22 December 2010

3 days and counting.

I know, you are thinking I'm talking about Christmas, right? This time, I'm actually not. I'm counting down the working days until I am taking the next step in this risk I am making for the new year. You see, Laura and I are moving to Dallas for me to enter into ministry.

We've done the job hunting, and it seems like we keep missing the mark, but that may be changing. Laura has a chance at a pretty good job at a large women's ministry, and I am still looking for something for me.

So here we are. We are making a step without knowing that there is floor to catch us with the next step. Is this responsible? If we had kids, I would say "no", but since we don't yet, I'm not nearly as worried about it. We have taken some precautions. Our home is going on the rental market with the new year, so that should cover the big bill. Our cars are paid off and we've saved a little for the move. I'm finishing up my BA in February (finally) and moving on to Seminary in the fall. We have spent more time in prayer about these decisions than anything else I can remember other than kids, and we have peace when we think about these "risks".

That's something that I think is funny. We call these decisions "risks", but if we are following God, is there really any risk? Laura and my relationship has improved, our personal emotions have lifted, and we are truly happy. That doesn't sound like the effects of taking a risk to me. Usually, when I am coming up on a risk, I a stressed out, grumpy, and unsure of what is ahead. Now, I am happy, eager, and ready to make the leap. It seems that risking for God is not risking at all, it is doing the one thing you are built to do.

So let me encourage you. It does not matter what it is, but pray to God before taking a risk. If you are following his lead, you will feel peace. That is how to be responsible about life and your family. God will deliver you from any strife, if you follow him and give him the lead. So stop being so independent and follow God. If he has a "risk" for you, jump in with both feet and ride the wave for His glory, not for yours.

20 December 2010

A thought from a song

I listened to Casting Crown's "While you were sleeping" on the way to work this morning. Have you heard it? If you have, you'll know what is coming, but if you haven't, check it out, it's well worth the $1.29 on ITunes.

Casting Crowns reall catches America clearly in talking about first Bethlehem and the the US. How is it that we have been shown the King, yet we still turn away from him. What other man showed his power and grace through miracles and resurrection. I look at the things that many churches focus on and wonder. Why is the greatest miracle of Jesus his own resurrection? With all of Jesus' miracles, why is this seen as the biggest?

It seems to me that it is even greater for him to have raised those who had died as he traveled from town to town. I also see his walking on water as greater. Or his feeding of 5000 with only a few loaves of bread and fish. His greatest sacrifice for man was without a doubt his torture and crucifixion, but his resurrection is held as most important. Why?

Jesus' resurrection and later his ascension to heaven proved that the things he taught were true. We see in scripture that others do "magical" things, just look at Moses and the Pharaoh's magicians. But no one raises any from the dead except for Jesus and those given the gift of resurrection by the Holy Spirit. That is why his resurrection is important. Jesus' resurrection shows that life after death is not a lie, but reality.

"While You Were Sleeping" really makes me think about the birth and resurrection of Christ. Here we see the image of Jesus being born in a barn because "there was not room in the inn." Jesus left his place at the Father's right hand to be a man. How do our lives echo Bethlehem. Do we make sure there is always room for Jesus in our lives? I know I don't always. Even as I search for work in ministry and prepare myself for Seminary, I crowd my schedule so much that I miss community group or time in the word.

Looking around America, we do much the same. How much about Christ have you seen this Christmas? I've seen plenty of Santa. I've seen tons about sales and parties, but not one nativity has been seen in my surroundings. In church and community group we've talked about him, but I haven't seen him much outside of there. This is not to say i have not felt his ever present guidance, I have, but I have not done my side of the bargain and showed him to all around me through my words and actions. In a country where it is okay to kill an unborn child but we have to "save the trees," we have to set out to keep Christ in our lives and to welcome him when he returns. Will he find a place to rest his head when he returns? I'll have a place for him, will you?

15 December 2010

Risk...putting it to the test.

I recently read Risk by Kenny Luck and I'm trying to apply it's lessons to my life. I shouldn't really say it's lessons, as it simply reveals Jesus' lessons in a different way, but Luck did well. Now here's the kicker, God's putting me in the position where I have to apply it. Laura and I have been planning to move to Dallas so I could go to seminary after finishing my BA for some time, and we have been job hunting as well. Now as we approach 3 weeks from the move date, Laura and I have both been unable to find jobs, and we really don't know where we are going to live for long. My parents have offered up their house until we get ours leased, but i know my mother and I do better loving from a distance (our personalities are like water and oil!). So here we are moving to Dallas, with no jobs and no permanent residence. God is giving me tests, and I will survive. I know he is calling me into the fire, and all steel must be tested by fire before it is cured. I only ask for your prayers as we step out into this next chapter of life.

It's not often...

I rarely link to any one else blog, but a good friend of mine posted this piece on trust and it stood out to me.



06 December 2010

PTSD Dogs...

Had a friend of mine send me an article from Yahoo about service dogs for PTSD affected veterans. All I could do is think how great an idea this is. Here's a few articles on this.



So the question I have is this- Would these dogs be accepted as service animals in non-military communities? I'd love to get one of these dogs to help me with my battles with PTSD, but to have one and then walk into my church or school with it might not be accepted freely. For those that know me well, you know I love dogs. I have 2 pugs, but i can't see one of them being truly effective in this role for me. I have thought about getting a mastiff for Laura, but I could look into getting that dog trained to fill this role for me. What are your thoughts?

02 December 2010

So, I have a question...

For those of you that read this, here's a question for you. What do we need to make our churches more attractive to men? I'm watching a series called "Why men hate church" and it is talking about some big changes in church that could bring the guys in. When I look at the church of today, many of these things are done, but there are others that aren't. As far as the reason why... I don't know. So what do you think? Ladies, no offense, but this is really a question for the men, as we're the ones that are increasingly being pushed from the church due to unintended things that are done, while the attendance of women is growing.

30 November 2010

Been doing some thinking...

After a lot of hard prayer, consideration, and downright hard work, I've decided to pass on the Tough Mudder this year. Two major points play into this decision. 1. It's January 29th, two weeks before I complete my Bachelors, and I'll have to be training (about 2hrs a day) between now and then to do it and do it right. I need to be putting that time into my studies, not this personal goal, but to the goal that benefits the family the most. 2. I'm preparing for a move at the beginning of January. between School and Work, I barely have time to move, much less train for something this intense.

So I'm going to delay for a year. Tough Mudder is a great benefit and it'll be around in 2012, and I'll be more ready for it by then. Anyone feel like getting on board for a year long training schedule with me? It will include Insanity, Running (street and broken field), Biking, and anything else I can think of...(anyone know where I can find a public obstacle course? Parkour? Any other ideas?)

25 November 2010

Happy Thanksgiving!

Happy Thanksgiving everyone! What are you thankful for today?

I am thankful for a loving family and for God's plan taking shape. Let me know what you are thankful for.

23 November 2010

A Challenge to Men.

So... if you read my blog you know that last weekend I competed in the Warrior Dash. I could tell you about it, but if you really want to know, just look me up on facebook and check out my photos (Laura took them), or check out warriordash.com While prepping for this run I trained harder than I have since I got out of the Army, and I'm going to be pushing myself even harder over the next 2 months getting ready for the 10 miles that is Tough Mudder.

I know a lot of you are asking yourself, "What does this have to do with me?" Well, the fact that I've done this and am continuing doesn't have anything to do with you. What does have to do with you is the question, "What can I do to make myself more ready to stand up and fight on God's front line?" Every one of us has a different job in this, and each of us has the same job as well. The specifics of what God has called each of us to do is known only to you and God, but there are some generals I'd like to point out to you.

First, as men, we are given the mission to be the spiritual leader of our households. This means you need to stand up and be a man. Lead your family, not as a tyrant, but as a servant leader. Jesus led his apostles (called ones) not with an iron fist, but with loving guidance. He showed them the Word, just as you should show your family. He led them into dangerous situations and protected them through the danger. His guidance of 12 men led to you and I being able to receive his salvation and have everlasting life... don't we owe the same to our family? He knows we don't deserve it, but we know they deserve it as much or more than we do. Leading your family also means stepping out of your comfort zone, going to church, and taking on challenges that you're not sure you are ready for. If you don't, how can you expect your children or wife to.You don't like your church? Step up and take a leadership position to help it become a place that is friendly to Men.

Second, we are tasked to be the provider for our family. This has always been a rough one for me. I'm not sure how money figures into this one. Am I failing if my wife makes more than me? No. God does not tell us to be the earner, he tells us to be the provider. This means that we take the task of being the provider and giving our family what they need. Your wife can work and make more than you, but if something were to happen and she was unable to bring home that paycheck, make sure you have plans in place to replace the income or do without. Spend time ensuring that you are not in debt and that you are free of the chains of financial burden to others. Teach your family how to manage the money you have, and help them to reach their goals. Use the provision that God has given and be a steward, not a scrooge. Continue to make yourself a better leader in this area and in the spiritual realm.

Third, man is called to be the protector. Does this mean you have to have a gun? Nope. It means you have to have the plans in place to protect your family. If something happens, what do you do to protect them. What is the first thing you grab when your home catches fire? Your computer? Your car? Your family? If you said anything but family, you need to reevaluate your priorities. American men are taught from a young age it is all about our "stuff", but the Bible teaches us differently. Jesus even challenged the rich man to give everything away and follow Him. Would you? If the answer is no, you need to look at what you are holding on to. Protection is most important when we look at this from a spiritual view. There will always be things that we can not protect against, but the one thing we can protect from is Hell. If we lead our homes as God has called us, we lead our loved ones to His side, and thus to everlasting life.

Okay, so how does the Warrior Dash play into this for me? I found that I was becoming increasingly unhealthy and lazy, sitting in front of the TV, XBox, or PC all night, every night. In stepping up and dedicating myself to do a 5k and later a 10 mi run, I gave myself goals. I made a plan and I stuck to it, even with the bumps in the road. That is how it played into God's calling. I followed a plan, just as we must follow a plan that God has given us.

So here's my challenge to you, Men. This Advent, Step up and make a plan. Read the Gospel and Paul's Epistles. Look at and study what we as men are called to be. And then make a plan to do this. Not just a goal, but a written plan. You don't have to share it with anyone, just stick it in your wallet and look at it every once in a while. If you follow this plan, you will find out amazing things. Your family life will improve. You will grow in you understanding of God. You will grow in your self confidence. And you will achieve in ways you never dreamed.

Remember, the difference between a dream and a goal is a plan. So make a plan and see how deep the rabbit hole goes!

17 November 2010

Warrior Dash... 3 Days to go...

Well, you are all aware by now that i am running my first Adventure Challenge on Saturday. I have to admit, I am starting to feel nervous. It's 3.1 miles and 11 obstacles, so why am I so nervous? I've been doing Insanity for about 2 months (though I haven't been able to keep up on month 2 and had to restart it with month 1) and I have seen remarkable change. But the difficulty remains, I haven't pushed myself to conquer something like this in more than 5 years. Do I still have what it takes? Will my friends show me up? Should I even be worried about that? I'm taking this challenge because I don't know what my limits are. I have pushed myself before, but I never reached my limit. Basic training, Air Assault, Sapper Leader Course, Expert Field Medic, Iraq, Eagle Scout, the list goes on and on. Why am I worried about this showing me my limit? Age and wisdom perhaps? I read somewhere that the male frontal lobe develops around the age of 25. That's the area of the brain that directs self preservation. Is this little tinge of fear from that? I don't know. I could rely on the often quoted scripture, "I can do everything through him who gives me strength,(Phil 4:13,NIV)" but does that apply here? Paul used it to talk about withstanding suffering, and while I know my body will suffer as I push myself to new highs, I don't feel like it is the same. I'll just rely on the tried and true to survive this, prayer.

Lord, I worship you and know that you are the most high. I ask that you would give me peace and dedication as I seek to give you glory through my efforts this weekend. Let me carry your name with me as I run and help me to give others help and fellowship as we conquer these obstacles together. In your son's name I pray. Amen.

14 October 2010

Warrior Dash... Warrior Spirit... God's Special Forces

What is it that God wants out of me? Does he want me to be 10 foot tall and bulletproof? No, he would have made me that way if he did. Does he want me to be a business or political leader? No, he'd have groomed me for that. Does he want me to be a special forces soldier? Kind of. Let me give some background on this.

I've been reading "Risk" by Kenny Luck. It about giving your life over to God. What is it that make a special operations soldier great? Its his willingness to put his job before anything else. Is he the fittest in the military? Nope, probably not. Is he the smartest in the military? Maybe, but that's not what got him his job. What got him where he is was his willingness to sacrifice and to die if necessary for the cause. So what does God want from his warriors?

God wants our 100% dedication to his cause. 25% doesn't work. 50% doesn't work. Even 75% isn't enough. He wants 100%. So what does this mean? It means different things to different men. The key is that everything you do must be done for God's glory. You have to get out and spread the Word.

What am I doing to be a member of God's Special Forces? Over the last year I have made huge changes in my life. I have taken my life in a new direction. I was going to school for theatre and planning on opening a Haunted House. Now I am finishing up a BA in Christian Studies, setting my sights on Seminary and feel called to Men's ministry. Along with this, I am getting back in shape. I have started Insanity, an intense cardio training program, and I am going to be running the Warrior Dash in November. I spend daily time in the Word and I invest in friends, family, and coworkers, even when they are resistant to it. God is a daily part of my life, and my life shows it. My wife and I are happier than we have ever been before. We are succeeding even when we don't know what we are doing.

So, living a life as a soldier in God's Special Forces isn't about getting out and starting am ministry. It's about making your life a ministry. Get out and make people ask you what it is about your life that is so great, and tell them. God gives us all skills that he uses for a special duty, and God uses you for those things he had prepared you for. Stop doubting him and go out and do his work.

27 September 2010

Week one did this... What's week 2 got in store for me?

So, last week I did the whole weeks Insanity work outs and then decided to try on an old pair of jeans, don't ask me why, I just did. And lo and behold, I was able to fit into a pair of 36s. I haven't worn these in about 6 months, and I was a mazed to find that i not only could get them on, but they fit comfortably. That's saying something since I've been in 38s for about that long. Well, I don't think i could get better motivation than that. Who knows maybe I'll make it back to my 32s that have been in a box since 2005! Day 8, Here I come!!!!

24 September 2010

Day 4... Am I Insane?

So there I was ready to get my cardio killed again with day 4, and look, it's recovery. My muscles still got a workout, but I wasn't getting ready to fall over from the high heart rate yesterday. After I was done, I went and cleaned up and then tried some jeans on that I haven't worn in a while (they were too tight) and now they fit perfectly! I have a hard time believeing that in 4 days i lost 2 inches, but I can't deny the fact that these jeans fit great now...

So now I am eager for Day 5 tonight, though I have heard it's the hardest one yet. Its still worth it. Gonna smoke myself silly to get the results I am looking for. Are you with me?

22 September 2010

So day 2 is complete... and I was oh so relieved when it ended. I'm working on getting my form right, but my coordination leaves something to be desired. My thighs are still sore from it and I felt like I was going to fall over during it. I actually had to sit out for 2 of the exercises because my heart rate was too high (close to 190). I watched closely during those so I could get an idea of how they were done. I look forward to today, but even more to the recovery day tomorrow. I keep wondering if Shaun T has Army in his background, that medical tat on his arm sure looks like a meddac tat. Anyways, I'm going strong and will keep rolling. INSANITY!!!!!!

21 September 2010

Day 1 Complete, Day 2 coming fast!

So I did the first day of Insanity: Dig Deeper and Fit Test. I felt like I was going to fall out. There were points when Shawn T was yelling to push it harder and I couldn't even get off my hands and knees. My results are better than i thought they would be, but I'm going to have to push harder and dig deeper today. one thing has changed for me though. I feel able. Yesterday I was worried I would not be able to finish the test, but today, I know I can do this. I feel more alive and more awake. I feel my muscles ready to go again. No pain. That is the biggest thing for me. I don't feel pain today. How can that be? Shawn drove me to muscle failure on the push-up jacks and the plank obliques, but I'm not in pain today. I'm eating better (though I'm not eating quite right yet) and I got great sleep last night (even with the dog waking me up for water and to go out!)

I am convinced that each day is going to be better. I'm going to push further and dig deeper. I will reach targets that I never reached in the Army and then go farther.

One interesting thing is that the last day is actually going to be postponed 1 day. I will be competing in the Warrior Dash here in Austin on November 20th. I'm going to put the fit test off until Monday (or maybe Sunday) while I compete in this run. I feel like this program is going to make me able to push myself through the 3.2 miles and 11 obstacles in 35 minutes or less, 10 minutes faster than I had originally set me goal.

In all things, I give God the glory. It is because of him that I am doing this and because of him that I can compete. Thank's to God that I have the strength and I ask him for the perseverance to push further, faster, and harder than I ever have before.

Insanity! Am I insane?

So, I'm starting insanity today (Actually yesterday 9/20). Am I crazy? This is going to be the hardest thing I have done since I left the Army... What can I do to keep myself going? What is this going to take? Do I have it in me?

Yes! I can and will do this. I want to be the guy that my future kids look at and want to be like. I want to be able to take my shirt off at the beach and not be ashamed. I will push myself to do what needs to be done to reach this goal.

I will start every day's workout with a prayer of thanks and for protection. I will push myself to perform better than the day before and not give up on any workout, anytime. I will complete this program and continue after with more exercise programs to strengthen myself, mind, body, and soul.

15 September 2010

Warrior Dash

So it's official, I've signed up to run the Warrior Dash on November 20th down here in Austin. I'm running at 2:30 if anyone wants to join me and do the wild and crazy obstacles to share a beer with me afterwards. I'm running with a few from Crossroads and trying to recruit more.
So now here's the question. I'm planning on running painted up like a Celtic Warrior wearing a kilt. Think of Braveheart but my whole body will be blue. What I'm trying to figure out is how I can be a good steward of God's message while i run this race/challenge/dash/whatever. I could wear the cross necklace I have that's made out of nails, but that could be uncomfortable if it gets cockeyed during the wall climb or the mud crawl... so probably not. Anyone have any ideas that I could use to have fun and show that God's children can have just as much fun as unbelievers without going against his teachings? I figure that this could be a good opportunity to reach out to those that may not get reached out to.
Anyways, for those that want to see me do this, or those who want to join me, check out the Central Texas Warrior dash at warriordash.com

23 August 2010

PTSD and the Church

As a sufferer of PTSD I have a unique outlook to see a problem coming before the Church. PTSD is Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. In the past is was called combat fatigue, shell shock, and many other things; even being mislabeled as readjustment disorder in recent years. In layman’s terms, it is a natural reaction to extreme stress events which cause a physiological shift in how the brain functions. There is much more to it than this, but for this purpose, my definition will suffice.

First I’m going to give a little background about me and my PTSD to give a little understanding to you. I’m a 30 year old Christian man who, despite being raised in the church, came to Christ at the age of 23, about 5 months before deploying to Iraq in February of 2003. After returning in February of 2004, I had a series of bad events that left me back in my parents’ home at the age of 26, broke, and feeling helpless. I had turned away from God, as I could not understand how he allowed friends to die in Iraq, or put me in a position to fire my weapon and another man. How could he let me feel the guilt and pain that riddled me daily?

My parents took me to church with them and took me to the VA. The VA helped me by getting me into counseling for PTSD and getting me on some meds to regulate the chemicals that had gotten out of whack. But Christ gave me so much more. Reading the word again and spending time in prayer showed me that the bad thing I had experienced were not caused by his lack of love, but because he loves us so much that he will not take away our free will. This includes allowing bad things to happen while Satan has dominion of the Earth. In October of 2006 I met an amazing woman. She was attending seminary and opened my eyes up even further. She helped me understand things I had not before, and she gave me love freely, with no expectations. Laura and I were married a year later in November of 2007.

“What does this have to do with the Church?” you ask. Simple, Thousands upon thousands of soldiers, sailors, marines, and airmen battle these same issues every day. These are the young, the old, and the in between. From Vietnam to Panama, from Afghanistan to Iraq, these brave men and women have risked their lives for the country we believe in. We are not loved by our country though. In many cases we are hated. The Westboro Baptist Church drives servicemen away from God with every sign held high in protest. Every time a uniform is defaced in protest of the war or a soldier sees his flag burned, he loses a little of his love for the people who would disrespect his sacrifice. We as the Church, the body of Christ, need to change this.

Another thing we (PTSD sufferers) face is a feeling of despair brought on by the chemical imbalances. This becomes more manageable with treatment, but it still comes at times. While not as severe as back in the early days after returning from the war, I still have periods where I want nothing to do with anyone or anything, not even God. I have Laura to help me, but many soldiers don’t have anyone. The leading preventable cause of death in the military today is suicide. One major cause of this is the feeling of immense despair I am talking about. Think about this in a different way, if you are sure that you are worthless and a failure, that God doesn’t love you or doesn’t exist, and that all the world has to offer you is suffering; what reason do you have to continue living? I am definitely not trying to justify these thoughts, only trying to help you understand, and I can only do that because I have not felt these feelings in many years. With treatment, these feelings do go away, and with support they can be completely avoided. That’s where the Church comes in.

The Church is Christ’s tool on Earth. It is his hands and arms. By welcoming one in, we help that body to grow and we help one more to know His love. Sound good so far? But what does it take to do this? Investment. You have to go forth and invest your life in those around you. I can almost guarantee that everyone reading this knows at least one soldier, though you may not know much about him or her. Try starting with a dinner, servicemen love to eat, trust me on that one, and once you get food in us we talk more (might not be good to feed me much, since I already talk too much, but most others you’re safe on). Pay attention to what they are talking about. Above all, do not bring up the war. If we want to talk about it, we do. If we don’t, we still respect you enough to answer questions (it’s in our training). So leave that off for now. (By the way , a huge number of soldiers do not have PTSD to any degree, and even fewer have truly debilitating PTSD, but even so, bringing one more into the Church is a good thing, right?) Learn about us and then build on what we say with stories of your own. Share pieces of Jesus’ teaching when you can, but don’t preach. Basically, be our friends. It does not matter if you served. It does not matter what you think of the war (though if you are against it, you still need to show us that you are thankful for our willingness to die for you if we are called to). It doesn’t even matter if we’re the same age or demographic. Some of the people I am closest to are people I have met since returning from Iraq, and they simply stepped up and showed me His love. I have friends twice my age because of this, and I have many differences with them, but they showed me his love and that earned them a spot in my heart forever.

The other thing we have to do is accept. PTSD can lead to short tempers, to apathy, to depression, and to emotional outbursts with mood swings. We have to expect and accept these. They are part of the person now.With treatment, the sufferer will learn to control these things, but it's going to take time. Remember, they are having to relearn things since their brain works a little differently now.

Oh, and PTSD is not limited to combat veterans. Often, we see PTSD symptoms in rape, assault, and sexual abuse patients. Any psychologically traumatic event can cause PTSD.

19 August 2010

Why is Story important?

I was recently challenged with writing a little bit about why story is so important. This is what I came up with.

Story is passion. Ever since man has walked the earth, we have told stories. Even God shares stories with us. We start to form stories before we learn words as children, and then later, on telling them, we sometimes realize how much influence society has had in our own creative minds. The limits put on us by society are the imaginary walls which story can climb over, break down, or even simply cease to believe and walk right through.

As a kid I remember playing army with friends or putting on all black and running around as a ninja. The stories that my friends and I told were impossible, but we had fun. We spent our days thinking of new and fantastic tales. To adults our bikes were just that, bikes. But to us, a bicycle was a fighter jet, a tank, or even a motorbike loaded with machine guns and rocket launchers. The stories of the battles we fought were… amazing!

So why is story so important? Moses told the Israelites and us stories about creation, about the great flood, even about God’s glory, but that doesn’t really tell us why story is important. It just tells us that Moses’ story (actually God’s story) is important. Story is the act of relating events, true or imagined, in written or oral communication. Only through story can we learn about our history as people, God’s message, and the fascinating workings of individual creations. I’ve read more books than I can even begin to name, and the common thread for me has always been learning. Robert Heinlein’s “Starship Troopers” taught me more about basic training and the rigors on the mind than any non-fiction book or experiences shared with me, and when I got to Ft. Benning, I learned that it was true.

“We Were Soldiers Once… and Young”, taught the reader about the hell that is war, but also about the brotherhood shared by soldiers in shared plight. The books of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John teach us about Jesus’ ministry on Earth. Stories teach and entertain, they make us feel emotion and they share events that may have happened, but may have also been made up. The greatest stories are retold by millions of people in a million ways. Shakespeare knew this in taking common themes to write many of his plays. From “The Taming of the Shrew” to “Romeo and Juliet”, his stories have been retold in countless ways by countless people, and in many cases his stories were simply retelling of stories he’d been told.

The importance of story is that it allows for communication of emotion and passion. It allows an intimate look into a person’s thought and creative mind. It gives man a chance to release stress or tension or create a smile on another’s face. It also allows us to teach the horrors that have been experienced as a way to help future generations avoid the same. Spinning yarns and relating events gives us connection. From one generation to the next, only through story can we connect to those who we are never able to meet.

Thanks Shakespeare, for allowing me to meet my ancestor MacDuff, through your story of MacBeth.

12 July 2010

The silence is ringing...

So if you read here often, you've noticed I haven't been posting alot recently... well that's due to the overwhelming nature of school, work, and marriage. Needless to say, none of these things can be laid aside. So, I ask you to bear with me and give me time to get some good things put together.

Well, for now, I will just put some prayer requests down. Laura and I are going through the process to be able to adopt from the state, pray that we are guided to make good decisions in this process. I am preparing to enter seminary next summer, and I'm a little shaky and scared about it. Pray for peace and strength in this. And the last big one is to do with finances. We have trimmed out expenses to a third of what they were 2 years ago, but just as we feel that we are getting ahead we get hit again. Laura's 4-runner may be down for the count. We are going to have to replace it, and I really do not want to finance another car... Pray that God will give provision for this.

01 June 2010

War Drums

In the last few weeks I have heard rumblings about Revelation and other eschatology related topics. Why? What is going on that people are banging on this war drum calling "good" Christians to the fight? Why is this call for witnessing needed?

Every generation seems to have a mass "Call to altar" at least once, saying that the end is near. I'm not saying it's not, but I'm also not saying it is. Matthew 24:29-51 gives us a wealth of information on the time, and the fact that only the Father knows. If someone tells you they know the date and time of Jesus coming, RUN! Even Jesus tells us he does not know. How could a man know? If the Son of God doesn't know, neither do they.

Now, to the other problem with using the "end times" as a reason to witness. Mark 13 touches on this issue, and the persecution that comes as well.

Mark 13:9 “You must watch out for yourselves. You will be handed over to councils and beaten in the synagogues. You will stand before governors and kings because of me, as a witness to them. 13:10 First the gospel must be preached to all nations. 13:11 When they arrest you and hand you over for trial, do not worry about what to speak. But say whatever is given you at that time, for it is not you speaking, but the Holy Spirit. 13:12 Brother will hand over brother to death, and a father his child. Children will rise against parents and have them put to death. 13:13 You will be hated by everyone because of my name. But the one who endures to the end will be saved.(NET)

Jesus taught us to carry his word in Mark 13:10: "First the gospel must be preached to all nations." Why is it that we as Christians today find a need to put an artificial urgency behind our witnessing?

I remember at the beginning of a song by DC Talk, there was a quote, "The leading cause of Atheism in the world today is Christians, who acknowledge with their lips but deny him by their lifestyle." Jesus taught us that by accepting him, we were giving our lives to him, not just our Sunday mornings. He paid a high price for it, so why don't we do what he taught. How many times can you find in scripture Jesus telling us to witness? What about teachings in the Old Testament to witness? I think that next to Love God with all your heart, mind, and soul; Sharing his love may be the second most taught thing in scripture. Jesus did tell us that it is a chief commandment, what is witnessing if not loving our neighbors as ourselves. We've found him, shouldn't we be helping them find him as well?

I guess what I am saying is this: Beat your war drums. Cry out to Heaven. Prepare yourself for his coming. But not by preaching the end is near. Preach his love. Be the servant leader of your home and teach others to do the same. Love your Neighbors and share his Word. God gave us everything we need to be ready for Jesus' coming, your faith and the Word. The Holy Spirit is with us, it is our weapon against the sinful things of this world. USE IT! Only by walking his walk will we ever know his will for us, and in walking his walk, you may find that you bring even more witness to those who see it.

16 May 2010

Great weekend with the Glahns!

Laura and I made a trip this weekend to Dallas. We visited Dallas Theological Seminary. I got a tour and spent some time talking to admissions. I think I'll be going Interdisciplinary Studies with Cross-Cultural and Pastoral Ministries. I really am having a hard time not just dropping everything and moving this Summer so I can be there in the fall... we'll just have to follow God's lead though.

Since feeling this call, I have been working hard to finish my Bachelors so I can move on to a ThM. I'm now feeling like there are things lining up to put us in Dallas sooner than I thought. I guess this is just a call for prayers.

We also had an amazing weekend with Sandi and Gary Glahn. Late night discussing life, the universe and everything else. I can't wait till our next time!

11 May 2010


I just reread my blog...

I'm not saying I want space or want to be left alone by my friends, I'm only saying that when I do need space, please understand and don't take it personally.

Men and infertility

So time for a tough subject. Infertility and it's effects on men.

Most men don't consider infertility as something that effects us. "Hey, the doctor says everything is alright with me, so it's her problem," right? As a Christian and the leader of my household, I find that what effects her, effects me. But beyond that, infertility still effects the man more than I can explain.

We just passed another Mother's Day. Why should that effect a guy, other than to buy his Mom and Mother-in-Law gifts? Maybe those who have never battled with infertility don't see why it should, but as my wife and I do battle with infertility, I have a clear view of the emotional impact of this day. It's a rough time when the world is full of mom this and kids that, but most of all it's hard to spend time around all the new families. They are celebrating a day that should be celebrated, but they are also forgetting all of us who wish we could be celebrating our wives as mothers.

Laura and I have been trying to have a kid for about 2 and a half years, the doctors haven't given us a reason, they have just given us "it might be this" or "it might be that". What am I to do? I pray about this issue a couple times a day and every night, but no change. We spend time and money on fertility treatments (since insurance views it as elective and won't pay for it). We even look into out of the ordinary treatments. No luck yet.

I find myself losing hope. I see friends get off the pill and start trying and a few weeks later I hear they are pregnant. I'm happy for them, but it digs me in to a rut. I want to give up and just bail. I don't want to be around these pregnant women and their husbands, I love kids, but seeing them brings sadness to me. I guess what I am trying to tell you is that I love you guys and your kiddos, and I don't want you out of our lives, but we need some time and understanding in tough times.

So I guess this is really just an explanation of why I feel what I feel, though it might not be a very good one.

04 May 2010

Never thought I would do this...

I'm normally not short for words after reading an email, but that's exactly what I was after reading this one. I posted a few months ago about Colt McCoy's statement to reporters after his devastating injury and the loss of the National Championship that it caused the Texas Longhorns. This gives us a little more clarity on these events, showing us that it was not devastating, but spiritually maturing. Colt took the moment placed before him by God and made the decision to follow God, not to rebel. To trust that God knew what he was doing. And Colt grew from it. Have you had this kind of chance to decide? I hope you have! It is a momentous moment in your growth, and I hope for all to experience it and the life changing reality the Jesus promises through things like this. Cold learned about trust and leadership, imagine what you will learn.

Now without any more babble from me, here is the email I'm talking about.

Dear Friends,
I had the opportunity to hear Colt McCoy’s Dad speak this Tuesday
morning to the Dallas Christian Leadership Prayer Breakfast. The
breakfast is an annual breakfast that was started by Tom Landry and
other Dallas leaders over 40 years ago and the speakers are usually
amazing. Colt McCoy and his Dad, Brad, were supposed to deliver a
combined message; however, Colt became sick on Monday and could not join
his Dad on Tuesday morning. In the end, it was a blessing because Brad
McCoy delivered a message on raising Colt and his two other boys that
was truly amazing!

The cliff notes are below. I took copious notes because he prefaced his
speech by stating, “I am going to talk about the four principles with
which we raised our three boys.” They are incredibly applicable to us as
parents (regardless of the sex of our children) and they made a
significant mark on my heart.

Brad McCoy said that he and his wife raised their children according to
the following four principles:

1. “Prepare your child for the path, not the path for your child.” Brad
said this is not just for our kids – it is for us as parents. The road
is rough, narrow and hard to find. We have a book (the Bible), a map
vis-à-vis the Bible and God to help us. We must prepare ourselves and
our kids for moments in life when doors open and close. He cited
Proverbs 22:6: “Train a child in the way he should go, and when he is
old he will not turn from it.” He also cited, almost in jest but also in
reality, Proverbs 23:13, “Do not withhold discipline from a child; if
you punish him with the rod, he will not die.” It was a funny contrast,
but a real contrast. He then said, “Dads, fight for your kids, prepare

2 . “Prepare to be our best.” This was one of the four McCoy family
mottos. He cited 1 Corinthians 9:24, “Do you not know that in a race all
the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to
get the prize.” He stated that every day he would take his kids to
school and upon them exited the car, he would say to them, “Do your best
and be a leader!” He said that they listened every time and even as they
got older (4th, 5th and 6th grades) he would repeat these words even if
they said, “Yeah, Yeah, Dad, I know, do your best and be a leader!” He
said that as a coach for 27 years, he would always lead his team onto
the field and leave his team at every practice with the chant, “Expect
to Win, Play to Win.” And he implored us as parents to instill the same
attitude in our homes and in our children. He cited Jim Collins book,
"Good to Great", stating that good is the enemy of Great! We don’t aim
high and miss – as we would like to believe. In fact, most times, we aim
low and hit the mark! As parents, he implored us not to aim low! Aim

3. “Be a Leader” He stated that we are surrounded by such a great cloud
of witnesses – great leaders that we can draw from and that our kids can
draw from. He said we are all at the mercy of time and money and asked a
rhetorical question: How do you spend your time and money. He then said
that how we spend our time and money is a direct reflection on where our
true priorities lie. Convicting! He then said as a leader that he has
always loved the quote by Ghandi (even though he didn’t ascribe to all
of Ghandi’s beliefs): “I will not let anyone walk through my mind with
dirty feet.” He said that as he taught this principle to his three boys
that Colt McCoy turned this phrase into his own words: “Thoughts become
things.” Colt would tell his younger brothers as he mentored them, “ You
can’t talk like that or think like that, because thoughts become things
that play themselves out in your life.”

4. “Prepare for Open and Closed Doors.” As a Dad, he said it was painful
beyond all of his years on this earth to watch his son get hurt in the
first series of play in the National Championship at the Rose Bowl. A
perfect setting. A setting his son had dreamed of ever since he threw
the football with his Dad in the front yard as a kid. As a Dad, he went
over to his son’s hotel room after the Championship loss and the
demoralizing fate for such a NCAA football star. He went to his son’s
room to cheer his son up and was praying to God for the right words. He
entered his son’s hotel room to find his son finishing a devotional. A
devotional that read as follows: “My positive energy must be better than
my negative energy. My certainty must be me stronger than my doubt. The
battle is won before I ever start the fight. I choose faith over fear.
Leave a legacy of excellence, love, dedication and service. Jeremiah
stated, ‘Blessed is the man who’s trust is in the Lord.’ He said as a
Dad, he had to find a corner of Colt’s hotel room to sit down and cry
over the maturity of his son. His son was prepared for open and closed
doors! Wow!!

He then finished his speech by stating that as he consoled his son under
the Rose Bowl stadium, after it was readily apparent that Colt would not
be able to go back onto the field and play for the Longhorns. And as he
was trying to motivate his son, his son motivated the team and his Dad.
His son stepped into a new mantle of leadership. Rather than return to
the field in pedestrian clothes, Colt insisted on returning to the field
to help his team win. He walked back onto the field in his uniform and
helped the second string quarterback read the defense and mentored the
second string quarterback over the course of the 3rd and 4th quarters.
He said that his son had been studying “trust” in a Bible Study all year
long leading up to the National Championship game. He said his son had
told his mom and dad that he didn’t know why he had been studying that
“trust” concept all year, but he fully knew why in the moments leading
up to the National Championship loss. He told his parents that he came
to the conclusion that God had “prepared me for years leading up to that
game, because He wanted me to “trust” Him!” As his son, Colt, was
approached by news reporters after the Longhorns had lost the National
Championship, the reporters asked Colt how he was feeling and Colt
replied: “I always give God the glory. I never question what God does.
God is in control of my life and if nothing else, I am standing on the

Brad McCoy said that his cell phone began lighting up with texts after
the game with friends, ministers and family members wildly acclaiming
the statement that Colt had made to the reporters. He said that he
received letters from non-believers, Jewish ministers, Muslim ministers
and atheists in the days following the game – all pointing to the
AMAZING statement that Colt had made after the game. He said that as he
entered Colt’s hotel room that night, he asked his son, “What did you
say after game?” [He had not been able to hear it in the mayhem of the
stadium.] Brad McCoy, Colt’s Dad, asked two to three times, “Son, what
did you say after the game?” Colt said, “Dad, I don’t know. I really
don’t remember what I said. All I remember is that the reporter asked me
a question and I prayed that God would supply me with the right answer.”

Brad McCoy then ended his speech by telling a story about a young
football player that he was coaching back in his hometown. He said the
young football player approached Brad McCoy after he returned from
Pasadena and said, “Coach, I heard what your son said after the game,
but I have one question: What is the rock?” He said it’s funny son. We
sing about it in church. He then began singing accapella:

“My hope is built on nothing less, Than Jesus’ blood and righteousness.
I dare not trust the sweetest frame, But wholly trust in Jesus’ Name.

On Christ the solid Rock I stand, All other ground is sinking sand; All
other ground is sinking sand. When darkness seems to hide His face, I
rest on His unchanging grace.

In every high and stormy gale, My anchor holds within the veil. On
Christ the solid Rock I stand, All other ground is sinking sand; All
other ground is sinking sand. His oath, His covenant, His blood, Support
me in the whelming flood. When all around my soul gives way, He then is
all my Hope and Stay.

On Christ the solid Rock I stand, All other ground is sinking sand; All
other ground is sinking sand.

When He shall come with trumpet sound, Oh may I then in Him be found.
Dressed in His righteousness alone, Faultless to stand before the
throne. On Christ the solid Rock I stand, All other ground is sinking
sand; All other ground is sinking sand.”

By the end of his singing, the entire room of men and women were singing
in unison with Brad McCoy. It was truly an amazing morning for the Lord
and a truly amazing speech for us to learn from as parents AND

26 April 2010

The tide is turning...

     I remember when I was young (I'm not saying I'm old by any means, just not as young as I once was.), it was expected that everyone you knew was Christian. Now I know this was not the case, but American society as a whole was Christian, with Christian morals (on the surface) and Christian goals. Now I look around and notice, my family and I are outcasts. We're the "weird" ones. Our beliefs about how we live our lives and what is okay are the beliefs considered to be strange. What happened? How did I go from being a kid raised in a Christian home(I didn't become Christian until November 2002, I didn't understand until then what it was to have a relationship with Jesus.) to being a uptight weirdo? 
     I left the church environment around the time I graduated High School in 1998 and returned to it periodically until 2002 when I jumped back in with both feet. While in Basic Combat Training (Boot Camp) at Ft. Benning, I went every Sunday morning, but I did that because it was a way to avoid waxing the barracks or mowing the lawn with safety scissors and a ruler. When something bad happened in my life I would visit for a few weeks before going back to my wild and reckless lifestyle. In 2002, I was invited to The Bridge, a non-denominational church on Ft Campbell, KY. I started listening to what was being said instead of daydreaming or looking at the girls. I started going to Navigators meetings on Wednesday nights and learning scripture. I even started hanging out with these Christian men, and I saw something was different about them...but what was it?
     I remember these guys weren't going out drinking and doing everything they could to take some girl home every night. These guys were getting together and hanging out. They had genuine relationships with girlfriends and wives that were open and honest. They weren't fighting and unhappy in their marriages and relationships. They were happy to be with one person for the rest of their lives. These guys had something figured out. I started looking for what it was and found that the one thing they all had in common was Jesus. They followed his teachings and loved each other as themselves. I wanted what they had. I asked Jesus into my life 4 months after I started going to The Bridge. I didn't see some amazing change, but I felt somehow better. I deployed to Iraq 4 months later and helped with a Bible Study there. On returning, I got out of the Army and got married, but I started slipping away from my faith. My wife didn't want to go to church, she said she didn't need church to believe. I tried for 2 years and gave up. She started cheating on me and my world collapsed. I was diagnosed with PTSD and returned to my parents in Dallas after she kicked me out (ironic, she cheated and I got kicked out).
     I was at my lowest, got dragged to church every Sunday by my parents, and was shoved into counseling by them as well. What they didn't know is that I was doing every self destructive thing I could think of. I was sleeping around, drinking like a fish and smoking 2 or so packs a day. I'm not proud of how bad I got, but I did. While working at a haunted house run by my old scout troop, I met Laura. Everything changed. I found myself caring what someone else thought about me. Every day I called her and talked for a hour or so, then I asked her out, only to be turned down. A week after meeting her, I got off the phone to go help with the youth group at my parents church. The next day I asked her out again and she said "Yes". I went over and took her out for drinks and walking around Uptown Dallas and the West End. We quickly fell in love and were married. I went to church with her weekly and really started to get back into the groove I had been in back in 2002, when I became a Christian. I met her friends and started finding myself surrounded by these "on fire for God" Christians, and started envying them again. I dove back in and started studying and learning the Word and found myself feeling good about life again. After finalizing my divorce, Laura and I were married.
Now, 3 years later, I find myself pursuing a Christian Studies degree and planning for Seminary. I'm going to start a disaster relief ministry, taking men out with me to learn to be servant leaders while spreading God's Word. The tide is turning... and I'm surfing the wave!

20 April 2010

Just a little update!

Wanted to apologize for not posting as much as I used to. I am pursuing a degree in Christian Studies from Grand Canyon University. To do this I am taking a full load online. This constitutes two classes every 8 weeks. It's a lot of work, including forum posting and at least an essay a week for each class. I'm still going to post here as able, but it won't be quite as often as I would like! See you around.


04 March 2010

Where have the shepherds gone? The need for leaders not CEOs in Christian leadership.

When I look back at all of the pastors and leaders I have had in churches around the country and even overseas, I notice something. The Church was started by Jesus, who described himself as a shepherd.  In John 10:11 (NIV) he says” I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep.” I can’t say I have felt like any of my pastors/ministers/chaplains were protecting me. I’m not saying that they didn’t give me guidance or help. I am saying I haven’t felt that they were looking out for each individual member of their flock. Looking out for each member is as simple as a call when you notice that someone has not been at your service in weeks, or listening to the unsaid in conversations you have with your congregation.

Church has become a businesslike practice. Many churches look first to the ledger and last at need, instead of first at need and God’s will and then at finances to pay for it. I’m not saying that a church should put itself at risk and take on too much, just make His work most important, not your comfort. I recently listened to a podcast of Dallas Theological Seminary’s Chapel service. I can’t remember who it was preaching, but I remember that he talked about different ministries. He posed a question, “What is your limit in pay?” One of the people he asked this answered, “I won’t work for less than $0.” That is the attitude we have to have to do his work. We have to trust that he will provide if we follow him. We have to be willing to stick our necks out for the flock. If we won’t stick our necks out, do we doubt that God wants us there? Or are we deciding that it would make us uncomfortable or take control out of our hands?

So here’s my challenge for you. If and when you take a role as a leader, be a shepherd, a servant leader. Place your flocks’ well being above your own. Most of all, trust that God is with you, if you follow him, you’ll go where he wants you. Don’t be irresponsible, be gutsy but prudent, not risking your venture but not refusing to help where needed because you are unsure of where the resources (money and people) will come from.

03 March 2010

Rough time

I've had a rough time over the last few weeks coming up with ideas. Well, that's not quite right, I have tried to write things, and I have found that I have not been good at getting my point across in a loving a generous method. I guess I have been down with selfishness. I haven't wanted to care for others, or even look at both sides of a point. In the last few days, I've had a rough time with other things, and I find myself digging back into the spiritual side of my faith and not just the intellectual study. I'm working up a thought, "Where have the shepherds gone? The need for leaders not CEOs in Christian leadership." Look for it in the next week or so.

Also look for changes in the appearance of the site, though I love this one, I feel like it may detract a bit. We'll see.

28 January 2010

The Book of Eli...Witnessing Tool?

                Sorry it took some time to write this, I wasn’t quite sure how to express my feelings on it. I saw The Book of Eli the Wednesday after it came out. I went to a matinee showing with my wife and there were maybe 10 other people in the audience. I had read a few negative comments about the movie, but I was excited. I have never seen a Denzel Washington film that I did not enjoy, and this one was supposed to have some biblical themes.

                There are going to be a few spoilers, but the movie has been out a few weeks so I’m not worried too much about them.

                Denzel Washington plays Eli, a man traveling across post-apocalyptic America, carrying a King James Bible west. When asked why, he tells that he heard a voice in his head which led him to the bible, buried under rubble, and told him to take it out west. There he would find a place that needed it. So he did.

                So the movie has a biblical twist. But a few things I have heard against it are: too violent, too gritty, too much foul language. All of these are things that are in the Bible, as well. So let me tell you where these people’s complaints come from.

The Language: Almost every character other than Eli has “colorful” language trickled into every sentence. But look at society today, even devout Christians let an F-bomb slip at times. And even more so we cover out intended words with things like “Dang it!” and “Shoot!”, or maybe even “Freak!” or “Fudge!” Just because we didn’t actually use the word, doesn’t mean we didn’t mean the word, and that almost makes me feel like I’m lying to myself.

The Violence: You can’t turn on the news without hearing about murders, beatings, war, or mob riots somewhere in the world. Why would anyone expect anything different in a world that has been destroyed with the Bible being blamed for it? Not only is there no organized government to care for people, where is the moral compass to guide them? This movie is 30 years after the apocalypse, people are just not moving beyond the survival phase. No faith group has stepped in to help like in Haiti. No one has united the people under a banner of God. But here is Eli, walking across America, carrying an old King James Bible, reading it every night before bedding down in the most secure locations he can find.

Too Gritty: Well, ask any sci-fi fan what the world would be like post-apocalypse. They are going to tell you dirty. They are going to tell you that trash will be lying in the streets; buildings will be half collapsed, and depending on the cause, dead bodies will either be walking around or decaying in the street as mutants eat on them and anything else that comes by. Now is this factual? Probably not completely, but partially (all but the zombies/mutants…though mutations would be likely in a nuclear apocalypse).

 The fact is Book of Eli forces us to look at what one man is doing to carry the Word to a place he feels called to. He refuses all who try to take it from him, often violently. He carries it wrapped in leather and opens it to read every night. He quotes scripture with ease and tells stories from it to a companion who joins him.

This movie gives Christians a chance to reach out to unbelievers in a different way. It’s not the “touchy feely” Christian movie. It’s not the “glaze over the bad” Christian movie. It’s not even billed as a Christian movie at all, but I challenge anyone that has read the Bible to watch it and not find biblical analogies throughout it.

Over all, it’s a great movie, and I encourage you to take your unbeliever friends to it and then spend some time talking about it.

15 January 2010

Donations to Red Cross in Haiti

Text "Haiti" to 90999 and you will receive a text asking you to verify your donation.Respond to that with yes and you will make a 10 dollar donation. This will appear as a one time charge on your phone bill.

On Wednesday evening that had raised nearly a million dollars through this, last night they were up to 5 million. Lets help them get even more to help the disaster torn country.

13 January 2010

Unceasing Prayer for Haiti!

I'm putting a call out for unceasing prayer for the people in Haiti. Locals, visitors, UN Peacekeepers, and missionaries all need your prayers as they face the onslaught of this Earthquake, it's aftershocks, and the aftermath. Since we can't be there helping, set aside time to spend in prayer today for them!

Haiti is the poorest country in the Western hemisphere. The infrastructure in the capital is capable of supporting around 50,000. They have more than a million living there. The damage caused by this earthquake has caused damage to homes, hospitals, the UN peacekeepers barracks/operations center, and many other places.  Missionaries delivering Christmas presents and ministering to the people are stuck there, and we need them there.

I just ask for everyone to pray for the lives lost and the ones left behind. Spend special time today and in the coming days thinking of those whom you may never meet, but that share the love of God.

08 January 2010

Words of a true Role Model

"I love this game. I have passion for this game. I've done what I can to contribute to this team. We made it this far, and it's unfortunate to not be able to play. I'd have given everything I have to be out there with my team. I always give God the glory. I never question things. God is in control of my life, and if nothing else, I know I'm standing on the rock."

Colt McCoy never got to win the National Championship, but as the Texas quarterback said, "God is in control." Seems like this is a guy who is going to be able to face and overcome any roadblock or challenge placed in front of him. He may shed some tears for lost opportunities, but he won't question God's sovereignty.  This is a short one, but just want all of us to take a minute and think, "Could I say the same thing?" Let's look to Colt and follow his lead, standing on The Rock.

07 January 2010

Been a while

I've had a busy new year, but that's no excuse, I'll get something up soon. I've been working on something about Christians, what we are seen as and what we should be. Hope to have it out by the weekend, but homework comes first...