Saturday, January 31, 2004

One Foul Blog

Don't you hate it when one of your best friends borrows a movie that you really like
only to find they didn't really like it,
only to find that they had the audacity to post a blog article - with details and larger observations about world events based on the movie's content - about how they didn't like it due to it's disrespectful content, only to have the said best friend actually brag on a movie that is so much more crass it makes the movie they borrowed look like a Veggie Tales flick,
only to have them try to sneak the movie back into your personal video library without you seeing it,
only to actually see them do it,
only to realize he's one of three-and-a-half people on the planet who even occasionally reads the drivel you post when you're not in a place like the restroom at Billy's Rest Stop & BBQ (somewhere in Texas) which doesn't have functional internet access,
only to have your friend "subtlety" clue you in that he's posted his thoughts on said movie on his blog,
only to have his blog point out that his wife said to him, "Didn't you hear them say that's one of their favorite movies?" and yet he posted this "hate blog" nevertheless,
only to be really discouraged and wonder how you could get back to being couraged,
only to realize your friend is, in fact, a doofus,
only to then discover he actually forgot a lunch date with you after he dissed you and that he left you waiting at a local Chinese restaurant while he posted this post-post post, only to realize that although he dissed you and then almost missed you, he did assist you by paying for your chow. . .mein,
only to then realize your friend didn't mean to offend you by such actions and quite possibly you would've done the same thing to him?

I hate that, too.

Friday, January 30, 2004

A Church by Any Other Name

A couple of months ago I registered the domain for our church plant. I felt that calling ourselves a church is going to bring too much baggage for today’s post modern spiritual seekers. A few weeks ago I ran across some research done by an associate pastor (probably not called a pastor by those inside his church), named Rod Chisholm. I thought it was truly insightful. Take a look at names/references of the church in the first century. This is amazing!

Biblical Names for the ChurchPrepared by Rod Chisholm
1. God's household -1
2. God's elect -1
3. This sect (Nazarene) -2
4. The Way -6
5. The body (of Christ) -8
6. The believers -10
7. The saints -13
8. Disciples -18
9. The brothers -23
10. The church -101
a. Descriptors
• Whole
• Of God
• Of the Gentiles
• Of Christ
• Radiant
• Of the living God
• Of the Firstborn
b. Location
1. The home
2. City
• Jerusalem
• Damascus
• Antioch
• Corinth
• Galatia
• Laodicea
• Thessalonica
• Ephesus
• Smyrna
• Pergamum
• Thyatira
• Sardis
• Philadelphia

3. Region/Province
• Judea
• Galilee
• Samaria
• Macedonia
• Asia
Biblical References
• 16:18 My church
• 18.17 the church
• 1.15 the believers
• 2.44 the believers
• 4.32 the believers
• 5.11 the whole church
• 5.12 the believers
• 6.7 disciples
• 6.7 the faith
• 8.1 the church at Jerusalem
• 8.2 the church
• 9.1 the Lord's disciples
• 9.2 the Way
• 9.13 your saints in Jerusalem
• 9.19 the disciples in Damascus
• 9.26 the disciples
• 9.30 the brothers
• 9.31 the church throughout Judea, Galilee, and Samaria
• 9.32 the saints in Lydda
• 9.38 the disciples
• 9.41 the believers
• 10.23 the brothers from Joppa
• 11.1 the brothers throughout Judea
• 11.22 the church at Jerusalem
• 11.26 the church
• 11.26 the disciples were called Christians
• 11.29 the disciples…the brothers living in Judea
• 12.1 the church
• 12.5 the church
• 12.17 the brothers
• 13.1 the church at Antioch
• 13.52 the disciples
• 14.2 the brothers
• 14.20 the disciples
• 14.22 the disciples
• 14.23 each church
• 14.27 the church
• 14.28 the disciples
• 15.1 the brothers
• 15.3 the church
• 15.3 the brothers
• 15.4 the church
• 15.10 the disciples
• 15.22 the whole church…the brothers
• 15.23 the Gentile believers in Antioch, Syria, and Cilicia
• 15.30 the church
• 15.32 the brothers
• 15.33 the brothers
• 15.36 the brothers
• 15.40 the brothers
• 15.41 the churches
• 16.2 the brothers at Lystra and Iconium
• 16.5 the churches
• 17.10 the brothers
• 17.14 the brothers
• 18:18 the brothers
• 18.22 the church
• 18.23 the disciples
• 18.27 the disciples
• 19.9 the Way
• 19.23 the Way
• 20.1 the disciples
• 20.17 the church
• 20.28 the church of God
• 21.4 the disciples
• 21.5 the disciples
• 21.7 the brothers
• 21.16 the disciples from Caesarea
• 21.17 the brothers
• 22.4 followers of this Way
• 24.5 the Nazarene sect
• 24.14 the Way
• 24.22 the Way
• 28.14 some brothers
• 28.15 the brothers
• 28.22 this sect
• 15.26 the saints in Jerusalem
• 15.31 the saints
• 16.1 the church in Cenchrea
• 16.2 the saints
• 16.4 the churches of the Gentiles
• 16.5 the church
• 16.14 the brothers
• 16.15 the saints
• 16.16 the churches of Christ
• 16.23 the whole church
1 Corinthians
• 1.2 the church of God in Corinth
• 4.17 in every church
• 5.12 those outside the church
• 6.1 the saints
• 6.2 the saints
• 6.4 the church
• 7.17 the churches
• 10.32 the church of God
• 11.16 the churches of God
• 11.18 as a church
• 11.22 the church of God
• 11.27 the body...of the Lord
• 12.28 the church
• 14.4 the church
• 14.12 the church
• 14.19 the church
• 14.23 the whole church
• 14.26 the church
• 14.33 the congregations of the saints
• 14.34 the churches
• 15.9 the church of God
• 16.1 the Galatian churches
• 16.15 the saints
• 16.19 the churches in the province of Asia…the church.
2 Corinthians
• 1.1 the church of God in Corinth
• 1.1 all the saints throughout Achaia
• 8.1 the Macedonian churches
• 8.18 by all the churches
• 8.23 representatives of the churches
• 8.24 the churches
• 9.1 the saints
• 11.8 other churches
• 12.13 to the other churches
• 1.2 to the churches in Galatia
• 1.22 the churches of Judea
• 6.10 the family of believers
• 1.1 to the saints in Ephesus
• 1.22 the church
• 3.10 the church
• 3.21 in the church
• 4.12 the body of Christ
• 4.16 the whole body
• 4.25 members of one body
• 5.23 the head of the church, his body
• 5.24 the church
• 5.25 the church
• 5.27 as a radiant church
• 5.29 the church
• 5.32 the church
• 1.1 to all the saints in Christ Jesus at Philippi
• 3.6 the church
• 4.15 not one church
• 1.2 to the holy and faithful brothers in Christ at Colossae
• 1.18 the head of the body, the church
• 1.24 of His body, which is the church
• 3.15 members of one body
• 4.15 the brothers at Laodicea...the church
• 4.16 the church of the Laodiceans
1 Thess.
• 1.1 to the church of the Thessalonians
• 1.7 of all the believers in Macedonia and Achaia
• 2.14 of God's churches in Judea...those churches
• 4.10 all the brothers throughout Macedonia
2 Thess.
• 1.1 to the church of the Thessalonians
• 1.4 God's churches
1 Timothy
• 3.5 God's church
• 3.15 in God's household, which is the church of the living God
• 5:16 the church…the church
• 5:17 the church
• 1.2 to the church that meets in your home
• 12.23 to the church of the firstborn
1 Peter
• 1.1 to God's elect, strangers in the world, scattered throughout Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia
• 2.17 the brotherhood of believers
• 5.2 the shepherd's of God's flock
3 John
• 1.9 to the church
• 1.10 of the church
• 1.4 to the seven churches in the province of Asia
• 1.11 to the seven churches
• 1.20 of the seven churches
• 2.1 to the angel of the church in Ephesus
• 2.7 to the churches
• 2.8 to the angel of the church in Smyrna
• 2.11 to the churches
• 2.12 to the angel of the churches in Pergamum • 2.17 to the churches
• 2.18 to the angel of the church in Thyatira
• 2.23 all the churches
• 2.29 to the churches
• 3.1 to the angel of the church in Sardis
• 3.6 to the churches
• 3.7 to the angel of the church in Philadelphia
• 3.13 to the churches
• 3.14 to the angel of the church in Laodicea
• 3.22 to the churches
• 22.16 for the churches

Tuesday, January 27, 2004

Super-sized Love

I’ve been trying to clean up/organize the files on my laptop for the past couple of weeks. I ran across this sermon of mine called “Super-size Your Love” that I found encouraging (and I wrote it/ preached it?) and thought I would share it with you. Remember that this is just a cut and paste from my sermon notes, so don’t expect to flow perfectly grammatically. Hopefully, you will get something uplifting out of it.
To God be the glory!
We love the supersize don’t we? We want more and more and more. I promise you if they actually sold cokes this big people would buy them. Back in the early 1900’s cokes came in 8 ounce cans. In the late sixties 7 eleven introduced the big gulp. I don’t know if they ever came out with the gulp or if they went straight to the big gulp. If you think about it a gulp is only 16 ounces and a big gulp is 32 ounce then the 64 ounce is really 4 gulps and not a double gulp but rather a Quadra gulp. Some of you just looked at your watch and said to yourself, “well that is record time. Joel got off on tangent in less than two minutes.”

Today we are going to focus on the supersize concept but not as it relates to large quantities of sugar water. We’re not going to talk about French fries, or super cheeseburgers that come with a warning label that says, “Caution, eating this cheeseburger may result in instant blockage of all major arteries and result in instant heart attack. We are going to focus on the concept that bigger is better. No we are not going to talk about SUV’s, or 17 inch super notebook computers, or why big dogs are better than little dogs.

So what are we going to focus on today? I’m glad you asked.

Turn in your bibles to Luke chapter 7 verse 36.

Read 7:36-50

God has a supersize love for us. God’s love for us is so big that if the entire Pacific Ocean was drained it would not be a cup holder big enough to fit the cup of God’s love. And not only is the love that God has for us supersize he is asking us to have a love for him and for each other that is supersize.

Each Gospel has a story of an anointing of Jesus by a woman but this one in Luke is different from the ones in Matthew, Mark, and John. They refer to an incident in the last week of Jesus’ life. Luke’s account takes place much earlier. The other accounts deal with selling the perfume and giving to the poor – in Luke it is concerned with love and forgiveness.

So a Pharisee invites Jesus to a meal and a woman of the city described as a sinner, which most likely means prostitute hears about the meal and comes into the house. A meal such as this was not private and people could come in and watch what was going on. But a prostitute wouldn’t feel really welcomed so we are talking about some huge courage to come waltzing in there in the middle of a bunch of religious leaders. The alabaster jar was a flask with a goblet type bottom and a long neck. Some translations label the contents as ointment which is not a good translation. It was perfumed oil. Such oils were common at festive occasions. People reclined on low couches at festive meals, leaning on the left arm with the head towards the table and the body stretched away from it. The sandals were removed before reclining so the woman could approach Jesus’ feet without much difficulty.

She might have intended to anoint them or even his head which was usually the custom but got so overwhelmed with emotion that she just started soaking his feet with her own tears. She quickly wipes his feet with her tears which is another significant detail because Jewish ladies did not unbind their hair in public. This woman was completely oblivious of public opinion in the grip of her deep love for Jesus. This explains why she kisses his feet. There are other recordings in history of someone kissing the feet of a specially honored rabbi but it was far from usual. Finally she anoints Jesus’ feet with oil. This would normally be poured on the head. To use it on the feet was a mark of humility. To attend to the feet was a menial task, one for slaves.

Well, Jesus’ host sees this and he don’t like it. He engages in a little disapproving conversation with himself. Or at least he thought it was to himself. “If he was a prophet he would know who is touching him and what kind of woman she is – that she is a sinner.” His internal dialogue is in the form of a conditional sentence and implies a.) Jesus ain’t a prophet and b.) He has no clue that a whore is touching him.”

Jesus answers him. That is awesome. Simon hadn’t spoken out loud but Jesus knows his thoughts and says, “Simon my boy, let me tell you something.” What is it? Is the literal translation. It’s polite but not really encouraging.

Jesus tells this little story about two debtors who were forgiven of their debts. One five hundred denarii, the other fifty (which was about a days wages for a laborer) It didn’t take a great deal of insight to recognize which one would love the benefactor more. Yet Simon’s reply was somewhat grudging, “I suppose the one who had the bigger debt cancelled.”

Then comes the application. Jesus turns to the woman and asks Simon, Do you see this woman? Did he? It is an interesting point. You see, I believe that the reason Jesus asks this question is that Simon could not see the woman as she was because he was looking at her as she had been.” Jesus proceeds to contrast her attitude with that of his host.

It now comes out that, thought Simon had invited Jesus to his home, he had not given him the treatment due to a honored guests. The host was supposed to provide water for his guest’s feet. Jesus didn’t get this courtesy but he did have his feet washed with the woman’s tears. The guest was supposed to welcome him with a kiss – but no kiss from the host. He did get his feet kissed from the whore. And Jesus points out that Simon didn’t even anoint his head with the cheap stuff, the common olive oil which was so plentiful, but this woman, this “terrible” woman had anointed his feet with the perfume which was rare and costly.

Jesus then goes on to tell Simon that the woman’s sins are forgiven. He doesn’t gloss over the sins – he says many sins. Look at the words in verse 47 for she loved much. Jesus is not saying that the woman’s action had earned forgiveness, not even her love had earned it. Jump down to verse 50. Your faith has saved you. This is proof that she had already had an encounter with Jesus and had already been forgiven. The anointing was her response to God’s grace. Her sins, her many sins, must have been forgiven her, or she would not have shown such great love.

I love what Jesus says to Simon and to (listen to me) to all of us, “He who has been forgiven little, loves little.” Jesus is saying that the reason we have such a hard time showing love to him and to the woman is because we have not been forgiven very much.

Of course the other guest apparently miss this point and start discussing whether Jesus can even forgive sins or not. Jesus, in classic fashion, totally ignores the “religious” ones and keeps his attention on the one who had her attention in the right place. “Your faith has saved you; go in peace. This is important because it shows us that our love for God and for others is the consequence, not the cause of our salvation.

Most translations say, “go in peace.” This is too bad. The Greek is literally, “go into peace’ Go in peace was something rabbi’s said when they were bidding farewell to the dead. To the living they would say, “go into peace.”

This woman had a brand new life of love ahead of her and Jesus told her to go get after it.

Usually, I make points in my sermons. Or at least I try to.

Today I don’t have any points. I do have some questions though. I believe that we cannot read this passage, dissect and dig into this passage like we’ve done without asking ourselves a few questions. And not just asking questions either. We must answer them. These questions demand an answer.

Let’s start with the last question and work back to the first question and then back to the last question. Sound confusing enough for you? Good.

How Big Is My Love?

Well before we can answer that we must ask another question. Just as Jesus pointed out in the story, you can’t talk about loving Jesus and loving others without talking about forgiveness. The size of our love is directly proportionate to the size of our forgiveness. Which begs the question:

How big was my forgiveness?

Now before we answer that we must answer another question. How big was my debt.

II. How Big Was My Debt?

You see just as the size of our love is directly proportionate to the size of our forgiveness, the size of our forgiveness is directly proportionate to the size of our debt.

So how much did you owe? How much did you owe the bank? Think about that for a minute. Better yet think about that every minute. Don’t ever forget your debt. For those of us who have accepted God’s grace and have been saved by it we must not ever forget that the debt that Jesus cancelled was not a small debt, not a medium debt, not a large debt, but rather a supersize debt. Just like there is no way I could ever drink this much liquid in a single setting there is not way I could, or you could, or anyone could ever repay God what was owed. The debt was too big.

We have Churches filled with people who think that they don’t have much to be forgiven for. We think that stand in front of the king too proud to bow. When the trumpet sounds our plan is to toot our own horn.

Some us might say well I don’t sin that much? I don’t need that much forgiveness. You and I sin all the time. Turn in your Bibles to Exodus 20:17. This is the 10th Commandment. You see you might not murder, or lie or steal, or commit adultery or disrespect your parents. Those are all external things. People can witness us murder or catch us in a lie. We can get caught stealing or having an affair. The first 9 commandments are internal. Not the tenth. That is a matter of the heart. And that is the one sin that all of us can’t hide. Just like Jesus knew Simon’s thoughts, He knows our thoughts. We covet all the time. A commercial comes on. The guy in front of us gets the green and we get the red light. Guys you see a woman walk by who is younger, hipper and doesn’t have a Capri sun punch drink squirted all over her blouse and sticky kids stuck to her sides and you covet. Ladies your in a restaurant and you watch a man pull the chair out for his wife your husband just pulled his cell phone out to accept a business call on “your” first date night in six months – you covet. Every commercial we see, every promotion we miss, every time we read about the guy who won 85 million in the lottery – we covet. Romans 7:8 says it best – “But sin, seizing the opportunity afforded by the commandment, produced in me every kind of covetous desire.”

And if it is not coveting it is something else. The bible makes it crystal clear. Romans 3:23 states: “for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.”

When you are asking yourself “How Big Your Debt Was” I want you to think about the Grand Canyon. You see it’s like the Grand Canyon. Let’s say _________, and ___________, and __________, and I went to the Grand Canyon. We all took off running for the edge attempting to jump across the Grand Canyon. Well maybe ________ jumps farther than ____________ and _________ jumps twice as far as I do. It doesn’t matter. Because we all are going to fall short. And not just a little short. Impossible short.
You see, that shortfall is what we owed God. Without Grace we end up in the bottom of the canyon. Dead. We could try as hard as we wanted but it doesn’t matter. Our sins are too big and too many and too deadly. No matter how righteous we are we aren’t righteous enough.

We need to quit faking it. We need to quit forgetting that our debt was huge. We don’t need to become prostitutes and then ask for grace to realize the supersize of our sins. Whether we are the sinful lady or the snotty leader we can’t cover the check of sin. We all have insufficient funds.

And once we realize how big our debt was we can begin to appreciate the vastness of our forgiveness.

III. How Big Was My Forgiveness?

If thinking about the Grand Canyon will help us get our arms around our debt then thinking about Golgotha’s Cross will help us to begin to take in the amazing depth of the fathers love for us.

We just spent twelve weeks on the cross so I’m not going to going into great detail on the forgiveness that God so lavishly gave to us on the cross. I do want you to take a minute to listen to the words of a song and contemplate the question “How Big Was My Forgiveness? Now this might be a bit uncomfortable for some of us. We like to sit back and watch on Sunday’s. We’ve been working all week and we don’t want to think about such tough stuff. It might not be easy, but then again neither was the cross. We love to say, “When He was on the cross I was on his mind.” Well let’s not forget that while we were on his mind our sins were sins were on his back? Think about how much God forgave us on that cross as we listen to the words of this song.

Play the song How Deep the Father’s Love For Us.

His wounds paid my ransom. That is the depth of God’s love for us. Wounds that marred the chosen one bring many sons to glory. That is the completeness of his forgiveness.

When we realize how big our debt was we can begin to understand how much we have been forgiven. When we truly understand just how much we have been forgiven we can then and only then begin to love Jesus and others as we should.

The religious guy, Simon didn’t get it. The town whore did. One is full of conceit and one is full of contrition. The best the church going guy could muster up was a small cup of respect for the Son of God and a large cup of rejection for the sinful woman.

I wonder, do we ever do the same? You see we hate to do it, but we have to do it and that is ask the tough question.

IV. How Big Is My Love?

How big is my love for what? You might see it as a two part question? How big is my love for Jesus? How big is my love for others? It’s not a two part question. Look at this verse: “Hearing that Jesus had silenced the Sadducees, the Pharisees got together. One of them, an expert in the law, tested Jesus with this question: “Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?’
Jesus replied: ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.” This the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: “Love your neighbor as yourself.’ All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”

When you spend time this week contemplating how big your love is I want you to think about the Great Commandment. That is the standard. That is the type of love that comes as a result of being connected to Jesus the vine.

I have some real fruit up here. And I have some fake fruit. Its plastic fruit. Now from a distance it might be hard to tell which is the real and which is fake. How could you tell which is real and which is fake? You could hold it. You could smell it. You could cut into it. You could put it into an oven. Baked apple – good. Baked plastic apple – bad. No not just bad. We’ve all smelled burnt plastic. It’s horrible.

Church when our love is not real but rather fake, when our love is small, when our love is not the supersize love that God created us to have it is a stench in his nose. God will not be pleased but rather disgusted. You see God created us to produce fruit. And the first fruit of the Spirit is a first fruit of the Spirit. A byproduct. When we realize how much we’ve been forgiven and how enormous our debt was we will produce the fruit of love. And we won’t be content with just any kind of love. We will ask God to develop in us an order of love and we will say, “make that supersize”

Lisa Laurent was having a discussion with two of our members and was describing life in the Bay Area from her point of view. She said, “we are all caught up in own stuff. We too busy with all the details of our lives to have deep relationships. Instead we just settle for superficial ones. We are so busy that we miss the fullness that loving relationships bring to our lives. She said, and I quote, “We are getting ripped off.” Lisa visited other Bay Area churches before coming to Redwood Church and she found that the culture in the church was not much different from outside of the church. In fact her experience at one church caused her coin a new term for superficial, fake love. She called it, “acquaintance contentment” I was so struck by that comment that I called the people she was talking to and then contacted her. In the course of the conversation she shared with me that prior to coming to Redwood Church she was “church hoping” in search of a church that loved each other and interacted on a deeper level. I asked her how we compared to the other churches she visited and I loved her reply, and I quote, “we were hugely better” Hugely better – I’ll take an order of love – Make that Huge!

V. Response
Most every week we invite people to respond. Today is going to be different. People will respond. I have set this microphone up here for anyone who wants to come forward and just simply tell someone else in the church that they love them. You don’t need to make a long, eloquent speech. You don’t need to go into details if you haven’t always felt that way but if you did that would be ok too. You see a lot of the time we are just like the “religious” leader and we miss an opportunity to express our love. Maybe we are embarrassed, maybe we don’t want be real. Maybe it’s pride. Maybe it is a hard heart. Maybe we are too self-centered to love on Jesus. Maybe we are content with being acquaintances with Jesus and one another but we don’t want to experience real love. Maybe we have forgotten the size of our forgiveness or the size of our debt.

When was the last time you told Claud Dunn that you love him. Maybe you’ve thought about it and just haven’t had the time. You do now. Worse yet, maybe you haven’t even thought about it because you’ve been so busy. You have the time now.

You see Jesus is calling us to open our hearts to him and express our love to him. How we do that best is by opening our hearts to others and by expressing our love to others.

So the microphone is up here. Come on up and tell someone you love them.

We just had church. I don’t know about you, but fake fruit doesn’t fill me up. That was real fruit. That was real love. That was not just acquaintance contentment. That was hugely better. That was some supersize love. Praise God.

Remember the words of Jesus, her many sins have been forgiven – for she has loved much. But he who has been forgiven little loves little.”

In a moment we are going to stand and sing. Jesus is here with us. We have a choice. We can focus on the sins of others or we can focus on holiness of God. We can worry about what people are thinking about our worship, about our singing, and we can miss an opportunity to express our love. Or we can be just like that sinful, yet forgiven woman and we can bend down with hearts empty of pride and eyes filled with tears and we can pledge our love anew to Jesus.

Monday, January 26, 2004

He Had A Dream

The following is Rick Warren's Dream and Vision he had for Saddleback. As God is preparing me for a church plant I draw so much encouragement from this dream. Not even so much from the dream - but from his ability to allow God to use him and thousands of others to execute the daily details neccessary to turn it into a reality.

Check out this vision:

The Saddleback Vision
From Pastor Rick’s first sermon, March 30,1980

It is the dream of a place where the hurting, the drepressed, the frustrated, and the confused can find love, acceptance, help, hope, forgiveness, guidance, and encouragement.
It is the dream of sharing the Good News of Jesus Christ with the hundreds of thousands of residents in south Orange County.
It is the dream of welcoming 20,000 members into the fellowship of our church family-loving, learning, laughing, and living in harmony together.
It is the dream of developing people to spiritual maturity through Bible studies, small groups, seminars, retreats, and a Bible school for our members.
It is the dream of equipping every believer for a significant ministry by helping them discover the gifts and talents God gave them.
It is the dream of sending out hundreds of career missionaries and church workers all around the world, and empowering every member for a personal life mission in the world. It is the dream of sending our members by the thousands on short-term mission projects to every continent. It is the dream of starting at least one new daughter church every year.
It is the dream of at least fifty acres of land, on which will be built a regional church for south Orange County-with beautiful, yet simple, facilities including a worship center seating thousands, a counseling and prayer center, classrooms for Bible studies and training lay ministers, and a recreation area. All of this will be designed to minister to the local person-spiritually, emotionally physically, and socially-and set in a peaceful, inspiring garden landscape.
I stand before you today and state in confident assurance that these dreams will become reality. Why? Because they are inspired by God.

Sunday, January 25, 2004

Happy Birthday Laura!

Today is Laura's 14th Birthday. God is gracious . . . Laura's birthday fell on the one Sunday in the past 6 months when there is NO NFL football. Not that Laura was in need of some Mom & Dad time . . . she has been with her friends for the past 50+ hours . . . something about being a teenager?

So while she is doing the "teen" thing I will do the "parent" thing and brag on my princess.

Laura is a beautiful blend of lovely looks and perky personality. She is, as every 8th grade girl is, a roller coaster of emotion. She can be sweet and sour. (Can you tell I'm hungry for a little Chinese food?) Laura makes brilliant grades and makes you mad. She loves God and boys (sometimes not in that order) and knows that God and boys love her.

Laura brings our family so much joy and we praise God that she is a big part of our lives. That is when she is not on her cell phone, playing basketball, practicing for track, instant messaging, sleeping over at a friends, doing homework, sleeping, doing her makeup (not too much), or straightening her hair.

We cherish those 3.1 minutes a day.

Laura, you're my princess and I love you.
Happy Birthday!

PS, "Little boys are the devil!"

Saturday, January 24, 2004

Saturdays: Painting, Nails

Laura, her two friends Kate and Shelbi, and Emily got their "nails" done today at the mall. Laura used most of her birthday money from family to pay for all four manicures. They were so excited. I went to visit them during this special time of painting but couldn't stay long. I don't know whether it was the fumes (so toxic they make Three Mile Island smell rosey), OR the sound of grinders, mini fans, and Oriental cross room conversation, OR the fact that dudes don't hang out at these places, that caused me to last about five minutes. Anyway, I went and did the "manly" thing and bought a sodering iron at Radio Shack.

I got to thinking today (insert your own "bout time" comment here) . . . you say "painting nails" to a guy and their minds drift to a Kelly Moore gallon paint can and a 3" common nail. You say "painting nails" to a girl and they think of french manicures and cutting cuticles.

Okay, it is official . . . My blogs are the most boring on the web!

Yo! What It Is?

What an eventful night tonight was. Amazing.

Okay, here is the deal:

Laura had her birthday party tonight at the Ambassador Suites (we got this from an school auction). There is a long story here that I will try to keep short (short is relative, remember that). So it is her, Kim, and two friends having a blast. Emily, John and I went out to eat. About 9:30pm I have to bring Kim stuff to spend the night. (She wasn't supposed to be staying but the other two chaperones couldn't stay - two words: projectile puking - I told you this was a long story) So Emily and I bring her a suitcase of essentials, Emily takes a free dip in the pool with Laura and her friends, and Laura invites Emily to stay the night (which was really cool of Laura) and then invites me to go to IHop with her and the girls (which was even cooler!).

So off we go to IHop for dessert. This is where the real fun begins!

We enjoy a gigle filled desset in the ashtray known as IHop. We make our way back out my car. We get in and make the quarter mile trip back to the hotel. I drop them off and as Kim gets out of the car she realizes her purse is missing.

Her purse is missing!

I make a b-line to IHop, scan the parking lot, talk to the savy staff of the fine eating extablishment known as IHop but to no avail. I return to the hotel and begin the joyous task of informing police, canceling cell phone service (remember that little detail) and credit cards. I, of course had tried to call Kim's phone which was, of course, in her purse earlier, but to no avial. We'll I'm on the phone with Sprint (a way longer story) and I ask Laura's friend, Shelbi to try Kim's phone one more time. She does it but better than I did. She uses call blocking on her phone (man these kids are smart!) and it is ringing so she hands it to me and, I can't believe this, some moron answers the phone and says, "Yo! What it is?" I immediately hand my cell phone to Kim to finish up with Sprint and begin to deal with the culprits. I tell them there is a reward, ask them where they are, arrange to meet them, run the girls down to the car and call the cops on the way (all in about 5 minutes). So anyway, (this story turned into a long one) we meet them, get the purse back, only a ring (Shelbi's - $9.00 value) was missing - everything else was there.

Needless to say, this was an eventful night to say the least.

And that . . . is what it is!

Thursday, January 22, 2004

Foul Job Prowl

I had a job interview today. . .

At Chicken Express!

Is that awesome or what?

For those of you who don't know, Chicken Express is this fast food place that serves up some mean fried chicken. So . . .

So here is the punchline - In one day - the very same day - I was treated ($4.41) to free food and really made some forward progress on my job hunt.

And what a job hunt it has been.

I have felt like Keith trying to win American Idol the past four months as I've searched for employment.

But throughout this prolonged and painful path I've picked up a few "life lessons" that I want to share the millions who are reading this blog.

1. Humility is not something you're born with, but you needn't worry - you'll pick plenty up if you live long enough.

2. Specific prayers are fine, but it still comes down to "Father knows best" so if you are praying for such and such and God says, "you'll get the so and so instead" - guess what? Get ready for the so and so.

3. Having a family and friends who will pray for you (really pray and not just say flippantly, "Ill pray for you, blah, blah, blah...) is worth more than 99% of what we usually are asking our team of prayer warriors to be praying for in the first place.

4. You will not die if you don't eat out at least once a week. You might "whine to death" but the cause of death will be your pampered attitude and not the lack of steak.

5. Most men find a large portion of their self value in their job. I still don't have a job but I have a wife who loves me no matter what and that my friends is worth more than any job.

Wednesday, January 21, 2004

Don't Pass on the Passion

The following is the first of many thoughts I will post about the upcoming movie The Passion of Christ.

This movie will be the most amazing movie ever. Ever. I guarantee it. I have not seen it but I've talked with those who have and they are not the same because of it.

Check out what Paul Harvey is saying:

Paul Harvey Comments on "The Passion" by Mel Gibson

Paul Harvey's words:

I really did not know what to expect. I was thrilled to have been invited to a private viewing of Mel Gibson's film "The Passion," but I had also read all the cautious articles and spin. I grew up in a Jewish town and owe much of my own faith journey to the influence. I have a life long, deeply held aversion to anything that might even indirectly encourage any form of anti-Semitic thought, language or actions.

I arrived at the private viewing for "The Passion," held in Washington, DC and greeted some familiar faces. The environment was typically Washingtonian, with people greeting you with a smile but seeming to look beyond you, having an agenda beyond the words. The film was very briefly introduced, without fanfare, and then the room darkened. From the gripping opening scene in the Garden of Gethsemane, to the very human and tender portrayal of the earthly ministry of Jesus, through the betrayal, the arrest, the scourging, the way of the cross, the encounter with the thieves, the surrender on the Cross, until the final scene in the empty tomb, this was not simply a movie; it was an encounter, unlike anything I have ever experienced.

In addition to being a masterpiece of film-making and an artistic triumph, "The Passion" evoked more deep reflection, sorrow and emotional reaction within me than anything since my wedding, my ordination or the birth of my children. Frankly, I will never be the same. When the film concluded, this "invitation only" gathering of "movers and shakers" in Washington, DC were shaking indeed, but this time from sobbing. I am not sure there was a dry eye in the place. The crowd that had been glad-handing before the film was now eerily silent. No one could speak because words were woefully inadequate. We had experienced a kind of art that is a rarity in life, the kind that makes heaven touch earth.

One scene in the film has now been forever etched in my mind. A brutalized, wounded Jesus was soon to fall again under the weight of the cross. His mother had made her way along the Via Della Rosa. As she ran to him, she flashed back to a memory of Jesus as a child, falling in the dirt road outside of their home. Just as she reached to protect him from the fall, she was now reaching to touch his wounded adult face. Jesus looked at her with intensely probing and passionately loving eyes (and at all of us through the screen) and said "Behold I make all things new." These are words taken from the last Book of the New Testament, the Book of Revelations. Suddenly, the purpose of the pain was so clear and the wounds, that earlier in the film had been so difficult to see in His face, His back, indeed all over His body, became intensely beautiful. They had been borne voluntarily for love.

At the end of the film, after we had all had a chance to recover, a question and answer period ensued. The unanimous praise for the film, from a rather diverse crowd, was as astounding as the compliments were effusive. The questions included the one question that seems to follow this film, even though it has not yet even been released. "Why is this film considered by some to be 'anti-Semitic?" Frankly, having now experienced (you do not "view" this film) "the Passion" it is a question that is impossible to answer. A law professor whom I admire sat in front of me. He raised his hand and responded "After watching this film, I do not understand how anyone can insinuate that it even remotely presents that the Jews killed Jesus. It doesn't." He continued "It made me realize that my sins killed Jesus" I agree. There is not a scintilla of anti-Semitism to be found anywhere in this powerful film. If there were, I would be among the first to decry it. It faithfully tells the Gospel story in a dramatically beautiful, sensitive and profoundly engaging way. Those who are alleging otherwise have either not seen the film or have another agenda behind their protestations. This is not a "Christian" film, in the sense that it will appeal only to those who identify themselves as followers of Jesus Christ. It is a deeply human, beautiful story that will deeply touch all men and women. It is a profound work of art. Yes, its producer is a Catholic Christian and thankfully has remained faithful to the Gospel text; if that is no longer acceptable behavior than we are all in trouble. History demands that we remain faithful to the story and Christians have a right to tell it. After all, we believe that it is the greatest story ever told and that its message is for all men and women. The greatest right is the right to hear the truth.

We would all be well advised to remember that the Gospel narratives to which "The Passion" is so faithful were written by Jewish men who followed a Jewish Rabbi whose life and teaching have forever changed the history of the world. The problem is not the message but those who have distorted it and used it for hate rather than love. The solution is not to censor the message, but rather to promote the kind of gift of love that is Mel Gibson's filmmaking masterpiece, "The Passion." It should be seen by as many people as possible. I intend to do everything I can to make sure that is the case. I am passionate about "The Passion."

Please copy this and send it on to all your friends to let them know about this film so that all go see it when it comes out.

By the way - I just found this out: Mel Gilbson stated he did not appear in his own movie, by his choice, with one exception: It is Gibson's hands seen nailing Jesus to the cross. Gibson said he wanted to do that because it was indeed his own hands that nailed Jesus to the cross (along with all of ours.)

Religion or Revolution?

Check out this quote from Erwin McManus:

“His invitation is to join an uprising. If we choose to follow Him, there will be within us a revolution of the soul. He will do nothing less than translate us from a kingdom of emptiness into His kingdom where we will begin to live in a new reality." “...The way of God is the path of servanthood. It was all about service. The invitation was to be like the Son who only came to serve. This is not about religion; it is about revolution. Paul reminds us, ‘For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision has any value. The only thing that counts is faith expressing itself through love.’ (Gal. 5:6)” (Erwin Raphael McManus, Uprising, pp. 250-252)

Tuesday, January 20, 2004

Earaser Education

Today I hung out with people that Jesus hung out with while He walked this earth.

I am substitute teaching for AISD and today I worked in Special Ed.

The name of the class said it all.

I learned a lot and it was truly special.

Working with a 19 year old who can't tell the difference between the short hand and the long hand of the clock is not something I do everyday. Helping a 15 year old learn the alphabet is not part of my daily routine. Shooting hoops with a Down Syndrome girl who will never make a shot is not common for me. But this is how I spent my day.

It was amazing.

Jeff told me, "I'm coming home with you Mr. Q so we can play."

Lianna smiled at me everytime I told her to stop picking her lips.

Joseph said I was the biggest guy he'd ever seen.

Adam had me watch him eat his last French fry and then he celebrated the simple fact he'd finished all his fries.

Martin gave me his eraser.

I got paid money to do this. I was the educator. But it was the students who were both the reward and the teacher.

I hate to even admit this, but I have used the term "retarded" in the past. I've joked about riding the "short bus." I've even imitated the behavior of a special student.

Never again.

Thanks Martin for the eraser.

Monday, January 19, 2004

Idol Idolatry

American Idol is back! My life is now complete.

Seriously, I love this show. I don't exactly know why but it is the only show I watch on TV. Our family has a prize pool and we all pick whom we think will win. Last year, David won the prize by picking Ruben. John came in second for picking Clay but didn't win anything because second place is, well, second place.

You have to be wary of a minister whose favorite show on TV has the word "idol" in it. You can bet Moses wouldn't be a fan. But hey, I've never killed a slave either.

Monday, January 12, 2004

Master Mind?

I had my first day of full time Masters classes today. in a word: WOW!

For the next 16 weeks Mondays will mean Church Administration. My professor is Dr. David Wray and he is a great man (he is not going to read this so I can say it without sucking up) whom has the spiritual gift of administration.

Here is one of four books that we are reading for the course:

Advanced Strategic Planning - Aubrey Malphurs

I am anticipating gainging important insights from this book and the course in general. I'll keep you posted.

Sunday, January 11, 2004

Tight Pants & Other Sins on the Flesh

I wore tight pants to church today.

Super tight. Disco tight. Airport Security workers tight.

I knew they were tight, but I wore them anyway. Did I think they would stretch and become less tight? No. Did I expect to lose 15 pounds during church? No.

Then why did I wear them? Because I thought it wouldn't bother me.

It did. I fidgeted with my pants more than most ballplayers do as they come to the plate. I looked like a 3rd base coach giving the signal to the batter - yanking on my belt and pulling down my legs. It was a disturbing scene. Suffice it to say. It really bothered me.

Isn't sin like my tight pants? (Or is it - wearing those tight pants a sin?)

Seriously. Do you ever do things that you know are wrong and yet you don't expect to feel that bad as a result of doing them and yet you do?

When I crack a joke at someone elses expense it disturbs me. I do it anyway.

When I procrastanate on a project it bothers me yet I still play the procrastination game.

I told myself that I'm never wearing those tight pants again . . . the same thing I told myself last time I wore those pants.

Do you have anything in your life that just doesn't fit? Don't do what I did today - hang them back in your closet - get rid of it.

Make a call to the "Salvation" Army and ask God to take it.

And be clothed with Christ.

Saturday, January 10, 2004

Call Me "Pa"

I can't believe I just posted a "pro-house-chores" blog.

Man, I'm getting old.

Don't Be Hate'n

I did housework today. Didn't mind at all.

When I was a kid I did housework. Hated it with a passion.

Same chores, different attitudes. What's up with that?

Some would call it growing up. Some would call it pride of ownership. Some would call it the evolution of an attitude (ok, I don't know who would call it evolution of an attitude - and I just made up that term and have never heard it used before but I'm sure some would call it that nonetheless) but I'm calling it something different.

Stewardship from the perspective of a parent.

As a kid you have stuff that you "recieved" from someone else. You don't "give" a lot of stuff away.

When a parent gives something to a kid, especially if it is very valuable, they want to see the child take care of it. At least Kim and I do.

God feels the same way.

God gave us a house and today I took care of it. I know how good I feel when I see my kids take good care of the things we give them.

I'm confident that God feels the same way.

Friday, January 09, 2004

The Eighteen Year Plan

I graduated today. No, I'm not kidding. I finished something I began 18 years ago.

And it feels great.

It is ironic that I left before finishing to do youth ministry ('91) and then came back to finish ('95) but left again for youth ministry and finally came back to get a degree in youth ministry after I have decided that I'm not supposed to be doing youth ministry any more? It is ironic that I graduated 13 years after I should have and my favorite number is 13. It is ironic that for years I was looking for a wife at ACU and had about a 1.4 G.P.A. and since I've been married my G.P.A. is 3.89.

I returned to ACU in August of 2003 and if you had asked me a month before if I was coming to Texas I would have looked at you like you were crazy. The same scenario as in 87.

I made a 4.0 in my last four classes and if it sounds like I'm bragging I am. I was a terrible student and am living proof that people can and do change.

But I didn't do it alone.

The following have helped my more than I could ever say and more than they will ever know.

Bob Strader, Bob Gomez, Bill Ranikin, Steve Weathers, David Wray, the late Jim Mankin, and Bill Teague are just a few of the faculty who took a huge interest in me.

Mitch Wilburn, Grant Boone, Phil Schubert, Alan Ross, Paul Schulze, Ty Lovell, & Kyle Conway were true friends who I would fall on a sword for still today.

My mom and grandma were sour on the idea of me going to school at first but ended up being big fans of mine.

Bill and Virda Stevens gave in ways that they wouldn't want me talking about.

But it was my bride, my babe, Kim who believed in me the most. Thanks Kim for loving me every step of the way.

I'm beginning my Masters in a few days. I'm going to spend the weekend celebrating (read, doing odd jobs around the house and eating steak on Sunday) and then it is back to work on Monday. Hopefully this degree won't take 18 years.

Thursday, January 08, 2004

Puke Warn?

I struggle with putting others first. I wound'nt call myself selffish but I wouldn't call myself sacrificial either. I guess you could say that I'm lukewarm. Which as I'm studing Revelation this week I found out why John used the term lukewarm to describe the church in Laodecia. Check this out:

An aqueduct brought some of their water 6 or 7 miles from Colossae. The water that came up in a spring in Colossae was icy cold. But by the time it had flowed down the 6 or 7 miles of the aqueduct it was lukewarm, and not nearly so refreshing to drink on a hot day.

The other source of water was from hot water springs in Hierapolis, water heated by volcanic activity. By the time this hot water was brought to Laodicea it had cooled off along the way and was lukewarm and no good for bathing in.

Now the same was spiritually true of the church. The Lord Jesus says of them "You are lukewarm". To be lukewarm means to be half and half. Half hot, half cold. Such a person is half-hearted towards Christ. A fence-straddler. One foot in the world, one foot in the church. Someone with no zeal, no fire, no passion and no heat.

Did you hear about the company that makes blank car stickers? They're for people who don't want to get involved. Well these would have gone down well in the church at Laodicea.

Someone with no zeal and enthusiasm is likely to be disappointed with their school report!

Well these LUKEWARM Laodicean Christians were about to get what they deserved.

So what does Jesus wish for these Christians?

"I wish you were one or the other"

Why does Christ say this? Because the negative effect of a lukewarm Christian upon unbelievers is devastating. A lukewarm Christian is the worst advertisement for Christianity. When a lost person sees a lukewarm Christian who is worldly he reasons "Why do I ever need to get saved? If this is what being a Christian is all about then I don’t need Christianity. He’s no different from me."

What is Jesus threatening to do?

So what does the risen Lord Jesus say about this respectable, nominal religiosity which is fairly widespread in Britain today. "You make me sick," says Jesus. I hate your lukewarmness. I want disciples who will go all the way with me. And he threatens to spit them out, to pull out their candlestick and close them down as a church, make them extinct.

You see God is not some boring accountant in heaven putting little ticks in a book when you do good things and crosses in a book when you do bad things. He’s not running this universe in some cold calculated way. He is someone with deep emotions; passionate zeal and a loving heart. The Lord wants to have a personal intimate relationship with us. But a lack of heart and enthusiasm for him by a so-called Christian is utterly repugnant to him.

We have seen many churches close down in this land in the last 50 years. Many have closed because the bulk of their members became lukewarm and lost their fire for God list the chief purpose of existence of their churches, so God has made them extinct.

What has caused this lukewarmness?

"You say I am rich, I have acquired wealth and don’t need a thing."

Remember this was the city that turned down offers of help after the earthquake of AD 60 almost destroyed the town. The Laodiceans were plagued with worldliness, materialism and a smug self-sufficiency. Here were people absorbed with climbing the social ladder, getting better and better homes, smart travelling gear, the 1st century equivalent to a zippy car. Advancing their career. Getting ahead in the world. The latest fashion styles, buying things.

But then Jesus goes on

"You do not realise that you are wretched, pitiful, poor, blind and naked."

This city and church that thought themselves rich and in need of nothing is – says Jesus – Wretched pitiful and poor. Materially rich, spiritually poor. What a contrast to the church at Smyrna, materially poor, spiritually rich.
The city that prided themselves on their medical school and eye salve, were, according to the all seeing one Jesus spiritually blind.
The church in the city that prided themselves on their highly fashionable black woollen garments was in fact spiritually naked.
They were living in a fool’s paradise, proud of a church that was about to be sicked up by Jesus.

I came across something on the internet by someone called Bo Dunford about how to know if you are lukewarm. He gave three tests:

1) WHEN SIN DOESN'T BOTHER YOU! When you first got saved, sin bothered you!
IF it doesn't bother you to miss church services, pray, study your Bible, tithe of your income,etc. it's because you're lukewarm!

When you're lukewarm, Satan doesn't battle you!

There use to be a time you were concerned over people going to hell, now youre not! You've lost your burden for souls! You're lukewarm concerning the lostness of the lost.

For years Monterey in California was a wonderful place for Pelicans. The fishing grounds off California were rich with anchovita and other fish. The fishermen caught many and threw many away. Gradually the birds learned just to feed on the scraps the fishermen threw away. It was so much easier than fishing for themselves. But with the increasing effects of El Nino and the decline of the cold Humbolt current flowing northwards up the western coast of America the fish stocks became depleted and the canneries started shutting down. Then the Pelicans got into trouble and began to die off because they had forgotten how to work hard fishing for their food.

What could be done to rescue these Pelicans? Finally environmentalists figured out a way to keep them from becoming extinct. They imported pelicans from another area, ones that were used to hunting every day and mixed them with the local birds. It worked. The newcomers immediately started fishing for their own food and it wasn’t long before the starving pelicans followed their example and learned to fish for themselves.

4. Yet…

So what advice does Jesus have for the church that’s heading for extinction? Three things

1. Buy from me gold refined in the fire.

There is some irony in these words. You who are rich in things which will burned up on my day of judgement of your lives need to buy from me now things that will not be destroyed.

As William Shakespeare wrote

If thou art rich, thou art poor, for like an ass whose back with ingots bows, thou bearest thy heavy riches but a journey, and death unloads thee.

In 1 Peter 1:7 Peter describes the effect of trials on the Christian with these words

"These have come so that your faith, of greater worth than gold which perishes even though refined by fire may be proved genuine and may result in praise, glory and honour when Jesus Christ is revealed."

2. Buy from me white clothes to wear

The Laodiceans did not need the sleek black wool of the Jet set. Rather they needed to be clothed white clothes –the garments that would make them holy.

3. Buy from me eye salve so that you can see.

This church was spiritually blind; they could not see reality. They were living in a fool’s paradise, proud of a church that was about to be rejected. The Apostle Peter teaches that when a Christian believer is not growing in the Lord his vision is affected. This church was blind to the lost world all around them. They might have been enjoying the meetings, but it was having little impact on the remainder of their lives. They might have been enjoying the comfort and security of the building, nice seats, jolly worship times, interesting sermons and testimonies, but they really wern’t worried about those around them heading off to a lost eternity.

You think you are getting ahead in the world, but you’re spiritually broke.

You think you are well dressed, but you’re naked.

You think you’ve got 20/20 vision, but you’re wretchedly blind.

You think you’re happy, but behind your plastic smiles, you’re miserable.

A promise
"Those who I love I rebuke and discipline."

There are few more tender declarations of God’s love for wandering wayward humankind than this verse. They might have been drifting further and further from God, but still he loved them.

Proverbs 3:11, 12 says

My son, do not despise the Lord’s discipline

And do not resent his rebuke,

Because the Lord disciplines those he loves

As a father the son he delights in.

That verse is quoted in Hebrews 12 verse 6 where the greek verb for love is agape the verb for Christian love.

Here in Revelation 3: the verb used by Jesus for those who he disciplines is phileo. It is a softer, more tender more human than the verb used in the original proverb. It is only once used elsewhere in the New Testament in John 16:27 which says

"The Father himself loves you because you have loved me and have believed that I came from God." This verse then is an unexpected declaration of love for those who least deserve such love. And it was because he loved them that he was going to rebuke and chasten them. Kindness and firmness were mingled. Repent. Turn round from lukewarmness to wholeheartedness. Repent of your preoccupation with your career, your house, your family your recreations or whatever else.

Get refocussed on Me, turn your life around, and get on fire for me again. Rekindle your heart toward me before I have to discipline you.
He who has ears, let him hear
To him who conquers I will…

I will give you the right to sit on my throne.

Wanna be a king? Wanna sit on the throne? Depend on Jesus. Serve like Jesus. Love like Jesus.

I am trying to put others first.

Wednesday, January 07, 2004

Father Knows Best

Ok, here is where I've applied and what I think is the status of my application:

Outback Steak House . . . . . . . . . . . . They've thrown it outback.
Lytle Cattle Company . . . . . . . . . . . . They've fed it to the cattle.
Cypress Street restaurant . . . . . . . . . "Hit the street punk!"
Abilene School District . . . . . . . . . . . . "Go back to school!"
Enterprise Rent-a-car . . . . . . . . . . . . "We'll pick you up later"
UPS . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . "See what brown ain't gonna do for you."
Betty Rose's BBQ . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . "Ain't no Californian gonna BBQ here."

And those are just a few.

It's tough but I will keep my head up.

I'm sure God is going to come through with the perfect job at the perfect time. To quote from my new favorite movie, Bruce Almighty:

"Since when does anyone have a clue about what they want anyways."

Father knows best.

Tuesday, January 06, 2004

Cold, Old & on Hold!

This morning it is a whopping 17 degrees outside. Being from California . . . I'm freezing!

Class was wonderful yesterday. My son John sits next to me. Two kids from Kim and my youth ministry sit next to us. Next door a kid who was in our ministry in Tomball is getting his masters. He is a preacher in Nebraska. Severval of our former interns are taking classes this short course as well. I say all this to say . . .

Man, I'm getting old.

Still no luck on the job search. It seems that God is content with keeping me completely dependant and humble. But what do I know? Since when have I been able to figure out what God is up to? I'm just the kid in the back seat on the road trip of life with the most wonderful Heavenly Father. He is turning around saying, "Trust me (I keep asking if He knows where He is going - or better yet, where He is taking me) and He just says, get along with your brothers and sisters and leave the driving to me."

I've spent a lifetime trying to tell others to "trust and obey". Today I wish there was "some other way. . ."

Monday, January 05, 2004


This morning I start a one week class on Revelation. For a great Revelation website go to It is really amazing.

For a great site of Revelation illustrations check this out.

I'm excited about this class. It has a very special meaning for me. It is ironic that it is on the book of Revelation. For those who know me well you will get this if you just think about it.


Sunday, January 04, 2004

The Heat and the Kitchen

Going to Highland is like going to an all you can eat buffet. I come away every Sunday spiritually stuffed. Mike Cope prepares the gospel like a great chef grills a good steak. He doesn't cover the message up with a bunch of fancy stuff, doesn't go too long or too short; he serves it up with the right side dishes (humor and heart) and I gobble it up every Sunday.

This Sunday was a bit different than the usual Sunday. I don't leave the auditorium with chest pains every Sunday. I was blessed to have bumped into my doctor in the aisle on the way out to the aitrium so he checked me over and gave me the following prognoises:

Stress, fatigue, anxiety, but not a heart problem.

I disagree (tongue in cheek).

Stress, fatigue, and anxiety are all symptons of a heart that is not fulling trusting Jesus.

I came home from church determined to lean on God, relax, and trust him for a job. Within 5 minutes at home our stove caught on fire, yeah - the kind that you have to bust out the fire extinguisher for - that one. Praise God Laura saw it and Kim was there to talk me through it. I was a mess. In the heat of the moment (bad pun) I forgot to pull the little pin in the fire extinguisher. Kim keeps her cool in the big crisies of of life - it is when she sees a 1/8" spider that she loses her mind. Needless to say (then why am I saying it), the event didn't help my stress.

But here I am, relaxed and writing. God is good. Of course I don't know if I would still be singing his praises if this afternoon I was in the hospital after having a heart attack or at a friends house because mine burnt to the ground. I'd like to think I would.

Saturday, January 03, 2004

No Napping

The Boones came over tonight for some football, fellowship, and food. Basically it was a conspiracy of Grant's and mine to get our families together so we could watch the playoffs.

Grant Boone is one of two people who had the biggest impact on me in college. Mitch Wilburn is the other. Grant single handedly helped me stop cussing. Which, as he would tell you, was no small feat.

Because I am a die hard 49er fan I love watching the Cowboys lose (Sorry Mitch) but I must admit I'm a huge Bill Parcells fan. I just finished listening to his post game interview during which he said the following, "I will not rest until we reach the Super Bowl" Is there a more locked in, laser focused, goal accomplishing machine than Parcells? OK, maybe Bill Callahan, formerly of the Raiders (Sorry Boone)

I want 2004 to be the year that I lock in with super singular focus following Jesus more closely than ever before. I want this year to be the year that my relationship can more accurately be described as disciple instead of believer. I don't want to rest until I accomplish the goal of "pressing forward to the prize which is Christ Jesus."

Friday, January 02, 2004

Crafty Veteran

Today is the day of reckoning for Kim's Craft Room. I have turned my anal, organizing, labeling, categorizing self into high gear and decided to help my wife finally "move in" to her craft room. I say "craft room" but it is more like "craft shed" as it is a portable building out in our back yard. But Kim loves it and that is all that counts. We are going to get cracking after we take a walk. I love walking with my wife but am not a big fan of walking in general. Walking reminds me that I'm officially old. When I was a kid, and even as a teen, I would run every where. The baseball game at the park a mile and a half away? I was running. The door bell rang? I ran to see who it was. I was like Forrest Gump when I was a kid? Now I'm like a slow motion replay. The house could be on fire and I'm walking out through the flames. Sad.

I am still trusting God for a job this year. Not where I wanted to be on Jan 2 but it is where I am at and I will rejoice inspite of the circumstances. If I was working I wouldn't have all this time to write the minutiae of my life for the free world to see.

Thursday, January 01, 2004

New Year Buzz . . . No Not Like That.

Happy New Year! I began the year by shaving my head and my face. Yes, I'm serious. Emily had never seen me without a goatee and Laura was like three when I last shaved. We celebrated our first "normal" New Year's Eve (without staying up all night with about 90 of our closest friends) and it was subdued to say the least. We were so lost. Camp Chaos is in our veins. We did video tape our family screaming as the ball dropped and then me shaving my head. That is not the same as video taping Alan Bastyr jumping off a ladder and squishing a giant cardboard head.

This is going to be a good year. I know it. I can tell because I have been feeling so attacked by the enemy all day. I know he is trying to keep my eyes off of the prize which is Christ. My prayer for the year is simply to get a job, for my mother in law's cancer to go away, and to make positive progress on my Masters.

Can anyone remember the hype of Y2K? Isn't that just how life is? We get all worked up over nothing and let the important things slip right on by?

May your 2004 be filled with the important things.