Friday, October 7, 2011

I'm horrible with math!!

The last few weeks I’ve done a lot of reflections as we just finished up a series at church on Nehemiah (check it out if you’re interested Change Your World in 52 Days www.h2ochurch.cc) We dug into what breaks our heart, how we can impact the world with our passion, understanding people will attack when we’re onto a good thing and not allowing the enemy to distract us from our God appointed mission. This topic comes just a month or so after the anniversary of my answering the call to the ministry a couple years ago. So, that has spurred some serious reflection and questions and self evaluation of what I’ve been doing for His kingdom.


My passion and what breaks my heart is people hurt by our churches! If you’ve followed me on this blog very much you know this. Those held in bondage by the rules and have never felt the emersion of grace, those who didn’t dress “good enough” for church and someone actually said something, those who sinned and their church severed ties with them, my “etc’s” could go on forever. I have a broken heart for these people, I will cry with these people, I’ll fight for these people!


But then there’s a side of me that tries to pull me away from this passion. It's this human part of me that is flawed and sinful. It's this side of me that hears the outside voices of the world and contradictory religious people. Those that say, “You’re not doing enough!” A side that says, “All this effort can’t make a difference, there too much!” Words of, “You’re not qualified. You’re just an ordinary guy with no “formal preacher training.” These words and thoughts easily creep in as a pastor because you pour tons of time into people, seeing that the return in life change is not equivalent to the energy exerted, or at least what you get to witness anyway. The physics behind that says this calling is immensely inefficient. I’m sorry but it’s a true ugly fact of ministry. And even sometimes, you start to believe it!


But here’s the cool thing! God’s math and laws of physics, and other things I know nothing about, are not the same as the math laws of this world! I’m not saying all this because I’m horrible at math and I can’t help my 4th grader with his homework. I’m saying this because God has a way of taking the smallest things and using it to provide in an overabundance. Whether it is food (i.e. Jesus feeding 5,000 hungry people with a couple sardines and crackers) or whether that be witnessing one life change that provides a long-lasting inspiring spirit of energy. God math isn’t 1+1 = 2; it’s more like, 1+1 = 1,381!!


This last Sunday was one of those times for me. God physics allowed me to witness a person, whose church background I know very well, raise their hand in an act of praise and worship for the first time. I felt like I was watching chains break before my eyes! This person later described it to me as feeling like they had “…found a piece of a puzzle fitting into place, it always belonged there just hadn’t found it yet.” It totally and completely moved me to tears and injected a spirit of energy and blessing in me that will carry me through for a long time! Pastors, church leaders, staff, praise and worship team, children’s teachers, door greeters, ushers, people who are ministering to those where you work, play and live...this is why we do what we do!


As, we learned from Nehemiah, I WILL NOT COME DOWN from the work God has set before me! I will not let the outside world or religious people tell me the job is too big, or we’re doing it wrong, or I don’t know enough, or I’m in over my head! No, I will not come down! My work and energy didn’t change this person’s life a single bit, but it did create a path for God to. That’s why I do what I do! That’s why I will continue to fight for people hurt by church. Give up on me world and religious people for I am lost to the cause…I’ve seen God change lives!

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Man, man, man...

Monday’s email read, “Wanted to let you know that I received your application 2 and everything looks great! Waiting on one more document and then moving you on to the home study! Sincerely, J” This was from the awesome Program Director for Ghana at our adoption agency!



Not that it wasn’t real before but with that email it all became very validating or maybe it’s better to say “she feels closer.” Honestly, I got teary eyed when I read it.



I know this isn’t the “manly” thing to admit, but really I’m past trying to be manly at this stage in my life (come on, I’m 35 years old, 6’2” & 156lbs soaking wet, and if I didn’t shave for a week you wouldn’t notice), I get a lot more emotional the farther Jesus leads down his path. I mean we all cry when Hickory wins the state championship in the movie Hoosiers, but this is ridiculous! You all do cry during that part right?



Seriously I was sharing with a friend last night what a big baby I’ve turned into. We started reading through the Bible at the same time and I was telling him how I was finishing up Genesis and I got really moved when Joseph finally revealed himself to his brothers who sold him into slavery so many years before.



Genesis 45:1-5



Joseph could stand it no longer. There were many people in the room, and he said to his attendants, “Out, all of you!” So he was alone with his brothers when he told them who he was. 2 Then he broke down and wept. He wept so loudly the Egyptians could hear him, and word of it quickly carried to Pharaoh’s palace.



3 “I am Joseph!” he said to his brothers. “Is my father still alive?” But his brothers were speechless! They were stunned to realize that Joseph was standing there in front of them. 4 “Please, come closer,” he said to them. So they came closer. And he said again, “I am Joseph, your brother, whom you sold into slavery in Egypt. 5 But don’t be upset, and don’t be angry with yourselves for selling me to this place. It was God who sent me here ahead of you to preserve your lives.



That was really powerful for me! Then I thought about this adoption and our little girl I’ve yet to lay eyes on and a slew of things crossed my mind that I know are gonna tear me up!



I’m gonna cry…at the first sight of her face.



when we have to leave without her on our first visit.



at the sight of Christy seeing her face for the first time.



at the sight of my boys seeing her face for the first time.



at her living conditions.



when she cries.



when we get to share our first bowl of Ramen noodles together.



if she doesn’t want me at first b/c I’m still a strange man to her.



when she misses her friends.



when she makes new ones.



at hearing her story of abandonment.



when she is very confused by our culture.



because I can’t take them all home.



when she freaks over a dog in the house.



when I can’t get her hair right even though I’ve been practicing.



when she gets excited about flushing toilets and bathtubs full of water.



when she asks about going back.



when she falls asleep in our bed.



I’m starting to think that maybe this has nothing to do with being "manly" at all. Maybe this has to do with I’m finally seeing the world through His eyes and it either breaks my heart or gives me great joy.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

The Far Side

Recently Christy was arranging books into a bookshelf we finally got for our bedroom after 13 years of marriage. My side of the bed no longer looks like the aftermath of a Christian bookstore explosion! But as I was glancing across the shelf at some of the books from a box or two that went back early on in our marriage I was reminded of just how different Christy and I really are.


Here’s what I saw and laughed out loud…



Yes, Gary Larson artist and author of the now retired Far Side comics spooning with Emily Post and her Book of Etiquette right there on the shelf in front of me! I seriously did laugh out loud. I’ll let you guess which book is Christy’s and which is mine.



I thought WOW, God had to have been setting up in heaven, needed a little entertainment and said to himself, “I’ll match these two up and see what happens!” Reminded me of what we used to do in college to the freshmen during enrollment when I was Resident Assistant in the dorms. I’m completely guilty and slightly remorseful for taking freshman that didn’t have a roommate and matching with someone “interesting”, like placing students with their former high school rivals or putting together someone from a big city with someone very country, maybe even a “polo” with a “goth” once. Then we’d stand back and watch our own little personal sociology experiment unfold! OKAY, you can quit judging me NOW! That was back in the day when I wasn’t so close to God…and I won’t tell you that right now I’m finding some humor in remembering some of their faces and the stories that followed when they came down to request a different roommate! God’s grace is BIG, I’m forgiven quit judging me!



Anyway, back to me and Christy, I know God has gotten a good deal of entertainment from watching us figure each other out over the years. I on the other hand, haven’t been as excited about some of the stumbling blocks in our marriage and there were times in first few years that I was ready to go to the front desk of the dorm and request a different roommate…truth be known, Christy had the right to visit the front desk way more than me. The night of July 4th 2001 comes to mind.



That was the night that I came home from a party and became fully engaged in a multitasking exercise that had me with one foot on the floor making my best attempt to stop the room from spinning, as I held down the couch I had not so nicely been asked to sleep on, all while making a last ditch plea to convince my eight month pregnant wife not to go across town to stay with her parents. I think her parting words, in the kindest way possible, went something like, “…and make sure you repaint that wall that you threw-up all over last night!” At this point Jeremiah 29:11 “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” was far far from my mind.



Today as a pastor, that’s one of the most transparent stories I can can give you about my marriage and my life before I drew close to God. Honestly, I had no intention of telling that story when I started this post it’s just where the Holy Spirit led me. I think it’s important as church leaders that we share our flawed pasts as well as our future mess ups. Church leaders are not called to the ministry because they are perfect; we are called to the ministry because God can show his power by using us through our past and in spite of our flaws.



God was disappointed in the condition I allowed myself to get into that night, but he rejoiced in the fact that Christy didn’t give up on me when it would have been very easy for her to, because this wasn’t the first time this had happened, but it was the last. That next day I made a promise to her that she’d never see me in a drunken stupor again. And she has not!



I'm confident God has enjoyed watching us stick it out together knowing we had nothing in common other than the first time I laid eyes on her she had me hooked, and when she saw me…well, I don’t know what she saw in me. It’s excites me now to look back and see what He had in mind for us all along. Now we can see the fulfillment of Jeremiah 29:11. Maybe fulfillment is the wrong word because it seems so final. I’m convinced there’s so much more that lies ahead of Christy and I. Like the line from Jesus Culture song Come Away that we sang at church last week, "I have a plan for you - It's gonna be great - It's gonna be wild - It's gonna be full of Me"



If you would have told me that night as I laid alone on the couch that Christy would still be with me after 13 year, we’d have two awesome boys, I’d be the missions outreach pastor of a thriving church, we’d be adopting a girl from Ghana and my sometimes beloved beagle Missy would still be sleeping on my back porch…well, first I may have puked on your shoes, then I would have said you were crazy! Listen to me now when I tell you God has a plan for your marriage and your life! For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”



To be married to someone completely opposite means I get to learn something new everyday. But even better, to be married to someone completely opposite means she sees potential in me even when I can’t. Not a bad team, not bad at all!



I’ll close with couple Gary Larson classics, enjoy! Sorry, I don’t have any favs from the Emily Post book, just sayin’!
















Thursday, June 23, 2011

Keep It Simple Stupid

I’ve probably woke up more mornings with more ideas and taken more notes from things that have randomly popped in my head for this post than I have for any other since I started this blog. Actually I’m writing this while looking on the back of this receipt I’ve been keeping notes on in my pocket for weeks now; it’s from Uncle Julio’s a.k.a. Heaven on Earth in Allen, TX from 5/13/11. That's where the juices started flowing on the way back from the Catalyst conference in Dallas, an event I’m still is stirring things up in me over a month later!



But even with all my notes and ideas and just stuff rattling around in my head I couldn’t put it all together. I started this post multiple times and it would not come together. Back when I was preaching and preparing messages every Sunday I had this happen a few times. And thinking back to each of those times it was when I was putting what I wanted to say, AHEAD of what God wanted me to say.




I’m not a very smart guy to begin with, so when I realize God has decided He’s going to jumble my thoughts up, which is not a difficult task, then I know it’s time to step back and see what He’s telling me. In this case He said, “You’re making this too hard! K.I.S.S. Keep It Simple Stupid!”



If you’ve followed me on here for very long you know I’ve blogged about the church and the Church maybe more than anything because it’s one of the areas God has created a passion in me. He’s created a desire for me to see church different or maybe see church as it was originally and hopefully help others see it in a different way. I’ve quoted Acts 2:42-47, the way the very first church did life more than any other scripture…



They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. Everyone was filled with awe at the many wonders and signs performed by the apostles. All the believers were together and had everything in common. They sold property and possessions to give to anyone who had need. Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved.



Let’s boil that down…



Devoted to teaching and fellowship



Devoted to breaking bread and prayer



Were together and had everything in common



Gave to anyone who had a need



Met together daily



Ate together in each others homes



Praised God and enjoyed the favor of all people



AND THE LORD ADDED DAILY THOSE WHO WERE BEING SAVED!!



So to get to what I’m trying to say is this. I woke up one morning a week or so ago and sat out on my deck with a good cup of strong coffee (God created the world over strong coffee you know…I know it’s in the Bible somewhere), read my daily devotion and scripture, reflected on the last couple months and realized, WE ARE DOING IT!



Ha! We -are - doing - it!



The family God has blessed me with is being the Church!



The friends that God has put into my life that I spend my time with are being the Church!!



The church I’m so fortunate to get be a part of, serve at and with is not just playing church, we are being the Church!!



Right now going through life looks like Acts 2 and it was so simple!! Instead of trying to act like the Acts church and recreate it - simply try acting like Jesus, see through his eyes, walk where he would have walked, do what he would have done, watch your heart be changed and without even knowing you’ll be the church in Acts and the Church He had in mind!



In the end, I never used any of the notes I carried for over a month. K.I.S.S.!!!



Friday, May 27, 2011

Ooh Yeah!

Thank you friends for all the kind messages from those of you who know I am saddened this week.




For those of you who don’t know here is the AP press release from last week:




Randy "Macho Man" Savage, a larger-than-life personality from professional wrestling's 1980s flying-elbow heyday known for his raspy voice, brash style and the young woman named Miss Elizabeth who often accompanied him, died in a car crash Friday in Florida. He was 58.





Yes, I am a child of the 80’s and I’ve seen yet another one of my hero’s go down like a bad episode of the The Fall Guy. Oops, you’re right; bad analogy. There were no bad episodes of The Fall Guy!








But seriously these wrestlers were a huge part of my life! Every weekend these guys were wrestling in my living room via antenna! Often right up until it was time for Sunday night church. Mom, who was not much of a fan, would come out of the bedroom like a villain hiding under the rink with a steel chair, and would yell, “You two quit! It’s time for church!” Each and every week saving my Dad’s bacon! I was always one crossfaced chicken wing or scorpion deathlock away from the household heavy weight belt.








In my life I’ve seen wrestling hero after wrestling hero pass…all the Von Erich’s, Andre the Giant, Junk Yard Dog a.k.a JYD, Big Boss Man, Wahoo McDaniel, Ravishing Rick Rude, Bam Bam Bigelow…who will be next? NO, don’t say it! Hulkamania will live forever!!

Monday, May 16, 2011

Fly Sally fly!!


We have now have chicken! And yes we live in town. I guess the old saying is true, “You can take the boy out of the country, but you can’t take the country out of the boy.” Now, growing up we didn’t have chickens, we ran cattle so that’s something I know a little bit about…but chickens, well this is a learning experience for me. My knowledge of chicken ranching consists of years and years of watching Foghorn Leghorn, about a 15 minute introduction to chickens training session from our friend who we bought them from, multiple semi-useless factoids that Winston quotes from the best selling novel “Raising Backyard Chickens” and an 11 minute conversation I had on the sidewalk with another chicken rancher. That’s it! Should be enough…right?




With what I felt like was equivalent to a masters degree in chicken produce engineering the boys and I had a fabulous idea, introduce Lacey Lucy and Sassy Sallie to the free range concept of our backyard. In other words, let them out of the coop for a while, they’ll go back in to roost at sunset (learned that in training). We made the necessary preparations like installing lattice along the bottom of the deck so they couldn’t go underneath, checked for any hen size holes in the fence and things like that. Now just before the release, I thought not to myself…




“Self, wouldn’t it be a good idea if we all got acclimated to the chickens roaming peacefully in the yard together?”




“Well yes Self, that is a great idea, you’re so smart!”




“I know Self, thanks for another compliment today!”




So while I was trying feverishly to pat myself on the back I told the boys to get the leashes for the dogs, after all, “all” of us getting to know the chickens a little more up-close meant the dogs too, actually, especially the dogs. The dogs did well with them in the coop but I wasn’t sure how they would do with them in the open without a chicken wire barrier between.




Wyatt was to take our small wirey mutt, Annie and Winston the larger sometimes beloved in need of a hip replace beagle, Missy. Therein lies my mistake!! Giving Wyatt a task that required good judgement, attention and responsibility.


Sassie Sally came out first like a quarter-horse out of the gate or coop if you will, while Lacey Lucy the more mature of the two wasn’t in as big a hurry. As I was encouraging Lacey, and within the first 34 seconds, Wyatt decides to let them meet up close and personal as he “accidentally” let go of the leash.




Did you guys know how well a chicken can fly when it has 7 lbs of hair, teeth and a hankering for nuggets coming at it? She was gone! And had no intension of coming back!




Days have past now and I’m feeling like a scene from the western Open Range is in my future. You know where Kevin Costner and Robert Duval are part of a dying breed of free range cattle ranchers. They wander into a little town that doesn’t take kindly to “free rangers” so they form a posse of sorts to rough them up and run them off. I am fully expecting any evening now for a posse from our neighborhood to show up on the front door to tell me that the last thing they need in these parts is another free range chicken rancher.




And out of all this, as funny as it may sound, Sassy Sally the free roaming runaway chicken reminded me a lot about grace, myself, my church and staff I so graciously get to serve and worship with. The staff from H2O and I just got back from an out of this world uplifting church leaders event called Catalyst. So much of that even spoke to me and I’m trying to mentally digest it. My mind has been especially focused on how big God’s grace is and how awe inspiring he is. For me personally this has been so evident in the fact that God chose me to work in His ministry with everything I’ve done in my past that some of you know about and a lot of stuff only me and God know about. He still chose me and I can hardly believe it! A speaker brought me to tears Friday night illustrating this.




So there I am on stage this Sunday back home at church saying a few things when I looked over the crowd and saw so many faces whose stories I heard about being set free from the coop of man made doctrine, the coop of habitual sin, the coop of religion and the coop of institutions that cling more to their denomination than they do to the cross. In a second I reflected on my life that was set free and so many others…we FLEW THAT COOP BABY, landed in the neighborhoods tallest cedar tree and are never going back!! How big is God grace? I DON’T KNOW, I haven’t seen the end of it yet and am convinced I never will! I’m convinced there isn’t an end!!




Lacey Lucy, the one that didn’t fly away, roams the yard in the evenings but makes her way back in to the coop every night like clockwork. She finds comfort in the confines of the coop. She knows that she’ll be locked up every night and it does not bother her. It doesn’t phase her in the least that by coming back every night she’s not living up to her full potential.




Sassy Sally on the other hand is gone! Is it risky for her? Yes! She has no idea what waits for her on the outside of coop. But that’s a risk she willing to take. She’s willing to choose a risky life of freedom over the comfortable and safe confines of the coop.




For us it’s the same. But once we get a good taste of grace; I mean a GOOD taste of grace, one where we look deep inside ourselves and see where we started and where Christ has taken us, well, there’s no going back to the coop! The risky unknown life outside of the coop with Jesus cannot compare to the shackles that man has created!! FLY BABY FLY!!




I heard a speaker say, “If we aren’t doing something that feels risky in our Christian walk then are we really living for Christ?” That one gut punched me this weekend and need more thought. Something for all of us to ponder!




Galatians 5:1 (New Living Translation)


So Christ has truly set us free. Now make sure that you stay free, and don’t get tied up again in slavery to the law.




Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Last chance get them now!


Hey guys most of you have heard, but in case you haven't, we are having a 3 family adoption fundraiser on April 30th from 5pm to 8pm @ Central Church of Christ.

GET YOUR TICKETS NOW we are only selling them for one more week.

The fundraiser will consist of a wonderful bbq dinner and silent action with some sweet items!

The three families it will be benefiting are, the Schulp family who is adopting from Haiti, the O'Neal family who is adopting from Ethiopia and then ours of course and we are adopting from Ghana - all right here in Ada, America! That's good stuff!

If you have always had a heart for adoption but not called to actually adopt this is your opportunity! You can help bring three familyless children into a loving home by supporting one event.

Tickets can be purchased from any of these three families (Schlup's attend Central CofC, us and ONeal's attend H2O) or The Brown Box @ 116 E. Main or directly from our adoption blog http://www.brownethiopiaadoption.blogspot.com/ look on the left as soon as the page opens. Remember this is the last week to purchase!

Pure and genuine religion in the sight of God the Father means caring for orphans and widows in their distress and refusing to let the world corrupt you.
-James 1:27 NLT

Monday, April 11, 2011

Anniversary of the heart

On this day nine years ago I was sleeping in a rocking chair in the Pediatric ICU floor of OKC Childrens Hospital with a thin blanket a nurse threw over my sometime during the night. Winston our 7 month old baby had just had open heart surgery that morning and I wasn't going to the parent hotel. Nope, I was staying all night even though some very nice friends and family donated the money for Christy and I to have a place to stay in the hospital. This whole thing was totally out of my hands but the one thing I could do is be there!

Tonight just for a little while those feeling welled up inside of me as I went in for one last bed check on my not so little boy. He's perfectly healthy for now. But I just couldn't help rub my fingers up and down the scar he sports down the entire length of his chest one last time before I pulled his covers up. I do that often when he's awake running around the house shirtless and he always asks, "Daddy why do you like to rub my scar?" and I've never really told him that , "Son, it's my reminder that I'm not in control but He is and I'm okay with that."

Maybe tomorrow I'll tell him or maybe I'll wait till he needs the wisdom like I did. Either way I thank you Lord for the 9 years you have to let me have with my son.


Monday, March 28, 2011

Trend Setter

So today at 3:30pm a friend at work says, "Hey man what's up with the shoes?"


I feel a random drug test is in my future!!

Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Monday, March 14, 2011

Taking the doors off!!

Wow, it’s been so many weeks since I’ve posted and a lot has happened in our lives.

One, as you know, is our family’s choice to adopt internationally from Ethiopia. Whoa, this ride is just getting started and it’s already bumpy! This story you can follow in more detail at http://www.brownethiopiaadoption.blogspot.com/ .

And the other major life change being our home church, Fellowship of Believers, merged and became a part of the church family at H2O Church here in Ada where I’m serving as their Missions Outreach Pastor.

Why such a thing? Why would churches merge? Who does something like this? In an era of American church that clings to the sign in the lawn to the point we’ve have forgotten how to let go and remember its Jesus people need to connect with not our name – well, a merger of two churches is taboo!

After praying several weeks we felt we could come together, take a couple things that each of our churches are good at and turn into something a church does GREAT! And that thing being missions outreach with an emphasis on our city.

What does that look like or how does that happen you may ask?

Is it or will it ever work you may ask?

Ah, you tell me?

We met a guy during the community Christmas dinner that came to our home church, has worshipped with us ever since and bought into the idea of churches coming together right from the get go. His past is something that you’ve only read about in books and seen in movies…seriously you don’t hear stuff like this in Ada! Seriously! Did I say seriously? But 13 years ago he turned his life around and gave it to Jesus and ever since he’s been on a mission to win others to Jesus through his everyday life. He truly believes he is “the bridge” from what the churched world looks like to the unchurched world. He feels God has called him to bridge the gap permanently where he lives, works and worships.

So what happens when The Bridge calls up the week our churches merge and says, “Hey, no sense and letting the grass grow under our feet! If we’re gonna to get to reaching people in this town then I wanna have a BBQ in my front yard. No better way to reach people than for my church family to meet my friends!!” “They need to see what I’ve seen. You know, that you guys are normal.”

I knew exactly what he meant but it made me chuckle. I loved it! He actually thinks we are “normal” because we are in church when in reality we’ve just gotten good at hiding how jacked up we really are just long enough to get through our Sunday dinner with friend (dinner = lunch for some of you). Anyway, that’s a post for another day – the how jacked up we are that is, not the dinner/lunch debate.

So what happens? We have a stinkin’ party is what happens!!

The Bridge has about 40 he’s going to invite and we plan on bringing about 25 from the church so we don’t overwhelm anyone.

Is it in a part of town we would normally go or hang out? No.

Is it with people we would normally invite to our own party? No.

Hmm, didn’t Jesus go to a party like that in Matthew 9? I think so!

What I’m starting to find out is people and places that make us uncomfortable are exactly the places that God wants us.

What do you do when you commit to throwing a party in one of those uncomfortable places and with people you don’t know?

First, the week before you plan food for 75 BUT pray for at least 40 so it looks like a decent showing.

Second, the day of the party when God shows up with 100 other people, you humbly say a prayer under your breath for forgiveness because you actually doubted the power of God again. Goes something like this, “Hello God, it’s me slow learner again. Yes, I will eventually take you at your word and realize just how much smarter you are than I am! I know, you don’t have to remind me again that you created the ENTIRE world, which includes me who lives in it, so next time we throw a party with you in mind I won’t be shocked when it explodes! Amen.”

And finally, after a few minutes you find there’s nothing at all uncomfortable about making new friends, building bridges, listening to stories, and dishing out a little healthy serving of love and hope where needed! Nobody got preached to! We were just the church being the church and all acted, “normal”.

I’m totally robbing this phrase from a lady I heard speak who’s heavily involved in city missions in Baton Rouge, LA but get used to it cause I’m gonna start using it a lot more , “We took the doors off the church” this weekend!! It was awesome!

That is why two churches would come together, yes it is working, and God gets all this glory because He is smarter than we are and gives us the courage to do things outside the norm of what church looks like today!!!

Monday, February 21, 2011

Adoption T-Shirt Blitz!!

Hello Friends,

Our adoption T-shirts are finally on sale! They are sweet!! Check out our adoption blog below to order or read about what's happening!!

http://www.brownethiopiaadoption.blogspot.com/

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Get lost!

The last couple of weeks the boys and I have watched all three of the Lord of the Rings movies. Had they not wanted to watch them with me I honestly would have done it by myself so I’m glad they did, and enjoyed it, now I don’t have to fully confirm my immaturity. These three movies were absolutely awesome if you like that kind of stuff and I do!

Winston and I had a great discussion about how you know when movies are good. I told him in movies like Lord of the Rings it’s if you get lost in them. He didn’t really understand what “getting lost in them” meant so I explained it him like this.

Lost as in you don’t know you’re setting in our living room under a leopard Snuggie (bought for Christy not for me) but rather you are in Gondor battling Orges (not ogers) side by side with a Wizard (who bears an eerie resemblance to Magneto from X-Men, nah couldn't be), an axe wielding Dwarf who has a dry but funny sense of humor and a bad to the bone Elf who can rapid fire arrows at a rate that even Robin Hood would be jealous of! And as I’m telling this I could picture Winston being just the right size for a Hobbit!! He wanted to be something a little tougher of course. Something that carried a sword, but this is my IMAGINATION and you will be a Hobbit!

Whoa!

Back to reality!

Yes, I can easily get lost in a movie, especially a good western or spy movie!! As I’ve said before, since I was a kid I always wanted to be a cowboy or a spy.

I can get lost in books too! I was reading this one last night that resembled the Lord of the Rings story.

There was this good army who was battling a rebellious land full of evil armies. The good army was told by their leader to overthrow every fortified city and every major town in the land. Cut down every good tree and plug up all their water wells and ruin the good farm land by filling them with stones.

As they battled on the good army started running out of water for their own men and livestock. So their leader tells them, when you wake up in the morning the valley you are camping by will be full of water, but you will never hear it rain. And it happened!

The opposing rebellious army also awoke to see the see valley full of water but to them it appeared red as blood.

The battle ensued!! Though armed with 700 swordsmen the evil army could not win! Once the rebellious king realized defeat was at hand he went nuts and sacrificed his own son, next in line to be king, on the city wall!!!

Wow, another one to get lost in!

And this book I’m reading is full of stories just like this and better!

This book I’m reading is full of murder, espionage, soap opera, deceit, drama, sex, heroism, war strategy, lust, good vs. evil, coming of age, action, romance, mystery, overcoming the odds, and did I mention love, oh is it full of love.

It’s also contains a secret…how to live forever!

It’s called the Bible!!

Give it a try! The story I summarized above came from 2 Kings.

Now I must go!! An Orge has just invaded my Hobbit’s room and destroyed his Lego castle…I may need that Dwarf and Elf to win this battle!

Monday, January 24, 2011

Audit week...

Okay, so most of you know, if you’ve followed me very long that I have a habit of doing this during the times I go through an audit (which is every six month) at my job "that pays the bills and insurance”. These audits totally drain me mentally and physically. Because my OCD kicks in as I strive for total audit perfection until I can't tell if it's the coffee IV or stress causing the 4 day migraine!! Anyway...my habit is to either not post all together or post something from someone else that really has inspired me to keep things simple during audit week. So instead of being totally lazy and not posting at all, I’m going with the semi-lazy approach and that is to repost from someone else.

Drum roll please, Vince Antonucci is someone who has totally inspired me the last year. Through his book Guerilla Lover (if you haven’t read it get it and get ready to be inspired!!) and through his blog where I follow the progress oo the church he started on the Las Vegas strip! Yay, how’s that for a God calling!! This post from him last week will not disappoint you! It might even make you ponder for a while. Enjoy.

Shouldn't Following Jesus Look Like...

Yesterday I mentioned that we've lived here for a year, and the question we always get is, "Why did you move to Vegas?!" As in, "Why did you leave your great church in a great place to live, to move and start a new church in a difficult place to live?"

Well, maybe I'm nuts, but I think we're supposed to orient our lives around Jesus and what He wants to do in the world. Isn’t that what it means to follow him?

Seriously, what if instead of, “I’m moving to Orlando because I got a new job there,” it was, “I’m moving to Detroit because I’m convinced God wants me to live there. I don’t know what I’ll do for work, but there’s got to be something. I don’t know, but I trust God.” Or what if instead of, “I live in Louisville because my family is all here,” it was, “I live in the French Quarter of New Orleans because there are so few Christians, and God needs a presence here.” Or what if instead of, “We chose to live in this neighborhood because the schools are really good,” it was, “We chose to live in this neighborhood because the schools are really bad, and we want our kids to be missionaries to them.”

Shouldn’t following Jesus look like that? Our decisions governed not by what’s best for us and what we want, but by what’s best for God and what he wants. Even if we have to face down fear, no matter what the cost. And isn’t that what makes life an adventure, and worth living, as we become a part of something bigger than ourselves, something better than we’ve ever experienced, something more beautiful than we’ve ever dreamed.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Our Big News!!

I know a lot you follow my blog through Facebook and many of you also follow my wife Christy through Facebook as well. For those of you who don't also follow Christy, this weekend she made the announcement that after much prayer we have decided to try to pursue an international adoption. Please follow our journey on this new blog we have created!!
http://www.brownethiopiaadoption.blogspot.com/

Friday, January 14, 2011

Oswald After Dark

Been praying and fasting over some life changing decisions and I came across this nugget in my daily devotion.

"Whether I hear Gods call or not depends on the condition of my ears, and exactly what I hear depends on my spiritual attitude...When our Lord called His disciples, He did it without irrestistible pressure from the outside. The quiet yet passionate insistence of His "Follow Me" was spoken to men whose every sense was receptive...And they followed in perfect freedom." Oswald Chambers

If you don't have a copy of the devotion book My Utmost For His Highest, GET IT!! It's like the oldest devo known to man but it's been update and editted into something that we not only can digest in 2011 but be inspired by without an English lit degree.

Oswald Chambers is on my list of people to meet when I get to heaven, right after God and I sit down over a plate of fried quail breasts and quail legs in Grandma Georgia's mushroom gravy. Yes that's what we'll be having when when we iron out this JFK and dinosaurs deal. Then I'm looking for Oswald, or maybe John Wayne...it'll be a coin toss.

Oswald Chanber's scripture selection and messages always speak to me at just the right time!!

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Quote I had to share...

The only reason something like (eradicating poverty) is impossible is that we choose to make it impossible...If we directed our loose change to ventures that train and empower people to feed themselves, poverty could become the horse and buggy of our century - distant memory. Mark Lutz, Unpoverty

If that doesn't put a little burden of responsibility on me I don't know what does! Wow!


- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Friday, January 7, 2011

Passion!!

Several years ago I wrote an article called Someone. The premise was there is no reason we can’t continue the feeling we have for other people the entire year, NOT just the month between Thanksgiving and Christmas. You know what I’m talking about. People who don’t normally hold doors for people do, people who don’t normally donate to worthy causes do, people stop to help change tires and say hello and give in a abundance. So why can’t this continue the entire year??

It can, as long as there is Someone.

Someone who decides, “I will do this all year!”

What’s been on my heart is passion; and passion is what creates a Someone.

Passion is what changes people’s lives.

It should disturb you that people need fed the other 11 months out of the year.

It should disturb you the number of people that drive by a mother with kids in the car trying to change a tire the other 11 months out of the year.

It should disturb you that there are lonely people who are just waiting for their doorbell to ring so they can have someone to talk to the other 11 months out of year.

Because if this disturbs you then you will be passionate to change it!!

And I will no longer accept the excuse from myself or anyone else that, “my passion alone can’t change circumstance.”

Why? Because I’ve seen the passion of a six year old child, stir passion in parents, that stirred passion in adults, that stirred passion in churches causing hundreds of volunteers to lay down their denominational differences, come beautifully together as the body of Christ and feed a thousand people on Christmas day! THAT'S PASSION! Awesome!!!

If we all had the same kind of passion as a child we could change our city, then who knows what after that!

The only difference in kid’s passion and our adult passion is they haven’t been exposed to the world enough to think they can fail.

They actually believe us parents when we tell them, “With Jesus you can do anything!”

I was able to reflect on what our small group of 20 or so followers did at the FOB over the last year and I was inspired to tears.

- Helped with Davo’s Diner (aka Community Wide Christmas Dinner) fellowshipping with people, sacking groceries, praying for people, serving food.
- Served 1,000 hot dogs over the summer months to hungry families
- Countless cards to people we were praying for
- Delivered Thanksgiving dinner to 15 families
- Coat drive that brought warmth to 250 kids in the Ada elementary schools (with the support of numerous community churches – thank you all!)
- Provided baby items to a young couple in need (again more intercommunity church support)
- Collected 20 boxes of Christmas items for Operation Christmas Child (going to Mexico)
- Helped a single friend sell a house that was in poor condition and very difficult to upkeep and get into a new home. And got enough help to move her in 4 hours in middle of the summer!!
- Hundreds of dollars of gift card baskets for multiple families and people.
- Continued support of a single mother with 5 kids we’ve built a great relationship with over the last year and a half.
- And I know there’s more that I missed!


Do I say this to brag? Kinda yeah! Why not? If I can brag about how 20 people are on fire to help this many people –then to God be the glory!

If it inspires someone else to do something - then God gets the glory!

But I also think of the words of Paul in Galatians 6:9 Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.

The “weary” Paul talks about here is not the weary of physical tiredness. There is no way to serve your heart out and not be physically tired.

The “weary” Paul talks about is as a reluctants to do it again because we’re not seeing anything productive out of it.

Don’t grow weary of this! We nearsighted humans are serving on our time but the harvest is on God time! And I promise lives are being changed! We probably will not see the effects immediately or in months or it may take years. Or we may change lives and never get to see the effects for ourselves until we meet our friends in heaven.

This week I was reminded of this when we received a Thank You card from someone we sent an encouragement card to letting them know we were praying for them months and months ago. I may have long forgotten but it changed something in that person when they knew that people took the time to send a card and spent time praying for them. This is the harvest!!

This is why we should be should continue the passion in the hopes that we can introduce one person to Jesus! That’s what true service for God is – the willingness out of love to serve just as hard for one as you would for a thousand and never grow weary. I challenge all you who read this to be passionate these next 11 months! Don’t the let the feeling you had during the Christmas season die. It might very well change a life!