Tuesday, September 11, 2018

Keeping Your Family Safe While Hiking

A former family pastor at Denman Avenue Baptist Church in Lufkin, Texas, Eric Thomas Garland enjoys hiking and spending time with his family in the Lufkin area and beyond.

When going out for a day of hiking, there are several steps parents and children can take in order to minimize the chances of danger. First, hikers should pack adequate supplies and water and follow live weather updates up until the moment of departure. It is also important for people to notify family members or friends of their hiking plans and estimated time of return in the event of an accident.

On the trail, each member of the party should have a pack equipped with water, directional devices, and other important items, rather than charging each person with carrying a different type of supply. This may seem like a good idea from an organizational standpoint, but it leaves the larger party and the individual bereft of many useful items should someone become separated from the group.

Lastly, families should familiarize themselves with their intended destination and never hike out of their comfort zones. This is especially relevant to people visiting a National Park or similar location, as trails can vary significantly in length and challenge rating. Certain trails are also particularly difficult or prone to inclement weather at specific times of the year. Information on specific trails can be found on regional government websites and websites dedicated to the trail or mountain itself.

Saturday, June 30, 2018

The Gateway Seminary San Francisco Campus

Eric Thomas Garland of Lufkin, Texas accepted Jesus Christ as his Lord and Savior at the age of four, Eric Thomas Garland devoted his life to his Savior. He settled in Lufkin, Texas, after earning his master's in theology from Golden Gate Theological Seminary in 2014.

Golden Gate Theological Seminary, now known as Gateway Seminary, operates five traditional campuses in four states, including Colorado, Arizona, Washington, and California. California’s San Francisco Campus (SFC) is located in Fremont, in San Francisco’s South Bay area. While the original Northern California seminary was founded in 1944, the SFC was established in 2016 on land donated by a local church called Discovery Church. One of the key goals of the seminary is to enable students to receive theological training while concurrently serving in the ministry.

Five degrees are offered at the San Francisco Campus: master of divinity, master of arts in educational leadership, master of theological studies, diploma in theology, and diploma in educational leadership.

Friday, June 8, 2018

Why Christians Need Salvation

A devoted Christian, Eric Thomas Garland has served as a family pastor at Denman Avenue Baptist Church in Lufkin, Texas. A church passionate about leading people to God, Eric Garland’s former ministry in Lufkin teaches the need for repentance and salvation. 

Christians, too, need salvation. Salvation means deliverance from sin. The Bible says that the wages of sin are death, so those who are delivered from sin receive the gift of everlasting life.

In addition, salvation is the path to truly finding satisfaction in the world. In Ecclesiastes 1:8, it is written that the eye is not content with seeing nor the ear content with hearing. Therefore, all under the sun is vanity. Yet God has put in the hearts of human beings a longing for eternity. It is a longing for something pure and everlasting. This longing cannot be filled with earthly possessions or success, but only by seeking out God, the creator. Romans 6:20 states that God wants to give eternal life and He is reaching out to His people. Find Him through salvation. Acknowledge God as savior, repent, and live according to His Word.

Tuesday, May 8, 2018

Gateway Seminary’s Theological Field Education Program

An operator for Combatt Oilfield Solutions in Texas, Lufkin native Eric Thomas Garland is also an experienced pastor in the Baptist tradition. In addition to serving in Lufkin, Eric Garland graduated from Gateway Seminary in Los Angeles, California. 

Gateway requires most students to complete its two-semester Theological Field Education (TFE) program, but enrollees pursuing a master of theological studies may take the course as an elective. TFE offers an internship in ministry, accompanied by intensive feedback from spiritual mentors. Students can choose to work in positions within churches in the area for their internship.

The program not only enhances the basic biblical and theological dimensions of ministry, but encourages thoughtful reflection and self-awareness. Participants even create an individualized learning agreement to identify personal goals. 

TFE’s objectives include blending ministerial theory and practice, understanding servant leadership, and encouraging students to be intentional in their pastoral work. The coursework also helps students identify their gifts and talents, as well as shows them how their personal qualities can both help and hinder their ministerial practices.

Saturday, April 21, 2018

Jesus’ Inclusive Message of Loving One’s Neighbor

With a background as family pastor in Lufkin, Texas, Eric Garland holds responsibilities with Combatt Oil Field Solutions in Midland. Passionate about Christ, Eric Garland was active with Lufkin’s Denman Avenue Baptist Church and spoke at a number of Baptist camp events. 

One of the most famous statements of Jesus appears in Mark 12:28ff when he speaks with a Scribe about the commandment that is most important. Jesus presents two commandments, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself,” and, “You shall love God with heart, mind, strength and soul.” 

With Jesus’ message about neighbors echoing that found in Leviticus 19:18, he is also expanding it beyond the context of one’s own tribe or family, as presented in the Old Testament. 

When asked by a lawyer “and who is my neighbor?” Jesus answered indirectly through the Good Samaritan story, in which the Samaritan was included within the definition of neighbor, though he was from a despised background. Thus Jesus’ message is uniquely one of inclusion and compassion toward others, regardless of whether they are related or of a similar background.

Saturday, April 7, 2018

Ministering to Children as God’s Capable Vessels

Based in Lufkin, Texas, Eric Thomas Garland is an operator at Combat Oil Field Solutions. Also a family pastor in Lufkin, Eric Garland enjoys ministering to children. 

In the Bible, there are instances where God used children to accomplish His will. This shows that in God’s eyes, children are strong and mighty and can be used to establish His kingdom. It is incumbent upon children’s pastors, therefore, to minister to children as people completely capable of delivering God’s message of love and salvation. Following are some suggestions for pastors on how to do it.

-Believe in each of your children. Go a step further and tell them you believe in their individual abilities. 

-Do not be afraid of teaching God’s Word to them. Teach it fully. Kids are smarter than you think.

-Teach your children about worship. Show them how to do it, in a way that makes them fall in love with it. 

-Teach your children not to sin. God hates sin; tell your children they should do so too.

-Teach your children to share God’s Word with others.

Monday, March 19, 2018

Exploring the Biologically Rich Salt Playas of West Texas

Eric Garland is a former Lufkin, Texas, family pastor who brought the word of God to members of the children’s and youth ministry. Building on his experience with Denman Avenue Baptist Church in Lufkin, Eric Garland engages as operator with Combatt Oil Field Solutions in Midland. In his free time, he has a passion for hiking and exploring the beauty of nature. 

One of the best ways of exploring natural areas in West Texas is a visit to the Sibley Nature Center, which spans 49 acres within Midland’s Hogan Park. It informs people of all ages on the ecological diversity of a region spanning biologically distinct Edwards Plateau, Llano Estacado, and Trans-Pecos regions.

One unique local feature is the salt playa, which alternates between holding water and being dried up, depending on season and climate patterns. When they are lakes, salt playas serve as beacons for a wide range of birds and water fowl, including pelicans, seagulls, mergansers, and loons that are blown astray by coastal storms. In the winter, the playas in the Llano Estacado provide a home to a significant portion of the country’s ducks and cranes.

A number of salt playas contain freshwater springs that provide year-round sources of water and keep basins hydrated. It is in these areas that numerous archaeological sites reflecting the settlement patterns of Comanche and other Native American tribes can be found.