Archive for August, 2011

Wow!  It is hard to believe but today marks a significant milestone in this area of my ministry.  Today is post number 500 for Clay In The Hands.  It doesn’t seem possible that I have been involved in sharing my musings that many times since April of 2009.  But here we are – number 500.  So today, I thought I would list some things I have learned through this experience.

  1. It is really hard to have anything to say if I am not focusing regularly on my walk with Jesus.
  2. I have had to learn to be much more observant in order to see God at work around me.
  3. God can use the thoughts I share in ways I could not have imagined or planned.
  4. How humbling it is to have people actually read what I share here.
  5. How much better Mac’s are than PC’s – OK that was not necessarily learned through my efforts here – but it is true none the less!
  6. The joy I have experienced when someone from another part of the world sends me a message about how they have been affected by this ministry.
Those are just a few things I have experienced through this effort.  So I wonder how God will work through the next 500 posts?
Thanks so much for reading!
Be blessed today!

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I have been silent for a few days.  I have to admit, it has been different to be away from the keyboard.  Actually, being away from technology has been difficult.  I spent 4 days on a trip to Colorado with a group of 11 men.  We did not even have cell service where we went much less internet.  We saw the sights from a jeep, we had worship around a campfire, we got to see rain (which is not a usual sight here in west Texas).  I even tried my hand at fly fishing.

You know, when I was in college, I contemplated getting an ear ring (not for long – but it did cross my mind).  But I never once thought about piercing my nose.  But I am here to tell you, if you don’t cast that fly just right, you could come home with a new piercing.  A note for the future – when you are fly fishing and in the midst of casting, don’t attempt to change the direction of your cast.  I learned that the fly will pierce the skin on a person’s nose – and it might even draw a little blood.  Lesson learned!

The best part of the trip was building relationships with a group of guys I had not had the opportunity to get to know very well before the trip.  It is always great to hear a person’s story.  I was reminded that being a part of a body of believers is getting to know one another.  It is hard to really care deeply for a person if you don’t know them.  But why does it take getting away and being secluded with a handful of folks to make that happen?

Here is my challenge for you today – think about the acquaintances in your life.  Who can you set aside a little time for today to really get to know them?  Take the time to invest in a relationship today!

Now where is that antiseptic cream?

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In Spite of My Plan

Have you ever had one of those days?  Yesterday started out to be “one of those days.”  I got up at my normal 6:10 to get my youngest son up and off to cross-country practice.  I took him to practice and then returned home to get ready for work and a busy day.  At 7:25 I headed back to the practice to pick him up.  His run yesterday was much longer than normal so he did not make it to the car until about 8.  So now I was late.  I ran him back home, darted into the kitchen to top off my travel mug of coffee and then back to the car and down the road.

I made good time through town and out on the highway for the 24 mile drive to Littlefield.  I had my day mapped out and ready to go when I arrived at the office.  I parked the car and got out, opened the back door to grab my backpack (which contains my laptop) and – – yep, you guessed it – no backpack.  My “life” was sitting beside my chair at home – 24 miles away!

I went into the office and told my ministry assistant what I had done and then went back to the car to make the drive back home to get my computer!

I suppose it goes without saying that my scheduled plans were shot!

But I have to tell you – the day went fine in spite of me.  I had a good premarital counseling session (for which I did not feel as prepared as I like due to be being rushed), I had a great visit with a wonderful man who just lost his wife last month and actually got some things done to boot.

I was reminded that God can work in my life whether it is through my plan or in spite of it!

So today, I say – have a plan.  But don’t be so tied to it that you fail to see God at work around you!

Be blessed today!

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Strength to Be Bold

Yesterday I told you about José and how he serves, day in and day out, in the middle of all the violence in Juarez, Mexico.  As we talked on Monday evening, I was challenged to look at the price I pay to follow Jesus.  I had to admit, it isn’t very high.  But I was also challenged to think about how much more I should be doing since I don’t have to deal with the stress of wondering if I will be gunned down in the next hour or two.

Then today, these were the verses I meditated on from Psalm 46:

1 God is our refuge and strength,
an ever-present help in trouble.
2 Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way
and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea,

Two things jumped out at me.  The first is that no matter what struggles or threats we might be dealing with today, God is present – ever-present!  God is our refuge; our safe place to hide and take cover.  There is comfort in knowing that God is ever-present and ready to protect us.

But the second thing I noticed in this passage is that God is our strength.  With the strength of God on our side – there is nothing we cannot endure and accomplish.  Sometimes the most crucial things in life, come out of very trying times.  God gives us the strength to experience those times.  The psalmist says, even if the earth gives way and even if the mountains fall off into the ocean, God is still in control and present – we have nothing to fear.

So – – my challenge today?  Today, we live with boldness!  Regardless of where you sit today.  Regardless of what you might be dealing with today.  Have no fear – God is ever-present!  Go out with boldness and make an impact for the Kingdom today!  That is what being a follower in the Way is all about.

Be blessed!

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I had a unique opportunity last night.  As many of you who read my ramblings on a regular basis may know by now, I am involved fairly heavily in mission efforts to the El Paso, Texas area.  In the past, before the violence became so severe in Juarez, Mexico, I led groups into Mexico as well.  So I have a heart for the people of this area.

I traveled to El Paso on Sunday to meet with some area pastors and have the blessing of getting to give the tour to our new area missionary at home.  It was an incredible day of hearing what God is doing in and through several churches here in El Paso and the surrounding area and how, even now, some of these churches are still involved in ministry in Juarez.

Our final meeting of the day was with a pastor named José.  He lives and serves in Juarez, Mexico.  It has been some time since I have actually had the opportunity to sit across the table from someone on the front lines in the way that José is on a daily basis.  Over three thousand people were killed in Juarez last year due to the drug wars.  Pastors and churches are threatened weekly.  The threats normally take the shape of extortion.  Pastors are told that they must pay “security” money or their families will be killed.  Some of these men have left their churches but most have stayed.

I cannot imagine living in that environment.  I would hope that my trust in God would give me strength to carry out my calling, but I have admit that the desire to flee the area would be heavy on my mind most of the time.

José told us stories of how God is at work and that he has chosen to stay and serve in Juarez.  God is at work through José and others who minister to the people of Juarez on a daily basis.

As I have reflected on meeting with José, I have two challenges for you (and me) today.  The first is simple.  Please make it a priority to pray for Mexico and the pastors who are there offering ministry to the people who need it most.  The second challenge is harder.  Take some time today to examine your own walk.  How faithful would you be if your life was threatened simply for following Jesus?  Commit yourself today to living in faith and boldly sharing God’s love with those you meet.

Be a blessing today!

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Struggles are a part of life.

Wow, what an uplifting way to begin a post on a Monday morning.  But it is true.  We live in a messed up world.  Struggles come our way on a daily basis.  Those struggles may be shoved on us from the outside.  Or they may be more personal in nature – battling unhealthy habits or desires from within.

But either way, I am here to tell you today that God loves you.  God created you – yes you – in order to have a personal relationship with you.  You are God’s pride and joy!

So. God cares about what you are going through.  God is aware of the struggles you will face today.  But God is present.  You are not alone in this.

Trust!  Listen!  Obey!

Be blessed today!

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We are getting ready to load the van and head to Rock the Desert with students for two days of music, sun, dust, heat and worship.  It almost sounds like more of a chore than a blessing.  I must admit, it is not for the faint of heart.  But if you can get past the heat and dust you’ve got it made!  In fact, the worship experience and pure fun make up for the discomfort every time!

So pray for our students – pray that this will be a life-changing experience for them.  Pray that God will keep us safe and that we will return with a renewed passion to live like Jesus everyday.

And if you aren’t doing anything today or tomorrow – head to west Texas (half way between Midland and Odessa) for some Jesus music!  (You can check out the line-up here)

Now where did I put that sunscreen?!

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