Thursday, November 23, 2006

T Cubed! Thanksgiving Thursday Thirteen

Here is my first ever Thursday Thirteen:

13 Reasons I’m Thankful for My Wife

  1. Her beautiful and beaming smile is a contagious catalyst that brings joy to everyone (and I mean everyone) around her!
  2. She has a deep love for the poor, under-dogs, and neglected of the world.
  3. Kim is an amazing cook and uses that gift to bless others and keep me full!
  4. She is “simple” and by that I mean she can be happy in all situations. We could live in or Burundi (top 5 poorest county in the world) or Beverly Hills.
  5. Her laugh!
  6. Kim can be just crazy silly! It is not uncommon for her to chase Laura around the house or tickle Emily to death.
  7. That girl can make friends faster than anyone I know!
  8. She loves her family with an ocean deep dedication and servant hearted kindness.
  9. Kim is romantic. Actually, she is just plain sexy!
  10. Her work ethic is incredible. Ask her former coworkers at ACU or current coworkers at Starbucks…she works as if she was working for the Lord! Truth be told, she is.
  11. She married me! Oh how I’m thankful for that!!!
  12. Kim is mighty warrior in the Army of the Lord and her weapon of choice is powerful, prayer!
  13. Kim shows me Jesus everyday! She possesses an unquenchable passion for the Lord!

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Without Warning

This morning God was talking to me through scripture (Matthew 7:28-29, 8:1-27).

Let me summarize for you the story he shared first.

Jesus just finished the best sermon ever: short, plenty of scripture, great illustrations, relevant, challenging, funny, you name it - he nailed it! His disciples heard this sermon and were amazed.

He comes down off mountain and is met by a mob and a guy with leprosy. The guy knows Jesus can heal if he wants. Jesus wants to and does heal this guy but then tells him not to tell anyone but the priest and temple officials. His disciples see him heal a guy with leprosy.

Jesus heads southeast about 3 miles to Capernaum and a centurion approaches and asks Jesus to heal his servant who is paralyzed and in pain. Jesus accepts but in an amazing display of humility, the Centurion tells Jesus to just give the word because he's not even worthy of Jesus entering his house. Jesus gives the word and
his disciples witness the long distance miracle.

Next Jesus enters Peter's house, touches his mother-in-law's hand and heals her. His disciples see it all with their own eyes. Later that night Jesus kicks it up a notch and a bunch of demon-possessed folk and heals all the sick. His disciples have a front row seat in all of this.

So then Jesus tells his disciples to get into a boat and while sailing across the Sea of Galilee a furious storm comes without warning and his disciples freak out and become convinced they are going to drown! Before calming the storm, Jesus confronts his followers, "You of little faith, why are you so afraid?" His disciples hear every word. Jesus shuts up the storm and, get this, his disciples were amazed!

This morning the Holy Spirit wrote the following on my heart:

"Joel, in this life you will face troubles of all kinds so don't say I didn't warn you. Some pain will pound others and some storms will sweep over you. You're not going to drown! Have faith. Don't fear. I'm in the boat with you so don't say I didn't warn you."

Monday, November 06, 2006

Preaching Ministry

I am constantly trying to improve the "preaching ministry" component of my role as Senior Minister. Consequently, I'm always on the lookout for what people are saying about the gift of preaching. Today I ran across a great quote from Philip Jensen is the Anglican archbishop of Sydney and an influential evangelical leader.

"The present debate about human sexuality often betrays a failure to grasp how the interlocking teaching of scripture in Old and New Testaments can be brought to bear on contemporary life. The Bible is read subjectively, or as an endless succession of small segments without a proper connecting link or a single voice. The lack of a proper approach to the Bible prevents its message ever impacting on the church. You cannot say with authority, 'The Bible says . . . ' Once people lose confidence in the word of God, the preaching ministry of the church is lost. Once the preaching ministry is lost, the world's message is heard in the church, instead of the church's message heard in the world. Then the churches decline."

Listen to that last part again.

Once people lose confidence in the word of God, the preaching ministry of the church is lost. Once the preaching ministry is lost, the world's message is heard in the church, instead of the church's message heard in the world. Then the churches decline."


Dear God, give me confidence in Your Word.

Thursday, November 02, 2006

And the Winner Is ...


He must. He better. If He doesn't, we are in big trouble.

Heaven forbid (and it does in scripture) that we ever believe the lie that is seductively whispered to us from our adversary, Satan: that salvation, joy and hope are found in "the Church."

Lord help us not to ever think that "the body" doesn't take its cue from "the head"

Jesus save us from preaching "the Church realized" and not "Christ crucified."

Holy Spirit remind us that Jesus saves and not our people, programs, or plans.

God teach us this truth: Churches don't have a mission. God's mission has a church.

I believe that we have sinfully shifted our focus from "of Christ" to "Church"

The sign out front of our building reads, Lake Cities Church of Christ. Other tribes of faith might not like the sign. Most in the Restoration Movement clan like the sign.

I both love and hate the sign. I love it because it reminds me that we are in fact called to be a church - our gathering is Godly and our body is blessed. But I hate it because it reminds that there is a frequent and futile and frustrating fight being fought between Christ and His Church.

Open the envelope of Philippians 2 to find the winner.

Every knee will bow ... Every tongue will confess ...

that Jesus is Lord.

Jesus wins!

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Who'd Win In a Fight?

Some of my fondest memories from my 12 years of youth ministry occurred in a church van. I loved driving on long trips with a van of full of frontal lobotomy-like teens. The conversations that would crop up after their CD players ran out of batteries were classic! Walls would come down and hearts would open up after 4 or 5 hours in a rolling sardine can (smell & seating situation) and Kim and I would be privy to some of the funniest comments ever.

7th grade boy to no one in particular: "Hey does your mom fart because mine does and it is nasty."

9th grade girl to her 'new best friend forever': "When I first met you I thought you were a slut but now I think you're way cool."

Senior boy to Jr. High boy: "When we get to In & Out Burger you go save my place in line cuz I got to hit the bathroom and take care of the "out" before I take care of the "in" ... okay dork?

Jr. High boy in reply: "Well since your mom works there you can just get her to wait in line for you!"

In an effort to take the conversation to a more intellectually stimulating height, I invented the game, "Who'd Win in a Fight?"

The object of this game was to throw out two random people that would not likely be paired to fight by anyone, ever. Then others could chime in with their picks and give a defense of their choice. I'll give you a few examples of my favorites:

"Who'd win in a fight, Lois Brown (75+ yr old lady at our church in CA) or Matt Alvarez (16 yr old in our youth group)? Replies went something like, "Lois, cuz she goes hunting and would shoot Alvarez!" or "Matt, because he plays video games non stop and has quick reflexes."

"Who'd win in a fight, Shaq or J-Lo?" Replies included, "Shaq because he could bust out his genie magic (Kazaam reference) on J-Lo!" or "J-Lo, because she could distract him with her booty and then slap him upside his head!"

So you get the idea...

A blogging contemporary offering might be: "Who'd win in a fight, Mike Cope or Grant Boone?" Some replies could come, "Mike because he could summon the Zoe Group to help" or "Grant because he could stab Mike with his sharp wit!"

I'm sure you can think of others (both possible matches and possible outcomes) and in fact will.

But here is the question of the day (at least for me and on my blog) which I will attempt to answer in a post tomorrow:

Who'd win in a fight ... the Church ... or ... Christ?

I believe that the two are currently in conflict and yet should never be. I believe that we (church leaders and church goers) are responsible too. We have misled people into thinking the Church would be the answer to all their problems - that it would save them, change them, and fill their needs.

Stay tuned.

Sunday, October 29, 2006

The Body

Our church hasn't grown numerically as much as I would have liked in my first year.

We haven't seen as many life commitments as I would have hoped.

But I'll tell you one area of transformation in which our church has made great gains:

Intergenerational unity.

Tonight our faith family got together for our second annual Trunk or Treat. The child-focused event began at 5:30pm. Our Empty Nesters, the group of our members who have about 55 years or more of life experience, usually gather for their monthly gatherings at 5:30pm. Instead this beautiful group of seasoned saints moved their meeting time back an hour to come spend time with the younger families of our congregation. I was so moved by their intentional involvement ... I just couldn't get their "gift of presence" out of my mind.

God is at work in the whole body of Lake Cities. It is a Holy movement.

Saturday, October 28, 2006

Friday Night Lights

Some people spent last night on a delightful date wtih their wife (my usual Friday night activity).

Some people spent last night on the sidelines of a great high school football game (my last week activity).

Some people spent last curled up on the couch with family watching a good movie.

There are numerous possible Friday night activities that people would find enjoyable.

Last night I cleaned the garage.

And it was wonderful!

The garage is the one room in the house that can feel like the trash compactor scene from the original Star Wars. You know the one where Luke, Leia, Han, and Chewie are in that room where the walls are moving in and it gets smaller and smaller. That is the garage.

So last night I did what I had been wanting to do for more than a month - cleaned the garage.

And it was wonderful!

Congrats to Mike Cope and oh yeah, the Cardinals. I was listening to game 5 on the radio (a great way to experience the game) while cleaning the garage (did I mention I cleaned the garage) and realized I was not really rooting for the baseball team but was simply pulling for my preacher. Mike has been talking a lot this week in his blog about the '68 series (the year I was born) and I couuld just see him watching the game last night on the couch with a smile the size of the St. Louis Arch.

My wife is amazing and I love her!

Kim raised money for breast cancer for the DFW walk. However, she did not raise enough ($2500) and so they wouldn't let her walk the 20 miles a day for three days. I thought that was kinda weird (and mean if you want to know the truth) but Kim was not halted. She has been walking 20 miles for the past two days throughout the town. (She is about to head out for another 20 today as I type this) I am a amazed at her dedication. I think that if they had told me that I couldn't walk I would have been like, "oh, what a shame...bummer" and spent my time in other productive ways, like say - oh I don't the garage!


A quick update on our household:

Emily: turned 10 this month and is loving the fourth grade. Currently she is making a mum for her guinea pig, Calvin.

Laura: turned 16 this year and loves Faith Christian and her 1st boyfriend, Weston. Currently she is sleeping at Ryan's house. Ryan is a girl and the daughter of the school's president.

John: turned 21 this year and is the Systems Administrator for Solona Health Care in Westlake. Currently he is sleeping.

My dad: now living with us and recovering from a broken hip. Currently he is admiring the garage that I cleaned.

Kim: turned 40 this year and is as fine as ever! Works part time at Starbucks and loves it! Currently she is wrapping a gift for a friend.

Joel: In his 2nd year as Senior Minister at Lake Cities. Loves his wife and kids more than ever! Currently blogging about cleaning the garage.

And finally, I want everyone to know that I'm about to go get gas in the car and pick up a coke and some pumpkin seeds while I'm at it.

Friday, October 27, 2006

I Wish I Was a Gansta?

Kim, Emily and I went to our HomeBuilder's Halloween Party on Sunday. I wrote about it in detail in my weekly newsletter on our church's website so I won't rehash it here. But I did want to share some pics with the world and my friends orbiting said earth in the space station. It is not everyday that you see a pastor with a grill.

Kim was a New York fashion designer (Manhattan). I was a New York Gangsta (Bronx). Emily was a hippie (Woodstock - Bethel, New York).

Hangin w/ two of my fav homies, Hunter-P and

Emily is nuts!

Thursday, September 28, 2006

Times Square and More

Times Square is crazy. Last night I stood in the middle of the intersection for about 10 minutes and just took it all in. Remind you the picture below was taken at 11:00pm on a Wednesday night. The view from our room was beyond belief too. I'll post a picture of that later. About to head out Carnegie Deli, then take the A down to the wharf to gaze at Lady Liberty and spend a little more time at Ground Zero. Tonight we visit the "house that Ruth built", Yankee Stadium. Before I go, let me just confess that if it is a food item that is sold from a cart hosted by a poor English speaking man, I've eaten it. I love New York.

Here are some facts about Times Square:

1.7 million people passing through Times Square each day including the 26 million annual tourists.

274,000 people working directly in Times Square each day.

13,200 hotel rooms are in Times Square.

Approximately $4 billion in private investment has recently been injected into in Times Square.

500,000 people come to Times Square on New Year's Eve. 1/2 billion people watch the festivities on television worldwide.

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Words Cannot Explain

I write this from a 24 hr Starbucks in New York's Times Square. This is one of the few times in my life that I've been both awake and speechless. This has been the trip of a life time! I owe it all to my wife. She too, is also equally indescribable. The "Three G's" start to describe her: Godly, gorgeous and Giving.

I was in Boston yesterday with my best friends and today New York. How to describe sitting in the Old North Church on Tuesday and standing at Ground Zero on Wednesday is impossible.

Here are a few pictures.

Thank you so much Kim. You have no idea of what this trip and you mean to me.

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Putting the Cart Before the Horse

A lot of pastors are sincerely trying to grow their churches. (Acts 2:47)

Some are desperately trying to help their churches function like God wants. (Acts 2:42-47)

I'm simply praying for the Holy Spirit to fill me and my church. (Acts 2:1-12)

Some pastors want to be honored. I'm ready to be mocked. (Acts 2:13)

"Don't you know that you yourselves are God's temple and that God's Spirit lives in you?" 1 Cor 3:16

Come Holy Spirit. Come.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006


Blarfing: verb. To blog about way too much stuff because you haven't blogged in a long time.

Okay, I just made up the above definition. But I didn't know what to title this post because I have so much to say about so many things. So blarfing just fit.

Be forewarned - this will be a long post.

- I have the best wife on the planet. Possibly in the solar system (not counting Pluto of course) the reasons are as many as the stars themselves but let me just drop one on you.
It comes in form of a story.

Last week my good buddy Alan (blind since birth, crazy as long as I’ve known him and a former roommate), Todd (a kid – now 25 – who used to be in our youth ministry) and I met my best friend Mitch at his parent’s house in the bustling metropolis of Quitman, Texas. Our plan was simple: relax, ride four-wheeler’s, eat red meat, and relax some more. Kim had our friend Leslie Miller call me before I left and ask me to take some gifts to Mitch’s wife Shannon. (Are you with me here?) But I didn’t know Kim put Leslie up to this and thought the gifts (two small, beautifully wrapped boxes) were really from Leslie and really meant for Shannon. We arrived in Quitman on Thursday night and came home on Friday afternoon. Well, a couple of hours before we were due to depart, Mitch & Todd gave me one of those gifts that I had given him and told me to open it. I said, “no way pal, Kim will kill me. Mitch assured me that Kim would not kill me and so I unwrapped the first box to find a miniature replica of Fenway Park. I then opened the second box and found a miniature replica of Yankee Stadium. I felt my body go limp as Mitch yelled, “We’re going on another Ball Park Trip baby!!!”

My smoking hot wife had been working with Mitch (and other friends like Barbara and Karen) to plan a trip for us (Alan too) to go to Boston to see the Red Sox play and then to New York to see the Yankees. But that’s not all – we are going to Cooperstown too! Is that not incredible! Mitch and Alan fly into DFW next Monday and all three of us fly to Boston that day. We will return home that Friday. I’ve never been to Boston or New York! I cannot wait! I still can’t believe it! And while I’m aware that this will sound cliché, what meant the most to me was not that I’m getting to spend a week with my best buddies or that I get to see two states for the first time or that I get to see two historic ball parks – no, what meant the most to me was the obvious love that my beautiful bride has for me to pull off a surprise of this caliber.

So be looking for live updates from the Eastern Seaborg next week!

Last week our church blessed us with a One Year Anniversary Celebration! It was so sweet! They cancelled the whole midweek line up and we all shared a great meal together and then a time of a true blessing. I’ll be honest with you: having a bunch of people go up to the mic and just speak words of love and gratitude in your behalf was both powerful and painful. I like to be on the giving side of encouragement not the receiving. I praise God that He has placed us in a spiritual family of loving, spirit filled disciples. We are so blessed. I am asking God to use us for another strong year of service and transformation with them.

I am currently at ACU for Lectureship. This is the first time they have been held in the fall and let me tell you that Mark Love is genius in my book! The weather is absolutely gorgeous! It seriously couldn’t be better. And the line up of speakers and classes is stronger than ever. But if I’m being honest, (and I usually am) the best thing about lectureship is seeing old friends and making new ones. So far I’ve been given the gift of eating lunch with Chris and Zen (stud ACU freshman from my church. Conner was out of town) at Harold’s, having a coke at McDonald’s (actually water and a yogurt parfait) with Mike Cope (former coworker and good friend), dinner with Matt & Chase (stud ACU seniors who used to be in my Bible Study here in Abilene and good friends) at Sharon Allen’s BBQ, breakfast with Phil Schubert (former college roommate and ACU’s VP and CFO and good friend) at Cracker Barrel, lunch with Steve Hare (former coworker at Highland and good friend) at Harold’s (yet again), and I’m meeting Luke Norsworthy (former youth ministry intern and good friend) for a bit here in a few. I got to see Mike & Holly McFarland’s new baby, Riley and he was just way too cute! I’ve ran into so many other wonderful people that have meant so much to me in the past and continue to be a source of wind behind my sails to this day. (Coach, Jan, Casey, Kasey, David, Janice, Matt, Doug, Michael, Tim, Alicia, Chris, and Dora to name just a few)

The classes and theme lectures have been so inspiring and invigorating! I could write so much about each one. But perhaps the coolest thing about being on “The Hill” again, was getting to see “Jacob’s Dream”, an art display, experience, place, ??? by Jack Maxwell. I am at a loss for adequate words to describe it. Just hear me when I say: If you are ever within 20 miles of Abilene, Texas, come to the ACU campus and find this sculpture/garden/holy ground called “Jacob’s Dream” It is absolutely amazing. Yesterday I sat in awe at this creation for almost a half an hour. Those of you who know me well, know that I’m not much of an “Artsy” guy. This is beyond simple art. It moved my soul. Just trust me and find a way to check it out.

Well, Luke will be here in a minute. For the two of you who are still reading this, thanks.

With love from beautiful Abilene, Texas,


Sunday, August 27, 2006

Kingdom of Heaven

My favorite quote from the movie, Kingdom of Heaven is from the Hospitaller:

" I put no stock in religion. By the word religion I have seen the lunacy of fanatics of every denomination be called the will of god. Holiness is in right action, and courage on behalf of those who cannot defend themselves, and goodness. What god desires is here
[points to head] and here [points to heart] and by what you decide to do every day, you will be a good man. Or not."

And the ending title slide (the writing that comes up at the end of the movie before the credits) is pretty profound:

"The King, Richard the Lionheart, went on to the Holy Land and crusaded for three years. His struggle to regain Jerusalem ended in an uneasy truce with Saladin. Nearly a thousand years later, peace in the Kingdom of Heaven remains elusive.

My God's Kingdom come and His will be done -

on earth
in my family
in my church
in me

as it is in Heaven.

Thursday, August 24, 2006

"Help!" Is On the Way.

"He will send down help from Heaven to save me because of his love." - Psalm 57:3b (LB)

I ran across a great quote from Jim Cymbala's Book, Breakthrough Prayer. It was fortuitous that I read it this morning. The day ahead of me seemed bigger than me and I was feeling overwhelmed. Really? You think? Everyday is bigger than me. Each problem itself isn't always, but the cumulative effect of them all looming on the horizon like an approaching wildfire is sometimes paralyzing with fear. On Monday I was feeling the weight of caring for my father when I received these words from my buddy Matt Waldron who was in the Amazon with his dad:

I'm at an Internet cafe in Leticia, Colombia (on the Amazon) and just got an email from Laura about your dad. I know that is a difficult time for you but wanted you to know that I was thinking about you and that someone was offering up prayers for you on your dad from the Amazon basin.

Because He has overcome, we will overcome.


Think about that last line. Praise God! Praise God! Praise God!

So I'm reading this morning when I ran across these words of challenge and hope:

"Such times of trial and difficulty remind us of [the great challenge] regarding the prayer of faith. The first challenge is to believe that no situation, however evil or entrenched, is beyond the scope of prayer. In theory, we know that God can do anything, but many of us fail to trust him when it comes time to pray for specific people or situations. Instead of looking to the Lord for help, we keep our eyes on the problem, which grows bigger the longer we gaze at it. We don't pray seriously about such problems because they just seem too big, too hard, or too complex for prayer to resolve." - Jim Cymbala, Breakthrough Prayer

Read your blogs.
Post your comments.
Do your day.
But don't forget to pray.
In fact, I challenge you to stop right now and just pray.


Climb up in Daddy's lap.
Approach your King.
Storm the Gates of Heaven.
Have a little talk with Jesus.
Meet with your Maker.

Just Pray.

Monday, July 31, 2006

I Want. I Need.

I want to eat dinner at PF Changs.
I want to become a better leader.
I want to get my golf handicap into single digits.

I need God.

I want to put in hard wood floors in my living room.
I want to continually improve as a husband to my incredible wife.
I want my teeth whitened.

I need God.

I want my dad to stop drinking.
I want to memorize the Sermon on the Mount.
I want a Nissan Armada.

I need God.

I want to be a better teacher for my kids.
I want a Palm 700 Smart Phone.
I want to finish Practicing Greatness by Reggie McNeal.

I need God.

I want patio furniture.
I want my son to have a wife as wonderful as mine.
I want to get my doctorate.

I need God.

I want to learn to play the guitar.
I want my brother to live close to me.
I want a projection tv/surround sound system in our family room.

I need God.

I want my girls to never doubt my love for them.
I want to improve as a preacher.
I want to visit the Holy Lands.

I need God.

I want to take my family on an incredible vacation.
I want my church to know I love Jesus more than ministry.
I want to make a difference in the lives of those I love.

I need God.

I want...

I need God.

God is all I want.

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Carolina, Coffee, Cope, and Mercy

Tonight our family is celebrating the Carolinas with a feast of a meal. Pulled pork sandwiches, cole slaw, chips, sweet tea & Big Red (I know - probably more of a Texas drink...) and strawberry shortcake for dessert. We are going to call our favorite UNC alumni, Ken & Lois Brown (dear friends in their 80's from RWC, CA) and include them on the Carolina celebration.

All that to say, I am already hungry and dinner isn't for another 8 hours.

Kim started working a few hours a day at Starbucks yesterday and she absolutely loves it! I looked through some of the training manuals and other partner (they don't call them employees) material and it looked incredible. I am well aware that not everyone is a Starbucks fan, but I am impressed. Great hours, decent pay, incredible insurance, fun people, free coffee and an opportunity to be salt and light...sounds good to me.

My buddy, Mike Cope turns 50 today! Happy B-day Bro Co!

Here is a prayer I left for him on his blog:

"“Dear Father, would you please be gracious enough to give your servant Mike another 50 years to live as salt and light? Please? I, for one, would be so grateful for the blessing of another 2500 sermons, 18,250 Blog Posts, and a million other sacred delights that you pour out through Mike. In the name of the One who makes both life and death a good option, Jesus. Amen."

As I was writing this a small bird slammed into the window in the front of our church. Our youngest, Emily was babysitting some kids when it happened and was the first on the scene. She ran into my office as if one of the kids heads had fallen off.

"Daddy, come quick, we have got to help a hurt bird!"

So I make my way outside to find a small sparrow having a seizure of sorts. I quickly determine (armchair vet) that it has a broken neck or back and unless we can secure a tiny little birdie wheelchair, there is nothing we can do. 'Nothing' was not working with Emily.

"We have to do something!" proclaimed Emily. "We can't do nothing! Call the police."

I explained that you can't call the cops for a bird that can't fly.

That didn't fly with Emily. I called the cops. Not 911, but the number I thought was the local animal services guy."

"Denton County Sheriff Dispatch" came the voice on the line, "What is your emergency?"

"I'm an idiot!" I thought to myself.

Just as I was explaining the "emergency", Emily came running in and announced, "the birdie is okay! It just flew off!"

I stumbled my way off the phone so the Denton County Sheriff Department could tend to real emergencies and made my way out to see the site of the mini miracle.

Sure enough, no bird in sight. I asked Emily what happened.

"I touched it very gentle and it calmed down. Then I picked it up and held it for a minute very softly. Then it flew out of my hands."

To be honest (and why lie on your own blog, really?) my first reaction was rather maternal: "You're going to get all kinds of diseases! If you die of bird flu, your mom is not going to be happy! Why would you touch a dying bird?" (because...) We're my first thoughts.

But I didn't say any of that. I simply told her good job baby. Now go wash your hands.

As she walked inside and down the hall to wash, two things came to mind:

1. Her sweet smile

2. Luke 10:25-37

and I could hear the strong, tender voice of Jesus speak into my heart,


Monday, July 24, 2006


Remember when you were a kid and your parents, teachers, parole officer, etc would ask you why you did something dumb and you would offer up that wisdom filled reply of, "because" as if that was going to bring the conversation to a screeching halt right there?

Oh, you don't remember that?

Okay, then it was only me...

Anyway, I used to say "because" a lot as a kid. It was my secret weapon, my ace in the hole; my ... you get the point.

Really I just said it because it sounded better than the alternative response which in my case would've no doubt included the phrase, "I'm an idiot - That's why!"

Well, even though I'm older and less of an idiot, I still find "because" a decent enough reply for some of life's agenda items.

We highly effective, purpose driven, best life now folk always feel a need to do something for a very intentional purpose, don't we. Well what if there isn't a big occasion or strategic move?

I experienced the simply beauty of the "because" this morning when I checked my email.

I received the most incredible email from my bride - and here’s the catch - for no real, intentional, effective, best purpose at all! It wasn't my birthday, or Father's Day, or Arbor Day or any other big deal day. It was sent late Sunday night and read mid Monday morning!

It made my heart leap and eyes wet and I'm sharing it with you!

"Why?” you ask.


I love you soooo much! I really appreciate who you are! I am soooo proud of you and that I get to be your wife! I love that others love you so respectfully!!! You are an honor to me with your gift of preaching, speaking, and passionately loving His people. You are an amazing dad, the way you love unconditionally, and pray for them, encourage them, and trying to keep them challenged! I am thrilled for us honey and how far we have come! I am filled with joy for who's we have accepted to be! God is awesome for breaking the cycle of destruction with us! You rock! I am in love, romantically, spiritually, and emotionally with you!!!

Thank you for loving me in and out if my iniquities!
Your wife, Kimberly

Friday, June 30, 2006

Stochastic Selections

Getting old is a state of mind. Tonight at 11:30 my wife and I made a run to Sonic and then over to our friends house. Most people our age aren't cruising the streets just before midnight. I find that fun.

A sore back is not a state of mind. It is a sore back. I have a sore back. It is primarily due to my surplusage stomach. Another possible conclusion is that I don't exercise all that much. If I had to put a number on it - I'd say 90% big boiler and 10% lack of exercise.

Top Five Sweet Teas within 20.3 miles of my home:

1. Kim's (hands down - the best ever!)
2. Chicken E
3. Rudy's (yes, now in Denton & just 20.3 miles from the crib)
4. McCalister's Deli
5. Babes

Our house has light, cream color carpet. Whoever puts cream color carpet in their house has a serious screw lose in their dome. Seriously, you've got two choices with cream carpet:
- become a carpet natzi and pay the steam cleaner guy to come out monthly or...
- have your carpet look nasty.
Those are it, folks.

When I get to heaven, the dude who invented the remote control is sadly enough in my top 50 for people who are getting a high five. I'd even get up off the couch in my heavenly mansion to do it!

Mike Cope's blog is the crack cocaine of cyberspace.

If I really had compassion, I'd send some of my 10 pair of shoes overseas to the person who has zero pairs. I'm serious.

Because our electric bill was $668.39, Kim has the house temperature set roughly on "the surface of the sun" ... I know most would call that move, responsible. I often refer to it as horrible.

Grant Boone is the next Rick Riley.

My buddy, Jay Holland (Dr. Jay) believes that the key to getting the gospel of Matthew is found in chapters 5 and 24-25. Those two bookends deal with the Pharisees missing the kingdom. After five weeks in Matthew 5 for my series on the Beatitudes, I'm starting to believe him.

If there is someone who loves Jesus more than my bride, I haven't met them yet.

I'm on iTunes now. I know, scary. Go to podcast and then search for quile.

Dallas (Mavericks) was up by 13 stinkin points with 6 minutes to play in Miami during game 3. Finish strong and the parade route goes from yellow legal pad to reality.

Speaking of yellow legal pads (you weren't ... but I was) - did you know that only 43% of legal pads are yellow.

If I could be anyone in Hollywood, it would be jerry Bruckheimer. Seriously, dude gets to be "creative on roids" and spend millions upon millions to see his dreams put on film.
Our entire family is pumped about the new Pirates flick. Possibly beyond pumped!

Some folks put the new roll of toilet paper so that the first sheet is coming over the top and others replace it so that the new roll is coming out from the bottom. I'm the former.

Many of you know that Brandon Scott really, really likes David Hasselhoff and that his career is really taking off (David's - not Brandon's) What you may not know is that I've actually sat in "Kit" You know you're way jealous BST!

I halfway believe that the Chinese will someday, take over the world. That is why I eat at Pei Wei and PF Changs as often as I can. Just in case.

Someone from Benin reads my blog daily. Now I know most of you are fairly up to snuff with your Benin facts...but just in case:

Present day Benin was the site of Dahomey, a prominent West African kingdom that rose in the 15th century. The territory became a French Colony in 1872 and achieved independence on 1 August 1960, as the Republic of Benin. A succession of military governments ended in 1972 with the rise to power of Mathieu KEREKOU and the establishment of a government based on Marxist-Leninist principles. A move to representative government began in 1989. Two years later, free elections ushered in former Prime Minister Nicephore SOGLO as president, marking the first successful transfer of power in Africa from a dictatorship to a democracy. KEREKOU was returned to power by elections held in 1996 and 2001, though some irregularities were alleged.

I'll stop here. Too many good things can quickly become a bad thing.

Have a good weekend. Or make one.

Thursday, June 29, 2006

Waxing & Waning

I feel like a mini Mike Cope in that I'm at a church full of great teachers/preachers. (for those of you who don't know, Mike often shares about how blessed he is by the teaching and preaching of others at his church, Highland) One of my favorite is a friend by the name of Brian Miller. B-Mill is one of a handful of guys at Lake Cities that I would drive to Alaska with in a pick up with no radio. He's a great mix of brilliance and goofiness, confidence and humility, wisdom and wise cracks and one heck of a husband, father, and leader. He is the principle of Fort Worth Christian and Texas A&M alum. But getting back to the purposes of this blog, he is an incredible Bible teacher.

Last night he concluded a series called, Full Circle and came out of Hebrews 11. He made the point that often, our faith is like the moon, waxing and waning. Sometimes we are waxing - getting closer to the Lord, trusting him with more and more of our heart, following him with more passion, and loving him more. Other times in our lives are like the waning of the moon - we are skeptical, anxious, distant, and indifferent. But Brian pointed out that them important thing about our that we have faith. The degree of our faith cannot be judged well by outsiders. And it certainly cannot be measure by either victory or defeat. Some people with great faith fall often and some people with little faith seemly breeze through life. The important thing is that we live BY faith.

I was struck with the following thought as Brian was teaching:

What enables us to even see the moon at all is the sun. The moon produces no light of its own but rather reflects the light of the sun. Sometimes the moon is directly lined up with the sun and we call that a full moon. Sometimes the earth gets in the way of the sun and we can't see the moon at all and we call that an eclipse. I realized that I want to live a full moon faith and never a eclipse faith. But truth be told, I'm often waxing and waning. And according to my brother Brian and to the author of Hebrews, I guess that is normal.

Monday, June 26, 2006

The Waiting Room

Last night, Kim and I left "The Mean Streets" (what Grant Boone affectionately calls our town of Trophy Club) just before 7pm and headed down the road (Hwy 45) to Houston to go be with our dear friends, Jim and Carolyn Shook. If you've ever read Kim's blog, you know how much Carolyn's friendship means to Kim (of course, both Kim and I love both of the Shooks!) and you know that Carolyn is in a brutal battle with cancer. We arrived just after 10:30pm and stayed with Kim's sister in the Woodlands. This morning we left at 4:15am and headed for MD Anderson.
We got to the hotel (which is connected and a part of MD Anderson) at 5:15, met Jim and Carolyn and headed across the sky bridge to the hospital. After an emotional, prayerful, good bye, Kim and I headed to the waiting room. Jim has since joined us.

And so here we are. Waiting. We have be talking some, but mostly just waiting. This experience reminded me of the lyrics to the song by Shane and Shane:

i will run when i cannot walk
i will sing when there is no song
i will pray when there is no prayer
i will listen when i cannot hear

sitting in the waiting room of silence
waiting for that still soft voice i know
offering my words up to the rooftop to Your heart
trusting that this closet's where You are

Lord i know if i change my mind
You will change my heart in time
Sovereign Lord this time's from You
so i sit in the waiting room of silence
cause its all about You

i will fight when i cannot feel
i will trust when You dont seem real
i will tell when i cannot speak
i will step when i cannot see


We are all in the waiting room.

And so we wait.

Saturday, June 24, 2006

Keeping "the Church" on Tract

Found this on Dr. GKB's Blog.

Check it out:

Dr. Greg is the world's leading authority on the coming soon world changing moving, Snakes on a Plane and likes the dirty Mexican food.

Friday, June 23, 2006


I went out this morning and shot the best round of golf in my life. Nothing to brag about for most people, but for a hack who has yet to take a lesson, it was the first time I broke 100. And considering that the front nine (52) was in the rain the entire time and I three-putted 6 holes and four-putted 1, it was a really good round.

I played by myself and behind five 75+ yr old men who began their round in spring and finished in fall. Definitely a challenge. But the key to my improvement, was definitely the absence of the cell phone. I actually tried to take it, but Kim said to leave it at home.

I'm glad I did.

Thursday, June 22, 2006


I've never broke 100 in golf. Never.

Tomorrow, I'm going to shoot 90.

I'm going to be way focused.
I'm going by myself.
...and the biggie ... I'm not bringing my cell phone!!!

I'll keep you posted!

When the House is on Fire

I receive about 8,734 newsletters a month. Of which, 8,731 make the circular file after a brief glance. One of the ones I read fairly thoroughly is from Missions Resource Network. My good friend Alan Phillips is the Associate Director and my buddy, Matt Waldron's dad, Bob, is the Executive Director. Earlier this week, I read an article by Bob Waldron that has impacted me significantly. I contacted Bob and asked him for permission to reprint it.

When the House is on Fire By Dr. Bob Waldron

A lot of folks today are twisting the Scriptures like a veritable pretzel to escape the fact that people are lost without Christ. Not just unfulfilled or lonely or lacking a relationship with the Lord, but lost.

Lostness is why Peter in Acts 2, stood before thousands of his countrymen and passionately pleaded, "Save yourselves!"” He did not suggest five ways to add meaning to their lives, or two principles to put in their backpacks as they began their journey with God. Instead, he boldly urged them to escape the certain fate of this perverse world by repenting and being baptized to wash away their sins.

Jim Reapsome, editor of World Pulse from 1982-1997, described the urgency and passion of a mother standing on the street corner screaming at firefighters to save her children from a house engulfed in flames. If I read Peter'’s words correctly, I sense a similar passion.

Missionaries head for the field in a steady stream, but I wonder if they have the passion of the mother who wanted her children rescued. Or do they witness the scene from a safe distance, as we might do with another episode of the nightly news? Are their professors and mentors gripped by the world'’s lostness? Are the churches that send our missionaries sacrificially giving, praying and supporting them with a fierce commitment to snatch the perishing from the fire (Jude 23)?

Reapsome asks how we can recapture Peter's spirit and put proclamation back on the front burner of the missions agenda. His answer: by walking in Peter's sandals.

- He experienced the resurrected Christ.

-• He was overwhelmed with the Holy Spirit.

-• He gazed on the Pentecost multitude, seeing them not as a distant, faceless mass, but as human beings in mortal danger.

That'’s when his emotions kicked in. Leonard Gray, a dear friend and former missionary to South Africa, used to say that the problem with our churches is that there are too many dry-eyed preachers speaking to too many dry-eyed people on the pews. What we need is a restoration of New Testament emotions. Somehow Peter's passion and urgency must spill out of our churches, schools and missionaries like a raging flood that smashes everything in its path. Only then will we rescue the perishing, plant churches worldwide and bring honor to the One who was crucified on their behalf.

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Birthday, My Day, and Fat Head Antoine Walker

Kim's birthday was absolutely amazing! Our entire family went to dinner at the Tower Club in downtown Dallas. It was a beautiful restaurant with a stunning view but the most breathtaking aspect of the evening was my beautiful bride! (See Picture Below)

Kim received 40 gift coupons in a handmade album. She will be getting a present each week for the rest of the year. John, Laura, Emily and I are so blessed to get to share life with Kim. She is a joy dispenser, a hurt healer, a prayer warrior and the most loving person I've run across on this planet.

The next day brought an incredible gathering at Lake Cities. Holy Spirit was thick in our midst and the family that I have grown to love so deeply in the past ten months was welcoming plenty of new friends. After the assembly, we went home to a sports lover's dream day. Lunch was a golf theme. Kim made me club sandwiches, cole slaw, chips a frozen snickers and my favorite - an Arnold Palmer to drink. This is of course, is exactly what I have when I golf. For those of you who don't Arnold Palmer is half iced tea and half lemonade. After my golfer's special lunch, it was on to presents! I made out like a bandit with John giving me a cool t-shirt (it says "Dad" in binary code), computer fan and card; Laura giving me a nice golf shirt and golf shorts; Emily giving me nice golf shorts and re-gripping my sand wedge and 5 wood, and Kim gave me an incredible picture of Billy Grahm with a quote (see below).

I spent some time lying on the couch watching the US Open and then John surprised my by asking me to the movies. We went and saw The Breakup. I actually liked it. We went to Barnes and Noble and Starbucks after. It was so special to get to hang with my son on Father's Day...even more special that it was his idea. I wrapped up the day by watching the Mavericks get robbed. Which leads me to my final topic of this blog...

Antoine Walker is a fat head. I'm serious! There aren't too many people I don't like, but Fat Head Walker is one of them.

And since when is breathing on a player a foul. That last play of game 5 was a joke deluxe. D-Wade is seriously sick and can ball his head off, but dude goes back court, pushes off twice, and then goes through the lane untouched and gets the foul.

Okay, enough for now...56 seconds left in game 6 and Mavs are down by 3. I don't mind if we lose, I just don't want Fat Head to make the game winning shot.

Friday, June 16, 2006

Tomorrow is the Big Day!!!

Tomorrow my babalicious bride will turn 40. Everyone thinks she looks like 30. Course next to her I feel like 50. We've got a day of family & fun planned & I can't wait. There will be no "Over the Hill" action...Kim is way too peppy for that. Maybe when she turns 50? Course then she'll look like 40.

Grant Me This...Check This Out

If you love golf, Grant Boone or well written, witty work by Grant about golf...check this out:

I'm proud of my former roomie and forever friend.

Good job BooneDog!

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Dear Q

Dear Q:
I have a problem. It is a sin problem. I do "X" or I don't do "Y". Can you help?

Yes, whatever your sin problem matter the sin - here are three simple steps you can take to work through it:

1. Relational vs. Rules. You've got to get to the point that you see your sin as against a person and not a law. Think about the lost son, "I've sinned against heaven and against you..." The moment your sin is viewed as hurting your friend, big brother, Father, Groom, etc... it will change the way you live.

2. Scripture. God stacked the deck against us on this one. Holy Spirit often uses scripture to convict us of sin. For example, I was reading in John 4 this morning and my heart was arrested by verse 50, "the man took Jesus at his word." I realized that I hadn't been taking Jesus at his word lately - trying to heal the "sons" in my life on my own. And on the other side, the scriptures are full of grace and love for us when we realize we've missed the mark.

3. Share it. Confess your sins to one another so that you may be healed. Drag that sin into the light and watch what happens. Most sins are committed in dark secrecy and most sins are healed in community.

- Shalom

Thursday, June 01, 2006

Death by Ministry

Feast your eyes and heart on this amazing post from Mark Driscoll

Death by Ministry

At our recent Reform & Resurge Conference in Seattle, my good friend Pastor Darrin Patrick from The Journey in Saint Louis spoke frankly of the burden that pastoral ministry is. I have pushed myself to the edge and over the edge of burnout throughout my nearly ten years in vocational ministry. Subsequently, I have been doing a great deal of research that I am compiling in hopes of not only improving my own life but also the lives of the leaders at Mars Hill Church and the churches in our Acts 29 Network. As a leader I commonly set the pace of ministry for those under me, which can lead to wholesale burnout of others if I don’t learn this lesson and teach it to others. The following points that I pray are helpful are some brief thoughts from what God has been teaching me as of late. Lastly, the fact that at least twenty-two separate organizations exist in the U.S. solely to deal with pre- and post-pastoral burnout indicate that this is a widespread problem that has only been identified and researched since the 1950s.

Part 1 — Some Statistics
The following statistics were presented by Pastor Darrin Patrick from research he has gathered from such organizations as Barna and Focus on the Family.


  • Fifteen hundred pastors leave the ministry each month due to moral failure, spiritual burnout, or contention in their churches.
  • Fifty percent of pastors' marriages will end in divorce.
  • Eighty percent of pastors and eighty-four percent of their spouses feel unqualified and discouraged in their role as pastors.
  • Fifty percent of pastors are so discouraged that they would leave the ministry if they could, but have no other way of making a living.
  • Eighty percent of seminary and Bible school graduates who enter the ministry will leave the ministry within the first five years.
  • Seventy percent of pastors constantly fight depression.
  • Almost forty percent polled said they have had an extra-marital affair since beginning their ministry.
  • Seventy percent said the only time they spend studying the Word is when they are preparing their sermons.

Pastors' Wives

  • Eighty percent of pastors' spouses feel their spouse is overworked.
  • Eighty percent of pastors' spouses wish their spouse would choose another profession.
  • The majority of pastor's wives surveyed said that the most destructive event that has occurred in their marriage and family was the day they entered the ministry.

Part 2 — Some Signs
The following are indicators that ministry leaders are heading toward burnout, if not already there. Sadly, we too often become so focused on our tasks and responsibilities that we fail to see these warning signs until it is too late.

  • Unusual mood swings that may include weeping without just cause, anger, or depression
  • Exhaustion
  • Paranoia and suspicion
  • Weight change, including gain or loss
  • Moments of panic and feeling totally overwhelmed
  • Fantasizing about dying or running away to get away from the pressure
  • Fight-or-flight cycles where you rise up to intimidate and conquer others or run away from difficulties just to avoid them
  • Insomnia, including difficulty falling asleep or remaining asleep, which can lead to a reliance on sleeping pills
  • Too frequent use of alcohol or tobacco
  • High blood pressure
  • Comforting yourself with unhealthy foods packed with fat, sugar, and simple carbohydrates
  • General irritability
  • Reckless driving
  • Change in sexual desire of either noticeable increase or decrease
  • Notable ongoing sexual temptation
  • Health-related issues such as irritable bowel syndrome, headaches, heart trouble, chronic sickness, and stomach problems including ulcers
  • A victim mentality that sees the world as against you and everyone as an enemy to varying degrees
  • Shopping sprees and unnecessary financial spending
  • Reliance on caffeine to self-medicate
  • Children, friends, and loved ones begin to feel like yet another burden

Part 3 — Some Solutions
The following are simply some things I do in my own life that I have found helpful to prevent me from dying a death by ministry.

  1. Fill your plate — In a conversation with Pastor Wayne Cordeiro of New Hope Christian Fellowship in Hawaii, he gave some very sagely advice. He said that each person’s plate is a different size; each person needs to first find the size of their plate and then fill it only with those things that are of highest priority. And, before adding any additional things to our full plate, we must take something else off to leave space for the new duty. Finding the size of one’s plate takes time and attention. For example, I have personally seen that high-level leaders have an energy level that is unusually high and those working under them who seek to keep up with their pace find themselves quickly burning out.
  2. Exercise — Sadly, most pastors and Christian leaders I know are woefully out of shape. Many of them pound their pulpits against rock music and alcohol while their huge gut jiggles in mockery of their own gluttony. In the early years of our church plant, I ate poorly, slept infrequently, and lived off of the constant adrenaline of perpetual stress. As a result, I weighed 235 pounds at my highest point. Through regular diet and exercise I dropped back down to a lean 190 pounds. But in the past year I have seen my weight climb back up to 210 pounds as my diet and exercise routine has been trashed by laziness, travel, and the constant state of emergency. So, yesterday I cleaned out my garage and plugged my treadmill back in so I can resume daily running and lifting conveniently at home. I got started exercising this morning. I find that when I work out, I drop weight, feel better, sleep better, and am better able to lead out of health with energy. The experts say the best time to exercise is in the morning and those who work out early in the day are most likely to remain on an exercise regimen.
  3. Do not allow technology to be your Lord — A recent issue of Fortune magazine had an insightful article about the average day of some of the most successful CEOs in the country. These people lived lives ruled by technology, including spending whole days each week doing nothing but obsessively responding to every single email they received. The article mentioned that the average American worker is interrupted once every eleven minutes and takes twenty-five minutes to refocus on their original task. The problem is that the alarms and bells of our technology deceive us into reacting to them even when the matter they call us to is neither urgent or important. So, turning off the chime and vibrate on your phone, only checking your voicemail and email on certain days at certain times, and turning the notification off on your email will itself go a long way toward your healing. You won’t have the unpredictable fire drill caused by the bells of technology. Imagine what the world must have been like before the 1200s when the first mechanical clock was invented, or before minute and second hands were added in the 1600s, or before 1879 when Edison produced the first light bulb, thereby enabling us to stay up all night.
  4. Sabbath — This includes taking five minutes off every hour to catch your breath, go for a walk, stand up at your desk, etc. It includes taking thirty to sixty minutes off a day to nap, go for a walk, read, garden, or whatever else releases your pressure and helps you to relax. This also means taking one day off a week to Sabbath, including a date night if you are in a serious relationship or married. This also includes a day or two off a month for silence and solitude and a few weeks a year for an actual vacation that does not leave you more tired than before it began.
  5. Pick a release valve — Because ministry causes pressure, any leader without an acceptable release valve will either burn out from stress or blow up from sin. So, the key to releasing pressure is to find and use an acceptable release valve. This may include exercise, gardening, a hobby, journaling, or my favorite, dropping the top on my Jeep and heading into the mountains for a day of adventure to find new lakes to swim in.
  6. Work on your life, not just in it — Rather than just pulling more hours and trying harder, time needs to be regularly taken to pull back and look at your life so that you can work on it rather than just run in it. For me this includes printing out my schedule every few months to review how I spent my time and inform my assistant of what was a waste of time that should not happen again. This also means taking time to read books on the issue of time management and burnout and biographies of great leaders to learn from their lives, and possibly even taking time to meet with a Biblical counselor to get insight on your own life and tendencies.
  7. Leave margin — When we push our bodies, schedules, minds, and budgets to the point where there is no margin, all that it takes to destroy us is one unforeseen expense, one small emergency, or one small cold. Therefore, leaving margin is the key to not being crushed when life does not go according to plan. This means leaving extra money in the bank, leaving extra time between appointments, and preparing to arrive at places early so that if there is traffic you will still be on time and not stressed.
  8. Spend most of your time training leaders — While thousands of people came to see Jesus, only a handful really knew Him, and only three knew Him intimately. This is because Jesus spent his time training leaders to do ministry and without doing the same we will die from our work and sadly see it die with us as well.
  9. Work from conviction, not guilt — Conviction comes from God and guilt comes from people. The key to being both fruitful and healthy is to do what God wants and not always say yes to or let yourself be pushed around by people who are demanding and have perfected the art of making you feel guilty if you do not do what they demand.

This information can be found at:


I would hate to be one of my kids.

And for reasons other than the content of this blog! For reasons you could easily imagine! :)

I'm especially thinking about my girls. Ages 9 & 16.

here's why:

When I was their ages life was different. I was different. I never got bored. Never.

Because I could get into trouble.

Because there was summer school. Yeah, I know that is a shocker. My teachers liked me so much they asked me to come back during the summer and take classes over. Weird, huh?

There was baseball. From morning til evening, baseball! Sunscreen? - Nope! Parental supervision? - No way! Just seeds and scratching and split finger fastballs from sun up to sun down.

Plus we could get into trouble.

And we could have jobs. I was a Coke dealer at age 10. Yeah, my buddy and I built this box and with wheels and put ice in it and soft drinks (Cokes) and towed it on our bikes up the hill to sell at the ball fields without concession stands. Made like $375 one summer. Of course there was the paper route too.

And we could ride our bikes all over the planet. One summer I rode to New Zealand I think. I'm pretty sure it was New Zealand...

And did I mention we could get into trouble.

But my kids? As I type this they are down the hall (at our church) working in the Summer Preschool program. Laura is getting paid a bit and Emily is volunteering.

Not selling Coke, repeating Geometry, spiting seeds, riding to New Zealand...No, they are caring for kids...Volunteering.

I'd love be to my kids!

Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Slippery Slope or Just a Dope?

I read an article today that has got me thinking pretty heavily.

Before I share the article with you allow me a disclaimer:

1. God cares equally about loving, serving, and protecting the born and the unborn.

2. Love is our only hope of having a voice when it comes to sharing the gospel.

3. Bad marriages, poor financial stewardship, and lack of Godly leadership are bigger threats to the institution of marriage than is homosexual marriage.

4. Poverty, global Aids crisis, education, racism and injustice are more important than this issue.
5. The views below do not represent those of my family or my church.

with that being said...Check it out here:

I've always argued that both the legalizing of homosexual marriages and the "acceptance" of homosexuality in general can lead to a further blurring of societal norms. I predicted that it won't be long before we are flipping through our gazillion cable channels and we surf past the pedophilia channel and the beastiality channel. People look at me like I'm nuts but if you had told someone 50 years ago about Will and Grace you would have received the exact same reaction.

I'm not necessarily equating homosexuality with pedophiliality or beastiality but in my opinion they "miss the mark" of the sexuality that God intended.

I just think we are hard wired by our Creator to be heterosexuals that live in monogamous, marital relationships.

What do you think...Slippery slope or am I a dope?

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Shooting From the Not So Hip

I ran across a great article in Christianity Today online's It is actually from a blog connected to their site. I didn't know if I could copy the link and even those without a subscription could read it and I acknowledge that I might be reprinting something without permission. But I figured: a. its a blog. b. its Miller. and c. its my blog (who reads this anyway...)

So enjoy! And pray I don't do time!

May 15, 2006
Donald Miller Isn’t Hip: a gospel for people tired of trying to be cool
In recent posts we have debated the importance of “image” in advancing the ministry of the Gospel. Donald Miller, author of Blue Like Jazz and other books seeking to build a bridge between Christianity and those raised in a post-Christian context, was interviewed by Leadership last year. Miller is unimpressed by attempts to spin the faith as “cool” and how our culture has turned love into a commodity.

How do you react to ministries that try to present Christianity as being cool and hip?

Miller: There are many problems with trying to market the gospel of Jesus, not the least of which is that, in itself, it is not a cool or fashionable idea. It isn't supposed to be. It is supposed to be revolutionary. It's for people who are tired of trying to be cool, tired of trying to get the world to redeem them.
I attended the Dove Awards and was brokenhearted. I saw all these beautiful Christians, wonderful people, with this wonderful, revolutionary message of Jesus, who, instead of saying, "Look, fashion doesn't matter, hip doesn't matter," were saying "World, please accept us, we can be just as hip as you, just as fashionable, only in a religious way."
I would say we need to choose our God, choose our redeemer.

You've said that the church "uses love as a commodity." What do you mean?

Miller: We sometimes take a Darwinian approach with love—if we are against somebody's ideas, we starve them out. If we disagree with somebody's political ideas, or sexual identity, we just don't "pay" them. We refuse to "condone the behavior" by offering any love.
This approach has created a Christian culture that is completely unaware what the greater culture thinks of us. We don't interact with people who don't validate our ideas. There is nothing revolutionary here. This mindset is hardly a breath of fresh air to a world that uses the exact same kinds of techniques.

What's the alternative?

Miller: The opposite is biblical love, which loves even enemies, loves unconditionally, and loves liberally. Loving selectively is worldly; giving it freely is miraculous.

If love isn't a commodity, what is it?

Miller: I think of love like a magnet. When people see it given in the name of God, they're drawn to it. If I withhold love, then people believe I have met a God that makes me a hateful and vicious person. And they're repelled.
I have two responsibilities to this world, the first is to love; the second is to speak the truth. I can tell somebody such and such a behavior is sin, and still love them. Why not? Why not bring them food, why not hug them, why not have them over to the house? Won't this only help them understand the truth?

Tell us about your church, Imago Dei, and how love is expressed there.

Miller: Imago has saved me in so many ways. Rick, my pastor, is a perfect example of somebody who speaks the truth in love. He is a genius at saying such and such an idea is true, and it is hard, and sometimes I don't like it, but we must trust that God is good, we must help each other, and we must obey. People feel loved at Imago, but they also feel instructed, guided, and that God is not just a Diety who is there to give them whatever they want.
Imago makes me feel parented and not alone. I spoke at Imago right after the election, and a woman, a homosexual, was sitting on the front row with a giant sign that said, among other things, that she hopes our children die, that the legacy of hate will end.
At the end of the service, her sign was laid down in front of the communion table, and she was being held by me, and many others, sobbing as she had never heard truth being presented in love. She had not known the difference between a parental communication of truth and a judgmental, hate-filled communication of truth.

It is a very beautiful community, and I am honored they would accept me and love me.


Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Growing Older

Lord, as I grow older, I think I would rather be known as …

-thoughtful, rather than gifted,
-loving, versus quick or bright,
-gentle, over being powerful,
-a listener, more than a great communicator,
-available, rather than a hard worker,
-sacrificial, instead of successful,
-reliable, not famous,
-content, more than driven,
-self-controlled, rather than exciting,
-generous, instead of rich,
-and compassionate, more than competent,

I want to be a foot-washer.

(source unknown)

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Rack Me!

If you like Frank Caliendo or Jim Rome check this out.

Monday, May 01, 2006

Oh Victory In Jesus!!!

I sent the following email to my good friend (and co-laborer), Stephen Bailey this morning.

It is such a "big deal" that I felt that the entire Blogosphere should help me hold him accountable for his task at hand.

If after reading this, you feel as I do, that Stephen is God's chosen choir director (sorry BST, you're on sabbatical and therefore cannot be God's chosen), then visit his blog and drop him an email encouraging him in the fight.

Email to Stephen:

Subject: Don't Let Me Down

We better win this!

I swear on our elder's lives, if we don't win this, you my friend, might just have to go back to making twice as much money as you do now and be forced to be a light for Jesus in the workplace with the "common folk"

If you can't get pumped up about Christians battling other Christians for vocal supremacy, I don't know what will fire you up.

I'm working on a follow up show for World's Best Prayer Sayer and possibly American Preacher Idol.

Again, you hold the future of "the church" in your hand (the non pitch pipe holding hand) and if you jack it up, you'll wish that you were on the Nancy Grace show when I get through with your four part butt!

For Him, of course.


Please let Stephen know you're pulling for him!

PS: Can you believe that reality tv has come to this?

God: Were you faithful?

Us: Not really, but we were exciting!!!

God: Not really.

Sunday, April 30, 2006

Are You Ready to Sing, Church?

My absolute favorite song is Third Day's, My Hope is in You. It is almost straight from Psalm 25. Like pitchers who enter the game to a certain song, I play this each Sunday morning to "get ready." As you can tell, my pregame routine consists primarily of placing my hope in God. Sure I shower, suit up, study, and speak to God about the people. But when it comes to speaking to the people about God, my hope is entirely in God.

In fact, when it comes to life period, my hope is in God.

Download it, play it, pray it, live it.

I love it!

To you, O Lord,
I lift my soul
In you, O God,
I place my trust
Do not let me
be put to shame
Nor let my enemies
triumph over me

My hope is you

Show me your ways
Guide me in Truth
In all my days

My hope is you

I am, O Lord,
filled with your love
You are, O God,
my salvation
Guard my life
and rescue me
My broken spirit shouts
My mended heart cries out...

Third Day

Sunday, April 23, 2006

Bring It!

Every once and a while someone will stop me in the foyer before I preach and exhort me to "bring it!" and what they are referring to of course, is the Word of God. The problem with that is two fold:

1. I must "have" it in order to "bring" it. Some Sundays I honestly don't own the text and the text doesn't own me and I'm just trying to point people to it the best I can. Other times, I've been so convicted by Holy Spirit and so filled with a God message that "bringing it" is my only option. It is, as Jeremiah so eloquently put it, "like a fire within my bones."

2. The listeners of the message must "want it" to a degree. I believe that the Holy Spirit can (and does) change a heart mid message however, usually the ones who come expecting a word from the Lord and the ones who get it. If someone is looking for a pick me up and God is bringing a knock me down, then what we often get is a classic "failure to communicate"

Mike Cope shared a great thought about preaching this morning and his first comment came from a guy named Lawrence Underwood, who shared this great quote from Alistair Begg: "Think yourself dry, read yourself full, write yourself clear, and pray yourself hot."

I was Mike's second comment (early bird gets the worm - Second rat gets the cheese!) and shared a quote about preaching that has been heavy on my heart and comes from St. Francis de Sales, a seventeenth century saint and the patron saint of authors: "The test of a preacher is that his congregation goes away saying not, "What a lovely sermon," but, "I will do something!"

I hope we all do something with the Word we receive this morning. It is time for both the speaker and the listener to "bring it" to a world that is in desperate need for "it"