View pictures and information about Rob, Crystal, David, and Ethan Couch! Make comments or send greetings by clicking "comments."
Saturday, February 02, 2013
Wednesday, May 14, 2008
Monday, March 17, 2008
New Pics of the Boys
Monday, November 26, 2007
Walking Where Jesus Walked
Rob and Crystal with Bishop and Deborah Goodpaster at the Jordan River
This is Reprinted from the Saraland UMC Newsletter "Cornerstone" November 2007:
Dear Church Family,
As most you know Crystal and I traveled with our Bishop, Larry Goodpaster, and 45 or so others from our Annual Conference. As you can imagine, it was an incredible experience to see the lands where the Bible was lived. We flew into
We spent five days touring in and around
It will take some time before I fully appreciate all that we got to see and experience during our trip. However, my faith was strengthened in several ways. First, visiting these Holy sites reminds me that the faith we have is a historical faith. The things we read about in the pages of the Bible are about real people and real places where God met people and showed himself to them. What we read in the Bible are not myths and fables, they are the real stories of the living God in love with his creation. Secondly, this trip has made me want to jump into the Scriptures with a renewed excitement and joy. Strange names of places that I in the past have just glanced over will now take on a new significance. Finally, our trip has renewed my desire to pray for the peace of
We thank you for the opportunity to go on this spiritual pilgrimage. We look forward to the day we can share the many pictures and stories we have from our experience. Please be on the look out in the New Year when we will take a Wednesday night to share these with you.
Sunday, May 13, 2007
David and Ethan had their pictures taken recently at a local photo studio. We paid to have them "retouched" (who touched them the first time?) so the ones we paid and arm and a leg for look better than this -- but they are still pretty cute. Crystal made Ethan's blue pin-strip seersucker jon-jon and David's seersucker pants. She is so talented!
Friday, January 26, 2007
Saturday, November 25, 2006
Thursday, September 07, 2006
Ethan and Baby Suri
Surprisingly, Vanity Fair did not contact us about publishing pictures of Ethan. We suspect it is because we have not tried to keep his image from being taken by the paparazzi for the first four months of his life. As you may know Ethan and Baby Suri Cruise (the daughter of Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes) share the exact same birthday. Here is a re-creation of one of the Suri shots with Crystal playing the part of Tom Cruise. Stay tuned to see pictures of Crystal jumping on the sofa.
Thursday, July 06, 2006
Of Neighbors and Strangers
This pie was brought to us by one of our neighbors just yesterday. They are a young couple with two small children (something we have been praying for in our neighborhood). The picture, though good, does not do this pie justice. It is absolutely delicious. Even better, though, is the fact that it came from neighbors who wanted to meet us and welcome us. Suddenly we feel even more blessed to live in this house and in this neighborhood because of this act of kindness and hospitality. Unfortunately many people in America do not know their neighbors. The advent of clam-like garages with automatic doors, and fortified privacy fences in our back yards have largely cut us off from knowing or even seeing our neighbors. Sadly, though I have often thought I would like to, I have never baked a pie (or done anything else) to welcome new neighbors. The Lord, and now this pie, have inspired me to do better. Crystal and I soon plan to host a get to know our neigbors party for our street and some surrounding houses so that maybe, in our corner of the world, neighbors will no longer be strangers. We may even bake a pie.
Friday, June 30, 2006
Ethan's First Swim
Saturday, June 17, 2006
We have just completed VBS 2006 at Saraland UMC. You might think that after five years of Rob getting pies in his face, kissing a frog, and dressing up like a chicken at Christ UMC for VBS all that would be over -- think again. On Friday Rob got to put a pie in our VBS director's face since the boys defeated the girls in their attendance competition. Then Rob put it in his own face for good measure. We all had a blast and feel like we are now ready for our first Sunday.
Monday, May 29, 2006
We are now officially in Saraland. This is us sitting on our swing on our back carport. The woman Rob is sitting with is still Crystal with a radically new look! Rob's first Sunday preaching in Saraland will be June 18th. We have already had an amazingly warm reception with lots of great help moving in, and food galore! We are eagerly anticipating God's work in us and through us as we enter this new mission field. If you would like our new information you can e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I will send it to you.
Tuesday, April 25, 2006
Tuesday, April 18, 2006
Ethan Fox Couch
Ethan Fox Couch was born at 7:59 A.M. today. He weighed in at 7 lbs. 4 oz. and measured 19 inches. He and Crystal are both doing well. These are a couple of shots. One taken just a few minutes after he was born(above), and the close-up taken this afternoon(below). Thanks to everyone for their love, prayer, and support
Thursday, April 06, 2006
Last week we scheduled the birth of our second son. Crystal's c-section is scheduled for 7:30 AM on April 27th. Please continue to pray for their well being. We are also purchasing a house in Saraland, Alabama. It is scheduled to close in mid May. We are excited about our new ministry in Saraland. We can't wait to get started.
Monday, March 13, 2006
A few weeks ago Crystal and I travelled, along with one other Beeson Pastor, to Little Rock, Arkansas to visit Fellowship Bible Church. This large and growing church has been an irresistable influence in Little Rock for over 30 years. The term irresistable influence was coined by one of Fellowshship's founding pastors, Robert Lewis. Their goal as a church is to be an irresistable influence for Christ in Little Rock. They base this on the passage in Matthew where Jesus says to his Disciples "In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father in heaven." They want to be such a light in Little Rock that people will praise God because of the way they serve the Lord.
With some 4,000 or so in attendance on a Sunday morning, you would think they had arrived. But in January, Fellowship sold it's main campus to a neighboring school, and is planning new and innovative ministry in multiple locations around Little Rock. We were impressed that a "successful church" like Fellowship would be willing to innovate to this extent. It would be so easy to just remain as they are, but God is calling them to be an even greater irresistable influence.
Sunday, February 26, 2006
My friend Nolan had this on his blog, and I thought it was interesting. Please go to http://kevan.org/johari?name=skipperdog (if you know me) and help me fill out my "Johari Window." This personality test helps you to "see" how others perceive you vs. how you perceive yourself. If you would like to start your own window go to http://kevan.org/johari .
Thursday, February 02, 2006
Click Here to link to a hilarious video about "Me Church" the church "Where It's All About You." This video shines a light on churches who have gone overboard in "meeting needs" instead of inspiring mission. Has "The Church" lost its focus on the Mission of God, and made it all about "us." If so, when did this happen, and will it ever get turned around again?
Thursday, January 19, 2006
Strange Icy Substance
Tuesday, January 10, 2006
Ministry in the Image of God
We had the good fortune of reading Steve Seamands new book, Ministry in the Image of God: The Trinitarian Shape of Christian Service even before the book was published. It has to be one of the most practical descriptions of what it means to do ministry as trinitarian Christians. I had never really thought the Doctrine of Trinity could impact how I think about the practice of ministry, like this book has challenged me to think. In the book Seamands describes part of his big idea in this quote, "The ministry into which we have entered is the ministry of Jesus, the Son, to the Father, through the Holy Spirit, for the sake of the church and the world." The focus of our ministry changes when we take our trinitarian faith seriously. Though I recommended another book earlier on this blog -- I recommend this one even more!
Monday, January 02, 2006
It's A Baby...BOY!!!
Crystal is now 21 weeks pregnant and everything seems to be going well. We went to the OB today and found out that we are having a BOY! This picture was taken just the other night to chronicle the changes in Crystal as time goes by. The baby, provided all goes as we are praying, will be delivered via C-section at the end of April. Please pray that everyone is healthy and safe. Feel free to submit name suggestions. We are also opening up to selling the naming rights to the highest bidder! What do you think about Target Couch, or Hyundai Couch.
Wednesday, December 21, 2005
The Abolition of the Laity
I seldom recommend books to people. There are a couple of reasons I don't: 1) Books are usually not that great, and 2) Even if I think a book is great, I don't presume what is great to me will be great to others. However, today I want to compel anyone keenly interested in the Church to read The Abolition of the Laity (Whose US title is unfortunately The Other Six Days) by R. Paul Stevens. This book is an amazing call for the people of God (laos) to be the Church. The bifurcation of God's people as "lay" and "clergy" has damaged the church, its mission and more importantly the Kingdom of God. Stevens presents a compelling theological vision of a church filled with all of God's people doing the work of the ministry.
Sunday, December 18, 2005
Monday, December 12, 2005
The Fully Online Church
Today during one of our discussions, a fully online church was discovered. One can join this church, be baptized in it, and take communion -- ALL ONLINE! It claims to have over 7,000 members. Go to www.alphachurch.org to find out more.
Question? Can real community happen on the internet? Is a fully online church, really a church?
Wednesday, December 07, 2005
The picture to the left is a picture (a little fuzzy) of our group with Joel and Victoria Osteen at Lakewood Church. During our visit to Houston, coordinated by Jim Jackson (pastor of Chapelwood UMC) and his staff, we visited a church of about nine which meets in a bar, a house church, Lakewood Church with 30,000, and everything inbetween. We had a tremendous time seeing how "church" is done so many different ways in the same metro area. Below I have listed the churches we visited along with a brief synopsis about why these churches are worth learning from.
A very cool "emergent" type church with an emphasis on the arts. The church uses an old church building, but the building is actually considered an art gallery and coffee shop. During worship they provide paint and canvases to those who wish to paint.
Pastor Ed Young has served this church for over 30 years. With three campuses, and dreams for bigger and better things, it is a mega-mega church southern style. The church is in the process of raising 87 million dollars for expansion on all three of their campuses. They also have a deal with AMC movie theaters to open franchise churches in communities all over Texas, and possibly throughout the country. Ed Young wants Second Baptist to be the Chick-fil-a of churches -- but open on Sunday.
Gateway Community Church
This church, planted in a Texas suburb about 10 years ago is not unlike many large Willow Creek modeled churches, however, they have successfully navigated the loss of their founding pastor because of a moral failure. By dealing with things openly and fairly, they have been able to grow in spite of the unfortunate way they lost their primary leader.
We had the awesome opportunity to meet five different United Methodist church planters who have had varying degrees of success. Jim Leggett (Grace Fellowship), Paul Clines (Parkway), Ken Munn (Faith Quest), Ken Wurlein (Faithbridge), and Chris Voltz. Jim, Paul and Ken Wurlein have all had phenomenal success in their church planting, many of them with adapted models of Willow Creek and Saddleback with their own special emphases. Ken Munn's church plant is newer, and has struggled some. Chris shared with us the difficulty of experiencing a church plant which was not successful.
Main Street Crossing
This innovative church meets in a bar/coffee shop in Tomball, TX. The pastor is a former SBC pastor who believes the traditional church is failing to reach too many people, so he works full time as the manager of Main Street Crossing as he pastors. They currently have around nine-12 people as a part of this unique church community, though hundreds frequent the bar a coffee shop each week.
This church, led by Jim and Betty Herrington (Jim co-authored the book Leading Congregational Change) is a radical departure from traditional church. Located in a somewhat rough area of Houston, it seeks to build relationships with persons who would never come to a church building, and are assimilated into a house church. Many of the people they reach are "street kids" who make their living off the street. Jim and Betty have been taking people into their home for years, as they have led this church. Their website has some great resources -- I especially love the song sheet maker.
This church, currently the largest in the US, is led by Joel and Victoria Osteen (see picture above). Several years ago Joel's dad passed away and he was unwillingly thrust into following him. The growth of the church, and Joel's influence has been phenomenal. Though I personally have some issues with the basic "power of positive thinking" message which seems to be gospel at Lakewood, we were all impressed by Joel's humility and graciousness. We received a copy Your Best Life Now devotional readings which I do not recommend, unless you believe your best life comes from within in you, and not from God.
St. John's Downtown (UMC)
This church, led by Rudi and Juanita Rasmus has been one of the fastest growing churches in United Methodism. Rudi was sent to a dying, downtown church with just a handful of elderly, white women. Just over ten years later the church is a thriving inner city congregation which is taking social action seriously. They are actually beginning a capital campaign for their church to bill an affordable housing community. Interestingly Rudy has not completed his seminary education (though a very smart, and sharp person), and is a Local Pastor within the UM system. It is, to say the least, a phenomenal story.
Grace Presbyterian Church
We visited this large Presbyterian Church right before the pastor's first Sunday as the lone Senior Pastor of the church. The Pastor, Doug Ferguson, had been one of the co-pastor of a large Presbyterian church in Southern California. His co-pastor there was John Ortberg. Dr. Ferguson's transition to Grace PC was unique because he was following a pastor who had been at Grace for over 30 years. Even more unique is that he and the pastor served together for three months during a transiton period. This is unique to Presbyterian churches which normally have interim pastors for 1-2 years between pastors.
Spring Branch Church of the Nazarene
This church in transition faced a difficult challenge when the Texas DOT forced them to sell their property near a major Interstate. Luckily they were being paid many of millions of dollars for their land. Scott Rainey, the pastor, is leading this church through a major transition which includes a new campus, and plans for multiple campuses around Houston.
Yesterday afternoon we had the pleasure of learning from Jorge Acevedo, the pastor of Grace Church (Grace United Methodist Church) in Cape Coral, FL. Unfortunately we were not in Cape Coral, but in Wilmore where it has been below freezing for a week straight. Jorge worked with Dick Wills (the author of Waking to God's Dream), until he was appointed to Grace. In nine and a half years since his arrival the church has grown from 300 to over 2000 in worship attendance. In his presentation he shared seven principles he believes have helped him lead his church: 1) Be honest your about your current reality, 2) Picture a preferred future, 3) Practice the genius of the "and" not the tyranny of the "or" 4) Trust your gut, 5) Discern what your job will be in the church before other decide it for you, 6) Determine what hills are worth dying on, 7) Don't stop in Jerusalem, remember we are also called to Judea, Samaria, and into the ends of the earth.
One of the interesting discussions we had was about vision, or picturing a preferred future. Jorge stated that vision comes through a leader, and is not best done through a collective process within the church. We then asked, would the vision for the church been different if you had gone to a different church? He answered no, because the vision is born inside of the leader, and when shared with a church will (hopefully) awaken the same vision inside of the church people. What do you think? Is vision given by God into the leader, or does it come from God through a process where leaders and followers come and discern/receive the vision together?
Wednesday, November 02, 2005
Halloween (All Hallow's Eve)
After a whirlwind trip to Mobile (October 28th - 31st) we returned to Wilmore to participate in the city's "Treats on Main." David wore a bumble-bee costume which his gan-gan in Auburn bought him last year. He was, obviously from the picture, very cute.
While in Mobile we visited old-friends, among them were David and Kimberly Archer who now live in Germany. We also met with our District Superintendant, Bill Elwell. The highlight of the weekend was participating in the baptism of William and Wesley Miller - twin sons of Brian and Christina Miller. On Sunday night we drove to Montgomery so we could catch our flight on Monday morning. We met Gan-gan an Gan-dad at Cheeburger-Cheeburger for supper. We had a great weekend!
Tuesday, October 18, 2005
I wanted to let everyone know about a new game to which I have been introduced: Cornhole! It is a cross between horeshoes and a bean-bag toss. It is all the rage here in Central Kentucky and Ohio. I didn't know if it was regional, or all over the place. One of the Beeson Pastors constructed a Cornhole game and set it up on our front lawn -- and we have a great time playing it. I was wondering if this is something everyone is already familiar with. If you would like to know more, or learn how to build a Cornhole game yourself you can go to www.playcornhole.org. When I went to the Florida-Kentucky game I saw three different groups playing cornhole. I thought I would share it with my friends and family across the nation and world.
This is me playing cornhole in front of the Beeson Apartments. You can see the crowds gathered to watch!
Monday, October 10, 2005
The Beeson Pastors visited London and surrounding areas from September 30th to October 8th. While there we visited Holy Trinity Brompton (aka HTB, the birthplace of the Alpha Course) as well as two church plants of HTB's: Tollington Park, and St. Paul's Shadwell. We also visited three major John Wesley sites: Wesley Chapel and House, Epworth (Wesley's boyhood home), and Oxford (where Wesley was student and teacher). We also did siteseeing. I (Rob) saw: Big Ben (more appropriately known as the clock tower at Parliament), Parliament, Westminster Abbey, Buckingham Palace, the Tower of London, Tower Bridge, Samuel Johnson's Home (author of the first English Dictionary), HMS Belfast (WWII Ship), and much more.
Our HTB visit was powerful as we met with former HTB pastor Sandy Millar, attended worship at HTB, visited HTB church-plants, attended Alpha at HTB (where we saw Nicky Gumble speak), and attended Pastorates around London. Pastorates are gatherings of 3-4 small groups for a congregational type meeting. The Pastorate I attended met about 10 minutes walk from HTB in a Moravian church housed in 18th century stables once owned by Count von Zinzendorf (a friend and contemporary of Wesley). We also met as a group with Sandy and some other HTB people where we learned from Sandy, and where we were prayed for. It was a great experience to be ministered to by people of such love and humility.
When we visited the HTB plant at St.Paul's Shadwell -- we discovered that John Wesley preached his last sermon in this church. We saw the pulpit from which Wesley preached just weeks before his death. It was meaningful to walk in the places where Wesley walked, and kneel in the room known as the powerhouse where Wesley spent hours praying. This part of our pilgrimage connected me bodily to the movement Wesley began, and livened my spirit as I thought about Wesley's desire to renew the Anglican church. Bringing more meaning to this was to experience HTB which is a modern day version of the kinds of things Wesley was doing. Their pastorates are like Wesley's societies, their small groups like Wesley's class meetings. HTB is planting churches with homegrown leaders like Wesley did with his preachers. Most importantly for HTB and Wesley, of course, was the role of the Holy Spirit in powering the renewal. Thousands of people come weekly to discover this power of God at HTB, not unlike the thousands who came to faith and experienced the Holy Spirit during the ministry of Wesley and the people called Methodists.
What our pilgrimage has challenged me to do is remember the call of Jesus' on my life and the lives of all Christians to share the good news with others and to make Disciples of all nations. This must be done with a keen understanding of the cultures in which we find ourselves, and with a complete reliance on God (Father, Son, and Holy Spirit) who enables us to do anything of lasting eternal consequence. Wesley once said something like (I'm paraphrasing) "My fear is not that Methodists would someday cease to exist, but that they would exist as a dead sect." Methodists have a unique inheritance from John Wesley that the Spirit still brings to us today. It is the power to be transformed, and with God's help transform the world.
Photos of Our Pilgrimage to London
This is me (Rob) standing in the pulpit at Wesley's chapel.
This room is known as the powerhouse of Methodism where Wesley prayed daily.
This is the pulpit at St. Paul's Shadwell where Wesley purportedly preached his last sermon. This chuch is being refurbished and renewed by an influx of 100 HTB people and a pastor who was raised up from HTB and is now an Anglican priest. The church has an attendance of over 250. This is remarkable in a nation where average worship attendance is under 50.
This is Westminster Abbey. It holds the remains of some of the greatest Kings, Queens, Bishops, leaders, and people of British history. Some of the greatest authors in the English language are buried here.
This is a shot taken at Shakespeare's Globe Theater -- a recreation of the famed theater. We saw Measure for Measure. It was a great venue to experience one of Shakespeare's great comedies.
Monday, September 26, 2005
Holy Ghost Church
Last night three other Besson Pastors and I (Rob) went to Bethel Harvest church to experience an exciting pentecostal service and to hear famed preacher Rod Parsley. It was an exciting service that lasted for over two hours (at which point we went home to be with our families). For the most part I enjoyed Parsley's preaching except that at the root of all he said is what I believe is the false teaching of a prosperity gospel which believes one of God's major plans for his people is for them to be blessed financially as well as in other ways. At one point Parsley said, "How are we supposed to help the poor if we are poor ourselves?" At this comment one of my friends shouted out, "Sacrifice!" Parsley did talk, however, about the need for Christ followers to die (i.e. take up their cross). These remarks, however, were not cheered on by the crowd as the talk about blessing.
I can understand the appeal of this type of service and preaching. I was impressed that I was in the most integrated worship service (in terms of racial inclusiveness) in which I have ever worshipped. I was also impressed by the the sense that almost everyone in this room believed in God's power to change lives -- and they came expecting that God would act. Though I could critique many things about my experience last night -- I don't doubt that there was a tremendous faith in God's power, and an expectation that God would change lives. I hope one day to serve a church with this kind of fervent faith in what God can do. But, I hope our faith is not focused on what God can do for us, but what God will do through us.
Sunday, September 25, 2005
Kentucky v.s. Florida
On Saturday, September 24th I attended the Kentucky v.s. Florida Game at Commonwealth Stadium. This picture was taken right before Kentucky scored in the first few minutes of the game to take the lead 7-0 over Florida. Following this score Florida proceeded to score 49 unanswered points in the first half which prompted one UK fan to state, "I don't think Rich Brooks will have a job tomorrow."
Tuesday, September 20, 2005
New Couch to be Added
Crystal, David and I wish to announce the anticipated arrival of a new Couch! Two weeks ago Crystal discovered she was pregnant! We went to the doctor this week and her pregnancy was confirmed. Because of Crystal's severe preeclampsia with David, the doctor is being aggressive in monitoring Crystal's pregnancy. We will visit the doctor more frequently, and Crystal will have more tests and ultrasounds along the way to monitor the baby's development. There is a 50% chance that Crystal will have preeclampsia again with this pregnancy. Careful monitoring will help keep the baby and Crystal more safe if preeclampsia strikes again.
Please be in prayer for us that Crystal will not have any complications. Also be praying now for her as she is suffering from pretty severe morning sickness. We are excited about this news, but please be in prayer for us.
Sunday, September 11, 2005
Marcus Green Lectures
This week we had the awesome opportunity to have Marcus Green author of Salvation's Song come to inspire and lecture the Beeson Pastors. Marcus is from Wales in the United Kingdom. He is Vicar of St. Catherine's Church (Anglican) in Pontypridd, Wales. He is both the priest and worship leader of his church. He is also the chaplain to the most well-known Big Band in Britain. He is currently working on a Big Band worship album along with Tim Hughes (author of the song "Here I am to Worship"). A graduate of Oxford and Cambridge, Marcus shared with us a theological framework for worship being the chief goal of God's people. He primarily focused on the Greek word proskuneo which is often translated bow down. Marcus asserts it should almost always be translated as worship. Literally the word means "move toward with a kiss." At the giving of the law, before and ever since God's desire is that we worship him. Marcus says that at its heart sin is a worship problem. Since Eden people have not always chosen to worship God first. Ultimately Marcus believes the cross is about right worship. Jesus' work on the cross provides the avenue through which we can worship God in Spirit and in truth, and on the cross we see the most perfect form of worship -- the voluntary denial of self for the glory of God. In response we are to seek God's kingdom first as we live out his call to love God and love neighbor.
Sunday, September 04, 2005
Trip to Gethsemani Abbey
This is a picture of Thomas Merton's grave. It is exactly the same as all of the other monks buried at Gethsemani. When he entered the seminary he took the name Louis (it is customary for the monks to take new names). He was ordained while a monk which is why he is Father Louis Merton and not Brother Louis Merton.