IN ALL ERNESTNESS


Do you know someone?
February 16, 2010, 12:03 am
Filed under: justice, life, love, ministry, missions, people, prayer, religion, Uncategorized, whatever | Tags: , , , , , ,

Have you ever thought there is more to life than what you were living? Have you ever thought there is more to following God than what you were experiencing? These are the thoughts that have led us to where we are.

A few years ago I was on staff at a church and we were doing all the “church” things. On the outside all looked well, but on the inside there were spots of emptiness. There had to be more to God than what we were living and teaching, if there wasn’t then church and God really were boring. Eventually this caused us to leave our church position. To what, we really didn’t know. In the time that followed we developed a deeper meaning of what it means to love God, love people. We have a deeper compassion for others. We have been moved to live more simply, want less, and give more (not only monetarily but with our lives as well). We have been introduced to the homeless in the Houston Montrose area. We have been introduced to Haiti, the poorest country in the western hemisphere and our hearts burn for them. We have made contacts and friends there and have been privileged to make several trips. We have been introduced to others whom God is moving; kindred hearts and kindred spirits. We are not the same and we are thankful.

Complacency is no longer an option. We want to be more and do more for the cause of Christ. We don’t want to just play church, we want to be the church. We don’t want to play Christian, we want to be true followers of Christ. We want to make a difference.

In the past few years God has allowed us to do some really cool things and be a part of some pretty amazing stories as He used this time to change us and grow us. However, lately I have not been able to rest and my mind has been constantly going over all the needs and the injustices in this world. I have been thinking about what it really looks like to love as God loves and to truly follow Him with our lives. I’ve been thinking of my own life and where I am. I have been meditating, praying, seeking…and I feel God leading…leading me away from my cubicle and back to full-time service with my life. Not to just join a church staff or play church but to really serve Him and live for Him. To be a part of a ministry, organization, or group of people who are passionate about the same things I am and have the same hunger and desire to see things done, to make a difference and create change. Do you know someone/somewhere who fits that description? Do you fit that description? If so, I would love to talk with you. Below are a few things about myself…

What I am not: I am not perfect. In fact, I am far from it. I make mistakes and have made mistakes, some really big ones to be exact. But ,as much as I hate them, those mistakes have helped make me to who I am today. God truly can bring beauty from ashes. He truly does not waste a hurt if we turn it over to Him.

What I am: I am passionate, dedicated, determined, and hungry.

Passionate: I am passionate about a God that loves me so much He sent His son, Jesus, the Liberating King, to die for me. I am passionate about a Gospel that is relevant to today and about introducing people to that Gospel. I am passionate about being Christ to those around me; about loving God, loving people. I am passionate about the needs and the injustices of this world. I am passionate about family.

Dedicated: I am dedicated to the various obligations, tasks, and goals set before me. I am dedicated to sharing the message and the love of the Liberating King with others. I am dedicated to loving God, loving people and living that love out loud. I am dedicated to confronting the injustices and meeting the needs of this world in any way possible. I am dedicated to my family; to be someone who they can trust, depend on, and to be a leader they can follow.

Determined: I am determined to do more than just exist. I am determined to do more than just make a living. I am determined to make a difference. I am determined to create change in this world for the name of Christ. I am determined to see the church be the church God intended it to be and to see Christians living lives of faith that are real and go beyond our typical Sunday and mid-week routines and rituals.

Hungry: I am hungry for something different, for change. Change in this world. Change in myself. Change in the church. Hungry to do something adventurous, amazing, and crazy for God and hungry to lead others to do the same. I am hungry to be a part of something bigger than myself.

Hungry to live out Isaiah 1:17 which says, “Learn to do right! Seek justice, encourage the oppressed. Rebuke the oppressor. Defend the cause of the fatherless, plead the case of the widow.”

Plea: If you know of someone or a ministry/organization (or if you are that someone) who could use someone like me please let me know. I know this may seem crazy but I am serious. I look forward to hearing from you. Thank you!

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Making a difference…

I want to start out by asking you to read this blog when you are finished here. It is a really good story of the journey a great and close friend of mine is beginning to travel. I am excited to see where the journey leads…

I really think it is an awesome thing to be able to see people as they begin to think beyond the norm, think beyond themselves, and dare to change…dare to be change. I think one of the best questions we can ask is “How can I make a difference; how can I create change?” It is when we allow ourselves to think this way and act upon the answers to these questions that we unleash a powerful, wild side of who we were meant to be. I truly feel that none of us were created to live just for and be about ourselves, rather to live in community; in relationship and with a desire to help, to make a difference, to create a positive change in the world and in others lives. There is something freeing; something liberating about being about giving, caring, loving others with a wild abandonment. To dare to be different; to make a difference. It has been said that we are never more like Christ than when we give ourselves away.  This is an expression of love and we are called to Love God/ Love People. Pretty simple isn’t it? Simple to say. sometimes harder to do.

My challenge to you…dare to be different… Dare to make a difference…Dare to create change…Ask yourself, “What can I do to create change, what can I do to make a difference?” Then, when you get the answer…do it! Don’t think about it, don’t over analyze it, just do it!

Don’t forget to read my friend’s story here!



Daring to Dream

I have deep within a passion to be a part of something bigger than myself. To be a part of change; to make a difference. One of my greatest fears is to slip into the rut of complacency and live the life of the mundane. I am more interested in living life than making a living. I want to do more than just exist. I have a burning passion to travel the world and touch, and love, and feed, and clothe, and give drink, and minister, and be ministered to by the least of these. I want to help out churches, missionaries, and brothers and sisters all around as they strive to do the same. I yearn to be a part of that kind of life. This is the thing that when I think about it or talk about it my heart begins to beat faster, and my palms begin to sweat, and mind begins to travel in a million directions.

I also want to help others to be able to do the same. I am tired of just telling people about faith and about what it looks like, and examples of it in the Bible. I want to go beyond that and mobilize people to be able to live faith, to experience faith, to own their own faith and then to go out share it with others. Don’t just tell people they need to love God and love people but show them what it looks like and give them opportunities to do it.

What is your dream; your passion?



What’s wrong with the church today?
January 24, 2009, 11:29 am
Filed under: friends, life, love, ministry, people, religion, Uncategorized, whatever | Tags: , , , , ,

I was reading an article this morning and this quote stuck out to me,

“Search “Church attendance drops” in Google and you will find article after article about the drop in church attendance here in the US.  Why?  I believe people find they are not perfect and so they don’t come back.”

I think I agree, this is one of the main reasons, that and the lack of relevancy.  However, I choose to defer to expound until I hear some of your thoughts…so, what do you think?



Hating the Haters…
January 19, 2009, 9:33 pm
Filed under: family, justice, life, love, ministry, people, religion, Uncategorized, whatever | Tags: , , , , , ,

Throughout the journey of my life I have encountered many different type of people coming from many different backgrounds, and seeing things from many different perspectives.
The same is true when it comes to the those I have encountered in the “religious” realm.
I have been around people who could be labeled “conservative”. I have been around people who could be labeled “liberal” I have even been around those we might call “legalistic”. What does all of that really mean?
Is it how you dress? What kinds of songs you sing in worship? Whether you raise your hands or not in worship? What version of the Bible you read? Do you really think God gets caught up in that?
I honestly think that Satan uses these things to distract Christians from doing the things that really matter; that really makes a difference. Also to keep our focus off of him and onto each other. Jesus said it himself, “A house divided among itself will fall.”
So why to we allow ourselves to be divided so easily?
It’s really easy to point the finger at the other.
I’ve had people tell me that the only acceptable English version of the Bible is the KJV. I have had people tell me that women shouldn’t wear pants. I have had people tell me all kinds of things about what a “Christian” should look like or talk like, or act like. Reminds me of in the Bible when the Jews were trying to make the Gentile converts get circumcised before they were deemed spiritually “acceptable”. What did God have to say about that? Anyway, sorry, back on track…
I don’t mind that others have these preferences, but that’s all it is…a preference. And when we try to push our preferences upon people as law or rules we become religious tyrants, or pharisees if you will.
One such case that really affected me was when a girl showed up to a church for the first time ever. She was a friend of one of the kids in the youth group…and she was wearing shorts. The youth pastor proceeds to tell her that if she wanted to go along she would have to go home and change into something other than shorts or pants. She left and never came back…The question that was left lingering in my mind was, “Was it it worth it?” Was her wearing shorts worth the possibility of her never giving God a chance again?
God is a god of love and we are to love. Isn’t that what Christ said when he said the 2 greatest commandments are to love God with all of our heart and to love our neighbor as ourselves? Love God, Love People!
There’s not a lot of love in judgment, especially when we are in no place to judge.
I have to be honest to say that “legalistic” judgmental “Christians” tick me off. It makes me angry to see a person turned away from the church over a pair of shorts. It makes me mad when Christians come up with their lists of “dos and don’ts” people must check off or ‘spiritual boxes” that people must fit into before they are “acceptable”.
Think about it. What would happen if a prostitute walked into your church services on a Sunday morning (or whatever day you worship on)? Or if a dirty, smelly, homeless man walked into your services with their torn clothes? Or if a known homosexual came in? What words would be whispered? What stares would be given? How would they be treated? It’s sad to think about, especially when these are some of the ones that Christ spent much of His time with…(Uh oh, it’s also one of the things that the Pharisees condemned Christ for…sorry, I did it again…)
Yes, I believe we are called to love…everyone! I believe we are to give, and to serve, and to love, and to sacrifice for others, just as Christ does and has done for us.
Yes, I get angry at the “Christian haters”.
Here’s the real problem…when I look down on these “haters” when I begin to judge them, I become no better than they are.
It is easy to hate the haters but if we do we place ourselves in their group, we join their ranks. It is no more right to judge the judgmental, to condemn the condemning, to hate the haters, than it is for them to do those things to others.
I talked about this with a friend of mine Saturday night and then low and behold if Chris, my pastor, didn’t bring it up himself in service on Sunday.
All you haters out there please forgive me. And God, I also ask for your forgiveness and for your help in loving EVERYONE.
Loving the Haters…



Justice…
January 18, 2009, 10:48 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , ,

In recent years I have changed, have been challenged, have questioned, and hopefully have grown spiritually.
What I have found to be true is that God is a god of love. He is a god of mercy and compassion. He is a god of justice…ahh, this is one of the words I think we get stuck on. What does justice mean? Is justice judgment? Is it damning people and “giving them what they deserve” or is it as Cornell West defines it, “Justice is what love looks like in public.”? Or is it something else?
The way we define justice has a direct effect on the way we live our lives as Christians.
So, how do you define justice? Let me know, I am interested to see what you think.



“Nothing is too difficult for me!” -God
January 8, 2009, 10:04 pm
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Jeremiah 32:17 is one of my favorite verses and God has time and time again proven it to be true in our lives. Most recently with our adoption. Take a look at a few of the things God has done for us with our adoption…

-Chooses us to be the family for wonderful and beautiful boy from Haiti.
-Allows Debra’s photography business to pick up (which we are using to help fund the adoption).
-When things got moved up and time became of the essence God gave granted us (through the help of various beautiful people) with about $3000 in about 3 weeks.
-A wonderful lady from our church who is a teacher uses our story as she taught her class about Haiti and orphans there. She was reading them a book in which she ended up giving us with messages from each of her students written inside. She also made a donation in honor of each of her students.
-When we went to get our stuff authenticated and stamped at the Haitian consulate we barely caught the man there and once he finished he wouldn’t allow us to pay him (it was supposed to cost at least $350).
-When we were about $2K away from us being able to tuen in our paperwork and have Debra deliver it in person I asked some of our dear friends and family to pray for us. The next day we received a note in the mail that was sent a month earlier…inside was a check for $2K.
-When we went to book Debra’s flight the price had went up. That same day we received another donation that covered the difference.
-He allowed us to be blessed by having wonderful and beautiful people, some of which don’t even know us, become a part of our story.
-Thank you to God as He is to receive ALL the glory and thank you to those of you who have been praying and giving and following our story.

Nothing is too difficult for God!