Monday, December 31, 2012


As Passion is about to begin again I thought I would give some personal thoughts on the conference.  I did a project on Passion and know many people heavily involved in the conference.  First off I want to start by saying that I think Passion is an incredible worship experience that bring many people into a closer walk with God, but I also see issues with it that play a role in our local churches.

The main goal of Passion is to raise up a generation that honors God fully and honors him as Lord through worship.  I think this is an amazing goal to have.  The conference is not out to try and make the almighty buck.  When 50,000+ college students get together with some of the top CCM (Contemporary Christian Music) artist and some of the most influential Christian speakers an incredible experience can occur.  This is an experience that can really draw people into a time of worship where they really connect with God, but once they leave then what?  The students come into the local church and it is just not the same.  Chris Tomlin isn't up there leading, Louie Giglio is not preaching, and you aren't surrounded by 50,000 other people worshipping. Unfortunately it seems like a let-down almost.  It is not as much of an exciting time as Passion was.  Our churches are seeking to emulate Passion by bringing in these songs that have been popularized by Passion and perform them in that style, but it just does not seem the same.  It is like that mountain top experience at Youth Camp.  Unfortunately when you get back into life it isn't the same.

We also make an idol of the experience that we had.  This is true for Passion, but also in any church or worship experience.  If we do not have that extremely worshipful experience then it can feel like a let down or worthless.  I have been there and guilty of it.  We are not going to leave worship every time in tears or ready to go conquer the world for Jesus.  It is apart of our human nature.  We often are that lukewarm Christian that God wants to spew out of his mouth, and that is something that everyone needs to work on.  We cannot let these mountain top experiences define when we truly worship.

I've been told that I am cynical about this and trying to shut down the excitement, but that is not what I am doing.  I am cautioning people that Passion isn't a perfect conference, and everyone involved in their leadership knows that.  Our local church is not perfect.  That is the sin in our lives that causes this.  I am fearful that people will begin to idolize this movement and hold local churches to this standard, which is extremely hard to attain.  Being involved in worship ministry, churches seek so hard to emulate this and create this atmosphere so people will "be able to worship," but that is a bunch of garbage.  God will show up regardless of what we are singing or in what style.

I do pray that a revival is started out of Passion, but when people think that it is the only way God will start a revival is when it becomes an issue.  We place such human importance on it and put confines on God that he will only move as a part of this conference.  As many of my friends make their journey to Passion I pray that God does wonderful things in their lives and they are able to worship God completely, but don't make an idol out of the experience.  God is working, don't place confines on him.

Saturday, December 29, 2012

a new year.

     2012 was a good year, but I am glad to see it come to an end.  It brought about new friendships, traveling, cutting much-needed ties, ending of different chapters, and the beginning of new ones. Here are some of the highlights to my 2012:

  • Graduating from Baylor.
  • Knowing my sweet Ome is walking with Jesus right now after a 30 year battle with M.S.
  • Spontaneous roadtrips.
  • Spending the summer in Houston working at Tallowood Baptist Church.
  • Seeing two of my best friends, Layne and Dave, get married.
  • Traveling to Brazil, Seattle, and Boston.
  • Beginning my Masters degree at SWBTS.
While 2012 had some rough spots, I know that God guided me through each of these things.  He never left my side, not even once.  The road will never be easy, but what do I have to fear?

     As I look to the beginning of 2013 in just a few short days I wanted to set some goals for the year. I'll share a few of them with you. Some are serious, while others are anything but.

  • Read the Bible all the way through.
  • Continually focus on my school work.
  • Find time to read for pleasure.
  • Travel at least 1 time to a place I have never been.
  • Become more financially responsible.
  • Get my Starbucks Gold Card.
  • Attempt to work out on a somewhat consistent basis.
  • Blog more.
  • Practice piano without being forced to.
May you have a blessed end of your 2012 and a great start to 2013. Until next time.

Monday, December 17, 2012


Friday was a terrible day in America, but also China.  There was also a mass murder at a school there with a guy a knife.  It seems like our world is in complete turmoil right now.  The Middle East always seems like it could break into a huge war at the drop of a hat.  Israel and Iran are always on edge. Americas economy is teetering on this "fiscal cliff." Our world seems to be in complete shambles right now.

One amazing thing to see as a result of this tragedy in Newtown, CT was the outpouring of love and also people turning to God in prayer.  But why now? Why does it require the murder of 20 first graders and 6/7 adults for people to fur back to God? Why does it take this senseless loss of life to drive people back to church?  We saw this same thing after September 11, 2001.  Our world was in turmoil and people were beating down the doors of the church, and it lasted a month or so and most were gone again. Now they come back.  We should not have to wait until a terrible thing to happen in our country to turn to God. Like I said Friday, "God hasn't left us, He hasn't gone anywhere.  He hasn't turned His back on us."  God will work in this terrible tragedy.  It breaks my heart to see this young children die, my niece Kylee is the same age as these kids.  I don't know what I would do if it was her that was murdered.  But God is in control and that is an amazing feeling.

As you get with your family this next week for Christmas be sure to tell them how much you love them.  When you are out shopping show the love of Christ in your actions and demeanor.  People are always watching.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Worship and the Eucharist.

What is our worship today? Why do we do certain things? Are we even following biblical principles? These are all things I am attempting to figure out right now.  I am currently in Houston at a Starbucks attempting to begin a research project for my Comparative Liturgies class, comparing the use of the sacraments in large Baptist Churches in 21st century DFW to the Early Church of the 1st, 2nd, and 3rd century.  Sounds a tad bit ridiculous, but I am excited to see how it turns out. Hope it doesn't tank, because it is one of the only grades for this class. Did I put this off until the end of the semester? Of course I did, some things never change.

Back to worship and what we do today.  I have really started to wonder if what we do in our churches right now lines up at all with the early church. Some things do, but we have changed a lot of things today for what appears to be the convenience factor. Heaven forbid that our service last over an hour and fifteen minutes, and yes I admit that I get impatient when church runs long.  The early church would spend long periods of time reading scripture, praying, hearing instruction from the president (their pastor), then the service would shift from the Liturgy of the Word to the Liturgy of the Table and they would partake in the Eucharist (Lord's Supper).  In our churches now we often cram the Lord's Supper into the last 10 minutes of the service and check it off the list for the quarter.  We have lost sight of the true worship that takes place during this time.  This worship act goes back directly to Jesus Christ, yet we feel like we have to squeeze it into our services and not devote the time to it that we should.  It is a time for us to remember the huge sacrifice that was made to grant us our salvation. So next time that your church partakes in the Eucharist take time before the service to prepare your heart. It is probably the most important act of worship that we as Christians do and so little attention is paid to it by both church leadership and also the congregation.  I fall into this trap all the time. So join me as I seek to prepare myself and truly honor the Lord in worship the next time we take the Lord's Supper.

Peace to you.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

a year full of thanks.

Thanksgiving. What an incredible and one of my favorite holidays, behind Christmas of course.  As I sit here and drink my coffee and watch the Macy's Parade in the background I can't help but think about everything that has taken place since last year.  It has been a year full of ups-and-downs.  I struggled with my faith and lived a life that did not line up with my faith, dealt with relationships, lost the only grandmother that I ever knew to a 30 year battle with Multiple Sclerosis, doubted my call to ministry, and not trusting him to provide for me financially and with new relationships.  Too often I would try to go through everything on my own and not involve anyone or ask God for his help.  It is amazing how despite how much that I would try to do on my own that he always pulled me through.  I have so much to be thankful right now so I'll share just a few.

Getting to be in two of my best friends weddings.

Skiing with some of my best friends.

My family, and new sister-in-law Crystal.

That my sweet Ome can finally be able to walk, and for it to be with Jesus.

I could put another 400 pictures on here of trips, formals, football games, but I will spare you all.  God has been so great to bless me here recently with helping provide what I need to help pay for Seminary of my own and showing me that he has planned everything in my life.

As you spend time with your family today take sometime to thank God for everything that he has done for you and will continue to do. God bless you and your families. Happy Thanksgiving from my family to yours.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012


What a great last few days it has been.  Incredible new friendships, new/old job, school is going well, not sure what else can go right!  God is blessing me in huge ways right now and it is sometimes hard not to get caught up in that and forget to thank Him.  I pray that I always remember this verse:

"I will bless the Lord at all times;
his praise shall continually be in my mouth." Psalm 34:1

To say that I am pumped about the next week and half is an understatement.  I get next week off of school for Thanksgiving break, and I cannot wait for that.  Special dates, seeing my brother and his wife, and food, lots and lots of food. It'll be great to relax despite working for most of it and having to start a paper. Thanksgiving is one of my favorite holidays.  The food is amazing, I mean who doesn't love sweet potatoes and pumpkin pie cheesecake?  The time with family and abundance of football cannot be beat.  Also it means we can finally start setting up for Christmas! While it will be a great time with family it will be difficult being the first major holiday when our family is together without my grandmother, Ome, who passed away in February.  I miss her everyday, but I know that she is in heaven not dealing with her M.S. and actually being able to walk along side Jesus.

As you spend time with your family be thankful for your time with them and remember all that God has given you.

Saturday, November 10, 2012

New Beginnings.

Well here it is. My first blog post.  I always said that I would never blog, but here I am.  It is funny how things change!  I am not really sure what direction I am going to go with this.  I still need to do some work with this(which I have no clue how to do), but I am excited to begin a new part of my life.

First off, how amazing is our God?!  There have been some extremely difficult times this semester.  Spent time doubting my call to the ministry and if there was even a point in me being in school.  Despite my own insecurities God has shown his power and grace through it all.  He has provided for me in more ways than I could imagine, brought new people into my life, and has made Isaiah 45:5 apparent when he says "am the LORD, and there is none else, there is no God beside me."  How comforting is that? No matter what we think he is always there and has an incredible plan for us.  I'm not sure what mine is, but I am so excited to see what he has in store.

In my class looking into Contemporary Christian Song someone brought in a song,"All I Have is Christ" by Jordan Kaughlin, that has really hit home for me.  First off the melody and rhythm of the accompaniment give a really cool feel to it, sorry that is the music nerd coming out in me, but it is the text that is key in this song.  

Now, Lord, I would be Yours alone 
And live so all might see 
The strength to follow Your commands 
Could never come from me 
O Father, use my ransomed life 
In any way You choose 
And let my song forever be 
My only boast is You.

"O Father, use my ransomed life in any way you choose." WOW, what a line. That is my prayer and where I got the current name for my blog. 

 Looking forward to a special time of fasting tonight and tomorrow with my church culminating with the Lord's Supper.  Praying that God will reveal his face to me and teach me something new. Thanks for reading and hope that this blogging thing will be my new consistent thing!