Friday, January 30, 2009


This is the good kind. Not the 'Look at me--I'm so awesome" kind of pride. This morning I went to John Mark's school for "Doughnuts With Dad." Dads are invited to come and hang out with their kids, all the while enjoying a tasty doughnut and hearing about the cool stuff that the kids are learning. All of the students had prepared a little picture book for their dads called "My Dad and I..." Here's what John Mark's looked like (with commentary):

Heck yeah, we do!

He thinks I make the best!

My favorite sport and he loves it, too!
Saturdays at the movies is quickly becoming a tradition.
His first experience with this movie was a few weeks ago--HE LOVED IT!
This was one of the coolest things I've ever seen. I read him all kinds of stories every night, as well as the Bible. He has so many books that he calls his "favorite."

This made my day, week, month, etc.! His teacher told me that he is constantly talking about God and how he has such a sensitive way about him. I'm so proud of my son! I can't wait to see how God will use this little guy.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009


A few things for today:
  1. While you do have freedom of speech in America, if you're using that freedom to express your great sadness or utter disappointment in our country's choice for president-well--it may be time to refocus your energy toward something a bit more productive.
  2. If you're a praying person, pray for President Obama. Whenever you think of him, pray.
  3. Celebrate what has taken place today. I just saw a woman interviewed and she told this story: "The day after the election, when my young daughter woke up, I told her that something incredible had happened. I told her that that while she was asleep, Dr. Martin Luther King's dream had come true." We definitely have a ways to go with that one, but I appreciated the heart behind what she said.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

The Truth Sucks?

Yesterday I had a great conversation with some of my favorite people. We were talking about truly living a life dedicated to following Christ and how that can be really hard sometimes. Specifically, if you're in a situation where you may have been living a life that was in complete opposition to God's desire for you and He sends you some kind of wake up call which rocks your whole world and then everything changes. Even more specifically, when the friends you used to party with see a change in you but don't really get what's going on. You want them to "get it", but they don't. So I was telling this student who is brand new follower of Christ how hard that can be, and in doing so I began my sentence like this: "I know this can kinda suck, but...." He interrupted me and said, "I like it when you tell me sucky things because it's truth." I love where this guy is because he has been so real about how hard it can be to follow Christ! He knows it's not easy because he's living it. Often times the truth does suck at first, or maybe second, or maybe the 100th time we hear or experience it. It sucks because we want what we want when we want it and that has nothing to do with the truth. God's truth, if we accept it and apply it, will mold us. This usually means that it will stretch us and shake us up a bit. That doesn't always feel good. In fact, it kinda sucks sometimes! What's really cool about what this student is saying about truth is that even though the truth may suck at first, it ultimately sets you free and freedom is what he's experiencing. He'll tell you that in the midst of the truth that may suck at times, he's never felt so alive. Explain that?

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Just Say...

Ok, my alarm went off at 5am again today (funny how it will do that when that's the time you've set it to go off!) and I didn't make it out of bed until 6. This is harder than I thought! Anyway, I started my study at 6:30 and it was great! My church (Harpeth Community Church) is currently reading the enitre New Testament this year and today's reading was in Matthew 8.

I've read the story of the Centurion many times, and thankfully, I'm blown away every time I read it. I think I have faith and then I read this story and I'm like, "Dang, do I have faith like this?" This guy obviously had heard about Jesus and the things that he'd done, but unlike many others who had a "I have to see it to believe it" attitude, he says to Jesus, "Just say the word." Crazy. Just say the word. If you've never read this story or if it's been a while, check it out (Matthew 8:5-13).

God, please increase my faith. I want to believe like the Centurion. Amen.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Impossible Is Nothing

So I'm now trying to wake up at 5:00 am each morning to have some good quality time with God. This morning my alarm went off and I turned it off. Then I woke up around 5:30 and got things started around 6. Hey, it's a start. So today in my "Experiencing God" study I was looking at examples from Scripture when people had to rely on God to come good with the promises He made, or times when people stepped out in faith and believed that God would make what seemed to be impossible possible. And it was in these moments that God was undeniable to the people around. One example was Moses and the Red Sea. No way around that one. God was going to come through or all of the Israelites were going to die. Or when David fought Goliath. David said, "the whole world will know that there is a God in Israel." He said that because everyone thought they were about to watch him get owned by the huge Philistine but he believed that God was going to deliver Goliath to him. Everyone who witnessed that had to admit that God was real and that he wasn't fooling around.

So then the point was made in the study that often times Christians aren't stepping outside their comfort zone and believeing that God will use them in ways that can only be attributed to God being at work. A lot of Christians and churches have a "play it safe mentality"--they do the usual stuff that churches might do, but they're not really opening themselves up to be used in ways that make God's presence and existence undeniable. Here's an excerpt for today's study:

"What our world often witnesses today is a devoted, committed Christian or church serving God. But they are not seeing God. They don't see anything happening that can be explained only in terms of God's activity. Why? Because we are not attempting anything that only God can do. Our world is not being attracted to the Christ we serve because they are not seeing him at work within our lives. They see us doing good things for God and comment, "That's nice, but its not my thing." The word is passing us by because they do not want to get involved in what they see in our lives. We are not giving them opportunities to encounter God. They are seeing only us. Let the world watch God at work, and He will attract people to Himself. Let Christ be lifted up, not only in words but in life. Let people see the difference the living Christ makes in a life, a family, or a church; that will affect how they respond to the gospel. When the world sees things happening through God's people that cannot be explained except that God Himself has done them, the world will be drawn to such a God."

I'm praying that God will use me to make his name great. So I guess I'm praying that I'll be open to things that would show His greatness. That's pretty huge if you think about it because who knows what that will look like. Are you willing to be stretched so that people will really see Christ at work in your life? I want it, but I'll have to get past myself everyday.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

U2's New Album

Article on New Album

Start saving your money for tickets! This is going to be a party!


If you're a follower/fan of the blogs of Melanie Carter, Jamie Vance, Melissa Carter, Erica Osborn, and Keith Trollinger (big shout out, guys), then this blog entry may seem a bit redundant. Oh well. I've been thinking about the best way to sum up this year's ski trip experience. I think that God gives me insight into what he's doing within our youth group while we're on trips like this and this year's trip was no exception. From the moment I looked out on everybody's tired faces at 7:30am on New Year's day to the moment I looked out at all of the students and adults who were participating in the baptism of Dominic Nanni, there is one word that has been forever etched into my mind about these people--FAMILY. I think about how grateful I am for my wife. She's amazing--truly! Then my awesome kids, John Mark and Riley. Words fail to describe how much joy they bring me. My mom and dad and all of my sisters--they are such a blessing. God has so richly blessed me with my family. But amazingly, family doesn't stop there. These students and adults that I have the honor of serving--they are all my family. I think it catches some of the students off guard when I tell them they're my family. I love that. They're like, "Family, really?" You bet. For some reason, most likely because He loves us like no other, God shows us glimpses of heaven. Specifically, how we will all be joined together in perfect unity. That is God's design for family--His family. Why I get to see it now, on earth, is something I can't fully grasp. I also can't describe the feeling I have in my heart toward these people that are my "family." I was trying to describe it to a student while we were on the trip. I said, "Y'know when you meet someone and there's something inside you, in your spirit, that goes off like a siren, and you connect with that person immediately?" That's God at work. When Jesus is praying for all the people who will believe in him after his ascension, he leaves no doubt as to what he desires for them. Three times he prays that we all will be one, as He and the father are one. Jesus and His father--the most amazing family ever--and that's what he prays for us. So something happened on this trip that took that to another level. The thing that I love is that I can't for the life of me put my finger on what it was. Whether it was having a blast playing catch phrase on the bus, sharing my water with a student while we were in the lift line, catching up with old friends, or just sitting there quietly watching everyone interacting, there it was--there was my family. I can't imagine what is going to happen this year as this family gets even closer. God is drawing us back to him, and in the process we are drawn to each other like never before. God's kingdom has come and will continue to come. He is manifesting it through his people and to quote Melanie Carter, "My heart is full." Praise be to the Most High God. The infinite creator of all things seen and unseen, and the intimate lover of our souls who brings us together and adopts us all into his perfect family! I love you guys!