Oct 30, 2008

Life is Back to Normal

Ahhh. Life is back to normal. Helen and Kaleb are back home and it's so nice to hear the yelling and banging of Kaleb's play, and it's so nice to have Helen's presence back in the house. I just feel better.

You know, it's a strange thing. I travel a lot. And when I'm the one who's gone, I don't feel like something's missing. With Helen and Kaleb gone, man! Things were weird around the house without them.

I was trying to write my sermon last week from my study and you would think that the peace and quiet was good, but I couldn't concentrate. It just felt too strange around my house. So I packed up all my stuff and finished my sermon in the office.

That too is weird. I don't have any problems being by myself in the office. I don't think it's weird at all when the office is quiet.

But I didn't like my house being that quiet. I like the noise of people when I am at home.

Life is good. We're back to normal.
James <><
Check out what God is up to @

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Oct 28, 2008

Mr. Mom

I haven't been making many entries lately.

I've been Mr. Mom for the past week as my wife and my son have been visiting her family in California. Hey, anyone who knocks moms who take of their kids ought to just try it. I've always loved my wife and valued her as a partner. I have a greater appreciation for all that she does.

I am a blessed man.

I'll be writing more after my duties are over.

To all the moms out there, "You rock!"

Oct 23, 2008

OK This is It - We Can Do It

I just got home from dropping Helen and Kaleb at the airport. I have the girls by myself for one week.

I already told them to get ready for a new diet - cereal cleansing. This is where we clean the body system out with cereal for every meal!

No. It won't be that bad. We'll only have to have cereal a couple of times a day. Helen made tons of food and left it for us.

This will be a good time for me and the girls to bond.

It's weird. I'm usually the one traveling and leaving. I asked Kaleb where he was going as we were leaving for the airport, and he told me, "We're going to the airport!"

"And what why are you going to the airport?" I asked.

And he said, "To drop you off Daddy!"

That's the way it normally works. But this time I dropped off Helen and Kaleb.

You know, it's nothing when I am traveling. And of course I miss my family when I'm traveling. But this is different. I already miss Helen and the little man.

Life is funny like that.

But we can do this - me and the girls. We can do this. Yes we can.

Oct 22, 2008

Moment by Moment by Moment Faithfulness

You know, it's funny how at different stages of life, different books of the Bible seem to match where you're at. For better or worse, Ecclesiastes seems to be where I am right now. I guess there are worse books out there to be like. It certainly would suck to be where Job was. I pray that I don't have to go through that.

I want my life to look more like the book of Acts. I want stuff to be happening. I want to see God at work. I want to see lives get changed. But I seem to be in a place in life where what is being asked of me is faithfulness.

I was reading about Noah today and this is how Genesis 6:22 describes him. "Noah did this; he did all that God commanded him."

That's pretty awesome to have the Bible say that about you. I know I can't give God perfection. Simply not possible. But I do want to live in such a way where this could be true about me from moment to moment. And I want to put together as many moments of faithfulness as possible. And I figure, the more of these moments I string together, the more I participate in God's will. So, God, you got me right now. And now. And now.

Oct 16, 2008

It's a strange thing - lately, I feel like there has been something missing from my life. I don't know what you call it - it's that spark, that passion, that unbridled hope that God can do anything - I know I once had it. It's not there anymore. I am not sure how you get it back. All I know is that it's not there.

I wonder why that is. It's the same God I serve. I have no doubts about God. God hasn't changed.

It must be me. I am not sure if I have changed. My faith in God is still the same as it was before. But I guess what I can say is that my heart has been hurt, that I've gone through disappointments.

But everyone goes through disappointments. Every one goes through hard times.

All I know is that I want that spark back. I want to know how to get it back. I want that unbridled passion. I want that exhilerating joy that comes from knowing that God is in control and that I am right where God wants me to be doing what He wants me to be doing.

If you're reading this, pray with me and help me to hear God's guidance.

Oct 14, 2008

I'm currently in the hill country of Pennsylvania somewhere speaking at a Wee Kirk Conference. Wee Kirk Conference is a conference sponsored by Presbyterians for Renewal to renew and encourage pastors and leaders from Wee Kirks. Wee Kirks are churches with less than 200 members.

One of the reasons why I love speaking at these Wee Kirk Conferences is because this is where I get to meet some of my heroes and heroines. I will never forget the pastor I met in the Northwest Wee Kirk Conference in Idaho. He is a pastor of a small fishing village in Alaska with a town population of 120. He serves a church with less than 15 members. There are no roads that lead to his town. The only way to get there is by boat or sea plane. They are completely isolated. He's been the pastor there for over 25 years.

When I heard his story, I asked him, "Man! How do you do it? You are completely isolated from everything. What keeps you going?"

And his reply was, "If I am not there, who will go? Those people deserve to know that God loves them."

Man, I tell you what. These folks have something in them that I just don't have. Many of them come from small churches in small towns where there is very little hope of growing the church. And yet they are there, faithfully serving God and His people.

When we get to heaven, I am convinced that they will be at the head of the table.

Oct 13, 2008

The prayer service last night was pretty cool. There are people who are stepping out on faith taking God at His word. I can't wait to see God intervening to answer prayers.

I wonder why we don't pray more. I wonder why I don't pray more.

Jesus says, "Ask and it will be given to you".

Jesus says, "Ask of it in my name and that will I do to glorify the Father in heaven".

Why don't I ask more? Why aren't we more intentional and specific about asking?

Why am I asking these questions and not doing something about prayer?

Gotta go. Gotta pray.

James <><
Check out what God is up to @

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Oct 8, 2008

Ramblings of a Preacher

Preaching is one of the greatest privileges of being a pastor. It boggles my mind that God would entrust the proclamation of His word and truth to sinful human beings like me.

While there is no doubt that preaching is a privilege, there are times it gets me down. I work hard to prepare my sermons and to preach them faithfully. And sometimes, I can't help but wonder, "What is the point? Is this making any difference?

And as soon as I think that, I realize that the finger is pointing right back at me. That's exactly what I do to God. I know His teaching. I know what I should do and what I shouldn't do and I struggle with the same ol' sins everyday.

I wonder why we're like that. If we would just be better at the obeying thing the entire world would be better place.

I think what God is calling me and all of us to do is to be faithful to the task His given to us. The results are up to God and every single individual. But no matter what else is happening, we are called to be faithful to the task God has given to us.

So that's what I am going to do, one day at a time. And friend, you do the same. And together, God will change the world through sinful people like you and me - warts and all.

Oct 4, 2008

Savior in Our Midst

Sitting in Starbucks, sipping on coffee, looking out over a pond and pastures with cattle roaming, listening to praise music, reading the Bible, journaling.

It just doesn't get much better than this.

Now, you tell me. In how many other large cities could you say that?

Dallas is a great place to be alive.

I am reading through John and I am constantly amazed at how much power our worldview and perspective has to blind us to truth.

For instance on John 10:24, Jews ask Jesus, "How long will you keep us in suspense? If you are the Messiah, tell us plainly."

Look. Jesus has been making it crystal clear from the very beginning who He is. In fact, the Jews and the religious leaders were ready to kill Jesus twice already for blasphemy because Jesus claimed to be the Son of God. The truth is, because they believed that the Messiah could not be as human as Jesus was they could not see the Messiah standing right before their eyes.

And isn't that so much like us? We get so blinded by our pain, our circumstances, our pride that we miss the Savior standing right before us in our lives.
James <><
Check out what God is up to @

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Oct 3, 2008

Great Day with My Son (3 years-old) Kaleb

Had an awesome morning with my son today.

We went to McDonald's (his choice) and played in the Pirate themed play area. He ran around like crazy. Every time he climbed up to the top, he would come to the place where he can poke his head into this circular bulb type thing so he can give me the thumbs up.

After hanging out at McDonald's - after getting all his play out he was actually the one that said, "I'm done now Daddy. Let's get going" - we went to have desert at one of his favorite places - Yogurtland.

We had fun making our yogurt cups just the way we wanted them, and had a fun conversation together.

On the way home from Yogurtland, Kaleb and I sang "You Are My Sunshine" at the top of our lungs. It was fun for like the first five times and then after like the 20th time it got old. But he was still having a blast so I kept singing away.

It's funny how kids can sing the same song over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over again and never get tired of it. I just got tired writing over, over and over again. And I'm pretty sure you're getting tired of reading over, over and over again.

Anyways. He's napping now and I think I will too.

What a great day!

Oct 2, 2008

Believe and Start on Your Way

"The man believed the word that Jesus spoke to him and started on his way" (John 4:50).

The man believed the word that Jesus was speaking to him. That’s the first step. We must believe the word that Jesus speaks.

And the second step is just as critical. The man believed and he started on his way.

What an awesome statement of what a faith-life looks like.

Short and simple, but a profound reality of the faith-life.

Oct 1, 2008

One of the Best Books I've Read in a While

I just got done reading the "Anatomy of Peace" by the Arbinger Institute.

I know. The title and the author just makes you want to go out and read this book.

But you really should. It is one of the best books I've read ever. If we take heart what this book has to teach us, it would totally revolutionize all our relationships.

The book is written in narrative form - like a story. It's not just theories and technical jargon. In real life simple words and characters, you too begin to see how you've been trapped. But most importantly, this books shows you how to get out of the trap - or box - as they call it.

This is a follow up to the book, "Leadership and Self-Deception". Another highly recommended book. The "Anatomy of Peace" goes deeper into looking at how we get in the box to begin with.

After reading it, I gave the book to my wife to read and she read it in one sitting. And now, she's passed the book on to one of her friends. This book has already changed our marriage.

It's that good.

Read it and change the way you look at the world.

Just for Argument's Sake

Just for argument's sake, indulge me.

Let's say that there was someone who lived in a country that knew nothing about God, the church, Jesus Christ, and Western history. And let's say that that person were to move to The Colony, Texas. Through some people, this person was given the gospels of Jesus Christ - Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John.

Question - if this person, after having read the gospels, were to visit our church, would they be able to recognize Jesus in our church? in our worship? in our practices?