Thursday, February 28, 2008

Born-again Virgins

What do you think of this article?
http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/23254178

I think we need to take it seriously.

More later.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Friend and Advice

One of my buddies around the neighborhood is a guy named Jackie Webb. I 1st met Jackie my 1st week in H-Town. Raised Muslim, he became a Christian while incarcerated. He is in his mid-30's, very ripped (aka--he gots some muscles), has a problem with anger, loves to fight, and he is passionate about life. There have been at least 2 incidents in the past 2 years when I thought I was about to get my face beaten in. One of them was with Jackie. He was greatly offended when I gave him lunch money and prayed that it would be used for the reason that it was given. He got up in my face ready to swing. He braced for the blow and prayed my pretty face to stay intact.
After that day, we lost touch for nearly a year. He resurfaced a few weeks ago and he came by the church this morning. All he wanted was a prayer. I laid my hand on his shoulder and prayed for the power of Jesus to go forth with him today. After I prayed, he prayed...and let me tell you...Jackie doesn't lack energy and excitement when he prays. He pours himself into his prayers.
It was a good morning.

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I need some advice. Our neighbors have a dog that parks uncontrollably. I don't mind the barking from 8:30 am-10:00 pm, but they have started to let the dog out at all hours of the night. This morning, the dog got "bark-happy" at about 5:00am. It is like the bark-fairy has descended on this dog. I turned the fan on high, put earplugs in, and I could still hear the little nuisance. I dreamed murderous thoughts of killing this creature.
I'm tired of going to sleep praying for God to bless my neighbors dog with a good nights rest.
If you were in my shoes, what would you do?

Friday, February 22, 2008

Plagiarism



The debate last night was anticlimatic, but interesting.
One part stood out to me--and if you've been reading up on the race in the last week you knew it was coming--Clinton's campaign has accused Obama of plagiarism. He downplayed the alleged speech by saying that Deval Patrick, the person he lifted a line from, is one of the "head guys" in his campaign and that Patrick is the one who suggested that Obama use the phrase from his prior speech.
Do you consider this plagiarism?
Honestly, how many of our ideas are really our own ideas? I'm a preacher. Every Sunday I share ideas, principles, and theories. How many of these have been born from within myself? Umm...probably not many. Most ideas stem from somewhere--a book, a conversation, a commercial, an ad, an article in a magazine, a television show, etc.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Lil' Bro

A couple of months before I turned 3, I was blessed with a little brother. For the next 16 years, we would share a bedroom, a bathroom, and an atari-nintendo-sega-play station. For 16 years, we had moments when we were the best of friends, and there were moments when we would camp out on each other's nerves. When I turned 17, our relationship changed. We would still go at each other on basketball courts and football fields, but there grew a respect for each other that has only blossomed throughout the past decade.
Some of my fondest memories with my bro are:
-Going to sporting events
-Watching the Mavs
-Singing, rapping, and dancing to DC Talk in the living room
-Praying together late at night towards the end of high school
-And last but not least, any time I get to preach while he leads worship is a treat for me. He is one of the best worship leaders out there.

It has been an honor seeing my lil' bro grow into a man of deep faith, a loyal husband, a great father, and one heck of a worship leader.

Here is to my brother and one of my best friends. Love you Jonathan.

Monday, February 18, 2008

Teenagers--Part II

When I agree to speak at "some" youth events, at some point along the way I begin to regret it. Just the thought of sleeping in a 10'20 cabin with 15-20 high school boys makes me tired. Some youth groups can be tough crowds. You never know if they are listening or how they are listening. (All you parents out there--you know what I'm saying?)

But...then I stand in front of teens, and I begin to look into the faces of our future. They are our future leaders. They are the people that will take the message of Jesus into law firms, schools, banks, corporate offices, social services, non-profits, and restaurants. They are the future preachers and youth ministers. And...I am given hope.

Friday, February 15, 2008

Teenagers

My passion is preaching to people of all ages, but I still enjoy speaking at youth events. As I write this post, I am sitting at a Starbucks in Denton, TX. I flew into Dallas today, received my rent car, and I will soon be making my way up to Camp Pettijohn just across the Oklahoma border. I speak tonight at 10:00pm. That is a little late for me. At 10:00, I am usually hanging with my wife in the living room watching television, reading books, or just enjoying each other's company. Tomorrow, I will speak 3 times. Then, Sunday morning, hours before the sun has risen, I will be on a plane back to H-Town to preach. It will be Sunday afternoon or Monday before I'm able to sleep again. But that is okay.

Here's the question I've been pondering--what is the greatest challenge facing our teens today? I'd love to hear your thoughts.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Feeling Alive!

I feel most alive when:
  • I'm in the pulpit.
  • I'm with my wife and son (doing anything)
  • I'm holding a football in my hand
  • I'm at the beach

What about you?

Fill in the blank--"I feel most alive_________"

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This is the 8th Valentine's I have celebrated with Kayci. The 1st one, we were dating. The 2nd, we were engaged. The last 6 have been as a married couple. I fall more in love with her every day.

She lives the gospel.

She is a phenomal mother.

She is my #1 fan.

She inspires me, and her love for Christ compels me.

So, tonight we are going to eat Italian.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Chew on this...

I've been out for a couple of days. My mind is on my work today, so chew on this:

"Some preachers feel an overwhelming compulsion to save the church from Jesus."

Umm...

Sunday, February 10, 2008

The Need for Recovery

We have lost:
-The language of "sin"
-The discipline of confession

In Barbara Brown Taylor's "Speaking of Sin" she weaves together 3 brilliant chapters to call upon leaders to recover the language of sin. She argues that we have opted for more positive language like growth, outreach, and initiatives. The language of sin puts people off, and since most of our churches are declining, we intentionally stay away from it.
My sermon title this morning comes from the 2nd chapter of her book, "Sin is Our Only Hope." Ultimately, the acknowledgement of our sin is our only hope.
Three reasons we have lost our "Sin" language:
1) We have watered down grace. We tend to have a "Give me grace where I am" attitude; instead of, "Let your grace carry me to where you are."
2) In our world "Sin=Negativity." In a world of "feel-good," there is no room for "sin."
3) We take sin lightly. We feel little guilt.

Why the need for recovery?
1) The word SIN is at the center of the cross experience. (Rom.5:8)
2) Sin alienates us from God and from people.
3) The acknowledgement of sin is our only hope in our pursuit of reconciliation with God and with people.

Five Essential Practices for Christ-Followers
1) Practice Repentance (We have opted for remorse ("I'm sorry. I feel awful.") Instead of repentance ("I'm sorry for what I've done and I am going to begin this very day to try and change that behavior.")
2) Pray specifically about sins. (Let go of the end-of-the-day-prayer, "Forgive me for my many sins." Instead, get real with God about sin in your life.)
3) Ask God to stir up an awareness of sin! (Too often we opt for spraying perfume on dog mess.)
4) Allow sin and grace to mingle. Only then can we experience true forgiveness.
5) SHARE!!! CONFESS!!! Find people to confess sins with. As one writer puts it, "An unconfessed Christian is an oxymoron.

Chew on these words from Bonhoeffer:
"The pious fellowship permits no one to be a sinner. So everybody must conceal his sin from himself and from the fellowship. We dare not be sinners. Many Christians are unthinkably horrified when a real sinner is suddenly discovered among the righteous. So we remain alone with our sin, living in lies and hypocrisy.”
“Who can give us certainty that, in the confession and the forgiveness of our sins, we are not dealing with ourselves but with the living God? God gives us this certainty through our brother. Our brother breaks the circle of self-deception. A man who confesses his sins in the presence of a brother knows that he is no longer alone with himself; he experiences the presence of God in the reality of the other person. As long as I am by myself in the confession of my sins everything remains in the dark, but in the presence of a brother the sin has to be brought into the light…Mutual, brotherly confession is given to us by God in order that we may be sure of divine forgiveness.”

Friday, February 8, 2008

NBA...Sermon prep...Nouwen

What were the Suns thinking? I just don't see Shaq working out there.
Wednesday, my friends Michael Wilbon and Tony K were ripping the Suns.
Then, Shaq had a press conference in which he called out Wilbon and other media folks for knocking his playing ability.
Yesterday, Wilbon and Tony K were backtracking. They turned a 180!.
If a 7'1, 340 pound guy was upset with me, I'd probably turn a 180 too.
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Here is the hardest thing about preaching--SUNDAY'S come every week.

I've talked with God about this. Why couldn't Sunday's come every other week?

Cope always told me that we aim for singles. As preacher's, we are trying to get on base. The only problem in hitting homeruns is that people will be expecting another homerun the following Sunday.

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From Henri Nouwen--"The mystery of God's presence, therefore, can be touched only by a deep awareness of his absence. It is in the center of our longing for the absent God that we discover his footprints, and realize that our desire to love God is born out of the love with which he had touched us."

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Comments on this Blog

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Lent and Truitt

The season of Lent is upon us. For seven years now, I have been drawn into this season of the year--a season of intense prayer, fasting, and repentance. For most of life, Easter was more about the Easter bunny than it was about a celebration of the risen Lord. I am from a tradition that mostly downplayed the significance of Easter by claiming that we celebrate the risen Lord every Sunday. Okay...hopefully the power of the Risen Lord is driving us, compelling us, and inviting us every day. But there is something powerful about working our way through a season of repentance, intentional prayer and fasting as we journey toward a day of experiencing the empty tomb.
Throughout my Lenten experiences, I have given up meat (thought I was going to die), cokes (I'm from Texas where coke=sodas), Around the Horn and PTI, sweets, energy drinks, and beef. This year, I am setting aside energy drinks again, as well as one other thing that I won't go into details about.
THE PURPOSE isn't just to give something up--but it is to give something up with a purpose. This season, I am on a quest for humility. Pride is always trying to creep into my thoughts and actions. I want humility to permeate my entire being. I want to be clothed in the humility embrace by Jesus. It is from a humble heart that I want to enter into the pulpit, into relationships, and into every speaking engagement.
Nouwen writes, "The season of Lent, during which winter and spring struggle with each other for dominance, helps us in a special way to cry out for God's mercy."
(If you observe the season of Lent, let me point you to a fabulous resource. It needs to be on your shelf. Henri Nouwen, "Show Me the Way.")
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Yesterday, Kayci took Truitt to the doc. He is 26 1/4 inches long and 17 lbs 5 oz.
When I got home from work, Kayci and I tested his speed, agility, and strength.
At 9 months old, he was tested in the 5 yard dash and the dead lift:
1st 5-yard dash--27.4 seconds
2nd--24.3 seconds
(It is hard to keep him going straight)

Dead Lift--5 lbs.

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Listening

How do you practice listening to God? Do you have any practices/disciplines?
Scripture puts a great emphasis on listening:
James 1:19, "Let everyone be quick to listen and slow to speak."
Jesus, "Let all who have ears to hear, let them hear."

Chew on these questions from Yancey:
SOUL LISTENING
How can I slow down?
How can I simplify things?
How can I bring silence into my life?
How can I savor this moment?
How can I speak up? (Tell the truth)
How can I settle in? (Establish roots)
How can I shed my armor and masks?
How can I soften my approach to life?
How can I serve the community?
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Props to the Giants. They played a great game. I thoroughly enjoyed a low scoring, defensive match-up. If I was a betting man, I would have lost a lot of bling-bling!

Saturday, February 2, 2008

Why I Love ESPN!

One of the best ESPN videos in years. Did you know that Tom Brady was originally on The Brady Bunch? Check this out:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v2rcLzLpRgs

Friday, February 1, 2008

Super Bowl Prediction

Patriots--34
Giants--23