But God

But God

I love listening to stories of how God works in people’s lives. I never stop being amazed by ‘But God’ moments. I had an amazing ‘But God’ moment last Fall, and it has my wife and me preparing to move to the Dominican Republic.

Before that new assignment from God, however, Lee and I both thought we’d end up in Eutaw, Alabama, doing mission work there. I wasn’t sure exactly what it was going to look like, but part of the dream was perhaps a church plant and me serving as a pastor to the families in the Branch Heights community. As a result, I feel I’ve been a student of the sermon these past three years. I love a good, foundational message, and I love it more when it comes from a dynamic and passionate pastor.

Today I was introduced to Pastor Michael Todd of Transformation Church in Tulsa, Oklahoma. He was the guest pastor at Elevation Church last week, and his message blew me away. I look forward to catching up on Pastor Todd’s messages on YouTube, and learning from him both in how he crafts his message and how he delivers it.

Below is the message he preached at Elevation. Not only is his message powerful, so is his story. It is a story that can only be summed up as ‘But God’.

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See You Mañana

See You Mañana

There’s so much about which I can write tonight. The conversations I’ve been having with God, the conversations I’ve been having with my attorney, the upcoming NBA playoffs, why it is God created gnats (seriously …. what’s their purpose?).

But truth be told, I simply don’t feel like writing tonight. So with that …. see you on the flip side.

IDW

What Scar? (Blog Repost)

What Scar? (Blog Repost)

Following my post last night about forgiveness, I had a conversation with a friend of mine from our writing tribe in Tampa. She explained how her pastor had taught about forgiveness the night prior also using Matthew 18, and we both agreed God uses these coincidences to drive home His message to us. This morning she shared with me another related story about forgiveness, and it reminded me of a post I wrote in 2008. I want to share that post again here. I hope you enjoy.


What Scar?

 

Lessons in Forgiveness

Lessons in Forgiveness

Today is my ex-wife’s birthday.

Normally, I would not make mention of it on my blog (even though we have a good, cordial relationship), but she’s been on my mind lately for a couple of reasons.

Firstly, she was very helpful last week following my car accident. She was genuinely and sincerely concerned, and she took care of our Max so Lee could focus on taking care of me post-accident.

Secondly, I was reading my Bible plan this morning and came across Matthew 18. Verses 21 – 22 read:

Then Peter came to him and asked, “Lord, how often should I forgive someone who sins against me? Seven times?”

No, not seven times,” Jesus replied, “but seventy times seven!

There is a reason my ex-wife is my ex, and I am that reason. Sparring the detail, I will say I’ve learned a lot about forgiveness in the nearly fourteen years since our marriage ended, and I’ve learned it mostly by watching her.

She always put our kids first, even when perhaps it meant swallowing some pride in public. She was always gracious and polite, even when perhaps her inclination was to punch me in the face.

I’ve grown leaps and bounds since beginning my faith walk anew in 2009, but looking back, I can see my ex-wife’s actions toward me in the years preceding 2009 laid the foundation for my walk with Christ. For what is more Christian than being extended forgiveness when you least deserve it?


Happy birthday, Ale. Thank you for being the best mother to our children that I could ever hope for. Thank you for maintaining your generous heart when I gave you a reason not to. Thank you for showing me what it means to model Christ with your actions. I owe you so much more than I can ever say with mere words.

Framily

Framily

I would not be where I am today if not for the wonderful friends I’ve made as a result of the band Sister Hazel. I refer to them as my music family, and I’ve met these individuals either directly or as a result of my being a music fan.

Lee and I are living in the pool house of our friends Jeff and Lindsey. We met Lindsey back in 2006 at a music event. She and I even jumped out of a plane together one year later. We’re living in their pool house because we’re selling our house in Tampa so that we can transition to mission work in the Dominican Republic. Our introduction to Advocates of Love, the non-profit through which we’ll be working, was through my other friend Jeff whom we met – again – through a music event. We were even introduced to our church in Tampa through a friend we made via our music community.

To me, these people with whom I share my life are more than just friends. They’re family. They’re inner-circle confidants whom I trust with any struggle I may be facing. They are individuals I can call at any hour of the day should I need help. They are people with whom I have traveled for vacations, concerts, and religious retreats. They are my Framily.

Framily2

It was great to have one of our framily members stop by this evening as she’s on her way to be with her daughter who is expecting. Lee and I first met Michelle back in 2006, and we’ve shared a wonderful friendship over the years. It still baffles me to think her daughter Chloe, who was eleven years old when we met her, is now married and on the verge of being a mother.

To share time and experiences with those close to you is what life is all about. To see children become adults and to be a resource to them as they continue to mature is a basic version of what discipleship is. I love my framily, and I love how they’ve been there for me every step of the way on my journey. And I love we got to savor that again to tonight.

Configuration

Configuration

We spent two weeks here in Hahira before returning to Tampa last week for six days. In the two weeks we were here, we made a dent in terms of unpacking and getting everything set up in the pool house at Jeff and Lindsey’s. Still, there is a lot of chaos that needs to be managed.

One of the chaotic items is my workstation. I enjoy working on my laptop but I despise having it on my lap. I need a desk with a second monitor in order to be fully productive. Perhaps it’s a function of twenty years in IT (force of habit), but being without a space for my computer is very much outside my comfort zone.

I am happy to say I took time this morning to set up some of our old IKEA furniture in the space Lee is using as her home office (it’s supposed to be a laundry closet), thus allowing me to use the desk she had been using for my workstation.

It’s a lot smaller than what I had at my house, but I’ve come to realize this interim period between moving out of our house and eventually getting to the D.R. is practical training in downsizing and learning how to make the most of having less. I’ve been somewhat bummed lately because I am eager to land in Samaná and start doing the Lord’s work, but I think He is having me learn (and re-learn) what it means to be patient and humble and resourceful in the face of limited resources. I feel I am ready but He’s making it clear I am not. So I shall make the most of this time and continue to trust in His provision.

Home Sweet Home

We drove back to Georgia this afternoon. We had a bit of a hiccup this morning with what we thought was a late checkout, only to it NOT be a late checkout, causing us to alter our plans for attending church (because we have our dog). Although it was disappointing not being able to celebrate service with our home church, we are ever so grateful to be back in Hahira with our friends Lindsey and Jeff.

It’s interesting how this interim solution for us, one that had us leaving a five bedroom, 2500 square foot home and moving into a one bedroom pool house, is now our normal. And following a week of staying in a grungy hotel, I am so looking forward to getting back into a feeling of normalcy.