Thursday, August 25, 2005


my mom read my blog and said she thinks i'm allergic to capital letters. but she's an english teacher so she's supposed to say that (love ya mom). however i'd rather spend my energy here putting my thoughts down in a readable manner, and not on capitalization or grammar. sorry if that offends anyone else.

i'm leaving this afternoon for what will be my first "real world" vacation. as opposed to the previous 22 years of my life, my job, if you can call it that, allows me 2 weeks vacation per year. so i'm headed to austin for a few days to see Cayce and Madison which will be great. i also get to spend a day at the lake saturday with a large group of friends who are scattered across the state, so i'm looking forward to laughing and catching up with them. all of next week i'll be in abilene with the rest of my family. i know it's not exotic or overly exciting, but that will be my vacation: spending time with people i love at "home." worship at university on sunday with my family will be especially neat--my heart misses Eddie's sweet words of truth.

my friend carisse once told me that when you work you should work hard, when you play you should play hard, and when you rest you should rest hard. i'm hoping that God provides me rest and renewal this next week, and that i'll be blessed by the time i spend basking in his presence. the writer of Hebrews speaks about rest in ch. 4. "there remains then a Sabbat-rest for the people of God; for anyone who enters God's rests also rests from his own work, just as God did from his. Let us therefore, make every effort to enter that rest..." (v.9-11). it's not our place to stop our laboring for the Lord here on earth and rest completely, for God will one day provide for us the ultimate "Sabbath-rest." i do pray that this week will not be time off from the work of his Kingdom, but time to reflect and recharge my batteries to better serve his kingdom continually. may you find rest in Him today, the Great Provider.

Wednesday, August 24, 2005


remember that classic holiday movie "a christmas story?" i know we've all seen it about a hundred times and could quote at least half of it. one of my favorite parts is the infamous triple-dog-dare that pits ralph's buddy's tongue against the freezing cold flag pole. it's absolutely hilarious to see a kid flailing his arms with his tongue attached to that pole. what a great moment.

a "similar" story is found in 2 samuel 23, the story of Eleazar, one of David's mighty men. having been abandoned by the rest of his army in a battle with the dreaded Philistines, Eleazar "stood his ground and struck down the Philistines till his hand grew tired and froze to the sword" (v.10). that's right, his hand froze to his sword as he layed waste to probably several hundred men. what a great warrior.

the account of Eleazar causes me to ask the question, "what have i attached myself to in life?" it's easy to take hold of money, a job, comfort, a girlfriend or boy friend, even your best friends or family. but our grip can easily slip from these things, leaving us unarmed in the spiritual battles we face. but Eleazar was attached to his sword and fought bravely. that's why i love his story and want to emulate his stance. i want to hold on to God's word as i go to battle each day. i need to take hold of the eternal life he's called me to as i fight the good fight of faith (1 timothy 6:12). and i long to take Jesus by the hand and hold unswervingly to the hope he's promised (hebrews 10:23). for Eleazar, it says in v. 10 that "the Lord brought about a great victory that day." and i have no doubt the same will be for us who attach our lives to Him.

Monday, August 22, 2005


"And who knows that you have come to royal position for such a time as this?" Esther 4:14b

yesterday in our sunday morning class we discussed the story of Esther (interesting side bar: the book of Esther never mentions/refrences God). i love this story and its key message, as stated in the verse above. in fact, my first sunday ever at Grapevine four years ago i taught on Esther. i suppose it shouldn't suprise me then that this story circulated back into our curriculum on a day that i had a pretty important meeting concerning the future of my ministry. as i met with the elders i could feel all of your prayers and support, and i'm grateful for such a caring family and group of friends. but it was mordecai's words that were ringing the loudest in my heart yesterday, reminding me to make the most of the royal opportunities God grants me. in spite of self-doubt or uncertainty, God calls us to courageously sieze those moments he places in front of us. when opportunity to save lives and make an impact arise we have to step up to the plate like Esther did. even if we feel completely helpless he's assured us he'll be our source of strength. my meeting, and the rest of my day in fact, turned out incredible thanks to Esther and Mordecai.

Lord i pray that you will make me faithful with a few things, so that you will grant me even bigger things for your Kingdom.

Saturday, August 20, 2005


i wanted to see if i could post pictures on here. this is where i was last summer. sitting on a pebble beach loving on kids. i'm saving for and hoping to get a digital camera soon, so there should be more pics to come.
i think it's good to look back on experiences you've had and be reminded of how faithful God's been in your life. that's why i love pictures--little windows into the past, full of memories, lessons, and life. i just finished organizing all my pics from college and the past 3 summers...quite a task. but a fun activity that made me praise God for all he's done, for what he's doing, and for what he'll continue to do.


i love movies. i love the stories they tell, the places they take you, the people they uncover, the adventures they unearth. last night i went to see "March of the Penguins," an incredible documentary following the life of emperor penguins and the obstacles they overcome. as i often do, i found myself in the theatre drawing out spiritual applications and catching glimpses of God's nature (his creation and character) from the story. for instance, the life parent penguins is one of great sacrifice, all for the sake of thier child. males and females march 70 miles to the mating area every year in late summer. once they mate and lay their egg, the mothers must travel back to the ocean for food, covering again 70 or more miles, and this time in more tenacious weather (yeah, they're in antarctica). meanwhile the father keeps the egg on top of his feet covered by his belly, and in the process has to go for more than 4 months without food...4 MONTHS! all in the dead of winter. talk about giving much of themself all for this one egg. (this movie also made me want to adopt a penguin as a pet!)

immediately upon seeing this heroic, consistent task your mind leaps to our Father in heaven, and the sacrifice he made so that we might have life, and have it to the full (john 10:10). this morning as i continue my reading in 2 samuel 21, i found another story of great sacrifice i had never heard. it's the end of david's life and there is a 3-year famine in judah. when david asks God why the Lord tells him it's because saul had put the gibeonites to death. now stay with me here. so david asks the gibeonites how he can make ammends, and they tell him to hand over 7 of saul's descendents to be killed and exposed before the Lord. david chooses 7 of saul's kids and grandkids, hands them over and they are put to death. i know this is a random, but i think it's interesting. once the 7 are dead, a lady named Rizpah who was the mother of 2 of the 7, spent almost a month with the bodies, making sure no bird or beast touch them. night and day she stayed with them--talk about sacrifice. as a result of these sacrifices, God answered their prayers on behalf of the land.

i think about sacrifice a lot; what it means and how to make it a constant part of my life. the Lord has shown me that the greater the cost, the greater the reward. bonhaffer talks about this quite a bit in "cost of discipleship." i desperately want to be a servant of the Lord who sacrifices my will, my comfort, my wants, my self, for the sake of God's kingdom. i want to live a life of sacrifice, for my family, my friends, my kids, even people i don't know. if we live a life that cost us much, we will truly know and understand more of God, and the life and love of his Son.

Friday, August 19, 2005


today i had the great priveledge of eating lunch with chris jacobs. chris is a good friend and one of the most talented, unique people i've ever met. right now he's living in Boston and does marketing/managing in the music industry, along with a number of other extraordinary things. he had a layover in dallas so we spent the better part of 2 hours at a BBQ joint called Bartley's (it's no Joe Allens, but still good for here). it was great to see my friend and dive into each other's lives.

chris often brings a fresh and crisp outlook to our conversations on spirituality and faith. today we were talking about the SoulFest music festival that chris's company puts on in the northeast every year, and how it's one of the few christian music festivals that does not have an "alter call" or "invitation." the reason behind this is simple: the majority of the people at these festivals have heard and answered the call of the gospel in their life (let's say 70 percent of them, but probably more). but that's not all. some people might argue, "well what about the 30 percent who hasn't heard the gospel?" to which chris and his company would anwer, "that's the 70 percent's job." to engage those around them in conversations, to interact with kindness and gentleness, to sacrifice their comfort and time for the sake of obedience, to live out the gospel.

it got me thinking that too often we let put our responsibility as disciples of Christ fall to the guy in the pulpit on sundays. Christ calls us to live a life that testifies to the grace of God (acts 20:24). there are people we come in contact everyday who will never stumble into our sanctuaries on sunday morning. then how are they supposed to hear about the life-giving love of Christ one will ask? we show them, we tell them, and we love them. we don't hesitate, we don't wait for someone else to shoulder our task. we live like Christ, and share his life and love with all we meet. i think chris and the soulfest people are on to something here--just something to think about.