July 31, 2008

Metamorphosis Part 4: Live the life

For those of you that have been following. I give you mad props because this has been quite a drawn out little series hasn't it? I write today from an excited heart and pumped for next summer's retreat! What? Next summer??! Oh Yeah!

Anyways, The last full day of the retreat was sensational. The students played "manhunt" the night before and pretty tired. We all know when teenagers get tired they have a hard time paying any kind of attention. But, Mike Anderson, our camp speaker brought an intense message of identity and how we choose to live against our God given identity many times.

Mike explained that when he was six years old he had a argument with his mom that caused him to "run away". In reality he just hid under his clubhouse about 200 yards away from the house. He said he endured about three hours before it became dark and, once the bugs started crawling on him, he decided to get out and go back home.

His point for the story was in our desire for "freedom" we do the exact opposite of what we want. We create a prison. Interesting concept 'eh? I think the students really got the messages of Metamorphosis. But the bottom line of Metamorphosis was not just about the one time death/life change in Christ. But about living in the identity that God has placed upon us as sons and daughters.

So my question to them and you is this. So how should we then live? 

July 30, 2008

Metamorphosis Part 3: The Oak Tree

So if you have been following the last few blogs, you know I have been writing about our great trip to the foothills of the Appalachian mountains. 

Saturday we poured the students into the cars and headed up the gravel road to Bear Creek Trail. One great thing about being in North Georgia is there are beaucoup (for my Nola folks) trails. I mean one could literally hike for weeks. But the good 'ol bear creek trail was one we could traverse in a little under 2.5 hours. 

About halfway down the trail we ran into a big oak tree. I mean this guy was big. I think the students tried to stretch around it and it took quite a few of them to link arms and get around it. I took a picture of it, but my wife has the camera so maybe I will download some later.

If you ever get a chance to hike the trails in N. Georgia you should do it. It was a great deal of fun to hike that trail, but it reminded me of one thing... Man am I out of shape!

Metamorphosis Part 2: A Creek Runs Through it

Good Morning Peeps-

So this morning I realized how far away from the serene forest I was. The city beautiful woke me up with a symphonic melody of car alarms, ambulance sirens and noisy motorcycles. Breathe in... Breathe ou...*cough *cough... out. Yeah.

So in day two of our Metamorphosis adventure we finally settled into our backwood surroundings. There was the beautiful little creek that lazily pushed its way past our campsite. The creek was cool, clear and relaxing. Many of the students walked up and down it finding rocks, smoothed over by time, and skipping them or saving them to take home.

In the morning I had the students get off by themselves to try and spend some quiet time alone with God and nature and their scriptures. As I did this on my own, I began to think of how precious our time with God is. Yes I know that we can speak with Him anytime, since he is omnipresent and omniscient. But how often do I exclude everything around me to really hang with God? 

When my wife and I first met we would spend hours just sitting and staring at eachother and smiling. I remember my face would ache from cheezing so big with her around. We could just sit and stare and sit and laugh. I still love to look at her, but I have to admit I get busy sometimes dupe myself into thinking every minute I have needs to be "purposeful". For some stupid reason I think merely staring into my wife's eyes on end doesn't provide a big enough return... But to her it means the world.

When is the last time my face hurt from smiling at my savior so much and enjoying His company? Do you think He has been waiting for you to stop being "purposeful" and busy and simply look into his eyes? As a parent don't you just LOVE when your child stops, jumps up in your lap and gives you a bear hug? Your kids aren't thinking, "I have a purpose to build a relationship with my father, therefore I must show him an outward display of affection to elicit a favorable response and further my inheritance" (unless your child is an android). They just LOVE you...

After the quiet time was over I heard some of the girls splashing around in the creek. I zoned back into reality and got ready for the task at hand. We were going to go on a hike that afternoon...

July 29, 2008

Metamorphosis Part 1: Killer Bees

Hey Oh Everyone!

We had a killer time at our summer retreat this past weekend. There are like a bazillion things that happened so I will break up the time into a few blogs. First up to bat is the wicked awesome first day. 

Getting up at 5:00 AM is awesome in itself, but then packing five cars worth of luggage into four and getting ready t drive 9-10 hours made it glorious! I really thought that we were going to have more room than we did, but we fit everything in the vehicles. One thing that didn't fit was my guitar. :( but that ended up being a really cool thing, that I'll talk about later. 

The drive up was pretty uneventful, besides the "watermelon crash" on I-75 that stopped up traffic for half an hour or so. (short story: truck full of watermelons+ speed+wobble=1000 gallon watermelon mush smoothie on I-75.) But once we passed ATL the scenery became more and more beautiful. We rolled into town near 5 and found the cabin and began the fun!

The first night there we found out that our campsite had 3 lb killer bees! Well at least by the time the story gets around Im sure they will be that big. But in reality our campsite had quite a few "bee" looking things hovering all over the ground. (I scoured the internet for a few hours to find what it was, but rest assured they weren't yellow jackets). So a few students were stung and thus we found our nemesis for the duration of the summer retreat.

Besides a few nature woes our city slicker students fared pretty well. I was actually a little proud of them by the end of the trip. Most of the students stayed in the tents, but some chose to brave the air-conditioned cabin. But, all in all, I think we all had two fistfuls of fun. 

I think the first night the students weren't sure what to expect, but since I forgot the guitar we actually started the first session with a few minutes of silence. I told students to close their eyes and just sit. I did not realize how cool this was going to be. There were no snickers or fart noises. The students really spent time in silence. I know it has been quite a long time that I have just sat in silence. Silence is a really heavy discipline that I have barely grasped...

Woah!? This has turned into quite a long blog, so I will cut it short, but I have a few more coming up and Ill let you know a little more about the trip. until then ttyl!!

July 24, 2008

Preparation and Perspiration

Well it is about t minus 14:28 before we head to the mountains of GA. I think we have most of our ducks in a row!!! We had our leader's meeting today and it seems like we've got quite a troop. I tell you what if it weren't for them I might be freakin' out by now. 

It is so funny because details are not natural to me. I am a big picture person, so it takes a little extra som' som' for me to pull off details. But ever since reading Steven Furtick's blog on weakness I am confident. Even though he says to give it to someone else... which I will do next time. Live and learn, yes?

But in all actuality I am jacked up about this weekend. It is going to be a good time and I know that students' lives are going to be changed. Thanks to Grace for giving me the opportunity to invest in your students. I consider it an honor, privilege, and great responsibility!!! Hopefully I can blog from the mountain top. If not I will give a full report when I get back. 

Much love.

July 23, 2008

bring it on.

College football in around a month... Glorious.


I just had my brother and mom here for a week. We had a pretty good time, but I wish they could have stayed a few more days. Our dog Pancho really misses them, because they were here all day and he could play with somebody while we were at work.

I was really glad to have hung out with them though. I think it is weird that we are all getting older and that my "little" brother is 26 now. I thought he just graduated high school last year..what tha??? Oh well, tis life 'eh?

Anyways I am getting excited because I have Metamorphosis coming up. I am getting all the last minute arrangements settled and trying to remember to keep everything in perspective. I am praying that this weekend will be a really cool time for the students and leaders that are going.

Will you pray for the leaders and the students on this trip? We will be gone July 25-July 28 and will be in north Georgia. This is our first out-of-state trip, so pray it goes smoothly and all that jazz. I will try my hardest to keep you updated via Twitter and blogger. (Hopefully I will get service up there in the woods :)) Anyways until then peace!!!

July 22, 2008


Strictly for my Ninjas! I am so excited about the summer retreat we are about to have, I just had to blog about it. We are going to be taking 16 peeps down the rapids of the Ocoee river. You will have to check out the blog in the next few days for the updates on our trip. 

July 21, 2008


My bones bend
Under the weight of my own making
from the self-induced pressure
The crushing, bruising and breaking
Shortness of breath
my eyes growing 
blurry... blurred... tears...
tears form running away from the pain that is inside my mind


Dazed, a hope, a friend awakes me from my slumber
A friend to dust off my limbs and 
put salve on my wounds
It is You
Oh wounded Healer!
You... crushed and bruised 
know me.
You... crushed and broken
love me.
I gaze into your beauty, the eyes filled with blazing, searing, devastating love.
Devastated I come.

You mend my bones...
my sinews...
my flesh...
my soul...

You restore me Oh God, you place me up where I never imagined to 
Is there anyone like our God? Is there one who knows the every need of His people? God is my fortress. From within I have been renewed. Amen

July 15, 2008

one the thirteenth day of no blogging....

I apologize for the blogging drought. I was away at camp KidJam for a few days and I got all out of sorts. But it was a good type of "out of sorts", similar to the "out of sorts" you might be in during bowl game season with four t.v.'s and the computer on or better yet, when you are standing in a Bar B Q buffet line (should I go for the ribs again or maybe the brisket) *i love food analogies*

There have just been so many good things happening at Grace and not just with the student ministry, but in every aspect of our fellowship. It has just been a whirlwind of people's lives being transformed and others taking their next step (or first step) toward Christ. I could write about seventeen pages of great things that have happened in the last twelve days, but for the sake of brevity I digress.

This morning I was reading and it just hit me how much of the Christian story is not supposed to be about me. But, I always make it about me don't I? I worry about how I am doing in my spiritual life or where God is leading me. But the fact of the matter is that God is the focus of everything Christian. I read this quote (which I will probably butcher) that read "I would like to get a hold of God, but my arms are too full of me".

Isn't that just like us. We would like to embrace our savior, but our hands are just too full of holding us. This past week at KidJam I just sensed a ubernatural voice telling me to let go of the things that are getting in the way of holding God. Just to let go. Not try and figure out a way to carry them in one hand and embrace God with the other arm. Not temporarily put these things down and wait to pick them up. Just let go. 

Easier said than done right. But its not about me... Its about Him and His glory and fame... Therefore He compels us and is worthy of it. 


July 3, 2008


Just got back from Georgia yesterday. We went on a scouting trip to check out all the fun things to do in north Georgia and to make sure our summer retreat is going to rock. We had many funny experiences with the locals and also with directions (or lack thereof). But, one of the culinary highlights of the trip was a trip to Hardee's.

I really never looked upon Hardee's favorably growing up. It looked like a wanna be Dairy Queen. But this past tuesday I saw the light. We had breakfast at the Hardee's in Ellijay, GA and I have been a believer since. They have the best flippin biscuits ever... that's right I said ever... Someone holler if you here me. 

Now granted I was pretty hungry especially since our eight hour trip turned into a 10 1/2 hour trip the night before because of weather, rural roads, non-reflective mailbox numbers and lack of phone service. Good times!

We did get to spend some time praying for the chitlin's that are going to make the 8ish hour trip up with us. Such a beautiful place too! Can't wait!