Monday, December 31, 2007

Flying Alone

My son at 11 flew alone to see his big deal really...the night before he said he dreamt he got lost in the airport. Of course we've all been through the anxieties of life. The first day of school, prom night, job interviews, the test, the big trip. The moments in our lives when our mind wrestles and runs the scenarios of whether or not we will succeed ( and we mean by that whether or not things will work out the way we want them to). Success doesn't happen when events work out the way you want them to (though I agree that is what we most often mean when we say success) but success is perservering through circumstances, regardless of what they are, in order to be shaped and conformed into the image of the person you are becoming. The journey of our lives (good/bad/otherwise) is the pathway to manifesting outwardly the transformation that has taken place inwardly. The beginning (new life) is certain and the end (glorified to be with him) is certain, it's the middle (being transformed into his likeness by the reknewing of our minds) that makes up the journey of our lives. Without struggle or hardship, without doubt or pain, without the angst of the unknown their is no stimulus to grow. The lesson I want my son to learn is that the anxiety of flying alone is the fear of the unknown which is simultaneously the doorway of faith.

Friday, December 28, 2007

Benazir Bhutto

The word Martyr is a strange means witness or representative but it has come to mean someone who is unjustly killed. This is a christian etymology but now is synonymous with anyone who is killed as witness to their cause. Benazir Bhutto was martyred yesterday. She was the first female prime minister of a muslim country who was twice removed under spurious charges of corruption by the male presidents of pakistan. Removed because she was a threat. Removed because she had a vision of representing the poor, the uneducated, the marginalized in a world where the despot is king and the greater the fear the greater the power. I imagine she knew she was in danger. The night she returned Musharaf initiated marshal law.... I imagine that after seven years of exile and in the middle of U.S. occupation she knew the world's attention would never be greater. I'm sure she willingly took the risk that she might advance the cause and liberation of Pakistan. So few martyrs....people willing to lay down thier lives for the lives of few

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Searching for Santa

Last night on Christmas Eve my brother and I were sitting outside by a fire listening to music while the kids played with their toys. His wife had left to head back to his house in order to get ready for "santa". My brother said " you know even though my kids are bigger now (13 and 11) their favorite Christmas tradition is searching for Santa". He continued "every year since they were little I would take them for a walk around the neighborhood while Julie ( his wife) would set up for 'santa'...and now even though they know who santa is...that's still their favorite Christmas tradition". As we sat watching the fire listening it was getting close to santa searching time and I thought to myself....and many years from now when they have kids of their 0wn it will likely remain their favorite Christmas tradition. It's not so much the destination but the journey......

Monday, December 24, 2007

Political Theater

Politicians have 'writers' and they star in commercials and they are convinced that if they can raise the most money in order to run the most and best ads they have a chance of winning. The 'ads' don't inform anyone about the issues but simply try to contrast other ads or 'actor/politicans' most recent commercial...Even the Political satirist/comedian Jon Stewart is off the air because his writers are on strike and while he may actually be funny/smart enough to genuinely discourse about the subject matter he's not a candidate, just a comedian who is off the air because the 'men behind the curtain' are gone. It's Christmas eve and here I am writing on political absurdity...I guess my reflection on the promised one, the child who ushers in justice and mercy and a kingdom of righteousness is acute and while we know he will return to establish his kingdom it is the ridiculous comedy of reality that causes us to long for his returning.

Friday, December 21, 2007

Eva, Tony and a marriage tip

It doensn't take long for the new to wear off...just ask Eva and Tony...3 months in and the accusations fly...As a spurs fan I hope he's innocent...N.B.A. player/French/married to hollywood starlet kinda stacks the generalizations against him...but we will see. Marriage is complex and at times tough secret...Marry your best friend....or for some of you...become best friends with the person your married to. Don't have seperate lives, hobbies, interests, life together. The breaking down of marriage begins with the seperation of roles and duties, jobs and friends and interests and T.V. channel choices... Fight the divide and find the common interest....I don't know whether Tony and Eva will make it...but I will tell you it has everything to do with their choices to live one life or two seperate lives under one roof.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Mike Huckabee's Christmas Ad

Mike Huckabee is running for president...I actually know Mike, he's preached at Grace Point...years ago... Mike is under fire for running a Christmas Ad. He basically eschews the politcal fray for the moment and says this is the time when we should focus on family and the birth of Christ. In the ad there is a bookshelf that in advertantly forms a cross which most bookshelves will do when the two boards come together. The critics find the symbolism and the exclusive ad offensive.
Mike is a what you see is what you get person. He's the real thing. I don't know what kind of president he will make and this isn't a political endorsement. I do know what kind of man he of faith and character...funny how those traits don't necessarily make for a good president anymore. He's a candidate who endorses Jesus...not the confused brother of Satan mormon Jesus...but God's only begotten son...He's a candidate who follows Him... and who is willing to be politically incorrect at Christmas....I don't know if he'll make a good president but he makes for a good man....too bad those are different.

Monday, December 17, 2007

Money can't buy

Stephn Covey said " You can buy a person's hands but you can't buy his heart. His heart is where his enthusiasm is, his loyalty is."

Where is your enthusiasm? Where is your loyalty? Many people quit jobs well before the paychecks stop coming.... Many volunteers quit their role long before they graciously/or ingraciously make room for engaged leadership.....


How's yours?

Friday, December 14, 2007


Most people if you listen...sometimes you have to listen closely due to elaborate cloaking mechanisms....most frame their lives into a positive's what we do...we almost need to in order to survive. Others whose lives have caught up with them and are fully wrapped around the axle are more 'realistic', they look back and see the pain, they look forward with hope and they are tentatively sober about the present...recognizing each day for the gift that it is...not guaranteed a tommorrow.
The spin doctors will look back and wish they had spent more time with their families, they will have wished they had taken the risk, they will have wished they had lived to the fullness of their calling, written the book, taken the journey...When they are old and dying in their beds their will be a tinge of regret but after a lifetime of spinning they will say " I did the best I could" the highly developed skill of mitigating regret will ease the thoughts.
Running the race means throwing off the 'encumberances'...which means or implies that we can't spin...we've got to come to terms with where we are...our rate of speed...and the obstacles that are tripping us up...I have a few encumberances and though I don't want to live a life of regret I refuse to dismiss or excuse or spin... This is what allows you to look to tommorrow, because you have the chance to right the regrets...If you spin it, dismiss live in the comfort of denial, blinded by the light your own making.
The only way to live beyond regret is to face them in the past and present...Don't live in the past...but don't dismiss it either.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Captain Caul and Augustus McCray

When "gus" McCray dies at the end of Lonesome Dove he is at the trails end in Montana...his one wish is to be buried back in Texas and Captain Call (Tommy Lee Jones) promises he will take him to that special spot by the river near the Pecan Trees. The word gets out and people can't beleive that a man would risk his life to bury a dead man. A newspaper man wants to write a story...People think Captain Caul has lost his mind. Gus' longtime girlfriend despises his stubbornness " just bury him here in Nebraska"..." a promise is a promise" says Captain Caul. https: The indians shoot at him... the casket and body are nearly lost crossing a river and then finally...beaten down by the miles and elements in a stupor of exhaustion and grief Gus is laid to rest right where he wished, right where Captain Caul promised. " A promise is a promise" This determination and resolve is still around today...nobody reports on it much...people like bad news and gossip... but I know some warriors who still live with such grit
Check out this blog of one such hero..." a promise is a promise" I said I will follow...and I will.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Fork in the Road

When Connor and I came to a giant ledge yesterday we had to choose to back up and either go down a rocky hill (not ideal for mountain least not for me) or cut through dense woods to an opening about 100 yards away. Going down would be easier in the short run....the woods would be work but in the long run make for a better trail. We were at a cross roads where we had to choose between Easy/Good Enough and Hard/Best...We chose Hard/Best albeit 5 minutes after we started down the hill...I just couldn't take the path of least resistance knowing in the long run it wouldn't really be that good. I think this happens to me maybe 100 times a day and I'm just not sharp to it. I probably face forks in the road like this all the time and unconsciously I choose...I wonder if I choose the best or the good enough? To tell the whole truth or to soften something to where it's unrecognizable. To look away or to linger with thoughts that purchase to satiate or to practice discipline. To do my very best or to mail it in knowing most won't know the many forks in the road...choose wisely.

Monday, December 10, 2007

Trail Blazing

The new park designated by the city is about two miles from the trail my son and I normally ride. The city forecasted that one day they would be connected. My son and I decided we would build a trail from the park where we ride now to the future park. For four days we sawed, shoveled, cut, lopped and snipped through a dense ridge above Leon Creek. On saturday we broke through to the other side. The trail is not worn in yet and has some hairy areas that need to be graded out but we did it we blazed a trail where no one had ever ridden before and hopefully riders will enjoy for years to come. Trail blazing is slow and tough but it is rewarding all the same. The joy of discovery, the pain and sweat and mostly the time together pursuing an epic common goal are all things that I will hold on to. I have ridden miles of trail that others have provided and unconsciously enjoyed their effort...There is something different about the trail less traveled....or for that matter the trail cut out of dense does make a difference.

Friday, December 7, 2007

Little Notes

I have a little note taped to the back of one of my "preaching" says "Soffen your intensitivity"...."not a good sermon but a great sermon"... the misspelled words are from the hand of my dyslexic dad but the note itself is priceless. My dad's penmanship is beautiful but he struggles with spelling and yet he writes these little notes and they last. More than words often a note will endure. I have a drawer full of little notes...Charles Spurgeon wrote about 20 letters a day, Jimmy Draper continues to prolifically write notes of encouragement and thoughtfulness...these are busy people with time crunches. Those notes are about thoughfulness and selflessness and love. I write too few little's what happens when you value efficiency more than thoughtfulness, or you are under the illusion of focus rather than the grace of selflessness...time doesn't get away it's captured in little notes. Only when we don't have time does time really get away. Whether it's in a drawer for a rainy day or taped somewhere little notes encapsulate time.

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Old Friends

Last night we celebrated my wife's birthday with some old friends. The term old friends suggest that in life you continue to make new ones and that in some cases you still have friendships that have endured.
These enduring friendships are the ones that have the greatest capacity for pain and joy. To know someone so well that you know there weaknesses and yet to love them still is a sacred stewardship. To know someone so well that you have multiple memories to ignite unrestrained laughter is a the gift of having endured.
You never feel awkward, you pick up where you left off, you leave secure and lifted...It's good to have old friends...rare...but good.

Monday, December 3, 2007

Tougher Still

It was the summer before my Jr. year in High School and Doug Heinz had moved onto 10 acres and built a new home but was wanting some land clearing done. I unwittingly took the job thinking it would be nice to work outside for a change ( I sold shoes in the mall) Doug wanted me there early... 6 a.m. the heat of the day wouldn't interfere and I cut, chopped, raked mowed, stacked rock etc... all summer long. At the end of each day I would despondently await Doug's return home...he would evaluate the day...I remember recieving an instruction on raking at the end of a long day of raking and the next day I raked it all over again...this time better, this time the right way. I would build rock walls around trees and the poor workmanship or unstable areas would be pointed out and I would re do them. I was forced to get it right, to work harder than I wanted to and to face the quality of my work. My work is still evaluated everyday, there are still some areas where I don't have experience or I simply haven't done my best, but either way I am given the chance to grow or do it get it right. I wanted to quit that job almost everyday...but I stuck with it and toward the end of the summer I could begin to see the transformation of the acerage...slowly but noticeably. It's hard work and it's the type of work that forces you to do your best but the garden of our souls and the souls of others requires the painstaking work of transformation...some will just quit...but either way at the end of the day our work will be judged. I learned some toughness that summer...I'm learning toughness still.

Sunday, December 2, 2007


The Power of focus is the ability to say no to the candy store of good things in order to pursue the one thing you know is your purpose. It is easy to rationalize and bend to modify and make exception...that is how focus is lost and the once forceful flood of focus is diluted and distributed over a vast valley of wants, desires, wishes and concessions. You cannot do everything and accomplish parent well requires a focus and resolve that with clarity says no to good things, to love well means to rule out emotions and behaviors, actions and attitudes that rend and destroy, to lead well means to say no to options and plans, strategies and soft sided concessions that take a team off course...but focus is potent and powerful and when sustained can move the go.................and I'll be with you.

Saturday, December 1, 2007

Now it came about in those days....

That a decree went out from Ceasar Augustus...The most powerful man in the world needed some tax in order to pay for his army...everyone seemingly is obeying Ceasar's decree and yet Mary goes from Nazareth to Bethlehem as a result of this decree and gives birth to Jesus in the City of Bethlehem just as the Prophet Micah had foretold...and Immanuel 'God with Us' comes into the world just as Isaiah foretold and eight days after he is born at the temple Simeon says " behold this Child is appointed for the fall and rise of many in Israel and for a sign to be opposed-and a sword will pierce even your own soul- Ceasar Augustus is not on the thoughts of many people's minds anymore...there is little left from his world wide dominion...but the little baby born in a barn is still changing the world. So often we have the illusion of being in control, but God orchestrates His will in the world that His son might be revealed and made known...we send out many decrees but God is the author of all that lasts and is meaningful. I pray the Christ will open my eyes to see and that the illusion of control will be lost in his come follow me.

Friday, November 30, 2007


The Last time John had seen him the "Baptist" had baptized him and now for he had been gone for fourty days now....but now he has returned, gaunt and wirey but it's the change in his eyes that you notice the most..."what had he seen out there in the wilderness"? You are releived you didn't know if you'd see him again and there is something uniquely powerful about this man whom the 'Baptist' calls the lamb. He is only with you a few days and then he prepares to are compelled you cannot let him go this time and at a distance you follow. He stops asking you what is it that you want and in that moment you be with him. He says come follow me. It is in that moment that the truth of His life "the sent one" converges with the truth of your life "my disciple" His purpose, your purpose co mingled and running down from a cross to the ends of the earth. God with us, live among us that the compelling nature of his coming to tell us of our long lost father, to show us the way home. And we behold his glory...and we will be like him and we know it...So we must behold him, long to be with him and follow him...home.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Grace Point Initiative

Archie Rhines is our new Facilities Director...check out his blog at and see how a leader involves other leaders. Leading a volunteer organization is the most challenging job in the world. Bill Hybels often comments on how leading when people aren't motivated by a paycheck requires top notch vision, strategy and leadership. We are blessed at Grace Point with such leaders....Check out Archies Blog and get in the game....

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Jewish Wedding, Rocket Launchers & Hagee

My friend Phil got married last weekend and it was a Jewish wedding...I know Phil is Jewish but he has never been particularly 'religious', and so it was odd in some ways for it to be a Jewish wedding. I was in the wedding party and was sitting with all of Phil's other friends and Gary who I didn't know had been on 60 minutes as they attempted to show how easy it would be to sale a rocket launcher...Gary buys and sells parts...Soon the conversation turned to beliefs...a Jewish playboy from San Fransisco who I knew from High School was talking of tithing...most Jews don't evidently (tithe that is). And then Gary asked me about Hagee and his support for Israel and how he felt it was all political...I said I thought it was mostly theological...that the Jews are blessed and that God was going to fulfill his covenant even though the gentiles had been grafted in...I told him I actually believed that as that moment our table was being moved so the new couple could dance and we were abruptly re located...soon it was time for my wife and I to head home. Two days later I got a nice email from Gary...he was hoping he hadn't offended...he had not of course, but his kindness was grand. When I read in Ez.37 about the dry bones being raised and the Spirit of God coming and restoring his people it's hard to imagine how Jesus cannot be accepted and yet I know there is a reason. The culturalism of Judaism as well is Christianity is people hold on to the form without the substance. I want to know Christ, to follow him, to be filled by his spirit...not just a cultural religious context to wrap my life. The promise of Ezekiel it seems is Mazeltov...the broken pieces put back together again. I pray the Spirit of Christ Jesus will open the eyes of my friends and that I will not be a stumbling block.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

To The Ends Of The Earth

Yesterday I met with the President of Baptist University of The America's along with two professors from the university. As we discussed the great need of hispanic churches and the demographic tsunami crashing over North America there was a sense of urgency as well as excitement. Over the next 15 year the United States will become predominantly hispanic and the population densities will be more spread out than ever before. That means all over North America hispanics will be living and working and raising families. The present strategy to take the gospel is insufficient, it is focused on anglo, suburban church plants neglecting the need for a massive infusion of equipped, trained and deployed mulit cultural planters. The networks of immigration are also the networks of salvation and yet we are still attempting to colonialize. In other words planting a spanish speaking church in an area may provide a beach head into that community but likely only if the immigration network has already affirmed the church through the word of mouth network all the way back into mexico, brazil, colombia etc....If we plant along the lines of the immigration highway to destinations then it is possible to build trust and community. So rather than an outpost it is more of a train depot...interconnected along the a church planting network and brand that conveys integrity. Immigrants talk, they call and say I have a job for you or come to this town and they meet in barrios, bars and homes...but the church is seldom part of the conversation and this can change maybe even must change. The ends of the Earth is always next door.

Monday, November 26, 2007

The Litmus Test of Ingratitude

I was faced yesterday with this subtle distinction between appreciation and gratitude. Appreciation is being thankful on one end of a spectrum but fails to acknowledge the source of that thankfulness...Gratitude is when the source is acknowledge...Ingratitude emerges in forms of envy, pride, in the past...for me I find myself preparing for the 'worst'. A sort of defensive posture that is ready to pounce on an anticipated worst case outcome. It's somewhat crazy actually and this epiphanal awareness is an engrained habit that when mixed with stess and caffeine makes for an intolerable batting cage of reaction. It's like I'm opening a Christmas gift expecting it to be a bomb or a box of nothing or worse a tie...I'm preparing myself for ingratitude. The conditioned response, the presumed preparation for worst case, is really a habitual preparation for ingratitude...The lowering of your expectations protects you from disapointment but over time conditions you out of the ability to recieve the fulness of the gift which makes the words 'thank you' hollow. So now the long slow road to identify the trigger mechanism of worst case fantasy management and start practicing full cup gratitude.

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Rebellion Freedom Trap

I wasn't any different at 21, I wanted to test the boundaries of what was acceptable and of course bring attention to myself by challenging the establishment ( and many things in the establishment need to be challenged) by my niece wanted to talk about hypocrisy and christians and why she didn't need 'community' but only a 'personal relationship' with Jesus...and she was a little concerned that her choices might rule out that relationship. In other words she wants to live how she wants to live, believe what she wants to believe and if it's doesn't line up with Jesus' teachings the oh well.... All sin is that way of course those daily choices not to follow Jesus, when I was 21 I hadn't made the choice the conscious choice to 'follow' and even now that I have there are many instances in my mind and with my habits that I don't...but the difference is I have made the choice to follow and in spite of my failure I press on...Rebellion is the choice not to follow and the conscious choice to do the opposite without the desire to try again, to repent to is the belief that freedom is found in the independence of these choices and making the choice to satisfy oneself...I guess the only difference is knowing and believing it is wrong and feeling remorse for the activity and starting new to try to follow or justifying your behaviour by saying it isn't wrong and staying in it. So following Jesus, following Jesus badly and not following Jesus. I would rather follow him badly (be wrong) than not follow him (pretend I'm right).

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

I am Thankful

I am thankful for so many things but central to all my gratitude is the cross. It's hard to say in non-religious terms...words that are worn, words that we have built some immunity towards. I am thank for Jesus and his willingness to be blugeoned and beaten, humiliated and massacred in order that I might have life. I am thankful to follow him...without the following the cross makes no sense. I am not freed from my sin to continue in it. Not given eternal life so that I can live a parenthesis of self aggrandized American pseudo christianity. I am freed by Jesus to follow is hard...i suck at it at times and yet I am compelled by my gratitide and the awarness that without him my life is meaningless. The cross gives meaning to my wife and children, my family my friends and relationships. Without the cross of Jesus and the choice to follow him these all become transient ideas of self pursuit that end without meaning. I am mostly selfish...still trapped in the flesh...still pursuing the transformation by the reknewing of my mind...but even so I am aware that I am free, changed, trapped only by my failure to pursue Jesus. We can only enjoy the sensual pleasures of this life...our warm soft bed, a bubble bath, the contoured leather of a well crafted sedan, the giggle of our children, the gathering of relation to the measure by which we understand Jesus and his enjoy apart from him, this thought of who he is and what he has done... is the height of self absorbtion.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

A Poll

Okay, I'm trying something new...I've added a Poll to my blog, which can be summarily removed upon it's lack of use, my lack of creativity or wrong answers...: ) just kidding. I got a lot of feedback from the blog where I suggested we should have one hol(y)day at a time...and so I thought I'd take a poll...check it out and let me know...

Monday, November 19, 2007

Giving Thanks

It's foggy out...a cold front is coming and it is the week of Thanksgiving. Likely it will 'feel' like a perfect holiday. I will go out to my moms and we will have Turkey, Corn bread stuffing, mashed potatoes and green beans as well a sundry of other delights. We will eat until nausea sets in and then watch a meaningless ball game and most importantly just be together as family. 2500 miles away my friends will be huddled around candle light in Johannesburg, they will be eating from a community bowl a substance called 'pop'. It's like 'grits' only thicker. With great joy they will give thanks for the bounty and provision of the Lord and they will mostly give thanks for people and mean it. At thanks giving we should all take a packet of red stickers and walk around our homes and place a red sticker on everything (temporary), car (temporary), table (temporary), sports (temporary), food (temporary), and then in blue we should label everything that is eternal...Mom (eternal), Dad (eternal), Kids, wife (eternal) and the actions that influence the lives around us toward Christ (eternal). That way when we are sitting at Thanksgiving we will be able to keep it in perspective of what/who we are thankful for and what it's all about. In Johannesburg they won't need any stickers.

Friday, November 16, 2007

So I bought myself a church....

As we discussed the man who went out and bought himself a church because he wanted a church the way he wanted it my friend said " I know a guy who bought himself one and it started with 34 people and 23 committees"... he wasn't joking. The new "owner" wanted to start with the right model and so he established 23 committees before it ever began. I know Lawyers, businessmen, CEO's that are successful running their businesses and so they either think that it must be the same 'running' a church or they simply lower their leader IQ when they think church.... What I've come to discover is that The Church is the Lord's it can't be bought nor can it be led with Spreadsheets, General Ledgers and conservative fiscal priorities. None of these things is in and of itself's just the church is clear about it's mission, power source and strategy. It requires risk taking faith, Spirit empowered leadership and a completey sold out, go for broke commitment to "the ends of the earth". Most people want an institution that doesn't change, Jesus commissioned a world changing organism....You can't buy a church ...if you can it is not the church...You can't operate a 'church' rational, methodical, reactive's a faith venture or else it's just business men playing church.

Thursday, November 15, 2007


My dad turned 73's a number not his age. The number itself is insignificant because it's not a hallmark birthday like fourty or sixty-five or sweet's 73. It doesn't represent his age because my dad is not limited by the number...he has always been "younger" in his mind...always forward thinking... he lives in the present and is unencumbered by the bitterness or regret of yesterday. He thinks about what is possible and rarely focuses or stagnates on what is not...He is a risk taker and knows that failure is not trying. He has an enthusiasm for life and for people and he always bets on the underdog if that underdog has a determined fight in his eye...He always grants grace through forgiveness even though the wound may be deep and personal. My dad is grace the most simultaneously broken and used vessel I know...perfect in weakness and explosively powerful though flawed. 73 is the amount of seasoning and wisdom, the amount of practice and acquired skill but not an age cannot contain is a lesson I hope to learn a wisdom I long to acquire, a model I strive to follow...

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Truth Tellers

The phone rang, it was yet another interruption. My sister Suz was on the other line and with surgeon like skill she spoke the hard truth..." I had better get on the plane and go, if I waited I would regret...somebody else could preach, but nobody else could be there with my wife as her mother lay dying". The bible says the wounds of a friend can be trusted....I know that is true...I have learned to trust the hardness of truth and trust the truth tellers. Often the truth is side stepped and softened to the point of opaque suggestion but a friend will wound you and he/she will do it because you are deeply and dearly loved. That event happend almost 13 years ago but it was a defining moment when I realized everybody had the same information but only my sister was willing to fight for the truth...only my sister was willing to wound me. Truth tellers are true friends though they themselves are only sought as friends on a convenience basis...they are dangerous...they are fierce and wanted mostly in small doses. I don't feel that way but I know it's widely felt...I don't feel that way because I too like my sister Suz, am a truth teller. Wound you if we must but the wounds can be trusted....and by now we understand the cadence of our friendships and by now we have discovered the community of trust in those who will not yield, dilute, or mute the truth.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Grace Point @ 15...another note

This was sent via email....I wanted to share it....
"Words can’t describe what Gracepoint means to me. Other than my choice in wife, my choice in occupation, and of course my choice to follow Christ, choosing Gracepoint as our church home is easily the most important choice that we have made as a family. We have been members of Gracepoint from the beginning. Initially we just went to Church. Slowly, we got more and more involved. The more we got involved, the more we were blessed. We have all grown so much. I personally have learned what it means to step out in faith and be obedient; to be totally dependant on God; as well what it means to be led by the Holy Spirit. I have seen God Bless our faithfulness in our business, in our family, and in others who we have experienced life together with. It’s been awesome to see Karen and our kids grow in their relationships with the Lord. I am so proud of them. I hear so many compliments on how great our kids are. Well, I am here to tell you that our kids are a reflection of the HEART of Gracepoint Church. I will be eternally grateful for all the faithful servants from Gracepoint who have poured out their hearts and souls into our children. We love our Pastor and we love our Church. We love all you guys!!! You are the best!"
-Blogging is sharing..." the local church is the hope of the world "

Friday, November 9, 2007

15 Years and reflection

Not a week goes by that I don't have opportunity to praise God for what He is doing at Grace Point but as we approach our 15 year anniverary I've been a little more is just a normal story that I get every's who we's who we reach...As Sheryl Crow say's..."this ain't no Country Club".......

Mack who visited our Late Younger 3rd class on Sunday. She said that they would be back this Sunday for 9:30 worship and then she would go to Base Camp while Tariq was in Crosswalk. She explained that they had “no religious background” but wanted to get that for her son, and for her of course (a bit of an afterthought). She said Tariq had been asking a lot of questions lately about the Devil and religious things and she was worried that he would ask strange or inappropriate questions in his class here. I assured her that all kids (even the ones who practically live at church) as all kinds of interesting questions. They’re kids and they’re very creative thinkers. This was the place to ask questions and she shouldn’t worry about it at all!

They'll be back...a shepherd will dig into his life and share Jesus...and our Prayer is that the Holy Spirit will Transform yet another life.... 15 years and still going....

Monday, November 5, 2007

too early for christmas

All the stores are wrapped in tinsel, candy cane and lights...the marketing engine of Amercian Merchandising is in full swing and I'm just not ready for it yet. It's not even really cold, and we still haven't even had thanksgiving and it just seems unnatural to force Christmas down our throats a full two months out. The stark contrast between an unlikely savior in a barn, all earthy with straw and animals. The surprise and wonder of wisemen and different from the manufactured expectations of glitz and cash registers...lists and obligatory trinkets...I love the advent of's Christmas I can do without.

Thursday, November 1, 2007

Life Changing Disc

In 1987 I was reclined in my Honda crx listening to the brand new 'tape' I had bought of U2's Joshua Tree. I listended and sureveyed each lyric as I read the tiny print of the tape jacket. I went on to wear that tape out and then I purchased the disc...The music caused me to reflect to be introspective and at the same time it lifted and this day when I hear the staccato base line of With or Without You i'm somewhat transfixed anchored and challenged music is powerful..What is your most transforming album and where where you when you heard it and how did it affect you?

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Nervous Neighbors

There is a house on my street with suspicioius come and go at night...they haul gas cans and other undefined items in through the garage at all hours...just as long as it's day nothing happens. The neighbors have all complained to each other and the board which told them there was nothing they could do...and they report to each other the anxious details of who came and went in the very suspicious goings on of the house in question. One neighbor can't sleep he is up at all hours of the night documenting who is coming and going...people are full of fear and anxiety and yet all that has been done is to stir one another up. I got tired of the anxiety and called the cops and started the process for the narcotics officers to watch what is likely a meth lab. There are things in our life that are unknown...that are dark that are scairy but we cannot simply complain and document our objections. We must take action and if necessary direct action. It is less dangerous than stirring the world up around us to simply join us in our fear...anxiety without action is a prision of fear.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

The Brotherhood

Psalm 133 says " how good and pleasant it is when brothers dwell together in's like oil running down upon the beard...even Aaron's beard or it's like dew of Mount Hermon falling upon Zion.....the blessing of God "life forevermore" Unity is a saturating, life giving is anointing and is blessing...Unity does not come without sacrifice, effort and strangely you at times must fight for unity. But to dwell good and pleasant! Sometimes I wonder what non-essential must I relinquish, what petty wrong must I forgive, what annoying gossip must I ignore order to foster and cultivate unity and the fine balance of going to a Brother if I cannot ignore, reliquish or let order that reconciliation might bless us both. How good and pleasant (like a massage), like a Ice Cold Coke on a Summer's day....Like spring rain over the recharge zone...blessing...Life...forever.

Saturday, October 27, 2007

The Greatest of Gifts

Connor and I delivered the Canoe we made to my father for his 73rd birthday...he was blown away...he said over and over again that it was the best birthday present he had ever recieved and he and Connor went for their first trip together across the lake. Later that day as Connor and I were tossing the football and my mom and dad were on the patio in a flurry of conversation these words came from my dad's mouth..."Connor, your dad is the dad I always wanted"...the conversation went on and those words lingered like a dove descending or the clouds opening...I think I understand 'blessing' more in light of this least blessing the way scripture uses the term. The words of affirmation that confer the moment and for a lifetime. It's why Jacob wanted to steal it from carries with it the momentum of a is one of the greatest gifts.

Friday, October 26, 2007

The Hilton Legacy

The Hilton Legacy has been tainted of late by brainless blonde exploits, but Hilton's original commitment was to Hospitality, Kindness and Excellence. Victor Cervantes the Mangager over all food and beverage for the Hilton Palacio del Rio invited my wife and I down for dinner on the river last night. We were given the best table with clean pressed linens and fine china facing the river. We never had to even place an order as the delicacies came from the kitchen in waves on the hands of an attentive and dedicated wait staff. After dinner we strolled the river walk on a perfect evening of 72 degrees and cloudless skies, and as we made our way back to the Hilton where our up front valet vehicle awaited we felt as though we were royalty. We had been 'thanked' and praised and blessed and all the while we were the ones who were being served. Victor Cervantes spoke of his General Manager for Hilton as his mentor and the commitment to the Hilton service, hospitality and excellence... for Victor this is not merely the Hilton legacy but a fulfillment of his life in Christ and with grace and a smile we were blessed, ministered too and honored. In every walk of life the life of Christ can be emulated and expressed it just depends on the legacy you are attempting to leave behind.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Real News

Last Night the Ten o'clock news led with a story that my brother was covering. The 10 o'clock news notoriously leads with murder, arson, rape, but this night an inspiring 'sports' story of how the World Series Colorado Rockies are generously supporting fallen baseball player Scott Coolbaugh's family as they ascend through the playoffs. The story was sad because the 6 and 5 year old boys lost their dad, but it was also inspiring how a sports team 'did the right thing'. What amazed me was for a brief moment the 10 o'clock murder, arson, rape parade transceded into something that elevated your life rather than soak it in terror, fear or apathy. I was proud because my 'sportscaster' brother is usually the one who leads with news that is meaningful and he's the sportscaster...go figure. The reality is it shows that it's not about the role that you play, it's about what you choose to focus on that counts. Some day a local news will figure out that if they led with inspirational news they'd be the most watched news's just harder work to focus on all that's right with the world...but it's a choice. Unfortunately as soon as the story was over it turned to murder on the that's a shocker! Each day is full of inspiration and stories that elevate the lives of those around you, we just have to look a little harder.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Heels over Head

After the rain the Mountain Bike trails are brand new...the old trails have been washed out or blocked by fallen trees and so new trails emerge. There is a strange balance between riding as though things are the same and discovering new trails. Last night I found this out the hard way. My friend and I were flying through a very familar set of trails when all the sudden a fallen tree created an trail had been developed around the tree, he went one way and I the trail descended rapidly and was undulating and then suddenly and yet in slow motion my rear wheel was above my head and I was in a semi flip...I lay on the ground still going through a mental check list and by the time my friend arrived I was back on my back..."are you alright"? for the most part I said...a bruised ego and a thigh bruise that will smart for a few days. Things change and as they do we have to adapt but sometimes the rate of speed at which we are traveling needs to adapt as well.

Monday, October 22, 2007


Last night my kids made the last Icee run of the season. This morning the forecasted cold front is blowing in and we wanted to capitalize on moment. The five of us stormed the local Valero each in search of their favorite flavor or mixture of flavors. We made a mess as we usually do because pouring your own Icee is an art. As we drove home the kids thanked me and Mc my 5 year old said " this is the best Icee run ever"...we laughed. The "blue northern" as my Nanny would call it isn't all that cold but it has pushed the temps down by 25 degrees...the main thing is seasons are changing and with each season change comes the opportunity to close out the out going season well and to prepare for the incoming season. Every season has its own beauty and wonder, challenges and hardships, but they don't last for ever and it's fun to celebrate them and mark them. The third week of february we will plant tomatoes in anticipation of is an act of faith...and on May 1 we will celebrate may day...the official Harris holiday with a day run to the beach...seasons come and go...but mark them well, in faith and hope and expectation that God is working it to good and the next greatest moment of your life is just a moment away.

Friday, October 19, 2007

The Canoe

Yesterday Connor and I began the epic process of building a Canoe for my father's birthday. My dad and Connor fish when Connor visits and a Canoe we decided was needed...500.00 minimum at Academy and after searching the web I found the instructions for an "affordable" canoe. We have plans and materials and today we will 'wet in' the canoe by applying fiberglass...I have no clue...but we are having a blast...we pray she holds water and we will "fair" her to make her "Yar"...We decided to name her either Tres Georges or George3 ( to the third power or cubed). Connor is George Connor and I am George Jeffrey and my dad is George Horton...there you have it. I don't know much about Canoe making but I'm enjoying my son and my hope is he and my dad will fish and paddle and memories will be made and wisdom will be passed down. Lyle Lovett sings "if I had a boat I'd ride out on the ocean and if I had a pony I ride it on my boat...we'd all go out together and ride upon the ocean me on pony on my boat"...I don't have a pony...but looks like I have a 'boat'.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

God's iPod

Yesterday morning I was playing my guitar and it was was one of those mornings when the chord progression just was right and the words just flowed...I felt inspired and I worship in what can only be described as a 'meditative' just was. I thought that I needed to write the song was in my estimation 'good' and with the rythym and lyrics in my head it might be something worth formalizing. The kids woke up, the day started, I had the best intentions and after crowding my head with the CD in my was gone...Every morning all around the world there are little, medium and big voices in showers, on walks, in the cars humming, singing, shouting original/new songs to God. Lyrics of praise, and redemption, gratitude and love. Rap and dissonant diatribes, as well as choruses of praise. A billion voices all individually heard and appreciated by my magnificent God who delights in the music that I sing only for Him...whether remembered or lost in the moment. All I know is that if God has an iPod I have several songs on it....I don't remember them...but He does.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Tip Top

Yesterday we went to the Tip Top Cafe and we ate the Chicken Fried Steak that Tip Top has been famous for since 1949. Don't forget the Onion Rings that mound about 2 feet off the plate. We laughed a little...just taking a break from the craziness...we indulged. I said I wish there was a pill you could take that would dissolve the cholesterol and just make the food those new combination drugs...My friend Thomas said Yeah like Exlax and about lipolax...then he said no I got it...Exitor! and we laughed...we belly laughed. Laughter is so good for the soul and it widens the capilaries and hopefully made the cholesterol pass by easier since I was fresh out of Exitor. Our infinite creator God loves laughter and the reflection of goodness...he modeled that for us and too often we miss it; the miracle of an orange glow sunrise, the soft billowy breathes of a new born with there fresh skin smell, the beauty of a hummingbird at rest or the belly laugh of grown ups delighting in the moment of everyday. We miss the worship in the common things when we don't pause to taste slowly, admire deeply, laugh heartily...It is Good!

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

blogging sucks

In the darkness the halo of the screen stares blankley back at me. There is plenty going on in my mind and my heart and there is also a vein of numbness and inarticulate safe zone. The mixture of compulsion, confusion and apathy lead me to the momentary conclusion that blogging sucks. Tommorrow I won't/hopefully feel the same way though there is no guarantee....afterall where does the exhaustion/grief/writers block/cathartic journaling disease come from anyway?

Saturday, October 13, 2007

bubba's gone

About 11:15 a.m Bubba Pruett left his skin body and finally got to see Jesus face to face. Bubba was a tortured soul...this world was tough for him...The outside as a lover of Jesus was strange and confusing...hard. Bubba had been out for six years and made money as a painter but was primarily a missionary to the down and out, the once imprisioned and the hurting. He longed to go back in to prison as a preacher and he was good at it. God used him. When he preached at Grace Point folks that wouldn't normally come, came...Bubba could connect, he'd been there. I will miss him, his big warm smile...the ease of his walk, the genuineness of his conversation. He will be missed for his presence...he never understood or was comfortable with the sheer potency of his presence..."why do people make such a fuss?" " I wish people would shut up about my past and see me for who I am". We did Bubba...We do.. You are a Prince of the Kingdom of the Almighty God...a prisoner set free, a lover of Jesus who now is in his presence...and because you so clearly loved him and because you spoke of your passion to be with once again "have been there" and you once again are making your presence felt...I will miss you and yet the thought of you with Jesus is good...its right...

Friday, October 12, 2007

Shawshank Bubba

I've been in jail twice...only once overnight. My friend Bubba was a convict for 10 years for pushing cocaine. He was a bad$#@ motorcycle thug until he met Jesus on the inside. This was no Jailhouse conversion...this was the real altering, world changing, Jesus loving conversion and it touched everyone he came into contact. Bubba still has an affection for the Harley' gives him the sense of that he's on the outside he values freedom more than most of us can fathom. Two nights ago he laid down his harley and now he's fighting to live once again. He fought to live when he was a dealer, to live on the inside against the gangs...he fought to live by giving his life to Jesus and he's fought through a head on car wreck and now this motorcycle accident. Things don't look good...but like everyone who has been imprisoned, by sin, fear,or circumstances there is hope. I don't know if I'll see Bubba again on this side, but I hope. I don't know if he'll say he little fella and wrap his big arms around me but I hope. I don't know if tears will fill his eyes after a message and I'll hear the words "preacher I sure do love you" but I hope...and if not, then I still hope.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Relative Truth

Subjectivity seems to be the ethos of the day! Our opinions and feelings guide our lives. When I see a homeless person I immediately assume he is an addict or mentally impaired and while statistics bear this out I allow the statistic to enable me not to think more deeply. Poverty is caused my laziness, and addiction but also by injustice, and oppression. I live in the U.S. so everyone has equal access to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness...but is that actually true or only ideally true? Is it possible that the system we live in is injust or oppressive? My feelings about this dictate the truth that I choose to believe and I align those feelings with others and systems that validate and support that...we call that politics. The reality is that truth is a fixed point and the only thing that is relative is my proximity to it. Objectivity is the willingness to move closer and closer to that fixed point.

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

The Hope of the World VS. World Hope

World Hope is a missions organization...I sit on the board. For years I have challenged the board to find a dedicated, full time leader to organize and fuel the mission desire of the organization but to no avail. World Hope is leaderless and while it is full of well intentioned saints with great desires it will never accomplish what it could or should for the Kingdom. Now, it does some good and to God be the glory but too often it settles for mediocrity. I cannot fix World Hope I can only reflect and ask the same question of myself; Am I settling in areas of my life for the mediocrity of 'doing some good' at the expense of greatly glorifying God to my best? World Hope is leaderless...and when everyone is responsible for fund raising, or Newsletter writing and the like, the no one is. In organizations where responsibility is unclear they slowly drift into irrelevance....but with lives it is different...responsibility is unshakeable and the drift into irrelevance complicit negligence.

Monday, October 8, 2007

Mission, Vision, Strategy confusion

The confusion of Mission, Vision and Strategy is not the stuff of corporate raiders but the disconnect of the everyday. An impulse buy is a Vision that is divorced from a mission and strategy. A fad diet is a strategy divorced from a Mission though it may fulfill a short term vision. A divorce is a relationship without a mission, operating on an unstated strategy, without a clear destination in mind. All these exemplify why Mission, Vision and Strategy are for the common man, for the everyday decision matrix and why we need to know. The mission tells me why I exist. The Strategy are the essential steps I need to fulfill to pursue this mission. The vision is an ever clarifying picture of what it looks like to pursue and arrive at this destination, with each step closer the picture becomes more clear. Too often we don't know why we are here and so our process for living is jumbled and unclear leading us to drift and bounce around the sea of life without a destination. Without it our jobs, purchases, familes, prayers, entertainment, leisure, lunches, relationships....are transient encounters.

Saturday, October 6, 2007

Canyon Gorge

The Canyon Gorge opened today for tours. The Gorge was the by-product of the 2002 floods here in South Texas where we received 35 inches in about a week. The waters topped the spillway and for 3 days sending torrents of floodwaters onto the wateshed below. What resulted was a deep gorge was cut leaving no vegitation and unearthing fossils and dinosaur prints. The Gorge is one of the largest in the U.S., except for the Grand Canyon which scientist say took 100 million years to carve out. Which is interesting the because the Canyon lake Gorge only took 3 days....I wonder if some other epic flood could have caused a Gorge to be cut out in a short period of time...say 40 days? Anyway it's front page Yahoo news and it's about 20 miles from us... check it out

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Hemingway or Faulkner?

Last night as my daughter worked on a writing paper I pulled out two authors in an attempt to help her. I said "close your eyes and listen". After reading a short excerpt from Hemingway I asked her to describe what was taking place and she and her younger brother did so with ease. After one small paragraph they knew exactly where the characters were, what they were doing and fine details about them. Then I read Faulkner. After two long meandering pages I asked them to describe what was taking place. Neither of them knew for sure where they were or what they were doing. They knew the dialect was southern but beyond that the details the senses were muted, and lost in the flowing dialogue. Two great authors, two very different styles. I prefer Hemingway, the potency and touch of his words. The efficiency and precision, the way you can taste and smell the moment. Sometimes we get lost in the dialogue...the long meandering, complex structure of our lives and we don't really know where we are or what is happening. Life is so much richer when we taste the sugary sweet consistency of a pear or we smell the damp freshness of summer rain. Too much is lost in the meandering dialogue of our lives where the detail and robustness is lost in office cubicles, traffic and television. I'd rather write a life like a Hemingway novel.

Monday, October 1, 2007

The Prodigal

The argument goes something like this " that's what you believe, but you don't corner the market on truth and if you want to believe that fine, but I don't believe the way you do". It is a compelling argument especially in a world that is constantly changing and in a world where it's difficult to know who to believe. The premise of course is that there are no absolutes and that even as you read this there is no way to know for sure that you are reading it except perceptual information. The teenager I visited with who was suggesting that pot smoking wasn't wrong just illegal because of some random sterotype by the goverment and that what scripture says is archaic was the poster child for this relative generation. The interesting thing here is that even if they are right then what scripture says "that what really matters is faith" is actually true...even in a relative world. Think about that....If truth is relative or absolute, faith is still the truest thing either way....That is why faith is an act of God and a conscious choice. Even though the mountains crumble into the stands. Stop and put your mind around it...what is true?

Thursday, September 27, 2007


Expectations are a wierd, wonderful and sometimes wicked thing. When we envision in our minds how a thing ought to be and we strive toward it or wait upon it and it happens we have a sense of satisfaction and fulfillment but when that same anticipation or effort goes unrealized we slump into disappointment. Our expectations can mold our behaviours and others, they can shape the culture of our homes and workplaces, but when they go unmet that can unravel and destroy those same relationships. What expectations should we have and which ones should we be free of...that is really the tough question. The principles and values that are shared by individuals are a baseline for expectations, but if those values are uncommunicated or they are not shared then the very same expectations set us up for disappointment. Can you really expect someone to respond or events to transpire in a way that envision if the person or environment does not share the same set of principles and values that would lead to the shared outcome? Wierd, Wonderful and Wicked

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Free Floyd Landis

The verdict of guilty came down this weekend! A 2-1 vote by the cycling federation to strip Floyd Landis of his 2006 Tour De France yellow jersey. He maintains his innocence just like Tyler Hamilton, just like Lance and I want to believe. What is it about faith that in the face of fact seems so astounding? Is it because the humans handling the science are flawed? Is it because we are cynical about science because it so often is a moving target...even the dissenting vote in the Landis case pointed to the flawed procedures and the unlikely ability botched scientific process leading to a accurate result. Faith stands in face of all of rests on hope in the face of flawed science. It seeks prove by trust rather than prove in order to trust. Both the men who ride and the scientists who chase them are flawed. The motive to dope is to win...the motive to find dopers is to expose them. Cyclists dope, that cannot be denied, but is it possible that because they do that when one does something unbeleivable that he doped? Is it possible that science got it wrong? Is it wrong in the face of the science to believe?

Friday, September 21, 2007

Coffee, Caffeine and Wisdom

The longer you roast a Coffee bean and the darker it gets, the less caffeine that it actually has when it hits the cup. This makes for a complex dilema for those who want a bold taste and a high octane blend...thus "breakfast blends" it is an attempt to have it all. At what point can you maintain your youthful energy and have the sage wisdom that comes with age? Again it is some type of blend...The fear of the Lord is the beginning of Wisdom but that is only where it begins it is a long slow roast...but youthful energy (the buzz) comes from the brash lighter roast of living fast, thinking fast and loving fast....and it's fun; for a while. I'm not a big fan of breakfast blends because they provide the punch but compromise the tast...Having it all is a very elusive balance and ittakes the right could simply consume more of the bold, richer, darker roast. Never compromising the rich flavor of life and enjoying the sustained buzz of a slow roast. All of this is also a metaphor for great sex...Coffee is so versatile.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Things, The Mall and Jesus

I needed to go to the rare pilgramage to the merchandise mecca, and while I was there I walked into the Ralph Lauren store because a pair of pants caught my eye. After feeling the material and finding my size I tried them on. Now, I wasn't at the mall to shop for clothes...I was actually running a seperate errand. So after trying on this really nice pair of chinos I looked at the tag.....One Hundered and Seventy Eight Dollars. I ran...I ran because I loved them and they were what I wanted, I ran because they felt awesome, I ran before I could start down the trail of rationalization. On Ebay I found the same pair for Fourty Dollars...I'm watching them on to see what they go for...It's funny how temptation siezes us. God promises he will always provide a way this case it was the door of the store...and the realization that for me the Mall is an mirage of fulfillment for the discontent. Jesus went to the mall...but he took a whip with him. I'm not saying the mall is evil and you shouldn't go...I'm just saying you may need to be prepared to run.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Dialed In

Have you ever had someone that was just "Dialed in" to you ? They knew when you were up or down in a very uncanny...sixth sense kinda way? I have a few people like that in my life and they are not the ones that I'm around all the time. Which is interesting because it goes against the conventional perception of intimacy. These few confidants have a sixth sense of knowing when to call, to pray, to fast, to exhort or encourage and it's like clockwork. They are not people I sought out but that were just there...people God provided who have a heart for me. We don't ride bikes, or go to the movies or hang out as families but God placed them in my life and I feel a deep connection and sense of intimacy...I know they are in my life because they are following God. Coleridge said " no exertion of the legs can bring two minds closer together" There is truth that proximity doesn't mean intimacy...nor does distance necessarily mean the lack of intimacy.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Barry Bonds' Baseball

I voted to send Barry Bonds' record breaking 756 homerun to outer space. Designer Marc Ecko bought the ball for 750,000 dollars or so and set up a website where you can determine the balls fate. You can send it to cooperstown. You can send it to cooperstown with an asterik branded into it, or you can have is sent into space. I vote for space simply because I want to see if Ecko really will spend the money to launch the historic ball into outer space. The sad thing is that the most excitment over the biggest record in sports has dwindled to this. Cheaters have made us cynical and stolen the wonder from our lives. When I watched Floyd Landis in the 2006 tour come back on stage 17 and no one could catch him on that historic climb...I had chills and tears...only later to test positive for doping. The cheaters create skepticism and so we don't want to trust our "wonder" to their amazing efforts...the sad thing is we are left to the fashion designer and web geeks to vote to send their memorabilia to space. We must be careful who we turn into heroes! If we are not they can be abducted by fashion desingers who will steal their glory and fame and launch our "Wonder" into space.

Monday, September 17, 2007


last night I got a call from a good friend, his dad was being rushed to the hospital with chest pains. The classic signs of chest and arm pain and a general fatigue, history of family heart problems and high cholestoral. At 62 the nurse was amazed, she said you look so healthy...he is in excellent shape...but you can't out run heredity. Quietly while he exercised and ate right his body produced more bad cholestoral than good and every time a vein would scare from stress the cholestoral would do it job and go in and smooth out the vein until....boom... a heart attack. Sometimes you can do everything right and still not avoid your genes.

Friday, September 14, 2007

The exchange

My 5 year old McKenna announced in the car " I want to exchange my life". Jody my wife asked "Mc, do you know what it means?" She replied "no". My 7 year old Hadley chimed in " it means you give your life to Jesus". Jody asked " do you know what sin is?" Mc said "no". Again Hadley jumped in "it's all the bad stuff we do that seperates you from God". McKenna is on the journey to discovering Jesus and all that he has done and why he chose to die...Hadley already gets it and she has the confidence, clarity and most importantly conviction to proclaim it. Mc doesn't quite grasp it yet, but her roomate is leading the way.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

The Last Supper

We took Wesley out for his last meal/Supper. Not the last meal in the sense of a death row inmate, nor the last Supper in the Christological sense though Wes may have some Messianic complexes, but that is another blog. We took him out as a staff because he is following God's direction after 14 years to a new adventure. Fourteen years is a long time, a lot of water under the bridge...a lot of memories and yet God continues to stretch us and grow us. So we ate at a wicked Thai place which we will all pay for later and we laughed and reminisced, barbed as only friends who know each other well can do and we looked back and we looked forward. Change is inevitible and it is always painful. Pain strengthens, builds, and purifies. Our outlook, that is, whether or not we beleive God is working things to good or whether we got a rotten deal and the deck is stacked against us, determines how we navigate that change. We didn't get a picture with all of us on one side of the table but a this last supper the Lord was present and it's all good.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Our News Cast

I stayed up late to watch my brothers sports cast...he led with the miraculous story of Buffalo Bills Tight End who is miraculously recovering from a spinal cord injury. He led by saying it is not often that he gets to cover things that matter and spoke of the new technique using almost frozen saline drip immediatley might have changed this young mans life and be a revolutionary new treatment for spinal cord injuries. I was proud...and then after some ubiquitous coverage he ended his less than 3 minute segment with a story about an OU fan that got into a fight with a UT fan by grabbing his genetalia until it was nearly severed from lack of blood flow. The OU fan a 'deacon' would go on trial this week. I thought to myself that's news? That's sports? Our lives are a news cast. What we say and how we live are on display. Each of us has a choice what to air, each of us decides what is news worthy, what we are going to lead with and what type of editorials we are going to leave our viewers with. Most people want the sensational, and not the meaningful. Most people want the scandalous bad news and not the good. It's your news cast.....

Tuesday, September 11, 2007


I remember exactly where I was when I heard a scream and "Come Quickly". Several of my staff went out to the production booth and watched the horror unfold...just in time to watch the second tower fall. I was stunned, confused and angry. I remember the flood of calls and the desire to be with my family. The church was filled that weekend as people cried out to God to make some sense of it all, to be comforted. It seems so long ago now and yet our world is still shaped by those events. The airport security, the border tightening, the news of war and death everyday...and Osama Bin Laden speaking out against America. Ben Laden has recently said that America is not a Democracy because it is big business that runs congress, he said the american people have no voice because we voted in Democrats to end the war and the Democrats don't have the collective will because ending the war is not in the best interest of the lobbyist...What scairs me the most is I agree with him on those points. When corruption and deceit are what we expect from our leaders in creates cynicism... And then words of the Declaration of Independence ring loudly in my ear "That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security." The Men who wrote this are called Patriots!

Friday, September 7, 2007


He said " your right, we should encourage them to plant churches. They should be more evangelistic, send missionaries and plant churches". I said "Well, actually what I'm saying is that there is no distinction between evangelism, missions and church planting. If you look at the New Testament they are one and the same, all evangelism is missional and always results in a localized expression of believers.
We live in a compartmentalized world where we go to church, worship (corporate singing), do evangelism, go on missions and on and on. Integrity means wholeness where we live an integrated live not a compartmentalized life. I act like a christian at church and turn it off at work or on the ball field....Integrity means we wholistically live out our identity, rather than these little aspects of who we are in different settings. I want to put an end to compartmentalization....Like I always say...You don't go to are the church wherever you go.

Thursday, September 6, 2007


Unstated values can guide a group or team right into the abyss. So many times we have unspoken expectations and people violate those without knowing and then it becomes personal. The thought is that they should know. I serve on a team where timeliness means respect and it was an unspoken value. A new person who is less time conscious joins the team and because the value is unspoken is disrespecting people without knowing it each time he or she is late. As soon as the new member learns that it's not about time but about respecting one another then the issue is resolved or at least the platform to discuss it is developed. Stating your teams values is essential without stating them you are setting eachother up to fail.

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

Change is inevitible

A few years ago we went on a cruise with friends and the first night we laughed, danced and wore ourselves out with fun. For the next 5 nights we tried to "repeat the Magic" became a slogan for us. Doing the same things in the same order trying to repeat didn't work for us! So we tried slight variations but it wasnt' the same. The expectation that we could 'repeat the magic' caused disapointment even though we were still having a wonderful time. So many of us are Change resistent and we have a formula in our lives, churches, jobs, marriages, weekends, holidays and on and on.....We want to keep the formula in order to repeat the some magic moment from years gone by....Change is constant and as we try to repeat the magic formula of yesterday we wind up missing out on all the transcendent moments of today.

Sunday, September 2, 2007

Driving Lesson

Last Night I gave my 15 year old neighbor her first driving lesson. I asked her if she'd like to help me put my truck in the Driveway and her eyes lit up. I said okay but you have to exactly everything I tell you. As we got into the truck she began to ask questions and I said "now just listen, don't ask questions or wonder...just do what I tell you". I asked her to reach down with her right hand and move the seat forward, then find the brake and the accelorator, then I asked her to put the key in the ignition and turn the key over, then to turn the lights on, then to depress the brake and pull the lever into her and then down to "D" and on it went. Her heart was racing and she listened intently and did exactly as she was told. There will come a day when she will be able to drive without much instruction...there will still be speed limit signs and construction signs and the signals from other drivers along the way but first you learn by obeying exactly and then you grow in your ability to move through life with those first lessons as your foundation. But you still must listen to the signs along the way, they are fewer, but just as crucial.

Saturday, September 1, 2007


I turned fourty recently and people were asking what I wanted? The truth was I really didn't want anything. Maybe a few hours to ride my bike, but as far as a gift I felt as though nothing was missing. As a result I got thing things I love the most, time with people I love and words of meaning. My kids wrote me notes and I will cherish them because they say the things that I have hoped to be and model. My mom and my sister wrote notes that touched me deeply knowing that the purpose of my life has not been missed by them. Friends wrote notes telling me of the impact my life has made on them...and my dad spent hours with me, and that was a gift in itself. The greatest gifts are free and they adorn the soul and there value exceeds what money could possibly purchase. As it turns out I was overwhelmed with gifts.

Friday, August 31, 2007

The Airport

Southwest has a new boarding process and I was in an experiment group to field test this proposed new process. You line up basically the same way but just more numeric phases with the same A, B, and C concept. You get a better look at people... I was there watching and it's the weekend before school starts and a man was putting his teenaged son on the plane and I heard him say " I had fun son, I'll see you next summer" The boy nodded and kept his eyes forward. "section 20-30" was called and he began to move toward the gateway door. The Dad stepped off the line and turned toward his son...the son gave the ticket to the steward and stepped onto the gangway and never looked back! I was watching, I kept watching... he never looked back. I quickly looked to the father who had turned and was leaving, already on his cell phone checking his watch. "see you next summer"...God hates Divorce because it tears worlds apart and hardens hearts and causes son's to resent fathers and never look back.

Thursday, August 30, 2007


Two years after Katrina the destruction still lingers...All summer long we have had floods here in South Texas and the ground is saturated, it only takes a little rain to have to local creeks and rivers outside of their banks once again. A river is a life giving source but when in gets beyond it's banks it becomes destructive.
After some sage advice I have been working on my 'emotional bandwidth'. My intensity level is high and while that is a life giving source much of the time the saturated condition only requires a little moisture for that intensity to become destructive. My focus has been to keep it in the banks of what is beneficial and life giving.
Scripture speaks of the destructiveness of passion that has gone beyond the banks ( the banks referring to the marriage relationship) and that once beyond the banks it becomes destructive.
We all have these areas in our lives that we must monitor and take immediate action...because once the flood waters break the levee they are destructive and can take years to repair...if at all.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

The Chicago 'L'

The elevated train from downtown Chicago to the airport is great transportation. For two dollars you can travel most anywhere, faster than a cab could get you there. It's a swarming sea of humanity where Spanish, Russian and other unrecognizable slavic languages are spoken....and Willie Brown. Willie Brown is a homeless rapper who beat boxes in order to make a few bucks. I gave him two dollars and told him Jesus loved him and he began to beat box about the goodness of the Lord and the angels that he sends. I rarely meet anyone on my commute back home...even when I ride my bike...the cars whoosh by and everyone is tightly cacooned and plugged into something. I never have the chance to respond in faith, nor hear the poetic, toothless rap of a grateful homeless man. The conveniences that make life "easier" also make it easier to miss life.

Sunday, August 26, 2007

Responsibility and Criticism

As I sat and listened to a friend of mine voice his concerns for another mutual friend he asked for advice. As I reflected and began to speak I found myself communicating a deep truth that I had been formulating for some time. I told my friend that intimacy implies responsibility...we become critical of others when we know them well enough to see their flaws, to see their weaknesses...that knowledge is responsibility, the responsibility to speak the truth in a loving way...when we refuse to have the tough conversations we wind up criticizing them...that is why the people you love the most can hurt you the most, because they know you so well, and it's also why we (over time) let fewer and fewer people in.
Intimacy "implies" responsibility or it devolves into criticism...

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Never, Never, Never Give Up

A friend of mine has this saying Never, Never, Never Give Up and it's posted rather prominently in her office. As I was reading an article about a 59 year old man who went back to finish his final year of eligibility in football hat Sul Ross State I was inspired that regret serves only to inspire us to push forward. This Mike Flynt was kicked off the team over 30 years ago for fighting and it's one of his only regrets, he let his team down. Now just 6 years shy of retirement age he's made the team and returning to finish his final year of eligibility. Regret is a heavy bag to carry and it grows heavier by our inability to change the circumstances...then there are those who inspire us to Never, Never, Never Give Up. Paul said it this way " run the race so as to win"...

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

My First Day Back at Middle School

Tonight was 'open house' my daughter is entering the 7th grade at a public school and it was the first time I'd been back in well...30 years. It felt strange all over again seeing the ominous lockers that create academic anxiety just knowing your going to forget where it is or which hall and then not remember the combination. The painted cinder block and institutional decor...the teachers seemed nice enough but school hasn't started yet and the all too memorable exhaustion and defeat has not yet come across their faces.
Then the thought occured to me, that this is my baggage. My little girl is expectant and hopful, full of ideals and joy about learning and making friends. It could turn out different for her...maybe she will make a difference and stand out for Christ rather than go the way of the crowd. That is my hope... My skepticism tells me that by Christmas her soul will have been bruised by friends, teachers...the system. She's ready though, she's prepared...i hope....i hope...