Examining My Feet...

I love the spring and summer because I believe that my feet were born to be free...One of the best things about spring and summer is that I can wear flip-flops every day. It's the best. But I always hate the first few weeks of flip flop wearing because my feet are ghostly white due to the fact that they've been hidden by those dreaded shoes...It usually takes a couple weeks for my feet to catch up with the tan of the rest of my body...I know you might think this is a bit random, but I have a point.

I've spent a lot of time these past couple weeks examining my feet. I've also spent some time examining the feet of those around me - especially those who would call themselves part of the body of Christ here in our local community...Paul, who wrote a lot of the New Testament, wrote a letter to the church in Rome and he talked about feet. Here is what he said:

For “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.” But how can they call on him to save them unless they believe in him? And how can they believe in him if they have never heard about him? And how can they hear about him unless someone tells them? And how will anyone go and tell them without being sent? That is why the Scriptures say, “How beautiful are the feet of messengers who bring good news!”

As I examine my feet, I want them to be more beautiful. But the kind of beauty I desire cannot be gained through a pedicure or a trip to the spa. This beauty is gained through obedience, love, and passion. When God examines my feet, I want him to be glorified by their beauty. I want my feet to be beautiful because I have been faithful to be someone who tells the Good News. When I look at my cirlce of influence, my neighbors, my family, and my friends, I see numerous people who need to hear. And when I look at my feet and the feet of those I walk with in this thing called following Jesus, I see a lot of feet that could be made a lot more beautiful...

What about your feet? Are they adorned in the beauty of the Good News? I'll be breaking out the sandals and flops pretty soon and I really don't want to be the one with ugly feet...


All We Need To Know...

I've been teaching a series on evangelism at our midweek student service for the past three weeks. Tomorrow we finish up the series and we're talking about how to communicate the good news - that God loves us and wants to have a relationship with us - in a way that is effective. We're going to talk about how to share the message of Jesus in a way that people will actually listen to what we have to say...

As we've walked through this series, it seems that a lot of our students become very timid and shy when it comes to sharing the gospel with their friends...And most of the time it's because they feel like they don't know the answers to the questions they'll face.

But there is this incredible story in John 9 where Jesus encounters a blind man. He spits on the ground to make some mud and he heals the blind man by putting the mud in his eyes. The man is so excited he starts running around everywhere, telling people what has happened. When the religious leaders of the day see the raucus that he's causing with his testimony of what's happened, they begin to question him. They throw questions at him, trying to trap Jesus and trying to find out what the man knows and experienced. The man's reply is simple. He can't answer any of their questions. Not one. He just simply says, "I once was blind, but now I see."

For those of us who've been forever changed by the incredible love of Jesus, isn't that all we need to know to share our hope...Now, sure we need to own our faith and know what we believe and why we believe it. We need to speak about our faith from experience and with knowledge and wisdom. But we don't have to know all the answers...There are so many things I don't understand about God. For example, I have friends who are currently going through losses and tragedies, and I don't get it. I don't know all the answers...But I know this - I once was blind, and now I see. I once was helpless, a sinner on a one way track to being separated from God. But Jesus intervened. I once was blind, but now I see. And that is the kind of life-change and hope my neighbors need to know...

What about you? Who has God placed in your life that needs to hear the Good News - that God loves them and wants to have a relationship with them? You don't have to have a degree in theology or have hundreds of Bible verses memorized to share your faith...You just have to go across the street...

Got Change for A Dollar?...

That's usually the question you ask when you want something from the vending machine...something like some chips, a candy bar, a coke, or...MARIJUANA??? Only in California. You can read about the new marijuana vending machines at the article title below:

Marijuana Vending Machines Open In California



Do you ever get an email that you know you need to keep? Maybe it's a letter of encouragment, an important conversation, or a password you know you'll forget...I am usually pretty good about keeping up with those types of emails but the last several months I have just let EVERYTHING stay in my inbox. And I mean everything - Everything from daily quotes and news sites I am signed up for to jokes and sports stuff people have sent me. So I just spent the LAST 3 HOURS going through my three different email accounts deleting all the junk and stuff I should've deleted the moment I read it...What a waste of time...


The Weekend Update...

Here's the wrap up from our weekend and the thoughts I have floating around my head at the moment.
  • Pray for my friend David Brown and his family. His blog, Three Words Back, is linked on this page...D Brown and I were college roomies and he's one of my closest friends. He lost a cousin to a tragic surgery complication on Thursday. She was only 38 and left behind a husband and two kids...Pray for God's comfort and peace for the family in this tradgey.
  • Johanna and I traveled A LOT this weekend...We went to see my parents and grandparents in the Stephenville area, as well as heading into Ft. Worth. We spent well over 10 hours in the car this weekend - Maybe that's why I have a bad case of sore driver's butt...
  • It was GREAT to see the fam...We just don't get to do that enough these days.
  • Got lots on my mind. A TON OF STUFF I'm pondering, thinking, praying about, seeking guidance in - about the future, the present, God's will, and our lives.
  • Worked on finishing up my Teaching Calendar for the semester today...I had the semester planned out, but God really has given me a different direction to go with one of our series. I am PUMPED about what God is going to teach our students and adults in our Student Ministry this semester.
  • I am also looking forward to being even more creative in our ministry since we have all the series/messages/topics planned out already!
  • In one of my few new FAVORITE blogs I read a great post about cut and paste ministry...And I am intrigued by the wheelbarrow full of runts illustration and if you read this Stephen Furtick, I gotta know what it was for! Check it out here .
  • Another one of my new favorite blogs is here...It's the blog of church planter Ben Arment and the brain behind The Whiteboard Sessions. I am so pumped about the possibility of heading to this conference and the site for the conference launches tomorrow! Gotta' sign up fast!
  • This guy has WAY TO MUCH time on his hands (ht to Marko) :

Old School...

There was an article on Yahoo News today about video game myths that linked an old Atari commercial. That peaked my interest to check out what Atari stuff might be on YouTube. Not quite the graphics of my XBOX 360, but definitely old school...My brother and I actually had one of these in the early 80s, before we moved up in the world and got our Nintendo. Not the Wii, the gamecube, the N64 or the Super Nintendo. Just the old school Nintendo...Anyway, check out these videos to see how far we've come:


Baptism Sunday...

Earlier this week I alluded to an incredible worship service our church experienced this weekend. Sunday morning as our pastor got up to begin speaking, he talked about the baptisms he was supposed to do at the end of the service....The only problem: When he went to fill the baptistry early Sunday morning, their was a plumbing problem in the pipes that fill the baptismal, so it couldn't be filled like normal...His solution? We were baptizing two boys who both were super excited and whose family members had traveled to be there that day...We couldn't just not do it. In his words, "our church had a responsibility to minister to these young guys and their families." So that's what we did. Instead of our pastor preaching a sermon, we all formed assembly lines from every faucet in the church to the baptistry. Every person in the church took part...The stronger guys filled trash cans and buckets. Kids filled cups, ladies formed lines to pass bowls and pitchers throughout the church...It took us about 20 minutes to fill it up, but we got the job done...Then while the two kids were getting ready to be baptized our pastor invited anyone else who needed to take that step in their journey of following Christ to come forward and be baptized...We ended up baptizing another teenager and an adult that were both there that day...Probably one of the most powerful "sermons" I have ever experienced...I think we should baptize like that every time!

$1,500 Anyone?...

If anyone has an extra $1500 they'd like to invest in my ministry and in me as a minister, I'd gladly take it for this:

Granger Community Church in Granger, IN is quite possibly THE MOST CREATIVE church in this country. Some of the stuff they do in ministry is not only out of the box, but it is out of this world...And for the first time ever they are offering 24 church leaders a chance to be immersed in what they do, how they do it, and why it's all done with their leadership team for two whole days...Here is what the website says:

Ever wanted a front row seat to how Granger’s Senior Management Team leads the church? How they plan for the future? How they decide which series to present and what direction to go? A new event is being offered for the first time that will give 24 leaders a chance to spend two full days with the Senior Management Team at Granger Community Church.

Sounds great, right? You bet it does...But the pricetag for the event/conference/training is $1,500...So if you have an extra $1,500 laying around and want to invest it in someone, I know a great way to spend it...


In Honor of The Day...

Today is Martin Luther King Jr. Day. It's the day we celebrate Dr. King's birthday, which is actually the same as mine, January 15th. In honor of the day, here are a few video clips and quotes from Dr. King...

Martin Luther King, Jr.'s Last Speech - The Night Before He Was Assassinated:

Here is an excerpt from King's "I Have A Dream Speech." Not sure what the German subtitles are about, but you can still hear the speech and see the broadcast from 1963:

And finally, some of Martin Luther King, Jr.'s Famous Quotes:

Returning violence for violence multiplies violence, adding deeper darkness to a night already devoid of stars... Hate cannot drive out hate: only love can do that.

We must learn to live together as brothers or perish together as fools.

When you are right you cannot be too radical; when you are wrong, you cannot be too conservative.

I submit to you that if a man hasn't discovered something he will die for, he isn't fit to live.

The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy.

The church was not merely a thermometer that recorded the ideas and principles of popular opinion; it was a thermostat that transformed the mores of society.

Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.

The Weekend Update...

Here is the weekend update - bulletin style:

  • Friday, Jo and I met Jaron, Jenna, Daniel, and Melissa in Austin...The original plan was to go to Alamo Drafthouse for a belated birthday celebration, but our movies were sold out...So we got some grub at Chuy's (fantastic!), some coffee at Halcyon, and bowled at the 300 Austin until 2:00 AM...Great time with great friends.
  • Saturday we slept in, needless to say...We had planned on a evening of hanging around the casa, when Jmob called and invited us to go with him and his pops to CalvaryAustin to their Saturday night worship service. Phil Wickham was leading worship their that night and so we went and checked it out...It was pretty rockin, except for the time he came on stage in an old school leather bomber jacket...That is a definite fashion mistake for worship leaders who play the guitar...We hit up some Potbelly Sandwich Works before headin' home...Another great time with great friends...
  • Today was an incredible church service...I am gonna' expand on it more in the morning (It's 1 AM Sunday night right now...). It was one of the coolest things I have ever been a part of and totally deserves it's own post...But after church, a group of us headed to Austin to lunch at Matt's El Rancho...We got back just in time for me to head back up to the church and set up for some meetings I had...Our Student Ministry team got together tonight to plan out the next few months of ministry...Then I led a seminar for parents of teenagers about teens and the internet...It was pretty cool.
  • It's now 1 AM on Sunday night/Monday morning and I just walked in the door from hanging out with some students...It's a school holiday tomorrow, so they can all sleep in...Lucky for them...

All in all, a great weekend...We have some great friends and it's always fun to get to hang out with them when we get the chance...And if you've never heard Phil Wickham before check him out on Myspace or Itunes or check out this video:


Joy Killers In Ministry...

Check out this link to a great blog by Perry Noble, pastor of NewSpring Church...He's one of the new blogs that my friend Zak White, over at http://www.zakwhite.com/, turned me on to...It's a great piece for anyone in ministry to read about things that kill our joy in ministry...Check it out:


"Change or Die"...

I've been sitting around on this slow Saturday morning, surfing the web with the TV on in the background...I just realized that "Ramsey's Kitchen Nightmares" is on...Basically this incredible chef and restraunteer goes into dying restaurants in England and teaches them how to change in order to save their restaurant...He overhauls everything - the food, the menu, the decor, the staff...And in an advertisement for the show he says, "Change or Die! It's that simple."

As the church we have the greatest message and the greatest hope the world will ever know. Yet, in so many places we refuse to change...and we are dying. In America, we live on the only continent in the world where the church is not growing...We must change or die. The world has changed around the church and it is time for the church to change in order to reach the lost...Our message is the same hope of Christ that we've always shared, but our methods must change to reach those who, by their absence and apathy, have voted today's church irrelevant for their lives.

We have loved our preferences, our traditions, and our comfort more than we have loved the lost. It is time for the church to begin to be the people of God that we are called to be. And it is time for us to focus on our one mission - reaching the lost...And to do that, we must adopt a "change or die" mentality...Whatever it takes to see Christ change lives!


Shouting It Out...

Tonight at The Attic we started a new series called "How To Shout Without Screaming." It's all about communicating God's love through our lifestyles...Basically, living in such a way that we shout the love of God to people with our lives. I was pumped to start this series tonight and I am excited about what God can do in the lives of our students and in our ministry if we had just a few students take seriously the call to love God and love the people that don't know Him...It would literally transform our community! How awesome is that!

So FLBC Students, get to shouting! Good news is best shared by good friends so be sure you are living out your faith in your friendships and let's watch and be amazed at what God does!

As for the rest of us, think about the people God has placed in our lives. Who has God put in our workplace, our family, and next door? These people aren't in our lives by accident or chance. God placed them in our lives so that we might influence them with His love. People respond best to God's love when it's lived out and shared by a friend. Build those friendships and realize that God's desire for us is to shout his love for the lost with our lives...



I forgot to mention it earlier, but Season 7 of this kicks off tonight:

I cannot wait! I love the first few episodes of this show, where they play the absolute worst singers and craziest people that they can possibly find...Then I usually get bored with it before the season ends...But the first few episodes during the tryouts are AWESOME!

I'm Feeling Older Today...

For some reason I'm feeling older today...Almost like I've entered into a new decade. Oh wait. I have. And while I promised some reflections and goals earlier in the week, I promise they are still coming...

I have an incredbily busy week this week. We're kicking off a new series at the Attic Wednesday night called "How To Scream Without Shouting." It's all about sharing the message and love of Jesus in ways that are real, practical, and relevant to others. Then on Sunday night I have a meeting with my Student Ministry Leadership Team. Right after that meeting I am presenting a Seminar for parents in our church and community called "Your Teen...Online." It's basically a seminar about teenagers and the internet and I still have tons of things to tie together on that...There is an ENORMOUS amount of information that I want to communicate in this training session for parents...Anyway, all that to say this: I've got a busy week, but the reflections and goals are sure to come...Thanks to all who've already given me birthday wishes today...Jo and I are headed to Texas Roadhouse for dinner tonight so that makes a pretty great birthday to me...


There's No Crying In Football...

You gotta' be kidding me! I just had to post this for Jaron and Andy...

In The News...

I grew up just outside of Stephenville, TX...The town made the national news today, even being one of the featured headlines on Yahoo's main homepage. Here is the title of the article and the link below...There are just some things you really wish didn't make the news...

"Dozens in Texas town report seeing UFO"



I am never surprised...Never. I am sneaky and I am nosey and I am snoopy. So very seldom does anyone pull of any kind of surprise for me...But this weekend, my incredbile wife, along with the help of some other family members, pulled off a great surprise party for me.

Johanna had told me that my parents and my brother and sister-in-law were coming into town to go out for my birthday dinner. Well, that wasn't entirely the truth. To make a long story short, she had been planning a surprise party for me for weeks. She invited friends new and old to come to my "29 Vol. 2" Surprise Birthday Party which was held at the Lodge Hall at the Lockhart State Park...It was a great night to hang out and visit with friends...And I was honestly surprised...I knew something was probably up, but had no clue to what extent my wife had gone to pull of such a great night...

My actual birthday is coming up this Tuesday and I'll be 30. It is difficult to type and even harder to say out loud. But I've been thinking about what reflections I have on my first three decades on this earth and it's sure to make a blog post...And I've also got my goals and plans for 2008 on the way as well...

In the meantime, I need to go and sharpen up my sneakiness and snoopiness...


Best of 2007 - Family Moments...

This is more than likely my last "Best of 2007" entry...I have worked on a top ten for music and movies, but its so hard to narrow down, I don't know if they'll get done...Plus, I really think that once you get a full two weeks into 2008 you ought to be done with the "best of's" from the last year and we are almost there! Anyway, I wrote this post a few nights ago and am just getting around to posting it...This list holds a lot of special memories for me. Here is my "Top Ten Family Moments of 2007". Enjoy.

10. Curry graduating at Pride High School. - You'll notice very quickly that when I talk about family I mean it in a very extended way. I have an incredible family, an amazing wife, great parents, the best brother a guy could have, but I also have so many people I consider family that aren't blood. Curry is one of those guys...I've known him since he was in elementary school and a couple years ago he and his family moved from Goldthwaite to Southeast Texas and Curry dropped out of school...He moved in with us in March and attended a "pace yourself" high school program here in town and graduated in May. It was really good for Johanna and I to be able to help him make that happen.

9. Chicago Trip With Mark & Mike - Back on Memorial Day, I got to go on an incredible trip with some great friends, who have become a big part of our lives. Mark is a student in my youth group and Mike is his dad. For Mark's 16th birthday, we all flew to Chicago to spend a couple days and watch the Cubs play...Incredible trip and I absolutely fell in love with Wrigley Field.

8. Weekend With Norwood, D Brown, and Chance - Earlier in the year, I got to spend a weekend in Austin hanging out with some fraternity brothers and great friends from college. What was really cool is that Norwood lives in Cali now and D Brown is in Ohio so being able to spend some time hanging with those guys doesn't happen very often...Great weekend and great friends.

7. August Days with Justin and Christie - Jo and I spent a few days this summer with my brother and his wife...We were actually traveling to speak at a church in Bridge City and left a few days early to spend some time with them...It was cool just to hang out and chill with them for a couple days.

6. Day with my Dad at The State Basketball Tourney - Every year our family has at least two tickets to the Boys State Basketball Tournament. We used to all go, but since it is the weekend before Spring Break it seems I am always getting last minute things together for a mission trip...But this year my mom and dad came down and stayed with us while they were at the tourney and I got to go on Thursday and watch all the games with my dad. That was really cool.

5. Youth Specialties @ St. Louis - Let me just say that St. Louis has nothing to do with why this was a top ten moment...St. Louis actually sucks...But Johanna and I spent five days with some of our closest friends in ministry at the annual Youth Specialties convention...I'm not sure that I've ever heard so many National Lampoon Family Vacation quotes in such a short time...And I'm not sure St. Louis will ever be the same...But we all had a blast and I love getting to spend time with James and Jason because they are two of my closest friends in ministry and in life.

4. Andy & Jaron Interning This Summer - Again, although these guys aren't blood relatives, they are as much family to me as anyone...They are former students who came and lived with us this summer and interned for me within the student ministry at the church...To say that we had a blast doesn't even get close to how incredible this summer was! We made memories that will last forever! Thanks guys!

3. Johanna's Birthday Trip in July - We spent a weekend in San Antonio for Jo's birthday this year. I suprised her with reservations at Tower of the America's and we had a blast going on the Mission Trail looking at all the old missions in the area and taking pictures. What a great weekend, even if the Marriot's fire alarm went off at 6:00 in the morning!

2. Family Christmas - This year our family Christmas was just awesome. We started out with Jo's family in Houston and got to see our nephew get baptized (outside in 32 degree weather!). We spent a few days there before heading to North Central Texas to spend a few days with my family. Justin and Christie were in for Christmas and since my Papa had been in rehab from a surgery for Thanksgiving, it was great to have us all together at Christmas. I really have come to cherish the time I get to spend with my family since it is rare...Definitely one of the highlights of my year.

1. Our Anniversary Trip to the Coast - In April, Jo and I spent four days in the Rockport-Fulton and Port Aransas area...We had an absolute blast! We did everything from swim in the frigid gulf waters on a deserted island to taking a tour boat to watch the dolphins...Throw in great seafood, a rented UT golf buggy, and a fantastic hotel and you have yourself a fantastic celebration of the 2nd anniversary. This was definitely the highlight of my year and we had an absolute blast...The only bad thing was having to leave to coast and come home!


Wow! I Want One...

Panasonic has gotten all this buzz at the 2008 Consumer Electronics Show with this: It is the first 150 inch Plasma TV! The viewing screen is 11 ft x 6 1/4 ft with 8.84 million pixel resolution. Yahoo Tech had this to say about it:

It's the elephant in the living room: Panasonic's 150-inch plasma has all but stolen the show here at CES 2008. When people ask you "What's the coolest thing you've seen at the show so far?" they invariably follow that up with "Except for the 150-inch TV."

I really want one. In fact, I am tech-lusting right now. But I think I'd have to get a bigger house first...

This Kid Really Didn't Want To Go Back To School...

Mexican boy glues self to bed to avoid school

MONTERREY, Mexico (AFP) - A 10-year-old Mexican boy glued his hand to his bed to avoid going back to school after the Christmas break, authorities said Monday.

"I thought if I was glued to the bed, they couldn't make me go to school," the boy, Diego, told AFP. "I didn't want to go, the holidays were so much fun."
"I remembered my mom had bought a very strong glue," he said of the industrial strength shoe glue he used to stick his hand to the bed's metal headboard, where he stayed stuck for two hours.
His mother Sandra Palacios was unable to free him and called paramedics and police to help. Diego watched cartoons while they worked to unglue him, eventually using a spray to dissolve the chemical adhesive.
"I don't know why this happened. He is a very good boy," said his mother.
Diego eventually made it school a few hours late.

A Good Laugh...

I saw one of these "Demotivation" Posters over at Ysmarko.com...The company Despair, Inc. (www.despair.com) makes posters and t-shirts that mock those motivational posters we see in office buildings and meeting places all over...There are tons of them on the website and you can even customize your own posters. Here are a few that made me laugh:


And We're Off...

The start of another presidential race is officially upon us. Huckabee and Obama take the win in the Iowa Caucus...This might just get interesting before it's all over...


Tonight Johanna, Jmob, Andy, and I all went and ate at Wahoo's Fish Tacos in Austin...A couple weeks ago Jmob and I were hanging out and somehow my love for fish tacos got brought into the conversation...I consider myself a connoisseur of the fish taco. There is just a certain way to do it right and I definitely have found more misses in the fish taco department than hits...But Jmob guaranteed that Wahoo's in Austin would be a sure hit...And he was right. Great atmosphere and fantastic food...Combine that with incredible company among friends and you've got yourself a great night out on the town...


Best of 2007 - Tech & Gadgets

Continuing the Best of 2007 lists, here is my Top Ten New Gadgets of 2007:

10. Amazon Kindle - Now you can read a book without the book. What will they come up with next? You can check it out at amazon.com.

9. Zune 2 - Apple finally has a little competition. Please observe the word "little" in that sentence. While its no Ipod Touch, the new version of the Zune really does give the Ipod some competition, especially at a price of less than $135 for a 30 gig unit at several pre-Christmas retailers' sales.

8. Ipod Touch - It's not the Iphone and has a pretty steep price, but it's still pretty sweet. Ipod came out swingin' this year.

7. ASUS Eee PC - This mini-laptop has become all the rage at the end of 2007. Weighing less than 2 pounds and with a price range that begins at $299 and tops out at $499, this little fella' packs a punch.

6. The XO $100 Laptop and One Laptop Per Child - In an effort to get computers into the hands of children in developing countries, the organization One Lap Top Per Child offers a $100 laptop that covers all the basics. They even did a campaign to end 2007 called "Give One, Get One" where you could spend $200, getting a laptop for yourself (or really for your young child) and donating one to their charity to send to a child in a developing country. Very cool. You can check it out at www.laptopgiving.org.

5. Halo 3, New Editions of Guitar Hero, & Rock Band - Really, I could include Video Games in general at this point on the list. With all the new technology in gaming systems, the industry has created some very entertaining, and somewhat addictive games.

4. Olevia TVs - Olevia has combined what the majority of Americans have been waiting for in LCD TVs: Cheap and Good. Seriously, these TVs are great and have some of the highest ratings of any TV, while costing half of what some of the more expensive brands run.

3. GPS - While GPS was not new in 2007, it blew up this year. The capability and selections of GPS that are available now are mindboggling. You can get 3D maps, LCD touch screens, and even select if you want to listen to the voice of a man or a woman.

2. Iphone - This is a debatable number one on the list, but with the glitches and the quick price changes, I had to go with it at #2. Plus, while no phone is the mighty Iphone, cell phones in general have all improved this year.

1. Nintendo Wii - Since you can't find one in any store in America, its got to be #1. If you have a new Wii right now you can make some serious cash. Plus, Nintendo has found a way to bring our craze and deep desire for experience into the video game industry in an even better way...You can now play your video games and it can be considered excercise...Honestly, what will they think of next???


I Am Legend...

We just got through watching the movie I Am Legend with a few of our students...The movie is GREAT. Loved it and highly recommend it. Some great quotes/scenes/lines for teaching too - specifically for teaching the gospel.

Here are a couple of the lines I really liked (of course if you haven't seen the movie these scenes and quotes won't make sense, but for those of you who have, here it is):

"The cure is in the blood."

"This is his legend and we are his legacy."

I'll be posting a few more Best of 2007 lists as the week continues so keep checking back to see what pops up...

Best of 2007 - Ministry Moments...

Here's my "Top Ministry Moments of 2007." It represents the highlights of another year spent doing my best to try to love God and love others.

10. Disciple Now - Back in February we had the first D-Now here that the church had held in several years. Only one student in our entire ministry had ever been to a Disciple Now weekend before, so it was really tough to get students to buy in to it. But God did some awesome things that weekend. We had a great team of leaders, Lindsey Kane leading worship, and Zak White sharing the Word and it was a great weekend for our students.

9. The Best Sex Ever & The MySpace Series - We tackled two HUGE subjects within the lives of our students this year at our midweek gatherings: Sex & Dating Relationships and Living In An Online World. It was awesome to see students' eyes open up to the relevance of the Word of God to their everyday lives.

8. Seeing Growth in Students - Johanna and I have been here almost two years now. It was good to be able to see how our students are growing and maturing in following Christ and reaching others over the last almost two years.

7. The Attic - The Attic is an old, upstairs building just off of the downtown square that we use for our midweek gathering place for our student ministry. We moved in in April and it's opened a ton of doors for us to reach students who would never come near a traditional church building or setting.

6. Junior High Camp @ Hi-Line Lake Resort - Combine some incredible junior high students with an absolutely amazing, God-created, get-away on beautiful Lake Buchanan and you have one heck of a week! Our high school camp at South Padre was rocking too and we loved Hi-Line Lake Resort so much that we headed back for two fall retreats there! Good times...

5. Preaching/Teaching The Transformers Series & at Commonground Community Church - In August, our pastor gave me the entire month to teach a series on Sunday mornings. I taught a series that I wrote based off of the Transformers movies, entitled "Transformers: Transforming Our Lives To Transform Our World." I loved the chance to do that. Then at the end of August and again in December a friend whose on staff at a church plant, Commonground, in Bridge City asked me to come and speak at their church. I loved being in that setting, seeing unchurched people beginning to get excited about what Christ can do in their lives...Great stuff!

4. Mission Arlington - I absolutely love this place. And I mean that with every ounce of the word love. I took students to MA to serve on Spring Break and during the summer. I've been to Mission Arlington on Mission trips almost 20 times now. The great thing about this year is that I have another group of students addicted to serving their - and to the model of taking church to the people that MA uses. We started our own Mission LTX (for Lockhart, TX) and it has been a great method for us to minister to people these past two years.

3. Pojo Rehab Missions Camp - During June I spent a week in Springtown, TX speaking at a Missions Camp where students worked on rehabbing local homes during the day and attended worship services in the evenings. It was a great week and we got to see God do some incredible things. Definitely one of the highlights of the year in my ministry.

2. Baptizing Students - This year our ministry had the opportunity to see several students take the step of committing their lives to following Christ. That is AWESOME in every sense of the word! We baptized several students and are now getting to walk them through the first baby steps of being a Christ follower. That's what its all about.

1. Serving alongside Johanna - I did ministry for a long time as a single Student Minister. There were some great times in that part of my life and God did some absolutely amazing things during that time of my ministry. But I LOVE sharing ministry with my wife. I love that she feels called to serve alongside me and has the same passion to see real life-change in people as I do. It is simply incredible to serve alongside her and I love every minute of the craziness we live!

Best of 2007 - TV Shows...

This list was TOUGH. I don't watch an extremely large amount of television, but I like a lot of different shows. Johanna & I are not at home a lot in the evenings, so we don't get to see everything we like, but at the same time we have lots of shows we try to keep up with...Online viewing has helped that and I desperately want to get a DVR...It's just not in the budget right now. But after much deliberation, here are my "Top Ten (and a few more) TV Shows":

10. TIE - Law & Order, and True Life and Made - Like I said, this list was tough...I like all the Law and Orders (SVU is my favorite) and it seems that even in their 17th season this year, they just keep getting better. I was not a fan before Jo and I got married and now she's made me an addict. My other two tied for this spot are True Life and Made. I watch a lot of MTV to stay up on Youth Culuture and I really like both these shows. They can teach a lot about culture, students, young adults, and their issues in life.

9. VH1's The White Rapper Show - Absolutely one of the best new shows on TV. Unfortunately, rumor has it that they are changing the show for this next season to make it something with only female rappers. This is one show that I watched every single episode of. MC Serch is "da bomb,yo!" And thank God that Shamrock beat out that poser John Brown in the finals!

8. The Unit - Luckily I've been able to stay up with this show by downloading the episodes. Great TV. Plain and simple.

7. My Name is Earl - I am really more of a reality TV guy, but this is by far my favorite comedy. One word: HILARIOUS! I laugh out loud numerous times in every episode...

6. Project Runway and Top Chef - I put them together because they are both Bravo shows. I guess I got hooked on Project Runway when Jo started watching it and I've been a Top Chef fan from the beginning. I guess it's the reality TV addict in me.

5. Flip This House - In my next life, I will be a house flipper. Ok, maybe that's not what I really believe, but every time I watch this show I want to go into the business of flipping houses, even with a terrible real estate market. A couple other shows just like this one that could easily go here are Flip That House (creative name change, huh?) and The Real Estate Pros.

4. Man vs. Wild - Bear Grylls is a beast. If I ever get lost in the desert, I now know that I can drink my own urine or pee on my t-shirt and wrap it around my head to survive...Awesome!

3. Rob & Big - My favorite MTV show. I love watching these guys and the show cracks me up. Plus, probably the greatest theme song of any current show...Sing it with me, "People let me tell ya' bout my best friend..."

2. Cops - Cops has been one of my favorite TV shows since I was in Junior High or early High School. It started it's 20th season in September of 2007 and is still going strong.

1. The Simpsons and King of The Hill - Animated TV at its best. I own eight seasons of the Simpsons and a couple of King of the Hill, so I could be a little biased by placing them #1 for the year of 2007...But these two, along with Family Guy, had some hilarious, very entertaiing stuff this past year...And I am always up for a show that can make me have a good laugh...Life's too short not to laugh more often!

Shows I Am Looking Forward To But Haven't Got Around To This Year:

The Office - I got seasons one and two for Christmas and can't wait to sit down and watch them...I think I'll love this style of comedy.

KidNation - I only saw one episode and there is some kind of freakish draw to a show like this...I think the parents have got to be insane and I can't imagine how a network came up with this idea, but for some strange reason, I want to see more...


Best of 2007 - Quotes...

Here's another "Best of 2007" List...My opinion on the Top Ten quotes of the year, some funny, some sad, some tought provoking, including a few honorable mentions:

10. I need to get a greater vocabulary than what I have and when I get mad and my brain searches for a word. I have to find different words and to do that you need to have more of an education.
- Duane Dog Chapman, on Hannity & Colmes, publicly apologizing for making a racial slur

9. This record is not tainted at all. At all. Period.
— San Francisco Giants slugger Barry Bonds, after breaking Hank Aaron's Major League Baseball all-time home-run record with his 756th career homer amid rumors that he has used steroids. Yeah, Barry, we believe you. Oh, and we've got one word for you: Indictment.

8. I really am not the kind of guy that sits here and says, 'Oh gosh, I'm worried about my legacy.
— President GEORGE W. BUSH, when asked about his falling approval numbers and criticism of how he has handled the war in Iraq.

7. There is just a feeling out there that isn't that positive and it makes me very sad because the American people are very generous, open people and very caring when they are presented with a real issue and they understand what needs to be done.
- Angelina Jolie

6. This is it. This is where it all ends. End of the road. What a life it was. Some life.
— Virginia Tech gunman CHO SEUNG-HUI, in a video he sent to NBC News before killing 32 people and committing suicide in the deadliest school shooting in U.S. history.

5. As always, I rely on the jury system.
- O.J. Simpson, after a judge refused to drop his latest charges of kidnapping and robbery.

4. In Iran, we don't have homosexuals, like in your country.
- Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, at Columbia University

3. That's some nappy-headed hos there.
- Eadio host Don Imus, who lost his job for this remark about the Rutgers women's basketball team.

2. I personally believe that U.S. Americans are unable to do so because, uh, some, uh, people out there in our nation don't have maps and, uh, I believe that our, uh, education like such as, uh, South Africa and, uh, the Iraq, everywhere like such as, and, I believe that they should, uh, our education over here in the U.S. should help the U.S., uh, or, uh, should help South Africa and should help the Iraq and the Asian countries, so we will be able to build up our future, for our children.
- Miss Teen USA contestant Lauren Upton of South Carolina gave this tortured, confused answer to the question "Recent polls have shown a fifth of Americans can't locate the US on a map. Why do you think this is?" This one was so bad and so hilarious that you have to watch it to appreciate it. Check it out here:

1. Don't tase me bro!
University of Florida student Andrew Meyer's plea went unanswered. Meyer put into words what hundreds have thought after realizing that the police have just pulled out their taser and are aiming it at them...Maybe next time he should use some manners, like "Please don't tase me Mr. Officer." Maybe that would help...and maybe not.


I make Jessica Simpson look like a rocket scientist. – Tara Reid

(I have) a wide stance. --Sen. Larry Craig, explaining to his arresting officer why he was playing footsie in a Minneapolis airport mens' room.

My idea of getting lucky in the men's room is when the motion sensor works on the faucet. - David Letterman

How many 83-year-old men get up every morning knowing that they're going to have a standing ovation sometime during the day? —Bob Barker on what he'll miss about The Price Is Right

He is the one who has saved us. He is the one who forgave us. He is the one who has come and is coming again. He’s the remedy - David Crowder in the song Remedy

Best of 2007 - Sports Moments...

Being inspired by ysmarko.com, I've decided to do a little "2007 Year In Review" series on my blog...As I look back on 2007 a lot has happened...A lot of life has come and gone...Over the next few posts, I'm gonna give my picks for some of the top moments in various categories of 2007...Since I've spent all day watching bowl games, the natural place to start is Best of 2007 Sports Moments...Here are my Top Ten Sports Moments of '07:

10. TIE - Tim Tebow becomes first Sophomore to win Heisman trophy & Adrian Peterson breaks NFL single game rushing record. - Both of these accomplishments were huge within their perspective leagues. Tebow combined for a total of 51 TD's to become the first underclassmen to win the Heisman in the history of the award. AP has run ragged over opponents as an NFL rookie, suprising even his biggest fans.

9. Barry Bond's Home Run Record - Love him or hate him, Bonds now owns the Major League Baseball record for most home runs in a carreer. The only question is whether or not their will forever be an asterik by this in the record books.

8. Colorado Rockies' Run - Quickly on to a brighter note in baseball...The Rockies finished the regular season on a 14-1 run to make the playoffs as a Wild Card and went into the World Series on an incredbile 21-1 run. Their late regular season run of 14-1 in the last 15 games tied them with the '83 Phillies and the '65 Dodgers as the only teams to accomplish this feat in National League history. They became the first team in 50 years to have a 20-1 streak and the first team in the National League to do so since the 1936 NY Giants.

7. Notre Dame's Downfall - Even the biggest fans of the Irish (including me), never saw this coming. A down year - definitely. Below .500 - maybe. But 3-9? No way. But that is exactly how the Irish finished, including losses to both Navy and Air Force. They ended the season with 2 wins, over Duke and Stanford, to reach 3-9.

6. College Football - All I can say is WOW! This season of college football has been anything but normal and predictable. Every week anyone could win - literally. Just ask Michigan. In fact, as I sit here and type this, the same unranked Michigan team that lost to a division AA team (more on that later) is beating #12 Florida in the 4th quarter of the Capital One Bowl. The National Championship game lineup itself has caused more debate about college football than it's seen over entire seasons in a long time. Either the gap is closing between the great teams and everyone else, or all of college football is becoming mediocre. While their may not be that one top tier team that stands out above the rest this year, I'll still go with the former.

5. The Mike Vick Dogfighting Scandal - How stupid can a person be? You have all the money in the world, all the fame you could ever want, and are, in every aspect of the word, a Superstar...And you are running a gambling ring for dog fighting, putting it all on the line? Stupidity like that deserves as much time in the slammer as it gets...

4. Division I-AA Appalachian State defeats #5 Michigan - This goes back to the whole crazy season of college football. AA Appalachian State shocked the Wolverines and the College Football World knocking out the #5 ranked Michigan team 34-32 with a late blocked field goal early in the season. It was the first time in NCAA history that a Division I-AA team beat a Division I team that was ranked in the AP poll.

3. Florida owning Ohio State - Can you say "Who's your daddy, Buckeyes?" Florida absolutely owned Ohio State in both the NCAA Football and Basketball championship games. A huge underdog in the BCS Championship game in the first sports action of 2007, Florida gave the Buckeyes an old school beat down, completely destroying them in the National Championship game. Then, just three months later, the Gators basketball team gave the OSU basketball team some more of the same medicine in the Final Four NCAA Championship to win back to back NCAA Basketball titles.

2. The Patriot's Record Breaking Season - Speaking of "being owned," the Patriots have done just that to the entire NFL. They become only the second team in NFL history to go 16-0 and have an undefeated regular season in the NFL. In fact, with only two exceptions, the undefeated season was never even in question. Tom Brady, Randy Moss, and the rest of the Patriots have put up numbers like the NFL has never seen and are quickly on their way to a 19-0 Super Bowl Champion Season.

1. The Mitchell Report - As I watched the Mitchell Report being announced live on ESPN just a few weeks ago, my first thoughts (as a Yankee fan) were "Say it ain't so Roger! Say it ain't so Andy! Say it ain't so!" Well, Andy Pettite is one of several players who have said it is so, and Roger is still holding on to the claim that it isn't so...There has been speculation by the media that the report is flawed and skewed because of George Mitchell's connection to the Red Sox. (I will say that I find it a little suspicous that no Red Sox player was named unless they were now with another team, but hey, I'll also admit that I HATE the Red Sox, so my opinion is a bit biased.) The Mitchell report named big names, but also really didn't give a lot of new info. But this is did do, in my eyes and in the eyes of many sports fans: It showed that this era of baseball is full of cheaters. Don't tell me you didn't know it was the juice. Don't give me the excuse that you had to heal quicker or keep up with everyone else who was using. And don't anyone tell me that it's only about the players. The Mitchell report confirms what all of us knew but didn't want to admit or acknowledge. The owners and gm's knew players were using steroids and HGH, but they didn't care. Why? Becuase it was bringing in the big bucks. The players knew it was wrong and did it any way. Why? Because the better they performed, the longer they played, and the faster they healed, the more money they made. And we, the fans, deep in our hearts knew it was going on...And we paid the outrageous ticket prices and bought $30 caps and $120 jerseys anyway. And an entire era of young kids have to deal with looking up to baseball heroes that are nothing more than cheaters...Shame on all of us. Hopefully, the Mitchell report will move us into a new age of baseball, where kids who play tee ball all summer can have heroes who play the game with their 100% all and nothing more.

So there you have it. My Top Sports Moments of 2007. Feel free to add you own contributions or thoughts as comments and let me know what you think. I know that Justin and Dbrown will chime in for sure...