Thursday, December 18, 2008

What is this "internet" all the kids are talking about?

As some of you know, we moved into our new house at the end of September. Well, the subdivision we moved to is so new that no one is providing internet service here yet...that's why this has not been updated in quite a while. Well, I took a flying leap into the 21st century and got an "air card". All that to say, I have the internet again and will keep this updated from now on.
Sorry Pastor Trent!

Monday, September 15, 2008

Are The Spankings Really Working?

I don't know where you stand on the issue of using spanking as a form of disciplining your children. While I grew up in a family that believe in it, if you ask my mom, I simply never needed one...I was just such an angel all the time. My wife and I believe in it whole heartedly.
It's really difficult though, when you have a three year old and another one pushing two, to know if the way you are disciplining your children is working. We know it is important to discipline and correct but when they continue to do the thing that you are trying to get them to not do, you have to question it...while you are pulling your hair out! Today I saw evidence that shows me that, while it's very difficult and tears your heart out to have to discipline and correct, it's worth it.
Jacob (3) and Eli (almost 2) were sitting at the kitchen table having their lunch as I watched from the living room. Eli is our eater, will eat anything put in front of him...and very quickly I might add. He had polished off his cheese and his bowl of fruit and wanted more. So, he asked Jacob..."Jacob, I more?" To which Jacob responds, "Here E, you can have some of mine..." To which Eli responds, "Oh, tank you Jacob" (I misspelled "thank" on purpose...he's two remember). Jacob shared some of his cheese and some of his fruit with Eli. Seems like such a small thing but when you hear these two arguing and fighting all day over the issue of not sharing what you have, it's huge. I literally sat in the living room worshipping God in that moment...I know it sounds so over spiritual to say that, but get off of my back, you're not the one who has to pass out all of these spankings. I was literally filled with joy over this small interaction between my children.
And this is why...think of the spiritual implications of what happened today. What if in a simply moment at the lunch table my children start to understand the importance of sharing what you have with someone else? What if my two young children become life time sharers after today? What if they always think about the needs of others more than they think about their own needs? All of a sudden this is really starting to sound like a sermon Jesus would teach.
What makes it even more difficult is taking this "lesson" and turning it back on me. Does Christ look at me from time to time and think, "Are the spankings really working?" Do you think He ever wonders, "How many times am I going to have to teach this lesson?" Because I assure you, I am much more thick headed than my children.
I want to live my life with open hands. Understanding that nothing that I have is truly mine but it was all given to me by Him to glorify His name, to make Him more famous and to push back what is dark in the world. I want my children to learn to live this way also. I hope one day they begin to understand that I didn't spank them because I didn't love them, I wasn't out to steal their joy, but ultimately I was trying to increase their joy.
Will I ever learn this lesson from my Father?
God Help Me!

Thursday, September 4, 2008

For The Praise Of His Glory!

I have to warn you up front, this is very political...the first time and hopefully the last time you will see anything like this here.
I was standing in the living room tonight and I realized I was watching the Republican National Convention. I try to avoid things like this because I hate politics...the same thing happened last week too when the Democratic National Convention was on...I just found myself watching it for no good reason. I was somewhat interested in seeing Donald Miller give the benediction at the DNC...but, I did find his prayer online so it really wasn't necessary for me to watch. Anyway, as I was standing there listening to people talk bad about other people in hopes that I would give them my vote, I turned to Susan and said "why am I watching this?...this stuff makes me feel like I need to go read my Bible". So I did!
This week Trent is starting a new series on the book of Ephesians, it could take us into the holiday season. So, this week we will be covering the first ten verses. This is what I read tonight:
1Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God, To the saints in Ephesus, the faithful in Christ Jesus: 2Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. 3Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ. 4For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight. In love 5he predestined us to be adopted as his sons through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will— 6to the praise of his glorious grace, which he has freely given us in the One he loves. 7In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God's grace 8that he lavished on us with all wisdom and understanding. 9And he made known to us the mystery of his will according to his good pleasure, which he purposed in Christ, 10to be put into effect when the times will have reached their fulfillment—to bring all things in heaven and on earth together under one head, even Christ.

I feel like Jesus lead me to this passage again tonight because of the last couple of verses. It just reminded me that when the fullness of time has come, He will bring all things on heaven and earth under the head...who is Christ.
So, how will I vote? I will vote Jesus Christ...daily...I will cast my ballot daily to live for him, not a political party. Jesus never tried to legislate change while He was on earth, He just loved people and allowed them to be change by that.
Even so, come quickly Lord Jesus. I will live a life anxious for your return.
For the praise of your Glory!

Friday, August 29, 2008

Prayer: Asking God... :::Friday:::

Lord, today I'm praying that your church would believe in the power of the Holy Spirit and desire it earnestly. Father, I believe in the power that Peter had when he preached on the Day of Pentecost...I believe in the power of your Spirit that was present with Paul as he was locked away in chains all the while saying, "...count it all joy...". I'm asking you to show me this power that lives in me also. God, I'm also praying that we would see things like accountability and suffering as blessings and rejoice in them. To see that we are truly blessed if we have someone in our lives that will ask us hard questions and hold us accountable for the way we act. And Father that you would count us worthy to suffer for you that you would become more famous and my name would be forgotten.
For Your Beautiful Name...

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Prayer: Asking God... :::Thursday:::

Holy Father, today I am praying that, as your children, we would have a strong unquenchable desire of truth, even the difficult ones. That our desire for your Word and the life sustaining truth that we find in it would bring us more comfort and hope, even when that truth is one that is hard to swallow. And Lord, I'm also praying for myself and our people that we would embrace Biblical Christianity and not American Evangelicalism. There are so many voices on TV and writing books right now that say God wants us to be healthy wealthy and whole but what we see of believers in the Scripture tells us that we better be willing to suffer ridicule and possibly give up our lives for what we believe. I choose to believe in the God of the Bible and not a westernized god that acts more like santa claus waiting to deliver to us the things that we ask if we are "good enough".
I will take the things that you give and let go of the things you take away...
Blessed Be Your Name...

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Prayer: Asking God... :::Wednesday:::

Father, I'm praying today that, as your children, we would recognize that you have placed us right where we are for your purpose and your glory. I truly believe that our lives will become so much more full and exciting if we will live them with this type of mindset. Also, God, I'm praying that you would teach us to live life with a certain level of Holy discontentment. That we would not hold too tightly to the things of this world, but understand that what is to come is so much better.
Transform our hearts so that we can see these things with unveiled faces.
Asking in the Holy and Powerful name of Jesus Christ...

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Prayer: Asking God... :::Tuesday:::

Father, today I pray specifically that we would find the fullness of all things in Christ. That we would see that everything is sweeter with a deep knowledge of you. I'm also praying that we would understand that as children of God we are not under wrath but under mercy. God give us understanding of the fact that you are not "out to get us" but that you are allow us to experience things to draw us closer to you Lord.
You're better...

Prayer: Asking God... ::: Monday :::

Father, my prayer for us today is that we would see our problem is not simple moral failure but failure to honor you with every aspect of our lives. I am also praying, God, that we would understand that discipline rarely brings love but love always brings discipline. Help us to fall deeply in love with you!
In Christ Name,

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Inspirations ::: By Matt Chandler

Occasionally my blog will include post that I've stolen from other blogs that I read frequently. This one was too good not to pass on. Taken from Matt Chandler's Dwell Deep Blog,

"It has been my experience that inspirations are brief, sporadic and rare. By inspiration I mean those moments where our souls are stimulated to a high level of feeling, thinking and doing. I love those brief, sporadic and rare moments. I am addicted to the vitality I have, the love I feel, and the clarity of thought that occurs when I am inspired. I have tried for years to pay attention to these moments, to dig into them, excavate them, and figure them out. What is it that inspires me? Who is it? What stirs my affection…for my wife? For my children? For life in general? This to me is one of the major ideas that demand an answer. To solve this arduous riddle means more energy, richer life, deeper relationships and greater self-awareness.

Several years ago I started applying this line of thought to my relationship with Christ. Instead of asking myself what inspired me to be a good man (what’s that anyway?) I started asking what stirs my affections for Christ. What, when I’m doing it, when I’m around it or dwelling on it creates in me a greater hunger for, passion for and worship of Christ and His mission? The first list was a strange one. It looked something like this:

  1. Early mornings and hot coffee
  2. The writings of John Owen (at the time it was The Mortification of Sin)
  3. Listening to Lauren sing
  4. Walks through graveyards (I know this is weird but it reminded me of mortality)
  5. The book of Hebrews
  6. Robust dialogue on ecclesiology or missiology
  7. Sermons by John Piper
  8. Angst-filled music

I also wrestled with and paid attention to what robbed me of affection for Christ. What, when I was doing it or spending time around it created in me an unhealthy love for this world? The first list was a strange one because the majority of things that robbed me of zeal for Christ and His mission were morally neutral things. It looked something like this:

  1. Watching too much TV and spending too much time online
  2. Staying up late for no reason
  3. Following sports too closely
  4. Being physically lazy
  5. Empty conversations (talking for hours about nothing)
  6. Idleness

For the last few years I have updated this list often. In fact it has changed quite a bit. I want to pay attention to life. I want to be keyed in to what feeds my zeal for our great God and King and what kills that zeal. My hope is that I could flood my life with Christ-exalting, worship-creating things and avoid anything that would rob me of that.

What inspires you? Better yet, what stirs your affections for Christ, truth and holiness? If we can fill our lives with the things that stir our affections and avoid and flee those things that rob us of inspiration, we have a better shot at dwelling deeply. What and who inspires you? Stirs you? What presses you into holy places? What robs you of joy and vitality? What robs you of your affection for Christ and holiness?"

There's just not much to add to that other than a challenge to make one of these list for yourself...proceed with caution though, this kind of exercise in left examination can reveal some darkness in your heart.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Prayer ::: Asking God...

I think we are heading into a couple of weeks that could be huge for our church. We are going to spend the next couple of Sunday's talking about prayer and more specifically why it's important for us to Ask God to do great things.
I've become more and more convinced that we as people (and more specifically as pastor's trying to lead a church body) that we can do all of the right programming and have dynamic authentic worship and really do life well together, but if we do not petition God to transform hearts and lives...we labor in vain...plain and simple.
So, this is how it's going to go down. Sunday I will be sharing with our people some specific things that I've been praying for myself as well as our people. We will also take a few minutes to talk about Biblical fasting. Then, we will be opening up the church each night during the following week to give people the opportunity to come and pray. We are going to set up a couple of different "prayer stations" for people to participate in and we will also be making available the elements for the Lord's Supper so our people can participate in that also. We will close out the week on Saturday night with what we just call Saturday Night Worship (clever, I know). I think this will be such a sweet time of worship after people have spent time truly asking God to do great things. Then Sunday morning we will close this time out with the challenge to really become people of prayer.
Do we understand, really truly understand, the power that we have available to us because of the Holy Spirit that lives inside of us?
My God is a big God. He is able to do the things that we need Him to do. The awesome news is that I know that He will do these things because the things that I need are all for His renown...that He would become more famous and that I would simply die.
Asking do great things!
Praise Him!

Monday, August 18, 2008

Jacob Zachary Snow

I've been trying to figure out how to spend more alone time with my at a time. I think this is so important that each of them know individually that I think they are great and they are worth all the sacrifices that we make.
This past Friday night I took Jacob to a Ranger game, just he and I! We had so much fun! We watched very little of the game (which was good because the Ranger's didn't get their first hit until we were already on the way home). We ate junk food, walked around the stadium, paid way too much for things that have the Texas Ranger's logo on it...things like that. Just seeing his face and the joy of daddy buying him one of those foam fingers ($8.00...yea that's right).
Sunday night God gave us one of those moments that show us how weighty being a parent is and how we are leading our children. Jacob, for the first of what may be many times, helped lead worship in church. He stood on the stage with his little Elmo guitar in front of the microphone singing Oh No (you never let go) with the rest of the band. It was so amazing to see him sing with his whole heart...I don't know how much he knew of what he was doing, but I do know that if I lead him well and show him Jesus every single day of my life, he will understand one day what it means to help people press into Christ and lead people to His throne in worship. This is why being a parent is so heavy...Will I always lead them well? Will I always show them Jesus?
Okay, one more Jacob story...I was hangin' out with the boys today and they were both being quite...which if you are a parent you know how scary that is. I walked back toward their room and saw Jacob in the bathroom. As I got closer I realized that he was standing in front of the toilet...with his head in the water. You heard me...he was dipping his head in the toilet water. He said he needed to fix his hair.
I love that kid.
Stay tune for the day out with Eli...he's a wild child so it could be crazy.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Suffering :: A Paradox

This has been haunting me...check this out:

1 Thessalonians 1:6

You became imitators of us and of the Lord; in spite of severe suffering, you welcomed the message with the joy given by the Holy Spirit.
2 Timothy 1:8
So do not be ashamed to testify about our Lord, or ashamed of me his prisoner. But join with me in suffering for the gospel, by the power of God,
2 Timothy 1:12
That is why I am suffering as I am. Yet I am not ashamed, because I know whom I have believed, and am convinced that he is able to guard what I have entrusted to him for that day.
Hebrews 2:10
In bringing many sons to glory, it was fitting that God, for whom and through whom everything exists, should make the author of their salvation perfect through suffering.
1 Peter 4:12
Dear friends, do not be surprised at the painful trial you are suffering, as though something strange were happening to you.
1 Peter 4:13
But rejoice that you participate in the sufferings of Christ, so that you may be overjoyed when his glory is revealed.
1 Peter 5:9
Resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know that your brothers throughout the world are undergoing the same kind of sufferings.

It seems that throughout the Epistles as well as the early church, we see this over-arching theme of suffering. Somehow, this suffer is intended to draw us closer to the things of God. It seems like such a paradox to the western way of thinking and "doing" church. We are all about safety and in reality staying out of harms way and not taking risk. We pray specifically for traveling mercies and straight paths that are easy.
The things that have been haunting me about this theme is..."I want to know Christ and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his suffering becoming like him in death" or how about this one..."all those who will live Godly in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution".
If I say I want to press into Christ and know Him more and the means to that deeper knowledge of Him is suffering, will I still be willing to ask for more of Him?
A scarey thought...

Sunday, August 3, 2008

How About This For A Proverb...

So, I was just reading through the Proverbs and I came across this...It's amazing that I cannot tell you how many times I've read this before but I've apparently never really paid very close attention to it. This is a great prayer and a great challenger...and by the way, flies against everything we see around us on a daily basis.

Proverbs 30:5-9

5. "Every word of God is flawless; he is a shield to those who take refuge in him.
6. Do not add to his words, or he will rebuke you and prove you a liar.
7. "Two things I ask of you, O LORD; do not refuse me before I die:
8. Keep falsehood and lies far from me; give me neither poverty nor riches, but give me only my daily bread.
9. Otherwise, I may have too much and disown you and say, 'Who is the LORD ?' Or I may become poor and steal, and so dishonor the name of my God.

Jesus, help me be a man that pursues truth and not falsehood and give me each day my daily bread, then I will have all I need in you.



Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Crazy Love :: By Francis Chan

My wife calls me a dork all the time because I fill up my iPod with podcast from a few of my favorite Bible teachers. Obviously, Matt Chandler and the Village podcast is one of my favorites, I also pick up the Desiring God podcast each week so I can get my Piper on (as Lonnie would say) and the last few months I've been really challenged by Francis Chan, the Lead Pastor/Founder of Cornerstone Community Church in Simi Valley, CA as well as a featured speaker at the Passion Conferences the past couple of years. Pastor Chan and his church have become known for their great love for "the least of these" and the fact that last year, half of everything their church brought in they gave away to missions, church plants and to help feed children all over the world (they gave $1 million dollors to Children's Hunger Fund last year...$1 million).
A few weeks ago I picked up Pastor Chan's first book, Crazy Love. He writes very much the way he speaks...a way that is easy to grasp and no doubt very compelling. I've really had a hard time the last 2 days getting through chapter 4 titled, Profile of the Lukewarm...I'm going to be honest, it's been tough. He walks through some characteristics of what he's seen in "American Christianity" and then supplies Scripture that speaks to each. I just want to share one of ya go:
"Lukewarm people do not live by faith; their lives are structured so they never have to. They don't have to trust God if something unexpected happens - they have their savings account. They don't need God to help them - they have their retirement plan in place. They don't genuinely seek out what life God would have them live - they have life figured and mapped out. They don't depend on God on a daily basis - their refridgerators are full and, for the most part, they are in good health. The truth is, their lives wouldn't look much different if they suddenly stopped believing in God."
Now, check this out from God's Word in Luke 12:16-21
16. And he told them this parable: "The ground of a certain rich man produced a good crop. 17. He thought to himself, 'What shall I do? I have no place to store my crops.'
18. "Then he said, 'This is what I'll do. I will tear down my barns and build bigger ones, and there I will store all my grain and my goods. 19. And I'll say to myself, "You have plenty of good things laid up for many years. Take life easy; eat, drink and be merry." '
20. "But God said to him, 'You fool! This very night your life will be demanded from you. Then who will get what you have prepared for yourself?'
21. "This is how it will be with anyone who stores up things for himself but is not rich toward God."
Tough stuff, no doubt...I also like the King James translation of verse 20 where it says, "...thou fool, this night thy soul shall be required of thee..."
Just a little something to chew on...

Monday, July 28, 2008

Captured...Though Set Free

I was almost brought to tears yesterday (for those who know me that is no small task). I love watching people worship God, it goes back to my days of doing student ministry. There is just something about seeing people respond to the Holy Spirit as He sets people free in worship. Since Susan is typically on the stage singing with the band, I like to walk to the back of the room during worship. What I saw yesterday was absolutely moving. Just being able to see people individually just respond to what God is doing in them is always beautiful. It's very complex and hard to understand from a "worldly view" to know and understand that the more captivated you are by the things of God, the more free you become. I believe what I witnessed yesterday was freedom. Freedom from fear of what others might think if they were to go ahead and let go and lift up there hand to this God...freedom to love Him in that moment as they lift their voices to Him in praise. What I don't want you to hear is that you have to lift up your hands in order to truly worship God because the thing that really got me was watching one young man, probably in his mid 20's, sitting with his chest bent over to his knees almost in a fetal position looking like he was truly agonizing in worship. It was a beautiful Sunday at Gateway...but I continue to be amazed at a God that constantly draws man closer and captivates every area of my order to set me free. What a paradox...


Sunday, July 20, 2008

Why Church Planting Sucks...

A missionary friend of mine who is serving in Papa New Guinea with New Tribes Mission sent me a link to this blog and I thought is was worth reposting.

The life of a church planter is not an easy will find yourself more frustrated than anything...but I can't imagine doing anything else with my life. I love Gateway Fellowship Church...I love Royse City and I love the idea of doing this same thing in many many other cities. We are hoping to plant another church later this year. It will be hard work and we will probably sacrifice a lot of sleep...but again...can't see myself doing anything else.

Oh...almost's the post. I did not edit this post from it's original text because I didn't want to change this guys the bad language is his not mine...although the same thoughts have been in my head. Confession is good for the soul.

Well, it doesn’t really suck. I actually love it, but there are definitely times when I wish it was easier, or that the church that we’re dreaming of would magically appear next Sunday. But what kind of story would that be?
Here’s a top ten list of things I have learned so far about church planting.
1.) It’s harder than you think - but not in that ways you expect. I expected it to be a lot of work and I expected there to be discouraging times and I expected there would be times I would want to quit, but I didn’t expect that I would spend most of my time doing stuff that I don’t love and doesn’t excite me. I didn’t expect that I would be tempted to get lazy. I didn’t realize how tough it was to balance the tension between pastoring the people you’ve got and trying to grow the church we feel called to be. Be prepared for this.
2.) It’s more fun than you think it’s going to be. Strap on your helmet, but it is fun. You’re building something from scratch and fighting and winning and failing. It tough, but it’s not boring. Look forward to this and remember it when being beaten down by number one.
3.) There are people who don’t want you to succeed. There are those who are more comfortable believing that the world is against them and that nothing can be done and that nothing can change and to see a new church come to be and survive calls into question their status quo. Identify these people and ignore them.
4.) There are people who desperately want to you to succeed. They want nothing more than to see the Kingdom come and for healthy churches to be acting out what God intended for us to be. Identify these people and seek them out.
5.) It is not easy to figure out who are #3 people and who are #4 people.
6.) Weather will kick your ass. Maybe this is more of a thing in Canada, but you could have both Saints Paul and Peter scheduled to appear at your church where they will reveal the date of the second coming and the cure for baldness and a snowstorm will leave you sitting with your wife and kids and the angry guy you’re not surprised has never found a church home. There’s not much you can do but be ready for it.
7.) You will also schedule something no one will show up for. This will be something that you’ve poured heart and soul and sweat and blood into. There will be no real reason for people not to show up. They just won’t. This will crush you. Get up, dust yourself off, and never speak of it again except to laugh when you’re not angry anymore.
8.) This is not the church you built in your head. This is a real group of people called by God who are going to be something you never dreamed of. Trying to be the church in your head will kill your joy for the church you have, so kill the church in your head.
9.) Don’t take anything personally. People will come to your church and go, and friends will choose to be a part or not, and people will arrive and begin to pour themselves into what God is doing and this, for the most part, has nothing to do with you. If your confidence and self image depend on the “success” of your church, you are screwed as a pastor and will be a terrible person to live with.
10.) Settle the failure question before you start. The reality is most church plants don’t make it. If your church plant becomes part of those statistics, are you done either as a pastor or a follower of Jesus? If you think the answer might be yes, get the hell out. Your desire should be to see God’s will accomplished and if his will is that your church is planted and dies, if that is what is glorifying to him, then name of the Lord is still to be praised. There is no shame in being a failed church planter.
and as a free bonus
The most important thing you will do is to decide what success looks like. Remember that this is your choice. Choose to define success by obedience. Ask God where he wants you to go, and fight with everything you have to get there. Back to #1 and #2, it will not be easy, and it will be fun.
Now if I read this every day for the next ten years and pray that God would make me believe it, I should be alright.

*The picture above is Mr. Taylor and the link to his blog is,


Sunday, July 13, 2008

Corporate Prayer 7/13/08

With joy we praise you gracious God, for you created heaven and earth, made us in your image and kept covenant with us - even when we failed you in sin.

We give you thanks for Jesus Christ, our Lord, who by His life, death and resurrection opened to us the way of everlasting life.

Therefore we join our voices with all the saints and angels and the whole of creation to proclaim the glory of your name.

In Christ Holy and Powerful Name...


Monday, June 30, 2008

How Do We Avoid This? ::: Praying Through Hosea 13:6

When I fed them, they were satisfied, when they were satisfied they became proud, then they forgot me.

~Hosea 13:6


I know our tendency is to become prideful and self sufficient. I don't want to ask for more of you only to get it and be satisfied...I constantly want to want more of you. What do I do? How do I chase after you daily? As a deer thirst for the water...I want my soul to long after you. I've tasted and seen your goodness but my soul is so thirsty for more of you...if you will fill me, I will overflow...

It's in your Holy and Powerful name...


Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Pride Kills Everything It Touches

We live in the kind of world where basketball players pound their chest when they dunk on someone, where baseball players remain in the batter's box to watch their work as the ball flies into the seat and football players choreograph celebrations for touchdowns (not to mention sacks, interceptions and even tackle someone or catching the ball). So much of what we are inundated with every single day is man boasting about how great he is and relying on his own ability or talent to answer the question of who's great...

Now, I've never dunked on anyone, so I don't know how that's been a long time since I've hit a ball over a fence...and aside from an annual flag football game we play every year again out students (which we always dominate...prideful statement) it's been a long time since I've scored a touchdown. However, I see the evidence of pride in my own life almost daily. I lean on my own strengths and abilities way to much. I find myself unwilling to lean on the mighty hand of God.

A quick keyword search on shows 63 occurrences of the word pride. James 1:10 says, But the one who is rich should take pride in his low position, because he will pass away like a wild flower. I like this because the first part of the book of James starts out with, "consider it pure joy when you suffer persecution..." another concept that is foreign to our western evangelical mindset.

How about this mindset to combat what we see, 1 Peter 5:5-6 says this,
Young men, in the same way be submissive to those who are older. All of you, clothe yourselves with humility toward one another, because, "God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble." Humble yourselves, therefore, under God's mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time.

I find it incredibly encouraging to know that instead of relying so heavily on my own ability to be a good husband, good daddy, good son, good brother, good employee, good pastor, etc...I can rely on the strength of Almighty God.

This is why I love the words of The Apostle Paul in Galatians 6:4, where he says, May I never boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, through which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world.


Monday, June 23, 2008

The Challenge Has Been Issued...

Sometimes it takes someone else to look you in the eye and challenge you to do something that you know you should already be doing for it to truly sink in...maybe it's the competitive nature...whatever. The reality is, my pastor has challenged me to be more faithful in my blogging. The reason this is a good challenge for me is because this has become a form of journaling for me, which I'm a firm believer in. I think journaling is a discipline that everybody should chase after. It's good to have time to be alone with your thoughts and record them so you can go back and read them and maybe avoid pitfalls in the future or be encouraged by and be uplifted in the future. Job even mentions in his torment, "...oh that my words were written..." He knew that it would be important for others to know the path that he had walked down.

So, to you Pastor Trent, thanks for the challenge...

Off to work now...


God's Mission...God's Method

We will be finishing up this sermon series this weekend with a talk on leadership as we try to challenge our people to embrace the role in which God has placed them. To be voices in their homes, work place and when they are out in the community.

I just wanted to take a couple of minutes to reflect on this series because I feel like in a lot of ways it's been foundational for our church. It seems a little strange to say something we are doing 2+ years into the life of our church is foundational because it seems like the foudational stuff should have already been done. This is a perfect reminder to me that God's timing is always perfect. It's so amazing to be able to sit and watch God's people respond...sometimes you can almost see the light coming on. This is how I know that the timing of this has been perfect and ordained by God.

Here's a quick recap of the series, if for nothing else than for me to remember where we've been:
1. An Adventure Begins - Acts 1:1-11
2. The Central Message - Acts 2: 14-41
3. A Devoted People - Acts 2: 42-47
4. Committed To Worship - Acts 2:42-47 and Psalm 95
5. Committed To Mission - Acts 8:1-8, 11:19-26, and Romans 1:14-17
6. Committed To Service - Acts 4:32-35, and Isaiah 58:6-9
7. Committed To Community - Acts 2:42-47 and Ephesians 2: 11-22
8. Committed To Maturity - 1 Thess. 1:4 - 2:12 and Psalm 119: 9-16
9. It takes Courage - Acts 4:23-31 and Acts 3:1 - 4:22
10. It Takes Leaders - Acts 6:1-7:13

Church planting continues to be hard, but I continue to be encouraged with the people that God is giving us to walk this road with. And I know that if we will simply remain faithful to what He is asking of us then He will be faithful to do the rest...seems to be a Scriptural stance, so I'll take it...


Monday, April 28, 2008

Morphoo:: continued...

I'm back in Dallas now but I wanted to continue what I started on the session that Josh Loveless did at LeadNow+Orlando on Morphoo: A Holistic Blueprint for Spiritual Formation.

I'll pick up on the second part (to see the first part see the post below):

Inviting Jesus into my GIFTS AND TALENTS :: I know my spiritual gifts and/or my core strengths?
...what spiritual gifts and/or core strengths are not being used?
...what am I passionate about? I deeply passionate about the things I'm giving my time to? I using my time and talents to invest into the lives of people or mostly for selfish gain?

Inviting Jesus into my FINANCIAL LIFE :: I being obedient to the tithe? am I allowing the Spirit to influence the allocation of the other 90%?
...what am I doing about paying down debt or staying out of further debt? I need to create a budget or change the one I have? I consistently paying my bills on time? I know my currenct credit score and do I need help seeing it repaired?

Inviting Jesus into my RELATIONAL LIFE ::
...what needs to change in my relationship with my spouse?
...what needs to change in my relationship with my children?
...what needs to change in my relationship with my mom?
...what needs to change in my relationship with my dad?
...what needs to change in my relationship with my brother and sister?
...what needs to change in my dating relationship? (if you answered the one about your spouse you shouldn't need to answer this one...again we are talking about spiritual formations)
...what needs to change about the 1-3 closest relationships in my life?
...what needs to change about the 4-10 good frineds in my life?
...what needs to change about my relationship with everyone else? I putting myself in environments that will open up relationships with people that are far from God? (the third place) there anyone that I should be pursuing to mentor me? there anyone that I should be pursuing to mentor?

Inviting Jesus into my PHYSICAL LIFE ::
...what are the things on my pending personal "to do" list? might I need to change my eating patterns? might I need to change my exercise plan?

Inviting Jesus into my EMOTIONAL LIFE :: do I need to further my journey of understanding the value of my heart and emotions?
...where is my identity as a person coming from? I pursuing the answer to the question, "why do I do what I do?"
...what root issues have I discovered in my life?
...what fears are holding me back in who I'm becoming and what I'm doing with my life?

As you read this I want you to think along the lines of personal formations or disciplship. Are we willing to answer these questions honestly or will we continue to throw up the smoke screen of "having it all together"?

To catch the first part of this read the post below.

That's all I have for now...


Thursday, April 24, 2008

Morphoo: A message from Orlando

So, I'm in Orlando this week for our LeadNow+Fusion Conference. I emceed today for Josh Loveless. He's the 20 something's pastor for the Status Community at Discovery Church here in Orlando. He was talking about the importance of spiritual formations and this idea of Morphoo which is the Greek word Paul used in Galatians when talking about how our Jesus should be a constantly growing presence in our lives. Here are some thoughts he shared with us that he said he and his leadership team have been running through.

Inviting Jesus into my SPIRITUAL PRACTICES ::
...what should I be doing about serving locally?
...what should I be doing about serving globally?
...what should I be doing about studying scripture?
...what should I be doing about solitude?
...what should I be doing about fasting?
...what should I be doing about journaling?
...what should I be doing about prayer?
...what should I be doing about giving?
...what should I be doing about evangelism?
...what should I be doing about book reading?

I'll add more later...

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

What happens if God doesn't move?

We live in such a results oriented society. I remember when I was playing basketball in high school, there was this kid that truly truly with all of his heart wanted to be a basketball player. He worked hard, he practiced hard, he listened, he studied plays, he stayed the end of the day there was really only one talent (as it turns out, this is a huge problem). He would stumble and fall all over the court trying to play the part of a player. One day while running full court, full speed strimmages, he threw up the wildest shot you've ever seen and it went in...he went crazy, like it was the first shot he ever made...because, was. My coach came unglued on him for not being in the right place on the offensive set we were running. He said, "but coach, I made the shot!" Coach told him that he was less concerned with the results and more concerned with being in your place and doing what you are supposed to be doing.
I started thinking the other day about how we view our ministries. We are always wanting to tell people about the incredible things that we've been seeing God do in our churches. But, what happens if God doesn't show up in your midst every time you open your doors and dramatically draw people in your community to Himself just week after week? What if you serve your people and your community faithfully without ever really seeing a great move of God? Are you in the wrong place? Maybe God didn't really call you where you are? Maybe you've made a mistake?
Or perhaps you are exactly where God wants you to be and you are doing exactly what God wants you to do. This issue of faithfulness has become more and more on the for front of my mind lately. All God really ever calls us to is to faithfully serve Him. You will always see what appear to be "greener pastures". This is why very few people stay where they are, they see greener pastures ahead (yea, that's a cash reference). The point being, when we are measuring what we do in the Kingdom by the stardards around us then our bench mark is flawed. The lesson that I've learned is simply faithfully serve both God and people and allow Him to do whatever he wants with that fruit...plain and simple.
Just a random thought today...

Sunday, April 13, 2008

The Irresistible Revolution by Shane Claiborne

Okay, I'm about 5 chapters into this book and I've decided to put it down for a couple of days because I was starting to make plans like...let my wife (Susan, duh) that we're selling everything we own and we're moving our family under an over pass so we can start loving "the least of these". I'm not sure I've read anything that has made me socially aware of those who are without. I'm not sure I've ever read anything that has made me so personally aware of my excess. I'm not sure I've read anything that has made me more inwardly aware of my need for the Truth "...they Word, oh Lord, is truth..." Shane's journey that took him from being a catalyst for change in Philly in resurrecting a church and find homes for the homeless, to Calcutta where he hung out with the sick and afflicted, lepers, oh yea, and Mother Teresa, to Willow Creek and back to Philly (that's as far as I've gotten so far, those of you who know me know how slow I read). So, I'm taking all this in and as I mentioned, I'm extremely shaken by the things that I've read so far...then today it occurred to me...Why is it that I've never been this messed up by reading about Jesus doing these things? I think this is what we do in our Western way of Christianity, we turn people who are simply trying to follow Jesus into rock stars.
Jesus was the one that feed the 5000, He was the one that made the blind to see, He was the one that healed a woman who simply touched the hem of His robe, He was the one that told the rich young ruler to sell all he owed and give it to the poor then follow, He was the one that turned over the money changers in the Temple, He was the one raised dead people back to life (I mean literally not only spiritually), He was the one that turned water into wine, He was the one that said, loving your neighbor is not your enemy and pray for those who persecute you, He was the one that said to take the plank out of your own eye before you try to remove the speck from mine, He was the one who casted out demons (get in the pigs, I love that story), He was the one who blasted religious leaders but ate with prostitutes, He was the one who walked on water, He was the one that said a good shepherd will leave the 99 to go find the 1, He was the one who came into town as a king only to be murdered by the same people a few days later, He was the one that said, "if they stop praising me...the rocks will cry out...", He was the one that said, "whatever you've done to the least of these, you've done it to me also"...He was the one...not Shane Claiborne, not Billy Graham, not Oprah, not President Bush, not Bono, not Mother Teresa, not Zach Snow...He was the one.

The book has been a great reminder of the perfect model Jesus gave us for living life, but His model for living life well and being good is not what brings about righteousness is us. I've said it probably a thousand times in the past couple of years and I hope I have the opportunity to say it a thousand has nothing to do with religion, it has everything to do with relationship...everything! There is freedom that comes in knowing this Christ personally and intimately. When you have that, maybe then you figure out the importance in living a life that models that of Jesus'...otherwise, you're just another person trying to make the good out weigh the bad...and to that I say...good luck...

"...the only thing that counts is faith expressing itself in love" ~The Apostle Paul

Maybe the next entry will have a little more to do with the book...maybe...


Thursday, March 20, 2008

Hey everyone!! It was soooo good to see everyone last night!! Jon, Claire, we missed you!! Hope that you are feeling better, Mrs. Claire!! Let us know if you need anything!!

Baby Alexis, we are soooo glad you are on your way to feeling better all of the time!!

See you all soon,

Thursday, January 31, 2008

Join - Philippians 3:17-21

Pastor Trent finished up his series on LIFE this past Sunday. We've been taking a walk through the third chapter of Philippians and looking at the way Paul "encourage" the church at Philippi to live the life.

Going to be honest with you, this last message in this series was a beating...Paul makes it very clear that you are one of two things: You are either an enemy of the cross or you are a citizen of heaven. As we approach life with a Christian worldview we can understand that statement to a certain extent. We look at this senario as: You are either on God's side in this thing or you are against him. Maybe we even simplify things more by using "Christian terminology" and say: You are either saved or lost. That makes sense right?

Time out though...a closer look at the Scriptures and understand the importance of keeping it all in context shows us that that is not the issue here. We are not talking about lost vs. saved. Paul is writing this letter to the church. He is confronting those who have placed their hope of eternity in this Jesus. The reality of the situation is that as "believer" we can still be enemies of the cross. We can still be the cause for someone to not get the full picture of Christ in us. The things of the world have become more important to us than the things of God.

Okay then, how do we make sure that we are living life as citizens of heaven? Paul gives instruction to that. According to Scripture we can 1.) follow the example set by others who understand their citizenship (vs. 17) and 2.) Live as though Jesus could come back to get you today (vs. 20-21).

This is not to just be dismissed as another message. To me this is something that required self evaluation, or as I use to call it when I was doing student ministry, "spiritual inventory". We have to ask ourselves the tough question:

Am I living my life as an enemy of the cross or as a citizen of heaven?

Just something to think about...

(this is how I felt after this message on Sunday. PS - I'm the dog...)


Sunday, January 13, 2008

Choke City?

Mav's out in the first round...Stars out in the first round (who cares I know)...Cowboys last year out in the first round...Rangers, maybe next year...Cowboys this year out in the first round (at least their first round)...

Have we really become choke city?

Go back a little further, Mav's up 2-0 on the Heat and a strangle hold on a 3-0 lead...again, choke. That one still hurts to think about.

I really don't have any solutions to the problems, I'm just sayin' this point Big D is becoming more and more Choke City, USA.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Our Hearts Don't Deserve Your Glory...

I've just been continually reminded lately of the goodness of our Creator. Why is it that He continues to open up His skies and rain down blessings on us? Not only have I seen this in my personal life and with my family but also with what he is doing at Gateway right now.
It's humbling to think that the God of everything cares so intimately about a group of people in Royse City, TX.
Incredible...we don't deserve such goodness...