Friday, November 10, 2006

Not the healthy but the sick

When he saw the crowds, he had compassion on them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd.

It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick.

Words I have breezed by numerous times before without giving more than just an "oh that's cool" sort of thought. But these words of Christ describe the very heart of this God-man and have taken on a freshness recently that was previously dormant. The Lord has placed people in close proximity to me who have taken Jesus' words to heart, who have made his mission their own.

No one really wants to work with the lost. It's much easier to spend out time with people who already know Christ (even though we have plenty of our own problems). But there aren't many folks out there just itching to sink their hands into the messy lives of lost people. Christ said it all, the workers are few.

Forunately I know a few of, well, the few. People like Emily, Matt Foster, Steve and Chrissy Holt, and Rebekah Duke, (along with others) are living out these words of Christ, investing and forming relationships with lost people. They are heros to me.

What they do is no cake walk; to them being a Christian is so much more than just going to church or reading the Bible. They are living and breathing the mission of Christ, and it is hard, often thankless work. But ask anyone of them, and they will tell you the reward is worth the cost.

I pray that God will raise up more of his children to labor in this way.
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pic of the day (from Emily):

Wednesday, November 08, 2006


She's completely selfless. Loving. Hard working. Patient. Kind. Teaching. Prayerful. Thoughtful. Encouraging. Outgoing. Dedicated. Peaceful. Sweet. Beautiful.

My mom gives her life away everyday. To her kids at school, her family, her prayer group, her church, to everyone she meets. She spends herself for the sake of others and in the name of Christ. An incredible example of faith and service.

Happy Birthday Mom. We love you.
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pic of the day:

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

The Franklin Broncos

When I opened up the home page for the Abilene Reporter-News the following story was starring me in the face. And what did I do, being the sap that I am...I teared up.

Now I will be the first to say that I wasn't particularly fond of my middle school years. It was an awkward time for most, and I was no exception. But there is a special place in my heart for Franklin Middle School, home of the Broncos. And as I read through the article and saw the picture of Coach Black with those players, I couldn't help but feel sentimental.

There are so many memories from that place, and I as I recall old teachers, coaches, classmates, and the like, one emotion stands out. I am truly thankful. Thankful for people like Coach Black, Coach Schoonmaker, Coach Carrol, and Coach Raughton who gave me a chance and some direction on the athletic fields. Thankful for Mrs. Embry, Mr. Spruell, and Mrs. Foster for dedication and inspiration in the classroom. Thankful for patient people putting up with an awkward and often times obnoxious middle schooler, and helping shape my future.

So as they they play the school's last football game ever today, I can still remember pretty vividly my last football game at Franklin, verses Sneezy Beltran and Mann Middle School for the city championship. We pulled off the upset that day, and I can only hope the same for my Broncos today.

Man, I am such a sap...
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pic of the day, my middle school boys on our retreat:

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

2 Meals

Last night I sat at a table full of friends, devoured some good barbecue, and caught up on each other's lives. We gathered to listen to passionate people speak of God's Kingdom and were inspired by their desire to reach lost kids in Arlington. The testimonies given and generosity displayed were humbling to say the least. What an incredible night for Young Life and for all those who attended. Did I mention we had barbecue??

Today I had lunch with a encouraging peer. What was supposed to be a brief hi and bye meal turned into a two-hour "wow-Lord-you're-amazing" kinda thing. What began as our usual Cowboys talk suddenly took on the form of two ordinary guys sharing their hearts for people and how to reach them with the love of Christ, dreaming of what could be in our own community of faith.

Two meals (Spring Creek and Quizno's). Two holy experiences.

Matt Chandler says there is something very very holy about doing dinner with people. There truly is something remarkable and intimate about feasting with friends who sharpen you just with their presence. I thoroughly enjoy sharing extended meals with friends and the conversations that ensue over fajitas and sweat tea. It should come as no surprise that the earliest Christian community shared a table together on a regular, almost daily basis. Meal time=good time. Meal time=Christ time. Thank you Lord for blessing my life with barbecue, friends, and the work of your Holy Spirit.
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pic of the day (from Emily):

Wednesday, October 18, 2006


Below are words I shared for part of Cayce and Matt's wedding ceremony:
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I found it very appropriate that Madison escorted Cayce down the aisle. How humbling was it to watch "their little team" walk into this moment today. For about the last 8 years, that is what they have been, a team. Cayce and Madison have walked a tough, tough road, one that we hope few will ever have to tread. And they have done so together, just the two of them. Until today.

I want to read a few words from that Paul that seem fitting, both for the peace they have provided in the past, and for the truth they hold today.

"But as surely as God is faithful, our message to you is not 'Yes' and 'No.' For the Son of God, Jesus Christ, who was preached among you by me and Silas and Timothy, was not 'Yes' and 'No,' but in him it has always been a 'Yes.' For no matter how many promises God has made, they are 'Yes' in Christ."
1 Corinthians 1:18-20a

Paul tells us that regardless of circumstance or situation, with Christ, everything is a "Yes."

Matt, we want you to know that you are the "Yes" our family has prayed for for a long time. I stand here today with out one shred of doubt, confident that you are the result of a faithful God, truly an answer to prayer.

Thank you for loving Cayce so well, and especially loving Madison enough to be be her dad. You make them both so happy, and our family could not be happier for you. We love you.
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pic of the day:

Friday, October 13, 2006

The Thorton's

Pics from Cayce and Matty's wedding last weekend at Common Ford's Ranch in Austin.
Mom and Aunt Dana at Rehersal Dinner
(Nutty Brown Cafe in Dripping Springs) Emily and I

Common Ford's Ranch



Siblings and Sibling-in-laws

Pretty girl, pretty place

Kyle and Jessica

Waiting with Madison

Sweet Madison

The Thorton's leaving

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Proposal Pictures

Here are some pictures, finally.
Our special place at Love Field
She said yes
The Williams' men inspection
I like this one
Our families
I'm having problems getting two more pics up here. I'll try later.
March we come!

Monday, September 18, 2006

BIG Day!

I asked Emily to marry me Saturday night. She said yes! If you would like to hear the whole story give us a call. In the mean time here are a few pics from that night. March 17th here we come!

(ok blogger is being wierd so no pictures right now. I'll keep trying)

(still not working)

Friday, September 08, 2006

BIG Game

Tomorrow night all of America turns its eyes toward Austin for a match up of college gridiron greats. Last year the meeting of UT and Ohio State in Columbus' famed Horse Shoe not only lived up to the hype, it exceeded it. Hopefully this year will not disappoint. #1 vs. I come.

Be sure to look for Austin and I (sorry Cass) on TV. We'll be holding a sign behind the Corso and the Gameday crew that reads: "Joel Weckerly's Hero is a Criminal."
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pic of the day:

Thursday, August 24, 2006

Hard Work

Nearly everyday this week I have been reminded just how difficult it is to be a part of the body of Christ. What I mean is that it doesn't simply happen. Just because a group of Christians attends the same worship services or lives in the same area doesn't mean they are fully living as the body of Christ. Community doesn't occur with proximity or similar interests; it isn't all rainbows and sunshine and hallelujah; being the body of Christ, living that out, is hard work. And we have to be willing to work hard to experience the results Christ intended for his church.

Developing community takes concerted effort, mounds of patience, and a commitment to prayer. A community of Christ-like folks must be aware of the subtle, and not so subtle, attacks Satan blasts at us. Together we must fend off the temptations to be lazy or self-serving. We must train ourselves to be deeply concerned for our neighbors. We must re-learn how to interact with all different kinds of people, keeping in mind that the Spirit of Christ lives in us.

Sadly I myself am far from much of this. I often find myself more wrapped up in my own stuff than seeking to shoulder the weight that is crushing those around me. Being a part of Christ' body is hard work, no doubt. But at the same time there is a richness, a fullness, about it that you can't find in any other kind of community. Lord give us the strength and desire to be the body Christ died for us to be.
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pictures are back up on blogger so I also updated the last 3 posts.
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pic of the day:

Monday, August 21, 2006

"he was showing us God"

more Rob Bell as I try to get pictures back on here:

"Over time when you purposely try to live the way of Jesus, you start noticing something deeper going on. You begin realizing the reason this is the best way to live is that it is rooted in profound truths about how the world is. You find yourself living more and more in tuen with ultimate reality. You are more and more in sync with how the universe is at its deepest levels.

Jesus' intention was, and is, to call people to live in tune with reality. He said at one point that if you had seen him, you had 'seen the Father.' He claimed to be showing us what God is like. In his compassion, peace, truth telling, and generosity, he was showing us God."
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pic of the day:

Friday, August 18, 2006

An endless process

Really good stuff from Rob Bell's Velvet Elvis:

"For thousands of years followers of Jesus, like artists, have understood that we have to keep going, exploring what it means to live in harmony with God each other. The Christian faith tradition is filled with change and growth and transformation. Jesus took part in this process by calling people to rethink faith and the Bible and hope and love and everything else, and by inviting them into the endless process of working out how to live as God created us to live.

The challenge for Christians then is to live with great passion and conviction, remaining open and flexible, aware that this life is not the last painting.

Times change. God doesn't, but times do. We learn and grow, and the world around us shifts, and the Christian faith is only alive when it is listening, morphing, innovating, letting go of whatever has gotten in the way of Jesus and embracing whatever will help us be more and more the people God wants us to be."
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pic of the day:

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Monday Nights

Every Monday I was in town this summer we had a college-age Bible study in the tiny living room of my house. Who knew how much fun cramming 15 bodies into (maybe) 100 square feet of space with little A/C could be?? And yes, sweating can be fun.

But in all seriousness this small gathering of believers possessed a richness and depth that far exceeded my initial aspirations for the group. Our task was simple really, and something I shared with them the first week: to fall more in love with Christ. Our method was two fold: first, sharing openly experiences from our week in which we saw his life take flesh, instances where we witnessed a need for Jesus' presence and power. And second, we dove into the Word in search of portraits of Jesus' life, snapshots detailing his heart and his character, the way he responded to people and certain situations. We were looking for anything and everything that might enable us to know Christ more intimately. And oh how the Lord revealed himself to us in new ways! It should come as no surprise that he is always surpassing even our highest hopes.

Beneath this seemingly ordinary "Bible study" lies a reason, maybe you could even call it a desire, that I shared both with my youth group and these college students often this summer. And it stems from the Nouwen quote I shared a month or so back. I told them that this world doesn't need any more really nice people, that there are enough sweet girls and good guys out there. What this world needs more than anything is Godly men and women who intimately know the heart of God, who embody the Spirit of Christ, and are passionatetly and consistently living this out in their world.

Lord help us know you better and more fully. Help us smell, speak, react, pray, and live like Christ so this world might know him.
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pic of the day:

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

"Help me overcome my unbelief"

Everyone has faith. Life, at any level, cannot be lived without it. The real question, according to Rob Bell in his book Velvet Elvis, isn't whether we have it or not but what we have put our faith in. And if everyone has faith then it is probaly safe to conclude that everyone also struggles with doubt, and that these conflicting ideas are in constant tension with one another.

Last week at Emily's Campaigner's group they talked about the story of Jesus healing the epileptic boy. So Monday night a group of college students and I dove further into this remarkable incident from Mark 9. The statement made by the boy's father toward Christ is a fascinating one. When Jesus tells him that anything is possible for he who believes we see this desperate father cry out, "I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief!" Somewhere inside this man was hope, but that flicker of hope was nearly extinguished by a great amount of what he calls unbelief.

Lately I have realized just how much unbelief there is in my own life; how often I let those droplets of doubt that Satan whispers in my ear affect my ministry and my relationships. The example of this boy's father acknowledging before Christ that though he does believe he needs major help overcoming his unbelief is a powerful one. The truth and honesty in his words is a great demonstration of the stance I have been reminded to take as I approach the feet of my Lord.

Father I beg you to help me overcome the unbelief that plagues so many aspects of my life. Would you silence Satan's lies and defend me from his attacks. I pray you would strengthen my faith, build up my ability and desire to trust you. Thank you Father
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pic of the day, one of my kids on our Jr/Sr Trip:

Monday, August 07, 2006

She's here

No longer 852 miles away, Emily has finally arrived in Arlington! In her words...praise, the Lord.

She's only been here a little over a week but we have already been soaking up time with one another and racking up the miles on Highway 360. Sometimes I still cannot believe that she lives here, that we don't have to say goodbye at an airport next week like we have too many times before. But we don't, because Emily lives here, close to me, and I am absolutely beside myself.

It has been such a blessing to be with her and experience so much of what you miss out on when you date long distance for 7 months. Hanging out with our Dallas friends, going to campaigners with her, watching her interact with the kids in her ministry, having her next to me at church, spending lazy Saturday afternoons together, running errands, just listening to her talk face to face instead of through a cell phone--it is all just so great, so refreshing, so much fun.

One of the best parts is knowing that this is only the beginning of a new and exciting season of life, for both of us. Thank you Father...for everything.
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pic of the day:

Wednesday, August 02, 2006


I am still exhausted from Trek (and this crazy summer) but wanted to share a few pics and reflect.

The mountains have always been a special place for God's people, a place of instruction and listening, a place of prayer filled with his presence, a place of rest and retreat. And that is exactly what last week was for me. Save a trip to the ER with kidney stones, it was a perfect week highlighted by cool weather, lots of rain, special moments with my kids, and refreshing time and conversation with solid peers. Thank you Lord for providing in perfect ways.
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Chad, me and Mt. Ouray

Micah and Heath

Payton and J Scott, our bearded guidesFC Ouray
the group

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

From rules to something beyond

yesterday Garret and I were talking about the difference between Christianity that is all about morality and "being good" verses Christianity that is centered on Christ and his love and letting that love become a reality in our lives. then last night I just happened to read this passage by C.S. Lewis in Mere Christianity:

"I think all Christians would agree with me if I said that though Christianity seems at the first to be all about morality, all about duties and rules and guilt and virtue, yet it leads you on, our of all that, into something beyond. One has a glimpse of a country where they do not talk of those things, except perhaps as a joke. Every one there is filled full with what we should call goodness as a mirror is filled with light. But they do not call it goodness. They do not call it anything. They are not thinking of it. They are too busy looking at the source from which it comes. But this is near the stage where the road passes over the rim of our world. No one's eyes can see very far beyond that: lots of people's eyes can see further than mine."

We see plenty of examples in the ministry of Christ where the so-called religious and upright people of the day completely missed the point, failed to see the big picture. When Christ healed the lame man at the pool in Bethesda the Jews were ticked because it was on the Sabbath. Later Jesus gives sight to a man born blind and the Pharisees spend a whole chapter arguing with the man, hung up on the Sabbath issue again.

For much of my life I too am guilty of this, caught up in outward appearances, rules and guilt, instead of focusing on the healing Christ has brought to the my life and the people around me. I've missed the source for too many years, been too worried about meaningless details and the petty perceptions of my peers. Meanwhile oblivious the countless instances of Jesus' power intersecting with the world's pain all around me.

Things have begun to shift for me, and for many others, in the way I view this world, my faith, and Christianity as a whole. More about Christ, less about appearance; more like Jesus, less like this fleshly shell. Help us Lord become more like your Son.
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headed to Colorado for Trek (and cool mountain weather!) tomorrow. keep our travel and our kids in your prayers please. thanks.
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pic of the day:

Thursday, July 13, 2006

Ambassadors for Christ

Sorry for the long breaks in between blogs. I look forward to getting back to posting regularly soon.

Here's a segment of a sermon I preached two weeks ago at Grapevine in Lyle's absence. My thoughts were taken out of 2 Corinthians 4:16-5:5:

Paul makes a beautiful comparison here between earthly things and heavenly things; between the temporary and the eternal. However his words hit me hard, because if I asked a show of hands of how many in this room want to go to heaven, without a doubt every hand would be raised. But if I asked you for an honest answer to the question how many of you want to go right this very moment…how many of us, myself included, would hesitate, because we got something "really important" to take care of first.

Scripture tells us that God has place eternity in the hearts of man, that He himself dwells in the temple of our hearts,. And yet it seems to me that we’ve put Jesus on air mattress and shoved him in the back guest room, like we do that cousin at Christmas who annoys us. We push him aside instead of ushering him to the front door of our lives and, recognizing that this world is just temporary, a tent we live in. Anyone ever went camping before. I don’t care who you are living in a tent is fun for like a day, maybe a weekend, but after that you want to go home. You want indoor plumbing and air conditioning. Paul says that should be our attitude with the world we are living in, though so many of our lives don’t reflect that.

He pleads with us not to focus on all the junk and possessions and worries that crowd our lives. He says as an ambassador we groan, not out of complaint, but out of an eager expectation, for our future home. We should be longing for heaven, craving the glory of an eternal dwelling. When God created Adam and Eve he created them to live in a perfect place of paradise, in Eden. Now sin messed all that up, but it is important we understand that too is where we were created to live and we should be hungry and yearning to get there, back to the constant presence of God. An ambassador carries this lifestyle, this mindset with them wherever they go, for all to see.

When you view this world as temporary, when you fix your eyes on the unseen, everything else starts to fade into the margins and the world can’t help but notice a difference about you. And we get so focused, almost obsessed, with heaven that we make it our life’s work to bring everyone we can along to their true home. We invite them to join in the triumphal procession that Christ is leading us in.
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pic of the day:

Thursday, July 06, 2006

Photo Recap

some photos from the last 30 days, 24 of which I was away from Grapevine (check out my facebook albums for more pics).

Brent and Linds' Rehersal Dinner

The guys at the wedding

Braving the tropical storm in Florida with our nifty panchos


Emily and I at Epcot

The slip n' slide at camp Zenith

GCOC kids at Zenith

waterball laceration from Camp MPulse...middle school kids are ruthless...

Grapevine kids at MPulse

Em and I on the swing at Windy Gap

Beautiful Camp Windy Gap in Weaverville, NC