Photo May 28, 9 02 17 PMStudent: “Snitches get stitches and wind up in ditches Mr Corn….and I ain’t no snitch.” 

The phrase just hung in the air and the class was silent. What should I say? If no one in the class comes clean, then someone got away with it. This is the culture of my school, and I suspect it’s everywhere.

What I wanted to say is, “You say you’re not a snitch, but maybe you should be. What you’re saying to me is that you’re not brave enough to stand up and do is what is right. What you’re saying is that you are happy to let your friend go down a dangerous path. What you’re saying is that you think he’ll cover for you later if you cover for him now. This is not love for your friend. It’s selfishness on your part. Love would want what is ultimately the best for your friend and that includes consequences which will allow him to grow and learn from his poor choices. What you’re saying is that you don’t care enough about society and the world around you to do something about a wrong. You’re saying that you’re OK with a steady decline in the morals of our community. ‘Cause if you let him get away with it, and he lets you get away with it, eventually someone else is gonna get away with more and maybe even against you. If it continues, your children will grow up in a world where no one ever tells and everyone gets away with everything. Somehow I think, if you were the victim, you might not be saying “Snitches wind up in ditches.” You might find yourself saying, “Someone man up and do the right thing. We need justice here.” This no-snitch culture is ultimately hurting us. It’s a fast-food/I-want-it-now attitude that will plague our future. Yes, now we can get away with it, but as we do we are unconsciously telling others they can too. This creates a downward spiral of the moral fabric that guides everyone around us and will lead to our demise.

We need heroes. Heroes are courageous and self-sacrificing. They do the right thing even if it’s scary – even if it costs them something. Snitches can be heroes, and yes, maybe some of them wind up in ditches, but that doesn’t change their hero status. It only makes them bigger heroes who were willing to pay the price for what is right.

What? Pay the price? Be the hero in the ditch? It seems that our culture believes the bullies’ fear tactics have won the battle and convinced everyone that not saying anything is okay. Is there another way? I have had students who anonymously let me know what’s going on or speak without saying a word. Sometimes a look is all it takes. As a teacher, this helps me know what happened, but it doesn’t help me with addressing the situation ’cause there is no proof – sort of like inadmissible evidence. (Unless of course, the anonymous student is willing to give an official statement to an administrator while still remaining anonymous to the perpetrator.) Ultimately, I guess I’m back to heroes. We need heroes who are willing to do the right thing no matter what. 

OK – So now you know how I feel…….but what about “Tattling?” Is that the same thing? As a parent I teach my kids not to tattle every little detail ’cause I want them to learn how to “handle” some situations on their own. Part of learning how to navigate this world includes “figuring it out,” working with others, compromising, sacrificing, and sometimes it means learning how to just “deal with it.” Do I want them trying to punish the other one by hitting them? No! Of course not. But these are difficult things to navigate for a child’s mind. “How much does daddy want me to handle on my own? Where is the line?” If my child is being abused or has been with a friend who likes to play with daddy’s gun, I want him to tattle. I need him to be a snitch.

I saw a video this afternoon where someone explained to children that we never “tattle,” but it’s good to “report” something. They went on to describe reporting as an issue where someone is endangered or unsafe. This might be a helpful distinction but I haven’t had time to think through it too much. There are lots of big questions here. And what about the “lying snitches” that wrongfully accuse or implicate an innocent? So what do you guys think? I looked at over 700 images on google and couldn’t find anything speaking in a positive way about snitching. Am I way off in my thinking here? As a parent, am I creating a “no-snitch culture” by telling my kids not to tattle? Is this leading to the demoralization of our culture?

“The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.” ~ Edmund Burke


Painting the Future

Wouldn’t it be cool to be able to “paint” the future? That’s exactly what Isaac Mendez does. (He’s a character  from the TV show “Heroes.”) I believe that’s what a good spiritual leader does too. They imagine (or they are told by God about) a better future and paint/interpret those ideas so that others can see them and get on board to accomplish that goal.

Check this out.
The stages of a painter’s life are: (from The Leadership Challenege, Kouzes & Posner, pg 58-62)

1. Paint the exterior landscapes. (They follow other models.)

2. Paint the interior landscapes. (They seek to know themselves.)

3. Paint themselves.  (They express themselves in their own style.)

This just makes me excited, ’cause I see myself in stage 2 of this model. I’m learning more and more about who I am and how God has gifted me. I have been through some leadership and followed other people’s models, but now those models just seem inadequate. Everything seems to be pointing to the idea that I’m right on the edge of what might be the greatest ministry time of my life. It’s my prayer, that God will continue to reveal Himself to me regarding all of this. I’m excited about the future as I travel along by His side.


Lord, keep me humble and walking with to You. I love being with You. AMEN!

Here’s another idea that has me thinking the same way:
Henry and Richard Blackaby (Spiritual Leadership, pg 43-46) write about the stages of leadership development put forth by Robert Clinton in his work, The Making of a Leader. Here’s how it works:

1. Sovereign Foundations – God’s activity during formative years.
2. Inner Life Growth – Development of character and spiritual life.
3. Ministry Maturing – Early attempts at spiritual leadership.
4. Life Maturing – Learning to lead in their strengths. Connect character to leadership.
5. Convergence – Maximum effectiveness where ministry and life experience converge to a specific role. This is what the spiritual leader will be most remembered for – their greatest success.
6. Afterglow or Celebration – Celebrating and building upon work of convergence. Also a time for training up new leaders.

Wow! This stuff makes me really excited ’cause I feel like I can look at my life and say that I’m in step 4 – the Life Maturing stage.  (By the way doesn’t that stage sound alot like the “paint the interior landscape” stage 2 in the other model?) That means that I’ve still got Convergence ahead of me. That also means that the dreams I have about the future are going to come around right about the same time that I hit the “maximum effectiveness” stage of development. I could never have orchestrated all of this – it’s only by God’s hand and His intervention. That also means that He is intimately involved in preparing me for a future that will go beyond my imaginations.

I couldn’t imagine a better place to be. I have a genuine hope for my future.

Living Examples

Dr. Loken suggested in class today that we journal about some of the “living examples” in our lives. We were studying Colossians and at the end of all the things Paul tells the people there – he lifts up a few guys  as examples for how to live the way he has just described. He talks about Tychicus, Onesimus, Aristarchus, Mark, Justus, and Epaphras. (and some others)

I’m gonna tell you about Mike, Joe, and Jon – these are guys who I can point to who are true disciples – they have been tested and been through so many things, but still have remained faithful to the Lord. One day, when my son grows up (He’s gotta be born here first), but one day – I will tell him about these men so he can know that living for the Lord is something which can truly be done and that it makes a difference.

“Mike”. . . . . .wow I’m not even sure where to start – “Mike” is Mike Mathews – he is now my father-in-law, but was first my boss. That’s about all he was at first, but eventually our relationship grew and he became my pastor, then my later – a friend. He and I traveled the  world together (Israel, England, and to all kinds of churches in the US) Eventually, I fell in love with his daughter (that’s a whole other story though) and married her. Anyway, Mike had been an incredible pastor for over 20 years, when the system failed him and his ministry was stripped away from him without grounds. His life was turned upside down – his esteem and identity were thrown to the ground – he ended up working at “home depot.” And yet – through it all he was faithful to God – he handled the situation with integrity and love for the very people who were falsely accusing him – he even found his way into a church within a month of being run out of one. This is a true MAN of God. If you wanna see what it means to follow Jesus – look at Mike – his life will testify of an incredible love for Jesus.

Joe – Joe Torrez was my youth minister – nothing all that special in the eyes of the world – just a regular “Joe” who served in a tiny little church doing ministry “part-time.” But Joe led me to know the God of the universe! Now he quietly serves the Lord by teaching the Bible  in his home. That small group of people who meet with him have truly become what I believe the church is supposed to be. If you wanna see what it means to follow Jesus – watch Joe – he’s doing it every day in a quiet way.

Jon – Jon Godbold is my friend – He and I served together doing music together, but more than that – when I was alone in a new town – Jon invited me into his life and  even considered me a part of his family – to this day, I can go to his house @ Christmas and see a stocking on the mantle with my name on it. Jon and his wife Laurie are amazing in the way they live out their faith. They simply love people. There are probably more people than I’m aware of, but I know of at least 3 people who they have invited to live in their home with them when they were in need. I was one of them. My wife was another – (we weren’t at their house during the same time, but she lived there too). Shelby is the third. Anyway, by simply loving people and sharing what they have, they become witnesses not just to the people  who they have taken in, but also to anyone else watching the situation. Their home is one where faith is discussed openly and often. It’s a home where people are always welcome – even when they aren’t there. It’s a place where people feel loved and for whatever reason – people are drawn to their house – they want to be there because you simply can’t be at the Godbold’s and not experience God. I pray that my home i like that one day too.

Anyway, those are some of the people I’d tell you to watch if you wanna see what a Christian looks like today.

Friends and Heroes

With_dawn_and_jane_2 I got to spend some time this past weekend with some people who are both friends and heroes. Here’s a pic of Miranda and I with Jane and Dawn.

First I’ll tell you about Jane (cause she’s first in the pic if you go left to right)

Jane Miranda and I met Jane 3 years ago through Dawn. Dawn was my summer youth assistant my first year in Lake Jackson and she introduced us to Jane. Jane is a great Christian and she has lots of ideas about how our faith should be lived out. I really enjoy talking to her. She’s funny. Anyway, this past year she was diagnosed with cancer and she’s undergoing treatments right now. That’s why she doesn’t have any hair in the pic – but she has been known to shave her head just for the fun of it too. Anyway, a couple weeks ago she sent out an e-mail describing her feelings and I thought I’d share some of what she wrote here:

I have to admit…sometimes I pray more fervently for complete healings simply for the pleasure of not having to go through chemo again. I’ve never been the most patient person, and this time, the story is the same…I want all of God’s healing and goodness without having to wait or to do any of the work. So this brings us back to this morning. God graciously sent a dear friend to pry into my heart on the very morning when I was determined to “quit” regardless of the evaluation results. I was once told that God’s grace is always on time…I don’t think I’ve believed that to be more true than now. But even after much prying and praying I still wrestled, like the “good” and faithful servant that I am (sarcasm noted). Even throughout the entire afternoon…I was sure that God would HAVE to heal me…I mean, He just HAD to…chemo is too awful, cancer is too lame, people have been praying too hard…and most importantly, I was sick of it all. Sadly, there it was, the core of my whole reasoning…God just HAD to heal me, because I was tired of dealing with cancer. Then this evening, after my stomach stopped making noises, my concentration returned to me, there I sat face to face with my feeble conclusion. The reality is God doesn’t HAVE to heal me…He doesn’t have to do a thing…but He chooses to speak healing into me. Even the breath that I am currently breathing is only possible due to His abundant grace. Without His grace and mercy, life would be empty. I can’t believe how often I forget to count the blessings that He bestows upon me…all I seem to do is demand things that I “need”. Funny isn’t it how we always seem to assume we know what we need more than He does. . . . . . I will continue to have the courage and faith to fight regardless of the results…simply because He is calling me to this place right now, and as it were, I have to work on this whole obedience and patience thing. As a recent quote I read says, “You don’t have to do it well, you just have to do it and well will come one day.” I am realizing now more than ever that perhaps the greatest testament to grace is that He gives us the will to fight each day.

I don’t know about you – but this is the kind of person I look up to – a true hero. Jane has courageously looked into her own heart and realized that God has given her an incredible gift – even with cancer, she recognizes that she doesn’t deserve anything. It’s only His grace that “breathes” into our lives. I also see an incredible faith in her thoughts and I have seen her walking out her life following after Jesus. Cancer. . . .now that’s a scary word, but Jane knows her God is bigger.

Dawn OK – now Dawn. Where do I start with Dawn? As my summer youth assistant, she was great. Dawn truly has a heart for prayer and for the youth that we worked with. It was her desire to know them and really be a part of their lives. For Dawn, ministry comes out of relationship. (That’s my philosophy too.) Anyway, Dawn just got back from Africa where she was doing ministry in Swaziland for the past 7 months. She shared some incredible things and clearly has been called into mission work. Dawn is a tiny woman with a huge faith. She led two different teams of missionaries in Swaziland and talked about how God used them to reach people in incredible ways. God used them to perform healings and even more importantly the miracle of salvation for many African people. Dawn also worked in new Orleans and even hosted a bar-b-que picnic in the neighborhood where she lived. I know that doesn’t sound like a big deal, but when you know that she lived in the neighborhood which was considered the murder capital of the United States, and when you understand that the racial tensions are extreme – to imagine a little white girl hosting such an event – well – that’s why she’s my hero. Dawn listens to the Lord and acts on what He tells her. No matter what the risk, she understand that if it’s God speaking, it’s not a risk at all. Dawn has incredible courage! I’ve attached an mp3 of Dawn telling our youth about Africa if your interested: Download AfricaMissions 07.05.06.mp3

I thank God that He has given me these precious friends and I pray that He will continue to use them in mighty ways wherever He decides to send them.


06-05-04I read something today that was interesting. The article said, “A society’s heroes reveal it’s future.”

I wonder what it means that our society holds people like Britney Spears in high regard??? What kind of future will we have???

Who are your heroes? What does that say about your future?