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Tulsa Friends

I have a confession to make. I have taken my Tulsa friends for granted.

When I left Alabama with a U-Haul trailer on October 31st, 2004, I headed back to a world where the only people I really knew were my family. I loaded my life into the garage and proceeded to drift for a while, burned out on people, especially church people.

But one day I was sitting in my room and I pulled up the Memorial Drive church website, and the first thing that caught my eye was something that I needed to hear - "A Place to Start Life Over." I'm not sure why I suddenly decided that was something to look at. Nevertheless, I knew I needed a spiritual family, and was pleased to see that they had a campus group. Maybe this was my chance. Little did I know that I would find the Holy Spirit at work in his people again.

From the very beginning, this was a family of amazing people that took me in and surrounded me with a kind of spirit that I badly needed. The guys welcomed me into their accountability group, where I was able to be honest about every aspect of my life, while at the same time rebuilding my ministry of challenging others to greater depth. As a family we experienced times of great triumph, challenges, and unexplainable interventions by the Spirit. In my short seven months of involvement I grew to know people that I will appreciate forever. They all even threw me a huge going away party when I left for Abilene.

However, I have realized that when I left Oklahoma behind for Texas, in many ways I dropped them from my life as well. I was honest with them up front that I originally only wanted Tulsa to be a pit stop on my way through to the next thing. I obviously developed quite a life there in my short stay, but when the door to Abilene opened, I think I resumed that attitude and zoomed out of town without looking in the mirror.

This is my first major return home since I left in July, and, thankfully, my spiritual family here has taken me back in like I never even left. They were even on the phone to me before I left Abilene, making sure I was going to be around. I haven't even been back five days and I've already been to their houses, spilled my latest struggles with the men's group, feasted at the traditional El Chico run, stolen gifts at Dirty Santa, and dominated at volleyball. Maybe not dominated. I'm sure there will be more traditional hang-outs at Shades of Brown Coffee Shop (which I took a few people to one night and now the ministry has taken it over almost) and who knows what else. The bottom line is, in the past several months of building a new life in Abilene, I have forgotten what an amazing time I had in Tulsa and the people who touched my life during that time. Being back has reminded me. And I'm thankful.

Holy Grounds Tulsa


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