Monthly Archives: March 2011

“I Will Not Lie”

“…it takes a great deal of courage to face life’s ordinary, everyday challenges.” Bill Hybles

Last week Lauren and I started watching the television show “Friday Night Lights.”   Pretty cool show.  Through out the episodes of season 1 that we have watched so far, we have seen the head coach (Coach Taylor) deal with the pressure of being a head coach for an elite high school football program in fictional Dillon, Texas.   Long story short, coach Taylor is placed in a position where he is expected to lie about the recruitment of a player on his team, that he did not really want on the team to begin with.  As coach Taylor is walking into this critical meeting, he courageously stops and tells the man with him “I will not lie!”

For six episodes we watched this head coach struggle with the pressure of fans, players, and high school football politics.  All of a sudden, in that moment, coach Taylor had backbone.  He was ready to stand up for the truth.  Even if it did cost his team a win, a talented player, and possibly stain his reputation.  Ok, I know what you are thinking,”Dude, it’s just a TV show.”  You’re right; it’s just a TV show.  But the point is in a moment where it would have been easier to compromise; coach Taylor took the more difficult path and chose to do the right thing.

You and I live in a world where Continue reading


It’s All About Your Relationship

“So now we can rejoice in our wonderful new relationship with God because our Lord Jesus Christ has made us friends of God.”  Romans 5:11

Do you want to make a difference?  In the world?  In your family?  In your school?  In your work place? In your home?  In your own personal life?

As a Christian, the difference you may make while you are on earth is all about your relationship with Jesus Christ. Not only that, but the life you live in eternity is all about your relationship with Jesus Christ.

You can not be the person God desires for you to be and become if you are not building on the foundation of your relationship with Jesus Christ.   Through you many things are possible.  But through Christ all things are possible!

Want to move beyond beyond saved and satisfied to a fully devoted disciple of Jesus Christ?  It starts in your relationship with Christ.

Devote time to your relationship with Jesus Christ. Chew on his word daily.  Show up at church consistently.   Jump into a ministry and serve joyfully.  Pray regularly. As you make a habit of doing these things,  your relationship with Christ will deepen.

As your relationship with Christ deepens you will begin to desire the things that Christ desires.

A lot of times we are so focused on discovering God’s will for our lives, that we completely miss it.  Why?  Because his will begins through the relationship we have with him.  Often we are missing the will of God because we are not deepening our relationship with God.

Live in God’s presence.  Trust in his love and power.  Remove the barriers that keep you from enjoying authentic fellowship with him.

Everything you are going to be and all the difference you are going to make hinges on your relationship with Jesus Christ.



My commute to work normally lasts about 30 minutes. At least a couple of times a month, though, I spend an hour or more stuck in traffic, staring at a long line of tail lights stretching across the bridge where I-430 North crosses the Arkansas River. A rare few of those delays are due to really frightening-looking wrecks, but most are caused by simple fender benders. Actually, the fender benders aren’t to blame. What really causes the congestion are the people who slow down to survey the damage: rubber-neckers.

Those people – who stop to gawk at trouble but have no intention of helping – are present in other areas of our lives, too. They’re in our families. We’re friends with them. We work and go to church with them. Sometimes we are them.

I’ve been reflecting lately on the people who’ve mentored me and helped me grow. God has blessed me with a number of such people, and while they’ve all had their own unique strengths and styles they all share at least one characteristic: they’ve held me accountable. When they saw trouble, they didn’t just drive by and point, they stopped to help.

To be clear, there’s discernment to be made between helping and meddling. If everybody who passed a minor accident stopped to help, give their testimony to the police, and recommend their preferred body shop or personal injury lawyer, congestion would quickly turn into gridlock. But common sense and basic compassion should lead us to recognize that someone stranded in the median with a flat tire could probably use some assistance. Continue reading

Formerly You Were Now You Are

“I thank him who has given me strength, Christ Jesus our Lord, because he judged me faithful, appointing me to his service, though formerly I was a blasphemer, persecutor, and insolent opponent. But I received mercy because I had acted ignorantly in unbelief, and the grace of our Lord overflowed for me with the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus.” 1 Timothy 1:12-14

Formerly Paul was a persecutor of the Lord’s church.  He opposed the movement  that was and still is changing the world today.  He blasphemed the Lord.  He was an opponent to those who were being the voice, the change, and the light of their generation.  But the Lord crashed into Paul’s life.  Paul experienced salvation.  He received mercy.  He was given a fresh start and new vision for his life. Paul did not forget what he formerly was.  But he knew it was former.  He knew he had become a new creation in the Lord Jesus Christ.

As a follower of Christ, the devil wants to you dwell on what you formerly were.  But there is a key here. Continue reading

More Than One Coat

Have you ever painted something that needed more than one coat of paint?

Lauren (my wife) has always wanted a house with a red door and red shudders.   Several days ago we went shopping for red paint.  This past Sunday afternoon Lauren spent a few hours priming the door, shudders, and applying a fresh coat of red paint.  After the project was complete, Lauren didn’t exactly like the shade of red she had selected.  She disliked the color so much that she bought a new shade of red.  Guess what?  She spent another 3 hours priming and painting.  And yes she likes the new shade much better and is much more pleased with result.

Where am I going with this?

There are going to be many areas in our lives Continue reading

On Character and Crises

The notion of character has been on my mind a lot lately. What makes me who I am, and such. Is it my actions or beliefs? Am I defined by my circumstances, upbringing, genetic code, or aspirations? Can I change who I am, and if so to what degree?

One of my favorite quotes, which graced the whiteboard at my desk for nearly a year is this: “Crises don’t build character, they reveal it.” In other words, you can’t depend on tough times to strengthen your resolve. You have to work hard to prepare yourself for trouble before it reaches you.

Claire over at One Passion One Devotion posted another great quote this morning that speaks to the same truth from a different perspective:

Character cannot be summoned at the moment of crisis if it has been squandered by years of compromise and rationalization. The only testing ground for the heroic is the mundane. The only preparation for that one profound decision that can change a life, or even a nation, are those hundreds of half-conscious, self-defining, seemingly insignificant decisions made in private. – Dan Coates

In his letter to the Roman church, Paul implied the same thing:

Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. Through him we have also obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in hope of the glory of God. More than that, we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us. (Romans 5:1-5)

I appreciate what Paul says: that character is produced by endurance. That word – endurance – implies that we do not grow all at once. Certainly, we’re often tested by emergencies – great big, scary moments after which nothing seems the same – but it’s the foundation we’ve built (or failed to build) over the weeks and months and years preceding that moment that determines how we’ll fare.

Don’t waste time. Don’t wait on tomorrow to decide to grow. Start preparing now, and rest assured that your next crisis (which will come, I guarantee) will not put you to shame.


Follow the Signs

For a week or two in college, my buddy Randy and I went on a sign-making spree. We printed nonsensical signs, hung them around campus, and waited to see how people reacted. (Yes, we were both only children, why do you ask?)

We put an “out of order” sign on the men’s room door of the music building telling the guys to use the ladies’ room down the hall. We put “use other door” signs on both doors of the entrance to the guys’ dorm. One day we took a tomato from the cafeteria salad bar and put it on display in the student center with a sign hanging above it that read, in bold letters, “Do NOT Touch the ‘Mater”. People did.

Our weird little social experiment petered out when we found some new activity to capture our attention (like leaving our friend James – disguised as a “delivery” – in an enormous box outside the girls’ dorm). But it did teach me something – people try to make sense of them even when there’s no sense to be made.

More recently, April and I have wrestled with the question of whether our career choices have been the right ones. We’ve gone through some rough patches over the last couple of years that have led us to wonder: is God’s trying to tell us something? After all, what clearer signs could He give us than financial hardship and nagging fears?

The truth, though, is that God is not a fearmonger. He does not use pain, suffering, or uncertainty to scare you. If you’re experiencing those things, it’s not because God wants you to move on from where you are. As a matter of fact, it’s more likely he’s using those things to test your commitment to his plan. Continue reading

More Than Enough?

“The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.” Psalm 23:1

If everything in your life was stripped away from you…would your relationship with God by grace through faith in Christ be more than enough?

This is a question that the Lord has been challenging me to look at closely for the past several months.  It’s a brutal question to answer.  I mean, he should be more than enough for me, and scripture says that he is more than enough.  But do I really believe that? On a deeper level, do I really live like it?

What about you? Do you believe it?  Do you live like it?  Is he more than enough for you?

The other night Lauren and I were Continue reading

Give It Away

“And he gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the shepherds and teachers, to equip the saints for the work of the ministry, for building up the body of Christ.” Ephesians 4:11-12

There are many parts I enjoy about working in the ministry. But I enjoy it the most when I get to Give It Away.

Four years ago last month the Lord used a few youth workers including myself to start a student ministry at Oasis Church.  I mean literally start a ministry.  Oasis Church had been in existence for three to four years but didn’t have a student ministry.  And when we prepared to launch OSM (Oasis Student Ministries) we didn’t even have a single teenager to start with.  But that’s a whole other story of God’s power and faithfulness.  From the time we started OSM, I have tried my best to equip others for the work of the ministry. I have failed a lot along the way. Continue reading

From the Top

It was more than 15 years ago when I found my dad’s dusty old acoustic guitar in our attic. I don’t think I’m exaggerating to say that my life changed that day: it’s when I stopped just consuming music and started learning how to create it.

Years passed before I played my first worship song, though. The time between I devoted to covering Dave Matthews Band (to impress girls) and memorizing licks from my favorite Pearl Jam and Radiohead songs (to impress other guys). “Christian” music, to me, was boring. Unoriginal. The best praise songs were just pale imitations of the worst secular pop music.

To clarify: I was a Christian at the same time that I despised contemporary Christian music. I was all for honoring God through song. I just didn’t think God would be that impressed by the three-chord wonders I heard played ad nauseum on campus in college.

These days, though, I’m as likely to listen to David Crowder as I am David Gray. I get as pumped up by Fee as the Foo Fighters, and am more moved by Leeland’s Yes You Have than anything in R.E.M.’s catalog. So what happened to change my perspective? Continue reading

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