Sunday, December 28, 2008

a few things i'm loving right now

here are a few things i'm loving right now (this is no particular order and is not an exhaustive, extensive list... notice, i said "a few' things... rather it is serving as an easy way to blog about a few random things in one concise entry).

1. having been able to spend the last 13 days with family.

2. getting to see friends this week.  for example, i will be leaving in the morning to head to houston where i'll be hanging out with melanie and richard.  

3. google reader -  this lets me check to see if any of the blogs i read have been updated, in one place.  it's amazing, and saves me so much time.  read this for more information on google reader and this to find out why i hang out in the blogging world.

4.  google maps - even though i got a GPS for Christmas, i still want the paper copies to make sure i don't get led astray.  

Saturday, December 27, 2008

a christmas story

every year on Christmas day, my little brother and i insist on watching the 'a christmas story' marathon on TBS.  i do not remember how this tradition started... or when it started... i just know that we fervently insist on the continuation of it each year.  the marathon starts at 8 pm on Christmas Eve and continues for a straight 24 hours.  even though we can quote just about every word in the movie, we still find ourselves laughing continually and glued to the TV.  this year, we actually got to watch it in HD on my parent's 52" flat screen and surround sound.  the glowing leg lamp - chinese turkey - "fa ra ra ra ra," - shoot your eye out - goodness was just as enjoyable this year as it's ever been. 

tonight, after going out to dinner, we decided to see if we could take advantage of some after Christmas sales.  while doing some browsing at barnes and noble, i spotted an 'a christmas story' monopoly game.  i, of course, grabbed it and walked very briskly to where my brother was standing to show him my find, he agreed that we HAD to buy it... so we did... and played it tonight.   
each part of the board represented a part of the movie.  the game pieces were: a bitten bar of soap, broken glasses, the 'leg lamp,' ralphie in his bunny costume, the family car with a Christmas tree on it and the 'fragile lamp leg crate.'  

while i enjoy playing monopoly, i continue to realize that it takes way too long.  in fact, i've actually never finished a game.  this time, we even tried playing the 'speed version,' and we still sat there forever.  we always give up and quit after spending hours diligently  plotting  the real-estate demise of everyone else.  it's fun... but not fun enough to keep our attention for more than 3 hours.

what about you, have you ever finished a game of monopoly?

Thursday, December 25, 2008

a very merry christmas

i hope that your christmas has been as blessed as mine.  i've been able to spend some extended time with my family during the holidays, and next week i will start the trek back home... with some stops to see some great friends on the way.  

here's a quick glimpse into some of the gifts i received from my family:


top chef cookbook

a new look for a new year

i'm trying out a new look.  i figured with a new year about to begin, i'd get a head start on a few changes i've been wanting to make.

if you know me well, you understand why england has been given a distinct place here.  if you don't and are curious why, check out these past blogs: oxford 1, oxford 2, oxford 3 and oxford 4.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

saint nicholas

every day i read a blog or two (or 12).  i love reading about people's lives, what's going on, things they've learned, and so on.  this is one way for me to get to see God at work.  i love reading about what God has done/is doing in someone's life.  many of the blogs i frequent are of people i know and love, while others i have either stumbled upon or have visited upon someone's recommendation. 

this morning as i was pursuing my twitter page (if you do not know about twitter, visit this previous blog), i saw that mark driscoll had written a blog about saint nicholas, and with it being Christmas Eve... i thought i'd repost it for you to read.

Saint Nicholas by Mark Driscoll
The larger-than-life myths surrounding Santa Claus actually emanate from the very real person of Saint Nicholas. It is difficult to know the exact details of his life with certainty, as the ancient records are sparse, but the various pieces can be put together as a mosaic of his life.

Who was Saint Nick?
Nicholas was born in the third century in Patara, a village in what is now Turkey. He was born into an affluent family, but his parents died tragically when he was quite young. His parents had raised him to be a devout Christian, which led him to spend his great inheritance on helping the poor, especially children. He was known to frequently give gifts to children, sometimes even hanging socks filled with treats and gifts.

Perhaps his most famous act of kindness was helping three sisters. Because their family was too poor to pay for their wedding dowry, three young Christian women were facing a life of prostitution until Nicholas paid their dowry, thereby saving them from a horrible life of sexual slavery.

Nicholas grew to be a well-loved Christian leader and was eventually voted the Bishop of Myra, a port city that the apostle Paul had previously visited (Acts 27:5-6). Nicholas reportedly also traveled to the legendary Council of Nicea, where he helped defend the deity of Jesus Christ in AD 325.

Following his death on December 6, 343, he was canonized as a Saint. The anniversary of his death became the St. Nicholas holiday when gifts were given in his memory. He remained a very popular saint among Catholic and Orthodox Christians, with some 2,000 churches named after him. The holiday in his honor eventually merged with Christmas as they were celebrated within weeks of one another.

Reformation Controversy
During the Reformation, however, Nicholas fell out of favor with Protestants, who did not approve of canonizing certain people as saints and venerating them with holidays. His holiday was not celebrated in any Protestant country except Holland, where his legend as Sinterklass lived on. In Germany, Martin Luther replaced him with the Christ child as the object of holiday celebration, or, in German, Christkindl. Over time, the celebration of the Christ child was simply pronounced Kriss Kingle and oddly became just another name for Santa Claus.

Santa Myths
The legends about Santa Claus are most likely a compilation of other folklore. For example, there was a myth in Nicholas’ day that a demon was entering people's homes to terrorize children and that Nicholas cast it out of a home. This myth may explain why it was eventually believed that he came down people's chimneys.

Also, there was a Siberian myth (near the North Pole) that a holy man, or shaman, entered people's homes through their chimneys to leave them mushrooms as gifts. According to the legend, he would hang them in front of the fire to dry. Reindeer would reportedly eat them and become intoxicated. This may have started the myth that the reindeer could fly, as it was believed that the shaman could also fly. This myth may have merged with the Santa Claus myth and if so, explains him traveling from the North Pole to come down the chimney and leave presents on the mantle over the fireplace before flying away with reindeer.

These stories of Santa Claus were first brought to America by Dutch immigrants. In the early 20th century, stores began having Santa Claus present for children during the Christmas season. Children also began sending letters to the North Pole as the legends surrounding an otherwise simple Christian man grew.

At the Resurgence, we keep the center of Christmas focused on Jesus; it’s probably what Nicholas would have wanted.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

i am second

if you aren't familiar with the website,, you need to remedy that.  here is a great description of the website that i found:

“I Am Second” is an amazing new resource that shares testimonies of famous actors, musicians, sporting figures, businessmen and other individuals. It is a place where you can share your story and connect with people if you have struggles of any kind. This is a great cultural tool for someone that does not know Christ. You will see some familiar faces such as Jason Castro from American Idol, Joe Gibbs, Brian Welch from Korn, and many others.

check it out.  your spirit will be stirred.  i promise.  you'll be glad you did.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

the only reason i like opera

i'm not a typical fan of opera music... but i am a fan of my brother, jeff.  this kid can sing.  i invite you to check out this amazing gift God has given him, so when you have a chance go visit his video page.  

i'm including a video of him from the Ballad of Baby Doe put on at OCU.  enjoy.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

my little brother told me about this website,, which is a site where you can go to watch TV shows you might have missed.  check it out if you have a chance.  i'm a fan of bravo's top chef, so i was excited to see that it was on this website.  

here's the latest top chef episode (from this past wed).  check it out.  you'll be a fan too.

death by ministry

when God called me to ministry as a teenager, i had no idea what He was getting me into.  i struggled with self-doubt.  knowing i wasn't good enough to be used by Him, and wondered how long it would be until God figured that out too.  i've grown to realize that God's ability to use me... lies totally in what He is doing around me and my willingness to be obedient to what He has placed before me.  

honestly, this past year has been extremely difficult for me ministry wise.  i won't go into the details here, for multiple reasons, but there have been days when i've asked myself if i will be able to handle another day "on the job."  this past semester, i found myself in a group of BSM staffers participating in  working on spiritual disciplines and growth.  this past week we all sat together and discussed our journey.  here are some of the things we all have in common:
  1. we seldom (if ever) take a Sabbath.
  2. our schedules are crazy and hectic.
  3. we all have dealt with feeling overwhelmed.
  4. when we are overwhelmed, taking care of ourselves is the first thing to go.
our conversations have been on my mind the rest of this week.  in the midst of my scheduled free time, i have been thinking/praying through what i need to do differently so that i can be more effective for the tasks God gives me.  as i've read and searched online in the blog-world, here are some things that i've found worthy of sharing.
the burnout rate of ministers astounds me.  being in vocational ministry myself, i have been forced to think about the importance of taking care of myself (physically/emotionally/spiritually) before i can adequately do the ministry that God has given me.  i have realized that some of the stress of my life is my fault.  for example, i let technology rule my day, even my free time.  so i'm making some changes.  i've made a big decision, honestly one that i'm not sure how long will last, i've canceled my internet and satellite at my house.  i am committing to not answering my email/phone while i'm resting/spending time with people/taking a day off.  i want to see the impact these changes will have in my life.

here are some statistics gathered by mark driscoll, pastor at mars hill church (found here), and while i'm not a pastor... i believe they display a drastic problem today in how vocational ministers do ministry:
  • Fifteen hundred pastors leave the ministry each month due to moral failure, spiritual burnout, or contention in their churches.
  • Fifty percent of pastors' marriages will end in divorce.
  • Eighty percent of pastors and eighty-four percent of their spouses feel unqualified and discouraged in their role as pastors.
  • Fifty percent of pastors are so discouraged that they would leave the ministry if they could, but have no other way of making a living.
  • Eighty percent of seminary and Bible school graduates who enter the ministry will leave the ministry within the first five years.
  • Seventy percent of pastors constantly fight depression.
  • Almost forty percent polled said they have had an extra-marital affair since beginning their ministry.
  • Seventy percent said the only time they spend studying the Word is when they are preparing their sermons.
here is a video clip from part of driscoll's "death by ministry" series.

click here to view another blog that has part of this series.

God created a weekly Sabbath.  am i so arrogant to think that God needs me 7 days a week to do what He needs to do?  i'm realizing, if we don't make observing Sabbath a practiced spiritual discipline, God will make it happen for you.   

what are your thoughts?

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

a grown-up birthday

i am spending the majority of my christmas vacation in corpus christi with my family. i arrived last night (12/16) around 8 PM... just in time to celebrate my birthday with my parents. they took me to a japanese hibachi grill for dinner and then we came home and i got to open my gifts. i must admit, that after i opened and examined my "loot" i realized that i am truly an adult. my age, 28 just in case you are wondering, has nothing to do with this realization... it was the items on my birthday/christmas list. here's what i asked for and received:

a new 8" skillet
a cargo tray for my car.

Monday, December 8, 2008

my crazy travels

within the next month, i will travel at least 1,472 miles across texas.  here's my itinerary:

View Larger Map

Sunday, November 30, 2008

a ghetto christmas

after revolting from christmas decorating for the first 2 christmases in denton... i let my parents convince me that i needed to decorate.  here's my attempt at mimicking "charlie brown's" tree:

my parents went out of their way to get me these flamingos as an early birthday gift... i figured if i had to get into the holiday spirit, so did they!

Friday, November 28, 2008

my family

here are some family pictures taken during our time together at thanksgiving.  this was our first thanksgiving at my parent's new house in corpus christi, tx.  

my brother scott and his girlfriend jen

mom and dad

my brother jeff and his girlfriend courtney

my family.

the whole gang.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

i'm say i'm thankful... but am i?

i saw this quote on my pastor's wife's blog:

"We should learn from this how stiff-necked and rebellious and unthankful we are...Each time they forgot God and went after other things. That is not just the story of Israel. It's the story of humanity. It's the story of my life and your life. Even as Christians, we are not steadfast in our affections for God. We have thankful days and unthankful days. And even our thankful days are not as thankful as they should be.

Just think of how joyful and thankful you would be if your heart responded to God himself and his ten thousand gifts with the admiration and gratitude of which he is worthy." (John Piper, from Spectacular Sins)

what stirs the affection of your heart?  what are you thankful for?

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Art*Music*Justice Tour

if you know me, you know that music is a huge part of my life.  in my previous post, i wrote about going to a NKOTB concert last weekend... this weekend was a little different, but music was still the theme.


last night i went to the Art*Music*Justice concert event with a friend of mine.  this wasn't a typical concert, and it's not often that you get to see 5 amazing artists in one night: sara groves, brandon heath, derek webb, charlie peacock and sandra mccracken... let alone 5 artists making music with an agenda other than selling records.  and it's not often that you leave a concert with so much going on in your mind that it's almost impossible to go to sleep once you crawl into bed... even after the 45 minute drive home.

each of these artists has a desire to see justice brought to the poor, widows and those in bondage and they continually accept the challenge to actually DO something about it.  while they are each involved in different charitable work, the two organizations sponsoring the tour are: IJM and food for the hungry.  i invite you to check out their websites and pray about getting involved in how they are changing the world.  here is a short video that gives a snapshot into sara groves' trip to rwanda with food for the hungry (this is a video that she showed during the concert).

i invite you to walk through what God has been teaching me the past few months... as He continues to lead me on an amazing faith journey.  here goes:

there are over 2,000 references in the Bible to helping the widows, orphans and those less fortunate than yourself... and yet most Christians choose to ignore the demand to put their faith into action so that the world around us can SEE the love of Christ in us.  does the world truly know us (followers of Christ) by our love?  i live in the 'baptist bubble' and see other religious groups (some considered cults) that are growing vastly every day because they are willing to actually take their faith outside of the walls of their personal lives.  the world sees their love in very real ways (i.e. taking care of single moms, providing food for the hungry, making sure that every door in the country is knocked on at least once a year, etc).

the main theme of last night was using art and music to endorse justice... so let's start there.

in 1 kings 3 solomon has just become king after the death of his father, david.  in verse 5, God appears to solomon in a dream and says, "ask for whatever you want me to give you."  and solomon replies (verse 9), "give your servant a discerning heart to govern your people and to distinguish between right and wrong.  for who is able to govern this great people of yours?"  the fact that solomon asks for wisdom in order to provide justice for God's people pleased the Lord.  He then tells solomon (verses 13-14), "there will be none equal to you, and if you walk in my ways and obey my statutes and commands as david your father did, I will give you a long life."  God is pleased with solomon's desire to properly rule God's people and tells him that he will be blessed beyond anyone (before, during and after solomon's life) as long as he follows God's commands and statutes.  you see, it's not just solomon's desire for wisdom that pleased God, but why he wanted wisdom... for justice... justice before the Lord for the people.

once we understand that justice pleases God, where do we go from there and what do we do with that reality?

obviously, it is not in our nature to serve others.  it is not in our nature to put other people's needs before our own.  we are selfish, sinful people.  if we struggle with serving those that we love on a consistent basis... how can we ever expect ourselves to serve those we never see, meet or come in contact with during the regular routine of our days... if not for the love of Christ permeating who we are... it's a pursuit of "more of Him and less of me."  hard stuff.  just as solomon knew he needed God to step in so that he could be a 'just' king... we must be truly transformed by the God we say we follow.

Matthew 7:21-23 says, "not everyone who says to me, 'Lord, Lord,' will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. many will say to me on that day, 'Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and in your name drive out demons and perform many miracles?' then I will tell them plainly, 'I never knew you. away from me, you evildoers!'  this passage of Scripture is one of the most frightening ones for me.  you see, someone outside of the church would not refer to God as 'Lord.'  this passage is referring to people who have knowledge of God, minister in His name, and yet had no relationship with Him.  they never had a true transformation experience... ministry was a selfish endeavor for recognition.  you see, churches preach the Gospel by asking people if they want to accept Jesus to get 'fire insurance'... but is heaven for people who are afraid of hell... or for people who love Jesus?  

knowledge of God is not enough.  knowledge does not lead to loving others, only Christ within me can teach me how to truly love someone.  Scripture states that knowing of God is not the same thing as knowing God repeatedly.  instead of branching into those texts, let's go back to the story of solomon.  a few paragraphs earlier, we looked at 1 kings 3 and solomon asking for wisdom so he could be a 'just' king.  right before solomon's dream chapter 3 tells us that solomon was worshiping in the 'high places' (verse 3) instead of worshiping at the temple.  this is significant because false gods (idols) were worshiped at the high places while God dwelled in the temple.  after solmon's dream, he goes and worships at the temple in jerusalem before the ark of the covenant.  chapters 4-10 tell us about the dedication of the temple (solmon built a new temple after the temple had been destroyed by the philistines in 1050 BC) and how God has blessed solomon.  in chapter 11, the Bible says that solomon loved many foreign women, these women were from places where God had told the israelites they were not to intermarry (verse 2).  he had 700 wives and 300 concubines and these women led him astray and as he grew old his wives turned his heart towards other gods and his heart was not fully devoted to the Lord (verses 3-4).  in verse 7, solomon builds an alter to a false god at the high place... he returns to where he started.  if solomon, the wisest man ever, was not able to continue to follow the Lord... what must we do different?

we must remember that while the Gospel is all about love... God's love for us and us displaying that to others... we often forget why WE need it.  it is easy to point out the sin in other people's lives, yet when it comes to recognizing our own sin we continually choose blindness instead of dealing and working through the hard stuff.  that is why we must always remember the Gospel and what it means in our lives.  1 Corinthians 1:26 says, "brothers, think of what you were when you were called."  i love this verse. i know the mess in my life, and i am so thankful that in the midst of it God chooses to love me.  our response to His love is found in Hebrews 12:1,  "let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us."

as we run with perseverance we must, just like solomon, remember that it is only through God we can do what we are being called to do.  let's look back at 1 Corinthians again, in chapter 2:1-5 paul writes, "when I came to you, brothers, I did not come with eloquence or superior wisdom as i proclaimed to you the testimony about God. for i resolved to know nothing while i was with you except Jesus Christ and him crucified. i came to you in weakness and fear, and with much trembling. my message and my preaching were not with wise and persuasive words, but with a demonstration of the Spirit's power, so that your faith might not rest on men's wisdom, but on God's power."  i have nothing to offer but Jesus Christ.  thankfully, that's more than anyone could ever ask for.  my fear and weakness displays God's power and grace to others.  

let's look at Luke 14:25-35, which can almost seem a contradiction to what the Gospel calls us to do.  verses 26 & 27 state, "if anyone comes to me and does not hate his father and mother, his wife and children, his brothers and sisters—yes, even his own life—he cannot be my disciple. and anyone who does not carry his cross and follow me cannot be my disciple."  there are two great temptations found in these verses: 1.) putting your family in God's place in your life and 2.) pursuing happiness over the pursuit of God's joy.  when God says "let's go," how do you answer?  would you say, "i can't leave my family... it will be too hard... etc?"  or have you already considered the cost of following Jesus and run towards where God's calling you in order to partner in what God is already doing?  

will you accept the cost of your calling found in the Gospel of Jesus?  will you pursue justice for others and a relationship with God over stagnant faith and knowledge?

i love the story of the samaritan woman's encounter with Jesus in John 4.  she was a woman of ill-repute.  a 'scarlet letter wearer' despised by her community because of her lifestyle choices.  yet, when she met Jesus he offered her love, grace and acceptance... all of which had been missing from her life.  she truly MET Jesus and was transformed.  everything about her was changed, including her countenance.  she ran into her town to shout about the grace she found in Jesus, a true living water.  a woman who probably would have walked through town with her head down avoiding stares and glares, left her reputation at the well... at Jesus' feet.  John 4:39 says, many believed because of her testimony and then many more believed after she took them to meet Jesus.  

do many believe because of your testimony?  do you lead others to Christ?  have you had a true encounter with Jesus?  do you have a relationship with Jesus or is that something you are still working on?

this entry is my attempt to wade through what God has been teaching me and my experience last night.  one of my supervisors at work often says this quote by dawson trotman, “thoughts disentangle themselves when they flow from the lips or the fingertips.” this is my attempt to disentangle what God is teaching me.  thanks for hanging in and reading this long entry.  let me know what you think.

Friday, October 17, 2008

pumpkins, NKOTB and the W Hotel

i got to spend this past weekend with my good friend melanie.  our time together is rarely boring, in fact, it usually involves many random events and the spending of money... which means fun is had by all.  our adventures this time included: a pumpkin patch, the new kids on the block and the W hotel.  here's a quick rundown:

saturday, after a great lunch of fried catfish and veggies at babe's, we drove past a pumpkin patch and decided that we had to stop.  after picking out the perfect pumpkins, we then had to revive the NBA rivalry between her husband and myself.   he is a houston rockets fan... while i am a dallas mavericks fan, and with the NBA season just about to tip off we had to have some fun with it.

the big chicken outside of babe's

our pumpkins for the pumpkin patch

sunday, we made our way to dallas for the new kids on the block (NKOTB) concert.  since we had both been fans when we were in elementary school but both of our parents hadn't allowed us to go back then... we figured we'd go now.  

we figured that since the concert was in dallas that we should make things a little easier on ourselves and find a hotel to stay in for the night... so we decided to things right and treat ourselves to some luxury. we had an amazing stay at the W hotel and it was totally worth the time it took for me to save the money. here are some pictures from the W:

as you can see, we had a great weekend.  hope you enjoy the pictures.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

good times.

in my last blog... which was a really long time ago (sorry about that)... i wrote about hanging with a good friend in an unusual way. this past weekend, i got to actually spend time with her in person. my very good friend, marty, came back to texas from west africa for a 10 day vacation and was kind enough to let me crash her time at home with her family.

the weekend together was filled with food, fellowship and reminders of why i enjoy her friendship so much. it was great to have the opportunity to laugh, talk and eat jack in the box face-to-face after not seeing each other for a year.

another amazing part of the weekend was getting to experience her heart for where God has her. even though she was glad to have some time at home with family and friends, her heart is with her ministry. she is such a great reminder for me that when we are right in the middle of where God desires us to be, no matter how hard the situation may be, the longing for those who do not know Jesus is ever-present on our hearts and minds.

here are a few pictures from her time in texas:

the best of friends

masks and ice cream

reunion at ninfas

marty heads back to west africa on saturday, so i ask that you pray for her safe travel and that she will be able to recover from jet lag quickly.  

Sunday, August 17, 2008

hanging out with a good friend... in a very unusual way

a good friend of mine is currently serving as a journeyman in senegal.  while it is sometimes hard having her so far away, modern technology helps make the distance not quite so distant.  between email and online chatting via skype (if you haven't heard of this and you need to keep in touch with someone in another country, check it out), we are able to catch up at least once a week.  

while living in africa provides many fun and interesting experiences for her, watching the olympics is a hard one to come by... so we created a way for her to get to watch michael phelps swim for his 8th gold medal together using 2 laptops, my TV and a camcorder.  while we were using video chat, she wasn't able to get the full effect of the race so i posted the video online so that she could see the full race.  here's the video complete with commentary provide by us as we enjoyed each others company and the race.

Monday, August 11, 2008

you are invited to singalong.. for free.

i wanted to inform the few readers who actually look at this about an opportunity to get some good free music.  phil wickham is offering his live cd as a free download, if the link doesn't work for you go to:  check it out.  pass the word.  enjoy.


Sunday, June 29, 2008

funny video

here's a video of a college friend of mine.  made me laugh and i thought i'd share it.  check her out at  

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

my next few months...

as i sit here procrastinating from completing the last few tasks needed to have a clean house... i figured i'd update everyone with what is going on in my life at the moment. along with the BSM responsibilities (planning for fall, contacting churches, recruiting freshmen, etc), i'm still leading worship on the weekends, through june, and getting ready for a little traveling.

here's my upcoming schedule:
6/14-20 - abilene, tx: leading worship for super summer
6/22 - cleburne, tx: leading worship for crossroads church
6/29 - cleburne, tx: leading worship for crossroads again
6/30-7/3 - mexico city, mexico: BGCT mexico vision trip
7/4-6 - tulsa, ok: to watch my little brother sing in 4 productions
7/13 - justin, tx: leading worship at lakeside fellowship
7/13-18: corpus christi, tx - VACATION with the fam. finally get to see my parent's new house.
7/18-20: houston, tx - visiting my great friends melanie and richard

then back to denton to get to work for the fall. lots of stuff going on, but that's the only way i know how to live my life.

i recently joined a gym and have been going about 5-6 days a week in efforts to get in better shape. it's been a great addition to my day and i've really enjoyed going. i also purchased wii fit which has proved to be a fun addition to my time at the gym. all i can say is that i've learned that yoga is hard, even when you have a touch of athlete in your genes.

if you want to keep up with me as i jump into the rest of my summer adventures, check me out on twitter (and if you have no idea what that is, read this: old blog entry).

Friday, April 25, 2008

the car.

here are pictures of the new car. it's been an interesting past few days as i worked through the car-buying process, but i've been amazed watching how God has orchestrated each event and abundantly provided.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

wowwed by wickham.

phil wickham's version of the jeff buckley's song "hallelujah." watch and be amazed.

adios acura... hello honda.

well, after 9 good years together... i finally decided to get rid of my 1999 acura integra. this past wednesday, the check engine light came on and the repairs were going to cost me way more than i was willing to spend, so the hunt for a new car ensued. i got a good deal on a 2008 honda cr-v and a decent trade-in offer on my integra, so i am now the owner of this car:

i think we will have a long and happy relationship together. i'll add "real" pictures soon.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

exactly what does 'twittering' mean?

i've had many people ask me lately, "why does it say 'twittering' on your facebook status?" so i've decided to answer that question this way. the best way to describe twitter is to call it a 'micro blog,' in which you update others with what you are up to in a very concise way. here is a video to explain twittering. once you watch, go and join and follow me ( let's be twitter friends. if you are reading this on facebook and want to watch the video, go to

so not natural.

it seems like each week my students have new you tube videos to show me, and a student showed me these two today. this is not natural... and yet you can't stop watching. this is a guy named nick pitera singing disney songs.

Monday, April 14, 2008


just wanted to let everyone know that my parents house in cleburne has sold. the packing has begun, the loading starts on wednesday, and mom heads to corpus on friday. my house is completely filled to the brim with boxes and stuff that i had left in cleburne, so the sorting has begun. my plan is to de-clutterize my life, or at least get as close to that as i can.

please pray for my parents as they search for their next house and get settled.

american idol... have you seen this.

check this out. shout to the lord on american idol.

Sunday, April 6, 2008


i've had some friends of mine inform me that i'm not doing a good job of keeping in touch with people lately, which is strange to them because i'm usually the one who picks up the phone to initiate conversations with others, so they've been checking to make sure that i'm still alive. in light of my lack of in-touch-ness, i figured that i need to write an actual update about what's been going on with me.

my last post was about our spring break mission trip to reynosa, mexico. the trip went amazingly well, and we are already starting to talk through plans for upcoming mission opportunities. once we get the pictures from the trip up on our BSM picture site, i will put that link so that you can see everything we did.

one very hard difficulty for me during the trip was that i was battling an upper respiratory infection the entire trip (that came on 2 days before we left), and when we got back to denton my body revolted against me and i found myself stuck in bed for the next 4 days. the congestion in my head affected both of my ears, and the pressure in my right ear actually ruptured my ear drum. i can honestly say that i will now have much more sympathy for any child who has an ear infection. i was starting to feel like a wimp since ear pain was keeping me in bed (for some reason, it hurt a lot more when i stood up), but once i finally went to the doctor she was surprised that i had dealt with it with just advil... which made me feel better. my doctor then told me that if the hearing in my ear doesn't come back soon, that i will need to go and see a specialist. it is never a good thing when a singer hears that their hearing might not come back... it is getting better, just not all back yet. when people ask me how my ear is i describe it this way, "it's like the volume has been turned down and there is a little static," but the pain is pretty much gone so now i'm just waiting for things to get back to normal.

my parents finally got an offer on their house in cleburne (the offer was made right before easter), and we are now in the middle of getting things organized, packed up and ready to move. later this week i'll be driving a uhaul filled with the rest of my furniture, and some of my students have graciously stepped up to help me move the rest of my stuff to my house in denton. my parents should be out of the house in less than 2 weeks, so please pray for my mom as she gets everything together. they have found a house in corpus christi, tx (where my dad has been working for the past 20 months), and they are in the process of making an offer on it right now. i'm already looking at my schedule to figure out when i can go down and visit... you can actually see the ocean from their front yard. happy vacationing to me! my brother (scott) who has been living at home, is planning on moving into an apartment in euless (in the DFW area) next weekend, so we are all attempting to organize the chaos that is going on right now.

also, on march 27th... i was sitting at a stoplight and a girl couldn't stop in time and ran into the back of my car. not much damage was done, my car just needs a new bumper and thankfully no one was hurt, so now i am cruising in a kia rental awaiting the work to be completed on the acura. if a wreck has to happen, this is the kind to have. the girl has insurance, which is covering everything, and the only frustrating thing has been trying to get the adjusters to call me back to fill me in on what's going on... but i should have my car back on tuesday.

yesterday, i was the missionary speaker for a GA roundup event at camp copass in denton. they wanted me to share with the girls about what we do at our BSM and i brought 2 students with me so that they could tell about mission trips that they had been on. it went well, and it was fun to be around kids again.

as you can see, lots going on with me, and things won't slow down until school gets out. i will try and do a better job of keeping in touch with people, and i apologize if you haven't heard from me in a while. i do promise though, if you call me... i'll call you back.

Monday, March 24, 2008

UNT BSM spring break mission trip

here is an article written by one of our BSM students, Jillian Daniels, for the baptist standard. she does a great job describing the events of the trip. i'll post pictures and more about the trip soon.

click here to see the published article.

UNT BSM Spring Break in Reynosa, Mexico

By Jillian Daniels

A college girl approached two young boys fighting over a soccer ball in the Mexico orphanage she was visiting, to inquire as to why they weren’t sharing.

“I don’t want to share because he doesn’t ever give me anything,” one answered.

The other looked down at his hands. “That’s because I don’t have anything.”

The week of March 16, the University of North Texas students from the Baptist Student Ministry used spring break as an opportunity to go on a mission trip to Reynosa, Mexico. The 27 students and adults worked alongside Borderland Calvary Chapel in San Benito, TX and the orphanage Refugio Internacional de los Ninos through a series of vacation Bible schools and the distribution of rice and beans to impoverished neighborhoods.

NT senior Chris Newby said that such a trip was a welcome alternative to the standard college vacation hot spots. “I wanted to do something new with my spring break,” Newby said.

This was the second time for the NT BSM to serve in this part of Reynosa with Pastor Eduardo Hernandez of Borderland Calvary Chapel.

“Last year the trip was so fulfilling and memorable for students,” NT BSM director James Quesenberry said. “It was almost natural to go back and do the same thing this year.”Quesenberry said that the group hopes to continue serving in the same area in order to build relationships with the communities and churches over time.

“The idea behind it is, we want [our students] to be able to see what it’s like to partner with other Christians and other churches,” Quesenberry said. “Hopefully, [we will] be able to see growth and change in areas and build momentum trip after trip.”

For some of the students, like NT sophomore Yandira Tenorio, it was their first encounter on the mission field. “Even though I had no experience, I just knew that He called me and said, ‘You need to be my messenger,’” Tenorio said. “Sure I had fears and doubts of my abilities, but I had to remind myself that it’s not me – God works in and through me.”

Conversely, NT sophomore Brandon Falk, had been on previous mission trips and was left unimpressed – until this opportunity. “I wasn’t planning on going on another mission trip but when I found out that we were passing out rice and beans and going to an orphanage, I decided to go,” Falk said, “It was actually doing what Jesus said – showing people love – feeding the hungry and visiting orphans. God wants us to provide for His children and we’re God’s hands – the extension of God to this world.”

Monday and Tuesday mornings and afternoons the group was at Refugio Internacional de los Ninos, where students led a VBS and sang songs in Spanish, in an effort to show the children Christ’s love.

Six fluent Spanish-speaking students helped ease the language barrier, however many of the other NT students could speak limited to no Spanish. For this reason, the majority of the communication was outside of translators and communication was shown simply through loving the kids with play, hugs, and smiles.

“Many of them were too young to understand,” Tenorio, one of the fluent translators said. “So we had to show them Christ’s love.” And within those shared interactions, Tenorio was able to see more than simple smiles from a child, but the beauty of the Creator as well.

“In the orphanage, just being with those kids, God put a huge love in my heart for them,” Tenorio said. “By seeing their smiles and their eyes sparkle so beautifully, I could just see Christ’s love and God’s beauty in them.”

According to Falk, the unveiling of beauty has been a typical reaction to service in his experience. “Everything around you becomes more beautiful when you’re doing God’s will,” he said. “You appreciate people more when you’re ministering to them and the people you’re ministering with are more beautiful. They shine, but in a very literal way.”

Upon the group’s arrival at the orphanage, BSM intern Stephanie Gates said she did notice some remnants of their trip last year through the call of recollected names and knowing gazes. “Those kids remembered us and that’s huge,” Gates said. “It’s so important to invest in those kids and let them know that we come back because they are important to us.”

A couple hours each day was reserved to pass out bags of rice and beans in different destitute neighborhoods. Each Spanish-speaker led a small group that went door to door with a slightly different goal than last year’s distribution, said NT senior Liand Cotto – “more quality than quantity.” “Last year we tried to help more families by giving out more rice and beans,” Cotto said. “This year the rice and beans were more of a gift to give the families after we had really talked and invested in their lives.”

One such investment occurred when NT freshman Brittney Bell was able to share a life-story that related to a Hispanic woman dealing with a difficult situation. “I was able to take something that was so American and make it so Mexican,” Bell said. “I was able to see how Christ is multicultural – He knows no boundaries, no borders, language, love or location.”

Tenorio, as a translator, said she also had an opportunity to see God overcome language barriers when going door to door. “The first day was hard because I usually don’t speak Spanish every day,” Tenorio said. “But I noticed how God reassured me that it was going to be ok. Even though no people were saved right on the spot, I planted a seed and God was glorified through that.”

For encouragement, Tenorio said she held fast to Galatians 6:9. “I would repeat it to myself constantly,” she said. “‘Let us not become weary for at His proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.’ So I never felt like any day was a failure because I wasn’t giving up.”

Gates said a ministry such as passing out rice and beans gave the group an opportunity to be the “hands, feet and mouth” of the undersized neighboring church with which they were serving, Borderland Calvary Chapel in Reynosa. “With such a small congregation, they were unable to meet the physical needs of the community,” Gates said. “So through us knocking on doors, saying hello, and passing out food we were able to open up opportunities for Pastor Ed to fulfill spiritual needs and strengthen his ministry in Reynosa. That’s a great picture of the body of Christ. Christ met physical needs, emotional needs, and spiritual needs.”

Wednesday and Thursday evenings the team held a VBS at Borderland Calvary for the local children in Reynosa. Through interaction with the children, Newby said he found a new means of communication that did not require any Spanish knowledge – and it came in the form of his newfound nickname ‘caballito’ (little horse).

“The last night of VBS I really wanted to focus on one kid – a little girl named Leslie,” Newby said. “And all she wanted to do was get on my shoulders and ride around.” However, he said that through countless horse-back rides he was able to communicate something a bit more profound. “Through translation I found out that Leslie really cared that I was there,” Newby said. “She really loved me and appreciated that I helping and focusing on her. I wanted her to realize how much Christ loved her.” After two days with Leslie, Newby said that he was just picking up and leaving without a second thought was not an option.

“At that point I realized that I can’t just stop there, talking to her just in Mexico,” he said, “but also keeping in constant communication through letters and pictures from the week. I want to show her how to pursue something more than what she has there in Mexico.” It’s this kind of personal ministry that Newby said he finds most effective. “First you get to know them and then get a chance to talk to them about God,” he said. “He’s more like just a storybook character to them than a Savior at that age. But if they realize how much I love Christ, and what he’s done for me, hopefully in some way I’ve planted a seed and they realize how much Christ loves them.”

Instead of the construction of homes, the goal for this trip was instead, the construction of hearts that know the Father – a type of ministry that relies heavily on faith, Gates said. “On many mission trips, you go, build a house, and see the progress. When you’re done you see the finished project,” Gates said. “But this trip was not like that at all.”

While a trip such as this may not have the structure of a building, it has the benefits of dealing with God’s people and investing in lives in a different way than lumber and nails. “Each conversation is a chance for God to move in someone’s life, but we never get to see the end result,” she said. “The gospel tells us to go out and preach the good news and then to trust that God is in control of that. At the end of the day, without particularly seeing any progress, we are able to glorify God by being faithful to the call He has placed on our lives.”

Now as the group has returned to the University of North Texas, the real question is not only how their ministry this spring break changed the people they came into contact with, but also how it has changed the students themselves.

“I find that spending time with the kids and seeing the devastation with poverty has really changed my life,” Newby said. “Now I realize that as a poor, broke, college student I have it pretty good compared to people I’ve seen in Mexico this week.”

According to Tenorio, the root intention for this mission trip, and all of the life lessons learned there from, can be traced back to those first two boys fighting over the soccer ball at the orphanage. “It broke my heart but I know that I was put there during that situation so that I could reassure that little boy that he has Christ’s love,” Tenorio said. “He may not have material possessions but he has the greatest gift. None of those material possessions put together could surpass Christ’s love.”

Sunday, March 9, 2008

going to mexico...

the UNT BSM is going back to reynosa, mexico again for our spring break mission trip. we will be leaving saturday, march 15, and will be getting back friday the 21st. click here to read about our trip there last spring break.

also, click here check out our photo album of our spring break trip last year.

i'll put pictures up and write about our trip when we get back.

Thursday, March 6, 2008

our lovely spring snow.

ok. it's march 6th... and currently we have around 7 inches of snow in denton. i live in texas. this should not happen. we had snow earlier this week and i didn't even have a chance to put pictures up from that snow-filled day before we had another one.

it usually takes me about 15 minutes to get from the BSM to my house, today it took me an hour. i saw cars and trucks running off the road into ditches, buses struggling to drive, etc. the worst part of the drive was driving up the street i live on. i live in the country... and usually the small amount of traffic is a plus for my location, but today i would have thoroughly enjoyed some tire marks to follow. once i made it the driveway that leads to my house i thought i was home free, little did i know that the adventure was just about to begin. i wasn't able to get my car up the driveway that leads to my house, so i had to pull out a trusty "shovel" (which was a lid to a big plastic storage container... no one in texas owns a snow shovel) and go to work on my driveway so that i could get my car into the garage. just so you know, i conquered and the car is thawing out while being safely parked inside. here are some pictures of our crazy weather:

my car in the BSM parking lot

this shows my shoveling handiwork.

my front yard.

more from my front yard.

my back yard.

this weather is crazy, but i must admit that i'm looking forward to cooking dinner, curling up on the couch and watching a movie.

Tuesday, March 4, 2008


it snowed last night! when you are from texas, that's a big deal. hopefully, pictures will come soon.

Monday, March 3, 2008

an update... long overdue

well, it's been a while since i've actually written anything to put on here. good intentions seem to not mean a whole lot lately when it comes to my blogging world. i could easily offer excuses after excuses for my lack of attention to posting, but instead of wasting my time and yours by doing that, i'll skip over that and just offer the simple, yet always offered excuse.... i'm busy.

my job at the baptist student ministry at the university of north texas continues to keep my plate full and my calendar booked. in january i was offered the associate director position at our bsm, by my bosses at the collegiate ministry department of the BGCT, of which i have accepted, so i'm officially staying in denton past my original 2 year intern commitment. ministry has been going well and it's been exciting to see all that is going on in the lives of our students. while programs and activities keep us from being bored, the best part about the job is having a front row seat to watch all that God is doing in each of the student's lives. currently, we are planning an air guitar competition to raise money for go now missions. check out our event blog for more information... check often, it will be updated as each detail comes together. also, you can give money towards texas student missions on the site as well. help us send texas college students all over the world as they serve God in missions.

along with my involvement in college ministry, worship opportunities have been abundant. just about every weekend has been booked with opportunities to lead, and currently i am serving an unofficial "interim" position each week at crossroads church in cleburne. it has been great having these opportunities, and i am praying for direction with my involvement in music ministry.

a few weeks ago i traveled to oklahoma city with my parents to watch my little brother, jeff, perform the male lead in the opera, the ballad of baby doe put on by the oklahoma city university. jeff did a fabulous job, and made his big sister proud. i've never really been a big opera fan... but when he's on stage, i enjoy it immensely. he's quite the talented guy, and i look forward to all that God is going to do through him as he continues to use his great talent.

recently, i made a purchase to help me keep track of my hectic life. after years of carrying a cell phone and a palm pilot, i decided to condense these two necessities into one device. so i am now the proud owner of a smart phone, of which i am still figuring out all of the functions it can do, but i've enjoyed only having to carry one thing with me everywhere i go.

it is snowing outside right now, so i'm going to end this update to go and look outside my front door and enjoy the snow (a rarity in texas). i will try and update more frequently, but i'm only going to say "try" because i do not want to make a promise that i can't keep.

until next time... i pray you experience God's love and grace in a new way today.

Friday, February 22, 2008

you tube humor

here are some funny videos that my students have shown me. they have provided lots of laughter and reenactments. i hope you enjoy them as much as we have.

Thursday, January 24, 2008