Gratis

Gratis

Today was a heck of a day. We had to get what was left of our personal items out of the garage before we close on the sale of our house tomorrow morning.

When Lee and I arrived last night from Georgia, the task seemed very doable. After all, we had all day to do it. When we woke up this morning, it felt quite overwhelming.

But God delivered. After posting on a neighborhood website that everything must go, we had several people from in and around the community show up and help. One woman took a literal truck load of items, and it was such a blessing to give all these items away.

I think the microcosm of the lesson God had me learn through all this was evident with the collection of Coca Cola commemorative 6-packs I had, some for decades. When we first started the downsizing process, I thought I’d make a pretty penny off that collection. As time passed and no offers came in, I figured I’d try selling them at a later date. Today, I just had to laugh as I saw a complete stranger walk off with all of them for free. The thing is, he was doing me a favor. Also, He was doing me a favor by reminding me to stop focusing on stuff and keep focusing on Him.

We were in need and the Lord delivered a solution. We marched all night, and the Lord delivered victory. And you just can’t put a pricetag on that.

So Joshua came upon them suddenly by marching all night from Gilgal.
Joshua 10:9 NASB

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Another Step in the Journey

Another Step in the Journey

Lee and I made the drive from South Georgia to Tampa this afternoon. We’re scheduled to close on our house sale on Friday, so tomorrow will be a lot of last-minute tidying of miscellaneous garage items.

I saw this quote today from Jennifer Dulski, President & COO, Change.org.
The gist of it is that anything worth doing involves overcoming obstacles.

“The key to success is holding on to the belief that you’ll have more sunny days than cloudy ones and to just keep climbing, every day, no matter what. Great leaders not only keep climbing on both types of days but also inspire their teams to climb with them.”

Lee and I have a lot of little obstacles yet to overcome, from shipping our personal belongings to the D.R. to the laundry list of documents we need to complete in order to request residency once we’re there. But this biggest obstacle, one that has been a relative thorn in our side for months, is almost done.

I thank God for His faithfulness and for the lessons He’s taught me during this season. Looking back, they were indeed lessons I needed to learn.

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.

Counting My Blessings

Counting My Blessings

God is a good and faithful God. Even when we’re experiencing tough times, we continue to praise His name and glorify Him.

I was sitting at a red light last night when I was rear ended by a drunk driver. It appears I was propelled into the intersection where I was hit by a second vehicle. Thankfully, I have no recollection of the accident (#blessing). I came to with a man in my passenger seat instructing me to stay calm because I’d been in an accident (#blessing).

The first responders on the scene (#blessing) used the jaws of life to pry open my door and remove me from the vehicle. Ryan and Cody helped keep me calm as the took my vitals, loaded me on their rig, and transported me to Florida Hospital Wesley Chapel, which is less than a mile from the crash site (#blessing).

I was brought into the ER, my head and neck stabilized as a needed precaution. Another first responder found my phone on the scene and brought it to me (#blessing). I was able to then notify people of what had happened.

It's but a flesh wound.

My wife Lee arrived and coordinated with my ex-wife Alex who was already in the waiting area of the ER (#blessing). Lee and I are staying in a hotel in Tampa this week with our puppy Max. Not knowing how long the evening was going to be, Lee brought Max with her to the hospital and Alex took him home for the evening so Lee could focus on me (#blessing).

I was treated by the amazing team at FHWC (#blessing). Kate (my PA), Sharon from radiology, Aaron and Justin (my nurses), and everyone else with whom I interacted were exceptional.

My injuries are minor (#blessing). Small laceration to my forehead, burns and scrapes on my left side due to airbags, and a deep bruise to my right Achilles tendon. I also sustained a mild concussion.

Upon being discharged at 3AM with my foot in a splint and my scrapes bandaged, Lee drove me to our hotel where we both promptly fell asleep.

We spent most of today on the phone with our auto insurance company (#blessing), scheduling appointments with various doctors (#blessing), speaking to our attorney (#blessing), and keeping our family and friends abreast of the situation (#blessing x2).

The book of Job teaches us the story of a man who, “was blameless—a man of complete integrity. He feared God and stayed away from evil.” (Job 1:1 NLT) Yet he was made to suffer loss and personal anguish. And through it all, he remained faithful to God and did not curse His name. “So the Lord blessed Job in the second half of his life even more than in the beginning.”
(Job 42:12 NLT)

I am not a blameless man like Job, but I am the Lord’s servant. I could have easily died last night, or suffered devastating injury, or be in an ICU tied up to all kinds of machines working to keep me alive. Instead, I hobbled out of the ER with crutches and a dull headache (#blessing).

God was with me last night, as He is always. He placed His hedge of protection around me last night (#blessing), as He is want to do to those who worship Him. I am not deserving of His grace, yet He provides it anyway (#blessing). I praise His name for His is the kingdom, the power, and the glory, now and forever.

Fast and the Furious (Stomach)

Fast and the Furious (Stomach)

I believe firmly in the power of prayer. I’ve seen miracles happen and have personally been impacted by prayer. But one thing I’ve never done as part of my prayer life is fast.

…until now.

In preparation for Easter, CrossPointe Church invited its congregation to take part in a fast from 6:00 PM Thursday to 6:00 PM Friday. Having been in the service last Sunday when this was announced, Lee and I decided to join the members of CrossPointe and fast. We have much about which to pray, specifically our house for sale in Tampa, and we know this period of sacrifice will allow us to focus on our conversations with God.

I am sure many people are like me, not too familiar with fasting or the how’s and why’s of fasting with regards to our prayer life. What I do know is that it’s a conscious effort on my part to be intentional with prayer. When I would normally stop to eat, I will fill that time with prayer. When I am feeling hungry, I will ignore what my stomach is telling me and spend time with God. Jesus sacrificed Himself for me. Surely I can sacrifice food for 24 hours.

Fasting.jpg

Still, if you’re wanting to more information about how fasting improves your prayer life, visit the post below from Crosswalk.com.

5 Ways Fasting Can Change Your Life

Deep Dive

Deep Dive

Although I am technically unemployed, every day is a busy day. There is always something to do. Something that needs to get done. There are always items that need to be boxed, other items that need to be listed on eBay, and just tons of crap that needs to make its way to the trash.

But this morning, as I was going through my YouVersion reading plan, I felt compelled to do a little more with my Bible reading.

With YouVersion, I use the New Living Translation and have the app narrate to me as I read along. It helps me better retain the content (mostly because I don’t trip up over the pronunciation of Biblical names, etc.), and also, because I’ve been using this method for such a long time now, the narrator’s voice is comforting and familiar. My physical Bible, which is a note-taking Bible, is in the New American Standard translation. I use NASB because that is what was used at my Bible college.

In YouVersion, there are notes that show references to other parts of Scripture, and as I was reading through Galatians, it was impressive to see how many times the Apostle Paul referenced the Old Testament in his epistle. So I felt compelled to just go through each chapter of Galatians and use the digital notes from YouVersion’s NLT to create hand-written notes in my NASB Bible.

What resulted was a deep dive into the book of Galatians (six chapters) that took several hours to complete. It was interesting and eye-opening, and I was able to read the Word from a completely new perspective. It was such a positive experience I am thinking about doing the same for all of Paul’s epistles (there are thirteen).

With so much to do in preparing to sell the house and move, it’s true I could have used the time this morning for other tasks. However, there’s no disputing there’s no other task that would have been quite as valuable.


Mental Shuffle

Mental Shuffle

Yesterday I wrote about things I am going to miss once Lee and I move to the Dominican Republic. Tonight’s post is kinda’ the opposite, but not entirely.

To say my music family has changed my life is a dramatic understatement. When you follow the dominoes that have fallen, it’s very clear Lee and I would not be preparing for this move into full-time mission work if not for our music family. We ended up at Relevant Church as a result of being invited by our friend whom we met through our music family. Our introduction to Advocates of Love came as a result of my best friend whom – again – I met through our music family. Being introduced to that community of friends back in 2006 has been life-changing.

Part of this music family experience had been The Rock Boat, a floating music festival that is the best vacation you’ll barely remember. Lee and I have had the pleasure of taking part of seven TRB’s, and each one has been uniquely special. From our first in 2007 to our last in 2015 (we missed a couple of years here and there), thinking back on TRB memories makes my heart smile.

I say “last” one because we sailed on TRB XV a day after returning from our first ever mission trip in January 2015. Even though we had a good time, there was something off about that boat. For Lee and me, it was not the go-for-broke party atmosphere we’d enjoyed on previous cruises. Rather, there was an almost somber undercurrent, a whisper from God telling us TRB XV was our last hurrah.

He was preparing us for our next steps.

So here I am, on the sail away day for TRB XVIII, seeing the Facebook posts from literally hundreds of my friends who set sail for five excellent days of music, sun, fun, and killer hangovers. And it’s interesting how The Boat is no longer a priority in my life. Instead, I am filling my days with process steps I need to complete in order to move to a foreign country and serve God with the work my wife and I do.

Just like with old computers when you’d run a defrag command in order to re-order the hard drive, God performs a spiritual defrag in us according to His will. Things we once thought were important are moved out of the way in order to make more room for Him.

Would I like to be on a music cruise with my friends right now? Of course! Is it where I need to be right now? Not even close. Where I need to be is here, prepping my house so I can sell it, reaching out to other ministry organizations seeking partnership opportunities, and praying everything for which we’re hoping comes to fruition.

So instead of pining away about a ship that has already set sail (literally), I’ll close out with a nostalgic look back at what used to be. Enjoy.