My Best Buddy Turns Two

Two years ago today God placed an incredible, life-changing blessing in my life in the form of my son, Hayden. Today, my little buddy turns two. I cannot even believe that I just typed that sentence. To think that two years have already passed with Hayden in our lives blows me away. Time goes by so fast...and I want to cherish every second I'm given, making the most of the amazing opportunity, responsibility, and blessing that God's given me as Hayden's father. Hayden, maybe one day you'll read this...and if that ever happens, here's a letter I wrote today just for you.

I love you buddy. I cannot believe that two years of your life have already flown by. But I can honestly say it's been the best two years of my life. I absolutely love that God gave me the gift of raising you as a son. Over the last two years, I've taught you a few things...like how to ride your big-wheel four wheeler and how to throw and catch a ball. I've taught you how to say "frog" when you pass gas and how to say "Peace Out!" when you tell someone good-bye. I've taught you some cool hand shakes, some funny sayings, and some practical stuff that will help you in life, like how to wink at the ladies. But in the last two years, what I've taught you pales in comparison to what you've taught me. Hayden, you've taught me how to be a man. You've taught me how to live for something outside of myself - and to put you and your mom before my own self. You've taught me how to be a better person. You've taught me how to be a better husband. You've taught me how to love life more, cherish every moment, and love God with all that I am. You've taught me all these things - and so many more - simply by being you. With your own personality and in your own little way you challenge me to be a better me. I want to be a more godly man and a better pastor because I know you're watching. I want to be a better husband, because I know you're watching. I want to be a better friend, a better teacher, a better neighbor, the list goes on and on...all because I know you're watching. Son, I want you to know that I love you. There will be days when I blow it. I'm not perfect. I've messed up in the past and I'll mess up in the future. But I want you to know that it's not about being perfect. It's about giving your best. And so I promise you, as your dad, to give you my best. I'm striving, with God's help, to be the best father I can be and I promise you that I'll continue to do that. I love you buddy. Happy Birthday!


When I Grow Up

I have been super blessed to be a part of the Northwood Church Planting program over the past few months. Northwood Church in Keller, TX doesn't just talk about planting churches. They do it. They have planted literally hundreds of churches in the last few years. The wisdom & guidance that the Northwood staff has poured in to me is unbelievable.

A couple weeks ago we finished up our last weekend training session called a module. Toward the end of it we did an exercise where we acted like our church plant was 3 years old and had been wildly successful. We had to present to the group how we arrived at this point - what we did right, what we focused on, what challenges we faced, etc. Through this process, the team at Northwood challenged each of us to know what we want to be when we grow up. Basically, to know what kind of church we want to lead in the future and to take the steps necessary to begin to build that DNA into the church from day one.

Over the next couple weeks I'm going to be sharing about the values & vision of Timber Ridge Church in a series of blog post called When I Grow Up. I'll share what we dream Timber Ridge to become and give some brief, basic ideas of how we'll get there.

If you're on the Timber Ridge team, have been checking out the launch team meetings, support Timber Ridge, or are interested in what God is doing with Timber Ridge Church, check back over the next couple weeks for a good picture of some things that will be important to us as a church.


The Weekend Update

It's been a long time (think months instead of weeks) since I've posted a Weekend Update, but I thought I'd give it another try. Here's a recap of the weekend in the House of Burleson.
  • My brother & sister-in-law welcomed a new baby boy into the world on Friday night, so we made a quick trip to Houston to be there to support them. It's about a 5 hour drive one way. Hayden was a champ. He complained a lot less than I did!
  • Welcome to our world Lucas Wade Burleson (a.k.a. Luke). Congrats Justin & Christie. Luke is one handsome little fella...in fact, he looks a lot like his uncle. ;)
  • On Saturday we made the 5 hour drive home, with a stop at Old Navy to grab some Easter clothes. I scored one pair of Old Navy premium denim jeans for $6.97 and a second pair for 97 cents!
  • Saturday evening we spent cleaning house & getting ready for the Easter Cookout & Egg Hunt we hosted on Sunday evening.
  • Sunday morning my family & some other Timber Ridge peeps went and served at Stonewater Church, our sponsoring church. We served in their front-line/welcome crew at the Granbury campus for the first service and then made a flying trip to the Glen Rose campus to serve in the kids ministries for the second service. Crazy, action packed morning for sure!
  • Sunday evening we hosted the Timber Ridge Church Easter Cookout & Egg Hunt. We had a blast meeting people and hanging out & the kids loved the Egg Hunt. Every basket went home overflowing with Easter Eggs.
Overall, it was a pretty busy, but productive weekend!


The Little Thing

Earlier this week, we had the opportunity to take a family movie night and went to watch Rio. Johanna has been wanting to take Hayden to see it for a few weeks, so we went to the local Cinema 6 to catch the matinee. What we didn't realize is that they were only showing Rio in 3-D...which is totally cool...unless you have a 23 month old who doesn't really dig wearing glasses.

But we weren't deterred. We decided to go ahead and give it a try & bought three tickets. And Hayden absolutely loved the movie. He sat in our laps the whole time, mesmerized by the movie, and at times even interacting with it by talking to the characters or telling us what was going on. He had a blast. But here's the thing...he never wore the 3-D glasses. He watched the entire movie without the glasses. A couple of times during the movie I took my glasses off just to experience what he was experiencing. And it was just as I thought. It had that blurry, hazy look that 3-D movies have when you don't have glasses on.

That got me to thinking about my relationship with Jesus. How many times do I go through life happy and content, but in reality missing out on something so much better that God wants from me because of some little thing. You see, Hayden really did like the movie. But he missed out on how great it actually could have been because he wouldn't wear the glasses. I'm convinced that many times in life we get stuck in living good-enough lives when God wants us to experience incredible, better-than-great kinds of life. I recently read a quote from a pastor that said too many times we settle for good-enough lives while serving a more-than-enough God. And I think the reason we miss out so many times, is because of the little thing. It's not the big thing that trips us up. We may not have some great moral failure or some shortcoming that is super significant in the eyes of the world. But at times, we allow the little thing - that little act of disobedience or that small failure to ignore God's still voice - to keep us from missing out on all that God has in store for us.

I think we all need to be reminded to live life with our 3-D glasses on. Don't settle for good-enough because you have that little thing keeping you from experiencing God's best in your life. Good-enough living is ok...it's just not for people who serve a more-than-enough God.


What I Could Not Do

This past Sunday we attended StoneWater Church in Granbury, TX. StoneWater is partnering with us to launch Timber Ridge Church & we've worshipped with them a couple times in the past few weeks. The Lead Pastor, Jeremy White, continued their series "Jesus Is..." by talking about Jesus Is Sacrifice. Jeremy taught on how remembering the sacrifice that Jesus made on the cross should impact us every day that we are alive. Quite frankly, it was one of the best sermons I've ever heard on the cross & death of Jesus.

At one point in the message Jeremy talked about how Jesus not only died for us as individuals, but that he also died for the people we love. Jeremy used a cross that a friend had made him with his family name in the center as an object lesson to talk about how Jesus sacrificed on the cross not just for us, but for our families as well.

God really used this message to remind me of an important truth: Jesus did for me what I could not do myself. Jesus' sacrifice on the cross paid for my sin which I could not do. His death & resurrection gave me eternal life, which I could not earn. Through the cross, Jesus put me in right standing with God, which I could not achieve on my own.

But Jesus also did what I could not do for the ones I love the most. Jesus didn't just die for me. He died for my family. He sacrificed his life for my wife, which I love with all of my heart. Jesus gave himself for my son, whom I would do anything for. Jesus did for my family what I could not do. On the cross, Jesus paid the ransom for my wife and my son that I could never afford. He not only saved me, but through his sacrifice on the cross, Jesus saved the people I love the most.

That's a sacrifice to remember. And remembering ought to make us want to live for Him even more. I was lost & considered an enemy of God. Myself, my wife & my son were subject to God's complete wrath. But Jesus changed that on the cross. He did for me - and for the ones I love the most - what I could not do.