Thursday, November 29, 2007

Really doing it!

Well, it looks as if we are really doing it. We have moved our contents to Austin...and it all fit perfectly. WE had no mishaps other than the Penske truck that my friend Todd was driving would only go 59 MPH.....I guess thats ok, his cruise didnt work either. Thanks Todd, for giving of yourself and helping me with the second truck.

The house is great, we got new floors put in prior to us getting here and they look awesome. Our Starbucks Room looks good.....what you dont have a Starbucks Room? Oh...ok..its a study.

One of our dear new friends, who lives in the area, Stephanie came by yesterday and helped Jenny unpack some boxes. Then the Shootman's came by with dinner last night. Im not talking bucket of chicken here either. They unpacked a home cooked gormet meal, comeplete with plates and bowls (not plastic) silverware, salt and pepper shakers, glasses....and everything. I am impressed with 'how they roll'.

SO today for me, its back to Corpus, to finish the work/school week....then I bring the kids back up here. Will (my nephew) will be joining us this weekend, since Dana is out of town.

Thanks Austin New Church folks....

Encourage and Build Up

1 John 3 16This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers.

You know, as Brandon and I drove around yesterday, looking for homeless guys who touched us…..and made an impact on us, I mentioned to him that you cannot make a connection with someone, homeless or otherwise and not care about that person. I care that my guy is sleeping in the shelter and wants to better himself. I care that his daughter wont respond to him when he calls. I care that I don’t know where he is….and that I couldn’t find him yesterday. I care that I told him I would find him Wednesday and I couldn’t.

Let me encourage you guys with this. I had a guy name Robbie, came into my office less than a week after my dad had died (5 years ago) . He Just knew he was suppose to come talk to someone. He thought he’d find my mom…and he really didn’t know me, or know I would be there…..but God told him to come and he came. He came into my office and talked with me, encouraged me, cried with me, and just told me that God’d plans were bigger than my plans….to hang in there, continue to seek God. That day was pivotal for me….and that day…Robbie laid down his pride, laid down his own agenda, laid down his schedule, and laid down part of his life…..for a hurting brother. I saw Robbie Tueday, who I still don’t know very well….but we have a connection, the love of Christ in us.

Genesis 4 But if you do not do what is right, sin is crouching at your door; it desires to have you, but you must master it."

I think here of that lion seeking to steal, kill and destroy, crouching behind the door. We must master over sin.

1 Corinthians 10:13 (New International Version)
13No temptation has seized you except what is common to man. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can stand up under it.
Brothers, lets continue in this battle against Satan, strong and aware of sin. I love that we have this format, but I would also encourage you to check on your brothers…..see if there are any weaknesses that he is willing to share….so that you can help him.
Ecclesiastes 4:12 (New International Version)
12 Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves. A cord of three strands is not quickly broken.
God, thanks again for your word….that is living and active and sharper than any double edged sword. Use it in my life to cut and whittle and gouge out stuff that is detestable to you. God I love you and I thank you for bringing me to Austin…to be an instrument. Show me who, show me where, and show me when to lay down my life for my brothers…..God, I pray I am obedient when you show me.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Satan is a grass licker

and yes....i said GRASS.

1 Peter 5:8 Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.
This is the verse that causes me to stop sometimes.....I know that I should use 'self-control' when i am aware of my sin. I know that satan would love to devour me....and my family....and my witness....
I heard said that when a lion devour its will eat the flesh...meat..guts...bones.....and lick the grass where all the blood was....leaving no trace that the animal ever existed. That is the picture i use when i think about this verse and satans desire to 'take us out'...render us useless in the Kingdom. A few names come to mind....Jim Baaker, Jimmy Swaggart, Rick Ousley...the last name there is my former youth minister when i was growing up. It was recently aledged that he had nearly a 25 year affair.....he was founder of a national student ministry, Spoke at Marriage conferences, Pastored a Large church, and chaplained a college football team..among other things.....and now....its hard to see that he ever existed (except for the blogs that are out there that trash him....and question his entire life) actually Rick had a great impact in my life...although God CAN use tainted vessels.

God I thank you for your grace...that covers our sins...that we dont have to worry about our salvation....but we must guard our hearts, our families and our witness against the devil, who is looking for opportunities to render us useless for your kingdom. As a 'fruit of the spirit' and evidence of our faith....I pray for extra self-control for myself and these men. Let us glorify you in all we do......and even in things we dont do.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

My power is....LAME!

1 Peter 11:b If anyone serves, he should do it with the strength God provides, so that in all things God may be praised through Jesus Christ.

Have you guys ever started a God thing….and lose focus. I know I have. I have started many books, quite a few studies, or a group, or teaching a class, or helping out with a project for God…then somewhere down the line, lose sight of the fact of why I am doing it. Then all of a sudden it becomes a freakin chore. I hate that. I complain, look for a way out, and then suddenly realize….wait a minute I am no longer doing this in the strength God provides, but my own strength.

The cool thing about Austin New Church, for me….and Brandon knows this….I have been praying to be a part of something so much bigger than myself that only God be the one pulling the strings. I have done ministry over the past several years, but it has been (more times than not) so ‘in the box’ and ‘routine’ (For me) …….that I found myself wondering if God was being glorified or sometimes if he was even in it.

I have been so stretched by God…over the past few months that I know God has me where He wants me. I was asked by a guy this morning at a Mens Fraternity meeting….how I was doing…..specifically he asked, “Are you being stretched or what?” and I said “without a doubt I am!” This man came to know the Lord later in life and he is about 70…and does tons of ministry with the Bill Glass, prison ministry.

Monday, November 19, 2007

As we walk..

Funny that reading "Walk Across the Room" by Hybels, caused me to think more intently about this verse. Last night, one the guys in our small group talked about getting "stuck" when a question was asked, as he was sharing the Lord with someone. And as a man....I had to agree...the fear that we have of getting shot down...or having a questions asked we cant answer is real....but this is 'pride'.

15But in your hearts set apart Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect, 16keeping a clear conscience, so that those who speak maliciously against your good behavior in Christ may be ashamed of their slander

Be give an answer....educate ourselves. I dont think its enough to just know that we ware saved....we must be able to share why....we have hope.

2Timothy says 2Preach the Word; be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke and encourage—with great patience and careful instruction

Guys hear me in this....It scares the fool outta me too! But no matter where you are in your should always be growing. If you arent growing or putting yourself in a place to grow.....your walk will be deminishing and hurting. Its not an overnight thing....but this transformation for me came from years of pressing into God (daily scripture reading) .....surrounding yourself with Godly men( like we are doing now) , making choices that call you up and out (going on a mission trip instead of a golfing trip) searching inward to see if there is any sin issues you need to lay at God's feet, and just making the constant choice to honor God with our lives.

Funny thing is...the more we know God....the less secure, less entitled we feel, and the more humble we get. Honestly, I dont at all feel worthy to be called to be a pastor. I just realized a call to service of Him..and in the meantime, it makes this call more real to guys like me. I covet your prayers and I need your grace....cuz I'm new to this.

Friday, November 16, 2007

We are aliens

1 Peter 2: 11Dear friends, I urge you, as aliens and strangers in the world, to abstain from sinful desires, which war against your soul. 12Live such good lives among the pagans that, though they accuse you of doing wrong, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day he visits us.

So much is packed in these two verses for me personally.

I encourage my not let the 'world' affect them(be in it, not of it) , but in a recent discussion with my son, I told him, we need to be inclusive to folks who are lost, not accepting their worldly behaviors, but accepting them as people on a journey. My son, truly has done a pretty god as an alien, but he has, in effect, alienated himself from kids who cuss, and make other bad choices, and worse yet, he writes them off. I told him we need to love people, so that they see the love of Christ in us. And that includes, having them be a part of some of what we have going on, so that they CAN SEE.

God, where is that line? How can I, encourage my kids.....myself even to interact with those who are OBVIOUSLY not living a life for you. Benton is so solid....but also black and white....I love that about him. How can I direct him differently? Because there truly is a WAR against my soul, his soul.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Sometimes we just don't get it.

Zech. 12:8 On that day the LORD will shield those who live in Jerusalem, so that the feeblest among them will be like David, and the house of David will be like God, like the Angel of the LORD going before them.

God I pray that you will pour out your spirit on us. Not that we are worthy….but just because you deserve Glory. God thank you for going before us…thank you for preparing the way in Austin, and we hope that as we are consumed in the fire of passion for you…that we turn it outward and ALL will know that you are not only OUR God, but THEIR God. Let us be your hands and feet. God, I thought of the cold chill this morning and the ones who are out there, who woke up as this front blew through….with no blankets….and only the clothes they had on. Provide for them….through someone who claims the name of Christ.

1 Peter 6 In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. 7These have come so that your faith—of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire—may be proved genuine and may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed.

Are we so dull…the bible clearly states our purpose on this earth, over and over…..Glorify God. I read it in James 5 yesterday, and I read it in 1 Peter today. I wonder if James had sent Peter a text message informing him what he was going to write on the previous page of the bible…and he (Peter) should pick up where he (James) left off.

How can I do this today?

God I want to glorify you today…you are more than words can describe.
The world's a huge stockpile of God-wonders and God-thoughts. Nothing and no one comes close to you! I start talking about you, telling what I know, and quickly run out of words. (Psalm 40:5 Message)

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Persever to produce character

James 5
10Brothers, as an example of patience in the face of suffering, take the prophets who spoke in the name of the Lord. 11As you know, we consider blessed those who have persevered. You have heard of Job's perseverance and have seen what the Lord finally brought about. The Lord is full of compassion and mercy.

I was just reading and thinking of the suffering James talks about. We really don’t know suffering. I read a book, not long ago called, …..Modern Day Martyrs (or something like that). Anyway, it is very humbling to read the stories of hundreds of people throughout history some famous…and some I never ever even heard their stories. I was just struck at the many ‘saints’ who have suffered and died grueling deaths for proclaiming the name of Christ. I say throughout history, but some in the book were as recent as a few years ago. And I know we have heard the stories of countless Christians who have suffered, been threatened, had to hide, been shot and killed in Iraq and Afghanistan and all over the middle east.

One of the main themes of the books was how when faced with the question….many were willing to DIE for their faith. They stood tall…singing hymns of praise as they were burned to death, tortured in numerous ways, beheaded and shot by firing squad. Would I die for my faith? Would I stand tall and claim the name of Christ? Do I stand tall and claim the name of Christ. If not…what the heck am I so afraid of? We, my friends, are soft….

Friday, November 09, 2007

Bless those who actually need it

Yeah two distinct challenges in James 2; both are real to me

Don’t show favoritism.
Be a doer of the Word.

How easy it is to ‘say’ as a Christian we don’t show favoritism…yet we pass people all the time with real needs. Stranded motorists, homeless, single moms, old folks….(even relatives) and we are too busy to stop and lend a hand. A friend of mine from San Antonio came over the other night and he was telling me about a ministry he started at his church in SA. “Second pair of hands” they babsically matched up people in their church who had need….with those in their church who could provide for that need. Well, needless to say that it grew like crazy, even to the point of gaining city wide publicity in an SA publication. How often do we just let clothes or shoes sit in the back of the closet….never wearing them, or blankets, or throw away food. Some might have the gift of mowing yards…or helping fix a car…either by hand or paying for it. But the people who need the help the most…..usually arent the one we WANT to help.

Thursday, November 08, 2007

Testing or Temptation

Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, 3because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. 4Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything


Testing seems to be an affliction, God can test…..which in the progression lead to “spiritual maturity”. He wants us all to become more spiritually mature. Not so that we ‘arrive’….but so that we can become; sharpening agents, mentors, Givers, Goers, Doers.

14but each one is tempted when, by his own evil desire, he is dragged away and enticed. 15Then, after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, gives birth to death.


Tempting is more likely the “seduction by lust”, women, money, toys, things that CAN give birth to sin. Is it sin to want to acquire wealth? NO…but the temptation is there that can lead to sin. Is talking to a woman (not your wife)sin …no…..but the talk could give birth to desire.. So guys we must be super careful, diligent, and deliberate.
But know, God gives certain trails that lead to testing, perseverance and maturity NOT temptation, sin and death.

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Dont love stuff or money

Hebrews 13

5Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have, because God has said, "Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you."

This verse was right behind

4Marriage should be honored by all, and the marriage bed kept pure, for God will judge the adulterer and all the sexually immoral.

WE know the marriage bed is be kept pure....and we dont have a problem calling the sin of sexually immoral.....immoral. But I can say for myself...that something I must always keep in check is being content with what i have...and i have alot.

The odd thing about verse 5 for me that God tells us to not love money and be content.......because He will never leave us or forsake us. I would never conect the two, outside of the fact that maybe as we amass earthly treasures...or 'hoard' as the bible calls it....we are putting our faith in our stuff...or our own ability to aquire wealth.

Moving to Austin was initially a real struggle for Jenny. And it kept coming back to security. I know for women this IS an issue. And me seeking God's best for our my following after Him regardless of security (financially). I have grown up with money...had money my whole life...but I've also seen my family lose millions in bad real estate we were worse than most poor people....we had 'debt up to our eyeballs' literally....we just didnt live like it.

Isnt that crazy that....ALL of us (believers) are indebted 'up to our eyeballs' to Christ.....yet most dont live like it. Not like I can pay Christ back...but I feel that i must;

offer my body as living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is myspiritual act of worship.

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

so if you got my letter today....

welcome to my blog. I just want to thank you for taking the time to come look at my mad ramblings. I think that the best stuff is in my links..about the church...jenny...jen..brandon. But anyway, we are so excited about whats been going on, and I'd love to share more with you. Call me if you want to ..(361) 537-3362 Tray or call Jenny (361) 510-3333.

Monday, November 05, 2007

Wheelbarrows and Water levels

Zechariah 4
10 "Who despises the day of small things? Men will rejoice when they see the plumb line in the hand of Zerubbabel.
Zerubbabel is noted for laying the foundation for the second temple in Jerusalem. I guess (having been in the building trade) the plumbline jumped out at me. A plumb line is a simple but accurate tool used for determining whether or not something is perfectly vertical (or upright)In someones hands who knows what he is a very accurate measuring tool. In my hands....its a rope i can swing around like a cowboy.
WE did a mission project in Guerrero a small town in Mexico south of Corpus by about 3 hours. We built a house for a family who didnt have one. I was on the crew that built the foundation. Now I'm good at lifting, pushing, even nailing or sweeping....but even though i've watched over a hundred slabs formed (having built houses for 12 years) , I hadnt even considered how we would level this one. A guy named Mike was with us on that crew...brought out a long tube....and filled it with water. I'm thinkin, water games....but in Mikes hands...even with me other end of the tube this became, not just a somewhat accurate tool, it became a 'dead on' accurate tool for leveling. He told me that this is still a prefered way to level slabs, by many builders.
SO i can relate....I rejoiced when I saw the 'water level' in the hands of Mike.

Hebrews 11
The writer here in this chapter is talking about 'faith' that saves. Jews understood that faith saved Noah, Moses, Rahab and Isaac.
Much like today, people can understand faith...but they have to HAVE faith.
Faith is active. Your parents cant have it for cant ride your spouses cant trust that Abrahams faith was sufficient for your entire clan.....You must understand...and 'get in the wheelbarrow' (

Thursday, November 01, 2007

Now that was rich!

We had 6-8 couples over last night and went Trick or Treating in our neighborhood.....and as we all walked along, the kids dashing to the door, loading up their bags or plastic Jack-O-Lanterns with sugary goodness....out at the sidewalk this family walked by with a lot of kids....and I overheard the kids all excited saying to each other..."now thats what I call rich!"
We have this practice in Corpus Christi, and it used to drive my mom nuts, of the poorer families coming from the "hood", driving their families to the "rich part of town" and go Trick-or Treating. This is so ingrained in this poor childs mind....that he didn't exclaim, "cool!... a full size Butterfinger!" but thats what i call "rich".
So it hit me this morning....we are all poor in spirit....and we drive to church Sunday morning...and stupid us....can leave there saying...."That was so rich...or wasnt worship awesome".....but we have access to that richness all the time. Much like the kid....who could probably rustle up enough money to buy Butterfingers all month long...we leave God's presence instead of trying to remain in it. We just say....that was rich....and move on to the next phase of existence.
I think, if given the opportunity.....everyone who came over to go Trick-or-Treating would move to our neighborhood, if money was no object. So I'm just saying...I need to live in the Spirit AND make sure that people know that it is available to them as well!