20 December 2006


I wrote this entry in my journal this morning. I thought it was important enough to share with the world. Enjoy!

When Jesus spoke again to the people, he said, "I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life." (John 8.12, TNIV)

Light is essential for making sure I am walking in the right direction. In our house we have nightlights strategically placed in the different rooms. Those lights give us just enough illumination to see what is around our feet as we walk thruout the house after dark. I could probably let my eyes adjust to the darkness and use ambient light from outside to make it thru our rooms, but that takes a little longer. Altho I know my way around the house fairly well and could probably get where I need to w/ my eyes closed - I choose to have the lights there to illumine my path.

Jesus is a much brighter light than a nightlight - he's more of a floodlight or the sun (Son)! Jesus is the source of light to all of creation, yet there are some who choose to hide in darkness and avoid the light. As Christians, we bask in the light of the Son and we should strive to bring others to it. Jesus promises us that if we believe in him, we will never walk in darkness.

Jesus says that he is the light of the world and that light shines into the dark places of our world and uncovers truths hidden deep w/in us. It is a light that brings healing and wholeness and love to all those who accept it and believe in it.

I need to bring Christ's light to more ppl so that lives can be changed, marriages repaired, and desperation ended.

Lord of Light, I pray for the strength to reach out in your name and w/ your love to those who need light. Shine into dark places so that illumination can bring restoration. Amen.


19 December 2006

To Heretic or Not to Heretic

Thanks to Stephen Fife for linking me to this quiz! It's good to know that I can't be kicked out on heresy charges.


You scored as Chalcedon compliant. You are Chalcedon compliant. Congratulations, you're not a heretic. You believe that Jesus is truly God and truly man and like us in every respect, apart from sin. Officially approved in 451.

Chalcedon compliant




























Are you a heretic?
created with QuizFarm.com

One great idea creates another

At our Staff Christmas Party today, we did something quite unique and fun.... Earlier this month we tossed around ideas about how to spend some time giving back during the holidays as a team. We decided to buy gifts for the Genesis Women's Shelter in order to help women who are removing themselves from abusive situations and starting their lives over again.

We collected funds from the cash we had on hand and then divided up into teams. Each team was given the same amount of money, the same amount of time, and the same general concept of things to buy. We then raced to the closest stores in order to win one of three prizes: first group back; most items purchased; and biggest bargain.

Our team made a mad dash to Wal-Mart in order to spend our loot. We ran thru the aisles to the small appliances section...bought a toaster, a coffee maker, and a blender. We spent $63.33 and made it back to home base in under 10 minutes. Our team made an effort to draw as much attention to ourselves as possible during our outing to Wally World - and we succeeded mightily!

Our team won the prize for "first group back" and would have won the prize for "spending closest to the limit," but there was no prize for that. As the other groups arrived with their purchases, the table to hold the stuff quickly filled to overflowing. It was amazing to see what a group of people can do in 30 minutes to bless the lives of people we will never meet. It was truly a God-moment and I give thanks to Jennifer for spear-heading the activity.

Praise be to God that there will be women who have survived a road of pain and abuse who can live in their own home with some semblance of normalcy this Christmas thanks to a bunch of people running around Lewisville having fun! And the best part came at the unveiling of the gifts...the team that chose the "best" prize ($20 Starbucks giftcard) gets to meet to discuss the next blessing project our staff will participate in. I am looking forward to that!


14 December 2006

Tough Times in Ministry

This morning I presided over a funeral for a 16 year old. He died tragically and his parents were left with many, many questions. This was by far the most difficult act of ministry and pastoral care that I have had to do in my career. I can only pray that God used me in a way that will change the lives of some of his friends - so that they will not suffer the same fate that he did and that another set of parents won't have to go thru what his did.

Here is an excerpt from my message this morning. I hope that if you are or know someone who struggles with drug issues, please know that I am available to talk anytime.

Paul uses the image of clay pots as a metaphor for the frailty of the human body. If you know anything about clay, you know that it begins as a part of the earth – dusty, sticky, and moldable. When water is added to clay, it becomes a paste that can be shaped into almost anything. Once a particular shape is acquired, the clay can be “fired” in a kiln to harden and solidify the object. Two things happen at this point. One – the object is permanently set in that shape – there is no changing that shape once the clay has been through the kiln. Two – the object is strong, yet fragile – the fired clay can withstand a great amount of pressure, but if you strike the object with enough force, the object will shatter.

The human body is a lot like clay. We have been molded by our Creator to be exactly who we are supposed to be. We have been put through fires that solidify who we are and shape who we will be for the rest of our lives. But, we are oftentimes fragile. Strike us with enough force and we will break, never to be the same again. If we only rely on ourselves for strength, then one good whack can crumble us forever. One blow to the ego and we are done for. One tragic death and you can count us out. If we look to ourselves only, for hope and recovery, during times of crisis, then it is certainly possible that the life that we understand around us can come crashing down, never to be put right again.

Paul offers us more than a “one-and-done” way of living. Paul offers us the strength of Jesus Christ to draw upon when times are tough. Paul offers us the power of the Son of God to surround us during a crisis. Paul offers each and every one of us the opportunity to know that we can be “hard-pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed.”

Jesus understood grief. Jesus understood despair. Jesus understood abandonment, loneliness, and frustration. Jesus understands all the emotions that are in this room right now because he felt all of them. Jesus knows what you are going through because he went through those emotions himself as he ate a last meal with his friends, took his last steps carrying the sins of the world on his shoulders, and breathed his last breath and died for the salvation of the whole world. He gave himself up for the forgiveness of sins. He died on the cross to bring us eternal life. He made a way for humanity to be reconciled to God and he did it because he loved us.

Yes, life still has peaks and valleys. Yes, a life lived for Christ may still result in tragedy. Yes, Christians still have pain and suffering. However, those clay jars that hold “the light of the knowledge of God’s glory displayed in the face of Christ” are able to moderate those peaks and valleys. They are able to see God’s purpose in pain and suffering and are motivated to make a difference in the world, so that our prayer for God’s kingdom to come on earth can be actualized.

I have a feeling that [D], like many teenagers, wanted tangible evidence about things. He seemed like a guy who wanted physical proof for what he believed in. I am like that in many ways, because without proof, your case won’t hold up. Without proof, all we have to go on is someone’s word. Without proof, we have to trust that people are telling us the truth. Although I do want proof for the things I stand for in life, I have discovered that sometimes, walking out on a limb is the only way to discover what I should stand for. Believing in God does not require us to throw logic and reason out the window. Believing in God does not call us to abandon reality for a land of make believe. Believing in God calls us to understand that we are not alone in this world and that a life lived only for the pursuit of personal pleasure is ultimately unfulfilling and meaningless. Believing in God causes us to move our focus from “that which is seen” to “that which is unseen.”

The Apostle Paul reminds us that outwardly, we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed each day. He reminds us that the stuff we see is “light and momentary” – this includes our bodies, our possessions, and even the earth we live on; but, that the struggles we face each day with those things are moving us toward an eternal glory that surpasses any amount of pain, grief, anguish, or heartache that we may feel. He challenges us (and I second that challenge) “to fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.”

As we celebrate a life so full of potential and promise, we must keep in mind the reality of what ultimately ended his life. I want to speak to those of you who count yourselves among [D]’s many friends for a moment. As you are well aware, the casual (and addictive) use of drugs has skyrocketed across this country over the past decade or so. It is no longer an isolated group of people on a high school campus who use. Drugs cross socio-economic lines, racial lines, and gender lines. More than likely, you know who uses drugs at your school. You probably even know how often, where, when, and how much they use.

[D]’s mom and dad told me that they had no indication that he ever used drugs before Saturday morning. They wanted me to convey a very clear message to each of you this morning. If you are using drugs, stop. If you know someone who uses drugs, help them to stop. If you have never used drugs, don’t ever start. I want to echo their sentiments because your presence here this morning only confirms the dangers that drugs present....

Again, we are here this morning to celebrate [D]’s life. A life that was cut short, but a life that was lived with passion, energy, and drive. His story is bittersweet and it’s hard to believe that it is over so soon. You all have memories of [D] that will live on in your hearts and I believe, from what I have learned about [D] this week, that he would want you to cherish those memories and smile when you think about him. I will leave you with this: God loved [D] all of his 16 years, through all the ups and downs of his life and God continues to love [D] in life beyond this life...in ways we can't prove or even understand, but simply affirm. And also remember: God loves each one of you. No matter where you are in you life and faith, God just loves you, period. In these days and months to come as you grieve the death of [D], God will walk beside you, giving you comfort and support.


09 December 2006

Caitlyn's Birthday Pictures

I am far too late in getting these up here, but I hope that you enjoy them nonetheless. Caitlyn's first birthday was back in October and we took lots and lots of pictures, here are just a few for you to see.