12/08/99... 10 years ago yesterday...
Today starts the 11th year of living without my best friend from my childhood, my Grandfather. Every year at this time it makes me step back and think about my life, think about how I'm living, and if Grandpa Don would be proud of me. Sadly, I think of things that he wouldn't be proud of things that probably hurt him deeply. The fact remains that I miss him, terribly. He was a seperate breed of man. He was a strong, but nurturing, clever, but slow to judge, smart, but not arrogant, charitable but not gullible man. He taught me more about life in 11 years than anyone else could, and as I sit here writing this I realize that he's still teaching me things, without me even realizing it. I am the man I am today because of my Grandfather. If it wasn't for the things he instilled in me at such a young age, things that I rebelled again, I don't know where I would be right now. I love him, and think of him often, and I know that he's in Heaven with my Grandma Paige, playing bridge but as selfish as it is, I wish they were all here with me.... RIP Grandpa Don 12/08/99 and Grandma Paige 10/13/06... I love you both more than you'll ever know...

Struggling through the night...


Giving is about more than purchasing..

Forgiveness. Is. The. Best. Gift.

I've been talking to my kids about giving.I love Christmas and have been thinking about it a lot lately.Wouldn't ya' know it. Someone from my past text me to apologize ask for forgiveness, and forgive me in return. Then God prompted me to do something I was very uncomfortable doing. I had to be honest with myself and honest with others. So I called some people, one person in particular and apologized for the way that I acted, granted what happened wasn't my fault,but I wasn't perfect nor will I ever be. Ephesians 5, words to live by, says "Be imitators of God." Well I think that me attempting to apologize was my way of trying to live that today. I need to live what I preach to these kids. I realize that forgiveness is the greatest gift you can give someone. Asking for it is hard, harder than I ever imagined. But giving is all about offering everything you can. Luke 21:1-4 talks about the Widow's offering. Go read it, and see if you grasp it, if not, come ask me about it. It's about the fact that while others were able to give more money, they gave a fraction of what she herself gave, because she gave everything she had to live on. Do we do that?

Give. Yourself. To. Others.

Giving everything we have doesn't have to be in terms of monetary or world things. Our love, compassion, understanding, forgiveness, hearts, and ears can be the greatest gifts to not only our brothers and sisters in Christ, but also to those that don't know Christ. And what better way to share Christ's love, than to share your own in His name? It's a grueling process, knowing what to give to who, and when. I think the greatest gift I've received from someone here on Earth was their prayers. When someone calls and tells me they are praying for me, for no particular reason, it moves me. I hope that as the Christmas season begins you remember what CHRISTmas is all about. God GAVE us His Son, so that we could be delivered into The Kingdom. What an amazing gift!

I. Am. Sorry.

To those of you that read this. For whatever I've done in the past, whether it was yesterday, or 20 years ago, whether it's known or unknown, I am sorry. I know I don't have to apologize, but I need to apologize. In finding myself I have found that becoming a better person starts with letting go of the old you. As lame as it is, I'll reference some Justin Timberlake lyrics when he said "The old me is dead and gone".. I will also reference Lazlo Bane (and Scrubs) by saying " but i can't do this all on my own, no I'm no, I'm no superman". I'm sorry. I love all of you, and I hope you can give me the gift of forgiveness, just as I will offer my forgiveness to any of you that may feel the need to have it. For another day....

Grace and Peace


A Lack of Understanding...

Jumbled Thoughts.

Why do things happen to good people?
Why is it that people you love, and admire seem to let you down unexpectedly.
Why do we hurt our own?
Why do Christians do things, that we know are sins, but yet ignore our actions.

Why? Why? Why? Why? Why? Why? Why?

I have a lot of confusion right now.
I don't understand why God takes people who are too young.
I don't understand why people are unfaithful.. to other people, to God, to themselves.

I realize that we don't understand everything that God does. I'm ok with that, at least, I thought I was. Hosea 6:1 tells us:
"Come, let us return to the LORD.
He has torn us to pieces
but he will heal us;
he has injured us
but he will bind up our wounds."

It's just hard to be comfortable with what God's doing, when others are hurting. I feel weak and tired, I am exhausted physically, emotionally, spiritually, and mentally... I realize this isn't going to be easy, but I feel like sometimes I forget what Isaiah 40:30-31 "even youths will become weak and tired. and young men will fall in exhaustion, but those who trust in the Lord will find new strength."

I am searching for that strength, I am ready to be renewed, and I am tired of being tired. Fix me Lord. Make me whole again, so that I may be re-broken by Your grace and glory. I'm ready for a new day.

Grace and Peace


Questioning the Creator.. right or wrong?

Are you there? Why aren't you answering?
These are questions we ask more often than not
especially to our Creator and Father.
Is it wrong for us to question His authority?
Questions. Yield. Answers.

Granted sometimes the answer doesn't come when we want it to
and sometimes it's not the answer we want, but God answers
and when it seems like only silence ensues, we have to realize
that we just don't see that He is responding. I, myself have often
questioned if God was near. And if He was why did it feel like He was
hiding from me. Did people in the Bible suffer and wonder as we do?
The. Answer. Is. Yes.

David. When you think of David, most of us think of slingshots, Giants, and sheep.
BUT how many of us realize that David also questioned God, not His existence, but his
presence. Throughout the Bible David asks things like:
"Why, O Lord, do you stand far off? Why do you hide yourself in times of trouble?" (Psalm 10:1) and
"My soul thirsts for God, for the living God. When can I go and meet with God? My tears have been my food day and night while men say to me all day long, 'Where is your God' ... I say to God my Rock, "Why have you forgotten me?" (Psalm 42:2-3,9)

I have found myself asking these same questions. And not just in times of trouble, but just through times of confusion. I used to think it was wrong to question. However, it doesn't say anywhere that we can't question him, faith isn't perfection, it's about trusting and believing, but in times of spiritual frustration it's hard to find those qualities, especially when it feels as if God has left us by the wayside. Jeff Kinley says in his book "Losers Club" that... "That's why you should have hope. In the loneliest days of your life-- when so much is uncertain-- you can be confident of one thing: You are not alone in your struggle... And God never intended for you to handle this crisis by yourself... others understand exactly what you're going through" (1 Peter 5:9)

It. Makes. Sense.
I had a conversation last night about all of this to a degree. The conversation focused on why Christians sugar-coat things. That if we are truly living a Christian life we should find joy in the fact that it's not easy. James 1:2-4 says: "Consider it pure joy, my brothers, when you face trails of many kinds, for the testing of your faith develops perseverance, perseverance must finish it's work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything." God tells us we will go through bad times, but he later tells us in Hebrews that "Never will I leave you, never will I forsake you" God is present, all the time, we just lack the vision to see that He is there. We must make a choice between depending on our emotions, or depending on God's promise. We must walk by faith, not by sight.

Grace and Peace.


Passion and Purpose

And take my life, let it be everything, all of me
Here I am, use me for Your glory
In everything I say and do, let my life honor You
Here I am living for Your glory

These words have taken on a whole new meaning...
The message tonight was about not allowing your passion to become your purpose. It took it a while for this to sink in... All this time I always that you're passion was your purpose, that what you were passionate about, is what you are meant to do, which means it's your purpose in life.
Surely, I'm not the only person who thinks in this manner. I was so lost at what Louie Giglio meant by this, I felt that it didn't apply to my passion, I started to brush it off, I started to say... my passion is my purpose, Louie's out of his mind, I'll just sit back and think... and then there was something inside of me, most likely God sitting on my shoulder saying... "Hey, doofus, pay attention." This. Is. Relevant.

Ephesians 5 tells us to "Be imitators of God, therefore, as dearly loved children and live a life of love, just as Christ loved us..." Be. Imitators. This verse, as it has for the last 3 weeks, began to creep into my thought process, and I was like, ok... what does that have to do with my purpose Lord? Again, there He was, ready to answer... Louie made a comment about how things sometimes start "with a passion for Jesus, but somewhere along the way people get seduced into the glory of "me". It was like a head-smacking moment... My desire for Youth Ministry and Missions, isn't about ME... it's about JESUS, at least, it should be. I started to question myself, I started to wonder... am I doing this because I want to glorify Christ, or because I "think" it's my purpose, because I'm passionate. However, the whole concept still didn't resonate with me...

You know that moment, or moments, when you feel as if you are completely right... whether arguing with your girlfriend, a professor, a parent, a friend, whatever, and that person pulls out a book, a website, a newspaper, and says "Look! It's RIGHT HERE".. that was this moment. It was like God was saying "LOOK! LOOK! The answer is right in front of your face, and you are REFUSING to see it"... Since I got back from my retreat with MSM I must admit the care that I put into my studies has been lacking, I felt that I had it all figured out, I felt that I knew what God was calling me to do, and that was the end of the story. Once again though, God has more to say, I just had to listen... I realize now that, no matter what, my studies matter... Not because I'm not going to become a missionary, or not because I'm going to work in a bank, but because I. Don't. Know. The. Answers. I have no idea if I'll become a CEO of a Fortune 500 Company, or if I'm going to work as a bank teller, or grocery store manager, or be a stay at home parent. Only. He. Knows. And tonight it was God telling me that, just as it says in Colossians 3:17 "And whatever ever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him".. I don't know what I'll be doing in 10 years, 5 years, 1 year, or 1 month.. I don't even know where I'll be this summer, but tonight I realized, it doesn't matter. I will go where I'm called, and do whatever it is God wants me to do, if merely to glorify Him.
My. Future. Is. Only. Known. By. Him.

I don't know what the future holds, my guess is neither do you. The thing is, once you think you have it figured out, something will change. You will begin to feel lost, but take heart! God is there, He knows what he is doing and He will not lead you astray. So will I be a missionary full time?? No idea, I hope that I can one day work at Southland, and maybe that will happen, or maybe I'll end up leading 7 kids in a Youth Group in Mudpuddle, Mississippi... It won't matter, because I'm not doing it for me... Yes, it is my passion, and yes, I love kids.. but It. Is. Not. My. Purpose... my purpose is to further God's kingdom.. that's what YOUR purpose is. And it won't happen in the same way, some of us will be preachers, some will be Celebrities, others will manage a McDonalds.. but if you're doing it for the glory of God and the Kingdom is reflected in your work, then You. Are. Making. A. Difference.

After all that being said, after realizing a few things sitting there in the balcony, I still couldn't completely grasp the idea. So we started to sing, and I stood, and a flood of understanding ran over me as I sang the words, my heart cried out. I had been teaching an acronym I developed called A.C.T.S. to my Middle Schoolers... It stands for Accept Christ, Crave Him, Transform your life, and Surrender it All... The surrender part became something completely new tonight as I sang these words:

And take my life, let it be everything, all of me
Here I am, use me for Your glory
In everything I say and do, let my life honor You
Here I am living for Your glory

I understand now. I look back on two hours ago and think, wow, what and idiot I was being. In order to do God's work, I have to realize my purpose, and that purpose is NOT the same as my passion. I'm passionate about a lot of things, especially Youth, Missions, and the needy... but my purpose is to Glorify Christ and further the Kingdom in everything I do.

Let's infiltrate the culture, so we can influence the culture. Let's be authentic. No matter what your passion, make sure you go for it, but don't allow it to become your purpose. Make your purpose in life, to glorify the Kingdom... He'll take care of the rest.

Grace and Peace