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.