Archive for the ‘About Me’ Category

Carrying the Name

Posted: March 4, 2011 in About Me, Life Change, My Faith

As you know from this post I can’t get enough of Acts 9. It never gets old to me to hear someones story of how their relationship with Christ began, but Paul’s conversion story to me is one of my favorite. What makes it so intriguing is the fact that you have a man whose job is to murder those belonging to “the Way,” whose life is radically flipped upside down by the One they are following… Jesus. The name above every name. I want to bring up three things I have learned in the last couple weeks that have stretched my faith and have drawn me closer to Him.

1. When you are carrying the Name and someone is tearing you down, it is not you they are tearing down.

 One of my favorite lines in Paul’s story is when Jesus stops Paul in His tracks on the road to Damascus and said “Why are you persecuting ME? Not, why are you persecuting my followers? This is the moment in Scripture that it becomes clear to us, that Jesus isn’t just tagging along with us, He takes the responsibility.  Anything good that might come from us, is only because of Him. Anything bad that might happen to us, is not on us, but on Him. One of the biggest lessons I have learned recently is that Jesus is more mad when someone mistreated you than you could ever be. Why? Because it’s against Him. His name is on the line. Even in the face of our worst sin, when forgiveness and repentance is sought after, He takes the responsibility on Him. So when someone reminds you of your past, or throws things back in your face, it’s not your face, it’s His. Oh, and He doesn’t take that lightly. Romans 12:19 makes that clear.

2. When you carry the Name, it’s easy to know God’s will.

It seems like one of the greatest battles Christians face is the ever constant question of what God’s will is for our life. I love how this passage shows how specific Jesus is when we trust in Him. He literally says to Ananias, “go to straight street and walk up to Judas’ front door and ask for Saul of Tarsus.” Now I don’t know if you can get more specific than that. That is what happens when you walk with Jesus instead of just proclaim to know Him. He gets specific. Now the crazy thing is, we may not like what He has to say. It may be something we aren’t thrilled to do. Ananias wasn’t excited with what Jesus asked him to do, but he did it anyway. Why? Because His ways are better than our ways. That’s where faith comes in. Being faithful with where God has placed us and pressing into Him so we know His next step and opportunity for our life, even if we aren’t thrilled about it.

3. When we carry the Name, we can’t help but share Him.

I love that the Bible is specific with the first thing Paul did when he got his sight back. “Immediately he proclaimed Jesus.” Three days earlier he was killing anyone that spoke the name, now he proclaims the name. Only a radical transformation from our Savior can cause that. When we see Jesus for who He really is, you won’t be able to help but talk about Him. That should be our focus. To proclaim the Name above all names. Jesus. Not worship about Him, worship to Him. It’s more real to me now more than ever. There is nothing greater and more satisfying than to put your trust in Him in all things, not just a few things.

Carry the Name…

Encouraging not Discouraging

Posted: January 1, 2011 in About Me, Life Change

Many people will be making and probably already breaking resolutions, goals, commitments, whatever else you might call them today and into the new year. I’ve never been one for resolutions because I know that they will more than likely be broken before february rolls around. Plus, I can’t compete with the resolutions like Jonathan Edwards had, so I shouldn’t even try. haha. Most of the time it’s centered around motivation rather than transformation anyway. However, I think it is a great opportunity to examine ourself and see what God might want to do in our life to refine us. Not focusing on our weight, or finances, or grades, as much as focusing on living for the eternal instead of the temporal.

My sister wrote this blog post yesterday and the end really jumped out at me. She was talking about what she hopes to accomplish and see happen this new year and that she will experience some trials, disappointments, and heartaches. Her prayer was that even through it all, she knows she can hang on to God. The more I thought about that, the more my resolution that I hope becomes clear. If I had a resolution, it would be to do what I can to be more of an encouragement to others, rather than a discouragement. To do what I can to be more selfless and focused on the needs of others over my needs. To see my world through a Biblical world view and not my view. That’s what I would like to reflect on come December. To look back at the workings God did in my life to see others above myself, and to love Him more than anything. Happy New Year.

I Heart My Life

Posted: September 24, 2010 in About Me, Encouraging, My Faith

I was driving into work the other morning and was behind a guy at a red-light that had a bumper sticker that said I heart my wife. Just as I was thinking “Awww how sweet,” I pulled up next to them. Where they were acting out an episode of Jerry Springer or Maury or whatever other trashy show of their choice might be, and in some sort of heated exchange over who knows what. It was at that moment that I wondered if he hearted his wife like he so boldly proclaims he does. With that $2 bumper sticker his wife bought him in the airport flying to their honeymoon in Fij… I mean Las Vegas.

I don’t have a wife to heart, although if my sisters have what they want, that could end up changing, but I can say that I definitely heart my life. I just want to share three things God has shown me recently as to reasons why:

1. Because I have a God who loves me for me, even though He truly KNOWS me.

It blows me away every time I can look in the mirror and realize I am forgiven. Even through the deepest and darkest moments of my life, God loves me the same. I can’t get over that and hope I never do. To sit in awe and think that all of my sins were future sins when Christ died on the cross, always causes me to run to Him when I stumble, not run and try to hide those things. Isaiah 43:1-2

2. Because I have a family that EXEMPLIFIES what it looks like to stay FAITHFUL to God, even through the hardest of times.

Most of you that read my blog know that the last several years have brought many ups and downs for our family.  My dad has been in an ongoing battle with cancer for a long time now and literally has good days and bad. But through it all, I see his faith being strengthened constantly and his love and walk with God is deeper than it’s ever been and my family is resounding his faith. They are a picture of the true gospel to me. That following Jesus is not going to make you wealthy, it does not guarantee you will be healthy, the message of Scripture and the gospel is not that following Him everything goes right, but that He is ENOUGH no matter what happens. Colossians 1:17

3. Because I have friends that SHARPENS me when I need it, and LAUGHS with me even when I’m not funny.

This is a hard one for me because I have definitely done my fair share of letting people down. It is too easy sometimes to let your own pride, irresponsibility, and sin get in the way of the people you genuinely care about. I’m just blessed that even through it all, God is faithful to put people in our life that helps stir our affections towards Him, and keep encouraged to stay the course. It would be a hard life if those friends weren’t around. Proverbs 27:17

I’ll post more on this topic later on…

My Hope

Posted: September 8, 2010 in About Me, Life Change, My Faith

33…that’s what I turned this week. It is crazy how fast time goes by when you get into your late 20’s and early 30’s. I remember growing up in school where it seemed I would never graduate. Then to spend another four years in college seemed like it would be way to much. Now it’s already September and I am wondering where the New Year went too.

The thing that has been on my mind this week as I am now rolling in my 30’s is the fact that I am at the age that Jesus was when He decided to die for me. I tried to meditate a little on that earlier this week and put myself in His place for just a moment. I remember thinking as a kid in Sunday school, as I watched the teacher put up the flannel graph characters on the board, that Jesus lived a long and fulfilled life here on earth. Now that I am at the age He was, I realize how much I have yet to learn and feel like I need to accomplish before my time on earth expires. It hit me again that one of the most amazing things about Christ is that even though His time on earth wasn’t long, it was fulfilled just like it was written in Romans 5:8.

As I looked back this week over what I have learned this past year I realized the biggest thing that God has shown me. Not only have I fallen in love with Him more, I have also learned even more, and have become more passionate about the gospel. Not that I didn’t know what the gospel was but I can see it and live it in a different light now. I must confess, I have always looked at the gospel as “good news” because it the way to Christ, who is the way to salvation. I have lived as though the gospel is only what gets you out of Hell, and into Heaven. Even though this is true, that’s just the tip of the iceberg as to what the gospel does and can do in our life. It’s not just the gospel that saves us, it’s the gospel that sustains us as well. That is the greatest thing I’ve learned over the last year. To live my life through gospel lenses. To weigh everything on what Christ did for me on the Cross. To see Him in a way that far outweighs all my good, and thankfully, all my bad. It is amazing how your whole perspective can change, when you see life for what Christ did and is doing, and suddenly all the things that seem so important and life altering aren’t quite as drastic as they once were, and to me, that’s a relief.

My Hope is built on nothing less than Jesus’ blood and righteousness…

So I haven’t blogged in a couple weeks and there are a ton of things that God is doing in my life that I would like to share at some point, but didn’t know where to start. So, I decided to go in a totally different direction and give you five random facts about me that most of you have never known. So lets get started…

#1. I like some country music.

Now don’t get me wrong, I’m not about to go buy a huge belt buckle and some tight wranglers, but every once in a while I like to twang it out a little bit. I guess I am reminded of this since I am writing this while watching some of the CMA Music Festival. I actually don’t like a lot of country and country artists, but I have been to a couple Kenny Chesney concerts and I must say, it was good times. Plus it doesn’t help when you grow up in the south and it is everywhere. Did I mention I also have Taylor Swift on my ipod? No shame… I told you this would be random.

#2. I’m a techno junkie.

I love technology. I always keep up with the latest TV’s and cell phones and make sure I know what the best is. Why do I do this? I have no idea, it just always amazes me what technology can do and how it constantly changes. My bro-in-law asked me last week if I wanted to go with him to get his new TV… that’s like asking me if I want to go to Disney World as a kid. Uh…YEAH! So I went and helped him pick out one of the latest and greatest TV’s. It is so fun. I know I’m a geek. Oh, and I got a new cell phone a few weeks ago. So what’s your vice?

#3. I’ve met quite a few famous people.

So, I know a lot of people can say they have met famous people but for me it has always been very random and in random places. Here are some I have met: Peyton and Archie Manning – I was working at a hotel in Missouri in college and they stayed there and asked me if I could take them a back way through the kitchen to get to their room, since there were tons of people trying to get their autograph. I helped them, and got their autograph. John Elway – met him at a high school basketball tourney that his daughter was playing in. Talked to him for a few minutes and got a cool pic. Here are a few more without details: Enrique Iglesias (hotel lobby), Horace Grant (bball camp), Casting Crowns (airport), Toby Mac (airport), Captain Kangaroo (remember that kids show?), Lane Kiffin (UT), Bruce Pearl (UT), John Mcain (airport, in 2001), John Ashcroft (former Attorney General), Chris Lofton (UT), Eric Berry (UT), Heath Shuler (UT), Mike Ditka (airport), Hootie and the Blowfish (airport). As you can see, I meet a lot of people in the airport. I think there are a couple more but I can’t remember right now… Who have you met?

#4. I’ve broken a few bones.

So this is about as random as it gets. I have broken a few bones growing up. When I was 2 I tried to kick a soccer ball and missed it, flew up in the air and came down wrong on my leg. I had to have a pin in my leg and was in a body cast for several weeks. I’m just glad I was so young I don’t remember it. When I was 11 I broke my arm from trying to play Tarzan on a tire swing. I got about 20 feet in the air and jumped to another rope in which I missed and fell to the ground and snapped my arm. I’ve also broken a toe and a finger… not as cool I know. Have you broken any bones?

#5. I love Erin Andrews.

So back to #3, the one person I would love to meet, would have to be Erin Andrews. I already love sports, especially college sports. So when you mix a classy, sideline reporter with that, you have love instantly. Besides that, I am sure she loves Jesus. 🙂

So I know this was completely random, but I thought you might like to know… So what’s so random about you?

Blessed

Posted: May 13, 2009 in About Me, Life Change, My Faith

Sometimes I just need to take some time to reflect and thank the Lord for the blessings He has allowed me to have in my life. So here are a few, one word (sometimes more) things I wrote in my journal today. In no particular order.

Love. God. Grace. Salvation. Family. Job. House. Sisters. Dad. Mom. Hope. Bro-in-laws. Nieces. Nephew. Understanding. Comprehension. Endurance. Church. Accountability. Friends. Health. The Word. Passion. Communication. Mercy. Car. Laughter. Water. Reading. Writing. Cell. Ps3. Clothes. Mirror. Salvation. Bed. Grass. Money. Internet. John’s Gospel. Proverbs. Blogs. Journaling. TV. Twitter. Facebook. Encouragement. Hugs. Steak. Reclining. Accomplishment. Discipline. Holy Spirit. Showers. Socks. Missions. Evangelism. Discipleship. Music. Pizza. Dancing. Twizzlers. iPod. People. Messages. Preaching. Crying. Salvation. Brokenness. Talks. Forgiveness. Books. Vacation. Toothbrush. Movies. Driving. Singing. Prayer. Anticipation. Inspiration. Communication. Tears. Sleep. A1. Reunions. Surrender. Hope. Caring. Songs. Counsel. Faith. Sacrifice. Salvation. Patience. Tires. Lawnmower. Sports. Macs. Forks. Time. Growth. Travel. Haribos. 2nd Chances. Heart. Salvation. Light. Smiles. Compassion. Salvation.

Those are just a few. Some are probably more a curse than a blessing but I am so thankful for the things God has given me that I need and many things I have that were just wants. I am more amazed at His love everyday.

Struggles

Posted: March 26, 2009 in About Me, Life Change, My Faith

This is a little weighty. If that’s even a word. I was talking with a guy the other day and he was telling me how he can’t measure up to what Jesus expects of him. So I asked him what he meant, and without going into full detail, it essentially came down to the fact that he has struggles that he has never overcame and is not fit to be in church or could never be used by God in any way. The crazy part of this was that he has bought into that so much that he now just accepts it and moves on, living with a little bitterness in his heart towards some Christians and is content with church being a spectator sport. What I mean by that is this guy goes to church, but he looks at it as what he is supposed to do and not that he can be a vital part in that.

I gotta tell you, this utterly bothers me, to where I am on edge over this. I mean it has weighed heavy on me this week in a crazy way. I’m not sure what exactly God’s plan is for me in ministry but i will say He has revealed MUCH to me over the last year of how off track I was over church, ministry, life, and many other things. This issue of struggle is probably close to the top of that list. Man if anyone knows about struggles, it is me. If Paul was the chief of sinners, I am the chief of struggles. I have been through it, back, and through it again. I know what it’s like to be on a hidden roller coaster ride where the people closest to me think I have it all together, and me knowing I am about to puke my Slurpee all over the place (I don’t know where I get these word pictures from by the way). So when I talked to this guy the other day and he had basically given in to his struggles and just accepted that’s the way it was, you can see how that might bother me. It’s not how it is. It’s not how it’s supposed to be. Yet somehow in our evangelical world we live in, that’s what we have grown up learning and seeing and following. That if we have a problem or are struggling with a hidden sin, then just walk the isle at church, rededicate your life, try as hard as you can to “beat” that sin, then wait a couple days, weeks, months, maybe even years and then “fall” again. But it’s OK, because I just need a good revival so I can rededicate my life again and start the process all over. Repeat for 40 years. Die. That’s how it plays out. That is not even close to what Jesus died for. Yet we have it instilled in our hearts and minds that we have to keep our struggles personal and private. Just between me and God. Our walk with God, though completely personal, was NEVER meant to be private! It was meant to be to be fought, to laugh, cry, sometimes sob, with a community of believers that walks the same earth we do. That knows the same struggles we do, that lives the same life we live. One of my favorite passages is I Corinthians 10:13 that says there is no temptation towards you that is unusual. It’s been used on many people before. The exciting thing about this verse to me if this is true, and it is by the way, then I know I can have victory because others around me are walking in victory!

I unloaded my heart on that guy saying, you can have victory, but it never comes in hiding! It never comes in defeat. It comes in a couple ways. It means striving to be Godly, sometimes falling, but always moving forward. Doing everything we can to walk in obedience, staying accountable in community, not putting on a show for the people around us. Being real. Here’s the important step. Training yourself for Godliness. I Timothy 4:7. Not on your own power, but through the power of the gospel. If you can’t do anything for Salvation, what makes you think your power can help you overcome sin? It can’t. It has to be the power of God. It’s progressive sanctification. You have to learn to crawl before you can walk. I can’t play the piano. I can play Mary Had a Little Lamb that’s the extend of it. If you put Beethoven in front of me, no matter how hard I try, I can’t play it! However, if someone that can play it comes along and walks me through it. Tells me where to put my hands, what note goes where, how to read the music, then over time, I would begin to get it. I could see it. Eventually, I could do it. That’s what our struggles look like. That’s what is meant to happen. Not a life of defeat or hypocrisy, but of moving forward in the power of Christ that He paid for on the cross for our salvation. Don’t cheapen the cross by living in defeat.

I had to get this off my chest.

March Madness

Posted: March 17, 2009 in About Me, Hot Topics

This is my favorite time of year sports wise. I like college sports more than professional sports, because it seems most of the time, college players play with more heart. Professional sports are more a business than sport these days. That’s another blog. I like this time of year because of the college basketball tournaments. It is filled with underdogs that have a chance to beat the Goliath’s. Normally I am even more excited than I already am because the last couple years Tennessee had a good chance to go far in the tournament. Not this year. They haven’t lived up to expectations and aren’t expected to go past the 2nd game at the most. We’ll see what happens. My hopes are definitely not too high.

The thing that is most intriguing about this tournament every year is the unexpected. The experts NEVER get it right on who they think will succeed and who won’t. There are always several surprises and disappointments. It is impossible to predict. In fact many websites like espn.com and yahoo.com give you the chance to make your own picks and if you get them all right, you could win millions of dollars. The crazy thing is, every year over 100 million entries go into these things and no one ever wins! They may win by guessing the right bracket or game and even have the most right, but no one has ever mastered every game.

I can’t help but think about the same thing when applied to the people we walk with at our churches and in our circles. It is so easy to pinpoint certain people and proclaim them to be the next great Billy Graham or Spurgeon. The thing is, the majority of the time, it’s the unexpected. To me, that’s one of the greatest joys of Christianity is to know God uses the unexpected, unworthy, and unqualified people the most. He is the one that does the work, no one can lay claim on that. Look at the Disciples, and many others throughout all Scripture. So we can try and place people all we want to, but truth is, in the end, we are NEVER right. But that’s how I like it…

I really don’t have much to say. I’ve just wanted to write a blog with that title for a while. Actually, the more I started thinking about what stirs my affections for God, the more things I thought about. So, I decided to blog them. I’m gonna start with some of the ones from this weekend I mentioned, just to give the people that weren’t there a little review…

Early Mornings – Even though I am not a morning person, it is the greatest time to spend in the Word before my thoughts ruin my day.
Smell of Coffee – Nothing like the smell of strong coffee. It reminds me of spending time with my dad each morning doing devotions before I went to school.
Black Gospel Choirs – Not that there is anything wrong with white gospel choirs, but really, can you beat the Brooklyn Tabernacle Choir?
Graveyards – Every time I am in a graveyard it helps me consider if I am living my life on purpose or not.
Good Food with Good Friends – It is just a sweet time of laughter and encouragement that helps me realize there is a day coming when we can do that forever.
Haribo Gummy Bears – Hard to explain this one, but the best times I have ever spent in the Word have often come while snacking on these. Not just any type though, they have to be Haribo!
Grilling Out In The Spring – There is something about hanging out on the back deck with a rib-eye on on the flame that just makes me want to Praise the Lord! Can I get an Amen?
Driving Long Distances Alone – It seems God has spoken to me the most when I am in the car driving down the interstate. I can remember several times when He made things clear in my life during these trips.
Playing Golf – I know this is like on the line for affections for God or just a hobby, but for me, there are times it is both. Being in the fresh air and away from the normal is what I love (unless I am having a bad round). HAHA JK… but really.
Holidays With The Family – Pretty self explanatory but I thank God everyday for being a part of a Christian family.
A Good Sermon – Something that just hits home. It can be tough, but still stirs.
Uninterrupted Prayer – It seems like it is so easy to get distracted when trying to pray. Most of the time it is my own selfish thoughts.
An Encouraging Note – It’s nice to get a card or note every now and then. Makes me thank God for the friends He has blessed me with.

Anyway, those are just a few more. I might add some more at another time, but I definitely love these things like a fat kid loves cake…

Religious

Posted: January 30, 2009 in About Me, My Faith

I flew down to Florida yesterday. I’m down here to be at a former student of mines wedding. It’s been almost five years since I have been here and it’s cool to reconnect with some people and see how things have changed.

Flying in yesterday was an adventure in itself. After being delayed before I ever got off the ground, I missed my connecting flight in Atlanta by 10 minutes and had to fly standby to try and get on the next flight. After making it to the gate and putting my name on the list, I realized this flight was definitely filled to capacity. The lady at the counter told me it was already a full flight and many people were waiting to get on. I just kindly asked her to do what she could. The lady behind me though had a different attitude and pleaded her case in a rather rude and irritating way in which I wanted to politely slap her (bless her heart). For me, I know how air travel works and there is nothing that can be done to change the status of things, so why fight it? The sad part is, this lady was later reading a “Christian” book and talking with the person she was traveling with about their church and all that was going on. Now as a disclaimer, I don’t know this lady’s spiritual condition and her heart obviously. All I knew was that any normal person that listened to her talk to her friend and saw the book she was reading would guess she’s a professing christian. My only thought as I watched her was if she really believed and lived some of the things that were in the book she was reading, and the things she was talking to her friend about, then why would she make such a scene with the flight attendant?

So I made the flight. With 24 people on the standby list, I was number 4 on the list and was the last person called to get on the plane. Sweet. Super Christian lady didn’t make it. Sorry.

Being on a very full flight and being stuck in the back of the plane is always a fun experience. No biggie, I had my ipod and I can suffer through any flight for an hour and a half. About halfway through the flight, I put the ipod away and was gonna take a snooze. The problem was another lady behind me was a loud talker. You know the type? Where it doesn’t matter what kind of noise there is, you can hear this person over everything. I wasn’t too upset though because I was interested in her conversation. she was sitting next to a man who was a complete stranger to her and they started talking about religion. She was expressing her concern to this man that her teenage daughter is now being influenced by her ex husband. She kept saying the phrase “he got religious” or “when he became religious.” Her issue was that her daughter had to now go to church when she visited her dad and he wouldn’t let her have her ipod at his place because it was filled with “worldly music.” She thought it was the craziest thing and talked about how she can’t wait until this “phase” of her ex husbands life is over. The man she was talking too shared in her sentiments as he went onto share how his in-laws are the exact same way when his kids go to visit them.

As I sat there and listened to this conversation my heart was broken. It was broken for a couple reasons. For one, the fact that to me religion is the furthest thing from my heart when it comes to my walk with God. It’s about my relationship with Him. I have been through a ton in my life. Some great, some very bad. But through it all, my relationship with the Lord as grown so much sweeter and real. It bothered me to hear them talk about my God as just a ritual and not a life. I just sat there and thanked the Lord I saw it different than that. I prayed that He would open there eyes and even use these people in their life to do it. The next thing that saddened me was the parallel between the two women I encountered on this trip. One, which had a terrible attitude and was a “Christian”, another who had a great demeanor and joy about her, who doesn’t even know what it’s like to have an abundant life with our Creator.

As I walked through the airport after my flight, I asked God to help me never be a Christian that takes my relatonship with Him for granted. I know not everyday will be a GREAT day, but at least I can reoice in the One who has it all under control, even when I don’t. I don’t want to be religious.