Category Archives: Personal

Zilker Kite Festival

On Sunday after church we got to go down to Zilker Park to celebrate the Kite Festival.  It was our first time to attend and it was awesome!  You can’t really see the kites in the picture that well, but there were thousands of them everywhere.  Ours got tangled up a few times, but for the most part it was great!

2011 In Review

The stats helper monkeys prepared a 2011 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

A San Francisco cable car holds 60 people. This blog was viewed about 2,000 times in 2011. If it were a cable car, it would take about 33 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.

European Vacation

My wife and I got to celebrate our 10 year anniversary going to London, Paris, Rome, Trier, and Luxembourg for two weeks.  It was in our 12th year of marriage, but it was amazing.  Here are some pictures and some travel tips:

Flight:  We signed up for a British Airways credit card for 100K miles for our plane tickets.  We still had to pay $300+ in taxes and random fees, but it was a huge help.

Hotel:  We both signed up for Hyatt credit card and received 4 nights at 5 star hotels and that was a huge help.  We stayed with some friends for a few nights and Pricelined a couple of nights for around $100.  We did have one scary night in an airport hotel outside of Rome, but other than that it was great!

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Why don’t we pray?

Scripture teaches us we can turn to an eternal God and pray to Him and He hears us.  Can you believe that!  However, I have noticed in my life there are times where instead of turning to Him in prayer I try to fix things myself.  I am not sure why.  Perhaps it is pride in that I think I can do it, or perhaps it is that I don’t believe it makes a difference but I have found that instead of turning to Him in prayer I try to take care of everything on my own.  I create this world in my head where I am the hero of the story and I have to try to take care of everything and everyone.  It is exhausting.

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Raising Children

My wife and I went to a seminar on parenting last weekend and below are a couple of practical things we walked away with after the seminar:

1.  Responsibility of Parents:  As parents it is easy to blame MTV, school, friends, movies, but the responsibility for exposing our children to a relational and powerful God who wants to be involved in our lives falls to the parents.  In Judges 2 there was a lack of familiarity of God’s provision in the past and that responsibility ultimately falls on the parents.

As parents we need to be asking ourselves:

  • Are you personally in awe of God?
  • Are your children in awe of God?
  • What needs to happen in your family to have a greater love for God?
  • What have you experienced in the past that placed you in awe of God?

2.  Children and all People ultimately want to be God (Genesis 2):  Therefore they are going to push back on any kind of authority because ultimately we want to be the authority.  It is the same with our children.  This is the beauty of the church and family.  It is in those social contexts we see our rebellion.  We see how we hurt ourselves and hurt others, and we see are not qualified candidates who are worthy of worship, but we can point them to a God who is worthy of worship.

Practical Tips:

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Easter Sunday 2011

On Sunday, April 24th we are going to celebrate the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus.  It is something we are stepping into with great anticipation.  We just spent the last 35 days preparing our hearts for this season going through a spiritual journey as a church as we prayed, fast, read, and reflected on the holiness of God.  I know for me personally this Easter has been different.

It is different for me because my family is in a different place.  Our children can hold conversation and talk about the subject of Easter.  On Good Friday we sat around a fire on the back porch eating s’mores and talking about why Jesus had to die on the cross for our sin.  It was a lot of fun.  It is also different because I feel like my heart is in a different place.  I didn’t grow up celebrating Easter and when I trusted in Jesus I was in college so Easter weekend was really about getting caught up in school before the final exams.  After college I worked as a college pastor and most of the students would go home for Easter and for some reason it still seemed like a busy holiday weekend.  Our church would have Easter Sunrise services, we would attend, but I almost found myself thinking, “Why are we going to this much trouble for Easter.”  Looking back it saddens my heart to know there was such a disconnection for me around Easter.

The last couple of years Easter has continued to carry a deeper and greater meaning, and I am hopeful that trend will continue as I consider the price that was paid for my sin so that I would no longer have to carry the shame and guilt, but know that it was completely accounted for at the cross.

Teaching Scripture

I didn’t grow up going to church.  Not even close.  In fact I made fun of people who went to church.  I didn’t know anything about the Bible so it is a little funny to me sometimes that I teach Bible today.  Early on when I started learning Scripture and teaching Scripture the focus was on finding the timeless principle.  It was really helpful.  It was grounded in truth.  It wasn’t a personal opinion of the day.  It was communicating God’s world.  However, I have found teaching timeless principles ultimately leads people moral and behavioral modification.  It was a timeless principle, but it ultimately fostered legalistic patterns and neglected to exalt and elevate the righteousness we have been given through faith in Jesus Christ’s work on the cross.

For example, when I would study to teach Old Testament Scriptures I would look for timeless principles so that we could have the life of that Old Testament character.  When I would study New Testament Scriptures I would look for principles of how we could live with that same dedication or commitment.  It wasn’t bad, it was biblical, but it also didn’t seem to lead to life change.  It would lead to behavioral modification, but it would never seem to last.  It never seemed to result in lasting courage of Joshua or lasting passion of Paul.  As a result it would leave you with one or two responses:  Either exhausted because you are trying so hard to have courage or passion, or angry because you can never seem to have encourage courage or passion.

In addition, it reduced Christ’s work on the cross to a closing comment at the end of a lesson.  There might be moments where there was a powerful illustration that would be used to call people to transformation, but for the Christ-follower it often seemed like the truth of Christ’s work on the cross was repetitive and something that was for other people.

As I examined this pattern in my life it led me to look at the Scripture differently.  It led me to study and teach Scripture with the focus of looking for Christ’s work on the cross being exalted.  It led me to not settle for teaching moral principles.  It led me to a place of seeing the gospel throughout life and not just in a call of transformation.  It doesn’t mean the biblical principles are overlooked, but that the biblical principles aren’t the destination either.

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