70s Night

Just thought I’d share a few pics of our family from 70s Night at the skating rink last night.
Kasen doesn’t quite know what to think. “It sounds like daddy, but it doesn’t look like him.”

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RestKasen wouldn’t sleep tonight. He was too distracted. He went to bed fine, but then woke up around 2am. Miranda rocked him. It didn’t work. I walked him. It didn’t work. When you start rocking him, he normally closes his eyes and rests and soon he’s asleep. When I walk him it’s the same way, but tonight his eyes were wide open. I watched on as he studied my shadow as it flowed across the ceiling. Then he looked for the source of the gentle hum coming from the computer and although it was dark, he tried to make out the images in the frames on our wall. Almost like he thought it was morning and time to get up. I walked him again and by about 2:45am, he was finally back to sleep. Now it’s 3:35 and I’ve been wide awake since then.

Anyway, I’ve been up tonight thinking about God. I wonder how many times He wants me to rest, but I’m too distracted looking around at all that fills my life? How many times has He walked me hoping that I’d just rest in His arms and feel comforted by His presence? I wonder how often I have been resting with Him and then been distracted in such a way as to miss out on His real blessings? I wonder how often I have imagined that it was time to be finished with my time with God when He had more for me?

Lord, help me rest in You without distractions.

Well, I gotta go, sounds like he’s up again.

A Vision in the Night

OK – I’m not even sure where to begin this one. If you’ve been reading this blog much, you already know that I’ve been feeling called to being a part of a church plant one day. I was talking to my father-in-law, Mike Mathews Saturday, Jan 20th! He is my greatest supporter. He wants to see me involved in planting probably more than anyone else I know (including my bride – his daughter). His excitement is contagious and he really believes in me. When we talk about it, I feel like I’m the one trying to be realistic (This is odd for me ’cause inside, I’m going crazy with excitement too.) and attempting to keep my feet on the ground. Of course some of that is natural – I mean, I’m the one going to have to come to a place where I’m willing to let go of a steady paycheck to risk chasing after what God has called me to. I think I have a healthy fear of it all, but regardless, I’m the one with my feet on the ground when I talk to him. I’m also not interested in being involved in a huge church. I’d be truly happy with a small little church that functioned in healthy ways. A church that transformed people and equipped them to go out and do ministry. A church that plants other churches/ministries. A church that was small enough that I could serve part-time and keep my feet in the culture a bit too with another part-time job. Anyway, when we talked that day, he made some flippant comment about me being known all over the country for what we’re gonna do with this church thing. I told him that was definitely not what I wanted. I’d much rather serve quietly among a healthy little community of people. I feel like I could handle that kind of thing – and it’s certainly a big enough stretch for my faith. He dropped it.

Well, on Sunday night, I had a dream. What follows is what I wrote at 2:30am when I woke up unable to sleep.

I just woke up from a horrible dream. I’m not sure what it
really was or means, but this is what I remember:

I was with a bunch of guys working on a project in some sort
of big mechanical warehouse/plant. We had been working on the project and left the room, but I went back around the corner to see it from a distance and it was gone. There was a flat world in its place with a bright light eminating from it. There was also a deep sense of emptiness, loss – the project was just gone, but it was more than that – like God was gone and all our relationships were gone.

I woke with these feelings rushing through me and with the lyrics to a song embedded in my head. (It’s a song from the “Once” soundtrack and the lyrics are “If you want me, satisfy me.” – that phrase repeats over and over – I guess I need to go listen more carefully to the song.) I woke up Miranda. She held me and my heart rate began to settle. I spoke verbally against Satan in the name of Christ and we went to check on Kasen to make sure he was alright too. We prayed for God’s protection and for good dreams. I realized that I had a headache and got up to get some Tylenol – now I’m writing this stuff down.

Here are my first thoughts at interpreting it all – the project (maybe this idea of a church plant) may have been destroyed because God wasn’t in it. Maybe the representation of the flat world with light coming from it was Satan’s false light which made us think the project was of God. The emptiness I felt – like God was gone, may have really been that very thing – the feelings that would come to lose your baby (project) and the feelings that you’d given your life to something that wasn’t of God. I’m wondering also if the lyrics to the song is God’s way of telling me that the project/dream/vision isn’t enough – it won’t satisfy Him. He wants more.

Interesting to think that nothing has really been defined about what this thing would be or become, and He’s possibly telling it needs to be more. More than what? I must admit that I don’t want a big church – I’ve always thought true relationships and intimacy and health were more important – it’s ok to be small if we’re doing what He calls us to. It’s also easier to grab the reins and lead a small group. In spite of this: God, I do want You and it is my desire to satisfy You!

It’s now 2:50 and my heart is still racing. Guess I’ll watch some infomercials/TV and let my mind go elsewhere so that I can get some sleep tonight.

Wow! That rambles a bit, but hey, it was 2:30am and I was pretty freaked out.

OK. . . now . . . as I look back on the situation, I’m even more confused – is God trying to tell me that a church plant is not going to satisfy Him, or is He telling me that my concept of a church plant isn’t enough? It’s not big enough? I want to be a man of faith who chases lions and gets to the end of life to hear God say, “Well done hyper-hopeful risk-taking servant,” but I also want to be smart. . . realistic. . . content. I mean, truly – I have already been saved. I have more than I could ever need or deserve in Christ alone – not to mention the other ways He’s blessed me. (OK maybe I will mention my bride and son, and family, and friends, and. . .and. . .and. . .) Who am I? I’m no Beniah. Or Moses. Or David. Of course the other side of it is that I am a child of God. I am His representative on earth. And I have been given this measure of faith which seems to make these kinds of steps pretty easily.

If you’re still reading this, pray for me as a wrestle with all this stuff. I truly want to do what He has called me to do, but I’m still in an “investigation posture” right now – trying to discover and discern.

If any of you are dream interpreters, I’d love to hear your thoughts too.

Here are the lyrics to the song:

Are you really here or am I dreaming
I can’t tell dreams from truth

For it’s been so long since I’ve seen you
I can hardly remember your face anymore
When I get really lonely and the distance calls it’s only silence
I think of you smiling with pride in your eyes a lovers that sighs
If you want me, satisfy me
If you want me, satisfy me

Are you really sure that you believe me
when others say I lie?
I wonder if you could ever despise me?
You know I really try
to be a better one to satisfy you for you’re everything to me
and I do what you ask me
If you let me be free
If you want me, satisfy me
If you want me, satisfy me

Stories I Need to Tell – Dancing & Dogs

Here’s one about my beautiful bride.

06-08-11 01When Miranda and I first started dating, she bought me a dog. I named him Peanut. At that time Miranda was living with some friends of ours. When I would go visit her, I would bring Peanut and we’d go out together to walk him. Mostly we just wanted to be together and talk, but Peanut was a good excuse for us to have this time together. Anyway, I’d say that these times of walking together are part of the reason we fell in love. We had some incredible conversations as we’d walk through the neighborhood. We’d talk about our history, our future dreams, our ideas about life – everything. Those were incredible days and incredible conversations. Anyway, after doing this for a few months, we kind of found this one special place where we could sit down and talk and sometimes we’d dance. It was a courtyard for the neighborhood pool. We’d tie peanut to the fence or whatever would could and then we’d dance out under the stars to the music in our hearts and we’d talk and dance some more.

One night, it was a perfect night. Beautiful sky. A subtle breeze. Quiet enough to dance to the music of the crickets (OK – now I’m getting cheesy.) Anyway, I tied Peanut up as normal to a water faucet that was sticking out of the ground. 06-08-11 kiss As we danced, he pulled one too many times and soon we were dancing under a 20 foot fountain of water. I figured he had somehow turned the pipe so that it came unscrewed so I tried to screw it back in, but realized in the process that the pipe was totally broken. There was nothing to be done except turn the water off, but I didn’t know where the valve was. Miranda, Peanut, and I began strolling back to our friend’s house thinking we’d call someone when we got there.

Then, we hear a man screaming at us, “You’re just gonna leave??!! That’s right. . . . run away!!” I turned and went back – the man was a neighborhood watch guy who thought we had done it one purpose. I explained what had happened and he knew where the valve was and everything turned out fine.

Anyway, there’s no real lesson to this story – it was just a funny thing that happened when Miranda and I were dating.

Well, maybe there is a lesson – don’t tie your dog to a water faucet!

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.


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.


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.