Monday, January 30, 2006

Mark's "Gospel"

My life has been steadily hectic the past 10 days thus I have neglected posting here. Never planned on being an everyday blogger (or almost) like Austin but I do intend to share more frequently than I have, mainly because it provides an avenue to process all the notions and thoughts stuck in my head. With that being said...

Yesterday for class I taught out of Mark 1:21-28 and how God's power can infect our lives and spread like an epidemic, for this is where Jesus' ministry explodes into the world. Lately it seems I just can't get enough of Mark--his style of telling Jesus' story is unique, as are all the gospels, and surprisingly simple, yet anything but bland. His composition is distinct and decided: bypassing the birth narrative he spends more than half of his gospel illustrating the people-focused ministry of Christ (healings, miracles, transformations, etc). Then in the middle of chapter 8 "Jesus begins to teach" the disciples and doesn't stop until after he is arrested. To top it off the last third of Mark's book records the final of week of Christ's life on earth. Amazing author, even more amazing story.
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One of our junior guys, Mark, preached yesterday on Youth Sunday a great and genuine message on living for Jesus now. He spoke candidly about his own experiences in the past month that have woken him up from a life of pressing that spiritual snooze bar. I was so proud of the courage he showed yesterday and really felt that he touched a lot of hearts in our church, maybe to their suprise. (There's probably nothing I love more than seeing our kids sell out for Jesus)Mark may not be the best speech writer, and he doesn't claim to be a guy who has it all together. But with boldness he too shared good news yesterday; he spoke truth into the lives of God's people, some who may have been 70 years his elder. With humility he proclaimed what Christ is doing in his life as he shared part of his story. And when his story intersects with God's story it makes for something extraordinary that is anything but bland. It was quite beautiful, to watch another "Mark" write yet another chapter in the rich love story that is Jesus.
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pic of the day, tough guys:

Friday, January 20, 2006

My apologies...

...for a less than acceptable blogging week. just a few quick things:

--If you read this pray for our kids this weekend as we take 53 (!) of them to Winterfest. Pray that the Lord will stir in their hearts and draw them closer to him, that it will be a weekend of great spiritual victories. Thanks.

--I've never made NFL picks before, pubicly at least, but I'm going to go with the Steelers and (gulp, Dave) Panthers. I think that is who will win but I really hope I'm wrong. Really.

--Pretty sure that former ACU All Star DJ Bulls was a caller on ESPN radio this morning. Random, huh?

--It's a beautiful day!
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pic of the day, two of my favorite people:

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

When in Rome

I've got nothing today of my own, not to say that the Lord hasn't shown me anything this week, but I'm tired and can't really think very well. So I'll share the thoughts of other people:

--Everyone HAS to click on "Foster" under my links on the right side of the page. Read his most recent post dedicated to a great American hero, Chuck Norris. It is laugh till you cry funny. Read it...or else.

--"It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners." Jesus said it and I like it.

--"God grant us the serenity to accept the things we cannot change, the courage to change the things we can, and the wisdom to know the difference." Don't know who said it but I like it.
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pic of the day, the outhouse at my aunt and uncle's farm:

Friday, January 13, 2006


You may have scene it on the news, an image that has stayed fresh in my mind all week: former Cowboys football player Dwayne Goodrich tearfully embracing a man he nearly killed, Shuki Josef, in a Dallas courtroom and sobbing uncontrollably.

The story behind this emotional scene is complicated. Goodrich struck and killed two young men with his car who were helping pull a man from a burning vehicle on a Dallas highway. Josef was hit too but somehow survived, though multiple injuries cause him to hobble in horrible pain everyday. At the sentence hearing Monday instead of responding to Goodrich with anger or vengeance Josef provided us all a great lesson. He limped over to the man responsible for his life-altering injuries and said, “I forgive you.” At this Goodrich could no longer hold back his emotions, and the tears mixed with regret began to flow.

Josef’s incredible example of forgiveness, reminiscent of Stephen in Acts 7, is one of the purest I’ve ever witnessed. Yet it pales in comparison to the forgiveness Christ brings into our lives. We’ve all got complicated stories that are deserving of a harsh sentence, but it is a punishment we won’t receive. Jesus responds the same way Josef did, bestowing rich mercy wrapped in a warm embrace. Not only does he pardon us but he hands down a verdict of “not guilty,” something even Josef was incapable of. And true comfort and peace are found only when we accept this gift from our Savior. I pray this week we will all take hold of Him and know, be it even with tears, that regardless of our crime we are completely forgiven.
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pic of the day, Wolf Creek:

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

The Thompsons

They've been in ministry for 10 years impacting hundreds, if not thousands, of young people for the Lord. They make no excuses for always being themselves while answering the call God has placed in their lives. Dedicated, creative, a well of love and kindness, funny, full of energy, passionate...just a few of the ways I can describe Chad and Sheri. We "work" together you see. But really we do life together--loving kids, seeking the Lord, trips, counseling sessions, all nighters, casting visions, and laughing (plenty of that).

They have had such an influence on shaping who I'm becoming and my ministry. Their friendship has been invaluable, especially through this past year of transition and uncertainty. They've taught me a vast amount in these past 4 years and have truly been my "Paul." I'm pretty sure I could write a book on all the adventures and stories we've shared...but would definitely have to censor it! I couldn't ask for a better model of ministry and marriage than the two of them provide. Thanks guys...I love ya'll.
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pic of the day, Chad in Mexico:

Monday, January 09, 2006

Just the Beginning

I ran across this great quote from Mack Brown the day after the game:

I don't want this to be the biggest thing that ever happens in the their lives. It may be the best sporting event in your life, and for some of them it will be for sure. But I want this to help them carry confidence later in life.

I love to hear stuff like that from college coaches who aren't just preparing young people for football or basketball games, but for life. That's why I've always looked up to Coach K, a man who has dedicated and focused his life and his program to producing quality human beings, not the next NBA has-been.

There's something refreshing about Mack's words here to these kids and it's very bold. In essence he is telling them that this is only the beginning. That one day hopefully they'll walk across a stage and recieve a degree. Or perhaps they will be lucky enough to walk down the aisle with the woman of their dreams. And maybe somewhere down the line they will hold their new born daughter in their arms. You know, stuff you dream about but still have no idea exactly how it will feel.

Of course he wants them to enjoy this moment, but at the same time they need to be looking for the next great moment. One that more than likely won't happen on a football field. As I processed all of this I found myself, well, somewhat inspired by his words. I know it's cheesy but I think there's some truth there. Plus it's exciting to think about.
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I finally got my new camera from Christmas (hooray!), so I decided to take a picture of a sweet sign that Kyle got me:

Thursday, January 05, 2006

Giving Credit Where Credit is Due

The image of Vince Young standing before the crowd in a sea of confetti lulled me to sleep last night (though I was so wired I didn't hit the sack until like 3am). Absolutely beautiful. There are so many amazing stories and feelings to sort through today that I've decided to post on the greatest football game I've ever seen next time so to allow time for proper reflection.

However, I feel this has to brought into the light. No one is talking about this and it must be said. I am strongly conVINCEd that what might have put UT over the top last night was knowing that Tommy Lee Jones and his Oscar-snubbed film "Man of the House" (an absolute masterpiece) released last year is what really began this run of destiny for the Horns.

I don't know why this important connection hasn't popped up on more radar screens. It's so obvious people--don't deny it.

Wednesday, January 04, 2006


I went and saw Spielberg's latest film Munich Sunday night. though it was very graphic (and 3 hours long) I still thought it was a good movie.

one issue that stands out from the story is the ongoing hatred that exists between Israelis and Palestinians, something that continues today. it's sad when you think about it, two groups of humans living in constant strife, believing that the other group is awful and they are better. and the scary thing is that this train of thought is prevalent all across the globe today. and honestly it is not as far away as we might like to think. this same sort of hatred and division occurrs in our communities and (gasp) our churches every week. Donald Miller explains it this way:

I suppose believing we were right and they were wrong gave me a feeling of superiority over my Methodist friends. It all sounds so innocent until you realize whatever evil thing it was that caused me to believe Baptists [or any denomination/religious group] are better than Methodists is the same evil thing that has Jews killing Palestinians rather than talking to them, and for that matter, Palestinians killing Jews rather than engaging in an important conversation about land and history and peace.

I like the perspective Miller brings to the table. lately I've been convicted of my own feelings of elitism. for a long time I've noticed these underlying almost inherited views of superiority and righteousness displayed in our social groups, our denominations, our races, our fill in the blank. from this we tend to climb upon our pedastools to look down and point our fingers at those who are wrong. and as much as this hurts to admit I am so guilty of this and am really tired of it. for when I read the story of Jesus I see a man who loved without bias, who exemplified perfection in humility, who held no political agenda, who spoke out against the self righteous calling them hypocrites.

and my heart becomes sad because so much of our culture and even Christian culture has been overrun with ideas and values that are the opposite of what Christ stood for. John said that anyone who says "I love God," yet hates any of his children is a liar because you can't not love people and still claim to love God. I think we've all been liars for too long and should reclaim the truth and the ideals Jesus spoke of and died for. I know this all sort of random and harsh, but the Lord put it on my heart today.
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on a much lighter note, I can't tell you how pumped I am about the game. all day I've had nervous stomach (I know I'm a dork) but I think it is because it is just now hitting me how big a game tonight is. and I don't know why I want the Horns to win more; to kill all the "USC is god" lovely dovey mushy crap, or because they're my team. as my good friend Austin stated the Horns just have seemed like a team of destiny all year. I really think their time has come.
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pic of the day:

Monday, January 02, 2006


i've got one year under my belt. feels pretty good and boy did it go by fast. now only like 45 more until i can "retire"...

year one was full of change. my surroundings changed. i changed jobs/titles. where i live, what my day looks like. my body changed (just kidding, that was puberty), but i did get older and slower. the people i see and talk to the most changed. my faith, perception of ministry, and relationship with the Lord--all different today than a year ago.

i'm so grateful though for all this change. for the tweaking and revamping God's Spirit did in my life. for the new experiences and all i learned from them. i'm even thankful for my mistakes, difficulties, and failures. for through them the Lord has taught me to trust, to be still, patience and sincerety. i'm not gonna lie, freshman year of the real world was tough. but i wouldn't trade it for anything and i'm looking forward to being a sophomore.

as i move into this year the overwhelming feeling in my heart is that i need more. more Jesus. more love, compassion, and kindness. more stillness. more devotion. i want more of the Lord--to know and experience Him in new ways. to feel a great sense of intimacy with my Savior and a more humble spirit. i want to live with his energy and passion each day and to be more humble. to cling to truth while i sharing it authentically. less me more He. the Lord is faithful and i'm pumped. yeehaw!
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pic of the day, UYG reunion: