Power Source

I am one of those people who takes their phone battery to the limit. I have it charging when I can, but there are times when I see it going down into the single digits, with no hope of charging any time soon. I try to do everything I'd normally do, but simple tasks become difficult as warning signs pop up everywhere. Eventually, my poor phone has nothing left; it goes dim, and then dark. My 600 dollar technological marvel becomes a glorified fashion accessory because it lacks the power to do anything else.

Spiritually, I operate like this sometimes. In Philippians 2, Paul clearly outlines what must come before we live the Christian life. Encouragement in Christ, comfort in his love, and participation in the spirit are presented as pre-requisites to living in true humility, true unity, and true dedication to Christ and the world He so loved. We need to be plugged in to these power sources, or we too will find ourselves struggling with even the "basics" of Christian brotherhood and service.

We don't naturally serve with humility, and we don't naturally look out for those who don't "deserve" our consideration. We may serve, but we serve to feel good, and stop when the going gets tough. We may look out for others, but only until it is no longer convenient for us. We may try to change this mindset, and change this selfish heart, with the best of intentions... but we will never find success in our own power.

The only source of true Christian humility is the power that comes from finding our everything in Christ. Without this power source, we are perpetually running with a low battery. At best, we struggle; in most cases, we end up completely useless.

Thoughts on Returning

I am back home.

At least, that is the way most of us describe coming back to the place we grew up, the area we explored during our younger, more exploratory days. I point out different things to my wife, telling her what happened here, who I met there, or why that thing is new and therefore inherently interesting. She politely smiles, nods, and says "that's cool" a few times. I wax eloquent on the comparisons between my old "home" and my new "home". I laugh with my wife at the way everything here, especially at Grandma's house, is made for those 5'7" and under. We are both much taller.

But home isn't as much about the place, as it is about the people. It is about visiting and playing an impromptu house show for mom and sister and aunts and uncles, playing everything from Christmas songs to praise songs, even throwing in songs I wrote and a Pink Floyd song I enjoy covering (for Uncle Bobby, and you can hear it below from a few months ago on YouTube). All of these on my grandpa's old Jasmine guitar.

It is about visiting old friends, who all seem to be married with new, cute babies. Thank you, Daniel and Monica (Her blog is pretty legit), for standing strong with us (probably the only cousins we'd choose to be friends with even if not related)! It is about being frustrated with my baby sister and her first choices as an adult seeming kinda... well... childish (I never, ever was like that... ever... stop laughing). It is about my mom always plugging away, never having an ideal situation, and yet always thriving more than you could ever imagine. I am crazy proud of her.

It is about my friend Steve and his South Texas Christianity, and his complete aversion to dancing and "secular" music. Nuance is sometimes lost on him, but what he lacks in nuance he makes up for with an unmatched zeal for seeing lives changed and souls saved by Christ. That man is bringing a whole lot of people to the party with him when the saints go marching in.

It is a time when there is so much tumult in my own personal life and my professional life, when only my church and my wife seem to be steadfast (and I am thankful for them both). It is a time where every turn brings a new reflection; a new consideration of where I was, where I am, and where I will be. With each turn, I remember where God was faithful, and where he brought me closer to who I was meant to be, out of the mess of who I was. With each day here, I realize that God will be God wherever I am, whatever I am doing.

I am a natural worrier. God is making it really hard to worry. Bobby McFerrin would be proud. This return home is just what I needed. Thanks, Corpus Christi (and Mathis, and Kingsville, and Beeville), for being who you are and reminding me to...

The Longing

We were created with a longing for our Creator.

It makes perfect sense when you think about it. The best gift a perfect God could give us would be himself (followed closely by a MacBook Pro). Creation begins with us willingly choosing to fulfill that longing with God and His command, and we are perfectly fulfilled.

It has always been the Devil's job to entice us with lesser attempts at filling that longing, and to make us mistake rebellion for independence. His success in deception, and our short-sighted attempts at self-actualization, have led to this moment you stand in.

This longing you have will only be fully satisfied by your fully sufficient Savior; the God that you do not get to define, and yet the God who is everything you need.

That woman or man, that job or degree, that award or notoriety... it will only be temporary, and it will invariably fall short of what we long for. All of it is useless in our hands, unless we are in God's hands.

Do you feel the longing?


Sometimes I look at everything I have set out to do, and I doubt. I doubt the calling, and I suppose that means I doubt the God who calls. I don't mean to, but it just feels like quite a bit that I am taking on. I work full-time, lead worship and youth, do grad school online, try to be a good husband and friend, and I'm trying to find some time to be able to get healthier. I don't know why tonight is one of those nights...

When the great men of God had any sort of doubt, it seems God himself would come and remind them of who He is, and who He created them to be. I am not saying I am a great man by any means... but I could sure use a visit right about now.

Then again, it could happen, and I could totally bug out like Isaiah. That would probably be me.

Do you ever doubt yourself and your calling?

My music room (so far)

This is without the keyboard, and with the drums in the closet. I've always wanted to have a music room!

Blessings and Curses

From the same mouth come blessing and cursing. My brothers, these things ought not to be so.
-James 3:10

Words are powerful. With simple words, I have been taken to the brink of destruction, and I have seen the edge of my sanity. With a few precious words, I've been brought back from the brink and picked up from the ground. I have seen and known the power of words.

I can't trust myself. My own words are often so reckless. I find myself controlled by forces within me that mean nothing but harm, forces that see pain as a means to an end. It is a constant bubbling spring within me. I want it gone.

There is no point to causing pain with our words. There is no benefit from the pain of others. My spirit wants to do good. Christ in me wants to be love, and wants love to be my defining characteristic. This cannot happen with the internal treachery brought about by my lack of self-control.

All of this to say, I need to have better control of my words.

It's Not About Me

I have been struggling to get my mind around this concept. I find myself unsatisfied with life events and areas of struggle. My selfish theology wants to question God, to ask why this or that couldn't just be a little different, a little (or a lot) better.

But as it turns out, He is already making all things work together for our good. Our good is not necessarily a painless existence. Sometimes there is growth or empathy, or merely experience, that we will require in order to live out our purpose.

The fact is, we do not live for our enjoyment, but rather for His glory. Only when we realize this truth, will we experience true fulfillment and joy.

This all seems basic, but for some reason it just gets more and more profound. And harder to just "do".