Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Celebrating a Miracle ...

One of River Stone's first miracles turned one today... which actually means the miracle is about a year and 9 months old. In our first couple weeks of existence as a church, not only did we find out that Brian & Christy were going to have a baby, we find out they were going to have two babies, and we found out that something was wrong. Come to find out the babies were conjoined.

On our second Sunday, we brought them to the front and prayed believing a miracle was going to happen. We prayed for separation. When they went to the specialist the next week, they looked at the previous information and agreed that they were conjoined, but at this point they were no longer one, but two.

The girls were born prematurely and spent a bit of time in the NICU in Austin, but today they are amazing. Two beautiful little girls with character, personality, senses of humor, and an amazing story to tell when they get older. When I watch them crawl around, try to stand up, clap and laugh, capture the attention of anyone within view, and pull my goatee, I stand in awe of the greatness of our God. He still works miracles. Tonight I was reminded of the miracle of Adalynn and Mikaiah.

Thanks for the reminder, girls. You're beautiful.

Friday, April 21, 2006

Like the Wind

"The wind blows wherever it pleases. You hear its sound, but you cannot tell where it comes from or where it is going. So it is with everyone born of the Spirit." ~ John 3:8

That's what I kept thinking when Jake and I were flying our kite last weekend. I don't remember the last kite flying experience I had, but it didn't take me long to realize that this kite flying stuff is fun. I had more fun than Jacob, and I wouldn't rest until I had let out the entire spool of string. Our park location wasn't ideal - it was kind of a bowl surrounded by hills and trees that encouraged swirling type winds. Right when I thought we were doing - it came crashing down all the way to the ground. So, I would run, dip, pull, backpeddle, kneel down - whatever I had to do to put the kite in the way of the upswirls. Once it was up, I let Jake hold it all by himself. He did great and didn't let go. He also loved running and chasing me across the field as I was fighting with the kite. For some reason, Holly always positioned herself right where the kite would dive-bomb all the way to the ground. I'm happy to report that no injuries were incurred, but a lesson was learned by me...

When we live our lives under the influence of the Holy Spirit, we can not predict what it will be like. It's not up to us to predict and manipulate the ups and downs. The Spirit (like the wind) takes us up and down, and sideways, then rapidly up, then gliding effortlessly, then through a very difficult time, then ultimately as high as you can possible go. That kite was most impressive when it was fluttering loudly and the streamers off the tail were flying wildly due to being caught in the strength of the wind. The wind blew wherever it pleased, and I had to do a lot of running, pulling and inconvenient stuff to get where it was. Once I was there, it was beautiful.

We were meant to live at the mercy of the wind that we can't see, but we know is there. Sometimes it takes us high, other times low. Sometimes we have to readjust to find ourselves back in the influence of the wind. Life in the Spirit is the best life ever ... never dull, never predictable, up, down, loud, quiet, but most importantly soaring high under a power beyond what we could accomplish on our own.

Maybe you should fly a kite this weekend ...

God Bless.

Sunday, April 16, 2006

He took my place

At a Ecumenical, Good Friday Service a couple of days ago, I carried a cross. When they passed out a sign up sheet a couple of months ago, the only thing on the list I was remotely interested in was carrying the cross. Everyone else did a dramatic (actually a not-so dramatic) reading of John 19. The text was amazing, but the emotion was lacking. Many of those who were reading were friends of mine, and they were serious about what they were reading, but they were just reading. I had no idea that what I signed up for would affect me.

As I carried the cross down the aisle to the stage to stand it up, I was reminded of the million images of Jesus carrying His cross I've seen over the years. I was reminded that Jesus told me that unless I take up my cross daily then I cannot be His disciple. This cross carrying is serious business, and all of the sudden I was very honored to be carrying this big piece of wood. After all, it was my sin that sent Jesus there. It was my shame that He took. It was my pain that He bore. It was my public humiliation that he embraced. On Good Friday I remembered that the only reason that anything Good is - is because of the cross.

Recently the Lord put some words in my heart about a song I was wanting to write, and the bridge simply says this ...

It should've been me hanging on that tree
Exposed for all the world to see
I owed a debt that I could not pay
And dead in my sins I would have stayed ...

Thank You, Lord Jesus for the sacrifice You made on the cross. Thank You for taking my place. Thank You for making a way for me. I love You.

Monday, April 03, 2006

A Great Day

Today was a great day. It started with a productive early morning reading some articles and preparing for Staff Meeting. I love Staff Meetings. It's great to get to hang out with guys you enjoy and talking about the thing you love to do. A meeting followed which was painless, then more talking with folks at our facility... and then the fun begins.

From there I went to the HEB to stock up for dinner. Tonight we had our staff over (except Kaysa and her fam who are out of town) for a celebration. That's right the Astros Opening Day is an event worthy of much celebrating. We're not talking about mass produced spaghetti for dinner either - that's right. It was the breaking out of the grill for the first time this season. Steak, potatoes, salad, bread, and banana splits. I told you it was a celebration.

Unfortunately this is the first time we've all been able to be together like this in a long time, but fortunately it was great. It was great to be surrounded by folks we've been called to do life with. It was great to hold babies, to catch up, to laugh, to argue, to break bread together, to embrace the reality that God has handed to us. I know my friends don't enjoy baseball as much as I do, but they came knowing that it was a celebration special to me. I was honored to have them here. Could Acts 2 be this simple? Loving, laughing, eating, deepening friendships, sharing life, and Jesus being the glue that brings it all together - man, that's good.

I was excited about baseball, basketball and a new episode of 24. But it ended up being much more ... sharing life, investing in each other, growing together. The best part ... tomorrow we do it all again with our Overflow Group. Food, friends, Bible, prayer, and who knows what else. May the sharing of life continue, and I hope that if we haven't been able to share it with you for a while that it would happen soon.

You know what else (one last thing)? It's fun going to the store, working hard to prepare a good meal, and serving it to your friends. I highly recommend it and a reading of Acts 2.

Did I mention the Astros won? Did I mention that this day is made greater by the fact that when everyone leaves, I'm left at home with a beautiful, wonderful wife who allows me to plan random celebrations for seemingly trivial things even when she doesn't feel that great and an energetic three year old who was quick to remind me that opening day wasn't all about me when he began asking, "now can we play trains... daddy, let's build a biiiiiiigg track". Life is precious and we should celebrate it more often.

God Bless and have a great day!