Saturday, March 24, 2012

My own Psalms

This week I was asked to write some personal Psalms for a particular class I am taking. The assignment seemed simple enough: Compose two original psalms, one a Psalm of Praise and one a Psalm of Lament. Make these personal and genuine.

, at least it sounded simple on the surface. I as started writing, though, I found this to be a deeply moving exercise. I may sound a bit "cheesy," but I certainly think you might benefit by doing this yourself. Give yourself a chance to put the emotions of your heart on paper, pour yourself out to God through your pen.

At the risk of displaying the stench of my heart, I felt it oddly necessary to share one of my own Psalms, a Psalm of Lament:

Psalm of Lament

Why, O God, does my heart flutter and fail;
Why does my soul cry out in anguish?

I have sinned against You, my Lord;
With my deeds I have failed You again.

My sins, guilt, and shame torment my spirit;
I feel as though You are far away from sight.

My sins are like weights that crush my soul;
I am rubbish and dead by what I have done.

Why do I run in my own direction, apart from Your paths?
My ways are false, fruitless, and full of futility.

Your methods are pure and upright, leading to life abundant;
My schemes are selfish, evil, grotesque, and hypocritical.

Temptation beckons to my spirit, and pleads for my soul;
Sin calls out to me, luring my heart from Your ways.

How, O Father, have I come so far?
I am miles from the comfort of Your love.

I am ruined, yes destroyed, by my sin.
There is no life apart from righteousness.

Bring me back, merciful Forgiver, O gracious One;
Accept my wayward soul in spite of my wandering Heart.

Mercy and forgiveness are the things I seek;
Can there still be hope for one like me?

I plead and pray to You, to You alone;
You, yes only You, are my one true hope.

Be my Deliverer, my Rescuer, my Savior;
Be my Redeemer, Be my God.


Friday, August 19, 2011

A REAL Bucket List

This week I stumbled upon an interesting website called The concept is pretty cool and simple enough - you create a list of things you hope to accomplish or experience before you kick the proverbial bucket. It reminds me of a song performed by Tim McGraw, I think it's called Live Like You Were Dying (yes, I am a Tim McGraw fan). If you ask me, life should be lived, really enjoyed and treasured. I wish I always acted as though this idea was rooted deep in my being. But I don't. I have lots of days that seem to just kind of begin and end without much in between. Man, this is missing it. Just plain missing it.

Best-selling author Erma Brombeck said, "When I stand before God at the end of my life, I would hope that I would not have a single bit of talent left, and could say, I used everything you gave me." Perhaps this should really be the heart of a legitimate bucket list. Without meaning to scrutinize others' dreams, I can't help but question whether or not we have adopted a shallow concept of what a real bucket list should look like. Admittedly, my initial thoughts for a personal list includes (in random order):
  • Earn my pilot's license
  • Sail from Panama City to the Caribbean Islands
  • Watch a Red Sox/Yankees game from the top of the Green Monster
  • Bag an Alaskan Moose to have mounted and placed above my fireplace
  • Travel with Claire to New Guinea
You get the idea. My selfish bucket list would have a ton of things that were exciting, exotic, and expensive (the American dream, right?!) But, what if this list took a backseat to another one, a more selfless list. This whole concept is inspired for me by a young lady you may have probably heard of by now: Rachel Beckwith. Not even 9 years old before her transition from this life to the next and she got it, I mean really got it. Her idea of a birthday present was raising money and giving it away to people in need. What an incredible heart, what an incredible attitude. Suppose Christians adopted this same mindset and began acting as if this were most important to us. What a world of difference I believe our culture would see in us, our faith, our God. I dare myself to live like Rachel Beckwith. I challenge myself to re-evaluate what my personal bucket list should look like. Maybe more like:
  • Travel to meet my Compassion Int'l child in Africa to hug him and tell him face-to-face that I really do love him
  • Preach God's love and grace to students every month
  • Build a home for a family as an expression of God's desire to bless people
  • Adopt a child who feels unloved to show them how precious they truly are
  • Smile regularly - even when I feel discouraged
  • Invite more people to have dinner with my family
  • Pray with Claire to God the Father daily
  • Hug my mom and dad every chance I get
I think this list is shaping up a lot better...

Now, if you care to share I would love to hear from you - what's on your real bucket list?

Saturday, August 13, 2011

So here's a very cool idea: dressing for a cause. It has become real easy for people to make a positive statement with the threads they choose to put on their backs. Take, for example, one family's nicely designed T-Shirts, which you can find here:

The Wayman Family is in the process of adopting a child from Africa (Ethiopia I believe). If you would like to join them in their cause to share love with the children of the world, and look stylish at the same time, then you can purchase one of these shirts off their website. The proceeds will be used to help the Wayman's with the costs of bringing home their bundle of joy. As I think about the incredible example of love demonstrated by those who pursue children in adoption I am reminded of God's love for us. He is the ultimate example love and calls us His very own sons and daughters: 2 Corinthians 6:18 - I will be a Father to you, and you will be my sons and daughters, says the Lord Almighty.

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Solid Rock Bible Camp

Tomorrow, just after lunch, I will take off from Dallas, TX headed for Solid Rock Bible Camp just outside Great Bend, Kansas! This is a great opportunity for me to share the Truth of Christ with some eager middle school students in an environment perfect for spiritual growth. Getting outdoors and surrounding myself with God's creation does wonders for my soul (as I think it does for most people). This camp offers plenty of time for students and staff to get outdoors and play lots of group games, hit the swimming pool, and even go horseback riding. I will be speaking throughout the week and praying for God's Word to work on all of our hearts. As is normally case, I am filled with anxiousness and excitement as I get all my ducks in a row for the students. For some reason preaching always tends to work me in a frenzy! I am reminded, though, that God will be faithful to do His thing and that I need not sweat the small stuff. This week should be a blast, but I also pray that it will be fruitful. My mission and prayer is to lead the students to a more faithful life, one in which they realize the priceless value of the Cross and engage their hearts fully in God. I hope you will take a moment to join with me in this prayer for these students. May their hearts become fully alive and pleasing to Him!

Sunday, January 2, 2011

New Year/New Push

This morning we had a really thought-provoking sermon in church from preacher Bill White. Of the many issues he discussed the one that really generated the most thought for me was the concept of self-accountability. Many Christian men and women are phenomenal "encouragers". In the New Testament one of Paul's close companions was a man known as Barnabas, which roughly translates as The Encourager. I am very grateful for those God has put in my life to give the extra push that keeps me going in the right direction. I hope that I never take for granted the Barnabas-type people in my life. Many of these are the ones who also are willing to ask me the uncomfortable or tough questions that help me stay grounded and humble in my walk. I need those questions and that brutal accountability. But what if these people, and their accountability, disappear? What happens to me and my spiritual health then? I have never really thought about this (and hope that it never actually happens). Realistically, though, it is possible to live without partner accountability. As Christians we are never without accountability. We must discipline ourselves to be accountable to ourselves and to God. A lack of partner accountability provides no excuse for lackadaisical living. God demands and deserves a devoted life. There has to be a point when a man determines in his heart to be accountable to himself and to his King. Ultimately we will all be required to answer for our own actions, and no excuse will be acceptable. We need to have a "holiness or bust" attitude that pushes us to chase after God's heart in spite of difficult, "accountable-less" circumstances. I am praying that with the onset of the New Year I would be driven to leave excuses in the garbage where they belong and pursue righteous living for myself and my King. Will it be great to have partner accountability? Absolutely. And I'll take every ounce of it I can get. But the bottom line is my new push will be to make myself accountable to myself.

Friday, December 10, 2010

1 Gift - 2 People

This is awesome. I love when people put their creative thinking to work and use it to solve dilemmas in our world. There are so many ways we can make positive impacts in our cultures, societies, and around the planet that it really is a shame we don't do it more often. Well, here is a solid way to make an impact while turning on the light in another person's brain. Check out the website and do some reading. Read what the organization's purpose is and ask yourself, "How much would I really appreciate a clean, fresh gallon of water? Especially if there was no clean water available?" Now, get busy helping other people and provide for a major need in their life. Water. It's just water. But for millions of folks water is not just water. It's precious. Do yourself a favor this month: Buy some water from the Maji Water website and pour into another person's life. Give some bottles of Maji Water to friends and family for Christmas and get them on board, too. Heck, make it your Christmas tradition. While you're out making a difference buying water for others remember what Christ has done for you, "Whoever drinks the of the water that I will give him shall never thirst; but the water that I will give him will become in him a well of water springing up to eternal life." Buy water from Maji Water.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Dude! It's a Double-Rainbooooowwwww! What does it mean?

This video had me cracking up! I couldn't stop laughing and the guys that watched with me were seriously crying because it is so funny! The guy who video's this is something different to say the least, but in a way I can't blame him for his reaction to what he sees. Think about this: Romans 1:20 explains that we will be able to experience a little bit of the goodness of God through His creation. While this guy certainly seems to be enthralled by the beauty of the rainbow I don't think it is out of the question for humans to sometimes become overwhelmed with the beauty of God's creation. Plus this is just a hilarious video. Have fun.