering where he was.  Then I went to the relaxation room and he was giving personal demonstrations of bean bag positions.  He is a talented man! (just kidding…about the bean bag demonstation, not the talent).

The conference is about to wrap up after the next session.  I’m excited to see what is in store.

Continuation of highlights:

  • I got to experience the best (bar none!) video/worship/technological presentation I have ever seen during worship.  It even started with a Gregorian chant…it was as if I was born to attend this conference.
  • Mark Driscoll spoke.  The man is brilliant.  It was truly outstanding.  He made a powerful presentation of the gospel and then explained that there are two enemies of the gospel: 1) idolatry (most common in non-Christians) and 2) religion (most common in Christians).  He gave powerful explanations of both.  One comment about those immersed in “religion”:  “They care about things no one else cares about…including God.” 
  • Dr. Ed Young, Sr. finished the day with a talk on the importance of children and teens.  He said if you want your church to grow, you have to win the parents over with what is happening with their kids.  Dr. Young is the father of Ed Young, Jr. the pastor of Fellowship Church.  Perhaps the neatest thing to witness was the clear love and respect younger Young had for senior Young. 
  • I got to eat Abuelo’s last night…the Grande plate…oh man.

News from home.  Kelly said that Caleb announced to the family at dinner that he wanted to be a pastor.  Yes!  The indoctrination has worked…

I’m sitting in Grapevine, TX at the C3 conference and there looks to me like several thousand other pastors in attendance!  The amount of hot air that could be produced (pastor’s conference after all) is mind-boggling…

But, so far, it has been excellent.  Some of the highlights:

  • I ate lunch outside in 80 degree-not-a-cloud-in-the-sky weather!
  • In our little welcome package was a nice pen and pencil set.  Could there have been any better way into my heart than office supplies?
  • Ed Young talked about turning your “what ifs’ into “what is” and concentrated on the theme of delegation (what it means, what it doesn’t, etc.)
  • Craig Groeschel talked about who God uses for great purposes and it is pretty much narrowed down to those who are insecure, risk-taking, pain enduring, idiots.  I got the idiot part down (for those who doubt, talk to Kelly – she’ll tell you) …and the insecurity part…now I need to work on the risk-taking and pain enduring parts.
  • The facility is way impressive.  The children’s wing…oh man…my kids would go in and refuse to come out!

We’re about to start another session, so I’ll update later.  Just a few comments on what has happened so far.

We had our first His Needs/Her Needs growth group last night.  I am so excited about the group.  It will be good to reconnect with many (going back to the cell group days) and getting to know others even better!  Lots of laughter going on as we shared our “how we met” stories.  Who knew jail could be such a popular dating scene? (just kidding).  Next week we begin the material from the book.  I’m personally looking forward to applying more of the principles of the book.  I mentioned it was sort of like the Bible.  You can know a lot of information about the Bible, but that is far different than applying that information to your life and living it out.  In the same way, I can know some stuff about marriage, but if I’m not applying it, what good is it?

 I leave this afternoon with Jim Counts to fly to Dallas, TX for a Creative Church Conference put on by Fellowship Church in Grapevine, TX.  I’m very excited about that.  Jim Count’s dad attends Fellowship Church and through his great generosity is flying Jim and I down there and has registered us for the event!  So, I’m going to 79 degree weather today with a plethora of BBQ restaurants and Mexican food…my life is good…really good!