Morning by Morning (3/31/16)

My daily gratitude for:

  1. Finding another street route to my work parking lot that doesn’t involve the bumper to bumper all the way traffic going up highway 288. The streets have their moments too, but I like the route up Cullen.
  2. Josh Stewart, an old but young friend from ACU who I enjoyed playing basketball with and always a very good friend to talk to.  I couldn’t have imagined that his grandmother would be going to my church but that’s how it’s worked out. I really appreciate Josh because of his old man wisdom!
  3. The Parkers, and while I miss them much I am glad that they have been in Colorado to support their family through a cousins scary diagnosis.  Their presence with their family I’m sure has brought calm and compassion. 
  4. On that note, the health of a child is taken for granted so I say here, I  grateful for Aiden and Ryan’s health and well being.

Morning by Morning (3/30/16)

My daily gratitude for:

  1. Elana’s moving into her career and doing what she loves.
  2. Watching Ryan annoy Aiden! It happens rarely but it is so funny seeing Aiden respond irritably while Ryan knows he is getting Aiden riled up.
  3. Being an observer (and shaper) of Ryans growth and processing of life. It’s amazing and humbling to hear him talk, make signs, say what he wants, and learn good and bad behaviors.  It’s just so cool (and surprisingly exhausting at this age).

Morning by Morning (3/29/16)

My daily gratitude for:

  1. Theological conversations that reflect a desire to experience and share Gods love. There are those deep conversations that only seem to be driving towards what is right or wrong or effective or well defined or narrow- but when it is about trying to understand and reflect that freeing love of God, you can’t do much better.
  2. Getting a chance to shower in the morning before the kids wake up. Usually happens twice a week, and it’s great because the morning flows well. When it doesn’t Ryan wants to get in the shower and fusses and cries and Aiden doesn’t get breakfast but asks right before we are leaving because I/we were rushing and forgot…yeah, too much chaos.
  3. Our great neighbor families. A lot of great fathers, great mothers, and great kids! I love knowing Aiden and Ryan have such a great place to grow up and play.

Morning by Morning (3/28/16)

My daily gratitude for:

  1. A good Easter with Elana’s mother and father and the great food they provided.  But I was blessed mostly with the love around the table.
  2. The Moth. It’s the power of story that is so amazing.  I so appreciate the stories and emotion from the storytellers.
  3. Southwest Central Church of Christ!
  4. The baptism of Taylor Gibbs and Reggie Gibbs Jr yesterday at church!

The Must’s of Southwest Central Church of Christ

There are always idiosyncrasies and unique happenings within any community.  Things you should say yes to. Things you should be excited about. Things that make your nose twitch, your ears hot, and your heart beat faster. There are those things at Southwest Central which are so fun and worth it, like other places.  Many of ours have to with people, many of them…worth…it.  Experiences you should let yourself have, just so you can see, taste, smell, touch, feel, and sense the presence of our good God. Here are the ones I have seen:

When Beverly Thetford invites you to her house for a meal…you should go. You won’t be disappointed by the feast and compassion, and God will be glorified. Go!

When Phil Rice calls you his “Christian brother” (or invites you to Happy Hour), lean in to it. You will find yourself encouraged, and God will be glorified.  Lean in!

When Novie Booker offers to pray with you, take her hands gladly.  You won’t be disappointed, and God will be glorified.  Let her!

When the Tuckers invite you to a fellowship meal in their home, allow yourself to be blessed. You won’t be disappointed in the friendship or the food, and God will be glorified. Accept!

When Jeff Knauss asks if you want to come golf with him, joyfully take the offer. You won’t be disappointed in the time with him, and God will be glorified in the beauty of easy going friendship. Go!

When Bobbie wants to offer reflection in a conversation, hear it. You won’t be disappointed, and God will be glorified.  Stop and listen!

When Mikey offers to help with any event or personal situation, allow her. You won’t be disappointed with thoughtfulness and creativity, and God will be glorified.  Say yes!

When Michael B shares thoughts on music and lyrics and his faith, hear it out.  You won’t be disappointed by his passion and wisdom, and God will be glorified. Listen!

When Steve Sargent thinks about the presence of God, listen carefully. You won’t be disappointed by his nearness to Gods heart, and God will be glorified.  Engage it!

When Chelsea or Luci ask to preach,  relish it.  You will not be disappointed by the faithful voice and pure hearted challenge, and God will be glorified. Relish it!

When Steve Sandifer asks if you need help with a home project, be gleeful! You will not be disappointed by his wisdom and his presence, and God will be glorified.  Say yes!

When our church sits around tables instead of pews for church, sit down surrounded in love.  You will not be disappointed by the family and the friendship, and the old school celebration of communion, and God will be glorified. Sit down and open your mind!

When Elana want to go out with you and marry you, say yes indeed! You will not be disappointed by her direct love, passion, loyalty, and flexibility, and God will be glorified. Wait…I will not be disappointed, and I have seen God glorified, and I’m glad I said yes! No one else can now.

When you are invited to our church, cautiously accept.  You won’t be disappointed by our unique love and trust in Gods voice among our people, and God will be glorified.  Come!

When you listen to 7 different preaching voices throughout the year, keep your ears open.  You won’t be disappointed by the multitude of perspectives and ways to read the word of God, and God will be glorified. Be challenged!

These are just a few. What are yours??

When God Calls

After leading the funeral for a precious 2 year old today, I was struck by some positive comments about how it seemed like a gift that I had and how amazing I could get the right words for such a difficult time.

I bet I am alone in wondering why I got the call that I did.  Everyone has gifts but often we wonder why that one.  Or, even without a gift, God calls us like a bumbling speaker to proclaim the freedom of Gods people.  Moses wasn’t certain about Gods wisdom when God called him, nor was he thrilled about being chosen by God for that task. I share that often.  

Why did God call me to be good at being in crisis situations? Why did God call me to the bedsides at hospitals or work with sick children or be great at leading funerals? Why does that have to be my calling? But like many people, when God calls, we listen and sometimes even go kicking and screaming. 

When God calls.  There is something about that phrase that is irresistible right? When God calls something into existence, creation happens.  When God says he will free his people, they are in no mundane way liberated from Egypt.  When God calls Saul to account, Paul’s journey emerges defiant to the world. When God calls Jesus to the cross, Jesus accepts and submits wholeheartedly and in suffering.  When God calls, his creation responds.  It must.

In the entry to Jerusalem, Jesus proclaims that if people stopped glorifying him that the rocks would cry out.  Indeed, the movement of God seems irresistible and enduring.  That’s why we all must open our eyes and move with it.  God is doing something in his kingdom and we are tools, not passive bystanders.  When God calls, we may be reluctant but we respond because the rocks will cry out if you don’t.

I say all of this for the simple thought that doing a funeral of a previous child is more than just accepting to do an emotional and meaningful task.  Rather, it is an opportunity to get on board with the movement of God, movement that enwraps painful grief, lost futures, broken hearts, and the death of a child.  It is an opportunity to yet recognize that in the midst of tears, pain, and memories, Gods love in Christ remains victorious and his loving presence unbreakable.

When God calls us, even to grief stricken funerals for beautiful little girls, God is moving to show us he is not far and never will be.  So get on board. Get in the flow. Cherish the opportunity to hear a call. Be humbled to move with Gods call, and be more humbled to watch God’s love create beauty amidst his groaning creation.

Thank you God for gifts and calls. When you call, may I humbly listen and keep my eyes open to your work.

Morning by Morning (3/24/2016)

My morning gratitude for:

  1. Ryan snuggling me after waking up this morning. He was particularly snugly and sleepy and just made my morning.  I am so humbled to watch he and I grow up and into the future together.
  2. Elana watching the kids often so I can do the extra responsibilities at church with the teens and doing things like presentations/funerals/retreats at the hospital. She is more helpful than I ever tell her.
  3. The whole Lucas family- Sherry, Stephen, and Dawn Marie. They are good good people who are sweet and kind but also play a mean hand of cards! They are a great encouragement and presence for my family.
  4. Did I say I loved cold pizza for breakfast before? ‘Twas breakfast yesterday! Awesome!

Morning by Morning (3/23/16)

My daily gratitude for:

  1. Matt Hannon. It’s his birthday today and he is hilarious! I really loved getting to know him at Pepperdine and laugh endlessly with him.
  2. Aidens love of baseball.  I love having something that we both are so passionate about and I love I can use my pointless knowledge of baseball data and history and actually seem cool to him! Plus, I’m just proud of how good of a player he has become because of his own focus and desire to play it well.
  3. My uncle Mike.  What a good man and a more faithful man at that! I am so appreciative of his love, support, and sports knowledge- but I am also very moved by the love he has for his daughter and son.  It’s good to know good fathers like him.

Morning by Morning (3/22/16)

My daily gratitude for:

  1. The rodeo coming to a close soon.  I won’t mind the space on the train in the afternoons and lower traffic around that area!
  2. Ryan loving his brother Aiden so much.  Yesterday I found him in his brothers bed laying on his brothers head, both asleep.  Today, I walked in as he was waking up and found him laying on Aidens bed and snuggling Aidens pillow and stuffed animal (Aiden is at his dad’s so Ryan may have been confused about where his brother was). Ryan loves Aiden and Aiden loves Ryan.  It is a great blessing to me.
  3. Cambry Pardee, who got his doctorate degree yesterday in Chicago.  From Riverside to Pepperdine to Yale to Chicago (can’t remember his school name right now), he has pursued his faith and academics with faithfulness and fun, and I have enjoyed watching him grow into a great mind and bigger heart.  Truly one of my good friends.

Morning by Morning (3/21/16)

My daily gratitude for:

  1. Elana pushing through these last couple months on her way to a Master’s degree.  She has shown a lot of endurance to get here and then to get to May’s graduation.
  2. The time change- this Spring Forward has been a big blessing for me and the kids.  They are sleeping till 7 instead of 6:15 and that extra time has been critical for getting ready and getting my head on straight in the mornings, as well as just getting the extra little sleep.
  3. Getting to take Aiden to school most days. I love this small opportunity of time with him.