Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Loss of Words


I have not blogged in 7 days after only missing one day in 5 weeks. I am sitting here trying to figure out what to say and can't seem to think of the right words or I am not really inspired to write tonight. After taking off for seven days, I have gotten out of the positive habit of writing that I started in January.

What can I learn when I don't have words to say? I think it provides me more time to listen.

“Speak Lord; your servant is listening” 1 Sam 3:10
This scripture implies that we are willing to serve you. Therefore, I need to have a , "Here I am availability." In order to be a servant, I must be available. Here I am Lord, I want to be available for whatever you have in store. Second, I need to be quiet and listen. God, give me the strength to quiet myself so that I can hear Your voice.

Your hopeful servant,


Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Future Questions


Kat and I missed watching one of our favorite television shows on Tuesday night, Parenthood. We have always loved watching the show because each of the couples seem to be going through real life issues that many people I know are dealing with. However, this season the subject of adoption occurred. Over the different episodes, I have personally felt many different emotions concerning how the show dealt with adoption. On one of the early shows, I was pretty frustrated that they used the term "buying a baby" several times throughout the show but the show really examined some of the emotions and situations that couples face when adopting.

However, the episode that Kat and I watched this evening brought me to tears. As the baby was born, the mom that wanted to adopt asked the biological mother if she wanted to hold her son and the biological mother turned her head. My heart breaks thinking of my two amazing gifts from God and the questions they will have about their biological mother. Thank You for providing me with such an amazing wife. Kat was able to talk through all of the pain that I was feeling for Bennett and Celia. We were able to discuss that no matter how much we would want to tell them things that would take their pain away about about their situation, we can't. All that we can do is to reassure them that we love them, that You love them and that so many other people love them. As a parent, I want to guard their hearts and I want to protect them but I also know that I am unable to do that. As I type these words, I hurt for them.

I pray tonight that You will let their biological mother know that Alim and Nargiza are very loved. I pray for future discussions with our children. I ask for your wisdom and I pray that our kid's hearts will be healed.

Leaning on You,


Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Turning 30


 David was thirty years old when he became king, and he reigned forty years.

It was amazing to think that David became king when he was just thirty years old. Turning thirty is a scary time for many people but I am looking forward to it because I hope that You will use me in new and unique ways just like You used David.

Looking forward to what the future holds,


P.S. Today has been a long day and that is why this blog is so short.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Spiritual Steps


I want to thank you and give you all praise and glory for the spiritual steps that my friends are making.

~ Going to pray with someone at a hospital.
~ Teaching a class for You
~ Going back to school
~ Starting an organization

I am so excited to see those around Grace taking steps toward You everyday.

Cheering You and those around me on,


Sunday, February 19, 2012



Tonight, Kat and I read our daily bible verse of the 40 Days of Engage the Word, Joshua 5:13-6:27. As I read through this story, I am taken back by the specifics of the instructions that Joshua and the Israelites must follow in order for the walls of Jericho to fall down. For a military leader, how difficult was it to wait and play trumpets while not talking and walking in circles?

Some insights that I take from this wonderful story:
  • We must not get ahead of You. You wanted Joshua and the Israelites to wait seven days and carry out specific instructions before the walls would come down. We live in a "now" society where we believe that we should have everything and have it now. We must learn that things happen in Your time, not our own.
  • Blessings are poured out when we follow Your commands. Joshua was handed the city of Jericho because he followed Your commands. How many times do we miss out on receiving your blessing because we are unable to follow You?
  • The story ends with, "The Lord was with Joshua, and his fame spread throughout the land." I love that we have the ability to have your spirit with us all of the time. May we practice living in your presence constantly.
Thanks for Your Word speaking into our lives,


Saturday, February 18, 2012

First Step is a Doozy


"So when the people broke camp to cross the Jordan, the priests carrying the ark of the covenant went ahead of them. Now the Jordan is at flood stage all during harvest. Yet as soon as the priests who carried the ark reached the Jordan and their feet touched the water’s edge, the water from upstream stopped flowing" (Joshua 3:14-16)

How many times have we missed Your miracles because we failed to take the first step? Why is the first step so difficult to take? What fear is keeping us from accomplishing amazing things for You?

I love the story of the priests carrying the ark of the covenant because they had to take a step of faith before You  parted the water. So many times, we want to wait and in our inability to act, we miss the opportunity to see You complete miracles. I can see these priests looking down at the water at it rushes by because the water is at flood level. Fear could have easily kept the priests from making the step. Fear wants to keep us from taking the next step toward Christ. May our faith increase so that we all will take that next step.

Thankful for flooding our lives with your blessings,


Friday, February 17, 2012

Bless Your Heart


On this Friday night, Kat and I are having an exciting date of watching Tribune Broadcasting Network, TBN. Kat had seen that a pastor that we really like, Steven Furtick had organized a 12-day revival. TBN is showing some of the highlights from the revival. As I write this, Craig Groeshal is finishing his sermon. His sermon really spoke to me and I want to say Thanks Be to You.

He started by telling everyone that when someone says "Bless Your Heart" that they actually mean that you are an idiot. He spoke about how God calls idiots to do amazing things. He references a scripture in Acts where the translators of the Bible speak about the ordinary men known as the apostles. However, the word ordinary actually is a Greek word for ignorant or idiots. You call idiots to do amazing things. My wife looked at me and said that You must want to do something amazing through me. I am not sure if that was a compliment but I will take it as one because I want to be an idiot for You.

Craig said that Idiots for Christ

1) Obey irrationally
2) Give extravagantly
3) Do what others believe cannot be done

Thank You for speaking to me on this Friday night. May You continue to bless Steven and Craig for being servants for You. May You help this idiot do amazing things for You.

Thankful for once in my life that I am an idiot,


Thursday, February 16, 2012

Setting the Bar Much Too Low


"But you are to be perfect, even as your Father in heaven is perfect" (Matthew 5:48). How can I read this and not think that our relationship with Christ is more than just a get out of hell pass? How can I read this and not think that the bar has been set so low when it comes to being a "Christian"? I think for some time I read this verse and just believed that this was just a verse that did not make much sense. Logically, one can not wrap their head around trying to be perfect. We celebrate perfection such as a perfect game pitched in baseball, someone bowling a 300 or getting a perfect score on some standardized test. But perfection for most people is some abstract idea that is unachievable. On our own that would be correct but with Your strength and Your grace, we can come to the point of giving our whole lives to You so that we can love You and others completely.

However, the church and most pastors (not the one where I currently serve) have set the bar far too low. Most "Christians" are not asked to sacrifice for fear of someone going to the church down the street. Most members are not asked to get their hands dirty serving the poor and broken for fear that a tithe check will not be in the offering plate this week. The Big Church, the church as the whole has to stop being consumed by numbers and money and become focused on growth and transformation that only occurs when we lives wholly devoted to God. Just this week, I wanted our small group to start meeting every other week because I was concerned about our group attendence not being 100%. I brought this up at the end of group after having a discussion about being willing to sacrifice everything and giving our all to You. One of my good friends brought the irony to my discussion the following day. How can I have a discussion about giving You less of our time right after we discuss giving You our everything?

At the moment that we decide to live our lives completely for you and not for ourselves is the exact moment that our desires change. So often, we are focused on our lives and just try and fit You into our priorities that we miss the blessings You want to pour into our lives when You have control of our priority list. When our desire becomes You, our lives will reflect it by how we spend our time, the conversations that we have, the way that we love, the way that we give and by the need to have Your approval and not that of man. "Delight yourself in the LORD and he will give you the desires of your heart" (Psalm 37:4).

Take it all,


Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Music to My Soul


Today, I experienced one of the most heart breaking things that I have seen in my life, the visitation of a three month old little girl. Some of the little girl's family had recently visited Grace and we were notified today about the visitation. As we entered the funeral home, there laid the beautiful little girl. Instantly, my heart ached. What words can bring comfort in a time like that? What can be said that would help and not seem insensitive?

As Jesse and I sat in the pews watching a video that one of the aunts had made for the family, I watched the tears steam down the faces of the family and heard the pain in each sob. I watched as the photos and videos of this three month old little angel were displayed on the projection screen. Shots from the pregnancy test to the ultrasound photos to pictures of the father being stationed oversees serving in the military to beautiful photos of the pregnant mom. I know that as my heart sank and broke that Your heart was even more broken for that family. Just as Jesus cried for those mourning the death of Lazarus, You wept for the family and those heart broken on this day. Your plan was for us to have no death, to have no pain, to have no sorrow but that all changed when sin entered the world. We are left with a world where three month precious angels take their final breath much too soon.

As I sat there, I could not help but think of my children and the "what ifs" began to play in my mind. I could not imagine the pain of losing a child. However, I know that my mom had to suffer the pain of losing a child the same day that she gave birth to my oldest brother, Christopher. I can't remember how old I was when I found out about him but over the years, I have often wondered what he would have been like. I also know that my in-laws had to say goodbye to their son much too soon as well. I have walked with Kat and her parents through that tragedy and have seen the wounds that still exist from saying goodbye to someone before we thought that it was time. I am not sure that the hole created by the loss of a child can ever be filled. I think that time can ease the wound but I believe that only You can help comfort the pain.

Tonight, Kat and I listened to this song by Taylor Swift and The Civil Wars that made me think about the those that have lost a child and the heartache that they have felt and continue to feel.  I think that the words of some songs just spark an emotional response and when I hear the words to this song, I am taken to a sad scene in the book, Hunger Games, but I believe that I am taken to a deeper place of empathy for those hurting the loss of a loved one. "You'll be all right, no one can hurt you now."  "Just close your eyes, you'll be all right." As I think about the pain that this world gives to those that walk it's surface, I think about that little girl and all those that have gone before us and they will not have to hurt any longer. Sometimes, I believe that listening to music is a way to express one's emotions without having to say a word. May You comfort those tonight in pain and suffering from the loss of a child.


Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Feeling Loved


Today is Valentine's Day. I have always been very forunate because Kat does not really care about this day. She is very frugal and does not want me to waste money on the inflated cost of flowers or candy that she will not eat. Over the years, we have always done some small things for each other. This year, I was given a card that Kat and the kids had made and it was amazing. The card was heart-shaped and had handprints cut out to say "I love you" in sign language from each of the kids. It was the perfect card for this day.

However, Kat posted something on her facebook page today that spoke to me. She quoted this verse:
My friends, let us continue to love each other since ALL love comes from God. (1 John 4). Today is a day that should be about love. So today, I want to change my perspective about this day. I want to be thankful for the Love that You have put in my life. The love that You have for me, the love that my wife has for me and the love that my beautiful kids share with me each day.

However, I hope that each day is a day to celebrate love and to share love and to love and be loved.

Let me Love others the way that You love me, unconditionally.


Monday, February 13, 2012

Our Past


Tonight, I read the story of the humble beginnings of Moses. As I read through his story, I was once again amazed at Moses. He was placed in a basket by his mother to protect him. The basket floats down the river and the pharoah's daughter rescues the little baby and then needed a woman to nurse the baby and Moses' mother is brought to nurse little Moses.

However, Moses grows up and happens to be at the wrong place at the wrong time. How many times have I been at the wrong place at the wrong time in my life? How many times could I have just walked away from the "wrong place, wrong time situation" and did not? Moses came across an Egyptian beating a Hebrew and steps in to defend the Hebrew and kills the Egyptian.

Moses is a murderer. After being a murderer, Moses becomes a shepherd. Out in the field one normal day God calls him to do something amazing. You want to take our mundane, daily tasks and use us for greatness. You are still using burning bushes to call Your people into action for You but we miss the signals. What I love about Moses is that he has a past. He was a man that had fallen, was a coward and had run away from his problems yet You still chose him to do great things. Our background, our pedigree, our ancestors do not make us great in Your eyes. We are great because You called us. It is not something that we can do or earn, it is a response to Your grace.

Moses doubts that You can use him because of his past. Moses doubts that You can use him because he stutters. You want to use him because he has a past and because he stutters because when amazing things happen, You are glorified. You do not chose based upon outside qualities, You pick based upon who You need to fulfull Your purpose.

Help me to hear Your voice loud and clear and put my past behind me and become the man that You are calling me to be.

Learning to look forward and not back,


Sunday, February 12, 2012

But the Lord is with Me


Tonight, I read the story of Joesph. As I read through part of his story, I noticed that the phrase," The Lord was with him" was used several times. I think that many of us have misconceptions about our relationship with Christ. So many of us feel that by believing in God, nothing bad will happen to me. However, the story of Joseph illustrates the truth of how God works so elequently.

God is with Joseph but is the life of Joseph easy? No. Joseph's own family wants to kill him. Joesph becomes a slave. Joseph is lied about and thrown in prison and finally Joseph is forgotten. But how can these bad things happen because God is with Joseph. I think that we all need to understand that God can be with us and we will still suffer. God does not make us suffer but in our freedom, we are allowed to suffer. In our suffering, we can learn more about obedience, Your grace and Your strength.

At the end of the section that we read, Joseph has married and has two sons. This is the story:

Joseph named his firstborn Manasseh and said, “It is because God has made me forget all my trouble and all my father’s household.” 52 The second son he named Ephraim and said, “It is because God has made me fruitful in the land of my suffering.”

I love that Joseph is able to thank You for his many blessings. He thanks You for helping him forget his trouble and he is thankful for Your blessings even in his suffering by the names that Joseph gives his sons. I think that Joseph teaches us that we need to still be thankful and aware of Your blessings despite our circumstances. If we all can learn this difficult task, our walk with You will be so rich and fulfulling.

Thanks for being with me,


Saturday, February 11, 2012

F in my Class


This week in the class that Kat and I are taking, Sex begins in the Kitchen we learned about sharing feelings. It was a wonderful class and it highlighted several issues that we need to work on. One of those issues is that I need to be a better listener when Kat shares her feelings. Last night, I had the opportunity to get an A+ for this week's lessons. Kat and I started a conversation that turned into a disagreement. At the end of the disagreement, Kat shared her feelings and I was my typical self, selfish. Instead of listening to my wife's feelings, I chose to be a poor listener.

In my selfish decision, I let You down. In my selfish decision, I let my wife down. In my selfish decision, I let my friends down. In my typcial "a disagreement self", I fell asleep. Upon falling asleep, I failed to complete my blog. I felt bad for fighting with Kat, for not being obedient to You but I felt even worse when I walked into Upward today and someone asked me if I had completed my blog last night because he had stayed up until 11:30 waiting to read it.

So, I realized that I need to retake the class from this week. I realized that I need to remember to "Think about Kat" when we are having a disagreement. I realized that I am still in need of Your grace and forgiveness.

Help me to stay close to You,


Thursday, February 9, 2012

Goldfish Memory


Why is it that we quickly forget Your promises? How is it that You can bless us and then hours, days or weeks later we forget what You have done?

Abram was the same. In the beginning of Genesis chapter 12, Abram receives a blessing and promise from God. However, just a short time later Abram feels that he has to lie about Sarai being his wife when they travel to Egypt. You had just promised to bless Abram beyond measure, beyond understanding and beyond human possibility.

How many of us when our situation seems tough, tries to take matters into our own hands? I know that there have been plenty of times in my life that I have forgotten so quickly what You have done.

I think that the key is to have some sort of visual reminder to remember Your blessings, Your call or Your Whispers. Times are tough, life is difficult and we all need to remember that You have spoke to us. I need Your help to remember, I need Your help not to forget and I need Your help to not try and take matters into my own hands.

Remembering Your Blessings,


Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Obedience Raining Down


Today, I read the account of Noah and The Great Flood. How many times have You asked us to do something crazy? How many times have You asked us to do something that we thought was impossible? How many times have you waited for us to listen in order to bless us?

I love the story of Noah because Noah was obedient. However, his obedience takes on a whole new meaning when some scholars point out that more than likely water had not fallen from the sky before the flood began. Noah was obedient even though what he believed God was going to do had never occurred. He was obedient even though he was asked to build something that had never been built before. Noah was obedient even though he was asked to care for animals he had never before seen.

Thank You for Noah who can open my eyes to being obedient even when it seems crazy.

Learning obedience one day at a time,


Tuesday, February 7, 2012

An Offer You Can't Refuse


What is our fruit today that makes us think that we will be like God? The temptation of the fruit has not gone away it has just switched names. God, I think that we are still tempted to get fruit to be like You or at least we think that we can be like You. In psychological terms, we call it the God-complex. However, I think it way more simple than thinking that we are like God, I think it ultimately comes down to people being full of pride.

Today our fruit comes in various forms that includes:
  • Thinking that we have control of a particular situation
  • Not trusting You with an area of our lives such as money, future, children or work
  • Believing that we are smarter than we really are
  • Looking at our life and feeling that we have no need for God
  • Feeling that we are better than other people
Give us your strength so that we do not have to eat from the fruit. Help us to remain humble, to remain in Your will and where You want us to be at all times. Let us not take one step outside Your will.

Learning not to eat from the fruit,


Monday, February 6, 2012

Breath of Life


"God breathed life into the man, and the man started breathing." (Genesis 1:7) To me, this illustrates the beauty of the care and love that You have for us. In this creation story, You give us life from Your lips to ours. In my mind, I can see the limp body of Adam become alive as Your breath of life leaves Your mouth and enters the lungs of Adam.

The intimacy between You and Adam is so clearly presented by this image. The care of You bending down and taking Adam's head in Your hands and breathing the very life that we currently have into existence just goes to show the relationship that was originally created.

Even though I know that the concept of being in a relationship with You is a fairly recent idea, I can not help but read this line over and over and just Praise Your Name for life.

Thank You for my life. I have written about it earlier but I should have been mentally retarded according to medical doctors but I am not. You breathed life into me and for that I am thankful. Even during difficult times, I need to praise You and be thankful for the life I have been given.

Thanks for breathing life into us,


Sunday, February 5, 2012

Engage the Word


Tomorrow begins a 40-day spiritual journey for myself and those that attend Grace Church of the Nazarene. I am excited to begin this journey with You.

Today, Pastor Mark spoke about consuming Your word. I hope that I do not just go through the motions when reading Your word. I hope that I will not only read but that I will consume Your word in such a way that life transformation occurs. I want to read Your word, pray through Your words and reflect upon Your words.

My hope is that I develop a Samuel ear for hearing Your voice. I want to hear You speak to me throughout each of these days. I want to begin my days asking, "God, who will you put in my path to whom I can minister?"

My hopes for this series:
  • Read Your word each and every day
  • Memorize scripture
  • Hear Your voice loud and clear
  • Grow closer to You
  • Life Group grows closer to You and each other
Excited for tomorrow,


Saturday, February 4, 2012



We have all heard the word, sin. In our heads, I think that it brings up many images from murder to hate, from adultery to lust and from gossip to violence. I also think that many of us know that sin is doing what is wrong but how often do I forget that not doing what is right is also sin.

It is a sin when someone knows the right thing to do and doesn’t do it. (James 4:17)

  • How many times have I known the right thing and walked away?
  • How many times have I not given someone money that needed it?
  • How many times have I not spoken a kind word just because I didn't like the person?
  • How many times have I not shared Your love for someone just because I was scared?
What happens when the right thing to do becomes blurry? Are there varying levels of what is right? I know that murder is wrong but if someone breaks in my house and tries to harm my family, is murder then not wrong? Is there good and then greater good?

I want to do right by You and by others. God, grant me the wisdom to know what is right and the strength to follow that path wherever it might lead me.

Wanting to do right,


Friday, February 3, 2012



After having a great afternoon with the family at the zoo and enjoying a scrumptious dinner at Titos, Kat and I rented Courageous to watch after putting Bennett and Celia down for the night. I had heard many great things about this movie prior to tonight. The movie did not disappoint. In the past, I have often wondered why the acting was sub-par but I did not notice poor acting tonight.

After watching the movie, I feel that I am a pretty good papa. However, I know there is so much more that I can give my kids to ensure they know You. I know that there are areas that I need to improve. I can see how some dads watch this movie and feel discouraged. However, I watch this movie and I feel challenged to be the best papa to my children. With Your help and by Your grace, I want to be the Spiritual Leader in my house and I want to love my wife like Christ loves the Church, unconditionally and with a self-sacrificing love.

I want to answer the call to be Courageous. As a papa that could not have biological children, my heart aches thinking of all of the fatherless boys and girls in our country and around the world. I think of the single moms trying to be both moms and dads and I have such admiration and respect for each one. But not only do men need to become real fathers, but we need men to step up and father the fatherless.

Help me to be Courageous,


Thursday, February 2, 2012

Resolution Update


On January 6th, I blogged about my resolutions for 2012. My resolutions are:
  1. Blog Everyday- I have successfully blogged each and every day. I hope that I can continue blogging. I think that some of my blogs have been real and honest while others have been just so-so.
  2. Read Bible everyday- I have read some scripture every day but I really need to improve. It has to be more than just reading scripture, it has to be about consuming God's word- Can't wait to hear Pastor Mark's sermon this weekend about this very thought.
  3. Work-out- Each week during the month of January, I was able to work out at least 3 times a week. My strength is increasing but I know that I can push myself more.
  4. Not eat at fast-food restaurants- I have only eaten at a typical non-sub fast food restaurant once in the month of January and that was because Pastor Mark wanted to go to Captain D's for our staff lunch. Other than that, I have only eaten at Subway, Jersey Mikes and Quiznos.
God, help me to be a better person. I think my resolutions are cool but the most important thing is that I am continually transformed more into the likeness of Jesus Christ. Help me empty myself, die to myself so that I can have all of You.

Thankful and challenged,


Wednesday, February 1, 2012

How He Loves Us


Tonight, the Youth Worship Team led us in worship. One of the songs that they played was How He Loves. The chorus of the song repeats the words How He Loves Us, How He Loves Us So. As I sang these words, I looked around the room and saw that some of the youth were worshipping, some kids just mouthed the words and many just stood in silence. My heart was breaking because I knew in that moment that many of these youth do not realize the depths of your love. Now, this is a wonderful opportunity to truly reach many for You but I also ache because I know what it feels like to be without Your love.

It caused me to wonder if any of us really understand the depth of Your love. You love us so much that You gave Your son so that our relationship to You could be restored. May each of us learn and grow to understand Your love to the fullest extent that we can.

Thankful for Your Love,