Place of Grace – Meridian – for my children

I never finished this, but it was an idea for a poem or song or something to give to my children. It expresses the things I plan to share with my kids when I take them to visit Meridian State Park someday. I’ll tell them the story of how I came to know Jesus. I’m so excited about that day! These words capture some of the emotions I feel as I think about telling them.

Anyway, maybe I’ll finish it someday, but I wanted to go ahead and post something so I wouldn’t lose it.


This is a couple of years after I came to know Christ, but it still floods my mind with memories of that day. Lots of the same people in this pic.

Come let me show you this place, this place full of grace.
Come let me show you the spring where we sat and listened to the quiet
And the outcropping where we waterbombed the bus.
Let’s go walk the carpet of bluebonnets
and run past the bees on the trail of Mesquite
As a child I ran these trails and stepped on a snake
These vines scratched my legs but helped heal me too.

We played frisbee golf and waterballoon volleyball
Chased Bulldog to soak him
James Garner taught us the Scriptures under the tree.
Ross Senter spoke around the campfire.

Let me show you the grace in this place.

Come watch the horizon swallow the sun
Breathe in the lights. See the milky way run
From up on the ledge and above the lake
Lets watch the sky. and see the stars come awake.

Come hear distant voices from the lake down below
Let’s sit and sing and wait – take it slow
If we’re lucky we’ll see a star fall from space
Here in this place – this place full of grace

And this is where I sat and sang and cried
Around the campfire On the night I gave my life to Christ.

This place is so dear. It’s a place I want you to know
Whether this place or that place, I want you to have your own place full of grace.

Why the Grass Makin’ Noise?

Kasen & Daddy slept in the Tent

Our family took a quick trip to McKinney Falls with some friends this past weekend and Kasen (my 2 and a half year old) and I slept in a tent one night. We had a great conversation as we settled down for the night. Here’s how it went:

Daddy: Kasen, you know who loves you??
Kasen: Yeah.
Daddy: Who?
Kasen: Daddy does.
Daddy: You know who else loves you?
Kasen: Mommy.
Daddy: You know who else?
Kasen: Kasen.
Daddy: You love yourself??
Kasen: Yeah. (laughing)
Daddy: and Kesleigh loves you too.

We continued through the rest of the family – grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins, etc.

Daddy: And do you know who loves you more than anybody else? Jesus.
Kasen: Why he love me?
Daddy: Cause you’re his little boy just like you’re daddy’s little boy.
Kasen: Where is Jesus?
Daddy: He’s right here.
Kasen: No he’s not. (laughing)
Daddy: Yeah, he’s right here. You just can’t see him.
Kasen: He in tent?
Daddy: Yeah.
Kasen: Why He in tent?
Daddy: Cause He loves you and wants to be with you. He likes being with you.
Kasen: I’m sittin’ on Jesus.
Daddy: You’re sittin’ on Jesus?
Kasen: Yeah (giggling)

pause…

Kasen: Why the grass makin’ noise?
Daddy: Those are crickets. They’re makin’ noise ’cause they’re happy.
Kasen: Why they makin’ noise?
Daddy: ‘Cause God took care of them today. They’re trying to tell Jesus how much they love Him.
Kasen: I make noise for Jesus too.
Then he let out a big scream. Aaahhh!!
We laughed together.

I’m so glad that I’m able to have these kinds of conversations with my son. I look forward to the future as he is able to grow in his understanding of God and our conversations grow deeper. I pray that he remains inquisitive. I pray that he also keeps “sittin’ on Jesus” and “makin’ noise for Jesus.”

5 Life-Changing Experiences – A Mistake

I can hear you now. “What?? a mistake changed your life??”

It’s a long story, but after High School and a few years @ A&M, I ended up as a music major @ Texas Wesleyan in Ft. Worth. I had no skills for it, but loved studying music. It was completely the opposite of the engineering degree I had been seeking @ A&M – where I had the skills and no desire. I also realized that I loved working with youth groups during that time and took my first part-time youth ministry position at Aledo FUMC. It was a great job. During that time, I worked part-time @ the Sears Auto Center, went to school (Texas Wesleyan) full-time, and worked part-time at as a youth minister. I drove almost 100 miles a day and became pretty adept at changing clothes in the car. I worked for about 2 years this way, and ultimately realized that at the end of my degree in music, all I’d be able to do is teach band or try to make it as a performance musician. Neither option sounded good.

Anyway, the music minister at the church talked me into going to choir camp that year as an adult participant. When we arrived, they told us they had never received our registrations (there’s the “mistake” I’m talking about) and that we could stay if we would work with the children. We had the week off already so we decided to stay. I played guitar with the guys in my group and ended up leading singing for 100s of children in the evenings. One of the other counselors, Susan Bryant  approached me about coming to be the full-time youth minister at her church. I had never thought of that. I knew music was a dead end for me and I knew God was revealing an ever-increasing love for youth ministry to me in those days, and I went for it. The pastor called a week later to arrange an interview. I drove down and life has never been the same.

Tomball UMC Church Directory Photo - 1992
Tomball UMC Church Directory Photo - 1992

I stayed at that church (Tomball FUMC) for 12 years. I found another family there. I grew there. I was discipled there. I was stretched there. God allowed me to be a part of some incredible ministry and to see lives changed dramatically. I met my bride there. I was married there.Tomball FUMC was a turning point for me, and I would never have been there if it weren’t for a mistake. Here’s how I see it all adding up:

God had someone lose my Choir Camp registration

+ God allowed Susan to see something in me

+ God created a restlessness in me about the music major

+ God led the Pastor at Tomball (Nick Sholars) to call me

+ God granted me favor in the eyes of the SPRC

= a new job + a new direction in life + discipleship + a new extended family + a passion for life/ministry + an eventual bride + my amazing children + + + + etc. + who knows what else is to come?

It’s just crazy to think my whole life spins off this one “mistake.”  Hmm. . . .was it really a mistake or did God have a hand in it?

Tents & a 1½-Yr-Old

100_5471

OK – he’s only 16 months, but close enough. Kasen loves tents! When we go to the Bass Pro Shop, one of his favorite things to do is to run in and out of all the display tents.

Our small group went camping at Brazos Bend this week for Spring Break so Kasen and I made a quick day trip up to spend a night with them. He loved it! His first tent camping experience was a huge success. He went on a bike ride, played with his friends, helped find a geocache, fell asleep by the campfire, and slept til about 3am. He woke up and looked around a bit then snuggled back down into his sleeping bag for the rest of the night. He was still up like an alarm clock at 7am, but it was a good night.

100_54731Side note: We did have a little scare. Kesleigh had a skin infection and we were told we might need to take her to the hospital. The good news is that the antibiotics are working. Pray for her to have continued improving health.

I’m also grateful that we were also surrounded by great, caring friends (our small group) who prayed for her and engaged in some incredible conversations around the campfire. There’s just something about a campfire that brings those things out.

Stories I Need to Tell – Falling Star

Alright, I decided today that I was gonna write a series of stories and post them all on here. I’ve been collecting stories out of my life for a while and even have a file on my computer called “Stories I Need to Tell.” It’s just a list of the stories I’ve been collecting – ANYWAY – I’ll start with a story where God really spoke to me in a powerful way. (Of course anytime He speaks it’s powerful, but I actually noticed that it was Him in this story.) This may actually be the first story I remember thinking that I needed to tell somebody else about – this is the one that after it happened I decided to start “collecting” stories.

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The Falling Star

06-07-31 01When I was a Senior in High School, I met a girl. Her name was Gema. We started dating and I must admit that she was the most amazing girl I had ever known. She was beautiful. She was smart. She enjoyed alot of the same things I did. And probably the biggest thing she had going for her was this: She actually liked me too. Anyway, we dated for a few months toward the end of my senior year (She was a senior too) and somewhere in the middle of the summer (probably July) I had returned home from church camp. (Meridian – that’ll be in another “Story I Need to Tell”) After arriving home I called her up and she came over to my house. My family lived in the middle of this big 80 acre field in those days so she and I went out back and sat in the porch swing. It was one of those really clear nights where there wasn’t a cloud in the sky – the temperature was just cooling down from the summer day and there was a nice breeze. It was a pretty romantic sort of situation (I was pretty good with that stuff in those days.) Anyway, as we talked that night about leaving each other as we had planned to go off to college, Gema soon started crying. It wasn’t long that I had joined her. Somewhere deep inside I felt that things would be OK and since I had just come from church camp, I knew it was God speaking to me. Through my own tears I spoke to her and said, “It’ll be OK, God will be with us.” 06-07-31 02 THEN OUT OF NOWHERE CAME A FLASH ACROSS THE SKY! This falling star shot from one end of the sky to the other – It was HUGE! It was like God spoke through me saying “I am with you!” and then He sent this Big EXCLAMATION point with the falling star. Our tears dries up that night and we both had received the hope that God had given us that night. Of course the next day. . . . .we were sad again and scared about our future.

After starting school at Texas A&M a month or so later, trying to keep our relationship alive, I would drive 3 hours home each weekend to meet up with Gema. One weekend I came home and things felt different between us. When I asked her about it – she would say that everything was good and that she “loved” me. By the time Sunday night rolled around she pretty well had me convinced that things were still good between us. After my 3 hour drive I called her to tell her I had arrived safely and asked her once again what had changed. Why had things felt so different? She finally gave me the truth and said she didn’t know what it was, but she wanted to “break up.” She said she loved me and that I had done nothing wrong, but still wanted to “break up.” What??!!??!! What does that mean?? She still loves me, but doesn’t want to be with me??? It just doesn’t make any sense. Anyway, when I finally got off the phone it was about 3am. I was crying, but didn’t want my roommate to know I was crying over a girl – I guess that’s the macho guy in me. As I walked around the apartment complex, I cried out to God, “Why?? I don’t understand God?? You brought me down here where I’m all alone. No friends. No family. No church. No job. I’m all alone and now, You’re taking away my girlfriend??!! I don’t get it??” And then He answered as only He could. I saw a “falling star” shoot from one end of the sky to the other and was reminded of what He had said before with that same phrase. “I am with you.”

I AM WITH YOU! Listen to Him say it to you.

I AM WITH YOU!

From that day forward I have realized that I wasn’t ever alone, and that I am stronger when it’s just He and I than at any other time in my life. Wherever you find yourself today know that God is with you and that He loves you.