Wednesday, June 30, 2010


For much of my adult life, I have gladly listed the things I have survived.  It was a pretty heavy and substantial list, honestly.  I was kind of proud of the stuff I survived.  Here is a peek at the list for those of you playing along at home.
  • I developed a slight paralysis in my left arm my senior year of high school
  • dad comes of the closet during my second year of marriage and seminary
  • mom and dad divorce (see above)
  • my youngest son has Down syndrome and a major heart defect
  • my son had heart surgery at 2 months old (heart defect corrected)
  • I have preached a friend's funeral who committed suicide
  • been there as friends and family have committed themselves into mental health hospitals for depression and suicidal thoughts
Yep, this is a glimpse.  For years I wore these and other things in life as badges of honor.  I had survived.  I realized over the last few weeks, I do not want to survive so much any more.  Eventually the mountain of survived events will crush me if I continue to try and carry them around with me all the time.  There will be something that comes along that I cannot survive.  That is the nature of life itself; in time none of us survive it.

I want to surrender.  I want to surrender to God's will in my life, not just accepting a call to ministry, but as a husband, a father, a brother, a son.  I want to surrender not just to say I survived, but that I learned and grew through the events of my life.  I want to surrender in the little ways, the right ways, the things that no one else will notice, but I will know.

I guess the best way to put it is, "Christ bore the weight of the cross so I do not have to bear the weight of the world, even my world."  When I surrender fully to Christ, I do find the saying to be true, "Come to me, all you that are weary and are carrying heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me; for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light." (Matthew 11:28-30)  Surrendering is much easier and life-giving than merely surviving.

Saturday, June 19, 2010


In the late hours of yesterday morning, I was working out in my garage.  A black car pulled up and two people, a man and a woman, exited the car and went up to the door of my neighbor.  I knew no one was home.  Within minutes they were walking up my driveway.  I felt a tension, even an anger, in my chest.  I could see their big leather bound Bibles.  I, in my indignation, assumed I could perceive their self-righteous condemnation.  I was right about them coming to tell me about Jesus, and again I was right when I guessed they were Jehovah's Witnesses.

I have developed my distrust of the Jehovah's Witnesses over time and personal experience.  I have had them come selling curb painting only to then come back dressed in their Sunday best to win me over to their way.  On more than one encounter, I have said, "I am a United Methodist Pastor.  I am not interested in converting," only to have them then want to tell me how Methodists are wrong, or how they are right.

Now, I have to be honest, I have gone door-to-door trying to tell being about a church.  So, why is it that I am so insensitive to them trying to do the same thing?  Mostly, I think it is about the willingness to listen.  And having knocked on about 1,500 doors personally, I can tell you it is basically ineffective as a tool of evangelism.  Jesus did not come and knock impersonally on doors.  Jesus came to be in relationship with people.  Jesus came to change lives.  Jesus came that we might know God and know God personally and intimately. 

I hope the next time I get a visit, I am a little less tense and much less angry.  I hope the next time, I can see that Jesus has just come to my door.  I hope I will greet him much more kindly, for if I were to be judged on one visit yesterday morning, "I saw him thirsty and did not offer him a drink.  I saw him a stranger and I was rude to him." 

Did I mention that I was carving props for Vacation Bible School? 

Wednesday, June 16, 2010


So recently, I have not posted my weekly blog.  Recently, I have helped my mom pack to move from Sinton to San Antonio.  Recently, Austin (my twelve-year old) and I rebuilt a wooden ice chest.  Recently, I have been spending about 45 minutes each evening sitting by a pool watching my now seven-year old take swimming lessons.  Recently, life has been very good.  Busy, yes, but good.

Recently, I have been finding that prayer has not come in bunches, but has come in stolen moments through the day.  Monday evening, for example, I was sitting on the TCU campus waiting for my son to finish a day at soccer camp.  Most of the time I would get out my iphone and begin playing Bejeweled or HR Battle.  This evening, I sat on a bench in the cool of the evening and began reading Thomas a Kempis' Imitation of Christ

What have you done recently that is good for your soul or for the soul and well-being of someone else?