Thursday, April 28, 2005

The Next Step

Thanks for All of you who have been praying for us these past months. The time of searching is over. Kara and I have accepted a position as a high school pastor in a town west of Fort Worth. We really feel this is what God has been preparing for us this whole time. Our home for the past six years has been wonderfully gracious to the both of us.

I am excited about the new chapter in our lives and the ministry God will do. The great news is that we won't be far away so we will still be around for all our friends. I officially start on May 15th. Thanks again to all who have helped us through this process.

Monday, April 25, 2005

Favorite Phrase of Sunday

"I finally have my fish tacos"-Uttered by me when we got home from Baja Fresh a Cali chain that just opened in Fort Worth. I am so pumped about this place. I have been missing the Fish Taco since I left Cali. There are a few places that make them here, but to be honest, they suck. We have tried to make them ourselves and have had success. If you are happen to make your way past the Baja Fresh, stop by, because man oh man.

Friday, April 22, 2005

"And the lonely voice of youth cries, 'What is truth?'"

That is a line from a song by the late great Johnny Cash. I think that question is still valid today. I hear from adults that teenagers today don't believe in truth any more. They are relativistic, being tossed around by a sea of changing ideas.

What if the issue isn't how sinful and unbelieving this generation is? What if the issue is that we have not given them something to believe in? We haven't listened to the longings of their heart and proclaimed the power of the resurrected Christ to fill those longings. The older I get the fewer items of certainty I have in my pocket, but those things that are left I hold with greater intensity than ever.

My hands hold closely to the trinitarian Godhead: Father, Son and Spirit. I grip with intensity the resurrected Christ and the cross He bore. I weep for joy with the thought of God's unwavering pursuit to redeem the whole of Creation. My meaning comes from He that knows me best.


Truth is for all and affects all. Love, sacrifice, redemption, reconciliation, and relationship. These are my truths.

Wednesday, April 20, 2005

On the Upside of Down

This morning things are feeling much rosier than they have been in a while. Although things are not final yet, the future does seem a lot clearer. Anxiety has transformed into anticipation. I pity my prof's at school because my concentration is going to be slim to none for the next few weeks. Thanks to all who have been praying for my wife and me. We have felt God's blessing and protection in all these things. Will keep you posted on further developments.

Tuesday, April 19, 2005

Coming Back From Cali

So this weekend was great. I enjoyed the time away from the stressful thoughts in my life. I also learned a few things while I was there:
I really miss So. Cali. I realize that I feel at home there, much more so than I ever do in Texas. I know that I will probably never get to live there again (too much money$$$$), and that makes me a little sad on the inside.
  1. I miss living in Cali. I feel at home there much more than I ever do in Texas (though I love Texas). I know I will probably never live in Cali again (too expensive) and that makes me sad.
  2. The Valkrie Disc by Innova is one of the best disc golf drivers on the market. Straight and Smooth all the way.
  3. I am akward going to bars (Don't worry, no public debauchery). I feel out of place and they are way too expensive.
  4. I love hanging out with my wife.
  5. I secretly enjoy it when my nephew calls me Aunt Kevin
  6. I have mixed my job and my identity too much. I am a child of God first, husband second, friend and family member fourth, youth pastor fifth, then some other stuff. I love working with students, but my worth does not come from the job. I have been reading a book lately that says that one result of the Fall (Genesis 3) was that we seek to find worth in other people's opinions. God made us to find our worth in what God has to say about us. That is the struggle.
  7. There is nothing better than a bun taco.
  8. I can't wait to get back on the lake.

Thursday, April 14, 2005

Happy B-day to the wifey

My wife is so great and I hope she has a wonderful birthday today! She is smart, beautiful, hardworking, sensitive, funny and creative. I am so blessed to have her in my life. So what did I get the woman of my dreams for this occasion? A Calvin and Hobbs book, some ceramic ramekins, and a chocolate orange. The iPod will have to wait until Christmas. I love you honey!

Going Back to Cali

This weekend we are going to my home in cali to celebrate my wife's, sister's, and best friend's birthdays. I am looking forward to seeing old friends and hanging out with the fam. Even more better, I get to see the beach. A real beach not like the one in Galveston.

Wednesday, April 13, 2005

Isaiah 12
Songs of Praise

1 In that day you will say:

"I will praise you, O LORD .
Although you were angry with me,
your anger has turned away
and you have comforted me.
2 Surely God is my salvation;
I will trust and not be afraid.
The LORD , the LORD , is my strength and my song;
he has become my salvation."
3 With joy you will draw water
from the wells of salvation.

4 In that day you will say:

"Give thanks to the LORD , call on his name;
make known among the nations what he has done,
and proclaim that his name is exalted.
5 Sing to the LORD , for he has done glorious things;
let this be known to all the world.
6 Shout aloud and sing for joy, people of Zion,
for great is the Holy One of Israel among you."

Tuesday, April 12, 2005

Experiential Theology

I have had some thoughts rolling around in my brain for quite some time and it is time for me to jot them down. Growing up in the church I can't tell you how many times I have heard people tell me not to trust my feelings. "They'll lead you astray," some have told me. We read passages that say, the heart is deceitful above all things (Jeremiah 7:9). Campus Crusade taught me to rely on the fact, faith, feeling train. Notice feelings come last because we can't trust them.

I have observed over years in ministry that people are significantly lead by emotions, the just won't admit it. Often facts are used to support what one feels in the heart. Our Christian leaders scorn people for being emotion and experience driven. For them, emotion is the root of the corruption in the Christian faith. They cite examples in the charismatic and "liberal" churches.

I wish God would listen to these leaders. Surely He had something else in mind when Jesus claimed that the greatest commandment was loving God with all your heart, mind, soul, and spirit. God is an experiential teacher. Much of the Old Testament documents God taking His people through experience after experience in order to teach them about Himself. The wanderings in the desert, the feasts, circumcision...etc. These are all meant to point the people to the Lord.

People today are experience driven. They define who they are and their thoughts on God through interaction with the world and others. Why don't we use this for our advantage?

What I am proposing is that our teaching of faith include experiences that reinforce positive theology. Instead of ignoring emotion and experience we embrace them as a valid means of transmitting the truth of Christ. I am not promoting false experiences or manipulation of the heart. I believe God models a form of spiritual formation that includes Truth and Experience.

What does that look like? I am still trying to figure that out. I do know that Christian Spiritual formation includes the practice of spirituality within the teaching context. Most churches are set up like this. Come learn the truth you need to know. We'll give you some practical tips to apply this in your life and next week we will move on to the next truth. There should be some time devoted to the actual practice of the application of scripture inside the church. If we talk about prayer, then give people a chance to pray.

My hope is that experiential theology will help form Christians who live and love with an anchor of truth, community, and applied experience.

Wednesday, April 06, 2005

Hamburger Helper

In light of the more heavy posts over the past few days I thought I would lighten the mood a bit with a theme of acclaim concerning the wonderful invention of Hamburger Helper. Now, my wife and I consider ourselves fairly gourmet in our tastes. We understand the difference between high quality and low quality foods, but we can't get enough of that wonderful one-dish meal. Last week it was Stroganoff (our personal favorite) and last night it was beef Taco. There is nothing better than a plate of meat, noodles and the oh, so, wondeful sauce. I know that sounds so ghetto, but I love it.

We've come to enjoy the meal so much that we get a little twinkle in our eyes just thinking about it. So, here's to you One-Dish-Wonder, may our bellies continue to be filled with your scrumptious goodness.

Tuesday, April 05, 2005

For Karol

I have been thinking much lately about the passing of the Pope. As a former Roman Catholic I must admit that I have very little ties with my religious heritage. Many evangelicals are skepical that Catholics are even Christians. We see that all Catholics worship Mary and think good works get you into heaven. As a result we have lost respect for the Pope and I am ashamed of that fact.

Why is it that millions of people (Christian and non-Christian alike) can revere this man, yet those of us who are his Christian brothers and sisters have an ambivalence toward his life and ministry?

I found a few quotes from his writings to give you a taste of the Pope's heart

From a letter to the America's: "Put this way, the theme makes clear the centrality of the person of the Risen Christ, present in the life of the Church and calling people to conversion, communion and solidarity. The starting-point of such a program of evangelization is in fact the encounter with the Lord. Given by Christ in the Paschal Mystery, the Holy Spirit guides us towards those pastoral goals which the Church in America must attain in the third Christian millennium."

Concerning the centrality of Christ in the Christian Mission: "In my first encyclical, in which I set forth the program of my Pontificate, I said that "the Church's fundamental function in every age, and particularly in ours, is to direct man's gaze, to point the awareness and experience of the whole of humanity toward the mystery of Christ."

Some people accuse Catholics of creating a man-made barrier (the priest) between the masses and God. John Paul II said, "No one, therefore, can enter into communion with God except through Christ, by the working of the Holy Spirit. Christ's one, universal mediation, far from being an obstacle on the journey toward God, is the way established by God himself, a fact of which Christ is fully aware. Although participated forms of mediation of different kinds and degrees are not excluded, they acquire meaning and value only from Christ's own mediation, and they cannot be understood as parallel or complementary to his."

This man not only spoke about the supremacy of Christ, but lived it. He actively forgave a would be assassin and met many young people to encourage them in their spiritual journey. he was known to pray 6-7 hours a day.

Pope John Paul II was a man dedicated to the cause of Christ. I am sorry for not respecting him sooner. I rejoice in our present and future union in Christ. Join with me in praying for our Roman Catholic brothers and sisters as they select their next leader. May he be found as a man of full confidence in Christ and love for all humans.

Friday, April 01, 2005


I have never been an overly pessimistic person. In general I tend to be a glass is half full kinda guy. This past couple of weeks, though, I have been hit with a wave of pessimism. I am constantly hearing from people phrases like, "Don't worry God has something better for you." How can you know what God has planned for me? What if Job's friends had said that? We would have run them out of his house. Name any biblical character that had things actually get "better". Moses-desert. Paul-beaten. John-exiled. David-stalked. Sure there are exceptions. Ruth and Joshua come to mind. What if God's plan is for me to suffer? The truth is no one really wants to say, "Yeah it sucks right now and it may not get any better."

Sorry for dumping, like I said I have been kinda pessimistic lately. I guess I will just stop. I still have my health and my wife and the love of good friends, so i can't complain all that much.