Friday, December 31, 2010

Still a work in progress... But the painting is finished!



Sent from my Palm Pre on the Now Network from Sprint

master bedroom makeover

the redoing of my bedroom has been a long process. one that has included, painting and repainting. today i completed the majority of the painting... stay tuned for the before and after pictures in a few days.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Thursday, December 16, 2010

in honor of the big 3-0


in honor of the big 3-0, i bought myself an age appropriate gift.

not only am i now the proud owner of a marshmallow gun (i've wanted one for years), but it's a rapid-fire one... it shoots 12 marshmallows at once.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Pastor's Faith Endures After Cancerous Brain Tumor

here is a video of matt chandler's interview on ch. 5 news this week.

View more news videos at: http://www.nbcdfw.com/video.

a repost...

i read this post this morning and wanted to share it here.

You Can't Follow Jesus, A blog post by Steven Furtick

Simon Peter asked him, “Lord, where are you going?” Jesus replied, “Where I am going, you cannot follow now, but you will follow later.” Peter asked, “Lord, why can’t I follow you now? I will lay down my life for you.” Then Jesus answered, “Will you really lay down your life for me?
John 13:36-38

The propelling force behind Peter’s denial wasn’t his lack of faith. Otherwise he wouldn’t have made the claims he did. It was his overestimation of his faith. He believed he was ready to die for Jesus. But he wasn’t, and Jesus knew it.

So Jesus said the unthinkable: you can’t follow me.

That doesn’t sound like Jesus. After all, this is the Jesus who had told Peter to leave his family, profession, and home to follow Him. Now Jesus is telling Peter he can’t follow Him. Sounds schizophrenic.

But it wasn’t. Jesus knew exactly what He was doing because He knew the exact measure of Peter’s faith.

Peter had initially followed Jesus.
Peter had followed Him on the water.
But he wasn’t ready to follow Jesus to the cross.

Peter wasn’t ready to follow Jesus everywhere. Not at that moment.
You’re not ready to follow Jesus everywhere either. Not at this moment.

And here’s the truth: Jesus isn’t expecting you to. While we definitely often overestimate our own faith, I think we underestimate the grace and patience of Jesus for our lack of faith even more. Jesus expects you to exercise the faith that you have, not the faith that you still have to develop.

There are places in your life where your faith is still lacking. There are moments where you still struggle. The question for you in those places and in those moments is the same as it was for Peter: will you really lay down your life for Jesus?

And the answer is no.
But that is why He laid down His life for you.

That’s what He was leaving to do when He told Peter he couldn’t follow Him.
And that’s what He’s done for you when you can’t follow Him.

Practice the measure of faith that you have. Follow Jesus where you can.
But know that His grace covers you when you can’t and He is patient with you while you are developing the faith to follow Him where you can’t go right now.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

the Rangers need to sign brian wilson

after watching this video, the fact that Brian Wilson's a SF Giant (who beat my Rangers in the world series) doesn't impact my opinion of him any more.

a weekend off

this weekend has been the 1st one i've had completely "off" since school started in august. there have been a few weekends where i've had company in town or been out of town in the mix, but most of my weekends have been filled with BSM stuff this semester.

so far my weekend has consisted of:
saturday:
- sleeping in
- laying on the couch
- a nap
- church (my church is currently renovating the sactuary, so we met for church on saturday night at DBC instead of our regular Sunday services)
- went to bed early

Sunday:
- breakfast at old west cafe

- and now on to getting a few things done around the house
- and then a nap!

Monday, November 1, 2010

an update on Matt Chandler.

here is an article written about Matt Chandler, my pastor at the Village Church.


praise God for how he's using matt and his family to point people to the Cross in the midst of cancer.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

sometimes i get lonely


there's no denying it. sometimes i get lonely. i work in an extremely social place, surrounded by college students, and yet... sometimes i get lonely. i have friends, all around me. some live in my town while others span the globe, and yet... sometimes i get lonely.

being 29 and single has provided me the lessons of eating out and going to movies by myself, and learning to be ok with it.

i've wrestled with balancing when it's ok to call and see if my married friends want to talk or hang out and when i should respect their "couple" time. there's no denying it. sometimes i get lonely.

the past months have seemed to be among the busiest i've known in a long time... and yet, sometimes i get lonely.

i'm not whining or asking for a pity invite, that's not the purpose of this post at all. i recognize that loneliness has provided the opportunity for some of the best lessons i could ever learn, and i'm embracing it.

i've learned how to mow my yard, to hang things by myself, to take a recipe meant for 4 and shrink it down so that i don't have leftovers that will last forever. but most importantly, i've learned that when God says He's all i need... He's actually right.

as i was reading through my google reader this morning, i came across a blog discussing loneliness, and she shared the following video. sometimes the thing that encourage me the most is remembering... i'm not alone. others feel lonely too. what's important, is what you do with your alone time and how you use it to grow.



there's no denying it. sometimes i get lonely. but that's ok. i think "being alone" has impacted who i am in more ways that i could ever describe.

it's helped me find me. it's helped me find God. and if loneliness has helped me to do those things... how could i ever hate it?

Monday, August 2, 2010

70 from the 1970s

This past Saturday, we were honored to host a reception for our 1970s alums. We had a great turnout with over 70 people in attendance. It was great to hear stories about how God used the BSM to impact their lives. It was obvious that the friendships made during their time at UNT were extremely meaningful as we watched them reconnect with one another.


Sunday, August 1, 2010

Matt Chandler Video: 2010 SBC Pastor’s Conference

Video: 2010 SBC Pastor’s Conference

I recommend checking out this video of Matt Chandler's SErmon at the SBC Pastor's Conference.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

ministry...

few things bring me more joy than watching ministry collide with the lives of the students i get to serve. it's like you can visibly see the lightbulb explode when something clicks in the middle of a spiritual conversation.

the lessons God teaches me through the conversations i have with students astound me, and i'm so thankful for the opportunity to do what i do.

we're rapidly approaching august... which means the fall semester is less than a month away. i've been planning, praying, preparing... all in attempt to align our ministry with what God wants to do on our campus.

may God find me faithful as we prepare to serve and share His Gospel.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

in the words of martin luther...

i came across a quote by martin luther that explains a lesson i'm learning right now, "Pray, and let God worry."

usually the end of the semester and summer provide an opportunity to slow down and recover from the craziness of the school year and BSM ministry. that has not been the case this year. the past few months have proven to be difficult and draining for myself and my family. i'd attempt to fill you in but i'm pretty sure i'd develop carpal tunnel b/c of the shear volume of the update, and that does not sound fun.

i've spent a lot of time attempting to process the happenings of the past 4 months, trying to understand what God's doing in my life and the lives of the ones i love. sanctification is hard and painful, but thank God we don't walk through the fire alone.

God's grace continues to be sufficient, and for that, i am so thankful.


Saturday, July 10, 2010

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

update on Matt chandler

here is a video update on Matt Chandler, pastor at my church. praise God.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

one reason why i'm proud to be a belmont alum

UNT BSM leadership appreciation dinner

i hosted our UNT BSM leadership appreciation dinner at my house last weekend. i grilled fajitas, we set up the ping pong table in the back yard, we watched the sandlot on a big screen and had tons of great movie snacks... (s'mores, popcorn, sno cones and cotton candy). it was a blast. here are some pictures.

kim, carli and katie enjoying some cotton candy

the fire-pit and s'more station.

setting up to watch the sandlot.

enjoying fajitas and fellowship.

here's a glance at the full event! praise God for a big backyard!

a new addition to the house

i don't have any complaints about my house... i'm loving living here, but there are a few "tweaks" that i've been planning on making since i moved in. one of those being, a cabinet for the guest bathroom. here are some pictures of the cabinet i had made. i stained it and they came back to hang it up.





Monday, May 3, 2010

nashville's flooded


i went to college in nashville, tn at belmont university. for 4 years, nashville was home. as most of you know, nashville is dealing with some severe flooding. many of my college friends are dealing with flooded homes and roads.

here's a video of the opryland hotel. i worked there as a valet parker my senior year of college. this is crazy to see.

Monday, April 26, 2010

i've been gone for a while

so much has gone on lately that the idea of writing has been overwhelming. not because i don't know what to say, but because there's so much to say.

in the past few weeks... i've watched God work in amazing ways. lost loved ones, went to 2 funerals in less than 24 hours. cried. laughed. celebrated life. couldn't sleep at night. napped on the couch during the day to try and make up for it. experienced God's grace in unexpected ways and places.

i've attempted to describe the past few weeks in a slew of run-on sentences, because that's exactly what it felt like... everything ran together.

i'll end by saying... there is victory in Jesus.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

happy Easter


One Day performed by Jeff Johnson.

Lyrics:
One day when Heaven was filled with His praises
One day when sin was as black as could be
Jesus came forth to be born of a virgin
Dwelt among men, my example is He
Word became flesh and the light shined among us
His glory revealed

Living, He loved me
Dying, He saved me
Buried, He carried my sins far away
Rising, He justified freely forever
One day He’s coming
Oh glorious day, oh glorious day

One day they led Him up Calvary’s mountain
One day they nailed Him to die on a tree
Suffering anguish, despised and rejected
Bearing our sins, my Redeemer is He
Hands that healed nations, stretched out on a tree
And took the nails for me

One day the grave could conceal Him no longer
One day the stone rolled away from the door
Then He arose, over death He had conquered
Now He’s ascended, my Lord evermore
Death could not hold Him, the grave could not keep Him
From rising again

One day the trumpet will sound for His coming
One day the skies with His glories will shine
Wonderful day, my Beloved One, bringing
My Savior, Jesus, is mine

Friday, April 2, 2010

thanks dad.

thanks for hanging this for me dad. it's getting put to good use.


Sunday, March 28, 2010

Welcome home burt and lola. You've been missed.



-- Sent from my Palm Pre

My dad would be so proud! I remember how he taught me to store extension cords!



-- Sent from my Palm Pre

pastor John Piper...

i've served in full-time ministry since i was 23 years old. now, as a ripe old 29 yr. old... i continue to recognize how little i know and how green i am when it comes to serving/loving/teaching people well.

i am not a person who likes to learn a lesson the hard way. i constantly watch and observe those around me and the leaders i admire to see how they lead and what i can learn from them. i read blogs and follow pastors/ministers on twitter in hopes that some of their wisdom will somehow rub off on me.

one of those pastors is john piper. here's a letter that he sent out to his congregation. i am thankful for John's honesty and pursuit of the Holy Spirit. this letter is an example to me of humility and the pursuit of that to which God has called us (ministers and his followers) to.

to see a man recognize the importance of his marriage, family and relationship with the Lord... and acknowledge how his job (ministry) has hindered all of the above... take the bold step to step back and focus on the things that God first trusted him with, is truly a humbling reminder of God's grace in my life.

shouldn't i always reevaluate and re-check how i'm loving God and my family/friends every day? i'm so good at taking advantage of them, knowing that they are always there, willing to love the flaws in me...

i thank God for using other people's growth in my own pursuit of Him.

here's John's letter to his congregation. would you be able to be this open and honest with the people in your life and those that God has entrusted you with?

John Piper's Upcoming Leave


By John PiperMarch 28, 2010


As you may have already heard in the sermon from March 27-28, the elders graciously approved on March 22 a leave of absence that will take me away from Bethlehem from May 1 through December 31, 2010. We thought it might be helpful to put an explanation in a letter to go along with the sermon.

I asked the elders to consider this leave because of a growing sense that my soul, my marriage, my family, and my ministry-pattern need a reality check from the Holy Spirit. On the one hand, I love my Lord, my wife, my five children and their families first and foremost; and I love my work of preaching and writing and leading Bethlehem. I hope the Lord gives me at least five more years as the pastor for preaching and vision at Bethlehem.

But on the other hand, I see several species of pride in my soul that, while they may not rise to the level of disqualifying me for ministry, grieve me, and have taken a toll on my relationship with Noël and others who are dear to me. How do I apologize to you, not for a specific deed, but for ongoing character flaws, and their effects on everybody? I’ll say it now, and no doubt will say it again, I’m sorry. Since I don’t have just one deed to point to, I simply ask for a spirit of forgiveness; and I give you as much assurance as I can that I am not making peace, but war, with my own sins.

Noël and I are rock solid in our commitment to each other, and there is no whiff of unfaithfulness on either side. But, as I told the elders, “rock solid” is not always an emotionally satisfying metaphor, especially to a woman. A rock is not the best image of a woman’s tender companion. In other words, the precious garden of my home needs tending. I want to say to Noël that she is precious to me in a way that, at this point in our 41-year pilgrimage, can be said best by stepping back for a season from virtually all public commitments.

No marriage is an island. For us this is true in two senses. One is that Noël and I are known inside-out by a few friends at Bethlehem—most closely by our long-time colleagues and friends David and Karin Livingston, and then by a cluster of trusted women with Noël and men with me. We are accountable, known, counseled, and prayed for. I am deeply thankful for a gracious culture of transparency and trust among the leadership at Bethlehem.

The other way that our marriage is not an island is that its strengths and defects have consequences for others. No one in the orbit of our family and friends remains unaffected by our flaws. My prayer is that this leave will prove to be healing from the inside of my soul, through Noël’s heart, and out to our children and their families, and beyond to anyone who may have been hurt by my failures.

The difference between this leave and the sabbatical I took four years ago is that I wrote a book on that sabbatical (What Jesus Demands from the World). In 30 years, I have never let go of the passion for public productivity. In this leave, I intend to let go of all of it. No book-writing. No sermon preparation or preaching. No blogging. No Twitter. No articles. No reports. No papers. And no speaking engagements. There is one stateside exception—the weekend devoted to the Desiring God National Conferencecombined with the inaugural convocation of Bethlehem College and Seminary in October. Noël thought I should keep three international commitments. Our reasoning is that if she could go along, and if we plan it right, these could be very special times of refreshment together.

The elders have appointed a group to stay in touch and keep me accountable for this leave. They are David Mathis, Jon Bloom, Tom Steller, Sam Crabtree, Jon Grano, Tim Held, Tony Campagna, and Kurt Elting-Ballard. Five of these have walked with Noël and me over the last two months, helping us discern the wisdom, scope, and nature of this leave. They brought the final recommendation to the elders on March 22.

I asked the elders not to pay me for this leave. I don’t feel it is owed to me. I know I am causing more work for others, and I apologize to the staff for that. Not only that, others could use similar time away. Most working men and women do not have the freedom to step back like this. The elders did not agree with my request. Noël and I are profoundly grateful for this kind of affection. We will seek the Lord for how much of your financial support to give back to the church, to perhaps bear some of the load.

Personally, I view these months as a kind of relaunch of what I hope will be the most humble, happy, fruitful five years of our 35 years at Bethlehem and 46 years of marriage. Would you pray with me to that end? And would you stand by your church with all your might? May God make these eight months the best Bethlehem has ever known. It would be just like God to do the greatest things when I am not there. “Neither he who plants nor he who waters is anything, but only God who gives the growth” (1 Corinthians 3:7).

I love you and promise to pray for you every day.

Pastor John

Sunday, March 21, 2010

breckenridge mission trip team

here's a picture of our breckenridge mission trip team.


from left to right: hollye, brad, me, lindsay and lance.

sledding... it's a dangerous sport

here's a video of some of our UNTBSM students sledding while on our Spring Break mission trip to Breckenridge. one of my students, lindsay, decided that sledding wasn't exciting enough... so she added some excitement.


We've already got a couple of inches...



-- Sent from my Palm Pre

Saturday, March 20, 2010

vicky beeching's new EPK.


scary drive

yesterday, our UNTBSM mission team drove from Breckenridge to Denver so that we could catch a 7 am flight home today. here's what i drove a 15 passenger van through.

praise God for his protection.

Here's a better picture of the snow.



-- Sent from my Palm Pre

Left CO today and came home to this. This was not expected.



-- Sent from my Palm Pre

Dodgeball video for the BSM


here's a video that some students of mine made for a dodgeball event we're having on Monday.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

a repost: you are their covering...

here is a repost of a blog i read this morning for leaders. how are your covering skills?

You are a covering

This post is specifically for leaders. Not just pastors- moms, dads, coaches, teachers, big brothers…if you lead anyone or anything, I’m talking to you.

My 4-year-old Elijah has had a little cough for the last week. Nothing serious at all. But of course, it’s waking him up a lot at night, his throat is starting to hurt, and now he’s not talking as much because his voice is so scratchy.

No parent likes to see their kids in pain- even when it’s a minor thing. I can’t even begin to imagine what it would be like to watch your child suffer through a major illness. If you’ve experienced that, I’m very sorry. I would never want to come across like I’m comparing my son’s cold to a serious health issue. But I want to share something simple God showed me through something as ordinary as a run of the mill, spring cold.

Elijah came up to me on about day 4 of the cold, hugged my leg, and said (in a pretty pitiful tone of voice, incidentally): “Daddy, my throat just keeps hurting and hurting…did you go to throat school?”

(This is a Furtick family inside joke. When my kids complain about being hurt, I ask them where they hurt. If they say it’s their nose, I tell them not to worry, because Daddy went to nose school. Then I might wiggle their nose, maybe rub some lotion on it, blow on it, and otherwise treat the condition until they’re satisfied that it’s better. I also went to ear school, knee school, tummy school…you’d be surprised how thoroughly educated I am.)

So I performed some standard throat school techniques on Elijah, but then decided we should pray together. I mean, not that my throat school skills aren’t effective. It’s just that, I was kind of getting sick of seeing my son being sick. And something about how pitiful his eyes looked pushed me over the edge. So I told him we were going to pray about it. And we didn’t pray one of our typical: “Jesus, help me feel better” prayers. We got downright Pentecostal. I even got out my olive oil and commanded the sickness to leave my son’s body in Jesus’ name. I told Elijah to thank God for his healing, and taught him a scripture to recite when he feels really bad. I’m not sure how much he understood. And I’m not even sure where you line up on how to pray for the sick theologically.

But I know this: while I was praying the most forceful prayer I knew how to pray for my child to feel better, I realized how important it is that I take my position as the covering of my household seriously. The concept of a spiritual covering is a complicated, oft-abused, and somewhat obscure one for a lot of theological traditions, mine included. I’m not even sure I understand all of the implications. I do know this:

If God has made you a leader, He has empowered you to be a sort of spiritual covering for those you lead. Are you covering them with integrity? Prayer? A good example? Words of blessing?

Not just when they’re sick or in trouble…but are you covering their daily decisions? Are you covering them with affirmation? Wisdom?

It’s a humbling thing to realize God has placed you as a protective parameter over someone else. And you have to keep this concept in context, because obviously, each of us has an individual accountability before God, so we can’t internalize the failures of others as our own. And above all, we should never pervert this idea to serve our own purposes or manipulate others.

But you can’t get away from it- God calls those of us who are strong to defend the weak. Those of us in positions of authority are commanded to diligently watch over those who look to us for insight and help.

You are someone’s covering.

Make sure you’ve got them covered well.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Friday, March 12, 2010

an interesting encounter tonight...

i spent some time at a starbucks in ft. worth tonight... so did santa.

video update on Matt Chandler

Thursday, March 4, 2010

if you're in a spiritual funk... a repost

here's a blog that steven furtick of elevation church posted today called, "if you're in a spiritual funk today, you might want to..."

-Pray out loud.
-Write your prayer out.
-Read your Bible out loud. Start here.
-Apologize to someone. Even if it’s not primarily your fault.
-Talk to someone you trust. If you don’t have someone, hire a professional.
-Rest.
-Exercise.
-Start eating better.
-Drive around listening to a sermon.
-Turn up some worship music really loud. Shut the door. Sing along.
-Go back and do the thing you know you were supposed to do.
-Get organized.
-Repent.
-Encourage somebody who would never expect it.
-Get back in church. Serve somewhere.
-Quit complaining.
-Go on a date with your wife.
-Tell somebody thank you.
-Give some money away.
-Call on the name of Jesus.
-Remember how far He’s brought you.
-Realize that He’ll never ever leave you.

Just a few ideas to get you started.

You can take it from here…

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Dinner.

Dinner.

Stephanie Gates
Www.stephaniegates.blogspot.com
-- Sent from my Palm Pre

Friday, February 19, 2010

Monday, February 15, 2010

lent... reposted.

last year i wrote a post about lent. with fat tuesday happening tomorrow, i figured it would be appropriate to repost it.

do you give something up for lent?

Lent, in some Christian denominations, is the forty-day-long liturgical season of fasting and prayer before Easter. the forty days represent the time Jesus spent in the desert, where according to the Bible He endured temptation by Satan (thanks wikipedia).

historically, it is during Lent that people give up something... in order to be reminded of spiritual things when "it" (whatever has been given up) crosses their mind. it is a forty day fast.

i can remember times when i would hear people say that they were giving up something that wasn't a daily part of their life. for example, i remember someone saying they were giving up beer for Lent. for some, this would be a sacrifice... for this person... they had never had a drink. how could that be considered a willing sacrifice made in order to glorify God? that seemed very hypocritical to me.

i am not good at giving things up. i struggle with commitment. for some reason, God continues to work on the lack of discipline that is what i call my life. so for the first time in my 28 years, i am going to give something up for Lent.

the Bible says to not 'broadcast' when you are fasting to people (that's the stephanie paraphrase)... so i have decided to keep this sacrifice to myself. i will reveal what i am giving up after the 40 days... in that same post, i will report to you if i stuck to it. stay tuned... and check back around Easter.

the new office

the new job title brought a new office with it. here are the before, during and after pictures. many thanks to my friends and students for all of their help painting and getting everything settled in.

click here to view the entire album.

before:




during:


after: