Friday, March 31, 2006

Not Much

Not much time on a Friday afternoon to dive in too deep so I'll keep it light.

- I love spring time and being outside, especially in the evenings. Lately when I get home from work I've started exploring my neighborhood on my bike (if you saw where I lived you'd know how fun this is). On Tuesday here is what I came across on my post-work trek... That's right...a freakin' circus. Random, huh? I think a church near by was hosting it or something but I found it to be a cool, nostalgic (and sort of creepy) place to look around. Didn't see any freaks, just these sweet elephants... - This is going to be a great week in sports: you start out with the Final Four, move right into opening week for baseball, some key NBA games (including Mavs/Spurs finale), and wrap up with the Master's next weekend. Oops...forgot to mention the basketball intramural regional tourney over at TCU...good luck guys....

- Final Four picks: I want UCLA over Florida in the title game Monday.

- I killed two scary bugs in my apartment this week...for those who know me that's big news.

- Not sure if I mentioned this yet but I found out I'm going to Ukraine for 13 days at the end of April. More on that later...
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pic of the day, from Mize:

Monday, March 27, 2006


Four teams cut down the nets in their respective regions this past weekend. For quality reading on the tournament and the upsets see Austin's blog. I will say it is a pretty cool thing watching college kids ascend a ladder to snip a piece of nylon, especially the George Mason guys...a thrill I'm sure.

I read the story of Jesus calling Peter, James, and John from Luke 5 the other day. Jesus told them to let down their nets for a catch. Here were professionals who had been sweating all night trying to catch something...anything, yet they heeded his advice. And the results...well, astonishing. Jesus proceeds to promise them that "from now on you will catch men." Even more impressive than their Forest Gump-esque catch is to consider the "catch" these 3 men alone made in their future ministry(with Peter and John's words still impacting people today). Thousands upon thousands of lives changed from what started out as an act of faith by simple fishermen.

It got me thinking about my response to the Lord's call in my life. When I'm burned out, tired, and empty-handed, do I still pursue the beckoning of Christ? Are my nets yielding a catch for his kingdom, one that astonishes and can't be explained? Am I willing to, in faith, put myself out into the deep waters of life, where people are hungry and hurting? Father teach me to fish like Jesus did. Even when it is hard or may not make sense, I pray that I will answer the call of Christ. May my nets overflow with people who need to know and be know by you.
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pic of the day:

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Everything's Right Tonight

my lack of posts lately hasn't been from lack of meaningful activity. I'm just can't seem to find the words to describe the events of the past week. instead of many words. perhaps one word will do for a few highlights.

- humbling. That is the only way to describe our two and a half days working with Central Dallas Ministries last week. Met some incredibly Jesus/Kingdom-minded servants like Patti, Eric, and Rachel who have dedicated their lives to building true community on the east side of Dallas. And got to see our kids be the hands and feet of Christ as they provided a face lift for a building, took some tiny tots to the Dallas zoo, and stocked groceries in the food pantry. There is nothing like witnessing our students faith grow as they serve wholeheartedly in uncomfortable situations.

- relaxing. Escaped to Austin for a few days to be with people I love. Stayed with Austin, Cassie and Gracie, hung out with Rosalyn, Heather, Marcos, Camille, Jenn and Erika, and spent time Cayce and Madison and Matty. Sort of had a cold while I was there, but got to watch lots of basketball. Have I mentioned how much I love the first weekend of the tournament.

- refreshing. The Lord always knows when I'm in a rut or feeling discouraged in ministry, because it is at those moments when he gives me refreshing and rewarding times with our kids. some of my favorite moments with them are the unexpected and real conversations we have where they're honest and even vulnerable with me, or when they speak deep truth into my life through an unassuming comment. Those are the times I cherish and cling to, the times that fire me up and keep me going.
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pic of the day:

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

"Loved Much"

Once a month our youth group takes its turn to lead the afternoon worship service at Autumn Leaves Nursing Home. This has become a highly anticipated and extremely rewarding activity for us to take part in together. The joy it brings to sing and visit with those sweet souls is scarcely matched by other things in our regular routines.

This past Sunday as we had finished our service and were preparing to head out I sat next to an older gentlemen whom I remembered from our last couple of times there. I thanked him for letting us worship with him and asked how he was doing. His answer floored me.

Before he was able to mutter a word, his eyes just filled with tears, like deep pools of emotion. Squeezing my hand he whispered, “Son, it means so much to me for ya’ll to come here…thank you.” A grown man stirred to tears by the faith and service of young people. I almost lost it.

I’m sure similar stories of blessing could be shared every week by the numerous groups from our congregation who serve at Autumn Leaves. This particular one, however, evoked images of a woman wiping the feet of Jesus with her tears. Jesus in fact made an example of her faith, noting that she “loved much” (Luke 7:47). I would be willing to bet that not a person present in that room on that night walked away unaffected by what they witnessed—a beautiful, selfless act of worship.

Last Sunday I too witnessed something beautiful. And thought it may have come from an unexpected source, my heart was truly touched by a man who “loved much.” This week may we all take the time to notice the extraordinary faith of those around us. Father stir in our hearts so that we too may love and serve people like Jesus did.
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pic of the day:

Thursday, March 09, 2006

J Mac

I'm sure everyone has seen this story by now, but in case you haven't here's a link with a cool video narration of Jason McElwain's story. Autistic Hoop Dreams

Even if you have seen it check it out again. After watching like 100 times I still get chills.

There is a lot I could say about Jason's story. But really it speaks for itself.

It did remind me of something I read recently. That last picture of Jason with the crowd storming the court, lifting him onto their shoulders was very touching. I mean an entire school (and now a country) celebrating the story of an autistic kid siezing the moment, making the most of his shot. Can you imagine how cool it would have been to be in that gym that night??

In Nehemiah 8 we read the story of God's people "celebrating with great joy, because they now understood the words that had been made known to them." Here are God's people, foolish and stubborn for numerous generations, and they finally "get it." So what do they do--they celebrate for 7 straight days. I'm not talking birthday party here--they truly celebrated, in a way that had never been seen before the word says, and their "joy was very great." Pretty stinkin cool huh? Seeing Jason's magical night and reading this story makes me want to be a part of a celebration like that. And I feel if I would just look around me and open my eyes to all the icredible things God is doing for his kingdom, then I can't help but join in his celebration.

Father give us your great joy as we celebrate your constant faithfulness in our lives.
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pic of the day, family (minus Kyle...sorry):

Tuesday, March 07, 2006


click on "Foster" on the right side of the page to read his reflections on silence...great stuff.
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Somedays are sort of hard...then the Spirit leads you to words that comfort, words that remind you to live with joy and urgency. Yesterday these were those words for me:

"Praise our God...he has preserved our lives and kept our feet from slipping. For you O God tested us; you refined us like silver. You brought us into prison and laid burdens on our backs. You let men ride over our heads; we went through fire and water, but you brought us to a place of abundance." Psalm 66:8-12

Being refined and reformed into the image of Christ isn't always easy and can be painful at times; treading through fire or darkness isn't pleasant; yet I'm comforted knowing that the Lord has promised to bring us to a place of abuncance. A place in abundance of Him and his mercy; a place lacking in worry and fear.

O Lord would you bring us all to that place each day.
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pic of the day (from Mize), frisbee:

Friday, March 03, 2006


I live in a small one bedroom "shire" behind a family from church's house. Currently an addition is being built on to their house, so each morning I wake up to the serene sounds of nail guns and cement trucks...a fabulous way to start my day. For some reason this morning, with the steady echo of lumber being fastened together in the background, my thoughts went back to a something Paul wrote in Ephesians 4:

"Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will in all things grow up into him who is the Head, that is Christ. From him the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love, as each does its work."

The beauty of these words leaps off the page at me. Unity is not an ideal; it is Christ's intention for his body, the fullfillment of the Word, and something Paul wouldn't have spoken so passionately and often about if he didn't think it to be possible. For he truly believed God's children could live in and experience this accord by way of his abundant grace.

I can't remember where I heard this, but I'm sick of [certain sects of] Christians thinking we have a monopoly on truth (the "we've got it right" mentality). I'm tired of witnessing instances of Christians elevating themselves above other groups...groups of other Christians for crying out loud. Where's the unity in that? What kind of message are we sending our culture and communities? A message of pure and penetrating love, powerful grace? Honestly, I dunno guys.... When I read that people in North America are leaving churches at an astonishing rate, something tells me our message has become fuzzy, that we're sending mixed signals, that what we say and how we live don't match up. Is that how we want the world to perceive the body of Christ??

I asked our students Monday night how people who bear the name of Christ are supposed to have unity when we spend more of our time debating/arguing/pondering issues that divide instead of focusing on the matters which brought us to Christ in the firstplace. Their answers were honest and genuine, yet spoken with "truth in love." I desperately long for them to live in unity, to put aside their scholastic and social loyalties and pledge their allegience and their life to the way of Jesus. If this was the pursuit of all Christians, what a different and wonderful place would we live in.

Father, help me to know and speak your truth with love, and to mature daily in that love alongside the people you've placed in my life.
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pic of the day, where I live: