Archive for April, 2013

Does your life ever grow stale?  Does it ever seem that each and every day is just a routine that you go through – just going through the motions?

I have to admit, I got home last night after a very long day and I was exhausted.  As I made my way to my bedroom, the thought crossed my mind – “In a few short hours I will get up and do all this again.”  Truth be told, I felt a little defeated in that moment.

Now don’t get me wrong, I love my life.  I have been blessed with the most wonderful, understanding and loving family a person could ever want.  I have a calling that I cannot imagine doing anything else.  But every once in a while, when I get a little more tired than usual, it gets to be a bit overwhelming.

Then I come to one of my readings this morning and I read this:

Certainty is the mark of the commonsense life – gracious uncertainty is the mark of the spiritual life.  To be certain of God means that we are uncertain in all our ways, not knowing what tomorrow will bring.  We are uncertain of the next step, but we are certain of God.  As soon as we abandon ourselves to God and do the task He has placed closest to us, He begins to fill our lives with surprises.    —    Oswald Chambers, My Utmost For His Highest

When we begin to feel like things are a little stale, maybe we need to review our focus.  If we are focused on the work, then it will grow to the point that it overwhelms.  But, when we surrender ourselves fully into God’s hands and put God in the driver’s seat we shift our focus to God’s desire and heart.  All else fades in importance and we sit back with expectation.

In a sense, we say to God, “Surprise me.”

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This morning I am up early and in Lubbock to meet a couple of guys – fellow believers and ministers.  One of them I have never met before.  It will be good to put a face with the name.

As I think about that common phrase, “put a face with the name,” it causes me to pause this morning.  We may know about someone.

Baby funny face

We may communicate via email or Facebook.  We may even talk over the phone (yes, I sometimes forget, this device that is inseparable from my back pocket also makes calls).

But until we sit down face to face, something is missing.  We want to actually see who we are getting to know.

Isn’t it that way with Jesus.  We can tell people about Jesus.  Folks can read God’s word and learn about his life.  They can look at the heritage of the church and see something must be real about this person known as the son of God.

But, deep down, they want to be able to put a face with the name.

Here is the deal.  You and I . . . we are that face.

As followers in The Way, as believers in the risen son of God, we are the hands and feet and yes, the face, of Jesus to the people we meet.

Represent you king well today!

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Bob Smiley Countdown

Bob Smiley

We are quickly approaching our big, epic event!  We need as much help as we can get to promote this gathering within our community.

May 9 at the Littlefield High School Gym.  We will open the doors at 5:45 and We As One will take the stage at 6.  At 6:45 Soldiers of God will rock the house and then at 7:30 Bob will go to work.  There will only be seating for the first 1200 people so you will want to get there on time and get a seat!



15 Days and counting down . . . 

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The Roar of Silence

Have you ever noticed how suffocating silence can be? Silence can get pretty loud. If you are like me, you get in the car and turn on the stereo. You get to your office and turn on the iTunes or Pandora. If you are exercising, you are very likely to have wires connecting your ears to your phone or iPod.

We don’t do very well with silence. It scares us. Maybe because in silence we are forced to be alone with ourselves – alone with our thoughts. We have grown so accustomed to noise that we don’t know how to act in silence. We don’t know what to think. We struggle with how to feel.

But I have found that when I am worn out or stressed out, silence can be very important. We get so busy with our routine that it can become more about going through the motions. Our service to God and others becomes more of an obligation and less of a calling.

I was reminded of something very important today in some of my reading. If you have been around Clay In The Hands for long, you know that one of my favorite Christian thinkers is Thomas Merton. Merton said this: “When I am liberated by silence, when I am no longer involved in the measurement of life, but in the living of it, I can discover a form of prayer in which there is effectively, no distraction. My whole life becomes a prayer.”

“My whole life becomes a prayer.” I love that statement. I am not sure I can say that about my life very often. But isn’t that how it should be? I believe when we set aside the distractions and keep our focus on God and God’s holiness, then our lives become a prayer and everything we do becomes worship.

Slow down and worship with passion today!

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This Is Epic!

Yesterday, I alluded to a big announcement coming today.  Well . . . its epic, at least for our little community.  But before I jump right into that, let me give you a little history that has brought us to this point.

In 15 days I will have been the pastor of 1st B in Littlefield for 2 years.  It doesn’t seem possible that it has been that long.

At any rate, since coming to Littlefield, I have tried to become connected to the community and I feel that I have a fairly good understanding of the city.  But from day one I have sensed a desperation and an attitude of defeat.  It’s almost like, in many ways, our people have given in to the fact that the world is just a bad place and there is not much we can do about it.

That has been a burden on my heart from day one.  In fact, that is one of the reasons I have been preaching to our 1st B family that we have got to BE the church in our town.  Our community needs the church to truly BE the church.

To add to this cloud, we have experienced some tragic losses this year, two of which have been teenagers in our school system.

So a couple of weeks ago, our staff got together and began to pray and dream.  We thought about different things we could do to reach into our community.  And we decided on an event.

But not just any event.  We could bring in some local band and try and find a speaker that could come and do some kind of a revival.  And that would be all well and good.  But we wanted something different – something our community has not seen before.

So here it is . . . drum roll please!

On May 9 (yes, here in about 3 weeks – that is why we need your help so desperately), we are bringing in one of the premier Christian comics in America – Bob Smiley – and its free to the public!

We are debating between 2 different venues, but we will open the doors at 5:45, serve hot dogs and nachos, and then we are working with a Christian band that will take the stage at 6.  (More details on that as soon as we have them).  Then  Soldiers of God, a very energetic Christian band will take the stage at 6:45.  Bob will take the stage at 7:30.

I am excited about how God has put this together!  I am looking forward to what God is going to do.

And I need your help.  Help us pack this event out.  I need you to talk this up and share it on your Facebook.  Tweet it.  Text it.  Email it.  Whatever you can do to help us get our community to this event.

And oh, did I mention its free?!

I am blessed to have a lot of followers to this site.  Can I count on you to help?

Let’s make this awesome!

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I don’t normally use this platform in this way – at least not to this level.  But this is big.  For our area, this is epic!

In the midst of a struggling economy and a community that has been rocked by tragedy and depression and decline – God is still the light and God is still at work.

In fact, I believe that God does his best work when we get to the point we realize we can’t do this on our own.  Our community is there and they just don’t realize it.

So tomorrow there will be a big announcement here and I am going to need all my visitors to this site and all my regular readers to help spread the word.

So make sure to check back tomorrow and help me get the word out!

God is going to do some amazing things and you can be a part of it!

Today – – pray.  Pray for our community.  I don’t know where you live but pray for your community as well.  Pray that God will begin a renewal and a humble, authentic turning of our communities to The Way.

You are awesome!

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Take Another Look

Today, I have a meeting in Plainview, Texas, and so I made the trek a little early so that I could stop in at a local coffee shop and get some work done.  As I sit here taking in the sights and meditating on all of God’s glory, I am sitting next to the front window.  That is nothing special except for the fact that, for ambience, the establishment has hung a window frame over the top of the store front window.


As I sit and gaze through an empty window frame and on through the plate glass, I am reminded that much of life is about perspective.  Often what appears to be real is not real at all.  Often what we see is tempered by our pre-conceived ideas.

As you look at your world today, try looking at it with a fresh set of eyes or from a new perspective. I think what you will see is that God is at work all around you and you just had not noticed it before.

Be blessed today!

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We have been talking on Sunday mornings about the nature of God.  We began by laying the groundwork that it is a humbling task to try and describe the indescribable and comprehend the incomprehensible.  But through creation, scripture and the person of Jesus Christ, we get a glimpse of what God is like.

God is totally other.  There are no words we can use to adequately describe God’s majesty and size, or power and knowledge.  God escapes understanding.  We simply need to look into the sky at night and see the billions of stars to realize that we are talking about a huge God.



But even as big as God is – and as powerful and knowledgable – God is still person

al.  God knows your name.

Let that sink in:

God      knows     your     name!

And even more, God loves you.  God has a plan for you.  God cares about what happens to you.

We can’t understand it.  But it is true.  God’s mercy and grace make it possible.  When we come face to face with this reality, we echo the words of Isaiah, “Woe to me!” I cried.  “I am ruined!  For I am a man of unclean lips, and I live among a people of unclean lips, and my eyes have seen the King, the Lord Almighty.” (Isaiah 6:5)

When we begin to understand more about God, we realize that our lives aren’t long enough to truly give back to God what we owe.  So all we can do is make the most of our time here on earth to live in The Way each and every day!

Worship with your life today!

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This Sunday our series on the nature of God continues.  Last week we took a look at the fact that God is personal.  God is not some nebulous gas floating around in space with no interaction with us.  But, as Christian Smith pointed out in Soul Searching, God is not the cosmic loving Santa Clause that exists to make sure my every wish is granted.

God is personally connected to those who seek that relationship.  As if that concept is not amazing enough, this week we will be looking at God’s absolute-ness.  God is all-knowing, all-powerful and ever present.  When we think of God in this way, we should be humbled by the fact that God – the absolute being that defies our attempts to describe and grasp – wants a one on one relationship with you.

If you are in the neighborhood on Sunday at 10:45 stop by.  But if not, rest in the thought that there is no being greater than God.  And this great God knows you completely, loves you perfectly and wants the absolute best for you today!

Be blessed!

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This past week, it was announced that the Lubbock area, in west Texas, was voted the “Toughest Weather” area in the United States – runner up?  Fairbanks, Alaska.

As I read that announcement, I thought to myself, “How did we beat out sub-zero temperatures.  Then a picture of a good ol’ west Texas dust storm popped into my head and I thought, “Yeah, that’s about right.”


But as I have thought about this new found title, I began to think about the people who inhabit this part of the world.  What were that first settlers thinking when they decided to call this area home?  Some say the waggon train was headed west and the wheels fell off so they just stayed here.  Some say they actually chose to settle this area.

The truth is, the weather is really not that bad.  I mean, all the wind sure makes us appreciate the three days per year that the wind doesn’t blow.

I have been asked multiple times why I moved back to  west Texas almost 11 years ago.  My answer is always the same – the people – and of course God.

People are different out here.  We live in a wilderness where the pioneer spirit still flows just under the surface.  A hand shake is as good as a contract (in most cases) because a person’s word still means something.

Sound a bit cliche or Mayberry USA?  Well, maybe.  But there is some truth to the fact that west Texas is still a great place to live and the people, not the weather, make it true.

But I think the setting has something to do with it as well.  This is west Texas.  You just haven’t lived until you have seen God in a west Texas sunrise or sunset.  Our souls long to find God in nature and there is plenty of nature here.

Toughest weather or not, God is alive and well in west Texas – alive in the breathtaking sunrise this morning – alive in the person’s smile as I paid for my coffee – ALIVE!

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