Thursday, December 29, 2011

where am i

high school is the big time, and one reason for this is because you have a locker that is like your personal apartment...obviously much, much, much smaller. i can recall on many occasions going on a break from school for christmas or spring break and many of these breaks where full of doing so much of nothing. upon my return from break there was always a reality check once i visited my locker and had to pause as to remember the combination, or even the routine of classes and their appropriate period. in retrospect i see this as a good measure of the level fun i had from the break of a strict routine. not that i had a break from routine to no routine but that i was able to switch the routine up.

this last trip to the states was much like that...

my family was able to go to dallas for a few days to visit my parents and then we ventured off to southern california to visit liz' family. while in california we went to the popular sites: disneyland, sea world, and the san diego zoo. this was such a great trip and it was very refreshing. my sister-in-law lives in dana point, which is about a 45-50 minute drive north of san diego. it was full of walks for me as she lives within walking distance to the ocean. i was able to go sit for hours seaside amongst the waves crashing against the rocks. one of the most enjoyable places for me to be is on the rocks and watching the waves crash against them. i can imagine how incredibly boring this may seem to others. i have contemplated the simplicity of this oceanic entertainment before and every time i walk away in awe of god's glorious ideas in addition to how incredibly simplistic my view of god really is. the moments are etched into my mind and are as sure as the waters cover this earth; i will never forget them.

upon my return here in belgium i experienced this very similar reality that had occurred upon return from a long break back to school. my mind raced as i scrambled to think about what i was to tell the officer at customs. as i got my luggage and began walking out of the terminal i was hurriedly trying to remember what greetings to use. i had to take the train back home and i, for the life of me, could not remember what the train process was like. even when i was on the train headed back home i completely blanked out as to the order of stops from brussels central to waterloo. i stood there looking at every stop as to make sure i didn't miss my stop. walking into my apartment i had forgotten how small it was and the fact that i cannot go down to the store and ask for something in my native tongue. isn't this weird?!?! my mind. went. blank.

all of this, i can only attribute to the amazing time i had. i truly forgot a few times that i even lived in belgium. the only regret i have is the limited amount of time to enjoy with close friends. there were many necks that didn't get hugs and hands that didn't get a high five. nevertheless the brilliance of these particular relationships is that the next time i am around them we will be enjoying each others company as though not a single second has gone by without hanging around them.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

she has only just begun

yesterday was a historic day; it will never happen again.

an individual who cares not for attention nor does this person require credit for accomplishments

an individual who has influenced thousands

an individual who has selflessly given, even more than what was able to give

an individual who has shown me a heart of compassion more than anyone on the face of this earth

an individual who has blessed me in unimaginable ways

an individual who could soften the hardest heart even without a word spoken

an individual who has pardoned me and others when the consequence under the law was justice

an individual who is so attuned to the holy spirit i personally have no where to hide

an individual who's love is greater than the distance that separates her from her grandkids

an individual who would shoulder me around the world

an individual who gave me my first job

an individual who makes the best t.v. trash in the world (spicy and without nuts)

an individual who will make me anything i want

an individual who has been praying for me since before i was born...and the prayers are being answered even today

an individual who will pray for you whenever you want

an individual who open up a room for you to stay if you need one

an individual who would cook you a meal or get you a cup of coffee or both even at the same time

an individual who doesn't need a pulpit to preach the good news of the lord even though one could be filled if needed sunday through saturday

an individual who has so much fruit of the spirit that she has to store some of the preserves in a jar for her toast in the mornings

an individual who has pool cleaning ability second to none

an individual who can eat cereal and sandwiches the rest of her life if it means someone else can have steak and lobster

an individual who has a voice that would make michael buble cry

an individual who the most interesting man in the world only wished was his mother

this individual is the youngest 50 yr old you will ever meet and it was her birthday yesterday. if you happen to miss it don't worry, she is so forgiving that she will consider your birthday wish today as an early one for next year. thus, canceling out the forgetfulness due to the early wish.

she is my mom and the world is a better place because of her. mother teresa doesn't even hold a flame to her. she is so great that she would willingly be your mom too. all you need is to ask.

mom i love you...but i am betting because of your amazing discretion you knew that already.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

calling all single guys

i remember working in the nursery when i was a teen. it changed my life and brought deeper awareness to my desire to be involved with kids as a counselor now. i love children. when my mother was a kindergarten teacher i had a wonderful time going in there periodically and hanging out with them. usually it involved laughing at their jokes and making noises with them that we all would laugh at.

when i was a teenager my mom was in charge of the nursery's on sunday mornings which meant i was able to go into the nursery and be involved with kids that were really young (3 or 4). i remember what great times i had. here is a blog post by mark driscoll who shares his experience with kids.

As a new Christian and college freshman, my first ministry was taking care of a bunch of young kids during a daytime women’s Bible study. It was the best. The kids were super fun, and on any given week I had anywhere from maybe 10 to 20 kids under the age of five for a few hours without any help. Those hours included crackers, juice, Bible stories, wrestling for the boys, and tea parties for the girls. The moms were surprised that a 19-year-old single guy would volunteer for the nursery, but I’m glad I did. And I’d encourage the same for other single men. In fact, I have nine reasons why single men should work in the church nursery.

you can read the 9 reasons here.

slavery and the gospel

often times amongst the commentary sections of articles i read online i find heated debates taking place. mostly there are point of views/perspectives between two individuals who are both trying to argue their point of view via the world wide web. this is stupid, but not the point of this particular entry.

many of the arguments will resort to something that seems condoned in the bible. this is usually ammunition by the one who does not know god nor do they have a desire to seek his truth and righteousness. still this is not an excuse for the nitwit who vehemently defends his conviction to the point of crossing the line into sin.

one of many topics is that of slavery. john starke of the gospel coalition has this to say:

-In Paul's day, some 80 percent to 90 percent of the inhabitants of Rome were slaves.

-Slavery was not raced based.
-Some slaves were prisoners of war. Many others were men and women who sold themselves into slavery in order to relieve a burdensome debt.
-Slaves had certain rights under Roman law and could normally be expected to be released after seven years or by age 30.
None of this background should imply that slavery was desirable. This was still a corrupt system. Paul elsewhere instructs Christians to gain their freedom if possible (1 Cor. 7:21). And in 1 Timothy 1:10, he condemns slave-traders. Also, many Bible readers miss the implications of Paul addressing both slaves and their masters in his letters to the Ephesians and Colossians. He expects them to fellowship together in the same church as brothers and sisters in Christ. They sing together, eat together, bear each other's burdens, and, as history will tell us, suffer together when Roman persecutes Christians.
you can read the rest here

Monday, November 21, 2011

a proven rhythm

the lord is just and true. "at the end of the day" i must always ask my eye envious because he is generous. the lord too loves righteousness and hates wickedness and these are ingredients for a wonderful oil of joy to flow.

joy, which is ultimately what i am looking for, will increase with a devoted love to righteous living and the complete hatred of wickedness (note: this is applied to myself). i need a reminder of this proven rhythm time and time again. an envious eye produces nothing worthy of the glorious lord that came to free me of its stronghold.


these are none of what the spirit offers, nor are they the definition of true love. rather, these are all fruits of an envious eye with a belief that things are unfair (consequently, envy will not foster faith and hope; doubt and unbelief are inevitable).

children as the same image

i love finding things out on how to raise my children more biblically. some things i feel good about because, of course, my conviction lines up with a certain perspective and other times i find myself re-analyzing something because i realize i should parent differently. here is a great post by mark lauterbach.

Par­ents, includ­ing myself, tend to miss part of the lens. We lean toward cer­tain per­spec­tives. We often view all prob­lems with our kids in light of sin. We are tempted to miss redemp­tion, and to view all solu­tions to sin in terms of moral­ity and moral pres­sure (as in, “How many times do I have to tell you to clean up your room?”).

you can read the rest here.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

oh nostalgia you slay me

just got hit with a dart from mr nostalgia...


...that is all

Monday, November 7, 2011

fearing the divine and being naturally fearless

today i had a brilliant prayer time at the cpr (commission prayer room). i have to admit however, being the caretaker of the kids, at this current time in my life, i was not so excited about transporting a toddler around brussels. partly because he is the kind of kid who NEEDS a nap EVERY day (i know i am the only parent who has a kid like that). this new venture downtown was not something that would guarantee sanity, at least i knew i would be going insane around 4pm due to a cranky child. i also am doing life without a vehicle and even though i am, most of the time, mentally prepared to handle the inconvenience i would like to remind you that i am still a "merican." there is that little voice that continues to remind me that if i lived in the states i would be an idiot if i didn't own a car. so naturally i entertain the thought that a car is absolutely essential to living. thankfully i find out every day that it is not...but that is only by the grace of god.

titus slept nearly an hour at the cpr and that seemed, up to this point, to be sufficient. we will see around an hour from now. the commitment i have made is participating in the activities 2 times a week (mondays and thursdays). i can do this, i can do this, i can do this.

back to the at the cpr was very rewarding. when i woke this morning to be with the lord i read through the moments that saul had heard the voice of jesus and received his spiritual awakening. i re-read the moments ananias was charged with laying hands on saul for him to receive his eye sight again. i am certain, as i thought about it, saul's reputation preceded him greatly. saul was pursuing those who began walking after the way. he was violently opposed to this movement, which by the way, was gaining momentum due to the holy spirit and the power god was releasing in the manifestation of miracles.

so imagine, people are becoming excited; enjoying peace with each other, being built up; going on in the fear of the lord (this bit is huge) and in the comfort of the holy spirit, continuing to increase (acts 9:31). the news of saul coming to damascus would not necessarily generate a sense of rejoicing in one accord. further more, ananias was god's instrument to lay hands on the very individual who ruthlessly opposed this movement. ananias, as human as any one of us, felt great discomfort at the request of the lord. but understand this one mindset of ananias...he feared the lord more than he feared saul. i don't know how long he wrestled with this request, all we are given is that saul was blind for 3 days. ananias was not overcome by the natural authority saul had, he did not fear what could have happened. instead, he feared the lord. now get this...the fear of the lord actually gave him the courage to do what god wanted him to do. this is a profoundly different type of fear here.

it is recorded in psalm 25:14 that "the secret of the lord is for those who fear him, and he (god) will make them know his covenant." again, in psalm 31:19 "how great is thy goodness, which thou hast stored up for those who fear thee." i have no doubt in my mind a faithful and god fearing reader/doer of the word, as ananias, echoed david's sentiment in the later verse of 24 in chapter 31, "be strong, and let your heart take courage, ALL you who hope in the lord."

what a refreshment, what a testimony, what a bold truth for all who genuinely rest their hope in the lord. those who do are able, with authority, to tell their hearts to take courage. i hold to the conviction that the fear of the lord is truly the beginning of wisdom.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

je veux te voire dans ma vie

explanation, give it to me!!! i wish i could. every year i attend the cj i return home stirred, provoked, and inspired to plow a little deeper, dig a little harder, and sow the seed a little farther. this year is not any different.

in reality the cj is where it began for most of the team. this was our 3rd in attendance in just 4 years as a 9th hour squadron and our sphere of influence is growing only by the grace of the lord. confirming what he is saying to us, as a team, he is also demonstrating in events such as these. spontaneous songs, healings, awakened hearts and most importantly transformation into a submitted life unto his calling are all what you would have found here if you had attended.

this year we were able to have more of a direction in the look of the stage. i think this years stage design was one of the best this conference has seen. you can see in some of the photos from our facebook page that we really made an effort in giving the stage a look that would draw attention to whoever was leading worship or whoever was just on the stage.

upon leading worship we were able to lead the group in a few of the french songs that we wrote and there was a great response to these songs. allyster did a tremendous job leading the congregation in french along with laetitia. after one of our worship sets there arose a spontaneous song from the youth. you can see what it was like here:

here is a different video that allyster had filmed while on stage. we, as a band, stopped playing because the expression from the young people was so overwhelmingly marvelous that we just let them express their hearts as you can see they did in the video.

it is really starting to feel ground breaking for me personally. i have been able to witness things that seem to have made an impact. now it is starting to gain momentum and be very consistent. i truly see the lord moving amongst these people in marvelous ways.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

we would not suffer defeat

being in europe my thoughts gravitate towards the history of this land. one of the most significant events that took place across this landscape was world war 2. fortunately i am allowed a distance and allowed only to read, study, and imagine what took place. i can only come as close as the internet will allow me to the atrocities and fear that gripped the people who were under the nazi regime.

when we look closer at the battles and movement we are made aware, in hindsight, as to what specific key decisions ultimately determined the demise of hitlers german force. not conquering britian; failing to defend the invasion at normandy; germany's allies, japan, invading pearl harbor thus inviting the united states into the war; the demise of panzer group 4, which could not advance any further into soviet territory. as described by general erich hoepner...

we have reached our upmost limit, with physical and mental exhaustion, unbearable shortage of personnel, and lack of winter clothing.

later stating...

my 22 divisions face 43 russian divisions, none of my divisions is capable of attack or of defending against a stronger force. all my positions are endangered. no fuel, no food for the horses, the soldiers fall asleep standing, everything is frozen, the soil is frozen a meter deep, which makes digging impossible.

this was arguably the beginning of the end. it was 3 and a half years later that hitler's forces were finally defeated. it reminds me of the proverb for want of a nail:

for want of a nail a shoe was lost
for want of a shoe the horse was lost
for want of a horse the rider was lost
for want of a rider the battle was lost
for want of a battle the kingdom was lost
all for the want of a horseshoe nail

our reality dictates that there are 2 forces at play. 2 forces that are supernatural and in many circumstances dip into our natural world.

ninth hour hosted a team earlier this month from our home church of shady grove that served in the prophetic. while we (ninth hour) engage in warfare we many times feel the pressures of a resistant force that at anytime (if not balanced with a divine supernatural perspective) we could lose our ground to our dark adversary. the prophetic team went through our areas of influence and victoriously proved to point to a unlimited god with unlimited resources of love, encouragement, and goodness to the people of europe. ministering to young, ministering to old, ministering to the lost and ministering to the beloved in christ they departed leaving with us an ever more confidence in the god we serve.

god is without limit, god is abundant in resources and everlasting in refreshment. psalm 16:11 says that he will make known to us the path of life; in his presence is fullness of joy; in his right hand there are pleasures forever. the ninth hour team is forever grateful for the team that came and served in the prophetic. although we reside here in belgium, we are allied with many across the world with a united vision to see people awakened to the heart of the father towards his people.

even momma anita would not falter to the unfriendly landscape that tried to keep her in the car or in a seat.

Friday, September 16, 2011

none of the cream and all of the blueberries

many times in my fathering life i encounter the uninhibited 3 year old's true feelings. at least it is only for one year ; ). it reminds me of the word of god.

this school year dutch, titus, and myself usually trek out of the house about 10 minutes til 8am. the season is now upon us where the days are short and the weather is colder (however, i am not about to start making weather complaints seeing as my main audience resides in the volcanic belly that is dallas texas). if there is one thing dutch does not care about when he is faced with a "must do" from his mother or me it is the amount of sugar coating we put on to play it up as "not that bad." it is getting much harder to get dutch out of the house to go to school. we have nearly a 1.75 mile walk each way to his school. in the mornings when the temperature is in the low 50's and the wind is blowing one of the worst things you could do is convince dutch that he should go outside. he will not shy away from telling you that it is too cold and that this was a bad idea. his celerity is not brimming with a confident swagger that my blood runs thick with upon a walk. this, in turn, transforms what should be a meager 20 minute walk (one-way) into a 30 minute campaign. my wife is a pro at cheering him on and convincing him of getting things done despite his desire to do otherwise. my attempt however, could be compared to an average 5 year olds attempt at beating bowser on level 8 of super mario bros. it just won't happen. so like dutch, i give up as well. so what do ya do?

so the revelation hit me at how i have been accustomed to making god's word into something that it is not intended to be. like my wife with dutch i can excel at putting lipstick on a pig and thinking, "mmmm, thats not so bad." the moment i try and make something say what i want it to say is the moment reality (the holy spirit) back hands me into coherency and i praise god for that. to be like my son?!?!? not being side tracked with the whistles and bells of not only a pure and righteous pursuit of god but to represent him in the same mode. to see through the "feel good" persuasion of a prosperity driven money getting gospel. don't sugar coat it for me, give it to me straight, this is going to be hard, this is going to cost me, this is going to take my whole life but, BUT, this will all be worth it! that is how i like to hear the word. i need to teach it that way.

dutch will not back down if he does not want to do it. he will let you know too. i cannot play it up and trick him into belief that this will be enjoyable and all his wildest dreams will come true (which for him would be to get hiro from the thomas the tank engine movies). dutch's 1st birthday cake was blueberries piled high covered in a home made whipped cream and he wore his disdain for that topping on his face loud and clear...he was having none of the cream and all of the blueberries.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

god save the queen

i have this thing in which i want to be mr documentary. so before trips i tell myself that i am going to document and film and be descriptive so that people will know what it was like through my amazing footage. well...sadly i take to it about so long into the trip and usually forget that i had such a passion before hand. i only regret it later when i want to tell my audience of 20+ that we really did do more than this, i just, was a little forgetful.

we went to a leadership summit in chertsey england which is nearly in london. if london was a clock and the m25 (the motorway that goes all the way around) is the clockbase, then chertsey will fall on 8. we drove from little 'ole waterloo. you will see in the video that we boarded a train in the car and went under the channel. i have never done this before so it felt really really cool, er, wicked as they would say in england. "thas wicked mate!" and yes it would sound like they are saying "thas" not "thats."

among many things that go on in england driving on the wrong side of the road is not the worst thing. the first night due to our urgency of time to make the first session we scarfed down our fish n chips. the sea was rough that night my friends but fortunately jon vandeput was the only one who did not make it out of the loo alive (which oddly enough is a slang derivative of the town waterloo in the london area). the portions were hefty and the price was steep. it was great to be in a place where i did not need a translator...well, except for when those aussie's started their jive ; )

it was good to hear the key speakers bruce monk and glyn barrett. you should find them in their respected area via the internet and see all that they do. i know glyn has a major ministry in manchester and has many youtube videos for his church.

here are some videos i took of my excitement on the way across...

Monday, August 29, 2011

can't you see, you belong to me

it's hard to not be so sad when you leave those individuals with whom you have shared so many memories. my family and i had the amazing opportunity to return to the states and connect and reconnect with loved ones this past week and a half. my reflection on such relationships continues to press on my mind.

what would i do without these individuals?

as i sit here at 4 in the morning, suffering from jetlag just finishing a bowl of oatmeal (the only food in the pantry) and sipping on amazing nespresso coffee, i can't help but sing the police over and over again in my mind...every breath you take, yeah, i'll be watching you. nostalgia and technology make it impossible to forget the memories that keep the conversations entertaining and absolutely boundless on forging new ones.

this time was not any different in my joy upon returning and embracing my parents and friends. so many of you who are the reason i am what i am today. i constantly feel the debt and it is a good debt, if dave ramsey would allow me to describe it as such using those terms.

this time, when i prepared to return to belgium, i realized how much easier it is now becoming. my greatest hope was the bond between my two sons and my parents would grow stronger. i was praying that they would not have skipped a beat. and as good as god is today i tell you it was as if they had never been separated. my sons and my parents picked it right up where they left it on november 23rd 2010. and witnessing this, the reconnection of grandparents and grandsons made the trip back here to waterloo, belgium much, much easier.

as an individual who strongly desires the family unit to operate functionally, as a divine unit, as a kingdom of heaven unit, this brings me peace.

please, please make these kinds of relationships. the kind of relationships that you could be physically separated for months and months and upon seeing each other again it would be as if you had never even noticed the gap. just as you go to sleep and the hours that pass in darkness are only but a restful nights sleep away from the morning sun that will rise just as it has done from the beginning of your existence.

Monday, August 8, 2011

what say you?

i absolutely love this:

how do you account for jesus?
how is this concert and antiquity to be explained? did some unknown creative genius take an ordinary man, jesus, and invent his deeds of power and his words of love and authority and authenticity, then present this invented jesus to a church with such deceptive power that many people were willing from the outset to die for this fictional christ? further, must we believe that all the gospel writers swallowed the invention-and in the space of several decades while many who knew the real jesus were still living? is that a more reasonable or well-founded guess than the plain assertion that a real man, jesus christ, did in fact say and do the sorts of things the biblical witnesses said he did?
you must decide for yourself. to my mind, an unknown inventor of this jesus is more incredible than the possibility of jesus' reality. so for me the question becomes: "how do we account for a man who leaves a legacy like this?
i cannot morally reckon him among the poor deluded souls who suffer from pathological delusions of grandeur. nor can i reckon him among the great con men of history, a deceiver who planned and orchestrated a worldwide movement of mission on the basis of a hoax. instead, i am constrained to acknowledge his truth. both my mind and my heart find themselves drawn to yield allegiance to this man. he has won my confidence.

j. piper
-desiring god

Friday, July 15, 2011

short foolishness with no room for cream

there is a new starbucks in belgium. it is located in the central train station in downtown brussels. i have taken the boys on the train to meet up with liz on her way home from work a few times. it is good for the boys and for us to venture into our american embassy. the last time we did this i went into the cafe area to get our drinks while liz stayed on the outer part of the store. there is ALWAYS a line. this one wasn't too bad but as i was standing there waiting i noticed a tall, nicely dressed man standing to my right and i was getting the impression he was trying to cut. in my mind i was thinking, "who does this guy think he is?" i certainly was not dressed to impress and that fear of trying to be intimidated by a "business" man was creeping in my head. he sensed the tension and proceeded to tell me that he was in line before but had forgotten what his friend had wanted and so he tried to quickly return to his spot.

yeah, i wasn't born yesterday, get the heck outta here into the back of the line!!!

no, i didn't say that, i wanted to but then a sudden rush came over me..."buy his and his friends coffee." wait, what? again i felt it, "buy their drinks." i then asked the guy what his friend wanted and he told me. i said to him "well, let me buy your friends drink and yours." he bursted out in laughter, and when i say bursted that is an understatement. IT. WAS. LOUD. i thought for split second to decline the offer simply based on this obnoxious, loud laugh but i couldn't. i told him i was serious and i wanted to bless him and his friend. he said ok.

he then asked me where i was from and where i was going. i told him i lived in belgium and moved here to be a missionary. he said, "oh really." i said i wanted to train young people in the word of god. he said, "which god?" i said, "the god the bible talks about." he casually said, "ah, but they are different." i told him we could talk more when we were able to sit and enjoy our coffee.

he confessed to wanting to be a missionary when he was a kid and i responded by telling him i wanted to be a navy seal. as it turned out he was a lawyer and his friend was a mathematician. so here i was going to try and reveal the truth of jesus to two guys who would love to debate faith and justice. we didn't ever really debate but we did talk about faith and god. i told him my only intent in buying their drinks was because i wanted to show them an act of generosity in the name of jesus christ (i speculate that being a lawyer he didn't need my charity for the sake of cultural enjoyment). a seed was sown, and i felt at peace in my spirit as to where i left it.

i realize his fault, as mine on many occasion which is not the pursuit of knowledge, but the love of knowledge over everything else. sometimes i catch myself loving knowledge and even in the moments when i need to be reading scripture as the food for my soul i will venture off sometimes i start to think how great a teaching "this" could be, or "that." all in all, at the end of the day i am only as smart as the next guy who walks in the room; my knowledge is very, very, very, limited. it is hard to admit this but someone will always be more educated. that is the struggle for so many; pursuing knowledge until they literally kill themselves. i will leave you with this...for those who love knowledge so much.

1 corinthians 1:27 - ...god has chosen the foolish things of the world to shame the wise...

i just hope i was foolish enough for jesus to shame every ounce of wisdom those men thought they had.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

hb ab

when i think of austin benjamin i think of a room full of delight. now imagine this room had a door. most people dare not even enter that door to the room of delight i am talking about, which reminds me of austin.

let me, as best as i can, describe what i have seen and experienced inside this room of delight which reminds me of austin...

1. those who have not seen borat...don't waste your time. now there is a character in borat who is dared to do something and this characters reaction is basically: not only will i do that but i don't even care about the consequences or who knows that i did it. austin is like this guy, except, austin cares but he still will do anything and doesn't care what people think.

2. have you ever been anticipating a moment that you had planned on watching on tv? only thing is, you were needing to record it so that you could watch it at your earliest convenience because you couldn't watch it live. there are few who will deprive themselves of seeing said moment/program live in order to watch it with you. i am not for sure if austin would do this, but i think he would if i asked him to.

3. once when i was in this room of delight that reminds me of austin, i thought if i could hire an individual to drive me around anywhere i wanted, like a personal chauffeur, that might be awesome. it wouldn't, because sometimes i like to be alone in the car. i would feel bad paying a guy to stand and wait for my mood to change. austin is the kind of guy who will shut up and let you be alone with your thoughts. i know this because i was able to stand in a room that was a delight reminding me of austin, and at the same time i was able to think of myself. AMAZING!!! i know.

those are only a few things that can describe a good man like austin who is very very very similar to a room of delight which few dare even dream of entering. but honestly, i know he doesn't mind because he has a group of friends that are very close and even in that circle of those friends he sometimes has to ask some of them to move away to belgium (like me) because the closeness is getting too delightfully close.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

iranians, jesus, and durums

i remember when i gained an awareness concerning muslims around the world but predominately in the middle east. as for many, it was right after the 9/11 attacks. i can recall not a disdain that was represented in so many americans but rather, well, the only way i can describe it is that feeling jesus had when he looked out on the crowd and saw the people. the scripture says he felt compassion for they were like sheep without a shepherd. shortly after i got married i lived with liz near a small market place with a palestinian as an owner, in the cabochon apartment complex. maybe you are familiar with the u.s. population of muslims, i found that most gather together in or around a cafe or small market place, sit and enjoy coffee and cigarettes. it was here, as well as starbucks, that i gained genuine relationships with syrians, palestinians, lebanese, and egyptians. no matter the country, it seemed, if you spoke arabic you had a sense of camaraderie. i realize how many could be threatened by this, i too feel as though i don't belong in this circle, as an outsider. there many a times that these fine gentlemen would venture off into political talk, but i would always steer clear of this banter. it was like when the woman at the well wanted to talk about the proper place of worship with jesus, or the pharisees wanted jesus to answer about justice, he (jesus) knew better than to engage. i, however, could not be so spiritual and respond in such a way where these gentlemen would go running to their respected places of residence and beg their families to come running to see who this jesus was. nevertheless i have had this place of softness in my heart. it seems this softness has been reinforced time and time again by meek and meaningless individuals from that religion that have bolstered this tenderness for them. don't mistake what i am saying as a form of tolerance but rather a place of sincere desire to see them know jesus as their messiah and the great "i am" as their god.

i have found my durum spot. it is a place called chez laila's and is located in a smaller part of waterloo called joli bois. it is a short bus ride from my place and honestly could be ventured to by foot but the bus is being paid for monthly so i might as well use it. i have two other durum spots i could throw a rock and hit from my living room: one place called el grecco (greek), and another turkish durum shop called chez melissa's. but there is something unique about chez laila's i wish to reveal. the couple that owns this place is iranian and their testimony of how they came to know the lord is one of those testimonies that you read about in a book, or see in a movie. it is all centered on how they left iran by walking (that is right walking!) with caravans to belgium over 20 years ago. that isn't even the point of this blog.

i went in nearly 2 weeks ago and was getting a durum with my boys. they really enjoy the french fries. i like this place because of the owners, their faith in jesus, and they have these special peppers that are really hot they can put on my durum and do every time. at this particular moment i was getting my usual (durham poulet avec samourai sans veggies) and a couple came in to sit and eat. she was pregnant and they were from the middle east and began speaking arabic to chez laila as she was writing their order down. it wasn't too busy but they had a few people and were obviously rushing to get all orders out in a timely fashion.

while waiting on my food the lord quickened to me the good samaritan parable. i was reflecting over and over in my mind the last bit in particular of the samaritan who said to the owner, whatever else you use, i will pay for it later upon my return. i wonder if he knew the manager/owner of the place to which that kind of trust could be extended. anyways the lord spoke clearly to me, "buy their meal and leave enough for a cold coke for them to wash it down with." i seriously felt that in my spirit (the bit about the coke). as i paid for my meal which was a emporter i told chez laila, "you see that couple that came in and are waiting for their meal? i want to pay for it." she asked me if i knew them because it is very very very uncommon for that sort of thing to happen. i said, "no, how much is their entire meal...coke in all?" so i gave her all that would cover it. i even gave a bit more so they could get 2 cokes each if they wanted. i know i would want one for the durum and one for the road. then i just walked out. i didn't say a word to them about the whole thing...not even mentioning the name of jesus, isa, or whatever. but, BUT, it was completely done in his name (this bit is huge in charitable acts towards everyone).

last sunday as i was at the church i attend (where laila and her husband attend as well), she rushed up to me after the service and told me about what took place at the transaction. she said they had never, ever, ever had anything like that happen to them in their life. this couple said that this was so profound and massive that they begged her to find me and they begged laila to give them my mobile number. they wanted to speak to me concerning why i did this. they were so persistent that laila had the opportunity to share her testimony with them about coming to know jesus and they are now planning on attending the church to find out about the source of this generosity. PRAISE THE LORD!!! when laila shared this news with me my heart leapt for joy. i mean



now i could remind you of how you too should be open to moments when your words are meaningless and you should listen for times to pay for peoples stuff but i am going to trust that the holy spirit has and will already quicken your faith to do the same. i will however leave you with this...please, please, think about how you too would want 2 cokes. one for the durum, and one for the road.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

his name is rickey

i wish i had more than words to express to my dad right now how much he means to my world. i wish i had two grandkids of his to sit on the steps at 2209 vega st and eat raisins with him. i wish we could all jump in the pool...even if it was cold, and he could give them a piggy back ride around.
i think there are some things i see in life, even our life as a family, that he doesn't see. but i know i only can see it because of his amazing love and his heart that says, "i still love you and i always will no matter what." because of that i choose to love him, honor him today, and to serve him no matter the cost.
what a great picture he has been in my life of the relationship i am meant to have with god almighty. what a tremendous picture of restoration he is that portrays the gospel in its truest form. for that, i can only say thank you dad for not allowing death and destruction to be my portion. my life, my kids life, and my grandkids will reap the fruit of your perseverance and a heart that truly resembles god's heart.

with the cruelty of youth i allowed myself to be irritated by traits in my father which i have since regarded as lovable foibles
-c.s. lewis

Monday, June 6, 2011

where were you on june 6th 1980?

today is a special day. one of the most important days of my life. it's not my birthday, it's not liz's birthday, it isn't the day we got married...but you are getting warmer. it isn't my sons birthday, nor is it the day i became a solid believer and chose to be an overcomer. this day in 1980 marks the wonderful and blessed union of 2 individuals who, literally, if they had not hooked up i wouldn't be here.










law abiding



sound in the word

picture of servanthood

lives of abandonment



full of wisdom





stirred and not shaken


full of faith

those are just a few things that describe this wonderful and spectacular couple.

mom and dad thank you so much for being in the 50% that choose to stick it out. thank you for being individuals who want to break previous generational curses by choosing to walk in the power and the anointing of the word of god. my marriage, my children's marriage, and their children's marriages will be better because of your foundation.

love you more than i express

Sunday, June 5, 2011

who do you say that i am

a young man approached me and said he wanted prayer. i prayed for him and at the end of, what i thought was this amazing prayer, he said, "i believe i have all that i just want to do it." i think he was waiting for someone to personally tell him to go do it. he believed he carried the revelation, he believed he knew the goal but what he lacked was the unction. i simply told him just to go do it.

after we talked for a bit he still seemed a little unsure of himself. so i invited him to come with me to pray over others. we walked around the room and as i laid hands on people, he too laid his hands on people. it was one of those moments i realized i had just made a disciple of jesus christ in a matter of minutes. he was praying over people with me and i just felt at peace that he was getting it and that his life would be turned upside down.

i only got his name. he had to leave while prayer continued because his ride was leaving. i hope i see him again. but i truly feel like something was deposited in his heart NOT by me praying for him but because he joined me in praying for others.

here is the conference that we had put together for pastors. it went from thursday through saturday morning. we held our monthly youth gatherings on the friday coinciding (usually it is on a saturday) with the conference. this is that night. 9th hour led worship, jahi evans gave a powerful message that provoked many to want the revelation of jesus as the fountain for their identities.

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

how the west thinks

a church without the gospel is a church without power (rom 1:16). the last paragraph reveals the motive in the recent developments of the pc(usa) decision.

"Already, a number of congregations have voted to cut ties with the PC(USA) this year. Though the PC(USA) is the largest Presbyterian denomination in the country, membership has been on the decline for decades. The denomination has around 2.7 million members, which is half the size it was a generation ago."

we see that a decline in church attendance is scary for those who are in the church business. it is hard as a pastor or board of directors who's salaries may or may not depend on the success of the organization to easily make these decisions. i had suspected that the motive for the move to allow practicing homosexual men and women to be ordained in the church was in part due to the dwindling numbers when i first read this story.

i don't even believe this is about homosexuality. i believe this move reflects a heart condition of individuals who would rather be liked and relevant than stand up for the accuracy of scripture. it could be anything polygamy, an affair revealed from the pastor, the dissension of a group of men who feel they know better than leadership; all of which have roots in self idolatry and pride.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

kids say the darnedest things

dutch and titus have watched a certain show that is a spin-off of cars the disney pixar movie. it is called mater's tall tales. these 5-10 minute episodes are tow mater doing crazy things which lightning mcqueen does not believe really happened. they include:

1. being a monster truck wrestler
2. being a dare-devil
3. being an "autonaut"
4. being a heavy metal singer (featured here)

and a few others that make a jab at pop culture. these ALL are very well done. disney did not cut corners at all in my opinion. dutch and titus both have watched this movie several, several, SEVERAL times.

there is one episode, as i mentioned, that mater tells the tale of when he was a heavy metal singer. his band's name is heavy metal mater. the opening of each episode always starts the same, with tow mater (tomater) saying, "if i'm lying i'm cryin." in his heavy metal mater episode he says the saying but in a heavy metal vocalist style. watch the style...

we finally got titus on video imitating heavy metal mater.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

romans the reason

i don't want to claim to know the answers to everyone's problem...ok maybe a little part of me wants that but the cause of the issue i think is just as important as the answer. this morning i have continued my study on romans. i am on week 2 and i am not even out of the 1st chapter, sheesh.

1:25 is very clear that "they" exchanged, not god. it was not his desire for their to be an exchange. they meaning we, his creation, exchanged the truth for a lie. we exchanged for the real gospel, which carries power and authority, for a message of inaccuracy completely void of life. it may contain power but only the power which hails the dark spiritual tyranny as something to be worshipped. a powerless message can only produce a powerless church; it's a formula that fits even the most basic of any structure. a church without power is like a business without capital or income. it will spend more that it makes eventually causing it to entertain ideas of a merge with another firm who once was a competitor. if the merge goes through the competitor now becomes an ally and will have room for implementation. new vision, mission, and influence will now be adapted into the structure consequently creating a whole new business model, which will effect the market altogether.

at the sacrifice of originality and created order the church exchanges the truth of "the word" becoming and appearing to maintain relevancy. it, however, doesn't see the debased position it takes as it pushes itself away from power and authority. the need to fill pews is a weight of frustration.

it saddens me to see the division such issues can create within the bride of christ. if it is not accepted then there is a cultural division; if it is accepted there is a division amongst the church. may we feel the pressure and weight of our decisions; may the consequences of said actions be a foresight for discussion. please, let us talk about this together so that division may not ruin us.

Monday, May 16, 2011

so whats the big deal

my last memories of 29 can be summed up best by the last few hours until the clock struck midnight. went out to downtown waterloo with my best friend allyster taubeneck then came to my apartment. we then enjoyed some wine, talked, and skyped with austin trying to arrange his flight to visit us here in beglium. those are the moments that i cherish. moments when nothing is on the agenda, but being together with great people. then i fell asleep to indiana jones and the temple of doom on my laptop.

there are landmark birthday's throughout one's life and i think, based on your culture, they are pretty consistent and yet still debatable.

year 1 - this marks the first year of your life and although you don't necessarily remember, it is significant for those who love you. as jerry seinfeld notes that your first birthday and your last one in old age are quite similar. "your not quite sure whats going on," "other people have to gather your friends for you," consequently you are thinking, "these are my friends?" nonetheless this birthday is big for mom's especially.

year 5/6 - depending on when you start kindergarten. this is a landmark year because, i feel, you are understanding the greatness of friendships and sleep-overs (even though they usually end in the parent coming to get you in the middle of the night) and the outdoors. you start school and have lunches where you begin to understand the value of this event. a lunchable is the greatest thing to bring to school besides a surprise visit from your parents who may have brought mcdonalds with them. also, at this age you know and can appreciate the value of birthday's so its fun to be recognized in front of your friends.

year 12/13 - the next is the years that usher you into middle school. it is a stretch from 5/6 to 12/13 but that amount of time is necessary to prepare you for the most dramatic moments in your life at this time. even then, most are NOT prepared. things start changing and faces become all weird looking and somewhere in the mix you can throw braces in there. hair in weird places, smells, zits, incontrollable voice influx, it is a wonder how this is the moment that teens begin to really like and become attracted to the opposite sex. but these are the years to take notice of relationships and most do take advantage of the moment.

year 16 - ah yes, sweet 16. the year of freedom, so to speak. most get their license and are able to drive, unless you are poor and you have to take the home school edition in which your dad makes you read EACH page twice before he signs off on it, oh and at age 17 no less. i really had no issues with getting around because most of my friends at this point were 1-3 years older than me so transportation was not my biggest problem. most start high school or have in the last year and are now learning what it means to be at the bottom of the pack again as "fish" in a sea of sharks. these years for me where the greatest years of my life and even though i would like to go back and change things i still would love to just go back and experience them again.

year 18 - graduation is in your presence. you get to move onto a schedule that YOU choose, but you must choose wisely. at this time you must register to vote (even though i think they should raise the age requirement) and you will most likely vote for whoever lady gaga tells you to vote for. at this age if your into naughty things you don't have to ask random strangers to buy smokes for you (similar to 21 and alcohol) at gas stations. starting college is big too and becoming more popular. don't be fooled by a school that seems to be more of a party school than others...if there are college kids, parties will happen. most still don't know exactly what they want to pursue at this point of entry. even still, some will change their career choice and start something that they did not even get a degree in.

year 21 - graduating university and starting to look at the rest of your life is what is kind of taught within our culture. although i believe this trend is changing. at this age you are able to get into places that shun away the teeny bopper (i.e. bars and night spots) which may be due to the fact that in the united states you are capable to purchase something called "alcohol" (and many do). responsibility is now your friend or arch nemesis. in the years previous you have noticed it gaining strength and maybe you have been able to withstand invasion the time is now rapidly approaching when you will NOT be able to escape its grip on your life. responsibility will choke you out if you don't surrender to it.

year 30 - hopefully you have settled down a bit by now and are ready to help someone else with their life responsibilities. if not there is still time. most are finding out their passions and what they like to do as opposed to what they are forced to do. it can be a bit scary, depending on your perspective, at this moment. for me, i am not scared because i see the glass half full right now. there is a refreshing peace when one is able to reflect on their past and see the hand of god on their life. the longer the experience the greater the reflection and peace.

i will not go on here to the 40's or 50's and beyond. although i do think the next monumental years in one's life are every decade after 30's. when i reflect in greater measure over my life it is hard to not think of the initial circumstances (positive and negative). but i truly remember many events that have stuck with me, shaped me, and in some ways derailed me. these are memories i would not change. i do think about what life would be like 30's from now. it seems like it took so long to get to this point. i wonder if it will feel that way when i am 60. i do know this if i am doing the exact same thing: married to liz, emotionally connected with my sons, serving in ministry with close friends, studying god's word and journaling everything he is saying, looking forward to holidays with family, and living the life that reflects who god is, i know i will be deeply satisfied with his handiwork.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

when i turn part 4

september 11th 2001 holds a different memory for me. i was working for an organization called sports magic based out of orlando florida. this was a training camp for crowd entertainers. many of my closest friends were on this trip and it definitely was a dude-bro trip. the morning of the attacks one of the rookies on the squad came busting into our room and turned on the tv and said the united states is under attack. the thought of this guy coming into the veterans room the way he did was similar to kevin costner's visit to the sioux tribe for the first time in dances with wolves. we were thinking "who does this guy think he is?" well, our flight back home around 1ish that day was canceled due to what took place. we were stranded in orlando on the companies dime. because we were the favored squad of the entire camp they gave us passes to a bunch of things throughout the city and put us up in a hotel and gave us per diem. we did mourn the loss of many but lets just say our experience was a picture of the unity that america was about to embrace in the next few months.

i love taking road trips. i think i would enjoy one by myself just as well.

i hate when people argue in the comments sections via the internet. especially when it is topics of pro-life vs pro-choice and christians vs atheists. but i do love conspiracies and controversy so it is a win win for me.

my dream is to have a few orphanages in ukraine and maybe one day africa.

you have to admit that genitalia in general has gotten humanity into a lot of trouble. i will ask god if he had thought of an alternative to what we have now when i get to heaven.

i am a terrible mother.

i always try to be a know-it-all. and if i don't know it i will play devil's advocate. i know, i need to stop but it goes along with the whole loving controversy thing.

i need absolute quiet when i study the word. i can tolerate music, with no lyrics, but if it has a very syncopated drum beat, or lyrics, i will think about that more than anything else. that is why prayer rooms are hard for me in a corporate setting. although i can testify to receiving revelation during sessions. i get distracted way to easily. the same could be said for conferences where there are people i don't know worshipping with me. don't even get me started on the expressions (that i feel are good in appropriate moments) that have flags and banners. i am a people watcher.

sometimes i wonder if i was born in the wrong century.

honestly, i am scared to death of jesus' second coming. i am afraid i will miss something or won't recognize him. like i am waiting for a certain bus at a certain bus stop and i accidentally get on the wrong bus line and it is too late to get out to change it.

if i am going to read i must have an actual book in my hand to mark pages and make notes with a pen. i can't do this whole electronic book thing. not that it is stupid but that i can't make that transition. i also hate it when people tell me, "i just don't read," then i notice they have a facebook and twitter account of which they read ALL. DAY. LONG.

i love that there are certain bands that no one else likes but me (even my wife). the same could be said for certain types of music too. this might be why no one asks me to "put some music on," and this also drives me crazy. i really hate it when i have something playing and then someone will come in and change it or turn it down for something else.

when i turn part 3

i can remember walking into the house liz and i would live in thinking we are moving into this house. i also remember the moment we both said we are moving out of 2010 ola lane in 2010.

i still wish i could be on staff a shady grove church sometimes

i remember when liz told me we were going to have dutch. i didn't react the way she would have hoped and i still feel bad for that.

my dad and i are so much alike. except for the fact that i will not construct a shower facility outside...yes he has one.

whenever my wife and i go to bed at the same time, most nights we will lay in bed watching seinfeld reruns. we have been doing this for years now. i love it.

when ever liz and i go to another country i beg her to allow us to make "our mark" in that country. we are doing pretty good so far across the globe.

i remember driving home from the dealership when i had bought my first car. i felt so cool, until i realized i bought a chevy cavalier.

i remember walking up to an iraqi when i went to denmark on a missions trip and the terror in my mind about the current state of the war. i remember his face as he thanked me for liberating his country. that moment shaped my view for people in that part of the world. he did not know me from adam. every other muslim i had met regardless if they were iraqi or not seemed to want to defend or excuse behavior of their leaders. not this guy, he expressed extreme gratitude.

i remember when i was in high school and hanging out late on the weekend with my friend nathaniel phillips. we were pulled over for curfew violation (we didn't get a ticket). the police officer, thinking he had busted me good, asked me if my parents knew where i was. i told him yes and he called my mom and she verified that she knew where i was. i felt like telling the cop "BOOM SUCKA!" but i didn't.

i have made up my mind to be rock and roll the rest of my life. so i am going to try.

i am so thankful that alcohol and marijuana (or any drug for that matter) didn't appeal to me when i was a teen.

i was a virgin when i married liz, but i remember thinking, "i know exactly how this is supposed to happen" on our first night. and i will never forget the moment she walked around that aisle and was coming to me, it was truly an el rey by the lassie foundation moment.

i wish i was good at poker. when all my friends get together i always decline to play. i know they are all better than me...or am i bluffing?

i hate that i don't consider others more than i should. sometimes i can be so selfish. there is a couple that lives in the same apartment building as liz and me. they go to the same church as well and speak english, but i have no desire to hang out with them. i think that is sorry, but i can't force to be his friend. i don't have the energy right now.

more to come...

Monday, May 9, 2011

when i turn part 2

i blame my parents for all the good attributes in my life

i remember talking to michelle harbst and liz williams in the gym of 1829 on a wednesday night about relationships and i had no thought at that moment my wonderful lifetime bride was on the other end. good thing my a-game was on.

i want to go to kathmandu but have neither the funds nor the thought that it might be ok for me to go right now.

the espresso machine we got from liz's sister katie, is the best thing that has happened since sliced bread.

my wife can start cleanses in one day and have so much determination to stick to them...i wish i could do that.

having more than enough scares me more than not having enough.

i love waking at 530am and thinking about what the lord wants to say. this mean my night life guy is slowly dying, or i should say, he is not seen nearly as much anymore.

i love the thought that even if this whole following god thing turns into being a fraud i still will know i had peace following him anyway.

i love, after being sick and unable to taste food, the first morning when i can taste the intensity of a cup of coffee. on that note, every morning when my lips are touched by the flavor of coffee i literally feel the greatness of god on this earth ;-). i can drink hot beverages in every season...even the summer afternoons will not keep me away from a cup of coffee.

finding that cd of ambient music that can be added to my list of already extensive amounts of music brings joy to my heart. keep it comin helios, hammock, slow dancing society, brian mcbride, and the many more that i haven't named.

in high school most of my hanging buddies were in the class above me. when they left for their senior trip i missed them but remember riding in josh briscoe's le mans listening to p-diddy's remix of the police's every breath you take. that was a sweet remedy for my hearts desire.

i remember being on my knees one night in brad pratt's apartment rededicating my life to the lord. a bunch of guys were there praying over me. transformation happened but not right away.

i remember when i was 12 the family sat down for dinner and i wanted to try some of my dad's beer. he was drinking keystone light. he said ok and i tried it. trying to be able to be like him i was acting as though i liked was the most disgusting thing in the world. keystone light STILL is the most disgusting thing in the world (besides my youngest sons vile poo's).

more to come...

when i turn

sitting here in my apartment i am trying to think of clever words to construct a well thought out story or possibly a grand revelation i have received this week for my life 30 years in. note that it is very difficult to gather thoughts when you decided to not take your child to school and therefore he is home with you. nevertheless this post will be one of transparency...

i love stories that tell of individuals across the world having dreams and in the middle of that dream jesus christ comes to them and reveals who he is. these reports are happening more and more. it stirs me most when it happens to muslims and i can't explain why but i get stirred every time i witness a radical islamic individual come to know the lord through this process of a dream.

i am hanging on to a music dream. i remember the first time i was asked to be apart of levi smith's worship team. it changed my life forever. i also remember him talking about the difference between music as a hobby and music as a calling. i have embraced it as a calling, and hope that even if i never make the "big" stage, i have been able to get into places and reveal the love of god through music ministry. it seems to serve me well.

one day i hope to write a book. my thoughts are about a book that defends how natural the spiritual really is (or at least how god wanted the spiritual to be natural). i know this may be a long process. thanks to gary benjamin i am well on my way as of very recently. this book, i hope, will serve as a help book for professional counselors and pastors that are not professional.

i still wonder many times if i am doing what god had designed for me. call it insecurity, call it immaturity, or call it stupidity but i know i won't let go of him.

i still wonder if i had pursued a soccer career if i would be playing in top tier clubs right now. i hate that i am turning 30 and should be in the prime of my physique and can barely get out of bed some mornings cause my legs are hurting and my back aches.

i do love that in a world of technological advancement (even beyond our control). i am still not caring too much for the next latest toy or trinket. i hold dear to my journal of leather and tree. however, i do prefer the moleskine, which i guess would be considered the technological advancement of someone who enjoys writing.

often there are times in my life when i want people to recognize my intellect, wit, humor, and achievements. i will even do things in order to gain this recognition...crazy huh?

i type the word "the" like this sometimes "teh" and don't catch it (it also happens with "from" being "form").

whenever i think i may have offended someone i will not be able to go to sleep until i know that it has been made right.

right now at this very moment i hate that i cannot provide for my family the way i should when compared to all the rest of the men i know in my life.

i am not in a hurry anymore.

i could easily live with my parents the rest of my life.

i always want to be on the front line of ministry; knowing what god is doing, knowing the politics of the whole thing.

i aspire to write an ambient album that is used for meditation on the word of god.

gel pens (sanford uni-ball 207 gel pen) make my writers mind go crazy. i love them and can never have enough.

if only i could learn your language in a matter of days.

despite knowing the warnings of too much money, i still want more of it to do the things that would be fun.

i constantly struggle with the "us" versus "them" mentality and i like to correct others when they take this strategy.

i still bite my fingernails despite the health warnings.

i wish i could get rid of my "muffin top" torso. and i don't understand how my arms can stay so chiseled.

i often wonder if beards and long hair will ever be acceptable to all cultures as an acceptable business like professional appearance. then again, if it did i probably would do something else just to be counter-culture.

i still remember going to south by southwest with my best friends who let me tag along with them and having the time of my life.

i still remember wishing that an elder at my church would ask me to go to another country with them as they did with my friends, and then getting that chance with my pastor jon dunn. it still brings tears of joy to my eyes.

i remember when i kept wanting to go back into doing things for the ministry after feeling like i would get burned and burned again and liz would get frustrated because she loved me and didn't want me to get hurt again.

i remember being "the guitar tech" for my best friends' band radiant. even though i didn't know more than how to change the strings and tune the guitars. every night i would go to help them at a show i felt so important. this opportunity made me think that i could be in a band one day but i didn't want to right away because i didn't want to stop helping radiant.

i remember when my dad found out i smoked cigarette's and he said, "if you have them in this house you better throw them out or i will throw you out!"

i remember the day i got a phone call from my friend david lancashire who said he wanted to pay my salary to be able to continue working at shady grove.

i remember when i bought, my then girlfriend, liz a new dvd player and blue crush. we watched it in her living room and i felt like i did the greatest thing ever.

1996 state champs! 1998 my senior year i remember having to play center forward to help put our team 3rd in state after losing our star keeper and center forward having to play keeper to replace him. i scored two goals that i will never forget. i also remember having a break away with a guy right on me and due to our athletic shorts being so ridiculous my "package" almost was exposed due to the shorts riding up on me mid sprint. it could have been a hat trick.

more to come...

Thursday, April 28, 2011

in christ's perfection he looked down to earth

if someone says, "i love god," but hates his brother, he is a liar; for the one who does not love his brother whom he has seen, cannot love god whom he has not seen. - 1 john 4:20

if, then, you will become perfect in love, strive to fulfill this duty, in loving to love the person one sees, to love him just as you see him, with all his imperfections and weaknesses, love him as you see him when he is utterly changed, when he no longer loves you, when he perhaps turns indifferently away or turns to love someone else, love him as you see him when he betrays and denies you.


Thursday, April 21, 2011

that is what you are going with?

after i read an article about a church leaderships new campaign to market church as "church sucks" i didn't know what to think. i did want to comment on the article but i didn't want to be "one of those guys" who comments on public places. i realize i have in the last few weeks and i am strongly fighting the urge to do it. those people will never see me nor understand what i am saying, supportive or discouraging through a website. i hate, above most things, communication breakdown's.

this perspective of promoting reverse psychology is not the enemy of faith but does not steer one clear of moralistic deism, of which the american church is steeped in. i found the approach rather frustrating. not the whole ability to come up with something witty and market an idea but just how this particular church felt a need to use a perspective of the world to draw attention to themselves and the church. my thoughts were simply...why not use the gospel of jesus christ, no?

the desire of attention is what seems to be the root of the issue. an alternative to wanting attention might be to teach the congregation of a real perception of the church from outsiders that is not true. instruct those who have been transformed by the power of the holy spirit to go be jesus to these outsiders. this would change the ideology that we feel and are tempted to shape our church based upon what goes on in popular culture. preach jesus and the gospel (romans 1:16). words, persuasion, and gimmicks don't transform individuals (galatians 1:12).

i can remember programs that would go on in the duration of the church week that were not very popular and therefore would need to be scratched from the church machine of services. they could be revamped, altered, or discarded altogether. however, new marketing doesn't transform the people. if this is done out of fear of low attendance then your issue may not be that you need to pump more life into your church or program. quite possibly something needs to die in order for god to use it, like when he called us to die to ourselves in order to be disciples of his.

so the issue is NOT the outsiders. the issues are with the insiders. and that is ok because we can try and make things popular and cool all we want but the transforming power of the spirit is what insiders and outsiders need regardless of what you or they are doing at 10 am on sunday morning. without it you have a gathering of people who are prone to love themselves without the revelation that god loves them so they can love others.

this opened my eyes

Augustine on God's Love, Wrath, and the Cross

i cannot get past this amazing gift and for the rest of my life i will pursue him who gives it

Augustine on God's Love, Wrath, and the Cross

Sunday, April 10, 2011

the god of the pacific

as i am able, i find that my reading base has grown. it now stretches over to the pacific rim and although the numbers are few i know that they are people with heart and personality. with that in mind, i would like to ask if they could give an account of what might actually be going on in their world. i hear and read news stories all day long but have realized that reuters, google, huffington post, yahoo news, and any other i have left out, all fail to give me an accurate description of the landscape that i long to hear. at the moment i have befriended a young south korean woman who is doing some translating at a korean company here in belgium. i think i might ask her once a week if there is anything new in developments on that side of the world in light of the tragic events that have taken place over the last 8 weeks because i am really wanting to know.

my heart goes out to those who are without on ANY level. i have an even deeper hurt for those who have witnessed first hand nature's capability and feel trapped in their minds as to whether or not there is an entity that actually cares for them outside of themselves. i am greatly curious and so comes with that curiosity many questions that i was hoping my japanese and korean audience could respond to.

i want to know the level of dependence upon god, and whether the feeling is growing or shrinking back? i want to know about how faith has helped and in what ways has it changed the mindset that god is good despite the circumstances? most of the news received from the popular outlets is reporting the political agendas, nuclear disposals, and such but i want to know more about the people and the face of the public.

i admit i am wanting to see hope in everything, despite what the circumstances may communicate to the japanese and the rest of the world. i know the experience of it all is a world apart from where i sit today and ask for thoughts. my faith has not been rocked by the events that may have challenged even the most faithful and devout on that side of the world. however, if i can communicate anything i want those trying to make sense out of everything to know that around the world there are those who are contending in prayer for the japanese and everyone who has been affected by the events of the earthquake.

you can respond through my facebook page. and i was hoping to gather many comments from readers and post a complete blog of comments and notes.