Friday, November 17, 2006


What a roller coaster of emotions the past few weeks have been. My good friend, Thomas Escalon, was raised from the dead (it's a long story if you don't know it). A month later he survived a quintuple bypass heart surgery and is recovering at a rapid rate - it's nothing short of miraculous. God is seeming to put the power of prayer on display in our lives. He brings us to the point of death - twice in the same month - and miracles happened both times. Why are miracles so surprising. Does Scripture not say that the same Spirit that raised Christ from the dead lives in us. The same Spirit. Not some western-civilization, modern version of the same Spirit. Not some weak, dumbed-down, tame version. The same Spirit. Miracles should be more common. I'm so grateful that God chose to put that on display to us as a church this month. He's teaching us to pray, He's showing us that He's got this thing. He's drawing us closer and closer to Him, but He has to shake us up to do it. Thank you for the shaking.

For another story on shakes... Yesterday, on my day off, the fam and I journeyed northward to Round Rock for the opening of the new IKEA store. Actually, it opened on Wendesday, but we figured we would miss some crowds on Thursday. So we found our way through the circus of cars, parking attendants, and parking lots. We parked in an overflow parking lot across the street. As we were stepping into the street, I looked down to grab Jacob's hand. In that instant I stepped into a drainage gutter and twisted my ankle in two different directions other than what it was created to twist in. Spraining my ankles has become a hobby of mine beginning in college, but this was by far the most pain I've ever felt in my ankle - maybe the most pain period. I hopped around, yelled at my wife (she was the closest person and I had to yell at someone!), and somehow managed to prevent both expletives and tears from coming out.

I wasn't about to drive all that way and not experience IKEA, so I did with much pain as I hobbled arround the ginormous store. It lived up to they hype. I love that place and wish I had a lot more money to spend there. Afterward, traffic was horrible, so we stopped and watched a movie. During the flick, I propped my foot up - yes on the seat in front of me, I know it's against the rules, but I was in a lot of pain. Anyway, we stopped for a bite to eat at Fudrucker's (still waiting for the traffic to die down). We had just begun to eat when they announced that someone's Strawberry Shake was ready. For those of you who don't know, it is my opinion that a Strawberry Shake is one of the finest experiences in this life (especially if it's from Annie's on South Post Oak in Houston). Anyway, I told Holly that I thought that maybe my own Strawberry Shake would make my ankle feel better. Jacob quickly chimed in that he thought it would heal the scratch on his face. We were in agreement. Now, I have to confess that it was a plea more than a prayer, but before I could really work my case, the manager came up with a beautifully crafted Strawberry Shake in his hand and said, "I accidentally made an extra one of these, would you guys like to have it?" Yes we would, and yes we did. It was a beautiful thing, and my ankle did begin to feel better for a few minutes.

Maybe the lesson is something about how the lows and hard times make the good things even better. I'm thankful for the Strawberry Shake, but I'm more thankful for life and breath. Consider me shaken by the provision of my Father.

Monday, November 06, 2006


I can't believe it's been a month since I jotted anything down. Anyway, on with the thought...

Last night we continued our teaching through 1 Corinthians 3 (available for download at, and the focus was on what destroys the church. The most profound thing I can't stop thinking about from this is how deceived we really are.

Anyone who's watched and of the audtion episodes of American Idol has witnessed self-deception at it's finest. Loads and loads of people who obviously have no talent, really think they can sing. They think the judges are wrong. They think millions of viewers are wrong. They completely ignore what is a black and white reality in lieu of their opinion of themselves.

The reality is that our opinion of ourselves can not be trusted. We deceive ourselves. What we see in the mirror isn't what other people see. How we think of ourselves is not how other people think of ourselves. We often think we're better or worse than we really are. We define our own reality based on our perceptions, and that's a flaw of our humanity. We need to surround ourselves with others who help us see more clearly who we are. Our friends see us for who we really are - for the good and bad. Accountability is what we need to more accurately see who we really are.

I often times consider myself to be fairly self-aware. I know what I'm good at, I know what I'm bad at, I know what I can pull off and appear to be good at. However, at any moment, I could find myself thinking more highly of myself than I ought. I could find myself not having people in my life that help keep my reality defined. I could believe what I want regardless of what everyone else says. I could very easily find myself deceived.

We need to be aware that we are deceived people in need of honest friends to walk with us in our journey of faith in order to keep us more in tune with the reality of Jesus. Only when we look at ourselves through his eyes do we see as we ought to see. May we be honest with ourselves and surround ourselves with godly people who love us enough to help us determine who we really are.

If you're certain that you're not deceived, you are. If you know you're deceived, then you're in the best place for discovering reality. Regardless of how you see yourself, this week you should ask someone you trust for an honest evaluation of who you really are. Does anybody remember "The Emperor's New Clothes"? Wouldn't you rather know? Ask someone. You don't have to be deceived.