Friday, November 30, 2012

November Recap

The church planting residency is going really well, and we are in full support-raising mode. The Lord has been so faithful to provide, and we are so thankful for the generosity and support we have received already from so many people. I {Erin} started a 2nd round of Bible study with the women in our home group; we are walking through the book of Genesis using this study guide. It has been such a joy to read through the Scripture with the women in our group. Mike had the opportunity to speak at the Young Adults group back at Woodcreek, and will be preaching again at Christ Fellowship at the end of December. He also had a chance to meet with the Network Team at CF to share in more detail our vision for the church plant and what next steps will be. It is such an exciting time, and we are so thankful for all the Lord has allowed us to be a part of!

Our Fur Baby
We had an unexpected visit to the vet with our pup Sasha. She broke a nail {which I realize sounds so trivial!} and had to have it removed. Talk about drama! There was a lot of blood, puppy screaming, and tears (from me), but we survived. She was ok, and we are so thankful for a sweet and caring vet who squeezed her in on a busy day and made her all better.

She got a lot of sympathy that day, and I think she let it go to her head; she has misbehaved quite a bit the last few weeks. From eating her weight in Halloween candy, to getting into the trash...we have had to remove her staying out of the kennel while we're out privileges. Worse than a kid.

On Health and Doctors
I have had some intense stomach and intestinal issues for awhile now, and finally went to see a doctor back in September. We thought we had figured out the problem, but when the symptoms returned this month (and with a vengeance), I had to make another appointment. We still don't have answers and are awaiting another doctor's appointment with a GI specialist on December 12th. We would appreciate your prayers on this; that the Lord would allow the doctor to identify the problem and find the appropriate treatment. And that I would have the patience and endurance to deal with these health issues.

Sic 'Em Bears!
Mike and I had the opportunity to go see a Baylor football game with some friends. It was so fun to be back at Baylor with Laura and Nicki!

When we chose the game against Kansas State, we didn't know that they would be the #1 ranked team in the nation. And we certainly were not expecting Baylor to beat up on them for the win! It was such an exciting game, and I loved being able to share Baylor with Mike!

12 Dates of Christmas
Christmas came a little early this year, as we started the {12 Dates of Christmas} at the end of November. I wanted to surprise Mike with some fun Christmas dates, so we made it through 3 in November and will continue the rest in December.

Date #1 A Dickens of a Christmas in downtown McKinney
Date #2 Deck the Halls! We put up our Christmas tree :)
Date #3 Fireside Date (in front of our fancy Netflix Fire!)

Family Time
Early in November, we celebrated birthdays for our sweet niece and nephew. They had everyone over for dinner and cake, and it was a fun time to celebrate with them.

Because who wouldn't love a life-size pooh bear that giggles when you press his tummy??

We were in town for Thanksgiving this year, so we were able to spend it with Mike's family. I love that his parents have a tradition of inviting a lot of friends and family that don't otherwise have a place to go on Thanksgiving. So there house is always full! It is such a sweet and generous blessing; his parents are so great at hospitality.

Happy Birthday Mike!
We wrapped up November by celebrating Mike's 31st Birthday. I was able to take the day off, so we got to spend most of the day together (Mike had to work in the morning). We headed out to Erwin Park for a picnic lunch, and it was such a perfect day for it! The weather was beautiful (sunny and 75 on November 26th- gotta love Texas winters!)

We also went to see the new Lincoln movie and went to dinner at Uncle Julio's. I certainly enjoyed spending the day with my love, so I hope he felt loved on his special day!


Tuesday, October 30, 2012

October Recap

Things have been busy around here, to say the least! With the start of the church planting residency, there has been no lack of activity around the McCullough house. Things have been busy for me {Erin} at work, and we are getting ready to gear up for another round of women's Bible study. Mike is working hard, splitting his time between the residency, our home group, Starbucks, and support raising. In the midst of it all, we have had some opportunities for random fun :)

Pumpkin Carving
We took a break from our normal home group study and had a night of pumpkin carving! It was fun to see everyone's creative juices flowing, and we were reminded of how blessed we are to have such sweet friends in our lives.

Trying to figure out the best way to carve a cat...

He designed this all on his own...

Finished products!

October 2012
The whole group with their pumpkin creations!
Impromptu Date Night
Mike and I were blessed with an impromptu date night to a pre-season Mavericks game. A friend had some extra tickets, so we headed out for an evening at the AAC. I wore blue to support my husband, but my heart missed the boys in black and silver ;)

A Spurs fan and a Mavericks fan...who knew?

We had pretty good seats!

Habitat for Humanity
Our home group has wanted to get more involved in community projects, so we had our first event with Habitat for Humanity. They are working on some revitalization projects in the community, so we spent the day clearing out an alley to make it safe for the people living in the adjacent homes. We are looking forward to doing more projects like these in the future, with the hope of "owning" a block of homes that we can care for and get to know the people we serve.

It was the first truly cold morning of the season!

Kids Karnival
Mike was asked to help emcee the annual Kids Karnival at Woodcreek, so we were able to see some old friends and help serve the kids and their families. We made our own costumes, and I am pretty pleased with how it turned out. For the evening of the Kids Karnival, we were Clark Kent and Lois Lane!

I think we look pretty darn cute ;)

I was pretty proud of my little name badge...sadly, it was the only thing (other than standing next to my husband) that identified who I was supposed to be haha. Oh well :)

The jokesters- Mike (aka Clark Kent), Paul (aka Friar Tuck), and Scott (aka construction plumber?)


Monday, September 24, 2012

REALLY Long Time No Blog :)

It has been quite awhile since we have blogged here, and we apologize to all 3 of our faithful readers. :)

A LOT has happened since last December. It's actually a little crazy to think about where we were in December and where we are now. The Lord is good and faithful.

In January, we began hosting a Bible study in our home. Our little group consisted of people Mike had met at Starbucks. We are somewhat of an eclectic group, consisting of some who have grown up in the church, some who are new to church, some who are returning. We have singles, marrieds, marrieds with kids, and empty nesters. And it has been such a blessing. We began walking through the book of John together, and we have grown into a little family.

In March, the Lord graciously and abundantly provided a new job for me {Erin}. This was such an incredible answer to prayer, and I am still amazed at the goodness of our God. I think this was one of the "biggies" that confirmed to me the Lord's calling for us to be here in McKinney. And not just our calling, but His promise to take care of us. You can read the full story here.

This whole year, Mike and I have been praying about what our next steps would be in the church planting process. One of the most exciting updates is our partnership and connection with a local church to continue that process. This summer, we walked through an assessment process for a church planting residency with Christ Fellowship. Most of the summer was relational in nature, with Mike meeting with various leaders to learn more about ministry and heart of the church. In August, we went through an official interview process, which included online assessments, ministry applications, a behavioral interview, and an assessment meeting. And in September, Mike and I officially began the residency!

We are both VERY excited about this opportunity, and we are extremely thankful to this local body of believers for their support and encouragement in the church planting journey. This next year will essentially be a "training phase" as we prepare to launch a church. If you'd like to stay connected with us and what the Lord is doing through the church plant, please visit us at our new ministry website:

We are going to officially move all of our ministry updates to that site, for ease and clarity for our supporters and ministry partners. We will continue to blog here too, but we will use this site mainly as our personal family blog to keep our family and friends updated. And in case you're interested, I have my own personal blog over here. Have enough blogs to read? :)

So quick recap:
Of course, if you have ANY questions, you are welcome to contact Mike at We would love to hear from you (on any of our 3 blogs!)


Thursday, December 8, 2011

30th Birthday Surprise Spectacular!!!!

I have the sweetest wife.  She is my best friend and the person I love most in the world.  And she gave me the best 30th birthday present ever - a surprise party at our house with a bunch of my closest friends.  And since I was born in 1981 it was an awesome 80's theme bonanza!

So here's the deal, not only is she super awesome at planning a secret surprise party - but she is also great at telling the story.  So if you click on the link below you will be taken to her personal blog page to read about it from her account (it tells the story of the day and there are great pics).

I will just post a few fun photos here but check out here blog to read the story.

Erin is awesome and I love her so much.

Erin's Blog Post on the Surprise Party!

Here are a few pics (including the second best present (next to the party itself) - a hand-picked, hand-signed, hand-delivered card from my beautiful niece, Elizabeth) ::


Monday, November 7, 2011

Long Time, No Blog! : )

You know when you are really diligent at exercising and find yourself in a healthy routine, but then life happens and you get off your routine?  And then maybe get a little out of shape.  And you know you should get back out there and exercise but the longer the time goes by the harder it is to get 'back on the horse.'

The same goes for blogging.

My sincere apologize for our absence.  : )

So in this post I will try to take little snapshots of some specific areas of life!

Our Fun Neighborhood
So we've been in our little house, on our little street, in our little neighborhood almost 4 months.  In previous posts we've talked about praying about where God would want us to live in order to build community with the people around us and that is happening here!  Honestly, life has been a little busier lately so we know that we need to make a little more effort to have neighbors over for dinner or to hang out, but the Lord has been good for opening the doors for relationships with a few of our neighbors who we hope to be able to share Christ's love with and see what the Holy Spirit might do in their (and our!) lives.

A few weeks ago we had some old and new friends over to our house for a hang-out get together.  Here are some pics!

So a couple of the things we are working towards comes from some encouragement we've received from other church planters and other people in our lives.  Over the next couple weeks we want to literally go to all the homes on our street and introduce ourselves and begin praying for the families.  We want them to know we are praying for them and that we want to see God move mightily in their lives.  Also, we are considering hosting a Christmas Party in our house and have cookie decorating and other fun celebratory things.

It's our hope to be the light of the world here in north McKinney.  Not that we are perfect people - but just the opposite, we are imperfect people who know the Perfect One.   Please pray for our neighborhood!  : )

Decaff, Tall, 1 Pump, No Foam, Extra Hot, Pumpkin Spice Latte
It's official as of a few days ago.  I am done with training and am officially a Starbucks Barista.  I think it should be Barsito for guys, but that's another blog post for another day.

I've been working at Starbucks for a little over 2 months now and there have been some great times and also some tough times.  As you can imagine, it was (and is) a steep learning curve learning the ins and outs of the coffee business, but from the beginning it's never been about the coffee or the paycheck.  It's about working well to the glory of God and seeking opportunities to love and speak the words of Christ to those around us.

The Lord has opened doors for me to really connect with some of my co-workers.  We laugh and have a great time working, but then He has been faithful to answer our prayers to allow some conversations to go to life, struggles, faith, God and even getting to specifically talk about Jesus.

To be honest, some days are a struggle and I wonder if I am really doing what I need to be when I'm cleaning the bathrooms for the 3rd time this week, but God is faihtful to give us fruit at just the right time and to remind me of Scriptures like Galatians 6 that encourage us not to give up but to keep trusting God, serving well and that God will bring the results in His time!

And it's also not a bad job working for Starbucks.  They are a good company.  : )

In Chains Film
Here's a picture from us gathering things for our garage sale to support the In Chains Film that is shedding light on the sex-trade industry in Nicaragua.  Check out there website a for more information!
(we didn't sell the dog!) : )

He Knows What You Need
We knew that taking this step of faith to come out to McKinney was going to be tough.  Especially coupling a few small things together with the move like me quitting my job during the biggest recession of my generation, getting married, leaving behind some friends and relationships, and Erin increasing her distance between her home and office.

But we also know that this would mean we would see God move in a way we don't when we would rather be comfortable than faithful.

So, on that note, God is faithful.  And He is never early or late in giving us what we need when we need it.  I'm hesitant to get into specifics.  I don't know why.  But what I will say is more than one time in the last four months financial needs have come up and God has provided just the right amount and just the right time.  I like to tell people that God has given us a bunch of "I've got you" moments already in theses last few months.

But not just financially or materially - but also relationally.  God has given us deeper connections withe some existing friends in McKinney while providing connection, community and friendship with new families and Christians who want to serve Christ in this city.  And God has also given relational fruit through friends at work as we are growing closer together but also seeing God open up hearts for deeper conversations about Truth.

Matthew 6 reminds us that there is a God, He is in control, and that He is a Father would wants to take care of his kids.  I feel like I have always felt that, but these season of life it seems to be more and more on display!  Praise him!

Partners in the City
One of the things that been the biggest blessing to us since moving here is the connection and partnership we've already felt with other believers in the community.  From just meeting new friends in the neighborhood to connecting with churches and ministry that want to help each other reach McKinney with the gospel, it's been a huge blessing already to begin partnering with people in seeking God on behalf of the city.  I'm excited to see what these partnerships could be after 10 years and not just 4 months!

Came to Seek and Save the Lost
This is our next 'strategic move' in trying to reach McKinney for Christ.  One thing that the Lord has put on both mine and Erin's heart as we are connection with our neighbors and those at work is that there are so many people who are far from God - but not only that, far from ever stepping into a church to hear the gospel.  Now, let me go on the record by saying that although the traditional church function is good and I think needed - we all should be doing more to reach people off-site then expecting them to come to the church.

With that we have been praying and are trusting that God is leading us to open our home to start a Bible Study specifically aimed for those who might have baggage, history, hurt or confusion that keeps them from entering a church building.  Bottom line - we want those in our sphere of life that won't go to a church to hear about Jesus and so we want to proclaim that in our home.  We will give you posted but our aim is to have that happen in early 2012.

Prayer Request
We could fill another 25 pages with prayer requests, so I'll try to keep it short and sweet.

- That Erin and I would seek daily to make Jesus our first and greatest love
- That after that we would pursue each other with a gospel-centered love
- Wisdom for how to best reach out to our neighborhood with gospel
- For hearts to be open and ready when the time comes to invite them to our house to study God's Word
- That we wouldn't begin to trust in ourselves and our ability to pull this off, but that the Holy Spirit would be who we are seeking, hearing from and yielding to.

Thank you so much for your love, prayers and support.  Feel free to email with any questions or words of encouragement!  We love to get those!!

In Christ,

p.s.  To make ends meet Erin has taken a modeling gig and I am her driver.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Settling in...

... sort of!

Life is definitely exciting for us here in McKinney post-wedding!  It's exciting and fun and we are grateful for all God's given us and for all He is doing to provide for us.  He is good indeed.

But to be honest, the lack of routine has been hard as well.  Erin is working on a new job schedule and I am still in the hunt for my own.  So as much fun as excitement is - we are hoping to find ourselves a little groove and get into a routine of living here soon!  But for now, here's an update on what's been going on.

Married Life
Being married is great!  It's been just over a month now and we are beginning to learn the intricacies of sharing life with another person.  While it's been by far be fun, sweet, and exciting with a lot of laughing and great times together - Erin and I both are sinners (surprise, surprise!) and so we are also at the very first stages of learning what it means to die to yourself and learn to lift up the other person.  I've heard that marriage is the first step into learning how selfish you really are (and that having kids is like a doctorate in that) so we are learning how to recognize that in ourselves and seek to follow the example of Jesus in how we love each other.  I know there is no one on the planet I would rather do that for, and so throughout all the stages of life our hope is that Jesus would continue working in us for His glory and our growing to be like Him.  But as for marriage - I recommend it!  : )

Be Our Guest... (to quote one of Erin's favorite Disney movies!)
We have had a lot of people come and visit us in the last few weeks.  My sister, Lindsay, and our sweet friends the Rains.  Scott and Nicole Stonehouse (our great friends, mentors and marriage counseling leaders) have also made the trip up.  Erin's brother, Michael, stayed the weekend with us last week and we were finally able to find a time to have our new neighbors over for a meal.  And last night we had the famous Paul Fazio over for dinner and ice cream!

And, of course, Landon and Kieshaun make multiple visits to our door each day.  (When does school start again?  : )  haha)

Our desire is that this house would be a place where Jesus is Lord and that when people come through our door they are in a place where they feel welcomed, loved and can hear the beautiful words of the gospel.  I am thankful for our visitors and hope to have many, many more throughout the years.

If you'd like to come stop by, say 'hey', eat a meal or need a place to crash for a night - shoot me an email!  We'd love to have you over.

More Connections
God keeps playing a wonderful cosmic game of connect-the-dots with me and Erin here in McKinney.  We have met, through providence, so many people that are up here in McKinney doing ministry that I've either met previously or God has allowed our heart to be communicated to them through someone else.  So whether they are new friends or the budding of previous introductions, God is helping us see little fruits of affirmation in the ministry leaders, pastors, students and other believers we have already connected with here in McKinney.  He is good and He is already putting pieces together in order to deliver the gospel to the harvest that is this community.  It is a combination of humbling, exciting, daunting and thrilling to be a part of it all.  Keep us in your prayers as we want this to be a huge movement and revival for the city of McKinney and the souls of men and women and families here!

Hi-Ho-Hi-Ho -- it's off to work we go...
Well, sort of.

Keep us in your prayers as we are waiting for a confirmation from Erin's job that would be a huge blessing to us in our ministry here.  I don't want to reveal the details yet until it become official (if it does) but it could be a really cool thing.

As for me, God is definitely teaching me things.  Some hard things.  But good things.  I don't want to paint a false picture on this blog like everything is fun and easy all the time and that there is nothing hard going on or no struggles to be had.  So, to be honest, this job search thing is tough and can be hard at times.  Don't get me wrong - I still believe in 2 foundational things --- 1) God is good all the time.  No matter our circumstance - He doesn't change (Heb. 13:8, Psalm 33:22).  2)  Everything is done for a reason, it is intentional, and it is for my good and His glory (Rom. 8:28).  So, in that, the struggle has purpose and meaning bigger than myself.

But it's hard to be rejected.  It's hard to be turned down.  It's hard when a job that you want really badly and you know you would be great at is unavailable because you don't meet their requirements.  It's hard when plan A and B don't work out.  It's plain terrible when plans G and H don't either.  But God is faithful.  God is good.  And God is the provider.  It's all His anyway (Psalm 24:1).  So He will provide in His right time.  And I know that the struggles I go through now allow me to know Jesus that much better (Phil. 3:10) - that every little shade of suffering I go through, while not NEARLY to the level of Christ or even others of the faith, but still it is an opportunity to take one small step closer to knowing my Jesus.  And it's all worth it.  And I also know that this will help me love others better - others that have had to go through a similar struggle (2 Cor. 1:3-5) so that they my reach out to this 'God of All Comfort', too.

So, I do have an interview at a place down the road on Monday and I am excited for that opportunity.  I appreciate more now than I did 5 rejections ago - and pray that this is a place the Lord might use me.

Church Shopping
I'm pretty sure I don't like that term even though I understand why people use it.

But Erin and I are doing that classic Bible-belt, 21st Century privilege of getting to customize which church experience 'suits us best.'  All joking aside, it's been a strange but good thing for me.  I have been in a wonderful community in one place for all my life and it has been healthy for me to experience how other people are trying to be lights of the world.  Sometimes I have to fight my cynicism and critical mindset - but in it all we hope to learn more about the spiritual culture of McKinney while desiring to find a fellowship we can connect with.  Erin had to go through this a few years ago to find Woodcreek and I am grateful for her heart being willing to go through it again.  I know it's not fun but it's another thing on her list of things worthy of going through to follow Jesus and I am so very, very grateful for her heart in the process!

Some Fun Stuff!
I thought I'd let you know about some books I just finished and some I'm working through now.  I won't go into official 'reviews' of them or anything, but I thought I would just share with you!

I finally got around to reading Mere Christianity by C.S. Lewis.  It was a great read and I am always blown away at how God made his mind work and come up with some of those amazing analogies.  While I didn't always agree with some of the theological and practical conclusions he came to - I did appreciate his thoughtful and clear presentation of some harder truths of the faith.

I also recently finished King's Cross by pastor Tim Keller.  It's pretty much a walk-through of the gospel of Mark - but not verse-by-verse.  It's more of a detailed, synopsis, walk-through, summary, book.   Yeah.  I found it to be very insightful as Keller has such a great way of putting simple and complex thoughts together in a way that you can understand and he opens up truths from the word in a great way.  I HIGHLY recommend this book and I recommend you read it like a devotional.  Even though the Scripture passages are in the book, I suggest reading through Mark in your own Bible alongside reading this commentary.  Definitely worth it.

I also read through Francis Chan's latest Erasing Hell in response to the new (but not new) teachings out there that are unorthodox in their view of Hell.  I think Chan does a great job communicating an overview of the classical (and I believe true!) doctrine of Hell and challenging some current, ear-tickling trends on this topic.
* also, if you'd like to comment on the books, please email me.  save the comments on the blog for other things! : )

I am now working through Keller's Generous Justice 
as well as re-reading Osborne's Sticky Teams 
on building strong leadership teams.

That's all for now!  Thanks so much for all your support and keep praying for us!  Our desire is that Jesus Christ would receive praise and glory through our short little lives on this earth!!

For His Name alone!