Archive for September, 2010

Last Friday and Saturday, my youngest son and I made the trek over to the Guadalupe Mountains and then made the hike up to the top of Guadalupe Peak, the tallest peak in Texas.  We made it up in time to set up camp and then make it on to the summit for the sun set.  It was breath taking!

At the top of the mountain, a monument has been erected to commemorate the transportation and mail industries because the mountain sits along a prominent stage and pony express route from the 1800’s.

At any rate, at the base of the monument is a metal ammunition box and inside the box is a register.  All who make their way to the top get to sign the book – pretty cool.

We both signed the book, took pictures and then prayed together before heading back down to camp – one of those father – son moments I will always cherish.

The next morning we packed up our tent and sleeping bags and all our stuff and headed back down to the base to drive home.  As we were hiking down, the thought entered my head of how proud I am that my son’s name is in the book.  He has joined a handful of people who can say they made it to the top of Texas.

As I reflected on that fact, I became even more moved to think that not only is my son’s name in the Guadalupe Peak register, it is actually inscribed on a much more important book.  In the Bible, Revelation 3 talks about a book of life where the names of all the followers of Jesus will be recorded.  Bryson’s name is there along with my other two sons’ names as well!  What an incredible thought for a dad!

God is good!

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Hike the Peak

Last Year’s Trip

Tomorrow I am doing something I don’t do nearly enough.  I am taking my boys on a backpacking trip.  We do it occasionally but not frequently enough.

About 12 years ago, I took my oldest two to the Guadalupe Mountains to hike Guadalupe Peak (the tallest mountain in Texas).  It was a great experience, but my youngest was only 2 so not quite old enough to make that hike.

Ever since, we have wanted to go and hike the mountain again.  We tried last year but got there too late and all the camp sites on the summit trail were taken so we had to hike another mountain.  So tomorrow we are going to try it again.

I can’t wait to hit the trail with my boys!

I’ll tell you all about it next week.

What will you do with your family this weekend?

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I Am Amazed!

Today, as I waited on my youngest to finish cross country practice, I listened to the Pray-As-You-Go devotional podcast.

The scripture reading was familiar from the Gospel of Luke chapter 2.  You can read it here.

As I listened to these words read, I pictured Simeon in the temple, meeting Jesus, the Messiah, as an infant.  I thought about the overwhelming joy he must have felt – the wonder and amazement that the chosen One of God was in his very arms.

In the translation read on the podcast, the word “amazed” was used to describe the reaction of Joseph and Mary at what they were hearing about Jesus.

Then the question came from the guide, “Are you amazed by Jesus?”

That question has been lingering in my mind ever since.

As I have thought about that question, there are many things that have come to mind as to the amazement I feel because of Jesus.

The most amazing thing is that he has called me out – that he chose me and gave me a new life – I would be wandering through life with no direction and no purpose if not for Jesus’ amazing and magnificent grace!

What about you – do you find Jesus amazing?

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Last week I bit the bullet and started back to exercising.  It hasn’t been easy.  I have yet to come up with a set time to exercise but here are three things I’ve learned in the gym.

1)  The first couple of days after starting back to the gym are the worst.  My old high school coach didn’t know what he was saying when he said, “You gotta get back in there to work the soreness out!”  I’m still sore and I’ve been back!  However, I do know from experience that it will get better in the next few days.

2)  It is very difficult to get into a routine – bad habits of not working out are hard to break.

3)  Some things that don’t feel good are actually good for you.  The world would tell us that we should always do what makes us feel good.  The Bible teaches differently.  Some things that aren’t always pleasant at the time make us stronger in the long run.

There are a couple of similarities to our faith journey here.  Getting into a routine of spending time with God is not always easy.  In fact, the first few days may be difficult.  But the payoff for your discipline will far exceed any “cost” you might have to spend.

Have a blessed day – maybe I’ll see you in the gym!

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I saw a headline this morning in a Christian leadership magazine.  It said, “People Are Resources.”

I understand the intent of the article.  Each and every person has been gifted by God with skills, and talents and passions that God intends for service in Kingdom work.  As a minister, a large part of my job is to help people realize their God-given gifts and then equip and empower them to use those gifts to honor God and fulfill their purpose in life.  It is easy to allow this part of my job to be twisted into something different.  Sometimes, when the pressure is on, it is tempting to see people as resources for allocation to fulfill needs in the church that I am responsible for filling.

But I think we all do that – don’t you?  How many times have you needed something done either at work, or at school or at home and you set out to find the person you could enlist to carry out what you need done?  I am not saying there is anything inherently wrong with this idea – that is how things get done.

But what I am saying is that if we ever allow people to be seen only as resources and for what they can do for us, then we have missed the bigger picture all together.  People are God’s creation and meant for relationships.

Take some time today to focus on your relationships.  That is what God really intends.

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Yesterday I had the privilege of attending a workshop covering web development and branding.  Our presenter was from Canada by way of North Carolina.  At lunch we were discussing the weather patterns of west Texas.  We explained that for us, a normal day is a day in which the wind blows a gentle breeze of 10 to 15 miles per hour.  We also told him that 20 to 30 mile per hour winds would be pretty normal for a windy day.  But then there are often 4 or 5 days per year in which the winds blow so hard that when you walk outside, the sky looks similar to a watered down glass of Diet Coke.

After giving the descriptions of the wind in west Texas, our presenter asked, “Why would you want to live here?”

There are a number of great reasons that I could list for wanting to live here: the people, the wide open spaces or many others.  But I think a picture is worth a thousand words when God decides to show off a little.

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It’s early Thursday morning and I am out on the back deck with a fire in the chimnea – lots on my mind I suppose.  As I sit watching the fire, I watch the flame build and die down.  As I add wood to the fire, the flame builds back up again.  But underneath the flame is where the real fire is – a bed of coals that keeps the fire going.  As I watch the fire I am reminded of a story I heard recently of an Oklahoma pastor named Otto Goins.  You can read his story here.

He is 100 years old.  He preached his first sermon in the summer of 1930.  Now, 80 years later, he is still preaching – and now, right back in the same building he helped build in 1940.  He now lives in a retirement home, but every week his neighbor drives him to church so he can preach.

It is burning coals like Otto that keep the flame going.  Yes, God keeps adding new fuel to the fire in the way of new ministers and leaders, but we must never forget those who have gone before who have kept the fire burning in our churches.

This story also reminds me that even though we may age and reach a point that we retire from our careers, we never retire from serving God.  As a minister, I have heard countless people tell me, “I have served in this capacity for plenty of years, it is time for the younger folks to step up and pull their weight.”  While this is often true, it should never be an excuse for retiring from being a committed believer.  Look at Otto, he is still preaching after 80 years of ministry.

We need the coals to keep the fire going!

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