Saturday, November 28, 2009

The Blind Side


So this afternoon, Lisa, Nicole and I went to see "The Blind Side" and folks, let me tell you that this is the best movie I have seen all year. The entire theater was PACKED, and so was the showing before and there was another line to get in when we left. There is a reason this is doing so well in the theaters, and you need to see it if you have not.

I went from tears to laughing to tears several times throughout, and the acting was just real. It was not fake, it was not pushed, it was just honest and straight forward good entertainment with a tremendous lesson that we need to pay attention to those around us, and when we can reach out to lend a hand.

Now, let me be honest and say that there were a few "situational" areas where some language was present but there were no f-bombs, and absolutely NO nudity -- praise the Lord for that! What there was however, was just real life with real situations in the ghetto where one would expect similar types of conversations to occur. However, the main acting of the movie is either done in a Christian school setting or in a home and so the language was non-existent in those areas.

Let me say though, seeing it today was especially great since ALABAMA beat AUBURN last night in the "Iron Bowl". I tell ya what, when the coach of Tennessee was shown there were "boos" in the theater, when the coach of Georgia was shown, more "boos" were heard, when the coach of Old Miss was shown even more "boos" .... however when Nick Saban was on (even though he was playing his former role as coach of LSU), "cheers" erupted throughout the theater! Woo! I absolutely LOVE me some SEC rivalry! HA HA HA

Back on point though, the movie was just first rate and I would recommend it for anyone over the age of 13. Parents, you can feel OK taking your teens to see this movie .... and I would not steer ya wrong. Thanks for reading and thanks for allowing me to promote this film.

Friday, November 27, 2009

The power of the cross

Oswald Chambers had a few great statements yesterday (in the November 26 devotional) that I thought were worth examining a bit here and bringing to light some application for this world. Let me be clear first though that I do not believe Oswald Chambers needs to be "amplified" at all (especially by me), but the additional thoughts are just what the Lord was speaking to me as I was reading, and so I thought I would share them with you.

"If you want to know the power of God (that is, the resurrection life of Jesus) in your human flesh, you must dwell on the tragedy of God. Break away from your personal concern over your own spiritual condition, and with a completely open spirit consider the tragedy of God."

Friends, where is our examination of the tragedy of the cross? I have said it for years and I am convinced that we simply do not focus enough on the cross and what it means. Take a look at this world and you'll see why. Everything is about "me", even in the church we have folks showing up asking "how will the Lord bless me ..." and personally I am sick of it. The cross of Calvary is beyond our understanding, but as a challenge we should be focused more on it to try to understand the mind of our Lord and why He would sacrifice His Son on it, for us. We must be willing to attempt to grasp the cross, to attempt the grasp the sacrifice -- and in doing so I believe our lives will be changed forever ... but it must be a life-long journey to comprehend Calvary.

"We have to focus on the great point of spiritual power— the Cross. If we stay in contact with that center of power, its energy is released in our lives."

Wow. The cross is our power. It is what brings to our realization that it is not about us, but it is about what happened on the cross for our sakes. Can you imagine if we were to really plug into the cross how different our lives would be? Could we imagine the change that would happen in our lives if we actually stopped trying to do things ourselves and yet allowed what God has given us to be manifested and to move through us? Let me be clear and unapologetic in saying that we can do nothing without God's authority and power; and I really feel that more pulpits need to have this proclaimed from them. It is not a human thing to bring people into the Kingdom of God, it is a Holy Spirit thing and as soon as we stop thinking we are something to behold, I believe that the cross will begin to have REAL power in our lives.

"The feebleness of the church is being criticized today, and the criticism is justified. One reason for the feebleness is that there has not been this focus on the true center of spiritual power. We have not dwelt enough on the tragedy of Calvary or on the meaning of redemption."

Finally, this just hits it home for me. The church has no power today friends. We have lost the focus that it is about the cross, and in my opinion the cross needs to stop being a decoration on a wall. When will we wake up and see that the work is of God, and we are only vessels who have the honor of participating? I think this starts when we begin to try to comprehend the cross, even though we will never fully understand it. This ought to stir in us the need to continue searching for the understanding, and in this search make us hungry for the mind of God.

So, where is your priority? What do you focus on today? Is it the mystery and the wonder of the cross or is it on something on television or even here on the internet? It's time church to stop being feeble and pay attention to what God has done for you; and not spend all our time trying to do things in "our name". This nation, our city, our town, even our homes will NEVER change until we begin to focus on the power and the authority of the cross.

Wake up church ... wake up.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving 2009

This morning I (finally) woke up to the smell of bacon and eggs and immediately I was thankful for the family that the Lord has given me. My beautiful wife Lisa decided to make breakfast this morning (even though we have a big meal to cook later) and it's just those small things that make me thankful for what I have in this world. As we begin to celebrate Thanksgiving (we are having a quiet one this year at home), my mind goes back to past Thanksgivings where times were much tighter, and still there the four of us were pulling ourselves together and ensuring that what was really important ... stayed that way!!

Today as you celebrate Thanksgiving I pray that you take the time to give thanks, and not just in the traditional praise chorus way or even do it flippantly; but really take time to offer thanks for all that you have been given in this world. Personally, I’m thankful for the salvation so freely given to me through a sacrifice at Calvary that I did not deserve or earn; I’m thankful for the wife and children that the Lord has entrusted to me and all that they mean to me; and I’m thankful for the blessed friends that I have made over the past year while we have each been celebrating what Christ has done in our lives.

May the Lord bless you richly today, and always my friends. I would like to say most especially that I cherish each of your friendships, and I am the one who is richly blessed for having you in my life. May God bless you always. Happy Thanksgiving.

Psa 30:12, "... that my heart may sing to you and not be silent. O LORD my God, I will give you thanks forever."

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Mercy Me in Johnson City, TN

Most folks know that I am a pretty big Mercy Me fan, and have been following them on tour (more specifically online) for a while now .... as well as live as our family got to see and meet them this year in Montgomery. Well, tonight was the last night of the Fall 2009 tour and they posted a short video on their blog that I really felt was worth sharing. Johnny Diaz and Tenth Avenue North appeared on stage with Mercy Me as back up dancers .... it's just too funny. Check it out!!

Wednesday, November 18, 2009


Note: This post is dedicated to all of my BlogNation friends whom I have met through the online Mercy Me concerts where the Lord continues to do an amazing work. Thank you for our times of worship and edifying the Body of Christ, you are a tremendous encouragement to my life. May the Lord always bless you!!

This afternoon I went for a run on the treadmill, and of course I always enjoy listening to Mercy Me when I run so that was playing. However, about halfway through my run, the Lord began to speak to me through the song “Sanctified”, to the point that I had to play it several times. As I continued running, I was suddenly awestruck by a portion of this song that I have heard dozens of times before. It goes:
No greater love has ever been known,
than He who came to find the lost.
No greater sacrifice has been shown,
than He who laid upon the cross.

Let all creation sing for He has come and He's changed everything!

Sanctified I have been set free,
Grace divine has swept me off my feet.

John 15:13 tells us, “Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends”, and to me I just cannot understand why Jesus would die for someone like me. Why the creator of everything that ever is or was would look at me and say that I was His leaves me without words. There is no greater sacrifice that has ever been shown than to consider the cross and what it means. It is not a piece of jewelry; it is not a symbol at the front of the church; but it means that on that place a man, the very Son of God, laid down His life willingly so that you and I could redeemed. Did you get that? He laid it down. He was not was thrown down, nor was He forced to give it up – but He gave it so that this world might find hope. Amazing …

I confess that there is nothing I could ever do to repay that sacrifice. There is nothing I could ever do to say “thank you” enough to repay Him. Yet, as Jesus was about to be arrested, He is seen praying for those that would come after Him (that would be you and I). He prayed to His Father (recorded in John 17:19), “For them I sanctify myself, that they too may be truly sanctified.” My friend, Jesus knew what He was about to do, and in doing it (laying down His life) He knew that it would not only complete Him, but complete everyone who followed Him.

Tonight I must admit that my heart is simply over-flowing with His love, for which I am so incredibly unworthy. How does one express how thankful they are that on April 19, 1994 Jesus Christ became my personal Lord and Savior and forever changed the course of my life? How could I ever begin to repay someone who willingly died for me, just so that I might be sanctified? This evening I feel swept off my feet, because I know that I belong to Jesus – and there is nothing I could ever do to earn it, but it was a gift given freely to me.

What about you? How do you feel? Sanctified? Free?

Or maybe, imprisoned? You too can be free, if only you would admit that you are a sinner, believe that Jesus died for you, and accept Him as your Lord and Savior.

Would you?

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Where does the time go?

Can anyone tell me ... Where does the time go?



Saturday, November 14, 2009

Pre vs. Blackberry vs. Yours?


I'm just going to say this for the record: I'm looking at my Palm Pre and my Blackberry sitting side by side on my desk and I am honestly beginning to miss using my Blackberry ... big time.

The Pre is a good phone and all, but really, other than the Wi-Fi option (so I can use it in the house here in the "sticks") I just cannot seem to find anything else spectacular that drives me to the Pre. The photo clarity on the Blackberry was so much better, not too mention I could record video if I wanted too. The support is the same online from both companies and there are loads of communities out there filled with users who will help and argue for or against both; but to be honest right now I am just not sure which is the right phone for me. And oh yeah ... the keyboard was also easier to use with my Fred Flintstone-sized hands and well, I'm just torn right now.

What about you? Is there a particular phone that you prefer?

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Veteran's Day 2009


This year, 2009, marks my last Veterans Day that I will spend on active duty and there are so many things to think about that I just do not know where to start. From the brutal attacks on our Nation that started an 8 year war on terror, to the recent shootings in Ft. Hood that make no sense, to the wars of the past that have granted us the freedom we have today ... we have much to honor our veterans for.

We have seen brave men and women willing to sacrifice their lives, and I am caught short of breath wondering what we have done to honor them in return. Veterans Day has nothing to do with taking the day of off, nor is it a day for sales to begin at the stores, but I believe it is a day to thoughtfully spend some time in reflection and prayer and ask the Lord to continue to protect this Nation of ours.

We have much to be thankful for and I wonder if you would accept my challenge to spend ONE HOUR in prayer for our Nation? Would you be willing to ask God to continue to protect us from those who seek to destroy our land and for our soldiers in harms way? I confess that I do not know what the future holds, but I am confident that I know who holds the future. We need to turn back to God and seek His guidance and continued mercy for our Nation.

Joel 2:12 says, "Even now," declares the LORD, "return to me with all your heart, with fasting and weeping and mourning." Indeed America, we need to return to the Lord with all of our hearts so that He may comfort and lead us in these troubled times we are now facing.

So, are you up to it? Can you spend one hour in prayer on Wednesday?

Friday, November 6, 2009

Another travel week down ....

This past week has been a real challenge as far as being gone again for work, but I have to admit it really was a great trip. I attended the AF Resource Management Conference and during the week we had some very informative briefings regarding the coming fiscal year for the Air Force; as well as discovering some new and improved ways to do business.

However, I must say that the networking opportunities and chance to hang out with some very old (and a few new) friends really made it all worth it. Nashville is a great city to visit, and I have to admit that being a musician for the last 25 years there is a plethora of music to be heard and to see. Of course, if you happen to be in the right place at the right time you can see some great stars as well such as Big and Rich walking around downtown Nashville as well as some friends of mine met Melissa Gilbert ("Laura" from "Little House on the Prairie") in one of the elevators of our hotel.

At any rate, I have to say that while hanging out with friends is always a great time, it is good to be home and sleep in my own bed again. Actually, come to think about it I am home for 10 nights and then I travel again to DC for more meetings the week before Thanksgiving. Ugh. The lesson here is simple: Enjoy my time home this week and make a REAL effort to not work overtime nor add any time to being apart from my family these next few days.

Here's to hoping your weekend is a good one and you too make an effort to spend some time with your family and enjoy the simpler (but more important) things in life.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

November 1, 2009

Another week has passed us by and I have to admit it was pretty good.

One item I have become acutely aware of is the countdown is really on until I retire from the Air Force. As of today I have 8 months and 29 days left of active duty service, and it is really time to start looking for a new job and getting things prepared for the "next life". I must confess that I am looking forward to officially being retired from the Air Force, but more excited to see what God is going to do next with me. Along the same front I am 17 weeks from completing my Master's degree and to be honest, I am about ready to be finished with school for a while.

I have been chatting a bit with our Pastor about getting involved in some opportunities in ministry at the church. We were talking last night at the Harvest Festival (which by the way was a spectacular outreach event) and I was mentioning how privileged I was to be able to preach for him the last three weeks. He confirmed that I would be doing more in the future and personally, many know that I love to preach so this was a joy to hear and to know I would continue to be used for God's purpose in this church. While I am now certain God is not calling me to pastor at this time, He is telling me that I need to be involved in ministry work and ensuring that I work to help proclaim the Gospel to a world that is in dire need.

You see, it is becoming abundantly clear to me through how God is confirming, that there are some real opportunities to be involved in ministry work right where He has me and I simply need to DIVE IN!! Over the past year I have really seen a change in the way I think about ministry work and I feel that the path God has us on is about to begin something new and rewarding for Him. I confess that I can never counsel or understand the mind of the Lord, but there is a reason why we were brought back to this church and as a family we are feeling more and more comfortable with each passing week. Personally, I just thank the Lord that He is still willing to use even me, for His glory.

Tomorrow I am headed to Nashville to attend a conference for work and am looking forward, even now, to being back home on Friday. Also, speaking of being home this morning we celebrated at church the return of Shon Scott after being deployed for a year and it was really good to see him and his family together at church. God is so good at answering prayers, and we are thankful for His answering this one on behalf of our entire church body.

Anyway, that is about all that is new here. I am praying that God would bless you this week and may you always be on the lookout for chances to share Jesus with someone.

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