The fall of 2013 marked a season of new beginnings for my wife and me. This is when we arrived here, in Frisco, from New York City. We had lived there for more than eight years. This was also our eighth year of marriage. Before we met in southern Calif. (where we both hail from), I had lived in New York City for nearly nine years, collectively. I graduated from New York University in 1994, then built a career on Wall Street. Suffice it to say, the newfound pace of Frisco was a most welcome change from the busyness of the big city. This is the story of our relocation and ongoing observations and experiences in our new Texas town.
Because of all my travels, career ambitions (recent entrepreneur), seminary studies (master of divinity in Christian Apologetics), ministry (church elder) and family responsibilities, it is also fair to say I know how to do “busy,” seemingly no matter where I live. Since finally settling in here, we have been busy re-building our lives by pursuing our career goals, rising to new challenges, making new friends and getting plugged into a new church family at Cottonwood Creek Baptist Church. No doubt you can relate to your own busy schedule and commitments; this is just a glimpse of my family’s day-to-day.
Another welcomed change for us was the culture. We knew settling in the South would be different, but that hardly describes the hospitable community we have found here. There is a strong sense of patriotism here, moreover, an endearing state pride like no other. My family is originally from El Paso, Texas, and I recall tender stories of their youth there. Had only my parents stayed and met here instead of in Calif., so that I, too, could be a native Texan! But as the saying goes, “I was not born here, but I got here as soon as I could.” It is also so encouraging to see young families raising their children here. There is a real sense that the family unit is such an integral part of doing life here. Sadly, this is not so in other cities I have lived in.
The most important difference of the culture here is to clearly see that God, faith in Him and abiding by His values are still welcomed in the public square. Unfortunately, this is not the case “from sea to shining sea.” Perhaps, you have never considered this? Or have heard this was the case elsewhere, but cannot fathom any other way of life? As a newcomer, please trust me when I tell you, you should really consider yourself blessed to live here, but I suspect you already do. We most certainly do, and realized, in part, we had made the right relocation decision when I first came across this magazine early on. I was blown away when I discovered it had a Community Devotional, so much so I had to call Frisco STYLE to thank them for including it (who knew I would one day have the privilege of contributing to it)!
It has also been very comforting to know the original intent of our First Amendment is still thriving and our national motto, “in God we trust,” is very evident in Texas. One cannot help but wonder if this acknowledgement of God is what is driving the notorious “Texas blessing” that was so alluring to us as we considered moving here. The principle of reaping and sowing seems to be on full display as God blesses this land with a strong economy, healthy environment, mostly conservative civic leadership statewide and flourishing families. God’s Word states, “Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, this he will also reap” (Galatians 6:7). Indeed, we seem to have reaped goodness from Him by continuing to honor and seek after Him openly.
I cannot remember, since childhood, when a public meeting would begin with both an invocation or the Pledge of Allegiance to our flags before moving to Frisco. This is also evident by the number of churches and other houses of worship that are so prevalent here in Frisco. To see the parking lots full for youth events or on Sunday mornings is a wonderful sight. I realize there are those who would change this way of life, if they had their druthers, but, for now it appears the people prefer to keep “the Republic” we inherited from our forefathers … with a freedom to worship God, publicly and all.
Since our arrival, I have also observed the impressive growth in Frisco, a steady migration here and a booming wealth creation. Yet, amid all the excitement of a new beginning, as the abundance continues to flow into this thriving community, I must admit I have become consumed by providing for my family here and fear I may have lost my perspective. This came to my attention when I was recently challenged by a passage of Holy Scripture in the Gospel of Luke (Chapter 12), as it pertains to the ministry of Jesus Christ of Nazareth. For context, Jesus is on the verge of completing His earthly mission and will soon make His fateful return journey to Jerusalem. In this passage are recorded a series of warnings, exhortations and parables He gave to the multitude of followers that gathered around Him, including avoiding hypocritical religious leaders and confessing Christ before men, as well as fearing God and not man, as life is fragile and that He alone has the final authority and judgment over our souls. But, it is the parable that starts in verse 13 (Luke 12:13-21) that resonated deeply within me. Someone in the crowd told Jesus to tell his brother to divide an inheritance with him (Luke 12:13-14). Jesus responds to the man with a parable, cast in the context of wealth to deal with covetousness, a story of a rich fool. “And He said to them, ‘Take heed and beware of covetousness, for one’s life does not consist in the abundance of the things he possesses’” (Luke 12:15). To continue this paraphrase, God blessed this rich man abundantly (a farmer), so much so that he was not sure how to store it all. His solution was to tear down and rebuild even bigger barns! Then he planned to take it easy and enjoy the good life for years to come (Luke 12:16-19). “But God said to him, ‘Fool! This night your soul will be required of you; then whose will those things be which you have provided?’ So is he who lays up treasure for himself, and is not rich toward God” (Luke 12: 20-21).
This is wisdom indeed. It is my hope that my new neighbors will always remember God as the source of our blessings and the final arbiter of our souls while we bask in His goodness here in Frisco. I hope we would remember to be rich towards God through our financial stewardship of all that He has given us to manage by our planning, investing and charitable giving. Finally, please remember, dear neighbor, to continue to honor Him before men.
Carlos Lopez Jr. is a newcomer to Frisco from New York City who is passionate about Biblically-responsible investing.