Friday, January 30, 2009


There are moments in my life where God's grace stands out more than others:  the night I was saved, the day I was called into ministry, coming back from the hospital AFTER the gall-bladder attack and removal, and many others.  This week definitely stands out:

First, the wreck.  When I first got the calls about Tabatha and Sarah, they weren't good.  Some reports were that Tab was unresponsive and Sarah's neck was broken (teenagers tend to overreact in these kinds of situations).  Fortunately, they're both fine (banged up of course, but very much alive) and back home.  

Second, we've been waiting for Amanda's Medicaid insurance to clear through.  They sent it back to us once with "insufficient" proof of income.  They also told us that it takes around 40 days to even hear ANYTHING [which would mean we would have had to pay for the first couple of doctor's visits :( ]  Tuesday comes and we got our letter of approval.  Go God!

Third, my leg.  There's a lump on it, and to be honest I had no clue what it was.  And of course the first thing that popped in my mind was "CANCER!"  Went to the doctor and turns out it's just a ball of fat on top of a muscle.  It poses no harm (even though it will never go away) whatsoever.

So, this week has definitely been one of those weeks that I hope to make an altar so that I'll remember it forever

"Early the next morning Jacob took the stone he had placed under his head and set in up as a pillar and poured oil on top of it.  He called the place Bethel (house of God), though the city used to be called Luz."  Genesis 28.18-19

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Everything is Meaningless

The last 24 hours have really re-emphasized for me and for many around Vincent just how short life can be.  Thankfully Tab, Sarah, and Kara are all going to be fine and were mostly just banged up real bad...but we so often get caught up in trivial matters:

*What clothes we're going to wear
*The test coming up in class
*What we're going to eat for dinner
*What we're going to do this weekend

My mind was turned to this Scripture in Ecclesiastes:

Meaningless!  Meaningless! says the Teacher.  Utterly meaningless!  Everything is meaningless.
--[Ecclesiastes 1.2]

During times like these, we're are presented with what really matters in our lives:
  1. God
  2. Family
  3. Friends
  4. Life
  5. Happiness
  6. Health
  7. A Beautiful Day (this one brought up compliments of Tab)
Thank you Lord for keeping the girls safe.  Let our hearts return to you and let us enjoy all that is good in the world.  Amen.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Learning from the Best

I absolutely love new ideas.  I could honestly sit around and do nothing be read different ideas and strategies and theories all day [I'm guessing this may be the reason I love blogs so much].  One of the books I'm reading right now is by Jeanne Mayo--one of the greatest, most experienced youth pastors around--called "Thriving Youth Groups."  I must say that it really has gotten my creative juices pumping.

On top of that, there is a chapter in the book when she draws comparisons from three businesses: Disney, Nordstroms, and Starbucks (three of the most successful and friendly businesses in the US).  These guys are tops when it comes to customer service.  There really is a lot for churches to learn from business.

Here's a snippet about Nordstrom's:

One day, a customer returned a set of car tires to Nordstrom and demanded a full refund.  The clerk questioned the individual regarding the purchase of the tires, but the person persisted that he had acquired the tires there.  The clerk then smilingly returned the customer's tire money.  The only problem?  Nordstrom doesn't even sell tires!  What is the implication for youth ministry?  How many students do we alienate because we insist on our right to be right, even if it means the loss of relationship?

Great stuff.

Friday, January 23, 2009


"What is RW1835?" you may ask.  Well, it's a great new opportunity for all 18-35ers to hang out, eat some great food, and grow closer to God.  It's the new Life Group hosted by Shawn and Amy Martin, and it begins in February.  Here's the deal:  if you go to VRC -or- if you live in the Vincent/Harpersville vicinity, you NEED to sign up for this Life Group (it's gonna be awesome).  I saw the sign-up sheet the other day, and there's already a ton of people who are interested--so don't miss out!

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

The New Prez

Well, what a day!  Yesterday was one of the most pivotal events in the history of our country, as our 44th President, Mr. Barak H. Obama was sworn in (in front of a MASSIVE crowd).  It's good to see that we've come to a point as a people that a person with a minority background can still have a shot.  We're finally seeing equality at work.  

Now don't get me wrong; I live in Alabama for crying out loud.  There is still a TON of work to be done.  And, I don't think having a minority President will change the deep-seated racist worldview of so many in our country.  Only a life-changing encounter with Jesus Christ can do that.  BUT, I think it does show that our country is moving in the right direction in terms of how we relate to people who are different from us.

Do I agree with everything that Obama stands for?  No.  Do I disagree?  Absolutely not.  Just like ALL of us, he has his good qualities and bad.  Guess what...he's human.  He's going to make some mistakes and make some good things happen.

As the 44th President begins his OVERWHELMING task today to lead our country, let's remember our task: to pray for him and his family, to pray for our country, to pray for people whose lives are being destroyed by sin.  And let's remember where our hope, faith, and comfort come from:  JESUS CHRIST!

God bless America!

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

New Music

Downloaded some new stuff last Friday and today:

Bob Dylan -- Like a Rolling Stone

The Byrds -- Turn! Turn! Turn!

The Contours -- Do You Love Me
Shake Sherry
Can You Do It

CCR --Fortunate Son

Fellowship Church -- Humble Pleas
The More I Love You
New Creation

Generation Unleashed -- I Always

Planetshakers -- All for Love
Better than Life
Come Holy Spirit

What about you?  What have you been listening to lately?

Friday, January 16, 2009

Discipleship Weekend 2009

So, this weekend is one of my favorite weekends of the entire year: Discipleship Weekend.  It's kind of like youth camp, just with a LOT of free time and less kids making out or blowing toilets up (thankfully VRC teens are awesome and refrain from blowing up toilets and the like).  MOST of the people there are serious about walking closer to God and are not there looking for the Camp Hookup (in case you didn't grow up going to church camp, this is the main purpose of many a Summer Camp go-er: to find the perfect one-week girl/boyfriend).  

This year's gonna be a little different.  For one, we don't have a ton of people going.  I think last year we had around 20 - 25.  This year the grand total (counting myself) is 11 (it's been a rough year for our CMs).  Also, for the first time ever, I'm going to be a small group leader.  I was sort of dreading it b/c leading a small group is kinda like playing Russian Roulette.  There's a chance you get a great group who love to talk and share and minister to each other, but there's also a chance you have a bunch of fuddies-duddies whose Mommas made them come and they really HATE being there.  It's nice to have a blend really.  But now, I'm super-excited about it.

Couple of prayer requests:  (1) Discipleship Weekend; (2) my friend/blogger-phenom Codie.  She may have to have surgery (if God doesn't just flat out heal her); (3) my wife's best friend (and my friend too) Kayla.  She's collecting shoes for kids that don't have any.  For more info you can go to her blog here. (4) Amanda and the baby.  Things are good, let's pray that it stays that way!

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Sermon Writing

Well, I just finished up writing my sermon for Wednesday night. This month's series has been incredibly easy for me (in a sense). Ever since I started reading the book Celebration of Discipline by R. Foster, I've been amazed at just how far of track we can be. I feel that it was God calling me back on track with Him. I've still got a LOOOOOOOOOOONNNNNNNNNGGGGGGGG way to go!

Since I had gotten so into the book, my sermon series this month, which is a series of talks about Becoming Deep Disciples, focuses on the disciplines. Sometimes though, it's not that easy. Sometimes, it feels like I can't get it write. That God desires to say something, and I'm botching up his Words. Usually this happens when I don't invest a lot of time into the sermon. Perfect world, I'd like to spend about 2 full work days prepping for a message. Usually it only translates into about 2-3 hours. On my worst days, it's one hour:( The more I've researched and allowed God to speak to me first, the better I feel about delivering a message to someone else.

So I guess a good New Year's Resolution is to make sure I invest enough time in my sermon prep!

Monday, January 12, 2009

Stolen Post...285 Years Ago

Mark Batterson posted this today, and I wanted to repost for all to see:

On January 12, 1723, Jonathan Edwards made a solemn dedication of Himself to God. It was one of the defining moments of His life. And I'll share the written vow in a moment.

Few people have left the kind of legacy that Jonathan Edwards did. He is famous for his sermons, including 
Sinners in the Hands of an Angry Godthat helped spark the Great Awakening. He graduated from Yale at 13 as valedictorian. After graduating, he is said to have studied thirteen hours a day. He also served as President ofPrinceton. 

But the thing I find most impressive is that he spent 
one hour every evening with his eleven children. He prioritized his family and the results speak for themselves. Of his known descendants, more than300 have become ministers or missionaries; 120 became university professors; over 100 became lawyers; 60 became prominentauthors; there are 30 judges14 college presidents3 members of congress, and 1 vice-president.

How would you like to leave that kind of legacy?

Back to January 12, 1723. Edwards gave himself to God with these words:

I made a solemn dedication of myself to God, and wrote it down; giving up myself, and all that I had to God; to be for the future, in no respect, my own; to act as one that had no right to himself, in any respect. And solemnly vowed, to take God for my whole portion and felicity; looking on nothing else, as any part of my happiness, nor acting as if it were; and his law for the constant rule of my obedience.

Stinkin' Tag

So, Amy Martin over @ My Beautiful Disaster "tagged me."  It's like a less threatening chain mail type deal.  Now I have to post the 4th pic in the 4th folder of My Pics.  Then pick four more people to tag (if you've already been tagged, sorry, maybe you don't have to repost--I don't really know all the rules).

So, here's the pic:

This pic was taking at a resort in Chattanooga at our first ever staff retreat in 2007.  We had a blast.

So here's my tagged list:
Kayla D.  I Am My Beloved's...
Codie H. Colorfully Black and White
Shelley D. The Davis Family
You...yes, you, the person reading this blog!

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Wednesday Morning Download

For those of you who may not know, Wednesday is the biggest day of my week.  It always is (except on rare occasion). I absolutely love Wednesdays.  Today, is particularly busy, because on top of all my other "normal" tasks, I am going to the Speed-the-Light Luncheon at Joe's Crab Shack.  This is the annual event where we eat fish, listen to a lot of heart-gripping stories about people who gave boo-coos of money to STL, and then make our pledge that never quite stacks up to the little girl who walked through a blizzard and raised $20,000 last year.

Had an interesting breakfast this morning: pretzel sticks and left-over birthday cookie-cake (and a glass of milk).  Actually was pretty good.

Got my Alabama watch fixed this weekend.  It had been missing a pin that held one of the links together for over a year (and a half?).  Took it to the Galleria--on my quest to find some new Pumas, that failed--and got it put back together.

Sunday was my first Sunday in about 4 weeks to actually be in the main service.  It was great.  Really enjoyed communion and was in awe of the message in tongues and the interpretation.

Loving my Office calendars from Josh and Amy...I mean Michael Scott.  I have one huge one that hangs on the wall and is monthly, and one that sits on my desk and HAS A QUOTE FOR EVERY DAY OF THE YEAR :)

Well, I guess that's it for now.  I have to fix the sound order for tonight's service, which is going to be great by the way.


P.S. -- Here's some more great tips I've learned about being a Dad:

Monday, January 5, 2009

Uncertainty or Adventure?

Well, 2009 has already come and brought with it a new set of challenges and opportunities.  To be quite honest, it's been a rough weekend (well really just the last half of Sunday).  A death in the family, new complications in the youth ministry...all these problems that demand attention.  Sometimes it can seem as if life's uncertainty is hovering over you as if waiting to murder you in your sleep [a bit dramatic, I know].  But there is another way to look at uncertainty.  Another word for it would be adventure.  And God is calling us to a life of adventure.  All of the "problems" and "concerns" are--many times--just chances for us to go on a new adventure.  

My prayer is that this year, we would embrace the adventure(s) that God sends us on.

*(The whole uncertainty/adventure revelation came from Mark Batterson's book Wild Goose Chase)