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 this...you 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 come...it 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 thoughts....also...as 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