4. "Remember the Sabbath day by keeping it holy. Six days you shall labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is a Sabbath to the LORD your God. On it you shall not do any work, neither you, nor your son or daughter, nor your manservant or maidservant, nor your animals, nor the alien within your gates. For in six days the LORD made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, but he rested on the seventh day. Therefore the LORD blessed the Sabbath day and made it holy."

the sabbath..what a day! what does this even mean anymore? who knows what it means to not work and to honor the sabbath anymore? more and more people work 7 days and honor the Lord none. but again, does this apply to everyone else, or does it apply to me? is everyone else the problem, or am i? how do i become the solution? how do you...how do we?


5 Beloved Traditions...

what do rudolph the red-nosed reindeer, green-bean casserole, diamond engagement rings, valentine's day candy and wedding registeries have in common? click here to find out.

(sorry for the abundance of links lately...trying to keep the reading light, seeing as tomorrow is Christmas. happy spending!)



"You are just as valuable as any other person on planet Earth."

in a season of joy, grace, peace and love...how often do we remember to practice just that. check out this article (click here) to see how a small texas football team brought just that to 'the least of these'. enjoy!

IX - Revisited

9. "You shall not give false testimony against your neighbor."

how about gossip…who doesn’t do that? so, where does that stand in God’s graces? here are a few passages that address this issue.

James 3:6 "The tongue also is a fire, a world of evil among the parts of the body. It corrupts the whole person, sets the whole course of his life on fire, and is itself set on fire by hell."

the tongue is a world of evil…not just evil, but a world of evil. i suppose that is used to indicate the sheer size of hurt that can be caused by a few ill-advised words. it corrupts the entire being of a person…it can become who they are and what they’re known for. in a world where we seem to remember the bad things more vividly than the good, those hurtful words can be stored in someone’s memory bank for quite a while, thus casting an image of who that person is to them for quite some time.

Proverbs 11:13 "A gossip betrays a confidence, but a trustworthy man keeps a secret."

if you can’ t trust someone at their word, or to guard an issue from gossip, then there is no confidence to base the friendship off of…that trust has been broken.

Proverbs 16:28 "A perverse man stirs up dissension, and a gossip separates close friends."

to piggyback off the last passage; gossip betraying confidence; gossip can ruin friendships. when the trust is gone, a person begins to question the basis for the relationship as a whole…whether that trust can be regained.

those last two should really hit home for many of us. i think it’s safe to assume we’ve all be involved in a situation when trust was broken due to something as petty as gossip. “gossip betrays confidence…gossip separates close friends”. i’m sure none of this is new to any of us, but the clarity that remains to be seen is when concern crosses the line into gossip. when love for someone and their decisions or well-being becomes secondary to the news that’s there to share. i’ve been there…on both ends. it’s funny how difficult it is for us sometimes to learn our lesson when we don’t see the lesson there to learn.

Matthew 7: 1-5 "Do not judge, or you too will be judged. For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you. Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother's eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? How can you say to your brother, 'Let me take the speck out of your eye,' when all the time there is a plank in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother's eye."


Milhouse Van Houten

bored at home with nothing to do? looking for something to kill time at work? have a secret crush on an animated cartoon character with blue hair, glasses and poor social skills? check out this link: Milhouse – The Quiz. i only scored 42%...apparently i don’t know as much about springfield’s resident nearsighted nerd as i once thought. i’ll have to study up…it’ll give me something to do over the Christmas break. enjoy!


5. Honor your father and your mother, so that you may live long in the land the LORD your God is giving you.

Honor: good name or public esteem; a showing of usually merited respect

this can be a difficult command to swallow. how many times do we see disagreements between parent and child? it's almost understandable when you see a small child acting out, but how many times has it been a high school, college student, or even grown adult still taking on the traits of an infant? when has that line been crossed and that showing of respect lost?

how we honor our father and our mother through our disagreements says a lot for our maturity, comprehension of this Commandment, and ability to show grace, mercy and love in those difficult moments.

but what about when our fathers and mothers are not around... what happens then? do words or thoughts of anger and slander come spewing out of our hearts? and what happens when they do...is that obeying the command...is that showing honor? Exodus 21 reads: "Anyone who curses his father or mother must be put to death." granted, in today's society and with the general lack of quality parenting, the execution of a child for disrespecting their parents may seem a bit harsh, but i think the point is still valid. if a child cannot respect and honor their own father and mother, who will they respect and honor?

it's sad how easily i can identify recent stories in my life that go in conflict with these Commandments. things that seem so simple can really become the opposite once you break down what each command is really saying, sit back and examine your life, and apply truth.



6. You shall not murder.

this one seems to be pretty self-explanitory. what are your thoughts? what does this mean to you? any different definations of what you think The Bible says about murder?


One Year

today is friday.

today is the 19th day of december, 2008.

today also marks the 1 year anniversary of my blog. i know that sounds sort of lame and petty, but i really can’t believe i’ve been posting my thoughts and nonsense on here for a year. yesterday i went back and re-read nearly all my previous posts (i had some time on my hands). i will say this, i’m glad that i’ve been consistent with my topics and emotions. allow me to explain. do you ever say something that you really feel like you mean, only to look back a few days or weeks later and immediately feel like a fool for admitting those thoughts crossed your mind for even a second? i’ve been there…i was that guy. the guy who opened his mouth and verbal garbage just flew out. but i’ve seen consistency in these posts…i’ve seen honestly…and there’s a reason behind all of that. there is Truth in each of those posts.

i’ve seen (and read) myself grow greatly over the past 365 days, but i know the heart never changed… the passion never shifted. it has focus. it may have been challenged over and over again…but then again, what’s the point in believing in something if you’re not willing to fight for it….to Fuel the Fire…



7. You shall not commit adultery.

here is another of those "appears easier on the surface that it really is" Commandments. according to the wikipedia, adultery is defined as "the voluntary sexual intercourse between a married person and another person who is not his or her spouse." pretty cut and dry there.

naturally, The Bible takes this simple restriction and digs down quite a bit deeper. Matthew 5: 27-30 reads: "You have heard that it was said, 'Do not commit adultery.' But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart. If your right eye causes you to sin, gouge it out and throw it away. It is better for you to lose one part of your body than for your whole body to be thrown into hell. And if your right hand causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it away. It is better for you to lose one part of your body than for your whole body to go into hell." i think that defination might be a bit more in depth and specific versus the wikipedia version.

but how difficult is this to do? how has our culture taken this idea of adultery and glorified it? turn on the tv, what do you see? rich women and yard boys having an affair on desperate housewives. flip on grey's anatomy and what happens? married men 'playing' doctor with other married women. i'm picking on women's tv shows right now for a reason...because i think that hollywood has long glamorized the male aspect of adultery, so now they're trying to play 'catch-up' if you will for all the programs steered toward a mostly female audience.

men, we have it far too easy to be tempted in our television culture. flip on any football game and what do they show before a commercial break? nearly nude cheerleaders smiling and waving at the camera in 40 degree weather. then, once they commercials are upon us, what is there to greet us? why, beer commercials with everyone's 'ideal' mate. hey, she even drinks your favorite brew, who wouldn't want to be with her, right!? television shows are rendered toward this exact vice.

remember mtv's reality show, "the real world"? now, i know the show is still on the air, but i say remember in the past tense because the reality of that show ended several years ago. back in the day, the housemates had to have 'real' lives...jobs, school, family, etc. but the producers 'got smart' and realized that sex sells. so, they dropped anyone who had a real job, morals or ambition and installed a stocked liquor bar and hot tub in every real world house since. talk about a recipe for adulterious disaster!

television, magazines, the internet...they're all crawing with displays just like this... which bleed over into reality, our malls, our schools, our community. how difficult would it be to cut all these things out of our lives...these things that are put in place to tempt us, to trip us up? if you removed all these barriers, what would be left? the good stuff! of course, even when you look up Christian song lyrics and guitar chords online, what's there to greet you? why, it's half naked women on the sponsor sidebar with the caption "click here for more". is nothing safe anymore?

by the way ladies...like the picture of david beckham with the tattoo VII up above? remember, he's married...be careful not to slip!



8. You shall not steal.

wow…i’m not sure i want to do this whole ’10 Commandments and what they mean for me” thing anymore. no stealing…i totally broke that one this morning! now, don’t worry, i didn’t rob a bank or anything, but i’m not sure if the monetary value really comes into play on this one. The Commandment doesn’t say “You shall not steal anything valued over $5,000”, or “You shall not steal from family, only major corporations”…it says “You shall not steal”. period.

how many times do we try to justify this one too? there’s always a loophole to be found in our own minds if we contemplate on it long enough.

just today, only a couple hours ago, i stole something, two things actually. See, i ran in a marathon last month, and part of the package is that the event organizer has photographers situated all along the route to snap photos of everyone. then, they email you a link taking you to a website full photos of you (or in this case, me). now, each of the pictures are copyrighted and are not allowed to be downloaded. i tried several ways to get around their technology and at least print out a couple on my own printer, but apparently they are smarter than i am. after all, that’s how they ‘get’ you. one 5”x7” print is $16.95…with that, the question arises, who’s stealing from whom!?

well, i was informed by a coworker that they have computer programs you can download that will allow you to cut and past copyrighted online images and save them for personal use. so, what does jeff do? why, download the previously mentioned program, of course…and much to my amazement, it works! so, i go to the link, select a couple of the pictures, click a couple buttons, and presto, the images are now saved to my hard drive…to print, to share, whatever!

less than 2 hours later, i decide to continue my quest on The 10 Commandments…and what stares me right in the face…the next Commandment…good ‘ol #8, “You shall not steal”. awesome! of all days…i’ve only been trying to download these pictures for about 3 weeks now..and wouldn’t you know it, on the day i’m successful, there’s 4 little words looking me back in the face. isn’t it funny how God works sometimes!? well, to celebrate my stupidity, i’ve included one of those ‘stolen’ pictures to the left…
enjoy my sin!



9. You shall not give false testimony against your neighbor.

in other words, do not lie. how’s that one working out? and what about those little ‘white lies’ we all tell to protect someone else… are those allowable? after all, we're saying something; perhaps just a slight stretch the truth; to protect someone else. that’s an act of love, right!? how can showing love to someone be a sin?

i like throwing in one of our cultures favorite little sins with this also, do not gossip. think about that one for a minute. there are entire television programs and magazines dedicated to this. gossip has become a way of life for so many of us. a friend tells you a secret in confidence…is that secret safe from others ears? in a time of instant communication (text messaging, im, facebook, etc.) how quickly does something meant for your ears only turn into an over-developed drama played out amongst your entire email address book?

some people go as far as to make lying and gossip an art form to be perfected. our world is full of these falsehoods. another reason we are called to be in the world but not of the world.


A Compendium of Classy Conversation Starters - Volume I

seeing how today is friday, i figured i'd take a stab at the lighter side of thought and mind. the holidays are a wonderful time to get to know people, or to catch up with relatives and friends you haven't seen in a while. the following are a few 'old stand-by' conversation starters that always seem to work out for me when i'm in a jam. try these out and let me know how it goes. i guarantee great success!

1. you know, you'd really make a great cow!

2. my dog has a great sense of smell. let me show you what i mean...

3. oh my gosh, are you pregnant?

4. i'd love to see you in a cat woman costume!

5. that's where we did it...

6. the night i peed on kyle...


10. You shall not covet your neighbor's house. You shall not covet your neighbor's wife, or his manservant or maidservant, his ox or donkey, or anything that belongs to your neighbor.

covet: to feel inordinate desire for what belongs to another. if you type the word 'covet' into a google search, you will get over 2.6 million matches: covet/consumerism, covet online casino games, covet luxury brands, even covet sarah jessica parker. we have so many things around us to 'covet'...so how do we not?

your friend gets a new flat screen plasma tv, you want one... your brother buys a new house, you're ready to add on to yours and install hardwood flooring... your colleague finds out she's pregnant, you think it's time to try also. we covet things all the time.

what happens when you finally let go of those things you think you need, those things you 'must have', and put something else in its place? what do you discover you really need? what are you missing? how do you gain it? what do you covet?


Symptom vs. Root

over 2 years ago, katy starting having severe pains in her abdomen. after several trips to specialists, emergency room visits and countless x-rays and sonograms, the doctors determined it was her gall bladder causing all the pain and instructed her to have it removed. so, katy had her gall bladder removed, and with that, the pain was removed too, right?

wrong! now, don’t get me wrong, she was in pain and her gall bladder was damaged…but by removing it, the doctors only removed a symptom, not the problem itself. had the doctors sat down long enough to ask katy more about her previous health history, they might have realized that her pains ran deeper than a single organ. katy has scoliosis, and thanks to that incorrect curvature of her spine, it causes her nerves to send ‘incorrect’ signals to other places in her body. so, the solution of her gall bladder was through her back. only once her back is healed will her pains in other parts of her body recede.

i’ve seen this sort of treatment in my own life too. i have high blood pressure and high cholesterol, so what does my doctor tell me to do? why, take blood pressure and cholesterol medications, of course! again, they address the symptom of the problem and not the root itself. what are the causes of this problem? unhealthy eating, lack of exercise, family history?

and this is not to pick solely on doctors…so many of us are guilty of this. we seem to fixate on an issue, only to discover that once we’ve solved the riddle, the issue is still there, staring us in the face (or doubling us over in pain).

how often do we focus on symptoms of a problem rather than the problem itself?


Pay It Forward

here's a bonus post today...

katy and i just finished watching the premire episode of the new fox reality show, Secret Millionaire...and dare i say "amazing"! for those of you who don't know the premise, here it is: where millionaires experience a life in poverty and give gifts of a lifetime to the friends they make along the way. to quote one of the millionaire stars, "people can be so damn selfish".

please, take a few minutes (about 44 actually) and watch this show. click here for the link.

Ten Commandments

The Ten Commandments
1. I am the LORD your God, who brought you out of Egypt, out of the land of slavery. You shall have no other gods before me.

2. You shall not make for yourself an idol in the form of anything in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the waters below. You shall not bow down to them or worship them; for I, the LORD your God, am a jealous God, punishing the children for the sin of the fathers to the third and fourth generation of those who hate me, but showing love to a thousand {generations} of those who love me and keep my commandments.

3. You shall not misuse the name of the LORD your God, for the LORD will not hold anyone guiltless who misuses his name.

4. Remember the Sabbath day by keeping it holy. Six days you shall labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is a Sabbath to the LORD your God. On it you shall not do any work, neither you, nor your son or daughter, nor your manservant or maidservant, nor your animals, nor the alien within your gates. For in six days the LORD made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, but he rested on the seventh day. Therefore the LORD blessed the Sabbath day and made it holy.

5. Honor your father and your mother, so that you may live long in the land the LORD your God is giving you.

6. You shall not murder.

7. You shall not commit adultery.

8. You shall not steal.

9. You shall not give false testimony against your neighbor.

10. You shall not covet your neighbor's house. You shall not covet your neighbor's wife, or his manservant or maidservant, his ox or donkey, or anything that belongs to your neighbor.

there's the big 10. how are we stacking up to those? got them all taken care of yet? i'm guessing not. over the next several days and weeks i'm going to try to break each individual Commandment down...how it applies to me, and perhaps to you. each may look different depending on the Commandments itself, my attitude and emotions towards it and the depth i go into each one. i'm pretty sure i've never killed someone, but i'm guessing i might dig a little deeper into #6 than that...


Santa Isn't Real

in 1 Timothy, paul writes to timothy. he says "As I urged you when I went into Macedonia, stay there in Ephesus so that you may command certain men not to teach false doctrines any longer nor to devote themselves to myths and endless genealogies. These promote controversies rather than God's work—which is by faith."

i know we're a long way from macedonia, but isn't the same still true today? sadly enough, you can walk into pretty much any Christian book store and see shelves full of just this. books written by men who decided to share their thoughts and version of God, giving you their warnings and commands, practically without even quoting scripture.

but it doesn't just stop there. we do this all the time...and no time is it more obvious than the season we're in right now. it's Christmas time...and you know what that means... pictures with santa claus and lots of toys from jolly old st. nick. really? that's Christmas?

and how about Easter? i don't think God created a magic bunny to lay eggs in our backyards to celebrate His son's victory over death either.

here's a thought...a suggestion: how about we celebrate the holiday...the Reason for the season for the right reasons this year!



i recently read a blog and subsequent comments where the readers argued the point; which was a more important moral issue: abortion or world hunger?

is this really worth the debate? thoughts...comments...arguments?

God Is Enough


Real Change

change: verb - 1a: to make different, alter; b: to make radically different, transform

it seems that the word change has been all the buzz lately. first off, with president elect obama's entire campaign platform revolving around the single word 'change'. also there's the push for climate change, a change to the homeless issue facing our nation, even our country's ever changing economy...change is all around us, it's unexcapable.

but all of these examples seem to revolve around the idea that someone else is making the effort, that something can actually happen while you site idly by. that you could actually do nothing to change the outcome of these events, yet the outcome will still occur, and still effect you.

what about those important decisions, those resolutions you make that may actually have an impact on someone more that yourself. what do you do with those opportunities? how do you handle those circumstances...when you could be the change, rather than allowing others to do it for you.

how often do we decide to make a change, to do something, only to see that once thought desire fizzle out? how many times do we want to change something, but expect the voyage of accomplishment to be more of a sprint than a marathon? how many times have you been on the path of change, only to realize that there's more than one path...and perhaps another one may be better suited for your ideas, your passion?

those moments, those breaking points, those forks in the road, those decisions to be made, aren't they just as important as the goal itself? can't those decisions on how to proceed effect the outcome just as much as anything else?

that's when real change occurs...


Love For Enemies

Luke 6: 27-36 NIV
Love for Enemies
27"But I tell you who hear me: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, 28bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you. 29If someone strikes you on one cheek, turn to him the other also. If someone takes your cloak, do not stop him from taking your tunic. 30Give to everyone who asks you, and if anyone takes what belongs to you, do not demand it back. 31Do to others as you would have them do to you.
32"If you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? Even 'sinners' love those who love them. 33And if you do good to those who are good to you, what credit is that to you? Even 'sinners' do that. 34And if you lend to those from whom you expect repayment, what credit is that to you? Even 'sinners' lend to 'sinners,' expecting to be repaid in full. 35But love your enemies, do good to them, and lend to them without expecting to get anything back. Then your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High, because he is kind to the ungrateful and wicked. 36Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful."

i've been studying this passage of scripture quite a bit over the past week of so. some of these truths have been engrained in most of our heads for quite some time...we 'know' them. but upon digging into each verse, i found so many things i was missing.

for example, in verse 29 Jesus says that if someone slaps you on one cheek, turn and allow them to do the same the other. think about that for a minute. how often have you seen a man get punched in the face, not slapped, but full-on punched...whether it be on tv, in a boxing match, a movie, a high school fight, whatever. for some reason, there is some form of pride involved in getting punched, it's like you pushed the envelope so far, that there was no other means to control you. now, cancel out the idea of getting punched, and instead, think of how often you've seen a man getting slapped in the face. quite a different emotion. i can think of very few things as humiliating that could happen to man than getting a slap in the face. how demoralizing, how defeating, how embarassing. and yet, Jesus says, if you get slapped, don't sink down, don't fight back, but instead turn to give them the other one too.

to take that even further, typically, back in the time of Jesus, a man getting slapped in the face meant that he was basically banished from the temple, the social epicenter of that entire culture. so, Jesus is saying that when you've been banished for the 'place to be'... show love, not anger. wow, talk about a humbling experience.

in the very next sentence, Jesus says that if a man takes your cloak, to give him your tunic too. now, keep in mind, this was a couple years before central air and heat, double pane windows and blown insulation attics...so, bascially, whatever the weather was outside, that's what you had to go with. and i'm guessing that most men didn't have a walk-in closet full of cloaks and tunics. odd are, their one cloak and tunic that they just gave away doubled as their blanket at night. how often are we giving all we own to our enemies?

now, that was a good lesson for me...and honestly, had i finished there, it would have been all the challenge i'd need to keep me busy for a few years. but, i read on, i dug in even more..and the lesson i came upon next might be even harder that the whole 'loving thy enemies' idea.

this brought me to John 6:31...one of the most famous passage in the entire Bible. "Do to others as you would have them do to you." now, i've probably heard that verse, that great rule, between 1,000 and 1,000,000 times over my life...and at first, it just seemed that i'd heard it for yet another time. that is, until suddenly i remembered the context of this passage...Love For Enemies. it doesn't say to treat your best friends as you'd like to be treated, but rather your enemies...still not blown away, hold on.

so basically, that passage is saying to treat our enemy as we want to be treated...big deal, right. sure, but what does that say about our friends, our fellow believers in Christ's love? i think it's saying that we have to hold them to an even higher standard. it's our responsibity to watch them, help guide them, hold them accountable, in a loving way - call them out when they have strayed, 'nag them' for Jesus, if you will. i don't know about you, but suddenly, giving a non-believer all my jackets doesn't seem that difficult. what does seem difficult is having those hard talks with a friend when they are down, veering off course, sinning against God...and also knowing that those accountability issues are there for me too...that when i've lost sight of His love, someone should get in face and call me out on it.

but i guess that's still not as hard to swallow as slap in the face...



"And the day came when the risk of remaining tight in the bud was greater than the risk it took to bloom." -Anais Nin

last night, Katy and I stepped down from a position of leadership that has been extremely dear to us for well over a year. we walked away, hurt, sad, but most encouraged by what we had accomplished. we started something that changed lives...what's better than that!? we've seen people transformed, we've heard amazing stories, we've shared unforgettable moments together, thanks to the ministry we loved so much and worked so hard to see succeed. we served Him to our fullest, even when things seemed impossible, when mountains seemed impassable. when we had no idea what we were doing, we put our trust in Him, always.

we also realized that we don't need a ministry in order to impact people. we don't need a ministry in order to share God's love, grace, mercy. we don't need a ministry in order to worship Him. we don't need a ministry to have a voice. we posess all we need to make a difference, God's love and grace. also, we have trust, honesty and a passion...to share with others what God has done for them...to tell others of God's love. we can do this in our places or work, schools, in highway traffic, grocery store check-out lines, everywhere. we don't need a ministry to minister.

i pray for the future of that ministry...i pray that it succeeds and accomplishes all it sets out to do. i pray that it stays God centered and the leadership involved seeks after God's heart every moment. i pray in a year from now katy and i can look back and not see something that is struggling, choking, hurt, but a ministry that flourishing, alive, in bloom.

so, that day came when the risk of remaining tight in the bud was greater than the risk it took to bloom yesterday...i can't wait to see what God has for us next!


Pastor Linus

expensive gifts... fancy new clothes... extravagant decortions... hectic schedules... commercialism... trying to please everyone except for the One who matters...

have we forgotten what Christmas is all about?

luckily, we have linus here to remind us...

"on earth peace, goodwill toward men"



yesterday's message at church focused on taking action for the helpless. Matthew 25:40 says "whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me"...meaning, what ever you do towards others "less fortunate", or in need, you are doing toward Jesus himself. it's not about trying to justify things in your mind...it's about being obidient to God...even if it's inconvinent.

so, next time you see a homeless person on the side of the road asking for money, don't see a homeless person looking to score his next buzz, see Jesus. Could you spare some change for Jesus?

or, when your driving down the road and see someone with a flat tire....do you see some random person, or do you see Jesus? Would you help Jesus change a flat?

perhaps you see someone at a shoe store struggling to put shoes on their childrens feet. would you buy them a pair? after all, those shoes aren't for some little child you've never met before, those shoes are for Jesus.

and that's exactly what we did yesterday. hundreds of people did a simple, but inconvinent act...we unlaced our tennis shoes and dress shoes, slipped off our crocs and flip flops, unbuckled our boots and high heels, placed them in a box, and went home barefoot. see, we have closets filled with shoes, but Jesus doesn't.

i know that God is going to present me with so many ways that I can serve Him, even if it's not convinent. I am eager to see how I will respond. Will I just see another faceless person, or will i see Jesus? Do you see Him?
click here to listen to the link of yesterday's sermon: take action for the helpless
click here for the soles 4 souls website
Matthew 25:34-40
34"Then the King will say to those on his right, 'Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. 35For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, 36I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.'
37"Then the righteous will answer him, 'Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? 38When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? 39When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?'
40"The King will reply, 'I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.'


Jackson the Comedian

this is my youngest nephew. his name is jackson. he likes to tell knock-knock jokes. he also likes to eat cake and ice cream. when all these things combine, laughter ensues. enjoy!


Run, Part II

well, yesterday i ran in the rock n roll san antonio marathon with my sister (and over 30,000 others). my sister and i didn't run the half-marathon to win the entire event...or with a specific time in mind as our goal... we ran the half-marathon with one goal, to finish! finish that which had began as a suggestion and a joke several months ago. finish that which i had forgetten about and given up on several times over the past several months. finish that which i hadn't trained for in several months (unless you count the 3 miles i ran two days prior), finish that which i had said i would do, only to forget about and had allowed the noveltly and newness of the idea to wear off several months earlier. to finish.

so, we finished. there was no prize money or big camera circus involved for people who finish where we did...in 12,132nd place. but, we never wanted that anyway. we got our prize...we reached our goal...we finished!


a friend of mine sent me this video clip on saturday. he knew i was running in the rock n roll san antonio marathon the following morning, and i guess thought i needed some inspiration to run..."even when your feet hurt, run... even when your knees ache, run... even when your mind says stop, run." thank you, mr. marks. this video inspired me to do more than just keep my feet moving...


Oh, The Weather Outside Is Frightful...

sometimes it's nice when life gives you distractions... those things that allow your mind to drift off to happier thoughts... to help you forget all the frustrations that happen... the confusion... the anger... the saddness... the disappointment... the feeling that something is being lost... slipping out of your grasp...

those distractions are great...even if it's non-stop Christmas music on the radio... in early november... with 84 degree weather beaming down.

let it snow, let it snow, let it snow...


In Hiding (or We Are All Witnesses)

i know there have been several people wondering where i've been, if i've disappeared, etc. rest assured, i'm still alive and all is okay. life has just gotten quite busy over the past couple months, and with that, i've had less time to sit down and write. believe me, i've wanted to... my brain never turns off. perhaps sometime soon, things will change, but i imagine not. things are going great with katy and i, duncan, church, family, friends, school, etc.

God has really blessed me with some amazing things in my life over the past couple months and years, and i think i'm just now beginning to see all the work He put in place for me. it's amazing what you can do when you have God in your corner! i know my life is forever changed because of my further understanding of Him and His everlasting love...but i think it brings me more joy to see those moments, those realizations, those eyes light up when others finally see it too...when they give up their lives and take on His. those are the moments that are truly special...and i'm grateful, because God has put me in place where i can witness those moments all the time.



I'm A Contradiction In Terms

i'm not the sharpest knife in the drawer...i don't know how else to say it. see, i was driving down i-10 this morning on my way to work, and a car flew by me at a pretty high rate of speed, swerving back and forth between lanes to pass the 'slower' drivers. my initial thought was, back in my younger days i was stupid like that...before i realized that life had consequences and sometimes things don't always happen to 'the other guy'...instead, they happen to you.

i thought about how i use to feel invincible, like nothing would ever happen to me... thinking i'd live to be 104 and die peacefully in my sleep...that disaster would never strike me. i also thought about how i might raise my children differently someday, to allow them to learn at a young age that their decisions in life do have consequences, some of them being disastrous, all the while doing my best to keep them safe from harm.

fast foward about 30 seconds... suddenly, i'm for some reason disappointed that hurricane ike has shifted paths and appears to be heading east of san antonio, putting us out of the direct path of danger. how can i think one thing one minute and then totally switch my philosophy the next? do i feel that dying in a car accident when someone runs a red light or crosses lanes of traffic is completely realistic, but being harmed by flying yield signs and falling tree limbs in the blowing winds and flood waters from a hurricane is totally out of the question? do i think that i have semi-control over my own destiny and ultimate fate? do i just seek a new kind of adventure? do i just need to see the sheer power of nature and chance in a different element? or perhaps i'm still in my younger days?



"Amplify is a weekly gathering focused around worship and teaching. It is designed to facilitate growth in relationships with God, yourself & your peers. We also encourage leadership in every area of your life."

that's the "official" defination of what Amplify is...but for those people who were there last night, i think they may have some even better ways to describe what they witnessed! i saw genuine fellowship, i saw amazing, God praising worship, i heard life stories, i met so many new people who were excited to have something like this...something they've been searching for...

so, with that, i want to encourage everyone who may be reading this (and i know who's reading) to come and check out Amplify next Tuesday night (and every Tuesday night from here on out). whether you're just curious about what we're doing each week, feel lead by The Spirit, have been questioning your faith for sometime, or have been a devout Christ follower for years, this is something for everyone...we have people from all walks of life up there (we even had some people from Romania or Turkey, i think). The cafe opens at 630pm and the service starts at 730pm sharp. i promise you won't be disappointed! click here for the church link with more info...or send me a message with your questions.

*like the photo at the top? i took that one last night...not bad for a 2 year old camera phone!


You Alone

i'm sure i've posted this song before...but i don't care. the iPod shuffle strikes again! i'm sitting at work having a monday, when this song comes on the shuffle...and suddenly things seem brighter. i can sense God looking down on me as i attempt to draw a handicap toilet stall in an area far too small for any wheelchair to fit. then, i get a text message from katy, "check your email" it reads...great..."what bad news can this be", i think! much to my delight, it's not bad news...but rather, it's a very encouraging message... a job opening fitting pretty much exactly what her school schedule will allow! now, she doesn't have the job yet, so it's not necessary a complete answer to our prayers...but it's a sign that God has received the request...and that his love never fails! now, if only he could solve this ADA restroom issue i'm having...

You are the only one I need
I bow all of me at Your feet
I worship You alone

You have given me more than
I could ever have wanted
And I want to give You my heart and my soul

You alone are Father
And You alone are good
You are alone are SaviorAnd You alone are God

I'm alive, I'm alive
I'm alive, I'm alive



here is a half-stolen sermon from matt chandler, the pastor of the village church, in highland hills, just north of dallas. the topic is something that's been flipping around in my head, and i didn't know exactly what to do with it...then last night, i was lounging around church while katy, ryan and the rest of the singers and band for amplify were rehearsing (i don't know why they don't ask me to sing...i'm amazing!), listening to one of chandler's sermons on my iPod, and he just started speaking to me...his words were exactly what i needed to hear...so much so that i scribbled some of it down on a piece of paper and felt compelled to share his words here. so, here it is...the names and some of the words have been changed, but the problem (and sermon) are real...

"joy... so much of The Bible can sem threatening... do this or, do this or, do this or, God doesn't like this, God doesn't like that, it use to seem like God was really angry. and not only angry, but pretty against anything that i thought was funny.

the commands of God are about joy...that God is not glorified in begrudging submission to rules, but rather by our joy in submitting to Him.

here's an illustration... marriage: if someone asked me "jeff, how's married life with katy?", and i said "well, i gave my word, so i'm in...look to be honest with you, i think that woman is horrible, and she sucks the life out of me. but i made a promise to stay faithful and i'm a man of my word. so, for the rest of my long, long, long life..." is anyone going, "oh, i want some of that! i want that for me. when i was little, i drempt about just that, a committment that was so....strong, that it could endure the most horriffic of circumstances." that's absurd...but that's what people have done with Christianity...that's the package...be committed.

but in the scriptures, Christ is going, "i'm not glorified by your begrudging submission, i'm glorified by your joy, so i'm trying to lead you to joy"... so the commands about your wealth, or food, or acts is not about getting your money or possessions or mouth, it's about your joy... because God is most glorified in your enjoyment of Him.

God's not sexually repressed...for the record, it was His idea. "be fruitful and multiply"... has anyone read Song of Songs, chapters 3-4? God is after our joy...that's why there should be a joyful ferocity towards obedience.

the truth is, everyone of us is in this story (talking about Mark 4, The Parable of the Sower... we are all 1 of the 4 seeds)...we all have a part to play, whether we like it or not. so, how do we find out what part we are in this story?

it's self-examination. how you view your stuff, how you live your life, how you view your job, how you view your neighbor, how you spend your money. all of this has to be a part of your life, because there are very eternal things at stake in your life.

and nobody want to call each other sinners, and no one wants to call each other out, because it's what we are, we're all sinners, we're all broken.

all we can do is examine our own life, lay the scriptures on our own heart and see if our own life is bearing fruit, it there change? we must ask ourselves, "can i and others see a growth in love, joy, peace and patience in my own life?" and where we fail at those things, we must run to the mercy of Christ, beg for forgiveness, ask for help and get back up and go."

do you pass the process of self-examination?


Joy In Mudville

drenched in sweat, splattered in mud, sprinting up a hill to complete my run tonight, i realized, what a day today was...

it started off quite early, waking before the sun to get to church around 7..."today was going to be a long day", i thougth. we drove to church through the haze and drizzle. the first week of 3 services... "i hope people show up". then, they did...

josh davis spoke to hundreds today at church...about competition, about finishing strong, about gold medals, about showing our gratitude to God, about training, about sacrifice, about michael phelps, about having the right motivation, about our championship moment... we did the math and figured out that he put in over 22,000 hours of training for a race that lasted less than 2 minutes. what endurance, what dedication, what sacrifice, what determination, what vision...

later on, driving back to church through the rain again, we went to financial peace university. katy and i were convinced to put away a large sum of money, an emergency fund... and we were instructed to do so by a man we've never met, through a dvd. something we've joked about doing so many times suddenly made sense. we're going to do it... we've already begun! what a great feeling. we saw the vision. it'll take endurace, dedication, sacrifice, determination...and it will happen.

tonight, after getting home, i decided it was time... time to start running again. so, i put on my new shoes, stretched out my legs and headed out the door. it felt so good to get out and stretch my legs...test my limits. while on my run though the muddy streets, thoughts grabbed ahold of my mind. thoughts of victory, thougths of security, thoughts of gratitude to God, thoughts of Chariots of Fire...

drenched in sweat, splattered in mud, sprinting up a hill to complete my run tonight, i got a glimpse of my championship moment.



do you ever get on those runs, those moments of life where everything seems to be okay... where life seems to be manageable... where gratitude doesn't seem to fully justify the emotion... the tranquility... the peace... when you realize that the painful, sour feeling in your stomach is gone, and you can't remember the last time you felt it there... when you stop caring about what everyone else thinks about your life... your decisions... and when you're finally okay with the ones you're making for yourself... when life seems good, and you're not sure why you deserve such a thing...

those are the good times.

sometimes when i’m all alone
i don't know if i can
take another breath
some say home is where the heart is
tell me where my home is
cause i am scared to death

falling from the rooftop
crashing like a raindrop
can you make my heart stop
shaking like a leaf
standing at the floodgate
steady as an earthquake
can you hear my heart break
tearing at the seams

i am drifting in the deep end
holding on to your hand
is all that saves me now
life can treat you like a beggar
you hold me together
but i don't know how

falling from the rooftop
crashing like a raindrop
can you make my heart stop
shaking like a leaf
standing at the floodgate
steady as an earthquake
can you hear my heart break
tearing at the seams

some say home is where the heart is
and my heart is in your hands
you are all i need

rising from the ashes lifted from the madness
now you see my heart is
deep enough to dream
heal me from the deathblow
lead and i will follow
now you feel my heart glow
mending at the seams


duncan: pet, vomit, teacher

last night, our beloved dog, duncan, threw up...which was unexpected but not totally uncommon. by the time i had gone to grab a towel, a damp cloth and some sanitizer spray, he had already eaten it all back up. (don't be too grossed out, there really wasn't much) pretty typical for a dog i guess...at least for ours. i cleaned up what was left as best i could and went about my evening...as did he.

fast forward to today... i had totally forgotten about last nights little 'episode' until i randomly came across a passage of The Bible from 2 Peter 2 which reads, "A dog returns to its vomit". this chapter is talking about false prophets and how "they entice people who are just escaping from those who live in error." now, while i don't think duncan is trying to lure katy and i into a spiral of sinful destruction, it did make me think about the passage for a while...and i never want to miss a chance to learn a Biblical lesson from our 4-legged pet.

how often do we come across these "dogs" who try to distract us from the good that we desire? how many times do they succeed? or even worse, how often are we the ones trying to entice others to a life of sin? how many times do we return over and over, allthewhile knowing the wrongs that we are doing?

i've gotta hand it to duncan, he only returned once...



there were two men who lived on opposite sides of the fence. both were hard working, great to their friends and family & took care of their home. one man lived a great life on his terms. enjoyed life and all that came with it. the other man had struggles & contantly faced adversity in life and from others around him. God was pleased with this man. he lived his life on God's terms, not his own.


Broken Heart + Open Eyes = God's Shopping Spree

*yesterday morning, katy received a phone call from our church, asking if she could take an 18-year old girl shopping for her first day of work. katy was told the time, location and girl's name and that the girl had a daughter... that was pretty much all the information she was given. katy gladly accepted the request and went about the rest of her day.

the following post wasn't written by me, but by my beautiful wife, katy. the words are from an email she sent our pastor, and they are words that truly break your heart and hopefully make you reevaluate your own life a bit. keep in mind, the following is taken from an informal email, not a doctoral dissertation, so enjoy the playful language that she uses to describe the less than playful situation."last night was amazing! i didnt drop her off until around 930 last night. you could tell she didnt want to leave and really enjoyed the company! first we went to wal-mart and found 3 really nice shirts that would work really well. however we couldnt find any pants to fit that skinny, skinny girl! so i was thinking, "hmmm...i have a pair of pants that are really nice that i dont wear often, so i felt she could really use those more than me". i asked her if she wanted to stop by my house real quick since it is close and she could just have those! so we did. i felt awful because she was afraid to walk in my house because it was "so nice" i was like, "girl, just come in"! (i didn't quite understand this yet and she didnt even walk in past the front door) so i went to get those pants and noticed i had like 5 shirts that i never wear that i was going to give to goodwill so i just grabbed those too and asked her if she wanted them also. she was almost in tears. "american eagle? express? gap? i have never even thought about buying things from there". it made me feel so yucky. i don't really know why, but i just felt stupid for getting things from there, you know!?

anyway, we went from there to ross to try to find her another pair of pants... nothing. then we went to marshalls to try to find pants... again, nothing! so we went next door to target and finally found some pants that really fit her well and worked perfect! she was so excited and almost in tears again! during our time together she kept asking if i was hungry. she was starving, she kept saying. so she asked if i could please take her to get something to eat. by this time we had spent all but 2 dollars i was given. all i could think is, "i really dont have the money to do this", but God just told me "Katy, shut up and take the girl to eat!!!"

she asked if we could go to her favorite place, HuHot... so there we went! it was a neat place. but more importantly, this is where our conversation went more in depth. it just really opened my eyes to a lot of things. she opened up to me about her aunt that passed away not too long ago, her dad being in jail, her lupus, her being raped, etc. she was telling me that its just been hard for her to believe in God when all of these bad things are happeneing to her. so we talked about that and i just tried my best to speak truth to her. she feels like she cant go to church because people will judge her. i told her that the people in our group have been through many things and it's so amazing to see where they are now. so i think she was encouraged by that.

she said that she wants to go to the wednesday night event, so i hope to be there too, for her. she also said that she will be at church sunday and hopes to see me there also. i want her plugged in. and accepted. i dont know how to tell you exactly how i felt last night. but i saw where she is living (with the boyfriend she shouldnt be with) and she isn't even sleeping on a bed. they don't have a bed!!!!! they are sleeping on a blanket on the floor. and she said that all she had to eat yesterday was a taco, and she was hurting so bad because of her lupus.

then we went to her moms, and her mom was in so much pain last night but is still keeping her daughter so she could go to work. and i was just thinking, "gah, who am i to complain about things?" i mean. she still has $220 to pay for july's rent, her utility bill and all of august rent, etc. and i complain because im having trouble paying one little bill or whatever it may be. i mean, i have a bed to sleep on, a pillow to lay my head down on, a clean house, a couch, food, a table and a husband that loves me like Christ calls him to. gosh, i'm tearing up again now just thinking about it. it just really broke my heart and opened my eyes. i gave her my phone number so she could call me if she needed anything. and for some reason, i was up at 4am this morning, so i texted her and told her to have a good first day of work! so, i dont know. i was just really blessed yesterday. i didnt know what to expect but God blew me away."

when katy told me all about this, it brought tears to both of our eyes. it's amazing how blessed you can feel when you provide for others...blessing them. but for me, it's also very frustrating. frustrating that everyday we all pass people in need, people who are hurting...but we just turn a blind eye, a deaf ear, and keep going about our day.

at the end of the day, what's really important? the very latest in cell phone technology? the top of the line upgrades on your new suv? who really needs that shopping spree?


Open My Eyes

today, i listened to God. he told me to see Him, and he'd help me find clarity. so...i did... i listened, i obeyed...well...kind of.

i went to friedrich park with the intent of a couple hour trail hike and encounter w/ God. what i got was nothing like i had planned. it was a 30-minute jog through trails, fallen trees, branches, twigs, leaves, etc.

see, within the first 500 yards i set my course, and God met me there. while looking at the trail map and plotting my way, God presented something to me... in the form of a 6-foot snake lying motionless on the path a couple feet in front of me. the only thing moving was it's tongue as i shrieked (yes, like a little girl), froze in my tracks and stared at what i had almost stepped on. did i mention that i am incredibly fearful of snakes? for some, it's rats, or bats, or taxes...for me, snakes. thanks God!

i took a few cautious steps back, never blinking or taking my eye off it...and watched as the snake inspected me, most likely senesed my fear (and possible soiled pants) and went upon it's way...slithering slowly back into the brush. i watched it for a good 5 minutes as i checked my pants and caught my breath. it was slowly scooting along...until a blue bird came along, landed in front of the snake and cawed at it in attack mode...at which the 6-foot brown & tan snake bolted for the nearest shelter...and it went fast! i stood there in amazement (and fear) that a blue bird was more intimidating than me, a 6-foot tall man (with a little girl shriek, nonetheless) had i not been so fearful still, i might have been insulted.

so, once the snake was out of sight, i went about my way. did i mention that the trails were filled with fallen trees, branches, twigs and leaves? all of those things can look like snakes with the correct mindset. so, just like that, a hike turned into a fast paced jog! while jogging, i assessed what had just happened. what was God telling me? about a mile into my jog, it hit me.

Trust God!

that's it...trust God. He will provide. i was too busy with the trail map in my hand, trying to plot my course to realize the dangers up ahead. i was too consumed with what i wanted for me, where i wanted to go, me, me, me, that i never asked God where He wanted me

i listened to the fact that He wanted me to hike with Him, but i stopped listening right there. and needless to say, He wasn't through instructing! i like to think that i trust Him, but still, i put my wants ahead of His. now, i'm not sure what else He wants for me to do, but I can guarantee you one thing, i won't have my face buried in a map next time He tries to lead me...

Open Your Eyes

this song was the last song played as greg, kyle and i pulled up to the chapel on my wedding day over a year ago. not sure why i remember such a practically useless piece of information, but i do...so there ya go! perhaps it's because i was about to experience such an eye opening event. in less than 2 hours from the playing of that song, my life would be changed forever...in the best way possible. once again, God showed His grace to me by allowing someone so amazing to come into my life at just the right time. any sooner, and i would have messed it up for sure!

God reveals Himself to me everyday too. every morning, He and i share a moment as i'm driving to work. it's a literal eye opening moment. God reveals His beauty, His spendor, His wonder to me as i'm traveling on the ramp from i-10e to loop 410e. as i arrive at the top of the 90 foot+ ramp and turn the corner...there He is, everyday, without fail, to welcome me to the day. i look out, over the city below, as far as the eye can see...and i'm amazed! everyday, i see something new, the rising sun peeks through the clouds in a different way, the storms can be seen off in the distance, the airplanes are circling a few miles away. the list could go on forever. He is there to greet me, everyday, without fail.

i always imagine this song from the perspective of Jesus. (i'm sure if Jesus were alive today, He'd be snow patrol fan!) i picture Him wanting to open our eyes. he's there, hanging on a cross for all of us...wanting us to look up and realize what exactly He's doing for us, and what He wants in return. it may seems strange and untrue, but He wants to be with all of us. and we all can.

(side note: towards the end of the song, there's a repetitive and explosive instrumental section...i imagine this is the moment that we say "yes, God, i'm yours. i'm giving my life to you. thank you for all you've given me, and i'm sorry i've been away for so long!" what a glorious moment! whenever i'm driving in the car and this part of the song is playing, i get very greg coplen-esque... katy and ryan know what i'm talking about. whenever greg would come to a rocking part of a song, he'd practically lose control of his legs behind the piano...they'd be pounding the floor at the beat of the song like he was running a marathon. the difference is, he is great at that...and i can't hold a rhythm to save my life! katy and ryan are very good at reminding me of that as i'm driving...but i rock it just the same!)

so, here's the point. God has called us all...not just some, all. to be willing to give up everything we have to follow Him. all our comforts, all our selfish desires. are you willing? will you open your eyes?

all this feels strange and untrue
and i won't waste a minute without you

my bones ache, my skin feels cold
and i'm getting so tired and so old

the anger swells in my guts
and i won't feel these slices and cuts
i want so much to open your eyes
'cos i need you to look into mine

tell me that you'll open your eyes
tell me that you'll open your eyes
tell me that you'll open your eyes
tell me that you'll open your eyes

get up, get out, get away from these liars
'cos they don't get your soul or your fire
take my hand, knot your fingers through mine
and we'll walk from this dark room for the last time

every minute from this minute now
we can do what we like anywhere
i want so much to open your eyes
'cos i need you to look into mine

tell me that you'll open your eyes
tell me that you'll open your eyes
tell me that you'll open your eyes
tell me that you'll open your eyes
tell me that you'll open your eyes
tell me that you'll open your eyes
tell me that you'll open your eyes
tell me that you'll open your eyes

all this feels strange and untrue
and i won't waste a minute without you



i love hurricanes. don't get me wrong, i don't wish bodily harm or death upon anyone...i just love the force of nature that is a hurricane. ever since i can remember, i've been fascinated with storms: hurricanes, tornados, floods, etc. i think perhaps its the amazingly powerful (and often destructive) force that reminds us that ultimately, we are not in control. we may be in control of certain things...smaller things, like what we're going to watch tonight on television, or what sandwich we're gunna eat at subway...but that pales in comparison to the controlling power of nature, and the very real effects it has on all of us. for some, it drives us away...for others, it brings us closer together.

quite often, it's all a matter of mindset. look at hurricane katrina for example. many seem to look at that event completely as a disaster...without seeing the good that came from it. the millions of dollars donated to charities, thousands of people who donated their time to help at shelters, open their homes to others, prayers for hope, etc.

perhaps we need more 'large' reminders to help us remember that it doesn't really matter if we get the turkey breast and ham or the meatball sub. what does matter is the effect that the large controlling force has on us. i pray that His force brings us all closer together.


I Miss You

so, katy comes home today after being gone for a week. she's been helping lead a camp at the university of mary hardin-baylor. (super summer) luckily, i've had duncan to keep me in line. now, i know a week may not seem like a long time, but it's really felt even longer. see, since we started dating, we've never gone more than two days without being around each other...and seeing as we're married, obviously we enjoy each others company.

so, when she told me that she was going to lead on a week long camp, i was excited for her...and curious as to how i would spend my time alone. at first, it was nice...peace and quiet around the house. by the 3rd day i was trying to convince myself that peace and quiet was a good thing. around days 4 and 5, i was really beginning to realize just how important she is to me (not that i had ever really forgotten). this time apart hasn't been all bad though...i have figured out how to fix this problem come next years camp...go and lead with her!

to see you when i wake up, is a gift i didn't think could be real

to know that you feel the same, as i do, is a three-fold utopian dream

you do something to me

that i can't explain

so would i be out of line, if i said

i miss you.

i see your picture, i smell your skin on, the empty pillow next to mine

you have only been gone ten days, but already i am wasting away

i know i'll see you again

whether far or soon

but i need you to know, that i care

and i miss you


Smiling's My Favorite

so, it's wednesday, and everyone could use a smile to get through the rest of the week! what better way to put a smile on your face than with will ferrell dressed in yellow tights and pointy shoes! besides that, i have no idea why, but i wanted to post this...so, enjoy. consider it Christmas in july... i hope smiling's your favorite too!


Mr. Baseball

i officially have a new favorite baseball player...josh hamilton of the texas rangers. he hit 28 home runs in the home run derby tonight...in the first round alone. that was 20 more than any other player. oh, did i mention that a few years ago he was kicked out of baseball for drug and alcohol addiction? that's right, he spent 3 years completely away from the game. that is, unless you count him going to the batting cage, dropping in some tokens and smacking dimpled yellow balls off a mechanical metal arm baseball...and if you do, i have a whole jar of quarters...so, i'm a baseball player too.

josh hamilton was forced out of the game he loved because addiction overcame him. while away, he took a serious trip to rehab...and also welcomed Jesus into his life. you can hardly hear a sound bite or read a quote from hamilton without him thanking God. immedately after his historic 28 homers in the first round, hamilton said, "it's amazing over the past few years what God's done in my life, and how quickly he's done it."
one of the espn announcers said this of hamilton's performance, "i'm sort of an aficionado of this home run derby, and i think that was clearly the greatest home run derby performance ever, coupled with the amazing story of a cocaine and heroin addict who found religion, had a dream and came here to yankee stadium. it's a bad night to be an athiest!"

needless to say, i don't think i'm the only person who was blown away by both josh's performance and story. anytime a non-yankee player can bring the crown to its feet and get his name chanted by 60,000 screaming fans in yankee stadium, you know it's something special. that performace has a special place on my dvr...save until i erase!

3 Nails

freedom... what does it mean if it isn't focused on God...at all times? not just when everyone is looking...but especially when no one is giving a glancing eye. freedom builds character...builds vision...builds you. who you are...what you decide effects your eternity...not just little irrelevent snaps in time. focus on the greatness of you. the bigger picture. the joy, the pain, and all the in between. it's all real, it's all who you are. i pray for strength in the hard times, the times when no one is around to form accountability. those times really build who we are and what we really stand for. people can be fake, dirty facades of expectations...but it's who we are when no one is around that really builds us. build from the inside-out. the core, the soul, the heart... they break while the glue of those expectations hold the exterior together...but eventually that glue ages, the mold cracks, and the real us comes blasting thru. God, let the in-and-out of me be a mirror image...a carbon-copy, one in the same. break my heart, open my eyes fully, to help me understand why i do what i do...help me remember grace, love, 3 nails. help me be free...

*i wrote this last night at summer nights (a sunday night worship service for our church ministry) while caught in a worship moment with God. while it was written from my perspective solely for myself, i hope that others feel the same way. thank you God for this intimate time with you.


Beautiful Day

remember when we were younger, and we had big hopes and dreams for life? we were going to own our very own business....become a famous musician...build our dream house...get married...play ball in the big leagues...move to hollywood and become a famous actor..travel the world, etc.

well, what happened? why am i not seeing friends winning oscars? why am i not receiving postcards from egypt? why am i not buying your music off itunes? why am i not throwing no-hitters for the la dodgers? were our goals too far out of reach...or did we get lazy, distracted, afraid of failure?

this song reminds me of those times...those goals...those dreams. now, some may be too far out of reach...but it also reminds me to keep dreaming...keep setting goals...keep vision. to let the colors come out after the flood...

the heart is a bloom

shoots up through the stony ground

there's no room

no space to rent in this town

you're out of luck

and the reason that you had to care

the traffic is stuck

and you're not moving anywhere

you thought you'd found a friend

to take you out of this place

someone you could lend a hand

in return for grace

it's a beautiful day

sky falls, you feel like

it's a beautiful day

don't let it get away

you're on the road

but you've got no destination

you're in the mud

in the maze of her imagination

you love this town

even if that doesn't ring true

you've been all over

and it's been all over you

it's a beautiful day

don't let it get away

it's a beautiful day

touch me

take me to that other place

teach me

i know i'm not a hopeless case

see the world in green and blue

see china right in front of you

see the canyons broken by cloud

see the tuna fleets clearing the sea out

see the bedouin fires at night

see the oil fields at first light

and see the bird with a leaf in her mouth

after the flood all the colors came out

it was a beautiful day

Don't let it get away

beautiful day

touch me

take me to that other place

reach me

i know i'm not a hopeless case

what you don't have you don't need it now

what you don't know you can feel it somehow

what you don't have you don't need it now

don't need it now

was a beautiful day


Battle Between Grace and Pride

do you ever lay in bed at night and feel lonely? do you ever wish someone was there with you? someone to hold you, someone to comfort you? someone to share life with you?

do you think God ever feels that way about you? do you think He ever says, "where have you been? i miss you. i'm lonely without you." do you ever think God just wants to hangout with you and share life with you...but for some reason, you don't think to call Him?


HR Management

why is it that when we were young and we played a game, the rules generally told us what we could do... but for some reason, as we got older, the rules changed? suddenly, all the restrictions were brought to the forefront. we're informed of all the dont's, and it's assumed that everything left unsaid is the way the job gets done. doesn't it seem that things would be easier if we were just told what to do and how to do it? not only would job requirements and productivity seem much more clear cut, but perhaps it would also take the sting out of the "no's" that we seem to hear all the time. can we still put a positive spin on the game of life?


"When nothing seems to help, I go and look at a stonecutter hammering away at his rock perhaps a hundred times without as much as a crack showing in it. Yet at the hundred and first blow it will split in two, and I know it was not that blow that did it, but all that had gone before.” -Jacob August Riis

i love this quote…not only because it’s written on the corridor leading to the spurs locker room in about 30 different languages, but because it’s such a true statement. you can look at something you’re working on and choose to see no results, or you can continue on with your work, knowing that all the time you’ve already put in will eventually reap a reward. how often do we forget that? we get so focused on wanting immediate results that we lose sight of the vision…of what the completed work will be. let persistence be your vision, your hammer to split your rock.


National Severance

sometimes even the good ones falter.

it's a sign of the times when even a well-run, well-respected organization has to downsize, make cutbacks, layoffs, closing, etc. news broke yesterday that starbucks is closing 600 of their stores nationwide. what does that say about the state of our economy? $4 gas has become the norm, kicking the $4 cup of coffee to the curb...something's gotta give.

600 stores, that's a lot of newly unemployed people. add them to all the laid off auto-workers, over 900 soon-to-be released american airlines fight attendants and countless home builders, realtors and mortgage brokers flooding the unemployment lines and monster.com websites... that's a lot of people looking for very few available jobs.

so, what does that mean for everyone else? perhaps we'll appreciate our jobs just a little bit more... or maybe we're excited because this may help curb senseless spending in our country... perhaps an increase in national credit card debt... a renewed look at the homeless situation in our nation, etc.

regardless of any other of your own personal concerns, it does leave many people wondering and thinking, "i hope my starbucks isn't on that list"!


Tiger Woods, Uniting The World?

i read a very interesting article today (although not very original...i read a simular article about a year ago with the same concept) about tiger woods, the most dominant pro golfer on tour, and arugbly the most dominant athlete in all of professional sports. tiger's fame and popularity has eclipsed practially everyone's expectations. (click here for the article)
here's an example: last month, when tiger and 'that other guy' were in an 18-hole playoff on a monday for the u.s. open, my sister and katy were texting me with updates every few minutes while i was at work! that's right; my sister and katy; 2 women who have never even played a single hole of golf, were watching the entire 18-hole playoff on the edge of their couch, informing me of every stroke gained or lossed, every painful grimace on tiger's face, every amazing shot executed and pretty much everything else in between. moral: tiger woods is the man!

anyway, back to the article... it's about how tiger should break away from the pga tour and start his own tour. think about it... what's not to love? practially every player on tour already likes the guy. after all, since his arrival, sponsorships, prize money and endoursments have skyrocketed...and you know even the mediocre players are feeling some of the ripple. plus, if he can take the game to a truly global market and make even more money, why not? he already has his name on practically everything else: video games, sports drinks, a building at the nike corporate campus in oregon, why not his own tour?!

the amazing thing is, he could probably pull this off. do you think derek jeter could start his own baseball league and have even moderate success? how about joe montana and football? not even michael jordan in his prime could have defected from the nba and tried to start his own league... it would have been career suicide (even more than playing AA baseball for the birmingham barons).

nothing seems to be impossible for tiger. after all, he hobbled around and won the u.s. open with a broken leg and a torn ligament in his left knee. impossible doesn't seem to even be in tiger's vocabulary.