Sunday, October 19, 2008


We are all so broken. All in different ways. Some broken for ourselves and some for others. More still broken for God and His will.

I got one of those phone calls today. The kind that everyone dreads. A man of God has gone home, forever. A man who had a heart bigger than the canyon he so loved. A spirit who lived for others and always sought to serve. He fought the fights that others wouldn't and would have risked it all to save one more.

The language doesn't have the right words to explain my heart tonight. Hurt, crushed, angry, confused, sad, and releaved are only a few that come to mind. Lord pour down your peace on this family tonight as they grieve the loss of a friend, son, and brother. Thank you for the legacy of service you have woven through the heart and the hands of your servant. May he rest now in your arms without any pain, lonliness, or suffering. You are the God who has crafted the plan, and I trust in you. Give my soul peace tonight, I can't find it in this moment.


Friday, October 10, 2008

in between

Coming to you live from a hotel room in Sacramento tonight. It's 2 am, I can't sleep, the iPod is blasting in my ears and I can't seem to find a comfortable position. Jason and I are here for the week, working the Youth Specialties conference. It's been a good day. We set the booth up then had some time to kill so we went to In-N-Out and to the movies. The only thing playing was "Miracle at St.Anna" I guess I can recommend it, if you have 3 hours to spare and don't mind getting completely lost in a story. I won't say anything else in case you want to see it.

It has been over 10 days since I've written here and I have missed it. It has also been three Sunday's since I have played at church, and I have to confess here...I am missing it. There is a piece of me that is empty without it. It is how I connect most intimately with God. Some people connect through a sermon, some through reading, some through writing, praying or singing. My connection is through my guitar. And when I go several weeks without that I can tell. My soul begins to ache. My spirit longs for that intimacy. I am not spiritually dry by any means. I was thinking about the "wave" I was riding as we returned from those few days up in the mountains, (See the entry "unpacking" for context) and while I don't feel that I am still riding on top of wave, that fire is still burning.

There is something amazing about those "mountain top moments" and the spiritual highs we can sometimes get while we are up there. I think it can be equally as dangerous. It can be very easy to slip into a place where we begin to yearn for those moments and "feelings" that we experience. Those moments are powerful and often have the opportunity to shift the path of our lives. But I also know that if we allow those moments, they can become the only things that sustain our spirituality. The emotions and wholeness that I experience during a moment like the one a few weeks ago are awesome! But I cannot slip into living a life from one mountain top to the next. That is not the life that God desires for us. I do not believe it is God's will for his children to have the fire lit and be fulfilled momentarily, then struggle and fight through the day to day until the next emotional high. This seems confusing, maybe I am tired. I guess what I am trying to get at is this; those moments are awesome. The moments where God's glory is revealed in my heart and I am fulfilled in my purpose to live for Him are awesome. But I shouldn't struggle through life in search of the next great event, sermon, conference, concert or worship set. I would be childish and naive to think that those highs would last throughout every day, but it is the reality of realizing that in between those moments, the fire is still burning and He is still there. Personally it is in the in between moments that I must seek those around me to lean on and to help remind me of my fire. The passion for God is a contagious thing. When you are in a room full of 20,000 people bearing their whole soul and pouring out everything in a song to God it will move you to your knees. But that same passion remains in our hearts after the song ends. Sometimes it just might take a friend to help pick me up and remind me.

A couple of weeks ago I got two new tattoos. One on each wrist. Pretty bold no? I certainly wouldn't have put them there if I intended to hide them. They are in Greek. On the left wrist is the word pathos, which can be translated to passion. On the right wrist is the word charis, which is translated to grace. I chose these two words for very specific reasons. I chose grace because it is what gives God his utmost glory. That he would pick imperfect people to carry out His will in an imperfect world can only be explained by amazing, amazing grace. I chose passion because it is something that is instilled in each of us, but in most people may go unrealized. Passion is defined as an object of desire or deep interest, or as a deep and abiding commitment of the heart. Passion is something that is in every one of us. I believe that passion is put in our hearts by our creator. God has given each person a passion for something. It is probably safe to say that no one can tell you what you passion is. Only you know what moves your heart. It is also safe to say that it is in your passion that you will find the most fulfillment in life. The most content, joyful and fulfilled people I have ever met are people who have acknowledged their passion and have invested their lives in that thing. Those are the people that I strive to be like. I want my life to be consumed with my passion. I would beg you to search your heart, where is your passion. What is it, what does it look like? How can you grab hold of it and begin to live it out?

Reveal the passion in our hearts, the passion that you have placed within us. God I pray that we would be unashamed to run after that passion with all that we have. God thank you for "mountain top moments" and for the intimacy we can experience in them. Help us not to live from mountain top to mountain top and mire through the in between. I pray for all those who are in the in between right now God, that you would sustain our spirits throughout. You are awesome and your grace is amazing. Renew it daily in my heart.


Wednesday, September 24, 2008


Today was a crazy day. We have a black-tie fundraiser next week and I'm just trying to hold all the balloons together right now, in my head of course. The problem is, the wind is blowing and the strings are getting tangled, my hands are getting slippery and the nylon strings are sliding. I'm just afraid that if I let a few go, they'll come down somewhere I can't find them...if you followed that horrible analogy then your world probably isn't spinning quite as fast as mine is. Relish it. I know its just for a season, and it is not burdening me to the point of exhaustion, its just a lot. It will be over in a week or so. God will bring the people to the event he wants there, its out of my hands.

Anyway...on to more pressing matters.

I was thinking about privilege and honor the other day. I'm just gonna kind of vomit this out tonight and not give much thought to format so buckle up. As you all well know, this is MY blog and therefore contains my thoughts and opinions. I emailed myself 3 times from my phone yesterday whilst driving because I was thinking about what I wanted to write about.

I am a worship leader. Most of you know that about me. It is more than simply playing and leading a band...this I have come to realize. I have recently just realized that leading worship is about leading people. It is about leading people into the presence of God. Not in a sense that God is not with us already, but more in a sense of bringing people into an environment where they allow themselves to experience God. This all happens of course, totally in spite of my human rottenness. I guess what I'm getting at is that I am only a vessel. I do not attribute any amount of God moving to anything I could ever do on a guitar. What an amazing privilege it is to lead His people into that connecting place. As I write this I pray that my words would not get in the way of my heart, which is to illuminate the majesty and awesomeness of God's design. I don't fancy myself an amazing musician, simply someone blessed with the ability to play. I don't want people to see me on Sunday mornings when we worship together. Some days I wish we played from behind a curtain so as not to distract from what God is doing. I want only to serve as the doorman for our people, to help open the doors of our hearts to experience the richness and fullness, and completeness that God offers us. Is this confusing? I feel like I'm stumbling over my thoughts...above all else, I have really begun to grasp this lately. What an honor and privilege that our God, whose biggness is without rival would choose my filthy hands and rotten heart to proclaim His name. What an honor that this is His greatest desire; that we would all, as dirty and undeserving as we all are, experience His glorious grace, that it would wipe us clean, and that we would proclaim it. Not proclaim it with our voices and hands alone, but most importantly, from our hearts and souls.

That's just it though. What does that proclamation look like? It looks like Matthew 22: 36-40. Love God:Love People. How do we proclaim it with our voices and hands? We love people, no matter who they are, where they are, what they are, or how they got where they are. There doesn't have to be a reason, other than this is what God would desire. How do we proclaim it from our souls? We live it out, fully. We must give up on ourselves and lean totally on God. We must not only hear, but listen. We have to let go of our selfish ideals and motives and trust that whatever God has for us is going to be better then anything we can manufacture on our own. We may still have to sweat and bleed to get it, but it will always be better. I believe that God desires to reveal His greatness through each of us, through each of our stories. How much more does His glory shine through us when we are at the end of ourselves, when we have nothing left in the tank and we're tired of the fight?

I think that when James wrote "I count it all joy" it was because he got it, he got this. When Paul said "I rejoice in my persecution" it was not because he genuinely enjoyed pain and discomfort, it was because he got it. We shouldn't resign ourselves to live in strife, "because that's where we need God most..." but we should rejoice in the fact that in those moments, God is most at work. It is in the moments that we need Him most when He is most lifted up.

If this seems trite and too cushy, or just too religious, all I can say is this; you havn't got it yet. You may be close, you may be searching, or you may be disinterested. But I do know that once you get it, it will turn your world upside down, sideways and backwards until you only know one thing, He is up, and He is all we need.

Grace truly is an amazing, amazing revelation.

Your grace is beyond measure. I pray that we would discover it daily and that it would be implanted in our hearts. Please help me to not forget what an honor and a privilege it is to serve you. There is no higher calling. I pray for my friends who, this moment, are living fearlessly for you. I pray for the NuRu Team. Light their paths. I pray for those who long for you, but do not even know that it is you they are longing for. Your grace is amazing, thank you for it.

"Everlasting, Your light will shine when all else fades
Neverending, Your glory goes beyond all fame
And the cry of my heart is to bring you praise
From the inside out, Lord, my soul cries out to you"


Tuesday, September 23, 2008


not much to say tonight...cept that I got two new tattoos.

Thank you for your grace. It is what moves us from day to day. Thank you for passion which you instill in each of us. Thank you for the passion you have placed in me.


Sunday, September 21, 2008


Words are amazing. They have so much power at times, and at others seemingly have no effect whatsoever. Isn't it crazy just how our words shape and form the world's of those around us. In an effort to get some sleep tonight I am going to try not to ramble too much. By the way, as I type this I am wearing my new glasses...weird. So much for not rambling. Anyway...

Words are strange. For some they are all that matters, yet for others they hold no value anymore. Some would say that "someones word is their bond" but is that ever true. Sadly for me, I know that my actions do not always line up with my words. It is an interesting question to ponder though. Jesus says this in Matthew 12:34: "Out of the overflow of the heart, the mouth speaks." How then do we interpret someone who speaks with best intentions, yet whose actions fail to follow through? I am not suggesting that Jesus missed the point, only this; in my life, I consider a person's actions to be a more accurate representation of their heart. Intent of the heart can become quickly irrelevant when the actions of the heart are contradictory. I believe the actions of a person are what truly defines them, not what they say.

Back to words though...isn't it amazing the impact that words can have on us. Words that in other contexts would be meaningless can carry a nuclear warhead in other circumstances. And the most gut wrenching thing about our words is this...once they are out there, they can't be erased. Once my words hit someone else's ear they are burned into their brain, especially if they are hostile words. That sucks. Sometimes we just say things without thinking, and at that point, its already too late. Take for example the couple who is having a rough season in their marriage. In the heat of battle the words "I want a divorce" are fired off. A word missile of this caliber is laser guided straight for the heart. Even if there was no intent behind the words, they have struck the target and done major damage. How do you recover from a mistake like that? I don't know.

It is true though that words are like fire. Adding more fire to fire will never stop the blaze. Words poured onto hostile words, even peaceful, loving words, I'm sorry words, often do not do anything to heal the wounds created in the first place. Trust has been introduced into the mix at some point. Words without action erode trust. Trust cannot be rebuilt with words. That would be like rebuilding the walls of a city with cans of gasoline. One errant word and BOOM! Trust must be rebuilt with actions. Actions of the heart.

The thing about words and the heart is that together they can create something beautiful. I believe that God created our hearts to be impacted by others. One of the ways others can impact us is through words. God created our hearts as to be mouldable and shapable by others. Unfortunately for us, that means we have the choice. We often don't do very well in that scenario. My words have the opportunity to encourage or destroy the spirit of those around me. So often I do not consider the ramifications of my words before they escape my heart. I have been thinking about this for a while now. In what I get to do here on the mission field, and in my life in general, I come into contact with a lot of people. Our organization works with over 8000 volunteers a year, that's not counting the people we interact with across the border. We have the opportunity to be Jesus to all these people. For me in particular, when I interact with anyone, but in this case, volunteers, especially high school and college age folks, I have an awesome opportunity. I have the opportunity to let God speak through me and into someone elses heart. Words have a way of implanting themselves in people's hearts. This is God's design. How else could it be that our lives are often affected by something that was said to or about us many years ago?

At the end of the day, this is what it comes down to... I don't want a momentary lapse in judgment, or an errant slip of the tongue to be responsible for a therapy session in someone elses life ten years down the road. We have no idea of knowing how our words will impact anyone else. I do not want to waste opportunities to build others up, or implant words in their heart that would reflect the heart of God. I have such an incredible opportunity and many times I forget it. In an effort to bring this thing to some kind of scatterbrained conclusion, take a moment with me, and consider what words have impacted or shaped your life. Either in a negative, or positive way, words have helped form your character and who you are. The odds that the person who said these words to you even remembering them is likely zero. This tells me one very very important thing. It is the words I say that seem insignificant, meaningless, or inconsequential that will most likely have the greatest impact on someone else's life. I believe the same is true for you as well.

Forgive me for forgetting the power you have instilled in me. Forgive me for using the opportunities to display your beauty as a weapon. God give me the wisdom to speak words of life and encouragement into the hearts of those who are around me. God, give me the patience to know when not to say anything at all. Help me to realize the impact that I might have for you. I pray now for all those in my life that have been shaped by negative, thoughtless words. Especially those who have been the victim of my words. God bring healing to the hurting, and peace to the restless. Reveal yourself to those who continue to run from you. Thank you God. Your glory is truly in the grace that you offer, time and time again.


*NOTE. The aforementioned hypothetical situation about the "divorce" comment is just that...hypothetical, and is not a word that is used in our home.

Friday, September 19, 2008


not sure where to really begin with this catharsis...

Last night I saw the most unbelievable thing I have ever seen. This is not an exaggeration! I was literally in the middle of nowhere. No cell phones, no email, no TV, only stillness. I have been around the world and seen many things. I have seen sculptures, buildings, rivers, mountains and even the most famous works of art. I have seen some of the most beautiful things ever created by man. I have seen the best we have to put out there. Last night it was all insignificant. I looked up at the night sky. I was 30 miles from the nearest gas station an 20 miles from the nearest major road. The only lights we're the those in the heavens. I have seen stars before, tons of stars. But never, ever before had I seen more stars than I could count. Now literally speaking I could have counted the stars before, it would have taken forever because there were many, but this was different. As I looked up and my eyes adjusted to the darkness I was blown away. There were literally more stars than I could comprehend. There were stars between stars between stars. And between those were more stars. Everywhere! I was struggling to take it all in. The only thought I had in that moment was "there is no possible way, for any camera, artist, man-made anything to capture this beauty. There is no way that the greatness of the heavens can be re-created, duplicated, or imitated. Only a God who is "beauty fulfilled" could be capable of creating such a magnificent expression of limitless beauty"

Emily referred to this as my "starfish moment." If you've read "Captivating" by John and Stasi Eldridge, you understand. It was an awesome moment, and one that I want to remember forever. This revelation came on the heals of what might be the healthiest discussions of the year for me. I have found that in my life, some of the best conversations I've ever had occur in the middle of the night. Wednesday night I found myself with a friend, in a truck, with nothing but time. The conversation lasted only 3 hours, but it was filled with potentially life impacting words. The honesty and transparency throughout the conversation was without boundaries.

I feel like I have unpacked a bag that I was carrying. I was not even aware that I was carrying this bag. Much of what I will write next will probably not make total sense to everyone. But it needs to be said, I need to put it out there. This is the story of how God broke my heart this week.

What would be the greatest honor? I realized, the other night, what the answer to that question is. I am in the midst of living out the answer. I am a missionary. I have been given the honor to taking the story of grace, and telling everyone who will hear. I am privileged to share my days with the most amazing group of people on the planet. God has chosen a group of really really dirty people to proclaim His name throughout the city of Juarez, Mexico. Furthermore, I feel there is no higher calling than to be called to serve God with everything we have. This is a universal call, made to all who would acknowledge Him. The fact that we have submitted our lives to this call does not set us on a higher plain than those who refuse the call. Rather, this act of submission opens the door wide for God to work mightily through us. Piper puts it this way "God is most glorified in us, when we are most satisfied in Him." That is a fantastic summary of what I have realized in my heart over the past 48 hours.

I am not called to be a missionary for a season in my life. It is a life calling, and one that I am prepared to accept. There would be no greater honor than to serve my God for all my days. Wow...that's a big thing to put out there. But it is my heart.

In addition to this awakening I have also decided a few things. Perfection is not something that can ever be achieved, but should it be sought? This is a struggle, especially in today's Christian culture. Here's my take...drink it in and then ponder. God was fully engaged and intentional in the creation process when he brought about the world. Equally, God was fully engaged and intentional as he walked among us in the life of Jesus. Most of all God is fully engaged and intentional in this moment. He has not simply laid a plan out for my life and left me to wander it aimlessly. I am not a bowling ball slowly rolling down an alley with bumpers, drifting side to side, whose course is only affected when it meets an immovable object or obstacle. We are not created this way. Life is not an obstacle course we must endure in order to gain the prize at the end! In response to Gods intentionality and investment it would only seem fair that I would strive to reflect that attitude. The thing that really broke my heart this week is coming to realization that it is me that affects my reflection. It is not God's lack of intentionality that reflects poorly in my life. It is my lack of intentionality that pollutes the beauty that God desires to reveal in my life.

As a result of this realization I am recommitting my heart to God. I am committing that in all that I am and all I say that I would desire to be intentional. I will not waste opportunities any longer. God deserves the very best I have to give. After all, He did give us the very best he had, Jesus. I am overwhelmed with the thought that God would choose me. That the God who knows all that I am, all that I'm not, and all that I can be, but choose not to be, to be His servant, His messenger, His reflection. What an honor! I am truly blessed. I am blessed to work with the best people I know. A group of individuals who can all agree on one thing. We wake up every morning with one job, to spread the good news throughout our world. I am blessed to have a wife that understands all that I have just poured out, and shares the same feelings. I am blessed to have a family who supports my desire to seek God's will.

I guess where this is all going is this. I get it. I really get it. Even still, in this moment now, 48 hours later, I can still feel it in my stomach. I get it.

Do you get it? You will know when you do. It will scare you to death, rock your world, and capture your heart, but it is so worth it. The glory is in the grace. His glory is in His grace!

I pray that you would implant your desires in our hearts. Help us to get it. Everyday. Help us to become ok with accepting whatever you have for us. Help us to trust and believe that you are who you say you are, and that your plans are so much bigger and more beautiful than any we could ever imagine. God, thank you for the stars in the heavens. Help us to remember that your creation will always be more beautiful than anything we could create with our filthy hands and rotten hearts. God, thank you for friends in trucks.


Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Lists Part 2

So I want to unpack some of the thoughts I scratched down last night. Lets start with the list of things I believe. I believe these things because they are directly derived from scripture. I believe the scripture to be an accurate reflection of the heart of God, as he spoke it to the world. By believing in these things does it make my life any easier, in some aspects I would say it does. Does it mean that if you believe something different you are wrong, no, not in my opinion.

I'm not the type of guy that enjoys a great debate, or loves an argument, just for the sake of arguing. Personally I feel that most of the people I know like that just like to "win" and are often under-educated in the subject they are talking about, or have become so emotionally engrossed in it that it loses logic. Politics is an arena where this is prevalent. When people argue or discuss or defend politicians, or viewpoints, they are often mismotivated. If the goal is to educate, then do so with the heart of a teacher, not the heart of a salesman, someone who will say what it takes to get a point across, throwing ethics to the wind.

Sorry, rabbit trail...anyway. I believe that the bible is the breathed word of God, and is given to us as a tool, a guide, or a road map. Jesus actually did walk the earth, he did the things that are written, he was crucified...check that against Roman history, it is fact...and he did rise from the grave after three days. What does this mean in my life? This is a question that I think has no definite answer, but an ongoing journey to discovery.

Bottom line is this...and this is gonna be a little strange, maybe uncomfortable and it may piss someone off. Equally, let nothing I am about to write discount what happened at the cross, it is real, grace is real, forgiveness is real, Hell is real, eternity is real...there is a place on the other side of your life. Let nothing I write take away from that. Jesus dying on the cross, God sacrificing his son was the greatest act of compassion the world will ever know. That said, the more and more I watch people around me, the more and more I learn about Christianity, the more I am beginning to believe that God's plan for us is not only about about the salvation that Jesus brought, but about how to get the most out of our lives.

I think that so many people, especially young (new) believers are won to Christ by the salvation aspect of the gospel, which is awesome, but perhaps at that point they are tuning out. There is more to the story. God desires all of us to not only surrender our lives to Him in an eternal realm, but in an earthly realm as well. Why do we live in the richest nation ever, with between 70 and 86% of Americans professing to be "Christian". Why are there so many people who have settled? Why are people ok with just eeking their way through life, but not being moved to change their worlds because "we're going to a better place when we die" or "one day, there will be no more tears."

It hurts me to see people I love genuinely struggling through life, fully knowing the promise of God's grace and love, but still hampered by the everyday junk. I guess what I am trying to say is that this Christian walk is not like a hike. I don't believe that it is a journey to somewhere...and if we can just push through we'll one day reach the summit, that one day it will all pass away and we will sit by the glassy sea and sing hallelujah forever and ever amen. I do believe that one day we will spend eternity in perfect harmony with our Lord. I just don't think that God desires us to eek and struggle for the sake of appreciating the end result more. Are you understanding where I am with this.

I really feel like this Christian walk is just that...a walk. I believe that God has promised salvation and he delivers that, through Christ. But moreover, he wants each of us to experience this life on earth to the fullest. When God created the earth, the animals, and Adam and Eve, he looked at everything he had made and said "It is good!" He designed the system in a way so that we can enjoy the things he has given us. I just feel like the Christian life is not merely a means to an end...or a road to eternal life, because once you get that through Jesus, you have it, and God will not forsake you. This life is an experience, and one where God has given opportunity and blessings for us to enjoy, and to tell others about it.

Think of it like are standing in an art museum. You are at one end of a long hallway. At the far end is an incredible piece of art, something very very famous. Everyone is focused on the statue at the end of the hallway. You can see it, gleaming in all its glory, it is going to be more than anything you could imagine. But in your haste to get to the amazing work which has so much wonderful promise, you fail to notice the masterpieces that line the walls of the hallway. In fact the pieces that line the hallway are just as beautiful and as valuable as the statue at the end.

Are we caught up in eeking our way to the end because of the promise and glory of what is to come that we are missing all the wonderful opportunities that God is presenting us with along the way? Everyday we are given the opportunity to affect the lives of those around us in such a way that can impact them for the rest of their lives. Stop focusing on what is to will come and it will be more than we every imagined, embrace the present. Christ is coming back, but instead of praying for that and waiting in front of the window in anticipation, don't you think he'd rather us be out, living full and rich lives, enjoying all the blessings he pours upon us?

Just a quick thought.


Monday, July 28, 2008

Lists Part 1

I've been thinking again...dangerous. I'm not sure where I want to start tonight but I know there's a few things on my mind. Whether or not I can get them out before I fall asleep, well, we'll see. It is very good to have my beautiful bride back at my side. It was a strange five days without her here. Her presence, or lack there of, was definatly noticeable.

What about this whole Jesus thing...this whole Christianity thing. I think I'll just through out some thoughts tonight and then hopefully follow up tomorrow with a well planned defense for what I'm about to unveil. Are you on the edge of your chair yet?

I spend a lot of time in my truck throughout the day, running errands (some say) but mostly getting important things done. Come ride with me for a day...not a lot of wasted time. Sorry, sidebar....back to the point. While I am in my truck I am always listening to the iPod, and usually not to tunes. But rather, trying to gain wisdom and knowledge from various sources. Most of this is made up of sermons and devo's from people around the country, as well as service-oriented radio shows. Bottom line is that my mind is usually turning 10k RPM. I spend a lot of time thinking about how things relate to my life and the choices I have made, that put me where I am. Check out the two lists below then think on it...I will follow up tomorrow.

Things I believe

God is who he says he is

Jesus was his son

Jesus came and lived among us

Jesus was God's ultimate sacrifice for our filth

Jesus fulfilled the will of the Father and now is my advocate before God

God's plan is ultimately better and bigger than anything I can comprehend

Things I think

Jesus didn't come to provide us with simply an ultimate "way out"

God's desire is not for us to live our lives without Him and in our final hours finally surrender, although He will accept that with open arms.

God sent Jesus not to only be the ultimate sacrifice, but and maybe equally as important, a role model and an indicator of Gods heart for us.

Perhaps Jesus came to not only redeem the world from its filth, but to provide the tools and examples of how to achieve the fullness of life, just as God had intended it to be for each one of us.

Again....please check back tomorrow for an unpacking of these always...comments are welcome.


Friday, July 25, 2008


tonight i am lonely...i miss my emily...this house is too quiet. Come home soon.


Monday, July 21, 2008

Real quick

Its amazing to me, the situation that we, as Americans, have found ourselves in. Do you realize and understand how simply being born in a place can set a course for ones life. Some quick stats...when compared to the whole earth, all the people on the planet, from Brazil, to China, to Tokyo, to Russia, Europe, Africa, so on and so forth, the poorest amongst us, those who the government considers below the poverty line, those who make less than $22k a year, still live better than 90% of the world! RIDICULOUS! Basically 84% of us in this country live better than 90% of the rest of the planet! WOW! As if that was not enough, if you make the average in this country, which last year was $48k, you would have made more money, or been able to live better than 99% of the planet. This is absurd. HELLO! WAKE UP! What am I doing...are we wasting this incredible opportunity to help others?

About 50% of us in this country have it better than 99% of the planet...that's pretty much everyone else....anywhere. Why then are we the most depressed, sad, empty, confused and discontent people group in the world. What are we missing? Why do I see people who have a one room house, no shoes and a pair of pants, who don't know where tonight's dinner is coming from, who seem more complete and fulfilled than the majority of the folks I pass on my way to the office every morning? What is up with that?

Quickly...maybe we should take a step back. Maybe all it takes is a change of perspective...and a small one at that. Consider these facts...$32/month will pay for education, health care and resources for a child in Africa through C.I. $25/month will pay for uniforms, shoes, books, and supplies for a child to attend school in Mexico. $75 will provide a goat for a family in Malawi which would provide them with milk, cheese, and yogurt, for years. $5400 can provide a new well in Africa which can produce 600 gallons of clean, safe, disease free water a day for over 150 people.

The point here is not dollars, good feelings, or a clean conscience. The point is this...what if you could change your perspective, to see beyond your own front door, beyond your own schedule, your own career, even your own family? What if everyone just gave a little...could we feed the world? Could we clean up the water? Could we treat disease? I believe we could, and we can, and we should.

Life is so much bigger than our own personal worlds. Even if gas is $5 a gallon, would you rather suffer through a month or two without your DVR, or wake up and not know if you'll have the food or water to make it through to the next meal.

Seriously though....and I love Starbucks....but might it be worth foregoing 1 Latte a week, to impact the life of someone else in a way they could never ever imagine or achieve on their own.


Tuesday, July 15, 2008

not so random thought

Love God...Love People.

what would the world be like if we really rooted ourselves in this one simple principle. to me, this is what the whole story boils down to. Read Matthew 22. 36-40. Try it out. They are His words, not mine. "All the laws and the prophets hang on these two commandments." Basically, everything hinges on this principle. Love God...Love People. Easier said than done? Not really. It may take some getting used too, and on the surface may seem like there's more, like its hiding something...but I assure you, it's not.

If you love God...I mean truly love him...which Jesus says is to obey God, then it should and will produce a character which longs to serve people. If you love people and truly place them before you and above you, you will be obeying God, and loving Him.

Think on it a while.


Monday, July 14, 2008



So its been almost a week since I wrote. Not that I feel pressured to do so by anyone else but me, because lets be honest, I'm not sure that anyone is actually reading this thing, but none the less it has been liberating for some strange reason to spill it all out onto here. It has been only days since I wrote but a lot of crazy things have happened.

I will start where the last one left off. Last Wednesday I got a phone call from Emily about an article in the newspaper. Recently, over the last 7 months, violence has engulfed the city where I work. There is a war between two rival drug cartels and while there has been very very very little collateral damage, the targeted damage has been disturbing. Anyway, I was just about to head over to Mexico for our weekly service for our US volunteers when the phone rang. She said there was an article that described a man who had been killed. Not out of the ordinary for the news reports that we get on a regular basis. However this one had a name and place attached to it. It described a waiter at a local establishment there in the city. A restaurant that I have been eating at for over 5 years. In fact I have become good friends with the owners and can honestly say that I don't remember paying for a meal there since 2004. The man described in the article was my friend, Edgar.

I have known Edgar since 2004. As soon as I pulled into the parking lot he was there, at my car window, always with a smile and a hug. Always willing to get me whatever I wanted, no matter what. And if anyone was with me, they got the same treatment. I never grew totally comfortable with this level of "treatment" but none the less it was nice to know that I could always get a meal and always had a table waiting for me. I'm not even sure that words can suffice at this point. Edgar's and my relationship was twisted I guess. I know that there's a strong, strong possibility that to him, I was just a walking dollar sign. "Here comes the guy that always brings a big group, or the guy that tips well" Maybe this is what he really thought of me. I will never know. I would rather think that just as I felt he would do anything for me, including kicking a sunglasses salesman one day who would not leave our table alone, that I would always listen to him. I would always invite him to sit with me and would ask him questions about his life, his day, his work. I do know that we never got past what he did on the weekend before, or how slow business was earlier in the day, but I felt in my heart, that there was a connection there. I prayed for Edgar on a regular basis, he will never know that now, but it is what it is.

I guess I am laying it out there to give legitimacy to the grief that I have been struggling with in the past 5 days and will probably struggle with tomorrow. Edgar was just another waiter at a restaurant, just another dirty guy with a checkered past, but I think that in 5 years, I got to see part of his heart. Perhaps a part that not many people have ever seen. This is why the news I heard on Wednesday still weighs heavy on my heart.

On Monday July 7th, Edgar had just gotten off work at the restaurant and was standing in the plaza, waiting for his wife. He was grabbed by a group of men who drug him into the street, placed him on his knees and put two shots in his chest, and one in his head. And just like that, in broad freakin daylight, in front of dozens of tourists, patrons, workers, and friends, Edgar breathed his last breath. He lay there in the street for a while, long enough for the media to take photos that would grace the paper on Tuesday morning. (They have no censorship there, and the gore that is front page will make you vomit if you have a weak stomach.)

As for the why in this case.....someone knows, and no one is talking. Presently in the city, you really don't want your voice heard too loudly. It may be the last thing you said. Those who witnessed the merciless execution were shocked, and those who knew Edgar, like I did, were stunned. Edgar had a past, just as anyone does, however, he had been clean of that lifestyle, at least publicly, for 4 years. I have no idea what he did after work, or on the weekends. I will let him rest though, while holding him the best regard. Some suggest he may have been approached because of his American citizenship to work for the Cartel, and he had refused...that's enough to do it. At this point it scares me to think that someone I know may have simply stood firm in their morals or seen something they shouldn't have and that was enough to seal the deal.

Why do I continue to wrestle with this? This took place, not on a street name that I don't know, or in a neighborhood I cannot find on the map, but in a place where I have stood. A place where I have parked my truck many times, shared meals with hundreds of people, a place where at one point I was completely at ease. I can remember sitting on the plaza, eating my standard chicken enchiladas, (I didn't even have to order, Edgar brought them out when I arrived), and thinking to myself, "this is real Mexico." A crowded plaza, pigeons, beggars, merchants, mariachis, and people. Real people. I am almost 100% sure that I can never go back there again. It will never be the same.

There are people who wake up everyday and literally put their lives on the line for Christ. I in no way want to detract from what they do. Here on the border, though, we sometimes put that in the back of our minds. It is, in fact, only 5 miles from my office. But none the less...we are warriors for Christ. Not in a violent or forceful way, but by carrying the banner of love. Even in the midst of the chaos that is all around us, not only here but in our lives everywhere, isn't it worth the risk, at the end of the day. Isn't worth the risk to know the greatness of the reward. We serve the King of Glory. Is there any higher calling than that. Not for me, whatever the cost.


sleep in peace Edgar, I miss you.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008


I don't have much to say at this moment....except that my heart is crushed tonight. I will write more tomorrow.


Tuesday, July 8, 2008


My heart feels weird. I spoke with two friends tonight. One who is struggling through the darkest time in their life. And one I haven't talked to in a long time. Even in this moment my heart is being pulled in two directions.

For the first friend I feel powerless and sad. It is hard to hear anyone proclaim hopelessness, but when you can see their potential and the promise in their lives, it is disparaging. I love this person but am powerless in their situation. What can you tell someone who is hopeless? I guess the only thing is prayer. I trust that God is in the midst of their situation and has a better and more glorious plan for everyone. But it still hurts to see the ones you love hurting.

For the second my heart is warmed. They are in a far off place, serving their country. It was awesome to just unload the last 6 months in about 15 minutes. We threw around some inside jokes, old stories, encouraging words and news updates. It was a whirlwind and even at this moment I wish we'd had more time. Maybe a brew and a nice picnic table with a couple hours to catch up. I guess I am very blessed to have friends who are low maintenance. People who always seem to pick right up where we left off, even if its been weeks, months, or years. If you ever read this, friend...i appreciate your sacrifice, your service and your friendship.

God, please watch over these two friends. Hold them safe in your arms and give them peace and stillness of heart.

Its late!


Monday, July 7, 2008


Its raining tonight. Why is the rain so relaxing, well for me anyway. I have an alarm clock with sounds, and every night I fall asleep to the sound of rain falling. When I lay my head down and listen to the rain it totally de-stressifies me. Just thought I would share that. I'm tired tonight. It's been a long day. Sleep well.


Sunday, July 6, 2008

"dirty socks and dead people"


We spent the morning not in church, but as a church, spread out all over the city handing out bags of socks, underwear and gatorade to homeless people. It was awesome. I got to chat with Thomas. He sleeps behind the Diamond Shamrock/Benny's Pawn/Traffic Ticket Lawyer's office (All in one building). He's been sleeping there for 7 years. It was about 90 degrees this morning when we spoke with Thomas. I asked him how he was doing, and he replied "I'm Cold" Don't really know if he was serious or not, it was definitely not cold, and it was not cold last night...hmmmm. We offered him our bag of essentials and he graciously accepted. We threw in some smokes, for which he was really happy.

I asked him if he had ever been to the rescue mission and he replied, "NO! That place smells like dirty socks and dead people!" Again, another strange response, but none the less, interacting with Thomas, if even for a few minutes, brought a raw sense of reality with it. We didn't really talk about it in the car...we just continued our search for other potential recipients. For me at least, it was worth the sense of discomfort to grow a little.

It makes me think about how often we are presented with opportunities to truly "live" Jesus on a daily basis. How many times do we stare at the opportunity to portray Jesus to others yet we rationalize it in our hearts. Perhaps its inconvenient, uncomfortable or awkward. Perhaps its just the easiest way out. Whatever the reason we choose not to serve, maybe we should take an extra 30 seconds and consider the possibilities. After all, it could be the 2 min you spend with someone that changes their whole outlook on life. A friend once said this "It's the 1% extra you do, that makes 99% of the difference." Soak that in for a few.

Go out tomorrow and open the door for someone you don't know, let someone in front of you in traffic, smile at a stranger. You never know, ten seconds of your time may change the next 10 years of someone else's life.


Saturday, July 5, 2008

ok and such...


Here's the thing...

I don't understand a lot of things, but there are some things that I think are worth discussing. Just gonna keep it simple tonight and brief. I want to begin a discussion on Complacent Christianity. What it means and how it possibly looks in our society and in our world. Recently I have been burdened with a feeling that generally, as a whole, we the body of Christ are becoming more and more complacent. For starters how about a definition. Complacency ::: Contented to a fault; self-satisfied and unconcerned. Rather grim when brought into comparison with our call and purpose. Te be complacent is simply to become satisfied with anything to the point of ceasing to strive for betterment. Have we become complacent with our Christian walks? our Churches? our reflection of Christ to others around us? Are we settling for less than Jesus would accept.

The other night we watched a film about a girl who was born with AIDS. She made no decision which resulted in this scenario, it was passed on from her mother at birth. The funny thing about it was that she lived as though each day was a choice, and she did not have time to waste. She had promised her mother, before she was orphaned by Rebel War, that she would become a doctor, in order to cure the disease which will most likely kill her. She lives in a freakin hut in Africa, and realistically has .00001% shot at becoming a doctor, yet that is her motivation every morning. How complacent has our society become? Seriously? We live in the greatest country the world has ever known, there is no limit to opportunity in our nation. You can be whatever you want to be, you just must have the drive and determination to go, go, go and never lay down and give up. Yet, in the midst of all this promise we have people that would sit under a bridge overpass or collect welfare checks, or children that aspire to be little more than their parents were. Why is it that I feel those kids in Africa would give every thing they have to become teachers and doctors, they have all the ambition and no opportunity, and here in America we have so many people with limitless opportunity and no ambition?

So, back to the complacency thing....are we, as Christians, as humans, as Americans becoming complacent? Think about it, are you?

More on this later. Peace

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Good Evening!

I hope this is the first of many thoughts that I want to share. Feel free to read, enjoy, and express your own opinions. Peace